Transportation

IEA: An electrified world would cost $31B per year to achieve

20 Oct 2017   Electric Cars

The investments necessary to provide electricity for the entire world population is less than 2 percent of total energy investments, the IEA said Thursday. A report from the International Energy Agency, published Thursday , finds that providing universal access to electricity within 13 years would require an investment of $31 billion per year, which the report said was less than 2 percent of total global energy investments. IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said countries like India, one of the largest economies in the world, have taken the investment decisions necessary to become one of the “biggest success stories ever in electrification. Since 2000, India has provided electricity access to a half billion people. The Asian Development Bank […]

Why Petrol Powered Cars Aren’t Going Anywhere

20 Oct 2017   Electric Cars

Your intuition may be taxed when I say this, but more electric vehicle sales does not quickly equate to declining piston-fired cars on the world’s roadways. Banning All Engines In my last column, I pitched an aggressive de-carbonization scenario for transportation—a simultaneous, global ban on the sale of all new internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles by 2040. In other words, I imagined that every country in the world, from Brazil, to Nigeria, to Russia, to China, rapidly accelerates their electric vehicle (EV) sales starting in the early 2020s. And within 25 years each and every country would commit to stop selling spark plug machines. Even under such heavy-handed government restriction, the global fleet of purely petroleum-powered cars wouldn’t start to decline until 2030 at the earliest. By 2050, it’s quite likely that there would still be the same number of ICE vehicles on the road as today. This counterintuitive […]

Volkswagen developing electric racer for Pikes Peak 2018

20 Oct 2017   Electric Cars

After an absence from the event of more than 30 years, Volkswagen is developing an all-electric race car for the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in Colorado on 24 June 2018. The all-wheel-drive prototype’s goal is to set a new record for electric cars at the finish line, 14,000 feet above sea level. The vehicle is being developed by Volkswagen Motorsport in close cooperation with Technical Development in Wolfsburg. The new motorsport project is part of Volkswagen’s process of transforming itself into the leading producer of electric vehicles. By 2025, the Volkswagen brand will offer 23 all-electric models. The Pikes Peak hill climb is one of the world’s most renowned car races. It poses an enormous challenge and is therefore perfectly suited to proving the capabilities of upcoming […]

Are Combustion Engines Reaching Peak Demand?

And then imagine that we wake up in 2040 and learn that every country actually kept to their promise. In 23 years all new vehicle sales—everywhere—would be electrically-powered. I call this scenario “GB40” – a global ban on the sales of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles by the year 2040. For reference, the GB40 market penetration of electric vehicles (EVs) would exceed the projections of even the most aggressive analyst forecasts today. Yet, GB40 is an interesting thought experiment. I always like to think about the future at the margins of realism and work my analysis up or down from there. Stress-testing extremes, like a universal ban, helps to understand the assumptions needed to project the future. And more importantly question the assumptions behind the assumptions. Why Do We Need To Ban The Internal Combustion Engine? Why are countries like Norway, UK, France, India and China announcing plans to […]

The Embarrassing Problem Holding Back Tesla’s Model 3 Production

19 Oct 2017   Electric Cars

A little over a week ago, we noted the damning – if unsurprising – report from the Wall Street Journal revealing that Tesla’s massive production miss on the Model 3, after only producing a tiny fraction of the 1,500 Model 3 sedans that it promised customers, might have been attributable to the fact that key parts of the cars were still being assembled by hand. But according to a new report from the WSJ and Automotive News this morning, the real problem with Tesla’s Model 3 production might be even more basic and embarrassing…the company can’t figure out how to weld steel. What’s behind Tesla’s manufacturing woes? It could be something as simple as steel. Based on details in a Wall Street Journal report and in a video of the production line posted on Twitter by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, experts say the electric vehicle maker appears to be […]

Can India Overtake China In The EV Revolution?

18 Oct 2017   Electric Cars, India

India faces a wide chasm between Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s campaign to make sure all new vehicles sold in India are electric by 2030 and actual sales numbers. While India has followed China’s lead to reduce air pollution and oil import dependency in its booming cities, it’s still far away from sales figures that carry any weight. According to International Energy Agency, China registered 336,000 plug-in vehicles last year while India only saw 450 of these new vehicles hit its roads. One major Indian automaker, Mahindra & Mahindra, wants to change course by committing to invest $600 million in the technology. Electric versions of its current crossover SUVs will be scheduled in the near future. The company plans to eventually boost its EV production to 5,000 units a month. Mahindra had just lost a bid for a 10,000 EV contract with the government’s Energy Efficiency Services Limited agency to […]

Volvo Cars, Geely investing US$756M to develop Polestar electrified vehicles;

 Volvo Cars and its owner, China-based Geely Holding, will jointly invest RMB 5 billion (US756 million) to support the initial phase of Polestar’s product, brand and industrial development. Polestar, the fully consolidated Volvo Cars subsidiary, revealed its first production model in Shanghai, the Polestar 1 performance plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. ( Earlier post .) The investment will be used, among other things, to establish a Polestar manufacturing facility in Chengdu, China, marking a new chapter in the development of China as a manufacturing hub for Volvo Cars. This will shorten the time Polestar needs to launch its cars. Volvo Cars and Polestar will also benefit from synergies in the development of next generation […]

