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Updated: 7 hours 40 min ago

Audi e-tron now available for pre-order in UK

Thu, 03/29/2018 - 18:38

The Audi e-tron, the first fully electric BEV by the Ingolstadt based company, is now also available for reservations in the UK. Interested parties can pay the 1,000 euro reservation fee, and will be among the first to receive one when roll-out begins officially.

The regular ordering period is set to begin at the end of the year, indicating that the production should be up and running by then. The concept car was initially introduced by Audi in 2015.

The electric motors in the BEV will have a system performance of 320 kW, while a 95 kWh lithium-ion battery will supply the power for a 500 km NEFZ range. The SUV allows for fast charging with output up to 150 kW. It will be constructed in Brussels, while the electric motor will be produced in the Audi factory in Györ.

About a year ago, Audi began accepting reservations from Norway and Austria. The reservation books in Belgium and Sweden have also been open for a while. In Audi’s native Germany, however, this is not the case yet. CEO Rupert Stadler did announce what the cost will be for the BEV: starting at 80,000 euro. He also announced a purely electric Gran Turismo at the same time.

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Renault and Nissan considering complete merger

Thu, 03/29/2018 - 17:34

The already heavily cooperating car manufacturers Renault and Nissan are reportedly considering merging their companies entirely. The goal would be to establish a company which would be capable of not only keeping up with the changes in the automobile industry, but to even go so far as to define future development and direction.

The report cites people who are involved with the decision, but do not want to be named, as the decision has not fallen yet. According to the provided information, the Renault manager Carlos Ghosn is the motor behind the idea.

The two companies have been cooperating since 1999, and more recently have been developing and working together in the field of electric mobility. Together with Mitsubishi, the two companies have a manufacturing alliance, which will be releasing 12 new electrified vehicles by 2022, as well as working on solid-state batteries.

Rumors regarding a possible fusion have been circulating for a while. The two companies are currently already intimately involved with one-another, which also entails ownership: Renault owns about 43% of Nissan, while the Japanese car manufacturer own 15% of Renault. Last year the two manufacturers sold about 10.6 million vehicles together with Mitsubishi, which is only slightly less than the leader of the global car industry; Volkswagen with 10.7 million. With that in perspective, the potential merger may be a declaration of war towards the heavy weights of the auto industry, particularly Volkswagen and Toyota. One possible hurdle may stand in the way, however: the French government owns 15% of Renault, and may have something to say regarding the subject.

Regardless of how the negotiations go, thanks to the 6 year development deal between the three car manufacturers, they will certainly be playing in the top league. The declared goal is to cooperate using shared platforms and components for the vehicles planned for 2022. The focus of the alliance also extends to battery development, where they plan to find a way to reduce costs; around 30% by 2022, to be exact. In the same time-frame, the trio is also planning to develop nothing less than 40 vehicles with various degrees of autonomy.

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SF Motors presents two E-SUVs with 500km range

Thu, 03/29/2018 - 15:56

The Chinese company SF Motors, seated in Silicon Valley, has presented two new electric models at their Santa Clara headquarters. The SF5 is a compact SUV and the SF7 is a considerably larger Crossover SUV.

Both models have a range of up to 300 miles (500 km) and a performance of 735 kW. The sprint from 0-100 km is completed by both vehicles in under three seconds.

Both SUVs will also have components to enable partially autonomous driving. As John Zhang, SF Motors CEO, said in an interview with Forbes, the external design was made in California, while the interior was designed in collaboration with German partners. Unlike many other Chinese startups, SF Motors has the advantage of not only receiving financial support from its mother company Sokon, but also has access to research and development, as well as design capabilities in the USA, China, Germany and Japan.

The ordering for the SF5 is expected to be opened this year, and first deliveries are expected in early 2019. The prices have not been release so far, but Zhang indicated that the entry price may be under 50,000 dollars.

