Saturday, December 31, 2011


Happy New Year Everyone!

We Hope 2012 is peaceful and prosperous for all.

Be safe over the holiday and we will return Monday, the 2nd.

The Sim-Lei is an EV approved for use on the Death Star - VIDEO

Sim-Lei promo video:

The Sim-Lei is an EV approved for use on the Death Star

Looking for all the world like an elongated Mitsubishi i MiEV that a Stormtrooper would drive, the SIM-LEI recently made an appearance at the 2011 Electric Vehicle Industrial Exhibition in Tokyo. It's been a while since we first caught wind of the SIM-LEI and we've been curious to get a better look at this super-efficient prototype ever since. And now we have.

Developed by Hiroshi Shimizu – the man behind the amazing eight-wheeled Eliica vehicles – the SIM-LEI produces a combination of numbers that puts other all-electrics to shame. Numbers like 0-to-60 in 4.8 seconds and 77 Wh/km (123.9 watt-hours per mile). More numbers? How about 305 km (189.5 miles) at 100 km/h (62 mph) with a 24.5 kWh battery. Eat your heart out Nissan Leaf.

If SIM-Drive, Shimizu-san's company, sees its vision realized there is another number we'd like to see associated with the retail version of this vehicle; $24,900. That's the price they calculate they could sell it for in volumes of 100,000 units. Perhaps that's a long shot, but hey, you've got to have goals.

But enough of numbers. Hit the jump for excellent video that explores the SIM-LEI inside and out (check out that 19-inch display!) and let us know where you stand on efficiency and performance versus Clone armor.

Source: Autoblog Green

Friday, December 30, 2011

Mark Reuss Dreams Up Ultimate Voltec Car

When asked to create a “dream car” from GM parts, the company’s North American President, Mark Reuss, described a hybrid vehicle in which no mention was made about mpg or emissions.

Although the hardware he’d drop in place of the 7.5-liter V-12 gutted from a 2002 Cadillac Cien concept would be green, the car Reuss spec’d was distinguished by still-significant gas-electric horsepower and torque in the mid 400s and blazing lap time capability.

Not actually built, this is what Reuss would do.

The opportunity for this brainstorming exercise was a discussion with Car and Driver, and while no hint was made that the Cadillac ELR would echo these themes, it at least shows the proclivities of one key executive at GM. While the 2009 Converj was beautiful, Reuss said he loves the 2002 Cien whose angular body “defined” Cadillac for him.

So as an ultimate, he picked his favorite Cadillac and sketched it out sensibly enough for today’s environmental and fuel efficiency conscious times, but stacked the deck decidedly in favor of power to weight so the fun-to-drive factor was definitely not left out.

The Cien’s carbon-fiber monocoque chassis and body comprised the one car that most inspired Reuss, Car and Driver says. So, why not convert it into the ultimate Volt?

Indeed, if his wish list is at all accurate, it means GM knows how to make an all-wheel-drive hybrid vehicle weighing within a few pounds of the Volt but with triple the horsepower and approaching double the torque.

As Car and Driver observed, Reuss knows full well what GM could concoct if its engineers were turned loose. Before his present role, he led architecture engineering, launched GM’s performance division, oversaw global virtual development, and ran Holden in Australia.

So when people talk about wanting to see a Volt SS, or other high-performance variants, here’s one more proof that GM understands, even if it is playing cards close to its chest.

But what do you think? Is this “parts bin special” the best GM could do? Or do you doubt it could be done? If optimistic, what do you think a car like this would cost? Could you come up with something better? More power? Lighter but less powerful than the 3,800 pound vehicle here? Different body style? How would you balance the equation?

Fisker Karma? Tesla Model S? GM’s president says from existing parts he could build an EREV like this that would trounce either in the quarter mile or around a race track.

And, more importantly, will there ever come a day when GM would create something like this? Perhaps after several more years when the electrified vehicle shakeout has had some time to run its course? How close do you think the Cadillac ELR will come to this imaginary benchmark?

Naturally, many more economical and practical Voltec designs could also be built, and likely would come first, but we thought it revealing to see what kind of vehicle GM’s president would envision as most entertaining for himself.


An in Depth Comparison of the Volt Versus Prius

By Ray Iannuzzelli

I suppose I’ve always been a bit of a car guy. At the age of 16, my brother and already had three cars and performed a nearly successful engine rebuild on our 1957 Chevy convertible. During my adult life as a parent, engineer, runner, amateur cook, and car aficionado, I’ve had several GTOs, BMWs, and other non-performance cars. My two most recent BMWs are shown below.

2008 BMW 135i 2000 BMW Z3

However, my 2012 Volt is unique among all of them. Although not as peppy as the 135i that I traded in on my Volt, it is nearly as much fun to drive.

My recent fascination with electrics started a few years ago when I started a consulting gig for a battery supplier. Although not responsible for the design of vehicles, my job brought me close enough to get bitten by the electric car bug. I knew I had to have one. At this point I must give some credit to my dear wife of nearly 40 years. As an environmentalist of long-standing she convinced me back in 2004 that the new model Prius would be a wise investment. So, now on our second Prius (a 2010 model IV), we have some street credibility when it comes to environmentally friendly vehicles.

2012 Volt and 2010 Prius IV (background)

So How Do They Compare?

When you read that I was an engineer you just knew there would be some tech talk. I promise it will be short and sweet. I have compared my Volt and Prius. I wanted to know which car to drive on a trip. If we are planning a 100 mile journey which car is most economical? How about a 200 mile journey or longer?

The graphs below make the decision easy. Figure 1 is a comparison of the Volt vs. Prius mileage based on the energy used. It shows the breakeven trip at around 125 miles, i.e. for trips less than 125 miles the Volt is the clear winner.

Figure 1 Volt vs. Prius Mileageenergy

Figure 2 shows a similar graph to figure 1 except the mileage is based on the cost of the energy.

Figure 2 Volt vs. Prius Mileage$

Figure 2 shows the breakeven mileage at around 85 miles, i.e. for trips greater than 85 miles the Prius is the winner.

