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Updated: 21 hours 4 min ago

Tesla finishes last in mystery shopping ranking; exactly as planned

Mon, 07/30/2018 - 15:55

The Californians have finished last in the Pied Piper mystery shopper evaluation. The news isn’t as bad as it sounds for Tesla, however: This is exactly what Musk aimed for with Tesla sales locations.

In the Tesla sales locations, staff are focused more on education than on sales, and the Pied Piper evaluation analyzes the capacity of dealerships to turn potential customers into buyers. The resulting difference is that it seems Musk’s strategy is certainly being put into effect. Whether this translates into more EV sales may be more of a long-term study.


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BYD delivers 30 EVs to Brazil

Sun, 07/29/2018 - 17:11

BYD has completed their so far largest order from Brazil. The Brazilian city of São José dos Campos is leasing 30 electric vehicles from the Chinese manufacturer, which will be used by police and government.

In April, BYD had originally received the order. The leasing program is set to go for a duration of 36 months. Specifically, the order was for 29 BYD e5 BEVs and one BYD e6. The agreement was preceded by a six month testing phase.

The Chinese manufacturer is is now present in 200 cities worldwide with their EVs, particularly their buses. The company announced in an ad-hoc message to investors that two major bids were won in China for the delivery of electric buses as well. This time, BYD will be delivering more than 4,000 electric buses for different companies in Guangzhou.

Press release (PDF), cleantechnica.com

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New patent shows Tesla attempting to make battery packs safer

Sun, 07/29/2018 - 16:43

A new patent indicates that Tesla is working on making their battery packs safer in future, by isolated defective cells, so that these do not negatively impact functioning battery cells.

The background is that battery cells generate heat during the charging process, as well as when discharging their energy. Tesla  has found that defective cells can produce hot gases, which then affect the functionality of the surrounding battery cells. This generally leads to a successive breakdown of the battery.

Tesla’s patent details a complex system which focuses on creating a inter-connectivity layer, that monitors and adjusts temperature and pressure in the battery pack, by isolating malfunctioning parts.

The patent was published last week, but according to the date at the top of the sheet, it was handed in on the 10th of January this year. It can be read here with all details.

The Model 3 saw the newest generation of batteries by the Californians; the cell format 2170. The company attested that the cells contain the highest energy density of any EV. This was achieved by significantly reducing the cobalt components, and increasing the amount of nickel. An overarching thermic stability was also maintained in the system. The nickel-cobalt-aluminum-cathode chemistry in the new Tesla cells is lower than in the next generation batteries of competitors, the statement also asserted.

Panasonic has been manufacturing battery cells since June 2017 in the Gigafactory 1 in Nevada. The Californians have been continuing the use of the older 18650 battery cells for their established Model X and S vehicles.

The following video shows the battery being taken apart, and demonstrates the differences in the cell structure between the old and the new battery modules.


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Africa EV aCar going into serial production 2019

Sun, 07/29/2018 - 16:22

The EV designed by the Technical University of Munich to operate in Africa will go into serial production by Evum Motors, which was founded as part of the project.

1,000 vehicles are planned for the first year, which will be sold within Europe. As of 2020, the vehicle could be produced by partners in development countries. In Europe, the car will cost 22,000 euros, while the cost for developing nations will be 10,000 euros.

The vehicle was initially introduced as a prototype in 2016, which was created under the premise of an electric vehicle for African environmental conditions, as well as provide the maximum utility to locals. This means it was designed with agricultural and economic purposes in mind. With this target in mind, ,researchers from the TU Munich worked on the designs for four years with some cooperation partners. After testing in Ghana, the team presented an updated version of the vehicle at the IAA 2017. Now, one year later, the team is no longer only focusing on Africa, instead considering applications and markets around the world, from Brazil to Indonesia, as well as Europe, where the team hopes to supply farmers or forest authorities.

Regarding technical specifications of the 2017 concept, it is clear that the vehicle was not designed to have high top speeds or a spectacular range, but instead focusing on a high load capacity, simple maintenance and functionality on difficult terrain. The AWD transporter has a battery capacity of 20 kWh for an electric range of 80 km. The vehicle can be charged to full capacity from a regular socket in about seven hours.

electrive.net (In German)

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Continental looking for solid state research partner

Sun, 07/29/2018 - 15:56

Automobile supplier Continental is looking for partners to possibly enter into fuel cell production starting around 2025. The company has announced considerations of delving into the battery cell business before, but only in the solid-state area.

