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Sunday, May 1, 2016

2017 BMW i3 goes 180 km with new 33-kWh battery [VIDEO]

Today BMW announced that BMW i will offer a new model range of its compact electric car, the BMW i3 and from the 2017 model year will be offering a new version with more than 50% increased battery capacity. The 2017 BMW i3 (94 Ah) has a capacity of 33 kilowatt hours (kWh) thanks to the higher energy density of the lithium ion cells.

The BMW i team worked to ensure that the battery dimensions remain unchanged while still offering a significant range increase. Even in everyday conditions, the new Battery Electric BMW i3, in varying weather conditions and with the air conditioning or heating turned on, a range of up to 114 miles combined1 (hwy/city) is possible as shown by independent BMW testing cycles. The driving performance figures of the 170 hp AC synchronous electric motor remain virtually unchanged. The motor propels the BMW i3 from 0 to 60 mph in just over 7 seconds.

This makes the BMW i3 both the sportiest and most efficient electric vehicle in its segment with an expected EPA electricity consumption of 27 kWh/100mi. In addition to the Battery Electric BMW i3, the Range Extender model will also feature the 94 Ah battery. When equipped with the Range Extender, if the driver requires additional range, the 2-cylinder gasoline engine is switched on once the battery is depleted to 6.5% state of charge and keeps the charge level of the battery constant while driving and provides an additional range thanks to a 25% larger fuel tank (2.4 gallons). With the introduction of the BMW i3 (94 Ah), BMW i now also offers a new BMW Home Charger Connect, a residential charging station designed for comfortable and fast home charging featuring additional connected functions. Pricing for the 2017 BMW i3 (94 Ah) will be released closer to market launch.

Higher storage density of the battery cells.

The BMW i3 (94 Ah) sets a new benchmark in its segment with 94 ampere hours (Ah) cell capacity, 33 kWh total battery energy, and an electric range of approximately 114 miles combined1 (hwy/city) on one full battery charge. Consuming only 27 kWh/100mi the BMW i3 is the most efficient car in its segment with the lowest electricity consumption costs of approximately 2.81 USD/100mi4.

The high-voltage battery of the BMW i3 consists of eight modules with twelve storage cells each and its capacity has increased by more than 50% without any changes in exterior dimensions. By optimizing the cell-internal packages with more electrolyte and adapting the active material, BMW and Samsung SDI have succeeded in increasing cell capacity to 94 Ah and overall battery energy to 33 kWh of which 27.2 kWh can be effectively used. The previous battery of the BMW i3 (60 Ah) produced 22 kWh (gross)/19 kWh (net).

The lithium ion cells used, set themselves apart in the competitive field by achieving a special balance between high energy density, cycle stability and safety in the case of an accident. The high-voltage battery also has an advanced thermal management system that keeps the battery operating in the optimal temperature range, which further enhances performance. For example, the coolant of the air conditioning system is responsible for cooling the high-voltage battery very effectively, while a heating system can also be used to warm the battery to ensure the optimal operating temperature before starting off. Customers receive an 8-year/100,000-mile High-voltage Battery Warranty.

The BMW i3 – a benchmark in terms of sustainability

During the development phase of the BMW i3, the entire architecture of the electric drivetrain was designed with the next technological steps as well as serviceability in mind. For example, if necessary a single battery module can be exchanged which distinguishes the BMW i3 from other competitive offers and represents an integral component of the holistic BMW i concept of sustainability. From the production stand point, sustainability is achieved to a large extent through the CO2 free electricity supply of the BMW i production sites in Leipzig (assembly) and Moses Lake (CFRP production) as well as through the use of 70 percent less water in the production process compared to conventional automobiles.

Optimized performance delivery, more efficient drive.

The BMW i3 is by far the lightest car in its segment. Despite the slight weight increase, at 2,961 lbs (BEV), and 3,234 lbs (REX), the BMW i3 (94 Ah) is characterized by driving performance, which is subjectively as agile as the 60 Ah model variant. The BMW i3 (94 Ah) is also powered by the same 3 phase AC synchronous electric motor developed in-house by the BMW Group. The motor generates an output of 170 hp and delivers 184 lb-ft of torque which is available as soon as the electric motor begins to turn. The BMW i3 (94 Ah) accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in just over 7 seconds. The impressive electric motor, small turning circle of 32.3 feet, – a major benefit to driving in the city – BMW’s near-perfect 50- 50 weight distribution, precise electric power steering and the stable suspension set-up help to make the i3 as satisfying to drive as every other BMW.

