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Nissan begins researching battery second life in Brazil

Sun, 08/12/2018 - 14:10

Nissan and the university of Santa Catarina in Brazil have made an agreement to research battery second life functions for Nissan Leaf batteries as innovative energy storage solutions.

In Florianópolis in the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina the partners came together to sign a memorandum of understanding. To begin, Nissan will provide the research team from the university with six old Leaf batteries, which were used in a taxi project in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro beforehand.

Should the cooperation prove to be long-term, the second life applications are set to be extensively tested. “Upon removal, the batteries retain a high charging and supply capacity,” said president of Nissan Brazil, Marco Silva. The cooperation will test exactly how much potential is in the batteries.

The main objective is to test how to best integrate the old batteries in energy storage systems to provide additional grid stability in Brazil. Considering that the average energy usage per household in Brazil is at 170 kWh per month, the team estimates that a single battery could provide enough energy for a household for three days.

Storage of solar energy is also an issue the team will be looking at. In the first test facility, they will install solar panels in Florianópolis. “This partnership with Nissan is very important for our laboratory because it will allow us to unite the two pillars of our research, which are electric mobility and energy storage,” said professor Ricardo Rüther, coordinator of the UFSC Photovoltaic Laboratory. Last year, his team worked on a solar-powered bus to ferry students about campus, among other things.

This is not the only initiative by Nissan to explore second life options for their batteries. In June, Nissan started a project in the Amsterdam Arena with a massive energy storage system containing 148 batteries. In the Japanese Namie, Nissan is also testing use in street lights with their subsidiary 4R Energy.


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DLR and NASA laud e-airplane design from Munich

Sun, 08/12/2018 - 13:20

The German center for aerospace (DLR) has lauded the winners of the competition they organized in cooperation with NASA for design ideas regarding future flight technology. The winners were a team from the technical university in Munich.

The Munich team comprised of Alexander Frühbeis, Isa Held, Patrick Sieb and Artur Usbek submitted a design called the “eRay Aircraft Concept”. The concept is designed around an aircraft with a turbo-electric flight system, which is spread out over the vehicle to take advantage of synergies between the technologies included. Chassis design also played a role, as the Boundary Layer Ingestion-Effect was utilized to increase engine efficiency. A new cabin design concept saves weight and active turbulence mitigation is also included. In total, the concept is said to have 64% less energy use than modern airplanes.

Second place was won by a team from the university in Stuttgart with their “Polaris” design, followed by a team from Aachen with the “AirBox One”. In total, 41 students in seven teams from six German universities took part.

The competition also had a parallel in the USA, where the winning team from the German counterpart will travel to the USA in Fall to present their project next to the American winning team in an international symposium.

electrive.net, dlr.com (Both in German)

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Eurabus to begin assembly in Kazakhstan this year

Sun, 08/12/2018 - 12:37

The Berlin-based electric bus manufacturer Eurabus has announced plans to open an assembly plant in Almaty, Kazakhstan by the end of this year. They plan to produce up to 100 buses per year there. The first completed models are expected in Fall.

The new facility will cost an investment sum of 44 million dollars, which will create around 400 local positions. The assembly will take place on the basis of SDK construction kits, which the manufacturer will import. A year ago, Eurabus already began discussing plans to construct their Eurabus 3.0 model in two different varieties in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Latin America.

At this point it was already decided to bring 700 of the buses to Kazakhstan over three years. The background is that Almaty, the largest Kazakh city has declared a battle against smog. At first the contract partner had also ordered diesel buses, but after an intervention by the city council, the decision was made to completely bank on electric buses. A new bus depot with space for 500 e-buses will be constructed to provide a home for the fleet. Regarding the factory, the time plan had initially been to begin assembly last year.


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California plans emissions-free public transit

Sun, 08/12/2018 - 12:24

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has issued an outline for Innovative Clean Transit (ICT). The outline shows how the state can transit to a zero-emissions transport system utilizing new energy buses.

