Tencent acquires Tesla shares: Chinese internet giant Tencent has accumulated a 5% ownership stake in Tesla worth 1.8bn dollars. The technology specialist already got shares of EV start-ups like Future Mobility and NextEV but observers believe that perhaps the new investment is linked to Tesla’s plan to produce in China some day. News of Tencent’s investment led to the constellation that Tesla’s market capitalisation on Wall Street surpassed Ford’s for the first time.
usatoday.com, cnbc.com, electrek.co, electrek.co (Wall Street)
More than 700 km with one charge: Fisker confirms that its luxury EV EMotion hits the road in the course of this year with graphene-based batteries that allow for a 640 km range (we reported). But CEO Henrik Fisker now said, that this is by no means the end of the story: By 2019 he intends to extend the range to up to 700 km, and by 2024 Fisker wants to crack the 1,000 km benchmark, while reducing charging time significantly.
New cash for extended plans: After opening its new UK plant in Ansty on Wednesday, the London Taxi Company (LTC) announces to additionally invest 25m pounds in order to build electric vans there as well. As reported, the company, which is owned by China’s Geely, originally put 300m pounds to mass produce 20,000 electric cabs with range extender every year and further details on the launch of their vans will follow.
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Promising logo: With a mysterious “E” insignia logo Kia is currently on everyone’s lips. The logo appeared in a trademark application at the European Union Intellectual Property Office and suggests that the Korean carmaker may launch a sub-brand to realise its electrification strategy. So far, Kita is solely with its Soul EV on the electric vehicle market. But already by 2018, the manufacturer plans to release an electric version of its Niro.
Electric buses made in Turkey: The Turkish companies Bozankaya and Karsan have signed a cooperation agreement as they seek to produce a considerable amount of electric buses in the province of Bursa. According to the paper, both partners intend to produce 900 models of Bozankaya’s E-Karat in the framework of a three-year contract.
China is pushing up the pace: 2016 China accounted for 43 percent of EV world production (870,000 electric vehicles), followed by Germany with 23 percent and the USA with 17 percent. This statistic is one among other key findings of McKinsey & Company’s current Electric Vehicle Index (EVI).
In the States, 215,100 jobs are linked to EV and HEV production. According to the DOE, 174,600 are attributable to manufacturer and 40,500 to supplier jobs. All in all, 11% of the 2.3 million jobs supported by the motor vehicles and component parts industry were related to alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles.
OEMs vs. tech giants: Management consulting company Oliver Wyman did a research on 85,000 mobility patents from Daimler, BMW, Audi, VW, GM and Tesla as well as from Facebook, Google, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Uber between 2012 and 2016. Its results show a considerably unequal development. While the technology groups increased the amount of their patents at a rate of 70 percents annually, OEMs lost 7 percents. For Wyman this leaves OEMs with just one option – partnerships and additional acquisition rather than to seek tech leadership in all sectors of mobility through own research.
automobilwoche.de, oliverwyman.de (both in German)
Emission free motocross: Honda tuner Mugen took the framework of the Tokyo Motorcycle Show to put the concept of its new electric motocross bike, dubbed E.Rex, in the spotlight. The vehicle is based on Honda’s CRF250R crosser. However, the Japanese manufacturer has not published the motocross bike’s technical details nor production plans yet.
Tool kit for electrified vehicles: Tools that explicitly match the requirements of electrified vehicles is Gedore’s niche. The Germans just launched a set of tools which can be used to repair and maintain EVs of all manufacturers. The so-called L-Boxx contains 53 pieces, all of them VDE-insulated to 1,000 volts.
How to alleviate battery’s capacity fading: Researchers at Yale University developed an ultrathin dendrimer-graphene oxide composite film that can be applied to any sulfur cathode in a Li-sulfur battery system. The film is capable to alleviate capacity fading over battery cycling without compromising the energy or power density of the entire battery.
“Europe has a huge opportunity to win on so many fronts with e-mobility.”
