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Updated: 12 hours 24 min ago

General Motors opens battery factory in China

Thu, 06/07/2018 - 16:38

General Motors has opened a factory in Shanghai to assemble batteries for their growing EV production in China. The factory, which is operated by the joint venture partners SAIC-GM is the second of its kind set up by GM.

General Motors plans to take a large market segment of the emerging Chinese market, as is the case with many leading auto manufacturers. The local production by external manufacturers, including battery manufacturing, is picking up quickly. Prominent examples include Tesla, for example. The Californian company announced their intentions to build another Gigafactory in Shanghai, where battery production and vehicle assembly would take place side by side.

Back to GM, however; The US American company is planning to offer ten different BEV and PHEV vehicle models for the Chinese market by 2020. By 2023, the plan to double that number. “We will continue to grow our electric vehicle portfolio in China with diverse solutions that encompass various electric ranges and body styles,” Matt Tsien, president of GM China, said in an interview.

Furthermore, the US car manufacturer plans to offer electrified versions of all their models subsidiary brands market by 2025, including Buick, Cadillac and Chevrolet. Cadillac, Buick and Baojun, which also belongs to GM, are already currently present on the Chinese market, and the company will add fresh vehicles soon: at the Beijing Motor Show, Buick presented an electric SUV concept named Enspire and the Velite 6, which is a PHEV. The latter will be offered on the Chinese market this year still, before being followed by a BEV version at a later date. Currently the Velite 5 with a range extender, the Regal Hybrid and the LaCrosse Hybrid are available.

xinhuanet.com

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Formula E to return to Berlin for fifth season

Thu, 06/07/2018 - 16:20

The Formula E has announced further details to the coming 2018/19 season. The electric racing series will feature 13 races in twelve cities on five continents.

The season starts on the 15th of December in Saudi-Arabia, and ends on the 13th and 14th of April 2019 with a double race in New York. The race in Berlin will take place on the 25th of May, 2019. The two other European contenders are Rome on the 13th of April and Zurich on the 9th of June. This much was announced by the World Motor Sport Council at a meeting in Manila.

While the committee announced dates for all races, not all locations have been set. New hosts include Saudi Arabia with a race in Riad, Monaco, which took a break from hosting last year, and a thus-far unnamed city in China. Where the race will take place on the 26th of January is still entirely open, although we would not be surprised if it takes place in Santiago de Chile, as was the case in the previous year. Basically, the calendar includes twelve racing weekends, which marks two more from last years circuit.

autosport.com

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Nissan presents camper based on e-NV200

Thu, 06/07/2018 - 16:00

At the Madrid International Auto Show, Nissan has presented a new camper series, which is based on a retooled version of the electric transporter e-NV200. The e-NV200 camper is thus far only accessible in Spain, however.

Transforming a vehicle from a light transporter to a camper is no small feat: consequently Nissan reached for help with the redesign: the specialists EBRAM Technologies joined the Japanese vehicle  manufacturer for the endeavor.

Together, the partners made a whole row of changes and modifications to the interior and exterior of the vehicle. The same 40 kWh battery pack is still included, which is also integrated in the newer e-NV200 vehicles. The price for the camper has not been announced.

Recently, the Japanese vehicle manufacturer also began their delivery of the Barcelona-manufactured e-NV200 with the 40 kWh battery packs. Since the sales start in January, Nissan has recorded 4,600 orders of the vehicles. The revamped BEV is currently being delivered to customers in Europe and Hong Kong. Japan is said to follow soon. The e-NV200 has been produced in Barcelona since 2014, and led the list of most-sold electric transporters last year with more than 18,000 sales.

autoblog.com, autoexpress.co.uk, newsroom.nissan-europe.com (Spanish)

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New ecological targets: Nissan pushes electrification

Thu, 06/07/2018 - 15:32

Nissan has released a comprehensive sustainability plan with core goals of the organization up until the year 2022. It aims to reduce CO2 emissions for new vehicles, which will be achieved through increased vehicle electrification.

