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Updated: 13 hours 7 min ago

Nobiskrug and H2-Industries building LOHC yacht

Wed, 10/03/2018 - 17:00

Nobiskrug and H2-Industries have announced their plan to build the first fully electric motor yacht with the Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carrier (LOHC) system on board. The system stores hydrogen in liquid LOHC oil, which is similar to diesel, which is then used to power a fuel cell motor.

The Nobiskrug shipyard and H2-Industries plan to use the ship as a pilot project to establish the use of the technology for every-day operation. They will also gather data to determine how the technology can be applied and adapted in larger and heavier ships.

The core technological breakthrough is the liquid LOHC oil, which can be carried and stored similarly to diesel, and can be loaded with hydrogen as often as desired, transporting energy with it. “This technology is a break-through on the path towards a cleaner environment”, says Holger Kahl, Managing Director of Nobiskrug. The message also added that “LOHC is efficient, low flammable and non-explosive also when loaded with hydrogen,” making the technology both clean and safe.

A fuel cell will then receive the energy, and subsequently power the electric motor. The first yacht with the system will be capable of a range of 1,000 nautical miles, and reach a speed of 10 knots. Additionally, a photo voltaic system will be constructed on the yacht, whose power will also be stored in the hydrogen-LOHC mixture.


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Kia celebrates European premiere of e-Niro

Wed, 10/03/2018 - 16:45

Kia has now officially presented the European version of their fully electric Niro in Paris. The market launch will begin in “select European markets” this year.

The European version of the Niro will be available in two battery variants. The technical specifications had been made public shortly before the Paris Motor Show, with a range up to 485 normal range according to WLTP standards with a 64 kWh battery and 150 kW motor capacity. The basic model with 100 kW and a 39.2 kWh battery has a combined range of 312 km. The more powerful version has an acceleration rate from 0 to 100 km/h in 7.8 seconds, while the basic model catches up in 9.8 seconds, keeping both under the 10 second mark. Similarly to the hybrid and PHEV versions of the vehicle, the motor powers the front axle on the e-Niro. The vehicle can charge from 0 to 80% charge 54 minutes at a 100 kW fast charger.

In South Korea, the sales of the Niro EV, as it is marketed there, began in July. The hybrid version has been available since 2016 and the Plug-in hybrid was released on the market in 2017. Between the two of them they account for more than 200,000 sales so far, 65,000 of which went to Europe. The annual sales of EVs are expected to reach 200,000 across Europe this year, reaching almost a million by 2022, according to the Korean automobile manufacturers.

In terms of design the vehicle is different from it’s combustion counterparts with some minor changes. On the outside a series of blue highlights set it apart from the other two, while the interior is set up differently due to not needing a gear shift. It is also equipped with Level 2 autonomous driving capabilities, 17 inch aluminum rims and is available in ten different colours.

According to the statement the vehicle rollout for the BEV manufactured in the South Korean Hwasung will begin in select markets before the end of the year. Reports estimate that the UK may be included, and that the starting price before subsidies would be around 35,000 pounds (28,000 euro). Rollout in Germany is expected to follow next year.

autocar.co.uk, kiapressoffice.com

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Denmark to ban sales on petrol and diesel cars by 2030

Wed, 10/03/2018 - 16:17

The announcement by the government stated that the ban will be instated by 2030 on all internal combustion engine cars, and aims to have one million EVs on Danish roads by then. The sale of hybrid vehicles may also be banned in 2035, according to prime minister Lars Rasmussen.

The ban was initially announced by energy minister Lars Lilleholt last week, but had not specified a time plan. Now the prime minister has announced the sales ban forthcoming in 2030. “In just 12 years, we will prohibit the sale of new diesel and petrol cars. And in 17 years, every new car in Denmark must be an electric car or other forms of zero-emissions car.”

Additional details to the exact implementation of the plan will be published next week, which will likely include tax incentives to help motivate import, as Denmark does not have much in the way of it’s own automobile industry. Furthermore, the addition to have one million EVs on Denmarks roads by then is an ambitious undertaking. Currently, Denmark has about two million private vehicles on their roads, meaning that half of the fleet would have to be replaced.

