Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Renault Claims 150 Mile EV's Here By 2015


Renault Zoe EV


Renault expects the range of its electric vehicles to be up to 150-miles by 2015, an increased range of 30 per cent compared with current figures.

The company estimates that the boost in range should be achievable thanks to a chemical ‘enhancement’ to its lithium-ion battery pack, due in 2015.

Renault’s next step is experimenting with all new chemistry, possibly zinc-air or zinc-silver, due in around 2025, which could boost EV range to 300 miles between charges.

The Renault Zoe, which will make production in 2012, features a lithium-ion battery pack that powers a 79bhp, 164lb ft electric motor to provide a 100-mile range. It can get from 0-62mph in 8.1sec and reach a top speed of 84mph.


Source: Autocar

Northern Lights Energy signs LOI to purchase 1,000 AMP electric SUV conversions over 5 years

AMP Holding Inc., a company engaged in the emission-free electrification of OEM vehicles, has signed a letter of intent (LOI) with Northern Lights Energy (NLE) to support the introduction of all-electric SUVs into Iceland as part of a national electric vehicle (EV) project. Under terms of the letter of intent, subject to various conditions described below, NLE committed to purchase 1,000 all-electric SUVs from AMP over a five-year period.

NLE is actively promoting means of sustainable transportation and has initiated the Icelandic National EV Project, involving various stakeholders such as municipalities and large companies in a national consortium with the aim to build a nationwide charging infrastructure and end Iceland’s dependence on imported oil through the electrification of transportation. Iceland has no domestically-produced oil, according to the CIA World Factbook.

AMP’s 100% electric vehicle technology makes it an ideal partner to work towards our underlying goal of radically improving the transportation industry in Iceland. The SUV segment now captures approximately 35% of the Icelandic car market, and while most industry players are focused on other market segments, we have high hopes for this segment and in AMP’s market-ready technology

—Gisli Gislason, CEO of NLE

AMP expects to deliver its first Electric SUV to NLE in early 2011. After an initial review, NLE intends to demonstrate the AMP’d SUV to the EV Project Consortium members, followed by public exhibition. It is the intention of NLE to purchase a variety of all-electric SUVs from AMP for utilization within fleet operations as well as for re-sale within the its market region. NLE’s interest and commitment is contingent upon AMP successfully demonstrating and meeting certain conditions pertaining to the production and specifications of its EVs.

AMP is in discussions with several potential OEM partners to supply the underlying SUVs for AMP’s electric conversions. AMP’s intention is now to extend those discussions to the Iceland project.

In February, AMP introduced its first SUV all-electric conversion platform, the GM Chevrolet Equinox. The “AMP’d” Equinox is an up-fitted GM Chevrolet Equinox that will reach a top speed of 90 mph (145 km/h), and will accelerate from zero to 60 miles per hour in approximately eight seconds. With its 37 kWh Li-ion pack, range is 150 miles (241 km). The AMP Equinox features dual Remy motors applied in an AMP-manufactured drivetrain.


Source: Green Car Congress

Monday, November 29, 2010

BAIC to mass produce all-electric vehicles next year

Beijing Automobile Group Co., Ltd. (BAIC Group) will begin mass-production of all-electric vehicles in 2011 and will roll out 30 units of the C60 electric cars this year, the Beijing News reported Monday.

BAIC, the Chinese partner of Daimler AG and Hyundai Motor Corp, also plans to put into operation a production base with annual capacity of 40,000 new energy vehicles in the second quarter of next year.

Lin Yi, who is responsible for BAIC's new energy vehicle project, said among the 3,500 all-electric vehicles to be built next year, the C60FB using the Saab 9-3 platform will account for 800 units, the C301 based on the C30 will account for 1,200 units and the rest 1,500 units will be the M30 R B electric minivans. At present, ten C60FB electric cars have rolled off the assembly line.

BAIC, the country's fifth-largest automaker, will make all-electric vehicles based on its C-, B-, A+-, A- and A0-class models as well as its mini vehicles in the future.

The initial C60FB will be available in 30kW and 60KW versions, both adopting the lithium-ion battery and permanent magnet synchronous motor. The first version has a top speed of 160 km/h while the second version has a peak speed of 190 km/h.

Under the Group's '12 5' plan (2011-2015), its new energy vehicle base will have an annual production capacity of 150,000 vehicles, 200,000 control systems and of 150,000 driving systems when operation starts and will generate annual sales revenue of 15 billion yuan ($2.2 billion).


Source: Automotive News

Daily Driving the Chevrolet Volt - The First 1300 Miles From Lyle Dennis

From Lyle Dennis - of GM-Volt.com:

I have had the honor and distinct privilege of living with the 2011 Chevrolet Volt for the past 19 days. I have driven the car day in and day out as my only vehicle. I was granted this opportunity through GM as part of the Volt consumer advisory board along with 16 other individuals across the nation who have been given a captured test fleet car for use and feedback over a 90 day period.

In these past 19 days I have driven the car nearly 1300 miles, and thus the following review is based on the longest duration experience ever published.

Exterior Design
The Volt is a beautiful and striking vehicle, yet can assimilate within traffic. It looks compact sitting around in parking spots and in traffic but exudes a high tech aura. People familiar with the car immediately recognize it. People new to the car are regularly struck with its aggressive yet refined and sporty styling. The seams are razor sharp and exact in tolerance, and every component appears high quality and luxuriant. I have been driving the Viridian Joule color model and the black highlights on the belt line, rear and roof are pleasing to look at and don’t have any gaudy quality. I have found slight issues with the low front end air dam which scrapes on steep angles, but am told by GM officials this wont injure it as it was made to bend. They also claim a higher front end optional dam design will be made available.

The charging door is optimally placed and easy to open either with the key fob or a button on the drivers door. The charging coupler readily eases in and the car signals the commencement of charging with a short beep. The charging door doesn’t close in an extremely satisfying way however. I made GM aware of this and they acknowledge they are fixing it slightly. It must be pressed from the center, not edge. Once it opened spontaneously on the highway.

Interior
I am 5′8″, 145 pounds. The car is very roomy for me. There is significant amount of headroom and hip room and egress and ingress is no problem. I have watched many people over 6 feet get in and out and drive with no problems as well. The black leather seats are sturdy and firm and comfortable. The steering wheel tilts and telescopes easily and the seat is manually controlled to move up and down, back and forth, and to recline. Finding the perfect driving configuration is a breeze. I don’t particularly care about the lack of electronic seat controls GM left out to reduce mass. The rear seating is equally roomy in the lateral dimension for two passengers, though with a front seat pushed far back, knee room is limited.

There is ample storage bins in the doors, the center console, and above the dash. The cupholders are well placed for my needs and I use them every morning for my cup of coffee. The cargo space in the hatch is copious. I used it to bring home a week’s worth of groceries for my family of 5, about 12 plastic bags full without any problem.

Dash/Displays/Tech
The bright crisp high resolution driver’s dash display is a joy for me. Everything is easy to find and recognize and there are many different unique messages the car can tell you when the time is right, such as cruise control is on, fuel door can be opened, press twice to turn off (if you hit the off button while driving). The bright green happy battery indicator is just right as is the green eco-ball indicating how aggressively you are driving. There are less detailed configurations available at the push of a button to the left. I prefer more information.

The center stack of this car is the white version. It looks very sturdy and refined in person and with use, its quite attractive. After a short learning curve the myriad capacitive buttons are simple and satisfying to operate and find when you need them. The center display has a terrific touch sensitive surface that seems to be calibrated just right. It is a joy to behold the technology and connectedness you always feel. This is mostly supplied by OnStar which I have found easy to use and friendly, and ensures you are never alone. The stereo is perfect and iPhone integration both for songs and phone calls is a breeze.

After each trip a screen indicates how much energy you used both in terms of gas and electricity and overall MPG efficiency is displayed. There is also a real-time efficiency screen that shows you your driving style from 0% (aggressive) to 100% (highly efficient). Use of the cabin HVAC is also rated in similar terms of efficiency.

I have found the OnStar iPhone app very useful. I have enjoyed looking at my battery state of charge from afar, and even more importantly have warmed up the cabin on a couple of occasions using grid energy 15 minutes prior to my departure.

Driving
The car is truly a pleasure to drive. It is quick and responsive and feels powerful from off the line to over 80 mph on the highway. It feels heavy and solid and very well-planted on the ground. This allows for quick aggressive turns with no lateral skidding. It hugs the road well. In fact this bottom heavy weightedness is a blessing separating the Volt from most compact cars that are much lighter, and gives it the feel of a luxury car. It reminds me of the Mercedes E350 I used to drive. My wife felt the same way. Yet the calibration of the steering and accelerator make it seem much more nimble that its weight would have you expect.

