US magazine Consumer Reports has ranked the Tesla Model S as its highest scoring car, emphasising that it ranked highest precisely because it is an electric vehicle.
With a reach of more than 7.3 million subscribers, Consumer Reports effective endorsement of the Tesla Model S is quite a milestone; an "endorsement" in the sense that the magazine explained that the car reached top scores "because it is electric."
It praised the electric vehicle for other reasons, too: Excellent to handle, comfortable to drive, plenty of room inside that can seat seven, as well as a front truck (where other cars' gasoline engines would be) and a large rear cargo space.
According to the rating, the electric motor delivers impressive power and is highly efficient: It uses about half the energy of a Toyota Prius with more than twice the range of any other electric car rated by the magazine. It also commends Tesla from setting up a network of "supercharging" stations between Los Angeles and Los Vegas, and between Boston and Washington, DC, that can refill the battery halfway in a half an hour with free electricity.
Even if an electric vehicle may not be for everyone because of the range limitations, the magazine calls the Model S "truly a remarkable car."
ABB delivers ultra-fast charging for electric cars at a charging station in Hungary. The technology is able to charge EV batteries to 80 per cent capacity within about 15 to 30 minutes.
ABB has delivered the first ever ultra-fast DC charger for electric vehicles (EVs) in Hungary, to a new environmentally-friendly petrol station that is unique in Europe.
This is a major step in EV use in Hungary, providing the first milestone towards developing a DC fast charging network across the country. Such a network will open the doors to greater electric vehicle usage.
"ABB's DC charge technology is able to charge EV batteries to 80 percent capacity within about 15 to 30 minutes... This would take 6-8 hours when using standard AC charging poles," said Tanja Vainio, ABB Hungary Country Manager.
This is the first fast charge station put into service in Hungary and the charging of electric vehicle (EV) at the station is free.
The petrol station was designed with the most advanced environmental protection solutions to decrease energy consumption and lower environmental impact. This includes furniture items made from recycled paper and roof-integrated solar cell power generation systems, explains Andrea Páncél from MOL, a leading fuel company in Central Europe and operator of the new station.
A University of Arizona-led research team has discovered a simple process for making a new lightweight plastic from the inexpensive and abundant element sulphur. The team has already used the new plastic to make lithium-sulphur batteries that may improve batteries for electric cars.
Next-generation lithium-sulphur, or Li-S, batteries will be better for electric and hybrid cars and for military uses because they are more efficient, lighter and cheaper than those currently used, said lead researcher Jeffrey Pyun. The new plastic also has great promise because it can be produced easily and inexpensively on an industrial scale.
The team's discovery could provide a new use for the sulphur left over when oil and natural gas are refined into cleaner-burning fuels. The amount generated from refining fossil fuels far outstrips the current need for the element, leading to yellow mountains of waste sulphur.
The scientists have dubbed their process "inverse vulcanisation" because it requires mostly sulphur with a small amount of an additive. Vulcanisation is the chemical process that makes rubber more durable by adding a small amount of sulphur to rubber.
The new plastic performs better in batteries than elemental sulphur, Pyun said, because batteries with cathodes made of elemental sulphur can be used and recharged only a limited number of times before they fail.
The new plastic has electrochemical properties superior to those of the elemental sulphur now used in Li-S batteries, the researchers report. The team's batteries exhibited high specific capacity (823 mAh/g at 100 cycles) and enhanced capacity retention.
Audi is the first car manufacturer to be recognised by the European Commission for producing LED highlights that reduce CO2 emissions: An innovative technology that is energy efficient and improves fuel economy.
Lighting systems have a tremendous effect on an automobile's fuel economy. Conventional halogen units, for example, consume over 135 watts of power in their low-beam headlight mode. By comparison, LED headlights from Audi operate with significantly better energy efficiency – the low-beam lights only consume around 80 watts.
The EU Commission measured the fuel savings achieved by LED headlights from Audi – testing the low-beam headlights, high-beam headlights and license plate light in dynamometer testing. In the ten NEDC cycles that the Audi A6 ran through, CO2 savings were found to be over one gram per km (1.61 g/mile). As a result, the EU Commission has officially identified the LED headlights as an innovative technology for reducing CO2 emissions. Audi is the first car manufacturer to be certified for this technology.
Besides improving energy efficiency, LED headlights also offer safety and comfort benefits. With a colour temperature of around 5,500 Kelvin, their light resembles daylight and hardly causes any eye fatigue. The LEDs are maintenance-free and designed to last the lifetime of the car.
Toyota is joining forces with the Mayor of London to bring hydrogen and fuel cell technology to the capital. The London Hydrogen Partnership (LHP) seeks to create new jobs and investments whilst at the same time reducing environmental impact.
Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEV) are accepted by many as a viable long-term successor to today's diesel and petrol passenger vehicles, with many major global automakers developing FCEV.
Over the last few years the LHP has initiated over £50 million worth of hydrogen projects; attracting and rolling-out new hydrogen buses, taxis, scooters, refuelling stations, materials handling vehicles and fuel cell Combined Heat and Power units to London.
Graham Smith, Managing Director, Toyota Motor Europe, London Office said that Toyota wants to be among "the first manufacturers to bring hydrogen-powered vehicles to the European market in 2015". With its extensive experience in fuel cell research and development, the international car manufacturer can "provide practical insights into how London might best encourage and benefit from hydrogen-powered transport."
The LHP is a public-private partnership that accelerates the commercialisation of HFC technologies in London.
Based on extensive input from auto manufacturers, refiners, and states, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed standards for cars and gasoline that it believes will significantly reduce harmful pollution, prevent thousands of premature deaths and illnesses, while also enabling efficiency improvements in the cars and trucks we drive.
Following a systems approach that addresses vehicles and fuels as an integrated system, the EPA claims that its latest fuel standards proposal will enable the greatest pollution reductions at the lowest cost. The proposal will slash emissions of a range of harmful pollutants that can cause premature death and respiratory illnesses, including reducing smog-forming volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides by 80 per cent, establish a 70 per cent tighter particulate matter standard, and reduce fuel vapour emissions to near zero. The proposal will also reduce vehicle emissions of toxic air pollutants, such as benzene and 1,3-butadiene, by up to 40 per cent.
