Remember the tv show Knight Rider, from before self-driving cars and talking devices were real? Now Tesla’s partner for custom vehicles, SS Customs has turned a Model X into KITT.
The original Knight Industries Two Thousand (KITT for those did not grow up watching 80s television) was a modified 1982 Pontiac Firebird. While the modern version is a completely different car, the integrated technology is just as exciting, if not more so, because it actually works now.
SS Customs is known for their customization service, which they have cooperated on with Tesla before, as they produced a camo veterans day version of their Model X and Model S. One thing we can say with at least some certainty, is that the new KITT hopefully doesn’t have that annoying know-it-all inside.
A post shared by SS Customs (@ss_customs) on Apr 10, 2018 at 12:07pm PDT
It is not every day the EU hears someone asking them to give them stricter regulations and this time, it is neither citizens nor environmental organisations but industrial heavy weights. Those dealing in deliveries brought by trucks want tougher rules so that they can come clean.
Among those calling on Brussels are Siemens, DB Schenker, Ikea, Carrefour, Nestlé, Alstom and Unilever. In an open letter that is to be send this Wednesday according to Spiegel magazine, they use the term “reduoble”, when referring to efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector.
They are asking the EU Commission, to introduce new rules so that trucks must slash their exhausts by 24 percent comes 2025. Obviously, the car industry is crying “impossible” but the clash of the lobbying titans has only just begun.
The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) is Australia’s federal district that contains the capital Canberra. ACT now decided to well, act, on driving growth for electric vehicles with a new action plan running throughout 2021.
The ACT’s action plans that has just been released includes various measures under the name “Transition to Zero Emissions Vehicles Action Plan 2018-2021”.
For example, the government commits to switch their own fleet to electric vehicles. Further measures include the installation of public and private EV charging infrastructure and incentives for people to buy electric cars.
These are the measures in detail:
– Transitioning the ACT Government fleet to zero emission vehicles (at least 50% of all newly leased ACT Government fleet passenger vehicles will be zero emissions vehicles by 2019-20 and all newly leased ACT Government passenger vehicles will be zero emission vehicles from 2020-21 (where fit for purpose);
– Requiring all new multi-unit and mixed use developments to install vehicle charging infrastructure;
– permitting zero emissions vehicles to drive in transit lanes until 2023 (to commence later in 2018);
– working with local and state governments to facilitate the installation of charging stations on major routes to and from Canberra including routes to Sydney and coastal areas;
– investigating incentives to encourage the use of electric bikes in place of cars.
ACT is already running a trial of two battery electric buses and a hybrid bus. They also have an e-bike fleet for ACT public servants to use.
India’s largest ride hail service Ola, has specified its plans to electrify the fleet. The coming 12 months will see the arrival of 10,000 electric rickshaws with 3 and 4 wheels. The move is part of Ola’s Mission Electric that sits on a dedicated platform.
India’s equivalent to Uber, Ola is reportedly pushing electric transport and wants to put 1m hire EVs on the roads within the next 5 years.
The first step of the Mission Electric is the deployment of 10,000 electric vehicles, particularly trikes which are vital for India’s transport. Ola has been running its electric cab pilot in Nagpur featuring 100 Mahindra e2o and another 100 EV of other makers as well as Rickshaws and solar charging. The company says its trial has provided sufficient insights to expand the electric fleet further.
Ola states it is in discussion with several state governments to create an appropriate policy environment to deploy electric three-wheelers. The company is also talking to global OEMs to bring vehicles on the road in the planned manner. Who those suppliers may be remains unclear.
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The city of Edmonton in Canada has ordered 40 electric buses with the first 5 due to arrive next year and the remaining 35 by 2020. The cost of 43 million dollars is shared by the federal and provincial governments and the City of Edmonton.
The new electric buses are set to join the Edmonton Transit System (ETS). While the procurement has yet to be finalised, the city says that the final decision has been made possible once it secured the funding. The federal government is providing $21.5 million through its public transit infrastructure fund, with both the province and the city providing another $10.8 million dollars each.