The sporty character of the BMW i3’s electric motor is also clearly noticeable by its performance figure of 5.1 seconds accelerating from 50 to 75 mph. This is a decisive factor for enabling fast and safe passing maneuvers, and is normally only achieved by combustion engine powered cars with considerably higher outputs. The BMW i3 (94 Ah) is close to the level of cars such as the (320 hp) BMW 340i. Power is transmitted to the rear wheels via the single-speed transmission, which the BMW i3 uses to accelerate without torque interruption to its electronically limited top speed of 93 mph.

The electric consumption of the BMW i3 (94 Ah) has also been reduced by a large number of detail improvements including revised electric motor management as well as advanced low-resistance tires with optimized compound.

Charging times.

The 7.4 kW charging electronics of the BMW i3 (94 Ah) can charge the 33 kWh battery in approximately 4.5 hours using a Level 2 charger, which is slightly more than the approximately 3.5 hours required to charge the battery on a BMW i3 (60 Ah). Standard equipment of the BMW i3 includes the occasional use cable for connecting it to a domestic power socket. Core elements such as range, hallmark BMW agility thanks to low weight and overnight battery charging remain in place.

The BMW i3 is equipped with the future-proof 50 kW direct current (DC) fast charging technology. When the BMW i3 (94 Ah) is connected to a DC fast charging station, the battery cells are charged up to a minimum of 80 percent of their capacity in less than 40 minutes. In the BMW i3 (60 Ah) this takes around 25 minutes. This means that the BMW i3 (94 Ah) achieves a charging speed of 2.5 mi/min which corresponds to 24 minutes charging time per 62 miles of range.

Range Extender for even greater range.

BMW i also offers a Range Extender for the BMW i3 (94 Ah).The range of the BMW i3 is extended by a 650 cc 2-cylinder gasoline engine which is located adjacent to the electric drive above the rear axle. The Range Extender engine delivers a maximum output of 38 hp and powers a generator in order to produce electricity, working on a required-based and highly efficient principle. For those occasional times where additional range is required, as soon as the charging level of the lithium ion batteries drops to a specified level, the Range Extender kicks in to keep the charging level constant effectively extending the range. Fitting the car with the Range Extender has no influence on the available luggage volume: the luggage compartment volume remains unchanged at 15.1 ft3 and can be extended to 36.9 ft3 with the rear seats folded down. The BMW i3 (94 Ah) now features a 2.4 gallon fuel tank improving the range from the previous model.

The BMW i3 (94 Ah) with Range Extender weighs approximately an extra 270 lb compared to the Battery Electric BMW i3 but is also characterized by a high level of agility and offers impressive performance figures. It accelerates from zero to 60 mph in just 8 seconds.

New equipment on the BMW i3.

The BMW i3 (94 Ah) is now available in the exclusive Protonic Blue metallic exterior color, previously only available in the US on the BMW i8. The BMW i3 (94 Ah) customer can also choose from two non-metallic paint colors (Capparis White and Fluid Black) and, in addition to Protonic Blue, three metallic paintwork colors (Mineral Grey, Platinum Silver and Ionic Silver).

The Deka World is now part of the standard profile of the BMW i3 (94 Ah) and features a lightweight dark cloth fabric interior made from recycled materials. Other changes to the standard profile include the addition of the Universal Garage Door Opener, Advanced Real- Time Traffic Information, and Comfort Access. As part of the Tera World, a Dark Oak Wood trim is also now included, with an alternative Light Eucalyptus Wood trim available as well. These trims are also available for ordering with the Giga World.

The highly anticipated electric moonroof is also available for ordering for the first time in the US. This option features individual shades and adds to the great set of convenience features that the BMW i3 has to offer.

Standard profile and equipment for the BMW i3 (94 Ah) includes: Automatic climate control, Dynamic Cruise Control, LED Headlights, HD Radio, DC Fast Charging, Navigation Business System, BMW Assist and BMW Teleservices. Other standard features include: the iDrive operation system, the BMW i RemoteApp functionalities, the Driving Dynamic Control switch, hands-free telephone operation, leather steering wheel and Park Distance Control (PDC).

