Starting in June, the on-demand mobility service Scoobi will introduce Pittsburgh’s first electric scooter feet with 100 GenZe scooters.
Scoobi CEO Mike Moran said in a press release: “Our goal is to reinvent the way Pittsburghers travel, providing an affordable, environmentally conscious way to experience the City.” The program will also introduce charging stations throughout Downtown Pittsburgh and the East End, but the scooters themselves will be dockless, and open for use anywhere in the city.
The top speed is set at 30 miles per hour and have a range of 34 miles per battery charge. The scooters can be rented via a mobile app, which also serves to locate the vehicles. The cost runs at 5 US dollars for the first 20 minutes, and 20 cents for each additional minute.
After half a year of testing with more than 20,000 passengers, the ride-share service SSB Flex by the Daimler subsidiary Moovel will begin regular service as part of the Stuttgart public transportation system.
The mobility service allows customers to book rides according to need via an app, and, according to Daimler, is the first on-demand service in Germany that transports people with a line-permission conforming to the German personnel transportation law.
Ten white and yellow Mercedes vehicles will be used to begin with. Next to regular V-Class vans there are also B-Class models in use with an electric motor. A similar service will be started by Moovel in Berlin in cooperation with the BVG with the title BerlKönig.
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The British government will not change the subsidization scheme from the current format until October this year. This means that electrified personal vehicles will receive up to a 4,500 pound subsidy from the government, while electrified transporters get up to 8,000 pounds.
How the situation will progress beyond October is still unclear. The so-called Plug-in Grants will run until 2020 in some form, but what exactly this entails was not stated. It is imaginable that the subsidies will be lowered before they expire.
The British government has also announced considering the provision of additional subsidies and/or other financial benefits for last-mile deliveries with Pedelecs, for example.
The ride-share company Uber is working on the development of electric air taxis and announced their first research and development center outside of the USA, which will open in Paris in Fall this year.
To help shoulder the load, Uber entered a five year partnership with the École Polytechnique. Uber is also planning on investing 20 million euro in the Advanced Technologies Center Paris (ATCP).
The research will focus on airspace management, autonomous steering, real-time communication networks, battery systems and charging systems. At an Elevate conference, Uber recently presented a reference concept for manufacturers of the future aircraft, which the company plans to use in regular air taxi services as of 2023.
With their 2016 founded project Elevate, Uber is planning to create a transport network of electrically propelled aircraft, and is planning to start test flights in L.A., Dubai and Dallas in 2020. Three years later commercial use will begin. The idea is to incorporate aircraft from different manufacturers into Uber’s platform.
The German environmental ministry has given the green light for a pilot project to research development of electrification of long distance hauling trucks, which will be covered by project partners Siemens and Volkswagen.
Siemens will be covering the development of a pantograph for the eHighway System, while Volkswagen will be leveraging their Swedish subsidiary Scania for the hybrid truck and accompanying research.
Two Scania trucks will be used with different electrification voltages on the hybrid motor on three different test tracks in Germany. As of early 2019, the first truck will be test driving on public roads on the A5 south of Frankfurt, later adding stretches of the A1 near Lübeck and the B442 near Gaggenau, as soon as the overhead rail infrastructure has been completed.
The research project will serve to test how long distance road transport can be made more environmentally friendly. Alone in Germany, it is estimated that truck transportation creates about 56 million tons of CO2 emissions each year. Exactly how much can be currently relied on electrification for the transport of goods will be established in the project.
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The battery firm Northvolt, run by former Tesla manager Peter Carlsson, will be received assistance for their planned major serial battery production plant for lithium-ion cells from Siemens.
Both companies announced the partnership will entail Siemens as a technology partner with an investment of 10 million euros. When the production facility is opened in 2020, Siemens will purchase batteries from the location and list Northvolt as a preferred supplier.
Siemens is viewing the Northvolt initiative as a reference project for future battery production, which builds on integration and digitalization of the entire value chain: from battery cell design to the planning of production processes, engineering and production and finally to services.
Jan Mrosik, CEO of Siemens Digital Factory division commented: “We are happy to support Northvolt in building the battery factory of the future. With our Digital Enterprise portfolio, we contribute to a competitive battery cell production in Europe that fully exploits the benefits of software and automation: greater flexibility, efficiency and quality with shorter time to market” Northvolt founder Peter Carlsson added: “With its world-class expertise within electrification, automation and digitalization, Siemens will become an important technology partner, supplier and customer to Northvolt in this coming transition.” Using the Siemens Digital Enterprise portfolio from the planning and software inception, including cloud computing, will enable Northvolt to optimize their battery production process at every step, providing strategic advantages.