Both models will be produced in China as well as the USA. SF Motors purchased a former Hummer factory in Indiana for this purpose last November. The premium electric SUVs will be produced for the North American market there. The factory is currently still being refitted, but production will likely start before the year is out. The production capacity will be around 50,000 vehicles annually, according to SF Motors. As the company is planning to produce another 150,000 vehicles in their Chinese factory in Chongqing, they may be producing up to 200,000 vehicles per year as of next year.

The high ambitions by the manufacturer is further marked by the recent purchase of the battery manufacturing specialist InEVit, which was founded by the Tesla co-founder Martin Eberhard. Since then Eberhard has been working as an innovation manager for the company.,,,

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Genesis debuts Essentia concept in NYC

Thu, 03/29/2018 - 14:06

The new electric car concept from the Hyundai-owned brand was introduced at the New York Auto Show. The Essentia Concept is said to be able to go from 0-100 km/h in 3 seconds, although the manufacturer has been scarce with other technical details.

We do know that the Gran Turismo will have “multiple” electric motors and that the battery pack will be placed in the floor. As a luxury brand, Genesis did not save on design and installed two butterfly doors and the nose is reminiscent of a Formula 1 racer.

As previously reported, the concept is built on a new platform designed by Genesis, and represents a taste of what is to come from the brand, as the next generations of electric cars by Genesis will be based on the same platform. A year ago, Hyundai announced plans to develop their platform for EVs, which would provide the basis for particularly long-ranged EVs. The first serial model by Genesis is planned for 2021 and will have a 500 km range. There are several indications that it will be developed from the Essentia Concept, although this has not been confirmed.

Last year, Genesis made another introduction at the New York Auto Show; the GV80 Concept, which was the first instance where the Korean manufacturer combing their fuel cell technology with a large SUV chassis. By 2025 Genesis plans to have four environmentally friendly vehicles on the market, including a PHEV that is expected to be launched next year. Genesis looks to be planning on launching in Europe and China in the near future with its electric models; thus far the brand has made little to no effort to generate any interest on the two markets so far, however.,,

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Living sustainably on minimal space (video)

Thu, 03/29/2018 - 13:24

The tiny house movement growing and now we found a take on it that is not only mobile but also electric. If you’re thinking of a camper, you’re still thinking too big!

Kiwi EV Adventures has managed to fit a functioning kitchen in the back of the Peugeot iOn Electric. The stove runs on gas and we are not sure if the mini fridge is draining the EV battery but, in any case, the installation appears sufficient to glam up any camping trip.

The fitting was custom made and looks like it took quite a bit of work and expertise, and we would like to stress the dangers of installing a gas stove in your car at this point, but also admit that it looks really cool and like the owner is going to have a lot of fun with it!

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Tesla got a ‘dangerous transport’ problem in Norway

Wed, 03/28/2018 - 20:12

Tesla’s electric car shipments keep getting stopped or even shut down in Norway, for using dangerous transporters, which do not conform to Norwegian transport rules. One of the trucks has even crashed and the EV maker is facing a tough decision.

To deliver or to delay is the question for Tesla when it comes to Norway. Normally Tesla ships through the port of Drammen, but due to capacity issues, it has had to move to Gothenburg harbour in Sweden to supply its Norwegian customers.

The added pressure has apparently cut short some of the safety precautions, which the Norwegians are not happy about. In response, Musk has ordered to slow shipments, as “Customer happiness & safety matter more than a few extra cars this quarter.”

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BMW & Daimler merging electric car sharing DriveNow & Car2Go

Wed, 03/28/2018 - 20:01

BMW and Daimler want to tackle mobility together as they finally reach an agreement to merge DriveNow and Car2Go. A joint venture will include Daimler’s Mytaxi and Moovel as well as BMW’s ParkNow and ReachNow as well – if the cartel authorities agree.

The two German carmakers have agreed to merge all their mobility services in one joint venture that will be shared equally with each company holding a 50 percent stake. Obviously, the JV is subject to examination and approval by the competition authorities.

