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Monday, March 19, 2018

Volkswagen reveal ID-R all-electric prototype Pikes Peak racer

Volkswagen has named its latest motorsport project the I.D. R Pikes Peak. This all-electric prototype racing car will compete in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on 24 June in Colorado.

The four-wheel-drive racing car points to the sporting potential of the I.D. family of all-electric vehicles and is also the first step towards a closer relationship between Volkswagen R and Volkswagen Motorsport.

The Volkswagen brand plans to offer more than 20 fully-electric cars by 2025. Manufacture of the first production model of the I.D. family is scheduled to start at the end of 2019 in Zwickau, Germany.

"We want to be at the forefront of electro-mobility with Volkswagen and the I.D. family. Competing in the most famous hillclimb in the world with the I.D. R Pikes Peak is a valuable test for the general development of electric cars."
—Dr. Frank Welsch, Volkswagen Member of the Board of Management with responsibility for Development

The international Pikes Peak Hill Climb, also known as the “Race to the Clouds”, has been held since 1916 near Colorado Springs in the Rocky Mountains. The 12.4-mile route starts at just above 9,000 feet and climbs to the summit at 14,115 feet above sea level.

Volkswagen last entered the Pikes Peak hillclimb in 1987 with a spectacular dual-engine Golf, which generated 652 horsepower. However, Volkswagen did not win.

"It is about time we settled the score. The I.D. R Pikes Peak represents an extremely exciting challenge for us, to show what is possible in motorsport with an electric drivetrain. The entire team behind our driver Romain Dumas is highly motivated to set a new record for electric cars."
—Volkswagen Motorsport Director, Sven Smeets

The record in the electric prototype class currently stands at 8:57.118 minutes, set in 2016 by New Zealand’s Rhys Millen.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

World Rallycross Championship all-electric in 2020

Volkswagen's efforts to push for the development of an all-electric rallycross supercar were revealed by EV News in March 2016 with plans for electric cars to be introduced into the World RX structure announced in August of last year, but a source has now indicated that electric cars will take the place of conventional internal combustion engine Supercars in the headline category after next year.

“Electric cars will be the world championship. They absolutely, categorically will be the world championship,” the source told Autosport.

“Fifteen cars are required to begin in 2020. Nine different manufacturers have been engaged in the discussions and negotiations so far, but the ability to buy the required components and build a car has to be open to privateer teams if they want to go that way too.”

It’s understood that the new electric cars will be based on a common carbon monocoque tub and safety structure that will be supplied as part of a chassis kit, expected to also include suspension and braking systems.

The FIA is expected to issue an invite to tender for the chassis kit in the coming weeks, with an additional invite to tender for batteries.

It’s believed that motors won’t be from a single supplier and neither will the composite body shells that will sit on top of the carbon chassis’, allowing for different models of cars to be used.

An open eMotor formula will spur competitive development of anything from dual, triple and quad-motor all-wheel-drive torque vectoring electric powertrains which could provide the missing link between electric motorsport and road-car technology.

Volkswagen have made clear that its electric Pikes Peak programme is designed as a learning project towards a future factory electric RX entry.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Magna To Unveil etelligent Drive Systems @ CES 2018

Magna’s etelligentDrive systems will be on display at CES 2018. The company’s e1 concept vehicle will be used to demonstrate different electric-drive (e-drive) concepts and systems, as well as demonstrate Magna’s vehicle integration capabilities. The e1 system consists of one highly integrated e-drive system on the front axle and one on the rear axle with two electric motors (e-motors).

Magna says the demo car achieves superior longitudinal and lateral dynamics combined with excellent vehicle stability for more safety. Each e-drive system in the demo vehicle uses 3x 140-kilowatt AC induction motors, adding up to an overall performance of 420-kilowatt peak (560 hp)

The Tesla Model S based e1 concept vehicle demonstrates improved stability and handling with electronic torque vectoring (eTV). The powertrain features an integrated eDrive 140 kW peak AC induction on the front axle while the rear axle has an integrated eDrive with 2 x 140 kW AC induction motors connected to a summation gearbox and axle lock clutch operated by the eTV control system to provide torque vectoring.

Triple electric motor all-wheel-drive powertrains offering dynamic yaw control via torque vectoring represent the next generation in high performance EVs with Honda, Audi, Mitsubishi and most recently Tesla's 2020 Roadster all either in production (Honda NSX, RLX SH-AWD) or soon to be. The ultimate in torque vectoring requires a quad electric motor AWD powertrain but at this time the only OEM known to be considering such a system for volume production is Honda with their next generation NSX due in 2023.