By 2030, the EPA estimates that the proposed cleaner fuels and cars program will annually prevent up to 2,400 premature deaths, 23,000 cases of respiratory ailments in children, 3,200 hospital admissions and asthma-related emergency room visits, and 1.8 million lost school days, work days and days when activities would be restricted due to air pollution. Total health-related benefits in 2030 will be between US $8 and $23 billion annually.
The proposal is designed to be implemented over the same timeframe as the next phase of the EPA's national program to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from cars and light trucks beginning in model year 2017.
The German automaker and one of the world's largest environmental organisations release a joint declaration that Volkswagen vehicles should have an emissions goal of 95 grams by 2020.
At the beginning of the Geneva Motor Show on 4 March 4 2013, the Volkswagen Group announced for the first time its far-reaching decision to reduce the fuel consumption of its new vehicle fleet to a greater extent than had previously been intended. The announcement was followed by a top-level meeting between the Chairman of the Executive Board of Volkswagen and the Chief Executive Director of Greenpeace less than three weeks later.
The meeting focused on a discussion of the Volkswagen Group's climate protection efforts. Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn from Volkswagen underlined that the Volkswagen Group would reach the emissions target set by EU legislation of an average of 95 grams of carbon dioxide (CO2) per kilometre by 2020.
He cautioned, however, that "this will only be possible if customers accept our advanced alternative powertrains. This is of course our objective."
Brigitte Behrens of Greenpeace supports the targets set by Volkswagen, calling it a decision in favour of climate protection and a key sign to produce climate-friendly technical solutions. "We will remain in dialogue with Volkswagen, also as regards mobility concepts for the future", she said.
For two years, Volkswagen and Greenpeace have been engaging in a constructive and in some cases also confrontational dialog concerning the reduction of the CO2 emissions of the entire Volkswagen fleet to an average of 95 grams by 2020.
In connection with this calculation, criticisms have been raised, especially as regards 'supercredits', which allow manufacturers to count electric vehicles and hybrid vehicles as low-emission vehicles several times over.
Volkswagen and Greenpeace will continue constructive dialogue about further environmental targets to be adopted by the Group and how they are to be achieved.
Volkswagen is writing a new chapter in mobility in presenting its first fully electric production vehicle: the new e-up!. The four-seat car – which operates with nearly zero noise – was unveiled last week.
Volkswagen is calling the new e-up! "a car for daily use in the city". It can handle distances of up to 150 km and can be recharged to as much as 80 per cent of its energy storage capacity within 30 minutes.
The compact four-seater is powered by an electric motor with 60 kW / 82 PS peak power – without any disturbing gearshift interruptions or powertrain noise. It accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h within 14 seconds and reaches a top speed of 135 km/h. The lithium-ion battery integrated in the underfloor area has a total energy storage capacity of 18.7 Kilowatt-hours (kWh); this means that the car can cover up to 150 km on a single charge thanks to its low vehicle weight of 1,185 kg.
The battery port supports both DC and AC charging, so that drivers can easily charge their cars at most charging stations – regardless of the power sources or charging rates that they offer.
The e-up! will be available for order later this year.
Electric vehicle charges systems may become cheaper in the US thanks to a technology developed by AeroVironment and the U.S. Department of Energy that helps stabilise the electrical grid.
AeroVironment, Inc. and the U.S. Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) have signed a commercial license agreement for a technology that supports widespread adoption of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) by helping to stabilise the electrical grid. The technology may also result in lower-cost electricity for plug-in vehicle drivers due to the grid support functions provided during vehicle charging.
The technology can help stabilise the electrical grid by continuously monitoring the grid's alternating current (AC) frequency and varying the vehicle charging rate in response. In the event of a rapid drop in grid frequency, the charging system stops charging, providing a grid "shock absorber". While such drops are small in overall magnitude, they nonetheless indicate an imbalance between load and electricity generation. By reducing load the system can be rebalanced.
Conventional power plants make continual power generation adjustments based on precisely measured grid frequency in order to maintain a nearly constant frequency of 60 cycles per second. As renewable generation sources such as wind and solar grow in overall share, the overall frequency-responsive generation capability provided by conventional power plants is gradually decreasing. AeroVironment and PNNL's frequency-responsive technology brings this same grid frequency support capability to PEV charging stations.
"These technologies will result in a triple-win", said Dr. Alec Brooks, chief technology officer of AeroVironment's EES business segment. "First, reducing the cost of integrating variable renewable generation reduces electricity costs for all ratepayers. Second, plug-in cars can be powered by renewable generation that might not have been possible to add to the grid without the charging rate flexibility offered by vehicles and this technology. Third, the reduced cost of electricity to plug-in vehicle drivers will further improve on the cost advantage of driving on electricity as compared to gasoline."
Honda has established the world's first process to reuse rare earth metals extracted from nickel-metal hydride batteries to create new batteries for hybrid vehicles.
Until now, Honda has been extracting an oxide containing rare earth metals from used nickel-metal hydride batteries. Now, by applying molten salt electrolysis to this oxide, Honda has succeeded in extracting metallised rare earth that can be used directly as negative-electrode materials for nickel-metal hydride batteries.
The rare earth metals extracted in this process has a purity of more than 99 per cent, which is as high as that of ordinary traded, newly mined rare earth metals. In addition, the new process enables the extraction of as much as above 80 per cent of rare earth metals contained in nickel-metal hydride battery.
Under the newly established process, the extracted rare earth metals will be supplied to a battery manufacturer in early March, which will reuse them as negative-electrode materials for nickel-metal hydride batteries for hybrid vehicles.
Honda strives to extract rare earth metals not only from nickel-metal hydride batteries but also from various used parts to achieve the further recycling of limited and precious resources.
The XL1 from Volkswagen is the most fuel-efficient production car in the world, with a fuel consumption value of 0.9 l/100 km.