The assumptions used to generate figures 1 & 2 are:

1) average EPA gasoline mileage
2) see figure 3 which is based on data from my volt between 11/18/11 and 12/25/11
3) average NH price between 11/18/11 and 12/25/11
4) based on recent PSNH electric bills
5) average Prius mileage between 11/18/11 and 12/25/11; below the yearly average of 50.1 mpg
6) data averaged from several Web sites

Figure 3 Volt Measured Electric Mileage

What I find interesting comparing figures 1 & 2 is the extreme volatility in the price of gasoline as compared to electricity. I would have expected a technical comparison to be much closer than is in fact the case.


1. The criterion upon which a comparison can be made between the performance of the Volt and Prius is technically straightforward. If we use as a criterion the amount of energy consumed, the Volt shows a miles-driven breakeven of about 125 miles. Whereas, if we use the cost of the energy consumed, then the miles driven breakeven falls to about 85 miles. A clear implication here is that as gas prices rise relative to the electric rate, the $-breakeven will approach the energy-breakeven.

2. Of course the electric rate and gas price are both relative to the local market in which the comparison is made.

3. Also, the time-of-year and temperature are additional variables that will affect the comparisons.


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Electric Car Tax Credit Seems Safe For Now

For now, the electric-car purchase Federal income-tax credit remains safe.

As we've written before, though, December 31 is the last day in which you can install an electric-car charging station and be able to deduct some of the costs from your income taxes.

That credit allowed private individuals to take a credit for up to 30 percent of the cost of installing an electric-car charging station in their home on their income tax return. The maximum allowed credit was $1,000.

Two other less-used credits expire on the 31st as well. One is for purchase of a two- or three-wheeled electric vehicle (mostly the electric bicycles and mopeds flooding in from China, but it also applied to electric motorcycles from Brammo, Zero, and other makers).

The other is for some of the costs of converting an existing vehicle from gasoline to a plug-in powertrain.

Neither of those credits is likely to have been used to the same extent as the electric-car purchase incentive, which ranges from $2,500 (for a vehicle with at least a 4-kilowatt-hour battery pack, like the 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid) to $7,500 (for a vehicle like the Nissan Leaf or Chevrolet Volt, with a pack of 16 kWh or larger).

Brammo CEO Craig Bramscher with 2011 Enertia

Brammo CEO Craig Bramscher with 2011 Enertia

The advocacy group Plug-In America has fought to retain the credits, but with Congress home for the holidays, they will expire on schedule after Saturday.

According to the group's legislative director Jay Friedland, it's possible they will be reinstated at a later date as part of further payroll-tax extension legislation.

Meanwhile, the three electric-vehicle credits are set to join the decades-old ethanol blending incentive and import duty on the scrapheap of terminated government subsidies for new technologies.

We'll leave it to you, our readers, to discuss among yourselves which of these credits should have been retained.

Source: Green Car Reports

Truck Stop CNG Station May Spur on Alternative Fuel Movement

Natural gas has forever been a "nearly" fuel. While offering several advantages over gasoline or diesel, such as low cost of refueling, HOV-lane stickers in California and cleaner running, the disadvantages are even greater.

One of those has been the availability of natural gas, limiting its suitability for longer trips, where access to a natural gas pump might be scarce.

That could be about to change, according to Associated Press. Natural gas developer Clean Energy Fuels Corp. is planning to equip truck stops all over the country with natural gas pumps, increasing the total by 150. All will be located on major interstates.

While the main aim of this is to encourage heavier, thirstier vehicles to use natural gas, it will be beneficial for the passenger car market too. Currently, the natural gas vehicle market is dominated by buses, taxis and garbage haulers. Refueling is less of an issue for commercial vehicles, as they're often refueled each night at the company running them.

At the moment, only one production natural gas vehicle is on sale, the 2012 Honda Civic Natural Gas. We drove it recently, and found it to be very similar to the regular Civic to drive.

However, with fewer than 1,000 public natural gas fueling stations across the U.S. and a lower range on gas than on gasoline, it's a less practical choice. It also costs more than the equivalent gasoline Civic - as much as $10,000 over the basic model - giving it similar limitations to an electric car.

If the number of stations increased, the low price and low greenhouse gas emissions - a third lower than the equivalent gasoline model - could make it a more logical option, at least for owners keeping their cars for several years.

Honda is expanding sales to 37 states next year, up from only four. "We think we are expanding the car at the right time with the expansion in public infrastructure," explains Honda's Jessica Fini. Honda plans to boost sales from 1,000 cars annually to 2,000, still less than one hundredth that of regular gasoline Civics.

150 more stations still sounds like a small expansion, but it's certainly a step in the right direction and should help Honda sell a few more natural gas Civics. Whether it will stimulate greater demand and encourage other car makers to follow suit is a different matter.

Source: Green Car Reports

Toyota Aqua (Prius C) comes to Japan, 60,000 orders already in


Toyota City, Japan, December 26, 2011-Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) announces the launch in Japan today of the "Aqua"*1 gasoline-electric compact hybrid.

The Aqua combines a comfortable and roomy interior with a stylish body, and displays exciting acceleration and agility.

The Aqua incorporates 17 years of Toyota expertise and technology in the development of mass-produced hybrid vehicles, and boasts a small, light and efficient hybrid system that achieves a world-leading*2 fuel efficiency of 35.4 km/L under the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism's (MLIT's) JC08 test cycle and 40.0 km/L*3 under the MLIT 10-15 test cycle.

With a starting price of 1.69 million yen, the Aqua offers the pleasure of hybrid vehicles to an even broader range of consumers in Japan.

Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Prices Grade Hybrid System Driveline Price*
L THS II with reduction gear Front-wheel drive 1,690,000 yen
S 1,790,000 yen
G 1,850,000 yen
*Includes consumption tax, does not include recycling fees and differs in Hokkaido and Okinawa

Vehicle Outline

Exceptional Fuel Efficiency

The Aqua features a state-of-the-art, small, light and efficient 1.5-liter Toyota Hybrid System II (THS II) with reduction gear, which achieves a fuel efficiency of 35.4 km/L in the JC08 test cycle and 40.0 km/L in the MLIT 10-15 test cycle.

A cooled Exhaust-Gas Recirculation (EGR) system improves efficiency in the high-expansion-ratio Atkinson cycle engine. Also contributing to increased engine efficiency is a battery-powered water pump, a friction-reducing beltless design and precise coolant-water-flow volume control.

The hybrid transaxle, which includes the power control unit, the power-generation motor and drive motor, has also been designed to be small and light.

A selectable electric-vehicle mode (EV Mode) enables driving with only the electric motor.

