Mercedes-Benz Trucks has handed over another eActros to customers for real world testing: Meyer-Logistik has received the 25 tonne capacity vehicle for operational testing of the transport of temperature sensitive food stuffs from storage locations to multiple super markets in the Hamburger inner city.
Recently, the Mannheim-based company TBS Transportbeton received a specially built eActros with a rig to transport fly ash short distances for their cement business.
Three Daimler customers have so far also received one eActros each – they are the first of a total of 20 companies from different industry sectors planning to integrate the heavy electric truck into their fleets. The test series of the “Innovationsflotte” launch fleet is structured into two phases with ten customers each and a running time of two years. All test customers will transport goods in urban areas and city traffic, using the e-truck for purposes traditionally reserved for diesel trucks in a number of industry sectors and categories.
The development and testing of the heavy electric trucks for distribution traffic is being done in the Concept ELV project, which is funded by the German environment ministry (BMUB) and the ministry for economics and energy (BMWi).
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The Volkswagen subsidiary founded to build charging infrastructure as a consequence of the diesel scandal has struck deals with the infrastructure providers EV Connect, Greenlots and SemaConnect to set up network interoperability.
The roaming contracts allow EV drivers in the USA a unified access to a network of around 12,500 charging stations across the USA owned by the providers, starting on the 30th of July, 2019. The public charging stations can be found at shopping centres, gas stations, shops, offices and apartment buildings.
Vice president of Electrify America, Brendan Jones, said: “Drivers will now be able to roam between charging
networks without the need for additional cards or accounts. It will be seamless for EV owners that you can charge when you need one – comparable to getting cash at an ATM machine even when it’s not your bank.”
Electrify America will invest a total of about 2 billion dollars over a ten year period in the development and construction of charging infrastructure for Zero Emission Vehicles across the USA. The company also plans to focus on education and accessibility solutions to help customers adjust to e-mobility. The investments will take place over four investment cycles of 30 months, each. The first phase, which will see 2,000 charging stations built, will likely cost about 500 million dollars by it’s end in June, 2019. Electrify America plans to set up more than 500 charging locations with more than 2,800 level 2 charging stations. A large part of the infrastructure investment will take place in California.
This is not the first instance where Electrify America is working with Greenlots, as the company had previously made an agreement to utilize Greenlots operating system Sky.
Next to infrastructure investment, Electrify America is also involved in a variety of other e-mobility oriented initiatives, including a car sharing initiative in Sacramento and infomercial campaigns to promote electrification.
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A project titled ZUKUNFT.DE plans to provide 500 electric transporters in the German states of Baden-Württemberg, Hamburg and Hessen for urban package delivery services in cities. Four large logistics providers have joined forces to bring the initiative to life.
The title pertains to their mission to provide delivery service in a customer oriented, sustainable and flexible way. They also hope to boost transparency with the initiative. They are addressing a topic that has been finding a growing interest: the electrification of last mile deliveries. The project has a broad focus, and will look at the set up of infrastructure in operational logistics centres as well as academic data analysis, next to the operational data of the actual deliveries.
The management of the project is done by hySOLUTIONS, which is based in Hamburg. The scope of the project will include about 500 electric transporters of the varities eVito (2.8t), eSprinter and E-Crafter (3.5t each) integrated into the fleets of the logistics companies DPD, GLS, Hermes and UPS in the inner city areas of Hamburg, Stuttgart, Heilbronn, Mannheim, Darmstadt and Frankfurt. Next to the real world testing of delivery practises, the development of a vehicle charging system is a major focus for the project. The depots will be used to develop a scalable concept to be put in place across the nation.
A total of eleven project partners are involved, with another five associated partners on the side. Next to the four logistics companies, Daimler and Volkswagen are providing the e-transporters, and the energy specialists from the EnBW and the Hamburg electrical grid operator Stromnetz Hamburg are providing their know-how. The academic support comes from the the Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences, the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO and the Kühne Logistics University. The coordination by the Hamburg hySOLUTIONS is supported by the e-mobil BW and the Hessian economic ministry.