Penn State team devises new control strategy to enhance EV battery performance when driving in cold temperatures

18 Oct 2017   Electric Cars

Main Researchers at Penn State, with a colleague from EC Power, have devised a new control strategy that can rapidly restore EV battery power and permit full regeneration while driving at temperatures as low as −40 °C. The strategy involves heating the battery internally during regenerative braking and rest periods of driving. In a paper in the Journal of Power Sources , they report that this technique fully restores room-temperature battery power and regeneration in 13, 33, 46, 56 and 112 seconds into uninterrupted driving in 0, −10, −20, −30 and −40 °C environments, respectively. Correspondingly, the strategy significantly increases cruise range of a vehicle operated at cold temperatures—49% at −40 °C in simulated US06 driving cycle tests. Based on their findings, the team suggests that smart batteries with embedded sensing/actuation […]

General Motors to test self-driving cars in New York City

18 Oct 2017   Electric Cars

General Motors plans to become the first company to test self-driving cars in New York City, in some of the world’s worst traffic, as traditional automakers battle technology titans to take the lead in the development of autonomous vehicles. The Detroit-based automaker, whose shares have risen 25 per cent in recent weeks on investor expectations that it could beat rivals to the introduction of a mass market autonomous vehicle service, will test Chevrolet Bolt fully autonomous electric cars in its most complex market so far: lower Manhattan.  New York governor Andrew Cuomo said GM and Cruise Automation, the autonomous car developer bought by the Detroit icon last year, have applied to be the first in the state to test fully self-driving cars. All testing will include an engineer in the driver’s seat to monitor and evaluate performance, and a second person in the passenger seat, he said.  Automotive industry analysts said New York’s challenging road conditions, which include not just heavy traffic but also pedestrians, cyclists, winter weather and some of the world’s most aggressive drivers, could significantly advance the development of the technology in real world conditions. So far, Cruise Automation has been testing autonomous Bolts on public roads in San Francisco; Scottsdale, Arizona; and the Detroit area.

GM Plans to Make Systems for Autonomous Cars

18 Oct 2017   Electric Cars

Daniel Ammann, president of GM, speaks during the Wall Street Journal D.Live global technology conference in Laguna Beach, Calif., on Tuesday. “The approach that we are taking to that is to control a lot of that system ourselves because it allows us to move more quickly,” Mr. Ammann said at The Wall Street Journal’s WSJD.Live technology conference here. At first, GM seemed eager to team up. In early 2016, for example, GM announced a $500 million investment in Lyft Inc., where Mr. Ammann sits on the board of directors, and a partnership with the ride-sharing company to develop self-driving vehicles. But now the two companies appear more interested in going it alone. In July, Lyft said it was creating its own autonomous-car development division , and in August, GM said it had begun testing its own ride-hailing app for self-driving cars. Initial tests of the app are only for […]

VW Fails To Secure Critical Commodity For EVs

The German carmaker last month put out a tender seeking a five-year supply of the strategic metal at a fixed price. But people familiar with the deal said the offer was well below market prices. Cobalt has more than doubled in price from a year ago, when it was trading around $12 a pound, to its current $27.10 a pound as of last Thursday.  “They’re being arrogant because they’re automotive and they’re used to doing it,” said a cobalt trader quoted Sunday in the Financial Times . “They completely misjudged the contents of the tender. There’s no point negotiating – it’s not even a discussion point.” Over 60 percent of cobalt is mined in the Democratic Republic of the Congo – raising concerns about stability of supply. The big producers are Glencore (LON:GLEN) and China Molybdenum, along with thousands of artisinal miners who […]

ABB, Fastned support Autocharge automatic authorization for charging sessions

18 Oct 2017   Electric Cars

The standards-based Autocharge feature enables automatic authorization for EV charging sessions, offering drivers an easy ‘plug in and walk away’ user experience. Autocharge enables a charge session to be automatically started after a driver connects his or her vehicle to the charger without requiring the use of an RFiD card, payment card or mobile app. The charger will automatically recognize the vehicle based on its unique vehicle identifier (EV-ID), allowing simpler, faster and more secure user interaction. This superior user experience gives commercial charging station operators much greater flexibility to offer their customers a seamless and intuitive interaction with a charging station. ABB is now implementing Autocharge functionality in its EVSE and Fastned has begun rolling out the functionality to its stations. The EV-ID is passed on by a CCS vehicle […]

Chinese EV Boom Could Crash Oil Prices

16 Oct 2017   China, Electric Cars

EVs are gaining traction, and although they still only make up a small fraction of the auto market, more and more analysts are starting to buy into the notion that EVs will quickly gain a foothold over the next decade or so, with massive ramifications for the oil market. There has been a sea change of sorts in just the past year or two, with EVs going from a niche idea even in long-term forecasts, to one that many believe will increasingly take market share from the traditional internal combustion engine. There are many reasons for this – policy and market forces are reinforcing each other to bring the EV revolution closer and closer. The falling cost of batteries have made EVs much more competitive, and EVs could become cheaper than gasoline or diesel-powered vehicles between 2025 and 2029, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). BNEF predicts that […]