BMW i3 – a success story.

The BMW Group took on a pioneering role when it founded the BMW i brand and decided to develop an independent vehicle structure and passenger cells made of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) as well as BMW eDrive technology for a purely electric drive. The BMW i3, which was designed for local emissions-free urban mobility, as well as the trail- blazing BMW i8 Plug-in-Hybrid sports car combined with sustainability-oriented premium character. Since the November 2013 launch, the BMW i3 has already established itself at the top of its segment. The most important single market for the purely electric five door BMW i3 is the U.S. More than 80 percent of buyers deciding on a BMW i3 worldwide are new customers for the BMW Group. The BMW i3 and the BMW i8 received a large number of awards for innovations in the areas of lightweight construction, drive, sustainability, driving performance and design. This makes BMW i the brand to win the most awards in the world during its market launch phase.

Comfortable home charging: the new BMW Home Charger Connect. In late 2016, BMW i will be offering the new BMW Home Charger Connect, a residential charging station designed for comfortable and fast home charging. The new BMW Home Charger Connect, with a more compact, sleeker design, charges the battery of the BMW i3 (94 Ah) in approximately four hours and 30 minutes. The charging process starts automatically as soon as the car and charging cable are connected. The BMW Home Charger Connect is operated using an LED interface.

The BMW Home Charger Connect comes standard with WiFi and will feature innovative charging services which can be accessed remotely. This charger helps preserve vehicle range as it can precondition the vehicle battery when connected.

On the go: convenient public charging with ChargeNow.

ChargeNow is designed to optimize the public charging experience for BMW i customers, for easy access to public charging options. Thanks to ChargeNow’s partnerships with leading public EV charging network providers, BMW i drivers enjoy convenient access to public chargers along the way. Learn more at www.chargenowusa.com.

ChargeNow DC Fast5: Eligible BMW i3 drivers can recharge for no charge.

Offered by BMW in cooperation with EVgo, ChargeNow DC Fast allows eligible BMW i3 drivers in participating markets to enjoy 24 months of no cost charging sessions for the BMW i3 at participating EVgo Stations. Enrolled BMW i3 customers can use the ChargeNow card for unlimited 30 minute, DC Fast Combo charging sessions and Unlimited 1 hour, Level 2 charging sessions.

The BMW i3 is equipped with the future-proof 50 kW direct current (DC) Fast charging technology. When the BMW i3 (94 Ah) is connected to a DC Fast charging station, the battery cells are charged up to 80 percent of their capacity in less than 40 minutes. In the BMW i3 (60 Ah) this takes approximately 25 minutes.

ConnectedDrive: Setting standards through Connectivity.

The optional Navigation System Professional provides BMW ConnectedDrive Services especially developed for BMW i. The range assistant follows the planned and currently driven route. If the destination selected in the navigation system is beyond the car’s range, the driver receives the suggestion to shift to the ECO PRO or ECO PRO+ mode. Additionally, the system calculates a more efficient alternative route. Should it be necessary to recharge at a public charging station, the driver is shown all the available stations along the planned route.

A dynamic range map is another central element of the connected navigation unit. Apart from the current charging status of the battery, the driving style, the activated electric comfort functions and the selected driving mode, the topographic features, the current traffic situation and the outside temperature are all taken into consideration. The Advanced Real Time Traffic Information (ARTTI) data is used for this purpose. The data is provided by the BMW ConnectedDrive Server.

The BMW i3 also sets standards when it comes to connecting driver and car. The BMW i Remote App provides useful vehicle-related mobility planning data available on the customer’s smartphone. Apart from pedestrian navigation; navigating your way to your destination from the parking space and back, BMW ConnectedDrive offers a so-called intermodal routing system and for the first time in combination with the Navigation System Professional. This also incorporates public transport connections such as subway stops if this means you can reach your destination quicker. From the actual trip in the BMW i3, looking for a parking space, changing onto a metro and or a walking route, the BMW i ConnectedDrive services take the customer to his destination efficiently.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Daimler invest €500M in Hamburg plant for e-mobility components

Daimler is comprehensively modernizing the Mercedes-Benz Hamburg plant and is expanding its product portfolio to include key components for electric driving. This is part of the transformation plan that the company has agreed on with the works council. With the agreement in Hamburg, Mercedes-Benz Cars has now successfully set out the transformation plans for all plants in Germany.

