At the 11th Schaeffler colloquium the newly created e-mobility unit presented solutions for future electric and hybrid drive systems. Particularly hybrid transmissions and electric axle drives. The components for the different drive systems are based on a unified development platform, which was also first presented to the public.
The hybrid modules have a particularly compact design and have an integrated triple clutch. The hybrid modules by Schaeffler are known for their positioning between the combustion motor and the transmission in a P2 layout. The third generation of these modules the entire double clutch is fitted inside the electric motor, specifically the hollow space inside the rotor, allowing for an extra compact design.
Furthermore, Schaeffler is first presenting their dedicated hybrid transmissions, which are based on automated transmissions and have 2 electric and 6 mechanical gears. According to the manufacturer, this means that “The electric motor that operates parallel to the internal combustion engine is integrated into the transmission structure in such a way that it has two ratios available. The advantage: The electric motor can be operated very efficiently even at high driving speeds.” The DH-ST system performs at 220 kW and the WLTC consumption is around 4.5 liters per 100 km.
In order to underline the performance boost, Schaeffler compares their new electric axle drives to a 2011 version: the 2011 drive manages 60 kW with a weight of 90 kg, while the new axle drive manages 145 kW with 80 kg weight.
Erik Buell and Frederic Vasseur from Spark Racing have announced their new bike startup VanguardSpark, which will be producing electric bikes. The New York based firms first project will be a pedelec named Speedbike.
The company is also planning to develop an electric motorcycle with a 150 km range, which will be called the Commuter. Design is not yet completed, but some renderings have been released which show off the rough design features, which will include wheel hub motors on the rear wheel. The first prototypes are expected this summer.
Buell is known for his somewhat extravagant designs, such as a 2013 patented hybrid superbike, which would, at least in theory, combine a 1000 cm³ gasoline tank with two 150 kW electric motors.
Pininfarina and the Hybrid Kinetic Group are presenting two new cooperatively developed vehicles at the Beijing Motor Show with electric motors in combination with a micro-turbine range extender. The SUV is named K350 and the sedan H500.
The partners have previously presented vehicles with the same propulsion system, namely the H600 sedan and the K550 and K750 SUVs, as well as the recently presented wing door coupé HK GT. The first serial model is expected to be produced in 2020.
The two models, announced for the 25th of April, will be the fifth and sixth concept vehicles produced by the pair with an electric motor combined with the micro-turbine range extender. Two teaser photos have been released, but the partners have opted not to reveal technical details just yet.
Pininfarina has also confirmed that the fuel cell race-car concept presented in 2016 H2 Speed Concept will be built in a mini-series of 12 vehicles.
Mercedes has released the technical specifications of their new electric Sprinter, which will be released on the market in 2019. The vehicle will be sold as a delivery van with a raised roof and performs with an 84 kW motor and two battery varieties with 41 or 55 kWh.
Mercedes initially revealed their new Sprinter in February, and delivered a photo series presenting the electric version. The technical details, however, were left unspecified at the time. In a press conference, Mercedes now decided to reveal further details of the vehicle. It will be about 6 meters long, with a wheel span of almost four meters, a loading capacity of 10.5 m³ and a total weight allowance of 3.5 tons.
The eSprinter is mostly designed for inner-city traffic. The 55 kWh battery allows for a range of 150 km and a maximum load of 900 kg. The charging time at a 7.2 kW station is stated to be 8 hours. Alternatively, the 41 kWh version allows for only a 115 km range, but has a higher weight allowance of 1,040 kg instead. The charging time for the smaller battery is set at six hours. According to the manufacturer, both vehicles are fast-charging capable, and the ranges have been tested in difficult conditions as well, such as low temperatures and a full load. With a drive power of 84 kW the vehicle is just as powerful as the diesel version. The top speed is 80, or alternatively 120 km/h.
The eSprinter will be following the eVito, which is being released in the second half of this year. Mercedes explained that the duo will drive the electrification of commercial fleets, which they hope to facilitate by offering their expertise in charging infrastructure construction and individualization for customer needs.
Benjamin Kaehler, the head of the electric motor unit, stated that the vehicle needs to have a total operating cost similar to a comparable diesel vehicle, which the eSprinter and eVito fulfill. Growth in the sector can only happen if the use of electric vehicles is commercially viable. The relatively high acquisition costs are offset by the relatively low energy and maintenance costs, as well as tax subsidies.
The head of Mercedes Benz Vans, Volker Mornhinweg, is convinced that electric mobility is winning the battle, particularly in the cases of urban areas. He said that they have demonstrated their commitment to electrification with the eVito, and the eSprinter is now set to really set that in stone.