For BMW and Daimler, the move means a strategic combination of their existing on-demand mobility offering, that includes car sharing, ride-hailing, parking, charging and multimodality. Most of it will be app-based just as competitors like Lyft or Uber in California have demonstrated for years.

For the German-made car sharing, together Car2Go and DriveNow operate a total of 20,000 vehicles in 31 major international cities. Their merger had been imminent and was first expected in February. Back then, it was unclear if everything was to seamlessly integrate in one service or whether users would still require various apps.

The latest press release speaks of a “single source” and a “holistic ecosystem of intelligent, seamlessly connected mobility services.” Yet, the statement further lists all different apps. It then reads that “initially nothing will change for the millions of customers, with existing services still being provided to the same extent and with the same level of quality.”

Connecting together continues it appears.,

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UK: Ultra Low Emission bus scheme worth £48m

Wed, 03/28/2018 - 19:09

The British government has setup a pot worth 48 million pounds to help England and Wales buy greener buses. Local authorities and operators will be ask to bid for their share of the fund to buy low-emission buses and charging infrastructure.

The government hopes the 48 millions will help to put a couple of hundred hybrid and electric buses on the road in the southern half of the island. The Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme for England and Wales is run through the Department for Transport (DfT).

The DfT said the new scheme follows the success of the previous Low Emission Bus Scheme, which saw 13 organisations receiving more than £30m between them, buying about 300 buses. The cash is part of a wider £100m scheme announced in November 2016 to support low-emission buses.

Conservative transport minister Nusrat Ghani said: “We are doing more than ever before to reduce greenhouse gas pollution across all modes of transport and we are committed to ensuring nearly all cars and vans are emissions-free at their tailpipes by 2050.”

While he calls this target ambitious – the UK wants to ban sales of ICE cars by 2040 – a recent report by four government agencies said the Tories’ plans to ban the sale of conventional petrol and diesel cars by 2040 as “lacking sufficient ambition,” and called the state of the air over the British Isles a “national health emergency.”

Still in October last year, the government in Westminster announced to spend 2.5bn pounds until 2021 to meet its climate targets, fixed in its  so-called Clean Growth Strategy, which details government spending between 2015 and 2021. In its update, the government also confirmed once more the aim to ban combustion-powered cars by 2040.,, (Clean Air report)

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Utility Iberdrola to install 25,000 charging stations in Spain

Wed, 03/28/2018 - 18:40

The Spanish utility Iberdrola plans to install a total of 25,000 charge points across Spain until 2021. 16,000 of those will equip private homes with the remaining 9,000 enabling workplace charging on business premises.

The charging station rollout is part of Iberdrola’s Smart Mobility plan. Their solution includes the charging equipment, installation, operation via app, and naturally the electricity supply.

Iberdrola has designed a specific electricity plan for homes that incentivise charging at low-cost times at night, which will cut the cost for running an EV to 50 cents for every 100 kilometres, the utility estimates.

In another effort to install EV charging infrastructure, Iberdrola has teamed up with Avia to install fast-charging points at the latter’s gas stations. For the start, both companies will invest 1.35 million euros to build 27 charging stations. (home charging), (Avia, in Spanish)

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Extra large 13 MW charge depot for 100 e-buses live in Amsterdam

Wed, 03/28/2018 - 17:00

100 electric buses can now be charged at the “world’s largest charge depot” as Heliox brings 109 fast-charging stations online, including 24 with 450 kW. The electric bendy buses come from VDL and will serve on 6 routes around Schiphol Airport 24/7.

The charge depot at Amsterdam’s airport boasts a combined charge power of 13 MW, making it one of a kind. Heliox has provided the fast-charging stations that had to be installed at two different depots in Amsterdam and Amstelveen at the same time.

The network has now gone live and serves a fleet of 100 electric bendy buses built by VDL. The Citeas are expected to jointly drive 30,000 km per day and so they need opportunity charging.

