GM seeking commercial applications for its hydrogen fuel cell tech

GM seeking commercial applications for its hydrogen fuel cell tech

GM is planning multiple power generators based on its hydrogen fuel cell charging technology HYDROTEC.

Utilising GM’s Generation 2 HYDROTEC fuel cell power cubes, with outputs up to 600 kilowatts, applications in the pipeline include a mobile power generator, developed with Utah-based Renewable Innovations, to provide a fast-charging capability for EVs without having to expand the power grid or install permanent charging assets in places where there’s only a temporary need for power.

“As pioneers and innovators in the hydrogen power space, Renewable Innovations sees exciting opportunities across consumer, business, government and industrial markets,” comments Robert Mount, CEO and co-founder of Renewable Innovations. “We’ve seen that there’s a need for EV charging in places where there’s no charging equipment, and now we’re committed to bringing the best technology and game-changing applications to market with GM to accelerate the company’s vision of a zero-emissions future.”

Aligned to this, GM and Renewable Innovations have collaborated on the EMPOWER rapid charger to provide more affordable DC fast-charging without significant investment in non-recoverable electrical infrastructure upgrades, such as larger feed wires, transformers and new substations.

While these initial applications are transport related, GM says its new generation hydrogen fuel cell generators could ultimately replace gas and diesel-burning generators at worksites, buildings, movie sets, data centres, outdoor concerts and festivals. They could also back up or temporarily replace grid-sourced electricity for residential and small commercial enterprises at times of power disruption.

“Our vision of an all-electric future is broader than just passenger vehicles or even transportation,” said Charlie Freese, GM executive director of the global HYDROTEC business. “Our energy platform expertise can expand access to energy across many different industries and users, while helping to reduce emissions often associated with power generation.”

British government pump primes £100 million into UK Gigafactory project

British government pump primes £100 million into UK Gigafactory project

UK battery company Britishvolt has received £100 million in government backing for its planned gigafactory in North East England.

Britishvolt also announced backing from investors Tritax and Abrdn, that should unlock a further £1.7bn in private funding in a project with a £4bn budget.

Once complete, the factory will produce batteries for over 300,000 electric vehicles each year, significantly “supporting the UK automotive industry’s transition to a zero emissions future” while creating 3,000 direct skilled jobs and another 5,000 indirect jobs in the wider supply chain.

Kwasi Kwarteng Business Secretary said, “Britishvolt’s planned gigafactory will not only enable the UK to fully capture the benefits of a booming electric vehicle market, but will bring thousands of highly-skilled, well-paid jobs to the North East.

“In this global race between countries to secure vital battery production, this government is proud to make the investment necessary to ensure the UK retains its place as one of the best locations in the world for auto manufacturing.”

Britishvolt also confirmed it has entered into a two-year, multi-million pound agreement with the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC), to develop, assemble and manufacture its next generation sample cells for mass production and commercialisation.

Coventry-based UKBIC is a national battery manufacturing development facility providing battery manufacturing scale-up.

Graham Hoare, President of Global Operations, Britishvolt, says, “UKBIC is an essential ingredient in Britishvolt’s accelerated roadmap to market, providing a platform and environment that delivers high quality development cells in a time period that would be almost impossible in other territories. We are extremely pleased with the service offered by UKBIC and the promising results we’re seeing. By working with our customers early we can offer flexibility and specific attributes linked to their application requirements. This is a vital USP and signals that the age of “off the peg” battery production is no longer suitable for all.”

Swedish-Kenyan company plans EV bus rollout across Africa

Swedish-Kenyan company plans EV bus rollout across Africa

The first electric bus from Swedish-Kenyan EV technology company Opibus is being tested on Nairobi’s roads in readiness for the commercial launch of EV buses in Kenya later this year, and across Africa by the end of 2023.

Opibus has over the last five years been building electric motorbikes and converting existing gasoline and diesel vehicles to electric. So far is has converted more than 170 vehicles for applications ranging from mining to tourism.

The company is now moving to building new EV buses and charging infrastructure. Opibus chief strategy and marketing officer Albin Wilson says, “This first year, we will be testing 10 buses commercially in Nairobi to ensure that the product fits and is optimised for the usage patterns. Once we get this valuable feedback, we will make the required changes and get all our production partners lined up to scale the roll out as rapidly as possible.”