With the shifter in the D position the car coasts in the same way any conventional car would. The L position adds significant regenerative drag when the accelerator is released. I find myself mostly driving in D to allow for coasting, but use the L position to simulate downshifting and to obtain motor braking

The brakes are powerful. I had to slam them a few times and the car stopped very aggressively. At first at low speeds they seem a little unusual but over time I readily got used to them.

Efficiency
This car is all about minimizing the use of gas while at the same time giving the driver limitless driving freedom. To this mission the Volt hits the mark. What’s so interesting about the car is how it will work differently for everyone. Anyone who drives less than 40 miles per day will enjoy gas-free driving at almost all times. The longer the length of the average daily driving cycle the lower the effective mpg. My daily drive is roughly 60 miles. I can arrive from home to work purely on electricity usually with anywhere from 3 to 8 miles of EV range remaining. The EPA has found the car gets 35 miles of EV range, and that is roughly what I have been averaging. My commute, however, is nearly all highway at around 65 to 70 miles per hour, and I do drive a little towards the aggressive side. I primarily use the sport mode which has a more aggressive pedal map, but is noted by GM not to reduce efficiency over the normal mode. I usually get anywhere from 32 to 38 miles of EV range.

I have the luxury of being able to charge at work in my office parking garage assigned spot, for free. I am there for four hours three days per week and eight hours two day per week. At 120-v this gets gets me 14 miles of range in four hours and 36 miles in eight hours. The EPA has found the car uses 12.9 kwh of electricity from the grid to provide the full electric range.

I have kept a detailed driving log here, but for the total of 19 days, I have driven 1291 miles and burned 9.28 gallons of gas (one full tank) for an effective 139 MPG. Of those miles 946 (73%) were on electricity and 346 (27%) were on gas.

My total combined average fuel economy in charge-sustaining mode is 37.3 MPG.

I have consumed an estimated 340.4 kWh at a cost of 20 cents per kwh.

Thus the total energy cost for me has thus been 9.28 x 3.34 = $31.00 for gas, and $68 for electricity. This works out to 7.7 cents per mile.

Furthermore, my particular lifestyle and job also required me to surpass 100 miles three times over those 19 days, without time to charge in between. This is typical for me, and makes exclusive use of a pure 100 mile EV impossible. When I drove the MINI E for 1-year I had to use a backup gas car for those occasions.

Very importantly, the Volt allows me to complete all my driving requirements with absolutely no concerns or compromises or needs for any additional vehicles, all the while reducing my petroleum consumption by a stunning 75%.

Street Cred
I have found from my interactions that the Volt seems to be viewed by the general public as a hero of sorts. There is tremendous interest and what appears to be American pride in the car. The majority of passersby don’t seem to notice it, but each day several people ride up next to me check it out and give a thumbs up. A few people actually blow the horn, wave, and show great excitement.

Many people have stopped me in parking lots to ask about the car. Parking attendants seem extremely interested. I went to one restaurant where there was valet parking. When I came out the attendant had mounted the car up on the curb in front of the restaurant like a trophy while a dozen high end Benz’ and BMWs sat neatly in the rows with common cars in the back parking lot. The attendant was filled with glee and said he wished he was allowed to drive the Volt out on the road, but took it around the parking lot as may times as he could. The main questions people ask are “how do you like it?” and “how much does it cost?”

Conclusion
I am extremely impressed with what GM was able to achieve with the Volt. I am awed and amazed thinking back to those early days in 2007 when I started GM-Volt.com. I had no idea then how unbelievably successful GM would prove to be in developing this car. The car is a masterpiece on every measure. It truly deserves the awards and attention it is deserving, and every day I look forward to my drive.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Graphene-based supercapacitor offers energy density comparable to NiMH battery, but with rapid charge and discharge

Graphenesupercap1
Ragone plot of graphene supercapacitor. Credit: ACS, Liu et al. Click to enlarge.

Researchers from Nanotek Instruments and Angstron Materials have developed a graphene-based supercapacitor that exhibits a specific energy density of 85.6 Wh/kg at room temperature and 136 Wh/kg at 80 °C (all based on the total electrode weight), measured at a current density of 1 A/g. These values are comparable to those of NiMH batteries, the researchers note, but the new supercapacitor offers the ability to be charged or discharged within seconds or minutes. A paper on their work was published online in the ACS journal Nano Letters.

These are the highest energy density values ever reported with carbon electrodes without the pseudocapacitance contributions from a conducting polymer or metal oxide, the authors said, further stating that “We believe that this is truly a breakthrough in energy technology.”

The group, led by Bor Jang of Nanotek Instruments, reported in 2006 that graphene can be used as a supercapacitor electrode material. Despite a number of efforts to improve the specific capacitance of graphene-based electrodes, however, results fell sort of the theoretical capacitance of 550 F/g due to the high tendency for graphene sheets to re-stack together.

The team determined that the best strategy to achieve a high capacitance in such graphene-based electrodes is to use curved graphene sheets rather than flat sheets to prevent the sheets from sticking to one another face-to-face. The curved morphology enables the formation of mesopores accessible to and wettable by environmentally benign ionic liquids capable of operating at a voltage >4 V.

With the total electrode weight of a supercapacitor system being typically one-fourth to one-half of the total system weight, the system-level specific energy of graphene-based supercapacitors can exceed 21.4-42.8 Wh/kg, which is comparable to that of a modern nickel metal hydride battery used in a hybrid vehicle. This breakthrough energy storage device is made possible by the high intrinsic capacitance and the exceptionally high specific surface area that can be readily accessed and wetted by an ionic liquid electrolyte capable of operating at a high voltage.

—Liu et al.




Source: Green Car Congress

Honda planning to double hybrid sales in Japan to more than 20% next fiscal year

The Nikkei reports that Honda Motor Co. plans to have hybrids account for more than 20% of its Japanese sales next fiscal year, double fiscal 2010’s roughly 10%, citing the company’s sales plan.

Honda forecasts overall domestic automobile sales to decline by 20,000 units on the year to 635,000 units in fiscal 2011. However, it projects Japanese hybrid vehicle sales will rise to 147,000 units, up 50,000 units from the figure projected for the current fiscal year and representing 23% of overall sales.

Honda plans to launch a new hybrid wagon based on the Fit subcompact in March, expanding the available versions of its top-selling car and complementing the Fit Hybrid launched last month. The new model will feature a wagon-type body that shares an identical front design with the Fit but is roughly 50cm longer. The company also plans to release a hybrid version of the Freed next autumn—its first hybrid minivan.

Honda is due to end domestic sales of the Civic Hybrid shortly, but the release of the Freed hybrid model will increase the company’s hybrid lineup to five, including the CR-Z, as well as the Insight, which is due to receive a major face-lift in July.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Introducing the M55 Beast Electric Bicycle

I haven’t been biking in some time, but recent revelations have me reconsidering the hobby. Take the Beast, built by M55. With a 40 mph top speed and 75 mile range, this electric bicycle is in a word, badass.

If John McClane (of Die Hard fame) were to ride an electric bicycle, the Beast would be his choice. Made from titanium and carbon fiber, it is going to be one of the toughest bicycles on the planet.

With this e-bicycle, your pedaling both moves the wheels and powers the onboard electric motor, which can take you to speeds of up to 40 mph and as far as 75 miles on a range. The electric motor serves as an assist, so say you’re going up a hill and need some extra torque? The motor kicks in and makes your life a little easier. It also features a Fox suspension and other components which make it suitable for both off-roading and urban commuting.

The price? Don’t ask. You didn’t think titanium and carbon fiber were cheap, did you?


Source: Gas2.0

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Ford Focus Electric Vehicle Spy Shots

Sometime in late 2011, Ford is supposed to start delivering electrified versions of its new Focus to dealerships. While Ford hasn’t given us any “official” pictures of the Focus Electric, these appear to be spyshots of the upcoming electric car.

Upon looking at these photos, your initial reaction is sure to be “So what? Looks like a new Focus to me.” Ahh, but the devil is in the details. While carmakers generally dress their cars up in camouflage to obscure design details, Ford long ago released lots of pictures of its 2012 Focus, and its hot-hatch cousin the Focus ST. So what is so special about this Focus?

Well for one, the lack of an exhaust pipe is a very clear indicator that what we are dealing with isn’t powered by petrol. Also notice that the location of the fuel-filler door has been obscured on both sides by camouflage. Probably because that is where the charging plug will be instead.