Volkswagen's vision of producing the most fuel-efficient car in the world is now a reality. The two-seater plug-in hybrid system can also cover a distance of up to 50 km in all-electric mode and therefore with zero local emissions.
To accomplish this world record, the XL1 embraces all the right principles: low weight (795 kg), perfect aerodynamics (Cd 0.189) and a low centre of gravity (1,153 mm high). This gives the efficient Volkswagen the ability to cruise on the road at a constant speed of 100 km/h using just 6.2 kW / 8.4 PS. In all-electric mode, the XL1 requires less than 0.1 kWh to cover a driving distance of over one kilometre. And with emissions of just 21 g/km of CO2.
The German automaker is heralding the XL1 as a car of the future, built for today.
David Dyntar is the winner of the first ever Swiss Electric Mobility Award. His "SunCar-REX" project seeks to inspire students about electric mobility.
The first ever Swiss Electric Mobility awards were handed out at the end of January to forward thinkers and visionaries to support their projects in the field of sustainable mobility. According to a press release from the Swiss Forum for Electric Mobility, the CHF 15,000 first prize goes to a project from David Dynter. As part of his studies at the ETH Zürich, he developed an electric car with a range extender. The aim of the two-term project work "SunCar-REX" is to enthuse and inspire students about electric mobility.
Julianna Priskin won second prize with her "SWITCHBUS". The electric minibus will be used for guided day excursions to the Swiss countryside and seeks to build a bridge between tourism and sustainability. Tomasz Janasz came in third place by researching and establishing a knowledge transfer process between Switzerland and Poland in the field of alternative mobility concepts for urban traffic. In addition, a "Future Mobility Centre" was founded in Bialystok, Poland.
The "Swiss Electric Mobility Award" was established by the Swiss Forum for Electric Mobility.
The city of Arnsberg in Germany has come up with a new way to encourage people to buy environmentally friendly cars when making their next purchase: free parking.
In the near future, parking in the city of Arnsberg will be free for owners of environmentally friendly vehicles, according IWR, an institute of the renewable energy industry in German. Owners of vehicles with CO2 emissions of less than 100 g/km will be able to register for a parking pass with the traffic authorities. The pass will be made available to all types of vehicle technology that meet this requirement: electric cars, hybrids and even low-emissions combustion engines will benefit from this new regulation.
The reason behind this move is the high transport emissions in Arnsberg. Municipal authorities want to limit vehicle emissions to one fifth of the city's total emissions. And they believe that the secret to this is by providing financial incentives to car owners. "The wallet will be lightened considerably through more efficient vehicles", says municipal climate protection manager Sebastian Marcel Witte.
Hundreds of thousands of new and publicly available recharging stations for electric cars are to be built across the EU by 2020. The aim of the initiative is to encourage car manufacturers to build more electric vehicles at reasonable prices by improving the supporting infrastructure.
According EurActiv, Brussels wants to dramatically see more environmentally friendly transport options on the road. To this end, the European Commission announced a package of measures including a larger, more extensive network of electric car recharging stations. In Germany, for instance, up to 150,000 charging stations will be built by 2020; currently, there are only around 2,000.
The Commission decided in favour of using a standard connector for all recharging stations, settling on a German 'Type 2' plug. French car manufacturers are unhappy about this, arguing that it puts them at a significant disadvantage.
The Commission also wants to see more hydrogen fuel cell vehicles on the road and is introducing a package of measures to improve access to Liquid Natural Gas and Compressed Natural Gas filling stations, too. The latter is mainly used for cars.
Volkswagen inaugurates its largest solar facility in the world. The new solar plant is an integral part of the company's worldwide strategy of using renewable energy sources for its operations.
Volkswagen opened a new solar park last week at its plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. With a peak output of 9.5 megawatts, it is the largest solar facility operated by an automaker in the USA. The environmentally compatible power is to be used for Passat production.
The solar park is a key part of Volkswagen's 'Think Blue. Factory.' program and another step towards efficient, sustainable automobile production.
The expected annual output of the about 33,600 crystal solar modules installed on an area of 13 hectares around the plant is about 13,100 megawatt-hours per year. The power is to be used directly in production, with solar power providing 12.5 per cent of the electric power required in full-capacity operation and meeting 100 per cent of demand when the plant is not in production.
The Chattanooga plant has a workforce of more than 3000 people, who are producing the new Volkswagen Passat especially developed for the North American market. The plant has already received several awards for its environmental production standards.
In an effort to protect its economy from rising energy prices, India's prime minister has announced a plan to put as many as 7 million electric and hybrid vehicles on India's streets over the next 7 years.
India is going electric – with its mobility plans, that is. According to Electric Light & Power, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has signaled his government's intent to put as many as 7 million electric vehicles – including hybrid vehicles – on India's streets by 2020.
The plan could cost up to USD 2.6 billion, including subsidies, support for research and development for EV charging infrastructure, and measures to encourage consumers to accept the new vehicle technology.
In making his announcement, Singh referred to the need to buffer India's economy from rising energy prices. India currently imports about 80 per cent of its petroleum from other countries and as prices continue to grow, it worsens India's trade deficit and inflation, explained Electric Light & Power.
A new study casts doubt on claims that natural gas is a greener source of energy because methane leaks from oil and gas fields could actually offset the climate benefit of shifting from coal to gas for electricity production. This means that driving a vehicle powered by natural gas could be just as damaging to the environment as one that runs on gasoline.
According to a recently published article in Nature, significant amounts of methane are leaking into the atmosphere from oil and gas fields across the United States. Although methane emissions are a fraction of carbon dioxide and other prominent greenhouse gases, it is considered far more potent: It is around 70 times stronger than carbon dioxide over a 20-year time frame, and large-scale leaks can offset the benefits of its use compared to coal, explains Green Car Reports.
Concerns related to the coal-to-gas shift in the US energy supply first emerged in February 2012, when scientists and researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the University of Colorado in Boulder made the alarming discover that up to 4 per cent of methane produced at a field near Denver, CO was escaping into the atmosphere, reports the article in Nature. At a meeting in December 2012 of the American Geophysical Union, the research team presented new data from Utah, showing methane leakage rates at 9 per cent of total production – more than double the Colorado rates.
