China’s new energy vehicle production surging

produced China’s new energy vehicle production surging

New energy vehicles,Chinese automakers produced more than 25,000 in June–BEIJING, July 7

Four times as many as they did in the same month last year, as the government promotes use of less polluting vehicles, new data indicated on Tuesday.

Breaking down last month’s figures, they produced 10,500 electric cars, growing 200 percent year on year, and 6,663 plugin hybrid cars, growing 700 percent, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).

Meanwhile, output of electric commercial vehicles last month reached 6,218, up 500 percent year on year, while output of plugin commercial hybrid vehicles grew 148 percent to 1,645.

new energy vehicle

The June data brought total output of new energy vehicles in the first half of 2015 to 78,500, up 300 percent year on year, said the MIIT.

It did not provide figures for the number of cars sold in June.

The Ministry of Commerce announced earlier this year that China will continue to build charging facilities in cities and allow tax exemptions and subsidies on new energy vehicle purchases.

In March, the Ministry of Transport set a target of having 300,000 new energy vehicles on China’s roads by 2020: 200,000 new energy buses and 100,000 new energy taxis and delivery vehicles.

Morgan 3-wheeler may enter production soon


In brief: New electric version of the classic Morgan 3-wheeler debuts as prototype that may enter production soon.

The Morgan Three Wheeler is one of the most recognizable three-wheeled cars on the road. With its open wheel, tadpole design (two wheels up front, one behind) and V-twin motorcycle engine up front, the Morgan two-seat roadster is a favorite weekender the world over. Now, the company is toying with the idea of an EV version.

The electric Morgan Three Wheeler, being called the EV3 (a combination of its electric vehicle status and three wheels), is a prototype unveiled recently and is, Morgan says, almost production-ready as it’s shown.

The car is a lot lighter than its combustion-powered counterpart and has a range of about 150 miles. It weighs less than 1,000 pounds and produces 101 horsepower. That is about 300 pounds lighter than the gas-powered version and a roughly equivalent power output.

Most of the development left to accomplish, Morgan says, is in the powertrain layout. The company is trying to find the best balance of range and power to match the EV3’s projected needs. They’re also testing the market a bit to see how well a car like this would sell.

And so …

The majority of Morgan Three Wheelers sold are sold as kits that are put together by professional garages and/or their owners. In this way, they can be imported to the U.S. without having to meet a lot of federal and local requirements for licensing. We expect the EV3 would be sold in a similar fashion if it made it across the pond.


Volvo Kills the Passenger Seat to Make Room for Baby

Volvo's got a concept for a rear-facing baby seat to replace the front passenger.

SO YOU’RE RICH. You have a chauffeur because driving yourself is for the hoi polloi. But you also have a young child. How best to transport both you and your progeny in comfort, style and safety?

The Swedes have a solution.

For wealthy customers who feel like taking their kids places, Volvo changed up its 2016 XC90 “Excellence” edition, the four-seat, extended legroom version of its usually seven-passenger XC90 SUV. But instead of a passenger seat up front, there’s a rear-facing, swiveling baby seat.

Frankly, it looks a bit absurd. But for those of us with kids, the idea of a rear-facing baby seat directly in front of Mom, Dad or, perhaps more likely for the jet set, the nanny, is worth consideration.

This is basically a Mommyfied version of Volvo’s XC90 Lounge Console concept from earlier this year. That version replaced the front passenger seat with a combination storage/ottoman/television/work table.

Volvo wants to eliminate crash-related fatalities in its new cars by 2020, and approaches the problem from several angles. It’s working hard on autonomous driving tech, with atest program using real customers planned for 2017. It hasextensive research arguing children of all ages should have special seats, and to that end includes integrated booster cushions in many of its vehicles. It says small children, up through age 3 or 4, should travel facing rearward because of the lack of muscular strength in their necks and the disproportionate head size and weight in relation to the body.The company says children of all ages should sit in car seats, and includes integrated booster cushions in many of its vehicles.

“Being able to maintain eye contact with your child from the rear seat… would go a long way towards making life easier for parents taking their small child on a trip, says Tisha Johnson, Volvo’s Chief Designer of Interiors. “Such alternative seating arrangements will become increasingly important as we move towards autonomous vehicles.”

No word on if or when Volvo might build the XC90 Excellence Child Seat Concept. But for its next trick, how about a comfy bed for the family dog?