The project will go until the end of 2020 and receive 9.9 million euros from the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure. The fund will be split with 7.4 million going toward fundamental technologies and 2.5 million euros reserved for further project expenses.
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The German aviation startup Volocopter is planning test flights in the centre of Singapore for the second half of 2019. The series of tests will focus on urban flight conditions and will validate the use of an electric aircraft in an urban environment. The next step will then be public demonstration flights.
The startup from Bruchsal is receiving support from the Singaporean traffic ministry, the civil aviation authority CAAS and Singapore’s authority for economic development for the venture. Together with the CAAS they will define the scope of the flight tests and prepare the aircraft for the expected regulatory and technical requirements, as well as the infrastructure.
Additionally, Volocopter will set up a production design and engineering unit in Singapore to further expand contact to potential partners, particularly in the areas of real estate development, mobility service providers and infrastructure development who are interested in getting into the operation of air-taxis in Singapore. Volocopter’s CEO Florian Reuter said: “We are getting ready to start implementing the first fixed routes in cities. Singapore is a logical partner: The city is a true pioneer in technology and city development. We are confident this is another exciting step to make air taxi services a reality.”
Volocopter received a provisional traffic permit from the German government in 2016, and has been working closely with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), from whom the company is hoping to receive an official commercial permit. Volocopter regularly flies in Germany, and has performed several public demonstration flights, as well. In September of 2017, the company performed an unmanned test flight in Dubai.
The company uses technology based on drones to steer their electric VTOL in urban environments. The aircraft resembles a helicopter and is powerful enough to transport two passengers for about 30 km. They are advertised as being quiet enough, “that at a flight height of 100 m, it cannot be heard over the typical background noise of a city”.
In Spring, the startup presented a concept for the infrastructure of an urban electric air taxi. The startup estimates that the technology could be reality in as early as ten years.
The Mission E Cross Turismo, first introduced as a concept at this year’s Geneva Motor Show, will go into serial production as a derivative model of Porsche’s first electric vehicle, the Taycan.
CEO Oliver Blume officially proclaimed that the board has given the green light for the serial production of the concept Cross Turismo. For the vehicle alone, another 300 jobs will be created at the Zuffenhausen factory, where it will be built. This is in addition to the 1,200 jobs that are being set up for the production of the Taycan.
The 4.95 metre long concept with all wheel drive is a combination of station wagon, sports car and SUV. Sort of an electric off-road station wagon. Porsche dubbed the design a Cross Utility Vehicle.
The Mission E Cross Turismo is powered by two electric motors with a combined performance of 440 kW. The spring from 0 to 100 km/h is done in a mere 3.5 seconds. The BEV has a range of more than 500 km according to NEDC standards. Thanks to an 800 volt architecture, the 90 kWh battery can be charged to power a range of 400 km in about 15 minutes. The concept is thus solidly prepared for charging on the German HPC charging network Ionity is building. The vehicle is also capable of charging inductively.
At the same time, the Zuffenhausen-based company has started the pre-serial production of their first electric model. A good year before the official begin of sales for the Taycan, production kicked off with 100 employees and a small pre-production series to iron out any last issues before mass production launches. The decision to launch serial production of the vehicle was made back in 2015, making for a full four years between announcement and sales launch next year.
Porsche’s electrification strategy has them investing six billion euros by 2022. Originally, the number had only been half that. In early February, Porsche CEO Oliver Blume announced the company’s intention to double their planned investment in the development and construction of electric vehicles. 500 million euros alone are earmarked for the development of variants and derivatives of the Taycan, with a whole billion to be used to electrify current vehicle models.
The commercial storage solution Varta flex storage will be available for charging EVs in car dealerships across Europe, in order to help buffer grid impact, among other things. The background is a recently agreed cooperation between Varta Storage with the Volkswagen subsidiary Porsche Holding Salzburg.