At the end of September, CARB will organize a public hearing in Sacramento to discuss the outline further. The zero-emissions buses being considered are battery-electric as well as fuel cell buses. A central demand in the paper is for large bus fleet operators (with more than 100 buses) to begin phasing in NEV’s and have at least a quarter of their new purchases be electrified as of 2023. The quota will then expand to 50% in 2026. In 2029, the quota will then be expanded so that 100% of newly purchased buses will have to be electrified. Next to a long list of other suggestions and requirements, the paper also has a demand that large and small fleet operators will have to come up with a strategic plan by 2023 to help the roll-out of emissions-free buses.

greencarcongress.com, arb.ca.gov (PDF)

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Tesla’s former head of development returns to Apple

Sun, 08/12/2018 - 12:02

Doug Field, who had joined Tesla in 2013, returned to his previous employer Apple. He was head of development and production, among other roles, before he began phasing out in May, leaving the company for good in July.

In May, Tesla announced that Field were taking a break and would not be leaving the company. In early April, Elon Musk took over the role of head of production, while Field was to be focusing on vehicle development. He had taken both roles for the previous year. Musk said at the time that it made sense at the time to combine development and production, but that circumstances had changed.

At Apple Field previously worked in hardware development for the Mac, but will now be joining the electric vehicle plans by the company. He will likely be joining the team of his former boss Bob Mansfield, who will be heading the initiative.

Apple has been testing autonomous vehicles on public streets in California since 2017, but the “Titan” initiative has been somewhat quiet for some time. After a few months of silence, the team announced having found a vehicle partner in Volkswagen. BMW, Daimler and other manufacturers had been in the discussion as well. The contract was set to initially turn several T6 transporters into electric shuttles for Apple employees.

The report also stated that the program was behind on schedule, and had initially been scheduled to be completed by the end of the year. The project had exceeded workload expectations and taken full capacity from the team. It is still unclear whether the cooperation with VW will extend beyond the transporters.

9to5mac.com, pocket-lint.com

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StreetScooter components test positive for Cadmium

Sun, 08/12/2018 - 11:46

After the German ministry for vehicles (KBA) followed the suspicion that there may be extensive heavy metal contamination among EV components used in the Volkswagen brands VW, Audi and Porsche, affected components have now been found in the German Post’s StreetScooter.

Reports indicate that the vehicle contains the same affected charging component that was used in the VW vehicles. The supplier was not named, however up to 124,000 VW vehicles could be similarly affected.

The KBA is now further investigating the situation of the StreetScooter. After a component with a high lead content was found, the investigation also found the same component affected in the VW vehicles. The charging component was found to have such high cadmium concentration that a normal permit would not be possible. The Post had been looking for a small permit type for 2,000 vehicles with the KBA. Individual German states had also approved the vehicle. However the permit procedures for the states do not include heavy metal testing.

The Deutsche Post has also commented on the issue, stating that they had followed legal procedures and had relied on supplier specifications. If it were found that illegal actions had been taken, the company would respond accordingly.

Cadmium is a heavy metal that is carcinogenic as well as damaging  to organs, which is why it was forbidden for use in vehicles. Acute danger was not found with the components, as the affected parts are contained by several layers of housing. Problems are expected when disposing of the vehicles down the line, however.

electrive.net, spiegel.de, car-it.com, handelsblatt.com (All in German)

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Jaguar Land Rover considering producing I-Pace in China

Fri, 08/10/2018 - 19:15

JLR is considering starting up production for their BEV I-Pace in China. Their local Chinese partner Chery Automobile will take over production of the I-Pace alongside the E-Pace, which will begin production at the facility soon.

The news was released by unnamed sources, who also added that the move was embedded in a larger production strategy, which would particularly lower production costs along the line. Just recently, JLR announced a quarter loss of 210 million pounds – the worst quarter since the takeover by Tata Motors back in 2008.

All in all, four models, which are currently being produced in UK factories, will be moved to production in China, Austria and Slovakia, and the I-Pace and E-Pace will not be the only models not planned to be manufactured in the UK. Both vehicles are being produced at Magna Steyr in the Austrian Graz. The E-Pace will also soon be produced in Changshu, as mentioned above. Next to the I-Pace, another two vehicle models are being discussed for production at the eastern Chinese location.

