The Scottish government has increased funding to programmes that bring them closer to their goal to finish all sales of combustion engine vehicles by 2032. Hence the budget for the Low Carbon Transport Loan has risen from £8m to £20m for 2018/19 with new schemes being introduced.
Overall, Scotland wants its citizen and industry to switch to electric vehicles of any kind. The latest increase in budget that almost triples the initial funding also includes new schemes such as the Switched on Towns and the Cities Challenge Fund to promote greater use of electric cars in cities.
Moreover, those travelling over land may benefit from the Electric A9 project, which aims to improve the availability of electric charging points on Scotland longest trunk road.
Says Transport Minister Humza Yousaf: “The Electric A9 will greatly expand and build further resilience into our existing ChargePlace Scotland infrastructure, which is already one of the most comprehensive in Europe.”
Each hub across the route will provide multiple charge points and access to amenities. At 273 miles (439 km), the A9 is the longest road in Scotland. Historically it was the main road between Edinburgh and John o’ Groats, and has been called the “Spine of Scotland”.
Transport Scotland had announced their plan to ban all sales of ICEs in March this year and Scotland is going for a stricter approach than neighbouring England both in terms of implementation date (8 years earlier) but also in terms of classification: While cars must have a plug-in system in Scotland in the future, England will accept also HEVs but exclude mild hybrids. However, there has been a call on the British government to move their low carbon plan forward by ten years (we reported). Westminster has yet to answer.
Up north in Scotland though, the Low Carbon Transport Loan Fund will even have £500,000 available for interest-free loans of up to £3,000 to help individuals and businesses purchase e-bikes and e-cargo bikes reportedly, making Scotland’s plan to decarbonise the country a most comprehensive one.
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This may be the strangest range extender patent ever given it has been filed by an automotive company. Toyota in this case clearly wants to take ride sharing and zero emissions to the next level and arrives where others have long been before.
Indeed Japan’s most prolific carmaker has registered an unexpected series of patents for their future autonomous and shared cars. While they could help lower costs of driving an EV, actual electric car drivers or car sharers may be a little confused if not irritated by the proposal.
Toyota’s patent draws up a pedal or crank that could generate additional energy, which would then relieve the charging stations and the wallet.
Our question is simply: Why not opt for an (electric) bicycle in the first place? But yes, it is a new take on the idea of pedal-assist, no doubt about that.
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Poland’s largest transit provider Mobilis has taken delivery of 61 hybrid buses from MAN Truck & Bus. The partly electric vehicles will take up their service in Warsaw.
Officials had acted fast – it took Mobilis just two months to place the order after they had visited MAN in Munich. The Volkswagen company estimates their system can save up to 10,000 litres of diesel fuel a year and cuts emissions by about 30 percent.
The 61 MAN Lion’s City Hybrid buses are powered by a 184 kW EURO VI diesel engine combined with an electric motor. The latter receives additional power by recuperating the vehicle’s braking energy, which is stored in ultracaps.
Mobilis has been working with MAN for 25 years now which might explain why the company would not opt for local competitor Solaris to buy the buses.
For Warsaw the hybrid buses mark another step in electrification. Poland’s capital with 1.7 million people had recently won a bid for EU funding worth 41 million euros. The funds will help finance a large order of 130 all-electric buses which shall go into operation in Warsaw by 2021. For this the city indeed turned to local provider Solaris to deliver an electric bendy bus for testing reportedly but a formal tender has yet to be issued.
On a national level, Poland plans to procure no less than 1,000 electric buses throughout 2020.
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The car2go fleet in Mercedes’ home town Stuttgart is the first to include the electric Smart of the latest generation. They boast the new faster charger and Smart wants to complete the exchange of all 500 electric cars with new ones this autumn.
For car2go the town of Stuttgart is basically their test bed by birth and they operate an all-electric fleet of 500 vehicles here. Since this week, the latest generation of the smart fortwo electric drive mingles among them and Mercedes wants to renew the entire fleet before the year’s end.
