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Articles on this Page
- 09/18/12--11:59: _Hyundai HB20 a Braz...
- 09/21/12--06:10: _Johnson Controls SC...
- 10/05/12--16:01: _Honda considers bui...
- 10/05/12--17:38: _More hints about bu...
- 10/10/12--14:00: _GM closes NY fuel c...
- 10/12/12--10:03: _Tesla gets $10 mill...
- 10/16/12--14:30: _Delayed Fisker Atla...
- 10/16/12--17:58: _Norwegian Universit...
- 10/24/12--17:45: _LG Chem confirms ba...
- 10/29/12--09:43: _Nissan starts Leaf ...
- 10/30/12--10:01: _Elon Musk: Tesla ha...
- 11/09/12--12:50: _The two sides of Br...
- 11/12/12--07:02: _KLD, Cenntro workin...
- 11/12/12--15:51: _A123 bidding starts...
- 11/15/12--05:11: _Volkswagen "Thinks ...
- 11/16/12--08:31: _Fisker opening Tech...
- 11/20/12--04:52: _Next-gen Mahindra R...
- 11/30/12--07:30: _Fisker to delay Kar...
- 11/30/12--14:57: _XP Technology sues ...
- 12/04/12--13:11: _Smith Electric Vehi...
- 09/18/12--11:59: Hyundai HB20 a Brazil-exclusive flex-fuel car, coming in October
- 10/05/12--16:01: Honda considers building new Accord Hybrid in U.S.
- 10/12/12--10:03: Tesla gets $10 million from California for Model X production
- 10/16/12--14:30: Delayed Fisker Atlantic could arrive in 2014 or 2015
- 10/16/12--17:58: Norwegian University study exaggerates downside of electric vehicles
- 10/29/12--09:43: Nissan starts Leaf work in Tennessee
- 10/30/12--10:01: Elon Musk: Tesla has made 1,000 Model S frames
- 11/09/12--12:50: The two sides of Bridgestone's new off-road tire plant in Aiken, SC
- 11/12/12--07:02: KLD, Cenntro working on a number of electric vehicle projects
- 11/12/12--15:51: A123 bidding starts soon from as many as four companies
- 11/15/12--05:11: Volkswagen "Thinks Blue," takes pride in its energy-efficient plants
- 11/20/12--04:52: Next-gen Mahindra Reva NXR electric car spotted in India
- 11/30/12--07:30: Fisker to delay Karma production because of A123 battery shortage
- 11/30/12--14:57: XP Technology sues DOE over advanced vehicle loan rejection
- 12/04/12--13:11: Smith Electric Vehicles will build big electric trucks in Chicago
The Brazilian Hyundai subsidiary has launched a Brazil-only flex-fuel model called the HB20. It will be manufactured at its new plant in Piracicaba, Brazil, which starts production September 20 ahead of an early October sales launch.
Hyundai decided to bring its first Brazil-exclusive car to market to meet the tastes of Brazilian consumers and driving conditions in the country. Small cars make up Brazil's largest and most competitive segment. "I guarantee with pride that HB20 will change the perception of Brazilian customers in the small car segment," said Chang Kyun Han, President of Hyundai Motor Brasil. The HB20 is Hyundai's first flex-fuel car. Building the HB20 as a flex-fuel car was a good idea, considering Brazil requires gasoline to contain a minimum of 20 percent sugar cane ethanol.
The Hyundai HB20 will be offered in nine versions with a comprehensive package offered as standard from entry levels - hydraulic power steering, dual front airbags, air conditioning, and a spoiler with built-in brake lights, to name a few. The HB20 comes with three powertrains: 1.0L and 1.6L, with a manual gearbox and 1.6L, with automatic transmission.
The name "HB" stands for Hyundai Brasil, and the number "20" is the company's characterization for vehicles in this segment, a category that includes models assembled on small or compact vehicle platforms. See also: the i20.
Hyundai took about five years to develop the new model, which is part of the company's larger regionalization strategy. Dozens of Brazilian and Korean engineers were involved in the concept phase. Their strategy was to build a car tailored to Brazilian consumers' sensitivity to stylish and fuel-efficient cars. HB20 also features advanced anti-theft functions for maximum security.Permalink | Email this | Comments
For companies such as Johnson Controls, Inc., there are opportunities to be had supplying advanced batteries for hybrids and electric vehicles. But where do all those advanced lithium batteries - and the older ones being pulled out today's hybrids - end up? Regulators, environmentalists and media want to know. With that in mind, opening a new battery recycling facility can be a smart move.
