China considers tech center for alternative energy vehicles

23 Jan 2018   China, Electric Cars

The Chinese government said Monday it would take a world leadership position in alternative vehicles with the establishment of a new technology center. China is the second-largest economy in the world and, for eight years running, the largest car market in the world. Beijing’s air pollution levels, meanwhile, have raised public health concerns. The Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology called Monday for the establishment a new technology and innovation center for new energy vehicles. The official Xinhua News Agency said the goal of a new center should be stimulating the technology needed to keep up with demand. “Leading resources in the industry, and higher learning and research institutions are encouraged to participate in the building of the center,” the report read. […]

Luxury Automakers Pivot To EVs

22 Jan 2018   Electric Cars

Global automakers see electrified luxury cars as vital to being Tesla-competitive, government mandate-compliant, and standing out as high-performance innovative carmakers. Product announcements this week from Nissan’s Infiniti luxury brand and Volkswagen’s Porsche division tap into a larger story from last year. While global automakers are watching what Tesla is up to, an announcement in July by near-luxury brand Volvo seems to have had just as much impact on new vehicle product planning. The Japanese automaker is working to position Infiniti as the premier electrified brand in a five-year plan that will extend through 2022, according to Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa . These new Infiniti models will either be all-electric or will use its “e-power” hybrid system that creates power through an electric battery and a small gasoline engine. Infiniti said it will introduce its first all-electric vehicle in 2021. The luxury brand expects that more than half of its […]

The 2018 Detroit Auto Show: Are U.S. Carmakers Still Stuck in the Past?

20 Jan 2018   Transportation, USA
The 2018 Detroit Auto Show: Are U.S. Carmakers Still Stuck in the Past?

WHEN ARNOLD Schwarzenegger stepped into the lights at the Michigan Theater Sunday night—the surprise guest at the unveiling of Mercedes-Benz’s redesigned G-Wagen SUV before the 2018 North American International Auto Show—it was one slow-moving dinosaur celebrating another.  Originally designed as a military vehicle, the G-Wagen (for Gelande meaning “cross-country”) is the handiwork of trusted subcontractor Magna Steyr, based in Graz, Austria, just an Atlas-stone’s throw from Arnold’s birthplace in Thal. With heavy-duty body-on-frame construction, full-agro 4×4 drivetrain and styling like a stagecoach lockbox, the G-Wagen was and is engineered for extreme off-road ability.

How strange that this uber-tough truck should become the servant of pampered, prideful wealth, beloved by inked-up louts and dead-eyed daddy’s girls from South Beach to Singapore. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Germany’s Hummer. The G-Wagen is fairly representative of Daimler’s transatlantic duality: In Europe, post-Paris accord and post-Dieselgate scandal, German carmakers are under intense social and political pressure to clean up their acts. Messaging from Daimler to European audiences stresses responsibility, sustainability and a bright future of vehicle electrification.

But in the United States, where gasoline is cheap and climate change is a Chinese hoax, Mercedes-Benz isn’t afraid to swagger, and thus the Arnold. The new G 550 is huge—2.1 inches longer and 4.8 inches wider than the outgoing version—and rocks a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 with a conveniently unavailable EPA mileage. The fact is Daimler desperately needs the filthy, frothy profits from North America to invest in next-generation propulsion. So I guess that’s OK.

CROWD PLEASERS GAC’s latest concept hints at an electric future.
CROWD PLEASERS GAC’s latest concept hints at an electric future. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

Like many things in the Age of Trump, the 2018 Detroit show felt a bit surreal. The auto industry is, after all, a global business, and at the moment roughly two-thirds of the globe is pulling in one direction while the U.S. is pulling in another. In Europe, auto makers face spiralling vehicle-emissions standards and much tougher, real-world testing. In China—the world’s largest car market with about 29 million light vehicles sold in 2017—the government has announced a strategic pivot toward vehicle electrification, culminating in an effective ban on internal-combustion vehicles by 2040. By contrast, the Trump administration wants to walk back the U.S. commitment to the Paris climate agreement. Here fuel economy targets aren’t going up; they are dumbing down. The Trump administration effectively suspended, pending review, Obama-era targets for Corporate Average Fuel Economy covering years 2021 to 2025. The automakers complained the targets were unrealistic.

New Navigant Leaderboard puts GM and Waymo at the head of the autonomous driving technology pack, Tesla last

19 Jan 2018   Autonomous Cars

Navigant Research has issued a new iteration of its Leaderboard Report on Autonomous Driving (AD), reflecting the new partnerships, strategic investments and acquisitions made since the early version less than one year ago. The Navigant AD Leaderboard assesses which participants are best-equipped to be the Leaders in developing complete automated driving stacks—including perception systems, processing, and control software—and services platforms. It quantifies the current relative position of each of these companies as the latest features are being developed and commercialized to help improve safety. … Silicon Valley and the incumbent automotive industry are increasingly recognizing that each can benefit from the expertise of the other in commercializing this technology quickly. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has joined the partnership of BMW, Intel, and Mobileye. Bosch and Daimler are working together. Baidu and BAIC Group have a tie-up to bring the Chinese tech giant’s software to market with the aid of […]

China plug-in electric vehicle sales in 2017: almost four times those in the U.S.

