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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

London’s hybrid buses to wirelessly recharge at stops

Hybrid London buses that use batteries and a motor will now start recharging at stops, wirelessly. The inductive charge should mean the engine won't need to be used as much, or at all.

The inductive charging, built into the bus stops, will be trialled by TfL in four stops in east London from next year. The special Enviro400H E400 hybrid buses, with wireless charging capabilities, will run on route 69 between Canning Town and Walthamstow.

By keeping the batteries topped up the buses should be able to run longer in battery mode meaning lower running costs and less environmental damage. The journey should offer less vibrations and noise while travelling too. The trial should help enhance the electric bus offerings in London.

There are currently six pure electric buses being tested in London also. The Mayor of London wants the city to be the world's first Ultra Low Emission Zone by 2020. There are currently 800 hybrid buses operating in London with 1,700 expected in 2016 – making up 20 per cent of the total bus fleet.

Mike Weston, TfL’s Director of Buses, said: "We are continuing our assessment of new technology in the capital that can deliver genuine environmental benefits. This trial of extended range diesel electric hybrid buses, utilising the latest inductive charging technology, could be a step closer to getting even cleaner double deck buses on London’s streets. We will be closely monitoring the results of the trials, which may help us adopt this new cleaner technology more widely in London."

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV to enter 2014 Australian Safari

Mitsubishi’s top selling Outlander PHEV plug-in hybrid electric vehicle is set to tackle a new frontier when it takes on one of the toughest off-road events in outback Australia next month.

With technical support from Mitsubishi Motors Australia (MMAL), Team Mitsubishi Ralliart Australia (TMR Australia) will enter a plug-in hybrid Outlander PHEV in the iconic Australasian Safari, which takes place in Western Australia from 19-27 September.

It will be the first plug-in hybrid four-wheel drive officially entered in an Australian motorsport event – including the Safari, which is considered one of the most demanding off-road endurance rallies in Australia.

Experienced local driver and co-driver team of Steve Glenney and Bernie Webb will put the TMR Australia petrol electric Outlander PHEV through its paces during the nine-day outback event.

The Outlander PHEV will compete in class A1 for production vehicles, in a category specially created for hybrid or dual powered vehicles.

TMR Australia’s Australasian Safari entry marks the third international off-road rally outing for an Outlander PHEV since its launch in late 2012. Previously, the Outlander PHEV’s all-terrain performance and durability have been tested in the Thailand, Cambodia Asia Cross Country Rally, which the Mitsubishi SUV successfully completed in 2013 and 2014.

TMR Australia Outlander PHEV Safari Team Principal Alan Heaphy said the Australasian Safari is a challenging event that demands stamina and endurance from competitors and vehicles alike.

“We’re very excited about building the first plug-in hybrid to compete in the Australasian Safari,” he said.

“The Outlander PHEV showcases the latest Mitsubishi hybrid and four-wheel drive technology, making it an ideal platform for an entry in the Australasian Safari.

“From our long-term experience working with Mitsubishi products, the quality of engineering and technology is a good match for motorsport, and we’re looking forward to proving the Outlander PHEV’s durability and technology in genuine off-road conditions.”

Competing in Australasian Safari production class A1, the Outlander PHEV will be built to meet FIA specification with only minor modifications made for durability and safety.

To help it withstand the punishing conditions, the Outlander PHEV will have extra underbody and frontal protection, reinforced suspension arms and strut towers along with competition brake pads, rally tyres and springs with adjustable dampers for added strength and durability.

The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is the world’s first plug-in hybrid SUV. It uses Mitsubishi Motors’ advanced electric vehicle technology by combining a 2.0L MIVEC petrol engine with high output 60kW twin front and rear motors, high capacity 12kWh drive battery and regenerative braking system for maximum efficiency and performance.

Mitsubishi Motor Company will support the TMR Australia Outlander PHEV Safari entry by sending three plug-in hybrid specialist engineers to Western Australia for technical assistance during the gruelling seven day event, which will cover more than 2,500 competitive kilometres through sand, salt plains, dry river beds and rugged desert tracks.

The 2014 Australasian Safari concludes in Kalbarri – 600 kilometres north of Perth – on Saturday 27 September.

Next Generation Nissan Leaf to get 300 km range and new look

The next-generation Nissan Leaf will boast a more conventional hatchback look and an improved 300 km driving range, according to a report from Auto Express.

Nissan bosses are promising new battery technology is on the way, with better energy density for a more usable pure electric vehicle. A figure of about 186 miles (300 kilometres) is likely to be the target.