“The completion of the transformation plans is an important milestone in our growth strategy. We put our vehicle and powertrain plants on a future-oriented and sustainable foundation and strengthen their international competitiveness. Thus, we increase the flexibility and efficiency in our global production network. For that purpose we are investing several billion euros”, said Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain Management.

The transformation plan ensures the competitiveness of the site and keeps employment stable. In addition, the agreement provides for a highly flexible production through modern shift models.

“With the investment of 500 million euros, we will develop the Hamburg plant into a high-tech site producing drive components for electric mobility. This is a proof for the high qualification and outstanding performance of our employees. The transformation plan is a future-oriented achievement for the plant that offers employees new opportunities”, says Wolfgang Lenz, Site Manager Mercedes-Benz plant Hamburg. Company and works council have agreed on an increase in training places, resulting in 26 positions each year for the years 2017 and 2018. Furthermore, ten new permanent jobs will be created and filled this year.

“For the employees, the now agreed transformation plan is a clear, positive signal: The plant takes part in the company’s growth strategy and profits from future prospects of the industry. Our central goal in the negotiations was the assurance of future products for the site. The increase in the number of training places and permanent positions indicate that the company continues to count on the plant in Hamburg”, says Jörg Thiemer, Chairman of the Works Council Mercedes-Benz plant Hamburg.

The production of axles and axle components, lightweight structural components and steering columns, along with exhaust technology, will remain an integral part of the plant. The agreement provides the Mercedes-Benz plant Hamburg with extra capacity for axles and axle components. The third generation of steering columns will also be produced in Hamburg. This means that every Mercedes-Benz vehicle will continue to include a part from Hamburg. With the production of the cockpit crossmember for the C- and E-Class, lightweight structural components will continue to be produced here.

The innovative components, manufactured using environmentally responsible production technologies, make a significant contribution to reducing vehicles’ CO2 emissions.

“With the transformation plan for the Hamburg plant we are continuing the successful strategic realignment of our German powertrain plants. We have defined a sustainable product portfolio and measures to increase efficiency and flexibility for all plants, leaving us extremely well prepared to face the future”, says Frank Deiß, Head of Production Powertrain Mercedes-Benz Cars and Site Manager Mercedes-Benz plant Untertürkheim.

Daimler recently announced a 500 million Euros investment in a new battery factory in Germany. The new battery factory will produce lithium-ion battery packs for hybrid and electric vehicles for Mercedes-Benz and smart brands.

Daimler has also said it is open to the idea of creating an alliance between Germany's premium carmakers to manufacture next-generation batteries.

Ford CEO confirms plans for long-range electric car

Ford CEO Mark Fields said the Dearborn automaker will not be left behind in the race to develop long-range electric vehicles like the Tesla Model 3 and Chevrolet Bolt that can go 320 km (200 miles) or more on a single charge.

“We want to make sure that we’re either among the leaders or in a leadership position,” Fields said during a conference call Thursday with analysts. “When you look at some of the competitors and what they’ve announced, clearly, that’s something we’re developing for.”

The Chevrolet Bolt will have a range of at least 320 km and a starting price of about $27,000 when it goes on sale later this year.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk generated global buzz when he unveiled the Tesla Model 3 earlier this month. That car is expected to have 345 km (215 miles) of range and will go on sale in late 2017 at a starting price of $35,000.

“I’m glad Mark Fields is saying Ford will be a leader and match whatever EV range is out there,” said David Whiston, an analyst at Morningstar Inc. in Chicago, who rates Ford the equivalent of a buy. “You can’t just ignore Tesla getting 400,000 reservations on a vehicle in a little more than a week’s time.”

Research shows that more consumers will be willing to buy an electric vehicle as driving range grows to 200 miles and the price falls below $30,000. Automakers are under pressure to improve the fuel economy of their entire lineups to meet U.S. regulations that mandate a company’s fleet must average 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.

Earlier this month, Automotive News reported that the automaker was satisfied with its 2017 Focus Electric that will get 160 km (100 miles) on a full charge, saying that vehicle will satisfy a large chunk of consumers.

