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NSF funds U of Kansas researcher developing machine learning technology to monitor and prevent thermal runaway in Li-ion batteries
Supported by a new five-year, $500,000-grant from the National Science Foundation, a researcher from the University of Kansas is developing machine learning technology to monitor and prevent overheating in lithium-ion batteries. The research will develop a foundational framework for characterizing and monitoring LiB packs’ spatially and temporally distributed thermal behavior, building on a multi-disciplinary synthesis of ideas from first-principles modeling, machine learning, distributed estimation, and network systems. The work is intended to drive new knowledge advancement in: A hybrid modeling methodology that integrates first-principles-based and data-driven machine learning models; Optimal estimation and machine learning theory based on hybrid models; and Hybrid-model-based principles, algorithms and tools for temperature field reconstruction and thermal runaway detection. The models and algorithms will be rigorously evaluated through a mix of theoretical analysis, software-based simulation, and experimental validation using a fully instrumented PEC SBT4050 battery tester. Nowadays these lithium-ion batteries are everyplace in our society. They’re popular because they have many advantages, including high energy and power density, long cycle life, high voltage compared to other batteries and a low self-discharge rate. During the past decade, lithium batteries have become the most popular batteries for energy storage. But they’re vulnerable to thermal events. They can easily catch fire or have thermal explosions when ambient temperatures are high or when some internal failures occur. That’s because the lithium metal is highly reactive, and the commonly used electrolyte is flammable.—Huazhen Fang Presently, most technologies to track the temperature of lithium-ion batteries are inadequate because sensors only can read the outside surface temperature of the batteries, according to the KU researcher. Usually, the temperature on the surface is insufficient to tell us about the state of the cell. The internal temperature would tell us more about thermodynamics. But today there are few methods to place sensors inside a battery. However, using artificial intelligence and machine learning, we can predict the temperatures inside the cell that would give us the leverage to detect its behavior. The temperature at the surface would provide abundant data to be fed to a machine-learning approach and combined with mathematical models to predict what’s going on inside the cell.—Huazhen Fang Rather than assuming a uniform temperature throughout a battery, as is the case with a present-day modeling approach called “lumped parameter models,” Fang said his computer-learning technique could predict variations in internal temperatures inside a battery—a more accurate and realistic means to calculate a battery’s potential to undergo thermal runaway. When charging or discharging, the temperature distribution is uneven—usually higher inside near the electrodes—but the temperature outside on the surface is lower. Lumped models only consider even temperature distribution, but our method provides spatial-temporal reconstruction of the temperature.—Huazhen Fang Fang said data from a lithium-ion battery fed into artificial intelligence to deduce internal temperatures could be processed in the device powered by the battery, or linked to cloud computing. If a battery undergoes thermal runaway, the device would be programmed to shut down or disconnect the battery before it becomes hot enough to catch fire or trigger an explosion. With these innovations, lithium-ion batteries could be scaled up to more industrial levels via cells that bundle hundreds of batteries together. According to Fang, lithium-ion technology increasingly could be used in massive electrical grids to store and discharge electricity generated by sustainable technologies like solar and wind. The problem is more pressing for large systems as they face higher vulnerabilities. In large systems, if one cell catches fire, then a domino effect will devastate the entire system. Nowadays, people across the industry are thinking of developing larger-scale energy storage based on lithium-ion systems. But the thermal-safety issue could slow the pace of the use of lithium-ion batteries for future grid energy systems. If successfully accomplished, our project can help address this challenge and widen the deployment of lithium-ion battery technology to make our society more sustainable.—Huazhen Fang As part of the work under the new grant, several KU students will be trained in the battery modeling, data analysis and machine learning to develop the desired models and methods that will potentially push the thermal safety of batteries to new heights.
Aston Martin reveals production-ready Rapide E EV at Shanghai
Last week at China’s Auto Shanghai motor show, Aston Martin Lagonda revealed the final production-ready iteration of its first all-electric production car, the Rapide E. The first car to be built at Aston Martin’s St Athan production facility—the brand’s Home of Electrification—Rapide E represents a first step towards achieving the company’s wider electrification strategy and the successful fruition of Lagonda zero-emission luxury brand. A special edition with a production run strictly limited to 155 units, Rapide E was developed in collaboration with Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE). Rapide E is powered by an 800V electrical architecture battery—encased in carbon fibre and Kevlar casing—with a 65 kWh installed capacity using more than 5600 lithium-ion 18650 format cylindrical cells. This bespoke battery pack lies where the original 6.0-liter V12, gearbox and fuel tank were located, with the 800V system allowing for more efficient charging and greatly improved thermal characteristics over existing electrical architectures. This battery system powers two rear mounted electric motors producing a combined target output of just over 610PS and 950N·m of torque. Rapide E’s range is more than 200 miles under the Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP), while the model is capable of charging at a rate of 1851.2 miles of range per hour using a typical 400V 50kW charger. However, the car’s 800V high-voltage battery system enables faster charging of 3101.2 miles of range per hour, using an 800V outlet delivering 100kW or higher. For destination charging, the car also features an industry-leading high-power AC on-board charger capable of recharging the battery in as little as 3 hours. Top speed for Rapide E is 155 mph, with a sub-4.0 second 0-60mph time and a 50-70 mph time of just 1.5 seconds. These figures are not restricted to a narrow window of battery charge or climatic conditions; instead, due to the cutting-edge 800V architecture, the Rapide E will deliver its performance in a consistent and repeatable way as would be expected from a traditional Aston Martin product. This includes the ability to drive a full lap of the Nürburgring with no performance derating of the battery or the motors. Rapide E also enhances the feel, character and delivery of the V12-engined recently acclaimed Rapide AMR, thanks to careful attention paid to the tuning of both the electric powertrain and the chassis across three driving modes—GT, Sport and Sport +—which are selected for both the powertrain and handling. The rear-wheel drive Rapide E’s twin electric motors drive through a Limited-Slip Differential, which combined with a revised spring and damper rates, ensures the pure handling characteristics of the gasoline-powered Rapide AMR are retained. Aston Martin’s design and engineering teams worked in partnership to extract the optimal aerodynamic performance available from the Rapide’s form. Traditional metal vanes give way to a striking honeycomb front grille. With lower cooling requirements demanded of the EV powertrain, Aston Martin’s aerodynamic engineers have been given the freedom to optimize the aperture of the frontal area, minimizing airflow through the car’s body, improving the car’s aerodynamic efficiency and increasing range as a result. A re-designed underfloor streamlines airflow from the front splitter right through to Rapide E’s new larger rear diffuser—a feature that is now wholly dedicated to aero efficiency due to the removal of the exhaust system required before. The model’s forged aluminium aerodynamic wheels have also been re-designed to give greater efficiency, without compromising brake-cooling capability. The sum of these changes gives Rapide E’s aerodynamic package an 8% improvement over the previous internal combustion model. A 10" digital display replaces analog displays, delivering all key information to the driver while on the move, including the battery’s state of charge, current motor power levels, regenerative performance and a real-time energy consumption meter. Swathes of carbon fibre have been deployed throughout, assisting in delivering the strict weight targets set by Aston Martin’s engineering team from the outset. Rapide E is available to order now, with prices available on application.
CESifo: EVs not the best option for reduction in on-road CO2 in Germany given power mix
According to a new study published by the ifo Institue Center for Economic Studies (CESifo) in Germany, EVs will barely help cut CO2 emissions in the country over the coming years, as the introduction of electric vehicles does not necessarily lead to a reduction in CO2 emissions from road traffic given the current power generation mix. The researchers carried out their calculations based on a Mercedes-Benz C 220 d diesel and the new Tesla Model 3. Electricity production in Germany, 2018. It follows from our comparative calculations for the new Tesla Model 3 and the Mercedes C 220 d that even modern electric cars will hardly be able to contribute to the reduction of German CO2 emissions in the coming years. Unfortunately, due to our grid situation, electric cars are still too early for this strategic goal in the sense of German climate protection efforts. —Buchal et al. According to the study, natural gas combustion engines are an ideal technology for transitioning to vehicles powered by hydrogen or “green” methane in the long term. Considering Germany’s current energy mix and the amount of energy used in battery production, the CO2 emissions of battery-electric vehicles are, in the best case, slightly higher than those of a diesel engine, and are otherwise much higher, according to the study by Christoph Buchal, professor of physics at the University of Cologne; Hans-Dieter Karl, long-standing ifo energy expert; and Hans-Werner Sinn, former ifo president and professor emeritus at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München. In addition to CO2 emissions from battery production, the team looked at alternative energy sources for electricity in order to calculate the impact electric vehicles have on CO2 emissions. They report that even with today’s technology, total emissions from a combustion engine powered by natural gas are already almost one-third lower than those of a diesel engine. Over the long term, hydrogen-methane technology offers a further advantage: it allows surplus wind and solar power generated during peaks to be stored, and these surpluses will see a sharp increase as the share of this renewable energy grows.—Professor Buchal In their study, the authors criticize the fact that EU legislation allows electric vehicles to be included in calculations for fleet emissions with a value of “zero” CO2 emissions, as this suggests that electric vehicles do not generate any such emissions. The reality is that, in addition to the CO2 emissions generated in the production of electric vehicles, almost all EU countries generate significant CO2 emissions from charging the vehicles’ batteries using their national energy production mixes. The authors also take a critical view of the discussion about electric cars in Germany, which centers around battery-operated vehicles when other technologies also offer great potential: hydrogen-powered electric vehicles or vehicles with combustion engines powered by green methane, for instance. … hydrogen- or methane-powered electric cars still lead to slightly higher CO2 emissions in today’s energy mix than battery-powered cars, but this disadvantage will turn into an advantage if the German electricity mix clearly moves in the direction of green energy, because then the lower energy efficiency is less and less important. Combustion engines powered by fossil methane already have very low CO2 emissions today. They are an ideal bridge technology for cars that can later use “green” methane. The major advantage of hydrogen and methane derived from it is the ability to keep the excess current peaks for months, which will become increasingly important as the market share of wind and solar power exceeds 30%, and in the possibility of rapid refueling of the vehicles. The idea of providing the necessary storage of wind and solar energy with batteries is utopian, as the Leopoldina, Acatech and the Union of Academies of Sciences have emphasized. We have pointed that out. In this respect, the Federal Government can only be advised to promote hydrogen and methane technology in the sense of a technology opportunity.—Buchal et al. Methane technology is ideal for the transition from natural gas vehicles with conventional engines to engines that will one day run on methane from CO2-free energy sources. This being the case, the German federal government should treat all technologies equally and promote hydrogen and methane solutions as well.—Prof. Sinn Resources Buchal, Christoph, Hans-Dieter Karl and Hans-Werner Sinn (2019) “Kohlemotoren, Windmotoren und Dieselmotoren: Was zeigt die CO2-Bilanz?”, ifo Schnelldienst 72 (08) (in German)
IEA: key oil trends 2018
Total OECD annual production of crude oil, natural gas liquids (NGL), and refinery feedstocks increased by 10.3% in 2018 compared to 2017, reaching a record total monthly production of over 100 million tons at the beginning of the year and remaining above this for almost all of 2018, according to the IEA. This trend was observed across all OECD regions with the OECD Americas seeing the largest growth (+12.2%), followed by OECD Europe (+0.6%) and OECD Asia Oceania (+2.5%) in absolute terms. Production from the United States rose to a record high in the third quarter of 2018, and increased by 17.1% or 105 Mt in 2018 compared to 2017. Canadian production also increased on an annual basis (+8.1%), due to robust production of crude oil, while Mexico’s production continued to fall (-6.3%). The United Kingdom experienced the largest growth in production in OECD Europe (+10.1%) due to multiple new projects on the United Kingdom Continental Shelf coming online in late 2017. Italy also experienced significant growth (+12.6%), reflecting the re-opening of facilities in the Val d’Agri region which was closed in mid-2017 due to leaks from on-site storage tanks. Within OECD Europe, the growth in Italy was partially offset by declines in Norway (-6.2%), where several fields were under maintenance in 2018. Production decreases in Norway are also due to natural production declines from mature fields that are not being compensated by new fields coming online. Growth in production in OECD Asia Oceania was driven by growth in Australia (+4.4%), where the production of condensates increased due to new LNG projects coming online. The OECD Americas was responsible for 85% of total OECD production of crude oil, NGL and refinery feedstocks in 2018, with 56% of this being produced in the United States. Refinery gross output of total products within the OECD remained relatively stable (-0.3%) in 2018 compared to 2017. On a regional level, moderate growth in the OECD Americas (+0.6%) was offset by decreases in output in both OECD Europe (-1.5%) and OECD Asia Oceania (-0.4%). The United States was responsible for the growth in the OECD Americas (+2.2%) and experienced the largest growth in refining activity in the OECD as a whole. This was due to a large increase in the production of middle distillates (+1.9%). In contrast, Mexico experienced the largest decrease in the OECD in absolute terms (-19.7%), due to prolonged maintenance at the Madero refinery in the last half of 2018. Within OECD Europe, the largest decline in refinery output was observed in Germany (-4.4%). This was mainly due to an