Tag: evs

LG will build Europe’s biggest EV battery factory next year

As the auto industry fatefully moves into electric vehicles, Europe's major car-makers need high capacity batteries. Until now, companies like VW, Volvo and BMW have had to import batteries from Asia. LG's forthcoming car battery factory in Poland, the first in Europe, hopes to fulfil that growing demand. "The company has chosen Poland as the most competitive location for production to satisfy the needs of European and global car producers," said Chang-Beom Kang, vice president at LG Chem. The facility will cost $1.63 million, based in the city of Wroclaw which is close to the country's border with Germany. (In case you didn't know, Germany is a major car manufacturing country.)

The company's chemical arm is planning to manufacture up to 100,000 EV batteries starting next year, recruiting 2,500 people in the process. According to Reuters, the factory will also include an R&D center.

While the factory may sound big enough, LG Chem's production estimates place it at around 10 percent of the capacity of Tesla's Gigafactory estimates for 2018. Demand is ramping up in Europe, and this is likely just the start. Paris stated today that it aimed to ban the sales of new fossil fuel car by the year 2030, while both France as a country, and the UK, aim to ban the sale of combustion engine vehicles by 2040.

Source: Reuters


Mazda and Toyota will work together to design EVs

Six months ago, Toyota showed off a customized electric, self-driving Lexus. Just yesterday, the auto maker revealed an update to the vehicle line with new Lidar and deep learning AI that can better see objects around the car and predict safer paths on the road. Today, the company is announcing a new joint development agreement between Toyota, Mazda and auto component supplier Denso for the production of electric vehicles. The three companies are also forming a new company, EV C.A. Spirit Co., Ltd., to manage the collaboration.

In the statement, Toyota said there are "increasingly stringent policies to help reduce greenhouse gases" around the globe, leading to new regulations to ensure the production of electric vehicles. The agreement between the three companies will cover many different models like mini-cars to passenger vehicles, SUVs to light trucks. Mazda will contribute its planning and computer modeling-based know how, while Denso will become the go-to for electronics technologies.

The newly formed company will research the common architecture needed in EVs, verify the resulting performance of vehicles created by the collaboration and judge the final product for viability. Ultimately, Toyota sees the joint initiative as a way for Mazda and Toyota to share resources and "avoid the commoditization of EVs." It also hopes to create a way for other automakers and suppliers to join in, which could lead to a whole new standards-based way of making electric vehicles.

Source: Toyota


Daimler eyes super-fast electric vehicle charging

Daimler, parent company of Mercedes-Benz (and others) is pushing to get the majority of its vehicles to run on electricity. But there's still the issue of slow battery charging times that needs to be overcome if users are going to abandon gas. Which is why Daimler is throwing some of its cash towards Israeli startup StoreDot, which is working on a way to fully charge an EV in just five minutes.

The company has raised $60 million in investment, with other partners including Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovitch and Samsung. Although it's the latter that's more interesting, since it's a company that knows a thing or two about the need for stable fast-charging batteries. StoreDot will spend the cash on developing FlashBattery, its replacement for Lithium Ion tech that will offer 300 miles of range on a single charge.

It's hoped that, in the not-too distant future, FlashBatteries will be built into production EVs at source as a modern-day replacement for existing power-storage tech. The fact that Daimler's backing the project makes that a little bit more likely, since the pair can develop automotive-friendly solutions together. Not to mention that it's just one of several outlandish ideas that Daimler has written checks to of late, including the Volocopter drone taxi.


Tesla plans to add more Superchargers in big cities

If you own a Tesla and plan on driving it reasonable distances, then you probably know exactly where your nearest superchargers are. After all, these devices charge up your car in less than an hour. But if you look at a map of an urban area -- let's say, Philadelphia, which is about 20 minutes from where I live -- you'll notice something frustrating. The city, along with many other urban areas, is somewhat of a Supercharging desert. Tesla acknowledges that this is a problem and is expanding their Supercharging network into urban areas, starting with Chicago and Boston.

The bottom line is that for Teslas to fully take off, charging them has to be as convenient as pulling into a gas station to refuel. Right now, that's just not the case, and the company is well aware of it. The bulk of Superchargers are currently along major highways at hotels and restaurants. Tesla plans on expanding into urban grocery store parking lots, shopping centers, and downtown districts.

They've redesigned the Supercharger to give it a more compact footprint for urban areas. Additionally, they've increased efficiency so that Superchargers will provide a steady amount of electric charging power to each car, regardless of how many are plugged into it. At 72 kilowatts an hour, this means that a typical Tesla will be charged in about 45 to 50 minutes.

With the release of the long-awaited Model 3, with a base price of $35,000, Teslas are becoming more practical for people interested in EVs. But as long as they're inconvenient to recharge, adoption rates will be slow. We'll see if Tesla's urban Superchargers push is successful in helping to increase sales in cities.