18 Jan 2018   China, Electric Cars

Compared to previous years, overall car-sales growth in the U.S. has all but plateaued at around 17.5 million. China is doing little better, with growth reaching just 3 percent for 2017. But the Chinese new-vehicle market is undergoing a seismic shift in which types of cars are sold. Want proof? China sold 777,000 new-energy vehicles—electrics and plug-in hybrids—in 2017, a whopping 53-percent increase over 2016. READ MORE: Plug-in electric car sales in Dec: 2017 set a new record, Bolt EV ends strong The massive growth in plug-in vehicle sales can be attributed to government subsidies that support domestically produced models, reports Automotive News China. Of the total new-energy vehicles sold, 579,000 are passenger vehicles. The remaining sales are commercial vehicles, such as electric buses and delivery trucks. The vast majority of the NEVs sold in China were battery-electric vehicles, some 652,000 in all. Nio ES8 high-performance […]

Unexpected Phenomenon Observed In Lithium-Ion Batteries

18 Jan 2018   Electric Cars

Brookhaven National Laboratory scientists have observed an unexpected phenomenon in lithium-ion batteries – the most common type of battery used to power cell phones and electric cars. As a model battery generated electric current, the scientists witnessed the concentration of lithium inside individual nanoparticles reverse at a certain point, instead of constantly increasing. This discovery , published in the journal Science Advances, is a major step toward improving the battery life of consumer electronics. Esther Takeuchi, a SUNY distinguished professor at Stony Brook University and a chief scientist in the Energy Sciences Directorate at Brookhaven Lab said, “If you have a cell phone, you likely need to charge its battery every day, due to the limited capacity of the battery’s electrodes. The findings in this study could help develop batteries that charge faster and last longer.” Inside every lithium-ion battery are particles whose atoms are arranged in a lattice […]

PG&E launches new $130M program to accelerate EV adoption in Northern and Central California; 7,500 chargers

18 Jan 2018   Electric Cars

To help accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles in California, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has launched its new EV Charge Network program. Partnering with business customers and EV charging companies, PG&E will install 7,500 EV chargers at condominiums, apartment buildings and workplaces across Northern and Central California, including at sites in disadvantaged communities. Under the EV Charge Network program, PG&E will pay for and build all electric service infrastructure requirements from the transformer to the EV parking space, which often accounts for 60% to 80% of the total project cost, for participating sites. PG&E will also provide a subsidy to the participant for the EV charger equipment costs. Participants in the EV Charge Network program choose whether they wish to bill drivers for using the charging stations, or they can offer the service free-of-charge to drivers. They can also establish access rules to the EV chargers through […]

PwC: by 2030, the transport sector will require 138M fewer cars in Europe and US; vehicle stock in China to climb ~50%; traffic to be heavier

Five trends are transforming the automotive industry, according to PWC: electrification, autonomy, sharing, connecting and yearly updating, a combination the consultancy is now labeling “eascy”. In a report exploring the impact on the trends on the industry in 2030—“eascy – The five dimensions of automotive transformation”—PwC suggests that as a result of novel sharing concepts, the stock of cars could fall from 280 to 200 million in Europe and 270 to 212 million in the United States. China, in contrast, is expected to see its vehicle inventory rise to 280 million vehicles in 2030, up from 180 million today. However, although vehicle stock could fall significantly in Europe and the US in 2030, traffic on the roads will become even heavier, PwC suggests. And although the number of new registrations will rise considerably, many conventional manufacturers and suppliers will come under pressure. This picture only appears to be contradictory. […]

US car groups issue warnings over outlook in 2018

17 Jan 2018   Transportation, USA

The two largest US car companies offered cautious predictions for 2018 as Ford forecast sweeping cost cuts and General Motors said it expected stalled profit growth. The warnings come after years of surging global sales and rising profitability for the industry. Ford is targeting savings in “every part” of its business in order to compete with rivals, while GM said profits would be flat in 2018 due to a deteriorating US market and pressure on car prices. Car sales in the US, a key profit driver for the industry, are expected to fall this year after reaching 17.2m in 2017, while auto companies are facing increased investment requirements to develop electric and self-driving vehicles. During the Detroit auto show, GM said it would spend $1bn this year developing its self-driving systems, up from $600m last year, while Ford pledged to spend $11bn on its electrified vehicles by 2022. I’m not satisfied with where our automotive business is, we have to improve our fitness and our cash flow and profitability Jim Farley Jim Farley, Ford’s global markets president, said the company was also targeting cost savings in “every part” of its business.

Self-driving cars raise fears over ‘weaponisation’

15 Jan 2018   China, Electric Cars

Autonomous vehicles are in danger of being turned into “weapons”, leading governments around the world to block cars operated by foreign companies, the head of Baidu’s self-driving car programme has warned. Qi Lu, chief operating officer at the Chinese internet group, said security concerns could become a problem for global carmakers and technology companies, including the US and China. “It has nothing to do with any particular government — it has to do with the very nature of autonomy,” he said on the sidelines of the Consumer Electronics Show last week.

“You have an object that is capable of moving by itself. By definition, it is a weapon.” Increasingly, self-driving technology is seen as advancing faster than regulators can keep up with. Regional and national governments are grappling with the issue of when to allow autonomous cars on to their roads and under what conditions. Multinational companies will have a “high bar” to meet local policy requirements for autonomous driving, Mr Lu said. “The days of building a vehicle in one place and it runs everywhere are over. Because a vehicle that can move by itself by definition it is a weapon.” Baidu is investing heavily in Apollo, its open-source autonomous car software, as it looks to diversify away from its core business of internet advertising into artificial intelligence.