Johnson Controls has opened up its Recycling Center in Florence, SC, dedicated to automotive batteries. Located directly off US-76, on Paper Mill Road, the facility will recycle 132,000 metric tons per year. That's the equivalent of around 14 million vehicle batteries. Since the center is open now, we have to assume that number means today's 12V lead acid batteries. There is no hint that this center will one day recycle li-ion packs, but since these batteries have many years of service left in vehicles - and then, potentially, more time in stationary applications - it's kind of too early to be talking about that service anyway.
The center sits on a 685-acre site, with 36 acres of the site being used for construction of the facility and adjacent parking areas. Portions of the site will be permanently protected through a conservation easement. Johnson Controls says the recycling center is part of its commitment to environmental stewardship. The company says it will minimize its environmental footprint within the state by protecting sensitive habitats, managing habitat for wildlife, storm water management and participating in the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Stewardship Program.
As for economic gains, a capital investment of more than $150 million in the facility should bring 250 new jobs, with 200 already in place, along with 1,000 indirect jobs created in the area, Johnson Controls says.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Nothing like dollars and cents to drive some good ol' patriotism, even if it's from overseas.
Honda will re-start production of the Accord Hybrid from Japan next year and may move the manufacturing of the model to U.S. by 2015 in order to cut costs, Automotive News reports, citing an interview with Honda chief engineer Chitoshi Yokota in the Japanese business daily Nikkei Nangyo.
The relatively expensive yen makes the prospect of producing the Accord Hybrid in the U.S. a cheaper one than in Japan. Yokota said the model needs all the help in can get because hybrids that are sold as variants of conventional models - like the Accord and Civic Hybrids - are harder to market than standalone hybrid models like, say, the Toyota Prius.
Honda will start delivering an Accord Plug-In Hybrid, which will have an all-electric range of as many as 15 miles, early next year. The conventional Accord Hybrid will debut later in 2013. The Japanese automaker hopes the variants will spur hybrid sales, which have been lagging this year. Through September, Honda sold 14,204 hybrids and EVs, down 47 percent from a year earlier. Honda discontinued the Accord Hybrid in 2008 after four years of production.
Earlier this week, we reviewed the 2014 Accord Plug-In Hybrid, and you can find our First Drive impressions are here. Permalink | Email this | Comments
Despite current low lease rates, Nissan is ready to limbo the price of the Nissan Leaf lower, lower, lower.
According to Automotive News, Nissan is preparing to build a budget version of America's most popular electric vehicle in Tennessee when the company's plant in Smyrna begins to build the Leaf there. This is scheduled to begin in December for deliveries starting in March. AN says the new entry-level Leaf will be part of the car's 2013 model year facelift and could lose some features in the nav system and LED headlights.
We have long heard that domestic production would lower the cost of the Leaf - especially since the battery will be made nearby - but so far, Nissan is not talking about what, exactly, the new, budget-level price might be. Previous rumors - and they are just rumors - pegged the pre-incentive price at something between $26,600 and $31,500. Whatever the new price is, Nissan has previously said that it expects Leaf sales to double once Smryna production comes online.
Last month, Nissan sold 984 Leafs, an improvement from the 685 sold in August. So far, in 2012, Nissan has sold 5,212 Leafs, fewer than the 7,199 it had sold in 2011 by the end of September. The current entry price for the Leaf is $35,200, plus destination and without the federal tax credit worth up to $7,500. Permalink | Email this | Comments
The town of Honeoye Falls, NY, got a jolt on October 5, when General Motors announced it would be closing down its fuel-cell research facility there. The 220 GM employees were given the opportunity to move to Pontiac, MI, where GM will be consolidating its fuel cell program to capitalize on "synergies" with the automaker's Global Powertrain Engineering headquarters.
It's a real loss for Honeoye Falls, near Rochester, NY, which was counting on having skilled, high-paid employees living in the area. It had been cited by local officials and business leaders as an example of how well things were going for the area's high-tech business.
From GM's perspective, it makes sense to consolidate operations to continue its focus on electric vehicles and fuel cells. Fuel cell vehicles are lagging behind electric vehicles in product planning, but GM has been fascinated with this technology for years. Its first efforts began in 1969, and more attention was given to the technology staring in the late 1990s.
