Renault has announced their plan to invest about 1 billion euros into the expansion of development and production of electrified vehicles in France. Specifically, the manufacturer is planning to develop a new alliance platform for electric vehicles in the Douai factory.
The factory in northern France will be the second EV manufacturing facility in the country next to Flins. At the Flins factory, Renault will be doubling the manufacturing capacities for the Zoe and has begun investing in development for the next generation of the vehicle.
The Cléon factory will see a tripling of the manufacturing capacities for electric motors. Furthermore, the next generation of electric motors for the manufacturer will begin production in 2021. Renault is also investing into their Maubeuge facility, in order to produce the next generation of the Kangoo model family, including the electric Kangoo Z.E there.
The announced investments are part of the Drive the Future strategy, which plans to establish 20 electrified Renault models by 2022, including 8 fully electric vehicles.
The Hyundai Kona Electric has been listed with a starting price of 34,600 euro in Germany. Unlike the Norwegian market, the vehicle will be sold in two performance varieties and with two battery options in Germany.
The sales price will be further reduced by 4,380 euro if the vehicle is picked up by the BAFA list for subsidized vehicles, which we expect to be the case with the next update for the list in Fall.
The smaller variant of the Kona Electric will have a 100 kW electric motor, with a 39,2 kWh battery. The basic price the “trend” setup stands at the mentioned 34,600 euro. The more powerful “style” version will cost at least 38,100 euro, while the premium setup will not be available for the basic version electric SUV.
The more powerful version will feature a 150 kW electric motor and a 64 kWh battery. Here the basic price will start at 39,000 euro, going up to 42,500 euros and 45,600 euros for the style and premium setups, respectively. Features included in the more expensive versions include a heads-up display, heated and air-conditioned leather seats, a traffic assistant and a cross traffic warning system.
Now anybody can play at being Elon and build their own life-size electric vehicles. Infento’s new construction kit lineup includes an electric hot rod, a go-kart, a minibike and a quad, as well as several other models.
Two years after raising 479,000 dollars on their kickstarter, the company has returned with a series of modular construction kits for various electric vehicles. Using a two speed brushless electric motor and a modular 4 Ah lithium-ion battery, allowing for up to 60 minutes of run time.
The modular construction kit also allows for families to rebuild their vehicle into a different vehicle or a larger model as kids grow up, hopefully instilling a love of EVs in the next generation. Builders can either follow the provided instruction sets, or build their own EVs.
The VW subsidiary founded in the wake of the diesel scandal has announced plans to open an EV car sharing service in Sacramento, starting with 260 vehicles. The company is also investing in a budget car-sharing service and electric buses in the region for a total amount of $44 million.
The GIG Car Share will start with a total of 260 zero-emissions vehicles in a free-float mode. The initiative will entail a 13 square mile “home zone”, where users can park the vehicles anywhere. The service is set to start in the first quarter of 2019.
The other car sharing service will be called Enjoy Round Trip Car Sharing. As the name suggests, Envoy Technology is involved in the program and will be based around low-income apartments, starting with 142 vehicles in 72 locations. Each vehicle will feature a dedicated level 2 charger, and 75% of the fleet is ear-marked to serve low-income and disadvantaged communities.
The two car-sharing investments will cost the VW subsidiary between 15 and 18 million dollars. Electrify America is also invested between 11 and 14 million dollars in bus/shuttle services, which will operate as a bus service between UC Davis and Sacramento, and an on-demand shuttle service in the Franklin region.
Finally, Electrify America will be investing between 14 and 16 million dollars in EV charging infrastructure. More than 10 ultra-fast charging stations are set to be constructed for the public in the Sacramento region, with capacities ranging from 50 kW to 150 and 350 kW.
Elon Musk’s Boring Company has been selected to build a “Loop” transit system between the O’Hare airport and the downtown area. 80 to 100 vehicles will be used in the underground system.
The vehicles used will be based on the Tesla Model X with space for between 8 and 16 passengers. The fully electric vehicles will then drive autonomously through a tunnel system at speeds up to 240 km/h.
Another notable factor, is that the city will not be paying for the system. The Boring Company will operate and take revenue from the service once it is launched, essentially making them a private mass-transit company.
The city stated the following regarding the contract conditions for the installment of the transit system: “The company will be required to further develop its plans and ensure they meet all necessary safety, construction, financing and operating requirements. The contract will also include protections to ensure taxpayers would be protected against any costs incurred by an incomplete project.”
With around 20,000 daily airline passengers travelling between the airport and the central business district, it is expected that the project will have a huge impact on traffic and environment in the city. This marks the third major transit project for the Boring Company, as they are currently also working on a tunnel network and Loop in L.A. as well as a Loop to connect Washington and Baltimore on the east coast.