Key Hybrid System Specifications Engine Model 1NZ-FXE
Displacement 1,496 cc
Maximum output 54 kW (74 PS)/4,800 rpm
Maximum torque 111 N-m (11.3 kgf-m)/3,600-4,400 rpm
Motor Maximum output 45 kW (61 PS)
Maximum torque 169 N-m (17.2 kgf-m)
Engine & Motor Combined maximum output* 73 kW (100 PS)
Battery Nickel-metal hydride
*Based on TMC calculations

Design Combines Elements of Fun and Sophistication

The Aqua's active and fun styling provides outstanding aerodynamic performance with a comfortable interior in a compact body.

The exterior offers a bold and modern design with a powerful and refined front mask and a rear silhouette that evokes imagery of brisk yet stable driving performance.

The vehicle comes in ten vibrant and stylish body colors, including new Citrus Orange Mica Metallic and Lime White Pearl Crystal Shine.

The instrument panel structure evokes a great sense of space, while the modern and geometric layout with color-coded, switch-operated areas reflect the pursuit of enjoyment and user-friendliness.

Distinctive and effective accent color placement contributes to a brighter interior and is available in four patterns: Earth Brown, Fresh Green, Cool Blue, and Natural Gray.

Front and rear seats with ample head clearance and legroom provide excellent comfort.

The hybrid battery has been sized for placement under the rear seat, resulting in a spacious cargo area of 305 liters*4.

Exhilarating Performance for Enhanced Driving Pleasure

In addition to a long 2,550 mm wheelbase, the hybrid unit and engine are positioned to create a low center of gravity for superior maneuvering performance.

Engine and motor power combine to provide smooth acceleration from standstill to 100 km/h in 10.7 seconds and also at mid-range speeds, such as from 40 km/h to 70 km/h in 3.6 seconds (all measurements according to TMC).

With a minimum turning radius of 4.8 meters, the Aqua also boasts excellent maneuverability.

Fun and Easy-to-use Hybrid

The instrument panel sports a myriad of functions that support environment-conscious and enjoyable driving. The Hybrid System Indicator offers easy-to-understand information concerning eco-driving, such as effective accelerator use. In addition to the standard display, an optional high-resolution thin-film-transistor liquid crystal multi-information display provides a variety of eco-driving information. Eco Judge ranks eco-driving on a 100-point scale, and Eco Wallet shows money saved as compared with other levels of fuel efficiency.

High-level Safety and Comfort-Enhancing Features

ABS with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) maximizes braking performance, with the EBD appropriately distributing braking force between the front and rear wheels according to driving conditions. Also, a brake assist function generates extra braking force to assist the driver in emergency braking situations.

Vehicle Stability Control controls brake and engine output to maintain vehicle stability if skidding occurs. Traction Control controls wheel spin to simplify acceleration operation.

Hill-start Assist Control reduces anxiety about the vehicle rolling backwards when starting on a steep incline.

Automatic air conditioning comes standard on all models and is equipped with an electric inverter compressor run by the electric motor, enabling a comfortably air-conditioned interior even when the engine is off.

In addition to seat heaters, the exhaust heat recirculation system draws heat from the engine directly into the cooling water, enhancing heating performance and fuel efficiency in the winter.

Diverse Range of Packages Meet a Range of Needs

The Aqua is available in seven different packages.

Package Main Features
1 Smart entry package - Smart entry and start system for driver, passenger, and rear doors (with answer-back function)
- Antitheft system (engine and motor immobilizer)
- Light controls (auto on/off lights and auto shutoff headlights)

2 LED headlight package - LED headlights (with auto leveling function, headlight cleaner, black extension ornamentation, and auto shutoff system)
- Front fog lights

3 Touring package - 195/50R16 tires and 16x6J aluminum wheels (with center ornamentation)
- Large rear roof spoiler
- Smoked headlamp trim
- Dedicated suspension

4 Beauty package - nanoe*
- Super UV-cut Glass (front doors)
- Seat heaters (driver and passenger seats)
- Passenger seat sun visor with vanity mirror

5 Advanced display package - TFT multi-information display
- Touch Tracer Display
- Steering-wheel-mounted switches (audio system operation, Trip and Display buttons, and air conditioning switches; with touch tracer function)

6 Navigation system ready package - Backup camera
- Six speakers
- Steering-wheel-mounted switches (audio system operation, Trip and Display buttons, and air conditioning switches)

7 Audio system package - CD + AM/FM & AUX terminals
- Steering-wheel-mounted switches (audio system operation, Trip and Display buttons, and air conditioning switches)
- Six speakers

*nanoe and the nanoe logo are trademarks of Panasonic Corporation

Welcabs: Vehicles with Factory-installed Features for The Disabled

The Rotating Passenger Seat model features a passenger seat that rotates to facilitate smooth ingress and egress. The Type B model features an electric loading/unloading mechanism for manual wheelchairs.

Welcab Friendmatic Seat models allow for the installation of devices such as a specialized driver's seat, to help people without use of their legs drive with only their hands (scheduled for release in March 2012). Special-purpose power steering that reduces the force necessary to turn the steering wheel comes standard, helping to ease steering during initial acceleration and low-speed driving.

The Friendmatic-exclusive remote-controlled power driver's seat available on Types II and IV, aids movement to and from a wheelchair. Types III and IV include the Welcarry device, which automatically stows a wheelchair on the vehicle's roof.

Manufacturer's Suggested Welcab Retail Prices

Variant Grade Hybrid system Driveline Price*
Rotating Passenger Seat model (Type A) S THS II with reduction gear Front-wheel drive 1,895,000 yen
G 1,955,000 yen
Rotating Passenger Seat model (Type B) S 1,894,000 yen
G 1,951,000 yen
Welcab Friendmatic model (Type I) S 1,890,000 yen
G 1,950,000 yen
Welcab Friendmatic model (Type II) S 2,125,000 yen
G 2,182,000 yen
Welcab Friendmatic model (Type III) S 2,297,000 yen
G 2,354,000 yen
Welcab Friendmatic model (Type IV) S 2,622,000 yen
G 2,679,000 yen
*Includes consumption tax, differs in Hokkaido and Okinawa and excludes recycling fees. Rotating passenger Seat Type B and Welcab Friendmatic model Type II, Type III, and Type IV are exempt from consumption taxes; Welcab Friendmatic model Type I is exempt from consumption taxes only when the specialized driver's seat is installed at the time of purchase.