At CES, it unveiled Apollo 2.0, which offers improved security, alongside a new $200m fund to invest in south-east Asian efforts to improve autonomous driving. It has already agreed partnerships with US chip companies, including Intel and Nvidia, as well as American and European carmakers Ford and Daimler. In China it is working with local auto manufacturers JAC and BAIC, who plan to start producing autonomous vehicles based on Apollo as soon as next year.

Electric Vehicle Tax Credit Survives, but G.M. and Tesla Aren’t Cheering

15 Jan 2018   Electric Cars, USA

A Tesla charging station in Mountain View, Calif. The company’s chief executive, Elon Musk, has sharply criticized the government’s restriction on the electric vehicle tax credit, which begins to phase out after a company sells 200,000 electric vehicles. House Speaker Paul D. Ryan called electric vehicle tax credits “money wasted on losers.” The head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, said he’d “do away” with renewable energy subsidies . During the presidential election campaign, Donald J. Trump disparaged renewable energy as “very, very expensive” and “not working on a large scale.” He said a wind farm in California looked like a “junk yard” and claimed wind power killed birds in vast numbers. As president, he pulled the United States out of the Paris climate change accord. So it’s no wonder that hardly anyone expected renewable energy subsidies to survive Republican tax reform. In the legislation the House of […]

Race to build a million-mile car becomes a reality

15 Jan 2018   Electric Cars

Futuristic images of cars were splashed across the Consumer Electronics Show this week, as the world’s largest tech gathering ogled the concept cars of the coming driverless era. But there is one crucial detail that was not mentioned in the fancy presentations: the new cars may need to last for a million miles. “This is a topic we are working heavily on,” says Johann Jungwirth, chief digital officer at Volkswagen.

Durability and longevity will be essential for self-driving vehicles, he explains, because they will be part of transportation fleets that are in near-constant use. “I can see the vehicle life going up to 500,000 or even 1m miles or more,” he says, adding that refurbishment programs will help extend vehicle life. “That is one criteria that is becoming more important in the future.” This shift will represent a massive disruption for carmakers, as the advent of autonomous fleets of electric vehicles has the potential to upend their traditional business models.

Ford Increasing Electric Vehicle Investment to $11 Billion by 2022

15 Jan 2018   Electric Cars

A top Ford Motor Co. F 0.53% executive said the company will now spend $11 billion on electrified vehicles through 2022, increasing its previous estimates as it races to catch up on battery-powered cars. The Dearborn, Mich., automaker previously committed $4.5 billion in spending on electrified products by 2020 and said in October it would divert an additional $500 million from conventional products—including gasoline-powered products—over a five-year span. The $11 billion commitment comes at a time when gasoline or diesel engines powered nearly all of the 90 million vehicles sold globally in 2017. Ford’s estimate was delivered during a press conference at the Detroit auto show, which opens this week. Jim Farley, Ford’s head of global markets, said the company aims to make its electric vehicles more attractive to everyday buyers than it […]

Ford Goes ‘All In’ on Electric Cars

15 Jan 2018   Electric Cars

Automaker swapped CEOs last year after falling behind Tesla Mach 1 SUV among 16 battery-electric vehicles planned by 2022 Ford Motor Co. will more than double spending on electrified vehicles, amplifying its investment in a segment that the auto industry sees growing from what’s now just a fraction of the market. The carmaker will shell out $11 billion bringing 40 electrified vehicles to market by 2022, Jim Farley, president of global markets, said during a presentation at the Detroit auto show. That’s up from the $4.5 billion that Ford said in late 2015 it would invest through the end of the decade. “This $11 billion you’re seeing, that means we’re all in now,” Executive Chairman Bill Ford told reporters in Detroit. “The only question is will the customers be there with us and we think they will.” After electric-vehicle darling Tesla Inc. surpassed Ford in market value last year, […]

Gas-powered vehicle about twice as costly to drive as an electric

12 Jan 2018   Electric Cars

A study from Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle at the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute found the average annual cost to drive a gasoline-powered vehicle last year was $1,117. The average annual cost to drive a typical battery-electric vehicle, by contrast, was $485 last year. “The required fuel economy that gasoline vehicles would need to exceed for driving them to be less expensive than driving battery-electric vehicles is 57.6 miles per gallon in the United States,” the study found. Former President Barack Obama during his second term in office issued […]

Toyota Plant Puts Foreign Car Makers on Path to Pass Detroit in U.S. Production

11 Jan 2018   Transportation, USA

In the first quarter, foreign auto makers will produce 1.4 million cars and trucks in the U.S., roughly equal to domestic output, projects Toyota Motor Corp.’s TM 2.00% choice of Alabama as the new home for a shared factory with Mazda Motor Corp. 7261 0.70% marks a major shift in U.S. vehicle manufacturing, with foreign auto makers soon set to build more cars and trucks in America than the Detroit giants. American car makers already have given up the crown in the overall U.S. car business, with market share of the so-called Big 3 dwindling to 44% in 2017. More cars were sold last year with Asian nameplates than domestic ones. In coming years, however, General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. F -0.38% , and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles FCAU -0.55% NV are likely see their dominance in vehicle production entirely evaporate as rivals from Toyota to Mercedes-Benz increase […]

Watch Out, Airlines. High Speed Rail Now Rivals Flying on Key Routes

10 Jan 2018   Transportation

Across Asia and Europe, high-speed rail is providing a competitive alternative to air travel on the same routes, in terms of price and the all-important barometer of time. Put that together with the environmental benefits that flow from not burning jet fuel, and staying on the ground begins to make more sense for travelers who would otherwise trudge to the airport. Speedy trains and planes are generally competitive until your travel plans extend beyond 1,000 kilometers (621 miles), at which point travelers consider flying superior for time savings, according to an overview of academic research by the Journal of Advanced Transportation. But new technologies may push that boundary in the years and decades to come. The chart below gives examples of key global routes where the two are currently comparable. “Travel time is critical for the competitiveness of different transport modes,” researchers from Beijing’s Beihang University and the University […]

Is This Lithium Battery Breakthrough Too Good To Be True?

