Volvo is launching a new electrified performance offer called Polestar Engineered, specifically developed for its upcoming 60 Series plug-in hybrid cars. The package tweaks the wheels, brakes, suspension and engine control unit for higher performance and better fuel economy.
Volvo’s performance arm and electrified label Polestar has applied its engineering power to boost the new 60 series due to launch next week in two plug-in hybrid versions. The offer from Polestar though is exclusively available on the top-of-the-line T8 Twin Engine and positioned even above Volvo’s R Design versions.
In detail, the package glamourises wheels, brakes, suspension and engine control to optimise performance and fuel economy.
New lightweight wheels have an open design to show off the golden-painted brake calipers, the new colour signifying Polestar Engineered components.
The brake pads have increased heat tolerance while the brake discs’ slotted design further improves heat reduction.
The Polestar Engineered multi-link front and rear suspension incorporates Öhlins shock absorbers. The strut bar and adjustable shock absorber design are shared with the Polestar 1 plug-in hybrid performance car.
Fine-tuning of the engine’s control unit increases the S60 electrified T8 Twin Engine output. The software upgrades improve fuel consumption and emissions-neutral performance, and refines the automatic gear selection.
Polestar Engineered will also be offered on the new V60 estate and XC60 SUV plug-in hybrid from next year.
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Ford has launched their Ford Police Interceptor Utility in the States. It is the first pursuit-rated hybrid SUV to ever make it onto the force. It is said to offer officers more speed and higher powers as well as some special police features.
So far, electrified vehicles serving in the police force are mostly patrol vehicles or for community outreach. The Ford Police Interceptor Utility is different though as it is made for the chase. Ford say they want to offer hybrid of PHEV versions of all utilities in future.
“We’re committed to electrifying vehicles for all customers, including law enforcement who need the high performance and low operating costs that Ford’s next-generation hybrids will excel at providing,” said Hau Thai-Tang, executive vice president of Product Development and Purchasing.
In this case, Ford has added police-specific features and says that the hybrid powertrain has been calibrated specifically for law enforcement’s duty cycle. On top, it can automatically switch to maximum performance when needed.
They also added a new Police Perimeter Alert system, that can monitor approximately 270-degrees of movement outside the vehicle and analyse motion to determine potentially threatening behaviour. When indeed detecting such behaviour, the vehicle sounds a chime, rolls up the windows and locks the doors.
Sales of Ford Police Interceptor Utility rose 5 percent in 2018, capturing 65 percent of the total U.S. police vehicle market.
The all-new Ford Police Interceptor Utility hybrid is projected to accelerate faster, achieve a higher top speed and have at least 40 percent better fuel economy than the previous V6-powered model, helping catch suspected lawbreakers and reduce costs.
It also reduces engine idling time to save fuel when the vehicle is stationary. The hybrid can power lights, computers, radios and other equipment using its lithium-ion battery, allowing the gasoline engine to shut off and intermittently run to charge the hybrid’s battery.
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BMW has published their global sales data for the first 5 months of 2018 and shares of electric and hybrid cars are on the rise – 41% worldwide. In countries like Norway and Malaysia, electrified cars make for almost 50 percent of all sales.
BMW says it sold over a million cars this year alone, more than ever before. Particularly sales of plug-in models are increasing “with customer deliveries up by over 40%,” said Pieter Nota, BMW AG Management Board member for Sales and Brand BMW.
In total, BMW sold 46,849 electric cars and plug-in hybrids in the first 5 months of this year. This means throughout January to May, sales of BMW i, BMW iPerformance and MINI Electric vehicles jumped 41 per cent.
It is a global trend with some markets reporting especially strong development. For example, electrified vehicles accounted for more than 7% of BMW and MINI sales in the UK (6,555 / +34.2%) and nearly 7% of all BMW and MINI models sold in the USA (9,762 / +61.0%).
Moreover, in Norway and Malaysia, electric and hybrid BMW account for more than half of all sales of BMW. Demand from Norwegians remained steadily high as they bought 4,125 BMW plug ins (+5.8%). Sales in Malaysia though surged by 37.9% resulting in 2,313 units sold.