A new report analyzing social media indicates that the Formula E is becoming more popular particularly among younger motor sports fans. Ahead of the first race in Rome, one of the electric racers even received a blessing from the Pope.
The report stated a “sustained increase in engagement, followers and video views” and a 347% rise in the number of 13-17-year-olds engaging with content distributed on Formula E official digital channels. There also was an increase of 54% among 18-24-year-olds viewing the same content, indicating that the electric racing competition is in good hands for the next generation.
In April, a selection of drivers and board representatives visited the pope at his residence at the Vatican, where the car and the team were blessed. The devil may still be hiding in the details, but it seems that Formula E has a divine start.
Mitsubishi is setting up a charging network at its dealerships in Japan, which will not only receive renewable energy via solar panels, but will also stabilize and support the local electrical grid – even in the case of a natural disaster or power shortages.
28 Mitsubishi dealers have already been fitted with solar power modules and have the capacity to charge batteries and receive power over a vehicle-to-building charging system in cases of emergency.
The new Hyper Energy Station by Omiya went into operation this week in Saitama City was also supplied with its own batteries to support the local electrical grid. By 2020 a total of 200 dealerships are planned to have integrated the energy solution.
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Siemens has signed an agreement with the largest public transportation operator in Denmark for the delivery of fast charging stations with a mobile current collector for e-buses. 45 communities stand to benefit from the contract.
The Danish transportation authority Movia ferries more than 215 million passengers per year, according to their numbers. As part of their mobility plan 2016, the 45 communities and two regions have decided to integrate an emission-free bus system by 2030. Siemens may play an integral role in this endeavor.
The German technology company is deploying HPC chargers with a 150, 300 or 450 kW performance. The agreement stretches over three years and includes the installation, commissioning, construction and the company-internal remote monitoring system in a cloud, according to a press statement by the company. This contract marks one of the largest orders for electric bus business by Siemens. It will be supplemented by a six year service contract.
Specifically, the communities have the options to set up charging stations at selected bus stations where a movable arm would connect with passing buses to charge them en-route. The charging process would start via a W-LAN connection after the driver has activated the hand brake. The charging port on the roof would then be accessed by the charging arm, which remains active until the driver releases the break, when it automatically stops and disconnects so the bus can continue on its way.
This method allows buses to charge during regular stops for four to six minutes. The system can support high speed charging, according to Siemens, and similar fast charging stations are already active in Hamburg, Stockholm, Göteborg, Drammen, Oslo and Montreal.
Among the cities which could benefit from the agreement between Movia and Siemens is also the capital Copenhagen. The Danish capital plans to become the first CO2-neutral city in the world by 2025, and it stands to reason that the 100 million annual transit users will play a major role in the planning.
Schaeffler has presented a new urban mobility concept called Mover. The autonomous system could be used as a basis in future for urban mobility concepts such as robot taxis and the next generation of personal and goods transportation.
The technical platform with a wheel hub drive and 90 degree steering is apparently constructed so flexibly, that it can easily be adapted to perform different functions, stated Schaeffler in a press release.
The company is looking to potentially “complement or replace” vehicles that are used in short-distance transportation in particular. The Mover has drive and chassis components that are integrated into each of the four wheels; a wheel hub motor, the wheel mounting, including suspension and the actuator for the electromechanical steering.
The motor itself is a variant of the 2013 developed wheel hub motor by Schaeffler. According to the manufacturer, each of the four electric motors delivers a continuous output of 13 kW and a peak performance of 25 kW. The rated torque stands at 250 Nm per motor, and could be doubled for short periods. Schaeffler is planning to continue developing the mobility concept over time, and before the end of the year they plan to build their first drivable prototype with a drivers cab and AC.
Recently Schaeffler leadership solidified their position in the e-mobility business by founding an independent business unit for e-mobility on the 01.01.18. Dr Jochen Schröder is heading the newly created unit as of the beginning of this month. By 2020 he plans to invest another 500 million euros in the serial development of purely electric propulsion systems and hire an additional 1,200 new employees.
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The VW factory in Braunschweig is being supplemented with new development and production facilities for battery systems on the company’s MEB platform. VW is speaking of the bundling of battery competencies for all of Europe at the Braunschweig location.
In future, the company plans to manufacture half a million battery systems for EVs per year, benefiting the VW brand as well as the other brands under the corporate banner.
The factory in Braunschweig will be set up as the competency center for Europe in this context, and will be used to support battery manufacturing around the world. Specifically, VW has mentioned China and the USA.
