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Uber offering money to drivers to switch to electric cars - Sat, 06/23/2018 - 19:02

Uber has launched their own EV subsidy scheme. They will pay drivers in the US an extra dollar per ride if they are driving an electric car. The pilot will run for a year in seven cities but is part of a larger effort to encourage EV adoption.

“We see the writing on the wall,” Uber’s head of sustainability, Adam Gromis said on the launch of the scheme so this might be seen as an attempt at appeasement by the company. Uber had run into bans and trouble lately, particularly when launching in Europe but have since been “greening” their service with initiatives such as UberGreen.

The latest effort dubbed EV Champions Initiative though is to directly encourage EV adoption and in the gig economy this means, drivers need to be persuaded to buy electric cars themselves.

As an incentive, Uber will pay those driving an electric car at least one extra dollar per ride for a year and the goal is to facilitate at least 5 million trips over the next 12 months.

Moreover, Uber is adding features to its app for electric car drivers such as a 30 minute trip notification so EV drivers can see if they have enough range left before they pick up a rider.

As with UberGreen, the pilot is restricted to certain cities, in this case Austin, Los Angeles, Montreal, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, and Seattle. Uber has been running pilots in Pittsburgh and Portland previously though.

Furthermore Uber is cooperating with nonprofits, EV advocates and UC-Davis researchers on the programme and will also roll-out an education campaign, informing on state incentives and other EV benefits.

Cash incentives will vary from city to city depending on the local partners. In Sacramento, for example, the local utility, SMUD, is adding $1.25 which Uber will round up to $1.50 for every trip completed in an electric vehicles. Drivers will also charge free on SMUD’s DC fast charging network.

In San Diego and San Francisco, Uber plans to pay drivers of PHEV and BEV vehicles a dollar per trip but there will be a maximum payout of $20 per week. EV charging stations will also be installed in the coming weeks at Uber’s San Diego Greenlight Hub.

There were around 4 million trips by Uber drivers in electric cars in North America in 2017, the company claims so the 5 million mark should be well within reach.,

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Italy: Nissan installs EV ecosystem on Sicily - Sat, 06/23/2018 - 18:26

Nissan and Coca Cola bottler Sibeg agreed to install a whole ecosystem of electric cars and charging infrastructure in Sicily. Phase 2 of their ‘Green Mobility Project’ includes 110 new Nissan Leaf and 8 new fast charging stops.

The arrival of the new generation of Nissan Leaf cars in Sicily is taking the project that has been going since 2015 to the next stage. They renew the fleet of electric cars that had been available to Sibeg employees while adding to the charging network in the region.

For Nissan it is another example of their Intelligent Mobility strategy and makes a use case for corporate mobility. Also Sibeg is no stranger to electric driving and engages in cooperation with ADL as well as the utility Enel.

The eight new DC charging stations that are part of the Green Mobility Project, will in fact add to an existing network of 60 charge stops that Sibeg and Enel maintain in Sicily. Seven of those existing ones are fast-charging. Compare this to the beginning of the project, when there were only three charging stations installed in the region, claims Nissan.

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Paris terminates electric car sharing contract with Bolloré - Sat, 06/23/2018 - 17:42

The pioneering electric car sharing Autolib has hit the end of the road in Paris as the city terminates their contract with Bolloré 5 years early. Officials in the French capital now refused to take the latest budget downfall.

Paris is Bolloré’s birthplace so the end of the trailblazing electric car sharing scheme is significant. The city had held the contract with the company through a syndicate that manages the scheme for about 100 municipalities in the region.

Local councillors for the Syndicat Autolib’ Vélib’ Métropole (SAVM) now refused a request by Bollore to contribute 233 million euros toward its budget shortfall that is headed into the deeper red. Estimates suggest cumulated losses of 293 million euros expected by 2023, the year that would have been the official end of the contract.

Autolib had gotten into financial difficulty for a number of reasons. Complaints about the cleanliness of the cars likely added to the number of users turning to alternative services such as the coming of Uber for example.

Bollore said in a statement it would dispute the contract termination in court. Reuters quoted Gilles Alix, head of Autolib’ SAS, saying: “Don’t believe the syndicat’s poppycock, we will go to the administrative tribunal and we will obtain a lot of money, that is how this will end”.

