Groundbreaking for battery factory: German Chancellor Angela Merkel has broken ground at the site for Daimler’s planned 500 million euro factory in Saxony. There, Mercedes subsidiary Accumotive is to assemble battery packs for the upcoming EQ series as well as for Smart ED models, hybrids and commercial electric vehicles. Cells will come from both Samsung and LG Chem with production scheduled to start by mid-2018 in Kamenz. The new facility will be within sight of Accumotive’s existing facility and the site thus quadruples to include a total of 80,000 sqm, probably one reason why Daimler likes to speak of it as a “Gigafactory” à la Tesla.
It’s a Go for VW and JAC as the Chinese authorities agree to the carmakers’ joint endeavour to produce an EV for China as early as next year (we reported). For Volkswagen it is the third joint venture as it already serves its largest market together with FAW and SAIC and thus required the government in Beijing to make an exception. Usually China permits no more than two JVs.
BMW iNEXT to liken I-Pace: It looks like the BMW iNext will bear little to no resemblance with the concept currently making the rounds once it will hit production by 2021. Instead the autonomous EV will go head to head with the likes of the Jaguar i-Pace when it comes to size and style, insiders allege.
Electric SUV from Nissan: The Japanese have their next concept EV on the drawing board and think big this time. Dubbed Vmotion 3.0, Nissan wants to launch the electric SUV within this year and plans to pack all three future technologies inside, namely connectivity, autonomy, and electrification.
Tesla has hit a trade barrier in India, or would be held back if it would attempt to launch the Model 3 there. Elon Musk had to turn down requests from Indian Tesla fans, saying that India’s manufacturing is not advanced enough for the EV maker to comply with the 30 percent locally sourced components rule.
twitter.com (feed) via intoday.in
Meanwhile, Tesla rewards early-ish adopters as it binds unlimited Supercharger access to owners rather than the vehicle. This means those who ordered any model between January 15, 2017 and yesterday fast-charge free for life. For anyone new buying into Tesla, the 400 kWh credit applies.
Cells made in Germany: Details emerged on the planned battery production from TerraE as the newly founded firm confirms its intent to build a German Gigafactory. It will follow the principle of a foundry known from the semi conductor industry and will build up capacities to make up to 34 GWh per year successively until 2028. BMZ and Leclanché sign responsible, while Holger Gritzka, formerly ThyssenKrupp has been appointed as CEO.
electrive.net (in German)
VW incubator: Volkswagen reaches out to start-ups as its opens its transparent factory in Dresden for an incubator programme. One company from Berlin pitched successfully despite (or because of) its unusual concept. Tretbox is a pedelec but sheltered like a car.
emobilitaetonline.de (in German), tretbox.com
Million mark passed: Electric buses in the Dutch city of Eindhoven have billed one million kilometres since their inception last December. The 43 VDL Citea single deckers operate across eight different routes and owner Hermes says the buses are running for about 9,000km each day on average.
“New control algorithm feels as smooth as silk.”
Such self-promotion seems smug even if it comes from Elon Musk. The Tesla boss sings the praise for the Autopilot update due by June but his remark comes after users complained about the last update that felt a little rougher than usual.
“Our goal is to be known as the electric truck company that caters to fleets. That’s why we arrived at a hybrid, or a range extender.”
What Workhorse CEO Steve Burns wants to say is that his business clients need to know that they will get the job done with an electric pick-up despite the lower electric range. The latter is due to high cost for batteries Workhorse needs to balance.
210,000 charge spots in Shanghai: The Chinese harbour metropolis is fast becoming China’s model EV city. 210,000 charging facilities are to stand by 2020 with both the authorities and businesses making an effort. Currently most new energy vehicle drivers charge at the workplace but wish to see more opportunities to rejuice in residential areas as well. There are about 30 charge point operators in Shanghai at the moment with fees often paid via mobile app/s.
Paris ePrix is to generate energy even after the heat of the race is over as the Formula E leaves behind a glycerine generator. It produces electricity from a diesel by-product clean enough to drink and can be used to power buildings or EV charging stations. It sure prove of use to Swiss pilot Sebastien Buemi, who scored yet another victory in this Formula E season last weekend.
automobilsport.com (generator), motorsport.com (ePrix)
A first for India: The city of Nagpur wants to electrify the entire cab fleet. A pilot will start later this week with 200 electric taxis provided by the municipal government. The vehicles have yet to be confirmed but will likely be either e20 Plus or the e-Verito.
