Archive for the ‘battery electric vehicles’ Category

Ford shows off electric F-150 truck by towing a million pounds of train

July 23rd, 2019

Even if you're not a truck fan, the prospect of a battery electric Ford F-150 is appealing. The F-150 is the nation's best-selling light vehicle with more than 1.1 million sold in 2018, so it would be a good thing if some of those future sales were variants that didn't need to pump out buckets of CO2 every day. To do that, Ford not only needs a competent electric powertrain, it also has to convince some of its customers that dropping the internal combustion engine isn't a downgrade.

Which is probably why the company just released video of a prototype BEV F-150 towing more than a million pounds (453,592kg). Linda Zhang, chief engineer for the electric F-150, used one of the prototypes to pull 10 double-decker train cars carrying 42 2019 F-150s over a distance of more than 1,000 feet (300m). Until now, the heaviest thing pulled by a BEV for a publicity stunt was probably a Qantas Boeing 787 weighing 286,600lbs (130,000kg), which was pulled by a Tesla Model X in 2018.

In less welcome F-150 news, on Monday a class action lawsuit was filed against Ford for overstating the fuel efficiency of the 2018 and 2019 F-150 as well as the 2019 Ford Ranger trucks. The suit alleges that Ford "deliberately miscalculated and misrepresented factors used in vehicle certification testing in order to report that its vehicles used less fuel and emitted less pollution than they actually did. The certification test related cheating centers on the "Coast Down" testing and "Road Load" calculations."

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Ford-VW alliance means more EVs for Europe, joint Argo AI investment

July 12th, 2019
Volkswagen CEO Dr. Herbert Diess (L) and Ford President and CEO Jim Hackett (R) announced their companies are expanding their global alliance to include electric vehicles and will collaborate with Argo AI to introduce autonomous vehicle technology in the U.S. and Europe.

Enlarge / Volkswagen CEO Dr. Herbert Diess (L) and Ford President and CEO Jim Hackett (R) announced their companies are expanding their global alliance to include electric vehicles and will collaborate with Argo AI to introduce autonomous vehicle technology in the U.S. and Europe. (credit: Sam VarnHagen)

On Friday, Ford and Volkswagen made official news that first leaked last week. The pair are strengthening their alliance to work together on those hottest of emerging automotive technologies, electric vehicles and autonomous driving.

Equal partners in Argo AI

VW will become an equal partner in the self-driving startup Argo AI, putting in $1 billion in cash and another $1.6 billion in the form of Audi's Autonomous Intelligent Driving spinoff, which will become Argo AI's European center of operations. Over the next three years, VW will also buy an additional $500 million of Argo AI shares from Ford. (Ford will still complete its billion-dollar investment in Argo AI). Until now, Argo AI has operated as a de facto Ford subsidiary, but this investment makes VW an equal partner, with the remaining shares in the company reserved for employee compensation.

Argo AI's technology will be incorporated into both Ford and VW vehicles as part of each company's plans to offer geofenced driverless robotaxis or goods delivery services in the US and Europe. "While Ford and Volkswagen remain independent and fiercely competitive in the marketplace, teaming up and working with Argo AI on this important technology allows us to deliver unmatched capability, scale and geographic reach," said Ford President and CEO Jim Hackett in a statement.

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At Tesla shareholder meeting, Musk assures “there is not a demand problem”

June 12th, 2019
A Tesla sedan on a city street charges at a charging station.

Enlarge (credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Tesla held a shareholder meeting in Mountain View, Calif., on Tuesday afternoon, and CEO Elon Musk addressed the audience on a number of issues facing the company before taking questions from shareholders.

Tesla had a complicated first half of the year. It achieved significant Model 3 delivery, but reportedly sluggish demand for the Model S and X has dragged the company down. Some analysts have turned bearish on Tesla after Musk promised profitable quarters going forward in Q4 2018 but then missed profitability badly in Q1 2019.