For the first time, Nissan has presented a comprehensive sustainability plan, which includes ecological, social and economical targets, and names goals to be reached in the next four years.

The strategy is conform to the general medium term goals set by the company, which were included in the Roadmap Nissan M.O.V.E. to 2022, said the car manufacturer in a press statement. The core goal of the road map is to sell one million EVs per year by the end of 2022.

From an e-mobility perspective, a closer look at the ecological targets is important: Nissan plans to reduce CO2 emissions from their new vehicles by 40% compared to the year 2000. Furthermore, the manufacturer promised to drive the V2X (Vehicle to Everything) systems forward globally, helping set new energy consumption standards this way. Nissan also plans to reduce new materials and source more from recycled and re-used materials. This particularly counts towards batteries from EVs.

Nissan is also looking to improve in the field of bidirectional charging and battery recycling, and already has taken steps ahead of other manufacturers in this regard. In March, they started a joint venture with Sumitomo in Namie, Japan, to build the first recycling and re-use facility for EV batteries.

newsroom.nissan-global.com

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Daimler Trucks founds e-mobility unit & announces new trucks

Thu, 06/07/2018 - 14:49

Daimler Trucks & Buses is bundling their know-how for electric propulsion systems in utility vehicles in a new, global-acting organization named the E-Mobility Group (EMG). They also introduced two new trucks, which were especially developed for the US market.

The e-mobility unit will take over the job to manage the EV vehicle and component strategy across segments, markets and brands, with the goal of developing a globally unified architecture. Gesa Reimelt, the current head of product development for Powertrains and the eDrive system at Mercedes, will be taking over leadership of the unit starting on the first of July, with employees located in Stuttgart, Germany, Portland, USA and Kawasaki in Japan.

The overhead goal for Daimler Trucks & Buses is to take a leading role in the global electric utility vehicle market. In a press statement, Daimler asserted that “electric mobility as an innovation driver in the commercial vehicle industry and as a decisive factor for leading the transport sector into an emission-free future.” A further focus for the company is the affordability of the vehicles, adding: ” e-mobility must be cost-effective – both for the customer and for the manufacturer.”

“We expect increasing demand for electric trucks and buses, and are also receiving these signals from our customers,” added Frank Reintjes, head of global Powertrain and Manufacturing Engineering at Daimler. He believes that only manufacturers with competencies in both more traditional as well as electric propulsion systems will be able to offer economic and technologically viable solutions. For conventional systems, the company already established a platform strategy some time ago.

In the USA, the company has also gone ahead and presented two new electric trucks specifically designed for the US market. As part of the Capital Market & Technology Days in Portland, the utility vehicle manufacturer presented the heavy duty truck Freightliner eCascadia and the middle-weight freight liner eM2.

Regarding technical details for the trucks, so far this much has been announced: The eCascadia is a derivative of the Cascadia trucks, and will feature a range of 400 km and 537 kW performance. The batteries designated for the truck are 550 kWh and can charge to 80% capacity within 1.5 hrs. The vehicles has a load-bearing capability of more than 15 tonnes.

The Freightliner em2 is driving in the middle-weight range, with an allowed total load of nine to twelve tonnes. It is designed mainly for local distribution traffic and last-mile deliveries. The eM2 has a battery capacity of 325 kWh and range up to 370 km, using a 353 kW motor. The charging duration up to 80% capacity takes less than an hour.

According to Reintjes, both vehicles were specifically designed for the US market. A test fleet of 30 vehicles will be handed over to the first US customers over the course of this year. As is the case with the Fuso eCanter light truck and the medium-weight Mercedes eActros, Daimler is planning to adjust production details according to customer feedback. The trucks will enter serial production in 2021.

