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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Panasonic to invest $200-300 million in Tesla battery plant

Panasonic Corp plans to initially invest about 20 billion to 30 billion yen ($200-300 million) in Tesla Motors Inc's planned lithium-ion battery plant in the United States, a person familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

The Japanese company, which already supplies batteries for the electric vehicle maker, will ultimately invest about $1 billion in the planned $5 billion battery "Gigafactory", the person said.

The figures for Panasonic's investments were first reported by the Nikkei business daily earlier on Tuesday.

A Panasonic spokesman declined to confirm the investment figures, saying that while the company has signed a letter of intent to participate in the Tesla battery project and was in talks on the matter, no concrete decisions had been made.

A basic agreement on cooperation on the project between the two companies is due to be announced by the end of this week, with both due to report quarterly earnings results on Thursday, although no investment figures will be disclosed, the person said.

A Tesla spokesman, asked about the Nikkei report, declined to comment on "speculation regarding Panasonic".

Tesla is looking at three sites in the United States to build the Gigafactory plants which by 2020 would be able to make more lithium-ion batteries in a year than were produced worldwide in 2013.

Panasonic said in May it wanted to be the sole battery cell maker at the battery facility.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Tesla Model S: Still the best car in the world? [VIDEO]

CNET On Cars, Episode 46: CNET revisits the Tesla Model S now that it's a bona fide mass production hit.

GM and LG working on Tesla Model 3 competitor with 200 mile range

LG Chem CFO Cho Suk-jeh has revealed the company will supply an automaker with a battery that will allow one of their models to travel more than 200 miles (320 km) on a single charge. Suk-jeh declined to say which automaker will use the battery but all indications are pointing to General Motors.

General Motors executives have said that the automaker is working on an EV that will deliver at least 200 miles of range. The automaker, manufacturer of the Chevrolet Volt, has said it hopes to have the longer-range EV in the market in 2016 to compete with the anticipated Tesla Model III, now scheduled for introduction in late 2016 or early 2017.

LG Chem presently supplies lithium-ion batteries to GM, Ford, Hyundai, Kia, Volvo and Renault, among others.

Doug Parks, GM’s vice president for product development, said in an interview last year that General Motors plans to offer an EV with at least 200 miles of range for a price of around $30,000. That's the target all the major automakers are aiming at for their next-generation electric vehicles, he said.

GM invested $7 million in Battery Start-up Envia Systems in 2011. Unfortunatley the promised 'world record' 400 Watt-­‐ hours/kilogram (Wh/kg) energy density only lasted a few cycles leaving GM to search for more legitimate battery technology partners.

General Motors and LG Group agreed in 2011 to jointly design and engineer future electric vehicles, expanding a relationship built on LG’s work as the battery cell supplier for the Chevrolet Volt and Opel Ampera extended-range EVs.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

BMW i9 Supercar to launch in 2016

Auto Motor und Sport is reporting on a future BMW i9 due to launch in 2016. In the same very year, BMW is celebrating 100 years.

BMW i9 would be based off the i8 hybrid sports car with more power and a beefier appearance. Still featuring a plug-in hybrid, the BMW i9 is said to forgo the 1.5 liter three-cylinder engine in favor for a larger one and with more power.

Furthermore, the i9 would also get a bigger electric battery which will generate more than the 131 hp found in the i8.

Lightweight materials and construction remain top priorities for BMW so if it comes to life, expect the i9 to feature even more carbon fiber and aluminum parts.

The BMW i9 is rumored to run 0 to 100km/h in under 4 seconds and with a top speed above 155 mph.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

All-electric Kia Soul EV test drive in Seoul

Kia have released another promo video for the Soul EV.

The Soul EV is propelled by a liquid-cooled AC synchronous permanent magnet electric motor rated for 109 horsepower and 210 lb-ft of torque. Like most electrics, the motor sends power to the front wheels via a single-speed constant-ratio transmission.

A 96-cell, 27-kWh lithium-ion polymer battery feeds the motor. It lives under the Soul’s floor, and takes a small bite out of rear seat legroom, which shrinks from 39.1 to 36.0 inches. The standard 120-volt charger, which stows under the cargo floor, takes a bigger bite out of luggage capacity, down 5.1 cubic feet to 19.1.

The Soul EV can be charged to 80% in as little as 33 minutes using a 50-kW system, and the Soul EV is fitted with three charging ports. Two of the ports are for conventional AC charging, per SAE standard J1772, and the third for CHAdeMo public stations.

Deliveries began in South Korea in May 2014 with EU and US to follow in the second half of the year. With 200 km range and a price in the $30k range it looks like a solid addition to the EV market.