Mass EV Adoption Could Lead To $10 Oil

14 Oct 2017   Electric Cars

The adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) will lead to global peak oil demand as soon as in 2023-2025, which will result in oil prices crashing to $10, Chris Watling, CEO & chief market strategist at Longview Economics, told CNBC on Friday. Watling said he didn’t see oil crashing “in the next few weeks or months, or maybe even quarters, but I think the long-term outlook for oil—because of what’s happening in terms of electric vehicles” with 70 percent of oil used for transportation, is oil plummeting to $10 somewhere around 2023-2025. “We used to talk about peak oil in terms of supply, we now need to talk about peak oil in terms of demand,” Watling added. China is on an aggressive push to EVs adoption, and the analyst thinks that “often new economies, emerging economies, adopt new technologies first, because they don’t have the old infrastructure that they have […]

Europe plans “EU Battery Alliance” to establish full large-scale battery development and production; strategic plan next year

14 Oct 2017   Electric Cars

The European Union is beginning efforts to establish a full value chain of advanced batteries in Europe, with large-scale Li-ion battery cell production, and the circular economy, at the core. European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič, who is in charge of the Energy Union, organized a high-level meeting on battery development and production in Europe this past Wednesday in Brussels. The meeting pulled together stakeholders from European industry—including automotive OEMs, chemical companies, energy companies and battery cell manufacturing companies—and member states to discuss the establishment of such a full value chain of batteries in Europe. The meeting agreed that large-scale manufacturing of Li-ion cells with highest possible control of intellectual property (IP) is crucial for EU economy and job creation for the future. As was recalled by the actors in our meeting, we are […]

Electric cars: China’s highly charged power play

13 Oct 2017   China, Electric Cars

China has numerous reasons for hating the combustion engine, and a huge incentive to hasten its demise. They are dirty, accounting for what the government says is about 30 percent of the country’s choking air pollution; contribute massively to its oil imports, which Beijing sees as a major strategic vulnerability; and highlight a shortcoming that has been a chronic flaw in the domestic car industry — China is bad at manufacturing them. Last month Beijing gave the global movement to eradicate the combustion engine a sizeable boost. Alongside a number of European countries that have proposed bans on traditional fuel vehicles to be brought in between 2025 and 2040, Beijing has said it is studying the timing of a similar move against petrol and diesel cars. Welcomed by environmentalists, the move also plays into the vision of state planners who see the electric vehicle market as an industry it can compete in, or even dominate globally. The government reinforced its position in September when it announced a system of steadily increasing quotas that will reward carmakers for producing ever more battery-powered vehicles starting in 2019, while forcing them to buy EV “credits” from other producers for every conventional car they make. Share on Twitter (opens new window) Share on Facebook (opens new window) EmailShare this chart As the world’s largest and most profitable auto market, China has huge leverage over the industry and is not afraid to use it. It boasts a central planning mechanism designed to subordinate all other considerations — like profitability and consumer tastes — to government fiat. It has poured billions of dollars into subsidies and state investment in the sector.

Who’s Winning The Electric Vehicle Race?

13 Oct 2017   Electric Cars

Automakers and suppliers of automotive technology are making big moves toward transforming the very nature of vehicles and the amount of fuel they consume. Electric vehicles and self-driving cars are gaining strong support from investors, venture partners, government officials, shareholders, and customers. But how close are we to seeing these electrified, autonomous, advanced vehicles on our roads? Carmakers have embraced ambitious electric vehicle targets, and autonomous vehicles are expected to take a step forward next year in an instrumental U.S. market. Last year, automakers were surprised to see Tesla take nearly 400,000 pre-order down payments for its upcoming Model 3 electric car. That move, along with increasing government pressure in the post-“Dieselgate” environment, spurred competitors to commit to ambitious, capital-intensive EV targets over the next decade. China is also playing a pivotal role in automakers adding several EVs to their product pipelines. Government mandates are expected to be announced […]

Norway Looks To Cut Some Of Its Generous Tax Breaks For EVs

13 Oct 2017   Electric Cars, Norway

The government of the global leader in EVs adoption, Norway, proposed on Thursday to trim some of the tax breaks for the heaviest electric vehicles (EVs) in a move that—if implemented—would affect owners of cars such as Tesla Model X, for example. In its 2018 budget proposal unveiled today, Norway’s right-wing minority government has included a proposal to change an exemption from the motor vehicle registration tax. The proposal “implies that only heavy electric cars, with a weight in excess of two tonnes, will be subject to motor vehicle registration tax,” the budget draft says. “Electric cars will still be accorded significant advantages in comparison with cars running on fossil fuels. In addition, the Government proposes that electric cars be exempted from re-registration tax and traffic insurance tax,” says the 2018 budget proposal. Norwegian media dubbed the tax on EVs weighing more than 2 tons the “ Tesla tax […]

Shell Buys One Of Europe’s Largest EV Charging Networks

13 Oct 2017   Electric Cars, Europe

In one of Big Oil’s most significant deals in the electric vehicles market yet, Shell said on Thursday that it had signed an agreement to buy one of Europe’s biggest EVs charging networks, Netherlands-based NewMotion. “Under the terms of the deal, NewMotion will continue business as usual as a wholly owned subsidiary of Shell,” the oil and gas supermajor said in its statement, which did not disclose the price of the acquisition. NewMotion, launched in 2009, now has more than 30,000 private charge points across the Netherlands, Germany, France, and the UK. The Dutch company also provides access to a network of more than 50,000 public charge points across 25 countries in Europe for more than 100,000 registered charge cards. “Today’s announcement is an early step towards ensuring customers can access a range of refuelling choices over the coming decades, as new technologies evolve to co-exist with traditional transport […]