As of yet, industry, scientists and government have yet to agree on the numbers. The latest figures from the Environmental Protection Agency date back to 2009 and show that only 2.4 per cent of total natural gas production was lost to leakage, reports the article in Nature. This is well below the 3.2 per cent threshold suggested by the Environmental Defense Fund and University of Princeton; anything above that would cancel out the climate benefits of shifting to natural gas.
But while the numbers are still in dispute, the consequences are most definitely clear: If the rates calculated by the NOAA scientists are more widespread than previously thought, the damage to the atmosphere by methane leaks would cancel out the benefits of switching to compressed natural gas vehicles.
Transport & Environment's (T&E) annual report How Clean are Europe's Cars? finds that EU targets for reducing carbon dioxide emissions from cars are too easy and do not provide enough of an incentive for car makers. It also finds worrying evidence that car makers are making CO2 savings by manipulating them to pass type approval tests.
This year's report is the seventh annual statement since T&E broke an information deadlock with its 2006 publication How Clean are Europe's Cars? – until then, car makers would not release details about emissions from new cars for individual companies, only industry-wide averages. The initial report added to the pressure that led to the first obligatory CO2 emissions standards for new cars agreed in 2009, and this year's update will contribute to discussion about an obligatory emissions limit for 2020 and beyond.
This year's report says car makers are very close to the 130 g/km target they have to meet by 2015, and as this is based on 2011 figures, they were effectively 4 per cent short of the target with four years still to go. In addition, the figures quoted do not allow for controversial legal devices car makers can use such as 'eco-innovations' and 'supercredits' that reward investment in cleaner technologies, so in practical terms, the car makers are nearly at their target already.
A new feature of this year's How Clean are Europe's Cars? report is that it examines how easy it would be for manufacturers to hit the 2020 target of 95 g/km. It shows that Europe's car makers are in a better position than most of their Asian competitors, and it will be much easier for the car industry to meet the proposed targets than it has claimed.
T&E director Jos Dings said: "These findings clearly show car makers were seriously exaggerating in 2008 when they claimed that the 130g/km emissions target was 'unaffordable'. Many companies are reporting record profits, and the horror stories that obligatory limits would bankrupt Europe's car industry have been shown to be ludicrous. The industry has cried wolf too often. This report shows manufacturers do not need flexibilities such as 'supercredits' to meet their 2020 target as they claim."
The report also finds evidence that car makers are 'optimising' the way they put cars through official tests, and that some emissions reductions are due to such tricks rather than to genuine improvements. T&E's clean vehicles manager Greg Archer said: "Test results do not reflect real-life driving conditions and the difference is getting bigger as carmakers manipulate the tests. We now need to concentrate on how the problem can be properly tackled."
ChargePoint has introduced a new mobile application for all iPhone and Anroid smart phones featuring all EV charging stations installed in the US.
A new mobile phone app has been introduced by ChargePoint, the world's largest online network of independently owned EV charging stations. Available for free, it shows EV drivers all EV charging stations installed in the US, and not just those on the ChargePoint network. It also gives drivers real-time charging station status, detailed station information including pricing and the ability to view their home charging station. EV drivers can make EV charging station reservations, payments and find location information.
"One feature EV drivers have requested is the ability to navigate, access and charge at any electric vehicle charging station, not just those on the ChargePoint network. With more than ten thousand EV charging spots on the ChargePoint network and thousands more out of the network it is the easiest way to find any EV charging station anywhere in North America", said Pat Romano, president and CEO of ChargePoint.
The app can be downloaded here.
The award was given by the World Forum for Ethics in Business for Volkswagen's efforts in environmental and social fields.
The Volkswagen Group has received an award for its extensive activities in the field of sustainability and corporate social responsibility. The World Forum for Ethics in Business honoured Volkswagen's achievements with the Ethics in Business Award 2012 in the category "Outstanding Corporation".
The World Forum for Ethics said that the reason for the award was the leadership of Volkswagen in the assumption of corporate social responsibility and the implementation of outstanding and innovative projects. The Forum also underlined that Volkswagen made a positive contribution to society in many areas and set an example of universal values such as integrity, responsibility and respect for people and the environment through its various environmental and health projects.
The Ethics in Business Award is presented by the World Forum for Ethics in Business every two years to honour people and companies who represent values and ethics in business. The award was made for the first time in 2006.
Audi is the first carmaker to begin construction on a plant that will produce climate-friendly fuels for its vehicles. Production of synthetic methane (e-gas) will begin in early 2013.
The world's first industrial plant for generating synthetic methane (e-gas) from CO2 and renewable electricity is under construction in Werlte, Germany. It will produce gas that can be fed into the natural-gas network.
"This power-to-gas technology opens up new possibilities for sustainable mobility and tomorrow's energy industry. The e-gas project marks a transition toward alternative forms of energy for automobiles", explains Reiner Mangold, Head of Sustainable Product Development at AUDI AG.
The Audi e-gas plant, which can convert six megawatts of input power, will utilise renewable electricity for electrolysis. This process splits water molecules into oxygen and hydrogen, or Audi e-hydrogen, which could one day power fuel-cell vehicles. Because there is not yet a widespread hydrogen infrastructure, however, the hydrogen is then reacted with CO2 in a methanation unit to generate renewable synthetic methane, or Audi e-gas. Chemically speaking, this e-gas is nearly identical to fossil-based natural gas. As such, it can be distributed to CNG stations via the natural gas network and will power vehicles starting in 2013.
The CO2 used in Audi's e-gas plant is a waste product from a nearby biogas plant, operated by energy provider EWE. The CO2, which would otherwise pollute the atmosphere, is chemically bonded into the fuel at the Audi e-gas plant. The e-gas plant will annually produce about 1,000 metric tons of e-gas and will chemically bind some 2,800 metric tons of CO2. This corresponds to the amount of CO₂ that 224,000 beech trees absorb in a year.