Both electric trucks by Freightliner are joining a steadily growing lineup of electrified utility vehicles under the Daimler Trucks & Buses banner. Currently the vehicles on offer are the Mercedes-Benz eActros, the Fuso eCanter and the electric city bus Citaro, as well as the school bus Saf-T Liner C2 Jouley.

greencarcongress.com, media.daimler.com, greencarcongress.com, bloomberg.com

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CATL to set up battery cell manufacturing in Germany

Thu, 06/07/2018 - 13:45

The Chinese battery manufacturer has decided to start producing battery components in Germany. According to electrive.net, CATL is looking to Erfurt to set up a manufacturing facility for battery cells.

The hints that cell production in the German state of Thuringia have been intensifying: Bloomberg and Insider have also picked up on the information that CATL will be moving to Thuringia. The electrive.net editorial staff have spoken with informed circles, who indicated that the state capital Erfurt was chosen. An official declaration from the battery manufacturer or the state of Thuringia is still outstanding, however.

CATL’s role in the automobile industry has been steadily growing in recent times. Volkswagen and Daimler have signed supply agreements for the I.D. family and the EQ brand. Furthermore, BMW, PSA, and Renault-Nissan are also receiving battery cells from CATL.

After an attempted joint venture between Daimler and Evonik to build battery cells in Saxony, no major battery cell production plans in the country had been mentioned, and manufacturers focused on securing batteries from Asian manufacturers. While the competencies are elementary to building EVs, the options for local production had been left open.

The location for a potential battery factory has been discussed for some time, and led to founding the planning consortium Terra E Holding. CEO Holger Gritzka promised that by the end of 2019, the first batteries would be in ready. That now CATL has decided to join the battery manufacturing game in Germany is further good news.

Location benefits

Reasons for selecting Erfurt as a manufacturing base are multiple: For one, the nearby Volkswagen factory in Zwickau is easily reached, next to BMW and Porsche in Leipzig. Furthermore, the local population has a fairly high potential for well-educated specialists with key skills for the manufacturing, including the knowledge cluster in Thuringia, for example looking to the battery research project in Jena. The state will also be subsidizing the facility, further making the location attractive. Finally, the ICE train network with direct lines to Munich and Berlin is strategic for both customers and employees.

Battery demand has been growing rather rapidly in recent times. Experts expect that global production capacities will grow to an 175 GWh by 2020. That is about five times the total from 2016. Sources indicate that CATL will be producing around 44 GWh for the global market, exactly how much of which will be produced in the German facility is yet unclear.

Financing

In order to finance the major growth spurt, CATL will be going public at the stock exchange reportedly. Institutional investors can already sign up, and CATL is planning to sell about 10% of the company value in stocks at around 3.40 euro each (25.14 Yuan), as well as investing a volume of 722 million euro, making for a total of 7.2 billion euros.

The value of the German facility can hardly be exaggerated: Battery cell production on a local basis will not only help alleviate logistical issues, but the research teams from the BMW Group, the Daimler AG and the Volkswagen AG will work with the battery manufacturer to quickly integrate prototype technology insights into serial production.

That CATL is not a local company has found some disapproval from local figures in politics and economy. It is not unimaginable that local manufacturers will follow suite, at least when it becomes evident just how needed a battery cell manufacturing facility in Europe is.

electrive.net (In German)

Copy: Christoph M. Schwarzer

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Tennis goes electric

Thu, 06/07/2018 - 12:32

Two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray received a special treat from his local carmaker aka Jaguar Land Rover. The British brand asked their Formula E driver Nelson Piquet jr. to present Murray with their I-Pace.

E-mobility promotion can hardly get any more VIP – only Prince Charles beat Murray to the game. The gift follows Murray’s promise to “go electric” on World Environment Day, making him one of the first electric Jaguar customers.

Nelson Piquet Jr, Panasonic Jaguar Racing driver, said: “I think it’s brilliant that Andy has made this commitment to go electric and has been vocal in encouraging more people to take action and make little changes to live more sustainably.”

electriccarsreport.com, carsuk.net

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Rapid charging taskforce in London

Wed, 06/06/2018 - 19:34

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has turned to the private sector to increase electric car charging infrastructure in the capital with a nod to rapid charging. 16 organisations such as Shell UK or the RAC Foundation followed the call.

