Detroit Bureau on Twitter

Posts Tagged ‘battery cars’

All New German Cars Must Be Emission-Free by 2030

Government hopes to boost lagging demand with new incentives.

by on Jun.20, 2016

The shape of things to come? A prototype of Porsche's Mission E battery-electric vehicle.

It may be the home of the Autobahn, with its largely unlimited speeds, but in little more than a decade, German motorists will have to manage both those highways and local roads driving zero-emission vehicles, according to a senior government official. All new vehicles registered after that date will need run on batteries or hydrogen.

While a number of countries, including the U.S., are taking steps to increase the use of battery and other alternative powertrain technologies, Germany is laying out plans for an aggressive shift away from gasoline and diesel, said Deputy Economy Minister Rainer Baake, speaking at climate forum sponsored by the Tagesspiegel newspaper in Berlin.

We Keep You Plugged In!

“Fact is there’s been no reduction at all in CO2 emissions by transport since 1990,” said Baake. “We don’t have any answers to cut truck emissions right now but we do have answers for cars.”

(more…)

Chevrolet Volt Plugs into the Battery Car Sales Lead

Nissan Leaf loses momentum despite increased range.

by on Jun.02, 2016

The second-gen Chevy Volt got a new, roomier design, better performance and longer EV-mode range.

After seemingly coming unplugged, the newly redesigned Chevrolet Volt has charged into the U.S. sales lead among plug-based vehicles, overtaking long-time rival Nissan Leaf.

That’s based on the likelihood that at least 10% of the demand for the Tesla Model S has come from abroad through the end of May, a strong likelihood considering the long-range electric sedan now is being marketed in a number of countries, including China and the European Union.

Green Tech!

Even factoring out those overseas sales, and with a number of manufacturers not yet breaking out May battery-car numbers, there’s good reason for EV advocates to celebrate. After taking a tumble last year in the wake of a sharp downturn in gas prices, sales of plug-based vehicles have been recharged in recent month.

(more…)

Carmakers Beating Fuel Economy Mandates, Study Finds

Some models nearly meet goals set for 2025.

by on Apr.25, 2016

The new Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid already meets the fuel economy target for 2021.

Low fuel prices have been driving a surge in demand for big pickups and SUVs. That’s a seeming recipe for poor fuel economy, but a new report reveals that the auto industry is not only managing to meet federal fuel economy standards but, in many cases, handily exceeding the current mandate.

A total of 56% of the newest models in dealer showrooms match or exceed today’s federal target, according to the survey by the Consumer Federation of America. And a number of vehicles already come close to meeting the tough, 54.5 mile-per-gallon target that’s not supposed to take effect until 2025.

Step on the Gas!

“Fuel efficiency increasingly comes standard with new cars, trucks, and SUVs” said Jack Gillis, Director of Public Affairs for the CFA and author of The Car Book. “Even if you’re in the market for a large pickup or SUV, you’d have to go out of your way to find a true gas guzzler.”

(more…)

Tesla, BMW Lose Key Battery-Car Talent

Apple and Chinese start-up Future Mobility go poaching.

by on Apr.20, 2016

Several key members of the BMW i team, including the head of i8 development, have bolted.

It still refuses to acknowledge any plans to develop a car of its own, but consumer electronics giant Apple has reportedly been poaching a number of auto industry veterans for what is believed to be known internally as Project Titan – and that now includes a senior Tesla executive.

Chris Porritt, a one-time Aston Martin designer, had been more recently working at Tesla, helping in the development of its two current products, the Models S and X, as well as the upcoming Model 3 battery-electric sedan. According reports in several Silicon Valley publications, Porritt will now serve at Apple as Special Projects Group PD Administrator.

Get a Free Subscription!

Porritt, however, isn’t the only battery-car executive jumping ship. German automaker BMW has reportedly lost a number of key members from the team that developed it i3 and i8 electric vehicles. The group, which includes Carsten Breitfeld, leader of the team behind the i8 plug-in sports car, will now work on EV development for the Chinese-funded start-up Future Mobility Corp.

(more…)

Don’t Blame Battery-Cars for Plunging Oil Prices

Rising fuel economy likely a much bigger factor, says Navigant.

by on Mar.29, 2016

There'll be more battery-cars on the road in the years ahead, but not enough to bring oil prices crashing down, says Navigant.

Oil prices have tumbled sharply over the last year, and a variety of factors have led to the slide, including a weakening Chinese economy, as well as a reduction in demand among American motorists.

But battery-cars have had an almost negligible impact, and likely won’t have much of an impact going forward, despite some claims they’ve brought the oil market crashing to its knees. Far more credit goes to the rapid improvement in overall automotive fuel economy, suggests a new study by Navigant Research.

Energy News!