9 Jan 2018   Electric Cars

It would be a dull month if a new rechargeable battery project didn’t make headlines amid all the excitement surrounding electric cars. This month’s indisputable winner is the lithium-ion battery that replaces cobalt with iron, and—rather surprisingly—works, at least according to the people who came up with the idea. The potential implications of this invention are huge: Cobalt is enjoying a very strong rally as demand is estimated to skyrocket with the influx of electric cars in the world’s biggest markets, notably China and the United States. So is lithium, but the iron battery is unlikely to have an impact on lithium demand. Also, theoretically, the iron battery could put some battery makers out of business. The idea of using iron in batteries isn’t new, but so far, attempts to substitute the cheap metal for costlier cobalt and other metals have ended in disaster. Christopher Wolverton, professor of materials […]

Will 1 Billion EVs Crash Gasoline Demand?

9 Jan 2018   Electric Cars

Last year was big on announcements from automakers, and suppliers, and tech giants regarding electric vehicles, robotaxis, and autonomous vehicles. We also heard from countries like China, India, France, Great Britain, and Norway—all pledging to ban the sale of fossil fuels to power vehicles on their roads. How will this affect auto sales, gasoline, diesel…? Morgan Stanley has long sounded the warning bell to the auto industry. A study last year forecasted that electric vehicles will make up 90 percent off all vehicle sales globally by 2050. That would be made up of about one billion battery electric vehicles out on roads worldwide. That will be spurred in part by existing and proposed emissions legislation that will jack up the cost of manufacturing internal combustion engines. EVs with long-range, fast-charging batteries will become much more viable for global auto sales. Growing consumer interest is expected to follow. The investment […]

GM races to build a formula for profitable electric cars

9 Jan 2018   Electric Cars

General Motors Co Chief Executive Mary Barra has made a bold promise to investors that the Detroit automaker will make money selling electric cars by 2021. What Barra has not explained in detail is how GM intends to do what, so far, no major automaker has done. The answer is a big bet on combining proprietary battery technology, a low-cost, flexible vehicle design and high-volume production mainly in China, according to six current and former GM and supplier executives and six industry experts interviewed by Reuters. If GM can meet Barra’s ambitious profitability target, then it will house two different businesses by the mid-2020s: A traditional focus in North America on trucks, sport utility vehicles and cars fueled with petroleum, and a global electric car company centered in China, branching into pay-per-use services such as robotaxis. Barra’s promise to turn a profit is a bold claim […]

Fisker unveils EMotion electric luxury sedan; prototype flexible solid-state battery cell; automotive-ready after 2020

9 Jan 2018   Electric Cars

Fisker unveiled the Emotion electric luxury sedan at CES 2018. Featuring automatic butterfly doors and five integrated Quanergy S3 LiDAR sensors ( earlier post ) for autonomous driving up to Level 4, the all-wheel drive EMotion has a projected range of 400 miles (644 km) and a top speed of 161 mph (259 km/h). The multiple electric motors deliver more than 575 KW, pushing the EMotion from 0-60 mph in under 3 seconds. Fisker also displayed a working solid-state battery in a case and an actual bulk battery without a case. The working battery is half the size of a cell phone battery, 2mm thick and with superior energy storage. In November, Fisker’s scientists, including a co-founder of solid-state battery start-up Sakti3, filed patents on flexible, superior energy density solid-state batteries. ( Earlier post .) Fisker’s solid-state batteries will feature three-dimensional electrodes with 2.5 times the energy density of […]

The end of the internal combustion engine

9 Jan 2018   Transportation

The adoption of the internal combustion engine, a revolutionary invention that took the power of the steam locomotive and made it more compact and convenient, saw horse-drawn carriages moved from the streets to the history books within 15 years. Enormous fortunes were made, everyday life was transformed and cityscapes were reimagined. Now, almost a century on from the first Model T rolling off Henry Ford’s innovative assembly line, the race is on to find an alternative power source to combat the global emissions crisis – the unforeseen legacy of the internal combustion engine and a testament to the ubiquitousness of the technology. The world has changed dramatically over the last hundred years and will continue to do so. In 1913, the world’s population was around 1.8 billion. Today it stands at 7.6 billion. By 2050, it is expected to surpass 9 billion and the International Energy Agency has estimated […]

Toyota Research Institute introducing next-generation automated driving research vehicle at CES: Platform 3.0

5 Jan 2018   Transportation

Main Toyota Research Institute (TRI) will show its next-generation automated driving research vehicle, Platform 3.0, at CES next week in Las Vegas. The new platform, which is built on a Lexus LS 600hL, combines greater technological capabilities with new harmonized styling that integrates the automated vehicle technology into the LS model’s design. TRI approached development of a new research platform with three core principles: (1) Elevate perception capabilities to be an industry pacesetter among automated vehicles; (2) Blend the sensing equipment into the vehicle design with a distinct appearance that is sleek and elegant; (3) Package the automated vehicle technology in a manner that is easy to reproduce for building a fleet at scale. Perception technology. Platform 3.0 represents the maturing of TRI’s automated vehicle research. Experimentation has transitioned to narrowing […]

Can The U.S. Compete In The Electric Car War?