Fields didn’t say when Ford plans to launch a vehicle to match Tesla's Model 3 or the Chevrolet Bolt, but made it clear Ford is pressing forward.

He did reiterate Ford's plans to spend $4.5 billion over the next four years to develop 13 new hybrid or electric vehicles.

"Our approach, very simply, is to make sure we are among the leaders or in a leadership position in the product segments that we are in," Fields said.

Ford Motor Company are collaborating with Xerox PARC and Oak Ridge National Laboratory to develop pouch cells with a 20% improvement in gravimetric energy density (Wh/kg), and a 30% reduction in $/kWh costs for electric vehicles.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Ford, Xerox PARC & Oak Ridge Labs Team up to Develop EV Battery

Xerox PARC today announced its ‘Co-Extrusion (CoEx) for Cost Reduction of Advanced High-Energy-and-Power Battery Electrode Manufacturing’ project funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). In collaboration with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and Ford Motor Company, the project will use PARC’s novel CoEx printing technology to fabricate thick higher energy and higher power battery electrodes with the end goal of enabling longer range and low cost electric vehicles.

The project goal is to demonstrate pilot-scale, electric vehicle (EV) pouch cells with a 20% improvement in gravimetric energy density (Wh/kg), and a 30% reduction in $/kWh costs. CoEx allows fine structures to be printed at high speed, and when applied to thick battery electrodes, it adds a new design dimension that can be used to enhance energy and power performance. This innovative approach has the potential to help make high performance and affordable electric vehicles (EVs) a reality.

PARC will develop the inks and CoEx hardware required to fabricate a thick high energy and high power CoEx cathode electrodes. ORNL will assist PARC with the matching anode development, anode and CoEx cathode coating at pilot scale, and electrochemical performance optimization in automotive-relevant lithium-ion pouch cells. The bulk of this research will occur at the DOE Battery Manufacturing R&D Facility (BMF) at ORNL, which was designed in 2011 with these types of projects in mind. PARC will design a custom CoEx apparatus that will be integrated into one of the research coating lines at the BMF.

“The PARC team is excited to start this collaboration with ORNL and Ford. CoEx has the potential to make higher capacity EV batteries possible through the creation of two and three dimensional structures which can enhance lithium-ion pathways in ultra-thick battery electrodes. Our goal is to fabricate EV pouch cells that are higher in energy and power than conventional, with a path towards a reduction in $/kWh costs for EVs”said project principal investigator and PARC CoEx technical lead Dr. Corie Cobb.

“PARC and ORNL have a track record of working successfully together, and their collaboration on this project will transform the way lithium-ion electrode coatings are made and perform under high discharge rates,” said ORNL project lead David Wood.

PARC’s CoEx project is part of a portfolio of research within the PARC Energy Technology Program aimed at developing practical solutions to make clean and abundant energy available across a wide range of applications. This includes a focus on improving energy storage for EVs, consumer electronics, and electric grid support through better ways to make, monitor, and manage batteries.

“By leveraging our deep background in printing, PARC has developed the CoEx printing process to enable higher performance solar cells, fuel cells and batteries.,” said Scott Elrod, Vice President of PARC’s Hardware Systems Lab. “By applying CoEx to printed batteries, we can create optimal structures that boost power performance without compromising energy storage. It’s an efficient and a lower-cost approach that can be applied to the mass manufacturing of batteries.”

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

DARPA is developing smarter, faster armored ground vehicles

Today’s ground-based armored fighting vehicles are better protected than ever, but face a constantly evolving threat: weapons increasingly effective at piercing armor. While adding more armor has provided incremental increases in protection, it has also hobbled vehicle speed and mobility and ballooned development and deployment costs. To help reverse this trend, DARPA’s Ground X-Vehicle Technology (GXV-T) program recently awarded contracts to eight organizations.

DARPA's Ground X-Vehicle Technology (GXV-T) program seeks to develop groundbreaking technologies that would make future armored fighting vehicles significantly more mobile, effective, safe and affordable.

Radically Enhanced Mobility—Ability to traverse diverse off-road terrain, including slopes and various elevations. Capabilities of interest include revolutionary wheel/track and suspension technologies that would enable greater terrain access and faster travel both on- and off-road compared to existing ground vehicles.