According to the head of the component unit, Thomas Schmall, the location in Braunschweig has been ramping up their battery development and production knowledge in the last few years. The team surrounding Otto Joos has worked on the MQB models from inception to serial production, and the new focus on the MEB platform will help the location become a global innovator for e-mobility.
There has also been some speculation regarding a renewed interest in battery cell production, when/if Herbert Diess takes over from Matthias Müller as CEO. The pilot project for the manufacture of battery cells in Salzgitter may find itself more central to development than initially planned.
Regarding the competency bundling in the factory, Diess stated that VW were doing “everything to ensure that the EVs of the future are designed and developed in Germany. The battery system is an elementary component of this value chain”.
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The Chinese Uber rival DiDi Chuxing has cancelled their cooperation with the Saab owner National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS), announced at the end of 2017, to develop a specialized car for the ride-share service, according to rumors.
The background is that the Chinese car manufacturer BAIC may have made a better offer to DiDi Chuxing, according to a Swedish report. An official statement ending the cooperation, or detailing any updates to the nature of the agreement, has not been released.
After the announcement from Didi Chuxing to cooperate with 12 car manufacturers to develop a EV ride-sharing platform, for which they entered a strategic agreement with BAIC. This cooperation includes the areas EV fleet operation, big data solutions, mobility services and customer-specific vehicle design and charging services. Together the companies plan to bring intelligent mobility systems into the next generation.
In October NEVS announced the cooperation with Didi Chuxing. As a goal, the Swedes cited the development of an electric vehicle optimized for ride-sharing services. Didi has very ambitious plans and wants to offer not less than 1 million EVs over their platform by 2020.
If the rumors turn out to be true, it would mean the loss of a large order for NEVS, but it would not be the end of the company, as they have signed expansive agreements with multiple partners; most recently with China Volant Industry (Volinco) to deliver 20,000 EVs. Additionally, 150,000 NEVS 9-3 EVs were ordered by the leasing company Panda New Energy in China.
Volkswagen Truck & Bus has signed a framework agreement for a strategic cooperation with Toyota’s utility subsidiary Hino Motors. Both companies aim to include hybrid and electric systems in their cooperation options.
Specifically, the automakers are considering a close cooperation in the areas of logistics and traffic research regarding current and future technologies, as well as the acquisition of parts and suppliers.
Hino is a utility vehicle manufacturer with a strong presence in Asia and the Japanese market, while Volkswagen Truck & Bus is more known in Europe and Brazil through its subsidiaries MAN, Scania, Volkswagen Caminhões e Ônibus and RIO. By leveraging the cooperation, both companies plan to expand their positions in their local markets.
In order to analyze cooperation possibilities, the companies have set up an Alliance Board, where the chief executives and other senior management members will discuss the next practical moves. “It will also be a strong tie-up at times of new challenges in the field of transportation due to the rapid growth of e-commerce,” said Yoshio Shimo, president of Hino Motors. Andreas Renschler, CEO of VW Truck & Bus and board member of Volkswagen AG, added: “It is an excellent fit in terms of regional footprints and products, but also concerning common ideas on how to shape the future of transportation together.”
The German manufacturer will add to their existing portfolio of strategic partnerships with the move, including partnerships with Navistar in North America and Sinotruk in China. In October, VW Truck & Bus also announced that unified electric powertrain would be used for modular construction of the delivery trucks and city buses under the VW Truck & Bus banner.
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Volvo Trucks has finally released the technical specifications of their first fully electric truck. The Volvo FL Electric is designed for urban delivery routes, as well as communal service, such as garbage removal, and has a range of up to 300 km.
Officially the 16 ton e-truck will be presented in May at the IFAT in Munich, however the technical specs were released ahead of time for the truck which will be released in 2019.
The truck will have an electric motor with a top performance of 185 kW, and a regular performance of 130 kW. Energy storage will be covered by between 2 and 6 lithium-ion battery packs, with a 100 to 300 kWh capacity. The batteries can be charged via CCS and will enable the mentioned 300 km range. In all likelihood, the batteries will be produced and delivered by Samsung.
The first two trucks will be taken into service by the trash and recycling company Renova and the Spedition TGM in Göteborg. The sale and serial production of the Volvo FL Electric will begin next year in Europe, as planned.
Behind the offer by Volvo Trucks is the considerable experience of the Volvo Group in the area of electrified transport solutions. The sister company Volvo Buses has produced a total of 4,000 electrified buses since 2010. “We’re immensely proud to present the first in a range of fully electrically-powered Volvo trucks ready for regular traffic. With this model we are making it possible for cities that aim for sustainable urban development to benefit from the advantages of electrified truck transports,” says Claes Nilsson, president of Volvo Trucks.