Edmonton’s mayor Don Iveson wants to see the electrification of the entire fleet within the next 10 to 20 years, and called electric buses a “big priority” for his time in office.
This is the first ever deal to curb emissions from the shipping industry as 173 countries agree at a London meeting of the U.N. International Maritime Organization (IMO) to reduce emissions by at least 50 percent by 2050 from 2008 levels.
More concrete measures can be expected by 2023 with only Russia, Saudi Arabia and the USA opposing the proposal to decarbonise maritime transport. The remaining 173 countries recognise the shipping industry as the sixth-largest greenhouse gas emitter if it were a country, according to data from the World Bank.
It also brings the industry in line with the Paris Climate agreement, COP21. The shipping industry had been left out, as the accord saw each country present an individual plan to reduce their own emissions, leaving the oceans at bay.
While opposition for the new LMO deal came mainly from oil producing countries, other organisations fear the agreement has not gone far enough. Especially the lack of any clear plan of action to deliver the emissions reductions, including short-term measures, is a concern, according to the group of NGOs with observer status at the UN’s IMO.
The Clean Shipping Coalition (CSC) thus asks states to use the words “at least” when referring to the emission target to keep the pressure on for full decarbonisation by 2050.
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India’s government extends its Faster Adoption And Manufacturing of Hybrid & Electric Vehicles (FAME) subsidy scheme for another six months until the end of September. A relaunch as FAME 2 is currently in the making.
The government in Delhi had launched its FAME scheme in 2015 only to extend it twice, in March and September 2017. This latest extension thus comes as not much of a surprise. However, the department of heavy industries says it has prepared a draft of the second phase of the scheme, which has been sent to the finance ministry for approval.
FAME grants subsidies for all sorts of electric vehicles. Two-wheelers for example may receive 29,000 Rupien (375 euros) , while three-wheeled light electric vehicles such as rickshaws become 61,000 rupees (757 euros) cheaper. For electrified cars, India grants up to 138,000 rupees (1,785 euros).
High on the list are subsidies for the utility and public transport sector.Those buying hybrid or electric buses may claim 187,000 (2,322 euros) and up to 6.6 million rupees even (about 82,000 euros).
Ontario has ordered its first fully electric ferries and asked shipbuilder Damen to come up with a design capable of operating in the often icy waters of Canada’s Great Lakes. Onboard batteries include a generator while plugs are heated on shore.
Still the vessels will be fully electric. Both ferries have been designed to sail in 60 cm thick ice and to be fully operational at -25ºC to withstand Canada’s harsh winter conditions. Two models are planned, one at 68 m with capacity for 40 cars and a 98 m ship with capacity for 75 cars.
Damen Shipyards Group plans to use generators to charge the batteries in case of heavy ice conditions over the route, while the onboard battery bank will be selected to achieve 10 years operation of approximately 160,000 crossings, while both vessels have approx. 21 hours operation at 365 days.
For both the ships as well as the charging infrastructure, reliability is the priority and the DC charging station will use protected and heated charging plugs at shore. The charging stations on land will have extra energy storage in order to not overload the grid. Said shore batteries will be charged in 50 minutes via the grid and together with the grid power will charge the batteries on board in 10 minutes.
The two ice class electric ferris will be servicing Kingston and Wolfe Island and Millhaven and Amherst Island.
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New data on battery degradation in Tesla vehicles suggests that the batteries could retain most of their capacity even after driving 300,000 miles. The analysis looks at 350 Teslas around the world and has been started by the Dutch-Belgium Tesla forum.
Their public Google file collates data from Tesla drivers from all over the world. The latest data suggests that no more than 10 percent of battery capacity is lost over 300,000 kilometres.
Furthermore, most of the loss occurs during the first 100,000 kilometres, when degradation stands at about 5 percent. After that, capacity only declines gradually. The resulting trend line suggests that the average battery pack could cycle through over 300,000 km retaining about 90% capacity.