explosion in the Bayern oil refinery in September 2018, which led to a decrease in production levels for this last quarter of the year. This was also compounded by maintenance activity in several other refineries throughout 2018. A large decline was also observed in France (-5.9%) due to increased maintenance activity in the second quarter of 2018. Decreases in the output of all products were observed in OECD Europe. OECD Asia Oceania’s decrease was driven by Japan (-4.9%) due to a combination of scheduled maintenance programs and the unscheduled shut-down of the Hokkaido refinery following a large earthquake in September. Growth in both Korea (+2.5%) and Australia (+12.6%) was able to offset the drop in Japan, and there was an increase of output of all other products (+2.6%) in the region as a whole. Total imports of crude oil, NGL and refinery feedstocks to individual OECD countries were 2.7% lower in 2018 compared to 2017, with all OECD regions contributing to this decline. OECD Europe experienced the largest decline in imports (-3.0%), followed by the OECD Americas (-2.7%) and OECD Asia Oceania (-2.0%). Overall OECD imports of crude oil, NGL and refinery feedstocks from Iran and Russia decreased significantly by 41.6% and 9.8% respectively, while imports from the United States grew by 55.1%. Imports from Saudi Arabia also decreased (-2.8%), however it was the largest exporter to the OECD in 2018, taking the lead from Russia which was the largest supplier to the OECD in 2017. Total imports of total products to individual OECD countries increased by 3.1% in 2018 compared to 2017. Growth was observed in both the OECD Americas (+11.0%) and OECD Asia Oceania (+6.1%), while OECD Europe experienced a slight decline (-0.5%). Most notably, imports of other kerosene increased across all OECD regions, by 18.1% in total. Overall, the OECD continues to be a net exporter of refined products, but exports remained relatively stable in 2018 compared to 2017 (+0.3%). Exports of crude oil, NGL and refinery feedstocks increased by 13.3% in 2018, with the largest volumes destined for the United States and the Far East. Total OECD net deliveries of refined products grew by 1.0% in 2018 compared to 2017, reflecting growth in the OECD Americas (+2.4%) and OECD Europe (+0.15%), while deliveries decreased in OECD Asia Oceania (-1.6%). Growth in the OECD Americas can be attributed to higher deliveries of gas/diesel oil (+4.8%), where the most notable growth was in the United States (+5.1%) and Canada (+3.8%) due to a particularly cold winter. The OECD Americas also saw a large decrease in the demand of naphtha (-13.6%). OECD Asia Oceania experienced similar trends to the OECD Americas, with the largest increase in deliveries being for gas/diesel oil (+1.5%) and the largest decrease being for naphtha (-5.5%). The trend for gas/diesel oil was driven by Australia (+6.9%), while Korea (-5.4%) and Japan (-5.5%) were responsible for the decreases in demand of naphtha in the region. The upward trend in OECD Europe was partially driven by higher demand for total kerosene (+4.3%), particularly in the United Kingdom (+3.8%) and France (+3.7%). Increased demand for total kerosene was seen across the OECD, with a growth of 2.6% in the OECD as a whole. Total OECD stocks of total oil on national territory remained broadly unchanged in 2018 compared to 2017 and closed at 531 million metric tons. A stock build was observed in the OECD Americas (+1.0%), and was balanced by stock draws in both OECD Europe (-1.2%) and OECD Asia Oceania (-1.0%). In the OECD Americas, stocks of total oil on national territory grew by 2.3 million metric tons due to increases in both primary products (+1.7 Mt) and secondary products (+0.6 Mt). This was despite large drawdowns of United States crude stockpiles at the Cushing, Oklahoma storage hub in the first quarter of 2018. Stocks of total oil in OECD Europe decreased by 2.2 million metric tons, due to large stock draws of refined petroleum products (-2.6 Mt). The largest decrease was observed in Germany (-0.5 Mt). Stocks of total oil also decreased in OECD Asia Oceania (-1.1 Mt), due to large stock draws of crude oil, NGL and refinery feedstocks in Korea (-3.1 Mt).
Aluminum Association introduces first material designation system for 3D printing; “Purple Sheets”
The Aluminum Association released its first new material registration record in nearly 20 years. The “purple sheets” will provide clear chemical designations for aluminum powder used in 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing. The purple sheets are the newest addition to the Aluminum Association’s long-running “rainbow sheet” series, which provides alloy designations and chemical composition limits for various types of aluminum. Aluminum is the first materials industry to develop such a system specific to the 3D printing market. The first registration granted is for a high-strength aluminum alloy produced by HRL Laboratories, LLC. The association will grant HRL registration number 7A77.50 for the aluminum powder used to additively manufacture the alloy, and number 7A77.60L for the printed alloy. The purple sheets are a true game-changer for the aluminum industry. For the first time ever, a materials industry has developed a designation system specific to additive manufacturing, opening tremendous growth potential through standardization.—Jerome Fourmann, global technical director at Rio Tinto Aluminum and chairman of the association’s Technical Committee on Product Standards A recent report by market research firm SmarTech projected that additive manufacturing using aluminum powder could grow to be a $300 million industry over the next decade. Key markets for aluminum powder in 3D printing include aerospace, automotive, energy transmission and consumer products. Since 1954, the Aluminum Association has served as the standard-setting body for the US aluminum industry through its Technical Committee on Product Standards (TCPS). The association’s designation system was officially recognized by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) in 1970. Today, the association has registered well more than 500 aluminum alloys, up from 75 when the program began more than 60 years ago, underscoring continued innovation in the industry. The association will publish the purple sheets later this year.
ZF introducing new 170 kW electric drive with functional safety for commercial vehicles
ZF is introducing a new electric central drive for buses and medium-duty trucks. Developed in China, with future production planned there, the new unit is designed to meet the particular conditions of the Chinese market and the requirements of vehicle manufacturers there. The new electric central drive was developed by a local ZF development team to meet the specific requirements of the Chinese market in terms of safety, performance and cost-effectiveness. Designed for city and shuttle buses with a length of 10~12 meters as well as medium-duty trucks up to 12 tons, it meets all the necessary standards for integration into established vehicle platforms. The unit is driven by a permanent magnet synchronous motor (PSM). As a permanent magnet motor, it is highly efficient even at low speed range, making it particularly suitable for stop-go traffic typical of urban areas, while enabling greater range per battery charge. With an output of 170 kW, peak torque of 3000 N·m and a maximum climbing capacity of approx. 15% (bus) or 25% (truck), demanding topographies are no problem for the new drive. Production is expected to start in China next year, which will ensure rapid availability to the market. In addition to the unit itself, ZF will also be able to supply inverters and control units including the appropriate software. This guarantees optimum efficiency between battery and drive and reduces testing and homologation costs for the manufacturer. The drivetrain control unit offers comprehensive additional functionalities and ensures a higher safety level compared to other solutions on the market. The system is designed to fulfill international functional safety standard (ISO26262) with level at ASIL-C.
Toyota, DENSO and SoftBank Vision Fund to invest $1B in Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group; automated ridesharing services
Toyota Motor Corp., DENSO Corporation and the SoftBank Vision Fund (SVF) will invest $1 billion in Uber Technologies Inc.’s Advanced Technologies Group (Uber ATG). The investment, in a newly formed ATG corporate entity, aims to accelerate the development and commercialization of automated ridesharing services. Under the terms, Toyota and DENSO will together invest $667 million and SVF will invest $333 million, valuing the new Uber ATG entity at $7.25 billion on a post-money basis. Toyota invested $500 million in Uber in August 2018, when the two companies announced their intention to bring pilot-scale deployments of automated Toyota Sienna-based ridesharing vehicles to the Uber ridesharing network in 2021, leveraging the strengths of Uber ATG’s self-driving technology alongside the Toyota Guardian™ advanced safety support system. The further investment and expanded partnership builds upon the progress made to date, deepening the companies’ collaboration in designing and developing next-generation autonomous vehicle hardware. It will also prepare the companies and industry for mass production and commercialization of automated ridesharing vehicles and services. Toyota will also contribute up to an additional $300 million over the next three years to help cover the costs related to these activities. Toyota is dedicated to realizing a safe and secure future mobility society. Leveraging the strengths of Uber ATG’s autonomous vehicle technology and service network and the Toyota Group’s vehicle control system technology, mass-production capability, and advanced safety support systems, such as Toyota Guardian, will enable us to commercialize safer, lower cost automated ridesharing vehicles and services. We believe that the combined work of Toyota, DENSO, and Uber ATG on developing next-generation autonomous vehicle hardware will accelerate the timeline for and early success of automated ridesharing services.—Shigeki Tomoyama, Toyota executive vice president and president of Toyota’s in-house Connected Company The transaction is expected to close in Q3 of calendar year 2019.
RoboSense launches Smart Sensor System at Shanghai Auto Show
RoboSense has teamed up with partners Horizon Robotics, Cainiao Network, Sensible 4, and AutoX to launch the Smart Sensor System (SSS) designed for four key smart transportation vehicle applications: autonomous passenger cars; low-speed autonomous vehicles; high-speed RoboTaxis; and V2R (Vehicle to Road infrastructure). The RoboSense Smart Sensor System combines new LiDAR hardware, AI point cloud algorithms, and an IC design for a one-stop Smart Sensor System strategy that collects and interprets environment information, distinguishing itself from traditional lower resolution LiDAR hardware suppliers. At the Shanghai Auto Show, RoboSense announced two new LiDAR products that are integral to the Smart Sensor System: the RS-Bpearl, a super wide angle blind-spot LiDAR, and the RS-Ruby, a super high-resolution LiDAR. In addition, RoboSense also unveiled its final mass production-ready design of its RS-LiDAR-M1 automotive grade solid-state LiDAR smart sensor system with embedded perception algorithms, which will be mass produced in 2021. The new Smart Sensor System combines the RoboSense RS-LiDAR-M1 MEMS-based smart sensor with the RS-Bpearl super-wide-angle blind-spot LiDAR; RS-Ruby super high-resolution LiDAR; and RoboSense AI perception algorithms. Because of its high integration levels, high performance, high reliability, easy production, and low cost, RoboSense chose MEMS technology and 905nm lasers for its solid-state LiDAR system. RoboSense’s first “pre” version RS-LiDAR-M1Pre debuted at CES 2018, and at CES 2019, the upgraded RS-LiDAR-M1 won awards for its world-leading wide 120° FOV, long 200m range, and AI algorithm innovations. The new RS-LiDAR-M1 now meets OEM requirements and delivers safety for L3+ autonomous passenger cars, providing highway applications for TJP (Traffic Jam Pilot), and HWP (Highway Pilot). Available in 2021, the final mass production version of the RoboSense RS-LiDAR-M1 for OEMs will be a smart sensor. RoboSense and Horizon Robotics have reached an initial intention of cooperation to build customized chips for the LiDAR environment perception algorithm: the RS-LiDAR-Algorithms. These algorithms will be integrated into the IC and embedded in the LiDAR hardware. The RS-LiDAR-M1 will provide instantaneous 3D point cloud data interpretation and output target level environment perception results in real-time to autonomous vehicles. “Algorithms require an independent ECU for the operation. OEMs must include algorithms for consumer safety by integrating these algorithms into the sensor’s hardware. The RS-LiDAR-M1 is the perfect hardware and software integrated system and data ‘interpreter’ for these needs,” said RoboSense COO Mark Qiu. RoboSense & Cainiao low-speed autonomous vehicles. Unmanned low-speed vehicles are pioneers of autonomous driving, used in a wide variety of unmanned applications, including inspections, security, cleaning, delivery, and minibuses. Previously, these unmanned vehicles used single laser beam LiDAR, which delivered unsatisfactory environment perception because of blind spots caused by the limitations of vertical FOV. RoboSense has teamed with Alibaba’s Cainiao Network to produce the new Smart Sensor System for unmanned low-speed vehicles with a virtual blind spot-free super wide-angle LiDAR: the RS-Bpearl. The RS-Bpearl has a super wide FOV of 360°×90°, within the detection range of 30m (10%) for a tiny 10cm blind spot. The compact size of the sensor makes it easy to be applied to the side of the vehicle body to fully detect the vehicle’s surroundings, including blind spots. The RS-Bpearl’s ground-breaking modular design also dramatically reduces cost while adding the ability for flexible customization. RoboSense & AutoX robotaxi environment perception solution. High-speed RoboTaxis need LiDAR with a higher vertical resolution to achieve a longer detection range. RoboSense’s new 128-beam LiDAR RS-Ruby has a three times higher 0.1° resolution and a three times longer detection range as compared with the previous version RS-LiDAR-32. RoboSense’s new Smart Sensor System for RoboTaxis provides an environment perception solution that employs one RS-Ruby LiDAR as the core sensor on top of the vehicle to cover the 360° overall perception, and two RS-Bpearl LiDARs on the sides of the car’s hood to detect blind spots. Together with RoboSense’s smart perception algorithms, this solution provides a complete long range perception that improves the safety of RoboTaxis. V2R. V2R “Vehicle to Road” systems (road-side perception systems) allow vehicles to work with road conditions to coordinate and optimize the vehicle’s driving path, improving safety and road efficiency. RoboSense provides system solutions that combine LiDAR sensors and perception algorithms together with V2R systems, delivering autonomous vehicles with a birds-eye view of the road and traffic. The system extends the vehicle’s vision to help cars deal with difficult road conditions. RoboSense & Sensible 4 self-driving shuttle bus. RoboSense partnered with Sensible 4 to launch an autonomous driving shuttle bus for all weather conditions, the GACHA. Equipped with RoboSense’s advanced cold-resistant 16-beam mechanical LiDAR environment perception system that operates in temperatures as low as 30°C (-22°F), which previously would incapacitate components, RoboSense’s all-weather LiDAR works on snow and ice covered roads in harsh winter and other severe weather conditions. RoboSense and Finland-based Sensible 4 will continue to collaborate deeper on future autonomous driving applications. RoboSense (Suteng Innovation Technology Co., Ltd.) is a LiDAR environment perception solutions provider and developer of LiDAR hardware, AI point cloud algorithms, and IC designs. Founded in 2014, RoboSense has more than 500 employees in six locations, including the US, Shenzhen, Beijing, Shanghai, and Germany. Focusing on the strategic deployment of smart sensor systems, RoboSense has developed a variety of application solutions based on LiDAR hardware technologies and algorithms. In five years, RoboSense has already released 18 products and technical solutions, and has applied for more than 400 patents.
