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Updated: 21 hours 4 min ago

Honda starts trial period for Smart-Charge-System

Wed, 08/01/2018 - 17:50

Honda is starting a trial programme with select California customers of the Fit EV (Known as the Honda Jazz in Europe) called Honda SmartCharge, in which customers can earn money by only charging their vehicle during off-peak grid hours.

The system determines the best time to charge the vehicle from the grid, taking the drivers daily routine into account, as well as the energy mix of renewable energies in the grid. The data is computed between the vehicle and “eMotorWerks [,which] interfaces with the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) to allow for real-time control via cloud to cloud communication, enabling EVs to participate in demand response events to support the grid.”

Honda will use the data gathered from the test run and will test the system in other major cities, regions and vehicle models, such as the Clarity Electric or Clarity plug-in hybrid.

greencarcongress.com, forbes.com, global.honda

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Tesla planning new vehicle interior options

Wed, 08/01/2018 - 16:57

Tesla is planning to add some more interior options for the Model S and Model X in the coming year. The new design will be oriented along the more minimalist interior of the Model 3, but will likely also offer some premium features.

The new design also shows some features that point towards autonomous driving. Among other things, the display is no longer installed vertically, but horizontally. The drivers area is also not the only part being adapted – the rear seats also receive some added comfort, a new console and a variety of different colours for the interior. It is assumed that Tesla intends to save some costs with the new interior, as it would simplify assembly.

That is not all from the Tesla HQ, however – the Californians have announced their plan to expend their recommendation programme until September 16th, and will integrate the Model 3 into the programme. For all Model 3 performance variants, all those that order after August with a reference code will receive free life-long super charging, while those who order before don’t even need the code.

Finally, Tesla also announced they may add a trailer hitch to the Model 3, at least a photo was taken of one on a test vehicle, which may mean those who plan to drive with extra luggage may have some hope.

electrek.c0 (Interior), teslarati.com (Recommendation Programme), electrek.co (Trailer)

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UPS contracts Thor Trucks to build e-transporter

Wed, 08/01/2018 - 16:35

The Californian startup Thor Trucks, which made headlines back in 2017 with the presentation of an electric truck prototype will now start working with UPS. The logistics giant has hired Thor to develop an electric delivery truck.

The transporter is supposed to be fitted with Thor’s light weight batteries, which would allow for a 160 km range. UPS wants to thoroughly test the prototypes planned for this year, and decide whether to order more of the vehicles after a six month trial period.

Thor made waves in the public pool last year with the presentation of their large electric truck prototype ET-One. The concept presentation also included a prospective pricing and production schedule: As of 2019, they plan on producing it serially with a 150,000 to 250,000 dollar price tag. The vehicle will be offered with multiple variants, including one with a 160 km range, and one with 480 km range. The latter vehicle is comparable to the Tesla Semi, which has a 150,000 dollar starting price.

Thor’s core competency is the development and production of battery packs. At least, that is where everything began for the startup. This knowledge is very desirable for UPS development. The US logistics company has stated their plan to bring 9,300 low-emissions vehicles on the roads, in order to determine which type of vehicle technology is the most fitting for their business, including an analysis of BEVs, PHEVs, as well as other alternative-energy approaches, such as natural gas. In the area of e-mobility, UPS is also cooperating with Arrival, Daimler, Tesla and Workhorse.

forbes.com, electrek.co, thortrucks.com, reuters.com, pressroom.ups.com

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Poisonous cadmium found in VW’s EV charging plugs

Wed, 08/01/2018 - 16:22

After the suspicion became public that poisonous components were potentially being used in EVs, the investigation has yielded first findings: A supplier delivered charging components infected with cadmium to VW, Audi and Porsche.

The chargers were installed over the past six years, affecting the majority of both battery-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles by VW, Audi and Porsche. A recall may be issued which could affect up to 124,000 vehicles.

Volkswagen has stated that they were not informed about the dangerous chemical levels by the supplier, instead finding out themselves that 0.008 grams of cadmium are present in each charger, which the company then reported to the German authorities. A spokesperson also stated that the serial production and delivery of affected vehicles was also immediately stopped, and that an alternative supplier has been found to replace the parts before production continued.

Cadmium is a heavy metal that is considered carcinogenic, as well as damaging to organs, which is why it was banned from use in personal vehicles around three years ago. Acute danger from the affected parts was not found, according to VW. The affected components are sealed behind several layers of casing. Problems are expected when the vehicles are recycled or disassembled.