But Musk defended his company's health in his initial statement to the audience. He told shareholders "I want to be clear that there is not a demand problem... Sales have far exceeded production, and production has been pretty good. We have a decent shot at a record quarter... if not, it's going to be very close." Musk added that 90 percent of orders are coming from non-reservation customers.

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Seattle makes history with electric garbage truck

May 22nd, 2019
This is Recology's new BYD 8R, the first electric rear-loading class 8 garbage truck in the US.

Enlarge / This is Recology's new BYD 8R, the first electric rear-loading class 8 garbage truck in the US. (credit: BYD)

If you live in Seattle, your scheduled garbage pickup might be about to get a lot quieter. Recology, a West Coast waste management company, has just taken the delivery of its first fully electric garbage trucks. The vehicle is a class 8 truck—meaning the heaviest—made by BYD, with New Way supplying the Viper rear-loading garbage truck body. It's also apparently the first electric class 8 rear-loader in the country and the first of two that Recology ordered last year.

The BYD's specs make for very different reading compared to the average electric vehicles we cover. The powertrain is a 320kW (430hp), 1101Nm (812ft-lbs) electric motor, supplied by a 295kWh battery pack. However, it does have to carry around a truck with a 21,605lb (9,800kg) curb weight, and it can be optioned to a gross vehicle weight of either 57,500lbs (26,082kg) or 66,000lbs (29,937kg). (Interestingly, the photo BYD sent us has the GVW at 50,000lbs on the door.)

All that mass means the truck is limited to a 65mph (104km/h) top speed and a range of 56 miles (90km) and 600 pickups. Recharging the truck doesn't take as long as you think, despite all those kWh—nine hours connected to a 33kW AC outlet. The 8R supports either 120kW or 240kW DC fast charging, which takes 2.5 hours or 1.5 hours to recharge, respectively.

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This little electric car is the coolest thing at the NY Auto Show

April 19th, 2019

As we detailed on Monday, this year's Shanghai auto show has been the place to be if you want to see car designers' ideas for future electric cars. But not everyone chose China as the place to reveal their electric concept cars. Genesis thinks the Big Apple is a better place to make an annual statement.

In 2017 it was the GV80, a hydrogen fuel cell EV that was the first clean-sheet design for the new Korean luxury brand and a vehicle that seems a lot more plausible now that we've driven Hyundai's Nexo. Last year, we got the Essentia, an electric hypercar that will almost certainly remain nothing more than a concept. Now, for the third year in a row, Genesis has stolen the New York International Auto Show, this time with the Mint, its take on a small luxury battery EV.

Forget an electric car for the masses, this one is for a niche within a niche: the city dweller who only needs two seats but still wants cargo space, plus the added drama of scissor doors and a leather-lined interior that looks like it belongs in a coachbuilt Bugatti from the 1930s. Admittedly, it's not the biggest demographic in the world, but I count myself firmly in that camp.

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Nikola Motor Company shows off two real trucks and …a new jet ski?

April 17th, 2019

Ars makes every effort to cover its own travel costs. We covered the flight out to Scottsdale, AZ, but Nikola covered one night in a nearby hotel.

SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ.—Nikola Motor Company announced a slew of all-electric and hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicles on a cool Tuesday night in a warehouse surrounded by desert. The company seems to be positioning itself as the "trucker's Tesla," serving up Budweiser (supplied by partner-customer Anheuser-Busch) and country music to the same industry watchers and investors that Tesla usually courts.

Of the five products that Nikola CEO Trevor Martin talked about on Tuesday night, very little came as a true surprise to watchers of the company. There were two trucks: the Nikola Two and the Nikola Tre (for European markets), as well as a Utility Task Vehicle (UTV) for off-roading, a military-grade UTV, and a previously unannounced jet ski.

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Electric vehicles are center stage at the 2019 Shanghai auto show

April 16th, 2019

The 2019 Shanghai auto show is now underway, and electric cars are thick on the ground. If there was any doubt about how important the Chinese market is to the world's car makers, this year's show should put it to rest, with forward-looking vehicles on show from established OEMs and startups. Some, like the Audi AI:ME point the way to a possible future of autonomous transport. The AI:ME is a followup to 2017's AIcon, this time showing us the company's idea of a much more compact self-driving vehicle.