Following the scrapping of a subsidy scheme by the government, they are seriously reconsidering their approach after EV sales had dropped from 5,000 EVs in 2015 to 900 in 2017. At the time, the Rasmussen government had also announced plans to exit fossil fuel energy production by 2050. In response, the opposition announced a plan to ban the sale of diesel vehicles by 2030. It seems the administration seeks to beat their programme in this regard.

There have also been investments into electric mobility from the private sector in Denmark, particularly in public transit for both the acquisition of electric vehicles as well as charging infrastructure. Now the government will reveal their plan to publicly support zero emission transportation.

The announcement will also include a climate plan, which will include further emissions cuts in other sectors such as logistics and agriculture.


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Tesla’s new Q3 numbers released, hits 80,000 milestone

Tue, 10/02/2018 - 18:01

Tesla has managed to achieve a large jump in their production and sales number for Q3 of 2018. With 80,142 vehicles produced, they have increased the production volume by 50% compared to the previous quarter. With deliveries, Tesla has also managed to crack the 80,000 number of vehicles.

The last months have been turbulent for the Californian automobile manufacturers, particularly regarding the optimization of the production process of the Model 3. The company moved from their “production hell” to a new problem: deliveries. But it seems that Tesla has managed to close the gap in their most recent quarterly report. The company has reported a total of 83,500 delivered vehicles, including 55,840 Model 3, 14,470 Model S and 12,190 Model X.

To compare, the previous quarter showed a delivery of 40,768 BEVs, including 22,319 Model S and X, as well as 18,449 Model 3. However, it is likely that the manufacturer pushed the numbers from Q2, in order to capitalize on tax subsidy for another quarter.

Regarding the ambitious production plan by Tesla, it looks like the 53,239 produced Model 3s are fully on plan. While the beginning of the quarter saw Tesla mainly focusing on production of the rear-axle powered version, the AWD version ended up being the most produced version of the vehicle during the period. Regarding the weekly production targets, the last week of the period saw Tesla achieving their hoped production volume of “more than 5,300” Model 3 vehicles per week.

To put the numbers into perspective, the current 53,239 Model 3 produced mirror the total Q2 production number of 53,339. Except for Q3, we can add another 14,470 Model S and 12,190 Model X on top. That is some pretty notable progress.

Tesla also stated that they managed to deliver more than 80% of the vehicles manufactured in 2017 in only Q3. They also added that about twice as many Model 3 were delivered as in Q 1 and 2 put together. At the end of last quarter, about 8,000 Model 3 were still awaiting delivery, which have now been delivered and integrated into the Q3 statistics.

The company stated that the third quarter would be used to stabilize production and logistics, before expanding the direct delivery model in Q4 of this year. Whether Tesla managed to achieve profitability in Q3, as they had aimed for previously, is still unknown, as Tesla has yet to publish their business numbers.

The planned Gigafactory in Shanghai received some additional attention, as the Californians are now planning to accelerate construction as the mood between the USA and China is souring politically. Importing vehicles leaves a cost factor that is 55 to 60% behind local production. Exactly how much the production will be sped up was not stated, hwoever.

electrek.co, teslarati.com, ir.tesla.com

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Mazda is banking on hybrids for electrification strategy

Tue, 10/02/2018 - 14:45

Mazda has announced their intention of electrifying all of their vehicle models in the coming decade. The Japanese automobile manufacturers are mainly banking on hybrid motor systems for this endeavor. By 2030, 95% of their produced vehicles will feature a double motor system, with only 5% being fully electric.

Development of a fully electric vehicle was also confirmed for 2020, which will utilize a wankel motor as a range extender to charge the battery.

That makes Mazda a year late on their plans, with Mazda CEO Kiyoshi Fujiwara explaining the delay: “It took some time to put in the latest battery technology and we revised the layout to allow us to use the technology across multiple electric vehicles, so we’re a bit behind — that’s a fact…Delaying to 2020 is the optimal solution.”

Mazda’s solution of using a wankel engine, or rotary engine, as a range extender is also not new. At the end of August, the vehicle manufacturer entered the appropriate patent, which was in turn published by the Japanese patent authority recently. The range extender charges the battery while driving, allowing for an increased range on hybrid and electric vehicles.