Volkswagen Group joins collaboration for responsible sourcing of strategic minerals using blockchain; focus on cobalt
Volkswagen has joined an open industry collaboration for the responsible sourcing of strategic minerals that will use blockchain technology to increase efficiency, sustainability and transparency in global mineral supply chains. Ford Motor Company, Huayou Cobalt, IBM, LG Chem and RCS Global announced the collaboration earlier this year. (Earlier post.) Joining the collaboration will enable the Volkswagen Group to gain greater insight into the provenance of cobalt used in lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles and other types of minerals used elsewhere in the production of vehicles. Blockchain technology complements both current assessment and audit procedures as well as supports responsible sourcing standards developed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), enabling a permanent record to help address compliance requirements. Traditionally, miners, smelters and consumer brands had to rely on third-party audits and laborious manual processes to establish compliance with generally accepted industry standards. Built on the IBM Blockchain Platform and powered by the Linux Foundation's Hyperledger Fabric, the new platform for enabling the traceability and provenance of minerals is designed to provide easy access for interested parties of all sizes and roles in the supply chain. Participants in the network, validated by RCS Global Group for compliance with responsible sourcing standards, can contribute and access immutable data in a secure and permissioned way to trace and record the flow of minerals across the supply chain in near real-time. Today, the blockchain network includes participants at each major stage of the supply chain from mine to end-user. Work is expected to be extended beyond cobalt into other battery metals and raw materials, including minerals such as tantalum, tin, tungsten and gold, which are sometimes called conflict minerals, as well as rare earths. Based on its open and democratic structure, the group will further expand membership to focus on industries such as aerospace, consumer electronics and mining operations.
UCSD researchers improve method to recycle and renew used cathodes from Li-ion batteries via eutectic molten salts
Researchers at the University of California San Diego have improved their recycling process that regenerates degraded cathodes from spent lithium-ion batteries. The new process is safer and uses less energy than their previous method (earlier post) in restoring cathodes to their original capacity and cycle performance. Zheng Chen, a professor of nanoengineering who is affiliated with the Sustainable Power and Energy Center at UC San Diego, led the project. The work was published in Advanced Energy Materials. Illustration of the process to restore lithium ions to degraded NMC cathodes using eutectic molten salts at ambient pressure. Image courtesy of Advanced Energy Materials/Chen lab Due to the rapid growth of electric vehicle markets, the worldwide manufacturing capacity of lithium-ion batteries is expected to reach hundreds of gigawatt hours per year in the next five years. This work presents a solution to reclaim the values of end-of-life lithium-ion batteries after 5 to 10 years of operation.—Zheng Chen Chen’s team previously developed a direct recycling approach to recycle and regenerate degraded cathodes. It replenishes lithium ions that cathodes lose over extended use and restores their atomic structures back to their original states. However, that process involves pressurizing a hot lithium salt solution of cathode particles to around 10 atmospheres. The problem is this pressurizing step raises costs and requires extra safety precautions and special equipment, said Chen. The team then developed a milder process to do the same job at ambient pressure (1 atmosphere). The key was using eutectic lithium salts—a mixture of two or more salts that melts at temperatures much lower than either of its components. This combination of solid lithium salts produces a solvent-free liquid that researchers can use to dissolve degraded cathode materials and restore lithium ions without adding any extra pressure in the reactors. The new recycling method involves collecting cathode particles from spent lithium-ion batteries and then mixing them with a eutectic lithium salt solution. The mixture is then heat treated in two steps: it is first heated to 300 ˚C, then it goes through a short annealing process in which it is heated to 850 ˚C for several hours and then cooled naturally. The researchers used the method to regenerate NMC (LiNi0.5Mn0.3Co0.2), a popular cathode containing nickel, manganese and cobalt, which is used in many of today’s electric vehicles. We made new cathodes from the regenerated particles and then tested them in batteries built in the lab. The regenerated cathodes showed the same capacity and cycle performance as the originals. In an end-of-life lithium-ion battery, the cathode material loses some of its lithium. The cathode’s crystal structure also changes such that it’s less capable of moving ions in and out. The recycling process that we developed restores both the cathode’s lithium concentration and crystal structure back to their original states.—first author Yang Shi, who performed this work as a postdoc in Chen’s lab The team is tuning this process so that it can be used to recycle any type of cathode materials used in lithium-ion and sodium-ion batteries. Chen said that the goal is to make this a universal recycling process for all cathode materials. The team is also working on a process to recycle degraded anodes, such as graphite as well as other materials. Chen is also collaborating with UC San Diego nanoengineering professor Shirley Meng, who is the director of the Sustainable Power and Energy Center, to identify subtle changes in the cathode microstructure and local composition using high-resolution microscopic imaging tools. The team has filed a provisional patent on this work. The research is part of a larger effort under DOE’s first lithium-ion battery recycling R&D center, called the ReCell Center. The center aims to help the United States grow a globally competitive recycling industry and reduce our reliance on foreign sources of battery materials. The ReCell Center is supported by DOE with $15 million over three years. Collaborators from across the battery supply chain, including battery manufacturers, automotive original equipment manufacturers, recycling centers, battery lifecycle management services and material suppliers, are working with the center. This work was supported by the US National Science Foundation (CBET-1805570), start-up funds from the Jacob School of Engineering at UC San Diego, and the Zable Endowed Chair Fund from UC San Diego. Resources Shi, Y., Zhang, M., Meng, Y. S., Chen, Z. (2019) “Ambient‐Pressure Relithiation of Degraded LixNi0.5Co0.2Mn0.3O2 (0 < x < 1) via Eutectic Solutions for Direct Regeneration of Lithium‐Ion Battery Cathodes.” Adv. Energy Mater. doi: 10.1002/aenm.201900454
U-M study: Induced driving miles could overwhelm potential energy-saving benefits of connected, self-driving cars
The benefits of connected, self-driving cars (CAVs) will likely induce vehicle owners to drive more, and those extra miles could partially or completely offset the potential energy-saving benefits that automation may provide, according to a new University of Michigan study. In the coming years, self-driving cars are expected to yield significant improvements in safety, traffic flow and energy efficiency. In addition, automation will allow vehicle occupants to make productive use of travel time. Connected and automated vehicle (CAV) technology is expected to be an indispensable but disruptive factor in the transportation sector, transforming the mobility paradigm, transportation markets, and travelers’ behavior in the coming decades. It will likely increase transportation safety to an unprecedented level, enhance mobility, provide a higher level of comfort and convenience for travelers, and reduce the cost of driving for individuals, all of which will be welfare-improving for society. At the same time, vehicle connectivity and automation will inevitably and significantly change energy demand in the transportation sector. The extent of these changes is still largely unclear and yet will have major consequences for energy supply and the environment alike. Several characteristics of CAV technology will influence energy consumption, including improvements in route optimization, eco-driving, crash avoidance, and vehicle right-sizing, among others. Many of these improvements will push energy use downwards; however, some will very likely work in the opposing direction. Chief among the factors that will exert upward pressure on energy demand is the marginal cost of driving, which is expected to drop significantly with CAV technology. Higher fuel economy of CAVs will cause the per-mile fuel cost of travel to drop. This, in turn, will induce additional travel that partially offsets the fuel savings of energy efficiency—commonly referred to as a “rebound effect”. In addition, increased comfort and reduced attention requirements3 will cause the per-mile travel time cost to drop, inducing even more additional travel. The key parameter dictating the magnitude of travel demand induced through these channels is the elasticity of travel demand with respect to the price of travel. … In this paper, we use the most recent empirical microdata available to estimate the elasticity of travel demand with respect to the marginal fuel and time costs of travel in a single, unified framework. —Taiebat et al. Previous studies have shown that greater fuel efficiency induces some people to travel extra miles, and those added miles can partially offset fuel savings—a behavioral change known as the rebound effect. In addition, the ability to use in-vehicle time productively in a self-driving car—people can work, sleep, watch a movie, read a book—will likely induce even more travel. Taken together, those two sources of added mileage could partially or completely offset the energy savings provided by autonomous vehicles, according to a team of researchers at the U-M School for Environment and Sustainability led by Dow Sustainability Doctoral Fellow Morteza Taiebat. Conceivably, the added miles could even result in a net increase in energy consumption, a phenomenon known as backfire, according to the U-M researchers. Their study is published in the journal Applied Energy. The core message of the paper is that the induced travel of self-driving cars presents a stiff challenge to policy goals for reductions in energy use.—co-author Samuel Stolper, assistant professor of environment and sustainability at SEAS Thus, much higher energy efficiency targets are required for self-driving cars.—Ming Xu, associate professor of environment and sustainability at SEAS and associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at the College of Engineering In the paper, Taiebat and his colleagues used economic theory and US travel survey data to model travel behavior and to forecast the effects of vehicle automation on travel decisions and energy use. Most previous studies of the energy impact of autonomous vehicles focused exclusively on the fuel-cost component of the price of travel, likely resulting in an overestimation of the environmental benefits of the technology, according to the U-M authors. In contrast, the study by Taiebat and colleagues looked at both fuel cost and time cost. Their approach adapts standard microeconomic modeling and statistical techniques to account for the value of time. Traditionally, time spent driving has been viewed as a cost to the driver. But the ability to pursue other activities in an autonomous vehicle is expected to lower this “perceived travel time cost” considerably, which will likely spur additional travel. The U-M researchers estimated that the induced travel resulting from a 38% reduction in perceived travel time cost would completely eliminate the fuel savings associated with self-driving cars. The possibility of backfire implies the possibility of net increases in local and global air pollution, the study authors concluded. In addition, the researchers suggest there’s an equity issue that needs to be addressed as autonomous vehicles become a reality. The study found that wealthier households are more likely than others to drive extra miles in autonomous vehicles “and thus stand to experience greater welfare gains.” Support was provided by the Dow Sustainability Fellows Program at the University of Michigan. Resources Morteza Taiebat, Samuel Stolper, Ming Xu (2019) “Forecasting the Impact of Connected and Automated Vehicles on Energy Use: A Microeconomic Study of Induced Travel and Energy Rebound,” Applied Energy, Volume 247, Pages 297-308 doi: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2019.03.174
Toyota introduces new 2020 Highlander and hybrid at New York International Auto Show; TNGA-K platform