The latest generation is the first to feature a new charger that allows faster charging with 22 kW, thus increasing the availability of the electric cars for car2go members. The new Smart ED also come with an updated navigation and entertainment system and a panoramic roof.
The car2go fleet in Stuttgart is one of the largest exclusively electric ones worldwide. The 550 strong electric car fleet (including 50 Mercedes B-class vehicles) launched in 2012 and now counts about 125,000 members.
380 public charge points all powered from renewable energy positions Stuttgart among the cities with the densest EV charging infrastructures in Europe.
stuttgarter-zeitung.de (in German)
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Electronics retailer Euronics that operates stores in all of Europe has teamed up with utility EnBW to install charging stations at 50 locations in Germany. Customers will receive a charging voucher that can be used at any station in the EnBW network.
Euronics operates over 8,800 stores across Europe and has found a partner in EnBW to add electric car charging to their German locations. In a first step, they want to install 50 multi-standard charge stops by EnBW with a max. charge power of 50 kW. The first is to go online this year.
In a press release that we had retrieved ahead of publication, EnBW’s head of distribution, Time Sillober, announces the utility’s target to “realise 1,000 fast-charging stations by 2020”.
Hence, this latest cooperation with Euronics is just a start and comes with a twist. Customers will receive a voucher at the cashier. They may then upload the voucher through the EnBW app so that they can use it at any charging station within the EnBW network.
The German arm of Euronics had made the decision to include EV charging in their portfolio following a survey in which more than three quarters of participants welcomed the option to shop and charge.
Whether Euronics will launch similar electric car charging offers and cooperations at its locations in other countries in Europe is as of yet unknown.
enbw.com (PI, in German)
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Goldhofer and Suncar debuted an all-electric baggage tow tractor last October and have since been testing their technology at four airports in Europe. The Sherpa E prove a success with its extended towing and fast-charging capability.
Goldhofer Group is a provider of cargo solutions. For their electric baggage and cargo tow truck they teamed up with Suncar HK. Since launching the EV last autumn, they have hooked on to electrification projects at airports such as Frankfurt’s E-Port An.
The Sherpa E builds on Goldhofer’s existing Sherpa and adds a lithium-ion battery. It allows fast charging in just an hour and comes with on-board charging technology (22 or 44 kW). Moreover, with a maximum towing capacity of up to 80 t, it can tow both baggage but also cargo at an efficient speed.
The tow tractor forms a running showcase for Goldhofer’s and Suncar’s joint ‘IonMaster’ technology, which will the use in other electric vehicle projects under development as well.
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A whole pack of all-electric double-decker buses is coming to London. 68 of them are to arrive in summer 2019 and will electrify entire routes. They are being made by ADL, BYD and Optare and TfL says this will grow the fleet to 240 all-electric buses.
With Transport for London (TfL) being the public transit division serving the Mayor of London Office, it was down to Sadiq Khan to place the order. Thus the mayor has moved to increase the number of electric double-deckers in London more than ten-fold.
The new buses, which are being manufactured as part of a collaborative effort between BYD, Alexander Dennis Limited and Optare. It is the first and largest order for their brand-new double decker electric buses.
The 10.9m long electric double deckers feature ADL’s eye-catching bodywork with a glazed staircase and will be built to TfL’s specification. They will use BYD’s Iron-Phosphate battery technology which enables the buses to run all day on a single charge using cost effective off-peak electricity at the depot.
In London they will enable two routes (43, 134) from Barnet to central London via London Bridge to be covered entirely by fully-electric vehicles.
TfL aims to run 240 electric buses next year and wants to ensure that all double-deckers will run on electricity by 2020. The electrification of the whole fleet including the lower coaches is scheduled for 2037.
The order comes in the wake of a call to action in which London and cross-party leaders urge the British government to end pure diesel and petrol sales in 2030, ten years earlier than planned (we reported).