*1Derived from the Latin word meaning water. The name is meant to evoke an image of clean transparency as well as of something that is universally cherished. Also, the Aqua is meant to break the conventional image of hybrid vehicles, becoming something fluid and not constrained to any one shape or role-like free-flowing water. With this image, it is hoped that even more people will choose to experience the joys of hybrid vehicle ownership.
*2Compared to mass-produced gasoline passenger cars (excluding plug-in hybrid vehicles). As of November 30, 2011, according to TMC.
*3G and S grades are 37.0 km/L.
*4Storage up to the top of the rear seat back calculated by TMC using the VDA method.

Toyota Tsusho JV to begin lithium production in Argentina in 2013; supplies for Toyota Motor

Toyota Group company Toyota Tsusho Corp. will begin lithium production in the Salar de Olaroz Lithium-Potash Project in Argentina in 2013 through its joint venture with Australian mining concern Orocobre Ltd.

Results of a feasibility study at the site, a salt lake in northwestern Argentina, showed estimated deposits of 6.4 million tons, a major upgrade from an initial projection of 1.5 million tons.

According to the Nikkei, Toyota Tsusho and Orocobre plan to begin constructing on-site facilities in 2012 upon government approval, with the mining to begin as early as 2013. The joint venture is expected to produce an annual 16,400 tons of lithium.

Toyota Tsusho will receive all the lithium produced at the site for supply to group firm Toyota Motor Corp. and others.

Source: Nikkei

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Volvo prices V60 Plug-In Hybrid wagon and touts its technical superiority

Volvo recently announced pricing for its 2013 V60 plug-in wagon capable of 31 miles all-electric range at speeds up to 74 mph, as well as other diesel hybrid modes making it “the technically most advanced Volvo model ever – an electric car, hybrid car and muscle-car all rolled into one.”

Production for the all-wheel-drive showcase – co-developed by Volvo and Swedish utility Vattenfall – is scheduled for November 2012.

Volvo says the initial Euro-market production of 1,000 Silver-painted V60s will command €57,000 ($74,533) apiece (including Value Added Tax (VAT), before green incentives, and to vary regionally). In the UK, prices will start at £45,000 ($70,318). Plans for 2013 are to build 4,000-6,000 units for the 2014 model year.

“The world’s first diesel plug-in hybrid.”

Some of you may have read that this vehicle will come to the U.S. in 2013 or 2014. Yesterday, Volvo spokesman, Per-Åke Fröberg confirmed only that it might arrive here, but if it does it will be as a gasoline model.

“Since the V60 Plug-In Hybrid has a diesel engine, it won’t be sold in the U.S., given the extremely small market for premium diesel cars,” he said. “We are, however, looking at using the same technology with a gasoline engine but I can’t confirm any time line.”

Nonetheless, the “three cars in one” V60 might be interesting to some of you, so we’ll highlight (and link to) a few more salient points for your perusal.

The AWD, six-speed automatic transmission vehicle will come with a T6 badge as it has the same horsepower range as the highly capable petrol T6. The V60 Plug-In is strong enough even to include a trailer hitch.

Its front wheels are powered by a five-cylinder 2.4-liter turbodiesel producing 215 horsepower and 325 pound-feet torque.

The rear axle is powered by an electric motor producing 70 horsepower and 148 pound-feet torque and supplied by an 11.2-kwh lithium-ion battery pack under the rear floor.

Volvo says the battery consists of 10 modules each containing 20 cells. These 200 cells are monitored by a sophisticated battery management system. Integrated water-cooling is driven by the car’s climate control unit.

As Volvo explains, three pushbuttons give the car three entirely different temperaments:

• In Pure mode the car is powered solely by its electric motor as much as possible. If the battery pack has been recharged with electricity from renewable sources, its range is up to 31 miles [capable of speeds up to 74 mph] and its carbon dioxide emissions are zero. The electric range varies with terrain, climate and driving style.
Hybrid is the standard setting whenever the car is started. The diesel engine and electric motor cooperate to ensure optimal balance between driving pleasure and environmental footprint. CO2 emission (NEDC, mixed driving cycle for certification) is 49g/km [65 percent lower than a V60 with the same engine]. Fuel consumption on this same [optimistic] drive cycle is 1.9l/100km [124 mpg]. The car has a total range of up to 620 miles.
• In Power mode the technology is optimized to give the car the maximum possible power. The diesel engine and electric motor have a total power output of 215+70 [285] horsepower and maximum torque of 325+148 [473] pound-feet. The electric motor’s lightning-quick torque delivery contributes to the car’s acceleration from 0 to 62 mph 6.2 seconds.

Recharging time via one of Europe’s 230-volt home outlets ranges from 3.5 hours at 16 amps to 7.5 hours at 6 amps. While recharging, the passenger compartment can be pre-heated or cooled for comfort’s sake, as well as to pre-cool the battery to an optimal 68-86°F, and also to maximize electric range.

When switched to AWD mode, instead of mechanical power transfer, the central control unit distributes power between the diesel-driven front wheels and the electrically-driven rear axle.

In this mode, the diesel engine operates continuously and the generator ensures that the charge level in the battery pack is sufficient to supply the rear axle with the necessary power. Because the electric motor is outmatched by the powerful diesel, torque to the rear wheels is limited and AWD is limited to 74 mph.

The V60 Plug-in Hybrid has two heating systems. In electric mode the car uses a PTC (Positive Temperature Coefficient) air heater. It also has a diesel-powered heater.

Also noteworthy is the V60′s two-stage braking. When the driver presses the brake pedal, the system starts braking the rear axle’s electric motor. This braking energy is then used to recharge the car’s battery pack. The mechanical brakes are activated only when the situation requires more braking power than the rear axle can provide.

The hybridization of this wagon commands a hefty premium over, say, Volvo’s S60 wagon built on the same platform, but the company is optimistic.

“There is immense interest from the markets. We are convinced that the first thousand cars will be sold even before production gets under way next autumn,” says Stefan Jacoby, President and CEO of Volvo Car Corporation. “With the V60 Plug-in Hybrid we boost our leading position in electrification. None of our competitors can offer customers an equally ingenious car. It elevates hybrid technology to an entirely new level.”

