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- 10/01/13--17:57: _Oil company CEO, Se...
- 10/02/13--10:06: _Why the 'US-built' ...
- 10/11/13--09:59: _Tesla CTO says self...
- 10/22/13--18:02: _Audi exec says indu...
- 10/24/13--15:54: _India says GM flout...
- 10/25/13--06:02: _Tesla crash survivo...
- 10/25/13--08:03: _GM's 1.8 MW big sol...
- 10/28/13--06:02: _Bentley gets feted ...
- 10/29/13--05:57: _Would training new ...
- 11/08/13--05:02: _Li-ion battery pric...
- 11/13/13--11:04: _Is the Tesla Model ...
- 11/13/13--13:27: _Three Tesla workers...
- 11/15/13--14:31: _Nissan reveals prod...
- 11/19/13--07:13: _GM, Detroit Renewab...
- 11/26/13--04:56: _Detroit-based Eco V...
- 11/29/13--13:34: _Judge: Fisker sale ...
- 11/30/13--06:00: _Ford starts product...
- 12/12/13--05:45: _Toyota wants to sel...
- 12/12/13--16:56: _Bosch has big plans...
- 12/19/13--07:02: _Cadillac starts shi...
- 10/02/13--10:06: Why the 'US-built' 2013 Nissan Leaf is 85% 'foreign'
- 10/22/13--18:02: Audi exec says industry can learn from 'cool' competitor Tesla
- 10/24/13--15:54: India says GM flouted emissions test regulations
- 10/25/13--06:02: Tesla crash survivor says he's proof Model S is 'safest car ever'
- 10/25/13--08:03: GM's 1.8 MW big solar field on Ohio factory will be state's largest
- 10/28/13--06:02: Bentley gets feted for cutting factory's water use by 36%
- 10/29/13--05:57: Would training new drivers sell more EVs?
- 11/13/13--11:04: Is the Tesla Model S a fire trap? Nope
- 11/13/13--13:27: Three Tesla workers injured in incident at Fremont factory
- 11/19/13--07:13: GM, Detroit Renewable will turn waste into power for Hamtramck
- 11/26/13--04:56: Detroit-based Eco V finally ready to make $12,000 low-speed EV
- 11/29/13--13:34: Judge: Fisker sale could be final January 3
- 11/30/13--06:00: Ford starts production of CNG-ready F-150
- 12/12/13--05:45: Toyota wants to sell 5k-10k fuel cell vehicles a year, to start
- 12/12/13--16:56: Bosch has big plans for better, cheaper li-ion batteries in 2020
- 12/19/13--07:02: Cadillac starts shipping 2014 ELR plug-in hybrid to dealers
To paraphrase Valero Energy Company CEO Bill Klesse: Enough already on federal ethanol blend mandates!
Klesse has joined efforts with Big Oil colleagues to push back on the US Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) efforts to bring E15 - a blend of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline - to gas pumps across the country. Klesse recently sent a letter to the EPA asking for an immediate waiver to the ethanol mandate rules so that oil refiners do not have to blend more ethanol into the gasoline they're producing or buy biofuel credits. Those mandates are, "causing a very unfair wholesale and retail market, picking winners and causing losers, based on existing assets and luck," Klesse wrote in a letter to the EPA.
Valero is the nation's largest independent oil refiner, and is also the third largest ethanol producer. The company owns 10 ethanol plants and produces 1.1 million gallons of corn ethanol each year. Even so, Klesse has been lobbying the federal government to drop the ethanol mandate and says refiners can't afford to meet the renewable energy standards. Valero isn't the only oil company that is unhappy about buying Renewable Identification Number (RIN) credits or producing more ethanol to make E15. It's little surprise that Big OIl's fight with the ethanol industry continues, even when one company is participating in both sides.
Even US Senators are getting involved with the biofuel RIN credit debate. According to Reuters, Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow (D) and Charles Grassley (R-IA) are both asking for more information from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the EPA, respectively. That was before the US federal government was shut down (including many EPA workers), so who knows when we may get some answers. Permalink | Email this | Comments
Interesting news for anyone happy to see Nissan build its all-electric Leaf in America - its components are coming mainly from overseas. While the percentage of domestically produced parts in next year's Leaf will be increasing, this is a good example of how the idea of a US-made car doesn't mean as much as it used to.