Like previous autonomous off-road military vehicle prototypes, for example Carnegie Mellon University's "Crusher", (pictured below) all-wheel-drive in-wheel motor electric powertrains are a key enabling technology for these next generation vehicles.

“We’re exploring a variety of potentially groundbreaking technologies, all of which are designed to improve vehicle mobility, vehicle survivability and crew safety and performance without piling on armor,” said Maj. Christopher Orlowski, DARPA program manager. “DARPA’s performers for GXV-T are helping defy the ‘more armor equals better protection’ axiom that has constrained armored ground vehicle design for the past 100 years, and are paving the way toward innovative, disruptive vehicles for the 21st Century and beyond.”

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Graphene-based ultracapacitors give trucks a boost of acceleration

Adgero, a French transport tech developer, has unveil the world’s first operational energy-saving, hybrid electric system for road transport at Britain’s biggest commercial vehicle conference this week.

Adgero will display the regenerative braking-powered UltraBoost ST, a kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) installed on a curtainsider semi-trailer – that aims to cut fuel and carbon emissions by up to 25 per cent.

Adgero’s unique hybrid technology consists of an electrically driven axle mounted under the semi-trailer, powered by a bank of ultracapacitors, and controlled by intelligent management software that automatically controls regenerative braking and acceleration boost.

The UltraBoost ST uses a compact and lightweight YASA motor (the same axial flux motor as used in the Koenigsegg Regera) to recover kinetic energy, otherwise lost as heat during braking, and stores it in high-power graphene-based ultracapacitors from European manufacturer Skeleton Technologies – who helped develop the KERS technology for road haulage with Adgero last year.

Leading European manufacturer SDC Trailers installed the system on a 13.6m curtainsider trailer, finished in the livery of major UK-based transport and distribution company, Eddie Stobart. The transport operator will be conducting road testing of Adgero’sUltraBoost ST system in coming weeks.

President of Adgero SAS Mack Murray commented:

“The Adgero UltraBoost ST system has the potential to boost fuel efficiency, reduce overall fuel consumption and reduce associated emissions. And because our hybrid system can be easily and economically retrofitted to existing fleets, voluntary fleet-based implementation could have an immediate and meaningful impact on fleet costs and vehicle emissions within a very short timeframe.

“Road haulage accounts for over a fifth of the EU’s total CO2 emissions, so fuel efficient solutions are crucial. We are beginning to see regenerative braking systems in automotive applications but the market clearly needs a similar solution for articulated lorries.

“Unveiling the world’s first operational hybrid electric system for road transport at Britain’s biggest commercial vehicle show has taken a real collaboration between leading industry players and we’re now looking forward to the next phase of road testing in coming weeks.”

Head of Engineering at SDC, Jimmy Dorrian, said:

“Operator efficiency was the driving force behind the (KERS) trailer innovation. Our customers are always looking for ways to reduce their fuel consumption and overall carbon footprint, especially in demanding applications such as heavy terrain or continuous urban transport.”

Last week Adgero signed a €3.5 million distribution agreement to ensure the UltraBoost ST system for road haulage was powered by modules from Europe’s leading ultracapacitor manufacturer, Skeleton Technologies.

Combining such a distributed electric powertrain with even perhaps a battery electric prime mover would provide not only range extension capability but also improve drive traction across the board from semi trailers and B-doubles up to multi-trailer road trains.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Volvo targets one million electrified cars by 2025

Volvo has set itself a target of producing one million electrified cars by 2025, in a bid to serve the growing demand for battery-powered vehicles.

The Swedish car maker is aiming to produce two hybrid versions of every model in its range, with the first all-electric car expected to appear in 2019.

“It is a deliberately ambitions target,” said Volvo boss Håkan Samuelsson. “It’s going to be a challenge, but Volvo wants to be at the forefront of this shift to electrification”.

Volvo says it has been preparing for the move to electric vehicles for five years by developing two platforms, both of which can incorporate hybrid and electric technology, with one for large cars and one for small cars.

The Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) platform will be used for its 90 and 60 series models, with the soon to be launched 40 series using the Compact Modular Architecture (CMA). All of its models will be available with as electrified versions.