Via: TechCrunch

Source: Tesla


Mercedes-Benz plans electric versions of all its models by 2022

We've seen quite a few car companies commit (and recommit) to electic vehicles recently, and now Mercedes-Benz has joined them. At Daimler's investor day today, the company's chief executive Dieter Zetsche said that Mercedes will offer electric versions of every single car it makes by 2022. Mercedes-Benz is also planning on turning its popular city SmartCar into a fully electric line by 2020.

As Mercedes quietly works on its EQ badge, which it will put on its best electric cars, they have to plan for a change in their financial landscape as EVs begin to replace traditional cars on the road. As EVs increase in popularity, Mercedes' profits will take a hit, even as they're selling more and more electric cars. This is because electric cars can be up to half as profitable as traditional combustion engine vehicles due to higher production costs (mainly the battery). As a result, Zetsche announced at the same conference that the company plans on saving 4 billion euros by 2025 to offset that potential hit to profit.

This news comes of the heels of a torrent of news on car makers going all-in on electric. Volvo has already announced that all its cars will be either electric or hybrid within two years. Jaguar is planning on putting electric drivetrains in every car by the end of 2020. Even countries are embracing EVs: France has plans to ban the sale of fossil fuel-powered cars by 2040. Even more surprisingly, China is also on board with this sort of ban (though the timeline isn't clear). Electric cars aren't just a trend; they're here to stay, for the long term.

Source: Reuters, CNBC


Williams redesigns the chassis for lighter and stronger EVs

There is frequently a trickle-down from the world of high-end motor racing through to the cars on sale at your local dealership (and refrigerators). Which is why the latest project to emerge from Williams Advanced Engineering is so exciting for the future of EVs. The F1 company is showing off its lightweight electric car chassis that's designed to make electric rides lighter, safer and greener.

Right now, it's just a platform onto which other companies could, if they want to, adopt to build their own rides. But it's packing several innovative features, including fiber-reinforced suspension that is 40 percent lighter than a traditional aluminum wishbone. In addition, the company claims that the highly-automated manufacturing process generates "near zero waste."

Williams has also worked on a way to make a better exoskeleton for the EV's battery which should make it safer and more efficient. It makes sense, given that Williams currently designs the battery systems for Formula E and knows what's required to make them work. In addition, the company works with Jaguar and Aston Martin, boding well that their ideas will be adopted in mainstream cars.

And, fundamentally, electric vehicles are going to need radical departures from the gas-powered orthodoxy to really succeed. It's one of the reasons that Tesla has seen such success, relative to others, is that it was able to begin with a clean-er slate than those businesses transitioning from existing cars. It's still early days, but let's hope that Williams can use this new chassis to pave the way for lots of exciting electric vehicles.

Source: Williams


Williams redesigns the chassis for lighter and stronger EVs

There is frequently a trickle-down from the world of high-end motor racing through to the cars on sale at your local dealership (and refrigerators). Which is why the latest project to emerge from Williams Advanced Engineering is so exciting for the future of EVs. The F1 company is showing off its lightweight electric car chassis that's designed to make electric rides lighter, safer and greener.

Right now, it's just a platform onto which other companies could, if they want to, adopt to build their own rides. But it's packing several innovative features, including fiber-reinforced suspension that is 40 percent lighter than a traditional aluminum wishbone. In addition, the company claims that the highly-automated manufacturing process generates "near zero waste."

Williams has also worked on a way to make a better exoskeleton for the EV's battery which should make it safer and more efficient. It makes sense, given that Williams currently designs the battery systems for Formula E and knows what's required to make them work. In addition, the company works with Jaguar and Aston Martin, boding well that their ideas will be adopted in mainstream cars.

And, fundamentally, electric vehicles are going to need radical departures from the gas-powered orthodoxy to really succeed. It's one of the reasons that Tesla has seen such success, relative to others, is that it was able to begin with a clean-er slate than those businesses transitioning from existing cars. It's still early days, but let's hope that Williams can use this new chassis to pave the way for lots of exciting electric vehicles.

Source: Williams


LG will build electric car parts in Detroit

LG Electronics is building a 250,000 square foot EV parts plant in Detroit suburb Hazel Park, it said in a press release. LG might not build its own cars, but its vehicle components division supplies many key pieces for GM's critically acclaimed Chevy Bolt, to name one manufacturer. That's an understatement: It builds the battery cells and pack, electric motor, power inverter, on-board charger, climate control, instrument cluster and infotainment system.

GM is therefore relying a lot on LG, but the feeling is mutual: LG says it made about $1.5 billion building vehicle components in the first half of 2017. That's a 43 percent increase from the year before and a big chunk of that gain is due to the Bolt. The new plant should make it easier to supply those parts and ease any importing concerns with US regulators. The plant received a $2.9 million grant from the Michigan Business Development Program, and will employ at least 292 factory workers and engineers.

LG will no doubt look to expand its parts business beyond GM. Traditional automakers have been forced to switch gears from gas to electricity, thanks to an EV revolution created largely by Tesla. To make that transition more quickly, they'll need help from companies that already know how to build complex battery packs and other components. With a plant in the center of the US auto industry, LG should be able to fill that role quite nicely.

Source: LG Electronics USA