Back in July, electric vehicle enthusiast Andrew Chiang started an inquiry with Nissan about why the 2013 Leaf's window sticker was showing that only 15 percent of its content came from the US. About 80 percent of the car comes from Japan, which seemed like an odd number given that Nissan had moved production of the Leaf from Japan to its Smyrna, TN, assembly plant. Chiang posted a photo of the window sticker on a Facebook page for the San Francisco Bay Area Nissan Leaf Owners Group. That led to 10 weeks worth of queries, responses, phone calls and in person conversations with Nissan officials. One key thing to know is that the 15 percent number is based on the value of the components, so if the expensive battery bits come from overseas, that tips the scales in the "foreign" direction.
Only 15 percent of the 2013 Nissan Leaf content comes from the US.
Nissan wouldn't confirm the numbers to Green Car Reports, but did say that the US content will be increasing for the 2014 model that will arrive at dealerships in December. Oddly enough, it's still not going to be a domestically produced car based simply on what's put inside. Brian Brockman, senior manager of corporate communications for Nissan, said that he couldn't provide specific numbers but said that the percentage of the 2014 Leaf will be comparable to "other US-built advanced vehicle technologies."
Brockman gave the 2013 Ford Focus Electric as an example of where Leaf production is headed. US and Canadian parts only make up 40 percent of the parts that go into the Focus EV, according to American Automobile Labeling Act listings used by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. So, we can expect the Leaf to get 25 more North American content next year. It's just the way of the industry. These days, there may be no such thing as a domestically manufactured car. Even the 2014 Chevrolet Volt only gets 45 percent of its content from the US or Canada. You can get more details over at Green Car Reports. Permalink | Email this | Comments
While Nissan and General Motors have sworn they will bring self-driving cars to market by 2020, Tesla Motors says it can happen much faster. We shouldn't be surprised, says Tesla Motor's Chief Technology Officer JB Straubel, since all of the technology that's needed, the sensors and processors, are already here.
Straubel spoke at Stanford University's Global Climate and Energy Project Symposium in early October and said he thinks autonomous vehicle technology, which the company prefers to call "autopilot," is inevitable and "transformational." It's going to "happen sooner than people think," he said during an onstage interview with Tesla investor Ira Ehrenpreis.
While self-driving cars may seem futuristic to some people, Straubel pointed out that similar systems - mostly auto pilot as a safety feature - are widely used in other transportation vehicles, including planes, ships and space ships. The auto industry has been slow to adopt the technology, but it is the safety angle that will be a key reason autopilot gets adopted, Straubel said.
Tesla has been taking the venture very seriously and has been hiring "a large team" that is integrating second-gen features into the Model S like voice recognition and remote software updates, Straubel said. CEO Elon Musk has been talking about assembling the right engineering team for developing an autopilot and Tesla is hiring. He thinks it can happen much faster than Nissan and GM do - three years from now, he expects some autopilot technology to be available inside Tesla's cars. Permalink | Email this | Comments
Fascination with Tesla Motors' role in the luxury electric vehicle market continues, even among the competition. Scott Keogh, president of Audi of America recently told Bloomberg that, Tesla is "cool" and "the talk of the town," and that, "what the industry as a whole can learn from them is continue to push innovation, continue to have the challenger spirit."
Volkswagen AG's luxury unit expects that it can sell more than 150,000 vehicles in the US this year. Keogh thinks Audi and Tesla are redefining luxury branding, moving it away from "granite" and "furs." Audi will be competing with Tesla in the plug-in electric vehicle market, adding EVs next to its clean-diesel lineup, he said, but not in every Tesla-approved method. Keogh is baffled by Tesla's sales strategy outside traditional dealer showrooms, for example, saying that dealers have a clear "leverage advantage" and build personal relationships with prospective customers through schools and other communities.