London has been known for its infrastrcuture problems it owes to a changing technological and network ownership landscape but mostly to its localised nature. While the mayoral office and its transport arm TfL have been making efforts, their power is limited to areas and junctions under their control – about 5 percent of mayor roads. So to roll out infrastructure across the entire city, not only the Boroughs, but also private entities must come on board.

So far the new taskforce comprises 16 organisations including UK Power Networks, the British Retail Consortium and the RAC Foundation. Their tasks, including technical workshops run by Transport for London over the summer, will be outlined and a shared Delivery Plan to be published next year.

In addition to petrol stations, businesses and car parks, the participation of boroughs, who manage 95 per cent of London’s roads, is vital. Whilst boroughs have successfully installed thousands of residential charging points, more rapid charging points are urgently needed. Says Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London: “This initiative will support London boroughs and ensure electric vehicle infrastructure is installed in the right places, and help make our city an even better place to live.”

TfL and the Mayor’s office have started to install rapid charging infrastructure reportedly and have set up a 100 to date with a third being reserved for Black Cabs. TfL plans to fund at least 150 rapid charge points throughout 2018 in addition to new infrastructure in residential neighbourhoods. The Mayor would also like to see rapid charging ‘hubs’, not unlike petrol stations, set up across the city.

In another joint initiative, the introduction of zero emission zones (ZEZ) has been pushed forward to 2020 (we reported).

smmt.co.uk, london.gov.uk

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Toyota & Seven-Eleven launching fuel cell project

Wed, 06/06/2018 - 17:56

The basic agreement to use hydrogen and fuel cell transport to power convenience stores in Japan more sustainable had been made already last year. Now Toyota and Seven-Eleven agreed on a more detailed plan and schedule to launch fuel cell trucks and renewable energy storage systems.

Seven-Eleven operates convenience stores all over Japan 24/7 and has teamed up with Toyota to make their operations more environmentally-friendly by utilising green energy from hydrogen and by introducing zero emission logistics and decarbonised store.

The plan that has now been unveiled in more detail includes stationary fuel cell generators and rechargeable batteries to store solar energy.

The batteries may reuse cells from old batteries of hybrid vehicles. Building energy management systems (BEMS) will manage both battery and generators centrally, raising the proportion of renewable energy and electric power derived from hydrogen. Moreover, electric car charging stations will be installed that are V2G capable.

Also outside the stores, Seven-Eleven aims to green their operation. They will deploy a newly developed small fuel cell truck from Toyota that utilises technology from the Mirai. The truck includes a freezer unit also powered through the fuel cells. Seven-Eleven will be the first to deploy the fuel cell utility vehicle (we reported).

The partners will roll out the project across Japan in stages throughout 2019. Both Toyota and Seven-Eleven will measure performance, costs, durability, and CO2 reduction effects with the aim of promoting further deployment of similar hydrogen solutions.

greencarcongress.com, toyota.co.jp

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Belgium: Electric buses coming to Ghent and Leuven

Wed, 06/06/2018 - 17:28

VDL Bus & Coach has received an order from Flanders. Transport operator De Lijn wants to buy 146 buses in total, among them a large batch of hybrid models and some all-electric ones to arrive early next year. The buses will serve on routes in Ghent and Leuven.

For Dutch VDL, the order builds on an existing relationship with De Lijn that now includes their electric mobility offering for the first time. Says Filip Malefason, MD of VDL Bus & Coach Belgium: “We are proud that with this extensive order our long relationship continues, now also in the area of E-Mobility, and that we have this opportunity to contribute to sustainable public transport in Flanders.”