This is how Nicolas Erb, chairman of the Platform on Electro-Mobility asses the European potential. However, he urges EU policymakers to accelerate efforts to electrify urban and inter-city transport. The platform includes EV makers such as Tesla and Renault-Nissan and engineering giants such as Siemens.
“We think that Tesla is morphing into more of a transportation company using vehicle machines sold today as a funding strategy to become something much much bigger, not tapping into hundreds of thousands or millions of cars, but more billions, hundreds of billions of miles.”
Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas states in an interview on CNBC’s Power Lunch where Tesla’s future development could lead to.
Emission free courier service: Daimler and German courier service provider Hermes reach out their hands to enter another strategic partnership in the dynamic global delivery branch. According to their agreement, Hermes will deploy 1,500 electric delivery vans, namely the models Vito and Sprinter, in German metropolitan areas. Before, both partners agreed on a trial period in Stuttgart and Hamburg from early 2018 on. In general, Hermes managers announced that they intend to put their business on an emission free base (concerning all large German cities) by 2025.
media.daimler.com, auto-medienportal.net (in German)
Ola to roll out EVs in India: Ola is the Indian answer to Uber. Now the app based cab service announced plans to roll out EVs across key cities in India in the next three months but did not say how big its electric fleet will be. The cab service just added that the amount of electrified cabs could get extended later on depending on the feedback.
Ontario’s trial network grows: The Canadian municipality of York, Ontario joins the Pan-Ontario Electric Bus Demonstration and Integration Trial. Two weeks ago, the city of Brampton already made an example by announcing the purchase of electric buses and overhead EV charging stations. York intends to participate with 6 electric buses and corresponding charging equipment – the latter provided once more by ABB and Siemens.
100m euros for green grocery delivery: Dutch start-up Picnic earns money by delivering grocery from local distribution centres to its clients using electric vehicles. Just one and a half years after foundation the company managed to gather 100m euros in the course of a new funding round. The extra cash will allow Picnic to expand nationwide.
Three truckloads of Tesla vehicles: A businessman in Ohio ordered and received 21 new Teslas, the bulk of which will serve as company cars. It’s no coincidence that Stanley Chlebowski builds up his all-new fleet solely counting on models of the EV maker. He owns an automotive supplier that makes parts for Tesla.
Click tip I: It’s no longer a rumour how the track of the Berlin ePrix looks like. The promoter of the Formula E has finally revealed the layout for the double race scheduled for 10th and 11th of June. Situated at the apron of closed down Tempelhof airport, the total length of the track is 2.25 km, including 10 curves.
Click tip II: A new rendering of Carscoops shows how next-gen Nissan Leaf could look like. The pictures are embedded in a story about Nissan Leaf’s development since 2010. As reported, launch of the new generation is scheduled for September.
Elon Musk presses ahead with his new company Neuralink to explore the possibilities of implanting electrodes in the brain. The CEO of Tesla and SpaceX warns already for some time that artificial intelligence will outstrip human beings some day. In order to prevent this scenario, Musk counts on “neural lace” technology that would allow people to communicate directly with machines. Any volunteers?
Audi readies production for its first EV: Mid-2018 will see Audi’s first all-electric model roll off the lines and the preparations are in full swing, while normal operations are uphold in parallel, according to Automobil Produktion. The SUV, dubbed Q6 e-tron or C-BEV internally, will be manufactured in Brussels, where the Germans intend to establish a completely new battery assembly on top, thus turning the Belgian location into one of its key factories. Audi chose pouch cells for its model to pack enough energy for its intended range of 500 km.
automobil-produktion.de (in German)
No small Mitsubishi PHEV: The Japanese brand takes a step back from its original plans to produce plug-in hybrid versions of their smaller models like their just-released Eclipse Cross. According to Mitsubishi Motors’ European general manager of communications Daniel Nacass, the technology is not yet cost-effective in small vehicles. Thus, it is likely that Mitsubishi’s next new PHEV will be solely the replacement of the current Outlander PHEV.