GM's fuel cell chief, Charlie Freese, thinks fuel cell vehicles, such as the Chevrolet Equinox fuel cell version, could be viable commercially by 2015 or 2016. Like other alternative vehicle technologies, though, fuel cell vehicles needs a lot more work first, mostly in improved infrastructure and becoming more cost competitive.
GM knows its competitors will be releasing hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, too, but Freese says the automaker has not announced any new programs. It's going to take a few years for commercial fuel cell vehicles to be a reality for GM. "The first generation of these cars won't be profitable," Freese said. Permalink | Email this | Comments
The Golden State is providing some green for the Tesla Model X.
The California Energy Commission (CEC) has awarded electric vehicle maker Tesla Motors $10 million to expand its Fremont, CA, plant to accommodate production for the Model X SUV.
Tesla, which currently employs around 3,000 people, will add more than 500 jobs to build the Model X. Production is expected to start in 2014, and Tesla itself is investing $50 million getting ready for Model X production. Tesla unveiled a prototype of the Model X, complete with its "falcon-wing" doors, in February.
The CEC's grant was part of $20 million in awards for "clean transportation" projects within the state. Details on these grantees are available below, but readers will likely be most interested in the $1.8 million that Zero Motorcycles received to "expand the company's full electric motorcycle production capacity." There's also $300,000 for a compressed natural gas (CNG) station that will refuel CNG-powered garbage trucks.Permalink | Email this | Comments
When the Fisker Atlantic was revealed in April, no one was saying anything about production dates. Even in recent interviews and statements, Fisker has remained coy about when it might start building the smaller cousin to the Karma.
Given Fisker's financial difficulties and questions about where it will build the car, none of this was a surprise. It's also not at all shocking that reports now say Fisker might not start making the Atlantic until 2014 or 2015. Reuters says that was "the first time Fisker disclosed a production timetable for the Atlantic," but way back in 2009, the official timeline said the Atlantic (then called Project Nina) would start production by the end of 2012.
Fisker representatives used the new 2014 date in slides presented to investors. It was also revealed that a lot of the work on the car is done, since "about 90 percent of the parts in the Atlantic have been engineered." Should the Atlantic still be built in Delaware, as originally planned, suppliers might use some of the large factory that Fisker bought from General Motors. Of course, with the news that one of Fisker's main suppliers for the Karma - A123 Systems - might go bankrupt, we'll see how long the 2014 date holds firm. Permalink | Email this | Comments
A recent column by Leo Hickman in The Guardian set off a wave of debate over the true merit of electric vehicles (EVs) compared to internal combustion engine vehicles (EVs). Hickman used a study from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) called Comparative Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of Conventional and Electric Vehicles that explored a variety of factors involved in the lifecycle of the car - from materials used to vehicle emissions to the source of energy moving the metal - as a starting point. The problem, as we'll see, is that the study uses some dubious assumptions to badmouth EVs.
The study sends something of a warning signal in its finding that the production and lifecycle of EVs makes them not as great as proponents have been stating. Specifically, the technology is more energy-demanding during production and can actually bring more CO2 emissions than conventional vehicles.
The study doesn't outright condemn EVs. At its conclusion, the report authors said that the production phase of EVs is more "environmentally intensive," but it does bring with it substantial overall improvements for GPW (global warming potential), TAP (terrestrial acidification potential) and other positive impacts if powered by appropriate energy sources. That being said, it's counterproductive to push for EVs in regions where electricity is generated by oil, coal, or lignite (coal in its early stage) combustion.
As for recycling of the EVs, Guillaume Majeau-Bettez, one of the paper's authors, wrote,
"Hopefully, subsequent 'waves' of electric cars would be made with a higher fraction of recycled metal (ecars made from ecars, cradle-to-cradle...), but the industry is not there yet."
