The European Union is pushing to electrify transport on the continent and launched a new programme for fuel cel buses. The H2BusEurope scheme includes 600 hydrogen buses and infrastructure and is worth 40 million euros. One country benefits in particular.
One third of the 600 fuel cell buses have been reserved to go to Denmark as the country expects the delivery of 200 hydrogen-powered buses by 2020. Moreover, Denmark will also provide the H2 infrastructure as the filling stations will be made in the large-scale production plant by Nel ASA in Danish Herning. From there they will deploy the stations to the two other countries taking part in the H2BusEurope scheme, namely Great Britain and Latvia.
According to the Danish Minister of Energy, Utilities and Climate, Lars Chr. Lilleholt, Denmark receiving such support “is a recognition that it is a Danish factory that is to provide the hydrogen refuelling stations for the buses”. He added that this programme is a payback “or the support we have given over the years to the research and development of hydrogen through the EUDP-programme”.
The H2BusEurope programme is part of Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) and worth close to 40 million euros. CEF is aiming to decarbonise transport in Europe and has recently been awarded 700 million euros in funding through the EU Commission. Since 2014, the first CEF programming year, there have been four yearly waves of calls. In total, CEF has so far supported 641 projects with a total amount of 22.3 billion euros.
Zero emission buses, in this case fuel cell electric ones, are on the rise in Denmark. The capital of Copenhagen plans to become the first CO2-neutral city in the world by 2025, while the Danish government presented a new climate action plan for the nation. Their 38 measures include the stated aim of electrifying the entire taxi and bus fleet by 2030 (we reported).
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UZE Mobility is yet another start-up from Aachen, the town that turned into Germany’s unofficial e-mobility capital. Unlike other start-ups though, UZE Mobility want to offer their services free of charge to users as they think they found innovative revenue streams.
The idea is to rent out StreetScooter electric vans – these are also built in Aaachen – for free to customers. Different from other car sharing services, UZE Mobility will not charge a fee from consumers but hopes to sell enough advertising for their “mobile billboards”. Moreover, the van panels will essentially be screens so that the adverts can be adapted to whatever area the electric van is driving through.
An even more interesting location-based concept for making some money back however, is UZE Mobility’s idea to sell data. Again, it is not the personal data of their users but data gathered by the electric vans of their surroundings. The start-up says local authorities have expressed interest in information such as the state of roads, i.e. pot holes or regular traffic jams already.
But there is more to the business model – should it turn out to be sustainable. UZE Mobility founder Alexander Jablovski declares: “Our goal are emission free cities by 2025. In this we will only succeed if we manage to motivate people to switch to electric vehicles.”
And, the plan is concrete. UZE Mobility say they will start their first trial this December in the Rhineland region. Customers will then be able to book one of 50 StreetScooter electric vans via app and free of charge. The technology for the digital key is blockchain-based.
The timing could not be any better. Just days ago, Bosch announced a cooperation with DIY store chain Toom. Together they will launch an electric van sharing also in December. They too will use StreetScooter vehicles but renting those will come at a cost. Users will have to pay a flat hourly rate that includes mileage and battery recharging.
It will be interesting to see which use case for electric van sharing will convince more customers, Goliath or David.
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The joint venture Olectra-BYD (previously Goldstone-BYD) hat signed a contract with the north Indian state of Uttarakhand to deliver 500 electric buses. The contract is valued at about 82 millions euros.
The joint venture by Olectra Greentech and BYD will manufacture the buses locally, specifically the models eBuzz K7, which is 9 metres in length, and the eBuzz K9, with a 12 metre length. They will each be capable of driving up to 250 km without stopping for charging. The deal was preceded by a one month test operation between Dehradun and Mussooriie, where the necessary charging infrastructure was installed in Dehradun.
In mid June, BYD and their Indian partner had announced their intention of reaching a production rate of 5,000 electric buses per year. Shortly before that, the joint venture had introduced their most recent electric bus model with the K6. In order to help support the mobility change, the joint venture also plans to begin construction of a series of their own charging stations along the stretches, on which their buses will be operating.