London has also decided to expand the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) to the North and South Circular boundary in 2021. The new ULEZ will cover an area 18 times larger than the ULEZ in Central London. The latter is being delivered in April 2019, 17 months earlier than planned (we reported).
Audi homebase Ingolstadt is to become a first testbed for VTOLs jointly developed by the carmaker and Airbus. Their Urban Air Mobility project is part of a European initiative that also includes other cities such as Geneva or Hamburg.
The Urban Air Mobility project stands in the context of the marketplace for the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Smart Cities and Communities (SCC).
For Audi, it means building on their existing concept developed together with Airbus and Italdesign. Their Pop.Up Next is a two-seater cabin that can be either attached to a car body or a flight module. Audi CEO Bram Schot calls the new challenge “vertical mobility”.
The goal of the joint EU project is to be a model for air-taxi operations in the Ingolstadt region. Geneva and Hamburg may join the testing phase shortly.
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Scotland’s Ferguson Shipbuilders have managed to secure funding through the EU project HySeas III. With partners such as the Ballard or DLR and from different European countries they will build the world’s first sea going ferry running on fuel cells powered by hydrogen from renewables.
The supported development of the first hydrogen ferry ready to sail the world’s oceans is expected to cost around 12.6 million euros.
HySeas III is jointly led by Ferguson Marine based at Port Glasgow and the University of St Andrews. It includes Orkney Islands Council, Kongsberg Maritime (Norway), Ballard Power Systems Europe (Denmark), McPhy (France); the German aerospace agency (DLR) and Interferry (Belgium/US), a ferry owners’ organisation.
Employing Ballard technology, the initial objective is to construct and prove the vessel’s modular drive train onshore, testing for stress and durability under conditions employing real-world data from existing vessels.
Once the first ferry is then completed, the hydrogen-powered ship will first go on test runs around Orkney Island from 2020 or latest 2021. This testing phase is to ensure that the vessel is fully ready to take on the waves and distances of the open sea eventually and that more may be build.
Hydrogen will be produced from renewable electricity that is produced on and around Orkney already. Says Project Coordinator, Dr Martin Smith, from the University of St Andrews: “This opens the real possibility of Scotland and her key European partners delivering another world-first, not simply in shipbuilding but also in building sustainable local sources of fuelling in parallel.”
It is also a timely development given that the U.N. International Maritime Organization (IMO) recently made the first ever deal to curb emissions from the shipping industry. 173 countries agreed at a London meeting to reduce emissions by at least 50 percent by 2050 from 2008 levels.
Other initiatives have been looking into hybrid or battery-electric ferries serving shorter routes but only a few have been looked into hydrogen as fuel for their ferry. HySeas III Communications Manager, John Morgan of Ferguson Marine, admits, “there are a few European groups in the market with similar ambitions,” take the fuel cell cruise liner pilot from ABB for example, but HySeas III “still expect to be the world’s first vehicle and passenger Hydrogen ferry,” Morgan concludes.
Elon Musk has taken to Twitter – no surprises here – to add some detail to plans for a Gigafactory in Europe. And – here’s the surprise – he named Germany as a “leading choice” mainly due to its location in the centre of Europe.
In concrete terms Musk added that a Gigafactory close to “the German-French border makes sense, near the Benelux countries,” Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.
The position in central Europe would also bring the Tesla battery factory close to their assembly facility in Dutch Tilburg. Furthermore, the now subsidiary Grohmann Automation would not be far either so that Tesla could start making whole electric vehicles in Europe.
Germany is a leading choice for Europe. Perhaps on the German-French border makes sense, near the Benelux countries
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 19, 2018
As you can see from the tweet above, Musk had reacted to a question from a Swiss shareholder so it remains to be seen, how fixed these plans are. However, the Tesla CEO is also known for standing by his words, no matter how improbable they had seemed at first.