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Students at the Prove Lab of the California Polytechnic State University presented a prototype of a solar electric car that has no battery. Still it can reach 105 kph as it is super light and boasts 605 solar cells arranged to break records.
The car is named Dawn and has been geared to break the solar powered speed land record. Accordingly, Prove Lab’s prototype is to run as fast as 100 kph without the help of a battery. Instead power comes from a 2kW solar array consisting of 605 individual sunpower solar cells, the same that were used to fly the Solar Impulse II aircraft around the world.
For Dawn, these solar cells were arranged in an extremely aerodynamic way that is the result of 2 years of development and wind tunnel testing. With the heavy power pack missing, the solar car weighs less than 200 kilos even with a driver on board as it uses aerospace-grade carbon fibre.
Its electric motor is around 97% efficient and designed for speed. The current world record for a purely solar-powered car is 90 kph and ‘dawn’ is specified to reach 105 kph, or 65 miles which is a typical freeway speed limit in america. However, the solar prototype is not fit for production but a showcase of sustainable mobility. Dawn is to rise to the challenge of its record run this June.
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US American Wright Electric has found a new partner for its dream of electric short haul flights. Dubai’s Jetex entered a partnership agreement that will see the two companies collaborate on producing the first electric aircraft for the MENA region.
Wright Electric has entered the public radar the first time in March 2017 when it aired its concept of an electric plane capable of carrying 150 passengers on journeys shorter than 500 kilometres. The idea echoed first with EasyJet who plans to launch such an electric aircraft within the next ten years reportedly.
The same can now be said for Jetex, a flight support company from Dubai. The proposed design they are working on with Wright Electric aims for a range of 540 km or 333 miles, which would enable passengers to fly from Dubai to Muscat or Malaga to Casablanca on a single charge.
At the same time, Jetex wants to use its status as fixed-base operator (FBO) to install charging infrastructure for such a plane at up to 30 airports in Europe, the States, and throughout their network.
Wright Electric wants to build its electric airplanes with swappable batteries and has warmly welcomed Jetex on board. Nothing has been said about finances or further details of the cooperation.
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After a slight decline in plug-in sales in previous months, France has fully recovered at the start of spring with sales across all segments on the up. To be precise, EV sales in particular have reached a high that was hitherto unseen.
A total of 4,214 electric cars were registered this March in France, more than in any other month and an increase of 41.6 percent compared to March 2017. But that is not all as French buyers also acquired 756 light utility vehicles such as all-electric vans, and 1,187 PHEVs (+40%).
As usually, France favours its own products, thus keeping the Renault Zoe in the lead with 2,245 Zoe registered in March, representing a market share of 53.27% of all EVs sold last month.
Renault partner Nissan continues to attract buyers as well so that 719 Leaf were sold, up 131.19% from last year.
On a solid third is BMW that managed to put 319 of its i3 on the road, this doubling sales (+ 100.63%). Then follows Tesla’s Model S (162 units, + 52.83%) and the Hyundai Ioniq Electric (127 registrations).
National favouritism also applies in the commercial vehicle segment. The Renault Kangoo stays on top of the list with 369 registrations over the past month, which represents an increase of + 98.39% compared to 2017. There follows the Peugeot Partner (122 vehicles, – 4.69%), the Renault Zoe in the utility version (95 units, + 115.91%) and the Citroën Berlingo (69 registrations, + 64.29%).
Since the beginning of 2018, 7,660 electric passenger cars have been registered compared to 7,641 in the first half of 2017, according to Avere.
China’s electric car startup WM Motor wants to invest 685 million dollars to expand its production facility in Wenzhou as they aim to make 200,000 electric cars a year there. That’s basically doubling the capacity, just days after their first model rolled off the line.
