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AutoblogGreen

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    Two years ago, it looked like Mitsubishi was ready to have a noticeable presence in plug-in electric vehicles. After all, the all-electric i (also known as the i-MiEV in Japan, where it has been sold since 2009) was considered cute and fun to drive. It wasn't cheap, but at that time it was priced lower than the Nissan Leaf and qualified for incentives. The Japanese automaker said it had big plans in store for more electrified offerings, starting with a plug-in hybrid variation of its Outlander crossover vehicle.

    More recently, though, the plans has slowed and the company has become noticeably quiet. A statement made by a company spokesman makes it sound like Mitsubishi's EV product pipeline won't be ramping up anytime soon. As Mitsubishi Motors North America's Roger Yasuka told Plug In Cars, "We are just in midst of planning our future model line up including the EV, PHEV, and HEV vehicles... Mitsubishi is unlikely to have much beyond its current line up to offer plug-in customers for the next few years."

    Sales looked good for the i at the beginning of this year, with 594 sold in the US in January and February, but that figure only grew to 882 for the first six months of the year. The Outlander plug-in hybrid, available in Japan, was hurt by a recall this spring. Its lithium-ion battery had been short circuiting during a screening process that infected the batteries with contaminants during production.

    Mitsubishi has been thrilled to roll out high-performance plug-in racers like an upcoming 500 horsepower super plug-in hybrid; or its MiEV Elolution II that raced at Pikes Peak earlier this year. The problem has been producing and marketing mainstream plug-ins that bring solid returns on investment.

    All quiet on the Mitsubishi plug-in vehicle front originally appeared on AutoblogGreen on Tue, 30 Jul 2013 07:56:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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    Sapphire Energy's algae-powered Toyota Prius

    In the "lightning strikes twice" department, another California company in the green transportation field has said it paid off its federal government loans ahead of schedule. In this case, San Diego-based Sapphire Energy, which specializes in converting plant algae to crude oil, says it has paid off its $54.5-million loan, originally granted by the US Department of Agriculture, ahead of schedule.

    Sapphire, which took out its loan under the agriculture department's Biorefinery Assistance Program, says it will produce 100 barrels of crude oil from its New Mexico plant on a daily basis by 2015 and will be making oil at "commercial scale" levels three years later. In 2008, the company started publicizing its efforts to combine algae with CO2, sunlight and other microorganisms to produce legitimate gasoline (91 octane, no less). A year later, Sapphire reps drove a Toyota Prius, nicknamed the Algaeus, powered by algae-based gas to drive to New York City from San Francisco.

    The other green mobility company to pay off its loan early is electric-vehicle maker Tesla Motors, which said in late May that it paid of its $465 million Department of Energy loan. That loan was also taken out in 2009 and was not due to be paid in full until 2022. Check out Sapphire's press release below.

    Continue reading Biofuel company Sapphire Energy pays of $54.5m government loan early

    Biofuel company Sapphire Energy pays of $54.5m government loan early originally appeared on AutoblogGreen on Wed, 31 Jul 2013 08:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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    gm clean facility

    General Motors has added two more outlets to its global land-fill free initiative - the Rayong engine plant in Thailand and Cheonga proving ground in Korea. This brings the total to 33 facilities in Asia, 45 in North America and 22 in Europe that recycle, reuse or convert to energy all their waste.

    That means GM has 100 sites ready to meet its pledge of making 125 facilities land-fill free by 2020. GM says people at facilities around the world share ideas and experiences to help cut waste, which can help reduce costs. Packaging materials such as wood and cardboard make up 70 percent of waste at GM's plants in Asia. GM plants in Rayong and Talegaon, India switched from wood pallets to reusable, recycled-content plastic containers. That allowed them to reduce wood pallet waste by a combined 146 tons last year. In GM's Changwon, Korea plant, adopting recycling containters and signage eliminated 35 tons of mixed waste. See the press release below for more on GM's waste-reduction practices.