Magna is responsible for providing the e-motor, electronic control module/inverter and the transmission for the Ford Focus BEV and Magna has supplied Volvo with the electrified rear axle drive system (eRAD) featured on the Volvo V60 and S60 plug-in hybrid models. Magna’s eRAD system offers multiple hybrid driving modes while also adding electric all-wheel-drive capability.

More recently, the company announced a joint venture partnership with Hasco in China to produce a high volume e-drive system for a German automaker.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Airbus, Rolls-Royce, and Siemens team up for electric aircraft

Airbus, Rolls-Royce, and Siemens have formed a partnership which aims at developing a near-term flight demonstrator which will be a significant step forward in hybrid-electric propulsion for commercial aircraft.

The three companies together announced the groundbreaking collaboration, bringing together some of the world’s foremost experts in electrical and propulsion technologies, at the Royal Aeronautical Society in London.

The E-Fan X hybrid-electric technology demonstrator is anticipated to fly in 2020 following a comprehensive ground test campaign, provisionally on a BAe 146 flying testbed, with one of the aircraft’s four gas turbine engines replaced by a two megawatt electric motor. Provisions will be made to replace a second gas turbine with an electric motor once system maturity has been proven.

“The E-Fan X is an important next step in our goal of making electric flight a reality in the foreseeable future. The lessons we learned from a long history of electric flight demonstrators, starting with the Cri-Cri, including the e-Genius, E-Star, and culminating most recently with the E-Fan 1.2, as well as the fruits of the E-Aircraft Systems House collaboration with Siemens, will pave the way to a hybrid single-aisle commercial aircraft that is safe, efficient, and cost-effective,” said Paul Eremenko. “We see hybrid-electric propulsion as a compelling technology for the future of aviation.”

The E-Fan X demonstrator will explore the challenges of high-power propulsion systems, such as thermal effects, electric thrust management, altitude and dynamic effects on electric systems and electromagnetic compatibility issues. The objective is to push and mature the technology, performance, safety and reliability enabling quick progress on the hybrid electric technology. The programme also aims at establishing the requirements for future certification of electrically powered aircraft while training a new generation of designers and engineers to bring hybrid-electric commercial aircraft one step closer to reality.

Paul Stein, Rolls-Royce, Chief Technology Officer, said: “The E-Fan X enables us to build on our wealth of electrical expertise to revolutionise flight and welcome in the third generation of aviation. This is an exciting time for us as this technological advancement will result in Rolls-Royce creating the world’s most powerful flying generator.

“Siemens has been driving innovation in core technology fields at full speed,” said Roland Busch, Chief Technology Officer of Siemens. “In April 2016 we opened a new chapter in electric-mobility with the collaboration with Airbus. Building up electric propulsion for aircraft, we are creating new perspectives for our company and also for our customers and society. With the E-Fan X partnership, we now take the next step to demonstrate the technology in the air.”

Among the top challenges for today’s aviation sector is to move towards a means of transport with improved environmental performance, that is more efficient and less reliant on fossil fuels. The partners are committed to meeting the EU technical environmental goals of the European Commission’s Flightpath 2050 Vision for Aviation (reduction of CO2 by 60%, reduction of NOx by 90% and noise reduction by 75%). These cannot be achieved with the technologies existing today. Therefore, Airbus, Rolls-Royce and Siemens are investing in and focusing research work in different technology areas including electrification. Electric and hybrid-electric propulsion are seen today as among the most promising technologies for addressing these challenges.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Renault Samsung unveil new SM3 Z.E with 36 kWh battery

Renault Samsung Motors have unveiled the new SM3 Z.E. at the Daegu International Future Auto Expo in South Korea. Determined to upgrade its electric vehicle range to meet customer demand, and buoyed by the EV expertise it has gained over the past eight years, Groupe Renault is continuing to renew its line-up, the latest example being the new version of the SM3 Z.E. which first appeared in 2013.

The autonomy of the Renault Samsung Motors SM3 Z.E. – the market’s only three-box saloon – has been increased by 57 percent to 213 kilometres based on the Korean type approval cycle.

Battery power has been upped to 36kWh with no increase in weight and, with the average daily trip in South Korea standing at 40 kilometres in 2016 according to a Korean Transportation Safety Authority (KOTSA) report, the new SM3 Z.E. is capable of running for approximately five days on a single charge.