Mazda’s electrification strategy up to 2030 is more extensive than that of their “larger brother” Toyota, which is only aiming to have about half of their sales electrified by this point. This is despite Mazda having some difficulties with the adaptation over recent years. They seem to have overcome these issues, even if hybrid technology seems to be the fix-all solution provided by Mazda. One year ago, Mazda, Toyota and the supplier Denso founded a joint venture to develop basic technologies for electrified vehicles, covering everything from compacts to SUVs and small utility vehicles.

reuters.com, bloomberg.com, mazda.com, motor1.com (Patent)

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Renault shows off new SUV for China and announces three hybrids

Tue, 10/02/2018 - 13:21

The Paris Motor Show saw Renault present their Showcar K-ZE, which is a prototype for the announced City SUV models, which will be released in China next year. Furthermore, the automobile manufacturer has announced additional PHEV and HEV versions of current vehicle models.

Renault plans to sell the Clio as a hybrid version, as well as the Captur and Mégane models as plug-in hybrids starting in 2020. These projects are no surprise though; they were announced as part of the Drive the Future strategy by the company, which will see a total of 20 electrified models on the road by 2022, including 8 fully electric vehicles.

In the spotlight of the Paris Motor Show, Renault has also presented the Showcar K-ZE, which provides a glimpse of what the company is planning on the Chinese market. The compact SUV in the small vehicle segment has a sportive design and a range of 250 km, according to NEFZ. The serial version of the BEV will be available in China starting in 2019 for a comparatively low price. It is also being considered for a European introduction the following year.

Renault went public with plans to develop a battery-electric vehicle with their alliance partners Nissan and Mitsubishi based on the Indian-made Mini SUV Renault Kwid. CEO Carlos Ghosn specified shortly afterwards, that the first prototypes and tests had been done, and that the electric Kwid would be available in 2018/2019 for a price of about 11,500 euros in China. Visually, the Showcar reminds us strongly of the Kwid. Furthermore, Renault is providing the majority of the twelve planned electric vehicles by the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance for 2022. It makes sense to combine the K-ZE and the E-Kwid prototype wind up as the same serial model. It will be manufactured locally in China by e-GT New Energy Automotive Co, a joint venture between Renault, Nissan and Dongfeng, which was founded in 2017 to develop and produce electrified vehicles for the Chinese market.

Furthermore, Renault confirmed their plans to completely electrify their product palette by 2020, which means the Clio will receive a hybrid version, while the Megane and Captur each will be produced as a plug-in hybrid.

Finally, Renault also used the spotlight to present their autonomous concept EZ-ULTIMO. The luxury vehicle represents a new era of mobility, according to the manufacturer, in which autonomous driving services will take over from humans. The vehicle is set up as a kind of driving lounge, without a cockpit, and was announced to be “Equipped with level 4 autonomous driving technology, EZ-ULTIMO covers a wide range of use cases. The vehicle is fully networked, and can be integrated to a variety of smart city features expected in the future. Recently at the IAA Commercial Vehicles, Renault also presented the EZ-PRO, which is a fully automated, autonomous and battery electric system for last-mile transportation.

carscoops.com, group.renault.com, group.renault.com (EZ-ULTIMO)

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Tesla fans market harder than corporate

Tue, 10/02/2018 - 12:17

We recently reported on Tesla fans who had decided to support Model 3 rollout by introducing new customers to the vehicles features. Right on time for the end of the quarter, the super-fans put their money where their mouth is, as various tweets demonstrate.

@elonmusk this is our favorite photo from today. Every existing owner is helping new owners download the app, before delivery or answering questions while waiting to be checked in. #goteamtesla #dallasdeliveries pic.twitter.com/gkaaFjBQKz

— N TX Tesla Owners (@NTXTeslaOwners) September 29, 2018

The assistance by current Tesla drivers to the new ones will likely put a dent in the “delivery logistics hell” Elon Musk complained about recently, albeit not a very large one. What is impressive is the geographic scale on which the superfans mobilized – from the USA all the way up to Canada, volunteers came to help orient new customers. “While volunteer Model S, 3, and X owners are not able to help with paperwork, the assistance they provide to new owners is looking to be quite invaluable.”