Audi's not the only one ready to take a whack at Tesla. General Motors has said as much, and there's a rumor that a BMW insider has leaked information on taking on Tesla. Tesla's success in the US has been goading BMW to roll out an all-electric or plug-in hybrid i5; the crossover or sedan could be competing direction with the upcoming Tesla Model X crossover and its "falcon-wing" doors. While we're all for more plug-in vehicles, there's been no decision made yet on whether BMW will actually build the i5. Permalink | Email this | Comments
General Motors India appears to be up to some shenanigans. In July, the company had its first vehicle recall since 1995 when 114,000 Chevrolet Tavera sport utility vehicles needed to be brought in over "emission standards and other regulatory specifications," according to Reuters. A government official who declined to be named told Reuters that the global automaker has been flouting testing regulations since that time.
"The report has pointed out that it is in the nature of corporate fraud," the government official said. It looks like all of the alleged cover up was being done by GM India, and that the testing labs were not implicated in the wrongdoing, the official said.
GM India agreed to the recall last summer after a few of its employees were identified as manipulating local emissions testing to make sure Tavera engines would make the grade. More than 10 GM employees were let go during the investigation, including Sam Winegarden, VP of global engineering; Winegarden had been with the company since 1969 and had played a leading role at some of GM's marquee powerplants.
GM had restarted production of the Traverse earlier this month after receiving regulatory approval. An Indian government-appointed panel has been investigating the recall of the Tavera SUVs for emissions standards and other regulatory specifications. GM could be fined about 100 million rupees ($1.6 million), according to the government official. GM India emailed a statement to the Times of India and the Hindustan Times on the panel's findings. There was an emissions problem and staff had been held accountable, which was reported to Indian authorities. "Beyond that, we're not able to comment as we've not heard from the government or seen the report," the company said. Permalink | Email this | Comments
While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is starting to investigate the cause of the Tesla Model S battery fire, the driver of another crashed Model S thinks it's "the safest car on the road hands down." That comes from a Tesla Motors Club forum entry published with a slide show by Treehugger.
The anonymous driver, under the forum user name "jdovi," describes the crash as evidence that the Model S and its lithium ion battery pack saved his life. He wrote:
Treehugger's slideshow has more good information, but it's annoying to click through a bunch of slides just to read a little paragraph on each one. Here's a tip: if you click through to slide number seven, you'll see the totaled Hyundai Elantra that hit the Model S. And slide number eight is just a teaser to read other Treehugger articles. Permalink | Email this | Comments
Yesterday I was in a terrible car accident with my beloved Model S. I was hit by a driver who was talking on her cell phone and blew a red light. I got slammed at full speed while passing through an intersection. I was [lucky] enough to walk away with no broken bones while the person who hit me left in an ambulance.
General Motors will have the largest solar array in the state of Ohio when it completes a rooftop solar-energy system at its Toledo transmission factory in November. The array will deliver 1.8 megawatts of power from 21,000 panels that will supply about three percent of the factory's power use and is equal to the power used by about 200 typical US homes.
GM has gradually been adding solar farms to its factories during the past few years as part of a larger effort to cut its overall carbon footprint. In July 2012, the company built a 350-kilowatt solar array at its its Orion factory, about 40 miles north of Detroit. And in 2011, GM invested $7.5 million for an undisclosed stake in solar-energy systems provider Sunlogics. All told, GM's solar arrays will produce more than 40 megawatts of solar power globally, and the automaker has said it's looking to produce 60 megawatts of energy via solar power by 2015.
Additionally, GM has about 100 facilities worldwide, including 45 in North America, that recycle or reuse all waste. In August, the company added one factory in Thailand and a proving ground in South Korea to a list of waste-free plants. Check out GM's press release below.Permalink | Email this | Comments
UK luxury automaker Bentley can't exactly brag to environmentalists about the way its vehicles burn fuel, but at least its water usage is way down. The company was the recipient of the Carbon Trust Water Standard, which is "the world's first water reduction certificate." Bentley was the first automaker to receive the award because it cut water use last year at its 3.5-million-square foot Crewe factory by a whopping 36 percent.
The company specifically made improvements to its paint-shop operations and its water-treatment facilities. Additionally, Bentley installed low-flush toilets and automatic taps in facility's bathrooms. The factory produced 8,500 cars last year. And the company's green-friendly efforts weren't limited to water use, either. The factory is home to a rooftop solar array consisting of 20,000 panels, the UK's largest.