Porsche Holding Salzburg is the largest automobile sales company in Europe, according to their statements. Under the brand Moon, they offer complete solutions for the infrastructure area and will be using Varta energy storage to bolster their offers from now on. They are avoiding large investments in the grid infrastructure, by instead investing in buffer technology. Via the cooperation with Varta, their automobile dealerships will have adapted solutions for the generation, distribution and storage of photovoltaic energy, or for charging multiple EVs at once. The 400 volt, three-phase compatible energy storage system will help dealerships prepare for the future of energy and electric mobility, according to Varta Storage manager Reiko Stutz.
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The EU environmental committee has made the first step towards a legal CO2 emission limit for trucks: The plan to reduce CO2 emissions by 35% from trucks by 2035 has been approved, with a mid way goal of 20% planned for 2025.
This decision is more ambitious than the suggestion made by the EU commission, which had asked for a lowering of 15 percent by 2025, and 30% less CO2 by 2030. The committee also went beyond what the commission asked in terms of electrification, asking for 20% of all trucks sold in the EU to be either electric or hybrid by 2030. By 2025, they also asked for an intermediary target of 5%. Electric buses were also considered a priority step, and the committee is looking to see 50% of new buses sold by 2025 to be fully electric. By 2030, this quota will increase to 75% in their plan. The EU Parliament still has to agree to the recommendation made by the committee, before the plans will be put before the member nations.
These would be the first CO2 limits for trucks in the EU. Other countries, including the USA, China, Japan and Canada have set quotas some time ago, in order to limit the CO2 production by trucks.
For personal vehicles, the EU is likely looking to implement even stricter regulations. According to a decision by the EU states, CO2 emissions from new vehicles will be lowered by 35% by 2030. For 2025, an intermediary target of 15% is set. There will be “niche” exceptions, targeting smaller manufacturers producing less than 300,000 vehicles per year. They are completely exempt from the reduction targets. This was agreed by EU ministers after a tough series of discussions. The final decision for the truck quotas will fall after a debate between the advisory board, the commission and the parliament, a so-called “Tri-logue”. The final decision is entirely open, meaning that the quotas may be subject to changes.
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Volkswagen and their joint venture partner SAIC has begun constructing a factory in China for battery electric vehicles based on the new Modular Electric Drive Kit (MEB). The factory will take up operation in October 2020, and cost about $2.5 billion to build.
The partners then intend to manufacture up to 300,000 MEB electric vehicles there for the VW, Audi and Skoda brands, as well as battery systems. The factory will be the seventh belonging to the joint venture, which will push their total annual output capacity to 2.4 billion vehicles. The electric proportion of the vehicles is planned to increase continually. The MEB kit plays a key role in this endeavour.
MEB kits will benefit the VW partners FAW and SAIC in their joint ventures, while the joint venture with JAC will not receive the technology for now. As Volkswagen now specified, Shanghai and the FAW-Volkswagen factory opened in Foshan, China, will immediately begin construction of MEB vehicles after the German location in Zwickau. The first model will be the e-SUV ID.Crozz. Until the MEB vehicles begin production, SAIC and Volkswagen will sell electric version of existing Volkswagen vehicle models, including the Lavida, the Tiguan and the Passat.
Volkswagen has big plans for China: At the Beijing Motor Show in April, the German automobile manufacturer announced they would be investing more than initially announced in electric vehicles, autonomous driving, digitalisation and new mobility services in the country. Specifically, they are planning on investing a total of 15 billion euros with their joint venture partners SAIC, FAW and JAC until 2022. By then, production of BEVs will be ongoing in at least six factories in China, with ten fully electric vehicle models planned by 2023.
SAIC is one of the biggest EV manufacturers in China. In the ranking of the most successful industry representatives, SAIC made third place last year with 44,236 delivered BEVs and PHEVs in China.