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The Israeli company SolarEdge Technologies has taken over large parts of the South Korean battery and energy storage specialist Kokam. The transaction sum is said to stand at 88 million dollars.
With the partial acquisition, SolarEdge is now in charge of about 75% of the Korean company. SolarEdge is planning on acquiring the rest of the shares via investment on the free market, which would make Kokam a full subsidiary of the Israeli company.
SolarEdge is planning to expand their product portfolio with the acquisition, particularly of already proven battery storage systems. Kokam was founded in 1989 and offers battery solutions for a variety of uses, including electrified vehicles and aircraft. At the start of the year, the Israeli startup Eviation Aircraft announced that they had signed an agreement with Kokam to provide batteries for their products.
SolarEdge last gained recognition at the MCE in Italy, where they introduced a power inverter with an integrated charger for EVs. They describe themselves as a specialist for intelligent energy solutions.
The Indian subsidiary for Honda is considering investing more than 1.2 billion dollars (863 million euros) to set up an affordable hybrid personal vehicle on the market in India, next to several new combustion models.
The part time BEV is supposed to break through to the mass market, unlike the 2016 introduced Honda Accord Hybrid, which was met with disappointingly low sales numbers, according to Gaku Nakanishi, president of Honda India.
The company plans to continue to build on hybrid models, even though the high taxes in India for the vehicles since last year’s introduction of the Goods and Services Tax decidedly hinders sales. Instead of the old tax rate of 28%, manufacturers of hybrid vehicles will have to pay 43% tax now. For fully electric vehicles, a tax rate of only 12% is currently running, to compare.
James Murdoch, the son of the media mogul Rupert Murdoch is currently being considered to replace Elon Musk as the Tesla chairman, and, according to the Financial Times, currently has the best chances of actually getting the job. Tesla CEO Musk was quick to deny the claim on twitter, though.
By the middle of November, Musk will have to announce a new independent chairman to follow his footsteps. So far, he had lead the company and the board by himself. The recent agreement with the Securities and Exchange Commission over a tweet which was considered to be misleading towards investors required him to step down from the position of chairman, while he will remain as CEO.
The report breaking the news cited two unnamed sources familiar with the ongoings. These two seem convinced that Murdoch, who is leaving behind his CEO post at his fathers company Twenty-First Century Fox, and independent Tesla board member since last year, will be taking over Musk’s post. Elon Musk was quick to deny the claims on twitter, however.
This is incorrect
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 10, 2018
At the same time, Musk and the SEC have submitted a draft agreement to a US judge to officially close the process. Next to the minimum of three years forced absence from the chairman position, the agreement also includes a monetary penalty of 20 million dollars and a future communications board to monitor Elon Musk’s Tesla-related communications, which “that reasonably could contain information material to the company or its shareholders, and
designation or employment of an experienced securities lawyer whose duties will include enforcement of those procedures.” Two new independent directors will also be added to the board.
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The British government has announced that the subsidy programme for EVs would be cut by 1,000 pounds starting next month, and that a number of plug-in hybrids would be cut from the subsidy programme “Plug-in Car Grant” (PICG). This measure had previously been announced.
The reason listed for the subsidy cuts are the tight budget, as well as the high demand for them. The new regulations will take hold as of the 9th of November.
Specifically, the subsidies for category 1 EVs with at least 70 miles (about 112 km) electric range and less than 50g of CO2 emissions per kilometre would be dropped from 4,500 pounds to 3,500 pounds (about 5,119 euros to 3,981 euros). Vehicles in the the categories 2 and 3, which have an electric range of less than 69 miles will no longer receive the subsidies. This means that most plug-in hybrids, with a typical electric range of around 50 km will no longer qualify for UK subsidies. Until now, the part-time electric vehicles received up to 2,500 pounds (2,844 euros) in public support.
The government added that the cuts currently would only affect the PICG subsidy programme, and would not have any impact on the separate programmes for electrified vans and motorcycles. In a statement, the transport ministry said the cuts were a reaction to falling prices for electrified vehicles, and would help the budget focus more on the cleanest vehicles currently available. “The PICG has helped the plug-in hybrid market become more established, and the government will now focus its support on zero emission models like pure electric and hydrogen fuel cell cars.”
