Germany’s Ministry of Transport wants to fund both battery and fuel cell electric trucks and those with alternative fuels. The bill is set to take effect this June with grants ranging from 12,000 to 40,000 euros depending on the trucks’ weight.
The new funding guideline is scheduled for publication this month before being applied one day later. This means that logistic companies shifting goods from A to B may soon do so in electric trucks and can apply from July through the office for the transport of goods (BAG).
Funding applies to commercial vehicles weighing at least 7.5 tons and up to over 12t. Grants range from 12,000 euros to up to 40,000 euros for the heaviest trucks and applies to both all-electric and fuel cell vehicles as well as alternative fuels such as CNG and LNG. Apart from their alternative drives, the vehicles must be available as a series version in at least one EU member state to be eligible.
There is a cap of 500,000 euros per company. Overall, the German government has allocated 10 million euros to the programme this year whilst the scheme is to run throughout 2020.
The government will exempt electric trucks from the road toll beginning next year as well.
bmvi.de (funding guideline, in German)
Mercedes wants to give people some time to ease into the silence of an electric car. Their latest clip advertising the arrival of their first EQ concept comes with a rather unique ICE soundtrack – not from an artificial but most organic source.
For their promo, Mercedes hired a beatboxer to simulate the noise of a car whilst gliding silently in an EV. Ultimately though, the guy got dropped off at the side of the road, fully embracing the more quiet experience of driving an EV. Silence is golden.
The post Mercedes hires beatboxer to make some noise for EVs appeared first on electrive.com.
Volkswagen will begin the education of the next generation this month with the Future Electronic Engineer Program (FEEP). As part of the program, 100 young engineers and specialists will be specially trained to produce the I.D. family vehicles.
The future specialists will take roles in the areas of planning, pilotiing, the e-mobility series and the pre-series center, as well as the electronics development. The first graduates of the three year programme will be employed in Zwickau, working on I.D. family models.
The education scheme was initiated by VW’s pilot facility in Wolfsburg, which is part of the logistics and planning department. Locations in China, Brazil, Argentina, the USA and Mexico will be taking part as well. The programme is supported by the “Volkswagen pro Ehrenamt” initiative (Ehrenamt is voluntary work in German) and local universities to educate young people in Germany, China and North and South America as of June.
Oliver Wessel, who coordinates product development before vehicles go into serial production, is aiming to start one of the largest training programs in the industry with FEEP. He added: “This year and next year, we will have to master about 80 starts of production. The vehicles have more digital intelligence on board than ever before. These are severe challenges. And the situation will become even more challenging with the MEB models. We need start of production specialists who can provide local support at our plants when the need arises and ensure a good start of production.”
According to other VW sources, the new graduates will play sort of a midwife role for the new I.D. vehicles, as Thomas Ulbrich explains: “Within three years, Volkswagen will be starting production of a total of 27 electric car models for four brands in three regions of the world. At the Zwickau plant alone, models of three Group brands will roll off the production lines. In future, our MEB plants throughout the world will need young engineers who are thoroughly conversant with the requirements for production of the new vehicle architecture and also have considerable practical experience.”
The participants of the programme generally undergo a complementary study course with practical orientation – particularly if they join as vehicle I.T. technicians or data logistics. At first candidates undergo a basic training, where they will work on current vehicle models, before candidates are then sent around the world to work with different VW teams on different projects.
The race to be the first major autonomous drive brand is picking up – the technology company Softbank is investing 2.25 billion dollars in GM Cruise, the General Motors subsidiary specializing on autonomous driving.
The investment will take place in two payments. The first will see 900 million dollars flow to GM Cruise. The other 1.35 billion will follow as soon as the self-driving cars are market-ready. After the transaction, GM themselves will also invest another 1.1 billion in Cruise.
GM already announced an autonomously driving version of its Chevrolet Bolt, without a steering wheel or pedals in January. In 2019 the vehicle manufacturer plans to begin serial production of the vehicle. The construction of the necessary roof modules has already begun in the Brownstown factory.
The Google subsidiary Waymo has meanwhile announced their plans to expand their fleet of self-driving vehicles with up to 62,000 new Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans. In January, the initial statements had more abstractly spoken of “thousands” of new self-driving vans. The delivery of the new vehicles will begin at the end of 2018.