About 30 percent of total volume will go to Sweden and the other Nordic countries, Volvo says. Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Britain will have a share of between 5 and 15 percent each.

In its core markets Sweden, Germany and Netherlands, V60 co-developer Vattenfall will offer buyers a “starter pack” including 100-per cent renewable electricity generated by Vattenfall´s own production facilities and a wall-mounted charging station.

If imported to the U.S. with a gasoline engine, and sans the European VAT surcharge, we shall see when it will arrive, how much it will sell for, and how successful it might be.


Peter Norby's BMW MiniE Video

Peter Norby's BMW Mini video:

Sunrise on a Brighter Future from Peder Norby on Vimeo.

After 36,000 solar-powered miles, MiniE driver ready to make the switch to BMW ActiveE (and an SUV)

The name Peder Norby should be familiar to anyone who's been involved with BMW's all-electric MiniE program. The driver of MiniE #183 has put 36,000 sun-powered miles on his EV and has long been a strong proponent of getting more people to make the shift to electric vehicles. His latest target? His wife Julie, who will be using the upcoming ActiveE when BMW makes Norby give the MiniE back and gives him the all-electric 1 Series coupe in return.

The ActiveE is not cheap, and so Norby's wife will be the main driver for the single ActiveE the family will get. Norby made a video about his sunset (get it?) with the MiniE and talks about how even though Julie is not the early adopter type, the ActiveE will suit her just fine on her 45-mile roundtrip commute. Norby writes:

I wish we could afford two electric BMW ActiveE cars but at this early stage, we simply can't afford two payments. We also have yet to wear out our small 2008 SUV. It's Julie's turn next and she is very excited as she waits for her new car, the ActiveE. I'll get to drive it at night and on weekends so I'm not to bummed about it.

Source: Autoblog Green

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Li-S company Sion Power raises $ 50M

Lithium-sulfur battery company Sion Power recently reported to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that it raised $50 million in equity sold to undisclosed investors.

Lithium-Sulfur Batteries
Lithium-Sulfur batteries (LSBs) use a lithium metal anode and a soluble polysulfide cathode. Lithium ions are stripped from the anode during discharge and form lithium polysulfides in the cathode. Li2S in the cathode is the result of complete discharge.
On recharge, the lithium ions are plated back onto the anode as the lithium polysulfides in the cathode move towards S8. High order Li-polysulfides (Li2S3 to Li2S8) are soluble in the electrolyte and migrate to the anode, scrubbing off any dendrite growth.
Lithium-sulfur battery. Click to enlarge.
The theoretical specific energy of a lithium-sulfur battery chemistry is in excess of 2,500 Wh/kg with a theoretical energy density of 2,600 Wh/L.
LSBs have a number of issues, including cycle life and operation at higher temperatures. Among the limiting mechanisms, according to Sion, are the rough lithium surface on the anode during cycling and Li/electrolyte depletion.

In 2010, Sion, a Brookhaven National Laboratories spin-off, received a three-year research grant worth up to $5 million from the United States Department of Energy Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) (earlier post) for the development of practical, economical and safe lithium-sulfur (Li-S) batteries for powering electric vehicles. Sion’s award was one of 10 made to advanced battery projects by ARPA-E during this second round of project funding.

Performance targets for this program are to exceed 500 Wh/kg and 500 cycles at commercially viable recharge rates. By 2016, the goal is to produce a cell with 600 Wh/kg and 1,000 cycles. Sion Power believes that by utilizing Li-S technology, a battery pack weighing less than 700 lbs (318 kg) can power a 3,500 lb (1,588 kg) five-passenger vehicle more than 300 miles (483 km).

In 2009, Sion Power Corporation and BASF SE signed a Joint Development Agreement (JDA) to accelerate the commercialization of Sion Power’s proprietary lithium-sulfur (Li-S) battery technology for the electric vehicle (EV) market and other high-energy applications. (Earlier post.)

Privately held Sion Power Corporation was established initially as Moltech Corporation in 1994, and holds more than 100 US and international patents on its technology.

Source: Green Car Congress

2013 Toyota Prius C Compact Hybrid On Sale in Japan - Detroit Soon to Follow

Less than three weeks hence, the 2013 Toyota Prius C--the first compact hybrid hatchback from Toyota's expanding Prius line--will be officially introduced for the U.S. market at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show.

Less than three weeks hence, the 2013 Toyota Prius C--the first compact hybrid hatchback from Toyota's expanding Prius line--will be officially introduced for the U.S. market at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show.

It was first unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show early this month, under the model name Aqua, and it went on sale in Japan this past Sunday.

According to Bloomberg, Toyota has high aspirations for the Prius C, hoping to sell as many as 12,000 of the car a month in Japan alone.

2013 Toyota Prius C, as shown at 2011 Tokyo Motor Show

2013 Toyota Prius C, as shown at 2011 Tokyo Motor Show

The hybrid hatchback should draw interest among Japanese buyers eager to see this new, smaller full hybrid from the world's leading maker of hybrid-electric vehicles.

In its home market, the car we know as the 2013 Toyota Prius C will compete with both the mild-hybrid Honda Insight and the Honda Fit Hybrid, a model we don't see in the States that has proven popular in Japan.

MORE: 2013 Toyota Prius C: Video Shows Sporty Hybrid On The Road

Here in the States, however, Honda has struggled to sell its Insight subcompact hybrid hatchback. It updated and remodeled the 2012 Insight for its third year on the market, slightly improving its gas-mileage ratings to 41 mpg city, 44 mpg highway, for a combined overall 42-mpg rating.

The EPA has not yet released gas-mileage ratings for the 2013 Toyota Prius C, though on the less strenuous Japanese cycle, it was rated at 82 mpg (35 km/l).

2013 Toyota Prius C, as shown at 2011 Tokyo Motor Show

2013 Toyota Prius C, as shown at 2011 Tokyo Motor Show

It's possible it could be rated as high as 60 mpg in the U.S., though Toyota has said only that the Prius C will deliver higher mileage than the Prius hatchback's 52-mpg city rating.

Toyota has expanded its well-recognized Prius hybrid lineup by adding a Prius V wagon, now on sale (in fact, our holiday test vehicle is the Prius wagon). The 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid will reach U.S. dealers by March.

The 2013 Prius C will go on sale "during 2012," Toyota says, probably over the summer.