The order entails 84 Citea SLE-120 Hybrid and seven all-electric Citea SLF-120 Electric. The 84 hybrid models will add to an existing commission of 66 Citea SLE Hybrid that had been placed already in October 2017. The new batch of hybrid and electric buses is scheduled for arrival in the first quarter of 2019.

The 12 metre VDL Citea SLF-120 Electric is powered by an 85 kWh battery and has room for 92 passengers. Charging infrastructure will be provided by VDL together with ABB and installed in Ghent and Leuven. A 300 kW rapid charger (on the bus line) and 40 kW depot chargers will ensure the electric buses can be in service throughout the day.

vdlbuscoach.com

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Hi-tech recycling of Li-ion batteries at Redux

Wed, 06/06/2018 - 17:07

Saubermacher and Redux Recycling have installed a battery recycling plant in the German town of Bremerhaven after jointly researching the process over years. The plant is capable of processing all types of lithium-ion batteries and has a capacity of 10,000t a year.

Redux Recycling and Saubermacher Group (literal translation: Cleaners Group) have invested 3 million euros in their plant. To receive a recycling rate up to 40 percent higher than usual targets, the companies have worked out a process over years.

Still, recycling of batteries is time-consuming, multi-stage process. It runs from discharge and disassembly over thermal treatment to mechanical processing but the effort is worth it. Gerhard Ziehenberger, COO of Saubermacher AG explains: “At present, we’re achieving around 60 % to 70 %,” a recycling rate that is higher than usual.

The plant recovers secondary raw materials such as stainless steel, aluminium, copper, plastic and active materials. The energy obtained from the batteries in the discharge process is fed into Redux’s own grid.

Developing the idea to the scale model took six years and another two to actually realise the large-scale plant. Still the goal has not been achieved fully. “Our vision is zero waste, so in the long-term, we’re aiming for a recycling rate of 100 %,” continues Ziehenberger.

Saubermacher is working with technology partners like AVL List GmbH and their internal R&D team on various approaches, such as using used battery systems as storage media.

Saubermacher Dienstleistungs AG is an international disposal and recycling company based close to Graz, Austria.

redux-recycling.com

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Goldstone-BYD reveal electric bus made in India

Wed, 06/06/2018 - 16:49

BYD and their JV partner Goldstone Infratech in India have revealed their first joint product, an electric minibus. The ‘eBuzz K6’ has been presented in Delhi and can carry 18 passengers over a range of 200 kilometres on one charge.

BYD has expanded to India as it joined Goldstone Infratech to form BYD-Goldstone for local manufacturing. Their first product has been unveiled on World Environment Day.

Powered by Li-ion phosphate batteries, the eBuzz K6 offers a range of up to 200km has a maximum charging time of 4 hours through 3-phase AC charging. The electric motors develop 180KW of power and 1,500Nm of peak torque.

The company’s electric buses are being manufactured in India by Goldstone Infratech. The first five of these eBuzz K6 buses shall be exported to Nepal to serve on Lumbini Tourism routes. A rollout in India and other neighbouring countries is to follow later.

BYD and Goldstone had won a large part of a competitive tender to build electric buses for the government recently. Furthermore, BYD plans to build a factory in India for domestic production of electric buses.

autocarpro.in, news18.com

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Peugeat reveals 508 SW – a PHEV estate

Wed, 06/06/2018 - 16:34

Peugeot has taken the wraps of the 508 SW, an estate wagon due for launch next year. From mid-2019, expect a plug-in hybrid version to arrive in Europe. But first it will debut at the Paris show this October.

For Reanult, the 508 SW blends functionality with design as it follows the lines of the coupé. The bigger estate car offers much space though with the boot holding up to 530 litres.

It will first go on sale with two petrol and four diesel options in 2019. However, later that same year, Peugeot promises a Plug-in Hybrid petrol powertrain with an extended zero emission range of 50 km (WLTP cycle). The batteries will be located under the back seats to preserve the roomy boot.