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Renault’s car-sharing programme in Paris to kick off this month

Mon, 10/01/2018 - 19:15

The announced EV car-sharing programme by Renault in cooperation with ADA will launch in Paris very soon. The programme will be named “Moov’in.Paris by Renault”, and will launch in October with a fleet of 100 Zoe and 20 Twizy. The corresponding app is already available.

Renault has announced that the free-floating service area will extend to all of Paris, as well as the nearby community of Clichy. In the last announcement in July, the company had stated that the service area would only extend to the 11th and 12th arrondissement in Paris and Clichy, which was now upgraded to the entire city area. The amount of vehicles in the starting fleet has remained comparatively small, as Renault plans to optimize their fleet before successively expanding it.

By the end of next year, Renault plans to have a 2,000 vehicle strong EV fleet on the roads in the greater Paris area. Their timing could not be better: The EV car-sharing programme by Bolloré had been so highly in debt, that the city decided to pull the plug over the summer. Renault is the first of several service providers who will fill the gap.

The free-floating sharing principle is based around user-friendliness, and does not require the drivers to take steps to ensure the charging of the vehicle or parking fees. Renault’s communication did not include what drivers would or would not be able to do in situations where parking is scarce, leaving the question open exactly how much the service team on the road will have to take care of their vehicles.

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BYD and Panasonic looking to establish UK battery factory

Mon, 10/01/2018 - 18:32

BYD and Panasonic are currently both calculating the possibilities of setting up a battery factory in the UK. According to media reports, both have each approached the UK government recently about the venture.

It seems that both companies have not been successful in negotiating the subsidies from Theresa May’s administration that they had hoped for.

The report also cites a meeting that happened at the recent Low-emission car summit in the UK, where a Chinese delegation including members from the BYD board, met with Theresa May. Insiders say that the British government has not been forthcoming with subsidies for the battery manufacturers. Another source countered that the negotiations are simply at an early stage, which is why no announcements have been made.

Great Britain has a subsidy programme for batteries called the Faraday Challenge, which is a subsidization programme for battery technology with a volume of 246 million pounds. The money available is “usually paid out in small sums”, however, making it unclear whether the battery manufacturers will benefit from the initiative.

It is also unclear which automobile manufacturers the battery manufacturers aim to work with: While Jaguar Land Rover is an obvious seeming answer, they also have ambitions of building their own battery manufacturing facility, for which they will likely enter a cooperation with an established battery specialist.

In a statement, BYD added that they are looking at several locations for a European battery factory, and that the UK were one of the options. In early June, the Chinese manufacturers had initially stated their interest in setting up a battery manufacturing facility in Europe. At the time, their statement to a Reuters reporter had specified that BYD were indeed looking to establish a battery cell manufacturing facility outside of China, for which Europe was a serious option. It does look as though the UK would be in a position to specialize as a tax haven in the post-Brexit world, however it seems that May’s administration still needs some time to figure out exactly how they will go about this.

thetimes.co.uk (Paywall)

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Fly Free presents old-school e-bikes

Mon, 10/01/2018 - 17:26

A new California-based motorcycle company is making headlines with the presentation of their first electric motorcycle model. The design is strongly reminiscent of 1950’s and 60’s scrambler style motorbikes, giving it a very traditional, vintage look, combined with modern electric technology.

While Fly Free plans to offer three different motorbikes as their starting lineup, which will be called SMART. The company has released the specifications for their first model so far, which will be called the SMART Desert. Looking like it rolled out of an older biker flick, the Scrambler-inspired design is very clearly leaning in a non-electric direction.

The first bike from the Long Beach-based Fly Free will be available in two different performance versions: The basic version will have a top speed of 40 mph (64 km/h) and a range of 50 miles (80 km). The more powerful version will have it’s top-speed limited at 50 mph (80 km/h) and a range of 100 miles (161 km). Riding the bike can be done in one of three profiles: Eco, City and Speed, which will adapt the e-bikes performance according to the driver’s needs and wishes.

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Audi looking to next generation of PHEVs

Mon, 10/01/2018 - 16:27

According to media reports, Audi is looking to introduce a new generation of plug-in hybrids next year with 20 to 30 percent more electric range from the current standard. The first model will be a new PHEV version of the Audi Q5 with the new transmission, which is planned for early 2019.