This growth in demand for BMW i models will lead to production at Plant Leipzig being increased by over 50% this autumn, to 200 cars a day.
The BMW Group remains well on target to achieve its stated aim of selling over 140,000 electrified vehicles in 2018.
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The reports of DP/DHL having laid off StreetScooter manager and board member Jürgen Gerdes have been confirmed. Gerdes is leaving the logistics giant over strategic differences. Succeeding him as StreetScooter CEO is Thomas Ogilvie.
Deutsche Post executive board member Juergen Gerdes will leave the company on June 30 “by mutual consent and on the best of terms amid diverging views on the future strategic focus of the company,” the company said in a statement.
Taking over the electric van business will be Thomas Ogilvie, board member for personnel. He will now take on additional responsibility for what DP/DHL calls their Corporate Incubations unit. That division focuses on mobility solutions, digital platforms and automatisation, and particularly on strengthening their StreetScooter business.
The story of StreetScooter is one of success. They just opened a second facility in Düren reportedly. Together the two factories have a production capacity of 20,000 electric vans per year, that is 46 electric vehicles a day. It enables StreetScooter to supply third parties with electric vans as well.
CEO Elon Musk continues to shake up Tesla. On Twitter he announced that his “reorg” will effectively see 9 percent of their workforce laid off. The cuts have already been made. Musk claimed the need for cost reduction for Tesla to prove they are on a sustainable mission.
Tesla employees just found another email in their mailboxes this week with the subject “Reorg Update”. It was leaked to media and subsequently tweeted. In it Musk announced a huge wave of redundancies that will effectively claim one in 10 employees almost.
Reads the email: “We have made the difficult decision to let go of approximately 9% of our colleagues across the company. These cuts were almost entirely made from our salaried population and no production associates were included, so this will not affect our ability to reach Model 3 production targets in the coming months.”
Elon Musk then said Tesla had not been profitable for 15 years so that “profit is obviously not what motivates us”. It is the drive for a transition to clean energy instead, so the CEO claims, before adding that they needed to demonstrate their profitability eventually in order to make that transition.
The move had been expected although not to this extent. In an earlier email Musk had announced a “thorough reorganisation” of the company that would involve management as well. In May, the email read: “As part of the reorg, we are flattening the management structure to improve communication, combining functions where sensible and trimming activities that are not vital to the success of our mission.”
After merging with SolarCity, Tesla employed about 30,000 people with some duplicate positions. This latest lay off thus results in about 3,000 workers being made redundant.
Still Tesla will continue to hire, particularly for the shop floor. Says Musk in his last email: “To be clear, Tesla will still continue to hire outstanding talent in critical roles as we move forward and there is still a significant need for additional production personnel. I also want to emphasise that we are making this hard decision now so that we never have to do this again.”
The move follows a similar action when Musk reviewed contractors earlier this year. Those that remained had to have a Tesla employee vouching for them (we reported).
In his latest email, the CEO also cancelled the renewal of their contract with Home Depot to sell its Tesla Walls at their stores. According to Musk, Tesla is focusing on selling its solar products through its own stores.
twitter.com (original tweet with email)
The Chinese vehicle manufacturer Guangzhou Auto is planning to introduce four new fully electric vehicles on the local market by 2020. The first will be an electric Crossover to launch this year.
The electric crossover is an upgraded variant of the GE3, which is called the GE3 530. It features a 500 km range, compared to the 310 km that the current model has.
In 2020, the company will reveal their second EV platform, which will help accelerate the rest of their plans, underpinning three new electric cars. A 5 seated SUV, a 7 seat SUV and a sedan are planned to follow. The SUVs will be introduced in 2019, and the sedan will follow in 2020. All three will have a range around 600 km.
Porsche is kicking off a digital EV charging service, that can even be used by drivers of EVs and PHEVs by other manufacturers. Currently, the service is bundled with Hubject’s roaming network. Other options and international roll-out are currently being tested as well.