All of this in some ways kind of sort of helps make up for the fact that the Bentley Mulsanne was named the ninth "meanest" US production vehicle to the environment earlier this year by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). That's what a 6.8-liter V8 with an 11/18 city/highway fuel-efficiency split will get you, though it's a scary thought that there are eight production vehicles doing more damage to the environment than that. Check out Bentley's press release below.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Automakers have seen European fleets as a doorway to electric vehicle sales in a slow market, with the United Kingdom being especially good for testing the first units off the production line. Getting employees to drive an EV for a few days is also a good way to alleviate range anxiety and for getting drivers hooked on the experience. Leasing giant Arval is advising automakers to offer business customers "eco driver training" programs if they plan to bring EVs into their fleets. The reason driver training is needed is because "your whole driving style has to change to get the best out of the technology," Arval fleet consultant Paul Marchment said to BusinessCar.
"Your whole driving style has to change to get the best out of EV technology."
Arval is getting its employees and a few fleet operator clients to test out Nissan Leafs and BMW ActiveEs, and it's been going over pretty well. "You almost see a change in peoples' driving styles because they want to get more and more range out of the vehicle when they're using it," Marchment said. Fleets are generally driven by reducing costs, but Arval is also seeing that some of them genuinely want to lower CO2. Having the famed BMW ActiveE at numerous events is also helping. "It's got pedigree because it's a 2012 Olympic car, but actually people are always wanting to know about the technology," he said. Permalink | Email this | Comments
"Tonight, we're gonna party like it's 2020" doesn't quite have the same ring to it, but if Navigant Research is correct, electric-vehicle advocates will have reasons to be celebratory, whether Prince is playing or not. The research company formerly known as Pike is saying that lithium-ion battery costs may fall by almost two-thirds by the end of the decade, making EVs pretty price-competitive with comparable gas-powered cars and shortening any plug-in premium payoff period, according to Plug In Cars.
Specifically, lithium-ion costs, which are tipping the scales at about $500 per kilowatt hour now, could fall to $300 by 2015 and to $180 by 2020. In addition to the old economies-of-scale factor, battery makers are finding ways to reduce the amount of expensive cobalt used in batteries, while metal, wiring and plastic costs are also on the way down. As a result, by the end of the decade, EVs may be sold for as little as a $2,000 mark-up relative to conventional vehicles, which makes the plug-in proposition more attractive. Attractive enough, in fact, for plug-ins to account for as much as 5 percent of the new-car market by 2020, up from about a half a percent now.
While such projections have been all over the map, Navigant's is pretty close to at least one other made last summer. Last July, McKinsey & Co. put out a report saying that lithium-ion battery prices would fall from about $600/kWh to $200 by the end of the decade to a relatively thrifty $160 by 2025. We should also mention that Tesla CEO Elon Musk stated back in February of 2012 that he expected the price of cells to drop below the 200/kWh mark in the not-too-distant future. Permalink | Email this | Comments
The recent timing of events has been off for Tesla Motors. Three fires in three Model S EVs within six weeks looks pretty bad. But how do these separate events stack up against all the other cars on American roads?
Observers are waiting to hear what started the Tennessee CarBQ on November 6, but there's been a wave of concern over the safety of the Model S after this event (and the previous fires in Mexico and near Seattle). The company's stock has been hit hard as investors worry but the people behind the electronic wheels are not fretting as hard. For the driver in Tennessee that day, Juris Shibayama, example, safety wasn't enough of a concern to stop him from driving his next Model S.
Automotive News editor Dave Guilford did a "little back-of-the-envelope math" to put the latest Tesla fire into perspective. The state of the battery chemistry and vehicle structure should be left to experts to figure out and Wall Street will determine the stock's value, he said. For now, we can calculate that, since Telsa Motors stated that it has "over 19,000" Model S owners in its third-quarter earnings letter, if you divide that number by the three fires, that comes out to one fire per 6,333 Model S units that have been delivered to owners.
If you compare that to the number of car fires on American roads, it puts things into perspective. The US Department of Transportation reported that there were 253,108,389 registered vehicles on US roads in 2011 (yes, that it is a lot - nearly one per person in the US). The National Fire Protection Association says that there were about 187,500 car fires in 2011, and that 270 people died from it. That ratio comes out to one fire per 1,350 vehicles on the roads that year - much higher than what the Model S has experienced.
