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Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

Plugging In: An Inside Look at the MEB — VW’s Platform for an Electrified Future

A combined VW-Ford battery-car program seems to have come un-plugged, however.

by on Feb.11, 2019

An under-the-skin look at VW's modular MEB battery-car platform reveals the skateboard-like layout.

Volkswagen is plugging into battery power in a big way, the German automaker planning to launch 50 or more all-electric models by 2025, an aggressive push that will have it betting heavily on a single new platform it is developing. Dubbed the MEB, this flexible, modular “architecture” will be used to underpin the vast majority of battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs, that will be offered by VW’s dozen different passenger car brands.

The MEB has been a topic of discussion between VW and Ford Motor Co., the two companies recently launching a joint venture to develop light commercial vehicles. They also are exploring ways they may be able to work together on the development of electric vehicles, possibly using the new VW platform — though a senior Ford official cautioned that this might prove more difficult than originally hoped.

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“The future, for us, is really a dedicated EV platform,” said Matthew Renna, vice president of e-Mobility for Volkswagen’s North American Region, a platform “flexible enough to cover a broad gamut of products ranging from an entry level subcompact up to models like the ID. Buzz minivan and even midsize SUVs.

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Tesla Purchasing Ultracapacitor Maker Maxwell Tech

Electrify America turns to Tesla Powerpack for new charging stations.

by on Feb.05, 2019

A Tesla supercharger station.

Tesla will spend $218 million to acquire Maxwell Technologies, an energy company that could help it both reduce battery costs and develop a battery alternative called an ultracapacitor.

Separately, Electrify America, a company dedicated to promoting and supporting electric vehicles, plans to use Tesla’s Powerpack battery backup system at more than 100 of its EV charging stations.

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“We are always looking for potential acquisitions that make sense for the business and support Tesla’s mission to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy,” Tesla said of the planned purchase of Maxwell in a statement.

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BMW Reveals New 7-Series Plug-In Hybrid

Three versions worldwide, including U.S.-bound 745e xDrive.

by on Feb.01, 2019

The second-generation BMW 7-Series plug-in opts for a bigger engine and bigger battery.

BMW continues its push to electrify its line-up with the official launch of the new 745e model. Three different versions of the plug-in hybrid will be offered worldwide, including the 745e, the 745Le and the 745e xDrive, the latter being the only variant planned for the U.S. market.

The new model marks the second-generation 7-Series plug-in but gets a complete makeover under the hood, abandoning the previous model’s 2.0-liter inline-four gas engine in favor of a 3.0-liter inline-six. Paired with a single electric motor, the package is claimed to delivered both improved performance and longer range when operating in EV mode.

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Part of the credit for those improvements comes from the increase in the size of the 745e sedan’s lithium-ion battery pack from 9.2 to 12.0 kilowatt-hours.

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Honda Confirms Plans to Debut Urban EV Concept in Geneva

“Electric Vision” model to usher in massive shift to battery power.

by on Jan.23, 2019

Honda will bring a production version of the Urban EV Concept to Europe in the coming year.

Honda plans to use battery power of one form or another in two-thirds of the vehicles it sells by the end of the next decade, and the Japanese automaker plans to give a sense of where its “Electric Vision” is going at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show.

The Honda Urban EV Concept builds on an early prototype shown at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show and is little more than a thinly disguised version of the battery runabout it soon will be launching in Europe.

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“Honda’s new electric vehicle is developed with a focus on functionality and purpose and the prototype sketch demonstrates this through its clean, simple and unique design,” the automaker explained in a statement accompanying this teaser shot. “A mass production version of the car will be on sale later in the year.”

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No-Shows, But Tesla and Musk Still Have Strong Presence at NAIAS

But can California carmaker survive the new onslaught of competition.

by on Jan.17, 2019

Tesla CEO Elon Musk showed off a prototype Model S in 2010, the last time he attended the NAIAS.

Battery-electric vehicles may still account for less than 1% of the U.S. new vehicle market, but they have had a notable presence at this year’s North American International Auto Show – something that many credit to a manufacturer that was notably absent from Detroit’s Cobo Hall convention center: Tesla.

Cadillac made a major splash during the first media preview of this year’s show, when it not only revealed the new XT6 utility vehicle but announced that it will be the first General Motors brand to use the automaker’s new all-electric platform for another SUV debuting in 2021.

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Electrifying!