For this, Heliox has installed 23 OC 450 kW at 4 strategic charging points in the operation, that recharge the battery in 2-4 minutes via the buses’ roof-mounted system using a pantograph.

When charging overnight, the buses use 86 Heliox Fast DC dual 30 kW chargers. The bus operator is Connexxion (TransDev).

The project has been in the making since a year with all partners having delivered. Says Ard Romers, director VDL Bus & Coach Netherlands: “Over the past year, we have taken major steps to further strengthen our position as a transition partner to E-Mobility. Our collaboration with Heliox has been a success. (…) A major step has been taken in this region in making public transport more sustainable.”

The buses are not only for passengers flying in and out of the Netherlands but will shuttle all citizens in this area of Amsterdam. Says Mark Smidt, Director Business Development, Heliox: “The Amsterdam airport area is crowded with heavy traffic moving thousands of passengers every day. When we started working on this large-scale implementation we understood the impact this project would have on the Schiphol Airport area, so we are excited to see how the community will appreciate the benefits of e-mobility through using e-buses every day.”

Both the electric buses and charging stations are up and running as of today. (PI)

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PSA “enthusiastically supports” Battery Airbus in Europe

Wed, 03/28/2018 - 16:09

PSA CEO Carlos Tavares throws his weight behind the ‘Battery Airbus’ for Europe as proposed by the EU Commission. He believes it crucial to operate independently from Asian suppliers but has yet to find the industry’s support.

Cell manufacturing in Europe is a cause long lost to the established competition in Asia for most opinion leaders but for PSA boss Carlos Tavares its is a must. Says Tavares: “We have a strategic interest in avoiding a supply concentration in Asia.”

Tavares went on to tell Members of Parliament in France that his company “enthusiastically supports the creation of a European champion in battery development and manufacturing.”

The latter has been proposed by the EU Commission that had recently published its European Battery Alliance draft. The response was mixed however. Bosch for example has backed off from any cell making in Europe.

This had left Germany’s TerraE Holding with hoping to receive considerable funding from the EU government. Also Northvolt which plans to set up a Gigafactory in Sweden has received support from both its home country as well as the EU.

In France, Saft has set up a cooperation with Siemens, Manz and Solvay. Together they want to develop solid-state batteries and had openly called for EU funding (we reported).

PSA has not specified plans of its own.

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Tesla launches training programme for EV technicians

Wed, 03/28/2018 - 15:35

Tesla has started a new education programme in order to train the next generation of electric car technicians. Those graduating through ‘Tesla Start’ can hope for a job at Tesla within 30 days after graduation but need to be willing to relocate.

Tesla has started its 12-week training programme at two colleges in the States, the Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, North Carolina, and the Rio Hondo College in Whitter, California.

The first cohort of 13 aspiring Tesla technicians is expected to graduate next week. Tesla Start marks a new way of training for Tesla that had previously trained workers in its service centres and on site. The new programme now qualifies technicians before they enter the company and Tesla says they help place graduates at service locations across North America within a month after they finish the programme. This also means the 3 month training is unpaid and that attendants need to be willing to relocate.

Colleges may also apply for Tesla Start to be offered as part of their curriculum. (Tesla Start),

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Korea’s Shinheung SEC making batteries in Hungary

Wed, 03/28/2018 - 15:18

Korean battery part maker Shinheung SEC has opened a new factory in Hungary in the town of Monor close to Budapest. It is the firm’s first facility in Europe and has received funding from the Hungarian state that wants to see 300 new jobs by 2019.

Korean Shinheung SEC has completed the construction of their plant in Hungary, where they will start making parts of batteries for electric vehicles. The facility in Monor had the support of the Hungarian government that granted 769 million Forint (about 2.5M euros).

Overall the factory is worth 8 billion HUF, more than 25M euros to the Koreans. They say it is their first such venture on the continent as they operate another 5 battery part making facilities in Korea.