While this remains to be seen, the end of the contract had been foreseen and reports already suggested that talks were underway with other carmakers, who have stated an interest in replacing Autolib in Paris, including Renault, PSA, BMW and Daimler. Furthermore, Mayor Anne Hidalgo is considering to introduce a free-floating-sharing concept instead.

Launched in 2011, Autolib has 150,000 active users in Paris. It is not yet clear what will become of them and the service in future.

Moreover, it appears the bike sharing service Vélib has run into trouble as well after a change in ownership led to major problems with availability of the bikes in Paris. Numerous competitors have since taken to town, the latest being Lime. The Californian startup launched a fleet of electric kick scooters just this week reportedly.

It is unclear whether this will be Bolloré’s only downfall. The French are trying to set up electric car clubs in other cities as well but had repeatedly run into trouble. In London their BluePoint service is growing slowly if at all for example.

At least in Singapore, Bolloré subsidiary BlueSG appears to be making progress with Bolloré’s flash-charging shuttle based on the BlueTram. The project is mostly a testbed for supercaps though not unlike Bolloré electric cars always having been a showcase for the firms battery technology. For now it looks as if they may hold a few lessons for electric car sharing schemes, one being that sharing needs caring. (Autolib), (Vélib)

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Norway: Fortum doubles price of fast-charging - Sat, 06/23/2018 - 17:05

Infrastructure provider Fortum has raised prices for fast-charging at its stations by 60 percent in Norway. For now the price hike affects 35 charging stations were the price per minute of charging increased from 2.50 to 4 Kronen. Fortum claims deficits.

The move however, effectively makes fast-charging more costly than fuel, according to a report in Norwegian media.

Fortum says they had to increase prices because their fast-charging businesses is showing deficits. Apparently their charging stations are not being used often enough and they have to bear high cost for maintaining the network on top. (in Norwegian)

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eHighway pilot under construction on the Autobahn - Sat, 06/23/2018 - 15:50

Works have started on one of three eHighway projects in Germany. Led by Siemens, the track along the A1 motorway will enable hybrid trucks to charge while in motion via overhead wire. The pilot set to start in mid-2019 will receive power from renewable energy sources.

The latest eHighway is funded through the German government. The current stretch of the A1, officially dubbed field trial FESH, is in the North of Germany. On this part, Siemens has teamed up with SPL Powerlines who will install the overhead wires.

The hybrid trucks for the eHighway come from Volkswagen’s Scania. They will be run by haulage company Spedition Bode between their logistics centre Reinfeld and the port of Lübeck.

All eHighway pilot projects will last a few years in order to gather data. Another stretch has been completed in Hesse at the end of last year reportedly and a third test track will be located in Baden-Wuerttemberg.

The German eHighways are not the first though. Siemens had exported their trials to California for example, where Mack fitted its truck to connect to the overhead wire spanning a highway in LA (we reported).

The world’s very first eHighway runs on a motorway near Stockholm, where Scania has been running two hybrid trucks since.

In Sweden you can find the eRoadArlanda as well that charges electric trucks in motion via rail. Here this works like an upside-down tram however, rather than with a cantenary as is the case for Siemens. This means “the technology as such (compared to overhead charging), can be used for both passenger cars, trucks and buses if you provide them with an eRoad-connector under the vehicle,” informs us Hans Säll from eRoadArlanda.

While Siemens had conceived the concept as early as 2012, an electric highway in India is of the country’s own making. The government in Delhi is even considering to reserve one lane on each and every national highway for charging electric vehicles in motion (we reported). (in German)

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Norway: Hyundai Kona EV sales hit double the year’s target - Sat, 06/23/2018 - 15:18

Hyundai’s all-electric model Kona is hotly expected. In Norway where reservations opened first, Hyundai has sold 4,400 Kona Electric already – more than double the number of EVs they had expected to sell in a whole year.

Hyundai had only projected 2,000 units to sell during the whole first year, now they sold 4,400 in only a month already. Once more it goes to show that the electric car market is lacking supply rather than demand from consumers.  Reports from earlier this year claimed exceptionally long wait times for plug-in cars from almost all carmakers.

The 4,400 Hyundai Kona Electric have been ordered since the Koreans launched their EV in Norway (we reported). The strong demand could also be down to an attractive price of 325,000 Kronen (about 34,000 euros) and electric vehicles also being exempt from VAT. Furthermore, Hyundai had prominently positioned the winter testing of the Kona electric car to attract buyers living near the arctic circle.