Share a bike in Sacramento: 900 bicycles will become available in California’s capital with the first 50 having launched already through Social Bicycles. The company plans to make 900 available, 100 of them electric by November but is still seeking sponsors.
Video tip: New life has been given to a 1990 Volkswagen Vanagon Transporter Doppelkabine pickup truck when EVTV combined it with a Tesla drive. Ludicrous mode is most certainly on.
youtube.com via ev.network
Reading tip: A plug-in hybrid below 20,000 GBP (22,375 euros) is worth considering and Autocar finds Hyundai’s Ioniq PHEV “worthy” and got “very creditable” results on range and fuel economy.
Mitsubishi is to revive the past with the car that started it all – the Model A (Tesla missed out on that one). But more than a remake, the chassis from 1917 will sit on the Outlander PHEV platform, thus forming a bridge to today’s technology.
Autonomous e-shuttle by ZF & e.GO: RWTH Aachen’s e.Go Mobile does it again and this time got ZF on board to bring its latest electric vehicle closer to market. They will set up e.GO Moove as a joint venture to develop and produce autonomous electric vans to transport both cargo and people. A first prototype has been unveiled on campus, where it is in good company – e.Go Mobile has recently presented its electric car e.Go Life supported by Bosch and once came up with the StreetScooter that Deutsche Post DHL took on to commercialise. With ZF and its subsidiary NDivia joining the team, expect e.Go Moove to move on to production and sales soon. The JV will be located in Aachen.
VW must offer 3 EV models in California by 2019, upon request by CARB after diesel gate. The Golden State wants to see an electric crossover and one other model joining the e-Golf. On top, VW must sell at least 35,000 EVs until 2025, all whilst paying its 66m dollar fee to California.
Leaf to launch in September: Nissan’s new take on the Leaf will be revealed on September, 6th in Tokyo, said Nissan’s chief for North Europe Pierril Pouret. Details have not been provided but more range and autonomy were promised and a tiny teaser picture published.
tu.no (in Norwegian) via insideevs.com, electrek.co (teaser photo)
Skating the last mile: Lion E-Mobility believes an electric skateboard worth a quarter million dollars as it invests in Inboard Technology. The Californian start-up developed its own mini hub motors and a swappable battery that goes into the deck of a skateboard, the M1. Lion hopes to utilise the technology for various last mile mobility devices and will work with the skaters on power pack and sales.
Daimler batteries destined for USA: Viviant has been appointed Daimler’s partner to bring its home energy storage system to the States. Powerwalls made in Germany shall be offered together with Viviant’s own PV solutions, first in California. The move will sure stir Tesla and its SolarCity.
reuters.com, vivintsolar.com, greencarcongress.com
The Solo trike will hit the stores within weeks as Electra Meccanica is only awaiting road approval in Canada and the States. The light weight electric trike is priced at 19,888 Canadian dollars and has been pre-ordered around 500 times. For early 2019, Electra Meccanica announced its electric roadster Tofino.
An average price of 41,000 dollars would enable Tesla to break even with its Model 3, UBS analysts suppose. The investment bankers’ further predict, that total cost of ownership for electric cars will fall to the level of petrol-powered vehicles next year, after finding that production is cheaper than expected.
telegraph.co.uk, electrek.co, de.scribd.com
OSVehicle introduces modular EV: Known for its open source platform Tabby, the company presents a self-driving EV called EDIT. Its modular design shall attract B2B clients (e.g. car sharing providers or delivery services) as the car is easily adaptable to different usage requirements. That also applies to the interior space with its autonomous driving tech reaching from level 1 to 5.
charged.io, geekreply.com, osvehicle.com
Headless shuttle for heavy loads: Kamag introduced its E-Wiesel AGV pallet, an autonomous electric transporter that lacks a driver’s cab and thus can be loaded from both sides with up to 30 tonnes. Navigation is handled through sensor technology and loading and unloading is automated too.
Hybrid power for heavy trucks: The Finnish companies Visedo and Sisu Auto developed a hybrid electric power system for the heavy road transport sector. The parallel hybrid drive relies on an electric motor as well as a diesel engine and shall provide up to 850kW and more than 5000Nm torque.