Fiat-Chrysler is not the only manufacturer delivering vehicles to Waymo. In March, Jaguar Land Rover announced that Waymo had ordered 20,000 autonomous Jaguar I-Pace for their flleet. The vehicle will begin its testing phase this summer.
The post GM subsidiary Cruise receives billions from Softbank appeared first on electrive.com.
Hyundai has announced the Norwegian prices for the fully electric Kona, which they presented at the end of February. The Koreans have decided to offer the Kona Electric in Norway only outfitted with the strongest motor (150 kW) and the largest available battery packet (64 kWh).
The basic price has been set at 325,000 Kronen, or about 34,ooo euros. The vehicles are also exempt from VAT. Delivery of the vehicles will begin in July.
There is also a waiting list in Norway for the vehicle, which has reached 20,000 orders. Pre-orders can still currently be placed up until the 17th of June. As of the second of July, orders will be available for everyone.
In the rest of Europe, customers are still waiting to hear what the prices for the vehicle will be. While the vehicle is up on the German website, however it is marked as “available soon”.
hyundai.no (In Norwegian)
The post Price announced for Hyundai Kona Electric in Norway appeared first on electrive.com.
The mobile payment service Wirecard is expanding their cooperation with the Austrian IT company Enio, in order to act as a service provider on a European charging network with more than 8,000 EV charging stations.
After the two companies created a cash-less payment system for charging stations via an app two years ago, they have now added the option for EV drivers to pay with a credit or debit card from Visa or Mastercard, without having to install the app.
According to Fritz Vogel, CEO and partner at Enio, the expansion will not stop there, however: More large projects are planned together with Wirecard, aiming to increase customer satisdaction and expand the charging network by 500,000 new charging stations over the next five years. By 2030, they plan to add 4 million more. Roland Toch, managing director at Wirecard, added that they plan to help expand the use of e-mobility in Europe, and support the digitalization of payment processes in the sector as well.
The Belgian recycling and material company Umicore will be opening their announced first European cathode material factory in the Polish city of Nysa. The cathode materials will be used for EV batteries.
The decision was made as Nysa is closer to the European clients, and will also help provide access to qualified technical personnel. The factory, which will create up to 400 jobs in the first phase, is planned to go into operation by the end of 2020.
Furthermore, Umicore has decided to set up a Process Competence Center at their Belgian location in Olen. The location is otherwise used as one of Umicore’s largest R&D centers. The new competence center will go into operation by the end of 2019 and will bring in about 20 researchers.
The announced expansion of the Coup electric scooter sharing to Madrid is taking shape: The Bosch subsidiary will be opening in the Spanish capital with no less than 850 electric Gogoro 2 scooters in July.
After starting a scooter sharing service in Berlin in August 2016, adding Paris to the list a year later, Madrid will be the third European city served by Coup. Expansion will likely continue after Madrid as well to other European cities.
Registrations for the scooters are also already possible in Madrid. Prices range from 25 euro for a day (7 – 19h) or 15 euros for a night (19 – 7h). Short time rentals are possible for three euros for 20 minutes. Initially only one zone of Madrid will be covered by the scooters, which includes the following districts: Arganzuela, Centro, Chamberí, Chamartín, Ciudad Lineal, Retiro, Salamanca, Tetúan and parts of San Blas. Luis Gonzáles, CEO of Coupe Spain, announced that the fleet and the areas served in Madrid would be expanded within the next two to four months.
The post Coup takes off in Madrid with 850 electric scooters appeared first on electrive.com.
Electric transport concepts have had a drag to the retroside at times, revoking small yet beautiful designs such as the Isetta or motorcycles with side cars. But this Estonian Nobe 100 designed together with Tallinn Technical University takes things a step further.
Firstly in terms of beauty. No writer can look at it and not think “Hmmm, want!” and that effect is well intended. Says Nobe founder and CEO, Roman Mulja: “Our aim with the Nobe 100 is to create something so effortlessly stylish that you want to lick it.”
But there is more to the Nobe 100 than its looks, or taste. The company from Estonia says its design builds around the magic number 3 and so their electric trike features 3 wheels, naturally but each with an in-built motor for a sort of 3×3 AWD which is likely to make for some nimble handling.