The Focus Electric should have a range of about 100 miles when it comes out in late 2011. Of course it will have plenty of competition from the likes of the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf, but I have faith that Ford will hold its own.


Source: Gas2.0

Volt receives EPA ratings and label: 93 mpg-e all-electric, 37 mpg gas-only, 60 mpg-e combined

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued its fuel economy ratings and accompanying fuel economy label for the 2011 Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric vehicle. The dual-fuel vehicle (electricity and gasoline) is rated at 93 miles per gallon-equivalent (combined city/highway) in all-electric mode (36 kWh/100 miles) and 37 mpg US in gas-only mode (2.7 gallons per 100 miles).

Voltlabel
The new fuel economy label for the 2011 Volt. Click to enlarge.

All-electric range under the EPA rating is 35 miles; total range for the car is 379 miles.

The two modes are combined into an illustrative 60 mpg-e combined rating for the vehicle. On a conference call discussing the numbers, Doug Parks, Chevrolet Volt Global Vehicle Line Executive noted that the combined figure will vary widely based on driving patterns. I.e., more electric driving pushes it closer to the 93 mpg-e figure; less pushes it closer to the 37.

In an attempt to convey to consumers the variability of the fuel economy outcome based on miles driven between charges, the EPA also includes a table showing fuel economy and electricity consumed for 5 different scenarios: 30, 45, 60 and 75 miles driven between a full charge, and a never charge scenario.

Under that last scenario (the gas-only scenario), the 37 mpg figure results from 35 mpg city, 40 mpg highway.


Source: Green Car Congress

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!


We wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving! Have a great day and be safe on the roads.

Mitsubishi Motors has produced 5,000 i-MiEVs to date

Obviously, 5,000 units in 18 months is not exactly turning the world on its ear, but we suppose it a start, nonetheless.

Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) has reached 5,000 units of its i-MiEV new generation electric vehicle (EV) produced at its Mizushima Plant as of 23 November. This figure does not include EV production for PSA Peugeot Citroën.

The i-MiEV began mass production in June 2009. The month after that, MMC introduced the i-MiEV to the Japanese market, and has sold about 3,000 units to individuals and businesses nationwide (as of end October 2010). MMC also started left-hand drive European-spec i-MiEV production from October 2010, and is steadily proceeding with global rollout of EVs.

In fiscal year 2011, in order to further expand its production scale via starting North American-spec i-MiEV production, MMC plans to transfer production of the i-MiEV from the current commercial vehicle assembly line to the minicar assembly line for cars such as eK Wagon and i.


Source: Mitsubishi Press Release

UK study finds Bio-SNG could offer 90% reduction in lifecycle CO2

Nepic
Cost of carbon abated for transport applications. Click to enlarge.

Bio-SNG (Synthetic Natural Gas) delivered via the gas grid offers CO2 lifecycle savings of up to 90% compared with fossil fuel alternatives, and offer sa more cost-effective solution than electricity for carbon abatement in transport applications, according to a new feasibility study published by National Grid (UK), the North East Process Industry Cluster (NEPIC) and Centrica. The report was prepared by Progressive Energy and CNG Services.

Unlike biomethane produced by anaerobic digestion, Bio-SNG is formed by the conversion of thermally-derived syngas—i.e., via the gasification of biomass waste—into methane. Feedstocks can include more durable material such as woody biomass and wastes that are not broken down in traditional anaerobic digester plants. Although anaerobic digestion of organic material has been widely accepted as an important renewable energy technology, the production of Bio-SNG will required to move to higher levels of fossil fuel replacement, according to the report.

Bio-methane retains all the attributes of natural gas, with the crucial advantage that the fuel is renewable, offering substantial Carbon Dioxide savings. Few other renewable vectors are as fungible, with so few demand-side constraints. Biomethane can, and is being produced via the upgrading of biogas from Anaerobic Digestion. However, in order to achieve a step change in production capacity, alternative approaches such as via thermal routes (termed “Bio-SNG”) are necessary. Whilst technically feasible, this approach is less mature than anaerobic digestion.

—“Bio-SNG Feasibility Study”

The feasibility study appraises the opportunity afforded by Bio-SNG, building on a review of the issues associated with biomass sourcing, a detailed analysis of the technology options and applicability for injection into the UK grid, as well as a financial appraisal. It draws on benchmarking data to demonstrate the full lifecycle carbon dioxide savings and also demonstrates that the Bio-SNG route is a very cost effective route for decarbonization compared with other renewables. The report also suggests proposals for implementation pathways, specifically how a Bio-SNG demonstration could be established in the UK’s North East.

Among the conclusions of the report are:

  • Regulatory. Implementation of Bio-SNG will only take place with the appropriate tax, incentive and legislative environment. In addition to the incentives structures, the regulatory environment must be clear and appropriate, particularly with regard to: requirements for gas injection, emissions directives, and how the use of waste as a feedstock is treated.

  • Feedstocks. It is likely that the development of Bio-SNG facilities will require the developer to go upstream into the supply chain for both grown and waste derived fuels, however, specification and quality control are vital determinants of project success.

  • Process and technology. The process technology review established that, in principle, the major process operations required to produce Bio-SNG can be identified and assembled from existing technology suppliers. The essential first condition that must be satisfied, according to the report, is that feedstock specification and the process design are matched; the gasifier in particular can not be omnivorous.

    The report opts for the choice of an oxygen-blown direct bubbling fluidized bed gasifier, either pressurized or un-pressurized. Downstream of the gasifier the gas processing operations are conventional technology: heat recovery and power generation, gas scrubbing, water gas shift, methanation, conditioning and compression.

    The report does not identify an optimized process configuration for energy consumption. There is a balance to be struck, it notes, between gasifier operating pressure, gas train pressures and compression loads and the power consumption for Bio-SNG export.

  • Carbon savings. A full lifecycle analysis of Bio-SNG production undertaken by North Energy Associates found that for many types of feedstock, the lifecycle CO2e savings of Bio-SNG compared with fossil fuel alternatives are typically ~90%. This saving is similar for both conventional heating and transport applications.

  • Cost of carbon abated. Strategically the UK needs to consider the most cost effective approach for decarbonizing, the report notes. For heating applications using natural gas as a counterfactual, Bio-SNG offers a cost per tonne of CO2e abated of ~£175/te. This compares very favorably with direct biomass combustion for domestic applications (£395/te) and for small commercial applications (£285/te), as well as with Ground source heat pumps (£5500/te).

    For transport applications, Bio-SNG is significantly more cost effective than electrical solutions (either using grid electricity - £1,000/ te CO2e, or presuming offshore wind derived renewable electricity - £600/ te CO2e). However, the analysis does suggest that while Bio-SNG does offer significant carbon savings for the transport sector, on a cost per tonne abated of £400/ te CO2e, the heating sector is a preferable end market, the report suggests.

Along with all unconventional energy infrastructure development there is a need for novel financing strategies, as well as the necessary support regime. In terms of taking forward a UK demonstration project, the study indicates that Teesside is a highly attractive location because of its chemical industry, ability to utilise waste heat and co-products and extensive high pressure gas grid.


Source: Green Car Congress

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Toyota will launch electric iQ in green push


The Toyota / Scion iQ All-Electric Vehicle


Toyota Motor Company will launch an electric version of its iQ minicar in 2012, targeting urban commuters who drive short distances.

Toyota said the battery-powered iQ will be cheaper than rival electric cars such as the Mitsubishi i-MiEV or the Nissan Leaf. Both are larger than the 3+1-seat iQ.

Toyota did not specify a price range for the planned electric car. Prices for the iQ with a gasoline engine start at 12,900 euros (about $17,640) in Germany.

The battery powered iQ will run 105km (65 miles) on a single charge. It will launch in Europe, Japan and the United States. Sales in China are also being considered, the company said.

Toyota is developing the iQ in-house and is also working with luxury electric car maker Tesla Motors Inc. on an electric version of its RAV4 compact SUV.

At the Los Angeles auto show this week, a battery-powered RAV4 concept was unveiled that's planned for sale in the United States in 2012. The car has a range of 100 miles (162km) on a single charge.

The electric cars are part of a push by Toyota to boost its range of environmentally friendly vehicles that will include the introduction of 11 hybrids by the end of 2012, including all-new and redesigned models.

A Prius-based plug-in hybrid will also launch by early 2012 in Japan, the United States and Europe, with targeted sales of more than 50,000 units a year, priced at 3 million yen ($36,000) in Japan. The car can be plugged in to an electricity source to enable longer-distance driving using only electricity.