The electric SUV dubbed EX5 is being produced as you read and will hit the shelves in China by autumn, bearing a price tag of 200,000 yuan. After the EX5 launches successfully, WM Motor got two more EVs lined up before 2020.
While previous plans reportedly stated the goal to sell 100,000 electric cars a year, that limit suddenly got doubled. Considering that WM Motor wants to offer at least one new electric car model each year at prices below 300,000 yuan (about 39,000 euros), such an increase of production seems necessary. As is competitive pricing in the ever more crowded EV segment in China.
WM Motor founder and chairman Freeman Shen Hui, who previously headed the China side of the Volvo Car Corporation, thus told reporters “We believe we will be the first among our peers to deliver a higher end EV product on a mass scale, by that I mean at least 10,000 units.”
Trading under the name of Weltmeister, German for world champion, WM Motor had recently aired plans to float the firm publicly, at least in the USA, but also said that there was no hurry as the initial financing stands.
Accordingly, Shen Hui now denied such plans. WM Motor counts powerful supporters among its backers. Shen, who played a key role in Geely’s acquisition of Sweden’s Volvo, also said WM Motor had raised 20 billion yuan of debt and equity financing from investors including China Minmetals Corporation, Envision Energy, Tencent and Baidu and financial investors such as China Structural Reform Fund Corporation and Sequoia Capital China.
The plant in Wenzhou runs on technology by Siemens.
Partners Nissan an Dongfeng presented their electric car model for the Chinese market. It will come in the form of an existing model from Nissan. Together they want to woe buyers in the People’s Republic as they seek to offer the EV under all labels.
As Nissan & Dongfeng present their planned EV for China, it turns out to build on Nissan’s existing Sylphy, CarNewsChina suggests. Performance data speaks of 80 kW and a top speed of 144 kph, much like the old Nissan Leaf EV.
The Sylphy-based electric compact car will be made available to buyers in China exclusively and may also hit the market under the Venucia and Dongfeng labels. A first appearance is planned for the Beijing Auto Show, next to the new Nissan Leaf, as well as the electric concept IMx, which debuted in Tokyo last October.
Undoubtedly, China is an attractive market for Nissan, where they plan to invest approximately 7.6 billion euros over the next five years along with their Partner Dongfeng. A large portion of the investment is earmarked for e-mobility. In particular, more than 20 electrified car models (both battery-electric, as well as with the e-Power Range-Extender) are planned, with 6 rolling out by the end of next year.
Nissan announced another joint venture with their alliance partner Renault to combine with Dongfeng last October. There had also been rumors of a complete fusion of the two European car manufacturers, who have been closely affiliated as of late. The newly minted eGT New Energy Automotive is now owned at 25% each by Nissan and Renault, and the other 50% by Dongfeng. The first cooperative car will be a small electric SUV, which will be produced in the Dongfeng factory in Shiyan as of 2019. The factory is set up for an annual capacity of 120,000 vehicles.
Italy’s design studio Pininfarina is turning into an electric carmaker, drawing from the money of owner Mahindra and its experience from designing for the Formula E. The newly created European brand, Automobili Pininfarina, will cater for the premium segment.
The Italian studio is to move from the design into the manufacturing space as Mahindra confirms their proposed strategy. Expect Pininfarina to design and build luxurious electric cars, making their entry with a bang as in hyper car by 2020, before sliding into the haven of electric SUVs starting from 150,000 euros. This puts them head to head with Bentley and Range Rover.
Mahindra is building on the name Pininfarina whilst keeping their engineering works in tact. Therefore, there will be two companies, Pininfarina Spa, which Mahindra & Mahindra took over in 2015 and which will continue to sign responsible for the design works, and Automobili Pininfarina.
Says Paolo Pininfarina, Chairman, Pininfarina SpA: “We are pleased to welcome the new company, Automobili Pininfarina which represents an additional client for Pininfarina SpA, joining the list of the many prestigious car makers for which we will be designing cars in the future. This project helps me and my family to realize my grandfather’s dream of seeing outstanding innovative cars solely branded Pininfarina on the roads.”