    This global automaker prides itself on recycling and reusing more waste from its facilities than any competitor, saying none of them has as many sites with zero waste landfill. GM has been at this strategy for several years, and that includes switching over to renewable energy at some of its plants. GM is not alone - you can see serious sustainability initiatives taken on by Subaru, Honda, Ford, Toyota and BMW as well. Each of these global automakers makes alternative powertrain vehicles, and so land-fill-free and energy-efficient facilities are a logical fit for marketing and brand identity campaigns. Of course, what, exactly, "land-fil free" means is sometimes a matter of debate.

    Continue reading GM increases number of clean facilities in Asia, has 100 worldwide

    GM increases number of clean facilities in Asia, has 100 worldwide originally appeared on AutoblogGreen on Thu, 01 Aug 2013 07:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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    France's plug-in vehicle market remains firmly in its infancy, but when it comes to making the batteries that power those cars, the country's prospects are tres grande, according to at least one report. The home of Renault has an electric-vehicle battery industry whose market value will surge to $7.2 billion in 2020 from $380 million last year, marking a compound growth rate of more than 44 percent a year, Hybrid Cars says, citing a study from Research and Markets. In fact, by the end of the decade, France will represent the world's third-largest EV battery industry - behind Japan and China - and will account for 16 percent of the world's EV battery production capacity. You can find Research and Markets' summary of its 154-page report below.

    Naturally, Renault, which along with its sister company Nissan is investing an estimated $5 billion in electric-drive technology, is a major player here. The company is building a factory near Paris with an annual production capacity up to 350,000 EV batteries a year and is hoping that increased plug-in vehicle incentives from the government will help France reach its stated goal of having two million EVs on the country's roads by 2020.

    Continue reading Future of EV battery production shines bright in France

    Future of EV battery production shines bright in France originally appeared on AutoblogGreen on Thu, 01 Aug 2013 13:51:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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    Nissan Leaf

    Another month of robust Leaf sales could spur Nissan to boost production of its all-electric vehicle at its Tennessee factory by a third, Automotive News says, citing Nissan North American factory chief Bill Krueger. Nissan moved US Leaf production to Tennessee from Japan earlier this year and the proposed increase would add a third production shift for the EV. It could also add a second production shift at the nearby lithium-ion battery production facility. The decision may come as soon as next month.

    In January, Nissan cut the base price of the Leaf by $6,400 to $28,800 ahead of the production switchover. US customers responded and last month's US Leaf sales were almost five times higher than a year earlier, up to 1,864 units, an bringing the year-to-date total to 11,703 vehicles. The Leaf's 2013 sales overtook the full-year 2012 totals in late June.

    Nissan ready to increase US Leaf production, if the sales are there originally appeared on AutoblogGreen on Thu, 08 Aug 2013 07:56:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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    GM uses ultrasonic welding for the batteries of its Cadillac ELR extended-range plug-in.

    General Motors' Cadillac division has always prided itself on its super-quiet cars, so the General's promotion of its "ultrasonic" welding technique for the upcoming ELR extended-range plug-in may or may not make sense, depending on how you define the term. In this case, GM says the ultrasonic welding allows machines to put together metal electrode tabs on the car's 16.5-kWh lithium-ion battery pack through rapid motion that creates heat through friction. Most importantly, it eliminates the need to get temperatures up to metal-melting point to do the job. Yes, that's the extremely simplified version of the process, which has been used for a while in the medical and aerospace and if also employed on the Chevrolet Volt.

    Either way, GM is looking for some good advance buzz for the ELR. The car has a 435-pound battery that provides as many as 35 miles of electric-only range. The first production model rolled of the automaker's Michigan assembly line (for testing purposes, mind you) in May on the way for the ELR to start sales early next year. Read Caddy's press release below.