The three seater, again naturally, can go as far as 220 kilometres. That is a combined range of both the large battery under the hood and a smaller one stored in the passenger compartment in form of a stylish little case. This back up pack, maybe call it the weekender of batteries, may be used to charge the main battery for an additional 40 km but otherwise supplies the onboard systems.
In terms of power, no specification is out yet although an early article by Jason Torchinsky assumed a maximum of 45 kW, or 60 horsepower, that is 20 hp from each electric motor. Nobe has now specified a top speed of about 140 kph with the Nobe 100 going from 0 – 100 in less than 6 seconds.
Those specs position this electric trike in an urban context with some intercity travel. Says Nobe founder Mulja: “We wanted to fuse together personality and conscience, not just inventing a more sustainable way to get around cities, but also making it a more exciting and charismatic experience than a petrol vehicle.”
So far, only a first prototype is out and the startup is looking for investment from crowdfunding to take it further. It is likely though that the concept will make it into production given that two motorsport outlets are behind it, namely Nobe RSMotorsport and RaceTech. Tallinn Technical University further bolsters this expertise. The minimum amount to become a crowd investor is about 122 euros.
In terms of pricing, Muljat told Cnet he estimates the Nobe 100 will be available for sale by 2020 (depending on the crowd campaign) for a price of around 30,000 euros.
And did we mention the Nobe 100 electric car is a convertible?!
The post Electric trike Nobe 100 to be a neo-retro classic instantly appeared first on electrive.com.
The California regulation board has approved new projects by local energy providers to expand the local charging grid for the value of 768 million dollars. The state of New York is also accelerating their charging infrastructure expansion.
The difference between these and preceding infrastructure programs, is that California is focusing on charging infrastructure for electric trucks and buses. Pacific Gas and Electric and Southern California Edison plan to set up more than 1,570 EV charging locations in California. San Diego Gas & Electric is also planning to help support up to 60,000 customers with home charging units.
In New York there has also been some movement regarding charging infrastructure: governor Andrew Cuomo’s Evolve NY program with the New York Power Authority is set to receive 250 million dollars by 2025. The first phase will see up to 200 high power chargers set up along important highway routes and in selected city locations by 2019.
The post California and NY fund charging infrastructure expansion appeared first on electrive.com.
The government of Brussels has agreed to a plan by the Minister of the Environment, Céline Fremault, to introduce a diesel ban in Belgium’s capital from 2030. The government also considers measures against petrol cars and is in favour of electric options.
Brussels has been seen fighting air pollution for some time as they first adopted a law allowing a temporary ban of all gas guzzlers at times of critical levels of pollution while making alternative modes of transport free of charge (we reported).
This latest initiative goes a step further and will ban all diesel cars from entering the city comes 2030. Already by 2025, diesel vehicles below Euro 6 won’t be permitted any longer and the ban could successively widen to include other fossil fuel powered cars as well.
Minister of Mobility Pascal Smet welcomes the government’s decision but would like to see the exclusion of all ICEs rather sooner than later for the sake of citizens’ health. Says Smet: “Our main roads are our airways. More than half of the Brussels families do not have a car, but still have the worst air in Belgium. That must be different, a ban on diesels is part of the solution.”
On the other hand, environmental organisation such as ClientEarth deemed the decision not enough. Says lawyer Ugo Taddei: “This proposal is not ambitious enough. Cities like Rome and Paris have announced a diesel ban in 2024. There is no reason why Brussels could not do the same,” particularly as it is the capital of Europe.
Rome indeed plans to ban private diesel vehicles from the historical centre as of 2024. The city’s mayor Virginia Raggi announced the plan in at the Women4Climate conference in Mexico City this March (we reported).
In France, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo is spearheading a movement for cleaner air and has discussed various measures, including free public transport similar to Brussels air pollution emergency plan. Even an ICE ban has been decided already as Paris is part of the C40 initiative of cities fighting climate change and pledged to say “adieu” to combustion-powered cars by 2030. Diesel engine cars are likely to be banned even earlier, before the start of the Olympic Games in 2024 (we reported).
The next steps for Brussels is monitoring the effect of the new policies and to report back in September to see if further measures to curb air pollution are required.