Opibus’ proprietary electric vehicle platform is modular and can be the foundation for several types of vehicles. This enables the creation of a bus that is suitable for the African use case in its reliability, durability, and price point. This also means local and global contract manufacturers can be used to create a globally competitive product, with a rapid scale-up.

In an approach that sounds similar to Arrival’s microfactory concept, Opibus says local production means that the output can be tailored for local market needs. “We are building a product that allows for a rapid scale up, that can leverage global and local manufacturers. Meaning our design is easily implemented across the African continent, as it is a product tailored for the use case, and very cost effective,” said Wilson.

Opibus says it is already looking to develop partnerships that will drive the adoption of EVs across the continent.

Danish EV charging start-up aims to brush aside “old-school” players

Danish EV charging start-up aims to brush aside “old-school” players

Copenhagen-based electric vehicle (EV) charging firm Monta has raised €15 million in a Series A funding round to support its expansion into two new European countries.

The funds will also see Monta double its employee count and develop in five active markets across Europe.

The funding round was led by early-stage venture capital firm Creandum, with what Monta described as “significant” investment also coming from venture capital firm Headline. It takes the total raised by Monta to €20 million since the company was founded just over a year ago, having previously raised €5 million in pre-seed and seed rounds.

“For too long the EV ecosystem has been dominated by old-school players like electricity companies, hardware manufactures and charge point operators,” Casper Rasmussen, CEO and co-founder of Monta, said.

“As a tech company, we’re building a charging architecture free from legacy software that is ready to scale across borders and hardware. With this latest funding round, we’re one step closer to accomplishing this mission.

Monta has developed a product for both EV drivers and chargepoint owners, with its chargepoint management system providing chargepoint owners with a solution to attract users and manage chargepoint use, pricing, access and transactions. Monta also provides EV drivers with reservation, virtual queueing and payment features.

UK vehicle renter adds “London cab” based electric van to fleet

UK vehicle renter adds “London cab” based electric van to fleet

LEVC (London Electric Vehicle Company) has announced a new partnership with Europcar Mobility Group UK – one of the UK’s leading commercial vehicle rental providers – supplying a fleet of 100 new VN5 electric vans. The vehicles will be made available across Europcar’s nationwide rental locations in the UK.

VN5, based on LEVC’s electric version of the iconic London black taxi, incorporates eCity range extender technology, which comprises an advanced battery electric powertrain offering a pure electric range of 100km, together with a small backup petrol range-extender increasing total range to over 500km.

Designed, engineered and built at LEVC’s EV factory in Coventry, VN5 operates in the one-tonne sector and shares the same, distinctive design and a lightweight aluminium monocoque as the TX electric taxi. LEVC is owned by China’s Geely Group.

Joerg Hofmann, LEVC CEO, said “I am delighted we have signed this agreement with Europcar, which will enable many businesses to try our innovative new electric van before they buy. LEVC and Europcar share a common goal to advance the accessibility of sustainable transport, and I am confident that business will see that VN5 is the ideal green mobility solution, offering zero-emission capability with no range-anxiety.”

Ron Santiago, Managing Director, Europcar Mobility Group UK, added, “The addition of the VN5 addresses an urgent need amongst commercial vehicle users. Research in 2021 found that 89% of businesses expect a quarter or more of their fleet to enter a Clean Air Zone more than once a week. The VN5 gives customers a compliant solution eliminating the need to factor in additional costs for entering Clean Air Zones. There is also concern that electrified vans may not be able to meet the high-pressure demands of businesses, with uncertainty about the range they can offer.

Santiago adds, “There is a clear gap in availability of electric vehicles, as well as cost barriers for outright purchase. Available as part of our long-term rental solutions, it means businesses have flexibility without having to commit to lease or outright purchase, giving them the chance to really understand how electric will work for them and their drivers.

Yamaha increases Taiwan’s electric scooter battery swap potential

Yamaha increases Taiwan’s electric scooter battery swap potential

A variant of Yamaha’s new electric EMF scooter developed for the Taiwanese market will utilise Gogoro’s battery swapping platform for refuelling. The EMF joins the Yamaha EC-05 as the second vehicle collaboration with Taiwan’s Gogoro.