Insights of Elektra-2: The SolarStratos project reported the maiden flight of its ultra-light solar aircraft two weeks ago and now has details. Weighing 420 kilo with a wing span of 25 metres, Elektra-2 uses technology from the DLR spin-off Elektra-Solar. It aims to fly 20 km high with a payload of up to 100 kg.
“We want electrification to be a bonus.”
Talking about Ford’s first all-electric crossover planned for 2020, CTO Raj Nair adds that buying an EV shall not have its trade-offs when it comes to performance and features. He wants buyers to appreciate them even more than conventional cars.
“I do believe this market cap is higher than we have any right to deserve. We’re a money-losing company.”
Tesla CEO Elon Musk considers the market value of its own company overrated. It recently reached 50bn dollars and even overtook GM’s market cap in April.
Daimler electrifies car sharing: Hamburg’s electrification is happening as Daimler follows BMW’s DriveNow in arranging a mobility partnership with the Hanseatic town. Mercedes’ first step will be to switch the entire Car2go fleet (400 cars) to electric and to kick-off projects that involve commercial EVs as the cooperation shall include private and public transport as well as business traffic. Hamburg in turn will reportedly install 1,150 charge points and reserve 150 of them for car sharing vehicles of any maker, it appears.
electrive.net (in German)
Charging the Alps: Swiss utility Groupe E intends to invest additional 10m francs in the installation of several hundred EV charging stations in order to expand its Move network it initiated in 2013. A newly founded company is soon to take charge of the network’s operation and development.
Alliance for electric buses: Voyages Emile Weber enters a cooperation with MAN Truck & Bus and Losch Luxembourg in order to launch emission-free buses. From 2020 the purchase of diesel buses will be prohibited in the Grand Duchy and so Emile Weber will add four electric buses to its own fleet.
Portable charging stations for NYC: Charging company Envision Solar signed a 3 year contract with New York City worth 3.8m dollars. The first order includes at least 30 mobile charging stations EV ARC, which shall be deployed across five boroughs and offer a solar-powered charge to the city’s EV owners.
EV discovery centre in Canada: Thanks to 1m dollars raised by the Ontario government, a centre has opened in Toronto, where visitors can learn how EVs work, take various models for test drives and get information about subsidies and rebates before being referred to a dealer.
Reading tip I: Is Tesla providing working conditions close to “karoshi” (Japanese for overwork death)? The Guardian quotes workers in Fremont, who complain about an immense work load, reports an above average number of cases of breakdowns at the production lines, and also confronts Elon Musk.
Reading tip II: Croatia is becoming an EV hotspot as a former employee of the country’s EV maker Rimac returned to his hometown Rijeka to open his own business for electric cars and motorbikes.
The early days of the automobile knew no limit but that would change when in 1899, the police arrested a driver for speeding for the first time. Jacob German was driving his electric car at an eye-watering 12 mph – 4 mph above the era’s speed limit. The police must have come running.
Electric cabs only in Oslo? Norway’s capital may be next to move towards a diesel-free future as Oslo wants to eject all diesel taxis and allow electric ones only, Taxi Times reports. The cleanse could start by 2022 with the city council’s decision due by 2018 and a group for the transformation process been established already. It would be a regional regulation made possible by the Norwegian government’s decision to leave taxi transport rules to municipalities.
taxi-times.com (in German), dagbladet.no (in Norwegian)
Meanwhile, Norwegian civilians are taking deliveries of the Ampera-e aka the Chevy Bolt. Opel chose Norway’s national holiday to serve the first three customers and said there are another 4,000 orders awaiting fulfilment.
Policy pledge on pollution: With the General Election in the UK on the horizon, opposition parties rush to swing voters and thus the Liberal Democrat manifesto promises a ban on sales of diesel cars from 2025. It is part of the party’s Green Transport Act, which also wants to increase electrification.
Rheinmetall enters e-mobility: An order worth 100m dollars has reached mobility and military supplier Rheinmetall, which is to deliver electric motor housings over the next seven years. The commission comes from an unnamed but “globally operating German carmaker” who is to utilise the casings for cars build for the Chinese market. Consequently, production will take place at Rheinmetall’s Chinese subsidiary KPSNC in Shanghai from mid-2018.