Last year, Volvo announced that it would launch an all-electric rival to Tesla, with a range of 325 miles, by 2019. Volvo says the years between 2020 and 2025 are a “period of critical acceptance” for the electric vehicle, as it aims to make electric cars part of the mainstream market.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

LeEco Unveils LeSEE Autonomous Electric Vehicle Concept [VIDEO]

China's Le Holdings Co Ltd, also known as LeEco and formerly as LeTV, on Wednesday unveiled an all-electric battery concept car whose production version the company hopes will compete head-on with Tesla Model S.

The concept car, called LeSEE, which hints at a production version of the car LeEco is widely expected to launch in the future, is one of an array of similarly positioned premium electric vehicles (EVs) due to hit the market in the next few years from more than half a dozen Chinese-funded EV start-ups.

LeEco said the concept car, which will be displayed at next week's Beijing auto show, is not only fully electrically propelled but has been engineered to be a "smart", "connected" and "automated self-driving" car.

Jia Yueting, co-founder and head of LeEco, said he hopes that when the car hits the market it will help China's auto industry reach the forefront of the global auto sector.

"When everyone is questioning us over our ability to develop a car like this and is laughing at us, we are still able to be here and show you this car ... I am so emotional," Jia said at a LeEco launch event for several products in Beijing on Wednesday.

Jia said LeEco is also developing a car-sharing business in connection with its green car efforts.

He said one day LeEco cars would be offered free of charge to consumers because the company aims to make money on content and other services it sells through those connected cars. Jia did not say when that day might come.

"Our cars' pricing model will be similar to pricing models for cellphones and tv sets we sell today," he said. "One day our cars will be free ... We are getting there some day."

LeEco's electric vehicle unit and other EV startups in China proliferated after the government, looking to fuel a more determined switch to electricity as the ultimate alternative to petrol, liberalized and opened its automotive industry to allow deep-pocketed tech firms to invest as long as they dabble in electric cars.

Aside from LeEco, the likes of Baidu, Alibaba, Xiaomi Inc, Tencent and other tech firms have funded more than half a dozen EV start-ups, which include NextEV and CH-Auto.

Those new players have been emboldened by the government's all-out support for all types of electric cars, which includes generous incentives to buyers.

They also expect industry policymakers to mandate providers of public transportation such as bus companies, taxi operators and even courier services to purchase electric vehicles and invest in charging infrastructure to usher in an electric future.

Friday, April 15, 2016

LG Chem plans to build electric car battery factory in Poland - source

South Korea's LG Chem plans to build an electric vehicle battery factory in Poland to meet rising demand from European automakers, a person familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

"The plant will be completed in about one-and-a-half years," said the source, who did not want to be named as he was not authorized to talk to the media. He did not provide any details on the size of the investment.

The facilities, to be located in the southwestern Polish city of Wroclaw, will ultimately have a production capacity of 229,000 EV batteries a year, making it LG Chem's second-biggest EV battery factory after China, the source said.

The company also builds EV batteries in South Korea and the United States.

LG Chem - the battery supplier for General Motors' upcoming electric car Bolt - counts a total of 25 automakers globally, including Renault, Volkswagen, Audi and Volvo in Europe, as its customers.

A spokesman for LG Chem said it was considering adding car battery production facilities, but nothing had been decided.

Automakers around the world are expected to roll out a slew of electric vehicles to meet tougher emissions and fuel economy regulations, although there are concerns that current low oil prices will dent demand for fuel-efficient cars.

LG Chem's rival Samsung SDI, which has BMW as one of its customers, is also considering building an EV battery factory in Europe, a Samsung SDI spokesman said.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Electromagnetic Anti-Lock Braking for Electric Vehicles

In part 2 of this series (Part 1) we'll take a closer look at electromagnetic braking as a replacement for mechanical friction brakes in hybrid and electric passenger cars.

Electromagnetic braking is very well established in industrial applications. From 400 tonne mine haul trucks to 300 km/h Bullet trains, electromagnetic 'friction' is used to slow these high performance vehicles with commercial grade reliability, so why shouldn't it also be used on comparatively light weight private passenger vehicles ?

Lets take a look at a few of the more familiar applications of electromagnetic braking. Japan's Shinkansen high speed rail network has the best safety record on the planet: beating conventional trains, automobiles and flying. Over the Shinkansen's 50-plus year history, carrying over 10 billion passengers, there have been zero fatality / injury since 1964. Clearly many factors contribute to this but obviously the train braking system plays an important role, especially given the maximum operating speed is 320 km/h (200 mph).