The ‘Powered by Gogoro Network Program’ gives partners like Yamaha access to Gogoro’s intelligent drivetrains and controllers, components, and smart systems, so they can develop unique electric vehicles that integrate with Gogoro Network battery swapping.

The EMF will be available in Taiwan in March.

Horace Luke, founder and CEO, Gogoro, says, “Gogoro is excited to be supporting Yamaha’s growing portfolio of Gogoro-powered vehicles and we look forward to their new Taiwan customers using Gogoro’s battery swapping. Yamaha and Gogoro remain committed to bringing better and more sustainable transportation solutions to market that integrate Yamaha’s incredible vehicle design and engineering together with Gogoro’s leading battery swapping.”

Non-internet dependent EV charging technology gets BMW backing

Non-internet dependent EV charging technology gets BMW backing

BMW i Ventures has invested in German electric vehicle charging start-up HeyCharge, whose proprietary system enables EV-charging without an internet connection.

Traditionally, EV chargers require an app or RFID card and a proper internet connection to begin activation. Yet most underground garages do not have an internet access point, or the ability to install such boxes.

Chris Cardé, Founder and CEO, HeyCharge, first recognised the problem after bringing home his first electric car to a Munich apartment building.

With 56% of Germany and 46% of Europe living in apartment buildings, and 37% of renters in the US, this is an obvious next step for the expansion of EV charging stations, but the current reliance on internet connectivity is holding scalability back. That’s why HeyCharge has made its mission to help get a cheap, commercial, scalable solution to this section of the population.

HeyCharge’s patent-pending technology, SecureCharge, eliminates the need for an on-site internet connection, allowing the app and chargers to communicate directly over bluetooth with the HeyCharge App. This maximizes availability of the system while minimizing latency between the phone and the charger. When combined with Access Point, HeyCharge’s simple and effective hardware component, total costs can be reduced up to 80% in buildings.

As the number of EVs on the road increases, there will be a large need for a scalable charging option that fits into consumers’ everyday lives. “The rapid growth of the electric vehicle market in coming years will necessitate greater infrastructure build-out of charging solutions around the globe,” said Kasper Sage, Managing Partner, BMW i Ventures.

“HeyCharge is the first company to enable EV-charging without internet connection, which is a key enabler to cover untapped white-spots. With HeyCharge’s technology, it becomes attractive to install chargers in locations that before would have not been commercially viable.”

“In addition to our full wallbox, the HeyCharge Access Point is a bring your own wallbox device that places the bare minimum for access control and consumption invoicing on the building side, allowing for a fast and easy installation that can be made by any electrician in minutes,” explains Cardé. “We are excited to use this investment to scale our product globally and bring low-cost charging options to consumers. HeyCharge’s solution makes EV charging not just scalable but also more cost-effective and accessible so that easy EV charging is made possible wherever you live or work,” he adds.

Nuro refines autonomous delivery vehicle and gears up for production

Nuro refines autonomous delivery vehicle and gears up for production

American robotics company Nuro has introduced a third generation of its autonomous, last-mile delivery vehicle as it gears up to manufacture at scale later in the year. The vehicle is the first to benefit from a collaboration with Chinese-owned car maker BYD North America.

Formed in 2018 by two engineers from Google’s Waymo project, Nuro says that every new detail is to enable production at scale and it hopes to be the first company to achieve this in the “zero occupant” segment.

Nuro was the first company to receive an autonomous driving exemption from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NTSA) which it achieved on the basis that its vehicles are designed to carry goods, not humans.

Its second generation vehicle hit the headlines last year through a pizza delivery trial with Dominos in Houston, Texas.

The latest version, which has a maximum operating speed of 70km/h, is equipped with an exterior airbag that inflates across its entire front to reduce impact in the event of a collision. A network of self-cleaning sensors provide a 360 degree view of its surroundings. The vehicle itself has been reduced in size allowing more room for passing cyclists and pedestrians.

The delivery compartments have also been modified and can carry twice the previous version, roughly 24 bags of groceries and 220kg in weight. Modular units are available to provide heating and cooling compartments.