Ahead of Audi, Mercedes and BMW, Jaguar was able to bring a fully electric SUV to the market this year in the contested premium class. The serial version of the vehicle was revealed back in March and the German electrive.net team was even able to give the vehicle a test ride in Portugal.

china-certification.com, livemint.com, gulfnews.com

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Surprising second life for Tesla battery

Fri, 08/10/2018 - 17:42

Battery recycling and reuse has been in the news but this is a rather unusual solution. Car guru Rich Benoit has turned a salvaged Model S battery into a trailer.

He however did not use it as a range extender though, as he reutilised only the casing. He takes the frame of the case, and turns it into a fully functioning trailer.


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Nothern Powergrid launching 3 e-mobility initiatives

Thu, 08/09/2018 - 18:27

Northern Powergrid will implement three key initiatives this year to engage their 2,500 employees with EV technology across several of its 28 sites. The DNO will observe both how its employees interact with the EVs and the resulting impact on the network.

These findings may then impact their services for EV owners and the supporting infrastructure. As part of the initiative, Northern Powergrid is installing EV charging points at 11 of its sites.

This will be supported by a second initiative to install on-site vehicle-to-grid (V2G) charging points that will also contribute to a trial of best use of V2G in fleet operations. Installation for the first of 16 V2G chargers will begin this month.

Furthermore, Northern Powergrid will begin a process of fleet electrification, starting with its pool cars. Moreover, the utility is undertaking a survey of EV ownership in the business to ensure the growing EV driver base has the right infrastructure.

“We have to get hands on and lead by example. We are starting small to begin with, bringing on five Nissan Leaf EVs that will be available for our people to use,” explains Jim Cardwell, Head of Policy Development at Northern Powergrid. “Although colleagues frequently have to take our vehicles to places where there is no electricity, there is huge internal appetite to decarbonise as much of our fleet as possible, as soon as is practical.”

Over the past year Northern Powergrid has been engaged in EV projects. These include a £9.8m collaborative project led by Nissan, that will see 1,000 V2G charging points added to the UK’s network (we reported). Substantial support comes from the UK government as it wants to demonstrate the viability and also potential attractiveness of V2G solutions.

2017 also saw Northern Powergrid and Nissan sign a Memorandum of Understanding to undertake projects that will look at how EVs, batteries and other technologies can support energy networks.

northernpowergrid.com (PI)

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Ireland: Lidl to introduce electric car charging stations

Thu, 08/09/2018 - 18:16

The Irish branch of Lidl will install electric car charging stations at its stores across Ireland. 20 new and to be refurbished stores will be equipped with more than 40 charging points within the next six months.

The service, which will be free of charge for customers will make Lidl the largest network of electric vehicle chargers in the Irish supermarket sector.

“Business must act responsibly, and Lidl will lead the way by installing electric vehicle chargers in all new store builds and investing over €150,000 in our electric vehicle charging programme,” Alan Barry, of Lidl Ireland, explained.

Lidl has already installed electric vehicle charging points at its Rathfarnham, Drogheda and Swords stores.

It will retrofit the technology to its stores in Cabra, Tallaght, Glenageary, East Wall, Gorey, Wilton, Virginia, Magherafelt, Lurgan and Andersonstown.

independent.ie, breakingnews.ie

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Ikea opens in India with EVs and solar panels

Thu, 08/09/2018 - 17:33

Swedish furniture maker Ikea has opened their first store in India as planned. The centre in Hyderabad offers electric vehicles in their delivery fleet and uses solar power. Their targets to deepen their green stance are ambitious.

Not only will Ikea have to convince Indian consumers that assembling furniture yourself is the best way of life. They also want to make an ecological impression starting with a delivery fleet that is to consist of 20 percent electric vehicles over the course of one year after opening. Moreover, 4,000 solar panels have been installed on the roof of the Ikea store in Hyderabad.

At the launch, Ikea India CEO Peter Betzel said: “We are not opening a store, we’re opening a country.” Indeed the Swedes are planning stores in Mumbai, Bangalore and New Delhi in the coming years.

IKEA is part of the EV100 initiative by The Climate Group to make electric transport the new normal by 2030. Under this commitment, the company has already installed EV charging stations at half of its global stores. This means India is only one of a total of 30 countries where Ikea wants to electrify their fleets and the group expects the same from partner companies responsible for its deliveries. Additionally, Ikea wants to equip every store with charging stations for employees as well as for clients (we reported).

theclimategroup.org, cnn.com

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CSIRO extracts pure H2 from ammonia in live driving test

Thu, 08/09/2018 - 17:09

Australia’s CSIRO successfully tested their hydrogen stored in form of ammonia during driving tests with FCVs by Toyota and Honda. Their novel membrane essentially reverses the Haber-Bosch process, which usually transforms hydrogen into ammonia.