The era of Sergio Marcchionne is nearing its end but before the head of Fiat-Chrysler will quit his job next year, he wants to ready all brands for an electrified future. His 5-year plan calls for a move away from diesel and into electric and hybrid models.
The CEO of the FCA group, Sergio Marchionne, had been heard a sceptic when it comes to electric cars. However, he had also moved gradually the growing circle of executives that see themselves forced, or drawn, to electrification. In the case of FCA, the undertaking is huge as hybrid and electric models must be introduced across all brands, including Maserati or Jeep.
At Maserati alone, their 5 year business plan as announced by Tim Kuniskis, head of FCA’s premium brand, will see them phase out all diesel engines and turn to electric cars and plug-in hybrids instead. Maserati will launch 8 plug-in hybrids and four full-electric versions by 2022. The electric models will form the Maserati Blue line and feature three electric motors with 800 Volt technology.
Kuniskis named the Alfieri as a flagship model and outspoken Tesla fighter, saying “it may look like we are targeting Tesla: we are,” at an FCA event, a plan Marchionne had hedged as early as 2016. The Alfieri will be available in coupe and convertible forms and fully electric as well as PHEV. Other cars to come in both plug-in variants are the Quattroporte and Levante.
But FCA has more to offer as their plans include four all-electric and ten PHEVs for Jeep alone by 2022. Add to this Alfa Romeo that is to electrify its entire lineup, with mostly hybrid systems.
Last but most charmingly, Fiat will electrify the cute classic Cinquecento (again). The Fiat 500 will first arrive with a mildhybrid by 2019, alongside an estate version of the 500, called 500 Giardiniera. 2020 will then see a fully electric and entirely revamped version of the Fiat 500, finally acknowledging the previous success of the too limited 500e electric car first introduced in 2013 before it was plagued by recalls.
Whilst the plan to electrify had been expected, an official statement by FCA is still outstanding.
The post FCA: New strategy calls for electric models across all brands appeared first on electrive.com.
Ford has come up with what seems to be a bit of a double-edged plan as they want to turn the Michigan Central Station located in Detroit into a hub for the automaker’s electric- and self-driving car activities.
The station and building have been decaying for years and Ford hopes to instil a startup culture there so that engineers may come up with fresh zero emission concepts for tomorrow. We couldn’t help but thinking: trains perhaps?! Must be the European in us.
The DACH region is catching up with high power charging stations as both Ionity and Smatrics opened first HPC locations this week. While Ionity focuses on motorways, Smatrics together with Wien Energie connected metropolitan Vienna.
For Ionity, it is the first location gone live in Switzerland. Six HPC poles have been installed at Neuenkirch, a site north of Lucerne and on the motorway A2. Swiss ABB delivered the hardware.
In the case of Austria, it is not Ionity but Smatrics together with utility Wien Energie that have installed a station capable of delivering 350 kW to charge electric cars. This site too is a first for Austria and can be found in Vienna’s district 10. There are four high power charge points that have been co-financed through the EU project Ultra-E.
Scoot Networks, the electric scooter sharing company from San Francisco, has just set up its European HQ in Barcelona. Catalonia’s capital now also got 1,500 electric two-wheelers to share at their disposal and Scoot plans to take shared mobility further.
Scoot Networks first set out in San Francisco back in 2012 but has wanted to expand since and Europe appears to be first on their list. Their launch on the continent is accompanied by a fleet of 500 electric scooters and another 1,000 electric bicycles that have been made available in Barcelona.
The scooters get as fast as 80 kph with a range over 100 km. The pedelecs on the other hand, assist riders up to 25 kph. Scoot Networks has turned to Spanish firm Silence for the electric scooters. Also the electric bicycles have been custom-designed to the needs of bike sharing, and include features such as the ability to lock to bike racks.
Barcelona is also home to Scoot Networks European operations and as in San Francisco, the shared mobility company has been working closely with city officials. States Scoot’s Barcelona General Manager Enrico Sargiacomo: “Our goal is to complement cities’ existing mobility infrastructure to ensure that Scoot is improving urban transportation for citizens.”