Enhanced Volvo electric truck offers 85% range improvement

Enhanced Volvo electric truck offers 85% range improvement

Volvo Trucks has launched an enhanced version of its Volvo VNR Electric offering an increased range of up to 85% and faster charging. The VNR Electric, first introduced in December 2020, is one of Volvo Trucks six all-electric heavy truck models specially designed for the North American market.

The operational range of the class 8 truck (that is having a gross weight above 15 tons) has been increased from 240km to 440km, says Volvo. The improved performance is due, among other things, to improved battery design and a new six battery package option offering energy storage of up to 565kWh.

The new Volvo VNR Electric also reduces the required charging time, as the 250kW charging capability provides an 80% charge in 90 minutes for the six-battery package, and 60 minutes for the four-battery version.

“It is a testament to Volvo Trucks’ leadership in a continuously evolving industry that we are bringing the enhanced version of our VNR Electric to the market only a year after sales of the VNR Electric first started,” said Peter Voorhoeve, President, Volvo Trucks North America.

The enhanced Volvo VNR Electric will be built in the company’s New River Valley plant in Virginia, which is the exclusive producer of all Volvo trucks in North America.

Globally, Volvo Trucks has set the target that half of all trucks sold are electric by 2030. “We are determined to lead the transformation of the transport industry. In only eight years’ time, our goal is that half of our global truck sales are electric. The interest among customers is high, and it’s quickly becoming a competitive advantage for transporters to be able to offer electric, sustainable transports,” commented Roger Alm, President Volvo Trucks.

Chinese manufacturer launches “compatible with all” EV battery swapping service

Chinese manufacturer launches “compatible with all” EV battery swapping service

China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Ltd (CATL) has launched an electric vehicle battery swapping service which it says will allow drivers to change car batteries in one minute.

Comprising battery blocks, battery swap stations and a phone app, the EVOGO battery swap solution will be rolled out across ten cities in China, said Chen Weifeng, general manager of CAES, an operating subsidiary of CATL.

For reasons perhaps lost in translation, the battery blocks are designed to look like a bar of chocolate. The “Choco-SEB (swapping electric block)”, says Weifeng, is a mass-produced battery specially developed for EV battery-sharing. “It boasts,” he says, “the advantages of high-energy density with small size, flexible combination and minimalist design.”

Incorporating “the latest CTP (cell to pack) technology”, it can achieve a weight energy density of over 160 Wh/kg and a volume energy density of 325 Wh/L

A single block can achieve a driving range of 200 km and is compatible, says CAES, with 80% of global battery EV platform-based vehicles on the market and “all” battery EV platform-based models to be released in the next three years.

CAES claims that unlike conventional battery swap solutions, EVOGO is designed to suit vehicles ranging from small passenger cars to logistics vehicles.

Most EV owners, it says, purchase cars with the biggest battery they can afford to alleviate range anxiety, but typically use only 10 to 20 percent of the total capacity. This means, says CAES, they have paid “a high sunk cost for a power capacity that is rarely needed”.

EVOGO’s flexible model allows customers to choose the number of battery blocks to rent according to their driving needs. Only one block is needed for inner city commuting, but for longer trips, customers can rent two to three blocks, says Weifeng.

Veolia to build major UK EV battery recycling facility

Veolia to build major UK EV battery recycling facility

French waste management company Veolia has announced its first electric vehicle battery recycling facility in the UK, which will have the capacity to process 20% of the UK’s end-of-life electric vehicle batteries by 2024.

Veolia’s new facility at Minworth in the West Midlands will establish recycling and treatment capacity for the anticipated 350,000 tonnes of end-of-life electric vehicle batteries predicted to be in the UK by 2040.

The plant will discharge and dismantle batteries and then mechanically and chemically separate the components.

The materials required for battery manufacturing largely rely on traditional water and energy intensive processes. It is estimated that 500,000 gallons of water is required to extract one tonne of lithium. But, says Veolia, use of recycled materials, or ‘urban mining’, could reduce water consumption and cut greenhouse gas emissions from battery production by up to 50%.

Furthermore, says Veolia, it will use its international network and materials recovery expertise to establish a European circular economy battery solution in the next five years.