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BMW i3 sales hit 10,000 unit milestone in UK

Wed, 03/28/2018 - 14:54

BMW says it has sold the 10,000th of its electric car i3 in Great Britain. The Bavarian’s first all-electric model went on sale with a left-hand drive in 2014 and sales have since increased by about a thousand units every year.

Launched in 2013 and arriving in the UK a year later, the BMW i3 has evolved with updates and the addition of a sportier variant called the BMW i3s so sales are unlikely to slow down.

2017 has been the strongest year so far when 3,458 Britons opted for the electric BMW, up from 2,631 and 2,145 in 2016 and 2015 respectively. In its first year, 2014, BMW sold 1,220 units of the i3 on the Isles.

BMW’s plug-in sales have been rising not only in the UK but on a global scale. The company said it sold over 100,000 electric and plug-in vehicles in 2017 and is thus targeting sales of 140,000 electrified vehicles this year. In some markets PEVs accounted for 10 – 25 percent of all BMW sales (we reported).

BMW i vehicles are now sold in 74 countries with 130,000 ChargeNow locations worldwide and more than 5,000 charging points in the UK alone.

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Strong demand for Hyundai Nexo FCV in Korea

Wed, 03/28/2018 - 14:33

Hyundai has started sales of its Nexo fuel cell electric car in Korea and says it received over 1,000 orders in the first week. With Korea’s high EV subsidies, Hyundai can offer the Nexo for about 25,000 euros in its home market.

Hyundai’s NEXO fuel cell vehicle starts at 33,900,000 Won in Korea, that is 25,169 euros after subsidies with the regular price beginning at 68,9 million Won (about 52,000 euros). This makes the base price slightly cheaper than its predecessor, the iX35 Fuel Cell.

The price policy together with EV subsidies has spurred demand. Just on the first day of pre-orders, Nexo recorded 733 orders and now stands at 1,061 FCV sold, according to the company. After Korea, the Nexo shall be launched “in select markets around the world” before the year’s end reportedly.

According to Hyundai, the new fuel cell powertrain reaches an efficiency of 60 percent and provides 20 to 30 percent more power compared with the ix35 Fuel Cell. The SUV’s range of 800 km. The motor’s output accumulates to 120 kW (163 hp).

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Toyota’s fuel cell bus Sora ready for production

Wed, 03/28/2018 - 14:10

Toyota’s first fuel cell bus, the Sora, has gone on sale fully certified. The Japanese corporation expects to sell a 100 vehicles to shuttle passengers around Tokyo in time for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020.

Sora is an acronym for Sky, Ocean, River, Air, that represents the earth’s water cycle and thus the hydrogen the Toyota FC Bus is riding on. With the lines rolling, sales have started in Japan.

The Sora fuel cell bus was only presented in November last year as part of a range of Toyota hydrogen concepts. The production version uses the Toyota Fuel Cell System (TFCS), developed initially for the Mirai FCV. The fuel cell stack is a solid polymer electrolyte with two packs boasting 114kW each and a nickel-metal hydride battery for the drive. The motor delivers 113 kW.

Additionally, the Sora can turn into an emergency power source in case disaster strikes. The external power output device can 9 kW maximum output, and electricity supply of 235 kWh times 2.

Toyota calls the overall design stereoscopic rather than boxy and the fuel cell bus comes with LED lights and all around cameras.

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Toyota upgrades RAV4 hybrid SUV

Wed, 03/28/2018 - 13:49

Toyota has arrived in New York bringing an upgraded RAV4 with them. It’s the hybrid’s fifth iteration and the Japanese say they wanted a bolder design. Performance data has not been given but launch is set for 2019 in Europe.

The new Toyota RAV4 line-up drops the diesel variant entirely and keeps the usual setup with a 2.5-liter gasoline-electric hybrid and ICE. The Japanese said they are both more efficient but failed to provide any detail.