The Californian automobile manufacturers have presented an unannounced third version of their Model 3 with a rear drive motor and a “mid range” battery for a basic price of $45,000. This version has a 260 mile (418 km) range, making it 50 km short of the long range version.
So far the new version is only listed for the North American market. The new battery is also not a larger battery, whose capacity is limited via software, but uses a long range battery packet with less cells. The new mid range version of the Model 3 is now also the only version to be offered with rear drive – the long range edition is now only available with AWD. CEO Elon Musk recently announced, however, that long range versions with rear drive could be purchased outside of the configurator. That sounds like leftovers.
Before anyone worries that the mid range option will replace the basic edition of the Model 3 priced at $35,000, it bears mentioning that the new announcement has no bearing on the schedule for the other version which will be ready in four to six months.
The price increase for the AWD Model 3, which has been fluctuating over the past few weeks, has also received another update. It is back to $5,000, making for a $54,000 price tag.
In London, Hyundai has promoted its Nexo fuel cell model with a special demonstration as a fine dust killer. The message: The Nexo leaves the roads less polluted than it finds them as the car’s air purification system is claimed to catch 99.9 percent of all fine dust particles from the air that flows through the filter.
The manufacturers claim that “When the NEXO is driven for just one hour, 26.9 kilograms of air is purified – this is the same amount that 42 adults breathe in an hour.” They also claim that 10,000 of the vehicles can do the work of 60,000 trees, at least in terms of carbon reduction.
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BYD has developed a driverless electric forklift together with Singapore-based ST Engineering. The two companies signed a cooperation agreement to broaden their joint activities in this field. That’s not BYD’s sole special vehicle innovation: The company also unveiled two new electric tug models.
Let’s have a look at the electric forklift first: Thanks to features such as target guidance, route selection, access control identification and obstacle avoidance, the new model is said to be suitable for docks, airports, warehouses and other industrial uses. Both partners want to focus now on developing an even broader range of autonomous forklifts. Among clients who are using electric forklifts of BYD already today is Chinese online retail giant JD.com, but are also a lot of automotive industry players such as BMW, Volkswagen, General Motors, Toyota, Nissan, Renault and Kia.
Besides, BYD has also introduced two new tugs as part of ground support equipment (GSE) deployed at airports: the T250 rear cabin tug and the T250F forward cabin tug. They feature BYD’s iron-phosphate battery technology, provide a towing capacity of 25 tons and are capable of both, luggage transport and towing of regional jets. The average charging time is said to take 2 hours.
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Geely-owned London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC) will bring its electric taxi with range extender to Paris. A permit for the black cab has now been granted by the Paris authorities. The French capital is expected to receive the model called TX in the first half of 2019.
Since last year’s launch in London, the amount of TX cabs on the streets of Great Britain’s capital has climbed to almost 600. First foreign spots outside of London to welcome the black cab were Amsterdam, Berlin, Hamburg and Oslo. Paris is going to be the next big destination on the company’s expansion roadmap. A launch date shall be confirmed “once negotiations with the favoured importer have been completed”, LEVC said in a statement.
Paris is part of the C40 initiative of cities fighting climate change. As such, the French capital pledged to say “adieu” to combustion-powered cars by 2030 and diesel engine cars are likely to be banned even earlier, before the start of the Olympic Games in 2024 (we reported).
Meanwhile, LEVC intends to produce and offer its electrified London Taxis with range extender in China, too. Market launch is scheduled for 2019. The TX is designed to drive fully electric while a 1.5-liter gasoline engine supplied by Geely-owned Volvo charges the battery and stretches the range to up to 640 kilometres, according to LEVC. The upgrade to the new electric model will cost cabbies about 55,000 pounds but LEVC CEO Chris Gubbey says it will also save about 100 pounds on average weekly fuel costs.
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Govecs acquires a new electric scooter model from Spanish motorcycle manufacturer Rieju in order to further develop and launch it under the name Flexy in the “mid-price segment”. Sales kick-off will follow probably already in the second quarter of 2019.
