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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

Toyota Supra, BMW Z4 sports cars to share platform

Toyota Motor and BMW will develop a common platform for two sports car models that will become the first products to come out of a comprehensive tie-up the two inked in January 2013.

The automakers will use the same platform as early as 2017 for the BMW Z4 and a planned revival of the Toyota Supra, a model popular in the 1980s and 1990s. The vehicles will have different body designs and be sold under their respective brands.

The car will have a front-engined direct-injection four cylinder turbo and electric motors driving all four wheels. The supercapacitor system will be derived from technology first seen in Toyota's Hybrid Supra HV-R in 2007 when it won the Tokachi 24 hour race and more recenly Toyota's Le Mans LMP1 race cars.

BMW will supply the 2.0 liter turbocharged engine combined with electric motors produced by BMW at its engine plant in Munich while a Toyota-developed electronics system is expected to provide torque-vectoring capability.

The partners also plan to discuss joint manufacturing and parts procurement. BMW is a leader in building cars with lightweight carbon fiber bodies, but the technology is expensive, leading many to focus on whether Toyota will adopt it.

Toyota's tie-up with BMW is aimed at making use of the German carmaker's luxury-vehicle expertise while lowering costs. Toyota and BMW also jointly work on research for lithium-air battery expected to be more powerful than the lithium-ion batteries used in many hybrid and electric vehicles,

Autocar test the BMW i8 hybrid sports car [VIDEO]

Autocar's in-house race driver Steve Sutcliffe tests the BMW i8 in Scotland.

The i8 has a transverse mid-mounted 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbocharged engine that drives the rear wheels through a six-speed automatic gearbox. An electric motor acts as a starter motor but can also fill in any torque gaps in the engine’s delivery. The front axle is driven separately by an electric motor and two-speed gearbox to create a car of incredible flexibility and complexity.

In eDrive mode the i8 is a zero-emission, front-wheel-drive machine with a useful 129bhp and 184lb ft, a top speed of 75mph and a range of 23 miles. In Comfort mode the i8 is a plug-in hybrid that’s quiet, refined, has a range of up to 310 miles and can be charged from zero to 80 per cent inside two hours.

Select Sport mode by simply moving the gear selector from ‘D’ to ‘S’ and the i8 transforms again. Now the internal combustion engine and electric motor combine as effectively as possible to deliver maximum power, noise and excitement. So configured, the i8 generates 357bhp and 420lb ft. It also tightens its damping, reduces the electric power assistance for the steering and manages the car’s balance by manipulating drive to the front axle for ultimate agility and engagement. The numbers say the i8 combines 135mpg and 49g/km on the one hand or 0-62mph in 4.4sec and 155mph (limited) when driven like a sports car should be.

Panasonic to build gigafactory, produce batteries for Tesla Motors

Japanese electronics giant Panasonic is teaming with Tesla Motors to build batteries for the American electric car manufacturer.

Panasonic is expected to sign a contract this month to help Tesla construct a plant and produce batteries for its vehicles.

Initial operations at the plant are scheduled to commence in 2017 and become fully operational by 2020. The facility will produce batteries for 500,000 vehicles annually.

The American company had been seeking partners for the venture and plans to invest up to $5 billion in the joint project. Panasonic is to be the core participant, likely investing more than 200 million dollars.

Tesla will invest $2 billion in the factory, while the construction will require $4–$5 billion. The rest of the fund will be provided by Tesla’s partners. Tesla is considering other potential investors, such as suppliers of raw materials for the investment.

Panasonic and Tesla signed a deal in Oct 2013, under which Panasonic will increase the supply of battery cells to 2 billion in the 4-year timeframe till 2017. Panasonic has supplied 200 million cells to Tesla in the last 2 years.

In addition, Panasonic doubled its investment for auto batteries to $275 million this year. Panasonic will utilize this additional investment to boost the domestic production of the small lithium-ion batteries for Tesla.

The collaboration ultimately boosted the earnings of Panasonic's lithium-ion battery section into the black for fiscal 2013.

Tesla Motors anticipates selling 35,000 Model S vehicles this year, a 55 percent increase from 2013. The company is also planning to release the Model X, an SUV type electric vehicle, in 2015. The new factory is expected to ultimately boost the number of batteries sold to Tesla Motors.

Panasonic is seeking to increase sales in its EV battery cell sector to 4.5 billion dollars in fiscal 2018. That goal would be a 3.5-fold increase from fiscal 2012.

The company is expanding its battery operations in the hopes of establishing it as a core business. Panasonic's household electronics business previously held that position, but sales have stagnated in recent years.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

200 MPH Porsche 918 Spyder Acceleration Launch Control Test [VIDEO]

German magazine Sport Auto test the Porsche 918 Spyder: Acceleration 0 to 333 km/h.

The fastest ever road-going Porsche, with the weight-optimised 'Weissach' package fitted, accelerates from zero to 62 mph (100 km/h) in just 2.6 seconds, from zero to 124 mph (200 km/h) in 7.2 seconds, and passes the 186 mph (300 km/h) mark after 19.9 seconds.