The Plug-in Car Grant was introduced in 2011, and helped support the purchasing of more than 160,000 new vehicles. Currently, the budget for the 2018 – 2019 period stands at a total of 124 million pounds (about 141 million euros) and only has 96 million pounds (109 million euros) left over for the period from 2019 to 2020.
Motoring groups heavily criticized the cuts, stating that the lowering, as well as wholly cutting of the subsidies would undermine one of the few parts of the automobile market, which is currently growing healthily.
German race car driver Daniel Abt, known for his performance in the Formula E series, has set a new unofficial world record: He accelerated an electric car backwards to a speed of 210 km/h, leaving behind a Porsche, among others.
The previous record was held by the Nissan Leaf, which had also laid down a pretty impressive performance on the Goodwood hillclimb course, racing the entire stretch backwards in just over a minute and a half. This record was now beaten by the Schäffler-Audi concept S4eP, which managed to beat a Porsche on the race-track accelerating backwards.
What is most surprising about the win is not that an electric car can outperform a gasoline-powered one, but that the Porsche was driving forward – pitching the combustion motor backwards would be an unfair advantage for the EV, after all.
Toyota’s princely brand Lexus is making some noise for its conventional hybrid technology but rather than singing its praise over purely petrol-powered cars, they target plug-in hybrids and EVs. So, Lexus hybrids are “self-charging” and offer “infinite range” they say but fail to add that such range comes at a high price at the gas station and to the earth. Surely this will backfire.
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Renault has entered into a number of eMobility collaborations: Besides a three-point agreement with EDF on electric mobility and energy services, these include a cooperation with Total and Jedlix and Enel X. Furthermore, Renault now officially launched its EV sharing service Moov’in in Paris.
Together with French utility EDF, Renault wants so develop solutions in the field of smart charging and expand the concept of “smart islands” to non-interconnected French territories, among others. This partnership comes as EDF’s president Jean-Bernard Levy announced the plan to operate 75,000 charging stations in Europe by 2022 as it aims for a 30% market share in its main markets of France, Belgium, Italy and Great Britain.
A new agreement with Total and Jedlix sees the launch of a mobile app – the Z.E. Smart Charge app – in France in the first half of 2019. It shall be designed to optimise the charging of electric cars regarding the use of renewable energies and low electricity prices. Among others, the app financially rewards vehicle users the more flexible they are.
And third, Renault is also working with Enel X, subsidiary of Italien utility Enel, to exploit synergies and develop individual charging solutions. According to the French carmaker, the cooperation will initially focus on smart charging through Enel X’s JuiceNet platform in the form of a pilot study in Italy prior to release nationwide and other countries. The partnership shall also help to further expand charging infrastructure under EU projects like EVA+ and to facilitate access to existing charging points thanks to digital apps such as ZE Pass Renault.
Apart from that, Renault and ADA have officially kicked off their new EV sharing service Moov’in in Paris. The free-floating EV sharing service started with 100 Zoe. Until the end of October, the fleet shall grow to 200 Zoe and 20 Twizy, reaching 500 vehicles by the end of the year. Since the release of the according mobile app on September 28, more than 5,000 users have downloaded, according to Renault.
media.group.renault.com, media.group.renault.com (Moov’in)
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Hubject is cooperating with tech start-up ReCharge to enable EV drivers to access charging points in its network and to bill charging by simply plugging in the charging plug, thus, without having to use a RFID card or a smartphone app.
Hubject describes ReCharge as “a company whose mission is to enable in-vehicle, two-way communication and transactions with various services”. The young company, created in early 2018, promotes a solution that enables vehicles to interact with charging stations and soon even parking, toll roads and fast food restaurants, making it possible to autopay without a plastic card or mobile app. Aaron Fisher, CEO and co-founder of ReCharge says that making EV transportation easier would be their main priority.