4 Jan 2018   Electric Cars, USA

Recently, William Clay “Bill” Ford Jr., executive chairman of Ford Motor Co., said China was “at the heart” of the electric vehicle and the “mobility” movements. It was an interesting statement from the head of a company once identified as the heart and soul of the U.S.’s industrial Midwest. Ford is now developing a self driving car with a Chinese partner. And General Motors plans to sell only electric vehicles in China by 2025. China’s SAIC Motor Corporation, with sales of 6.9 million cars and net income of $5 billion, boasts that it “strives to grasp the trend of industrial development and speed up the innovation driven industrial transformation…” Sounds like a plan, a five year plan perhaps, but at least a plan nevertheless. But if there is any doubt of direction, take a look at Tongji University’s special supplement in Science, one of the world’s most prestigious scientific […]

Ricardo supporting Active Response trial to unlock grid capacity for electric vehicles

Ricardo is supporting a trial run by UK Power Networks into using smart grid technology to unlock spare capacity for increased electric vehicle use—maximizing the power available from existing infrastructure while avoiding costly network reinforcement or substation replacement. The project, called Active Response , will trial a responsive, automated electricity network that reconfigures itself, moving spare capacity to where the demand is. It will do this by using power electronics and automated switching to move electricity from heavily loaded substations to nearby substations with spare capacity. By 2030 it is anticipated that there will be up to 1.9 million electric vehicles in use across London, the East and South […]

Annual autonomous vehicle sales to surpass 33M in 2040; autonomous mobility in more than 26% of new car sales

3 Jan 2018   Electric Cars

Business information provider IHS Markit forecasts that more than 33 million autonomous vehicles will be sold globally in 2040—a substantial increase from the 51,000 units forecast for the first year of significant volume in 2021. IHS Markit suggests that the rapid convergence of autonomous driving and mobility services such as ride-hailing will be a central driver of early deployment and growth. The forecaster projects that the United States will lead the world in initial deployment and early adoption of production autonomous vehicles as early as 2019, while Europe and China are expected to begin adding considerable volume from 2021 onward. Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) will first bring this technology to the masses before individual ownership of autonomous vehicles enters the picture. The […]

Car Sales to Top 90 Million Globally for First Time

3 Jan 2018   Transportation

A recovery in emerging markets such as Russia helped fuel the latest results. Global sales of passenger cars and trucks likely surpassed 90 million for the first time in 2017, the latest indicator that demand for conventional automobiles remains strong even as driverless cars and ride sharing get increasing attention. The results, based on preliminary data provided by, were fueled in part by a continued rebound in Western Europe and recovery in major emerging markets, including Brazil and Russia. Asian buyers are the main engine for sales growth with more than a quarter of the cars sold last year going to Chinese customers, up from less than 15% a decade ago. The North American market is the world’s most profitable for auto makers, but American dealership traffic has slowed after several years of momentum. Analysts expect U.S. sales in 2017 to fall short of a record 2016 and […]

Number Of EV Charging Points To Rise Significantly

28 Dec 2017   Electric Cars

Gasoline stations outnumber electric vehicle charging stations by a wide margin in key global markets. That gap is expected to narrow with planned charger installations and significant growth in fast charging. University of Michigan researchers earlier this year reported 16,000 public charging stations in the U.S., with nearly 43,000 individual charging connectors or plugs, based on federal government data. That made for only about one-in-10 charging stations to gas stations, with about 112,000 gas stations operating in the U.S. as of 2015. China had 190,000 chargers installed by September 2017, with big plans in place to expand the network to 800,000 charging points. The premise behind commitments made to EV charging infrastructures is that installing plentiful charging stations – especially fast chargers – will alleviate “range anxiety” over EVs running out of power, leaving drivers stuck out on the road. It’s one of the necessary elements to make EVs […]

Beijing’s Electric-Car Push Could Produce a World-Class Chinese Auto Brand

22 Dec 2017   China, Electric Cars

China has become the world’s largest automotive market, thanks to drivers whose numbers far eclipse those of such former leaders as the U.S. and Germany. But while mainland producers may lead the industry by number of new vehicles sold, China has yet to develop a car brand that rivals the cachet of Audi, BMW , Mercedes , or even some General Motors marques. That’s allowed foreign makers to build lucrative businesses in the nation that help maintain their global dominance. Now, President Xi Jinping’s determination to rewrite the rules of China’s roads to curb pollution and reduce the nation’s dependence on imported oil may have a side benefit for its automotive industry. Environmental regulations and production incentives could hasten the development of a high-volume leader in electric vehicles that might finally give China a shot at a world-class auto brand. Helpful government hands have already fostered national champions in […]

