Tag: ev

Anheuser-Busch wants to deliver beer with Tesla’s electric semi-trucks

Anheuser-Busch just joined the list of companies that have placed an order for Tesla's upcoming semi-trucks. In an announcement today, the beer-maker said it has ordered 40 of the trucks that are set to go into production in 2019. "Integrating the Tesla semi-trucks into the brewer's distribution network will help Anheuser-Busch achieve its commitment to reduce its operational carbon footprint by 30 percent by 2025 – the equivalent of removing nearly 500,000 cars from the road globally each year," said the company.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Anheuser-Busch plans to use the Tesla trucks for shipments to wholesalers lying within 150 to 200 miles of its 21 breweries and they'll become part of the approximately 750-strong truck fleet it currently uses to ship its product. As of now, the company hasn't decided whether it will buy the trucks, lease them or have one of its dedicated carriers do so.

Nearly a dozen companies have now placed orders for around 140 of the trucks and Tesla's customers include Walmart, DHL and Canadian grocery store chain Loblaws.

James Sembrot, Anheuser-Busch's senior director of logistics strategy, told the WSJ that the company spends around $120 million each year on fuel. So a move towards electric vehicles stands to have a major impact on its fuel costs, not to mention how the environment will benefit. The company is also interested in Nikola Motor Co.'s hydrogen-electric semi-trucks, which will reportedly be able to travel between 800 and 1,200 miles on one fill-up versus Tesla's 500 mile range. "We have needs for all those types of distances," said Sembrot.

Via: The Verge

Source: Anheuser-Busch

Porsche is working on a plug-in hybrid version of the 911

Porsche has been flirting with EVs for a bit now and it looks like the the famed 911 coupe might be going partially electric. CEO Oliver Bloom recently told Automotive News that a plug-in hybrid version of the car will go on sale near 2023, roughly four years after the redesigned gas version hits the market. The publication reports that the decision to hybridize the coupe isn't final, but that Bloom is pushing for it regardless. "It will be very important for the 911 to have a plug-in hybrid," he said.

New battery tech could extend electric-only range to 43 miles on a 47 amp-hour battery, and by the time the cars hit the market, that number could go up. The Panamera hybrid Porsche showed off at the LA Auto Show boasted a 30-mile range on a 14.1kWh battery.

Why the 911, though? Well, it could be that Porsche is willing to try anything to boost fuel economy and get regulators off its back -- a 2017 911 Carrera gets 20 MPG city and 29 MPG highway.

Via: Autoblog

Source: Automotive News

Tesla’s Model 3 patch adds futuristic features like an FM radio

Tesla's latest update for the Model 3 adds an FM radio and a tripometer. Let that sink in for a bit. Sure, plenty of cars don't have CD players anymore, but a radio is pretty standard equipment. Same goes for the tripometer. Actually, the tripometer missing is a little more egregious than the radio. Typically, the tripometer is used to measure how far you can go on a tank of gas, or, in the Model 3's case, a full charge. This is the sort of thing that illustrates Tesla was in such a rush to get the hardware out the door that it overlooked everyday features we take for granted.

Now, it's highly unlikely anyone actually missed the FM radio, but the tripometer feels like a strange omission. Inside EVs reports that this is why early videos of the Model 3 have disappeared from the internet. Employees were among the first to take delivery of the vehicles, and the publication says that Tesla didn't want footage of "unfinished" vehicles floating around online.

The update also adds software to monitor tire air pressure, the easy entry and exit option from the Model S and Model X, and an app for monitoring energy consumption. Hopefully as Tesla ramps up Model 3 production -- only 222 were delivered as of November 1st, with nearly 455,000 to go -- by the time the $35,000 EV ships to customers patches like this won't be necessary.

Via: Slashgear

Source: Inside EV

Nissan will test its self-driving taxi service in Japan next year

Nissan wants to have its fully-automated ride service on the road in Japan by the early 2020s. The plan is to start with a "public field test" for the Easy Ride service in Yokohama. Nissan has partnered with technology company DeNa for the venture, and the hope is to have everything from pick-up to payment and drop-off handled via mobile app. If you'd rather take the scenic route to your destination, options will be available for that as well.

With the Tokyo Olympics looming in 2020, Nissan likely wants to have the kinks worked out by then. The autonomous Leaf EVs have been tested in Britain already, but Japan's roads might prove a bit more difficult than the various roundabouts we encountered during a drive in March. Sign-ups for the test are live now through January 15th.