BMW third-largest EV player: BMW gained ground last year and now is the world’s third largest electric car maker compared to position 6 in 2015. With a market share of 7 percent BMW follows behind Tesla (9%) and BYD (13%). Volkswagen on the other hand, saw its EV market share drop by 5% in 2016.
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Baden-Württemberg Pavilion – Boosting Future Mobility 34 exhibitors will proudly present the accumulated know how of the German Southwest in the Baden-Württemberg Pavilion at the Hannover Messe from 24 to 28 April 2017 under the slogan “Boosting Future Mobility”. On more than 600 m² exhibition area, you will be able to get first-hand experience of the latest innovative products and key competences such as energy storage, charging infrastructure, precision components, subassemblies, novel test benches and mobility software. Come and visit us at hall 27. e-mobilbw.de (PDF)
How Buick’s Velite 5 looks like: GM’s brand Buick permits a first glance at the serial version of its recently presented Velite Concept for China. A teaser picture of the new range-extended model called Velite 5 shows that it resembles the Chevy Volt not only in technology as expected but looks, too.
carscoops.com, hybridcars.com, media.gm.com
Tesla tackles corporate fleets: The American EV maker just released a new site in order to accelerate sales of its Model S and X to fleet operators. Besides, CEO Elon Musk announced that pre-orders for another project, the solar roof tiles developed by Tesla and SolarCity, will be accepted from April on.
insideevs.com, teslarati.com (website), electrek.co (solar tiles)
Lexus UX to go serial: The Toyota-owned luxury brand has confirmed to build a series version of its UX SUV concept, that was introduced 2016 in Paris. It wouldn’t be surprising if Lexus presents a hybrid version on top.
In the Netherlands, 746 electric cars gathered between Helmond and Eindhoven in an attempt to make it into the Guiness book. However, this world record still awaits official confirmation. Until then, the record for the longest EV parade was held by 577 electric vehicles in Berlin in May 2015.
nieuwsnl.org, autoweek.nl (both in Dutch)
VW part of new battery research centre? A new centre for battery research and development will be set up by Fraunhofer IKTS and IFAM together with TU Braunschweig in Germany (we reported). Now, Fraunhofer president Reimund Neugebauer brought a close cooperation with Volkswagen into the game and said “firm commitments” were made albeit not formally yet.
standort38.de (in German)
Hyperloop to replace airplanes? Germany’s biggest airline Lufthansa shows interest in Elon Musk’s brainchild Hyperloop, German Bild am Sonntag has learnt. First conversations with Hyperloop Transport Technologies (HTT) already took place. Allegedly, Lufthansa has calculated which routes the Hyperloop concept of high-speed travel in tubes could potentially replace, namely Berlin-Munich, Berlin-Cologne, Düsseldorf-Munich and Hamburg-Munich.
bild.de (in German)
From space to street: Computer scientists of the Saarland University in Southwest Germany managed to develop a procedure that allows for better planning of solar battery operations in nano satellites orbiting Earth. According to the researchers, this approach can also be applied down here – for example to calculate battery charges for electric cars much more precisely.
Delta-Q to release new charger: Delta-Q intends to present its first lithium-specific battery charger, the ICL1200 at the ProMat in April. The company seeks to addresses various OEMs and thus, their 1200W charger is suitable for use on any electric machine including scooters and low-speed EVs.
“By 2019 we’ll have an electric vehicle in the range globally and we’re looking at whether by 2021 we could have a plug-in hybrid solution as well.”
That is how Mazda’s UK managing director Jeremy Thomson outlines the electrification strategy for the following years. Speaking at the launch of the new CX-5, Thomson also stated that Mazda is considering the possibilities of hydrogen-fuelled vehicles.
“We hope we have as big an impact on transit as Tesla has had on the light-duty vehicle sector.”
Proterra CEO Ryan Popple intends to become a heavyweight in the electric bus market. He predicts that by 2025 every transit agency in the States and many in Europe and Asia will convert to all-electric buses.