Deliveries of the Hyundai Kona Electric will begin in July in Norway. Other markets are Germany and France as well as Hyundai’s home market, South Korea.

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US-China trade war to hit e-bike market with price surge - Sat, 06/23/2018 - 14:46

Trump could be responsible for hitting U.S. sales of electric bikes hard as pedelecs from China are included in a list of goods proposed for a 25% import tariff hike. This would drive prices up a couple of hundred dollars, potentially stifling a strong-going industry.

Particularly importers of electric bikes made in China such as Trek, Giant, Raleigh Electric, Pedego and other brands would be affected. A 25 percent import tariff would effectively rise prices hundreds of dollars, leading to a competitive disadvantage.

Almost ironically, this would likely hit companies that assemble their electric bikes in the States but buy most their components such as frames but also electric drives in China.

On the other hand, this would also affect electric bikes sold into China although their number is marginal when compared to the number of bike imports from the People’s Republic.

While the Trump administration has been acting aggressively and released a list with 284 product codes set for the tariff hike, China had last shown restraint and even forthcoming, when lowering import tariffs for private vehicles from 25 to 15 percent (we reported).

The proposed list has to go through a public comment process that could take several months before the U.S. Trade Representative decides whether each product code should be subject to the tariff.

The bicycle industry is working to oppose the measure and to exclude electric bikes from that tariff list.,

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India to focus EV subsidies on ride sharing electric cars - Sat, 06/23/2018 - 14:17

The Indian government has been rethinking their FAME scheme designed to increase electric mobility. The new draft will channel funds away from grants for buying private electric cars and into EVs used by drivers working for shared mobility services such as Ola and Uber.

The reasoning behind the move is that those cars will be driven much more and thus are a more effective measure to decrease air pollution levels, particularly because so far there has been no substantial uptake of existing subsidies. Grants for electric two-wheelers and buses will remain untouched.

Sources quoted by the Times of India had said, that India’s government seeks to withdraw the cash incentives for private electric cars because it neither makes a “substantial difference in promoting sales nor serves the purpose of a clean environment”.

The belief in Delhi is that electric vehicles used by ride sharing services such as Ola and Uber “will run much more than private cars”.

The relaunch of India’s FAME (faster adoption and manufacturing of hybrid and electric vehicles) scheme is imminent.

While the inaugural FAME scheme had a budget of under Rs 1,000 crore, the ministry has proposed to raise it to over Rs 9,000 crore in the second phase. The money however, is to be well spent. Says an official in Delhi: “The real utility of electric vehicles is in public transport. How much are the private cars driven?” Or put differently: India rides with Ola.

India’s equivalent to Uber, Ola, is indeed pushing to electrify its fleet and will welcome this latest initiative. They aim to put up to 1 million electric vehicles on the road in India and have already established a dedicated electric mobility subsidiary called Ola Electric Mobility. They offer leasing services for electric cars and other LEVs to their drivers.

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Daimler appoints sales wizz Katrin Adt as Smart CEO - Sat, 06/23/2018 - 13:22

Daimler has appointed Katrin Adt to lead the Smart brand into its electric future as she will succeed Annette Winkler this September. Like Winkler, Adt is a Daimler veteran and has held leading positions since 1999. Her challenge will be to reverse the trend of falling sales during the time of transition.

Smart’s decision to turn into an all-electric brand in all markets had been taken first in the US market. While this move is likely to make them future-safe and to position them firmly within Daimler’s EQ network, it has led to falling or stagnating sales in the short-term, i.e. sales of the Fortwo ED has fallen from 115,900 in 2009, to 95,000 in 2017. However, it was Winkler who had led Smart to become more profitable overall.

In Europe, Daimler will flick the switch to run smart fully electrically in 2020 (we reported). Moreover their Hambach facility is already preparing to become a hub of electric car production within the wider Daimler EQ network and the Hambach factory has been producing the electric Smart Fortwo for some time now (we reported).

For Katrin Adt as successor to Annette Winkler her new role will be not only steer the transition but to increase sales. Britta Seeger, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler for Mercedes-Benz Cars Sales points out: “Katrin Adt has years of international experience. With her experience in various management positions in sales and marketing and the companywide management culture initiative Leadership 2020, she will steer smart into a successful future.”

The decision to let go of the reins at Smart had been an amicable one with Winkler saying “one of the key responsibilities of every executive is to pass on leading positions to the next generation at the right time” reportedly.