Bullet trains use electricity to brake 16 car 640 tonne trains from 320 km/h at a controlled and predictable deceleration rate. Since 1984 all Shinkansen trains have used axial flux eddy current disc brakes (pictured above). These work along the same lines as an eddy current dyno where a steel brake rotor has electromagnets facing the disc surface on either side. When energised the coils induce eddy currents in the rotor which generates electromagnetic friction that converts the trains kinetic energy into heat.

With the only moving part being the rotor and no wear and tear from mechanical friction, eddy current brakes have proved incredibly reliable and no doubt contribute to the 100% safety record achieved by the Shinkansen rail system. Since 2007 next generation Bullet trains have moved to regenerative braking using the train's traction motors. This helps increase overall system efficiency but eddy current disc brakes are still in service on 700 Series Shinkansen.

Another very large vehicle that uses electromagnetic brakes is the 400 t class Liebherr T282B Mine haul truck. with a maximum operating weight of almost 600 tonnes, the T282B has no mechanical connection between the monster 90 liter V20 twin turbo diesel engine and the rear wheels.

Instead it takes advantage of high efficiency and maintenance free diesel-electric locomotive technology. Siemens provide two AC induction motors for the rear axle, an engine mounted generator and the solid state computer controlled power inverters that are proven over millions of operating hours in trains. The main service brake electric retarders can slow the truck to a stand-still and provide precise speed control on descent using built in cruise control which works in both drive and retard modes.

The electric retarders can apply over 6,000 hp (4,489 Kw) worth of braking effort (the Diesel ICE maximum output is 'only' 3650 hp (2700 Kw). Like the Bullet train there is no battery storage system on-board so the regenerated energy is not stored for later use but is converted to heat via a stainless steel resistor grid in a system called dynamic braking.

If ultra-reliable electromagnetic braking of 600 tonne vehicles hasn't convinced you then surely this last example will. Strictly speaking this is magnetic braking as the source is permanent magnets, yet it is just as impressive.

Drop Tower amusement park rides (video) feature up to 400 feet (120 m) towers with a carriage capable of taking up to 40 passenger aloft. Once 30 stories off the ground, the 25 tonne carriage is dropped and free-falls back down the tower reaching speeds of 105 km/h. Built by Swiss firm Intamin, the eddy current magnetic brakes pull the falling riders up from 100 to 0 km/h within 100 feet at 2.5G.

To put that into perspective, a Tesla Model S brakes from 100 to 0 km/h in 113 feet, weighs only 2.5 tonne and moves parallel to the ground, as opposed to hurtling head-first towards the ground with the equivalent of a bus load of people on-board.

The common thread between all the above braking applications is that mechanical friction brakes would simply not be capable of reliably doing the job. While these electric braking systems convert kinetic energy into heat, as do hydraulic friction brakes, using electromagnetic friction offers a non-contact method of braking that virtually eliminates maintenance and therefore reliability issues.

In our previous post we've seen evidence that hydro-mechanical friction brakes on hybrids and EVs have become redundant legacy systems primarily still required on vehicles because they provide mandatory safety systems. In order to allow electromagnetic braking to functionally replace systems like ABS & ESC not only do we need an electric motor to drive / brake each wheel independently, but also need additional electromagnetic braking strategies other then just regeneration feeding electrical energy into a battery pack.

Currently in hybrid and electric vehicles only a fraction of the electric motors full power is used for braking. For example, a Chevy Volt has 115 kw of electric motor power available for acceleration but only 60 kw for braking. Even a Tesla Model S with over 500 kw for acceleration is limited to 60 kw maximum brake regeneration. The primary reason for this is battery cell charge limits. Most lithium ion batteries have asymmetric charge & discharge curves.

In order to allow full electric motor power to be applied in brake mode, alternative energy discharge methods are required. As we have seen in the examples provided above, there are several options including dynamic braking, eddy current braking and/or the addition of supercapacitors in parallel with the battery pack.

With an electric motor for each wheel and full motor power available for braking, modulating the motors independently to provide mandatory safety systems like anti-lock braking, stability control, emergency brake assist, automatic emergency braking and torque vectoring becomes a software project.