Audi’s next car will drive on the Moon


German car manufacturer Audi has teamed up with a group of scientists to design a lunar rover.

A team of German engineers competing in Google’s Lunar Xprize has struck a deal with Audi to design a rover that could one day drive on the Moon.

The carmaker will offer the group, called Part-Time Scientists, its four-wheel drive technology, as well as expertise in lightweight construction, electric mobility and piloted driving.

Google’s competition will award $30 million to the first team that can get a rover to the Moon, drive 500 metres and beam HD video back to Earth. The goal is to challenge scientists and engineers to develop low-cost ways of getting off our planet.

“The concept of a privately financed mission to the moon is fascinating,” said Luca de Meo, Audi Board Member for Sales and Marketing. “And innovative ideas need supporters that promote them. We want to send a signal with our involvement with the Part-Time Scientists and also motivate other partners to contribute their know-how.”

“With Audi we have acquired a strong partner that will bring us a big step forward with its technological and mobility capabilities,” added Robert Bohme, founder and head of the Part-Time Scientists. “We look forward to future interaction and a fruitful partnership.”

The team’s lunar rover is set to launch in 2017, landing close to the site of Nasa’s last manned mission to the Moon. It’s competing with 15 other teams from around the world for the $30 million prize.

California’s push for cleaner buses could edge out natural gas

The new push by California’s powerful Air Resources Board (CARB) has the potential to marginalize natural gas as a bus fuel in the same way its adoption once marginalized diesel

By Nichola Groom

LOS ANGELES: Fifteen years ago, California led the way to cleaner transit buses with strict tailpipe emissions standards that effectively ushered out diesel as the primary fuel for buses in the state and replaced it with natural gas.

Now, California is poised once again to take the lead, this time by mandating a switch to so-called “zero-emission” buses by 2040.

The new push by California’s powerful Air Resources Board (CARB) has the potential to marginalize natural gas as a bus fuel in the same way its adoption once marginalized diesel.

In response, the California Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition has proposed expanding the definition of “zero-emission vehicles” to include not just electric buses, but also those powered by so-called “renewable natural gas,” which is produced from cow manure or decomposing organic matter in landfills.

Whereas regular natural gas offers a reduction in greenhouse gases of about 15 to 20 percent over diesel, renewable natural gas offers a reduction of about 90 percent over diesel, according to the coalition .

“That’s going to be a tremendous step forward over where we are today,” said Tim Carmichael, president of the coalition, which includes T. Boone Pickens-backed fuel provider Clean Energy Fuels Corp, utility Sempra Energy and engine maker Westport Innovations Inc, among others.

The stakes are high. About 60 percent of California buses now run on compressed natural gas, or CNG, compared with 17 percent nationwide. And with roughly one seventh of the nation’s 67,000 transit buses operating on California’s roads, the state is a crucial market for both bus manufacturers and fuel suppliers.


California’s 12-member Air Resources Board will decide the issue next year after a review of available bus technologies. But so far, it has said it is disinclined to allow anything but true zero-emission transit vehicles, citing a state goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

“We are looking at zero emissions where feasible,” said Tony Brasil, a CARB official.

One impediment to that approach could be whether the available electric and fuel cell buses can meet the needs of the state’s transit agencies.

As of March, there were 22 battery-powered electric buses and 7 fuel-cell powered buses in California transit fleets, according to CARB.

Today, agencies looking to purchase electric buses can choose between vehicles that need to be removed from service for hours of charging every 155 miles or so-called “fast-charging” buses that must stop for 5 minutes of recharging after traveling about 30 miles. By contrast, buses powered by diesel or natural gas can travel about 300 miles before refueling.

Another potential issue is that power delivery systems at transit agencies would likely need to be upgraded to accommodate electric buses.

“If you have a yard with 200 buses, is there enough power in the neighborhood to run that at this point?” asked Steve Miller, chair of the California Transit Association’s zero emissions bus task force. “We’d like to see that vetted out prior to a regulation going on the books.”

Fuel cell buses have a much longer range than those powered by battery, but they also lack fueling infrastructure.

Critics of the proposed regulation have also cited expense as a factor. Battery electric buses typically cost about $800,000, compared with $525,000 for a natural gas bus and less than $500,000 for a diesel bus. Fuel cell buses currently cost about $1.3 million.

But electric bus advocates counter by citing the higher cost of natural gas. Fueling a natural gas bus costs about $27,000 annually, compared with $10,500 in electricity cost for an electric bus, according to CARB.