Like the saloon, the Peugeot 508 SW will be made at the Mulhouse plant in France.

autocar.co.uk, peugeot.com

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EDF investing €16M in hydrogen specialist McPhy

Wed, 06/06/2018 - 16:17

Energy giant Electricité de France (EDF) becomes the largest shareholder of McPhy as the French invest 16 million euros into the hydrogen specialist. McPhy wants to use the money to expand globally with its hydrogen solutions.

The partnerhsip agreement of EDF and McPhy, a specialist in hydrogen production, storage and equipment, aims to develop carbon-free hydrogen in France and around the world.

EDF is investing around 16 million euros to acquire 21.7% of McPhy’s share capital, and 20.4% of its voting rights.

The decision to join McPhy puts EDF at the forefront of France’s new hydrogen strategy. The Plan Hydrogène includes a budget of 100 million euros to be allocated through the French government from 2019.

In France, McPhy is actively involved in rolling out hydrogen-based solutions. Out of the 20 or so hydrogen stations in the country, it has supplied 13. With the new funding from EDF, the hydrogen specialist gears up for international expansion. For EDF, the new partnership means they will be able to offer its customers new services and products.

McPhy offers a full range of hydrogen solutions including electrolyzers, hydrogen refueling stations and storage facilities. The firm covers the entire value chain from R&D through to engineering, manufacturing, production, operations and maintenance. Also EDF has been active in hydrogen for more than 15 years, including electrolyzers and vehicle refueling stations, at its EIFER research center in Karlsruhe.

EDF has recently joined the EV100 campaign and pledged to convert its entire global fleet to electric vehicles comes 2030.

greencarcongress.com, edf.fr

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Uber to share e-bikes in Europe, expanding UberGreen

Wed, 06/06/2018 - 15:40

Uber has not given up on Europe despite a ban of their ride hail service in many cities. Instead the firm tries to tie in with local authorities on a greener note. They want to launch electric bike sharing through their Jump subsidiary and also UberGreen, first in Berlin.

Ride hailing service Uber has been under criticism for some time. Taxi unions and cities blamed the app startup for undercutting prices and crowding the streets. German cities prove particularly critical and Uber has since been trying to find other business causes. Sustainability for example and so they announced to launch their electric bike sharing this summer in the German capital.

The Uber service that builds on the acquisition of Jump bikes is in operation in San Francisco and Washington DC. In Berlin, the pedelecs are to free float as well although this may result in critical authorities soon again. Berlin has seen a rise in bicycle sharing programmes crowding the walkways but only the LimeBike offers pedelecs to rent so far.

Still, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi says Uber wants “to work with local governments and cities to make our model work,” and called the Jump bike service a “signal of what the new Uber can be like”.

He means eco-friendly. Accordingly, the launch of UberGreen in Berlin is planned this year as well. The service allows customers to book a pick up with an electric car. A trial in Munich has been successful and will continue with more cars. UberGreen is also available in Amsterdam, Bucharest, Paris, London and Lisbon. They use Renault Zoe electric cars (we reported).

UberGreen is restricted to certain areas. Still, cab drivers in Berlin protested outside the conference hall, where Uber announced their plans. The Uber CEO signalled a willingness to talk to protesters but clarified Uber’s position: “When you’re changing traditions, there are constituencies you may anger.”

Uber plans to roll out UberGreen and their Jump pedelec sharing to other European cities in future. In London Uber had lost the license but is still running. Here their drivers must have an EV by 2025 and may receive funding through Uber’s Clean Air Fund. The aim is to have a 100% electrified fleet on the Isles by 2022 reportedly.

reuters.com, bloombergquint.com

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CATL & BYD rise in rank to join world’s Top 3 battery makers

Wed, 06/06/2018 - 14:33

Korea’s largest battery makers LG Chem and Samsung SDI are losing market shares to competitors from China, SNE Research finds. They pin the loss to increased domestic demand in China from electric buses and trucks. CATL appears to have benefitted the most.