The Audi e-gas project can be easily replicated in any country with a natural-gas network.
According to a recent report from Pike Research, the market for electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) will grow rapidly in Europe over the remainder of the decade, with annual sales of EVSE growing from less than 47,000 units in 2012 to nearly 900,000 in 2020. By 2020, the study concludes, there will be more than four million charging stations, both commercial and residential, operating across Europe.
"In many ways, Europe is the ideal market for electric vehicles", says research director John Gartner. "European consumers, accustomed to smaller city cars and driving shorter distances, are expected to shift to EVs at a more rapid pace than motorists in North America., Also, because more Europeans live in multi-unit dwellings, commercial charging equipment is likely to be more prevalent there than in North America."
One factor that could limit the spread of EVSE, according to the report, is the great variety between countries in terms of regulations, government support for EVs and charging infrastructure, and technologies. The absence of a single, region-wide alternating current EV charging connector standard has hampered the deployment of EV charging infrastructure. The European Union must address these country-specific variations if the EV market is to thrive, the report finds.
The new Jetta Hybrid from Volkswagen drives in pure electric mode at just the push of a button and has a combined fuel economy value of only 45 mpg.
Volkswagen of America is now launching one of the world's most efficient automobiles on the market: the new Jetta Hybrid. It is powered by a high-tech turbo petrol engine and a zero-emissions electric motor, working in a fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly alliance. Power transmission is managed by one of the most advanced and efficient automatic gearboxes: the 7-speed DSG from Volkswagen. While the hybrid drive enables very impressive driving performance (0-60 mph in less than 9 seconds), the new Jetta Hybrid also produces an extremely low (combined) fuel economy value of 45 mpg. This means that the vehicle consumes about 20 per cent less fuel than a comparably powered car with a conventional drive system.
At the press of a button, the driver can also choose to drive the new Jetta Hybrid in pure electric mode, and therefore with zero emissions, at speeds of up to 44 mph and over a distance of 1.3 miles (depending on terrain and operating conditions).
A lithium ion battery supplies the energy for driving the electric motor. The battery is constructed of 60 individual cells, each with an energy capacity of 5 Ah; altogether, they produce a nominal voltage of 220 Volt and an energy capacity of 1.1 kWh. Weight: 35.8 kg. During braking, the Jetta Hybrid switches over to a battery regeneration mode, which 'captures' kinetic energy and feeds it into the battery as electrical energy. The stored energy is then available, either for electric driving or boosting.
For the first time in America, Volkswagen is using a 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine in the Jetta Hybrid. The TSI engines from Volkswagen have won various awards, including one of the world's most prestigious in this field: the "Engine of the Year Award" for 2011.
Thanks to its lightweight drive components, the weight of the Jetta Hybrid was only increased by 100 kg despite the battery system. Together with additional safety modifications to the vehicle structure, the gross weight of the new Jetta Hybrid is still less than 1,500 kg.
GE will purchase 2,000 new Ford C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrids for its fleet, while Ford will jointly market GE's alternative fuel infrastructure solutions.
For GE, the purchase of the Ford C-MAX Energi vehicles is another step in the company's commitment to converting half of its global fleet to alternative fuel vehicles. The addition of the Ford vehicles brings the number of alternative fuel vehicles in GE's fleet to more than 5,000 toward its goal of 25,000 vehicles. To date, GE employees have driven approximately 29 million kilometres (18 million miles) in the company's alternative fuel vehicles, saving about USD 2 million in gasoline costs and reducing CO2 emissions by approximately 12 million pounds.
The Ford C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid provides a 33.8-kilometre (21-mile) electric-only range, a 46-km/L (108-mpg) city EPA rating and a 998-kilometre (620-mile) single-tank driving range. GE will begin integrating the Ford C-MAX Energi into its fleet this month.
As part of the collaboration, Ford will promote GE's WattStation™ charging station and CNG in a Box™ natural gas fueling station with its commercial customers. GE's WattStation is an easy to use electric vehicle (EV) charger that significantly decreases the time needed for vehicle charging. The WattStation uses smart grid technology and comes with an app that helps customers more easily locate vehicle electricity sources. GE's CNG In A Box™ is a fully-integrated CNG fueling supply system offering cost-effective plug and play simplicity for fleet and retail fueling stations seeking to offer CNG fuel.
The two companies will also work with researchers at Georgia Tech to study GE employee driving and charging habits, with the goal of improving all-electric driving and charging performance. Study findings will be shared with commercial customers to provide insights and help facilitate the deployment of electric vehicles in their own fleets amid a growing EV infrastructure that now includes more than 10,000 public charging stations across the country.
General Motors and ABB have partnered together to demonstrate how Chevrolet Volt batteries can be reused to supply up to two hours of electricity needed by three to five average American homes.
General Motors and ABB have come up with an exciting prototype to extend the use of electric vehicle batteries. At an event to showcase the prototype, the unit consisting of five used Chevrolet Volt batteries provided 25 kW of power and 50 kWh of energy to power all the support lighting and audiovisual equipment in an "off-grid" structure.
A similar application could one day be used to power a group of homes or small commercial buildings during a power outage, allow for storage of power during inexpensive periods for use during expensive peak demand, or help make up for gaps in solar, wind or other renewable power generation.
These functions, along with frequency regulation on electric distribution systems, could someday be used by utilities to reduce cost to customers and improve the quality of power delivery. These applications are referred to as community energy storage to distinguish them from substation-size energy storage projects.
"In many cases, when an EV battery has reached the end of its life in an automotive application, only 30 per cent or less of its life has been used. This leaves a tremendous amount of life that can be applied to other applications like powering a structure before the battery is recycled," said Pablo Valencia, GM senior manager of battery lifecycle management.
GM is focussed on assuring that battery systems used in future Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles provide environmental and societal benefits beyond their use in the vehicle. Long before a battery is recycled, secondary use provides the opportunity to fully utilise the battery resource.