“This is an important first step on the UK’s journey to create an ethical and sustainable supply chain for batteries that will be increasingly necessary as we transition to a greener economy,” said Gavin Graveson, Veolia Senior Executive Vice-President, Northern Europe Zone.

“We will not reach carbon neutrality without increasing our investment and development of new technologies and recycling opportunities. As the demand for electric vehicles increases, we will need this facility – and more like it in the UK – to ensure we don’t hit a resource crisis in the next decade.”

“Alongside other projects across the globe, bringing Veolia’s expertise to the UK recognises the size of the national market and appetite to recycle locally and responsibly. Urban mining is essential if we are to protect raw materials and will in turn create a new, high-skilled industry,” Graveson added.

Volta cuts delivery emissions on prestigious London shopping streets 

Volta cuts delivery emissions on prestigious London shopping streets 

The UK’s Crown Estate, which manages land and property for the British monarch, has said it will trial switching goods deliveries in London’s West End to electric vehicles from this summer.

Crown Estate and its distribution provider Clipper Logistics is partnering with British electric truck startup Volta Trucks.

The Crown Estate’s central London property portfolio comprises many high end retailers in Regent Street and large swathes of the surrounding St James’s area.

The use of electric delivery lorries will reduce emissions and could help to cut costs in the long term as they are cheaper to fuel and maintain and are also exempt from paying both the Congestion Charge and London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ).

The purpose-built 16-tonne Volta Zero’s large 8.6-tonne payload also removes several smaller 3.5-tonne vans from the streets, helping reduce traffic congestion.

Judith Everett, executive director at The Crown Estate, said, “This partnership is another important step towards reducing congestion, improving air quality and making our streets safer and more accessible across the West End.

“It will be a win-win for us and our customers, helping support their deliveries and our joint sustainability ambitions. It builds on our continued work to trial and test to see what works best for everyone using our streets, now and in the future.”

Essa Al-Saleh, CEO of Volta Trucks, said, “The full-electric Volta Zero is specifically designed for zero-emission urban distribution with exactly the Crown Estate and Clipper Logistics’ use case in mind.

“With 8.6-tonnes of payload, it was created to consolidate deliveries and reduce congestion of smaller vehicles on city centre streets. I look forward to seeing the vehicles operating on the famous streets of London’s West End in only a few months’ time.”

Lime Gen4 e-bikes feature e-scooter’s swappable battery

Lime Gen4 e-bikes feature e-scooter’s swappable battery

Lime has officially launched its Gen4 e-bikes in Washington DC, following small-scale pilots in several cities in 2021. They will arrive in more cities around the world this spring.

The most significant advancement is the swappable, interchangeable battery, that is shared with Lime’s Gen4 e-scooters.

With a standardised swappable battery between vehicle types, Lime operations teams are able to replace dead batteries on any e-bike or e-scooter, reducing van trips and saving the energy otherwise required for transporting heavy vehicles.

Additional upgrades to the e-bike include increased motor power and an integrated phone holder.

Wayne Ting, CEO of Lime, says, “The launch of our Gen4 e-bike is an important step toward achieving our mission of building a future where transportation is shared, affordable and carbon-free. Standardising our swappable batteries across modes is a leap forward for Lime and the broader micromobility industry, making operations more efficient and sustainable, while improving reliability for riders.

“In 2021,” he adds “we saw massive jumps in Lime e-bike use in cities, helping to fuel a welcome e-bike boom globally. We’re excited for city residents around the world to try the Gen4 as a great way to leave the car behind.”

Wejo’s Neural Edge platform overcomes CV data overload and latency obstacles

Wejo’s Neural Edge platform overcomes CV data overload and latency obstacles

UK-based Wejo, a global leader in cloud and software analytics generated from autonomous, electric and connected vehicle data, has announced it is developing a neural edge platform that overcomes latency issues and data storage costs – the main potential obstacles in harnessing and scaling the power of real-time vehicle communications.

Leveraging existing collaborations with Microsoft Azure and Palantir Technologies, a developer of software for data analytics and data-driven decision making, Wejo Neural Edge optimises how data, from both other vehicles and smart infrastructure, is managed within the vehicle, further processes it at the “edge” and ultimately communicates to the cloud.

