Detroit Bureau on Twitter

Posts Tagged ‘battery cars’

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…)

Toyota Aims to Virtually Eliminate Gas-Powered Cars by 2050

Japanese giant focusing on fuel-cell vehicles and hybrids, but not EVs.

by on Oct.14, 2015

Toyota has so far sold just 350 of its Mirai fuel-cell vehicles, but sees major growth ahead.

Toyota Motor Co. wants to virtually eliminate gasoline-powered vehicles from its fleet by 2050, and is betting that hydrogen cars, rather than electric vehicles, will be the long-term answer.

The Japanese maker recently introduced the Mirai, its first retail fuel-cell vehicle, and though sales have so far been measured in the hundreds, the target is to reach 30,000 annually by 2020, and reach even higher in the years beyond.

A number of other automakers are experimenting with hydrogen power; Hyundai already offers a fuel-cell version of its Tucson SUV, and Honda will launch a retail model next year. But most competitors are focusing on a mixed model of green vehicles, with a heavy emphasis on battery-based models, Toyota remains skeptical about the long-term role of electric vehicle technology.

Insight!

“When we first announced the Mirai, we said we were at the start of the age of hydrogen,” Kiyotaka Ise, a senior managing officer for Toyota Motor Corp., told reporters in Tokyo. “The figure we’ve announced today is ambitious, but it needs to be to keep the ball rolling.”

(more…)

Toyota Reveals Prius Tech Details

Higher efficiency, updated suspension, controversial design.

by on Oct.13, 2015

The 2016 Toyota Prius.

Five weeks after unveiling the 2016 Toyota Prius at a splashy Las Vegas event, the Japanese maker is finally filling in some of the critical details about the new hybrid-electric vehicle.

Among other things, Toyota claims the drivetrain on the 2016 Prius is significantly more efficient than the outgoing model. And buyers will not have a choice of either conventional nickel-metal hydride batteries or a more advanced lithium-ion pack. Improved aerodynamics and weight-saving measures are expected to deliver as much as 10% fuel economy.

Your Guide to the Hottest New Products!

Toyota also is offering a bit closer look at the structure of the 2016 Prius, including details of its new independent rear suspension which is intended to improve the ride and handling of the fourth-generation hatchback.

(more…)