The first customer for the future batteries was the utility vehicle manufacturer Scania, which is owned by VW. They will also develop and market specially adapted batteries for utility vehicles together, as part of the agreement. Scania also invested 10 million euros for the partnership. Siemens will also need batteries for trains and industrial robots, according to Mrosik.
The Northvolt Gigafactory will be built in the Swedish city Skellefteå, where production is scheduled to begin in 2020 with around 2,000 employees and an annual production volume of 8 GWh. By 2023 the production will reach 32 GWh.
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After BMW started serial production of the i8 Roadster in Leipzig in early March, the first models of the open version of the plug-in hybrid have now been delivered. The BMW i8 club has received the keys for the first 18 vehicles.
The i8 Roadsters are the “First Edition” variety, which is only available for a limited time and limited to 200 vehicles worldwide. An engraving on the central console marks the vehicles as collectors editions, reading “1 of 200”.
The 18 vehicles also feature a special engraving with a “1 of 18” line, as well as other features including ceramic applications for control elements, DryCarbon interior paneling as well as a logo-projector in the door.
Citroën presented the European version of its new SUV model C5 Aircross, which is already on offer in China. The introduction of the C5 on the European market is scheduled for end of the year, and 2019 in Germany. The PHEV version will be available towards the end of 2019.
The compact SUV uses the EMP2 platform by the company, just like the related PSA models Peugeot 3008, DS 7 Crossback and the Opel Grandland X. It will be manufactured in the factory in Rennes for the European market.
The C5 Aircross will be the first plug-in hybrid by the brand. The engine will combine a 147 kW combustion motor with two electric motors on the front and rear axle for a system performance of around 220 kW. The electric range was cited to be 60 km. The exact technical details to the motor and prices have not been announced yet.
The French government has signed a strategic contract with several French automobile manufacturers and suppliers to help prepare the market for “technological disruptions” such as electrification and autonomous driving.
The contract was developed by the economic ministry with support from industry, and was signed by the CEOs of Renault, PSA, Valeo, Faurecia and Michelin.
To increase EV sales five-fold in the next three years, the French government has decided to maintain their current subsidies, as well as expand the charging infrastructure in the country with energy providers to maintain at least one charging station for every ten EVs.
Additionally, a 135 million euro fond will support research and development in the country, with a focus on battery cells. The government will also be setting aside up to 200 million euros for testing autonomous driving, with a focus on public transportation projects. To support the hiring of a larger specialized workforce, training programs will be expanded by 50%. The French government estimates that by the year 2022, around 25,000 new jobs will be created in the sector.
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The German development service EDAG has received an order from the VinFast company for the complete development of an electric vehicle tailored for the Vietnamese market.
The startup owned by the Vietnamese VinGroup is planning to enter the Vietnamese vehicle market with two conventional vehicles and one fully electric city vehicle, before expanding abroad. The EDAG EV is currently in the primary design stage, and a preliminary design sketch has been released.
“We are proud that VinFast has chosen to appoint us as the overall engineering part-ner to work on their trendsetting electric vehicle project,” stated Cosimo De Carlo, CEO of the EDAG Group. EDAG’s website also states that their vehicle production and eMobility experience were among the reasons they were chosen as a partner.
VinFast is currently also building their first factory in the coastal city Haiphong in northern Vietnam. They plan to present the first two vehicles at the coming Paris Motor Show in Fall.
For the 2019 model of the Porsche sport classic 911, the German company is planning some major additions: not one, but two separate hybrid versions of the racer will be available.
The basic version of the PHEV will take over the motor from the recently presented Cayenne E-hybrid. But, unlike previous Porsche models, the Porsche will offer a regular E-hybrid as well as a Turbo S E-hybrid variant with improved performance.
The Porsche Cayenne E-hybrid has a system performance of up to 340 kW. While the performance of the combustion motor was only improved by 5 kW from the previous model, the electric motor now has 100 kW, or 43% increased performance. The system performance of the Panamera S Turbo e-hybrid is around 500 kW, for comparison. This was achieved by combining the V8 motor with a 100 kW electric motor. This system also uses the 14.1 kWh battery.