As demand for batteries for electric vehicles is on the rise, competition is increasing. Whilst LG Chem and Samsung SDI not only dominate at home but have also many European clients, their hegemony is under threat from China. This means while sales are rising, marketshare is shifting.

According to SNE Research’s report, LG Chem shipped 1.671 GWh worth of batteries in Q1/2018, up 38.9% from the same period a year ago.

Yet the company’s global market share dropped from 13.8 percent in 2017 to 10.6 percent this year. Globally, they fell from second to 4th place in the ranking.

Samsung SDI’s global ranking went up from 7th in 2017 to 6th place in 2018 as the company’s battery shipments increased 47.1 percent to 879 MWh in the first four months of this year. Yet the company’s market share also decreased from 6.8 percent in 2017 to 5.6 percent.

At the same time, shipments from Chinese companies rose dramatically. CATL’s output grew 261.1% from 630 MWh in the previous year to 2.274 GWh this year, now putting the second in the world. Likewise, Chinese maker BYD increased shipments 180.6% to 1.735GWh, rising from fifth to third place.

Whilst Panasonic managed to keep its top position, its market share plummeted from 31.4 percent to 21.1 percent. Panasonic’s shipments totaled 3.330 GWh in the first four months of the year, up 21.5 percent.

This results in a new ranking of Panasonic, CATL and BYD as the world’s top 3 battery makers in that order.

SNE Research pinned the growth of Chinese battery makers down to an increase in domestic demand, particularly for electric buses and trucks. However, makers such as CATL have managed to convince major automakers from Europe to enter battery supply agreements. DaimlerVolkswagen and most recently Nissan and Renault have all turned to CATL in order to secure their supply for their upcoming electric cars and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

Moreover, BYD is reported to look into setting up battery production in Europe and so is CATL. Both Chinese battery makers could thus rival LG Chem and Samsung on the same turf soon.

businesskorea.co.kr

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Daimler building Full-Flex-Plant for EVs and ICEs in Hungary

Wed, 06/06/2018 - 13:38

The German carmaker has broken ground in Hungary for their latest facility. Dubbed the first full-flex-plant because of its ability to adapt to various vehicle architectures, the 1bn euro facility is to start producing regular and electric cars from 2020.

Daimler has laid the cornerstone of its first full-flex-plant in Kecskemét, close to Budapest. It is Daimler’s second outlet in Hungary and the first full-flex-plant. The facility allows for making various types of cars, thus accommodating for both electric as well as conventional models.

Markus Schäfer, Board Member Manufacturing and Supply Chain explains: “With an investment of one billion euros, we are building in Hungary the first ‘Full-Flex Plant’ in the global production network of Mercedes-Benz Cars. In a ‘Full-Flex Plant’, several vehicle architectures from compact models to rear-wheel drive sedans and various drive forms, including electric vehicles, can be flexibly produced on one line.”

Covering an area of 382,000 sqm, the plant will have a press shop, a body-in-white shop, a paint shop and an assembly.

It builds on Daimler’s “Factory 56” principles introduced in February, that is basically informed by Industry 4.0 standards with an added focus on sustainable production and human rights. The first such facility is currently under construction in German Sindelfingen, where the Factory 56 will start producing top of the line EVs such as the next-generation S-Class and models of the EQ line (we reported).

Daimler hopes to create 2,500 jobs once the plant is finished in 2020. The Hungarian government is supporting the investment with a EUR 37.5 million grant, adding that the ratio of Hungarian supplier contributions to the Daimler plantʼs output rose to 50% in 2017 from 30% in 2016.

In Germany and Europe, Mercedes-Benz plans to supply all German with CO2-neutral energy by 2022. Today, new plants for electric cars in Europe such as the one in Hungary are already planned with renewable energy supply from the start.

bbj.hu, daimler.com (PI)

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Tesla board to remain, China factory to come (video)

Wed, 06/06/2018 - 13:13

Today’s Tesla shareholder meeting has been a success for Elon Musk. Shareholders support him as both CEO and Chairman and also his closest (in every sense) board members. Moreover, plans for production in China are moving ahead.