This increase in autonomy and the model’s spacious cabin will permit the SM3 Z.E. to address the strong demand expressed not only by retail customers, but also by state-run fleets and taxi operators. Indeed, 1,200 cars were purchased by South Korea’s Ministry of Health and Welfare last April, while the model is also popular as an EV taxi in Seoul, Daegu and Jeju Island.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Honda to halve electric cars' charging time to 15 minutes

Honda Motor plans to release in 2022 a selection of fully electric cars that can run 240km on a single 15-minute charge. Most electric vehicles now available take at least twice that long to reach an 80% charge even using a high-speed charger.

Key to this plan is developing a new type of high-capacity battery that can handle the ultra-quick charging. The carmaker sources batteries for its electric-gas hybrid vehicles from Panasonic and others, but plans to create the new batteries in collaboration with a partner to be chosen later. A lighter vehicle body and more efficient power control system will ensure the new cars can go farther on a single charge.

Before then, Honda plans to release mass-market electric vehicles in Europe in 2019 and in Japan the following year.

Fast chargers in Japan now provide a maximum output of 150kW, but industry plans call for raising that to 350kW starting in 2020. Europe is expected to have a network of several thousand 350kW charging stations by that year. Honda's next-generation electric vehicles will take advantage of this faster charging infrastructure.

Nissan Motor's new 2018 Leaf will also offer quicker charging times than the current model and range 30% longer -- more than 500km on a single charge. The automaker has a head start on Japanese rivals Honda and Toyota Motor in mass-market electric vehicles.

There were 470,000 electric vehicles on the world's roads in 2016, according to Tokyo-based research firm Fuji Keizai, making up 0.5% of the total. That share is expected to climb to only 4.6% by 2035. By offering faster charging and longer range, Honda hopes to give its electric cars an edge with everyday drivers.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Hitachi to make electric-vehicle motors in China

Hitachi will turn out electrified-automobile motors in China as soon as fiscal 2020, aiming to capitalise on a government initiative to boost production of environmentally friendly vehicles.

Hitachi Automotive Electric Motor Systems, a joint venture of Hitachi Automotive Systems and Honda Motor, established a unit in Guangdong Province dedicated to the development and production of motors for electrified vehicles, including hybrids, according to Monday's announcement.

Outlays for the production facilities, which will be built on an 88,000-sq.-meter plot, and capacity have not been disclosed. Mass production may kick off in the fiscal year starting April 2020. Hitachi also operates similar sites in Japan and the U.S.

Under the new initiative, automakers will soon be required to make and sell a minimum number of so-called new-energy vehicles based their overall output. These vehicles must account for 10% of production in 2019 and 12% in 2020, with adjustments made for such factors as models that run for longer distances.

Global auto manufacturers have indicated plans to upgrade their new-energy vehicle businesses in China.

Hitachi Automotive Systems, which also makes lithium-ion battery systems for autos, seeks to increase sales 260% in fiscal 2020 from the fiscal 2016 level.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Volkswagen is developing an all-electric race car for Pikes Peak 2018

Volkswagen is developing an all-electric race car for the world’s most famous mountain race, the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in Colorado, USA on 24 June 2018. The all-wheel-drive prototype’s goal is to set a new record for electric cars at the finish line, 14,000 feet above sea level. The new motorsport project is part of Volkswagen’s process of transforming itself into the leading producer of electric vehicles. By 2025, the Volkswagen brand will already offer 23 all-electric models.

"The Pikes Peak hill climb is one of the world’s most renowned car races. It poses an enormous challenge and is therefore perfectlly suited to proving the capabilities of upcoming technologies," explains Dr Frank Welsch, Member of the Board responsible for Development. "Our electric race car will be equipped with innovative battery and drive technology. The extreme stress test posed by Pikes Peak will give us important feedback that will benefit future development, and it will showcase our products and their technologies."

The vehicle is being developed by Volkswagen Motorsport in close cooperation with Technical Development in Wolfsburg. "The race on Pikes Peak is a new beginning for us. We are developing an all-electric race vehicle for the first time," explains Sven Smeets, Volkswagen Motorsport Director. "The project is also an important milestone in our new motorsport orientation. Our team is literally electrified about taking on this incredible challenge." Volkswagen Motorsport last participated in the Pikes Peak mountain race in 1987 with a spectacular twin-engined Golf which barely missed finishing. "It is high time for a rematch," continues Smeets.

The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb—which insiders also call the ‘Race to the clouds’—has been run since 1916 in the Rocky Mountains near Colorado Springs. The race course is 12.4 miles long, and it climbs 4,700 feet to the summit at just over 14,000 feet above sea level. The current record in the class of electric prototypes is 8 minutes 57.118 seconds, set by Rhys Millen in 2016.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Volkswagen to launch heavy-duty electric trucks and buses

Volkswagen Truck & Bus are working on electric solutions for use in both medium- and heavy-duty distribution transport and city buses. It will soon have a complete range of electric vehicles for the European market. The jointly developed e-drivetrain will form the basis of any electric architecture in the future.