The person behind the report is Siegfried Pint, who is responsible for transmissions at Audi. According to his information, there will also be e-tron variants of the A6 and the Q3, which will join the already released A3 e-tron and the Q7 e-tron. The electric range for these vehicles is currently limited to 50 km, but if we add the expected 30% increase, we calculate the next generation will run an electric range of about 65 km.

The Q5 e-tron has already been sighted during testing in the USA. It will have a 188 kW, 2.0 litre combustion motor of the EA888 type, combined with a 80 kW electric motor and an automated, seven-gear transmission. It looks like the combustion motor will power the front axle, while the rear wheels will draw their power from the electric motor.

Unnamed sources also added that the Q5 e-tron may be revealed before end of the year, which would put it ahead of the expected competition from BMW with the X3 xDrive40e. The first deliveries are expected in early 2019.

The nearing presentation for the Q5 e-tron could put the plug-in hybrids from the Audi workshops back into positive light, as the German manufacturers have been hit with difficult times recently: In June, the company confirmed that the A3 e-tron and the Q7 e-tron had sold out for 2018, and no more orders could be placed for the moment. We expect that the industry change to the WLTP standard likely resulted in production delays in Ingolstadt. Additionally, the Munich state prosecutors office is investigating a suspicion that Audi may have cheated emissions tests with their PHEVs, by placing more load on the batteries than they would in standard situation, and thus lowering emissions readings.


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Jaguar I-Pace delivered to Germany in limited volume

Mon, 10/01/2018 - 15:57

Jaguar has begun delivery of it’s I-Pace e-SUV to German customers. The manufacturer has specified, that there is a limited volume of vehicles available during the first year in the German market. Additionally, Jaguar has specified the prices for their charging cooperation with Plugsurfing.

The Brits announced their German launch of the I-Pace with a large “BUT”, as the large global demand has resulted in further delivery delays. Additionally, the volume produced for the German market is apparently still quite limited, as Jaguar is scrambling to keep up with the orders for their electric vehicle.

This means simply putting the 77,850 euro on the table is not sufficient, at least not if you want to receive an S, SE or HSE version, where you will also have to invest some significant waiting time before delivery. For those who would rather lease the I-Pace, rather than purchasing their own, a 36 month lease-period with a total performance allowance of 45,000 km, will cost a 15,570 euro down payment, coupled with a monthly fee of 759 euro.

The I-Pace was first presented in early March in Graz, and the order books have been open since April. With the above-mentioned price, the I-Pace is more expensive than a Jaguar SUV with a combustion motor, but cheaper than the Tesla Model X, which has been on the market since 2015. Further information regarding to the technical specifications of the I-Pace can be found here, and our German edition did a complete road test of the vehicle, which heaped praise upon the e-SUV.

There are also fresh details regarding the charging cooperation with Plugsurfing. Via the cooperation, I-Pace drivers can purchase a charging flat-rate for 45,80 euros per month. This would allow them to charge for free for 30 minutes at public charging stations, with every following minute costing 42 cents. At AC charging stations, the first 60 minutes are free, with another 8 cents being charger per minute afterwards. Plugsurfing maintains a network of about 70,000 charging stations across Europe.

auto-medienportal.net, media.jaguar.com (Both in German)

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Porsche almost sells out hybrid mini-racer

Mon, 10/01/2018 - 14:44

Porsche is offering a 1:8 scale model of their Le Mans 919 Hybrid race car. While the mini-racer looks great, it does come as a surprise that the toy racer has almost sold out on the website, as the price-tag for the model is set at $14,689.

The model was built in a series of 100 units, and, according to the website, there are only four left in stock, according to the manufacturer. Perhaps the most astounding detail is that Porsche claims that over 3,000 hours of work went into the models, although they do not specify whether this includes development time for the original vehicle.

carscoops.com, porsche.com

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Hubject and Star Charge China form charging network

Mon, 10/01/2018 - 08:16

The two EV charging infrastructure specialists from Germany and China have entered a collaboration to connect their charging networks, opening the door for new customers from around the world.

The Chinese Star Charge will introduce Hubject to it’s Chinese network of 20,000 charge points, as well as connecting the charging network. In return, Hubject will help Star Charge establish themselves on the European market. The collaboration is expected to “accelerate further market development in relation to eMobility and support the emergence of standardised market models worldwide.”