Toyota introduced the next-generation three-row 2020 Highlander SUV at the New York International Auto Show. Arriving in Toyota dealerships in winter, the Highlander gasoline model will arrive in December 2019 and the Highlander Hybrid will make its way to customers in February 2020. Just as the first RAV4 launched the compact crossover SUV segment 22 years ago, the original Highlander redefined the midsize family SUV when it arrived in 2001. At a time when most midsize SUVs were truck-based, the Highlander’s unibody structure with four-wheel independent suspension became a template for a new segment of more comfortable and family-friendly SUVs. After adding a third row, the Highlander not only grew in size, but is also now the best-selling retail model in the segment since 2016. The 2020 Highlander amplifies all qualities while taking on a new design direction that combines a powerful SUV presence with sophisticated detailing. The 2020 Highlander’s new look is based on a new vehicle platform called Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA-K), shared with other Toyota models. The fourth-generation Highlander offers the choice between a powerful V6 or new-generation hybrid powertrain, with the gas version offering a manufacturer-estimated 22 MPG combined fuel economy and the Hybrid offering an manufacturer-estimated 34 MPG combined fuel economy. Hybrid. The new-generation Toyota Hybrid System in the 2020 Highlander Hybrid combines a high-efficiency 2.5-liter DOHC four-cylinder engine with two electric motors in a system that’s more compact, and more efficient than before. The gas engine employs Variable Valve Timing-intelligent system by Electric motor (VVT-iE) on the intake camshaft, and VVT-i on the exhaust camshaft. A variable cooling system (electric water pump, electric thermostat) and a fully variable oil pump further improve engine efficiency. The system delivers a combined 240 horsepower and an EPA-estimated 34 combined MPG. The latter is a 17% improvement over the previous-generation Highlander Hybrid’s 28 combined MPG. Yet, Highlander Hybrid still delivers everyday acceleration, power and responsiveness. In another Highlander first, the hybrid is now available in either 2WD or AWD, further expanding hybrid technology to a new group of buyers. The transaxle mounts the electric motors (MG1 and MG2) coaxially rather than in-line, and the resulting smaller and lighter package reduces frictional losses. The gas engine and MG2 work in concert to deliver dynamic performance, while both MG1 and MG2 charge the hybrid battery. To reduce the transaxle’s size and weight, the reduction gear is now a parallel shaft gear, rather than a planetary, and a new multi-function gear integrates the power-split planetary ring gear, parking gear, and counter-drive gear. New computer integration and a smaller, lighter power stack installed directly above the transaxle reduce energy transmission losses. The battery pack is small enough to be installed under the rear seats, so it does not take up any cargo or passenger space. The new system optimizes the level of electric motor assistance and gas engine speed without the engine running at high revs. Engine speed is synchronized with vehicle speed, yielding effortless and quiet acceleration. As on many modern vehicles, the Highlander Hybrid offers selectable NORMAL, ECO and SPORT driving modes that let the driver choose the vehicle’s performance personality. The bonus is the EV mode, which allows electric-only driving at low speeds for short distances. SPORT mode unlocks boost from the hybrid system for improved acceleration response. ECO mode gets maximum efficiency from the fuel and battery, while NORMAL mode is ideal for everyday driving. Special, easy-to-use hybrid tech adds an element of control and fun. Using a sequential shifting feature, the driver can “downshift” to increase the regenerative braking in steps, which fosters greater control when driving in hilly areas, for example. The 2020 Highlander Hybrid can also coach the driver to drive as economically as possible. For example, an accelerator guide function suggests an acceleration level to the driver according to the driving conditions, and a scoring function adds a measure of fun to eco driving. Highlander Hybrid’s Predictive Efficient Drive (PED) analyzes the driver’s daily driving habits and upcoming road and traffic conditions to more efficiently charge and discharge the hybrid battery accordingly alongside actual driving. The more the vehicle is driven, the more data is accumulated, contributing to practical fuel efficiency. Many actual roads chosen to represent common usage scenarios, such as in urban congestion or on mountain roads, were driven on and analyzed to create control that feels natural to the driver when operating to enable more efficient driving. Hybrid AWD. As with the AWD system in the previous Highlander Hybrid, the 2020 model’s AWD employs a separate rear-mounted electric motor to power the rear wheels when needed. Like the hybrid powertrain itself, the AWD works seamlessly and transparently. The rear electric motor operates independently, with no mechanical connection between the transmission and the rear wheels. Preemptively distributing more driving force to the rear wheels, such as when accelerating, helps suppress front wheel slip during off-the-line starts. The system also enhances cornering agility by helping to reduce understeer. And, when venturing onto a trail, the increased rear-wheel torque helps move the Highlander Hybrid confidently over rough or slippery surfaces. 3.5L V6. The 295-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 features a Toyota-innovated D-4S Injection system that combines direct fuel injection with port fuel injectors to optimize efficiency, power and emissions in all conditions. Dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (Dual VVT-i) likewise ensures ideal response and efficiency at all engine speeds. That translates into 295 horsepower and 263 lb-ft (358 N·m) of torque, which further translates into exemplary everyday performance and generous towing capability. The Direct Shift 8-speed automatic transmission maximizes Highlander’s acceleration and highway merging capability while operating seamlessly and transparently. On V6 models, the available towing package enables a 5,000-pound towing capacity. The package includes a heavy-duty radiator with engine oil cooler and improved fan performance. Trailer Sway Control (TSC) uses the Vehicle Stability Control to help control unwanted trailer movement. The Highlander’s standard Stop and Start Engine System allows the engine to shut off when the vehicle comes to a complete stop, and then instantly restarts when the driver’s foot lifts from the brake pedal. This technology reduces fuel consumption and cuts emissions. Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 comes standard in all models in the 2020 Highlander. This comprehensive active safety system includes: Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/PD) Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC) Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist (LDA w/SA) Automatic High Beam (AHB) (New) Lane Tracing Assist (LTA) (New) Road Sign Assist (RSA) Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection offers automatic braking capability under certain circumstances should the driver not react in time in a system-detected emergency situation. Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) with Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), Parking Support Braking and Intelligent Clearance Sonar (ICS) are available depending on the model grade. The 2020 Highlander delivers renowned Toyota value in a choice of five grades, starting with a new L grade, then layering amenities and technology in LE, XLE, Limited and the top-of line Platinum. (The Hybrid is offered on all but the L grade.) The fourth-generation Highlander is 2.36 inches (60mm) longer than before, all in the cargo area to add even greater cargo volume than before. The second row can be slid an extra 1.2-in. further up to increase distance between the second and third rows. The TNGA-K platform, which makes extensive use of high-strength steel, gives the Highlander a stiffer unibody structure than the previous model. Its inherent strength allows tuning for the front strut and rear multi-link suspension that enhances agility and a smaller turning circle while also providing a smoother and quieter ride than before.
Mazda starts US pre-orders for diesel 2019 Mazda CX-5
Mazda Motor Corporation announced at the New York International Auto Show that it has begun accepting pre-orders for the diesel-powered 2019 Mazda CX-5 in the US market. It is the first time Mazda has offered a diesel-powered passenger car in the US market. The 2019 CX-5 Signature AWD with Skyactiv-D 2.2 provides a high torque driving experience and revs freely at high rpms. The Skyactiv-D 2.2 engine is estimated to deliver 168 horsepower at 4,000 rpm and 290 lb-ft (393 N·m) of torque at 2,000 rpm with an EPA estimated 27 mpg on city, 30 mpg on highway and 28 mpg overall. Mazda’s Skyactiv-D technology features the lowest diesel-engine compression ratio—14.0:1—allowing it to comply with exhaust gas regulations globally generally without elaborate NOx aftertreatment systems. (Nevertheless, the North American version of the diesel features an SCR aftertreatment system.) When the compression ratio is lowered, compression temperature and pressure at TDC decrease. Consequently, ignition takes longer even when fuel is injected near TDC, enabling better mixture of air and fuel. This alleviates the formation of NOx and soot because the combustion becomes more uniform without localized high-temperature areas and oxygen insufficiencies. Furthermore, injection and combustion close to TDC result in a highly-efficient diesel engine, in which a larger amount of actual work (or, a higher expansion ratio) is obtained than in a high-compression-ratio diesel engine, Mazda says. A sequential twin turbocharger realizes smooth and linear response from low to high engine speeds, and greatly increases low- and high-end torque (up to the 5,500 rpm rev limit). The Skyactiv-D 2.2-liter engine in the North American-specification CX-5 adopts special combustion control software and exhaust treatment to meet the strictest emissions regulations in the US. Mazda worked closely with all proper federal and state agencies in the US, such as EPA and CARB, to ensure that the Skyactiv-D 2.2 engine passes all appropriate regulations. With an MSRP $41,000, the 2019 CX-5 Signature AWD with Skyactiv-D 2.2 is available in four color options: Jet Black or premium paint colors; Snowflake White Pearl, Soul Red Crystal and Machine Gray Metallic. The addition of the Skyactiv-D 2.2 expands the engine lineup for the 2019 CX-5, which already includes the Skyactiv-G 2.5 turbo and Skyactiv-G 2.5 with Cylinder Deactivation.
Mercedes-Benz showcases EQC, announces EQB electric SUVs at Shanghai show, new DENZA PHEV/EV
At Auto Shanghai 2019, Mercedes-Benz is premiering the close-to-production show car Concept GLB and the Mercedes-AMG A 35 L 4MATIC developed exclusively for China. Alongside the Concept GLB are the battery-powered EQC (electricity consumption combined: 20.8 – 19.7 kWh/100 km) (earlier post) and the new GLE, both of which celebrate their China premieres in Shanghai. Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, also announced another all-electric compact SUV: the EQB, which will be available in China from 2021. Furthermore, Hubertus Troska, Member of the Management Board of Daimler AG responsible for China activities, announced a new DENZA product in development, to be introduced in 6 weeks. Troska said it will be a plug-in hybrid and a battery-electric vehicle. The Mercedes-Benz EQC is the first model from the EQ product and technology brand. The EQC has a compact electric powertrain (eATS) front and rear, giving it the handling characteristics of an all-wheel drive with dynamic torque distribution between the two driven axles. The asynchronous machines have a combined maximum output of 300 kW and a maximum torque of 765 N·m. To reduce power consumption and increase dynamism, the electric drivetrains are configured differently: the front electric motor is optimized for best possible efficiency in the low- to medium-load range, while the rear one determines dynamism. Mercedes-Benz engineers have enhanced noise comfort with a number of measures. In the EQC the powerpacks are isolated by rubber mounts at two points: where the powerpack connects to its subframe and where the subframe connects to the body. This effective isolation is supplemented with insulation measures. As a result, the interior of the EQC is extremely quiet. At the core of the EQC is a lithium-ion battery produced in-house and mounted into the floorpan. The energy storage unit is surrounded by a stable frame that can absorb energy. Deformation elements are installed between the frame and the battery, and these are able to absorb additional forces in the event of a severe side impact. A battery guard in the front area of the battery is able to prevent the energy storage unit from being pierced by foreign objects. With an energy capacity of 80 kWh (NEDC), it uses an intelligent operating strategy to supply the vehicle, thus enabling an electric range of more than 445 km (NEDC) (277 miles). Power consumption and range of electric vehicles depend very much on the driving style. The EQC supports its driver with five driving programs, each with different characteristics: COMFORT, ECO, MAX RANGE, SPORT and an individually adaptable program. In the more economical driving modes, the haptic accelerator pedal that prompts the driver to conserve power plays an important role. The driver is also able to influence the recuperation level using so-called paddles behind the steering wheel. The ECO Assist system gives the driver comprehensive support when driving predictively: by prompting the driver when it is appropriate to come off the accelerator, e.g. because the vehicle is approaching a speed limit, and by functions such as coasting and specific control of recuperation. For this purpose, navigation data, traffic sign recognition and information from the intelligent safety assistants (radar and stereo camera) are linked and processed. The EQC is equipped with a water-cooled onboard charger (OBC) with a capacity of 7.4 kW, making it suitable for AC charging at home or at public charging stations. Charging at a Mercedes-Benz Wallbox is up to three times faster than at a domestic power socket. It is faster still with DC charging— which is standard for the EQC—or example via CCS (Combined Charging Systems) in Europe and the USA, CHAdeMO in Japan or GB/T in China. Depending on the SoC (status of charge), the EQC can be charged with a maximum output of up to 110 kW at an appropriate charging station. In around 40 minutes, the battery can be charged from 10 - 80 percent SoC (provisional data). Series production of the EQC will start in 2019 at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Bremen. The preparations for this are already fully under way. The new EQC will be integrated into ongoing series production as a fully electric vehicle. One decisive innovation is the battery-joining center where the EQC undergoes a second “marriage”" following installation of the two electric powerpacks in the bodyshell. This is where the EQCs are recognized as electric models with the help of data tags attached to the body, and equipped with a battery. The body is suspended from a so-called C-carrier and deposited on a frame. Support arms raise the battery to the vehicle’s floor from below. An employee monitors the automatic bolting in place. In parallel with this, production of batteries for the EQC is coming on stream at the expanded battery plant in Kamenz (near Dresden). Alongside Bremen, the Sino-German production joint venture Beijing Benz Automotive Co. Ltd. (BBAC) is also preparing for the production start-up of the EQC for the local market.