Toyota is also developing a sedan-type fuel-cell hybrid vehicle, with sales aimed to start in 2015 in Japan, the United States and Europe. The company said it is researching development of next-generation batteries with better performance than lithium-ion batteries currently used in electric cars.

"Such research is aimed to help bring about the revolutionary advances in battery performance that will be necessary for the broad adoption of electric-motor-propelled eco-cars," Toyota said in a statement.



Source: Automotive News


Nissan Leaf Obtains 99 MPG Rating From The EPA

leaflabel

The EPA has just given the Nissan Leaf, an all-electric car, a 99 mpg-equivalent rating. Do you agree?

Don't these stickers show fuel costs in the thousands of dollars for oil-fired vehicles? So to see this car needs $500 to propel it for the year seems enheartening. Of course, which electric rates were used to come up with that computation? Also, the greatest thing about the Leaf is that if you have solar energy atop your roof, your yearly fuel cost becomes nil.

Toyota prototype of solid-state battery

At its event last week in Japan during which it outlined its plans for eco-car development, Toyota displayed a prototype of a solid-state Li-ion battery. The laminated cell measured about 10 x 10 cm.

Four sets of positive electrode layers, solid electrolyte layers and negative electrode layers are laminated, and the average voltage of the cell is 14.4V (3.6V x 4). Because Toyota exhibited the cell right after it was charged, it output a voltage of 16.26V (4.065V per layer). The positive electrode, negative electrode and solid electrolyte of the prototyped cell are made by using lithium cobalt dioxide (LiCoO2), graphite and sulfide, respectively.

... Furthermore, all-solid-state batteries are safer than organic electrolytes, which burn at high temperatures. And because they do not contain a liquid material, their packages can be simple. All-solid-state batteries have a problem that a material is produced in a chemical reaction between the boundary surfaces of positive electrodes and solid electrolyte, increasing resistance. To solve this problem, Toyota reduced the resistance of the boundary surfaces by 99% by coating the surfaces of positive electrode materials with ceramics with help from the National Institute of Materials Science (NIMS).

Monday, November 22, 2010

World Debut of Honda Fit EV Concept Electric Vehicle and Plug-in Hybrid Platform at Los Angeles Auto Show






The Honda Fit-EV










PRESS RELEASE:

Honda today unveiled the all-new Fit EV Concept electric vehicle and the platform for a midsize plug-in hybrid vehicle. Both vehicles are integral to the Honda Electric Mobility Network, the company's comprehensive approach to reducing CO2 emissions through innovative products, energy-management and energy-production technologies.

The Fit EV Concept hints strongly at the direction and styling for Honda's upcoming production Fit EV all-electric vehicle, which will be introduced to the U.S. and Japan in 2012. The all-new plug-in hybrid platform showcases Honda's next-generation, two-motor hybrid technology set to debut in 2012.

"Honda's long history with electromotive technologies has enabled us to understand customer requirements," said Takanobu Ito, Honda Motor Co., Ltd. President and CEO. "In Honda's view, an electric vehicle must offer great utility and be fun to drive. Fit EV's urban commuting capability will be a perfect addition to the full-function mobility of the plug-in hybrid and FCX Clarity fuel cell electric vehicle."

Honda Fit EV

The Fit EV is designed to meet the daily driving needs of the average metropolitan commuter and utilizes the same 5-passenger layout found in the popular Fit hatchback. When the Fit EV production model is introduced, it will be powered by a lithium-ion battery and coaxial electric motor.

The high-density motor, derived from the FCX Clarity fuel cell electric vehicle, delivers excellent efficiency and power while remaining quiet at high speeds. The Fit EV will have a top speed of 90 mph.

The Fit EV will achieve an estimated 100-mile driving range per charge using the US EPA LA4(1) city cycle (70 miles when applying EPA's adjustment factor). Driving range can be maximized by use of an innovative 3-mode electric drive system, adapted from the 2011 Honda CR-Z sport hybrid. The system allows the driver to select between Econ, Normal, and Sport to instantly and seamlessly change the driving experience to maximize efficiency or improve acceleration. While in Econ mode, practical driving range can increase by as much as 17 percent, compared to driving in Normal mode, and up to 25 percent compared to driving in Sport mode. Acceleration improves significantly when in Sport mode, generating performance similar to a vehicle equipped with a 2.0-liter gasoline engine.

In addition to the 3-mode E-Drive system, the Fit EV will include several interactive coaching systems to assist the driver in maximizing battery range. A special meter display advises the driver when to shut off air conditioning and other accessories to conserve battery power.

To help the driver manage the electric vehicle ownership experience, the Fit EV will have a standard connectivity system that allows the driver to stay connected through a smartphone and personal computer, or the Honda-exclusive interactive remote, while away from the vehicle. The pocket-friendly, interactive remote provides connectivity to the vehicle without the need for an internet connection or mobile phone signal. Through the connectivity system, drivers will be able to remotely view the vehicle's state of charge, initiate charging and activate the air conditioning, even while connected to the grid, to reduce the drain on the battery at start-up. The mobile application and website also offers the ability to set charging notifications and alerts to optimize utility rates, and provides 24-hour roadside assistance, along with a public charging station locator. The Fit EV will come equipped with a standard Honda Satellite Linked Navigation System™ that includes a public charging-station locator capability.

The Fit EV is designed to be easy and convenient to charge. Battery recharging can be accomplished in less than 12 hours when using a conventional 120-volt outlet, and less than six hours when using a 240-volt outlet.

The Fit EV Concept displayed at the Los Angeles Auto Show features an exclusive Deep Clear Blue Pearl exterior color and distinctive five-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels with blue inserts. The Concept has unique LED headlights, a chrome front fascia, aerodynamic bumper, clear LED taillights and EV decals. Inside, the Fit EV Concept is outfitted in an eco-friendly gray bio-fabric on the seating surfaces.

Displayed alongside the Fit EV Concept at the show is a prototype Honda charging stand. To begin charging, the driver swipes a card in front of the screen and then connects the charger to the vehicle. The Honda charging stand provides a glimpse at the future of an electric-charging infrastructure that is easy to use and intuitive for consumers.

Honda Plug-in Hybrid

Honda also unveiled a plug-in hybrid platform, which showcases Honda's next-generation two-motor hybrid system. Integrated into a mid-size sedan platform, the plug-in hybrid is designed to be compatible with daily driving habits, allowing for short, frequent trips in all-electric mode, while providing long-distance driving capability when needed. The Honda two-motor system continuously moves through three different modes to maximize driving efficiency: all-electric, gasoline-electric and a unique, engine direct-drive mode. The plug-in hybrid also uses regenerative braking to charge the battery.

In all-electric mode, the vehicle uses a 6kWh lithium-ion battery and a powerful 120 kW electric motor. The all-electric mode achieves a range of approximately 10-15 miles in city driving and a top speed of 62 mph. Fully recharging the battery will take 2 to 2.5 hours using a 120-volt outlet and 1 to 1.5 hours using a 240-volt outlet.

The vehicle can also run in a gasoline-electric hybrid mode, the platform features a fuel-efficient 2.0-liter, i-VTEC® inline 4-cylinder, Atkinson cycle engine, paired with an electric Continuously Variable Transmission (E-CVT). An onboard generator adds to the battery powering the electric motor.

For more efficient high-speed cruising, the vehicle can engage in a direct-drive mode, in which only the engine drives the front wheels.

Advanced Technology Demonstration Program

Honda will launch an Advanced Technology Demonstration Program this year to provide real-world testing of its new vehicles, as well as research into customer behavior and usability, public charging infrastructure planning and sustainability initiatives. Partners in the program will include Stanford University, City of Torrance, Calif. and Google, Inc.

Honda Electric Mobility Network and Energy Management

Together with the Honda FCX Clarity fuel cell electric vehicle, the Fit EV and the future plug-in hybrid vehicle are a part of the company's comprehensive approach to reducing CO2 emissions. Honda is unique in its efforts to create both environmentally-responsible products and the renewable energy solutions to power them. Honda is currently producing and marketing thin-film solar panels in Japan, and an installation is planned at Honda Performance Development in Southern California in early 2011. Honda is also using innovative ways to produce and distribute energy through sustainable methods, such as using solar power to produce hydrogen fuel from water. Additionally, Honda is developing home energy-management systems that utilize micro-cogeneration technology and solar cell modules to power and heat homes as well as charge electric vehicles. The Honda Electric Mobility Network joins clean vehicle technology, renewable energy production and energy management solutions for the benefit of customers and society.