China Hastens the World Toward an Electric-Car Future

10 Oct 2017   China, Electric Cars

There is a powerful reason that automakers worldwide are speeding up their efforts to develop electric vehicles — and that reason is China. Propelled by vast amounts of government money and visions of dominating next-generation technologies, China has become the world’s biggest supporter of electric cars. That is forcing automakers from Detroit to Yokohama and Seoul to Stuttgart to pick up the pace of transformation or risk being left behind in the world’s largest car market. Beijing has already called for one out of every five cars sold in China to run on alternative fuel by 2025. Last month, China issued new rules that would require the world’s […]

Is This The Missing Link In Lithium Batteries?

6 Oct 2017   Electric Cars

The researchers developed anodes comprising porous carbon made from asphalt that show exceptional stability after more than 500 charge-discharge cycles. (Click to enlarge) Scanning electron microscope images show an anode of asphalt, graphene nanoribbons and lithium at left and the same material without lithium at right. The material shows promise for high-capacity lithium batteries that charge 20 times faster than commercial lithium-ion batteries. (Credit: Tour Group/Rice) A high-current density of 20 milliamps per square centimeter demonstrates the material’s promise for use in rapid charge and discharge devices that require high-power density. “The capacity of these batteries is enormous, but what is equally remarkable is that we can bring them from zero charge to full charge in five minutes, rather than the typical two hours or more needed with other batteries,” says James Tour, the chair in chemistry and a professor of computer science and of materials science and nanoengineering […]

The U.S. needs at least twice as many charging points for EV, study finds

6 Oct 2017   Electric Cars

The number of plug-in ports for electric vehicles would need to increase more than 130 percent to meet future growth, a U.S. Energy Department study found. The U.S. Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates there are 16,000 charging stations for plug-in electric vehicles nation-wide, with 43,000 actual plugs available as of June. That number supports the more than 500,000 plug-ins on the road in the United States, which accounts for about a quarter of the global market. NREL examined market growth scenarios where that number increased to 15 million to quantify what’s necessary to support emerging trends. “In a plug-in vehicle market with 15 million vehicles, the total number of non-residential charging outlets, or […]

Boeing-backed, hybrid-electric commuter plane to hit market in 2022

A Seattle-area startup, backed by the venture capital arms of Boeing Co ( BA.N ) and JetBlue Airways Corp ( JBLU.O ) announced plans on Thursday to bring a small hybrid-electric commuter aircraft to market by 2022. The small airliner is the first of several planes planned by Zunum Aero, which said it would seat up to 12 passengers and be powered by two electric motors, dramatically reducing the travel time and cost of trips under 1,000 miles (1,600 km). Zunum’s plans and timetable underscore a rush to develop small electric aircraft based on rapidly evolving battery technology and artificial intelligence systems that avoid obstacles on a road or in the sky. In a separate but related development, Boeing said on Thursday it plans to acquire a company that specializes in electric and autonomous flight to help its own efforts to develop such aircraft. Several […]

Western states to roll out EV highway initiative

5 Oct 2017   Electric Cars

A handful of governors from western U.S. states roll out plans Wednesday to expand access for electric vehicles along their highways, Colorado’s governor said. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper will host governors from western states to unveil plans his office said would add a layer of confidence for those traveling across the region in alternative vehicles. “This bipartisan, collaborative project involves six additional governors and will affect more than 5,000 miles of highway,” his office said in an emailed statement. More than 90 percent of all transportation-related energy consumption in the United States comes from petroleum-based products, with electric vehicles accounting only for a small fraction of total consumer use. A report from The University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute said the […]

The Trillion Dollar Market That Stopped Chasing Profits

5 Oct 2017   Electric Cars

Every carmaker worth their salt is developing electric cars. It’s like a virus that’s going around infecting car manufacturing companies. The virus’ name, of course, is Tesla—with observers seeing Elon Musk’s “marketing mastery” as the driving force behind the EV craze. Tesla’s popularity seems to defy logic, or at least the logic that says profit is the ultimate goal of any business, and it should come in big and fast. But Tesla lounges comfortably in the red. Other carmakers are losing money on their electric vehicles as well. Yet both Tesla and the others continue to make them. Why, the profit-focused minds wonder? Environmental regulation is the most obvious answer. Several European countries, some U.S. states, and more importantly, India and China, have all passed regulations that would support the growth of electric car demand in the years to come. India plans to go all-electric-car by 2030. China has […]