The first such car in the family name is to launch by 2020. Pininfarina plans for an electric hyper car lingering around the 2 million euro price bracket and capable of accelerating from 0 to 100 kph in less than 2 seconds, while sporting a range of 500 kilometres. Anand Mahindra, Chairman, Mahindra Group, describes the upcoming EV as “a rare collector’s item that only a handful of connoisseurs will ever own.”
Automobili Pininfarina will be headed by Michael Perschke. The German manager was previously responsible for Audi India and on the board of Volkswagen Group Sales India.
When it comes to a broader strategy, the European luxury label Automobili Pininfarina shall allow Mahindra access to a market in which the Indian corporation has been struggling for years.
Deliveroo rival Just Eat is offering a special deal to restaurants in its network that are willing to switch to electric transport. Just Eat has teamed up with Eskuta to offer a 45% discount on the price of its electric delivery scooters.
This could make a lasting impact in the growing market of food deliveries as there are 28,500 restaurants signed up for Just Eat’s online ordering service in the UK alone. The deal with Eskuta means that restaurants could save as much as 750 pounds on the electric scooters, which usually cost over 1,400 GBP. Their scooters can run for 50 miles on an eight-hour charge.
Says Just Eat’s UK managing director Graham Corfield: “With more delivery drivers on the roads than ever before, we recognise that we have a role to play in finding ways to reduce the carbon emissions that result from food delivery.” He adds: “This partnership with Esukta is another step towards tackling the impact that takeaways can have on our planet and we look forward to continuing our work with our restaurant partners and suppliers to support innovation across the industry.”
Just Eat’s effort include renewable energy deals from Make it Cheaper and Squeaky Clean Energy that are available to all of its restaurant partners. They offer discounted rates to purchase green energy to power their restaurants.
Furthermore, Just Eat announced it will stop selling all single-use plastic items. The move comes after a consumer survey found that three-quarters (74%) of people would prefer their takeaway to arrive without items such as plastic cutlery and straws. The company also is to foster R&D investment into single-use plastic alternatives and Just Eat has partnered with Skipping Rocks Lab to trial restaurant launches of edible seaweed-based sauce sachets that decompose in six weeks.
Just Eat will work with the Sustainable Restaurant Association to develop a series of resources for the company’s 28,500 restaurant partners to help them and their customers reduce plastic usage.
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Dutch infrastructure provider Fastned has placed a successful bid to install two rapid-charging stations in the UK. Both Newcastle and Sunderland will benefit from 6 charge stops each, with some getting ready for ultra-fast charging.
The tender was from the North East Combined Authority (NECA) and Newcastle University to install two fast charging stations in the city centres of Newcastle and Sunderland. The ‘Go Ultra Low Filling Stations’ will allow multiple electric vehicles to charge fast using any charging standard.
Each station will host six fast chargers, dubbed “rapid” chargers in the UK, with two of those at Newcastle University being enabled for charging with 175kW, and possibly 350kW. Those high power chargers will then charge an electric car within ten minutes for an extra 125 mile range. Both stations are covered with solar panels forming a canopy.
However, the agreement includes research activities as well. Fastned will be working with Newcastle University’s researchers to develop a better understanding of the impact of EV charging on local grids, and the potential roles for EVs and battery storage in future smart grids. Fastned will also work with NECA to research and understand business models for electric vehicle infrastructure in the region.
The Newcastle station will be located within the Newcastle University’s Newcastle Helix site, while the Sunderland station will be located near the city centre, the same town where the Nissan Leaf is being made. Design, construction and operation of the rapid charging stations will be with Fastned.
The project is co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the UK Collaboratorium for Research in Infrastructure and Cities (UKCRIC), and the UK Government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV).
The Dutch company says it wants to build many more multi-charger stations in the UK over the next three years. In 2017 Fastned also won a tender with Transport for London (TfL). TfL is currently in the process of developing sites and making them available for Fastned and four other selected parties to bid for.