    Continue reading GM employs advanced welding technology to keep Cadillac ELR's battery together

    GM employs advanced welding technology to keep Cadillac ELR's battery together originally appeared on AutoblogGreen on Fri, 09 Aug 2013 07:56:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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    honda solar graphic

    The sun should be smiling on the new Honda facility in Sakura, Japan, where the automaker is installing a "mega solar system" that can produce 10 MW a year on a new test course. The track will cover 25 hectares (about 62 acres) and be used to test "advanced safety technologies," but we're more impressed by the 70,000 solar panels on a 33 hectares (82 acres) lot. Honda doesn't have plans for that much electricity in Sakura, and so hopes to start selling that green energy in 2015. We'll give Honda credit for using the word "biotope" in the press release (available below), describing the biological community it plans to build on the property.

    Honda's 82-acre solar farm will be bigger than Hyundai's 50-acre field in Korea and Volkswagen's 33-acres of solar panels near Chattanooga, TN. Other automakers, like Renault and BMW, have also installed solar energy generators in various places. Over in Saitama, Japan, Honda uses solar energy to create hydrogen for H2 cars like the FCX Clarity fuel cell vehicle.

    Continue reading Honda goes solar in Japan, will sell renewable energy in 2015

    Honda goes solar in Japan, will sell renewable energy in 2015 originally appeared on AutoblogGreen on Mon, 12 Aug 2013 08:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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    Honda Fit EV

    Despite some claims to the contrary, green cars will get downright emerald when it comes to environmental friendliness, as electric production gets cleaner, according to a recent Natural Resources Defense Council blog post. Electric vehicles contribute as much as 53 percent fewer "cradle-to-grave" emissions than gas-powered vehicles, even factoring in such elements as the lithium that goes into EV batteries. The NRDC argues that EVs are the "cleanest vehicles on the road today" and - more importantly - will continue to be so for the foreseeable future.

    Working in EVs' favor is the fact that 29 states have enacted renewable-energy targets for power production, replacing coal with sources like solar, hydro and wind power. Additionally, the lithium supply is sufficient enough to support plug-in vehicle sales through the end of the century, the blog says, citing the Journal of Industrial Ecology.

    Americans appear to be buying into the NRDC's theory. US plug-in sales last month almost doubled year-earlier totals to hit almost 5,900 units, with the Nissan Leaf more than quadrupling year-earlier sales and Tesla Motors continuing to rack up better-then-predicted sales of the Model S.

    ​Electric vehicles will widen emissions gap with conventional cars originally appeared on AutoblogGreen on Wed, 21 Aug 2013 13:53:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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    Tesla Motors has, over its short life, sourced its batteries pretty much exclusively from Panasonic. Now that sales of the Model S are blowing up - expected to be in excess of 21,000 units this year, with production ability increasing to potentially double that - and the company's future product path is becoming more clear, it seems time to diversify its battery supply lines.

    Tesla may eventually need more lithium cells than the entire laptop industry.

    The automaker may eventually have a need for more lithium cells than the entire laptop industry and finds itself one earthquake (or other natural disaster) away from a huge production disruption. If previous rumors and an unidentified "source close to the matter" used by The Korea Herald for a recent report are to be believed, Samsung SDI will be the first to offer an alternative to Tesla's traditional Japanese supplier. It currently makes the cells for the BMW i3, the Fiat 500e and is said to have a contract with Volkswagen.

    The deal is yet to be finalized, with testing still ongoing. According to the report, LG Chem was also in the running but was beat out by its Korean competitor and Chinese battery maker BYD may be working out its own deal.

    For its part, Panasonic is not sitting still. Earlier this month, it was reported that the Japanese company is increasing its production of automobile-specific lithium cells, with two separate facilities in Osaka Prefecture coming online in 2014 to boost output. Battery sales are becoming increasingly important to the company's bottom line, adding 4.1 billion yen ($41.66 million US at today's rates) to its balance sheet last quarter.

    Besides dealing with the diversification issue, we expect increased competition for Tesla's high-energy capacity, 18650-format battery business should spur lower prices and improve the technology.

    Tesla turning to Samsung SDI for batteries, Panasonic pumps up the volume originally appeared on AutoblogGreen on Tue, 27 Aug 2013 07:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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    Detroit Electric SP:01 delayed again.