Buick launches electric VELITE 6 MAV in China
Buick has launched the VELITE 6 MAV electric vehicle in China. As Buick’s first global all-electric vehicle and SAIC-GM’s first electric vehicle for the mass market, the VELITE 6 MAV (which stands for Multi-Activity Vehicle) integrates GM and SAIC’s resources and advanced technology in new energy and connected vehicles. It represents the latest application of the Buick Blue strategy. The VELITE 6 is based on the VELITE concept new energy vehicle unveiled in November 2016. With a length of 4,650 mm, width of 1,817 mm, height of 1,510 mm and wheelbase of 2,660 mm, it provides a roomy interior with 1,098 liters of space. Its new-generation pure electric drive system generates a maximum 85 kW of power and 255 N·m of torque. The VELITE 6 has a combined electric driving range of 301 km (187 miles) in the city, and electricity consumption of 13.3 kWh/100 km. The VELITE 6 is available in three variants at a price between RMB 165,800 and RMB 185,800 (US$24,800 - $27,800) after national subsidies for new energy vehicles. Following the earlier introduction of the LaCrosse hybrid electric vehicle and Volt-based VELITE 5 extended-range electric vehicle (earlier post), the VELITE 6 will enable Buick to cater to the rapidly growing demand for new energy vehicles. In addition, Buick announced the start of its strategic cooperation with the EVCARD car-sharing brand to jointly explore the electric vehicle sharing market in China. The first 5,000 VELITE 6 vehicles will be put into operation by EVCARD starting on April 28. Last year, Buick unveiled the Enspire battery-electric concept SUV in China. (Earlier post.) The Enspire is able to travel up to 370 miles (595 km) on a single charge, and supports both fast and wireless charging. The battery can be charged to 80 percent of capacity within 40 minutes.
BYD debuts E-SEED GT concept car, Song Pro SUV and e Series at 2019 Shanghai Auto Show
BYD debuted its E-SEED GT concept car and Song Pro SUV alongside its all-new e-series models at the Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition. The company also showcased its latest Dynasty series of vehicles, which were recently unveiled at the company’s spring product launch in Beijing. A total of 23 new car models were exhibited at the event, held at Shanghai’s National Convention and Exhibition Center, fully demonstrating the BYD New Architecture (BNA) design, the 3rd generation of Dual Mode technology, plus the e-platform framework. Today, China’s new energy vehicles have entered the ‘fast lane’, ushering in an even larger market outbreak. Presently, we stand at the intersection of old and new kinetic energy conversion for mobility, but also a new starting point for high-quality development. To meet the arrival of complete electrification, BYD has formulated a series of strategies, and is well prepared. BYD’s latest offerings will bring you a whole new experience, while delivering new power to Chinese cars!—Wang Chuanfu, Chairman and President of BYD The E-SEED GT concept car uses the “Dragon Face” design language, successfully applying the elements of a Chinese dragon into a super car design, such as headlights resembling “dragon whiskers”, a “dragon ridge” on its roof, tail and seats and “dragon-scale” features on its door panels. It also boasts a three-screen interconnection, a retractable steering wheel plus a “BYD heart” and other technologies. E-SEED GT concept BYD’s all-new Song Pro SUV is built under the BNA architecture, featuring a wheelbase of 2,712mm, with a large five-seater space comparable to a medium or large SUV. It features a smoother and more comfortable ride, with “library-level” quiet engineering, low wind drag and efficient energy consumption. It comes equipped with the leading DiLink2.0 Open Intelligent Network, Level 2 Intelligent in-car assistant, leading touch-screen artificial intelligence interaction and other technologies. In design, it also integrates the updated “Dragon Face 2.0” design language. Its interior features a panoramic skylight, automatic ambient lighting together with 90-110 degree adjustable rear seats. It comes in fuel-powered, hybrid and pure electric versions. Song Pro Of the BYD e Series models e1, e2 and s2, the e1 is positioned as an economic pure electric compact car, built using the BNA, BYD e platform and DiLink Intelligent Network system, with running costs as low as 0.05 RMB (0.007 USD) per kilometer, while providing enough charge for 100km in just 12 minutes. The s2 is an SUV, offering 305 km coverage fully charged, and taking just 15 minutes to provide charge for 100 km of coverage.
Fiat pays CARB $6.4M penalty for diesel emissions violations
The California Air Resources Board announced a settlement with Fiat Powertrain Technologies Industrial S.p.A for emissions-related violations affecting nearly 2,000 on-road and off-road diesel engines. The settlement includes a mandatory recall of affected vehicles and $6.4 million in penalties. The enforcement case began after the company informed CARB in 2015 that it had made unapproved repairs and modifications to CARB-certified on-road engines. The repairs, commonly called “field fixes” because they are made after the vehicles have been sold, were intended to address an oil leakage problem in 2011-2014 model-year engines. Emission-related field fixes must be reviewed and approved by CARB to ensure they don’t increase emissions. Fiat failed to inform CARB about the fixes when they were made and also disclosed that it had certified 2014-2016 model year off-road engines using incorrect emissions data. Fiat fully cooperated with CARB’s investigation. It is illegal for manufacturers to perform emission-related repairs and modifications on their engines or vehicles without first submitting the proposed repairs to CARB for approval. These illegal modifications may increase emissions of toxic and smog-forming pollution both on and off our roads and highways. That is a particularly serious concern in California where 12 million people live in areas with the worst air in the nation.—Todd Sax, CARB’s head of enforcement As part of its settlement with CARB, Fiat must implement a full, mandatory recall of vehicles equipped with the on-road engines in order to correct the oil leakage issues and provide a one-year warranty for the replaced parts. Fiat must also conduct additional in-use and on-board diagnostic testing on several repaired vehicles containing these engines. The company will pay $2 million of its $6.4-million penalty to a Supplemental Environmental Project to install air filtration systems in facilities with sensitive populations, such as schools, senior centers, and hospitals throughout the Bay Area. That program is administered by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. The remaining $4.4 million will be paid to the Air Pollution Control Fund to support air pollution research and education.
Volkswagen ID. R using Formula 1 DRS for optimal aerodynamics for Nürburgring run
Volkswagen is tackling the Nürburgring-Nordschleife this year instead of Pikes Peak with its electric ID. R racer. Because of this change in course—a race track instead of a hill climb, full-throttle sections instead of hair-pins—Volkswagen is focusing on the development of the aerodynamics. Volkswagen ID. R in the wind tunnel Though almost identical in length at roughly 20 kilometers, the Nordschleife presents a completely different challenge for aerodynamics in comparison to the hill climb at Pikes Peak. In the USA it was all about maximum downforce, but because the speeds are a lot higher on the Nordschleife, the most efficient possible battery use is of much greater importance with regard to the aerodynamic configuration.—François-Xavier Demaison, Technical Director of Volkswagen Motorsport On the Nordschleife, it is not primarily about downforce, but low drag as well. Furthermore, the air in the Eifel, which sits about 600 meters above sea level, is much denser in comparison to Pikes Peak, where the finish line is 4,302 meters high. This results in completely different basic data for the measurements of the aerodynamic aids.—Hervé Dechipre, the engineer responsible for the ID. R’s aerodynamics As well as an adapted floor and a new spoiler at the front of the vehicle, the ID. R will also sport a newly designed rear wing. It will be much lower than the variant used at Pikes Peak, in order to provide less surface resistance to the flow of air. The new multi-wing rear of the ID. R will nevertheless produce high downforce in the medium-fast turns of the 73-corner Nordschleife. To further reduce the drag in certain sections, the rear wing will deploy technology known from its use in Formula 1—the Drag Reduction System (DRS). DRS is used in order to facilitate overtaking by allowing for higher speeds. During the ID. R’s solo-drive, however, the opening element of the rear wing will be used exclusively to preserve the remaining energy reserves. Between when the rear wing is fully deployed and when it is flat, the difference in downforce is about 20%.—Hervé Dechipre DRS will be particularly significant when the ID. R reaches the Döttinger Höhe, an almost three-kilometer-long straight at the end of the Nordschleife lap. With an activated DRS, the car requires less energy to maintain its top speed over the entire Döttinger Höhe. The ID. R reaches its top speed quicker and with a lower use of energy.—Hervé Dechipre With the ID. R as the racing spearhead of the future fully-electric production vehicles from the ID. family, the high potential of electric drive is combined with the emotion and fascination of motorsport. In this respect, there are not only technical, but aesthetic parallels as well. Similar to the future production vehicles from the ID. family, the ID. R also requires comparatively few openings in the bodywork to allow cooling air to flow. The electric motors operate with little cooling. The ID. R therefore requires fewer air intakes than conventional race cars, which brings with it a great aerodynamic benefit.—Hervé Dechipre As with the preparations for the record-breaking outing at Pikes Peak last year, Volkswagen has tested the ID. R’s aerodynamics in the wind tunnel, initially with a 1:2 model. The next step was to continue this detailed work with the original sized race car. In order to be able to test as many variants as possible of the aerodynamic components that were also constructed using computer simulations, Volkswagen Motorsport once again took advantage of 3D printing. As a result, particularly complex designed plastic vehicle parts (that undergo only minimal loads) can be made in a short time and with high cost savings. A good example of this is the air deflectors in front of the rear wheel arch, which optimise the airflow around the rear wheel, said Dechipre.