Electric buses, advocates note, also have lower maintenance expenses, which means the cost of maintaining an electric bus is roughly equivalent to that of one powered by natural gas when figured over the 12-year average lifespan of a bus.

CARB has pledged to spend up to $70 million to support purchases of electric buses this year.

The state is also supporting electric bus production. Proterra, a startup electric bus manufacturer, will open a new factory in California later this year with help from a $3 million state grant, and China’s BYD was given state tax breaks to make its buses in the state.

But even with financial support, transit agencies worry that their systems would have to undergo massive logistical changes to accommodate large numbers of battery electric buses.

Steve Schupak, who is running the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s test of five BYD electric buses, said switching even 15 percent of the agency’s fleet over to electric buses “would drastically change the way we operate.”

With renewable natural gas, the industry argues, buses can achieve “near zero” emissions without the higher cost of vehicles that are still unproven on the road in large numbers.

Moreover, the natural gas players say, even electric buses aren’t true zero-emission vehicles. They are pressing CARB to also consider the greenhouse gases emitted by power plants in generating electricity for buses.

“Will you just be using natural gas generation to charge the buses?” said Rodger Schwecke, vice president of customer solutions for the Southern California Gas Company.

For the present, at least, demand for renewable natural gas is on the rise, as transit agencies seek short-term ways to reduce their climate emissions. Los Angeles County’s transit agency, the nation’s second-largest, says it plans to switch all of its buses to run on RNG, a move that will reduce its carbon emissions by more than 78 percent without investing in additional infrastructure, according to spokesman Paul Gonzales.

Clean Energy Fuels, the nation’s largest provider of natural gas fuel for transportation, said it is on track to sell 40 million gallons of RNG this year, double what it sold last year.

Germany’s first hydrogen filling station on the autobahn opens

ETAuto Bureau
Stuttgart: As part of the Clean Energy Partnership (CEP), Germany’s first motorway hydrogen filling station was inaugurated here on Monday. It was a joint effort by Daimler, Linde and TOTAL.

State Secretary Dorothee Bar said: “Electric vehicles with hydrogen fuel cell drives produce no harmful emissions. They have a long range and can refuel in minutes. Politics, science and industry have worked together to bring hydrogen mobility to the brink of market entry. We are now increasingly tackling the development of infrastructure: by the end of 2015, 50 hydrogen filling stations will be available in metropolitan areas and along major roads. ”

The construction of a nationwide hydrogen infrastructure in Germany is accompanied by the planned market ramp-up of fuel cell cars from various manufacturers.



BMW starts testing first hydrogen fuel-cell car

BMW will test a vehicle powered by hydrogen fuel cells on public roads this month as the German automaker looks to expand clean-car offerings after rolling out the battery powered i3 in 2013.

The company plans “a technically mature, customer-ready vehicle some time after 2020,” Matthias Klietz, head of powertrain research, told journalists at BMW’s test track in Miramas, France. “By around 2025 to 2030, we expect fuel cell cars to have an established presence, but there are challenges that remain, like building the refuelling infrastructure.”

BMW is developing fuel cells with Japanese partner Toyota Motor, and it demonstrated a 5-Series Gran Turismo prototype in Miramas on Wednesday that uses the companies’ joint technology. The model is part of the car industry’s multibillion dollar effort to create alternative powering setups and improve fuel use to meet tightening emissions rules.

Fuel cells, which have provided spacecraft with power since the 1960s, produce electricity by reacting hydrogen with air, enabling longer travel than battery-driven vehicles while emitting only water vapour rather than carbon dioxide. Disadvantages include a lack of service stations equipped to replenish the hydrogen gas, and the high cost of rare metals needed for the technology.

On a trip around the Miramas track, the Gran Turismo handled like any other electric car, except for a hissing sound during sharp acceleration from a pump passing hydrogen and air through the fuel cells.

BMW also showed a plug-in hybrid version of its van-like 2-Series Active Tourer, due to go on sale next year, and a 1-Series compact equipped with a conventional motor that uses water injection to boost fuel efficiency.

Demand Challenge

By the start of 2018, the world’s fleet of fuel-cell cars will number just 8,400, up from a total 1,275 at the end of this year, Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates. Toyota and Japanese competitors Nissan and Honda pledged on Wednesday to contribute funds to developing a hydrogen-fueling network in the country.