In order to benefit from the system, it is necessary that automakers install the proprietary ReCharge technology on the vehicle. The partnership between Hubject and Re Charge will give EV drivers with appropriately equipped vehicles access to over 80,000 of Hubject’s global partner’s charging stations.
cleantechnica.com, hubject.com, recharge.ac
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Nissan teams up with EDF Energy, the UK-based subsidiary of French utility EDF, to explore secondary use of old EV batteries. The first joint project will focus on creating a business model to reuse recycled batteries of the Nissan Leaf into commercial storage systems.
This partnership comes as EDF’s president Jean-Bernard Levy announced the plan to operate 75,000 charging stations in Europe by 2022 as it aims for a 30% market share in its main markets of France, Belgium, Italy and Great Britain. With Nissan, the focus will be on making use of the 70 percent of original capacity that batteries still provide after having served in EVs. According to Nissan, their second life as part of a storage system could still last more than 10 years.
According to Beatrice Bigois, Director of Customers at EDF Energy, the transition to EVs provides huge opportunities for businesses and households, “which is why we are investing in the best technology and products to help consumers and business realise the associated benefits.” Francisco Carranza, Director of Energy Services at Nissan Europe says, “we believe electric cars are just the start, and our second life programme ensures batteries from our cars continue to provide energy storage capacity in other applications – in houses, businesses, football stadiums even – long after their life in cars.”
At its home market in Japan, Nissan is meanwhile partnering with several companies – among them Tepco – to create virtual power plants, combining batteries from electric cars, homes and offices. According to Nikkei, Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry aims to have systems capable of handling around 50 MW – equivalent to around 15,000 households – as of fiscal 2020.
greencarcongress.com, newsroom.nissan-europe.com, asia.nikkei.com (Japan)
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The preparations for Teslas Gigafactory in China are apparently progressing. As Bloomberg reports, Tesla is about to buy land for the factory for 145 million US dollars. A decision by the Shanghai city government to allocate the land to Tesla could already be made this month.
According to the article, Tesla is the sole bidder for the land. However, neither the carmaker nor the Shanghai authorities are commenting on the subject. In July, Tesla signed a preliminary agreement to build the factory – known as Gigafactory 3 – near Shanghai, capable of producing 500,000 EVs locally and preventing the company to pay further import duties as high as 40 percent.
The investment is likely to reach 5 bn US dollars, whereby Tesla intends to raise a part of that sum from local partners, Bloomberg reports. In order to reach a production output of 250,000 units per year, 2 bn US dollars could be enough for the beginning, according to a statement that Tesla CEO Elon Musk did in early August. Production kick-off is scheduled for mid-2020, involving EVs as well as batteries.
Meanwhile, Musk also provides news about the Gigafactory 1 in the US state of Nevada: At a meeting with Brian Sandoval, the governor of Nevada, he revealed that around 7,000 people are currently working in the factory and that Tesla is planning to employ more than 20,000 people in the long term. That’s the reason why apartments are also to be built on the factory site.
bloomberg.com, electrek.co, teslarati.com (both Gigafactory 1)
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Chinese EV start-up Byton, led by former BMW-i manager Carsten Breitfeld, takes over FAW subsidiary Huali (Tijian) Automobile and thereby secures a production license for serial production of electric cars in China. Byton had already closed an investment agreement with FAW in summer.
Huali, a manufacturer of compact sedans and microvans, has struggled with loses in the last years and lately was barely capable of paying its employees. The transfer’s price is a symbolic 1 yuan, however, Byton will take over Huali’s debt, totalling 800 million yuan, gaining something in return that is very precious in China: a production license for electric cars.
As reported, the Chinese government has strictly limited the release of new licenses for vehicle production to prevent excessive manufacturing. Newcomer on the market basically just have two options: acquiring an existing carmaker or contract manufacturing to an existing manufacturer. Byton opted now for the first option.