The RAV4 will be built in Japan for the market in Europe where the hybrid SUV is to arrive in the first quarter of 2019. In the States, the RAV4 is to go on sale in late 2018.,

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VW shows 5-seat Atlas Cross Sport Concept PHEV

Wed, 03/28/2018 - 13:24

Volkswagen has unveiled the Atlas Cross Sport Concept with 5 seats and a plug-in hybrid drive at the New York Auto Show. The close to production builds on the existing Atlas SUV and launch is set for next year.

For now, the concept comes with a 261 kW (355 hp) plug-in hybrid drive which couples an internal combustion engine with two electric motors and a battery holding 18 kWh. Range is given at 42 kilometres (26 miles). The top speed is 209 kph (130 mph).

Volkswagen also holds a conventional mild hybrid drive as an option which would combine the same motor set up with a 2 kWh battery.

Production is scheduled in the US market starting in 2019, and the Atlas will be built alongside the original seven-seat Atlas and the Passat in Chattanooga, Tennessee.,

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Google’s Waymo to turn Jaguar I-Pace into robotaxi

Wed, 03/28/2018 - 13:07

Jaguar and Google’s Waymo have announced a long-term strategic partnership to launch a 20,000 strong fleet of self-driving taxis based on the I-Pace. Testing is to start this year with the final autonomous electric cars to arrive by 2020.

Those numbers promise a strong partnership between Jaguar Land Rover and Waymo that is formerly Google’s self-driving car project indeed. They operate a fleet with Chrysler’s Pacifica Hybrid vans already and said they ordered thousands more.

The Jaguar I-Pace is a different league though and engineers from both companies are to work together to apply Waymo’s autonomous driving technology. Testing of the self-running cat is to start this year and Waymo plans to order 20,000 I-Pace in the following two years to grow their fleet throughout 2020.

Waymo is the only company to date that got approval to run tests with its cars without a driver at least sitting inside. Later this year, they plan to launch their ride hail service and pick passengers up in Phoenix, Arizona (we reported).

It is unclear if the Jaguar I-Pace will be offered through the app at a premium price. Waymo CEO John Krafcik welcomed Jaguar, saying: “We’re sure Waymo riders will enjoy the safe, premium and delightful experience that the self-driving I-PACE will provide.”

According to the company, the 20,000 strong I-Pace fleet will be able to run about 1 million trips a day in their transport service. Waymo’s business model, apart from the ride-hailing fleet, will eventually also include tracking and logistics and licensing. Krafcik said they are also working with cities to help connect people to existing public transport networks.

Jaguar is not the only carmaker that has turned to American IT specialists in order to offer mobility services. Volkswagen has teamed up with Aurora, an U.S. start-up founded by Google’s car guru Chris Urmson and former Tesla manager Sterling Anderson. Both partners seek to bring autonomous EVs to cities as Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) fleets.

Also Daimler is cooperating with Google but in order to see what their quantum computers might do for the automotive sector. They could discover unknown battery materials and super-fast routing used in fleets and logistics for example.,

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FedEx orders 20 Tesla Semi

Tue, 03/27/2018 - 18:52

The US logistics giant is the newest on the list of Teslas prominent customers for its electric semi-truck. FedEx announced their pre-order of 20 Tesla Semis. They are designated for use in the freight division of the company.

The order sets another bench-mark in the growing list of Tesla Semi pre-orders. Recently, UPS ordered 125 of the trucks. PepsiCo and the eco-management company Bee’ah from the middle east also ordered 100 and 50 trucks, respectively. The brewing company Anheuser-Busch took 40 and the food company Sysco ordered another 50 models. Walmart ordered another 15, while the Canadian company Loblaws ordered 25. The DHL supply chain has also gone ahead and ordered 10 of the trucks.

At the beginning of the month, Tesla made headlines by announcing the first operation for the Semi: the transport of batteries to the 400 km distant Fremont factory.,

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