    The plans that the revived Detroit Electric company made headlines with when it announced the all-electric SP:01 sports car were, at best, optimistic. To go from concept to starting production in half a year was always a going to be a challenging proposition, so we were hardly surprised when it was recently discovered that the company's offices in the Fisher Building are tumbleweed-empty and that it is not on track to build cars in the Detroit area. But we were caught a bit off guard with the just-announced change of plans, which will see the company step away from its Motor City namesake to build cars in Holland. According to a report by The Detroit News, the company still hopes to make cars in Michigan someday, just not right now.

    The timeline has also been pushed back. Instead of the promised August start date, the Dutch plant is now supposed to start building the SP:01 in the fourth quarter. In a statement to the newspaper, Detroit Electric CEO Albert Lam said, "We are Detroit Electric, not London Electric. Our commitment to the city of Detroit, the state of Michigan and the United States is as strong as it ever was. While there have been some delays in our plan to start production in Detroit, many vehicle programs experience some form of delay." Despite this prominent delay, the company's website still promises it will have "two other high-performance models" in production "by the end of 2014." We'll see.

    Detroit Electric moving SP:01 EV production to Holland originally appeared on AutoblogGreen on Fri, 30 Aug 2013 15:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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    Battery Breakdown

    Mention the term "alkaline battery" and folks of a certain generation will remember the old Eveready battery commercials with actor Robert Conrad daring the viewer to knock the battery off his shoulder. Very macho. Now, alkaline has moved from manliness to money-saving, as the fine folks at Princeton University have been granted almost $1 million from the US Department of Energy to develop alkaline batteries suitable for electric-vehicle use, Princeton Patch reports.

    Specifically, the amount granted was $963,389 (the government's never been about even numbers) and is one of nearly two-dozen grants totaling about $36 million towards what the DOE calls its Robust Affordable Next Generation Energy Storage Systems program (get it?). The idea is that alkaline is a more abundant and less expensive alternative to the lithium required for the lithium-ion batteries currently used in most advanced plug-in vehicles. Various analysts came out last year saying that battery-pack costs could drop to about $250 per kilowatt hour by 2015, down from as much as $700 last year, so the question is whether that target can be hit and if the Ivy Leaguers can beat it.

    Pictured above is Lew Urry from Energizer, holding up an original alkaline battery first marketed in 1958 (and a 2002 model). Urry helped develop the first commercially viable alkaline battery.

    Ready for alkaline EV batteries? Princeton is originally appeared on AutoblogGreen on Mon, 02 Sep 2013 08:50:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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    Toyota Camry Hybrid

    For most of the world, the Prius comes first to mind when listing Toyota hybrids. For India, though, it'll be the Camry. The Japanese automaker started making a gas-powered version of the mid-sized sedan in the country last year and is now about to start producing what will be the first India-manufactured hybrid at its factory near Bangalore, The Hindu reports. Toyota imported Camrys to India for a decade before starting to produce them there, and the country will now become the ninth where Toyota builds hybrids. Toyota started talking India hybrids in 2010 with a gas-electric version of the Etios subcompact.

    Just as impressive as the number of countries producing Toyota hybrids is the sheer range of Toyota hybrids, whose models now number 23, reports Forbes. Toyota, which recently showed off the models at a press event in Detroit, says another 15 Toyota hybrids will be either introduced or upgraded within the next three years. Toyota, which is also working on green-car technology advances such as fuel-cell drivetrains and cordless induction charging systems, estimates that about one in six Toyotas sold in the US are hybrids, up from one in 10 five years ago.

    Toyota Camry Hybrid coming soon to India, 15 more hybrids due worldwide originally appeared on AutoblogGreen on Tue, 03 Sep 2013 07:55:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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    Would a global vehicle emission standard make sense? After all, as Automotive News writer Richard Truett points out, "Clean air is clean air no matter what continent it blows over." But, while attending a recent automotive industry conference in Traverse City, MI, Truett heard Chris Gundler, the director of the EPA's Office of Transportation and Air Quality, respond to a question about the US and European Union adopting uniform emissions standards, and Gunder responded that he doesn't think that will ever happen.