This process will not only reduce data overload and maximise data insights but will reduce costs for automotive manufacturer, supporting safer vehicles, enabling further advancements in electric and autonomous mobility while reducing congestion and emissions.

“When I started Wejo in 2014, I knew that the proliferation of new mobility technology would drive data to a tipping point. And we are at that point today,” said Richard Barlow, Founder & CEO, Wejo. “With today’s vehicles producing approximately 25 gigabytes of data per hour, and as vehicle technology advances adding more sensors, data filtering and neural edge processing technology is essential to reduce this overload and drive the industry forward.”

Key features of the platform are:

  • Filtering and analysing vast amounts of autonomous, electric, and connected vehicle data before transmitting only the essential information to the cloud. This is made possible by utilising in-car edge processing that Wejo is developing to filter only useful and valuable connected vehicle data before it is transmitted to the cloud.
  • Using machine learning algorithms to reconstruct vehicle journey and event data, Wejo Neural Edge can take 20% of the data from autonomous, electric, and other connected vehicles and reconstruct it to represent 100% of the data, without any loss in data fidelity or integrity. The positive environmental impact is significant, as less data requires less storage which in turn reduces power consumption.
  • Better enabling vehicle to vehicle and vehicle to infrastructure communications by standardising and centralising the data. Not only does this provide a key building block for communication in near real time, but it also supports communication with infrastructure services such as road signs, traffic lights and parking lots, so vehicles can easily anticipate the road ahead and optimise mobility experiences.
  • The platform can also support validation of digitals twins of both the vehicles and cities in which they operate, which has the potential to reshape how we view the entire product and service ecosystem related to mobility. In a simulation environment, a digital twin can be constructed to simulate how vehicles in different cities need to respond and navigate without having to outlay massive infrastructure costs of physical hardware and vehicle monitoring.

“At Wejo, we believe that digital twins will reshape everything from road safety, to insurance, advertising, after-sales and more,” said David Burns, Chief Technology Officer, Wejo. “With Wejo Neural Edge we can look at what a connected vehicle is doing a kilometre away, and then alter and change the driver experience of an autonomous vehicle based on the information that is coming from down the road.”

As more car manufacturers work to harness their vehicle data, Wejo neural edge platform and common data model will enable different manufacturer makes and models to speak the same data language, a key component supporting vehicle to vehicle communication and vehicle communications with infrastructure and services.

Shyam Sankar, Chief Operating Officer of Palantir Technologies adds, “Our ongoing partnership with Wejo is focused on the most complex and critical challenges facing the future of mobility. What Wejo is building atop Palantir Foundry, including their cutting-edge neural edge technology, is a testament to the depth of their vision, speed of execution, and power of combining our technologies.”

Mercedes Vision EQXX prototype promises 1000km on single charge

Mercedes Vision EQXX prototype promises 1000km on single charge

Mercedes-Benz has unveiled a prototype electric vehicle it claims can travel more than 1000km on a single battery charge. The German carmaker says the Vision EQXX is “the most efficient Mercedes-Benz ever built.”

Its power consumption of around 10 kWh of energy per 100km is due in part to the exterior design and aerodynamics, which achieve a drag coefficient of 0.17. This is of particular importance for electric vehicles, says Mercedes, because two-thirds of the electric energy is needed just to counter the air resistance.

The car is “packed with efficiency improvements” and during digital simulation tests of real-life traffic simulations managed to exceed 1000km of driving on a single charge, several times further than the distance most available EV models are capable of driving.

The VISION EQXX, boasts an energy efficiency of 95%. This, says Mercedes, means that 95% of the energy stored in the battery reaches the wheels. By way of comparison, a vehicle with an efficient internal combustion engine achieves around 30% and an average human long-distance runner achieves around 50%. A dedicated team of Mercedes-Benz engineers worked with the motor-racing specialists from High Performance Powertrains (HPP) and Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix (MGP) to develop a highly efficient and compact electric powertrain and a lightweight battery housing. They have spent many years working to reduce mechanical friction to a minimum so that the power reaches the racetrack with as little loss as possible.