Honda Environmental Leadership

The Fit EV and a plug-in hybrid sedan will be introduced to the U.S. and Japan in 2012, joining Honda's diverse lineup of environmentally-responsible vehicles, which include the FCX Clarity fuel cell electric vehicle, the Civic GX compressed natural gas-powered sedan (U.S. only) and four distinct gasoline-electric hybrid models: Civic Hybrid; CR-Z sport hybrid; Insight hybrid and Fit Hybrid (Japan and Europe only).

Honda was recently named America's "Greenest Automaker" for the fifth consecutive time by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). The award is earned by the company with the lowest combined smog-forming and greenhouse-gas emissions (primarily CO2) in its U.S. automobile fleet.

Honda has led the UCS rankings of overall vehicle environmental performance since the first UCS study in 2000, marking a decade of Honda leadership in reduced vehicle emissions. Honda earned the recognition this year with an industry-best score based on model year 2008 data, the latest available for analysis.

American Honda Motor Co., Inc.

Honda began operations in the U.S. in 1959 with the establishment of American Honda Motor Co., Inc., Honda's first overseas subsidiary. Honda began U.S. production of motorcycles in 1979 and automobiles in 1982. With nine U.S. plants, Honda has invested more than $12.7 billion in its U.S. operations. The company employs nearly 25,000 associates and annually purchases $12 billion in parts and materials from more than 530 U.S. suppliers. Honda vehicles are manufactured using domestic and globally sourced parts.


2010 Los Angeles Auto Show - Introducing the Toyota RAV4 EV - Video

Here is the introductory video for the upcoming Toyota RAV 4 EV:

Third-party electric version of Fiat 500 for €23,900, without batteries

While we love the idea of an all electric Fiat 500, this company is going to extract quite a premium for owning one. $50,000 for 75 miles range seems excessive, especially when compared to the 100 mile Nissan Leaf.

The CARe 500, an electric car based on the Fiat 500, is now available from €23,900 (US$32,900). This price does not include batteries, which can be leased fore €150, including a flat-rate fee for electricity. Alternatively, the CARe 500 is available with batteries from €36,900 (US$50,800).

Various subsidies can lower the price, says the distributor, mk-group Holding GmbH.

The advantage of purchasing the car without batteries is that, for 150 euros per month, you will always have fully functional batteries at your disposal, you don’t have to actually purchase the most expensive part of an electric car and fuel is included at a flat rate

—Martin Richard Kristek, CEO of mk-group Holding GmbH

The CARe 500 has a range of 120 km (75 miles) and a maximum speed of 120 km/h (75 mph). The CARe 500 recharges in 6 to 8 hours using a normal 230 V power socket. A service network comprising approximately 650 branches ensure the mobility of these electric cars.

The CARe 500 is manufactured by the Swedish company EVadapt. mk-group Holding GmbH is an energy supply company based in Hamburg and is active throughout Europe.


Source: Green Car Congress

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Look At the Toyota RAV 4 EV Conversion Process - Video

This video will give you a good idea of how the engineers at Toyota and Tesla are converting the modern RAV 4 into an all-electric vehicle.

Chevrolet Volt Production Underway For Customer Delivery



Chevrolet Volt production for customers is under way at General Motors’ Detroit-Hamtramck plant, putting customers one step closer to receiving the first mass-marketed plug-in vehicle for the U.S.

GM's vehicle tracking system says the first Volt extended-range electric vehicle allocated to Puente Hills Chevrolet near Los Angeles was finished on Nov. 9, said Joe McNatt, the dealership’s customer relations and inventory manager. That Volt was purchased through the store’s fleet department, McNatt said.

And the tracking system says the first Volt due to Henna Chevrolet in Austin, Texas, was finished on Nov. 10, said Craig Martinez, the store’s new car sales manager. His store held a drawing to choose the first customer from a waiting list, and the winner fit the profile of a “green” driver.

“The main customer is going to be those engineer, technically savvy types of people,” Martinez said. But that fits with Austin’s hip reputation. “You know, ‘Keep Austin weird.’”

Teri Quigley, plant manager at Detroit-Hamtramck, told the Free Press GM started building Volts earlier this month for customers to purchase. She spoke on the sidelines of a ceremony to honor the Volt’s Motor Trend Car of the Year award and declined to say how many Volts are finished.

The automaker has yet to ship any Volts from the plant, but customers should get the first Volts in early December, spokesman Chris Lee said Monday.

GM's tracking system shows delivery is the next step for the Volts for both Puente Hills Chevrolet and Henna Chevrolet, but neither car has received a target delivery date. Sales managers at other dealerships said production dates for their first Volts are scheduled throughout November and December.

Current Volt production is for customers in California, Austin, New York City and Washington, D.C. This spring, GM plans to expand sales to Michigan, Connecticut, New Jersey and the rest of New York and Texas.

The Volt runs on battery power for 25 to 50 miles before using a gasoline-powered generator.



Source: Detroit Free Press

Saturday, November 20, 2010

More Information Regarding the Toyota RAV 4 EV With Video

The second generation Toyota RAV4 EV is the result of the Toyota and Tesla Motors collaboration. Based on the popular RAV4 compact SUV and powered by a Tesla electric powertrain, the RAV4 EV project adopts a new development model that incorporates Tesla’s streamline, fast and flexible approach with Toyota’s engineering and manufacturing leadership.

A total of 35 RAV4 EV’s will be built for a demonstration and evaluation program running through 2011. These demonstration vehicles utilize the current RAV4 vehicle built in Canada and integrate the Tesla battery and additional components built in Palo Alto, California. A fully-engineered vehicle is targeted to launch in 2012. The fully-engineered vehicle will target a range of 100 miles in a wide range of climates and conditions.



Friday, November 19, 2010

Mitsubishi Motors unveils North American spec i-MiEV at LA Show; expected MSRP of about $30,000


Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc. unveiled its North American-spec i-MiEV at the LA Auto Show. The North American i-MiEV, when compared to its Japanese- and European-spec compatriots, features a slightly larger body to provide even more interior comfort for four adults, along with redesigned front and rear bumpers for enhanced protection in the event of a collision.

Active Stability Control (ASC), a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) and airbags that control deployment force are standard features on the North American i-MiEV.

The North American i-MiEV is expected to have a MSRP of around US$30,000 (before federal and available state financial incentives) and will be available in California, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii in November 2011 before rolling out nationally within one year’s time of its initial launch.

Best Buy/Eaton Corporation Collaboration. Mitsubishi Motors is partnering with consumer electronics retailer Best Buy and Eaton Corporation on residential Level 2 charging systems. Eaton will manufacture the systems; Best Buy, through the company’s Geek Squad division will sell the systems and use its Geek Squad for site analysis and managing the installation.

Introducing the Kia Optima Hybrid From the Los Angeles Auto Show

Kia
Kia Optima Hybrid. Click to enlarge.

Kia Motors Corporation premiered the hybrid version of its new Optima sedan (earlier post) at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Created primarily with the US market in mind, the Kia-developed powertrain delivers an estimated combined cycle fuel economy is 38 mpg US (6.2 L/100km) (city 36.0 mpg, highway 40.0 mpg).

Arriving in Kia dealer showrooms early next year, the 2011 Optima Hybrid is the brand’s first hybrid for North America and uses a full parallel hybrid system to deliver a 40.7% mpg improvement compared with a regular Optima. Acceleration to 62 mph (100 km/h) takes 9.2 seconds, and the top speed is 121 mph (195 km/h).

The 2.4-liter Theta II gasoline engine is mated to a small electric motor and drives the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission without the traditional torque converter. A special clutch is fitted between the engine and motor, enabling the gasoline engine to be de-coupled from the powertrain so that Optima can be operated in zero-emissions, full-electric drive mode from standstill up to 62 mph.

The system’s configuration does not require a high-capacity electric motor and generator, saving weight and cost.

When setting off, the Optima Hybrid operates in Electric Mode. As vehicle speed rises, the Hybrid Starter motor/Generator (HSG) starts the gasoline engine and the clutch is closed, allowing the engine to take over the task of propelling the car. The electric motor switches into hybrid operation and serves as both a secondary engine (during full acceleration and hill-climbing) and a generator to recharge the battery pack as necessary. Whenever the car comes a stop for more than a few seconds, the gasoline engine automatically shuts off to completely eliminate emissions.