There’s a good chance Nissan will offer smaller battery packs with less range, like Tesla does with its 60kWh and 85kWh packs. The new battery technology and motor will be shared with Nissan’s luxury brand, Infiniti, too.

Source: AutoExpress

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Ultracapacitors to be used for braking energy recuperation in Spanish rail system

Maxwell Technologies, Inc has announced that Win Inertia, an engineering firm specializing in power electronics, energy storage and control and communication systems, is using its ultracapacitors for a stationary wayside braking energy recuperation system at an electric rail system in Cerro Negro, Spain. Win Inertia designed and installed the system under a contract with the Spanish government's Administrator of Railway Infrastructures (ADIF). In this installation, the system also enables ADIF to store excess energy in a battery bank that supplies an electric vehicle (EV) charging station located at the rail station. The facility also seamlessly integrated a photovoltaic (PV) generator to supply additional energy if required.

The recuperation system employs Win Inertia's SHAD® hybrid control technology (international patent pending) to integrate batteries and Maxwell ultracapacitors to increase energy recovery efficiency and reduce stress on the batteries, thereby extending battery life. Ultracapacitors' rapid charge/discharge characteristics uniquely enable them to capture and store more energy during each braking event than battery-based systems, which have limited ability to absorb energy in the few seconds required to stop a vehicle. Win Inertia's high-efficiency hybrid energy storage and power delivery system furthers ADIF's return on investment as it enables dual use of the recuperated energy for rail vehicle propulsion and EV charging. By converting kinetic energy into stored electric energy through regenerative braking, the system recovers 8 to 10 percent of the total energy used by the railway system, which is then used to power the EV charging station.

"By incorporating ultracapacitors, which accept charge from the braking energy recuperation system much more efficiently than batteries, the system recovers significantly more energy," said Eugenio Domínguez Amarillo, Win Inertia's CEO and chief technology officer. "Additionally, by using ultracapacitors to relieve the batteries of the stress of repetitive cycling, we expect to extend battery life by 20 to 25 percent."

Braking energy recuperation systems in electric and hybrid rail vehicles save fuel and electrical energy by using resistance from the electric motor to stop the vehicle, and, through that process, converting kinetic energy that would be wasted in a conventional friction-based braking system into stored electrical energy. Ultracapacitors' high reliability and extremely long operational life also make them a preferred option for heavy cycling electric utility grid applications.

Dr. Franz Fink, Maxwell's president and CEO, said, "Transportation is the world's largest energy consumer, so systems that enhance energy efficiency and reduce fossil fuel consumption and emissions can play a transformational role in energy management and create tremendous long-term growth opportunities for rapidly advancing ultracapacitor technology."

Unlike batteries, which produce and store energy by means of a chemical reaction, ultracapacitors store energy in an electric field. This electrostatic energy storage mechanism enables ultracapacitors to charge and discharge in as little as fractions of a second, perform normally over a broad temperature range (-40°C to +65°C), operate reliably through one million or more charge/discharge cycles and resist shock and vibration. Maxwell offers ultracapacitor cells ranging in capacitance from one to 3,000 farads and multi-cell modules ranging from 16 to 160 volts.

Friday, August 22, 2014

A 'quick' test drive in a Tesla Model S P85+

Earlier this week EV News had the opportunity to test drive a Tesla Model S P85+ around the streets of Sydney. It was only a very brief experience compared to the week long test drives we've had with most other EVs, but it was long enough to confirm that Tesla Motors make electric vehicles that are in a league of their own.

The first thing you notice about the Model S is that it's a big car. All dimensions including wheelbase and track are larger than a full-size car like the Holden Commodore VF. The wheelbase seems governed by the size of the floor mounted flat-pack battery enclosure which makes up 700 kg of the vehicles 2,100 kg kerb weight. The upshot of this being the Model S has more interior storage space (1,796 L) than the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV SUV we tested a few weeks ago.

For such a heavy car the weight wasn't noticeable while driving, although I am familiar with driving full sized cars and the test route didn't allow for any high speed loaded cornering. In acceleration the P85 Model S is stunning! Unlike all other EVs I've driven which have synchronous BLDC permanent magnet motors, the asynchronous AC induction motor in the Model S really gives a kick in the back off the line. So much so I'm thinking perhaps Elon Musk should consider issuing Tesla reps with neck braces for test drives.