Even before the 2013 Toyota Prius C hits U.S. dealerships, however, it's being modified in other markets. As our sister site Motor Authority reports, Japanese customizers have already developed body kits and other performance enhancements for the Aqua.

Source: Green Car Reports

Quantum and SB Electronics form technology partnership to launch next generation hybrid electric drive systems

Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide, Inc. and SBE, Inc. have formed a technology partnership. As part of this partnership, SBE, Inc. is providing a novel integrated capacitor/bus structure design solutions for Quantum power electronics for automotive applications.

The SBE integrated module is an approach which offers many benefits such as higher performance, weight reduction, smaller packaging and total system cost savings.

Quantum continues to optimize and improve the efficiencies of our advanced electric drive-train products. We expect the SBE integrated capacitor/bus structure to enable substantial packaging and performance advantages in our next generation electric and hybrid-electric drive systems.

—Alan Niedzwiecki, CEO Quantum Technologies

The electrification of the automobile has successfully reached the technical feasibility stage today. Cost improvements are needed to reach the commercial viability stage for mass market acceptance. Cost must be attacked everywhere. The SBE power ring capacitor technology is a major enabler for power electronics design simplification, up-integration, and higher temperature operation to significantly drive down the cost while improving performance.

—Jon Bereisa, Senior Technical Advisor for SBE, Inc.

The ring shape (annular form factor) of the SBE Power Ring Film Capacitor provides extremely low internal losses (ESR) within the film and also provides for the purest form of interconnect symmetry which can lower the inductive properties (ESL).

The main application of the SBE Power Ring Film Capacitor in electric drive systems is for the DC Link Capacitor used in inverters. Typical voltages range from 250V – 1500Vdc and ripple currents range from 40 – 5400 Arms at 10 – 100khz switching frequencies. In earlier applications, Aluminum Electrolytics were used extensively for DC Link capacitors, however, as voltages and ripple currents rise, these may not be the best choice any longer for reliable, size efficient use, SBE says.

The Power Ring Film Capacitor allows for a much reduced capacitor volume and cost for a design’s given ripple current requirement.

Source: Green Car Congress

Congress Ends Taxpayer Funding of Ethanol Subsidies

When the U.S. Congress adjourned for the holidays on Friday, December 23, its departure sealed the fate of subsidized ethanol production.

During its session, the Congress did not renew a tax break for U.S. production of corn-based ethanol that had become increasingly unpopular across a wide area of the political spectrum.

The tax credit amounted to 45 cents per gallon of ethanol that was blended into gasoline. It had been in place since 1980.

Corn lobby loses support

As The Detroit News reported the next day, by some estimates, total subsidies to the ethanol industry may have reached $45 billion over that period. That is several times the total loans, grants, and tax credits provided thus far to the U.S. electric-car industry.

Gas pump

Gas pump

In June, the Senate voted 73-27 to end the tax break. That vote, attached to an economic development bill that was stalled, was viewed as symbolic--letting Congressmembers go on record against continuing the subsidies without effectively ending them.

It proved to be a test case that demonstrated the waning support in Congress for the corn-based ethanol industry. Three weeks later, an agreement was reached to end the subsidies for real--and it held for the rest of the year.

Ending the ethanol tax breaks is projected to save about $2 billion over several years. Of that total, two-thirds is to be applied to cutting the national debt, although it represents just one-tenth of 1 percent of the total national debt of $14.3 trillion.

Half as productive as Brazil

Using corn is the least productive way to make ethanol, at roughly 300 gallons per acre of feedstock. The Brazilian ethanol industry gets twice as many gallons per acre using sugar cane, and other feedstocks like switchgrass have been projected to produce up to 1,200 gallons per acre.

Development of cellulosic ethanol refineries that use non-corn feedstocks have lagged commercially, despite several pilot projects.

U.S. corn ethanol had further been protected by a 54-cents-per-gallon tariff on imports of ethanol from other countries (meaning Brazil). That import duty was also ended by the departure of Congress for the year.

But with sugar prices high in Brazil, imports of ethanol aren't likely to spike in the short term.

Conflict with 2007 mandate

That leads to a longer-range question: Will there be sufficient ethanol produced and imported to meet the escalating ethanol-use requirements of the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act passed by Congress?

Proposed EPA E15 gasoline pump warning label for ethanol content

Proposed EPA E15 gasoline pump warning label for ethanol content

That law requires that 36 billion gallons of ethanol be blended into U.S. vehicle fuel by 2022--which is more than three times the 11.1 billion gallons used in 2010. The requirement rises to 15 billion gallons for 2015.

Congress has blocked the EPA's approval of E15 gasoline, which has up to 15 percent ethanol, largely at the request of automakers and others who fear damage to engines not designed to handle fuel with that volume of ethanol. The current standard, in places for decades, permits up to 10 percent ethanol in pump gasoline.

So while Congress has ended tax breaks, it may have set up the fuel industry for failure on the 2007 mandate by explicitly banning E15 gasoline.

Until that is resolved, the politics of ethanol are likely to remain fractious.

Source: Green Car Reports

Monday, December 26, 2011

Dodge Caliber Soon to be Replaced by the Dart

That news will probably come neither as a surprise nor much of a shame to many of you, as Dodge's baby hatchback hasn't exactly set the market on fire and has been representative of a time before American carmakers cared about making competitive compacts.

Detroit News has revealed that production of the Caliber ended last week, and is set to be replaced by the much more promising 40-mpg 2013 Dodge Dart, due to be revealed in full at January's 2012 Detroit Auto Show.

Intended to replace the Dodge Neon, the Caliber attempted to cash in on the crossover boom, but was uncompetitive even against some pretty average rivals.

According to Jim Hall from 2953 Analytics LLP, the Caliber was "the last of the American bottom-feeder compacts," also referencing the previous Ford Focus and Chevrolet Cobalt as "cynical thinking" products.

Hall says the Big Three were wrong to assume that consumers purchasing entry-level vehicles wouldn't know better if the products were sub-par.

Even the tire-smoking R/T model drew no more than faint praise, and Dodge will be hoping the upcoming Alfa Romeo Giulietta-based Dart will be better suited to tackle talented new rivals like the Ford Focus and Chevrolet Cruze.