New Ford chief to chop spending on traditional cars

4 Oct 2017   Electric Cars

Ford’s new chief executive Jim Hackett promised to cut $14bn in costs and divert investment from traditional cars to speed up electric and self-driving vehicle development. In a long-awaited strategy update to analysts in New York, Mr Hackett battled market perceptions that the company has been slow to prepare for a future dominated by shared, environmentally-friendly autonomous cars. He said Ford would cut capital expenditure on internal combustion engines by a third and redeploy that capital into electrification, on top of $4.5bn the company already planned to spend on electric cars. The Detroit automaker will also reallocate $7bn of capital from cars to more profitable sport utility vehicles and trucks, a move which is likely to lead to the elimination of some car models. Ford did not identify any nameplates that would disappear. Some jobs are likely to be lost and some factories could close, according to people close to the company.  The Detroit automaker said it will cut automotive cost growth by 50 per cent by 2022. That includes cutting the costs of materials by $10bn and saving $4bn compared to its previous plans by increasing the use of common parts across all vehicles.  The new Ford CEO, who was previously head of the futuristic Ford Smart Mobility division, replaced Mark Fields unexpectedly in May amid sliding profits and share price performance, and concerns that Ford lags behind rivals in the race to develop electric and autonomous vehicles.  Ford reaffirmed its 2017 full-year financial guidance, which called for a drop in profits, and said it would provide its 2018 outlook in January. Mr Hackett laid out his vision for how the 114-year-old automaker can make enough money from the brutally competitive business of selling cars to invest the sums needed to compete in a world increasingly turning against internal combustion engines.

ABB launches first 150-350 kW high power charger

4 Oct 2017   Electric Cars

ABB will introduce its new Terra HP High Power Charge system—the Terra HP, the first 150-350 kW product on the market—at EVS30 in Stuttgart. Ideally suited for use at highway rest stops and filling stations, Terra HP’s ultra-high current has the capacity to charge both 400 V and 800 V cars at full power. The 375 A output single power cabinet can charge a 400 V car at full 150 kW continuously. The addition of Dynamic DC power sharing technology allows a two-power cabinet charging system to charge a couple of EVs simultaneously, with up to 350 kW and 500 A, while dynamically optimizing the available grid connection and the power delivery to the two vehicles. ABB Terra HP Dynamic DC We are committed to supporting the expansion of electric vehicle […]

China, With Methodical Discipline, Conjures a Market for Electric Cars

China has created the world’s largest electric-car market by sheer force of will, a giant bet on domestic production that’s leaving major foreign auto makers scrambling to keep up. The government is funding its own manufacturers, luring domestic buyers with subsidies and building a vast charging-station network—while strong-arming its consumers by making sure buying an electric car is the only sure way to get license plates in crowded cities. William Zhou, a 33-year-old software-company manager, recently abandoned his 18-month quest to buy a gasoline-powered foreign car—a middle-class status symbol—when his wife became pregnant. He drives in gridlocked Shanghai, where severe restrictions on issuing license plates for new gas-powered cars don’t apply to electric or plug-in hybrid models. He settled for a Chinese plug-in hybrid because “I didn’t want to waste any more time […]

China’s EV Market Nearing 2 Percent Penetration

The number of passenger vehicles sold in China surged 68 percent in August compared to the same month last year, but the really compelling statistic is the number of electric vehicles that made up the proportion of the 55,000 units sold in the Asian country. According to numbers published Sunday by Clean Technica , the plug-in-vehicle market grew in China to 1.8 percent of total passenger vehicles, which is a new record compared to last year’s 1.5 percent. Sales are expected to grow even further by the end of the year to 2 percent and may even reach 2.5 percent, the website which reports on renewable energy trends, states. It notes that of all the EV models sold in China – 94 percent of which are domestic brands – small city cars were the most popular, with the EC-Series by BAIC International the best performer at over 6,700 deliveries […]

G.M. and Ford Lay Out Plans to Expand Electric Models

3 Oct 2017   Electric Cars

Mary Barra, G.M.’s chief executive, discussing features on the battery-powered Chevrolet Bolt in January 2016. G.M. said it would introduce two new all-electric models within 18 months as part of a broader goal to create an emissions-free fleet. DETROIT — In a push to produce cars powered by batteries or fuel cells, General Motors on Monday laid out a strategy to vastly expand the number of electric models in the marketplace. G.M. said it would introduce two new all-electric models within 18 months as part of a broader plan toward what the company says is its ultimate goal of an emissions-free fleet. The two models will be the first of at least 20 new all-electric vehicles that G.M. plans to bring out by 2023. The announcement came a day before a long-scheduled investor presentation by Ford Motor that was also expected to emphasize electric models. After the G.M. news […]

Automakers Plan Electric Car Blitz Even as Tesla Burns Billions

2 Oct 2017   Electric Cars

Regulations, Musk’s marketing mastery seen as key reasons Field gets crowded in market most buyers have yet to embrace Here are two facts that defy logic: By the end of the year, electric-car maker Tesla Inc. will have burned through more than $10 billion without ever having made 10 cents. Yet companies around the world are lining up to compete with it. Almost 50 new pure electric-car models will come to market globally between now and 2022, including vehicles from Daimler AG and Volkswagen AG . Even British inventor James Dyson is getting into the game, announcing last week that he’s investing two billion pounds ($2.7 billion) to develop an electric car and the batteries to power it. The reasons for chasing Tesla are part city hall, part show business. Regulators in Beijing have laid out a plan to mandate electric vehicle production in China, while California requires carmakers […]