The BMW i3 I drove in Munich earlier this year was, up until this week, the fastest EV I had driven. I noticed from a standing start, full off the line acceleration in the i3 didn't really come on strong until over approx 25 km/h, on it's way to 100 km/h in 7 seconds. With 310 kw and 600 Nm peak torque from zero RPM, the 3 phase AC induction motor launches the P85 Model S from a standing start to 100 km/h in just 4 seconds. That's faster than your average Porsche. As with all EVs, mid-speed acceleration was also impressive but with the Tesla, mind blowingly so!

One of the reasons I've been so keen to sample a Model S is because on paper it is the only EV that is broadly comparable to my current daily driver, which has 255 Kw / 475 Nm with a 1600 kg chassis. The 5.7 Lt 4 door sedan does 0-100 km/h in around 5 sec which is faster than both a standard Model S 85 (5.6s) and the 60 version (6.2s). I've clocked up over 300,000 km in this car so am very familiar with it's impressive acceleration, yet the Model S P85 absolutely kills it!

Ever since the Tesla test drive I've been trying to get my head around how the Model S P85's mid-speed acceleration could feel twice as fast as my car. Multiplying the Tesla's 600 Nm peak torque by the 9.73:1 reduction gear ratio gives 5,898 Nm at the rear wheels. Divide that by the 2,100 kg kerb weight and the Model S has 2.8 Nm /kg. Running the same numbers for my Corvette engined family sedan gives 4,476 Nm (in first gear only). Divided by 1,600 kg kerb weigh surprisingly gives the same 2.8 Nm/kg figure.

So why does the P85 feel twice as fast at mid speed? The 3 phase AC, copper rotor, induction motor's torque curve gives a flat 600 Nm between 0 and 5,000 rpm. As with all EVs this broad torque curve allows the Tesla to have a single speed transmission. With the gear ratios commonly used in EVs they're effectively in the equivalent of first gear all the time. So while my ICE powered car has approx the same torque to weigh ratio in first gear, the V8 engine doesn't reach peak torque until 4,000 rpm (which accounts for the extra second 0-100) and rear wheel torque reduces with every up-shift of the gearbox until top gear where maximum torque is down to 'only' 1,000 Nm. By comparison, the Tesla has approx 6,000 Nm available on-demand from standstill up to 70 km/h. Over this speed electric motor torque starts to decrease but at 120 km/h the Model S P85 still has 3,405 Nm at the wheels.

The bottom line is, from a standing start the Tesla has full torque almost immediately (see dyno chart below) and at mid-speeds, due to the advantage of a permanent low gear ratio, the Tesla has up to 6x more peak torque available at the flick of the throttle pedal compared to my reasonably powerful internal combustion engine equipped car. The results are... absolutely devastating acceleration from any speed and an almost permanent 'Tesla grin'.

When a start-up company like Tesla Motors can execute a new luxury car with such startling performance, 500 km range and running costs that are 1/10 th that of equivalent ICE cars, It's no surprise that Mercedes, Audi and BMW are already working on their own versions of the Model S. I don't think it's much of an exaggeration to say this car is revolutionary!

The Model S P85+ as driven was priced around $190k. A basic P85 option package with the full 310 kw / 600 Nm and 21" wheels is $130,600. Unfortunately luxury tax and other government charges add another $25k bringing the total cost to $155k in Australia.

(dyno torque curve from a Tesla Roadster - the Model S P85 has 2x more torque @ the wheels)

The global market for EV traction motors to exceed $25 billion in 2025

The electric vehicle business will approach a massive $500 billion in 2025 with the traction motors being over $25 billion.

Their design, location and integration is changing rapidly. Traction motors propelling land, water and air vehicles along can consist of one inboard motor or - an increasing trend - more than one near the wheels, in the wheels, in the transmission or ganged to get extra power. Integrating is increasing with an increasing number of motor manufacturers making motors with integral controls and sometimes integral gearing. Alternatively they may sell motors to the vehicle manufacturers or to those integrating them into transmission.

In a new report from IDTechEx called "Electric Motors for Hybrid and Pure Electric Vehicles 2015-2025: Land, Water, Air" these complex trends are explained with pie charts, tables, graphs and text and future winning suppliers are identified alongside market forecasts. There are sections on newly important versions such as in-wheel, quadcopter and outboard motor for boats.

Today, with the interest in new traction motor design there is a surge in R&D activities in this area, much of it directed at specific needs such as electric aircraft needing superlative reliability and power to weight ratio. Hybrid vehicles may have the electric motor near the conventional engine or its exhaust and this may mean they need to tolerate temperatures never encountered in pure electric vehicles.