The fuel-cell Gran Turismo has a range of 500km before refuelling. That’s more than triple the i3’s 160km. The i3’s batteries take at least five hours to recharge, compared with five minutes to fill the prototype’s hydrogen tank.

“Technically, we’re ready to put fuel-cell cars on the road, but so far it remains too expensive,” said Axel Ruecker, who’s part of the hydrogen development team at Munich-based BMW. “Making fuel-cell technology a reality is a task not just for carmakers, but for the whole of society.”

Toyota’s Mirai

Toyota, the world’s biggest auto manufacturer, began sales in December of the Mirai fuel-cell sedan, its first production vehicle to run on hydrogen. The four-door model costs $62,000 in the US, where the company is targeting 3,000 deliveries of the car through 2017.

Ford puts self-driving car project in fast lane

America’s second largest automaker Ford is shifting focus from Detroit to Silicon Valley as it plays catch up to technology innovations in the fast-changing mobility space.

PALO ALTO, CA: America’s second largest automaker Ford is shifting focus from Detroit to Silicon Valley as it plays catch up to technology innovations in the fast-changing mobility space. The company said it’s moving the development of its autonomous vehicle technology or self-driving cars from the research labs in Palo Alto to an advanced engineering programme without giving a timeline by which it intends to sell these cars commercially.

“We now are moving from experimentation to implementation,” said Mark Fields, Ford’s president & CEO, on the sidelines of the automaker’s annual Further with Ford trends conference here in Palo Alto. We have learned a lot in the past six months, and now are ready to put insights into action. Ford has appointed a director of autonomous vehicle development Randy Visintainer and created a full-fledged team to work on this programme.

Ford’s technology push comes at a time when big automobile companies are fighting it out with the likes of Tesla, Google and Uber, all of which are disrupting conventional mobility in cities across the world with concepts such as driverless cars, ride-sharing and electric vehicles.

Silicon Valley- a hotbed for technology innovation, is becoming a quintessential outpost for most automakers with Ford opening its Research & Development lab here earlier this year. Fields who took over the Dearborn, Michigan-based company, a year ago, is steering this effort and has said he wants Ford to be viewed as a part of the ecosystem of Silicon Valley. Ford’s 25,000-square-ft Palo Alto lab would include up to 125 researchers, scientists and engineers by the end of 2015.

The auto giant is also getting itself into the Uber and Airbnb-pioneered shared economy space with the launch of a peer-2-peer car sharing pilot programme for select customers in six US cities and in London. The carmaker is inviting 14,000 and 12,000 customers to sign up to rent their Ford Credit-financed vehicles to pre-screened drivers for short-term use, offsetting monthly vehicle ownership costs. General Motors and BMW also announced similar programmes to let car owners earn money by renting out their new vehicles to other drivers.This comes after having recently announced GoDrive, an on-demand, public car-sharing pilot. The service offers access to a fleet of cars for one-way journeys with easy parking throughout London.

Besides, tech-backed innovations for cars, Ford said it is looking for solutions for consumers in big cities where driving a vehicle from home to work is not feasible. It revealed a new electric bike and a prototype smartphone app that makes using the eBike easier for urban commutes.

Ford is also collaborating with startups in Silicon Valley in the 3D printing and wearable technology space.


a solar-powered car for family


LONDON: Dutch students have developed a family car powered by the sun which generates more energy than it uses while reaching speeds of up to 125 kilometres per hour and the vehicle can clock over 1,000 km on a full charge.

The car, Stella Lux, generates electricity via 5.8 sq m of solar cells and has an additional battery capacity of 15 kWh.

A full charge provides a range of over 1,000 km in the Dutch climate or 1,100 km in the Australian climate, and the car has a top speed of 125 km/h.

The car developed by Solar Team Eindhoven (STE), a group of 21 students from different faculties of the Eindhoven University of Technology, is both lightweight and aerodynamic, and seats up to four people.

Materials including carbon fibre and aluminum are used to keep the vehicle’s weight down to just 375 kg, ‘Gizmag’ reported.

The car features a specially designed navigation system. The Solar Navigator system monitors weather and chooses the optimal route accordingly.

The other features of the car include the ability to unlock the car doors when a paired smartphone is nearby and a touchscreen with haptic buttons that is designed to be used without the driver taking their eyes off the road.

In 2013, STE developed the precursor to Stella Lux, known simply as Stella, which won the Cruiser Class of the World Solar Challenge that year. Stella Lux will now take part in the Cruiser Class of the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in Australia in October.