Magna and May Mobility have teamed up to develop an autonomous electric shuttle. May Mobility will deliver the design, while Magna will take over assembly.
Should the venture prove successful, the initial manufacturing of hundreds of vehicles will be expanded to cover the entire USA, with thousands of self-driving shuttles. The initial fleet debut will take place on June 26 in Detroit, Michigan.
Magna CTO Swamy Kotagiri said: “Magna is pleased to work with a company like May Mobility to help support new mobility in city centers.” The company had also managed to secure 11.5 million dollars in funding from BMW iVentures, Toyota AI and other investors, earlier this year. Magna also partnered with Lyft to develop a self-driving car platform, investing 200 million dollars in the company in exchange for an equity stake.
May Mobility founder and CTO Steve Vozar stated the following about their new partner and plans: “Magna shares our high technical standards and excitement about servicing the growing demand for self-driving vehicles to meet today’s transportation needs, while also laying the path for the future.”
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The Ford Motor company and Daimler AG are shutting down their joint venture to develop automobile fuel cell technology. Both companies plan to continue development in-house.
According to Ford, the joint venture Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation Corp, seated in British Columbia, will be shut down this summer. The venture employed about 200 people and was started in 2008. Despite years of research and investment, FCEVs still only make up a small niche market, prompting the change in strategy.
While the companies said in a statement that “Both companies will continue to explore ways to cooperate on developing fuel cell stack modules”, the two companies are following different automobile strategies. Ford‘s plans “will take fuel cell stack development in-house, as well as leverage the supply base”, while Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche indicated earlier this year that the company will focus more on battery-electric vehicles.
Elon Musk has deepened his financial participation in Tesla. After Musk purchased 33,000 stocks in May, worth around 10 million dollars, he purchased another 72,500 stocks worth 25 million dollars on the 12 and 13 of June, according to the SEC.
The purchase price per stock stood between 343,44 and 347,44 dollars as Elon made his purchase. This means Elon Musk has now accumulated more than 33,737,921 Tesla stocks, ensuring he remains the main investor.
That the purchase came at the same time as the announcement that 9% of Tesla employees would be made redundant is also likely no coincidence. Musk may be showing us just how confident he is, that Tesla will reach profitability by the second half of 2018.
For the planned autonomous electric shuttle Orbit, Fisker will be using wheel hub motors from Protean Electric. The vehicle was developed in cooperation with the Chinese Hakim Unique Group, and was presented last December.
The system allows for maximal performance with minimal use of space. The eDrive technology by Protean also found use with LM Industries, who are integrating it into their own electric shuttles.
Technical details regarding the Fisker Orbit are currently still unknown. Fisker announced the vehicle would have ambitious specs: “The Fisker Orbit already encompasses breakthrough automotive technology, design innovation and exciting touches that will change the way urban populations think about short trip experiences”. The companies behind the Orbit split the work as follows: Fisker is responsible for the development and production of the vehicle, while the Chinese are taking care of marketing and distribution in major Asian cities.
This year the testing process will begin for prototypes fitted with the Protean technology. Next year, the companies plan to begin functional use of the Orbit on a pre-determined track.
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The Munich startup Sono Motors has passed the 5,000 pre-order mark for their solar EV, less than a year after its presentation, and with more than a year before production begin.
For each of the 5,132 pre-ordered vehicles, a down-payment has been placed, according to Sono Motors. Several hundred cars have also been fully paid for already. The current state of reservations is equivalent to a turnover of more than 100 million euros.
The Munich startup announced the target of 5,000 pre-orders at their launch event in July 2017, and has reached it in less than a year. The production is scheduled to begin in the second half of 2019, with the support of a yet-unnamed European contract manufacturer.
So far, more than 10,000 people have test-driven the Sion. The pre-orders come from 33 different countries, with more than 80% of the orders from the core markets in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. In the past 4 weeks alone, another 1,000 orders were placed.
It was also recently announced that ElringKlinger received the contract to develop and supply the complete battery systems for the Sion. The contract, with an 8 year time limit, is worth several hundred million euros.
The Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer BYD and their Indian partner Goldstone are planning to reach a production rate of electric buses of no less than 5,000 units per year by March 2021.
Only a few days ago did the cooperation Goldstone-BYD present the K6 electric minibus in Delhi, which can carry up to 18 passengers and has a 200 km range. The vehicle will be produced entirely in India. The pair plan to set up production bases in India to export to other south Asian nations as well. Nepal has already ordered the first five units of the minibus.
In the first step, the companies plan to expand production capacity this year to around 2,000 electric buses per year. Goldstone recently invested in the construction of a production facility in Karnataka.
Currently Goldstone and BYD are also planning the installation of charging stations along the stretches on which the buses will likely be used. The lacking charging infrastructure is still the largest barrier to e-mobility in India. On top of that, Goldstone will begin with the manufacturing of lithium-ion batteries and the acquisition of EV components.