Winkler will step down from her position as head of smart after eight years on September 30, 2018. She will join the Supervisory Board of Mercedes-Benz South Africa as of January 1, 2019.,

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VW & FAW to double electric car production facility - Sat, 06/23/2018 - 12:46

Volkswagen and its joint venture partner FAW are pressing to double their production facility in China. Their electric car production site in Foshan is currently churning out 300,000 EVs a year but it to grow into a “mega factory” with an annual capacity for over half a million units.

Volkswagen and FAW doubling their effort is part of their electrification strategy, Roadmap E. Says Prof. Dr. Jochem Heizmann, who heads Volkswagen Group China: “We are creating a leading edge infrastructure to further activate our broad SUV offensive and our e-Mobility strategy ‘Roadmap E.”

Once phase II of the extension will be completed, the Foshan production site’s capacity will double from 300,000 to 600,000 cars annually. For now vehicles made there utilise the MQB platform and will soon be electrified.

By 2020, the MEB architecture will be introduced, alongside the production of battery systems, which will also be located in Foshan. Models by both Audi and Volkswagen for the Chinese new energy vehicle market will then be made there.

The Foshan plant is part of a trifold push to produce (electric) cars in China together with FAW. The first factory in Qingdao was opened in May and after Foshan, Tianjin will follow in August (we reported).

The Roadmap E strategy lays out the release of 40 new locally produced NEVs in the next 7 years in China. Globally, VW prepares to deliver up to 1.5 million electric vehicles annually by 2025 that are to be produced at 16 locations around the globe reportedly. Currently VW is using three locations for the production of BEVs, and foresees to open another 9 electric car making facilities within the next two years.

Volkswagen’s electrification strategy in China is driven by toughened regulation and they are not the only one to follow suit. Transport & Environment has analysed investments of European carmakers and found that they spend 7 times more on electric car production in China than they do at home. Those numbers might be worth bearing in mind ahead of EU ministers meeting in Brussels on June, 25 to discuss the EU Commissions proposal for emission regulations that has failed so far to introduce an electric car sales quota.,

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Germany: First Fastned High Power Charging station live - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 03:00

Fastned opens their first ultra-fast charging in Germany today. Located on the A3 motorway, the site serves electric car drivers with charging powers of up to 350 kW. It is the first of 25 such stations the Dutch will install across the country with hundreds more planned across Europe.

Fastned was quick to secure funding from the German government that allocated 4.1 million euros. Enough for the Dutch company to install 25 charging stations with no less than 17 scheduled to be ready this year.

The first such location in Germany features two such HPC points with one ChaDeMo and CCS connection each. For now, their charging power is limited to 175 kW but Fastned says they are configured to deliver 350 kW with some minor changes needed once the first such electric vehicles will get on the road. Another classic multi-standard charger joins the bunch at the A3 motorway close to Limburg.

In general, Fastned uses a modular design for their charging stations, so that the company may add high power charging points as required. While the German location has two installed for now, it is ready to be expanded to up to 8. Another stopp located at “De Watering” in the Netherlands however, only includes two stops but both are ready for HPC at 350 kW.

The latest station also features Fastned’s Autocharge function that is to make any fob or charge card redundant in future. Instead the charging station recognises the vehicle once registered with Fastned and automatically starts charging via CCS.

Overall, Fastned aims to install a network of 1,000 charging locations across Europe. To date, the Dutch company operates 73 charging sites in the Netherlands. Apart from Germany that is to become one of their main markets, Fastned is preparing to enter the UK reportedly as well as Belgium to install a few hundred high power charging stations there as well.

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UPS launches custom-made cargo e-bikes - Thu, 06/21/2018 - 17:22

34 new cargo pedelecs have joined the European fleet of logistics giant UPS. The bikes were specifically developed for the carrier together with Rytle. After initial testing in Germany, the cargo e-bikes are now coming to France, Belgium and the Netherlands.

In total, the UPS fleet will grow by 34 electric cargo bikes. 23 have been deployed in the German cities of Hamburg, Stuttgart and Munich. The remaining eleven are on their way to relieve post men and women in Belgium, France and the Netherlands.

UPS had developed the pedelecs together with Rytle and their Box Movr includes a 1.7 cubic metre box that enables faster and easier loading as it can be removed.