Several readers left comments on Hickman's article saying the report overstated the downside of EVs. And criticism is growing. Fully Charged's Robert Llewellyn wrote an important article drawing connections between the report authors and the oil industry (hint: there are many). He also points out some egregious assumptions the authors make, for example, "Their calculations were for a 1,000 kg motor, the motor in the Nissan Leaf weighs 53kg. As you can imagine, an error of this magnitude could skew the figures rather badly. "
Earlier this year, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) released a report analyzing emissions and costs for both EVs and gasoline-powered vehicles. The study provided a well-to-wheel (drilling, refining, burning for gas and mining coal, making electricity for EVs) comparison and found greater benefits coming from EV technology than that determined by NTNU. In a new blog post directly analyzing the NTNU article, UCS' senior engineer of clean vehicles, Don Anair, references the earlier work and then writes:
It's well worth the read. In fact, any time there's a study purporting to decimate arguments against plug-in vehicles, it's worth investigating the back story. Permalink | Email this | Comments
The numbers show that even in the worst case, on the dirtiest grid and assuming EV vehicle production creates twice the number of global warming emissions as a gasoline vehicle, an EV still has a slight (6%) emission advantage compared to the average new compact.
The reports were spot on. The LG Chem battery plant in Holland, MI - which was intended to make batteries for the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid, but has not yet started production - is not only furloughing its 200 employees, those breaks are "extending and expanding," according to reports on local TV news station WZZM 13, citing statements from the company. The rolling furloughs started April 30.
Just as alternative-energy vehicles have made a splash in the presidential election, the LG Chem plant story is playing in the Michigan Senate race between Democratin incumbent Debbie Stabenow and Republican challenger Pete Hoekstra. Stabenow's point of view is in line with Obama's, which is that plug-in vehicles are a good thing and that "we need to win the [global] race" to build them. Hoekstra, on the other hand, criticized the spending of taxpayer money on a plant that "hasn't produced a singe battery."
There's a word potentially missing there, since the plant hasn't made a battery yet. LG Chem's line is that since plug-in vehicle demand is lower than expected, the workers are not being asked to make the packs. Yet. But once demand increases, "the plant will be fully operational," WZZM writes. LG Chem isn't saying when that might happen.
LG Chem also points out that it isn't using federal money to pay for idle workers and will review any misspent money for potential refunds to the government. According to a company statement sent to the Grand Rapids Business Journal:
More to come, assuredly. There's a video report below.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Taxpayer money has not been wasted, because when the market demand justifies production, the facility will be utilized. More than 1,000 construction jobs were involved in building the facility, and 200 company jobs have been created, adding a solid boost to the local economy. LG Chem has the strongest motivation to operate the plant, because it has invested more than 50 percent, over $150 million, of the cost to construct the facility, so it will utilize the plant when the time is right. ... LG Chem feels a duty to take care of the people and to keep them on the team, so they can be ready for production. The company will not use (Department of Energy) grant money to pay for any idle time. It will review prior billings, and if any has been used, then that money will be refunded to the DOE.
While the official start of 2013 Nissan Leaf production in the US isn't scheduled to start for a while yet, but it looks like the Smyrna, TN factory is really starting to get the process in motion now. The picture above appeared on one of Nissan's Facebook pages and the company released a video (available below) about production of the Leaf's electric motor, which is going to take place in nearby Decherd, TN. Today, all of the eMotors used in the Leaf are assembled in Japan. The takeaway tidbit you can share with your EV friends: there's over a mile of wire in each eMotor.
Nissan has big hopes for the Leaf once it's made in the US. More employees, for one thing, as well as cheaper batteries. But it's higher sales, perhaps climbing high enough to reach 20,000 for the fiscal year that will end March 31, 2013, that are perhaps the biggest box on the wishlist. Previously, Nissan said the Smyrna plant could make as many as 200,000 Leafs (and 150,000 battery packs) a year.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Tesla Motors is working on a four-figure production total for its six-figure sedan.
Company founder Elon Musk on Sunday Tweeted that Tesla completed production of its 1,000th frame for its all-electric Model S, whose top-of-the-line version retails for more than $100,000.
Musk added that Tesla made more Model S bodies in October than it did in the rest of the year combined. Tesla initially set a goal to make 5,000 Model S vehicles by year-end, though admitted late last month that it was about a month behind schedule for Model S deliveries.