Perhaps the comparison is a bit rough on the edges. Most all of these passenger vehicles have internal combustion engines, and many of them are dilapidated older cars, some up to 20 years old. It would be more accurate to calculate the number of fires per miles driven, but that data isn't available. Fires in Tesla's electric vehicles are much less commonplace than in vehicles powered by gasoline and diesel, Guilford says. We would make two other distinctions: none of the Model S drivers have been killed or injured from the fires, and they're interested in owning another one. Permalink | Email this | Comments
Three workers at the Tesla Motors factory in Fremont, CA, were injured today by hot metal after the failure of a low-pressure aluminum
Tesla stock, up on the day, took a small dip before beginning to rebound. Scroll down below for a brief statement from Tesla Motors.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Nissan previously confirmed its all-electric e-NV200 delivery van would arrive in 2014, and now it has released the first image of the production model and confirmed that the Leaf-like commercial vehicle will officially arrive in Japan in fiscal 2014. That means if Nissan's fiscal year matches the one used by the Japanese government (as it appears to), then the delivery will happen some time between 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2015. After debuting in Japan at next week's Tokyo Motor Show, it will become available around the world.
Nissan has been testing the e-NV200 since 2011 and is in the "final development phase" now. The company will start building the production version in the middle of 2014 at the plant in Barcelona, Spain where it also builds the non-electric NV200.
Anyone reading the tea leaves for when the e-NV200 will be available would do well to bet on the first quarter of 2015. After all, the company did say it would start e-NV200 production at some point in fiscal year 2013.Permalink | Email this | Comments
General Motors and Detroit Renewable Energy have just released a joint press statement with a provocative title. Apparently, the two companies are getting "steamy" with each other. What they really meant is that GM and Detroit Renewable Energy, a consortium of renewable energy generation and distribution companies, are working together to turn solid municipal waste from the Detroit metro area into process steam that will heat and cool portions of GM's Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant. We can hardly think of anything less sexy.
When it's all up and running, 58 percent of the plant's energy will come from renewable sources. GM has put a lot of resources into creating "landfill-free" facilities around the world - 107 of them reuse their waste, with some of it turned into energy. Out of all of GM's facilities, Detroit-Hamtramck will have the highest energy percentage coming from renewables, GM said.
The steam will travel 8,300 feet through a pipeline that starts at Detroit Renewable and ends at the Detroit-Hamtramck plant. The steam pipe will be providing 15.8 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy to the GM plant. Detroit Renewable processes more than one million tons of municipal sold waste into electric power and steam annually, while also recycling nearly 40,000 tons of metal.
The Detroit-Hamtramck plant and its 15.8 MW will make up about 12 percent of GM's corporate goal of putting 125 MW of renewables into its energy portfolio by 2020. Construction of the new steam line and energy infrastructure is supposed to start later this month and could become operational next spring.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Detroit-based EcoV Electric wants to prove that slow-and-steady does indeed win the race when it comes to low-cost utility electric vehicle. The company has been talking about its EV only for seven years now and says it is finally almost ready for production. The company recently posted a two-minute video (yes, available below) that explains the single-charge range of up to 40 miles and, most importantly, a possible price of just $12,000. The company says the car will pay for itself in about a year in the form of reduced refueling prices, thanks in part to an electricity cost of just 50 cents to charge up.
To our eyes, the vehicle design isn't exactly a work of art, but the company says the focus should be on the utility factor. The EcoV EV can be reconfigured as a four- or six-passenger vehicle as well as a pickup truck SUV. Possible uses are parking-enforcement vehicle and delivery vehicle. EcoV Electric also says the vehicle will be constructed with a full roll cage and crash-test plans are in the works.
Led by ex-General Motors engineer Richard Marks, EcoV Electric last crossed our radar in 2010. At the time, the word was that the vehicle would have a top speed of 25 miles per hour and a single-charge range of between 25 and 40 miles. The company started making noise in 2006 and a year later put out the call for potential investors. After all these years, you can check out the new EcoV video below.Permalink | Email this | Comments
The Fisker Automotive saga continues, and a federal bankruptcy judge would like to see the story wrap up soon. The bankruptcy filing from November 22 could reach completion on January 3 of the new year under a faster-than-normal sale process approved by US Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross, according to Bloomberg. The traditional bankruptcy bidding procedures will be circumvented, and Gross admitted that it is a bit odd. "It is unusual to have, obviously, a sale without bidding procedures" and an auction, Gross told Bloomberg. Fisker hasn't built a new Karma in over 18 months.