Rieju will be responsible for series production of the enhanced Flexy on behalf of Govecs, and in this context has contractually guaranteed capacities for the production of up to 12,000 electric scooters per year, which will also be used for the production of the Elmoto models. Thus, Govecs is optimistic that production capacities will be sufficient to meet the expected growing production requirements up to the year 2021. Due to the deal with Rieju, the company will reduce planned investments in the expansion of the company’s own production capacities in Wroclaw by up to 10 million euros.
The Flexy electric scooter builds up on a modular design, which makes it suitable for all target groups, whether sharing providers, delivery services or end users, according to Govecs. At the moment, the firm’s product range includes the e-scooters of the Schwalbe, GO! S, Elmoto and GO! T brands. The recent take-over of Elmoto in particular is an attempt to increase Govec’s business with private customers. To this end, they have also set up their HappyScooter e-commerce platform recently.
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Ionity’s first high-power charging sites in Austria have now been put into operation in Mondsee (Salzburg) and Eisentratten (Carinthia). Both have been installed at sites of station service company OMV. Like it is the case for all Ionity charging stations, each charging point delivers up to 350 kW.
OMV is Ionity’s location partner for Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovenia. According to Ionity CEO Michael Hajesch, another four Austrian charging sites are currently under construction, however a location in Hohenems, situated at a Shell areal, seems already to be put into operation as well. All in all, the joint venture of BMW, Daimler, Ford, Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche intends to establish 400 HPC stations in Europe until 2020. A planned expansion to the States shall see another 290 sites later.
After offering charging free of charge at the beginning, Ionity started charging 8 Euros, Swiss Franks or British Pounds per charge in September. However, this is nothing than a provisional price model. How the pricing system will look in the future is not yet clear.
Meanwhile, the company has picked up several international partners to reach its ambitious rollout goals: The Spanish oil company Cepsa (Compañía Española de Petróleos) will help set up 100 HPC chargers at their gas stations in Spain and Portugal, while a similar agreement was struck with the Italian energy company Enel.
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Kitty Hawk subsidiary Zephyr Airworks has signed a cooperation agreement with Air New Zealand as both partners want to work on setting up an air taxi service with self-flying electric aircrafts. We remember: About half a year ago, Kitty Hawk unveiled its electrically powered autonomous air taxi Cora.
Kitty Hawk, formerly known as Zee-Aero, co-founded by Larry Page and financed by Google, had already back then announced the plan to launch a commercial flight service in New Zealand. The agreement between the national airline and Zephyr Airworks, operator of Cora in New Zealand, is a step forward to this objective. The company adds that the air taxi meanwhile achieved 700 flight tests globally and a hanger has been recently opened in New Zealand.
Cora is a VTOL with two seats and twelve electric motors. It flies with a top speed of 177 kph up to a range of 100 km. Director of the development programme is Sebastian Thrun, who was also involved in Googles robot car project. In spring, Cora got the backing of New Zealand’s new prime minister. Thus, the country is willing to get into an official certification process. This step is crucial for a technology that is otherwise doomed to be grounded by regulators. A commercial service could be kicked off in about three years.
engadget.com, cora.aero, airnewzealand.co.nz
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The 60 kWh version of the Nissan Leaf will go into production in January 2019 and cost 5,500 US dollars (around 4,800 euros) more than the current 40 kWh version – that is at least what “CarsDirect” reports, referring to news derived from dealers’ documents.
The Nissan Leaf with 60 kWh battery has been subject of rumours for many months. The US online portal claims now that pricing will range between 36,000 and 42,500 dollars, while the 40 kWh version will be available for 30,885 to 37,095 dollars before incentives.
In summer, Nissan’s head of EV marketing Brian Maragno revealed that the new model will not only have a bigger battery, but also more power. Thus, it gets a boost in power from 110 to 149 kW. The expected range has not yet been specified, but estimates revolve around 200 miles or 350 kilometres using the U.S. EPA cycle that is deemed pretty realistic.