China issues NEV quotas for automakers: 10% of sales in 2019 and 12% in 2020

30 Sep 2017   China, Electric Cars

China has issued its anticipated new regulation requiring most automakers to sell a minimum number of new energy vehicles (NEVs) (battery-electric and plug-in hybrid) annually from 2019 as part of the country’s broader effort to curb carbon emissions by reducing the use of fossil-fuel-powered vehicles. The new policy from China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology requires that sales of NEVs reach a threshold equivalent to 10% of an automaker’s total sales in 2019 and 12% in 2020. The regulation applies to carmakers that produce or import more than 30,000 conventional vehicles annually—lower than the 50,000 threshold earlier mentioned in a policy draft—and includes more vehicle companies in the evaluation system. Compared with the draft regulation, the new policy […]

New York plug-in car sales up 74% April-June with introduction of rebate

30 Sep 2017   Electric Cars

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that the state has seen a 74% increase in electric car sales over the same time period last year, resulting from the Drive Clean Rebate initiative launched on 21 March 2017. The Drive Clean Rebate provides New York residents with a rebate of up to $2,000 for the purchase of a new plug-in car from participating dealers. For the first three full months following the implementation of the Drive Clean Rebate (April – June), New York State EV sales rose to 2,574 units, up from 1,476 units the year before. For the first half of 2017, New York saw 4,209 EVs sold, a 61% increase from the 2,609 sold in […]

JingChi raises $52M in Pre-A round to fuel growth and development of autonomous fleets for US and China

28 Sep 2017   China, Electric Cars

JingChi Inc. has completed a combined $52-million pre-A investment round from lead investor Qiming Venture, strategic investor NVIDIA GPU Ventures, and a consortium of other investors. The investment allows JingChi rapidly to expand its research and development teams globally, and ramp up deployment of a fully Level 4 autonomous driving test fleet in China by the end of 2017. Duane Kuang, Founding Partner at Qiming, will join JingChi’s board of directors. JingChi was founded in early April 2017 and has already broken several records in its brief autonomous driving history. In less than five weeks, the company successfully completed autonomous driving tests in a closed venue. On 18 June, JingChi became the 34 th company to obtain a license for testing autonomous vehicles on California’s public roads. On 24 June, JingChi completed its first autonomous mode testing on public roads in Sunnyvale, California—81 days after JingChi started operations. On […]

Visualizing The Massive Impact Of EVs On Commodities

28 Sep 2017   Electric Cars

It’s obviously a thought experiment, since right now EVs have close to just 1 percent market share worldwide. We’re still years away from EVs even hitting double-digit demand on a global basis, and the entire supply chain is built around the internal combustion engine, anyways. At the same time, however, as Visual Capitalist’s Jeff Desjardins notes , the scenario is interesting to consider . One recent projection , for example, put EVs at a 16 percent penetration by 2030 and then 51 percent by 2040. This could be conservative depending on the changing regulatory environment for manufacturers – after all, big markets like China, France, and the U.K. have recently announced that they plan on banning gas-powered vehicles in the near future. The Thought Experiment We discovered this “100 percent EV world” thought experiment in a UBS report that everyone should read. As a part of their UBS Evidence […]

Electric Vehicles And The 5 Trillion Dollar Market Transition

28 Sep 2017   Electric Cars

Every week, the assumptions about the future of transportation, and the energy systems that turn our wheels, are becoming more Jetson-esque. The excitement is palpable and as a technology junkie I love it. Auto shows are rolling out new electric vehicle (EV) models; China says it’s planning on banning internal combustion engines (ICE); and Daimler is jockeying with Tesla in the budding electric truck segment. In the battery world, lithium prices have reached an all-time high on anticipated demand growth. In tow with all the EV news, there is a trailer full of autonomous vehicle talk that makes me think that 1950s Popular Science articles were real after all. But it’s time to take our foot of the accelerator and make sense of it all. For the next several columns I’ll be looking at what the pundits are saying, characterizing and examining all assumptions, and putting things into pragmatic […]

China Considers Rule Change That Could Aid Tesla

26 Sep 2017   China, Electric Cars

A possible rule change by Beijing could make it easier for Tesla to manufacture its vehicles in China. SHANGHAI—China is considering relaxing rules requiring foreign auto makers to have a local partner, according to people with knowledge of the situation, a move that could pave the way for Tesla Inc. TSLA -1.74% to manufacture vehicles in the country. Tesla has long dreamed of planting its flag in China, the world’s biggest market for electric vehicles, but finds itself the only notable auto maker without public plans to manufacture electric vehicles there. Finding a local partner has been a sticking point. While there has long been talk of easing these rules, U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision last month to launch an investigation into Chinese trade practices likely accelerated discussions, these people said. Under a draft […]

Daimler Trucks testing truck platooning on public highways in the US

Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) is testing connected trucks in platooning operations on public roads in the US. In truck platooning, connectivity and automated driving improve safety within the vehicle convoys, support drivers and enhance efficiency through closer distances between the connected trucks. Having started with successful trials on Daimler Trucks North America’s proving ground in Madras, Oregon, DTNA has received the appropriate permission from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT). In a first step called “pairing”, Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) is testing its platooning technology in two connected Freightliner New Cascadia truck trailer combinations. DTNA benefits from proven systems which have successfully been operated by Mercedes-Benz trucks as in the European Truck Platooning Challenge 2016. ( Earlier post .) With this initiative, Daimler Trucks North America is reacting to an increasing customer interest in solutions for automated and connected driving in commercial transport. In a joint effort […]