Emission-free mail delivery in Nippon: Japan Post and Honda signed a letter of intent as they seek to introduce electric motorcycles for postal deliveries as an alternative to the current gasoline-powered ones. Besides the testing of EVs, they also want to integrate charging stations at post offices, first for their own use and then for the public to use at a later date.
Pay and charge: UK’s EV charge point network Charge Your Car (CYC) is about to introduce a connection fee in England and Wales. For each charge one pound becomes due. The fee will be implemented from the 1st May 2017, the company stated in an email.
Trial period for hybrid truck: Logistics service provider DSV Sweden is testing a Mercedes Benz Atego Hybrid truck in Malmö. The truck is a hybrid using electricity and the biofuel HVO 100. After a six-month test period of deliveries in Malmö city traffic, the project will be evaluated.
Fast development: More than 3,000 EVs are registered in New Zealand. Half of them (1,513 electric vehicles) were only added last year and the trend points further upwards. 2017 already saw 517 newly registered EVs on the islands.
Reading tip: Deutsche Post AG and its StreetScooter business today is a success story although one could wonder, why a logistics specialist in “Autoland” Germany had to build its own electric vans in the first place. Bloomberg delivers a detailed answer that is indeed worth the read.
Video tip: The newest episode of Fully Charged is dedicated to a road test as usual however, it is not Llewellyn driving himself. Instead he sent Jonny Smith to France in order to test the new Smart EV. Curious about his judgment?
youtube.com via electrek.co
Technic freaks managed to “hack” a Chevy Volt so its steering wheel and pedals became a game controller to drive a Nintendo Mario Kart “live” – even wipers and lights are involved. The cracks won a hacker award for this and clearly, it falls into the category “quite useless but super cool.”
First glance at Skoda EV: In 2020 VW subsidiary Skoda plans to hit the road with its first pure-electric vehicle called Vision E. By publishing a teaser image the carmaker whets our appetite for the planned presentation of its coupe-like concept car at next month’s Shanghai Motor Show. Skoda has technology at its disposal – namely Volkswagen’s MEB global platform – and says is will dedicate “an all-new model” rather than electrifying an existing car.
BYD to build electric buses in France: China’s EV maker will invest 10m euros to set up its first electric bus assembly plant in Western Europe. The planners finally selected Allonne in the Hauts-de-France region. The new facility is to occupy an existing 32,000 sqm building and shall start production in the first half of 2018 with an annual capacity of up to 200 buses. Later on, the Chinese group wants to add an after-sales unit for maintenance and repairs, along with a logistics centre for spare parts.
15 percent PEV rule in California: The most populous state in the U.S. will not follow Trump’s new vehicle pollution standards but will uphold Obama’s (basically its own) ruling instead. Californian regulators voted to push ahead stricter rules for the period from 2022 to 2025 – inclusive the obligation for carmakers to sell 15 percent EV, FCV, or PHEV by 2025. The current rate is around 3 percent.
Buick’s strategy for China: In 2017 Buick seeks to impress its largest market by adopting GM’s proven extended-range electric vehicle technology in new or updated models. The brand presented its Velite Concept with plug-in hybrid technology for the Chinese market recently and the next two years will see more BEV and PHEV from Buick there.
greencarcongress.com, gmauthority.com, media.gm.com
Lexus debuts in India: The Japanese brand enters the Indian market with its RX 450h, ES 300h and LX450d vehicles. Besides, the brand has also pushed its all-new Lexus LS in the spotlight.
automotiveworld.com, ibtimes.co.in, greencarcongress.com
Thailand to attract PEV production: Demand for EV and HEV in Thailand is to receive a boost through a new promotion scheme and tax incentives. The latter shall support manufacture of electrified vehicles with applications for hybrids due this year and for EVs by 2018. The scheme will be submitted for cabinet approval tomorrow.
An exact 7,407 public charging points could be found in Germany as of the end of 2016. Those are 890 more charging posts than six month earlier. 292 of the new stations are DC fast-charging points.