The Tesla shareholders once more put their trust in Elon Musk as their leader following a vote of confidence. A proposal had called for splitting the role of CEO and Chairman. If it had gone through it would effectively have removed Musk from the board, claiming a clash of interest due to his involvement with SpaceX and The Boring Company.

Proxy votes now shoed a super majority expressing their trust in Musk as both Chairman and CEO as well as his allies and family members on the board. Board members Antonio Gracias, Kimbal Musk (Elon’s brother), and James Murdoch were thus all reelected.

Apart from internal quarrels, much has been said on Tesla’s planned facility in China. More details can be expected in July but the EV production including a battery facility is going ahead. The Californian electric carmaker recently formed Tesla Shanghai, an R&D outlet for now, preceding such a move.

In the long term, Tesla plans to run 10 – 12 Gigafactories worldwide. A spot to set up battery production in Europe is to be found before the year’s end.

During the shareholder meeting, Tesla also announced they were close to reaching the “holy grail” of battery cell cost, that is 100 USD/kWh. Recent analysis by German engineers had found that Tesla is using particularly little cobalt in their cathodes already and that the Model 3 could soon be profitable (we reported).

In terms of their other electric cars, Tesla released a new teaser image of the Model Y. It is to see the light of day in March 2019 with production to start by mid-2020.

Musk mentioned the Roadster as well, announcing a “SpaceX option package” that would make the electric racer even more of a performance choice. No more details were given other than the mentioning of “rocket technology”.

This video shows parts of the Tesla shareholder meeting. Musk mentions battery cost at 18:40 and talks future Gigafactories from minute 21.

teslarati.com (shareholders trust), abs-cbn.com (Tesla in China), insideevs.com (Model Y), teslarati.com (Roadster option), youtube.com (video shareholder meeting)

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BMW i representing eco chique

Wed, 06/06/2018 - 12:04

BMW’s electric range BMW i has become a full member of the house as the firm launches the latest accessory collection for drivers of the i3 and i8 or those that would like to display a green conscience.

The collection got sustainability written all over, not so much in the choice of articles – there is no water bottle for refill but an earthen coffee maker – but in the materials.

Take the backpack made from appleskin, a vegan alternative to leather or t-shirts made from organic cotton as well as 3D-printed sunglasses designed in Berlin. And then there is the pencil case, striaght from the shop floor to the office, as it is made from selvedge waste from BMW i car seat production.

Prices for those karma points range from 29,90 (pencil case) over 269 euros (backpack) to only upon request (sunglasses).

bmwgroup.com

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Electric GyroCar testing on two wheels in China

Wed, 06/06/2018 - 09:33

This prototype of a two-wheeled electric car balances with gyroscopic technology. And it is more than a concept as engineer Zhu Lingyun is looking for investors to start production in China. The 1703 (for now) was inspired by Ford’s Gyron but revolves around modern technology.

When Ford presented the Gyron back in 1961, their concept spawned a range of reactions but never made it into the series. However, its influence can be felt to day. Engineer Zhu Lingyun needed no more than an image to be convinced that the time had come for the concept to get serial.

He founded Beijing Lingyun Intelligent Technology in 2014 and has since been working to get a prototype going, or balancing rather. The 1705 runs on two-wheels, held upright by a gyroscope just like a Segway.

The one-seater can currently been seen zooming around a testing ground in Beijing and is entirely autonomous. Range on paper is 100 kilometres with removable batteries that can be charged at home. While the range is not impressive, it suits a city concept that is to cost no more than 16,000 dollars.

Zhu Lingyun is looking for investors at the moment in order to set up a production facility. The aim is to make between 5,000 and 10,000 units a year starting in 2020.

Three years ago, he raised 10 million dollars from mainly venture capitalists and now he wants to raise another 30 million dollars to make the gyroscopic electric car a reality.

bloomberg.com

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