Motors for highly price-sensitive markets such as electric bikes, scooters, e-rickshaws and micro EVs (car-like vehicles not homologated as cars so made more primitively) should avoid the price hikes of neodymium and other rare earths in the magnets.

In-wheel and near-wheel motors in any vehicle need to be very compact. Sometimes they must be disc-shaped to fit in. However, fairly common requirements can be high energy efficiency and cost-effectiveness, high torque (3-4 times nominal value) for acceleration and hill climbing and peak power twice the rated value at high speeds. Wide operating torque range is a common and onerous requirement. Overall energy saving over the drive cycle is typically critical. Usually winding and magnet temperature must be kept below 120C and then there are issues of demagnetisation and mechanical strength.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

BMW Formula E course cars to be equipped with Qualcomm wireless charging

The all-electric FIA Formula E Championship has today confirmed that its course cars for the inaugural season will be fitted with Qualcomm Halo™ wireless charging technology – an inductive charging system which allows the car’s battery to be charged without the use of cables.

With the final specification of car set to be announced shortly, the championship’s technical team took advantage of today’s final test at Donington Park to trial two BMW i8 and two BMW i3 models with the aim to evaluate them for the series’ official course cars. Earlier this year, the German marque was part of the Global Launch event of the Formula E in London.

All four BMWs have been specifically modified to meet FIA requirements, with one of the BMW i3 models featuring an inductive charging system from Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM), with the remaining three vehicles set to be adapted at a later stage. The technology has been developed by San Diego-based Qualcomm Incorporated, one of the official Founding and Technology Partners of the series and a global leader in 3G, 4G and next-generation wireless technologies. The Qualcomm Halo™ technology uses resonant magnetic induction to transfer energy between a ground-based pad and a charging pad fitted to the underside of the vehicle. The cars can then simply park over the base pad for charging to start automatically.

The chosen safety car – which will be officially entitled the Qualcomm Safety Car - will be driven by experienced driver Bruno Correia, whilst the medical and extraction cars will be overseen by FIA Medical Delegate Dr Phil Rayner and his team. The cars will be positioned at the end of the pitlane, charging wirelessly and ready to be rapidly deployed as required during each practice, qualifying and race.

Steve Pazol, GM, Wireless Charging at Qualcomm Incorporated, said: “Qualcomm is honoured to be an integral part of FIA’s Formula E Championship. As electric vehicles become more ubiquitous, charging them wirelessly is an obvious next step in the EV evolution and we are excited to showcase this in Formula E. Motorsport is a known proving ground for new technologies, and in addition to our wireless EV charging technology, Qualcomm will be bringing more of its technologies to bear as the series goes forward.” Alejandro Agag, CEO of Formula E, said: “Qualcomm’s wireless charging system is ground-breaking technology and represents an exciting evolution for charging electric vehicles. Wireless charging has the potential to radically improve the electric vehicle driver experience and Formula E provides the perfect platform in which to develop, test and showcase this exciting new technology.”

Formula E is the FIA’s new fully-electric single-seater championship designed to appeal to a new generation of motorsport fans, whilst accelerating the interest in electric vehicles and promoting sustainability. Competing entirely on city-centre circuits – with races also in China, Malaysia, Uruguay, USA, Monaco, Germany and the UK – it uses cars capable of speeds in excess of 150mph (225kph). Its 10 teams and 20 drivers feature some of the leading international names in motorsport including Alain Prost and Michael Andretti, along with high-profile environmental supporters including Sir Richard Branson.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

LG Chem wins battery order from Audi for plug-in hybrid cars [VIDEO]

South Korea's LG Chem said on Wednesday it had won an order from Audi to supply batteries for its plug-in hybrid and micro hybrid electric vehicles.

LG Chem said the deal was "worth hundreds of millions of dollars" but declined to give further details. It said it expected to win more such orders from Audi parent Volkswagen in the future.

LG Chem, which has secured a total of 20 customers including General Motors, also it aims to achieve combined sales of over $10 billion from large-sized batteries by 2018.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

LG Chem signs battery deal with Volkswagen [VIDEO]

LG Chem has agreed to supply electric-vehicle batteries to Volkswagen, a company executive said Tuesday.

"Volkswagen has designated LG Chem as one of its key battery-sourcing channels to push its electric car projects," the executive said by telephone on condition of anonymity, citing the sensitivity of the issue. "LG is going to supply battery packs and solutions to the German carmaker."