The Porsche Charging Service searches for relevant charging stations in the area, and takes care of payment via previously entered payment data. The registration or login with the individual charging station providers is then no longer necessary.
Currently the service is available in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium and Finland, and more countries will follow as of the end of the year.
The app shows information regarding location and availability of charging stations, as well as the prices for charging in real-time. At the station itself, identification either takes place via a QR code on the app, or the so-called “Porsche ID Card”, that users receive when they sign up for the service.
In Germany, the service costs 2.5 euros per month. The German website also shows that German customers will be charged 8 euros per charge on stations up to 22 kW, and 10 euros for a charge on a 50 kW station. Switzerland on the other hand, uses a pay-per-minute system, where users pay 0.10, or 0.52 Swiss franks for the service, respectively. Austria charges 15 cents per minute on the 22 kW charging stations.
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Audi and Ballard Power Systems have announced their decision to extend their cooperation in the area of fuel cells for another 3.5 years until August 2022. The total value of the contract extension will cost somewhere between 62 and 100 million dollars.
The cooperation was initially started in 2013, and was set to last for four years. The HyMotion program has also been extended several times, and is intended to help Audi set up a small serial production of FCEVs. This is scheduled to begin production in 2020.
The HyMotion program includes the development of fuel cell stacks as well as supporting system design. Ballard is focusing on the development and production of fuel cell stacks of the next generation for usage in the Audi demonstration program. Ballard engineers focus on critical areas of fuel cell product design—including the membrane electrode assembly (MEA), plate and stack components, as well as some testing and integration work.
The 2011 founded electric car sharing service started by Bolloré, Autolib is in some financial trouble, according to media reports. The problem is that the service is still not cost-effective.
Furthermore, there also have been some complaints regarding the conditions of the BEVs. Mayor Anne Hidalgo is considering prematurely ending the contract with Bolloré, which is supposed to go until 2023, and introduce a free-floating-sharing concept instead.
The responsible figures from the city have already begun meeting representatives from a series of car manufacturers on Monday, who have stated an interest in replacing Autolib in Paris, including Renault, PSA, BMW and Daimler.
The South Korean manufacturer is planning to produce BEVs and PHEVs in their future factory in the Indian Anantapur. Kia is investing 1.1 billion dollars into the factory.
The production capacity is planned to stand around 300,000 vehicles per year. Latest by 2021, Kia is planning to bring a fully electric vehicle to India’s market. What kind of vehicle this will be, is still unclear.
At the same time, Nissan has also announced plans for selling EVs on the Indian market. As of next year, the Japanese manufacturers plan to sell the second generation Leaf in India.
Following Hermes and GLS, the package delivery service DPD is now also using the electric trikes from Danish manufacturer EWII to deliver. In the first step, packages in Hamburg, Berlin and Cologne will be delivered with the electric trikes.
Particularly the ease of finding parking and the maneuverability make the trike attractive for package delivery. The vehicle will allow them to save time and shave down distances for delivery, as well as taking pressure off inner-city traffic. The trike is said to be capable of making more stops per hour than a regular transporter.
Due its small size and the emissions-free power unit, the TRIPL is also useful in areas where regular transporters are restricted due to size or other reasons, such as pedestrian areas. In future, the TRIPL may become more interesting in front of the background of possible driving bans in inner city areas, stated the manufacturers.
The TRIPL can not completely replace transporters, however, as the range and transport volume are limited more for short delivery distances.
Just before the CES Asia in Shanghai, Byton has decided to pull back the curtain on their newest concept: The fully electric premium sedan K-Byte. They also announced the name for their e-SUV; It will be called the M-Byte.
While Byton’s SUV concept represents a prototype close to serial production, the K-Byte follows a more progressive strategy.
The design is more experimental, and was developed to encompass the philosophy and the strategy of the brand, according to the manufacturer. The interesting part is that the flexibility of the electric platform is showcased by the different vehicle models. The sedan has a wheelbase of 3 m, making for a total length of 4.95 m, and a width of 1.95 m, reaching 1.5 m in height. Further technical details have not been mentioned yet, however.