The company does not want to wait for the technology becomes available before getting involved, but has announced intentions to bring the technology forward on their own terms. CEO Elmar Degenhart stated during an interview that the company is looking for potential cooperation partners  who can bring in development competencies, while Continental is looking to contribute more on the industrialization side of things. Another interesting comment he made regarding their targets is that he expects battery cells to reach 1,000 watt-hours per litre in order to be competitive. Current lithium-ion batteries have about 300. He calculated an investment cost of round 3 billion dollars, which will help build a cell factory capable of producing 40 GWh. The decision was made following a calculation regarding future component requirements for EVs: If 70% of new cars produced in 2050 are battery-electric, it would require about 160 of such factories to supply the global market. He expects a major boost to happen in 2025 to 2030, and feels secure that the company will be prepared for the incoming market shift.

Recently, Continental also announced some major corporate restructuring to make the company more competitive for the future: The company was split into three modular section: Rubber, Automotive and Powertrain. The Powertrain section will be self-sufficient and more independent than the other two sections, starting early next year. The sector will cover all current combustion business, as well as hybrid and electric motors, as well as all ongoing battery developments. That includes the recently announced JV with the Chinese battery cell manufacturer CITC for 48-volt battery systems.

The head of the new Powertrain section will be Andreas Wolf. A partial opening for investment is also planned for the sector, and will commence next year. The company plans to retain control over the Powertrain business in the medium and long term, according to a statement. By using a more autonomous structure, the company hopes to be more adaptable and quick to react to different politically mandated emissions standards.

electrive.net, unternehmen-heute.de (Both in German)

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Slovakia now only subsidizing communal EVs

Sun, 07/29/2018 - 15:20

The subvention program that was extended by half a year at the end of last year for the acquisition of BEVs and PHEVs by private persons will not be renewed.

800 electrified vehicles were brought on to Slovakia’s streets with help of the program, more than 70% of which were fully electric. The government granted up to €5,000 subsidies for the purchase of a vehicle. Not all of the money in the pot was used, however. Now, the Slovak government is planning a 1 million euro subvention program aimed at communities.


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CATL begins cooperation with Jiangling

Sun, 07/29/2018 - 15:02

Battery manufacturer CATL has begun a cooperation with Ford-partner and EV manufacturer Jiangling Motors. The duo plans to do research and development on different vehicle models for their cooperation.

The corresponding agreement for strategic cooperation was signed in the middle of last week. CATL has been quite active recently regarding cooperations with Chinese EV manufacturers. Only recently CATL announced two joint ventures with automobile manufacturer GAC. Additionally, CATL and Dongfeng begun operations in their new battery factory in Wuhan at the start of the month.

The fact that CATL will build their first factory outside of China in the German Erfurt is almost old news at this point. The factory will have a capacity of 14 GWh per year, and provide around 600 jobs in the region.


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Tesla announces first delivered four-wheel Model 3

Sun, 07/29/2018 - 14:28

After receiving green light from the EPA last week for the AWD versions of the Model 3, deliveries have begun for vehicles with and without the Performance packet in the USA.

The first reactions from new owners have confirmed the deliveries, which makes for a duration of about two and a half months between Tesla opening the books for the alternative Model 3 variants and the first deliveries.

Customers will have to pay extra for the variant models, of course. The AWD option costs a $5,000 additional charge, while the fully equipped AWD with the performance option will cost customers $78,000 – priced closer to the Model S. The AWD without the performance packet reduces startup time to 60 mph from the 5.1 seconds we know from the rear-wheel drive version to 4.5 seconds. The dual motor version of the vehicle will only be offered in connection with the larger battery pack, which allows for a 500km range, according to the EPA estimate. The top speed remains the same as the single motor version with 140 mph (225 km/h).

The Performance variant of the Model 3 also comes with two motors and the 500 km range, but offers superior speed performance, with a startup time to 60 mph of 3.5 seconds and a top speed of 155 mph (249 km/h).

On the cosmetic side, the white interior will not only be included in the performance version, but also included the option with all AWD vehicles. Tesla made the announcement via email last week.

Finally, there are also the first test impressions available for the performance AWD Model 3, and can be read from Motor Trend here.

electrek.co, insideevs.com

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Audi e-tron available for reservations in the USA in September

Sun, 07/29/2018 - 13:40

Audi has announced they will begin accepting pre-orders from the USA starting on the 17th of September for their first serial electric vehicle, the e-tron. Reservations will begin after the official premiere in San Francisco, and will require a $1,000 down payment.