Volvo opens order book: The second-gen Volvo XC60 is now available in the USA, where it will hit the shelves this autumn. Prices for the top line T8 Twin Engine with a 400 hp PHEV system start from 52,900 dollars.
Campaign concept vehicle: Japanese Asahi Kasei and GLM have come up with a three-seat electric SUV. The 225 kW concepts builds on GLM’s EV platform but will most likely never roll off a production line. Asahi Kasei rather sees the electric car as a vehicle to presents its materials and tech to OEMs.
More than 10,000 electric vehicles saw the light of the day behind the factory gates in France in this year’s first quarter. The month of April however, was weaker compared to the same month in 2016, when 30 percent more EVs were sold than the recent 1,844 registrations.
avere-france.org (in French)
Dynamic charging at 20 kW: Wireless charging of moving electric vehicles has just been demonstrated by Qualcomm as part of the EU backed FABRIC project. The company said its Halo technology delivered up 20 kW to two Renault Kangoo ZE on the 100m test track. They also managed to refuel both vehicles at the same time on the same stretch. Another partner of the 9m euro project, Vedecom, is now to perform further safety tests. FABRIC is to continue through December 2017 with 25 organisations from nine EU countries going d’accord.
Compact electric excavator: Volvo Construction Equipment presents the EX2 prototype, an electric excavator said to be ten times more efficient than its conventional equivalent. Plus, he emits only a tenth of the noise obviously but so far, the EX2 is just a concept machine.
lectura.press, forconstructionpros.com (video)
Next-gen steel: 1.8 million dollars have been awarded to AK Steel through the DOE to develop electrical steels for hybrid and electric vehicle motors. The three year project is part of the Next Generation Electric Machines (NGEM) programme and has motor maker Regal Beloit Corporation on board as well.
Twice the range for any EV is the aim of Swedish fuel cell maker myFC for its Lamina Range Extender. Commercial tests are scheduled for 2018 and myFC says the REx based on its own fuel cell and the patented JAQ fuel and hopes it will combine both worlds of hydrogen and batteries.
“We have to recognise that Tesla has managed to offer such a car for which people are lining up. In this area, there should also be space for us, with high quality and attractive design.”
Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson credits Tesla with launching demand for electric vehicles, which he believes will also play into his own mission.
“When manufacturers say buyers aren’t interested in buying electric vehicles, it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.”
Gina Coplon-Newfield, director of electric vehicles initiative at the Sierra Club. Her organisation had 308 tested car dealers and found that most did not know much about electric cars or were mis-informed.
French invasion: Stuttgart, the stronghold of the German car industry, will see its officials cueing in its congested streets in Renaults rather than Mercedes or Porsches. The city council just ordered 32 Kangoo Z.E. together with twelve Zoe to join the municipal fleet. German manufacturers had either not answered the town’s tender at all or only with too expensive an offer. A new invitation to bid will be issued soon though, this time for two-seaters so Daimler’s Smart ED may get its chance to gain back some home territory.
stuttgarter-nachrichten.de (in German)
In a reverse coup, Bosch’s electric scooter sharing will gain ground in the French capital. This summer will see 600 such COUP two-wheelers flock to Paris. The free-float service (within business territory) first took off in Berlin, where its fleet is to grow to 1,000 electric mopeds before the year’s end.
Hydrogen networking: Toyota and Honda together with 8 more partners want to establish a JV to grow their homelands H2 station network from today’s 90 to 400 fills within ten years. Installation is to start next year but a basic agreement is due to be signed soon.
Moving forward: Carsharer Communauto confirmed its pilot project in Montreal after receiving assurance that its users will have enough parking spaces. The fleet counts 120 EVs to date and over the next few weeks, 300 new hybrids will be brought into service in Canada as well as in France.
Moving forward too is the Swedish police that tested electric cars reportedly. The units sparked “positive reactions” and so the officers will continue to use them although not for patrols but on shorter distances rather.
Click tip I: Research institution ICCT analysed diesel registrations in Europe and found them in stark decline. This March marked a five year low for all major markets, namely France, Germany, Spain and England.
Click tip II: More and more pictures emerge of sightings of the Tesla Model 3. In Ohio alone about 100 of them are said to run crash tests at the moment. Teslarati collected the latest shots.
insideevs.com (Ohio), teslarati.com