Once the two companies have completed the merging of their networks, they will own the largest charging network on the planet, with over 100,000 charge points available. Hubject CEO Christian Hahn said the following about their new partner: “In Star Charge we have found the perfect partner in China who will help us to push on with our vision of customer-oriented charging in this very important market.”

Hubject currently is running a network with over 80,000 charging stations and more than 300 B2B partners in 26 countries. The addition of the Chinese market will enable them to make a major breakthrough, internationally. Hubject was founded in 2012 as a joint venture of the BMW Group, Bosch, Daimler, EnBW, innogy, Siemens and the Volkswagen Group.

Source: press release

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PSA subsidiary Free2Move launches car-sharing in Wuhan

Sun, 09/30/2018 - 16:39

The French company has launched an electric car-sharing initiative in Wuhan, China. The fleet will launch with 300 vehicles, before being upgraded to 3,000 vehicles by 2019. The car-sharing service will be operated by the joint venture Fengbaio Company.

The car-sharing concept will work in a free-floating format, where drivers can pick up and drop the EVs off at any available public location. At first, the service area will cover the Wuhan Economic and Technological Development Zone, before it will cover the rest of the city after the fleet upgrade.

The Fengbaio Company joint venture is 50% owned by the Groupe PSA, with 30% going to Dongfeng Electric Vehicle Co and 20% to Wuhan Electric Vehicle Demonstration Co.


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AVL List completes Battery Lab expansion in Graz

Sun, 09/30/2018 - 16:22

AVL List has opened their Battery Lab again after remodeling the facility for eleven months. It now offers 700 m² of space for modern testing facilities for electric and thermic batteries up to 750 kW and 1,200 V.

The building contains eight testing rooms after the upgrade, which produce constant temperatures from 8o to -40 degrees Celsius, and simulate between 3% and 97% humidity. For the upgrade, the Graz facility was fitted with additional testing capacities, as well as a size-upgrade, so that large batteries from electric buses and trucks could be tested. For this purpose, larger doors and thermal chambers were installed. In the eyes of AVL boss Helmut List, the opening of the Battery Lab is a milestone for the company. He stated that the company is now ready to deal with the increasingly electrified mobility world: “The opening of the AVL Battery Lab is a milestone in the further electrification of the powertrain at AVL. Now we are capable of meeting the customers’ constantly increasing requirements with high-precision measurements within shorter testing times.” The investment cost about 14 million euros.

AVL List is somewhat of a “dinosaur” in their branch – in the 1990’s, the company developed their first hybrid vehicle. In the last decade, they increasingly specialized towards lithium batteries. In 2023, the Austrians developed what they consider the first 800 V electric vehicle, named the ACL CoupE. For the validation o corresponding batteries, the company set up their first four battery testing facilities in 2010.


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PSA reveals details to the planned JV with Punch Powertrain

Sun, 09/30/2018 - 15:41

The planned joint venture between the French PSA company and the Belgian powertrain manufacturer Punch Powertrain will be named Punch Powertrain PSA e-transmissions, and will be based at the PSA factory in Metz.

As of 2022, the two partners plan to manufacture up to 600,000 electrified powertrains of the e-DCT type with a 48 volt configuration, which were previously developed in the Punch Powertrain R&D centres in Belgium and the Netherlands. The powertrains were adapted to fit the requirements for PSA’s mild hybrids.

The joint venture is still awaiting official permission to go ahead from the responsible agencies. In May this year, PSA had originally announced their intentions to work together with the powertrain manufacturer belonging to the Yinyi Group, to deliver powertrains until 2022 as part of the company’s electrification initiative. This agreement deepens this industrial bond. To begin, the partners will manufacture the current electric dual clutch transmission Hybrid DT2, until the production lines are set up for the above-mentioned 48 volt transmissions. Punch Powertrains has invested heavily to be able to meet the demands of the large scale cooperation, for example by acquiring performance electronic specialist Apojee in January of this year. The company had belong to DAF and ZF before being acquired by the Chinese company. Last year, Punch produced more than a million transmissions, mainly for Asian manufacturers. PSA is largest European customer for the company.