When braking, the electric motor converts kinetic energy into electricity for storage in the battery pack. The 8.5 kW HSG also functions as a generator to re-charge the battery pack if the state of charge is low and when the car is stationary. Throughout the entire driving experience, in everyday motoring, under all conditions, the entire hybrid operation is automatic and seamless.

The Optima Hybrid’s 30 kW Interior Permanent Magnet (IPM) synchronous electric motor produces 40.7 ps (30 kW) and 205 N·m (151 lb-ft) of torque from 0-to-1,400 rpm in electric mode. The combined (electric motor plus gasoline engine) hybrid powertrain has an output of 209 ps (154 kW) and 265 N·m (195 lb-ft).

Described by Kia engineers as a Transmission-Mounted-Electric-Drive (TMED), the 30 kW IPM electric motor sits within the car’s extended transmission casing (between the gasoline engine and the automatic gearbox) and is an oil-cooled system.

Kia’s Optima Hybrid employs a lithium polymer battery array developed in partnership with LG Chem. The power and energy density of this battery enabled Kia engineers to create a lighter, more compact power pack with a 34 kW output and weighing just 43.6 kg (95.9 lbs) designed to minimize intrusion of the Optima’s trunk space.

The complete hybrid system is controlled by the Optima's Hybrid Control Unit (HCU) which acts as the car’s mastermind and integrates the smooth operation of the engine’s ECU, transmission’s TCU, battery management system (BMS), low voltage converter (LDC). This brain also gives the Optima a Fail-Safe back-up capability and a Limp-home mode.

Optimizing the Theta II gasoline engine. Taking advantage of the instant and continuously available torque from the electric motor, Kia modified its popular 2.4-liter Theta II engine to operate on an Atkinson cycle, raising the compression ratio by 20% to maximize its efficiency and achieving a 10% fuel saving over a regular Theta engine. This cycle generates a little less torque, but the electric motor compensates for any loss and consequently, the Optima Hybrid’s overall power and torque outputs are greater than the regular model.

For the Optima Hybrid, Kia has modified the six-speed automatic transmission found on the conventional Optima for hybrid application. The traditional torque converter is replaced with an electric motor and a high-efficiency oil pump. This new gearbox allows EV mode operation, maximizes regeneration of kinetic energy during braking and also provides a more responsive drive than a CVT system.

To maximize the Optima Hybrid’s performance and minimize its fuel consumption, special attention has been paid to its aerodynamics. The car is lowered by 5 mm and new features include an active air flap in the front grille, smooth underfloor panels, low-drag wheels and low rolling resistance tires. The drag coefficient is lowered to Cd 0.26.

Energy and fuel-saving technologies features in the Optima Hybrid include a regenerative braking system, electric—rather than hydraulic—assisted power steering, and an electric air compressor capable of delivering high air-conditioning performance.

Two independent liquid cooling systems are fitted to the Optima Hybrid powertrain. The standard high-temperature circuit manages engine cooling and passenger compartment heating. The second low-temperature circuit cools the hybrid starter-generator and the power electronics. The trunk-mounted battery pack does not require liquid cooling and its temperature is controlled by a simple ventilation fan beneath the rear parcel shelf.


Source: Green Car Congress

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Toyota outlines eco-car plans, battery research progress




Toyota Plug-In Hybrid - PHV






At an event in Tokyo, Japan, Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) outlined its plans for “eco-car” development and launches as well as progress in its research into next-generation secondary-batteries—both part of environmental technology efforts aimed at limiting oil consumption and reducing carbon dioxide emissions through the use of electricity and other alternative energies.

Hybrid Vehicles. TMC plans to introduce 11 models by the end of 2012, consisting of all-new models and redesigned models. Of the planned new models, one is a compact with fuel efficiency in excess of 40 km/L (94 mpg US, 2.5 L/100km) under the 10-15 Japanese test cycle.

Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles. By early 2012, TMC plans to begin sales of a “Prius”-based PHV, mainly in Japan, the United States and Europe. Sales are targeted at more than 50,000 units annually, and the price for Japan is expected to be in the ¥3 million range (US$36,000).

Electric Vehicles. In 2012, in addition to the US market, an iQ-based EV will also be introduced in Japan and Europe. Launch preparations call for road trials in Japan, US and Europe starting in 2011. Launch in China is also being considered, with road trials planned for 2011.

Fuel Cell Vehicles. TMC is continuing development of a sedan-type fuel-cell hybrid vehicle (FCHV), with sales aimed to start in around 2015 in Japan, theUS and Europe—markets in which hydrogen supply infrastructure is expected to develop. Although currently a price under ¥10 million (US$120,000) seems attainable, TMC aims to further reduce costs to bring the vehicle to market at a more-affordable price.

Next-generation Secondary Batteries. TMC is researching development of next-generation secondary batteries with performance that greatly exceeds that of lithium-ion batteries. Such research is aimed to help bring about the revolutionary advances in battery performance that will be necessary for the broad adoption of electric-motor-propelled eco-cars.

  • Solid-state batteries: TMC has successfully reduced what is known as particle resistance and has made progress toward creating full solid-state batteries in a promising compact package.
  • Metal-air batteries: TMC has determined the reaction mechanism of lithium-air batteries and has clarified its research policy regarding the batteries as rechargeable secondary batteries.

In January 2010, TMC established a division charged with studying production of next-generation batteries. The division, with a staff of approximately 100 researchers, is accelerating its research.

Toyota unveils RAV4 EV demonstration vehicle; targeting fully-engineered version in 2012 for market

Rav4ev2
The RAV4 EV demonstrator. Click to enlarge.

Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), USA, unveiled the second-generation Toyota RAV4 EV demonstrator vehicle at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Toyota will build 35 of these Phase Zero vehicles—essentially converted RAV4s—for a demonstration and evaluation program through 2011. Tesla Motors is supplying the battery and other related components. TMS aims to have a fully re-engineered RAV4 EV (Phase One vehicle) on the market in 2012, said Jim Lentz, president and chief operating officer, TMS.

Lentz said that the Phase One demonstrator is consistently achieving a 100-mile (161 km) range, based on actual road driving patterns under a wide range of climates and conditions. The final driving range of the 2012 Phase One vehicle will depend on many factors still being considered, not the least of which is battery size and design, as it relates to useable power.

When we decided to work together on the RAV4 EV, President Akio Toyoda wanted to adopt a new development model that incorporated Tesla’s streamlined, quick-action approach. The result was a hybrid—a new decision and approval process and a development style that our engineers refer to as “fast and flexible”. Led by our Toyota Technical Center in Michigan, it is a model that has helped reduce development time… without compromising product quality.

They have accomplished this by approaching this project as they would a mid-cycle “major-minor” product change. To be more specific, midway through a generation, we begin with a fully engineered current-generation RAV4 to which we are adding a major powertrain option, along with minor feature and cosmetic changes.

While Phase Zero vehicles are basically converted RAV4s, the Phase ONE vehicles we plan to bring to market in 2012 will be thoroughly re-engineered, Toyota RAV4 EVs.

—Jim Lentz
Rav4ev1
RAV4 EV mule undercarriage. Click to enlarge.

A large part of the development team’s focus on the customer experience targeted driveability. In this case, the end goal is a vehicle with driveability characteristics as close to the conventional RAV4 as possible. For example, the demonstration vehicle weighs approximately 220 pounds (100 kg) more than the current RAV4 V6 yet it will accelerate from zero to sixty nearly as quickly.

This added weight factor required significant retuning of major components and a prioritized focus on weight distribution. Not only were suspension and steering modified significantly, major components needed to be relocated to better balance the increased mass of the battery pack.

The demonstration vehicle Toyota is currently testing is powered by a lithium metal oxide battery with useable output rated in the mid-30 kWh range. However, many decisions regarding both the product, as well as the business model, have not been finalized. Battery size and final output ratings, as well as pricing and volume projections of the vehicle Toyota plans to bring to market in 2012, have not been decided.

As for a final assembly location, Toyota is considering many options and combinations. The basic vehicle will continue to be built at its Canadian production facility in Woodstock, Ontario. Tesla will build the battery and related parts and components at its new facility in Palo Alto, Calif. The method and installation location of the Tesla components into the vehicle is being discussed.

In the six years of its run, Toyota was able to lease or sell, only 1,484 RAV4-EVs. Enthusiasts loved it. Mainstream buyers…not so much...Back then…price and convenience proved to be critical success factors…and they remain so today. But much has changed in the last few years. Most importantly, the growing level of awareness that sustainable mobility will come at a cost that must be shared by the automakers, government and the consumer.