The first impression of the new 911 was given in February. At this point, the lead director August Achleitener hat not excluded electrification. To avoid potential misconceptions: The new Porsche 911, type 992, will not be offered as a battery-electric vehicle. While the option may be taken advantage of in future, the step towards alternative energy sources is only slowly gaining momentum at Porsche.
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Elon Musk has taken to Twitter to complain of the “holier than thou” attitudes espoused by US media, following negative coverage of his company.
He points to the need to maximise advertising and clicks by the media companies, who receive advertising money from car companies, which Tesla does not engage in. He also blamed Trumps election on media distrust.
After reports in mid-April regarding a halt on plug-in hybrid Golf and Passat GTE models in the UK, Volkswagen has now confirmed that due to popular demand, a halt has been placed on orders from Germany as well.
In an interview with electrive.net, a VW spokesperson confirmed that orders for the two models are so high in Germany, that they are already dealing with delivery delays as well as having sold out within the country.
The good news is that all current orders will be valued and the cars will be delivered. The electric models e-Golf and e-up! are also still available for order.
The reason that the order stop was put in place was to make time for an adjustment to the WLTP system. For this reason, the Golf GTE will return to the VW portfolio, before it will be re-opened for further orders.
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The Dutch bus manufacturer has won a bidding process for the deal to deliver 25 electric buses to Umeå in Sweden. VDL was selected as a system supplier, meaning they will not only deliver the 25 Citeas SLFA-180 buses as well as the charging stations, but will also cover implementation.
The articulated buses will be used to cover two public bus lines in Umeå, the line 1 and 8. Umeå is one of Swedens largest northern cities and is growing fast. The currently 125,000 citizens are expected to grow up to 200,000 by 2050.
The 25 VDL Citeas SLFA-180 feature a roof-mounted pantograph with a 169 kW battery seats for 48 passengers. The buses are also equipped with extra features such as additional insulation and heating to accommodate Sweden’s cold climate.
The charging will take place at three points on the lines, where double 450 kW chargers will provide a boost to battery charges, before the buses are charged via a slower connection at night at a charging depot. The charging depot will feature another 25 chargers, of which 12 are double 30 kW chargers and one is a 50 kW charger.
The US manufacturer Cummins has presented their battery portfolio at the Battery Show Europe, which includes lithium-ion battery packs with 35 and 74 kWh capacity and modules with up to 4.4 kWh capacity.
The new lineup includes battery packets BP35E and BP74E, with the above mentioned 35 and 74 kW capacity. The battery modules BM20E and BM44E also deliver the eponymous capacities of 2 kWh and 4.4 kWh, which can be integrated into the electric and hybrid drive systems by Cummins.
Last year, Cummins demonstrated a prototype electric truck called the AEOS. But Cummins is not done with their retooling and plans more investment and diversification: “Cummins is committed to investing $500 million in electrification over three years. These investments include innovation of fully electric and hybrid power solutions that will serve our markets as they adopt electrification,” according to Andrew Penca, general manager of battery systems at Cummins.
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Voith has released details to their previously announced new system to power electric buses. The 260 kW permanent magnet motor was designed as a prototype for the Solaris Urbino, but is easily adaptable for buses from other manufacturers.
The liquid-cooled motor system also delivers a torque of up to 2,250 Nm. The energy for this is provided by a lithium-iron-phosphate battery, which Voith bought in from outside. The manufacturer added that the lightweight design helps minimize surplus weight, but also helps with noise reduction and energy consumption.
In the demonstration bus, which the company plans to present at the IAA in September, will have a range of “over 200 km”, according to the manufacturer. “The achievable range primarily depends on the battery, which we acquire from an internationally renowned supplier,” explains Jürgen Berger, project manager at Voith Turbo GmbH & Co. KG. “We are currently using a lithium-iron-phosphate battery. This battery offers the highest level of reliability, but the electric drive system is designed in such a way that it can work together with any battery technology.”
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The Dutch company Alfen will deliver one of the BMW testing locations in Munich with an integrated energy storage solution, which allows for mobile high speed charging of cars.
The 1.1 MW system is made up of 34 BMW i3 batteries, and contains a fast charging mechanism for the BMW Group’s EV prototypes. What makes the charging solution special, is that it is mobile, and can be packed up and moved if needed. It also operates irrespective of the capacity of the local power grid.