QUANT e-Sportlimousine with nanoFLOWCELL drive [VIDEO]

nanoFLOWCELL AG introduced their QUANT e-Sportlimousine concept at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year and the company has just announced the car has been approved for road use in Europe.

The company says this is a critical step because they are "working at top speed" on a production version. nanoFLOWCELL AG chief technical officer Nunzio La Vecchia went on to say "This is a historic moment and a milestone not only for our company but perhaps even for the electro-mobility of the future. For the first time an automobile featuring flow-cell electric drive technology will appear on Germany's roads."

The heart of the QUANT e-Sportlimousine prototype is the nanoFLOWCELL® battery. It gives the car a driving range of 600 kilometres. The newest product moving the world towards attractive electrical mobility was conceived at the nanoFLOWCELL DigiLab simulation lab at nanoFLOWCELL AG in Zurich, Switzerland. It is still under active development and the results so far are extremely promising.


All-wheel drive via 4 three-phase induction motors, torque vectoring for optimal drive torque distribution
Peak power: 680 KW (925 PS); 170 KW (231.2 PS) x 4
Operating power: 480 KW (653 PS); 120 KW (163.2 PS) x 4


nominal voltage: 600 V
nominal current: 50 A
tank capacity: 2 x 200 L


0 - 100 KM/H: 2.8 S
top speed: 380 + KM/H
range: projected 400 to 600 KM
energy consumption: 20 KWH/100 KM

Dimensions and weight:

kerb weight with full tanks: 2,300 KG
wheelbase: 3,198 MM

Tesla Battery Pack - Tear Down [VIDEO]

The eSamba project have acquired a Tesla battery pack to reverse engineer &/or use in the VW Samba Bus EV conversion.

Jehu Garcia's eSamba project is part of a 30-odd episode YouTube series where Jehu has recently experimented with building his own 18650 Lithium Ion battery packs. In this weeks episode the guys tear down a battery pack manufactured by Tesla Motors.

It's not made clear in the video which vehicle the Tesla battery pack was removed from other than to say the car in question had done approx 5,000 miles. I believe it is most likely from a RAV4 EV as although the 6 module battery pack shown has a capacity of 18 kWh, approx half the total capacity of 41.8 kWh, under body pictures show the Tesla based RAV4 EV has two separate underfloor lithium ion traction battery packs.

After a bit of disassembly the Tesla 18650 based modules should give the eSamba project a few new ideas.

RAV4 EV Underbody

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Renault all-electric truck hits Paris

As part of its research into goods transport based on sustainable development, Renault Trucks and Guerlain are currently testing an experimental all-electric vehicle operated by Speed Distribution Logistique. This 16 t vehicle will be delivering supplies to Maison de Parfums & Cosmétiques boutiques in Paris over the next two years. It generates no polluting emissions or noise nuisance and will be tested on regular, demanding delivery rounds of over 200 km.

Committed for many years to the principles of sustainable development, Guerlain and the Paris region carrier Speed Distribution Logistique have joined forces with Renault Trucks to test a 16 t all-electric experimental vehicle under actual operating conditions: the 100% electrically-driven Renault Trucks D.

This truck will be carrying out daily deliveries to the Guerlain boutiques in Paris from its distribution centre, covering over 200 km. To operate over such a long route, a first for any electrically-driven vehicle, the Renault Trucks D all-electric will recharge its battery several times during each 24 hour operating cycle. Its route has been planned so that it can carry out two partial recharges during the day and a total recharge between 7 PM and 2 AM.

“The initial tests we’ve carried out using this technology under real operating conditions with our customers have been very satisfying,” explains Christophe Vacquier, Renault Trucks’ project manager. “We are now going further with Guerlain and Speed Distribution Logistique, using the vehicle on 200 km rounds which gives us confidence in the future of this technology.”

The test is scheduled to run until the end of 2015. A full appraisal will then be carried out and added to Renault Trucks’ expertise in the field of electrically-driven medium tonnage vehicles and its customers’ requirements. This will then be used to determine the direction future research will take.

For Alexandre Oulès, director of operations and Philippe Bernard, logistics manager at Guerlain, becoming jointly involved in this unique programme was an obvious choice. For Guerlain has made sustainable development part of its strategy for more than seven years, focused on six major challenges which include a determination to reduce the level of CO2 emissions generated by goods transport. It was also an opportunity to work with Renault Trucks and Speed Distribution Logistique on an innovative project, based on a joint commitment to protect the environment.