Catalonia’s capital will likely prove a good choice for Scoot Networks to start out. With Bicing, the city has one of the most comprehensive bike share system in Europe, although it is reserved to actual citizens only. Scoot Networks however, will be available to anybody that downloads the app.
The company plans to enter additional cities across Western Europe and the Americas over the next year.
In San Francisco, Scoot Networks currently has about 700 electric scooters and plans to add another 500 this summer.
French investment firm Meridiam that specialises in infrastructure has bought Dutch Allego from Alliander. The latter had been wanting to sell its EV charging arm for some time. The acquisition is to propel Allego further across Europe’s growing charging landscape.
Dutch Allego is one of the larger EV charging infrastructure providers in Europe and had initially been founded as a subsidiary of Alliander. The utility announced their will to sell last winter, saying that Allego would develop better with a new partner.
This new partner is Meridiam, a French investment company specialised in the development, financing and management of long-term and sustainable infrastructure projects. Says Ingrid Thijssen, CEO of Alliander: “As a long-term international investor in infrastructure, Meridiam ties in very well with Allego’s activities and is perfectly positioned to support Allego through the next phase of rapid international growth. The sale recoups Alliander’s initial outlay in Allego.”
Established in 2013, Allego’s portfolio speaks to a broad range of clients such as local authorities, private companies and transport firms. Allego is active in six European countries and has installed a total of more than 8,000 charging points so far.
Their latest project that was announced back in January, will see them set up a pan-European high-power charging (HPC) network. The interoperable charging network called MEGA-E includes the installation of 322 ultra-fast charging stations and 27 so-called e-charging hubs throughout Europe. It is supposed to connect metropolitan areas alongside highways and to enable continuous fast-charging in more than 20 countries. Meridiam said it will support Allego in this endeavour.
The price of the acquisition has not been disclosed but the deal will take effect on June, 1.
Korea’s largest steelmaker Posco will build a second cathode production facility in the country next year. It will produce 6,000 tons of cathode a year before they are to expand production capacity to 50,000 tons by 2022.
Posco claims growing global demand for batteries including those for electric cars being behind the decision.
The company has acquired a 50,000 sqm site in the Gwangyang Bay Free Economic Zone. The initial phase of construction is scheduled to be completed in 2019. Only the second phase of expansion will see capacity increased by 50,000 tons per year by 2022. Overall, this will enable Posco to produce 62,000 tons of lithium-ion cathode material per year.
Posco will also build a 30,000-ton lithium-processing plant at this site and a 20,000-ton nickelprocessing facility.
The company’s board last week approved a capital increase of 113 billion won (105m dollars).
German engineers “dissected” the Tesla Model 3 and its battery and found that costs for materials and suppliers come down to no more than 18,000 dollars. They also analysed the battery chemistry in detail, coming to exact and similar results, thus concluding Tesla could be making real money from the Model 3.
The analysis was done by a German engineering firm and their report has been quoted by Wirtschaftswoche. The engineers found that material cost for the Model 3 are at 18,000 dollars plus about 10,000 for production. Given that prices for the Model 3 are between 35,00 and 78,000 dollars, this would leave Tesla with room to profit.
The Model 3 is still months away from its launch in Europe, but the German engineering service has managed to ship a few electric cars across the ocean and dismantled them into their smallest individual parts. A practice that is common in the automotive industry to keep abreast of the competition and their technology. Still, it is rare to see as much effort being made as in this case.
WirtschaftsWoche got the evaluations and laboratory results first hand – and they surprise in two respects: Firstly, the dismantling specialists estimate that the sales price per model 3 of 35,000 to 78,000 dollars contrasts with estimated material and supply costs of 18,000 dollars plus production costs of 10,000 dollars. The more vehicles Tesla gets off the production line per unit of time, the greater the profit remains. According to Stefan Hajek’s report, the targeted 10,000 shares per week (currently estimated at between 2,000 and 4,000 per week) would make a “significant positive contribution to earnings,” says an engineer and resulting in the headline of WirtschaftsWoche: “Tesla Model 3 can make a profit”. The complete analysis and various graphics are not available online, but only in the print magazine. Still, this report will likely result in a frown or two across boardrooms of the industry today.