Via: BBC

Source: Nissan, Easy Ride

Fisker unveils self-driving shuttle built for smart cities

Believe it or not, Fisker isn't just focused on upscale electric cars. The automaker has teamed up with China's Hakim Unique Group on the Orbit, a self-driving electric shuttle tailor-made for smart cities. There aren't many details, but it's clearly taking advantage of its driverless nature: the boxy design maximizes passenger space, and there's a huge digital display that tells commuters when the shuttle departs and what its next stop will be. You wouldn't have to twiddle your thumbs wondering whether or not you'll make it on time.

And unlike Fisker's projects to date, you won't be waiting forever to see an Orbit on the road. The company expects to deliver its first shuttles by the end of 2018. They'll initially be used as part of a Hakim Unique-implemented smart city. There's no mention of where this city would be, let alone when it will expand elsewhere. However, Hakim has a global reach, and it's safe to presume that Fisker doesn't want to confine its autonomous tech to one country. The biggest challenge is likely to be finding cities and transportation outfits that are willing to incorporate self-driving shuttles -- that requires both the right legal framework and companies that are willing to take a chance on a robotic fleet.

Via: Autoblog

Source: Fisker (PDF)

VW unveils an electric van for its MOIA ride-sharing service

Volkswagen has unveiled the electric van that's a key part of its MOIA autonomous vehicle ride-sharing service. Shown yesterday at TechCrunch Disrupt, it'll carry up to six passengers with niceties like roomy individual seats, ambient LED lighting, WiFi and device power ports. The van-pooling MOIA service will launch in Hamburg in 2018 with 200 vans, letting passengers enter a departure point and destination in an app. "We've set ourselves the goal of taking more than a million cars off the roads in Europe and the USA by 2025," said MOIA CEO Ole Harms.

MOIA's aim is to eventually put autonomous, purpose-built vehicles on the road without drivers. For its first electric van, however, the company isn't emphasizing the self-driving part. Rather, it's focusing on electric vehicle benefits, including the pollution-free 300 km (186 mile) range, 30-minute time to an 80 percent charge and quiet operation. At Disrupt, the company said that the business can still be profitable without the need for autonomous operation.

MOIA also revealed more details about the ride-pooling service, including pricing. While it'll obviously be cheaper than calling your own taxi or Lyft, it won't undercut public transport. "We are operating with full respect of the public system," Harms told TechCrunch. "We don't want to get below the public transport system because them we would take people who are already pooled in a bigger vessel into a smaller one."

VW was able to get the MOIA van on the road and present a functional vehicle in just ten months thanks to "agile" design techniques used at its factory in Onsnabrück. It has already incorporated passenger feedback from tests that started in October using the Volkswagen T6 van. To make the carpooling app work efficiently, the company is developing virtual "bus stops" every 250 yards or so in cities where it'll operate.

Many automakers, including Volvo, Ford and GM, plan to launch their own ride-sharing services, either alone or in partnership with companies like Uber and Lyft. Volkswagen is now pretty far ahead of the game, however, with a purpose built vehicle and launch date (it'll come to Europe by the end of next year and the US in 2025). "Many ideas have already been integrated into the development of this vehicle," said MOIA COO Robert Henrich. "But parallel to this, we're also working on future versions of the vehicle."

Via: TechCrunch

Source: MOIA

Project Redspace imagines an office-car for megacity traffic

New York is huge. 8.5 million people live in the Big Apple according to 2016 census data. It seems impressive until you realize that there are 15 megacities in China that blow New York away with populations over 10 million. All those humans in one area means that traffic can be a challenge. One company think it has a commuter solution. A very boxy commuter solution.

Project Redspace's REDS is an EV commuter vehicle that doubles as an office. The company says that a car spends 90 percent of its time sitting idle. So why not make it your mobile workspace? It achieves this with a chair that swivels 180-degrees and a fold down desk. If it also served Starbucks coffee, it would be the perfect workspace for travelers.

That car also has a modular offset seating solution with the chairs not directly behind each other for more leg room and those seats can be moved about the cabin. The doors slide like a minivan instead swinging out like a traditional car. Helpful for tight parking spaces. Meanwhile, the roof is a giant solar panel to help keep the EV charged up. It will also support wireless charging sort of like the BMW 530e.

While the idea is intriguing, the workspace/car will be far more intriguing once cars get to level 4 autonomy. But, it's good to see new automakers thinking about how to evolve the interior of the vehicle before self-driving eventually becomes a reality.

According to the automaker, it will have these vehicles on the road in China in two years. It calls the car it's showing off at the LA Auto Show an "alpha prototype." So the final vehicle might not look as striking as the one on display in the convention center. As for US shores, there are no plans to bring it to our less-than-mega cities. Which kind of sucks if you really like boxes.