The bikes can take a load of up to 350 kilos. The motor is at a standard 250 Watt but delivers a peak of 1,000 Watt when the drivers starts pedalling in order to get the heavy cargo pedelecs into motion. (in German)

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EU carmakers spend 7x more on EV production in China than at home - Thu, 06/21/2018 - 16:43

Transport & Environment has analysed investments of European carmakers and found that they spend 7 times more on electric car production in China than they do at home. This is down to failed EU policies, T&E suggests.

According to public announcements by European carmakers that the environmental organisation compiled, China has secured 21.7 billion euros of investment in the past year to manufacture electric vehicles while Europe secured only €3.2 billion.

Market size cannot explain the difference as the disparity is too large. China produces a third more cars than Europe does (23.5 million passenger cars manufactured in 2017 versus 17 million in Europe).

Instead T&E concludes it is “China’s ambitious mandate” or EV sales quota that requires carmakers to produce electric vehicles in the country that pushes those investments. And it is a policy that Europe lacks.

While the European Commission proposed new car CO2 reduction targets of 15% and 30% in 2025 and 2030 respectively, it fell short of any effective sales target for zero-emission vehicles. EU environment ministers meet on June, 25 again to discuss the ambition of the proposal with many countries expected to push for a strengthening of it.

For Julia Poliscanova, clean vehicles manager of Transport & Environment, this means: “The EU ministers have two choices: either we set an EV sales target to keep auto jobs at home, or allow European carmakers to go on selling dirty diesels here while investing the earnings into EV production abroad and importing back made-in-China electric cars.”

Indeed Volkswagen, Daimler and Renault-Nissan are racing to invest in Chinese EV production. Volkswagen Group aims to increase EV sales to 1.5 million globally by 2025 and will launch 7 PEV with FAW in China. Nissan has pledged €8 billion as part of a joint venture with Renault and Dongfeng and Daimler teamed up with China’s BAIC in a venture worth €1.6 billion to expand the production of Mercedes-Benz EVs to a new facility in Beijing.

Europe, it appears is still waiting for its electric car mandate.

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Daimler reforms coal plant into EV battery storage unit - Thu, 06/21/2018 - 16:04

Daimler subsidiary Mercedes-Benz Energy has turned a coal power plant into an energy storage facility. It holds close to 2,000 electric car batteries for a combined capacity of near 10 MWh available to the energy market. On top, these batteries may also return to power new smart electric vehicles.

So while the batteries serves as stationery energy storage, they are also stored and kept as replacement parts for the third generation of electric smart cars. It is this somewhat third-life for batteries that makes this facility unique and why Mercedes deems their setup a “win-win” for the energy turnaround (Energiewende).

The facility is an old coal power plant in the town of Elverlingsen and now houses a total of 1,920 battery modules, forming what Daimler calls their “live replacement parts store” for the fleet of third generation electric smarts. The stored battery modules are sufficient for at least 600 electric vehicles.

First though, the facility with an installed power output of 8.96 MW and energy capacity of 9.8 MWh, is available to the energy market. Its modular design enables the system to continuously and automatically stabilise the power grid with balancing power for example.

In return, storing batteries in this way keeps them fit to become a replacement as a battery needs regular cycling during the storage period, that is deliberate charging and discharging. This prevents exhaustive discharge which can lead to a battery defect.

Daimler has been looking to enter the energy market and therefore set up Mercedes-Benz Energy. This latest project had them join forces with The Mobility House and Getec to launch their energy storage unit.,

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USA: 9 states release plan to boost electric vehicles - Thu, 06/21/2018 - 15:42

In a Trump-defying move, 9 states of America with California in the lead have released an action plan to boost electric vehicle sales. The plan lists 80 steps that the industry, utilities, state officials and infrastructure companies should take until 2021.

The steps as such include initiatives to increase awareness, on testing events for example as well as the installation of infrastructure and the continuation of offering electric cars at all.

Their most important call however, is that they ask this regardless whether the Environmental Protection Agency lowers fuel-efficiency standards as expected.

In addition to California, signees include the mostly Northeast states of Oregon, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. Together they make up one-third of the U.S. car market.

Their call comes after the dispute over the Trump administration trying to lower “Obama” emission standards had become more heated. While the current legislation allows for states to impose higher standards than are federally mandated, this had been questioned. As a consequence, California and 17 other states, including all of those on the action plan, sued the Trump administration last month for weakening the Obama fuel-efficiency rules.