    "The impact of disparate emissions and fuel-economy standards is one of the industry's best-kept secrets."

    Truett writes that, at least for policymakers in North America and Europe, the advantages of adopting uniform standards on CO2 and NOx emissions for gasoline and diesel engines just aren't there yet. But there would be clear business strategies that automakers would gain from a single standard, to say nothing of the climate change implications. Truett points out that a global set of rules would likely lower component costs because of higher production and simplified manufacturing processes. Bob Lee, head of engine, powertrain and electrified propulsion systems engineering for Chrysler Group, put in his two cents on the issue. The variation in the international standards taps into engineering resources and slows down the development process, which drives up costs. "The impact of disparate emissions and fuel-economy standards is one of the industry's best-kept secrets," Lee said.

    There's a lot to think about here - such as whether global automakers really want tough emissions standards at all - so check out the article for more on a question that really needs to be answered more often.

    Why a global emissions standard would be a good thing originally appeared on AutoblogGreen on Tue, 03 Sep 2013 11:46:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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    2013 Tesla Model S

    Tesla Motors chief Elon Musk is on a crusade to, among other things, rid drivers of the need to consume liquid fuel for their automotive transportation. Sounds easy, right? But it's the lithium-ion battery cell supply situation that's another story altogether. See, Tesla is ramping up production of its all-electric Model S to possibly 40,000 units by next year and will follow that up with the introduction of the Model X SUV and a yet-to-be-named cheaper (by comparison) model. Given these trends, Tesla may be buying as many of its type of battery cells as the rest of the computer industry combined by 2017, Green Car Reports estimates.

    Granted, there are a fair amount of "ifs" here, as doubling Model S production and sales next year isn't guaranteed, nor is getting the new models out on schedule. That said, the Model S's 85-kWh battery does gobble up battery cells in large chunks. Indeed, GCR did the math and found that the approximately 14,000 Model S vehicles sold since its introduction contain as many kWh worth of lithium-ion packs as all of the 71,000 Nissan Leafs sold around the world since late 2010 combined, although the Tesla uses smaller cells than the Nissan. With such supply requirements, Tesla has turned battery supplier Panasonic's second-quarter 2012 loss into a second-quarter 2013 profit and may need to reach supply agreements with Samsung to meet further demand. Read the details over at Green Car Reports.

    Tesla on pace to use more batteries than computer industry by 2017 originally appeared on AutoblogGreen on Fri, 06 Sep 2013 20:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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    In a handout provided by the LG Chem company the new $303 million lithium-ion battery cell plant is shown. President Barack Obama attended a groundbreaking ceremony for the LG Chem plant that will manufacture advanced batteries for Chevrolet and Ford electric cars in Holland, Mich., Thursday, July 15, 2010. The plant is scheduled to be completed in 2012. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

    Problems at the LG Chem battery plant in Holland, MI continue, now with a new issue bringing the Environmental Protection Agency into the mix. Apparently, the LG plant has been using a chemical that hasn't actually been certified for use in the US. LG Chem is a South Korean company that already has a history of problems at the Holland plant, where it (sometimes) makes batteries for the Chevy Volt.

    It was only a month ago that LG Chem started making said batteries, a year or so behind schedule. The initial problems related to slow Volt sales and the fact that LG Chem kept the plant open while workers played games or went to volunteer. For a time LG was shipping some battery packs over from Korea to fulfill Chevy's orders. The new problem involves an "unspecified, low-volume ingredient," according to Inside EVs and questions about its use will now pause work at the plant for a month and a half. LG Chem issued a statement in response, which, as reported by Inside EVs, says:

    We discovered the possibility that this material may not be properly registered and made the decision to pause our production until we have that question resolved. We are currently reviewing the registration status and will work with the EPA to resolve the issue quickly. In the meanwhile, we are delaying production activities for approximately 6 weeks until we have confirmed the registration status or otherwise obtain approval from EPA.