A few weeks ago he already hinted at the benefits presented by electrified trucks; the drop of noise levels and pollution, the option to drive in cities late at night or during less busy hours would ease requirements on logistics operators, as well as benefit the communities they serve. First tests analyzing the effects of electrified trucks in urban areas have already been done in Stockholm in cooperation with the Royal Technical University titled “Off Peak City Distribution”. As trucks were not slowed by commuter traffic, they were able to complete deliveries in about 1/3 of the regular time.
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The German government is set to drop the tolls for electric semi trucks as of the 01.01.2019. The move by transport minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU) is designed to motivate the slow electric mobilization of truck transport.
Logistics companies could save up to 5,000 euros per year if they take advantage of the tax benefit. Scheuer presented the proposition at the government retreat in Meseberg, and stated that the new regulation would be a “great incentive for transportation companies to transfer to more environmentally friendly vehicles.”
The market for electric trucks is currently still quite small, and Germany has only a few manufacturers who even offer an electric truck in their vehicle line-up. According to reports, currently only 12,000 vehicles in Germany would qualify from the regulation.
However the move may become significantly stronger, when the truck tolls are extended from the Autobahn to include other highways. That would increase the current toll-required road km from 15,000 to 55,000 in Germany. As electric trucks and transporters are mainly used near urban areas, due to their range, the new regulation may prove to motivate manufacturers to expand in the area of electrified mid-range road transport. The truck tolls, which were introduced 12 years ago, currently bring in about five billion euros per year.
sueddeutsche.de (In German)
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Tesla is planning to begin Model Y production in November of 2019, according to sources, while the official confirmation is still out. The two unnamed sources also confirmed that the SUV version of the Model 3 will be produced in the Fremont factory.
The Californians have issued a RFI (Request for Information) to suppliers, which outlines basic information regarding the Model Y production and its requirements. That means that Tesla is beginning to take in bids from suppliers, so that when Model 3 production begins in China in two years, everything will be set.
The most recent Tesla business report from February concludes that the production plans for the Model 3 will be publicized within the next three to six months. That was said by Elon Musk during a telephone conference following the presentation of the business numbers.
In August, Tesla first showed off a teaser image of the compact SUV, which did not show very much, as we have come to expect. What has changed in the meantime, is that the Model Y will no longer be based on its own platform, but be built based on the Model 3 architecture. This will simplify production and allow the company to have the car ready for serial production significantly faster.
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This robot you can ride and once you’re done rocking back and forth to drive around, it can follow your every step. This robot “butler” cannot cook, but has enough autonomy to make for an interesting toy.
Limited AI enables the Loomo, made by Segway Robotics, to roll after their owner and to receive and follow out basic voice commands, with functionality such as taking photos or carrying smallish items. The battery lasts for 35 km, but such dedicated service has its price: 1.800 dollars.
autoblog.com (with video)
Jeju Island is becoming something like a mini Norway, only in Northeast Asia. BYD has a little HQ here since they were asked to deliver 20 electric buses that have just arrived. BYD says it is the largest project of its kind in the region.
The order had been standing since November 2016 and has now been completed as all 20 electric buses of type eBus-7 arrive on the island. They will take up their zero emission service in Udo, the largest island that is included in the Jeju City district.
Being rather small, the buses 15-seater body suits the narrow roads of the island that is no bigger than 6 square kilometres. The eBus-7 won’t run out of power easily here with its 200 kilometres on a charge, requiring only two hours to be fully charged.
Swiss car sharing service Catch a Car has ordered its first electric models. Thirty VW e-UP are to arrive in Basel within the next few months and join the existing fleet of 120 regular Up cars. The electric version will be charged at new charging columns.
Not by the last driver though but a dedicated team of service personnel that need to catch the VW e-Up every 100 kilometres to recharge. Basel’s utility IWB took the opportunity to install eleven public charging columns.
Catch a Car operates a free floating system in Basel so that car sharers my leave their vehicle at any public parking spot. Those wanting to share an electric car may book their ride via app and will be charged per minute. Catch a Car also operates in Geneva and now has about 10,000 members.
srf.ch (in German)
Munich-based busmaker Flixbus has entered the electric age in France today, as it launches two electric buses that will go the long distance. The coach service runs between Paris and the city of Amiens and electrive.net was live at the launch event in Paris, just at the foot of the Eiffel Tower.
The electrification of a complete route in long distance travel is a first to date and Flixbus used the opportunity to introduce their electric coach in a picturesque setting: directly at the bank of the river Seine, at the foot of the Eiffel Tower.