It is not Byton’s first contact with state-owned manufacturer FAW: Earlier this year, FAW agreed to invest around 260 US dollars in Byton. Both companies also signed a strategic framework agreement to cooperate fields such as capital, technology platform, automotive parts sourcing, production qualification and after-sales service. When it comes to EVs, FAW considers to share and integrate its architecture with Byton’s platform to jointly develop next-gen electric vehicles.
Byton’s first EV is an electric SUV called M-Byte. It will roll off the lines in Byton’s production facility in Nanjing, China, and is supposed to be available in the People’s Republic by 2019. Market launch in Europe and the States is scheduled for 2020. Moreover, the SUV’s platform shall serve as a basis for an upcoming sedan and a mini van. The sedan called K-Byte has been unveiled at the CES Asia in Shanghai in June, but technical details have not been mentioned yet.
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Following its electric off-road vehicle B1, the US company Bollinger Motors now presents the B2 – a fully electric pickup truck with an open loading area. It shares many components with the B1, including the twin-engine all-wheel drive coupled with a 120 kWh battery.
Like the B1, the new model is said to reach an EPA range of at least 200 miles (approximately 322 km). Further tech specs include a power output of 520 hp (388 kW) and a torque of almost 700 Nm. Maximum speed of the B2 is at 100 mph (160 km/h), while acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h takes 6.5 seconds. The payload capacity is supposed to be 2,270 kg, the towing ability up to 3,400 kg.
New is that Bollinger switches the charging standard from CHAdeMO to CCS for both, B2 and B1. According to the manufacturer, Level 2 charging takes 10 hours while DC fast-charging with CCS is done in 75 minutes.
While the B1 was presented last year and is said to enter production by late 2019, the B2 is to follow shortly after: Bollinger announced that order books shall open in 2019 with production kick-off to follow in 2020. Pricing for both models has not yet been revealed.
carscoops.com, electrek.co, insideevs.com, bollingermotors.com
BMW is pushing ahead with its electrical plans in China. First, the carmaker takes over the majority of the joint venture with local car manufacturer Brilliance, second, the joint venture announced that it would invest over 3 bn euros in new and existing plant structures in Shenyang.
The German carmaker invests 3.6 bn euros in order to increase its share in the joint venture from 50 to 75 percent and thus, to take the control. That’s not a self-evident fact as the Chinese government relaxed joint venture requirement for foreign car manufacturers just recently. However, BMW says, the deal to take over the majority will not close until 2022, when the new JV rules in China come into force.
In the meantime, the JV plans to expand and modernise its plant structures in Shenyang. Among others, a new facility will arise, doubling the capacity of the JV’s site in Tiexi. It will incorporate a single production line being able to build vehicles with fully electric, partially electric and conventional drivetrains. “With our highly flexible production system, we can respond quickly to market demand and would be able to ramp up production of electric vehicles to 100 percent of our output”, says Oliver Zipse, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG.
The neighbouring plant in Dadong will see gradual expansion for future model variants and the expected market growth. All in all, the annual production capacity at the BBA plants will increase from almost 400,000 vehicles in 2017 to 650,000 units from the early 2020s, according to BMW.
Currently, six electrified models of the BMW Group are available in China. In Tiexi, the BMW X1’s plug-in hybrid is rolling off the lines, in Dadong, this is the case for the BMW 5 Series PHEV. From 2020, the fully-electric BMW iX3 will also be manufactured in Dadong – its sole production location – and be exported to markets worldwide.
In addition to its two existing vehicle plants, BBA opened its own battery factory in Tiexi a year ago. Since May, an expansion of this battery factory is already on the way. In the near future, it shall provide next-gen batteries for the BMW iX3.
The joint venture of BMW and Brilliance exists already 15 years. In the context of this anniversary, both partners agreed on the early extension of the joint venture contract and the further deepening of the collaboration. According to BMW, the extended contract is valid for 22 more years: from 2018 to 2040.
bloombergquint.com, bbc.com, press.bmwgroup.com
French energy giant EDF intends to operate 75,000 charging stations in Europe by 2022 as it aims for a 30% market share in its main markets of France, Belgium, Italy and the UK. “We want to become the uncontested leader in electric mobility in Europe by 2022”, declares CEO Jean-Bernard Levy.