Furthermore, Alfen also signed an agreement with BMW for the purchase of more i3 batteries for other storage projects. Alen Global Sales Director for Energy Storage, Andreas Plenk, said the following: “We have been working with BMW i batteries at multiple storage projects, but are very proud to be selected to provide a storage system for one of BMW AG’s locations in Munich.”
Toyota is preparing for increasing sales of their fuel-cell electric vehicles and has announced plans to expand their component factory in Japan.
Specifically, the vehicle manufacturer is planning to expand the serial production of their fuel cell stacks in a new building close to their factory in Honsha. Furthermore, the factory in Shimoyama will receive a new production line to manufacture high pressure hydrogen tanks.
The construction of the new hydrogen tank production line is starting in the next few days, while the new production building for the fuel cell stacks is already complete, and is now waiting to receive its interior components. Further details will be released at a later point in time by Toyota. Operations are planned to begin in 2020, as Toyota expects a major public interest boost in fuel-cell EVs by then. The Japanese company expects interest to increase ten-fold, from the current 3,000 units sold per year, to around 30,000.
From 2013 to 2017 only 6,475 FCEVs were sold worldwide. The front runners in the fuel cell area are Toyota with 76% of the market, followed by Honda (13%) and Hyundai (11%). In an international comparison, the most FCEVs were sold in the USA, particularly in California, which makes up 53% of sales. The second largest market is Japan, with 38%, followed by Europe with 9%.
The absolute sales figures are currently very low. Toyota is one of the driving figures attempting to change this. In December, the company signed an agreement with Honda, Nissan and eight other companies to start a joint venture. Within four years, the cooperation plans to establish 80 new hydrogen fuel stations in Japan. At the end of March, Toyota also presented the serial version of their fuel cell bus Sora, which they initially presented at the Tokyo Motor Show. The hydrogen-powered bus is the first of its kind to receive official licensing and has been sold in Japan since.
The company themselves are also planning to produce their vehicles in a carbon-neutral way in future. In this vein, the manufacturer installed a hydrogen fuel station and 20 fuel-cell forklifts at their Motomachi factory.
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The Chinese government has cancelled subventions for a row of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicle models. The Chinese ministry for industry has published an official list of models dropped from eligibility.
The list contains a total of 1,882 vehicle models from dozens of manufacturers, including many Chinese bus manufacturers, but also personal vehicle manufacturers, including BYD. A recently conducted investigation in cooperation with the state tax authority showed that these models are not in production yet, or have not been imported to China yet.
The cancellation of some of the tax subsidies is part of a long-term plan by the Chinese government to slowly phase out the subsidies for New Energy Vehicles by 2020. The subvention program, which brought about quick mobilisation from the auto industry, also led to wide-spread abuse of the subsidies. In 2016, 25 different auto manufacturers were under investigation for committing fraud with the EV subsidies.
Since then, China has been notably more wary of subsidizing wide swaths of the industry again. This is also visible in the new plan for the central subventions of EVs and PHEVs for the coming year. The subsidies are now tied more closely to battery capacity and energy efficiency. By 2018, EVs with less than a 150 km range will not be subsidized at all, for example, while vehicles with more than a 300 km range will be subsidized more heavily.
Honda is planning a large EV project together with the Chinese battery manufacturer CATL. The declared goal is to create an electric vehicle based on the Honda compact Fit.
The cooperatively created vehicle will be marketed globally, and feature a 300 km range and cost around 15,600 euro (2 million Yen). It will likely be released on the market in early 2020.
Honda is planning on selling more than 10,000 units of the vehicle per year, the report continued. The cooperation between Honda and CATL will also be expanded to include further vehicle development in future. By 2030, Honda is planning on EVs making up around 65% of their total income.
The new partnership between Honda and CATL also demonstrates the trend of Chinese suppliers getting increasingly directly involved in vehicle manufacturing around the globe, often supplying core components. Particularly with Japanese suppliers the trend is new, as there are a few local alternatives, such as Panasonic and others. But Honda is not an individual case; recently Nissan also announced their intention to work with CATL for their Sylphy EV, which is also designed for the Chinese market.
Recently CATL has been amassing contracts from leading vehicle manufacturers, including Renault, Volkswagen, PSA, BMW and Daimler. By the end of 2020, the Chinese battery manufacturers plan to double their production capacity to 50 gigawatt hours.