Audi gives S5 models their first diesel and 48V MHEV systems; performance and efficiency
For the first time, the Audi S5 Coupé/Sportback has a V6 diesel under the hood. The 3.0 TDI engine in the S5 Coupé and the S5 Sportback produces 255 kW (347 hp) and delivers up to 700 N·m (516.3 lb-ft) of torque between 2,500 and 3,100 rpm. An electric powered compressor provides for strong off-the-line performance; a 48V mild hybrid system (MHEV) enhances efficiency. Audi S5 Sportback TDI The 3.0 TDI in the S5 models is the most powerful version in the Audi V6 diesel engine lineup. Despite significantly greater performance, NEDC consumption derived from the WLTP values for the S5 Coupé TDI and the S5 Sportback TDI is just 6.2 liters of diesel per 100 kilometers (37.9 mpg US), a CO2 equivalent of 161 grams per kilometer (259.1 g/mi). The new S models consume on average 19% less fuel than their predecessors with gasoline engines despite producing significantly more torque. The six-cylinder diesel engine accelerates the S5 Coupé in 4.8 seconds and the S5 Sportback in 4.9 seconds from 0 to 100 km/h. The electronically limited top speed is 250 km/h (155.3 mph). With these characteristics, the V6 diesel engine delivers agility, spontaneity, low fuel consumption and long range. It also has a sporty sound and is very smooth. Audi S5 Coupé TDI The engine in the S TDI models features the electric powered compressor (EPC) and mild hybrid technology (MHEV). Both systems are embedded in the standard 48-volt main electrical system. For the first time in the S5 TDI, a powerful 48–volt belt alternator starter is the heart of the mild hybrid system with maximum recuperation power of up to 8 kW. A DC/DC converter steps this voltage down for components in the 12–volt electrical system. A compact, air-cooled lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 0.5 kWh installed under the luggage compartment floor serves as the energy center. The EPC: fast support for the turbocharger. The electric-powered compressor in the Audi S5 TDI is new to this segment. It is located in a bypass downstream of the intercooler and thus close to the engine. From the outside, the compressor looks similar to a conventional turbocharger. A compact electric motor replaces the turbine wheel, however. With an output of up to 7 kW, it accelerates the compressor wheel to 65,000 rpm in approximately 300 milliseconds. It is activated whenever the power demand from the driver is high but the energy available in the exhaust flow for driving the compressor wheel is low. If this is the case, the bypass valve closes and directs the intake air to the EPC. The compressed air flows directly into the combustion chamber. This enables the driver to tap the full power of the 3.0 TDI instantly even at low engine speeds, whether passing another vehicle or accelerating out of a curve. Because the technology increases torque at the lower end of the rpm range, it provides for lower engine speeds and less frequent downshifts during relaxed driving. From a standing start, the new S models quickly move several meters ahead of comparable vehicles without an EPC. MHEV technology: recuperate or coast. The mild hybrid system in the S models, which is also integrated into the new 48-volt electrical system, has the potential to reduce customer fuel consumption by as much as 0.4 liters per 100 kilometers. Mounted on the end face of the 3.0 TDI is a water-cooled belt alternator starter (BAS), which is connected to the crankshaft via a particularly high-load poly-V belt. The BAS generates a recuperation power of up to 8 kW and 60 N·m (44.3 lb-ft) of torque. It interacts closely with the TDI engine, which in many situations can be operated more closely to its ideal load point as a result. That enhances efficiency. When drivers take their foot off the accelerator pedal at a speed between 55 and 160 km/h (34.2 to 99.4 mph), the car can coast for up to 40 seconds with the engine shut off. The lithium-ion battery continues to supply electricity. The engine management system decides anew in every situation whether coasting, freewheeling or recuperation, i.e. the recovery of kinetic energy, is most efficient. It does this using information from the navigation system and the onboard sensors. The energy recovered by the BAS during coasting and braking flows into the 48-volt storage unit or directly to the electrical consumers. The mild hybrid system not only reduces fuel consumption; it also provides greater comfort and convenience. The conventional starter is only used to start the car initially, when cold engine oil requires high forces. When the driver presses the accelerator pedal again after a coasting phase or a stop, the BAS restarts the combustion engine. The system does this as required by the driver’s wishes and the situation, from very smoothly to very quickly. Start-stop operation begins at 22 km/h (13.7 mph). When stopped, the engine restarts as soon as the car in front starts to move, even if the brake is depressed. The engine: torquey and efficient. The 3.0 TDI common rail system injects fuel at a pressure of up to 2,500 bar. Crankshaft, pistons, connecting rods and oil management have been designed for high performance, and sophisticated measures have been taken to reduce friction in the crankshaft and camshaft drive. The thermal management system features separate coolant loops for the crankcase and cylinder heads so that the engine oil heats up quickly following a cold start. The coolant flow is directed to the oil cooler, the EPC, the BAS and the compressor case of the turbocharger as needed. The large turbocharger generates up to 3.4 bar of absolute charging pressure. Its variable turbine geometry (VTG) is optimized for low-loss flow. The external low-pressure exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system extracts the exhaust gas downstream of the particulate filter. This enables the turbocharger to be operated with the full mass flow, significantly increasing its efficiency. In many markets outside of Europe, Audi offers the S5 models with a different engine, the 3.0 TFSI. The turbocharged gasoline direct injection engine, which is not equipped with the EPC, has an output of 260 kW (354 hp) and produces 500 Nm (368.8 lb-ft) of torque from 1,370 to 4,500 rpm. These models, too, come with quattro all-wheel drive and the eight-speed tiptronic. The eight-speed tiptronic. The 3.0 TDI transmits its power to a lightning-fast and smooth-shifting eight-speed tiptronic. Its lower gears feature short, sporty ratios, while the upper gears are long to reduce revs and fuel consumption. The driver can let the torque converter automatic transmission work on its own or actively control it, in which case the driver’s commands are transmitted electrically. The shift sequence and connection logic are optimized for the rapid development of traction. The transmission control system avoids unnecessary shifting in stop-and-go situations. New detailed solutions improve the close interplay between the tiptronic and the mild hybrid system. A clutch in the central transmission interrupts the flow of power when the car is rolling and the engine is either idling or shut off. When coasting, an electric oil pump independent of the combustion engine makes it possible to engage the gear required at restart. Additional technology modules contribute to efficiency. Narrow springs at the multi-plate brakes in the gear sets separate the plates from one another and thus reduce drag torque. The torsion damper in the tiptronic’s converter includes an rpm-adaptive damper that largely attenuates the vibrations of the V6 diesel that occur at very low engine speeds. quattro permanent all-wheel drive: self-locking center differential. The quattro permanent all-wheel drive system transfers the engine power from the eight-speed tiptronic to the wheels. At the heart of the drivetrain in the Audi S5 Coupé TDI and S5 Sportback TDI is a self-locking center differential. It normally distributes the torque in a ratio of 40:60 between the front and rear axle. If a wheel loses traction, the differential send the majority of the power to the axle with the better grip, with as much as 70% going to the front or up to 85% to the rear. During sporty driving, wheel-selective torque control—a software function of the ESC Electronic Stabilization Control— perfects the handling. It brakes the two wheels with reduced load on the inside of a bend slightly before they can begin to spin. The difference between propulsive forces at the wheels makes the car turn into the curve ever so slightly, making handling even more precise, agile and stable. quattro with sport differential. The optional sport differential further optimizes handling. During dynamic cornering, the sport differential literally pushes the car into the curve and eliminates any hint of understeer. When turning into or accelerating in a curve, most of the torque is distributed to the outside rear wheel. During sporty cornering, the sport differential ensures that steering commands are carried out precisely and stably, providing for outstanding agility. Integration into the Audi drive select dynamic handling system also allows the driver to choose between different sport differential setups. Sport suspension: optionally with or without fast-acting damper control. The sophisticated suspension contributes to the dynamics of the S models. The front and rear axles are five-link constructions made largely of aluminum. Two subframes connect the links to the body. The track width is 1,587 millimeters (62.5 in) at the front and 1,568 millimeters (61.7 in) at the rear. The Coupé has a wheelbase of 2,765 millimeters (9.1 ft); the Sportback 2,825 millimeters (9.3 ft). With a ratio of 15.9:1, steering is direct and features an S-specific power assist system. It filters out intrusive road inputs while passing useful information to the steering wheel. Audi also offers dynamic steering as on option. It uses a superposition gear to vary its ratio by up to 100 percent as a function of the car’s speed and the mode selected in the Audi drive select dynamic handling system. At the cornering limit, dynamic steering stabilizes the car with lightning-fast steering inputs. Audi offers the optional suspension with damper control, in which electromagnetic valves regulate the flow of oil in an energy-efficient manner: Higher power is only provided if the valves are closed to firm up the dampers. There is a wide range between a soft ride and firm handling. The electronic chassis platform (ECP) controls the dampers in millisecond cycles. The high-tech control unit collects comprehensive information about the movement of the car and the data from the chassis control systems involved. From these, it quickly calculates and precisely coordinates the optimal function of these components. Besides the controlled dampers, the ECP also controls the optional sport differential. The latter and the dynamic steering are integrated into the Audi drive select dynamic handing system, which also affects the throttle valve, tiptronic, power steering and other technology modules. The driver can adjust their function by switching between the profiles comfort, auto, dynamic, efficiency and individual (only with MMI navigation system). Controls and infotainment. The MMI system on board the S5 models offers a highly modern control logic. With its flat hierarchies, it is oriented on modern smartphones, including the intelligent free-text search function. The voice control function recognizes inputs from everyday speech. The optional Audi virtual cockpit (available in conjunction with MMI navigation plus) presents all key information on its 12.3-inch display. One of the three views from which the driver can choose is the S mode, in which the tachometer takes center stage. The optional head-up display projects important data onto the windshield as symbols and digits. The infotainment system for the S models is modular, with MMI navigation plus with MMI touch and an 8.3-inch monitor topping the infotainment range. The rotary pushbutton has a touchpad for zooming, scrolling and entering characters. The system includes the Audi connect hardware module, which connects the car to the internet via LTE and also includes a Wi-Fi hotspot. It also delivers the numerous Audi connect internet services to the car, ranging from traffic information online to remote functions. The free myAudi app connects a smartphone with the car. The optional Audi phone box connects smartphones to the on-board antenna by near-field coupling and charges them inductively using the Qi standard. Particularly discerning hi-fi fans can choose the Bang & Olufsen Sound System with 3D sound. The Audi smartphone interface brings Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on board for iOS and Android phones, respectively. Driver assistance systems. The S5 Coupé TDI and S5 Sportback TDI make driving even more relaxed and comfortable with a wide range of driver assistance systems. Some of the solutions are standard features. The optional systems can be ordered either individually or in the “Parking,” “City” and “Tour” packages. Highlights include adaptive cruise control including traffic jam assist, collision avoidance assist, turn assist and rear cross traffic assist. The Audi S5 models with TDI engines will be available on the European market from May 2019. The starting price in Germany for the S5 Coupé TDI and S5 Sportback TDI is €65,300 (US$73,760). This includes popular options from the Audi A5 worth around €7,000 as standard equipment. These include LED headlights with dynamic turn signals, S sport suspension with tautly tuned suspension and damping, 18-inch wheels, power-adjustable front sport seats with Alcantara leather, embossed S logo and seat heating, and sportily contoured bumpers.