In the coming year, the next generation of the VW T7 bus will be introduced. Currently, the Wolfsburgers are testing several vehicle variants under the chassis of the current generation. It may happen, that the T7 will be introduced as a BEV in the second half of 2020.
The reasons behind the upgrade are mainly the use in urban areas, which may soon be affected by driving bans for combustion vehicles. This also puts somewhat of a question mark behind the segment, which has been traditionally dominated by diesel vehicles.
The question of which platform to use is also still outstanding with the T7. Reports indicate, that the new T7 may be based on the modular transverse matrix platform. That would certainly make the planning process easier, as well as the choice of the drivetrain. The MQB platform has been shown to be effective at electrification, for example with the VW e-Golf. The VW T7 is also planned to receive a 48 volt electrical system. This would allow for a mild hybrid version, next to a battery electric version and a plug-in hybrid.
If Volkswagen does actually release an electrified version of the T7 remains to be seen. In 2022, the electric van the I.D. Buzz will be released, which is also planned to come as a cargo version. An interesting question to answer will be whether the MEB platform is strong enough to carry the loads a T7 would normally be tasked with.
Toyota’s versatile concept that is self-driving and electric may build on their cooperation with Seven-Eleven. The technology may find use in the service industry.
Toyota envisions the e-Palette could serve as a unmanned café and mini-mart on wheels in less populated areas. The unmanned mobile convenience stores could then serve underpopulated areas, where profits would not allow for the establishment of a real franchise. There is also consideration to add conveniences such as cafes to the assortment. Self-service just took on a whole new meaning.
Swiss energy firm EBL plans to create an E-Mobility Hub which will feature 280 EV charging points, including 60 fast chargers. The facility will be located in the canton of Basel. It will also have space for e-mobility related projects inside a large innovation centre.
Once EBL finishes their E-Mobility Hub and start operations in 2023, it will likely be the largest facility of its kind in Europe (still).
The company wants to install almost a park of EV charging stations – 280 to be precise including 60 DC chargers that EBL calls Superchargers although it is unclear if Tesla is involved at this stage.
Cooperation exists between EBL and the canton of Basel-Land and the FHNW University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland for the project.
Moreover the E-Mobility Hub will accommodate workshops for research projects, coworking spaces, meeting rooms, and concept stores and showrooms for electric carmakers. The planned building that EBL calls its Innovation Centre will have nine floors and stretch over 23,000 sqm.
The basement will house to a large stationery energy storage made from 2nd life batteries. The power company expects the hub to require 20,000 megawatt hours of energy a year within 10 years. This energy will be 100% renewable and supplied by local power sources including solar energy, hydropower and wood fuel. Some will be stored in the battery in order to power the fast chargers at peak times.
Recently, the Swiss government said it wanted 15 percent of all vehicles to be electric by 2022. In terms of charging infrastructure, the country is seeking to engage with pilot and demonstration projects.
In its statement, EBL related to the government policy directly and said it believes the new E-Mobility Hub will help provide the necessary infrastructure for growth in the sector.
The site has been found already and is located close to the A2 highway. EBL said it has secured a reservation for the land through the canton. Construction is to begin in 2021. The EBL e-mobility hub is scheduled to begin operations in 2023.
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The UK government’s Faraday Battery Challenge worth 22 million pounds in funding has selected the winning projects. Among them are ultra-fast charging solid-state batteries from partners such as Honda or an electrified drive train from McLaren Automotive.
Start with solid-state batteries said to charge extra fast. The PowerDrive Line project unites battery firm Ilika Technologies, Honda, environmental consultancy Ricardo, University College London, and the Centre for Process Innovation.
Together they are working on a lithium-based solid-state battery for electric cars. Their work has won them £2.3m in grant funding from the government that is interested in learning how to scale those batteries and if production in the UK is feasible.
The money is part of £22m funding round the British government designed to find and support next generation battery technology.
Other projects to be awarded funding as part of the Faraday Challenge include a scheme led by McLaren Automotive to develop electrified powertrains, and a new battery recycling project. The latter is being led by ICoNiChem and involves Jaguar Land Rover.
Also Williams Advanced Engineering took part with a new approach to battery management, while the Aston Martin Lagonda project is looking into the development of better performance battery packs.
The Faraday Battery Challenge is part of the government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund worth 146 million pounds.
French battery maker Forsee Power is at the Transports Publics show in Paris and put the latest additions to their Zen and Pulse ranges on display. The new battery packs aim at electric buses and come with different chemistries for either range or charging speed.
While the li-ion battery Zen 35 is made with NMC cell technology for long ranges, the other battery, the Pulse 15 uses LTO, that is prismatic cells for extra fast charging. The Zen 35 uses air cooling while the Pulse 15 is liquid-cooled. All packs are connected in parallel.