Testing of what CSIRO called “ultrapure” hydrogen commenced in Pullenvale, Brisbane with the CEO of CSIRO, Larry Marshall taking a ride himself in the fuel cell vehicles supplied by Toyota and Hyundai.

CSIRO says their method allows to store and transport hydrogen more safely and effictively. Ammonia holds about twice as much energy than liquid hydrogen and is easier to ship and distribute.

In order to make it workable, CSIRO developed a novel membrane to extract hydrogen out of ammonia. The principal researcher Michael Dolan explained the process to Renew Economy as follows: “We are effectively undoing the Haber-Bosch process [which has traditionally been used to transform hydrogen into ammonia], starting with hydrogen from a source, where you take nitrogen out of the air and make ammonia, which we think helps transport hydrogen over long distances and long time scales.”

Dolan added that it is a chemical process but one that can be fuelled by renewable electricity so it is considered a low-emissions process to generate hydrogen for fuel cell vehicles.

The project of Australia was supported by BOC that belongs to The Linde Group. They contributed over $100,000 in-kind gas products and equipment as well as technical expertise to the $3.4 million project.

CSIRO is now looking to apply their hydrogen storage solutions in real life.

While the firm claims their solution to be the first of its kind, British researchers had taken a similar approach in 2014. The scientists from the ISIS Neutron Source facility in Oxfordshire managed to extract hydrogen from ammonia with the help of sodium reportedly.

A more recent attempt at an ecological solution to power fuel cell vehicles took place at the TU Eindhoven last year. The team FAST used formic acid also known as ant secretion. It was made from CO2 and hydrogen, both from renewable sources. Hydrozine the students call their invention that could prove revolutionary given that synthetic formic acid is usually made from petrol. FAST hopes to get a first production facility together with Volta Chem.

reneweconomy.com, abc.net.au

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INN-BALANCE detailing novel fuel cell components

Thu, 08/09/2018 - 16:33

The EU project INN-BALANCE (INNovative Cost Improvements for BALANCE of Plant Components of Automotive PEMFC Systems) is developing new fuel cell Balance of Plant (BoP) components. They now released some more details.

Funded by the FCH JU, the INN-BALANCE project has been running for about a year. Partners include Volvo, Brose, the DLR and universities. They now went into detail on what they are developing.

INN-BALANCE is developing a new air turbo-compressor, combined hydrogen injection and recirculation, advanced control and diagnosis devices and a new approach to thermal management. They also work on the smart integration of the newly developed components. An automotive fuel cell stack will finally be incorporated into a vehicle powertrain to test its drivability, durability and performance.


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Solaris to premier lightweight hybrid bus in Poland

Thu, 08/09/2018 - 15:31

Busmaker Solaris of Poland is planning to launch a whole new hybrid bus at the TRANSEXPO in Kielce this October. The Solaris Urbino 12 LE lite hybrid is said to consume less than 30 litres of fuel per 100 km. The bus weighs under nine tons before taking up to 85 passengers.

The main objective of the Solaris engineers who developed the Urbino lite hybrid was to create a a light and fuel efficient bus. Also by opting for a hybrid drive, Solaris opens up new target groups such as transit agencies with little or no experience in electric transport or those with smaller budgets.

The drive system in the new Urbino model is an engine with a volume of 4.5 litres. The unit fulfils the EURO 6 exhaust emission standard and has 154 kW and torque of 832 Nm. The Urbino LE lite hybrid is also equipped with an electrical drive with a power of 11.5 kW. It recuperates energy during braking in order to assist the combustion engine when starting.

The Solaris Urbino 12 LE lite hybrid will be available in version with two doors. The hybrid bus will be able to take up to 85 passengers, 41 of them seated.

Sales will start shortly after the premier at the TRANSEXPO in Polish Kielce this autumn.