The second insight: Laboratory analyses have shown that Tesla and its battery partner Panasonic have actually succeeded in extremely reducing the cobalt content in the new 2170 battery cells used in Model 3 – specifically to 2.8 percent. To date, a share of eight percent is considered largely indispensable. In their latest letter to shareholders, the Californians had already claimed the new cells offer “the highest energy density ever used in an electric car”. This was achieved by reducing the cobalt content and increasing the nickel content, while maintaining “superior thermal stability” (we reported).
wiwo.de (original source, in German)
Copy: Cora Werwitzke
EU funded INN-BALANCE project sees nine partners strive to optimise auxiliary components in fuel cell vehicles since last summer. Now they report significant progress, specifically when it comes to design and cooling.
Funded by the FCH JU, the INN-BALANCE project has been running for about a year. Now the partners, among them Volvo, Brose, the DLR and universities say they have made significant progress as they managed to specify the fuel cell auxiliary components’ main parameters, interfaces and consolidating the overall fuel cell system design.
Auxiliary components, also known as Balance of Plant (BoP) regulate the fuel cell system and manage the supply of hydrogen and air to the stack. INN-BALANCE focusses on manufacturing-oriented design with the aim to lower the costs for the industrial production of fuel cell systems.
After one year, milestones have been reached regarding the definition of interfaces between components and the fuel cell stack as well as the design of the stack housing, and the anode, cathode and the cooling modules.
“The cooling module is responsible for the thermal management of the stack, which has significant influence on the water management and is critical in terms of performance and life time. Also, the Balance of Plant components have to be kept at optimal temperature and heat has to be supplied to the passenger cabin as needed,” explains Joerg Weiss-Ungethuem from the German Aerospace Centre (DLR), who is in charge of developing the cooling system.
For the anode module INN-BALANCE develops an enhanced purge strategy, proposing an integrated injector/ejector solution that will maximize the power output from the stack, while minimizing hydrogen losses. The compact solution will take up little space and be able to operate without an energy-consuming mechanical recirculation pump.
Next is the testing of a new air compressor prototype and the integration of all data in a comprehensive model for cost optimization. The INN-BALANCE project will run throughout December 2019.
INN-BALANCE is coordinated by Fundacion Ayesa in cooperation with 8 partners: Brose Fahrzeugteile GmbH & Co. Kommanditgesellschaft, Würzburg; AVL List GmbH; Volvo Personvagnar AB; Powercell Sweden AB; Deutsches Zentrum fuer Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V. (German Aerospace Center); Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya; Steinbeis 2i GmbH and Celeroton AG. This project has received funding from the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen 2 Joint Undertaking. This Joint Undertaking receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and Hydrogen Europe and N.ERGHY.
Tesla’s Gigafactory partner Panasonic says it is developing cobalt-free batteries to become independent of the rare and expensive material in the near future. Meanwhile, Tesla released their ‘Conflict Minerals Report’ and also aims for further reductions in cobalt use.
Panasonic’s strategy has got top level priority with Kenji Tamura, who heads Panasonic’s automotive battery business, saying to analysts they were “aiming to achieve zero usage in the near future, and development is underway.”
Tesla already benefitted from said cuts as the battery cells used in the Model 3 got substantially less cobalt in them. Their nickel content has increased instead but Tesla claims with no effect on thermal stability (we reported).
Moreover, the EV maker has just released their ‘Conflict Minerals Report’ in an effort to disclose that Tesla follow “responsible sourcing” of so-called conflict minerals such as cobalt, that are often mined by children and under adverse conditions.
In the report, Panasonic and Tesla state: “We have visited many cobalt mines and processing plants that support Tesla’s main supply chain, as well as potential future suppliers throughout the world. We discuss with these suppliers the major risks they face and the practices they have implemented to mitigate these risks, including chain of custody controls and iterative checks performed from mining until customer delivery to combat illegal or artisanal ore use; on-site security and access control; hiring practices and management engagement to protect against child labor onsite; internal and third party audit practices; and engagement with local communities to maintain a positive social license to operate.”
In addition, Tesla has a Tesla Supplier Code of Conduct as well as a Human Rights and Conflict Minerals policy.
All mayor carmakers have been seen racing to secure their cobalt supply recently paired with efforts to reduce cobalt in their new battery chemistries at the same time.