In court papers, the extended range plug-in carmaker said the fast pace is justified since the company and federal officials conducted an "extensive" marketing effort prior to the recent bankruptcy filing. The US Department of Energy (DOE) held the auction to raise funds to pay off the $168.5-million loan it make to Fisker. The judge has agreed to hold a hearing December 10 to decide whether a disclosure statement has enough information for creditors to review and decide whether they'll be opposing the liquidation plan. Fisker attorney Ryan Preston Dahl had spoken with Judge Gross on November 26, asking that the liquidation plan go forward at the same time, which the judge permitted.
It's likely that several attorneys will appear at the December 10 hearing and ask for an extension of bankruptcy court hearings. There are conflicting reports on how much is owed and whether the low-priced asset sale to Hybrid Tech Holdings LLC will come through. Fisker may owe creditors, many of them suppliers based overseas, up to a billion dollars. Hybrid Tech Holdings has been a somewhat mysterious investor group that Fisker owes money to; and Hybrid Tech may only pay the DOE $25 million at a reported $139 million loss to the federal agency.
Fisker may owe creditors, many of them suppliers based overseas, up to a billion dollars.
At the January 3 hearing, Fisker will ask the judge to allow Hybrid Tech to exchange the debt it is owed for Fisker's assets. Fisker will also be asking for approval of its liquidation plan, which could eliminate future lawsuits filed by creditors. William Baldiga, an attorney with Brown Rudnick LLP, said in court that creditors are concerned that wrapping up the case so quickly means that creditors would be undercut on what they're owed. Permalink | Email this | Comments
The Ford Motor Company is getting competitive on the compressed natural gas (CNG) truck front. While Detroit counterparts General Motors and Chrysler have a head start, Ford has begun manufacturing its 2014 F-150 - the first CNG/LPG-capable half-ton pickup - and the CNG engine will be extended to eight of its commercial vehicles.
Ford is now building the CNG F-150 at its Kansas City, MO, factory with a 3.7-liter, V6 engine with a factory-installed, gaseous-fuel prep package that can run on either natural gas or gasoline. When it comes equipped with a bi-fuel CNG/LPG engine package, the F-150 can travel more than 750 miles on the combined gasoline and CNG tanks.
Along with the half-ton pickup and bi-fuel vehicle options, Ford has an ambitious goal of offering eight of its commercial vehicles with the natural gas option. Ford's full line of commercial trucks and vans will be covered - Transit Connect, E-Series van, F-Series Super Duty pickups, F-650 medium duty, and more. Details are in the press release below.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) powered by hydrogen were taken more seriously at the LA Auto Show and Tokyo Motor Show last month than ever before, but their presence in the market is still shrouded in fog. Soichiro Okudaira, chief officer of research and development at Toyota, is confident fuel cell costs will come down enough to make FCEVs "just one alternative of the eco cars," but that probably won't happen for another 10-15 years.
Toyota thinks FCEVs will be price competitive against other zero-emission vehicles some time after 2020 and before 2030, Okudaira told Automotive News Europe. Interestingly, the Japanese automaker is confident that cost reductions will come through soon enough to help it sell between 5,000 and 10,000 units a year once the production version of the FCV Concept goes on sale in the first part of 2015.
Retail pricing on the fuel cell car has yet to be announced, but production costs have been coming down. The fuel cell powertrain that Toyota built for a demonstration vehicle in 2007 cost nearly 750,000 euros (over $1 million). A production vehicle is nothing like a concept, and Toyota is now saying a hydrogen powertrain for the 2015 vehicle could cost about 35,900 euros ($50,000) to build, about half the car's expected 72,000-euro ($100,000) price tag. Costs have been coming down in the fuel cell stack by reducing the amount of platinum in the catalyst and making the stack smaller so that it can fit under the front seats. Sharing a motor and other electronic components with the Toyota hybrid lineup is helping lower costs, too.
Toyota is now saying the hydrogen powertrain for 2015 could cost about $50,000 to build.