If Tesla would opt to build a Gigafactory in Germany it would be a rather loud call to arms for the local car industry, that much is certain. A battery supply agreement seems a little far off.
Porsche is taking a stake in Rimac Automobilii, Croatia’s supercar powerhouse as they buy a 10% minority share. The Germans hope for a development partnership as they are gearing up for the coming of the Mission E that will be sold as Taycan.
Porsche had been particularly impressed with Rimac’s Concept_One electric vehicle that was followed by the debut of the C Two this year in Geneva. “By developing the purely electric two-seaters super sports cars, as well as core vehicle systems, Rimac has impressively demonstrated its credentials in the field of electromobility,” says Lutz Meschke, Member of the Executive Board for Finance and IT at Porsche.
In return, the partnership with Porsche is a step in the right direction for Rimac as they seek to position themselves as “a component and system supplier of choice for the industry in electrification, connectivity and the exciting field of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems,” explains Rimac’s CEO Mate Rimac.
The Zagreb-based company employs around 400 employees. Rimac’s main focus is on high-voltage battery technology, electric powertrains and HMI Development. Rimac also develops and produces e-bikes under its subsidiary Greyp Bikes, founded in 2013.
Rimac could also be seen expanding in China where they agreed with the Camel Group to start building electric motors and batteries this year reportedly. The facility in Chinese Xiangyang is to churn out 50,000 units annually with construction to cost about 128m euros. Rimac mainly inputs technology and know-how and says that the rest of its production of electric car components will remain in Croatia.
In Germany, Porsche is currently refitting their site to start producing their first electric car, the Taycan. It is due to launch in 2019 and marks the beginning of a six billion euro campaign for electrification running through 2022. Technologically spill overs are expected to benefit the Group’s Audi and Bentley brands reportedly.
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Hyundai-Kia and the Volkswagen Group will work together on hydrogen fuel cells. Audi will lead the cooperation that includes all Volkswagen brands and Kia. In a first step they agreed to cross-license patents and on access to non-competitive parts.
The deal at hand is to help both Hyundai as well as Audi to accelerate the development and to “achieve attractive cost structures for the breakthrough of the most systematic form of electric driving,” says Audi Board Member for Technical Development Peter Mertens.
With Hyundai being ahead, the first phase will see Audi get access to components used in the ix35 Fuel Cell and Nexo, Hyundai’s serial FCEVs. This includes access to Hyundai’s entire value chain for said components.
Audi is leading the development of fuel cell technology for all of Volkswagen. The Group’s Fuel Cell Competence Center is located at the Audi Neckarsulm site. The brand plans to launch their first fuel cell vehicle early in the next decade as an SUV and is currently working on the 6th generation. The cross-license agreement with Hyundai however already focuses on the next development stage intended for a serial FCV. A small series is due in 2020 (we reported).
Only a week ago, Audi also extended their joint programme with Ballard, Hymotion, for another 3.5 years until August 2022 reportedly. The extension is valued between 62 and 100 million dollars. Ballard is focusing on the development and production of fuel cell stacks of the next generation for usage in the Audi FCV demonstration program.
Audi introduced the h-tron range first in 2016 and has since been working on getting the hydrogen fuel cell technology closer to being market ready but has never launched any of their concept vehicles.
Meanwhile another coalition for fuel cell development has just come to an end. Daimler, Ford and Renault-Nissan were working on commercialising a fuel cell car but have now all pulled out. The partners had aimed to develop shared components but decided to focus on electric cars first (we reported).
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In Oslo an electric mini-plane made by Slowenian manufacturer Pipistrel took off for a short test flight with the Norwegian minister for transport Ketil Solvik-Olse. The Alpha Electro G2 aircraft was piloted by Dag Falk-Peterson, head of the state-owned company Avinor, which operates Norwegian airports.
The two-seated electric airplane with a weight of 350 kg when empty, including the battery, is powered by a 50 kW motor and a 21 kWh battery packet in the serial version, which allows for one hour of flight.