Vehicle owners in New York and New Jersey have been struggling to find gasoline since super storm Sandy hit the East Coast. But people with fully electric vehicles are having an easier time charging up and getting to where they need to go.
After Sandy, millions in New York and New Jersey were affected. Offices, homes and subways flooded. Trees tore through structures, and even now with much of the electrical power restored and debris removed, it is not easy to get gas. Long lines at filling stations are forming all across the area. Even at two in the morning, vehicles are backed up for miles.
"I didn't realise I would be the only one driving for a couple of days and everybody else would be just in a tough position", said Nissan LEAF owner Varun Bhatia of Long Island, New York.
Bhatia had his 2012 Nissan LEAF shipped from Washington State so he could be among the first in New York to own the fully electric car. He said he bought the car because of the way it drives and feels on the road, but now he has a new appreciation for not needing gas.
"I never thought we would have a fuel shortage because that didn't happen last year. We actually had a very big storm, more water last year. And I didn't realise New Jersey got so hit [during Sandy] that they couldn't get fuel out of there", said Bhatia.
But fuel is essential for many who call New York and New Jersey home. Bhatia put 480 kilometres on his LEAF in the three days after the storm hit, driving to rescue friends who were stranded.
"It made them all realise how dependent we are on gas. Because kids our age, even adults, they don't realise how dependent we are on gasoline", said Bhatia.
In times of disaster Bhatia learned that powering-on his Nissan LEAF gave him options that others just didn't have. He put that mobility to good use.
A new study examining CO2 emissions of new car registrations in Germany has found that Audi is the brand that offers the best CO2 balance with CO2 emissions of 144.5 grams per kilometre among premium carmakers.
According to a study by the Center of Automotive Management (CAM), German premium carmakers reduced the CO2 emissions of their new vehicles by an average of ten per cent between 2009 and 2012 (1st half year). The study was based on data from the Federal Motor Vehicle Agency (KBA) related to new car registrations on German roads. The study found that the Audi brand attained a CO2 emissions level of 144.5 grams per kilometre, BMW (including Mini) came in at 145.4 grams per kilometre and Mercedes (including Smart) came in at 150 grams per kilometre.
The study also found that large high-volume carmakers were able to reduce CO2 emissions of newly registered cars by an average of seven per cent between 2009 and 2012 (1st half year).
Toyota, Nissan, Honda and Hyundai hope the MoU begins a dialogue between public and private stakeholders in Norway, Sweden, Iceland and Denmark on securing relevant financing and support mechanisms for accelerating market introduction of fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure in the Nordic countries.
"The objective of the MoU is to bring together the public bodies and private companies that can make hydrogen-fuelled electric vehicles, and the infrastructure they need, a reality on our roads from 2014-2017", explains Tim Dunn at Nissan Technical Centre Europe.
The MoU partners will work towards introducing FCEVs and establishing hydrogen infrastructure in Scandinavia from 2014 to 2017. They also agree to jointly advocate for the necessary public financing and mechanisms to support FCEVs and the required infrastructure. In addition, they will engage key national dealerships of car manufacturers and national energy and infrastructure companies, all of whom have a key role to play in realising the hydrogen infrastructure roll-out.
Scandinavia was an obvious place to draw up such a partnership, according to Dunn.
The rich variety of renewable energy sources in the Nordic countries provides a strong case for sustainable hydrogen production, which in turn can help storing and balancing even higher shares of fluctuating renewable electricity in the Nordic power grids.
In addition, the governments strongly support FCEVs and its related infrastructure. Since 2006, national network organisations within Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark have been actively working to establish and plan hydrogen refuelling stations under the Scandinavian Hydrogen Highway Partnership (SHHP).
As fuel economy of new vehicles improved 18 per cent over the past five years, billions of litres of gas and billions of kilograms of emissions have been saved, University of Michigan researchers say.
Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle of the U-M Transportation Research Institute collected fuel data on 61 million new cars, pickup trucks, minivans and SUVs sold in the U.S. since 2007—about a quarter of all light vehicles, both new and used, on U.S. roads today.
Using a recent estimate of the average annual distance driven in the U.S. (about 21,000 kilometres every year), the researchers found that new vehicles in the last five years saved about 23 billion litres (6.1 billion gallons) of fuel—equal to about two weeks' worth of gas consumption for all vehicles in the U.S.
They also looked at the current monthly savings in fuel use for new vehicles and found that 1.1 billion litres (293 million gallons) of fuel were saved in September alone.
"The reductions in the amount of fuel consumed are important in themselves", said Sivak, a research professor at UMTRI. "However, they also represent reductions in emissions."
Sivak and Schoettle say that since late 2007, carbon dioxide emissions have been reduced by about 54 billion kilograms (120 billion pounds). During September, the reduction was 2.6 billion kilograms (5.7 billion pounds)—about 3 per cent of the average monthly consumption of fuel and of carbon dioxide emissions of all light vehicles on the road today.
"The improvements in vehicle fuel economy over the past five years are noteworthy, especially in relation to the improvements during the preceding eight decades", Sivak said. "As a consequence, we have seen sizeable savings in fuel consumed and emissions produced. The new fuel economy standards issued in August will accelerate this process."
In a consumer-friendly video, Ford explains what Miles per Gallon equivalent means when it comes to purchasing electric vehicles.
More and more battery electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles are coming to the market all the time and they all feature a new EPA efficiency rating on the window sticker that's measured in MPGe or Miles per Gallon equivalent. But what does MPGe mean? Ford's expert-in-residence explains in this video.
TOYOTA Motorsport GmbH (TMG) continued its record-breaking success with the TMG EV P002 by setting a new electric record on the legendary 20.8km Nürburgring Nordschleife circuit in Germany.
Using TMG's motorsport-tuned electric powertrain, driver Jochen Krumbach set a lap time of 7 minutes 22.329 seconds, breaking the electric record set by TMG last August by over 25 seconds.
This achievement marks the second milestone for TMG's electric powertrain this year following its new record at Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in Colorado, United States.
As with the Pikes Peak success, TMG's latest electric milestone used pioneering off-board battery-to-battery charging technology.