The Solaris Urbino 12 electric and the Solaris Urbino 12 hybrid will also be on display. They debut with a new design, which will become the standard for all Urbino and Trollino city vehicles as of January 2019.

In the same year, Solaris will present their first fuel cell electric vehicle. It is based on their Urbino series but with a longer range of up to 350 km on one fill. A prototype with fuel cells serving as range extender is running a trial in Hamburg since 2014. In the new model, a traction battery is to support the hydrogen bus at peak times (we reported).

electrive.com (PI)

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Germany: Bosch investing €77M in e-mobility R&D centre

Thu, 08/09/2018 - 14:29

Bosch is planning on investing 77 million euros in its existing development centre in German Schwieberdingen. Most of the money will help build new offices for employees working on electric transport solutions. Bosch will spend the first 27 million this year.

The Stuttgarter Zeitung quotes the head of the facility, Thomas Pauer, saying the remaining 50 million euros will be invested next year. In Schwieberdingen they are developing high voltage batteries for electric vehicles among other solutions. They employ 6,500 people there to date and this number is likely to grow in line with the new investments. Bosch would not go into detail on this though.

Yet, they are currently looking to fill 600 positions but are having trouble finding skilled workers, says Pausch. They need software and electrical engineers in particular to move to the town near Stuttgart. Pausch also pointed to training that enables employees to switch from gas guzzlers to electric drive development for example. In addition, Bosch has set up a dual degree in partnership with Esslingen University.

For Bosch, the investment in Schwieberdingen underscores a global push for electric mobility. Their estimates suggest that 20 million hybrid and electric vehicles will be sold worldwide in 2025.

Yet, the company has been building on their German facilities. The latest investment sees Bosch having broken ground for a new chip factory in Dresden as planned. It will mainly produce processors to serve e-mobility from 2021 and is the largest investment in the company’s history worth 1 billion euros. For Bosch, the location puts them in close proximity to VW and BMW that are building electric cars in Saxony. The VW factory in Dresden for example will not only host the e-Golf production in future, but will also be producing electric cars from the I.D family.

Only when it comes to making battery cells for electric vehicles in Europe, Bosch declined.  CEO Volkmar Denner had concluded previously that they would have to generate 200 GWh to make the investment worthwhile but at a cost of 20bn euros. While Denner said the money as such would not be “any problem” for Bosch, the supplier decided that it would not be worth the risk. A statement reads: “Given dynamic external market factors that can only be predicted with difficulty, it is unclear whether this investment would pay off for Bosch, and when.” In particular competition from Asia is making it difficult.

Therefore, Bosch will stick to battery cell design and especially systems as well as other electric mobility solutions.


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Nikola Motor raises $100M for fuel cell trucks in a week

Thu, 08/09/2018 - 13:49

Nikola Motor says they raised over 100 million dollars in just one week. The current round of funding for $200 million is ongoing and will be oversubscribed, says CEO Trevor Milton, if the trend continues. The money is to help Nikola launch and scale its two fuel cell trucks in 2020.

Hydrogen truck maker Nikola Motor is on a roll as they announce they collected half of the money they had aimed for in the latest round of funding in just the first week. The 200 million dollar financing round is to run for another three weeks and their early success has led Nikola CEO Trevor Milton to believe, that the offer will be oversubscribed.

The investors’ trust builds on substantial success Nikola Motor had lately. Powerful allies such as Bosch had helped the electric truck startup from the beginning. Their first fuel cell truck Nikola One will utilise the eAxle of Bosch when it launches in 2020/21 (we reported).

Yet, Nikola Motor will need more money for some time. In January they announced their plan to build a new factory close to Phoenix, Arizona. They earmarked no less than a billion dollars with construction to start in 2019 and production to begin two years later.

At the moment the company has a $1.1 billion pre-money valuation.

It is not only investors but clients too that have reserved their trust for Nikola. The company had been taking pre-orders since months. Initially they charged a 1,500 dollar deposit that included a 6-year leasing contract and unlimited hydrogen fueling in the USA. In a show of strength, the money has been returned, while the orders remain standing (we reported).

In addition, Nikola struck their largest deal to date this May when Anheuser-Busch reserved 800 fuel cell trucks from Nikola. The beer magnate wants to convert their entire fleet to zero emission trucks, and had previously ordered 40 Tesla Semi trucks.