Mail delivery by electric scooters: The team of TUM Create, the joint research project of the technical universities of Munich and Nanyang, developed a three-wheel electric vehicle for mail delivery. It is about to prove its suitability for everyday use as the Singapore Post Ltd. will start a road trial this week. The prototype comes with modular batteries in order to suit various routes. So far, Singapore’s mail service operates a fleet of 674 petrol-driven scooters.
postandparcel.info, tum-create.edu.sg, youtube.com
A123 opens plant in Czech Republic: Besides its facilities in the States and China, Wanxiang subsidiary A123 Systems has established a new site in Czech Ostrava. The battery manufacturer seeks to produce more than 600,000 units of its 12V starter battery and next-gen 48V system a year here.
German-Japanese research: The German Aerospace Centre (DLR) and the Japanese National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology are expanding their scientific cooperation. Both state-funded organisations carry out application-orientated energy research. The first common topics to deal with will be efficient thermoelectric energy converters and battery research.
Charger trial at the Airport: EV charging start-up Zapinamo secured 3.1m pounds by Innovate UK to deploy a mobile charger as part of a pilot project with Heathrow Airport. The prototype is said to charge several electric vehicles simultaneously at speeds of up to 400kW.
Copy cat in reverse: Chinese Chery has filed a trademark complaint against Daimler’s use of the EQ label for green cars. Chery said it utilises the letter combination eQ since two years for certain new energy vehicles and obviously wishes to continue to do so. The case is now with China’s Trademark Office of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, which Chery hopes will bar Mercedes from using the name on the Chinese market.
Subaru’s first EV by 2021: Fuji’ Heavy Industries’ auto division Subaru is readying its first electric car within the next four years, president Yasuyuki Yoshinaga revealed. Its premier plug-in hybrid model however, will not take that long and Subaru plans to launch it by 2018 already – first in the States. This focus may surprise as most carmakers look for growth in China but Yoshinaga believes the Chinese market to be over satiated. Following this westward orientation, Subaru is likely to move away from diesel too, but will keep its boxer engine, only it will be coupled with electric drives in the future.
blick.ch (in German)
VW T-Roc electrified? First images of Volkswagen’s upcoming new T-Roc surfaced together with speculations that the compact SUV may see an electric e-T-Roc and plug-in hybrid T-Roc GTE variant too. Autocar reports that the electric propulsion may be borrowed from smaller Golf models.
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BMW launches China PHEV: BMW together with its JV partner Brilliance kicked off the Zinoro 60H for the Chinese market. The SUV PHEV is based on the BMW X1 and drives with 231 hp from the X1 xDrive25Le iPerformance. Electric range is at 60 km. More Zinoro models with (partially) electric propulsion shall follow.
Peugeot revealed some details on its upcoming plug-in hybrid 508. It will incorporate design elements from the Instinct Concept and build on the EMP2 platform. Launch is due by 2018 as expected.
Tesla drivers just clocked 4 billion electric miles driven worldwide, a counter on the EV makers website revealed. The last billion kilometres have been added in less than 6 months – and counting.
EV expert to lead Nissan in Europe: The Japanese carmaker has appointed Nobusuke Toukura as the head of its European technical center in British Cranfield. Toukura played a key role in the development of Li-ion batteries, EV systems, and fuel cells.
Tesla battery safety patent: The EV maker has filed a patent for a device designed for “charging batteries safely” as it detects and prevents short circuits on cell level. The idea involves a battery management system able to identify the single problematic cell, so Tesla could just swap the module and repair it rather than risking the car catching fire. The patent application has now been released.
electrek.co (incl. patent application in full)
A better bicycle is what Swedish designer Mikael Kjellman had in mind when he created the PodRide. It is a blend between an e-bike and a tiny car as it is pedal-assist but four-wheeled and weather protected. Its 250W electric drive and speed limit of 25 kph make it perfectly road-legal.
EVs to come: Patents are pending that may define the future of electric transport. They range from Ford’s metal oxygen battery over BMW’s cooler electric drive to electricity generating tires.