Toyota’s approach to sustainable mobility focuses on the world’s future reliance on mobility systems tailored to specific regions or markets, rather than individual models or technologies. It acknowledges that no one technology will be the winner and that a mobility system in Los Angeles will probably look very different from one in Dallas or New York or London or Shanghai.

Toyota’s comprehensive technology strategy is a portfolio approach that includes a long-term commitment to hydrogen fuel cells, plug-in hybrids and battery-electrics, all driven by the further proliferation of conventional gas-electric hybrids, like Prius as its core technology.

—Jim Lentz


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Honda unveils Fit EV concept and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle platform at Los Angeles Auto Show

Fitev
The Fit EV concept. Click to enlarge.

Honda Motor Co. President and CEO Takanobu Ito unveiled the Fit EV Concept electric vehicle and the platform for a mid-size plug-in hybrid electric vehicle at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Ito said both vehicles are integral to what Honda is calling its Electric Mobility Network, an approach to reducing CO2 emissions through a range of products, energy-management and energy-production technologies.

The Fit EV Concept hints strongly at the direction and styling for Honda’s upcoming production Fit EV battery-electric vehicle, which will be introduced to the US and Japan in 2012. The all-new plug-in hybrid platform showcases Honda’s next-generation, two-motor hybrid technology set to debut in 2012.

No one vehicle can meet every customer need or solve every societal challenge. ...We believe fuel cell electric vehicle such as the Honda FCX Clarity is the ultimate...full function electric vehicle. At the same time, for the purpose of urban commuting, our approach includes the development of a battery electric vehicle.

—Takanobu Ito

Honda Fit EV. The Fit EV is designed to meet the daily driving needs of the average metropolitan commuter and utilizes the same 5-passenger layout found in the popular Fit hatchback. When the Fit EV production model is introduced, it will be powered by a lithium-ion battery and coaxial electric motor.

The high-density motor is derived from the FCX Clarity fuel cell electric vehicle; the Fit EV will have a top speed of 90 mph (145 km/h).

The Fit EV will achieve an estimated 100-mile ()161 km) driving range per charge using the US LA4 city cycle (70 miles (113 km) when applying EPA’s adjustment factor). Driving range can be maximized by use of a 3-mode electric drive system, adapted from the 2011 Honda CR-Z sport hybrid. The system allows the driver to select between Econ, Normal, and Sport to instantly and seamlessly change the driving experience to maximize efficiency or improve acceleration. While in Econ mode, practical driving range can increase by as much as 17%, compared to driving in Normal mode, and up to 25% compared to driving in Sport mode. Acceleration improves significantly when in Sport mode, generating performance similar to a vehicle equipped with a 2.0-liter gasoline engine.

In addition to the 3-mode E-Drive system, the Fit EV will include several interactive coaching systems to assist the driver in maximizing battery range.

A special meter display advises the driver when to shut off air conditioning and other accessories to conserve battery power.

To help the driver manage the electric vehicle ownership experience, the Fit EV will have a standard connectivity system that allows the driver to stay connected through a smartphone and personal computer, or the Honda-exclusive interactive remote, while away from the vehicle. The interactive remote provides connectivity to the vehicle without the need for an internet connection or mobile phone signal. Through the connectivity system, drivers will be able to remotely view the vehicle’s state of charge, initiate charging and activate the air conditioning, even while connected to the grid, to reduce the drain on the battery at start-up. The mobile application and website also offers the ability to set charging notifications and alerts to optimize utility rates, and provides 24-hour roadside assistance, along with a public charging station locator. The Fit EV will come equipped with a standard Honda Satellite Linked Navigation System that includes a public charging-station locator capability.

Battery recharging can be accomplished in less than 12 hours when using a conventional 120-volt outlet, and less than six hours when using a 240-volt outlet.

Hondaphev
The plug-in hybrid system. Click to enlarge.

Honda Plug-in Hybrid. Honda’ plug-in hybrid platform showcases Honda’s next-generation two-motor hybrid system. Integrated into a mid-size sedan platform, the plug-in hybrid is designed to be compatible with daily driving habits, allowing for short, frequent trips in all-electric mode, while providing long-distance driving capability when needed. The Honda two-motor system continuously moves through three different modes to maximize driving efficiency: all-electric, gasoline-electric and an engine direct-drive mode. The plug-in hybrid also uses regenerative braking to charge the battery.

In all-electric mode, the vehicle uses a 6 kWh lithium-ion battery and a 120 kW electric motor. The all-electric mode achieves a range of approximately 10-15 miles in city driving and a top speed of 62 mph (100 km/h). Fully recharging the battery will take 2 to 2.5 hours using a 120-volt outlet and 1 to 1.5 hours using a 240-volt outlet.

The platform features a fuel-efficient 100 kW, 2.0-liter, i-VTEC inline 4-cylinder, Atkinson cycle engine, paired with an electric Continuously Variable Transmission (E-CVT). An onboard generator adds to the battery powering the electric motor.

For more efficient high-speed cruising, the vehicle can engage in a direct-drive mode, in which only the engine drives the front wheels.

Advanced Technology Demonstration Program. Honda will launch an Advanced Technology Demonstration Program this year to provide real-world testing of its new vehicles, as well as research into customer behavior and usability, public charging infrastructure planning and sustainability initiatives. Partners in the program will include Stanford University, City of Torrance, Calif. and Google, Inc.

Honda Electric Mobility Network and Energy Management. The Honda Electric Mobility Network joins clean vehicle technology, renewable energy production and energy management solutions. In addition to the Honda FCX Clarity fuel cell electric vehicle, the Fit EV and the future plug-in hybrid vehicle, Honda is currently producing and marketing thin-film solar panels in Japan, and an installation is planned at Honda Performance Development in Southern California in early 2011. Honda is also producing and distributing energy through sustainable methods, such as using solar power to produce hydrogen fuel from water. Additionally, Honda is developing home energy-management systems that utilize micro-cogeneration technology and solar cell modules to power and heat homes as well as charge electric vehicles.

Electroengine and partners convert Volvo C70 to battery electric for technology demonstrator and testbed

Electroengine, the Swedish company that is working with Saab on the 9-3 ePower battery-electric vehicle, recently unveiled a Volvo C70 converted with a battery-electric powertrain—the True Electric C70— at the Electric Car Seminar, Helsingborg, Sweden.

C70
The True Electric C70. Click to enlarge.

The car accelerates from 0-60 mph in less than 6 seconds, with a top speed of more than 125 mph (201 km/h) has a range of up to 200 miles (322 km) on a single charge.

We have already successfully completed several joint projects earlier during the year, a year in which we have showcased our electric powertrain, our know-how and our ability to develop leading edge solutions in the field of EV (Electric Vehicle) technology. We now feel it high time to demonstrate what our True Electric technology is really capable of, when comprehensively applied to a large high-performance car. With the generous support of Öresundskraft, Lunds Energi and Energihuset, we have been able to transform a Volvo C70 into a pure electric car, featuring the most advanced technologies. This has been possible by employing our latest battery and battery management technology, in combination with the world’s lightest (power-to-weight) and most energy-efficient electric motors and power electronics.

This blistering performance is possible thanks to the 400 bhp available from direct drive engines connected to all four wheels, which deliver a gut-wrenching 650 N·m of torque per wheel.

—Björn Karlström, Electroengine

As well as a technology demonstrator, we plan to use the car to test new breakthrough concepts, as we continue to refine powertrains and batteries over the next few years. We even look forward to the winter, when we can test how our 4WDD and advanced torque vectoring technology can reduce braking distances, improve traction and enhance driving characteristics.

—Thomas Bergfjord, Electroengine


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

LG Chem sees more battery orders for GM's Volt in 2011

LG Chem, which started to supply batteries for Volt in September under a six-year exclusive contract, said demand for the Volt was expected to be further fueled by the move by General Electric Co to buy 25,000 electric cars, including 12,000 from GM over the next five years.

The Volt has been the centerpiece of GM's effort to reinvent its line-up as the maker of fuel-efficient cars, and its planned launch comes at a crucial time when the U.S. automaker plans to go public.

"(GM said that) its Volt has drawn good response from consumers. GM is likely to order far more batteries than we have previously planned for next year," Ham Jae-gyung, senior vice president of LG's car battery division, said at a briefing, without disclosing the size of the possible order.

GM previously planned to build 10,000 of the Volt cars in 2011 and about 30,000 in 2012.

But the U.S. automaker said in July it will increase Volt production capacity by 50 percent to 45,000 units in 2012, from 30,000.

"We expect GM to ask for more batteries following the news (that GE plans to purchase electric cars)," Ham said.