You can see in the FCV Concept photo gallery how much it looks like the Prius but Toyota has now clarified that the new Prius platform will not be used for the fuel cell car, in part because the FCEV is heavier and has a different underbody structure and layout. What's not yet clear is if the upcoming production fuel-cell vehicle will wear a Prius badge. Readers are split on that.
Selling 5,000 to 10,000 hydrogen-powered units a year after 2015 is more than other automakers are willing to say publicly. Hyundai is previewing a fuel-cell crossover concept and expects to sell about 1,000 fuel cell Tucson SUVs next year. Honda will sell a five-seat fuel cell vehicle in 2015, and Daimler will roll out a fuel cell variant of its B-Class compact car starting in 2017. Permalink | Email this | Comments
Robert Bosch GmbH and GS Yuasa Corp. think they can solve the cost and range limitation quandaries faced by lithium ion batteries and the electric vehicles they go into. By 2020, German automotive supplier Bosch and Japanese battery maker GS Yuasa plan to deliver a li-ion battery that costs half as much to produce and offers twice the energy density of today's batteries. During last month's Tokyo Motor Show, Wolf-Henning Scheider, a Bosch management board member in charge of its global automotive division, said that there is surging demand for EVs and these advanced batteries will meet be ready to meet it.
The cost of the battery packs and the number of miles they can move the car per charge are usually considered the stumbling blocks for widespread adoption of EVs and hybrids. Nickel-metal hydride batteries have been widely used in new hybrid vehicles for a decade, but the newer generation li-ion batteries are the go-to choice for EVs since they are lighter and able to store more power. The problem is that they are also more expensive and long-distance travel in most EVs is still not possible. This is why many automakers think EVs are perfect for urban commuting and shorter daily trips.
Bosch predicts there will be 12 million electrified vehicles on the road worldwide by 2020. Bosch and GS Yuasa haven't forecasted their li-ion sales targets yet for what percentage of these EVs they'll supply. Their focus right now is the development of the battery technology, Scheider said. The 12-million-by-2020 prediction could is in line with other published market forecasts. ABI Research says that worldwide annual EV sales will reach 2.4 million in 2020 and Navigant Research thinks the total sales for that year will be higher - three million.
Bosch predicts there will be 12 million electrified vehicles on the road worldwide by 2020.
Bosch and GS Yuasa started a joint venture partnership in June to develop low-cost, high energy-density li-ion batteries for EVs and hybrids. Bosch is taking a 50 percent stake in the venture and the other half will be split evenly between GS Yuasa and Mitsubishi Corp. Operations will start early next year; the location is still to be determined, Bosch said.
All three companies are looking for brighter days than they've experienced so far in the li-ion space. Last year, Bosch ended its SB LiMotive, a 50-50 battery venture with Samsung SDI that had gone on for four years. Mitsubishi and GS Yuasa have gone through a recall of more than 4,300 Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in Hybrids, in which they'd supplied the battery. That happened a few months after Boeing battery fires; GS Yuasa had supplied those batteries to Boeing. Permalink | Email this | Comments
Cadillac dealers will soon receive deliveries of the all-new 2014 ELR extended range electric luxury coupe. Shipments started from General Motors' Detroit-Hamtramck facility this week, and initial deliveries will take place after the first of the year.
As with the Chevy Volt before it, all dealers receiving the 2014 ELR have been specially trained and certified to sell and service the plug-in hybrid, including lessons in how to be an "ELR Concierge Representative." These reps have been trained in "white-glove customer care" and can provide information on battery care, home charging, service scheduling and updates. Some of the ELRs were loaded onto trucks with the help of Santa Claus (for a set of photos, anyway).
Cadillac unveiled the all-new 2014 ELR at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this year. Potential buyers have been waiting for much longer than a year, though, since its visual twin, the Converj concept, was unveiled four years earlier. The ELR is built on the Volt's powertrain technology, but comes with a much higher sticker price ($75,995) and has more luxurious bells and whistles. Standard features include Cadillac CUE with navigation accessed on an eight-inch, full-color touch screen. The Cadillac also has exclusive "Regen on Demand," that can be used by drivers to temporarily regenerate energy from the car's momentum via steering-wheel paddles. Permalink | Email this | Comments