While Flixbus hauls from Germany, the bus model that will run in France, is an adapted model from Chinese manufacturer Yutong. The ICe 12 is 12 meters long, has a top speed of 100 kph and space for 49 travellers. Ten lithium-ion battery packs made in China with a total capacity of around 250 kWh should provide a range of around 200 kilometres.
Two of these electric coaches will now tackle the approximately 150-kilometer route between Paris and the city of Amiens further to the north on a daily basis. On weekends and holidays there will be two connections per day even. The ticket costs seven euros – the same as before with conventional buses.
Recharging will happen at each destination and Flixbus calculates three to four hours. In Amiens, the charging infrastructure had to be installed, and while the electric buses arrive in Paris at the La Defense station, they load at another depot. It is owned by B.E. Green, a subsidiary of the French bus company Dominique.
In fact, B.E. Green has played a large part in making this project possible when it bought the electric coaches for 400,000 euros each and the company also provide the drivers. Flixbus in turn will integrate the new route into its network. Such outsourcing of the actual operation of the coaches has proven a successful business model for the startup and helped them grow from a three-men operation into one of Europe’s largest bus companies for inter city travel.
B.E. Green is in the electric transport business since 8 years and specialises in electric shuttles, minibuses and Co. It took one year to prepare the electric bus project, according to B.E. Green CEO Patrick Mignucci. “So far, French and European manufacturer prefer to concentrate on electric city buses,” he says to explain why they now use Chinese buses to run between Paris and Amiens. “Local manufacturers have the technical abilities but the long-distance bus market is not attractive enough for them.”
Flixbus had to make a few compromises when opting for the Yutong ICe 12. Unlike their other buses, there is no toilet on board and the seats are not green as usual. During the maiden voyage over the cobblestones on the banks of the Seine it became clear, what really makes the difference compared to the diesel fleet of the long-distance bus giant: the silence. Mingling with the invited guest is Stefan Tontsch, who is the Flixbus director of operations. He is eagerly watching the inauguration, but something similar is in preparation for Germany.
From Frankfurt to Mannheim powered by BYD
“The electric bus test route in Germany runs between Frankfurt and Mannheim,” confirms Tontsch an earlier rumour. Unlike in France however, the installation of charging stations at both terminals involves a bit more work, especially with regard to permits. “Basically, approval procedures in Germany are more extensive, which is why testing in Germany starts later than in France,” says Tontsch.
Flixbus is now aiming to launch the second route “in summer”.
On the 110-kilometer route between Frankfurt and Mannheim, which will have several stops, they will deploy the BYD model C9. The 12-meter-long vehicle can accommodate up to 40 passengers and reach a maximum speed of 90 kmp h. Again, it got a range of about 200 kilometres and charging time will amount to three to four hours.
Flixbus intentionally opted for models from two different manufacturers as they are testing how electric coaches perform on the long-distance in real life. Says Tontsch: “We would like to test more electric coaches but Yutong and BYD are the only ones at the moment having a suitable offer.” Flixbus hopes however, that their initiative will be perceived as an incentive for more manufacturers to position their new technologies.
Report: Cora Werwitzke (German original)
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A stolen Tesla Model S was found partially submerged in a river in British Columbia. A suspicious load was also discovered in the vehicle, and it remains unclear if there is a deeper meaning to it.
When the police recovered the electric car, which had been stolen just the night before, from the Fraser River in the morning, a mysterious sack floated out. The paddler that had found the Tesla in the first place, went after the bulky form just to find that it was a large bag of onions.
While a rumour had been floated on the internet shortly after, suggesting that this is related to an April fools joke by the satirical magazine The Onion, this is not true.
Electrek’s guess seems much more likely, in which case the thieves had used the onion bag to hold the accelerator paddle down so that they could launch the Tesla into the river. Ludicrous mode, clearly.
Kia America Technical Center, Inc. (HATCI) and Mojo Mobility have completed a three-year project to develop a wireless fast-charging system on a test fleet of Kia Soul EVs. The project claims 85% efficiency when charging with up to 10kW.
It took HATCI and Mojo Mobility three years to develop an inductive charging system for Kia’s Soul EV. The system is capable of transferring more than 10 kW to the vehicle for fast charging and claims an 85% grid-to-vehicle efficiency, while it also allows for misalignment of the two coils.
The partners tested it on five Soul EVs in real-world applications and while successful, they did not announce any production plans yet.
Still they may build on their research. Says William Freels, HATCI President: “We set out to develop wireless charging that has real world applications and is easy to use for the consumer. Now, with this fleet of wireless Soul EVs, we can clearly see a future of unplugged electric vehicles.”
The project was run with the support of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.