While Nikola Motor had looked into battery-electric trucks at the very beginning, they have since switched to hydrogen-powered electric vehicles. They say they will be working with partners on a network of hydrogen-filling stations. By 2028, Nikola is planning on having about 700 hydrogen stations across the USA and Canada to fill their fuel cell trucks.

trucks.com, futurecar.com

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When an electric raging Jaguar meets Audi (video)

Thu, 08/09/2018 - 12:39

It is not exactly a match, a race between Jaguar’s first and only electric car, the I-Pace SUV, and Audi’s conventionally powered Audi RS3 sedan. Maybe that is why CarWow put them against each other three times with two drag races and a test of brakes.

Taking into account the higher weight of the Jaguar I-Pace, you may be able to guess which competition the Audi has had a chance to win. Check out the races below and see for yourself.


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East London borough installing 24 EV charging bays

Wed, 08/08/2018 - 19:03

The London borough of Waltham Forest decided to install 24 charging bays, which will be reserved for charging EVs exclusively. ChargeMaster will take care of the installation and the stations are to become part of the Polar network.

For the upcoming district in the far-east of the British capital, the new initiative for electric car adoption, will see 24 charging points being installed at ten locations in Chingford, Highams Park, Walthamstow and Leytonstone.

The marked bays beside the new charging points will be reserved to electric cars being charged. Cars that are not being charged will receive a penalty notice.

The station will be part of the POLAR network and users will be able to charge through a monthly payment, or on a pay-as-you-go basis.

David Martell, CEO of Chargemaster said: “It’s great to see local authorities deploying more charging infrastructure to support a growing population of electric vehicles. With the addition of these new charging points, electric vehicle drivers in Waltham Forest, as well as those considering making the switch, will find it even easier and more convenient to own and drive an electric car.”

Installation of new charging points was among the commitments in the council’s Air Quality Action Plan to offer ‘cleaner’ modes of transports to residents in the borough of Waltham Forest.


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Delhi Metro introducing e-rickshaws on the last mile

Wed, 08/08/2018 - 18:16

SmartE, one of India’s largest EV fleet operators has intensified their latest deal with the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC). They installed electric rickshaws at a metro station to provide passengers with electric transport on the last mile.

For SmartE, the service in Delhi is an expansion of their existing offers in Gurgaon and Faridabad, where the startup already operates a fleet of over 800 electric three-wheelers.

The service in New Delhi launched at the Dwarka Sector 10 Metro Station. Goldie Srivastava, Co-Founder & CEO of SmartE said at the event: “We look forward to serving nearly 20,000 commuters daily in the first phase of the Delhi Pilot.” He added that the company have had “over a year of successful association with DMRC”.

The electric rickshaws offer last mile connectivity within an area of 3-4 kms around the Metro stations. Fares have been kept at nominal rates of INR 10 for the first 2 kms and at INR 5 for every subsequent kilometre. Customers can pay and book the fully covered trikes via smartphone.

Dedicated charging stations have been set up by Rajasthan Electronics and Instruments, a Public Sector Undertaking along with SmartE partners Exicom Power Solutions.

SmartE claims it delivers 50,000+ rides to DMRC commuters daily and that it has served over 25 million rides without emissions since its founding in October 2015. They plan to roll-out 100,000 electric vehicles by 2022.

The startup is not the only company looking to electrify one of India’s most used means of transport. Ride hail service Ola is currently working to deploy up to 10,000 electric rickshaws within a year (we reported). Ola has been running its electric cab pilot in Nagpur featuring 100 Mahindra e2o electric cars and another 100 EVs as well, including rickshaws. The company says its trial has provided sufficient insights to expand the electric vehicle fleet further.

businessworld.in, rushlane.com

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New electric drive from China for Japan

Wed, 08/08/2018 - 17:34

Engineering firm HORIBA MIRA has partnered with the Japanese automotive supplier Keihin to develop electric vehicle technology. The partnership sees the companies set up an engineering programme to develop a powertrain for China.

The new development will take China’s new energy vehicle policy as a guide. The electric drive system thus gears for more efficiency and not just bigger batteries.

MIRA China, a subsidiary of HORIBA MIRA, will provide local support to the project.

A timeline has not been released yet.


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