Toyota Could Become Tesla’s Next Big Headache

22 Dec 2017   Electric Cars

Toyota Motor Corp. is making a serious commitment to bringing electrified vehicles into its fleet. The move goes against the widely held perception that the Japanese automaker was taking a very different path than other global automakers striving to become “Tesla-competitive.” Toyota announced on December 18 that it will be electrifying all its vehicles by 2025, and hitting a target of selling 5.5 million electrified vehicles by 2030. That will include 1 million zero emission vehicles – battery electric vehicles, and fuel cell vehicles similar to the Toyota Mirai. By 2025, the automaker will have every Toyota and Lexus model available as a dedicated electrified vehicle, or it will have an electrified option available. Electrified options include all-electric, plug-in hybrid, fuel cell, or hybrid. More than 10 battery electric vehicle models will be available worldwide by the early 2020s. Through the end of the 2020 decade, the plug-in hybrid […]

EV Range Set To Triple With New Lithium Battery Breakthrough

21 Dec 2017   Electric Cars

The University of Waterloo researchers breakthrough involves the use of negative electrodes (the anode) made of lithium metal, a material with the potential to dramatically increase battery storage capacity. Quanquan Pang, who led the research while he was a PhD candidate at Waterloo said, “This will mean cheap, safe, long-lasting batteries that give people much more range in their electric vehicles.” The increased storage capacity, or energy density, could boost the distance electric vehicles are able to travel on a single charge, from about 200 kilometers to 600 kilometers (360 miles). (Click to enlarge) A single ion conducting protective layer is created on the lithium surface. Image Credit: The University of Waterloo. Click image for the largest view. The team’s research paper has been published in the journal Joule, which at this writing is open access. Related: Houthi Missile Targeting Riyadh Palace Intercepted In creating the technology, Pang and […]

Lloyd’s Register and UMAS release Zero Emission Vessels 2030 study

20 Dec 2017   Electric Ships

Lloyd’s Register and University Maritime Advisory Services (UMAS) released a new study— Zero Emission Vessels 2030 —that aims to demonstrate the viability of zero-emission vessels (ZEVs) by identifying what needs to be in place to make them a competitive solution for decarbonization. The first milestone in the IMO greenhouse gas (GHG) Roadmap is rapidly approaching: MEPC (Marine Environment Protection Committee) 72 in April 2018, which will, inter alia, address the reduction of greenhouse gases from ships. To achieve an ambitious greenhouse gas reduction strategy in line with the Paris Agreement, ZEVs will need to be entering the fleet in 2030 and form a significant proportion of newbuilds from then on. Although none of the ZEVs are estimated to be […]

Wärtsilä providing HY hybrid modules for Swedish port tug; first vessel operating with Wärtsilä HY solution

20 Dec 2017   Electric Ships

The technology group Wärtsilä will supply two Wärtsilä HY 2 hybrid power modules for a new escort tug being built for the Swedish port of Luleå located on the Gulf of Bothnia in the northern end of the Baltic Sea. The vessel is being built at GONDAN Shipbuilders, in Asturias, Spain, and the order with Wärtsilä was booked in December 2017. When launched in early 2019, it will become the first vessel operating with a Wärtsilä HY solution. ( Earlier post.) The Wärtsilä HY solution will bring environmental benefits, as well as operational and flexibility advantages that result in considerable economic gains. It will be capable of operating on battery power when in transit. Although it is configured as a mechanical set-up, the hybrid diesel-electric mode will […]

What Needs to Happen Before Electric Cars Take Over the World

19 Dec 2017   Electric Cars

Workers at a drilling site in the Czech Republic. On the slope of a thickly forested Czech mountain, three men in hard hats and mud-spattered fluorescent vests dig for the metal that could power a new industrial revolution. They watch carefully as a mobile rig, mounted on tank treads, hammers and spins a drill bit hundreds of yards into the bedrock. Water gushes from the bore as the bit punctures an underground spring. The men are prospecting for new sources of lithium, a raw material now found primarily in China and Chile that could become as important to the auto industry as oil is now. Faster than anyone expected, electric cars are becoming as economical and practical as cars with conventional engines. Prices for lithium-ion batteries are plummeting, while technical advances are increasing driving ranges and cutting recharging times. “Once the trend gets going, it can happen very fast,” […]

China Plans to Kill Local Subsidies for Electric Cars

19 Dec 2017   China, Electric Cars

Move to help rein in state expenditure while promoting EVs Subsidies also raising concerns of protectionism, people say China is planning to tell local governments to stop offering subsidies for electric cars and other new-energy vehicles, people familiar with the matter said, a move that could undermine demand for autos made by companies including BYD Co. and BAIC Motor Corp. The Ministry of Finance is working on a plan that would mandate authorities to phase out the incentives to discourage protectionism and help rein in state expenditure, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing government policy proposals that aren’t yet public. The plan may be implemented as early as next year, one of the people said. Automakers would still be entitled to the central government’s funds, the people said. The ministry didn’t immediately respond to a fax requesting comments. The grants have made electric vehicles more affordable […]

Toyota aims for sales of more than 5.5M electrified vehicles including 1M ZEVS per year by 2030; no models developed without electrified version

18 Dec 2017   Electric Cars

Toyota Motor Corporation announced its plans regarding the mass adoption of electrified vehicles for the decade 2020-2030. Toyota’s electrified vehicle strategy centers on a significant acceleration in the development and launch plans of hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), battery-electric vehicles (BEVs), and fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEVs). By around 2030, Toyota aims to have annual sales of more than 5.5 million electrified vehicles—including more than 1 million zero-emission vehicles (BEVs, FCEVs). Additionally, by around 2025, every model in the Toyota and Lexus line-up around the world will be available either as a dedicated electrified model or have an electrified option. This will be achieved by increasing the number of dedicated HEV, PHEV, BEV, and FCEV models and […]