Last Monday, it was announced that the German KBA ministry was investigating the suspicion that affected components had been installed in EVs, however it had not been publicized which parts or which manufacturers were affected.


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Nio courting Tesla drivers with mobile charging

Wed, 08/01/2018 - 16:18

The Chinese EV startup Nio is not only making strong headway back in their local market, but has now dared to throw a wink at Tesla drivers. Their new mobile charging solution, which is integrated into a van, not only charges their own vehicles, but is also capable of rescuing Tesla drivers should they run out of power on the road.

While the charging solution is accompanying the release of Nio’s new affordable e-SUV, the ES8, it seems that the Chinese startup is playing to both ends of the market by integrating a more flexible charging solution.


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Enel receives loan from European Investment Bank

Tue, 07/31/2018 - 18:04

The Italian energy provider Enel has received a 115 million euro EIB loan for their plan to set up around 14,000 EV charging stations in all of Italy.

The EIB has granted a ten year loan to the e-mobility initiative, exclusively to finance the charging infrastructure expansion. The energy company is following a national energy grid infrastructure program, which plans to install a first wave of 7,000 charging stations by the end of 2020, and the full amount of 14,000 stations will be installed by the end of 2022. The total investment cost will run around 300 million euros. So far more than 350 communities have struck agreements with Enel X for the installation of charging infrastructure.

More recently, Enel made an agreement with the Italian port association Assoporti to install 300 publicly accessible charging stations as well as an agreement with IONITY to install 20 HPC parks in Italy. Both projects are integrated into the ambitious charging infrastructure initiative by the company.

Enel belongs to the circle of large, globally operating energy companies who were early adopters for the incoming e-mobility changes. In October 2017, Enel purchased the Californian infrastructure specialist eMotorWerks via their US subsidiary EnerNOC. The take-over marked Enel’s entry into the US e-mobility market. The company has also been active on the European side, and is working on a pilot project for bi-directional charging in the Netherlands with NewMotion, TenneT and Mitsubishi, as well as the E-VIA FLEX-E consortium that is planning to install a HPC charging network in three southern European nations.

renewablesnow.com, renewableenergymagazine.com, enel.com


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BYD joins fast charging initiative CharIN

Tue, 07/31/2018 - 17:40

BYD has now joined the list of members in the fast charging initiative CharIn, which aims to develop and establish CCS charging as a fast charging standard for EVs of all types.

BYD has also announced their intention to fit all next generations of their medium and heavy electric vehicles with CCS fast charging technology. Bobby Hill, BYD North America’s VP said this: “CCS is currently the world’s only charging system that covers all charging scenarios with a single product, and our support of CCS will help pave the way for more efficient transportations solutions.”  That is a forceful statement, as the standard charging system in their native China is GB/T.

CharIN boasts a membership of more than 100, including industrial giants such as BMW, FCA, Ford, GM, Phoenix Contact, Porsche and Renault. In the meantime, the initiative is pushing more and more to establish CCS standards beyond Europe and North America, too.

greencarcongress.com, en.byd.com

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Energy Absolute outlines plans for battery factory in Asia

Tue, 07/31/2018 - 17:18

The plans by the Thai energy provider for the construction of a lithium-ion battery factory are slowly taking a more definitive shape: The project will begin this year and take place with a joint venture partner in two phases.

The first phase is the opening of a battery factory with 1 GWh, which is planned to open between July and September 2019. The second phase will then see the facility have it’s capacities upgraded to a whopping 50 GWh. To compare: Panasonic just announced plans to increase their battery cell production at the Tesla Gigafactory 1 to 35 GWh.

So far the location for the factory has not been decided yet, however. Thailand is looking most likely as the choice, but the decision will not officially fall until October. Construction will then begin before end of the year. Energy Absolute is calculating with about 3 billion dollars in investment costs, and is in talks with four or five other energy companies, including the PTT Group, to share the load.

Last year Energy Absolute purchased the Taiwanese battery manufacturer Amita Technologies, in order to benefit from their experience with lithium-ion batteries. Energy Absolute is by no means limiting themselves to battery production, however: By the end of this year, the company has agreed to install 1,000 charging stations for EVs in Bangkok and other major cities in Thailand.


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Panasonic planning to increase production capacities in Gigafactory

Tue, 07/31/2018 - 16:56

Tesla’s battery partner Panasonic is planning to increase their production capacity at the Gigafactory 1 in Nevada by around 30%. The move is designed to keep pace with Tesla’s rather ambitious expansion plans.