The TMG DC Quick Charger was developed in partnership with Schneider Electric to meet the challenge of recharging an electric race car at tracks without reliable access to grid power. This technology also gives the opportunity to charge with CO2 emission-free electric power from renewable sources.
Mounted in the rear of a TOYOTA Hiace van, the TMG DC Quick Charger uses Schneider Electric's EVlink™ technology and includes a 42kWh lithium ion battery, which can be charged direct from the AC power grid.
After an overnight charge, the TMG DC Quick Charger is able to quickly deliver high levels of power to a battery-based electric car without additional installation or infrastructure, making it the perfect solution for electric motorsport.
Volkswagen presented its seventh-generation Golf at the beginning of September, calling it the greenest Golf of all time. Environmental organisations such as Greenpeace criticised this claim. Now Volkswagen is fighting back.
Volkswagen is setting the record straight in light of recent criticisms. The car-maker insists that the new Golf with its optimised fuel consumption and three-litre version of the vehicle significantly raises the bar when it comes to environmental compatibility. It calls the allegations that it does not make any progress with regard to becoming more environmentally friendly "unfounded and made up out of thin air", according to a company statement.
Callings its latest Golf "The Green Car", Volkswagen explains that the vehicle's weight has been reduced by up to 100 kilos, and fuel consumption – and thus CO2 emissions – have been reduced by up to 23 per cent. An environmental commendation certified by the TÜV technical inspection authority confirms a significant improvement in the eco-balance over the entire life cycle compared with the predecessor model. The most fuel-efficient engines offered at launch consume 3.8 liters of diesel, corresponding to 99 g/km CO2 (1.6 l TDI with 105 PS) or 4.8 liters of petrol, equivalent to 112 g/km CO2 (1.4 l TSI with 140 PS). The BlueMotion variant will consume only 3.2 liters and emit 85 g/km CO2. Fuel-saving technology such as the Stop/Start system and brake energy recovery come as standard, so they do not generate additional cost.
Volkswagen stressed that it remains willing to hold an open dialogue with critics, but that it had to be objective and fair.
Volkswagen has set its sights on becoming the world's most ecological automaker by 2018. To that end, over two-thirds of investment totaling 62.4 billion euro for the period to 2016 will be spent on ever more efficient vehicles, powertrains, technologies and environmentally-compatible production. The Group has voluntarily committed to a CO2 target of less than 120 grams per kilometer by 2015. Each model generation will be 10 to 15 percent more fuel efficient than its predecessor. Production will be ecologically restructured by 2018, with energy and water consumption lowered by 25 per cent each, and waste and emissions also reduced by one quarter each. Greenhouse gas emissions in production are to be reduced by 40 per cent by 2020.
ebuggy offers electric cars unrestricted mobility on motorways, with no range limitations. ebuggy plans a network of ebuggy relay stations at which drivers of electric cars can hitch up battery trailers. The prototype is finished and has proved effective.
An ebuggy battery trailer can be hitched up at an ebuggy relay station and the journey continued using the energy from the ebuggy. On arrival in the destination area, the ebuggy is dropped off again at the final service station. ebuggy can be exchanged whenever necessary during longer journeys so that unlimited ranges can be achieved. And all this within two minutes.
"ebuggy allows the automotive industry to build reasonably priced electric vehicles with a smaller battery, because ebuggy is available for longer distances. As a result, electric cars will become cheaper than vehicles with a combustion engine and e-mobility will be able to assert itself rapidly and dynamically", says Dr. Manfred Baumgärtner, Managing Director of ebuggy GmbH.
The ebuggy prototype was constructed with the support of Germany's Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi) and project partners such as the Fraunhofer Institut IPA and Stuttgart University.
Click here to watch videos about how the battery trailer range extender works.
Ford's new lithium ion batteries are expected to reduce Ford's use of expensive rare earth metals in its hybrid vehicles by up 225,000 kg annually. The result is lighter, more fuel-efficient vehicles and with a lower price tag to consumers.
Ford's third-generation hybrid system, which replaces nickel-metal-hydride batteries with new lighter, more efficient lithium-ion batteries, could reduce the company's use of expensive, less-abundant rare earth metals by up to 225,000 kilograms a year.
This reduction of rare earth metals is important for both financial and physical reasons. First, the cost is reduced by 30 per cent when compared to previous-generation hybrid batteries. Also, lithium-ion batteries are 50 per cent lighter and 25 to 30 per cent smaller. The result: Better fuel efficiency in Ford's new electric vehicle offerings, including a projected 47 mpg for Fusion Hybrid and an EPA-certified 47 mpg for C-MAX Hybrid.
Among the rare earth metals used in nickel-metal-hydride batteries are neodymium, cerium, lanthanum and praseodymium, none of which are used in the new lithium-ion batteries. Additionally, Ford has reduced its use of dysprosium by approximately 50 per cent in magnets employed in the hybrid system's electric machines. Dysprosium is the most expensive rare earth metal used in Ford vehicles. This reduction is the result of a new diffusion process that is used in the magnet manufacturing process.
The overall reduction of rare earth metals in the lithium-ion batteries and electric machines lowers vehicle costs, which is key as Ford triples production of its electric vehicles by 2013, ultimately translating to more affordable, fuel-efficient vehicle choices for customers.
The seventh generation of Volkswagen's bestseller is up to 100 kg lighter and 23 per cent more fuel efficient than previous model.
Conceptually, the new Golf is based on the Modular Transverse Matrix. This means that everything was redesigned: from the body and powertrain to the interior – as well as all information and entertainment systems and its many new assistance systems.
Volkswagen developed two entirely new generations of engines for the Golf that offer a power range from 63 kW / 85 PS to 110 kW / 150 PS. All engine versions are equipped with a standard stop/start system and battery regeneration, which contribute towards improved fuel economy. The common rail engine with 77 kW / 105 PS, for example, which can hardly be made out as a diesel, only consumes 3.8 litres of fuel per 100 km, equivalent to CO2 emissions of 99 g/km. The Golf BlueMotion sets the new benchmarks for the model series with CO2 emissions of just 85 g/km and a combined fuel consumption of 3.2 litres of diesel per 100 km.