Which models will receive the 48 volt mild hybrid technology has not been specified by PSA so far. We do know that the next generation transmissions will enable power saving of 15% and have an emissions-free driving mode for use in cities. A spokesperson from PSA Metz said that the cooperation would create 400 jobs, and that PSA would be investing 80 million euros into the joint venture. The vehicle manufacturers themselves have not commented on these numbers, however.

autonews.com, groupe-psa.com

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BMW signs agreement with Ganfeng Lithium

Sun, 09/30/2018 - 15:03

Following the deals with Tesla and LG Chem, BMW has now also signed a five year supply agreement with Ganfeng Lithium for lithium hydroxide.

The agreement has an extension option for an additional three years, and specifies that Ganfeng will provide as much lithium hydroxide to BMW as the automobile manufacturer needs, at market price. Recently CATL also offered the Germans to enter the business with a 430 million dollar investment in the BMW Brilliance joint venture, as soon as CATL sells some of their stake in China or abroad. CATL will begin manufacturing battery cells in Germany next year.

Vehicle manufacturers have to secure a steady supply of lithium for their batteries. Tesla alone could use up to 28,000 tonnes per year of the material for their vehicle batteries by end of next year. LG Chem also signed an agreement for 48,000 tonnes of lithium hydroxide until the end of 2022. This would be enough to manufacture one million electric vehicles with a range up to 320 km, according to LG Chem.

Furthermore, the announcements will likely strengthen Ganfeng Lithium’s search for potential investors for their planned stock market entry in Hong Kong. The step to the capital market is planned to secure 676 million dollars for Ganfeng.

ft.com (Paywall), cninfo.com.cn (In Chinese)

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Smart Forease gives peek at the brand’s future

Sun, 09/30/2018 - 14:31

Smart is celebrating their 20th birthday at the Paris Motor Show with their new show car Forease. The electric concept is based on the Smart EQ Fortwo Cabrio, and has been announced to showcase the future direction for the company.

The concept visually reminds us of the Crossblade, which was a concept that was developed into a 2,000 limited production. Aspects of the Smart Forspeed from 2011 also went into the Forease. Compared to the Vision EQ Fortwo from last year, this concept looks significantly more production-ready.

According to Smart, the Forease is more than just a concept. Looking to develop more electric vehicles, Smart will rebrand themselves as an EV manufacturer in the near future. In Europe, this step is planned for 2020, while the brand is already fully electric in North America.

Starting on Monday, this development will be taken over by Katrin Adt, who is taking over the position from Annette Winkler who had been in the position for the past eight years. Winkler, who has worked as manager at Daimler for 23 years, will be moving on to a position with Mercedes-Benz South Africa.

carscoops.com, autocar.co.uk, media.daimler.com

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Volvo Trucks plans to commercialize e-trucks in North America

Sun, 09/30/2018 - 14:00

Volvo Trucks has announced plans to begin commercializing electric trucks in North America starting in 2020. The first electric demonstration trucks will arrive in California next year as part of a private-public partnership project.

The company set up a cooperation with the Californian South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) and other specialists from the transport and charging infrastructure branches. A total of 16 partners are involved in the project. Under the project title Volvo LIGHTS (Low Impact Green Heavy Transport Solutions) the Swedes will develop electrified trucks for the US market, based on the Volvo FE Electric, which will hit the market next year.

The Califfornia Air Resources Board is providing a 44.8 million dollar fund for the project. At the same time, the project will become part of the state initiative California Climate Investments. The combination shows exactly how extensive the public and private partnership is. The project itself will focus on demonstrating the viability of electric trucks using two already existing truck fleets on California’s southern coast. The fleets will feature eight electric transporters with more than 15 tonnes of carrying capacity, and 15 precommercial and commercial units. Furthermore, the project will include “non-truck battery-electric equipment, non-proprietary chargers, and solar energy production equipment”.

“This is an excellent opportunity to show the end-to-end potential of electrification,” says President of Volvo Trucks North America, Peter Voorhoeve. “From solar energy harvesting at our customer locations, to electric vehicle uptime services, to potential second uses for batteries, this project will provide invaluable experience and data for the whole value chain.” Truck performance will be monitored using several “smart” technologies, “including remote diagnostics, geofencing, and the company’s web-based service management platform.”

volvotrucks.com, freightwaves.com

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