The plan is to install three new production lines by the end of this year, which would increase the total to 13. That would allow Panasonic to produce battery cells with a total capacity of 35 GWh for Tesla, which would meet the demand for the current Model 3 production targets. The production target for the end of June of 5,000 vehicles per week was only met because Panasonic was able to redistribute battery cells that were actually meant for Tesla’s home energy storage systems.

Expansion in the battery sector is greatly needed to meet Tesla’s production goals. Particularly, since the targets were updated again: By the end of the year, Tesla wants 7,000 vehicles rolling off the production line per week, and by the middle of 2019, the number is set at 10,000.


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Hanergy and Bolloré working on solar EVs

Tue, 07/31/2018 - 16:39

The Chinese solar company Hanergy has set up a strategic cooperation with Bolloré subsidiary Bluecar through their own subsidiary Donghan New Energy Automotive Technology to develop and produce solar electric vehicles.

That isn’t all though: The partners also plan to set up research centres, production facilities and other projects around the globe in Asia, Africa and America. They also plan to cooperate on the development of solid state batteries.

Hanergy has specialized on the the production of thin-film solar panels. Two years ago, the copany presented four vehicles fitted with the thin-film solar panels, whose production was to start within three or four years. At the time, Hanergy stated that it was possible to charge a vehicle for a 80 km range through 5 to 6 hours of simple sunlight exposure. Other cooperations by the solar cell manufacturer included Audi, BAIC and FAW.

Now the partnership with the Bolloré subsidiary may bring the hoped breakthrough. Bolloré announced their plan to put personal vehicle production on the backburner, instead focusing on other capacities including batteries and utility vehicles. Bolloré most recently made headlines with the dissolution of their Autolib EV sharing service in Paris.

asiaone.com, prnewswire.com

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Harley-Davidson sets up entire e-motorcycle family

Tue, 07/31/2018 - 16:26

The US American motorcycle manufacturer has introduced a growth strategy up to the year 2022, which not only includes the confirmation for the rumored e-motorcycle launching next year, but also includes perspective for adding a few more.

About four years ago, Harley-Davidson introduced the LiveWire project, which outlined their plans for an electric motorcycle. In January, the company then somewhat blandly announced that the first bike would be available within 18 months. This announcement has now been confirmed, adding that a whole family of electric bikes are planned for the future.

Specifically, so far for 2021 and 2022, two new smaller and more affordable electric motorcycles are planned. Furthermore, Harley will be producing an electric scooter and an e-bike to cater to smaller (motor) markets as well. Technical details for the bikes have not been revealed yet. COO Michelle Kumbier said the following on the subject of the major restructuring of the vehicle palette: “We’re going big in EV with a family of products that will range in size, power, as well as price. When you look at EV you know this is a whole new customer base that we are bringing in.”

The company made some headlines back in 2014 with the presentation of their first electric prototype, but did not move beyond that for a long time. The technical data for the prototype was as follows: 55 kW motor, 70 nM torque, 85 km range and a top speed locked at 150 km/h.

In order to prepare for the incoming EV offensive, Harley has begun investing in the sector, planning between 150 and 180 million dollars by 2022. That makes for one third of the total investment planning by the company.

electrek.co, bikewale.com, harley-davidson.com

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BMW planning to construct Hungary factory in 2019

Tue, 07/31/2018 - 15:55

BMW has announced their plan to begin construction on their next factory in Hungary with an annual capacity of 150,000 vehicles next year. The Bavarians aim to set up a flexible production mode, which will allow them to manufacture both combustion and new energy vehicles in the same facility.

The new facility will be constructed near the city Debrecen in the eastern part of the nation. The construction begin is set for the middle of 2019, while it is still open when the factory will be opening for business and which vehicle models will be manufactured there.

We do however know that the factory will cost a sum of approximately 1 billion euros. BMW also spoke of the creation of around 1,000 jobs in the factory, as well as further job creation in the form of suppliers and service providers around the factory. The location was chosen because of the good local infrastructure and the proximity to established supply networks. BMW has been present in Hungary since 2004. Last year, the company purchased materials and services for the local business in the sum of 1.4 billion euros.

The decision underlines BMW’s efforts to keep global growth even – after high investment in China, Mexico and the USA, it is Europe’s turn again for more modern production capacities. This was stated by BMW boss Harald Krüger.

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Tesla in talks for additional Gigafactory

Tue, 07/31/2018 - 14:11

Tesla has reportedly begun preliminary talks with representatives from the German states of Rhineland-Palatinate and the Saarland, regarding the construction of Tesla’s first Gigafactory in Europe. The facility will produce both cars and batteries.