Both batteries will be produced at Forsee Power’s factory in Poitier that is being expanded as you read reportedly. The site is located near the Futuroscope and will enable the Group to start mass production and increase capacity to 2,500 batteries for heavy vehicles per year by the end of 2018.
And they are hiring, also at their Paris HQ.
Forsee Power counts international bus manufacturers among their clients, including CNHI (Iveco, Heuliez), CaetanoBus in Portugal and Wrightbus in the United Kingdom.
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Jaguar Land Rover follows BMWs and Mercedes’ example and is working on an architecture ready to accommodate both fossil fuel and electrified models. JLR’s head of production, Wolfgang Stadler confirmed this in German media but would not give a timeline.
Stadler did say however, that JLR plans to ready all their production hubs once the new architecture arrives. He denied any plans for a platform exclusive to electric models though, saying it would be “irresponsible” for a small manufacturer as long as it remains unclear, which technology will become dominant in future.
While he did not give a timeline for the multi-model architecture, he said it would arrive in “the near future” in the interview with Automobil Produktion.
Speaking about their facility in Nitra, Slovakia, where production of the Land Rover Discovery is to start this autumn, he said the factory is already able to produce both ICE as well as plug-in hybrid vehicles. He added that including an all-electric drive would also be possible without having to made changes to the chassis.
automobil-produktion.de (original source, in German)
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Dutch Greenflux closed its latest round of funding with 11 million euros. Their electric mobility infrastructure management platform found favour with investors such as the green energy company Eneco Group and the investment fund SET Ventures.
Greenflux is based in Amsterdam and supports energy companies, grid operators and automotive players to manage charge stations, enable roaming and billing and implement smart charging for advanced energy management.
In their Series B round of financing they now collected 11 million euros. Both existing shareholders BOM Brabant Ventures and ICT Group NV participated in the round alongside new investors such as Eneco and SET Ventures.
The money will serve the startup for their planned expansion. Say GreenFlux founders, Hans de Boer and Jurjen de Jong: “This investment provides the opportunity to power dominant EV charge point operators in Europe, US and Asia.”
The GreenFlux service platform is cloud-based and connects with charge stations of any type or brand. GreenFlux’s controller can be fitted in any charge station according to the company.
Greenflux says it is active in 15 countries with more than 15,000 electric car charging points.
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Audi has given us the details of their latest cooperation with SMA Solar Technology and the Hager Group and they are driving smart charging home. The team wants to enable future Audi e-tron drivers to charge their electric car in a cost effective and sustainable manner.
As Audi is preparing for the launch of their first all-electric model, the e-tron, they are also developing a whole suit of charging applications. The standard charging system for customers is the so-called compact package. It allows charging at 11 kW.
The new connect however, doubles that power to 22 kW with the help of a second charger. Moreover, it connects to the Home Energy Management System (HEMS) that offers smart charging features. And this is where SMA and Hager come into play.
Those electric car drivers opting for HEMS, may then benefit from different electricity tariffs. That is charging the e-tron cheaper at off-peak times for example while taking into account preferences such as the planned departure or the state-of-charge. The connect charging system gets the necessary data either from the HEMS or the customer enters the info into the myAudi portal.
On top, they can charge the Audi e-tron with homemade solar power, given the house has some solar panels installed. In this case, the electric SUV considers forecast hours of sunshine and the current flow of electricity at the home’s connection point to the public grid.
Audi’s first all-electric model, e-tron will hit the road in August this year. It marks the start of the Audi.Vorsprung.2025 strategy. The plan is to sell around 800,000 electric and plug-in hybrids by 2025, generating a profit of 1 billion euros.
Next to the e-tron and the e-tron sportback following in 2019, the Germans have announced their Audi e-tron GT for 2020, as well as an unnamed electric model in the premium vehicle segment.
Overall, Audi will launch more than 20 electrified vehicles, with at least one for each vehicle branding based largely on the MEB platform by Volkswagen, and a vehicle underpinning cooperation with Porsche.
U.S. American Plug Power has teamed up with Linde Material Handling to advance the use of fuel cells in manufacturing operations in Europe. Linde already offers a range of vehicle which Plug Power deems “fuel cell ready” and waiting to house their packs.
The cooperation of Plug Power and Linde is marked through their joint appearance at the World of Material Handling conference hosted by Linde in Mannheim, Germany that runs throughout June, 15.
The Plug Power Europe team says several warehouse vehicles including Linde’s P30C-FC electric tow trucks and E25-FC electric forklift trucks have been qualified by both Linde and Plug Power engineers for the integration of hydrogen fuel cells. Also two of Linde’s latest forklifts – the counterbalance truck E20FC and the reach truck R20FC – are fuel cell-ready and now available at Linde.
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