The K-Byte concept is also designed for autonomous driving functions, as is the SUV, as both were fitted with cameras, radar systems and laser scanners. Furthermore, the startup is working together with Aurora to develop level 4 autonomous driving capabilities. By 2020, the two companies plan to have a fleet of vehicles capable of level 4 autonomous driving to begin testing for serial production.
Byton also announced their plans to open a Byton Brand Store in Shanghai. The company plans to begin direct sales to customers and plans to open the first store by the end of this year. By the end of next year, they plan to open 25-30 more stores around China. At a later date, they will also begin opening stores in North America and Europe.
The company also announced the Byton Co-creator program, which is supposed to help create a more close relationship between the company and its customers. The goal is to understand the needs and desires of the drivers more closely. First orders, as well as pre-orders will then allow the customer to take pat in the design process of the vehicle, and will directly transfer ideas to designers and engineers.
Musk must have gone into his own personal ludicrous mode, or so some may have thought when the Tesla boss first mentioned a Space X trim coming up for the Roadster.
He has now specified, that the package will indeed include “small rocket thrusters” (sort of). They’ll operate on ultra high-pressure air not kerosene but we are not sure how or why this would be particularly useful on earth. Furthermore, the option will replace the rear seats, turning the vehicle from a 2+2 seater into a simple 2 seater.
Note, gas contained would be ultra high pressure air in a SpaceX rocket COPV bottle. The air exiting the thrusters would immediately be replenished whenever vehicle pack power draw allowed operation of the air pump, which is most of the time.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 10, 2018
So if you want to feel like an astronaut while driving, this option may be for you, but as technological gimmicks from the California company go, this is certainly the most spaced out thing we’ve seen.
Nova Bus has been selected by Quebec to supply most of their hybrid and electric buses. For Nova Bus it is their largest order of the kind to date. It includes 497 hybrid buses and up to 1,028 vehicles on option that will go to the province’s 9 largest cities.
Nova Bus has been awarded the collective contract for Quebec’s transit authorities, coordinated by Association du transport urbain du Québec (ATUQ). The agreement runs over 5 years, up to 2024.
The 497 hybrid buses in order measure about 12 metres and are of type LFS HEV. With another 1,028 vehicles, this order represents the largest order in Nova Bus history to date.
The hybrid buses will be made at the Saint-Eustache and Saint-François-du-Lac plants, which handle the final assembly and manufacturing of the vehicle chassis and other components, respectively. Local production was a requirement of the tender.
The contract awarded by STM on behalf of Quebec’s nine transit authorities is now subject to government approval to confirm the financing of the buses.
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The European Commission has decided that electric bicycles must have a third party liability insurance. While the draft still needs to go through the Council and Parliament, it effectively undermines current legislation that had equaled pedelecs with bicycles.
The decision of the European Commission to require e-bike users to be insured comes in the wake of a review of their Motor Vehicle Insurance Directive. The new draft was to take new developments such as automated driving into account initially. Pedelecs are only a footnote strictly speaking but the ruling – if it goes through – could have wide ranging consequences for the industry. Still, it does not come entirely unexpected.
In fact the rule that had qualified electric bicycles with assistance limited to 25 kph as so-called Pedelec25 and equalled them to bicycles had stood on unsecured footing from the start. Strictly speaking, bicycles are only those vehicles that are propelled by human muscle power alone. Yet, the EU had included pedelecs in bicycle rules, thus freeing them from insurances or type approval as well as allowing them to use bike lanes.
The new proposal though puts them in the category of motorised vehicles with the European Commission claiming that pedal-assisted cycles should already have full motor vehicle insurance. This view most likely has come about with the backing of the insurance industry whose lobbyist are aplenty in Brussels. However, they do have a point – under the current circumstances.
Current regulation classifies pedelecs according to motor power in Watt and a speed limit of 25 kph. As the latter is not tied to human muscle power necessarily, risks for accident with weaker drivers being too fast can indeed rise.