Hall expects the Dart to triple Caliber sales, and green-thinking consumers will be happy with a predicted 40 MPG rating from the Fiat 1.4-liter, turbocharged MultiAir engine.

Two other engines handed down from the Caliber will also power the Dart, a 2.0-liter and 2.4-liter. The latter will also carry Fiat's efficient MultiAir technology. A choice of transmissions, both manual and automatic, will be offered.

Chrysler is clearly keen to distance the Dart from its predecessor though, going as far as to market the Dart as having "Alfa Romeo DNA".

For further details on the 2013 Dodge Dart, head over to our details preview.

Source: Green Car Reports

New Ford C-MAX sales double across Europe

Sales in Europe of Ford’s new C-MAX and Grand C-MAX have increased by more than 100% over the previous model, with a high percentage of customers opting for new technology features.

Since the new C-MAX and Grand C-MAX were introduced in late 2010, more than 135,000 vehicles have been sold across Europe. Through November, Ford sold 118,800 C-MAXs in Europe, more than doubling C-MAX sales from a year ago.

With this sales growth, the model’s European segment share has grown to 12.7% in 2011 (up from 6.7% in 2010), with the C-MAX range claiming segment leadership in Italy, Turkey and Ireland.

The Grand C-MAX has contributed one-third of the overall C-MAX sales volume. This model has twin rear sliding doors, 7-seat capability and an innovative walk-through seating concept, where the second row middle seat folds away under the outer seat and makes it possible to walk through to the third seat row. More than 60% of customers buying this model have moved to Ford from other manufacturers.

35% of customers are selecting Ford Active Park Assist for easier parallel parking, three times more than initially predicted.

The recent introduction of new low-CO2 C-MAX and Grand C-MAX models wearing the Ford ECOnetic Technology badge—offering CO2 emissions from as low as 114g/km, has increased the appeal of the C-MAX line-up for consumers that valuing fuel economy, Ford said.

During 2012, European customers will also be able to select C-MAX models powered by the 1.0-liter Ford EcoBoost gasoline engine.

In the US, Ford will introduce the C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid and C-MAX Hybrid based on the new Ford C-MAX five-passenger multi-activity vehicle.

Source: Green Car Congress

Saturday, December 24, 2011


Merry Christmas everyone!

Wishing you and yours a tremendous holiday season and hope all your dreams come true. Be safe and we will be back Monday!

DOE report finds some materials for EVs and other clean energy technologies at risk of supply disruptions in the short term; risks decreasing in mediu

Materials in clean energy technologies and components. Source: DOE. Click to enlarge.

Several clean energy technologies—including electric vehicles, wind turbines, PV thin films and fluorescent lighting—use materials at risk of supply disruptions in the short term, with risks generally decreasing in the medium- and long-terms, according to the newly released 2011 Critical Materials Strategy report from the US Department of Energy (DOE).

According to the report, supply challenges for five rare earth metals (REEs)—dysprosium, terbium, europium, neodymium and yttrium—were found to be critical in the short term (present–2015). These five REEs are used in magnets for wind turbines and electric vehicles or phosphors in energy-efficient lighting. Other elements—cerium, indium, lanthanum and tellurium—were found to be near-critical. Between the short term and the medium term (2015–2025), the importance to clean energy and supply risk shift for some materials.

Short-term (left) and medium-term (right) criticality matrices. Source: DOE. Click to enlarge.

The new report updates the 2010 Critical Materials Strategy (earlier post), which highlighted the importance of certain materials to those clean energy technologies. The 2011 Critical Materials Strategy includes updated criticality assessments, market analyses and technology analyses to address critical materials challenges. It was prepared by the US Department of Energy (DOE) based on data collected and research performed during 2011.

Market analysis. Demand for almost all of the materials examined in the report has grown more rapidly than demand for commodity metals such as steel, the report nots. The growing demand for the materials comes from consumer products such as cell phones, computers and flat panel televisions as well as clean energy technologies. Findings in this section of the report include:

  • In general, global material supply has been slow to respond to the rise in demand over the past decade due to a lack of available capital, long lead times, trade policies and other factors. For many key materials, market response is further complicated by the complexities of coproduction and byproduction. In addition, for some key materials, the market’s lack of transparency and small size can affect its ability to function efficiently.

  • Some universities and other institutions are preparing the future science and engineering workforce through courses, research opportunities and internships. Important topics for research include material characterization, instrumentation, green chemistry, manufacturing engineering, materials recycling technology, modeling, market assessment and product design.

  • Businesses at various stages of the supply chain are adapting to market dynamics. Some are taking defensive measures to protect themselves from price volatility and material scarcity while others are proactively responding to market opportunities by offering additional sources of supply or potential substitutes.

  • Many governments recognize the growing importance of raw materials to economic competitiveness and are taking an active role in mitigating supply risks.

Technology analysis. The 2011 report features three in-depth technology analyses, which concluded:

  • Rare earth elements play an important role in petroleum refining, but the sector’s vulnerability to rare earth supply disruptions is limited. Lanthanum is used in fluid catalytic cracking (FCC), an important part of petroleum refining. However lanthanum supplies are less critical than some other rare earths and refineries have some ability to adjust input amounts. Recent lanthanum price increases have likely added less than a penny to the price of gasoline.

  • Manufacturers of wind power and electric vehicle technologies are pursuing strategies to respond to possible rare earth shortages. Permanent magnets (PMs) containing neodymium and dysprosium are used in wind turbine generators and electric vehicle (EV) motors. These REEs have highly valued magnetic and thermal properties. Manufacturers of both technologies are currently making decisions on future system design, trading off the performance benefits of neodymium and dysprosium against vulnerability to potential supply shortages. For example, wind turbine manufacturers are deciding among gear-driven, hybrid and direct-drive systems, with varying levels of rare earth content. Some EV manufacturers are pursuing rare-earth-free induction motors or switched reluctance motors as alternatives to PM motors.

  • As lighting energy efficiency standards are implemented globally, heavy rare earths used in lighting phosphors may be in short supply. A projected increase in US demand for CFLs and efficient LFLs corresponds to a projected increase in global CFL demand, suggesting upward price pressures for rare earth phosphors in the 2012–2014 timeframe, when europium, terbium and yttrium will be in short supply. In the future, light-emitting diodes (which are highly efficient and have much lower rare earth content) are expected to play a growing role in the market, reducing the pressure on rare earth supplies.