Toyota to market over 10 battery EV models in early 2020s

18 Dec 2017   Electric Cars

Toyota Motor Corp ( 7203.T ) said it would market more than 10 all-electric vehicle (EV) models globally in the early 2020s, a target which could require the firm to look beyond a partnership with Panasonic Corp ( 6752.T ) to co-develop and supply batteries. Setting an annual sales target of around 1 million zero-emission battery EVs and fuel-cell vehicles (FCVs) by 2030, the automaker said in order to achieve this it would need to make an investment of over $13 billion to develop and make batteries. Toyota, the world’s second-largest automaker by sales after Volkswagen AG ( VOWG_p.DE ), added it needed to accelerate the pace of battery development as tightening global vehicle emissions regulations would require a steep increase in manufacturing capacity for more powerful batteries. “As a mass-market automaker, we need to expand our offering of electric cars,” Executive Vice President Shigeki Terashi […]

The BMW Group and Solid Power partner to drive solid-state battery adoption in EVs

18 Dec 2017   Electric Cars

The BMW Group is partnering with Solid Power, a developer of solid-state rechargeable batteries, in a joint effort to develop Solid Power’s solid-state batteries for electric vehicle applications. In this effort, the BMW Group will assist Solid Power to advance its technology in order to achieve performance levels required for high-performance electric vehicles. Established in 2012 as a spin-out company from the University of Colorado Boulder, Solid Power is focused on developing and scaling competitive solid-state batteries, paying special attention to safety, performance, and cost. The technology has great potential to provide the BMW Group’s electric vehicles with increased driving range and a battery with a longer shelf-life that can withstand high temperatures. Solid Power technology combines a high-capacity cathode, a lithium […]

Tesla Opens New Showroom In NYC

16 Dec 2017   Electric Cars, Solar

Tesla is opening on Friday a brand-new showroom in New York where it will sell cars, batteries, and solar panels all under one roof, and the new store opening incidentally coincided with a report that said that U.S. residential solar installations are expected to drop by 13 percent this year, after years of double-digit growth. According to the quarterly SEIA/GTM Research U.S. Solar Market Insight, GTM Research forecasts a 13-percent contraction in residential solar in 2017 “as major markets fall and emerging state markets contribute relatively less growth.” After Tesla bought SolarCity last year, it has focused on integration and profit margin growth rather than on expansion and higher sales. Earlier this year, Tesla stopped selling solar installations door-to-door, and thus removed a major channel to reach out to its customers. “If SolarCity accounted for a 30 percent share of the national market and you cut those installation volumes […]

Denmark sets milestone for EV charges

The Danish market for electric vehicles set a milestone with more than 1 million charges and 36 million miles since 2014, a utility provider said Thursday. German utility company E.ON said it’s leading in the Danish market with its 1,300 charging points. Since 2014, the company said more than 1 million drivers charged up their vehicles at E.ON stations and it’s now working on partnerships to build more stations at car parks, fast-food chains and retail service stations. “Denmark is now one of the most developed e-mobility markets in Europe,” the company said in a statement. The Germany utility company in November said it was supported by $11.6 million in funding from the European Commission to team up with service provider […]

Tesla lines up buyers for electric semi-truck

14 Dec 2017   Electric Cars

Reuters reports that the food and beverage giant has reserved 100 of the trucks, the largest reported corporate purchase plan thus far. Walmart has reserved 15 trucks and the trucking company J. B. Hunt Transport Services has also placed orders, among other buyers. Overall reservations to date are at 276, according to Reuters calculations. PepsiCo confirmed the order to Axios. “These trucks will be deployed across our snacks and beverage businesses,” a spokesperson said. Big picture: If automakers like Daimler and Tesla can eventually succeed in making electric heavy trucks more than just a tiny portion of U.S. and worldwide commercial fleets, that would bring the world closer to a peak in oil demand. The projected growth of petroleum demand for heavy trucking is a primary reason why the International Energy Agency’s most recent World Energy Outlook does not show a peak in worldwide crude consumption by 2040, the […]

Ford Will Build Electric Cars in Mexico, Shifting Its Plan

12 Dec 2017   Electric Cars, Mexico

Ford says it will build driverless vehicles at a Michigan plant previously designated for electric car production. Almost a year ago, after heavy criticism from President-elect Donald J. Trump, Ford Motor Company canceled plans to build a $1.6 billion car plant in Mexico and announced that it would instead equip a Michigan factory to make electric and hybrid models. Now the automaker is changing its plans again, saying it intends to assemble new battery-powered cars in Mexico, not Michigan. But the Michigan location will get an even larger investment than previously planned and will focus on making a range of self-driving cars. The switch comes as the Trump administration has been pushing to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico. Few industries are more heavily affected by the accord than the auto sector, […]

U.S. transit agencies cautious on electric buses despite bold forecasts

12 Dec 2017   Electric Buses

Communities across the United States are looking to replace their dirty diesel buses, ushering in what some analysts predict will be a boom in electric fleets. An electric bus sits under a charging station in Pomona, California U.S. November 16, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson But transit agencies doing the buying are moving cautiously, an analysis by Reuters shows. Out of more than 65,000 public buses plying U.S. roads today, just 300 are electric. Among the challenges: EVs are expensive, have limited range and are unproven on a mass scale. A typical 40-foot electric bus costs around $750,000, compared with about $435,000 for a diesel bus. Cheaper fuel and maintenance expenses can lower the overall costs over the 12-year life of the vehicles. But those costs can widely depending on utility rates, terrain and weather. The technology is still a gamble for many cities at a time […]