Such claims are “sensationalist,” says a report by the technology research firm, which adds that a much more substantial factor likely to hold down oil prices is “not a particularly sexy conversation topic.” But the reality is that fleet-wide fuel economy is expected to increase 22% over the next decade, says Navigant, reducing demand by millions of barrels of oil a day.

(more…)

GM Set to Move Faster on Future Battery Cars

Will GM partner with Honda on plug-based models?

by on Jan.07, 2016

GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra at the CES debut of the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt.

The launch of the new Chevrolet Bolt is likely to mark the start, rather than the end, of General Motors’ electrification efforts, a number of company officials tell TheDetroitBureau.com.

And though CEO Mary Barra was not ready to comment about future models during a media roundtable in Las Vegas, she stressed the speed with which GM will have gone from concept to customer with the 200-mile Bolt. It was first revealed in prototype form at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show, returning in production form at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show. The Chevy Bolt will be on sale later this year.

Stay Plugged In!

“That speaks to the speed of this technology team,” said Barra, adding that, “We are committed to electrification. We see it as a very important part” of the GM portfolio.

(more…)

Ford to Invest $4.5 Bil in New Electrified Products

By 2020, 40% of its nameplates will be offered with battery-based options.

by on Dec.10, 2015

"More than 40% of our nameplates will be electrified," announced Ford CEO Mark Fields.

Ford Motor plans to invest $4.5 billion to add an array of new hybrids, plug-ins and battery-electric vehicles to its line-up by the end of the decade, CEO Mark Fields announced on Thursday.

The maker plans not only to add more battery-based vehicles but also to expand where it will offer those models, with two new produced, the plug-in C-Max Energi and the Mondeo Hybrid, entering the Chinese market in the coming months.

Plug In!

By the end of the decade, said Fields, “More than 40% of our nameplates will be electrified,” up from 13% today, and the list will include “a full range” of the maker’s products, not just a limited selection like today. Where there are six battery-based products today, Ford will add 13 more by 2020.

(more…)

New Consortium Aims to Help EV Owners ROEV More Freely

Taking down the barriers to battery-car ownership.

by on Nov.20, 2015

"This is the future of EV charging in the U.S.," says BMW's Rob Healey.

There are three key factors limiting broader consumer acceptance of battery-electric vehicles, according to most analysts: their high price, limited range and the lack of a readily available charging network.

A new consortium, announced at this week’s L.A. Auto Show, could help resolve the latter issue. Dubbed ROEV, short for Roaming for Electric Vehicle charging, the new venture aims to make it easier for owners of battery-based vehicles to plug in wherever they go. It will let them access the vast majority of public charge stations without having to sign up with a variety of different service providers.

Get Charged Up!

The goal is to “make sure every station is capable of serving every vehicle out there,” explained Brendan Jones, a vice president of NRG EVgo, one of the partners in the new charging consortium. “ROEV is reducing the barrier (to EVs by letting) people know they can charge anywhere.”

(more…)

GM – LG Chem Find New Way to Work Together to Bring Chevy Bolt to Market

Traditional OE-supplier approach "unsuitable and unsustainable."

by on Oct.20, 2015

Lower battery costs will let GM price the Chevy Bolt around $35,000 before federal incentives.

Often criticized for the way it hammers price cuts out of its suppliers, General Motors is taking a very different approach in the development of its first long-range battery-electric vehicle, the Chevrolet Bolt. In a joint news conference with Korea’s LG Corp., GM officials outlined a new strategy putting a premium on partnership.

The new approach could be a blueprint for the future, suggested Mark Reuss, GM’s global product development director. It may also help LG become a major force in the emerging electric vehicle market, rather than just being relegated to supplying batteries to carmakers like GM.

In-Site!

“GM used to act more like a dictator than a customer,” said Reuss, during a tour of the electric vehicle operations at the maker’s suburban Detroit technical center.  That approach, primarily focused on squeezing out costs, is “unsuitable and unsustainable,” Reuss added.

(more…)

From Vacuums to Electric Vehicles? Dyson Buys Promising US Battery Start-Up

British firm plans to build major new battery plant.

by on Oct.20, 2015

No suck-up; James Dyson is best known for the vacuum and appliance company bearing his name.

Best known for its costly but powerful vacuum cleaners, British appliance manufacturer Dyson Ltd. has snapped up a promising Michigan-based battery start-up pioneering a new form of lithium-ion technology it claims can deliver twice the power of current battery chemistry.

A spin-off of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor-based Sakti3 has been developing so-called solid-state lithium-ion technology, proponents believe could improve reliability and, if used in an automobile, greatly increase vehicle range and performance.

Charging Ahead!

Dyson not only plans to use Sakti3 technology in its conventional product lines, such as cordless vacuums, but could find new business opportunities, the company founder, James Dyson said. And with the British firm now planning to spend as much as $1 billion to set up a battery plant using Sakti3 chemistry, that is fueling speculation Dyson might offer the technology to the electric vehicle market.

(more…)