Throughout the show, automaker’s either revealed new battery cars and concepts or outlined their plans for an electrified future. Volkswagen, for one, announced plans to invest $800 million to add production of two new all-electric models at its plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

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Toyota Teaming Up With Paccar to Build a Test Fleet of Clean Hydrogen Semis

Project will focus on heavily polluted Port of Los Angeles.

by on Jan.09, 2019

Toyota is teaming up with Paccar to develop a next-generation fuel-cell powered semi-truck to be used at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

Toyota is teaming up with Paccar, one of the world’s largest producers of heavy-duty trucks, to build 10 hydrogen-powered Class 8 prototypes.

The rigs will go into operation at the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, California, where the thousands of diesel trucks currently in use catch blame for a disproportionate share of the region’s air pollution. The project comes as environmental regulators are putting into place plans to completely eliminate conventional diesel trucks at the two ports by 2035.

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“This is not just a science experiment,” said Bob Carter, executive vice president, Toyota Motor North America. “The goal is to make a difference in society, to remove pollution and improve the air quality in and around the Port of Los Angeles.” (more…)

Nissan Boosts Range, Performance With New Leaf Plus

World’s best-selling battery-electric vehicle breaks 200-mile barrier.

by on Jan.09, 2019

The 2020 Nissan Leaf Plus.

It’s been the world’s best-selling battery-vehicle since its introduction nearly a decade ago, but the Nissan Leaf had been losing ground as competitors like Tesla have rolled out an array of new competitors.

Now, the Japanese automaker is aiming to regain momentum with the introduction of a critical update to the battery-electric vehicle, the new Nissan Leaf Plus set to increase both range and performance by about 50 percent. That will position the five-door model, to be sold as the Leaf e+ in most other markets, as the latest BEV to top the 200-mile mark.

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“This is a big psychological barrier,” said Denis LeVot, the CEO of Nissan North America, during the debut of the Leaf Plus at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Along with the improvement to Leaf’s traditionally anemic performance, he added, that should prove to potential buyers that “these are more than real cars.”

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Infiniti Aims to Electrify With QX Inspiration Concept

Detroit show car hints at future plans for a plug-based future line-up.

by on Jan.04, 2019

Infiniti will reveal the all-electric QX Inspiration concept at the 2019 NAIAS on January 14th.

It’s been a year since Infiniti, Nissan’s luxury brand, announced plans to shift to an “all electrified” powertrain strategy starting in 2021, but the automaker plans to give us a hint of what’s coming with the debut of the QX Inspiration concept vehicle at the North American International Auto Show later this month.

The show car picks up some of the design cues we first saw at the 2018 NAIAS in the form of the well-reviewed Infiniti Q Inspiration. But it picks up on the dramatic market shift from sedans and coupes to SUVs and CUVs.

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“QX Inspiration is the beginning of a new era for INFINITI and an illustration of where we want to go with the brand,” explains design director Karim Habib. “New technology has given us the opportunity to evolve our design philosophy – and the new vehicle communicates the serene strength at our core.”

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Polestar’s First All-Electric Model Breaks Cover

by on Jan.03, 2019

Polestar hints that its first all-electric model will adopt a "fastback" shape.

Volvo’s electric performance division is finally charging forward, the plug-in hybrid Polestar 1 getting ready for production, while the sub-brand’s first all-electric model is set to be “fully revealed in the coming weeks,” it confirmed today.

According to a statement, “The car will go into production shortly after the long-range hybrid Polestar 1, which will enter production later this year.” The automaker also emphasized that Polestar 2 will take direct aim at Tesla’s Model 3.

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The teaser shows an overhead view of the Polestar 2’s rounded back end, so not much to go on beyond the fact that it features very aggressively raked rear glass flowing into a rather short trunk lid. That would suggest either a hatchback or an edgy crossover design, Polestar calling it a “fastback.”

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Oil-Rich Norway is the Land of the Battery-Electric Vehicle

BEVs generated a third of country’s new car sales, a record, in 2018.

by on Jan.02, 2019

Picture courtesy Norwegian Electric Vehicle Assoc.

Norwegians have roundly embraced EVs.

It has massive offshore oil reserves that have helped fuel its economy, but as far as millions of Norwegian motorists are concerned, they’d rather spend their money on an electric vehicles.

Battery-cars accounted for a record 31.2% of all new vehicles sold in the Scandinavian nation last year, according to the Norwegian Road Federation, up from 20.8% in 2017. And the shift away from gas and diesel is only expected to accelerate as Norway has set a goal of eliminating sales of vehicles using internal combustion engines by the middle of the decade.

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Last year’s surge “was a small step closer to the 2025 goal,” Oeyvind Solberg Thorsen, head of the NRF, told a news conference in Oslo on Wednesday.

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