Audi USA has also announced that further price specifications will be announced at the premiere, including payment models. At the same time, the configuration tool on the website will go live. Deliveries in the country will begin in early 2019.

The premiere for the vehicle was not initially planned this way: At the end of June, the Ingolstadt-based company surprisingly cancelled their presentation planned for the 30th of August in Brussels. The official reason was organizational issues, however the legal issues surrounding Rupert Stadler may have had significant weight in the decision as well. The decision did not affect the planned European launch, however.

Reservations have been possible in Europe in a hand full of countries. Norway, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and the UK are the first to receive access.

The vehicles will be constructed in Audi’s Brussels factory, beginning at the end of this year. The motors will be supplied from Györ in Hungary. Audi started manufacturing the electric motors there just recently. Technical details to the first Audi BEV can be found here. The e-tron will be followed by the Sportback version a year later, and the e-tron GT is planned to follow a year after that.

carscoops.com, electrek.co, media.audiusa.com

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Power to the Heroes

Sun, 07/29/2018 - 12:49

For the annual Pride festivities in Amsterdam, charging technology manufacturer EVBox, utility NUON and the City of Amsterdam are joining forces to dress charging stations with rainbows.

All revenue from charging during pride will be donated to the COC, the Dutch LGBTQ association.


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BMW installs 100 charging points in Mallorca

Thu, 07/26/2018 - 18:59

BMW has begun installation of a charging network for EVs that will cover 100 charging points with up to 22kW capacities at 50 locations around the island by the end of the year. So far, one fifth of the stations has been installed.

The charging points will be installed at strategic locations such as hotels, restaurants, sport centres and ports. The distance between locations is supposed to be around 25 km. The stations are part of the ChangeNow project by the BMW Group.

Independently, the Balearic government is also supporting the mobility change. As of 2025, no new diesels will be allowed on the islands, as of 2035 this will also apply to gas combustion vehicles. Furthermore, the island group is planning to install a total of 500 HPC charging stations this year, 300 in Mallorca alone. The initiative is being financed with 12 million euros from tourist taxes.

Additionally, as of 2030, only electrified vehicles will be allowed to be rented on the Balearic islands. The corresponding law was passed last November. As of 2020, the plan is to have the EV quota at car dealerships on the islands at 10%, adding another 10% each year afterwards. Electrive.net launched a trial attempt of navigating the islands in early 2016, but found the facilities were somewhat lacking at the time.


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China is launching local initiatives for battery recycling

Thu, 07/26/2018 - 18:42

China has selected 17 cities and regions to launch a pilot program for battery recycling for old EVs. The program will be launched in the major cities Beijing, Shanghai and Xiamen, as well as the provinces of Juangsu, Anhui and Guangdong.

The plan was announced by the Chinese ministry for Industry and IT in a statement yesterday. City and regional governments are supposed to be motivated to cooperate in this area with automobile manufacturers, as well as including battery manufacturers as well as used-car sales and scrap dealers. This way, they hope to set up a whole recycling ecosystem to help deal with the expected flood of old EV batteries in the next years.

In February, the Chinese government already presented an outline for the plan, which also will see the development of a system to track batteries from the resource stage throughout their entire life-cycle. A core component of the plan is to issue codes for individual batteries.

For 2018, China is expecting a total amount of 170,000 tonnes of trash produced by EV batteries. For this reason, the government is taking measures to prevent the increasing amount of pollution from the industry. The February outline also included a preliminary ruling to require EV manufacturers to take responsibility for the batteries for their vehicles and set up provisions for the collection and recycling of used batteries, as well. Battery manufacturers will be required to set up standardized and easily disassembled batteries to ease the recycling process. Furthermore, technical schooling for automobile manufacturers will be required for the storage and disassembly of old batteries.


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Index outlines looming dependency on cell manufacturers

Thu, 07/26/2018 - 18:16

The Electro-mobility Index 2018 by the consulting company Roland Berger and the research institute Kraftfahrwesen Aachen (fka) show how the e-mobility market is developing and underlines the looming dependency of automobile manufacturers on battery cell manufacturers.