In early October, Tesla said it will get $10 million from the state of California to expand production at its Bay Area plant to gear up for the Model X SUV, which is expected to start production in 2014. Permalink | Email this | Comments
Bridgestone is in an interesting position. On the one hand, the tire manufacturer wants to increase its green credentials with its line of Ecopia products. These are low-rolling resistance tires that improve efficiency by around five or six percent and are now available in 50 sizes that fit everything from hybrids to large SUVs. They're even used on all Nissan Leaf electric vehicles. On top of the Ecopia line, Bridgestone has big goals to reduce CO2 emission from its entire products lifecycle by 35 percent (by sales) and improve tire rolling efficiency by 25 percent by 2020 (compared to 2005 numbers). The company is also researching making tires not just from traditional rubber trees (hevea brasiliensis) but alaso from latex found in a native southwest desert plant, guayule, and Russian dandelions. So, if we look at that hand, the company looks pretty green, right?
The reality is that it's difficult for Bridgestone to make really big changes. For example, when Bridgestone invited us to visit the future site of its new off-road tire plant in Aiken, SC, we asked if, for example, adding a recycling fee to the sale price of a tire made sense, encouraging more tires to be recycled at the end of life. The problem, we were told, was that competitors might not do that, leaving Bridgestone at a price disadvantage. In short, Bridgestone can lead, but not on everything.
The reality is that it's difficult for Bridgestone to make really big changes.
Bridgestone's current Aiken tire plant is a mid-size operation, one that can make up to 25,000 tires a day, in sizes from 15 to 20 inches. At that rate, operating 24-7, the plant uses 1,000 pounds of rubber every minute. Most of the plant's raw rubber - which is the sap from the trees, so someone called it "perhaps the most sustainable part of a car" - comes from Indonesia and Liberia. GM is the biggest customer for the finished products, but Toyota, Honda, Ford, Chrysler and Hyundai all get tires from there. Walking around the plant, you see massive machines (mixers that are three stories tall and require 4,000 horsepower to run, for example) and lots of storage space (425,000 tires can be stored in the attached warehouse). It's a big plant, and an expansion is scheduled to be in operation by 2015 to increase capacity. The big news, though, is the off-road plant that Bridgestone is building just up the road.Permalink | Email this | Comments
On- and off-road, multiple-use electric vehicles are being developed by two companies with experience in electric motor technology and powertrains. KLD Energy Technologies, which develops high-performance electric motor technology, and Cenntro Group Limited, a developer of powertrains fueled by diesel and liquefied petroleum gas (also known as propane autogas), have made an agreement to produce four-wheel drive electric vehicles that incorporate KLD's drive system technologies.
Cenntro Group has experience making powertrains that are used in industrial, agricultural, transportation and construction equipment worldwide. This will work well for the new joint venture objective to build a series of vehicles such as a Utility Electric Vehicle, which is an off-road and on-road work and maintenance vehicle. A low-speed Neighborhood Electric Vehicle and an Intra-city Logistic Vehicle compact delivery vehicle are also in the planning and development phases.
As for target markets, the joint venture will be focusing on the US, Europe and China, with China the market with the strongest growth potential. Cenntro Group operates in that market through Xinchang Cenntro Machinery Co., Ltd., and the company is a major shareholder in Sinomachinery Group Ltd.
As seen above, KLD has been developing its technology for a few years now including electric motor scooters serving the Vietnam market and in other projects designed at its Austin, TX, headquarters. It will provide the motor, battery pack and controller for the KLD/Cenntro product. KLD and Samsung SDI recently made an agreement to develop battery systems incorporating Samsung SDI's lithium-ion battery cells and KLD drive technologies. Permalink | Email this | Comments
Let the bidding begin. In a few weeks, of course.
A123 Systems will likely receive offers from at least four companies when the bankrupt lithium-ion battery pack maker starts receiving bids on December 6. Johnson Controls and China-based Wanxiang Group Corp. will likely be the lead bidders, while Japan's NEC Corp. and Germany's Siemens AG may also jump into the fray, Reuters reports.
Wanxiang, which has made a confidential bid for A123, has drawn concern from US Senators John Thune of South Dakota (R) and Chuck Grassley of Iowa (R), who have asked the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to look into the possibility of a Chinese company getting access to US military contracts. A123 has received about $130 million in US Department of Energy grant funds. A123 recently received US Bankruptcy Court permission to borrow $50 million from Wanxiang.
Meanwhile, A123 has received a $125 million bid from Johnson Controls for its automotive business, whose clients include Fisker, General Motors and BMW. Permalink | Email this | Comments
More than 350 employees from 21 Volkswagen manufacturing plants met in Wolfsburg, Germany, to discuss the campaign to make the global automaker more green - or, actually, the eco color that Volkswagen calls "blue." At the "Think Blue. Factory." annual meeting, details were presented on how all Volkswagen brand plants are reducing energy and water consumption and wastewater production, along with reducing CO2 emissions per vehicle by 25 percent by 2018.