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General Motors and EVgo say they want to install “hundreds” of EV charging stations for use with GM’s Maven car sharing service. The growing numbers of gig drivers using the Chevy Bolt EV will now get a dedicated DC charging network across the States.
The service operates via a platform ‘Maven Gig’ dedicated for ride-sharing drivers of services like Lyft and Uber. The service is now available in seven cities in the USA.
Maven and EVgo are trying to tap into the grow gig economy and want to address the needs of those on-demand drivers directly. Says EVgo CEO Cathy Zoi: “EVgo is committed to working with fleet EV owners and operators to make charging quick and easy. Maven Gig EV Bolt on-demand drivers will have access to a dedicated EVgo fast charging network so they can fully charge in the time it takes to eat lunch.”
When stating the latest numbers, GM reports that those drivers have driven nearly 9 million miles electrically. So far, they have been using public EVgo fast chargers in San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Boston, Washington DC, Baltimore, and Austin. The new dedicated network will add hundreds of charging stations in Maven markets across the States.
The former BMW manager Dr Herbert Diess is taking over after the departure of Matthias Müller. This has now been confirmed and is now in motion. At the same time, new brand groups are being introduced and the utility vehicle unit is being opened up for public investment. Another thing is that Diess will additionally be responsible for R&D.
This indicates that the company is placing higher importance for the research and development sector, particularly in the electrification and digitization areas. But we expect Diess may have his hands a bit too full with the added responsibility, considering he also will be in charge of Seat and Škoda as well as Volkswagen.
Diess was known as a supporter of electric mobility even back in his BMW days, and it is expected that he will continue to push for more development at VW, which means good things for the e-mobility sector. VW already announced plans to begin producing EVs on a global scale at 16 locations by 2022. Diess has emphasized that in this phase of change, it is important for VW to build up and maintain tempo, particularly in the areas of e-mobility and digitization.
Another development is the promotion of the Porsche boss Oliver Blume to the group management board, as he will now be responsible for managing production in 12 factories. Blume has also been an outspoken supporter and we expect that he will bring the same drive for electrification to the additional brands under his management, that he did for Porsche.
Additionally it was mentioned that the former workers council spokesperson Gunnar Kilian will now take over the personnel board. He is tasked with preparing the VW employees for the future. The rumors surrounding Audi boss Rupert Stadler were premature, and he will be running sales for the company. The sales area has been difficult for Porsche, partially because of competence issues, as well as unwillingness to push electrified vehicles into the forefront of the shop. This will likely change with the new e-mobility direction.
All in all, the corporation has many both small and large wheels turning between Wolfsburg, Zuffenhausen, Ingolstadt and Munich. Volkswagen Truck & Bus also recently announced a cooperation with the Toyota subsidiary Hino Motors, where both companies also plan to focus on research and development of EV technology. In Braunschweig VW is investing heavily in battery development. The factory there will take charge of MEB platform battery development, which is central to the VW electrification strategy. It seem that VW is well on the road to modernizing their company and escaping the dieselgate scandal, so Tesla in the US and Toyota in Japan will have some serious competition!
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Hyundai has announced the price for its second fuel cell serial production: in Germany the Hyundai Nexo will cost 69,000, and qualifies for the ecological subsidy, which lowers the price by another 4,000 euro.
The price varies across locations, and the Nexo can be bought for 52,000 without subventions in South Korea. As with its predecessor, the ix35 Fuel Cell, private and corporate customers can order the Nexo at any participating Hyundai dealership, and it will be available in Germany as of August.
At the beginning of January, Hyundai introduced the second generation fuel cell SUV at the CES. The performance of the H2 vehicle is 120 kW (163 PS) and Hyundai has announced that the fuel cell remains operational even at temperatures ranging from -30 to 50 degrees Celsius and has an efficiency of 60%. The range for the vehicle has been set at 750 km.
hyundai.news (In German)