The two states are of interest to Tesla particularly because of the proximity to France, which Tesla has identified as their most important market in Europe. The discussions are still at an early stage, however. The Netherlands have also been mentioned as a potential location for the European Gigafactory.

While the talks are still being kept under tight wraps, with the corresponding information coming from insiders, we do know that Musk has been considering building a factory to serve the Benelux states for some time, considering Germany a prime production location and said as much in an interview: “Germany is a leading choice for Europe. Perhaps on the German-French border makes sense, near the Benelux countries.”

The Saarland president Tobias Hans has been busy on twitter attempting to convince Musk to settle on their state as the location, however the location with the best access to the Dutch Tilburg assembly factory and the 2016 acquired machine manufacturer Grohmann in Rhineland may prove more enticing to Elon.

europe.autonews.com, electrek.co, teslarati.com

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Tesla goes surfing

Tue, 07/31/2018 - 12:56

Tesla has released a limited edition surf board. The car maker states that their expertise in finishes and carbon fibre development qualify them for the venture, which was done in cooperation with Lost Surfboards and shaper Matt “Mayhem” Biolos.

The $1,500 price tag might deter some surfers, but Tesla made sure to note that the Model S, X and 3 can “comfortably accommodate this surfboard on either the inside or outside of the vehicle.”

electrek.co, digitaltrends.com

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Fast Cities Australia secures $7 million investment

Mon, 07/30/2018 - 18:21

The Australian mobility initiative has secured a $7 million investment from St Baker’s Energy Innovation Fund to begin work on a project to build 42 EV charging sites across the nation.

The 42 charging sites will receive a minimum of two 350 kW fast chargers. The first step of the plan will see the first 16 sites between Brisbane and Melbourne fitted with chargers by the end of 2019. The rest of the 42 chargers will be installed by the end of 2021.

The initiative was launched four years ago in partnership with Tritium, who had just signed a deal to distribute it’s Veefil DC fast chargers in three European nations at the time. Tritium has grown to encompass additional projects across Europe and has ramped production in Brisbane.

This project will not end after the installation of the 42 charging sites, at least according to Fast Cities Australia CEO Chris Mills, who said: “That first 42 sites is what we call the national backbone…We would intend to then flesh out further sites. Our genuine aim is to catalyse the industry… to increase the uptake of EVs in the country.”


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MOIA switching from testing to regular operations

Mon, 07/30/2018 - 17:39

The MOIA ride-share initiative in Hannover switched from their test phase to official commercial operation today. The permit granted by the city allows the company to start with 150 vehicles. By 2020, the MOIA fleet in Hannover will be allowed to grow to 250. By the end of 2020, the VW subsidiary plans to have a 50% electrified fleet, with 100% to follow in 2022.

The basic idea behind the new mobility service is bringing together passengers with nearby destinations. The MOIA acts like a shuttle service and can be ordered via an app to virtual stops. The pricing is set between buses and taxis. For almost a year the testing phase allowed 3,500 Hannover citizens to test out the service. Now the service has entered regular operation. The fleet currently contains 35 vehicles, and will be expanded to the 150 vehicles mentioned above in several steps, starting with 55 in the next few days.

The operational area has grown significantly since the test phase, and includes several new areas. The company also plans to further expand their service area. Area of operations were not the only changes between the test phase and regular operation: The price is now based on the distance, the day of the week and the time, as well as the current availability of the vehicles. Furthermore, the user group is being expanded from the 3,500 testers to include 15,000 more persons who had applied to test the service as well. This means the service will remain somewhat exclusive for the near future, but is planned to become publicly available by the time the fleet expands in late 2018, according to the company.

Parallel to the launch of the operational service, an investigation is being launched to determine the effects of the service on public transport and traffic. The results of this investigation will then determine whether MOIA will be allowed to expand their fleet to 250.

press release (PDF)

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E-STOR adapted to work with JLR batteries

Mon, 07/30/2018 - 17:05

The British company Connected Energy has  adapted their energy storage system E-STOR to work with old EV batteries from the Jaguar I-Pace, as well as other water-cooled batteries from EVs by JLR.

So far the system based on the use of old EV batteries was specialized to work only with old Renault batteries. On this basis, Connected Energy already installed two HPC chargers in Belgium and Germany with connected E-STOR units.

At the start of the year, the French energy company Engie and the Macquarie Group announced their investment of 3 million pounds in Connected Energy, in order to expand the Newcastle based company in the UK and abroad.