AMPLY Power: Top 25 US cities could save avg. 37% on fuel costs by switching to electric vehicles and buses; up to 60% with managed charging
A white paper by AMPLY Power, a company providing fleet charging as a service, finds that 25 of America’s largest metropolitan areas could save an average of 37% on fuel costs by electrifying their bus and light-duty vehicle fleets. Additionally, well-managed electric fleets that optimize electricity charging for off-peak hours and avoid demand charges can save as much as 60% on fueling versus their internal combustion engine (ICE) or unmanaged EV fleet counterparts. AMPLY developed an interactive map to compare gas and electric fleet fueling costs. AMPLY used publicly compiled data to develop a dollar per gallon-equivalent metric (DPGe). The new metric gives fleet owners, operators, municipalities, and policymakers a direct apples-to-apples comparison between gasoline or diesel fuel and electricity pricing. The cost-savings for commercial electrification are real and tangible. Until now, the entire electrification ecosystem, from utilities and regulators to fleet operators, has lacked a standard metric to showcase this economic value. Alongside proving the economic benefits found in fleet electrification, the innovation of the dollar per gallon-equivalent metric provides stakeholders the clarity to assess, plan, and budget for electric fleet transition and accelerate the industry beyond the pilot phase to full deployment.—Carla Peterman, former commissioner of the California Public Utilities Commission, and current advisor to AMPLY Unlike gasoline or diesel fuel prices, electricity prices can vary significantly on a kWh basis. For commercial / industrial users, the three basic components of an electric bill are: energy charges, demand charges, and fixed charges. In the study, AMPLY suggests that rates structures in the Top 25 Metros are best understood by comparing two cities with drastically different rate design: Atlanta and San Francisco: For the most part, Atlanta’s pricing structure minimally provides an optimization incentive. At about $0.19/kWh for energy year-round, and with no additional demand charges, vehicle charging is more or less agnostic to exactly when or the rate at which it charges. For both light duty and buses, AMPLY found Atlanta’s DPGe for fleet vehicles to be $1.85. San Francisco, conversely, has extreme time-variable rates. Under San Francisco’s new proposed commercial EV tariff, charging during peak times costs over $0.30/kWh for energy whereas charging during off-peak times costs under $0.09/kWh, plus monthly demand charges based on instantaneous charging. Given the complex structure and multiple optimization avenues to save on energy and demand, San Francisco’s DPGe ranges between $1.46 and $3.82—i.e., a range that can be twice as expensive or 25% cheaper than Atlanta depending on how charging the fleet is managed. As another example, in San Diego region, the DPGe for car fleets with unmanaged charging can be up to $11.27; managed charging can bring that down to $4.67. The liquid fuel cost baseline is $3.78/gallon. In the study, AMPLY Power assessed the DPGe for the top 25 US metropolitan areas and identified significant commercial and regulatory implications of fleet electrification. For example, electric bus fleets achieve significantly lower fuel costs by switching from ICE to electric, with managed charging, in all 25 of the largest US cities. Portland, Oregon leads these savings with 82% savings by making the switch, followed by Tampa, Florida at 79%, and Seattle, Washington at 78%. Even Detroit, Michigan—with the highest DPGe for city bus fleets—yields 12% fuel savings. Similarly, light-duty EV fleets can also realize a lower fuel cost transitioning from internal combustion engine (ICE) fleet vehicles to electric in 19 of the top 25 US cities. Portland, Oregon leads this segment again at 69% savings, followed by Seattle, Washington at 63%, and San Francisco/Oakland, California at 62%. When state-mandated programs serve as the basis for fleet electrification discussions, it’s easy for fleet professionals to start from a focus of sustainability, rather than targeting the repeatedly proven economic and business advantages of electric fleets. Optimizing fleet electrification programs to maximize fuel savings still requires planning and due diligence based on a fleet’s location and other factors. While this may seem complex, we challenge fleet operators to embrace these intricacies, and realize the real economic value in switching to electric.—Vic Shao, founder and CEO of AMPLY Power Methodology of the DPGe metric. The DPGe compares the electric dollar per gallon-equivalent of gasoline (or diesel) for specific cities. Used as a forecasting tool for EV charging, the DPGe incorporates regional-specific electricity rate structures, fleet-specific charging strategies, and vehicle class efficiencies into a single, comprehensible metric that can be used to assess, plan, and budget for an EV fleet transition. The analysis seeks to simplify complex energy rate structures and electric vehicle efficiency metrics into a single figure that Americans know and use daily—the dollar per gallon of gasoline. Due to the complexity of electricity rate structures and vehicle fleet requirements, AMPLY has provided a range for this DPGe figure. The research details the difference between operating a fleet without managing the EV charging or having a suboptimal charging strategy that doesn’t take advantage of all the options available, and a managed fleet using an optimized charging strategy. A managed strategy takes into account factors such as peak-pricing, utility demand charges, and time-of-use rates to determine the most cost-effective charging schedule. Conversely, an unmanaged strategy does not optimize charging for pricing. Savings realized from EVs can easily be torpedoed if a fleet is charging at peak rates, or charging activities trigger demand charges. For instance, in New York City, it could be more costly to transition a light-duty fleet without a managed charging strategy. However, with management, a transition could yield almost 20 percent savings. This finding illustrates both the opportunity and the risks associated with fleet electrification, and why managed charging is vital to ensuring the full economic benefits.—Simon Lonsdale, head of sales and strategy at AMPLY Power
Genesis reveals Mint Concept electric city car
Genesis revealed the Mint Concept ahead of the opening of the 2019 New York International Auto Show. The Mint Concept is a battery-electric luxury car for the city, with a new vehicle typology featuring organic design and an innovative interior user experience. The Mint powertrain is capable of an estimated 200 miles per full charge and 350-kW fast recharging. As a brand, Genesis embraces progressive design values, and the Mint Concept reinforces this commitment from a previously undiscovered perspective. Mint belongs in the city, and we are proud to introduce our evolution of the ideal city car in New York.—Manfred Fitzgerald, Executive Vice President and Global Head of the Genesis Brand The Mint Concept is both highly maneuverable and exhilarating to drive. The Mint Concept disconnects the physical dimensions of the vehicle from its positioning as a premium product, calquing the city car of the past to today. The Mint Concept is a designer’s Occam’s razor that challenged us to visualize a scaled-down interpretation of our signature aesthetic.—Luc Donckerwolke, Executive Vice President and Chief Design Officer of Hyundai Motor Group The Mint Concept represents a holistic collaboration among Genesis design studios located around the world, led by Genesis Global Advanced Design in Germany, Genesis Design Team in the US, and the Namyang Design Center in South Korea. The Mint Concept posits an expanded definition of Genesis brand design cues adapted for a two-door, two-passenger city car with a reduced footprint. Finished in Hunter Green matte paint, the Mint Concept stretches a three-box design to the corners with extremely short front and rear overhangs. The Genesis design hallmarks are evolved and designed specifically for the Mint Concept. Quad Lamps in front and back stretch to the corners, to enhance the feeling of presence and stance, with their respective top light elements connecting to form wraparound light bands. The Crest Grille appears as a closed sculptural element with a slight opening for the reduced cooling requirements of the battery pack. The signature Parabolic Line wraps around the body of the Mint Concept, with a sweeping uptick toward the concave rear. The overall motif skews to the sportier side of Athletic Elegance. The G-Matrix pattern serves a functional purpose on the lower half of the vehicle, used for efficient cooling and airflow circulation around the battery floor; it is also the basis for the Mint Concept’s aerodynamic wheel design. In lieu of a conventional trunk with a rear hatch, the Mint Concept features a parcel shelf designed for occasional use. Access to the rear compartment is provided by scissor-style side openings engineered with a low load-in point to allow for easy stowage and retrieval. The interior of the Mint Concept offers ample space to stash temporary items that are essential for day-to-day life, with focus on portability and accessibility. The rear-mounted and centered charge port facilitates connections to charging stations. Ingress and egress are made easier with the automatic swiveling capability of the instrument panel and the bench seat. The oblong steering wheel is surrounded by six copper Graphic User Interface (GUI) information screens that call attention to critical vehicle functions individually. A seventh screen mounted flush in the steering wheel displays primary vehicle information while allowing the driver to maintain focus on the road ahead. Resources  Used as a verb, “to calque” means to borrow a word or phrase from another language while translating its components, so as to create a new lexeme in the target language. “Calque” itself is a loanword from the French noun calque; the verb calquer means “to trace; to copy, to imitate closely”.
TriMet puts first Xcelsior CHARGE electric bus into operation; powered by Portland General Electric renewable energy
New Flyer of America Inc. congratulated the Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TriMet) as it welcomed its first battery-electric Xcelsior CHARGE transit bus. New Flyer previously reported the order for five forty-foot battery-electric Xcelsior CHARGE transit buses in September 2017. TriMet partnered with Portland General Electric (PGE) to purchase, own, and maintain six ABB chargers and the related infrastructure. The program was funded in part with a $3.4-million grant from the Federal Transit Administration’s 2016 Low and No Emission (Low-No) Vehicle Deployment Program. TriMet is operating the forty-foot Xcelsior CHARGE bus on Line 62-Murray Blvd in the Portland, Oregon metro area. The route covers 13 miles and 700 feet in elevation change. The pilot bus will be joined by four additional Xcelsior CHARGE buses this summer, creating an all-electric bus route. The buses will operate between the Sunset Transit Center and Washington Square Transit Center, with depot chargers installed at TriMet’s Merlo Operating Facility and one on-route charger installed at the Sunset Transit Center to rapidly recharge batteries each round trip. TriMet connects people in the Portland, Oregon surrounding areas, providing more than 97 million trips per year.
New Flyer Infrastructure Solutions completes New York’s first OppCharge interoperable on-route charger solution for transit buses
New Flyer of America Inc. announced that New Flyer Infrastructure Solutions (earlier post) has successfully deployed two rapid, OppCharge on-route chargers along New York City Transit Authority’s (NYCT) M42 route. This marks completion of the first on-route charging solution in the United States that uses a globally recognized system to allow vehicle and charging equipment interoperability to common interfaces. The chargers are operated by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), acting through NYCT as a part of an electric bus test and evaluation program. The program, officially launched in January 2018, continues to evaluate electric buses as a zero-emission solution for America’s largest public transit system. New Flyer Infrastructure Solutions led project management, having engaged Black & Veatch (a leader in engineering and construction for complex fleet charging networks) to assist with engineering, permitting, and construction for the on-route charger equipment from Siemens. New Flyer has actively participated and supported the North American adoption of global charging standards for electric buses and coaches, for both on-route and depot charging options. The Siemens on-route chargers installed as part of the system are interoperable, and follow OppCharge interfaces and the forthcoming Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) J3105 charging standard, allowing heavy-duty electric vehicles of all types and models, including buses from other manufacturers that support and design to OppCharge standards, to utilize common on-route chargers. Infrastructure Solutions is also currently overseeing and supporting similar on-route OppCharge charging deployments in Portland, OR, Minneapolis MN, and Vancouver, BC.
Proterra and Mitsui create $200M credit facility to scale Proterra battery leasing program
Proterra is partnering with Mitsui & Co., Ltd. to create a $200-million credit facility in support of a battery lease program. Mitsui, a leading Japanese investment and trading company, holds a diversified portfolio of businesses in various sectors, including mobility, infrastructure and renewable energy. The battery leasing credit facility, the first of its kind in the North American public transit industry, is expected to lower the upfront costs of zero-emission buses and put Proterra electric buses at roughly the same price as a diesel bus. By decoupling the batteries from the sale of its buses, Proterra enables transit customers to purchase the electric bus and lease the batteries over the 12-year lifetime of the bus. As a result of the battery lease, the initial capital expense for the electric bus will be similar to a diesel or CNG bus, and customers can utilize the operating funds previously earmarked for fuel to pay for the battery lease. Additionally, under the 12-year battery lease, Proterra will own and guarantee the performance of the batteries through the life of the bus, decreasing operator risk. The battery lease agreement also provides a performance warranty on the batteries and new batteries at mid-life to help customers ensure they always have plenty of energy to meet their route needs and hedge against future replacement battery costs. This battery lease program removes one of the biggest barriers to electric bus adoption, and transit agencies will now be able to modernize fleets faster and achieve their zero carbon goals sooner. We’re seeing innovation both in technology and in businesses around the mobility sector. We are pleased to take an initiative to support the transit industry alongside Proterra, as the company expands its battery lease program to enable the rapid adoption and a broader commercialization of its electric buses. There is a unique opportunity for markets to provide the necessary capital to accelerate the imminent transition to 100 percent battery-electric bus fleets and reduce carbon emissions.—Yosuke Matsumoto, General Manager of New Business & Innovation Division at Mitsui In addition to the battery-leasing initiative, Proterra and Mitsui have established a program to use batteries from the leasing program in secondary applications after the end of their useful life in a vehicle. Proterra’s E2 battery packs are designed with secondary usage in mind, with simplified integration for easy removal and a form factor that enables repurposing. In 2015, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act specifically authorized the ability to lease batteries separate from a vehicle. Since then, more than a dozen Proterra customers, including Park City, UT and Moline, IL, are already using or have agreed to use the battery lease program. Park City, UT was the first customer to enter into a battery service agreement with Proterra for a fleet of six Catalyst buses that were funded as part of the 2016 Low or No-Emission Bus Program. Park City plans to lease batteries for its next set of seven Catalyst vehicles in pursuit of its long-term goal of going 100 percent electric. Proterra has been a leader in offering flexible financing options to lower upfront costs of an electric bus to be competitively priced against diesel buses. In addition to battery leasing, Proterra established a bus leasing program, which allows customers to pay for the use of a bus over time, with the option to permanently transition the bus into a fleet at the end of the lease term. Currently four customers are taking advantage of leasing buses, including Jones Lang LaSalle in Chicago and Metropolitan Transportation Authority in New York.
BYD introducing second-generation battery-electric yard tractor
The BYD second-generation 8Y battery electric yard tractor will make its world premiere at the Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo in Long Beach next week, showcasing a design that combines performance, reliability, improved driver comfort and operability, along with zero tailpipe emissions and quiet operation. The unveiling coincides with the expected delivery of 14 second-generation 8Y yard tractors to two BNSF Railway intermodal facilities in Southern California. First-generation 8Y yard tractors have been in use at railyards and the port since early 2018. BYD’s second-generation yard tractor features improvements that directly reflect feedback on the first generation. The ongoing demonstration project at the BNSF facilities is paid for in large part by a $9.1-million grant awarded to San Bernardino County Council of Governments (SBCOG) from the California Air Resources Board (CARB). The grant comes through California Climate Investments, a statewide program that puts billions of cap-and- trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy and improving public health and the environment—particularly in disadvantaged communities. It includes project partners such as BNSF and Daylight Transport, LLC, the project demonstrators, as well as CALSTART, Inc. which will provide commercialization support and market assessment of this project. Zero-tailpipe freight transportation, off-road equipment, and on-road trucks, reduce emissions near facilities that handle freight, along freight corridors, regionally, and globally. We are excited to be part of this initiative that will help bring zero-emission yard tractors to the Inland Empire. This demonstration leads to the adaptation of cleaner technology on a much broader scale. Coupling this application with our exploration into zero-emission train technology is a giant step forward to addressing air quality issues in our county and throughout the region.—SBCOG President Darcy McNaboe Under the first phase of the project led by SBCOG and funded by CARB, six first-generation BYD 8Y trucks have been in service at BNSF intermodal rail facilities in San Bernardino and the City of Commerce as well as three units at Daylight Transport, LLC in the City of Fontana.