And instead of just making the battery bigger and thus heavier, the energy density has been significantly improved – to 200 Wh/kg. This enables the battery to store 100 kWh, whilst taking up 50% less space and weighing 30% less than batteries with comparable capacity. State-of-the-art silicon anodes have been used in combination with ultra-lightweight materials from Formula One and Formula E, for instance, which has significantly increased the battery capacity.

The auxiliary electric system draws additional energy from solar cells on the roof. This reduces the energy demands of the high-volt system and ultimately leads to more range. On a single day with ideal conditions, this can produce up to 25km extra range for long-distance journeys.

“The Mercedes-Benz Vision EQXX is how we imagine the future of electric cars,” said Ola Källenius, chairman of the board of Daimler and Mercedes-Benz. “It has a range of more than 1,000km on a single charge using a battery that would fit even into a compact vehicle. The Vision EQXX is an advanced car in so many dimensions — and it even looks stunning and futuristic. With that, it underlines where our entire company is headed: We will build the world’s most desirable electric cars.”

VinFast puts ambitious global EV strategy into play

VinFast puts ambitious global EV strategy into play

Vietnamese car manufacturer VinFast confirmed its commitment to becoming an all-electric car maker by the end of the year at the VinFast Global EV Day at the Consumer Electronics Show, CES 2022, in Las Vegas.

Madam Le Thi Thu Thuy, Vingroup Vice Chair and VinFast Global CEO said VinFast would stop producing vehicles with internal combustion engines by the end of 2022 and focus research and development efforts on all-electric powertrains.

Le Thi Thu Thuy’s announcements also outlined a new development strategy and the launch of three new models to create a vehicle line up covering five segments from compact city to executive. All five models have been developed with renowned Italian design firms, Pininfarina and Torino Design.

The three new models are the VF 5 (segment A), VF 6 (segment B) and VF 7 (segment C). Existing VF e35 and VF e36 models in the D and E segments are now renamed VF 8 and VF 9. The removal of the “e” electric prefix, says the company, demonstrates its all-electric orientation.

Le Thi Thu Thuy said, “VinFast envisions a sustainable future for people and the planet through green, clean and safe mobility. This is a future built on intelligent services, outstanding customer experience, and a deep care for the planet and future generations.

“VinFast is committed to innovative vehicle design, quality, and technology, along with excellent customer service. We even aspire to to be one of the leading electric vehicle manufacturers in the world while inspiring our customers to be boundless together and join hands in the electric vehicle revolution, creating a sustainable future for all.”

The company also released its competitive retail pricing structure and details of a ten-year, 200,000km warranty programme.

REE starts road testing P7 corner technology platform

REE starts road testing P7 corner technology platform

REE Automotive has started testing its all-new electric P7 platform designed for commercial delivery vans and mobility operators.

The company plans trials for the platform at the REE Engineering Centre of Excellence in the UK and the REE Advanced Research and Development Centre in Israel. P7 prototypes will be available for customer evaluation during the first quarter of this year.

The platform features REEcorner technology in which each wheel has an independent drive mechanism that offers significantly greater volumetric efficiency than a conventional configuration and creates a fully flat end-to-end platform. REE also says the novel drive mechanism provides enhanced driving dynamics and safety with all-wheel steer, drive and brake options.

The company says the platform “packs up to 35% more packages than comparable commercial vehicles or the equivalent” and supports a 4000kg payload, meaning it could comfortably carry up to 30 passengers. This says REE makes it the optimal platform for target markets such as delivery and logistic fleet owners, transit authorities, school buses and mobility operators.

Daniel Barel, REE Automotive Co-Founder and CEO describes the P7 platform as “paramount” in commercial vehicle design, safety and functionality. “True to our vision of providing complete modularity and versatility, this platform can be configured in different sizes and optimised to suit a particular application and use case,” he adds.

The platform offers “virtually unlimited” design freedom to meet customers’ exact business needs, and the “architecture” supports both cost and timing benefits through the vehicle development process, as well as further production efficiencies from the resultant economies of scale, adds Barel.

Electric and autonomous vehicles built using the P7 platform, says REE, will be able to achieve driving ranges of up to 370 miles with max speeds of 80 mph and support gross vehicle weight ratings of up to 7.5 tonne.