Volkswagen plants were honored for achieving the best solutions for reducing energy consumption, and for meeting two major corporate goals for production: more sustainability and less environmental impact. In the "lowest base load" category, the Energy Efficiency Award for lowest energy consumption was awarded to the Pamplona, Spain and Polkowice, Poland plants. In the "best performance" category recognizing highest reduction in energy consumption compared to the previous year, the award went to plants in Polkowice, Poland and Pune, India, as well as the plastic parts production unit at the Wolfsburg plant.
Presentations were made by executives on results achieved at German plants. The Kassel plant installed an energy-efficient internal lining for hardening surfaces in component production. The Brunswick components plant described how its plastics technology used an innovative high-temperature filter. Emden reported on the world's largest geothermal energy facility located directly on the North Sea coast.
Volkswagen started the "Think Blue" campaign in 2010 to show that "Environmental protection is the top priority for Volkswagen." The blue/green theme has also been deployed by German competitor Mercedes through its high-performance, fuel-efficient Bluetec product lineup. BMW is committed to sustainability through electric drive and corporate environmental responsibility measures. Japanese and US automakers are also investing in green technology for plant efficiency, alternative powertrains and high-mileage vehicles.
In an era of increasing global competition, national fuel economy and emissions standards, rising fuel prices and consumer interest in sustainability, you can expect to see similar campaigns from more automakers. It's becoming more commonplace as part of their brand identification.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Fisker Automotive has shed more light on its upcoming Fisker Atlantic plug-in hybrid. The company is opening up a new Technical Center in the Midwest for the launch of its second model, which looks a little like a smaller version of the first one.
The company plans to open this facility in the Spring of 2013, potentially in Southeastern Michigan. It's meant to pave the way for "ongoing development" of the Atlantic, and is being done to bring Fisker closer to its key component suppliers. It's also fairly close (compared to the California HQ, at least) to Fisker's potential production facility in Delaware.
This will be the second technical center used by Fisker, with the first one being in Pontiac, MI. That site was used for development and engineering of the Karma plug-in hybrid sports car between the fall of 2008 and the spring of 2010. Co-founder Henrik Fisker said the new facility will be a permanent Technical Center to support the final Atlantic development.
When will development of the Atlantic turn into a launch? Fisker continues to be vague about it. "This important step signals our commitment to bringing the Fisker Atlantic to market as soon as we can," said Fisker's president and CEO, Tony Posawatz.
The most recent rumor has been that the introduction will be sometime in 2014. Back in 2009, the original timeline given on what was then called Project Nina had production starting by the end of 2012.
The timing of the Tech Center announcement comes soon after Fisker lost 320 Karmas from Sandy storm damage at a New Jersey port, with 16 of them getting burnt. These Karmas had been manufactured at a plant in Finland and were parked dockside when the hurricane hit.Permalink | Email this | Comments
It's near the end of 2012, and the Mahindra Reva NXR electric car has yet to be launched. Still, Mahindra has confirmed that the launch will be happening before the end of the year. In the meantime, take a look at the spy shot above.
The car has been spotted in India - in Delhi, Chennai and Bengaluru. Engineers and testers have been working around the clock in South India to meet the deadline. It's been years in the making and is powered by a 48-volt lithium-ion battery pack.
"Action Kumar," a loyal reader of IndianAutosBlog, posted a comment on the page after spotting the car at a Mahindra service center in Chennai. Action said it was similar in size to the Tata Nano, and thinks its build and looks are better.
Reportedly, the Reva NXR will be renamed as E2O to align itself with traditional Mahindra models, It's said to be in the final phase of testing. The car made its public debut at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show, and was showcased at the New Delhi Auto Expo earlier this year.
Special thanks to Shrawan Raja for the update and the pictures in the gallery. Raja said that Mahindra Reva has just inaugurated a new facility for manufacturing electric vehicles in Bengaluru city, situated in the state of Karnataka, India. Permalink | Email this | Comments
Fisker Automotive will postpone production of its Karma extended-range plug-in vehicle until the future of bankrupt battery maker A123 Systems is resolved, Bloomberg reports, citing an interview with the automaker's CEO.