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After its first crowdfunding campaign back in 2016, Munich start-up Sono Motors launches its second round of financing in order to generate capital for the last development stage and production of the company’s solar electric car Sion, which is scheduled to start rolling off the lines in late 2019.
In the one-week private subscription period prior to today’s official campaign launch, which was reserved exclusively for existing investors and supporters, over 5 million euros have already been subscribed via crowd investing and other channels.
The Sion comes with solar modules incorporated into the bodywork that generate a range of up to 30 kilometres a day, in addition to its basic range of 250 kilometres. The price of 16,000 euros (not including the battery) is a particularly unique selling point though. Plus, the electric vehicle has integrated sharing functions.
To date, the company says it has received more than 8,000 reservations for the electric car, what would go along with an order volume of approximately 140 million euros. The production of the Sion EV will be executed by a yet-unnamed European contract manufacturer.
In July, Sono Motors has reinforced its board that now comprises of six members, among them experienced executives. New COO is Thomas Hausch, last responsible for e-mobility at Nissan with previous roles at Daimler and Chrysler. Isa Krupka has joined as Chief Communications Officer (CCO) reportedly. Most recently, the company announced also its entry into the Dutch market. A series of test ride events for the Sion marked the start.
A hospital in England wanted to make surgery less scary for their youngest patients and found an intriguing way to calm the little children. The nurses provided them with miniature electric cars, in which they can put their hands on the steering wheels themselves.
Tesla has found the spot to construct the Gigafactory 3 on Chinese soil. A 860,000 sqm plot of land in Shanghai has been secured according to a post the company made on social media of China and previous rumours had suggested as much. Still, the deal must be considered groundbreaking in every sense.
Tesla had signed the deal to build their first facility outside the States with Shanghai back in July. Not only will this double their production capacity and free the Tesla electric cars from 40 percent import tariffs. The EV maker also became the first foreign carmaker allowed to produce in China without a local joint venture partner. A change in law had made this possibly and a projected investment of 2 or even 5 billion dollars will have added weight to the city’s decision.
No further details on the land deal have been disclosed yet. However, Reuters quotes the Shanghai Bureau of Planning and Land Resources that said a plot of land of 864,885 square meters had been sold at auction at a price of 973 million yuan ($140.51M).
In an official statement, Robin Ren, Tesla’s VP of global sales, said: “Securing this site in Shanghai, Tesla’s first Gigafactory outside of the United States, is an important milestone for what will be our next advanced, sustainably developed manufacturing site”.
Tesla targets an annual capacity of 500,000 electric vehicles at the Gigafactory 3. Construction is to begin in the near future once all approvals and permits are in. Tesla reckons it will then take about two years until the start of production with about 250,000 EVs a year, and then another two to three years before the electric vehicle factory will be fully ramped up.
Different from the Gigafactory 1 in Nevada which only produces batteries, all future Gigafactories will combine both battery and electric car production at one site.
Mitsubishi and GAC jointly kick-off production of their first electric SUV in the Chinese town of Changsha. The Eupheme EV offers a range of 410 kilometres according to the manufacturer GMMC, yet it is the base price after subsidies that will ultimately sway the consumers.
The electric SUV will start at 20,000 dollars (about 17,360 euros) in China once all subsidies have been applied. The Eupheme EV will initially be offered in twelve Chinese cities, including Beijing, Changsha, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hangzhou and Tianji with additional regional markets to be opened before the year’s end.
Mitsubishi and GAC that produce and trade together as GMMC consider the Eupheme EV a “milestone” especially for Mitsubishi’s operations in China.
The Eupheme electric car builds on the Eupheme PHEV. Manufacturer GMMC has an annual production capacity of over 270,000 units per year. They make the Mitsubishi ASX and Outlander SUVs, as well as the GAC Eupheme and now Eupheme EV and GMMC maintains over 300 stores across China.