Norway is planning to force airlines to fly with electric airplanes on short hauls as of 2040, as we reported, and is planning to open a test route in 2025. This would mean that all in-land flights, as well as those to neighboring Scandinavian capitals.
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The eAMT (electrified Automated Manual Transmission) system by the automobile supplier ZF was developed as a concept to electrify small and compact vehicles with front wheel drive and a transverse engine. To do this, ZF combined their electric axle drive system (eVD) and the automated manual transmission (AMT).
The eAMT concept eliminates tractive force interruptions, as the electric motor covers the system-required pause of the AMT. In addition to the hybrid functions, the eAMT also offers electric all-wheel drive.
Until now, the additional costs and development work, as well as the small space available to work in were the largest barriers to a reasonably priced, front-wheel mounted hybridization for small and compact vehicles. Functional developer of electric drives at ZF, Norman Schmidt-Winkel stated: “With eAMT, ZF has developed a fully-fledged plug-in hybrid drive for front-transverse vehicles,” before adding: “This increases flexibility for vehicle manufacturers. They can use existing platforms to implement conventional drives or plug-in hybrids.”
The ZF concept connects an automated transmission with an electric axle-mounted motor on the rear axle. The automated transmission is a good solution for vehicle classes, that would ordinarily not qualify for electrification due to restrictions in size, design or costs. The system also improves comfort and efficiency for the driver, as they no longer have to change gears manually.
A prototype produced by ZF, which features the eAMT system in a compact SUV as a demonstrator, shows how well the balance between front-mounted combustion motor, automated transmission and the rear electric motor works. Furthermore, ZF installed an electric motor strong enough to drive the vehicle on its own. Which function range and how much performance will be featured in future plug-in hybrids will be freely selectable by vehicle manufacturers using the eAMT system.
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The city of Milan has now also decided to install a diesel ban albeit in small steps. As of January, 21, 2019, older diesels (up to Euro 3) will be banned from driving in city limits from Monday through Friday.
This would affect more than a third of diesel vehicles in the current state of traffic. As of October 2019, an expansion of the ban is planned to include vehicles to Euro 4 standards. In 2025, Milan will also ban Euro 5 diesels.
Rome also recently decided to ban diesel vehicles in their city center, starting in 2024. The Italian capital is dealing with an extremely high traffic density in the inner city. And while many cities around the world are fighting with air pollution, Rome has another reason to improve their environment: The vehicle emissions are damaging thousands of historical monuments in the “eternal city”.
The Singapore based power company announced their plans to construct an EV charging network with 500 stations in Singapore by 2020, including 100 DC fast chargers.
The charging points will be set up in residential and commercial areas across the island, as well as shopping centers. Construction efforts will begin soon, and the first 30 stations will be installed before the end of this year.
The SP Group is planning to take a proactive approach in the energy revolution, and get a head start in front of companies such as Greenlots, Red Dot Power and BlueSG, who are also active on the Singapore market. In a statement, Singapore Power said their plan was to “plug a critical gap in scaling up EV adoption in Singapore”.
Currently there are less than 5 DC chargers in the country, servicing more than 350 BEVs in the nation, meaning it is high time for expansion, if the automobile industry is to grow in the island nation. Pricing details for the charging service will be revealed later this year after the installation of the first 30 charging points.
Voltabox will be beginning direct sales of their battery systems for intra-logistic purposes. The first success of the sales unit is the delivery of lithium-ion batteries to a “high-profile, large-scale German industrial company ” by an authorized industrial truck distributor.
In future, Voltabox is planning to supply OEMs from intralogistics, as well as large forklift fleet operators in Europe and the USA with battery systems. The cooperation between Voltabox and Triathlon Batterien will additionally continue.