DOE strategy. In the past year, DOE has developed its first critical materials research and development (R&D) plan, provided new funding for priority research, convened international workshops that brought together leading experts, and participated in substantial new coordination among federal agencies working on these topics.

DOE’s strategy for addressing critical materials challenges rests on three pillars:

  • Diversified global supply chains;
  • Development of substitutes; and
  • Recycling, reuse and more efficient use.

DOE’s critical materials research and development (R&D) plan is aligned with these three pillars. The fiscal year 2012 spending bill includes $20 million to fund an energy innovation hub focused on critical materials that will help to further advance the three pillars of the DOE strategy.

Source: Green Car Congress

Verifying the Range of a Nissan Leaf in Wintertime

Just before Nissan officially launched the all-electric Leaf hatchback, it came out with a dizzying list of simulated range predictions based on all kinds of road and weather conditions.

According to Nissan’s own computer-simulated calculations, the car’s 24 kilowatt-hour battery pack could propel the car up to 138 miles in optimum conditions, or under 62 miles in worse-case scenarios.

In the spirit of true investigative journalism, we decided to test winter range for ourselves, with a long evening rush-hour commute on a dreary December day.

Our car for the test was a 2011 European-specification Leaf we purchased in March this year. At the time of the test, our car had a little over 11,500 miles on the clock.

Arriving at our recharge point -- a rapid DC charging stationed located at a U.K. Nissan Leaf dealer over 80 miles from our destination -- we charged our Leaf to 98 percent full. Then we left on our long-range winter test.

Leaving in the middle of a Friday evening rush-hour, our first ten miles or so consisted of slow-moving stop/start traffic on surface streets before we hit the freeway. An hour after leaving, we hit the freeway. The outside temperature had dropped to 35 degrees Farenheit.

2011 Nissan Leaf State of Charge and Miles remaining

2011 Nissan Leaf State of Charge and Miles remaining

It wasn't just cold outside: the interior temperature of our Leaf was also pretty cold. On shorter trips, we would have used the excellent on-board heater to keep the temperature a more comfortable 70 degrees, but given our destination was over 70 miles away, we refrained from doing so.

Instead, we wrapped up, using the car’s demist function only when absolutely necessary, and allowed ourselves the luxury of both satellite navigation, and the radio.

Easing onto the freeway, and almost exclusively driving in the Leaf’s ECO mode to help encourage us to use as little energy as possible, we kept the Leaf at an indicated speed of between 55 and 60 mph, depending on traffic flow.

By the time we’d reached our potential emergency recharging point -- a freeway rest-stop equipped with a level 2 charger just 15 miles from our destination -- there were only two indicated bars left on the car's 12-segment state-of-charge display.

According to the car's notoriously poor range prediction software, we had enough range for anther 19 miles.

Pushing on, and with outside temperatures now below freezing, temperatures inside our Leaf were far from pleasant.

Fast Charging 2011 Nissan Leaf

Fast Charging 2011 Nissan Leaf

With six miles to go, we pulled off the freeway. Our car predicted we had enough range for 5 miles of driving. Just as the car reached the bottom of the offramp, it gave its first low-battery warning, telling us it was close to running flat.

Nursing our car along on surface streets at around 30 mph, the car gave us its second low battery warning message a few hundred yards from our destination. By this point, the car had stopped trying to predict range -- an indication it was perilously close to itsTurtle mode in which power is restricted in order to prevent an almost empty battery.

Pulling up at our charging station, the dash recorded a total of 81 miles since we had recharged the car. We’d arrived, and the car hadn’t entered Turtle mode.

Logging onto Nissan’s Carwings Portal, we noted the car reported a battery capacity of 0 percent. It estimated the car could drive an additional 2 miles before running out of charge altogether.

We'd made it.

We've proven it is possible to drive a Nissan Leaf 80 miles in freezing conditions at mostly freeway speeds, but only if you don't use the on-board heater.

Using our own experience, we estimate that keeping our car’s cabin at a toasty 70 degrees would have cost us around 25 miles in range, requiring a mid-trip recharge.

If you’re planning a winter trip in your Leaf, we’d advise you plan a recharge stop every 50 miles if you want to stay warm and make good progress.

But if cold weather doesn’t faze you, it’s possible in moderately cold weather to travel well beyond the EPA’s official 73 mile range estimation.

Source: Green Car Reports

Friday, December 23, 2011

Sears Home Services to install Plugless Power inductive charging systems for EVs

Sears Home Services, the residential and commercial installation arm of Sears Holdings, recently entered an installation agreement with Evatran, the developer of Plugless Power inductive charging systems for electric vehicles. Plugless Power is a Level 2 (240V at 30A, 3.3 kW rated power output) system, with a transfer efficiency of 90%. Benefits offered to Plugless Power customers through the agreement include:

  • Simplified Purchasing: Evatran will offer Plugless Power systems with optional basic or standard home installation wrapped into the purchase price of the equipment; this full price may be included in the vehicle purchase or lease at the time of sale.

  • Pre-Installation Site Visits: Site visits, as necessary to quote non-standard and commercial installations, will be completed in advance of installations.

  • Timely Installation: Sears will receive automatic notification of a customer’s installation request; Sears will contact the customer within one business day of equipment purchase to schedule home installation.

  • Convenient Additional Services: Sears will offer ongoing service and maintenance to Plugless Power owners.

Sears installation network technicians will be trained and certified on the wireless charging systems and will work with Evatran to structure a comprehensive launch plan for aftermarket systems throughout 2012. Product offerings will initially focus on Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf models but will expand to include additional electric vehicles.

Installation will be offered with the sale of each Plugless Power system and priced based on the customer’s home and current electrical service. Sears will also offer commercial installation for electric vehicle fleet owners and managers.

Aftermarket systems will be available for installation starting in 2012 for Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt models. A specific geographic rollout plan will be announced next year with final installation pricing for basic and standard home installations.

In addition to aftermarket distribution, Evatran is currently working with automotive manufacturers to integrate the Plugless Power technology into mass-market EVs and signed a Joint Development Agreement with Yazaki North America, a major Tier 1 automotive supplier in May 2011.

Early in December, Evatran announced it had signed contracts with six commercial participants to outfit their Chevrolet Volt and Nissan LEAF models with pre-production Plugless Power wireless charging systems.

Source: Green Car Congress