China Launches World’s First All-Electric Cargo Ship

China just launched its first all-electric cargo ship, which will travel 50 miles at a top speed of 8 miles per hour on a single charge. Though it will be able to carry 2,200 tons of cargo with every haul, that battery capacity is barely enough to fulfill any transatlantic shipments. It will take just two hours to recharge, which is about as much time the vessel needs to unload at a destination. Of course, the vessel is the first of its kind, so ports will have to be fitted with charging stations specifically for the ship. So far, only two ports have received the special upgrade. “As the ship is fully electric powered, it poses no threats to the environment. The technology will soon be likely … used in passenger or engineering ships,” Huang Jialin, head of Hangzhou Modern Ship Design & Research Co, said regarding his company’s […]

Investors wean themselves off oil as electric future beckons

European oil shares, having been for so long the dividend darlings of income funds, are losing their pulling power as investors take another look at the long term future of energy companies focused on fossil fuels. A proposal by the world’s largest $1 trillion sovereign wealth fund to ditch its oil and gas shares because of the volatile oil price, has highlighted the risks of being exposed to a sector which analysts say is in long term decline. Investors are pulling money out of exchange traded funds (ETFs) tracking global oil and gas stocks. Net assets in oil and gas ETFs fell to their lowest in a year in November, to $21.9 billion, from a high of $24.4 billion in March, ETFGI data showed. […]

China Will Lead an Electric Car Future, Ford’s Chairman Says

Fords at an auto show in Guangzhou, China, last month. Ford Motor said Tuesday that it planned to introduce 15 models in China by 2025 that run at least in part on batteries. SHANGHAI — The world’s automakers are just starting to bet on an electric car future — and already, one of the most powerful people in the industry says that future belongs to China. The Ford Motor Company said on Tuesday that it planned to introduce 15 battery electric or plug-in gasoline-electric hybrid car models in China by 2025. Speaking in Shanghai, William C. Ford Jr., Ford Motor’s longtime executive chairman, outlined why in an unusually blunt comment. “When I think of where E.V.s are going,” he said, using an abbreviation for electric vehicles, “it’s clearly the case that China will lead the world in E.V. development.” Ford Motor is far from alone. General Motors, Volkswagen, Daimler […]

Honda installs new bi-directional charging technology at European R&D center

Honda has invested in advanced bi-directional charging technology at its European R&D site in Offenbach, Germany, which is helping to balance demand and store energy more efficiently across the facility. The new charging system incorporates renewable energy generation, and is a test bed for hardware that will be available to private households in the future. The technology installation in Germany follows the debut of the domestic Honda Power Manager Concept at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show in September. ( Earlier post .) The concept previewed a fully-integrated energy transfer, which takes power from the grid and can return stored energy from electric vehicle (EV) batteries through Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) technology. This latest trial installation at Honda’s Offenbach site applies the same principles on a […]

Ford ramps up electric vehicle push in China amid slowing sales

Ford Motor Co ( F.N ) will launch 50 new vehicles in China by 2025, including 15 electrified vehicles, the U.S. firm said at an event in Shanghai on Tuesday, as it looks to rev up sales growth in the market and shift towards cleaner electric cars. Ford’s sales in China have been weak in recent months, and the company is scrambling to come up with electric and hybrid vehicles to comply with strict Chinese quotas over production and sales for so-called new energy vehicles, or NEVs. The U.S. automaker is undergoing a broad review of its China operations, part of a strategic re-think under new Chief Executive Officer Jim Hackett, which will likely see the company focus on electric commercial vans as […]

The Electric Truck Revolution Is About To Accelerate

5 Dec 2017   Transportation

In fact, I would argue that electrically-powered wheels may come to the trucking market faster than the world of passenger cars. The reason is simple. Trucking companies—like any capitalist, profit-maximizing institution—make rational purchase decisions based on careful assessments of economic viability. Any capable Chief Financial Officer is algorithmically brain-wired to ask, “Is this thing going to make our company any more money?” If the answer is “yes,” the switch is often fast. Individuals on the other hand are often motivated by soft sell factors like vanity, size and flexibility, not to mention instant convenience. A good set of cup holders often trumps fuel economy. The option to haul a sheet of plywood on a moment’s notice, if only twice a year, is perceived as worth the cost of supersizing a vehicle purchase. Personal transport choices have long been incompatible with making good financial decisions (I can validate that fact […]

The Stunning Energy Cost Of Tesla’s Semi-Truck

5 Dec 2017   Transportation

Elon Musk’s reliance on shock-and-awe tactics and unjustifiably lofty performance projections is creating serious problems for the so-called visionary as a growing number of experts have come forward to explain that many of his claims would defy the laws of physics. The latest group to call bulls— is Aurora Energy Research, a European consultancy which estimated that Tesla’s electric haulage truck will require the same energy as up to 4,000 homes to recharge – a stunning claim that would seem to raise serious questions about the projects viability, according to the Financial Times. (Click to enlarge) According to these scientists, modern battery technology is incapable of supporting anything close to the 30-minute charging time Musk has promised for the new Tesla semi-truck. The U.S. electric carmaker unveiled a battery-powered truck earlier this month, promising haulage drivers they could add 400 miles of charge in as little as 30 minutes […]