The index covers the seven biggest EV manufacturing nations: Germany, France, Italy, USA, Japan, China and South Korea, comparing their local environments and developments. The researchers paid heed to three major markers: market, technology and industry, but also integrated the three in a larger total ranking. The USA and China led the current rankings. This was to be expected, however what is interesting are the developments in the battery cell industry.

Capacities for the production of battery cells will increase by up to 1,600 GWh, according to the researchers, as expectations are that around 20 million EVs and hybrids will be on the roads around the world by then. In 2021, a global market volume for battery cells was already predicted to be around $19 billion, where 29% is expected from China, with 21% from South Korea and 17% from Japan.

Germany and Europe were not found to have significant cell production, and dependencies on few suppliers could soon turn into an issue. The battery factories currently under construction will only increase dependency, according to the researchers. They recommend two strategies: Either establishing local capacities for battery cell production, which is very possible given the know-how and investment potential, or setting up a less monopolistic supply structure, by setting up vertical cooperations with resource suppliers and developing solutions for the recycling of old batteries.


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Bolt renames themselves Etergo and presents AppScoooter

Thu, 07/26/2018 - 17:49

The Dutch startup Bolt Mobility has renamed themselves Etergo, and presented the final version of their networked electric scooter named AppScooter. Instead of the originally promised 400 km, the range will be 240 at maximum without charging.

Several specifications stated last Fall were adapted. Next to the range, the price was also adjusted from the originally 2,990 euro plus 490 per battery module, customers will now have to pay 3,399 plus 699 euros per battery module. The first module is included in the base price, at least.

The vehicle can carry up to three battery modules, with 1155 Wh each. With an average speed of 20 km/h, the batteries last up to 80 km for a maximum range of 240 km.

The choice of motor power is also open to customers: There are motors in both 2 and 7 kW, which allow for speeds from 25 to 95 km/h. The scooters are also fitted with a 7 inch display. The manufacturers are very proud of the network connections integrated in the scooters, as well as a 60 litre storage space.

The company has begun accepting pre-orders for the electric scooter. Deliveries will then follow in the next year, while smaller motors will be rolled out first. The following video shows their Amsterdam presentation.

tech.eu, etergo.com

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Nissan and Honda to build hybrids and batteries in Thailand

Thu, 07/26/2018 - 17:34

Nissan and Honda have received official permission from the Thai government to produce hybrid vehicles and batteries in the SE Asian nation. They are not the first to open up business there; Toyota, BMW and Daimler area already manufacturing hybrids in Thailand.

Nissan plans to set up a factory in the Bang Sao Thong district to build hybrid vehicles based on their ePower technology, as well as manufacture batteries. Honda will be producing hybrids including their batteries in their factories in Ayutthaya and Prachin Buri.

The Thai regulatory body spoke of an investment sum of 10.96 billion Baht (280 million euro) for Nissan, and 5.82 billion Baht for Honda. These are the first permissions given, after the applications had spent almost a year tabled. According to the regulatory agency, five of eight “applicants” have now received permission to manufacture hybrids and batteries in Thailand.

bangkokpost.com, reuters.com

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BMW considers doubling C evolution production

Thu, 07/26/2018 - 17:00

BMW is considering doubling the production of their electric scooter C evolution in their factory in Berlin Spandau by introducing a second shift. Last year they produced 1,700 e-scooters at the factory.

With a total of 155,000 motorcycles sold in 2017, the portion of electric scooters from the Spandau location is notably small. Factory head Helmut Schramm sees great potential in the EVs, which is why the expansion is being evaluated by the company currently.  He stated that many major cities in the world are simply not suitable for normal personal transport anymore.

The C evolution has been in production in Spandau since 2014. After years of an even 1,000 vehicles produced per year, the number was expanded last year to the current 1,700. 800 of the vehicles were exported to France, while Germany and Spain followed as the next largest customers.

According to Schramm, the follow-up model for the e-bike will also be manufactured at the factory. A concept already exists, called the Concept Link, as well as a number of plans to build stronger and more compact batteries, motors and performance electronics for the next generation. The goal is to bump the range from the current 150 km to around 200 km.

electrive.net (In German)

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Toyota planning to enter FC mass market

Thu, 07/26/2018 - 16:34

Toyota plans to manufacture a series of fuel cell vehicles in the SUV, pick-up and utility vehicle sectors, starting around 2025. In order to facilitate the jump to mass production, Toyota plans to minimize use of expensive materials, such as platinum.