Porsche Leipzig has taken a number of different steps to make its operations more efficient so that it may benefit from substantial savings of energy.
Porsche's Leipzig plant is one of the most efficient automobile factories in the world. With its current expansion of the location, it sends out another clear message for environmental protection. The plant's designers have taken numerous steps for the provision of natural energy sources as well as the reduction of CO2 emissions, amount of waste and consumption of water. In doing so, they have been successful in reducing the overall energy needs of the plant considerably.
"Environmental protection is a vital element of Porsche's corporate responsibility. This applies to our production as much as it does to our products", said Wolfgang Leimgruber, Member of the Executive Board Production and Logistics. "What's more: We're reducing costs, motivating our employees and thus are making a huge contribution to corporate success".
Numerous measures for the improvement of the eco-balance are scheduled to be in place by the completion of the new factory space next year. The waste heat of the nearby wood chip-fired heating plant will be used to supply 80 per cent of the heat for the new paint shop on a carbon-neutral basis. A completely innovative separator system for paint mist is being built based on an electrostatic method, helping to keep the emission of solvents and fine dust during the painting process to a minimum. In addition, the streets and parking lots on the new factory premises will be equipped with LED lamps. The roof of the body construction plant is prepared for a photovoltaic plant was installed for generating electric power. Bright, reflecting roof membranes are to prevent the heating up of the halls in the summer as well.
The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has found a 50-year decline in some Los Angeles vehicle-related pollutants. The reason is simple: cars are getting cleaner.
In California's Los Angeles Basin, levels of some vehicle-related air pollutants have decreased by about 98 per cent since the 1960s, even as area residents now burn three times as much gasoline and diesel fuel. Between 2002 and 2010 alone, the concentration of air pollutants called volatile organic compounds (VOCs) dropped by half, according to a new study by NOAA scientists and colleagues, published in the Journal of Geophysical Research yesterday.
Requirements for catalytic converters, use of reformulated fuels less prone to evaporate, and improved engine efficiency of new vehicles have all likely contributed to overall declines in vehicle-related pollution, including VOCs.
The magnitude of the drop in VOC levels was surprising, even to researchers who expected some kind of decrease resulting from California's long-time efforts to control vehicle pollution.
"Even on the most polluted day during a research mission in 2010, we measured half the VOCs we had seen just eight years earlier", said Carsteon Warneke, a NOAA-funded scientist with the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado Boulder. "The difference was amazing."
The 98 percent drop in VOCs in the last 50 years does not mean that ozone levels have dropped that steeply; the air chemistry that leads from VOCs to ozone is more complex than that. Ozone pollution in the Los Angeles Basin has decreased since the 1960s, but levels still don't meet ozone standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency.
e'mobile, the Swiss association for electric and efficient vehicles, will be holding its annual conference and general assembly on 24 August.
This year's annual conference and general assembly will take place at the Empa, the Swiss academy for Materials Science and Technology. The conference will focus on two issues: First, it will look at Empa's research in the field of sustainable transport, such as recycling of lithium batteries but also new fuels such as hydrogen and new propulsion concepts such as the gas-electric hybrid. Second, Dr. Rittmar von Helmolt of Opel will address the importance of new propulsion technologies and fuels for the Opel group.
The annual conference will also be accompanied by an Ecocar Expo with test drives and by an exhibition of charging infrastructure for electric vehicles.
Daimler and carpooling.com have forged a strategic partnership. Daimler will take a minority shareholding and together, the two leaders players in the mobility sector are planning strong international growth, including expansion to the US.
Daimler AG is investing in the world's leading ridesharing network, carpooling.com GmbH. The main shareholders will continue to be the company's three founders, as well as venture capital firm Earlybird. The capital investment will serve primarily the development and expansion of carpooling.com's mobility solutions.
carpooling.com transports 1 million people a month across Europe. The platform is available on the Internet, on smartphone apps and Facebook. By reviewing profiles and ratings, users know exactly who they are traveling with. In addition to rides, the company's platform also offers bus, rail and airline tickets.
The goal of the partnership is to further expand carpooling.com's platforms and intelligently integrate the offerings within Daimler's mobility solutions. The partners will be benefiting from each other's experience in connection with customer needs, technical systems development, as well as in international rollouts of successful mobility concepts.
"We view ridesharing as an important element of intelligently networked mobility. Our engagement in carpooling.com is a logical step in offering our customers an even wider range for getting from Point A to Point B", notes Wilfried Steffen, who heads up Business Innovation at Daimler AG.
"We will be utilizing the new capital to further improve our offerings, broaden our customer service and make carpooling available to even more users worldwide", is the way carpooling.com CEO Markus Barnikel explains the reasoning behind Daimler AG's investment in the company.
In mid July 2012, both companies announced a technical cooperation for the pilot project moovel. The moovel mobility platform allows users to choose the best way to get from A to B in urban areas.
Engineers at GE Global Research are building a new 'battery brain' that will make car batteries powering electric vehicles smarter and last 'significantly' longer. The research aims to drive down EV costs and boost their range.
At the core of the system are sophisticated 'ultrathin' sensors that monitor and manage battery vitals such as temperature, voltage and current. The tiny sensors fit in tight nooks inside the battery, out of reach of existing technology, and gather a rich harvest of data that will optimize and manage the battery and extend its life.
The GE team has partnered with Ford Motor Company and researchers at the University of Michigan to develop the sensors. Ford will test prototypes inside its EVs.
"The car battery remains the greatest barrier and most promising opportunity to bringing EVs mainstream", said Aaron Knobloch, principal investigator and mechanical engineer at GE Global Research. "Improvements in the range, cost and life of the battery will all be needed for EVs to be competitive. With better sensors and new battery analytics, we think we can make substantial progress at increasing battery life. This, in turn, could help bring down its overall cost and the cost entitlement of buying an electric car."
The US government is helping to fund the $3.1 million project that will last for three years.