In this regard, the step to cooperate with JLR and adapt the system to a second battery standard is quite a large step. Connected Energy adapted their control systems and their methodology so that their E-STOR system can now work with batteries from either manufacturer. The Jaguar batteries are larger than the Renault batteries and feature water-cooling.

Connected Energy founder Matthew Lumsden underlined the new-found flexibility that the system now boasts. The project is particularly well-timed as Jaguar is planning to have an electrified version of each of their vehicles by 2020, which will provide a host of new old battery sources.

greencarcongress.com, c-e-int.com

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German government agency finds potentially poisonous EV components

Mon, 07/30/2018 - 16:33

The German ministry for transport (KBA) has found that some vehicles potentially received parts contaminated with cadmium. The suspicion is now being investigated. The exact components potentially affected or their vehicles were not specified by the source.

Due to it’s high toxicity, cadmium is widely restricted. Should the investigation find dangerous levels of cadmium, this could mean the recall of more than 100,000 vehicles.

electrive.net, wiwo.de (Both in German)

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Porsche plans EVs to account for 50% of business by 2025

Mon, 07/30/2018 - 16:25

Porsche has an ambitious business plan for 2025: every second Porsche sold will be electrified. This goal was stated in a press release regarding their first serial EV, the Taycan, in which was also revealed that a three digit amount of prototypes has been built.

Porsche’s first EV, which was kept under tight wraps with the title Mission E until the name was released in June. The name means “spirited, young horse” according to the manufacturer, invoking Porsche’s main logo.

The press release also contained some new details to the vehicle as well as Porsche’s EV strategy. The company strategy to electrify 50% of vehicles sold by 2025, or more particularly, total sales. Porsche also specified that among the EVs, they also plan a 50/50 split between battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids. By 2022, they will invest 6 billion euros into the expansion of their EV production. 500 million alone will flow into the Taycan’s variants and derivatives, while another billion euros are earmarked for the electrification of the existing vehicle roster.

Regarding the Taycan, Porsche dropped the fact that their engineers have meanwhile built a 3 digit figure of prototypes. 60 developers took 21 disguised versions of the vehicles to test them in South Africa, to test the vehicle under extreme temperatures. The vehicles have undergone around 40,000 test kilometres so far.

The vehicle will hit the market towards the end of 2019. Currently the manufacturers are planning a production load of 20,000 vehicles per year. As to the technical specifications, we know this much so far: Two electric motors with a system performance of more than 440 kW enable the Taycan to go from 0 to 100 km/h in “considerably less than 3.5 seconds”, and reach the 200 mark in under 12 seconds. The maximum range is more than 500 km, although this number is based on the now outdated NEDC system. The probably most impressive number from the Taycan is the 800 volt architecture, which allows it to charge enough power from an HPC unit for 100 km range in four minutes.


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EQC to celebrate September world premiere in Stockholm

Mon, 07/30/2018 - 16:04

Daimler has announced intentions to present the serial version of the EQC on the fourth of September at this year’s @me convention in Stockholm. This means they will beat their competitor Audi by about two weeks, who postponed the presentation of their e-tron to the 17th.

Prior to the presentation, some technical data was also already announced for the first EV from the EQ family by Benz. The e-SUV will feature a 70 kWh battery mounted in the vehicle floor with pouch cells, and can be charged from 115 kW DC charging stations. Two motors with 150 kW performance each allow the vehicle to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in under five seconds, however the assertion has not been confirmed by Daimler yet. The range of the vehicle looks to be above 400 km, according to WLTP assessment. The vehicle will be produced in the Daimler factory in Bremen.

The vehicle has been available for pre-orders in Norway as far back as last Fall. It was reported in mid-May, that the EQ production would also soon be exported to China under Beijing Benz Automotive, the JV between Daimler and BAIC. It is unclear whether this will happen this or next year, however.

Doubts have also surfaced regarding the question of production in general – a report from June questioned whether the market launch would take place as planned or be postponed, citing possible technical difficulties and battery supply issues. Daimler has denied the rumors.

By 2022, Mercedes plans to release more than ten EVs across several market segments. The company is calculating that between 15% and 25% of sales in 2025 would be electrified. Production locations for the EVs will include Hambach, Rastatt, Sindelfingen, and Tuscaloosa in the USA, next to the Bremen location. Mercedes also recently announced plans to improve battery production capacities for EVs: Sindelfingen and Untertürkheim will receive the seventh and eighth battery assembly factories.

insideevs.com, carsuk.net

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