Sony EVs move a step closer with launch of Sony Mobility

Sony EVs move a step closer with launch of Sony Mobility

Sony is set to enter the electric vehicle market with the launch of a new mobility company this Spring, looking “to harness its strengths in entertainment and sensors to play a bigger role in next-generation mobility”.

The announcement was made at the CES 2022 technology trade fair in Las Vegas, where Sony chairman Kenichiro Yoshida said, “With our imaging and sensing, cloud, 5G and entertainment technologies combined with our contents mastery, we believe Sony is well positioned as a creative entertainment company to redefine mobility”.

The company, he added, saw mobility as an “entertainment space” where passengers could chose individual entertainment options and use 5G internet connection.

At the presentation Yoshida also unveiled a prototype sport utility vehicle (SUV), the VISION-S 02, which uses the same electric vehicle platform as the previously announced VISION-S 01 coupe.

Both vehicles featured a host of sensors, installed 360-degrees around the vehicles. This includes high-sensitivity, high-resolution, wide dynamic range image sensors and lidar designed to accurately sense three-dimensional space.

Through its advanced sensor and communication technologies, Sony believes it can provide greater safety and comfort. The tech company is currently conducting functional verification tests in Europe on public roads, as it works towards the release of Level 2+ advanced driver assistance systems.

Sony says it will establish a new company, Sony Mobility Inc, to accelerate the efforts of “exploring the commercial launch of Sony’s EV”.

Collaboration brings advanced driver assist features to buses

Collaboration brings advanced driver assist features to buses

RR.AI, a developer of self-driving technology and US bus maker GILLIG are to collaborate on developing next generations driver assistance systems and self-driving technology specifically for commuter buses in the United States.

This partnership will “combine RR.AI’s vehicle automation experience and GILLIG’s transit operations expertise to produce state- of-the-art safety and performance capabilities”.

The aim is to develop Level 4 autonomous vehicle technology for buses, which would allow a vehicle to drive itself under certain circumstances, such as in a depot, but most of the time a human driver would be needed.

They said the technology could protect drivers through safety features, including automatic emergency braking, precision docking, blind spot detection and pedestrian avoidance. While these advance driver assistance systems are commonly used in passenger cars, they are not widely available on heavy-duty vehicles.

“We believe the partnership with GILLIG will improve the safety and wellbeing of drivers, pedestrians, and roadway users all while increasing efficiency for transit authorities and lowering costs,” said RR.AI Chief Executive Alberto Lacaze.

GILLIG says it will implement these technologies across all its bus models, but will deploy them first in its latest electric bus model.

RR.AI’s parent Robotic Research said in December that it had raised $228 million from investors to scale up its self-driving solutions for trucks, buses and logistics vehicles. GILLIG’s owner Henry Crown & Company participated in that funding round.

NYPD heralds fleet electrification with Mustang Mach-E order

NYPD heralds fleet electrification with Mustang Mach-E order

The New York Police Department (NYPD) has ordered 184 all-electric Ford Mustang Mach-Es for law enforcement and emergency response use. The purchase is part of New York City’s largest electric vehicle (EV) purchase to date.

The NYPD operates over 6,200 light duty enforcement vehicles, which is the largest single group of vehicles in the City’s publicly owned fleet.

This order will be the largest all-electric purchase for law enforcement in the US and paves the way for New York City’s transition to all electric by 2035.

The Mustang e-Mach GT models offer a 270 miles range and acceleration that outstrips petrol powered supercars.

Dawn M Pinnock, Acting Commissioner of the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services, says, “Smart investments in fleet electrification will help New York City break its dependence on fossil fuels. We are working successfully towards achieving the ambitious goal of an all-electric City vehicle fleet by 2035 by taking steps to fight the climate crisis every day.”

“As our elected and environmental leaders work to address climate change locally and around the globe, the NYPD is proud to join with its law enforcement and government partners in New York City in making these vital transportation improvements,” adds NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Support Services Robert S Martinez. “This round of electric vehicle purchases not only satisfies our department’s ongoing public safety mission by enhancing the NYPD’s fleet for the 21st Century, but moves us, collectively, toward a greener, more sustainable future for all.”