But plenty more are closer to reality. Volkswagen took the wraps off yet another ID family member—the ID Roomzz joins the ID range alongside the Crozz, Buzz, Vizzion, and Buggy. A three-row SUV, this one goes on sale in 2021 and unlike the compact ID itself, we're pretty sure that includes the US market as well as Europe and Asia.

It's not all SUVs, either. Though we keep hearing that time's up for the humble four-door, the evidence at Shanghai points to that idea being premature.

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Posted in @lotus, Aston MArtin, Audi, battery electric vehicles, cars, concept car, Infiniti, Nio, Shanghai auto show, Volkswagen | Comments (0)

At a quick Los Angeles event, Tesla announces the 300-mile-range Model Y

March 15th, 2019

Tonight in Los Angeles, Tesla CEO Elon Musk showed off a prototype version of the Model Y, the fourth mass-produced vehicle that the electric car maker will bring to market. The vehicle, as expected, will be a larger, SUV-version of the Model 3, much like the Model X was the larger, SUV-version of the Model S.

Musk revealed very few details about the upcoming car, but a few key figures stuck out: the 300-mile, long-range version of the vehicle will go into production in Fall 2020 with an MSRP of $47,000. The 230-mile, standard version will cost $37,000 and go into production in Spring 2021, according to Musk. The Y will seat seven people with 66 cubic feet of storage space.

The vehicle will also have the option of a dual-motor all wheel drive option and a performance option, at an additional cost.

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Tesla says New York incentive for non-proprietary chargers is “discriminatory”

March 6th, 2019
A double charging station.

Enlarge / A double charging station with a "CCS plug" and a "CHAdeMO plug." (credit: Roland Weihrauch/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Last week, Tesla formally asked the New York Public Service Commission (NYPSC) to reconsider a February 7 order that would give utilities incentives for installing "publicly accessible" electric vehicle (EV) chargers.

The problem, Tesla says, is that NYPSC defined "publicly accessible" chargers as those that have generic plugs for both American- and Asian-made EVs. Tesla’s proprietary charging stations do not qualify for the incentives.

The original order from NYPSC (PDF) offers utilities the ability to charge more favorable rates for electricity and use more favorable classifications for any publicly accessible Direct Current Fast Charging (DCFC) stations that the utilities install. But any chargers they install have to have both a Combined Charging System (CCS) plug and a CHAdeMo plug to be classified in the manner preferred by utilities.

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Electric car batteries might be worth recycling, but bus batteries aren’t yet

February 12th, 2019
A used electric vehicle battery.

Enlarge / A used lithium-ion electric vehicle battery sits at the 4R Energy Corporation Namie factory in Namie Town, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, on Monday, Mar. 26, 2018. (credit: Akio Kon/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts that there will be 559 million electric vehicles on the road by 2040. But electric vehicles don't last forever. And their batteries are not always filled with the kinds of materials you would want leaching into the environment if they're disposed of haphazardly. Policy makers and researchers have started considering how to deal with end-of-life on electric batteries, and recycling is often considered as a option.

Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University published a paper in Nature Sustainability this week that looks at the emissions and economic costs associated with recycling automotive batteries. They specifically addressed batteries with three types of cathode chemistry: nickel manganese cobalt oxide (NMC), nickel cobalt aluminum oxide (NCA), and iron phosphate (LFP). The first two cathode chemistries are common in passenger vehicles, and LFP is common in buses (bus maker BYD use LFP batteries, for example).

Since the packaging of batteries is important to the recycling method, cylindrical batteries (the types of cells that Tesla makes) are compared to pouch cell batteries in the analysis.

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Posted in batteries, battery electric vehicles, cars, cobalt, electric buses, emissions, Energy, lithium, science | Comments (0)