“The collaboration with Triathlon gave us our first indirect access to an important growth market. We are now taking the next obvious step and closing the gap to sell directly to forklift manufacturers,” says Jürgen Pampel, Voltabox CEO, before adding: “Manufacturers and major customers expect a direct supply so that they can meet their specific requirements for lithium-ion-based battery systems even faster. We are thus complementing our work perfectly with Triathlon’s sales network.” Martin Hartmann, Triathlon Batterien’ managing director added: “We are receiving more and more requests for innovative, safe and reliable battery systems. Our close and trusting partnership with Voltabox ensures that we can optimally meet this need.”
Regarding the delivery agreement between the two companies, the contract has Voltabox’s lithium-ion batteries designated for the EU market will be assembled by Triathlon. Voltabox produces and delivers the modules, while Triathlon installs troughs as well as system and module electronics.
The company supported by billionaire Li Ka-Shing from Hong Kong has announced plans to print electric vehicles in Shanghai. These will mainly be used to taxi and ride-hailing services in China.
Production of the 3D printed cars is set to start after completion of crash tests in the next 12 to 18 months. The factory has the reported capacity to print up to 10,000 EVs per year. The required printing technology is being provided by the US American company Divergent 3D, who holds a 27% stake in WE Solutions.
Divergent is planning to further sell the technology to other automobile manufacturers in China, or even eventually all of Asia. The factories are relatively cheap to set up, as well as modular, which is why WE Solutions plans to use this factory as a reference project, which will demonstrate the technology.
After the successful completion of winter testing for the EQC, Mercedes-Benz has sent the vehicle to Spain to undergo an extensive stress testing program under intense heat and sun, with temperatures up to 50°C.
A particular focus is being thrown at the AC unit, the charging and cooling of the battery, the motor and the steering devices under extreme heat. Nearly 200 prototypes and pre-series models are being tested, according to Daimler.
The primary challenge will be the dry heat. While the batteries deliver reduced performance when cold, the heat carries the additional danger of permanent damage being done. The goal of the tests in Spain is to find the optimal management of these physical properties, among other things. Another room for testing is the acclimatization of the interior, during driving, as well as before, as Mercedes sees an important comfort factor in appropriate acclimatization before the driver enters the vehicle. Fine dust is also expected to play a challenging role during testing. Testers aim to discover where dust settles in the machine, and how this will affect motor integrity.
Michael Kelz, chief engineer for the EQC stated: “With the finishing straight in sight, we are now able to absolve another extremely demanding test programme with our pre-series vehicles.” The engineer views the vehicle as being on plan for the path to serial production. Journalist Michael Specht was able to ride along during one of the tests, bringing some details regarding the vehicle to light: The slightly more than 70 kW capacity battery will have to be charged with a 115 kW connection at DC fast charging stations. The range is expected to be above 400 km, according to WLTP. According to Specht, this is enough to make the EQC a primary household vehicle.
After technical problems on the assembly line, now apparently Tesla is being plagued by a saboteur from the internal ranks. The reason proclaimed for the disloyalty is apparently a snubbed promotion.
Elon Musk informed his employees via an email that there were a saboteur among their ranks. This person apparently made code changes to Tesla’s production system under a false username, and passed on large amounts of sensitive data to third parties.
How far the extent of the damages caused reaches, is still unclear. A small fire, which started under difficult-to-explain circumstances, shut down the chassis manufacturing line for several hours, for example. Tesla will also investigate if the saboteur is working alone or possibly cooperating with or working under the instructions of an external organization. Elon added in the email: “As you know, there are a long list of organizations that want Tesla to die,” before pointing to oil & gas companies, Wall Street brokers who had bet against their stock and the car industry, stating that “Don’t want to blow your mind, but rumor has it that those companies are sometimes not super nice.”
In the meanwhile, Tesla has begun producing the first Model 3 with four wheel drive and performance packages. Within three weeks a new production line had been fitted to accommodate the production. The production line is set to help Tesla reach their production target of 5,000 Model 3 vehicles per week by the end of the month. Even with the interruptions and issues popping up, Tesla may still reach their goal.