Daimler takes minority stake in Sila Nanotechnologies; next-generation lithium-ion battery materials
Daimler AG has acquired a minority equity stake in US battery material specialist Sila Nanotechnologies Inc. (Sila Nano) (earlier post) as part of Daimler’s research and development activities in support of electromobility. Founded in 2011, Sila Nano is a developer of new battery materials which outperform existing lithium-ion technologies. Along with the acquisition of the equity stake Daimler will get a seat in the Board of Directors of Sila Nano. The investment forms part of Sila Nano’s $170-million Series E financing, which was led by Daimler. Sila Nano replaces conventional graphite electrodes entirely with its proprietary silicon-dominant composite materials that enable high energy density and high cycle life, which translates to more powerful, longer-range and enduring sources of power for electric vehicles. Sila Nano’s chemistry demonstrates a 20% improvement today, with the potential to reach 40% improvement over state-of-the-art traditional li-ion. These materials easily drop into existing Li-ion factories, making it possible to deploy efficiently and at scale. This breakthrough chemistry demonstrates up to 20 percent improvement today, with the potential to reach further improvements over state of the art traditional Li-ion. We’re excited to be working with Daimler to bring better, more energy-dense batteries to their fleet and bring our shared vision for the future of electric vehicles to life for more people.—Gene Berdichevsky, co-founder and CEO of Sila Nano This latest round brings Sila Nano’s total funding to $295 million, with a current valuation of $1 billion. With the latest round of financing secured, Sila Nano has begun ramping up production volume and plans to supply its first commercial customers in consumer electronics within the next year. Sila Nano will continue to scale up production in the next few years with plans to go to market with automaker partners BMW (earlier post) and Daimler. While our all-new EQC model enters the markets this year we are already preparing the way for the next generation of powerful battery electric vehicles. Lithium-ion technology is currently the most efficient battery technology available, and still shows plenty of potential for the future. The advancements Sila Nano have made in battery performance are very promising. We are looking forward to a fruitful cooperation, pooling our know-how on further development and fast commercialization.—Sajjad Khan, Executive Vice President for Connected, Autonomous, Shared & Electric Mobility, Daimler AG As an integral and important element of Daimler’s electrification strategy, the company is consistently expanding competencies for the technological evaluation of materials and cells as well as research and development activities. These include the continuous optimization of the current generation of Li-Ion battery systems, the further development of cells bought on the world market and research of the next-generation battery systems. By 2022, the entire Mercedes-Benz Cars product range is set to be electrified. This means that different electrified alternatives will be available in every segment—from the 48-volt electrical system (EQ Boost), plug-in hybrids (EQ Power) and more than ten all-electric vehicles (EQ) powered by batteries or fuel cells. Daimler expects electric models to already make up between 15 and 25 percent of Mercedes-Benz Cars total sales by 2025, depending on the framework conditions such as the development of the infrastructure, the individual customer preferences and the further development of the particular market-specific legal situation. Mercedes-Benz Cars is investing around €10 billion in the expansion of its product portfolio comprised under the EQ brand. Furthermore, Daimler is investing more than one billion euros in a global battery production network within the worldwide production network of Mercedes-Benz Cars. The company purchases the cells on the world market and is instructing the suppliers to produce based on special specifications. In this way, the company is securing itself the best possible technology. With the purchase of battery cells for more than €20 billion, the company is establishing the preconditions for the consistent change towards an electrical future. The global battery production network of Mercedes-Benz Cars will in the future consist of nine factories on three continents. Resources Gleb Yushin (2019) “(Invited) Nanostructured Materials for Higher Energy and Higher Power Lithium-Ion Batteries” Abstract MA2019-01 963, NANO for Industry 2 - May 29 2019
Gasoline direct injection was the most widely adopted emerging fuel saving technology in 2018: 51%
Manufacturers have been adopting technologies that improve the efficiency of light-duty vehicles and allow them to achieve greater fuel economy. Of all the emerging technologies, gasoline direct injection (GDI) has seen the highest level of adoption among manufacturers, reaching 51% for the 2018 model year, according to the US Department of Energy (DOE). Eight of the largest manufacturers installed GDI in more than 75% of the vehicles they produced, with several near or at 100%. Turbo charging and stop/start are two other engine technologies that reached a production share of about 30%, while cylinder deactivation (CD) was at 12%. Thirty-six percent of the vehicles produced had transmissions with seven or more gears while 22% were fitted with continuously variable transmissions (CVT). Gasoline hybrid vehicles accounted for 4%, while plug-in hybrid, all-electric, and fuel cell vehicles had a combined total of 3%. Manufacturer use of emerging technologies for model year 2018. Emerging technologies include turbo, GDI, CVT, 7+Gears, CD, StopStart, Hybrid, and PHEV/EV/FCV., Source: DOE, US EPA.
Toyota premieres Toyota-brand battery electric vehicles ahead of 2020 China launch
Toyota premiered its C-HR and IZOA battery electric vehicles (BEVs) as part of its activities on the opening day of Auto Shanghai 2019. The C-HR and IZOA will be the first battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) to launch in China under the Toyota brand. Sales on the new models are slated to start from 2020. C-HR / IZOA EV Toyota’s other booth exhibits at the show include a variety of electrified vehicles, such as the debut of hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) variants for the RAV4 and the Alphard/Vellfire in China, as well as the Corolla and Levin plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) series that were launched in March 2019. Toyota also showed the RHOMBUS, a battery electric vehicle concept car developed by TMEC, Toyota’s base for R&D in China. The RHOMBUS aims to suit the values and lifestyles of drivers born after 1990. Beginning with the China debut of the electrified C-HR and IZOA vehicle models, Toyota plans to roll out more than ten BEV models globally during the first half of the 2020s, and has set a sales target of more than 5.5 million electrified vehicles globally by 2030. As of the end of February 2019, Toyota has sold nearly 13 million electrified vehicles worldwide since the initial launch of Prius, a hybrid electric vehicle, in 1997. The volume of vehicles represents a reduction in global CO2 emissions of more than 103 million tons. In November 2018, at the China International Import Expo in Shanghai, Toyota proposed a new mobility concept that aims to support peoples’ lives through leveraging electrification, intelligence, and informatization, such as with the e-Pallete. Toyota has plans to use the new mobility concept for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020. Furthermore, the company also plans to endeavor to make the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 a success by utilizing the knowledge it gains from the Tokyo 2020 Games and working in collaboration with the International Olympic Committee, International Paralympic Committee, and the Organising Committee of the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 and Paralympic Games.
Volvo models across Europe to warn each other of slippery roads and hazards
Volvo Cars is making its industry-first connected safety technology available across Europe as another step in its ambitions to improve traffic safety. The technology allows Volvo cars to communicate with each other and alert drivers of nearby slippery road conditions and hazards via a cloud based network. Hazard Light Alert and Slippery Road Alert were first introduced in 2016 on Volvo’s 90 Series cars in Sweden and Norway. Next week the features become available to Volvo drivers across Europe. They come as standard on all new model year 2020 Volvos and can be retrofitted on selected earlier models. Sharing real-time safety data between cars can help avoid accidents. Volvo owners directly contribute to making roads safer for other drivers that enable the feature, while they also benefit from early warnings to potentially dangerous conditions ahead.—Malin Ekholm, head of Volvo Cars Safety Center Safety research by Volvo shows that adjusting speeds to the actual traffic situation can radically reduce the risk for accidents. By alerting people to dangers ahead in a timely manner and allowing them to adapt with time to spare, connected safety technologies can support better driver behavior and boost traffic safety. With the launch of these features across Europe, Volvo Cars also reiterates its invitation to the car industry to join it in sharing anonymized data related to traffic safety across car brands. Sharing such data in real time can provide a strong boost to overall traffic safety and becomes more influential the more cars are connected. Since last year, Volvo Cars and Volvo Trucks have shared data to alert drivers of nearby hazards in Sweden and Norway. The more vehicles we have sharing safety data in real time, the safer our roads become. We hope to establish more collaborations with partners who share our commitment to safety.—Malin Ekholm On introduction, Volvo Cars’ systems were the first of their kind in the automotive industry. As soon as any equipped Volvo switches on its hazard lights, the Hazard Light Alert sends a signal to all nearby Volvo cars connected to the cloud service, warning drivers to help avoid potential accidents. This is particularly useful on blind corners and over the crest of hills in the road. Meanwhile, Slippery Road Alert increases the driver’s awareness of both current road conditions and those on the road ahead, by anonymously collecting road surface information from cars further ahead on the road and warning drivers approaching a slippery road section in advance. Last month Volvo Cars made a number of announcements aimed at supporting better driver behavior and safer driving. From 2020, all Volvos will be speed-limited at 180 km/h (112 mph). Starting in the early 2020s, the company will also install in-car cameras and other sensors that monitor the driver and allow the car to intervene if a clearly intoxicated or distracted driver is risking an accident involving serious injury or death. Finally, the company announced that for the first time, it is making its safety knowledge easily accessible in a central digital library, which it urges the car industry to use in the interest of safer roads for all. Hazard Light Alert and Slippery Road Alert is available on all Volvos based on the company’s Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) or Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) from model year 2016 and onwards.
Henkel launches new silicone-free gap filler for EVs
During the Battery Show 2019 in Stuttgart, Henkel will launch new technologies that enable cost-efficient large-scale assembly and lifetime protection of battery architectures. As all major automotive OEMs and new players are rapidly launching new electric vehicle (EV) models, Henkel is leveraging its broad technology base and many years of expertise and experience to drive the transformation from traditional engines to electrified powertrains. Henkel has identified three major challenges for battery manufacturers: cost-efficient processes and technologies allowing high-speed assembly of cells; ensuring reliable thermal management for operational safety and meeting the UL94 flammability standard; and allowing serviceability of battery packs. Henkel provides a comprehensive technology portfolio and application know-how for efficient assembly, operational safety and lifetime protection of battery cells, modules and pack. Henkel’s solutions and services are focused on eight integrated key technologies that combine existing with new solutions. Some notable examples include: Battery assembly adhesives: Henkel offers multiple adhesives that are especially suitable for large scale assemblies of hundreds and thousands of battery cells by UV curing in less than 15 seconds. Whether the battery design is done with cylindrical, pouch or prismatic cells, Henkel technologies enable these various battery architectures. Thermal interface materials (TIM) – thermal gap filler and thermal adhesives: To ensure safe and efficient thermal management of the battery cells and modules, Henkel has a broad portfolio of TIM products, including silicone-free Bergquist Gap Fillers. During the show, Henkel will launch a line of silicone-free, automation-friendly liquid gap fillers, with the debut product offering a thermal conductivity of 3.0 W/m-K. Furthermore, Henkel offers Gap Pad and Sil Pad materials for batteries, as well as thermal adhesive solutions which provide structural shear strength of >10 MPa, allowing different coefficients of thermal expansion to be overcome through high elongation. Liquid gasketing: For the protection of the battery packing housing against leakages, Henkel provides different liquid gasketing technologies that are applied by automated robot. For serviceability or repair, these technologies also allow the top cover of the pack to be reopened. An additional benefit stems from their flame-retardant properties and compliance with UL94. Loctite high-reliability solder pastes: Strong, high-integrity electrical interconnects within various control boards for battery management systems are essential for lifetime functional reliability. Henkel’s award-winning line of temperature stable, Loctite GC solder paste materials will be on show, alongside the company’s high-reliability 90iSC alloy, designed in cooperation with automotive industry leaders. Loctite high temperature-compatible underfill: Newly-developed Loctite Eccobond UF 1173 device-protecting underfill has been designed specifically for high operating temperature, high reliability applications within automotive systems. The material has been formulated with health and safety top-of-mind; it contains no reportable REACH SVHCs (substances of very high concern) and is not CMR-classified.