    Our guess is that workers won't be playing games during this shutdown. An LG Chem spokesperson told MLive that the workers will be kept busy with "improvement projects, specialized training and maintaining readiness."

    EPA questions chemical at LG Chem's Chevy Volt battery plant originally appeared on AutoblogGreen on Mon, 09 Sep 2013 15:27:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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    The US Department of Energy (DOE) has released a list of 38 new projects that will receive a share of $45 million to accelerate research and development of clean vehicle technologies. While John DeCicco, a prominent skeptic of federal funding for green cars, would likely give thumbs down to the DOE grants, a long list of private enterprises, universities and national labs were likely thrilled to hear about it.

    While similar to the massive Advanced Vehicle Technology Manufacturing program, this new DOE project fund is a separate project tied into President Obama's recently announced Climate Action Plan. That plan is based on building a 21st century transportation sector that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The administration's overall campaign is tied into saving consumers $1.7 trillion at the pump and eliminating six billion metric tons of carbon pollution. The DOE's announcement of the 38 new projects also cites an alliance between the energy agency and the Department of Army. The Army is contributing $3 million in co-funding to support projects aimed at lightweighting and propulsion materials, batteries, fuels and lubricants.

    The funded projects fall into a list of five categories: advanced lightweighting and propulsion materials will receive $10.2 million; advanced batteries $22.5 million; power electronics $8 million; advanced heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems $4 million; and fuels and lubricants $2.5 million. They're all based on making the technology more efficient, durable, lightweight, temperature resilient and cost effective. Recipients include Ford, General Motors and Chrysler. Here's a complete list (PDF) of all the 38 projects.

    EPA has $45m for all-of-the-above energy efficiency strategy originally appeared on AutoblogGreen on Mon, 09 Sep 2013 18:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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    Fisker Automotive may have an investor that could pull the struggling extended range Karma-maker off life support. Two German investors have made an offer that's been signed and "on the table," according to a Facebook post by Ingo Voigt, one of the two investors.

    "I am proud to tell you that we just sent our detailed offer including a signed LOI and short presentation of our restructuring plan to the DOE on fax and mail," Voigt said. "Now it's time to pray!"

    The offer from Voigt and Fritz Nol has gone to the US Department of Energy (DOE) to resolve some of the $193 million in a DOE loan that Fisker never paid back. Investment group Fritz Nols AG had offered $25 million to buy Fisker last month, according to De Telegraaf. Other potential investors - such as General Motors former vice chairman Bob Lutz and several Chinese investors - had previously been in negotiations to purchase Fisker, but didn't these efforts didn't pan out.

    While $25 million may not be as much as DOE needed to recoup Fisker's losses, the offer might still look attractive to the DOE. Reports indicates that if the deal went through, the investment group could build 2,500 Karmas per year, in the US, no less. Word on the street is that the Karma Surf and Sunset variants would be produced, but the Atlantic would be too costly to release.

    Germans investors Fritz Nols AG officially submits Fisker bid to DOE originally appeared on AutoblogGreen on Fri, 13 Sep 2013 12:53:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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    BMW i3 Starts Production

    The time has come for BMW to stop talking about the i3 electric city car - something that it has been doing for quite a while - and start building. That's what happened today at the company's plant in Leipzig, Germany, and the event was powered, in part, by wind turbines.

    There's a lot that's new for BMW with the i3, including a carbon-fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) body and an EV powertrain with optional range extending engine. In fact, BMW is proud that CFRP manufacturing on this "industrial-scale" is coming to the auto industry for the first time with the i3. The material is shipped over from a plant in Moses Lake, WA, one part of the production network for the i vehicles (which also includes the upcoming i8) that BMW says cost around 600-million euros ($801M US).