Furthermore, the company plans to make the entire system more compact and efficient. Starting with the next generation of the Mirai, which is planned for the early 2020’s, Toyota is aiming to increase the range from the current 500 km to 700 or 750 km. By 2025, they plan to reach a 1,000 km range.

The report breaking the news referred to unnamed sources, as Toyota themselves do not wish to comment on specific product plans for the future. They have developed fuel cell prototypes, however, ranging from delivery vehicles to semi trucks.

Fuel cell technology is considered difficult to establish for a mass market by many automobile manufacturers. Toyota lead the field with the Mirai in 2014, which was the first mass marketed serial FCEV. The price of $60,000 (Before subventions) and issues with the tank infrastructure hampered sales, however; So far the vehicle has only sold about 6,000 units worldwide.

Experts estimate that Toyota has to spend $11,000 on the fuel cell stacks alone – the by far most expensive component for FC vehicles. An expanded production may help by scaling the costs, however. Should the sales numbers for fuel cell vehicles take off in the next decade from the current 3,000 to 30,000 per year, the cost per fuel cell stack would sink to $8,000.

Testing for the Mirai FC stacks has also begun in the fuel cell bus Sora, a test semi truck from Kenworth and in the Japanese Seven-Eleven delivery trucks, which will be tested next year.


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Tesla fans take tests into their own hands

Thu, 07/26/2018 - 15:56

The Tesla Owners Club UK spent the last weekend organizing their very own test driving event on the Silverstone race track.

With 76 Tesla BEVs, the event managed to host a total of “over 10,000” test rides, according to the organisers. This marks another case of Tesla’s strongest advocates being their own customers. Particularly the early adopters have been known to play ambassador for the brand here and there.

The Silverstone track holds significant historical value among racing enthusiasts, although it has traditionally been dominated by petrol-heads. This time, it seems EV enthusiasts are about to change that.

The demonstration even went so well, that the organisers have been approached to do more: “We’ve already been approached by other events to do all this again and judging by my initial feedback I’m going to have several thousand of our members interested for next years event. So thanks to the whole Tesla team for building the best cars but also thanks for listening to owners feedback to constantly improve the cars,” said organiser Will Fealey.

electrek.co, twitter.com

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Munich taxi centre picks up 10 Jaguar I-Pace

Wed, 07/25/2018 - 19:35

The Munich Taxi Centre (MTZ) has taken on ten Jaguar I-Pace for regular taxi services. The e-taxi fleet of the MTZ was also officially presented today. A fluent two-shift system for the taxis was enabled by the installation of a specialized fast-charging infrastructure.

The MTZ went so far to provide additional education for 40 drivers for the use of EVs. CEO Gregor Beiner particularly had his eye on the I-Pace for the space and range aspects of the vehicles.

At the headquarters of the company, there are five HPC stations, which can charge the I-Pace to 80% capacity in about an hour. The rolling driver change will then take place during the charging period, according to the company.

The Munich-based company also views the project as a pilot project for the entire taxi industry. Funding for the project was made available by the Munich city council, who is subsidizing each kilometre driven with customers by 20 cents. The pot available for e-taxi funding contains a total of 2 million euros.


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Paris: H2 taxi fleet grows to 100 vehicles

Wed, 07/25/2018 - 19:25

The Société du Taxi Electrique Parisien (STEP) in Paris has expanded their fuel cell vehicle fleet with another 25 Toyota Mirai to total 100 FCEVs. By the end of 2020, the expansion of the Hype fleet is planned to total 600 vehicles.

The fleet has been active in the French capital since 2015, based on a cooperation between STEP and the company Air Liquide. The project is additionally funded by the EU project ZEFER (Zero Emission Fleet Vehicles for European Roll-out). The project is designed to explore advantages presented by FCEVs over other NEVs, particularly over long distances, where fast fueling processes in urban centers would be required.

The ZEFER project has placed 60 FCEVs in three European capitals, each; London, Paris and Brussels. In London, the taxi company Green Tomato received the first 25 vehicles in early May.

The project is being financed by a 26 million euro subsidy from the EU, and another 5 million euros from the European H2 initiative Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking. The project aims to collect data and set up a business model for fuel cell vehicle fleets in Europe. The consortium behind the project is being led by Element Energy, who is being supported by Air Liquide and ITM Power Trading, Green Tomato Cars, HYPE and the London Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime, as well as BMW, Linde AG, Cenex and the city council of Paris.

greencarcongress.com, energies.airliquide.com

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