This electric powertrain is designed in a way that means that it can be used to drive future distribution trucks and city buses manufactured by the Volkswagen Truck & Bus brands as a universal modular element. Navistar, Volkswagen’s strategic partner in the U.S., will also use the platform to be able to offer electric distribution trucks from 2019 onwards.

MAN is already well on its way to developing an electric distribution truck. “We plan to deliver the first nine fully electric trucks to our customers in Austria by the end of 2017 – including large supermarket chains, breweries and haulers.

Electric drives and distribution are a match made in heaven: The drives are quiet, do not produce any emissions locally, and are a perfect fit for customers’ requirements. Equally, demand for these types of vehicles has been on the rise. We will be launching the first small set of vehicles on the market at the end of 2018,” Joachim Drees, CEO of MAN Truck & Bus, explained.

World premiere in Hamburg for the electric distribution truck, the e-Delivery

With the fast-growing emerging economies in mind, another electrically powered distribution truck has been developed, which had its world premiere under the model designation Volkswagen e-Delivery at the Innovation Day. The e-Delivery is a modern truck for urban logistics designed to improve sustainability in the delivery of goods. It will be built at Volkswagen Caminhões e Onibus in Brazil in 2020. Roberto Cortes, CEO of MAN Latin America: “The e-Delivery marks a milestone in the history of Volkswagen Caminhões e Ônibus. This is a brand-new platform that was developed in Brazil with the aim of offering new mobility alternatives to large cities.”

Both MAN and Scania will be testing the module on pre-series production versions of a city bus that runs on electric batteries (BEV) under everyday conditions in several European cities. Series production of these electric buses is due to start before 2020. Both brands can already offer comprehensive advice on introducing electric mobility solutions, along with the necessary charging requirements for electric buses, to bus operators and communities. As part of this endeavor, the focus is on being able to offer a variety of options, such as charging the buses overnight in depots or charging mid-route at bus stops.

Initiatives are under way to find a different way to electrify heavy-duty trucks to make sure that their range and load capacity can become suitable for long-haul traffic. The buzzword for this area of development is “e-road”, which focuses on the use of overhead power lines, as in the rail sector. Trucks powered by overhead lines can run with zero emissions, and any batteries can be charged depending exactly on how many emission-free kilometers still lie ahead. A test route for electric Scania trucks already exists in Sweden. Test routes have also been announced in Germany.

Drive systems of the future will not be uniform, since their aim is to achieve an intelligent transition from diesel engines to alternative drive systems and fuels. “Volkswagen Truck & Bus has announced its aim of becoming number one in the field of alternative drive systems,” Andreas Renschler explained. “The company already has a broadly diversified portfolio, which offers the best possible foundation for this endeavor.”

Transparent structures, clearly defined goals and a wealth of both tried and tested expertise and pioneering technology: Volkswagen Truck & Bus is rapidly becoming a Global Champion. This three-pronged approach, which combines automated transportation, digital services, and environmentally-friendly alternative drive systems, will reduce costs, make rising transport volumes manageable and protect the environment. In implementing the approach, the Group and its brands will set new benchmarks and be able to offer the right solution for every customer.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Porsche Cayman e-volution rips 0-100 km/h in 3.3 Seconds

Porsche have showcased an electric vehicle concept at the Electric Vehicle Symposium in Stuttgart. The Cayman e-volution is a research vehicle with a charging voltage of 800 volts that accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in 3.3 seconds and offers a range of 200 kilometres. Unfortunately, no powertrain details have been released. The vehicle will not go into series production, but does give an early indication of just how sporty Porsche believes e-mobility can be.

The Cayman e-volution also hints at what is to come in 2019, when Porsche will bring its first purely electric sports car, the Mission E, into production. The Mission E will be capable of covering a range of over 500 kilometres, and will be able to charge its batteries to 80 per cent within just 15 minutes.

With Porsche Turbo Charging, the sports car manufacturer is also showcasing its first ever accumulator-based fast charging system, which is capable of achieving a charging capacity of up to 320 kW per vehicle or twice 160 kW. The system is a collaborative development between Porsche Engineering and ADS-TEC, and is particularly suitable for use in areas where the distribution system is subject to power limitations.

The system is to be used as a supplement to high-power fast charging network with medium voltage connection. One of these networks will be built on major European traffic routes by 2020 in a joint venture between Porsche, Audi, BMW, Daimler and Ford.