Source: Project Redspace

EPA confirms Tesla’s Model 3 has a range of 310 miles

Back in August, EPA documents implied that the pricier $44,000 version of Tesla's Model 3 could have a range of 310 miles. Today, the agency confirmed that speculation: The top-tier Model 3 will indeed have a 310-mile range, while the less expensive $35,000 edition will be able to drive an estimated 220 miles before needing to recharge.

Which will make the longer-ranged Model 3 one of the most efficient consumer vehicles in the world, getting an estimated equivalent of 126 miles per gallon average across cities and highways. Whether you'll be able to snag one of the vehicles is another story: Tesla's third quarter earnings report revealed the company only shipped 222 Model 3s in the time period. It expects to ramp up production significantly to produce 5,000 of the vehicles per week by the end of Q1 2018, assuming Tesla can work out its bottlenecks.

Via: The Verge

Source: EPA

Samsung’s ‘graphene ball’ battery could lead to fast-charging EVs

When it comes to lithium-ion batteries, you can have fast charging speeds or high capacities -- take your pick. Now, Samsung researchers, working with Seoul National University, have figured out how to give batteries both qualities thanks to our old friend, graphene. By coating the electrodes with a thin, popcorn-shaped layer known as a "graphene ball," they were able to produce a battery that could fully charge in just 12 minutes with up to 45 percent more capacity. The research, if it pans out, could lead to lighter and faster-charging electric vehicles.

The problem with current lithium-ion tech is the dreaded "side reactions" that can wear away the electrodes, especially if the battery is charged too quickly. Researchers have found that nanomaterials like graphene can reduce the wear and tear on them, while simultaneously increasing their conductivity. The problem is that coating electrodes uniformly has proven to be a challenge, and many efforts have resulted in an undesirable tradeoff by increasing charging speeds but decreasing capacity.

Samsung's approach is to use a material assembly called a graphene ball to coat nickel-rich cathodes and lithium-based anode materials. The thin, popcorn-like substance can be coated onto the cathode evenly, making it more effective, while also giving the anode a capacity boost.

That technique increased both the stability of the battery and its conductivity, "improving the cyclability and fast charging capability of the cathode substantially," the researchers note. What's more, they hit energy densities of nearly 800 Wh/L, around the same as Li-ion batteries today used by Tesla (below) and others.

This isn't just a laboratory effort, as Samsung knows a thing or two about production. Its researchers figured out how to coat the electrodes using "Nobilta" milling in a way that's reasonably fast and accurate. The process, they say "would not require a substantial change" to current manufacturing techniques for advanced lithium-ion batteries like the ones used in EVs.

Batteries that can fully charge in 12 minutes would make EVs a hell of a lot more practical, even if capacities remain unchanged. It's hard not to believe that our hopes won't be dashed again, but maybe, just maybe, Samsung's manufacturing expertise could actually turn the research into something useful.

Via: Samsung

Source: Nature

Tesla’s latest Semi electric truck customer is DHL

Tesla has scored an order of ten Semi electric trucks from DHL, which plans to use it for short runs and same-day deliveries in US cities, according to the Wall Street Journal. The transport service also plans to trial it for longer trips and evaluate safety, comfort and other concerns. DHL won't be buying the Semi sight-unseen, as it has reportedly test-driven the rig and worked with Tesla over the past few months.

The long-range version of the Semi can go about 500 miles on a charge, about half of what diesel trucks can do. Some critics have questioned whether Tesla can meet its price and performance commitments, given the unprecedented size of the Semi's 1 MWh battery.

The 300-mile-range vehicle will reportedly run $150,000 while the 500-mile vehicle will cost $180,000. Those prices are still more than regular semi-trucks, but most observers believe that Tesla needs new battery tech to meet those goals.

DHL's transportation president Jim Monkmeyer told the WSJ that the Tesla trucks will ferry automotive and consumer product freight between factories and distribution centers. The runs, while local, could be still be hundreds of miles long.

Most buyers, including Walmart, Canadian grocery chain Loblaws and trucking firm J.B. Hunt have purchased the Semi in relatively limited quantities, with the aim to evaluate the economics, safety, reliability and other factors before making larger purchases.

At this point, though, they're more excited about the potential of the Semi than concerned about Tesla hitting its promised 2019 delivery date. "I don't know if we can count on specific dates," said Monkmeyer. "We understand the challenges that they are facing. This is the future and we want to be in on the ground floor."

Source: Reuters