    The first production i3 will make its way to the German capital to act as the lead car in the Berlin Marathon at the end of the month. The model will be available to the European public in November and in the US and other areas in early 2014. Once the car is available out in the wild, there will be more new things for BMW to try, like potential mass market EV advertising and bot "salespeople." Check out our First Drive of the i3 here.

    Continue reading BMW i3 starts production in Germany using local wind power, US carbon fiber

    BMW i3 starts production in Germany using local wind power, US carbon fiber originally appeared on AutoblogGreen on Wed, 18 Sep 2013 10:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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    Algae-derived biofuel burns cleaner than petroleum fuels and is often less resource-intensive than first-generation biofuels. That's the conclusion the Algae Biomass Organization (ABO) reaches from the first-ever study that analyzed results from an existing algae-to-energy demonstration scale farm.

    Algae biofuel can reduce vehicle lifecycle CO2 emissions 50 to 70 percent compared to petroleum fuels when using an Energy Return on Investment (EROI) model. "With significant emissions reductions, a positive energy balance, nutrient recycling and CO2 reuse, algae-based fuels will be a long-term, sustainable source of fuels for our nation," Mary Rosenthal, ABO's executive director, told Hybrid Cars.

    The study, with the easy-to-remember names of, "Pilot-scale data provide enhanced estimates of the life cycle energy and emissions profile of algae biofuels produced via hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL)," comes from a new peer-reviewed paper published in Bioresource Technology. Authors of the study did a lifecycle analysis of an algae cultivation and fuel production process currently used at pre-commercial scales by Sapphire Energy.

    Field data for the study came from two of Sapphire's New Mexico facilities - one in Las Cruces and the other in Columbus - that grow and process algae into Green Crude oil. Sapphire's Green Crude can be refined into gasoline, diesel or jet fuel. Once the fuel reaches commercial scale, it's expected to produce biofuels with lower greenhouse gas emissions and EROI comparable to first-gen biofuels. That EROI is also expected to be close to petroleum and three times higher than cellulosic ethanol. The findings also give Sapphire's system kudos for recycling nutrients and producing significant energy savings during the process.

    First-gen biofuels in the US are made up mostly by corn-based ethanol, which makes up to 10 percent of "normal" gasoline and, in some cases, up to 15 percent. The flex-fuel-vehicle specific E85 is made up of 85 percent biofuel and 15 percent petroleum product.

    Algae Biomass Organization says biofuels getting cleaner and cleaner originally appeared on AutoblogGreen on Tue, 24 Sep 2013 11:56:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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    BMW i3 in the factory

    In the mid-1990s, David Foster Wallace wrote Infinite Jest, a massive, 900+ page book that challenges readers to this day. Completing the book is a wonderful reward for the literature lovers who do slog through the book and all its 100 pages of footnotes, but it's not an easy task. We were reminded of this challenge when we came across a series of lengthy videos showing how the BMW i3 is made. The images are clear and pretty, but there is very little narration or on-screen graphics to tell us what is going on. It's most certainly not exciting video we've ever seen - or even close to it - but there is a mesmerizing quality to watching the people and robots (mostly robots, which makes sense) build these cars. BMW started i3 production earlier this month.

    All told, the four clips on YouTube add up to 75 minutes (we'll admit to not watching every second) of detail shots of the i3 getting pieced together. Starting with Part One, which is all about the carbon fiber that is made in Moses Lake, WA that is shipped over to Germany for assembly into the i3, as well as battery assembly and the assembly of the drive module. Part Two shows the assembly of the electronic transmission, the electric engine construction and the cockpit and dashboard moulding. Part Three includes the body pressing, assembly, and painting. And, logically, Part Four showcases the final assembly. If you've got the time and the interest, you can find all four parts of the video, produced by Test Driven, below. If you get the howling fantods halfway through, don't blame us. Just watch this to cleanse the palette.

    Continue reading Spend some time watching the BMW i3 get made

    Spend some time watching the BMW i3 get made originally appeared on AutoblogGreen on Wed, 25 Sep 2013 20:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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