However, this risk could be managed if new classification would position electric bicycles as a category of their own. Organisations like ExtraEnergy, have been calling for such legislation for years. The advocats’ proposal: allow torque sensor controlled e-bikes only and raise the speed limit to 32 kph for those with a muscle power of 150 Watt. This would bind the additional power of a pedelec to the actual strength of the rider. The higher speed limit would also make electric bikes a more valid choice for better trained or younger cyclists even.
The current idea of the EC however would only stifle a still emerging market that counts among the most successful segments in electric transport. Furthermore, it almost criminalises electric cyclists. Says ECF advocacy director Adam Bodor: “If this proposal becomes a law, third party liability insurance will be required that would discourage millions of European citizens to use an e-bike, undermine the efforts and investments of several member states and the European Union to promote sustainable mobility.”
Note however, that the draft still needs the approval of the council and parliament. Even if it goes through though, member states are free to decide if they may exempt their e-bike riding citizens. The exemption though would still call for the national guarantee funds to potentially reimburse any victims of accidents involving electric bicycles.
Infrastructure provider ABB has presented the capital of its home country Switzerland with 30 fast-charging stations. It is a gift on the occasion of ABB’s 30th anniversary. Once the chargers will be added, Zurich will have over 100 EV charging stations.
Swiss native ABB turns 30 years old and has presented Zurich with 30 fast-charging stations, one for each year and each worth about 30,000 CHF (about 25,000 euros). Only suitable locations still need to be found but the city says a search is already underway. The aim is to position them in central, publicly accessible locations in the city and in the surrounding area.
Once installed, Zurich’s charging network will have increased by 40 percent with a total of 106 charging station then becoming available. The charging stations are the type Terra 54 and compatible with both CCS and ChaDeMo. ABB estimates they can charge about a hundred electric vehicles a day.
Worldwide, ABB claims they have installed over 7,000 fast-charging stations.
Zurich hosted their first ePrix as part of the Formula E racing series last weekend and ABB acted as sponsor of the event. Lucas di Grassi won the race in Switzerland for Audi.
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DP/DHL fired Jürgen Gerdes, who had been responsible for StreetScooters significant success over the last years. The board member and manager had worked for the German Post since he was 20 but has to retire from all positions with immediate effect.
Manager Magazin reported the news first and claims that Gerdes is paying for sins he committed when he was leading DP/DHL’s letter and packages businesses. Rather than the projected 1.6 billion euros, the division will only turn over 600 million euros this year – a disastrous result indeed.
His dealings with StreetScooter paint a different picture however. Gerdes had managed the transition of DP/DHL to become one of the largest electric vehicle manufacturers in Germany if not Europe. Their electric van building business only recently opened a second facility in Düren reportedly. Together the two factories have a production capacity of 20,000 electric vans per year, that is 46 electric vehicles a day. It enables StreetScooter to supply third parties with their electric vans as well.
Jürgen Gerdes had worked for Deutsche Post since he was 20 years old. DP/DHL had appointed him to lead their push for electric mobility just recently. Back then in April they claimed “his proven experience in advancing agile developments and successful market rollout of new customer oriented services and solutions” as reason for their decision to led him lead on the StreetScooter expansion.
A successor has yet to be named.
manager-magazin.de (original source, in German)
Swedish Northvolt has secured the environmental permit for the establishment of Europe’s largest lithium-ion battery cell factory. Ground in Swedish Skellefteå has been broken whilst works on their lab in Västerås outside of Stockholm are well underway.
Northvolt is working on two fronts. One is development and R&D in their so-called NorthvoltLab. Here the Swedes say they are developing “the world’s greenest battery” the EU has called for. Also Scania is on board as they want to develop batteries for heavy vehicles reportedly.
Large scale production though is to happen up north, in Skellefteå, that will home the Swedish version of a Gigafactory a la Tesla. Here in Umea, Northvolt has now acquired all required permits to start building their battery factory on European terms.
The first phase of the construction, primarily ground preparations, is set for completion during the second half of 2019 and is financed within the current funding. The first part of the factory is to be completed in late 2020. Material is likely to come from Marubeni reportedly.