Marc Bachini, Speed Distribution Logistique’s founder explains why his company has become involved in this project: “Based on my own convictions, I defined an economic model that respects people and their environment. After having invested in all-electric Renault Maxity delivery vehicles in 2013, this civically-responsible approach naturally led me to pursue this path and incorporate an experimental 16 t all-electric vehicle to be used for warehouse collection. This enabled me to offer Guerlain, a pace-setting company in sustainable development, a totally emission-free delivery cycle.”

The Renault Trucks D all electric: technical characteristics

-GVW: 16.3 tonnes
-Payload: approx.6 tonnes
-Wheelbase: 4,700 mm
-Motor: 103 kW / 400 V LQ 160P asynchronous electric
-Gearbox: ZF 6S800 TSO, manual automated by air activators
-Batteries: 2 Lithium-ion battery packs with a total charge of 170 kWh (battery weight: 2 tonnes)
-Battery recharge: Mains 380 V/64A outlet and braking energy recovery
-Full charging time: approx. 7h
-Operating range: 120 km (without partial recharge)

Friday, July 18, 2014

LG Chem targets EV batteries with range of more than 200 miles in 2016

South Korean supplier LG Chem plans to supply batteries for electric vehicles that can travel more than 200 miles, or 321 kilometers, per charge in 2016, its CFO said on Friday.

The CFO, Cho Suk-jeh, did not elaborate on which automakers will use the so-called second-generation batteries.

LG Chem currently supplies batteries for General Motors, Renault SA and other automakers.

GM's former CEO, Dan Akerson, said last year the U.S. automaker, which currently sells the Chevrolet Volt and Cadillac ELR hybrids, was working on new electric vehicles, including one with a 200-mile driving range.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Redox Ultrabattery achieves high energy and power capacity

Researchers have tested a unique combination of hybrid supercapacitor-battery materials that combines fast electrochemical charge times with the high energy density of a li-ion battery.

Li-ion batteries with high specific energy, high power density, long cycle life and low cost are critical for widespread adoption of electric vehicles. A key bottleneck in achieving this goal is the limited fast charging ability of Li-ion Batteries. Rapid charging causes accelerated degradation of the battery as well as a potential fire hazard due to local over-potential build-up and increased heat generation. Li-ion Batteries have the highest energy density but typically suffer from low power density.

On the other extreme, electrochemical double-layer supercapacitors, which store energy through accumulation of ions on the electrode surface, have low energy storage capacity but very high power density.

A special category of electrochemical capacitors is provided by redox capacitors. Here, charge is stored through surface or bulk (pseudocapacitive) redox reactions, similar to Li-ion Batteries, yet, with a very fast charge transfer response, similar to electrochemical double-layer capacitors. Although excellent capacity retention for extended cycling can be obtained even at high charge - discharge rates, specific capacity of redox capacitors is typically lower than for Li-ion batteries.

The most intuitive approach to combine high energy and high power density within a single device is to combine the different types of energy storage sources. So far, mainly hybridization between electrochemical double-layer capacitors and Li-ion batteries has been explored. The primary drawback of this approach is that power and energy performances are decoupled. At high current densities, the response is dominated by the electrochemical double-layer capacitor component, considerably diminishing the energy density of the hybrid device.

Researchers have now shown that enhanced battery-capacitor hybrids can be constructed by careful choice of the super-capacitor and battery components. They combined a lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) battery material with poly (PTMA) redox capacitor. The PTMA and LiFePO4 hybrid ultra-battery gives best-of-both-worlds performance characteristics: high energy and power capacity as well as fast and stable recharge for more than 1,500 cycles.

In addition to improved cycling and rate performances, the hybrid electrode features a unique fast charge storage mechanism. When a charge current is applied on the hybrid electrode, the polarization of PTMA and LiFePO4 overlap above the equilibrium values and both components are charged (or, oxidized). However, the faster redox kinetics of PTMA results in excess charging of the PTMA component.

When the current supply is stopped, the potential of both components in the electrode tends to reach their equilibrium open circuit potential. However, the electrochemical potential of the PTMA is higher than that of LiFePO4. According to the first law of thermodynamics the overall state-of-charge (SOC) of the electrode will remain unchanged, mainly the PTMA/LiFePO4 charged species ratio will change.

The hybridization of the two separate components yields a remarkable set of properties. The appropriate redox couples, flat-potential profile and elevated specific capacity yet, different redox kinetics for PTMA and LiFePO4, offer a hybrid battery electrode where the fast electrochemical response of PTMA delays the voltage rise during the charge process. This implies significant improvements for the rate performance, cycle lifetime and safety of lithium-ion batteries during rapid recharge.

This novel approach paves the way to new design rules for Li-ion battery electrodes and may prove pivotal in pushing the performance envelope of Li-ion batteries towards the goal of increasing adoption of electric vehicles.

Source: Nature