How Electric Cars Can Create the Biggest Disruption Since the iPhone

25 Sep 2017   Electric Cars

Combination of self-driving, on-demand tech could boost growth Big Oil may take a hit as people choose new ways to travel It’s been 10 years since Apple Inc. unleashed a surge of innovation that upended the mobile phone industry. Electric cars, with a little help from ride-hailing and self-driving technology, could be about to pull the same trick on Big Oil. The rise of Tesla Inc. and its rivals could be turbo charged by complementary services from Uber Technologies Inc. and Alphabet Inc. ’s Waymo unit, just as the iPhone rode the app economy and fast mobile internet to decimate mobile phone giants like Nokia Oyj . The culmination of these technologies — autonomous electric cars available on demand — could transform how people travel and confound predictions that battery-powered vehicles will have a limited impact on oil demand in the coming decades. “Electric cars on their own may […]

Johnson Matthey targets coming EV market with $270M investment in battery material technology

23 Sep 2017   Electric Cars

During its Capital Markets Day presentations, specialty chemicals company Johnson Matthey said it will invest an initial £200 million (US$270 million) starting in 2018 to build capacity to drive growth in a market which could be more than $30 billion sales when battery electric vehicle penetration increases to around 10%. In addition to what it projects as “breakout growth” in Battery Materials, Johnson Matthey also said it expects to deliver sustained growth in Clean Air markets—including automotive exhaust treatment solutions—driven by share gains in European light duty and upcoming tighter legislation. Batteries. In his presentation, Dr. Alan Nelson, Sector Chief Executive, New Markets and Group CTO, said that Johnson Matthey was working on three new market […]

Exclusive: VW moves to secure cobalt supplies in shift to electric cars

Germany’s Volkswagen ( VOWG_p.DE ) is moving to secure long-term supplies of cobalt, a vital component of rechargeable batteries, as the group accelerates its ambitious shift to electric cars. Cobalt industry sources told Reuters that VW, the world’s largest automaker, has asked producers to submit proposals on supplying the material for up to 10 years from 2019. Volkswagen, which decided on the strategic shift to electric vehicles (EVs) after it was engulfed in the “dieselgate” scandal, plans to invest more than 20 billion euros ($24 billion) in zero-emission vehicles by 2030 to challenge pioneer Tesla ( TSLA.O ) in creating a mass market. The company, which aims to make up to three million EVs a year by 2025, wants all the cobalt tender […]

Makers of Fuel-Guzzling Big Rigs Try to Go Green

22 Sep 2017   Transportation

Freightliner says its new Cascadia truck gets 8% better fuel efficiency through such things as hubcap covers and door seals that cut down on wind resistance. The average big rig travels less than 7 miles on a gallon of diesel fuel, making it one of the least-efficient vehicles on the road. Truck manufacturers want to change that. Spurred by new pollution regulations and sluggish demand, truck makers including Navistar International Corp. NAV 0.32% , Daimler AG DMLRY 0.49% , Paccar Inc. PCAR -0.18% and Volvo VOLVB 1.94% AB, along with engine manufacturer Cummins Inc., CMI -0.44% are rethinking everything from engine design to the shape of the trailer to bump up fuel efficiency. Even small gains can have a big environmental impact. Each year in the U.S., roughly 1.7 million tractor-trailer trucks consume about 26 billion gallons of diesel. Getting an extra mile a gallon would equal removing more […]

Mercedes-Benz invests $1bn to make electric cars in US

22 Sep 2017   Electric Cars

Mercedes-Benz owner Daimler is investing $1bn to produce electric cars in the US for the first time as it steps up its challenge to its leading rivals by establishing manufacturing bases to build new technology vehicles across three continents. The German group said it will invest the money to prepare its manufacturing plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, for producing electric cars, meaning it will have production locations for EVs and batteries in Europe, China and now the US. The US plant will manufacture sport utility vehicles for the company’s EQ brand — a line-up of electric-only cars set to compete with new rivals such as Tesla and old foes such as BMW and Audi, which are also preparing ambitious shifts into battery-powered vehicles.  The investment is expected to create more than 600 jobs in the region, adding to the 3,700 strong workforce that created more than 310,000 vehicles last year. Mercedes’ first EQ series model, the EQC, will go into production in 2019 in Bremen, Germany. Its first electric SUV will be produced at the start of the next decade, and by 2022 the brand pledges that the “entire portfolio of Mercedes” will include at least one electrified model, including pure EV, hybrid and “mild hybrid” 48-volt vehicles.  Markus Schäfer, Mercedes’ head of production, said the three locations mean the company and its global network is “ready for the era of electric vehicles”.