During an interview at this week's Los Angeles Auto Show, Tony Posawatz admitted that A123's Michigan factory has stopped making lithium-ion batteries earmarked for the company's sleek Karma sedan. As a result, any available batteries are being saved as potential replacements for examples already out on the road, Bloomberg reports.
As it is, Fisker has held off the start of production for its less-expensive Atlantic model range for various reasons, chief among them that much of the $529 million loan that Fisker was set to receive from the US Energy Department has been frozen. The most recent word is that the Atlantic may see the light of day in 2014.
A123, which filed for bankruptcy in October, will be subject to acquisition bids starting next month. The lead acquisition candidates are understood to be China-based Wanxiang Group Corp. and US-based Johnson Controls. Permalink | Email this | Comments
The US Department of Energy has been sued in US court by a company that it denied a loan to in its Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing program. San Francisco-based XP Technology is charging the DOE with "corruption and negligence" for the way it handled the approval for loan process.
XP Technology is looking for funding to develop its battery and hydrogen fuel-cell powered car that has body panels made from expanded foam. The compact car would weight around 1,500 pounds, less than half the weight of similarly sized electric vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf. It's powered by small, removable cartridges that can be quickly swapped by owners or recharged at home. XP Technology has been granted several patents covering the technology inside the vehicle, but it's yet to build the car.
This is the fourth time the company has been turned down for DOE loans through the ATVM program. Two of the loan applications were for $25 million and two were for $45 million; two other applications are still pending. The company says that it was previously given a $1 million grant from a previous DOE program to help develop a hydrogen storage system used in its vehicle.
So far, funds from the $25 billion ATVM program have only gone to Ford, Nissan, Tesla and Fisker. XP is alleging that other startup electric vehicle makers such as Bright Automotive and Aptera Motors had their application reviews intentionally stalled to force them out of business and protect favored players. Bright Automotive and Aptera Motors have both filed for bankruptcy. Published reports are also cited in the lawsuit criticizing other DOE loans including the now-bankrupt solar energy company Solyndra. XP is soliciting other companies to join it in the lawsuit. In 2009, when the first DOE loan was rejected, XP was looking for support from the public.
XP's latest complaint was filed recently with the US Court of Federal Claims, and was denied. The company plans to have it re-filed through an attorney, and the suit will seek an injunction freezing all DOE loans programs until a new approval system has been established. Permalink | Email this | Comments
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Smith Electric Vehicles are working together to create an electric vehicle manufacturing facility in Chicago. Smith Electric Vehicles was drawn to the city by the mayor's voucher system designed to accelerate conversion from diesel to zero-emission electric vehicles, a large number of fleets that are interested in going electric and development incentives offered to Smith. Smith is saying it will create "hundreds of direct and indirect jobs" there.
The Chicago Department of Transportation has a $15-million incentive program set up to encourage companies to modernize their fleets, converting some to electric power. The initial $15 million for this program is funded by resources from the federal Congestion Mitigation Air Quality program. It provides vouchers to assist companies in reducing their conversion costs. Through its program and similar federal incentive programs, Chicago has helped deploy 404 cleaner vehicles, mainly compressed natural gas vehicles, along with 202 electric vehicle charging stations. Chicago has been committed for a while to bringing electrified vehicles and a charging infrastructure to the area.
Mayor Emanuel says the Smith partnership is a smart way to create hundreds of direct and indirect jobs and to boost the already rapidly growing battery and electric vehicle sector in the city. As former chief of staff to President Barack Obama, Emanuel was involved in pushing for policies that integrated job creation with environmental concerns and energy security.
This will be the third US city where Smith has locations set up, including its headquarters in Kansas City, MO, and a manufacturing facility in New York City. Smith has been looking for ways to grow its capital investments and audience. Not long ago, the company was looking to go public on the Nasdaq exchange, but has canceled that plan. New owners bought the decades-old company from its UK-based parent company in 2011.
Smith has done an impressive job of breaking into the electrified fleet market. Customers include Frito-Lay, FedEx, Staples, TNT, Sainsbury's, Coca-Cola, DHL and the US military. In addition to the deal with the city of Chicago, Smith announced that FedEx Express is adding 100 Smith vehicles in the US, Europe and Asia, and that Coca-Cola's pilot deployment of Smith vehicles has been successful enough that additional EVs will be purchased in 2013.Permalink | Email this | Comments