This move as well as the new plan has been welcomed by carmakers, especially as they have already invested in electric car technology and intend to continue to stay on that path.,

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Solaris readies fuel cell electric bus for 2019 - Thu, 06/21/2018 - 15:21

Poland’s prolific busmaker Solaris will present their first hydrogen bus next year. The fuel cell electric vehicle is based on their Urbino series but with a longer range of up to 350 km on one fill. A traction battery is to support the bus at peak times.

Solaris has been working on extending their portfolio to finally include the last missing zero emission technology. In fact, their hydrogen Urbino not only built on their existing model but on a prototype with fuel cells that had been testing in Hamburg since 2014. There, the fuel cells serve as range extender.

In the upcoming model however, the hydrogen drive is to take centre stage. The driveline of the Solaris Urbino 12 hydrogen will get its power from two 60 kW fuel cells powered from hydrogen stored in a tank on the roof. It is enough for a range of more than 350 km (217 miles), says Solaris.

Additionally the bus will feature a traction battery of 29.2 kWh to support the fuel cell when the demand for energy is highest. In turn, the fuel cell will also recharge the battery although it may also be plugged into a charging outlet just as any conventional electric bus.

An axle with dual integrated electric motors, with a nominal power of 60 kW each, will constitute the drive unit. The twelve-meter bus will be able to carry up to 80 passengers.

Both fuel-cell-fitted Solaris Urbino buses delivered to Hamburg in 2014 still cover bus route 109 on a regular basis. Additionally, the Polish bus producer supplied the first trolleybus with fuel cells to Riga last year and ten such hydrogen vehicles will drive across the capital of Latvia in total before the year’s end.

The all-hydrogen Urbino by Solaris is slated for launch in 2019.

Meanwhile, Toyota has already launched their fuel cell bus, the SORA in Japan.

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Lime to launch electric kick-scooter fleet in Paris (video) - Thu, 06/21/2018 - 14:51

California’s two-wheeler sharing export Lime is coming to Paris, where they will launch a free floating fleet of electric kick-scooters on June, 22. Not only are those little last-mile LEVs easy to ride but a base price of 1 euro promises some good fun.

Lime has been rolling out different services in Europe since starting their (electric) bicycle sharing business in the USA. For their latest advance into Paris, the startup chose their offer with the easiest access – anybody knows how to drive a kick-scooter.

The Lime-S fleet will cost Parisians or tourists a minimum 1 euro to begin a ride and Lime says there will be “hundreds” to start with. Know though that every minute thereafter cost 0.15 euro so that a half an hour ride adds up to almost 5 euros. The electric scooters can be left anywhere to be located and booked via the Lime app.

It is the first time that those “trottinettes électriques” can be rented in France and their Paris debut follows the successful launch of 150 Lime-S electric scooters in Zurich, Switzerland last week.

Lime also runs their service in Berlin although there they offer electric bicycles, the LimeBikes only. Electric kick-scooters such as the one in Paris are regulated by German law.

For Paris, Lime may come as a relief. Whilst the French capital was a pioneer in sharing schemes such as Vélib for bicycles or Bolloré’s electric car sharing AutoLib, both services have practically ground to a halt due to problems with the operators.

Last we reported, the Paris Autolib Velib Metropole syndicate led by Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, would consider ending the contract with the Bolloré due to budget shortfalls and operational problems with the electric car hire scheme.

Lime on the other hand says their local Paris team has worked “hand in hand with city officials, including the transportation deputy’s office,” to make sure their electric kick-scooter sharing would, well, kick in immediately.,

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VW secures solid-state technology from QuantumScape - Thu, 06/21/2018 - 13:43

Volkswagen has advanced to the largest shareholder of Stanford-spinoff Quantumscape as the German corporation invests 100 million dollars. Forming a new joint venture with the solid-state experts, VW hopes to secure their grip on the new battery technology first.

The transaction is still subject to approval but everything suggests that Volkswagen will indeed become the largest partner of QuantumScape, a startup for solid-state batteries that VW had been working with since 2012.

On increasing their share, Dr. Axel Heinrich, Head of VW Group Research, who will take a seat on the board of directors of QuantumScape, says: “We want to accelerate the commercialization of QuantumScape’s solid-state batteries. And we combine forces to leverage Volkswagen’s experience as a production specialist and QuantumScape technology leadership.”