Today, EDF is providing 5,000 charging stations via its Sodetrel unit in France and gives access to 60,000 charging points in Europe. In the next four years, the state-dominated utility intends to heavily invest in order to install up to 75.000 stations and provide access to 250.000 terminals. However, in his interview with “Reuters”, Levy did not specify any investment sum or objective in terms of revenue, but said that EDF is cooperating with specialised partners such as California-based Nuvve and Germany’s Ubitricity as well as research partners such as Renault, Toyota and Valeo.
Looking at Sodetrel, the unit disclosed last year, that it had seen annual revenue growth of 50 percent over the past three years. According to the article, it is operating charging infrastructure networks in Paris, Marseille, Grenoble and northern regions of the country as well as for car park operator Indigo, Ikea, Auchan, ADP, etc.
In its above mentioned core European markets, EDF expects EVs to account for 30 percent of all new cars sold by 2030, the latest by 2035. Before turning now to charging infrastructure, the company recently announced already huge investments into the solar power and power storage businesses.
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Shortly after the emission fraud had come to haunt them in late 2015, Volkswagen technicians wanted to look into e-mobility and arrived well, at Tesla. Only when they reached the VW testing ground in their Californian car, they were surprised.
The curious VW technicians found their Tesla electric vehicle shutting down all by itself. The only sign of life left was a flashing display showing only a single word: diesel-gate.
Tesla technicians must have followed the way of the electric car or probably got suspicious when they received the order from Wolfsburg. The message could have hardly been any clearer.
The incident was reported as part of a portrait of Elon Musk in Spiegel magazine. Thanks to Veit Medick for tweeting it.
— Veit Medick (@vmedick) October 10, 2018
Disruption can be so much fun at times.
spiegel.de (original source in German, paywall)
The Israeli Minister for Energy, Yuval Steinitz, has outlines his plan to phase-out all fossil-fuel powered vehicles by 2030. He had hinted as much previously but now included commercial vehicles in his masterplan.
The Minister told Reuters’ that the government of Israel will aim to create a “critical mass” of electric cars to start with and move to full independence from fossil fuels from there. He scheduled the tipping point to come around 2025, when there will be about 177,000 electric cars on the road in Israel if all goes to plan of the ministry. Today there are just a few dozen.
Steinitz had presented his strategy for oil independence earlier this year, then saying that Israel would “intend to reach a situation in which Israel’s industry will be [sic!] natural gas, and most important, transportation in Israel will be based on natural gas or electricity”.
Today he added that “from 2030 we won’t allow anymore the import of diesel or gasoline cars to Israel”.
And he further clarified said transportation policy to not only include electric cars but buses and trucks powered by electricity and natural gas as well. Israel discovered huge deposits of natural gas some time ago and has started converting its power stations accordingly in recent years.
The government is also set to call for bids to four tenders this month for a total of 2,560 charging stations to be set up across Israel. The contracts are worth a total of 25 million shekels (about 6 million euros) reportedly. In addition, electric buses have taken up service in Haifa recently and BYD says they are part of a wider push for electric public transport (we reported).
The government of Israel is expected to approve the latest plan to phase out fossil fuels in favour of zero emission cars by the end of the year.
E.On is introducing the IT platform of service provider Virta of Finland as a digital backbone of the utility’s network in Europe. The cloud solution is to manage peaks and prices while increasing usability for E.On clients.
Smart charging is the new buzzword and E.On has turned to Finnish Virta for support. The latter’s platform is a cloud-based solution said to “optimise the energy flow behind the charging stations”. This means it helps to balance the grid at peak times and to manage cost for the end users.
Interestingly enough, the solution is customer facing and enables hoteliers or other providers of semi-public charging like supermarkets to set individual charging prices for their charging stations for instance. The platform also allows to equip home chargers with a billing system and identify them as public charging points.
The new E.On electric car charging solutions using Virta have already been launched in Sweden, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Great Britain and Romania. By the end of the year, operations will start in Hungary, Italy, Denmark, Germany and Norway as well.