The deal with Volkswagen is not as big as similar deals between LG and other leading carmakers such as General Motors and Ford, said the executive.

The partnership also involves collaboration on various products the German car manufacturer is working to develop as part of its electric-vehicle projects, part of its efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

For example, Volkswagen is working to attain "ultra-low-carbon mobility" for its new eGolf electric vehicle, said officials.

The vehicle is a fully electric version of Volkswagen's popular Golf.

"LG Chem will join futuristic electric car business projects such as [projects to develop] plug-in hybrid electric vehicles led by the German carmaker thanks to the latest battery deal," said the official.

An LG Chem spokesman declined to confirm.

LG Chem has been in talks with Volkswagen over the past four years regarding a business partnership involving batteries for electric vehicles.

The executive said it was Beijing's approval to proceed with LG's plans to build a battery joint venture in China that helped the LG Group affiliate land the partnership with Volkswagen.

Volkswagen plans to spend more than $2 billion on models and on two new facilities in China, increasing total investments in the world's biggest auto market to nearly $8 billion.

LG Chem Chief Financial Officer Cho Suk-jeh told investors and analysts that the company aimed to generate nearly 2 trillion won in revenue from its large battery business, including energy systems, by 2016.

The petrochemical business is the biggest cash cow for LG Chem, accounting for 77 percent of its 5.87 trillion won in sales in the second quarter. Batteries accounted for 12.3 percent and electronic information materials 12.1 percent.

LG Chem is gradually cutting its reliance on petrochemical products as part of an effort to diversify its revenue sources.

On a related note, in 2016 the company plans to begin providing carmakers with batteries capable of powering electric vehicles for at least 200 miles (322 kilometers).

LG Chem currently supplies lithium-ion batteries to General Motors, Ford, Hyundai-Kia, Renault, Volvo, and other carmakers. The 200-mile-plus range of the new batteries is roughly double that of the company's current, first-generation electric-vehicle batteries.

Monday, August 18, 2014

WORLD FIRST: Electric Racer beats field of petrol powered cars.. twice

With less than 4 weeks to go until the inaugural FIA Formula E race in Beijing China, an electric race car in Australia has already made history.

In what is believed to be a world first, a battery powered Radical SR8 entered by ELMOFO in the NSW SuperSports State Championship has become the first electric car to win a race against petrol vehicles in a sanctioned race event. To prove it was no fluke, it won twice!

Not only did the EV win two of the three races comprising round four of the championship, held 17th August at Wakefield Park Raceway, the ELMOFO Radical, driven by Garth Walden, also set the fastest lap time for the entire meeting (57.6870 sec) beating all other categories which included Formula 3 and Sports Sedans.

The ELMOFO Radical is similar in concept to the current Nürburgring EV lap record, the TMG EV P001 built by Toyota Motorsport GmbH and the TMG EV P002 modified by TOYOTA Racing Development U.S.A. to tackle Pikes Peak in 2013.

The race winning electric Radical SREV was built by Newcastle based Solar PV systems firm Solar Power Australia. The car delivers 280 kw (375 hp) and 570 Nm (428 ft-lbs) of torque almost instantly from its twin sequential BLDC motors. Power is controlled by dual Rinehart Motion Systems inverters which are fed voltage from a 37 kWh lithium ion battery pack controlled by a Batrium BMS. Power is transmitted to the rear wheels via a single speed limited slip differential. Performance specs for the all-electric racer, built on a Radical SR8 chassis, include 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 3.5 seconds, 0 to 160 km/h (100 mph) in 6.5 seconds with a top speed of 265 km/h (165 mph).

The 2014 CAMS NSW SuperSports Championship is mostly a one-make series for Radicals, with a couple of Stohr WF1 single seaters also contesting the series. The ELFOMO team have worked hard over the previous three rounds to debug the car and the wins are a just reward for achieving solid reliability. Since the beginning of the season the car has demonstrated it had raw speed by routinely qualifying on the front row of the grid. In only round 4 of the championship the battery powered racer dominated from the front with Walden blasting well ahead of the pack for the first 4 or 5 laps and then backing off a little to preserve the car.

The ELMOFO team would like to thank Rinehart Motion Systems, AM Racing, Batrium, Garth Walden Racing, Royal Purple and the Supersports Racecar Club Committee who have been very supportive of the car, scheduling some races of a length that the battery powered vehicle could complete to ensure it’s inclusion in the series.