The battery facility will then produce eight GWh of cell capacity annually. The full factory will be ready in 2023 and produce at least 32 GWh a year once it reaches full-scale capacity.
Since its launch in March 2017, Northvolt has found support from heavyweights in the electric mobility and related industries. Partners include ABB, Nemaska Lithium, Scania, SECI, Siemens, Skellefteå Kraft and Vestas for example. Northvolt has also received support from the European Investment Bank and the Swedish Energy Agency for setting up a battery factory in Europe.
The European Commission has called for a Battery Airbus repeatedly and set up the European Battery Alliance (EBA).
Meanwhile, competitors from Asia are moving to take their share. First BYD said it considered setting up cell production in Europe. Later this month, CATL followed and is reported to have chosen Erfurt as location for their battery factory in Europe.
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Swedish Stena Line that operates a ferry service between Gothenburg and Danish Frederikshavn has made a deal with with Callenberg Technology Group. In three stages signified by different sized batteries, they want to electrify the vessel Stena Jutlandica.
In a first step, 1 MWh of batteries will be installed on the deck of the Swedish ferry. The 3,000 kW battery pack holds enough power for the Stena Jutlandica to thrust and maneuver when in port. Installation is due this summer.
Stage two will see the connection of a 20 MWh battery pack to the propellers. Stena Jutlandica will thus be able to sail all-electrically for about 10 nautical miles, almost 20 kilometres, equal to the distance between Göteborg and Vinga Lighthouse.
In the last step, the battery capacity will be further expanded to 50 MWh. That will last for 50 nautical miles of all-electric range. Those 92 kilometres correspond to the distance between Gothenburg and Frederikshavn so that the route will be operated with zero emissions.
The batteries are charged ashore but can also be topped up by the ship’s generators.
For Stena Line, this gradual approach serves to gather experiences with electric operations as they go. Step by step electrification may also enable them to save some money. Says Niclas Mårtensson, Stena Line CEO: “As both the size and cost of batteries decrease, battery operation becomes a very exciting alternative to traditional fuels for shipping, as emissions to air can be completely eliminated.”
The Callenberg Technology Group cooperates with Stena Teknik for this project. The latter also works research institutions, authorities and various suppliers. The first phase of the project is jointly financed by the Swedish Transport Administration and the EU.
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The Finnish arm of Danish Danfoss has joined Paus Maschinenfabrik from Germany in their drive to electrify mine vehicles. The first fruit of their cooperation is the MinCa 5.1 that has gone serial and is available as either hybrid or all-electric vehicle.
For Paus, it is the first electrified vehicle. They say the MinCa can be “universally applied” and transport both men or material underground with a payload of 1.2 tons.
The electric version of the wheeled miner features a 50 kW drive and 50 kWh battery that is good for up to 4 hours of mining. The motor called EDITRON is supplied by Danfoss Mobile Electrification, a Finnish outlet of the otherwise Danish group.
The hybrid variant is in fact a range extended electric vehicle, that boasts the same system but got an additional 20 kWh battery on board. It can work 12 hours.
Series production has started and Paus and Danfoss say deliveries of the electric mining vehicle will start within this year.
Mining with electric vehicles has become a trend lately, driven by regulation and inherent health risks. Working underground, both the heat as well as poisonous exhausts generated by fossil-fuel powered models add to dangers of the industry. Canada for example has already banned the use of diesel vehicles in mines. Indeed, Canada’s Medatech was early on the market. There is also Artisan Vehicles and their 40-ton electric truck. The Z40 is an underground haul truck used by mining companies all over the world and the American company says it was overwhelmed by demand for their electric version.
Over in Europe, examples for mining EVs include the Swiss Komatsu rework. Also from Switzerland comes the Lynx, aka the eDumper dump truck that claims the title of the world’s largest EV and may sure be the readiest. It has just sprung into operation in a quarry in Péry in the Bernese Jura and is a joint development by Swiss universities and Empa.