The Volt is expected to directly compete with Nissan Motor Co's electric vehicle Leaf, which will also go on sales in the United States later this year.

LG Chem plans to boost its annual production capacity at its Korean car battery plant sevenfold to 60 million cells by 2013, with investment of 1 trillion won ($887.1 million) by that year.

LG Chem will also spend additional $300 million on its U.S. plant by 2013, which will have an annual output capacity of 20 million cells.

Ham said the company does not plan to build electric car battery production lines in China or Europe for now.

LG Chem, which started operations of its Korean battery plant in June this year, in September started to produce and supply batteries for Volt and Hyundai Motor's Sonata hybrid.

LG Chem's U.S. battery plant will start production in 2012.

LG Chem, the global leader in electric car batteries, has clinched a slew of battery orders from automakers, most recently Renault.

However, its much-touted car battery business has not been able to generate meaningful revenue for the South Korean manufacturer of chemicals and rechargeable batteries for mobile devices, as the market has not taken off.

The company aims to earn 3 trillion won in revenue from its car battery business in 2015.



Source: Reuters

LG Chem sees more battery orders for GM's Volt in 2011

LG Chem, which started to supply batteries for Volt in September under a six-year exclusive contract, said demand for the Volt was expected to be further fueled by the move by General Electric Co to buy 25,000 electric cars, including 12,000 from GM over the next five years.

The Volt has been the centerpiece of GM's effort to reinvent its line-up as the maker of fuel-efficient cars, and its planned launch comes at a crucial time when the U.S. automaker plans to go public.

"(GM said that) its Volt has drawn good response from consumers. GM is likely to order far more batteries than we have previously planned for next year," Ham Jae-gyung, senior vice president of LG's car battery division, said at a briefing, without disclosing the size of the possible order.

GM previously planned to build 10,000 of the Volt cars in 2011 and about 30,000 in 2012.

But the U.S. automaker said in July it will increase Volt production capacity by 50 percent to 45,000 units in 2012, from 30,000.

"We expect GM to ask for more batteries following the news (that GE plans to purchase electric cars)," Ham said.

The Volt is expected to directly compete with Nissan Motor Co's electric vehicle Leaf, which will also go on sales in the United States later this year.

LG Chem plans to boost its annual production capacity at its Korean car battery plant sevenfold to 60 million cells by 2013, with investment of 1 trillion won ($887.1 million) by that year.

LG Chem will also spend additional $300 million on its U.S. plant by 2013, which will have an annual output capacity of 20 million cells.

Ham said the company does not plan to build electric car battery production lines in China or Europe for now.

LG Chem, which started operations of its Korean battery plant in June this year, in September started to produce and supply batteries for Volt and Hyundai Motor's Sonata hybrid.

LG Chem's U.S. battery plant will start production in 2012.

LG Chem, the global leader in electric car batteries, has clinched a slew of battery orders from automakers, most recently Renault.

However, its much-touted car battery business has not been able to generate meaningful revenue for the South Korean manufacturer of chemicals and rechargeable batteries for mobile devices, as the market has not taken off.

The company aims to earn 3 trillion won in revenue from its car battery business in 2015.



Source: Reuters

Nissan Partners With Clean Cities-Atlanta on EVs



2011 Nissan Leaf EV





Nissan North America, Inc. (NNA) is entering into an agreement with Clean Cities-Atlanta (CC-A) to promote the development of electric vehicles and an electric-charging network.

As part of the agreement, NNA and CC-A will collaborate on plans to promote a charging infrastructure for EVs, as well as the deployment, operation and maintenance of a charging network. CC-A is a coalition of government agencies, utilities, public interest groups, and public and private fleets that advance the use of alternatives to gasoline, and diesel fuels in cars, trucks and buses. The partners in the agreement also will work to coordinate the establishment of policies and help streamline the deployment of an EV infrastructure.

The agreement adds Atlanta to a growing network of electric vehicle initiatives across the United States and around the world. Nissan, along with its alliance partner Renault, has formed partnerships with more than 80 governments, cities and other organizations to advance the deployment of electric vehicles. The Nissan LEAF will roll out to the state of Georgia in 2011.


Source: Green Car Congress

Monday, November 15, 2010

Chevy Volt Meetup Featuring Lyle Dennis - VIDEO

Here are video highlights of Lyle Dennis' meet and greet in New York with fellow Volt drivers as well as other EV owners.

FORD NAMES FIRST MARKETS TO SELL FOCUS ELECTRIC, THE COMPANY’S FIRST ALL-ELECTRIC PASSENGER CAR

PRESS RELEASE:

  • Ford has announced the first U.S. markets slated to receive the all-new Focus Electric, which debuts in late 2011
  • Markets were chosen based on several criteria, including commuting patterns, existing hybrid purchase trends, utility company collaboration and local government commitment to electrification
  • Focus Electric is Ford’s first all electric passenger car, and is targeting up to 100 miles of zero CO2-emissions, gas-free driving on a full charge
  • Ford has an aggressive strategy that will deliver a range of electrified vehicles in both Europe and North America, including the Transit Connect Electric small commercial van, two next-generation lithium-ion battery hybrids and a plug-in hybrid
  • DEARBORN, Mich., Nov. 15 – Ford Motor Company has announced first markets that will sell the Focus Electric, Ford’s first all-electric, zero CO2-emissions passenger car.

    The first markets selected for Ford Focus Electric: Atlanta, Austin and Houston, Texas; Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, New York, Orlando, Fla., Phoenix and Tucson, Ariz.; Portland, Ore.; Raleigh Durham, N.C.; Richmond, Va., Seattle, and Washington, D.C.

    “There is a great deal of excitement for the Focus Electric across America and Ford wants to build on this enthusiasm by making our first all electric passenger vehicle available in as many pilot markets as possible,” said Mark Fields, President of the Americas, Ford Motor Company. “This is the first step in rolling out the Focus Electric. As the country continues to build up its electric vehicle infrastructure and demand for the Focus Electric grows, Ford will continue to evaluate additional markets and consider making this vehicle available in more cities across the country.”

    The Focus Electric initial markets were chosen based on several different criteria including existing hybrid purchase trends, utility company collaboration and local government commitment to electrification. As part of the collaboration with dealers, utilities and local governments, Ford will help develop consumer outreach and education programs on electric vehicles as well as share information on charging needs and requirements to ensure the electrical grid can support customers’ needs.

    Last month, Ford launched a new educational Web site on electric vehicles (http://www.fordvehicles.com/technology/electric/). The site offers video, text and diagrams to help consumers understand differences in the technologies of electrified vehicles

    Focus Electric, available in late 2011, will be built at the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich. Production will occur on the same line as the gasoline version of the Focus. Using an existing vehicle platform and assembly line will give Ford the ability to vary production based on demand for the Focus Electric.

    The Focus Electric will offer consumers the same fun and exciting driving experience as the gasoline powered version. Instead of a traditional gas engine, the Focus Electric’s motor will be powered by a 23 kwh lithium-ion battery. The system utilizes liquid heating and cooling system to maximize battery life and driving range.

    Collaboration between Ford and local authorities
    Ford has been working with local government agencies and utilities in several of the selected markets to help prepare for the adoption of electric vehicles. Efforts focus on development of consumer outreach and education programs on electric vehicles as well as shared information on charging needs and requirements to allow for ease of consumer charging and to ensure the electrical grid can support the necessary additional demand.

    “Making electric vehicles a viable option for consumers requires teamwork across a variety of industries and government entities,” said Mike Tinskey, Global Manager of Electric Vehicle Infrastructure, Ford Motor Company. “Working with utilities, governments and technology companies is a key part of our electric strategy to make sure the infrastructure and support for electric vehicles is in place as we begin rolling them out.”

    As part of its electrification outreach, Ford has been conducting the “Charging Into the Future: The Ford Electric Vehicle Tour.” The 14-city tour promotes Ford’s electric vehicle strategy and educates consumers about what to expect from electrified automobiles and what is needed from the public and private sector to support this new technology.

    Electrification is an important piece of Ford’s overall product sustainability strategy. Ford’s aggressive strategy includes the launch of five new electrified vehicles in Europe and North America. In addition to Focus Electric, Ford will introduce the Transit Connect Electric small commercial van, two next-generation lithium-ion battery hybrids and a plug-in hybrid. The range of electrified vehicles allows Ford to address a variety of consumer driving needs.

    Ford’s electrification strategy also leverages the most fuel-efficient powertrains, the most technically competent hybrids and the company’s global vehicle platforms in order to develop affordable choices for consumers.