But the cooperation will deepen on another level as Quantumscape and Volkswagen form a new joint venture with the aim to enable scaling up the production of solid-state batteries. One of the long-term targets is to establish a production line for solid-state batteries by 2025.

Founded in 2010, QuantumScape is headquartered in California and holds about 200 patents and patent applications for solid-state battery technology.

Volkswagen sees the future of electric cars in their technology. For example, a solid-state battery would increase the range of the E-Golf to approximately 750 kilometres compared with the present 300 km. While advances have been slow, Volkswagen says they successfully tested QuantumScape early-stage solid-state battery sample cells in Germany running at automotive rates of power—an industry first.

Also in Japan, carmakers are rushing to commercialise solid-state batteries reportedly. Toyota, Nissan and Honda just joined forces with Panasonic to work on solid-state batteries for electric cars in a consortium that includes 23 firms in total. They aim to commercialise solid-state batteries in the early 2020ies. Clearly, the race for the next generation of battery technology is on.

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Volvo presents brand new S60 with two PHEV options - Thu, 06/21/2018 - 13:23

Volvo has taken the wraps off the long expected S60 series that marks the end of diesel or better, the beginning of the electrified era at the Swedish carmaker as the S60 comes in two plug-in hybrid variants. And it is another first as the car is made entirely in Volvo’s new U.S. factory.

The Volvo facility in Charleston, South Carolina is the first outlet for the Geely-owned company in the States as we reported in our newsletter today. Volvo will make the entire V6o series there, including those for export.

The S60 is the first Volvo model that does not feature a diesel engine but two plug-in hybrid options instead. Moreover, the top trim T8 Twin Engine is also available with a performance package by Volvo’s power arm Polestar.

The standard Volvo S60 with T6 Twin Engine delivers 250 kW while the conventional T8 Twin Engine AWD has 287 kW with the Performance version boasting the motor to 294 kW. Volvo has not disclosed any details on range as they probably expect results from the new testing cycles first.

The lines in Charleston are rolling though and after the S60, the U.S. factory will also be charged with producing the XC90 by 2021. In future, Volvo wants to build plug-in hybrid variants in all their global facilities according to their extensive electrification strategy.

The latter has just been reenforced with Volvo confirming that the next XC40 will be the first model to get an all-electric successor. This Volvo EV is scheduled to launch shortly after the all-electric Polestar 2 due to arrive in 2019. On top, the XC90 will be complemented with a purely electric car in 2021 as well.

Including a push for sales of new energy vehicles particularly in China, Volvo aims for fully electric cars to account for half of its total sales by 2025 (we reported). (S60), (XC40 & XC90), (US production)

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NEVS taking trifold approach to e-mobility in China - Thu, 06/21/2018 - 12:51

The Swedes (kind of) are coming to Shanghai as NEVS establishes both a new production facility and innovation centre in China. Their approach is trifold though with new partnerships to grow networks in not only transport but energy and information as well.

NEVs calls this their Tri-network, designed to install a whole ecosystem of electric mobility in the country. All taken together, NEVS wants to help the People’s Republic to progress from a Made in China to a “Designed by China” approach, as Xiangmin Chen, Secretary of the Songjiang District Committee in Shanghai, noted.

But first their core business, building electric cars, for which NEVS are setting up a new facility in Shanghai. Running under the name “NEVS Shanghai Industrial Base” the new factory will essentially copy the one that the China-owned former Saab outlet is currently completing not far from Beijing. Both plants will have a maximum production capacity of 200,000 electric cars annually, with 50,000 EVs in the first stage.

It will become a constituent part of the ‘Tri-Network Initiative & NEVS Shanghai Industrial Base’ that is to be established in the G60 Science & Technology Innovation Valley in Shanghai. NEVS’ approach is that the joint work on transport, energy and information networks will give rise to new business models for the electric vehicle industry.

For this NEVs has bought the support of two Swedish companies Elways and Mimer. Elways is working on mobile inductive charging via cables laid into a road and the company has already set up the eRoad Arlanda in Sweden as a proof of concept and testing ground.

Mimer in which NEVS now also holds a stake, then delivers database solutions. Elways will be tasked to integrate the electrified road technology along with Mimer’s database management and built-in data processing solutions to provide real-time transport data and enable electric vehicles to both drive and charge safely. (Tri-Network), (ElWays & Mimer)

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