How Electric Cars Can Create the Biggest Disruption Since iPhone

22 Sep 2017   Electric Cars

Combination of self-driving, on-demand tech could boost growth Big Oil may take a hit as people choose new ways to travel It’s 10 years since Apple Inc. unleashed a surge of innovation that upended the mobile phone industry. Electric cars, with a little help from ride-hailing and self-driving technology, could be about to pull the same trick on Big Oil. The rise of Tesla Inc. and its rivals could be turbo charged by complementary services from Uber Technologies Inc. and Alphabet Inc. ’s Waymo unit, just as the iPhone rode the app economy and fast mobile internet to decimate mobile phone giants like Nokia Oyj . The culmination of these technologies — autonomous electric cars available on demand — could transform how people travel and confound predictions that battery-powered vehicles will have a limited impact on oil demand in the coming decades. “Electric cars on their own may not […]

The EV Boom Is Dead Without Proper Support

22 Sep 2017   Electric Cars

Frankfurt’s car show, one of the most important in the world, this September spotlighted electric vehicles (EVs). France and the United Kingdom have already decreed an end to sale of cars with internal combustion engines by 2040. Norway is looking to do the same by 2025. And China has begun the push to electrify its vehicle fleet. In the process putting pressure on foreign manufacturers to share technology if they want to gain entry to the potentially enormous Chinese market. Politicians, eager to claim credit for factories and jobs, have begun to make decisions about EVs–even if customers and car markets have not. Auto manufacturers in Europe, Japan and China have taken to heart government dictates regarding the eventual phase out of internal combustion engines. Large auto manufacturers are global in scale. EVs manufactured abroad to U.S. specs will eventually be marketed here whether our environmentally recalcitrant federal government […]

Thirst for oil returns in wealthy nations

A decade’s worth of efforts to cut oil consumption in industrialized countries is at risk of being reversed, as low fuel prices boost demand and send motorists flocking back to larger gas-guzzling cars. Figures from the International Energy Agency and other forecasters show OECD oil demand, which declined between 2005 and 2014, has been growing rapidly for the last three years after oil prices crashed from above $100 a barrel to about $55 today. If the trend continues, roughly 62 per cent of the reduction in OECD oil consumption since 2008 will have been reversed by the end of next year, despite governments targeting fuel efficiency, alleviating air pollution and cutting reliance on foreign crude. Robust oil use in the developed world, which for years had been expected to decline, just as emerging markets consume more, has cast uncertainty around when global demand will peak. Some energy companies, including Royal Dutch Shell, had warned this could happen as soon as next decade. “This period of lower oil prices has slowed the energy transition, no doubt about it,” said Cuneyt Kazokoglu, head of oil demand at energy consultancy FGE.

China’s Electric Vehicles Run on Coal! Yes, But …

20 Sep 2017   China, Electric Cars

China’s offhand bombshell about potentially consigning gasoline-fueled cars to the scrapheap has met, predictably, with a round of cheers and jeers . This is about one of the latter, which concerns the chart below: With coal dominating China’s electricity generation, a common refrain about electric vehicles is: What’s the point? A car fed by a wire stretching back to a coalmine doesn’t seem like much of an improvement over a gasoline pump. It’s a legitimate point. But it risks obscuring a different, more fundamental point. The question here is whether or not an electric vehicle truly results in less greenhouse-gas emissions than a traditional one with an internal combustion engine. This doesn’t just encompass how the vehicles use their energy, but also where that energy comes from and how the vehicles get built in the first place — what are sometimes called “life-cycle” emissions. The math around emissions of […]

The Single Biggest Player In The Electric Car Market

20 Sep 2017   China, Electric Cars

The announcement by the U.K. and France that they would prohibit the production of diesel and petrol cars by 2040 made for good headlines, but came as little surprise when you consider the pace of change in the automotive industry. China’s announcement last week that it was considering setting a timeline for phasing out traditional fuel cars will likely have a more profound effect on the development of new energy vehicles (NEV), for two reasons. First, China is already the world’s largest car market, producing over 28 million vehicles in 2016, according to the Financial Times. Significant changes in a market of that size causes more than just ripples in the global automotive market. Second, a centrally controlled command economy such as China’s has shown that policies that are robustly pursued by Beijing can achieve rapid change over short time frames. More than any other country in the world, […]

Born to Drive project investigating self-delivering cars

20 Sep 2017   Electric Cars

About 80 million vehicles are produced around the world every year, but the logistics for transport from the factory to the end customer are extensive, costly and completely manual. A new vehicle is moved up to 30 times manually before it reaches the end customer. The Swedish research project Born to Drive has now developed a new software solution that lets the vehicles move themselves. The system was developed by Semcon in collaboration with seven other companies; a prototype is already up and running. We are seeing autonomous technology starting to become a reality in more and more industries. The technology is now ready to move from vision to practical application. The transformation […]

European consortium launches 4-year, $80M L3Pilot research project to test Level 3, 4 autonomous driving in 11 countries

16 Sep 2017   Electric Cars

A European research consortium under the management of the Volkswagen Group launched the four-year L3Pilot project to test the viability of automated driving as a safe and efficient means of transportation. The project focuses on large-scale piloting of SAE Level 3 functions, with additional assessment of some Level 4 functions. Thirteen European automobile manufacturers, suppliers, research institutes and universities, and small and mid-sized companies will operate 100 vehicles with 1,000 drivers under real conditions and in a wide range of applications. The technologies being tested include a broad spectrum—from parking and overtaking to driving in complex city traffic. Overall, the project will collect data in eleven European countries for assessing technical aspects, user acceptance, driving and travel behavior, and the impact of […]