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London Mayor aims to penalise diesel drivers

Pipe: Europe - Tue, 2014-07-29 07:35
Diesel cars that do not meet the Euro 6 emissions standard will have to pay a £10 charge to enter London in an effort to combat air pollution.

Jaguar XE set to impress with 75mpg <b>fuel economy</b>

Pipe: Passenger vehicles - Tue, 2014-07-29 06:41
The new Jaguar XE will be the most economical Jaguar saloon ever built, with diesel models on course to return 75mpg and below 100g/km of CO2.

2016 XE Will Be The Most Fuel-Efficient Jaguar Ever Thanks To Aluminum Construction

Pipe: Passenger vehicles - Tue, 2014-07-29 06:30
Now, Jaguar has released information on the car's fuel economy, claiming that the new XE will be the most fuel-efficient model in the marque's history.

Evatran’s wireless charging technology available for Cadillac ELR; two more premium model announcements expected

Pipe: Advanced tech - Tue, 2014-07-29 06:00

Evatran Group, Inc. announced that its Plugless wireless charging technology (earlier post) will soon be available on the Cadillac ELR. Evatran currently has systems that are compatible with the Nissan LEAF and Chevrolet Volt. The Cadillac ELR is the first model to be announced in what the company expects to be three new premium model announcements by the end of 2014.

Evatran is accepting advanced orders for deliveries as soon as 1 September.

Completely eliminating the plug-in process, the Plugless Level 2 system ensures maximum electric range out of an electric vehicle by ensuring that every time the car is parked, it’s charging. The system charges as quickly as conventional corded systems and all vehicle features, such as charge-timers and phone applications, can be used seamlessly with the Plugless system. The system also has the industry’s only safety certification from Electronic Testing Laboratories (ETL).

After two years of field trials with partners such as Google, Hertz, and Duke Energy, the Plugless System was made available to individual Nissan LEAF and Chevrolet Volt owners in early 2014.

Evatran is currently working with Oak Ridge National Lab on a three-year Department of Energy grant to integrate high power wireless charging technology into production electric vehicles.

Jaguar: aluminum-intensive XE will feature fuel consumption lower than 4L/100km; structure is 75% aluminum

Pipe: Advanced tech - Tue, 2014-07-29 06:00

The aluminum body of the XE. Click to enlarge.

In the second of four technology previews leading up to the introduction of the new Jaguar XE on 8 September, Jaguar outlined its extensive use of aluminum in the new model. Designed around Jaguar’s modular vehicle architecture, the XE is the only car in the class to use an aluminum-intensive monocoque, with lightweight aluminum accounting for 75% of the structure.

The new aluminum-intensive SE will be paired with engines from the new Ingenium family of efficient diesel and gasoline engines (earlier post)—powertrains specifically designed and calibrated to complement reduced-weight vehicles. Jaguar projects that the resulting XE will achieve fuel consumption of less that 4.0 l/100 km (59 mpg US) on the NEDC combined cycle (subject to certification) and CO2 emissions of less than 100 g/km.

The Jaguar XE is also the first car to make use of a new grade of high-strength aluminum called RC 5754 which was developed specifically for the XE and can take up to 50% recycled content—making a significant contribution to Jaguar’s goal of using 75% recycled material by 2020. The high percentage of recycled content also reduces lifecycle emissions by requiring less electricity in production.

Lightweight construction is a core element of Jaguar’s DNA and Jaguar is at the fore of aluminum technology in the automotive industry. The Jaguar XJ, XK and F-Type have all been developed using exceptionally stiff bonded and riveted aluminum structures; now the XE becomes the latest model to use this technology, now in its fifth generation.

The Jaguar XE body uses over 75% aluminum content, which far exceeds any other car in its class. This gives us a body structure with unrivaled low weight: it’s light but also immensely strong with extremely high levels of torsional stiffness. We’ve made sure our aluminum-intensive body structure exceeds all global safety standards without compromising on vehicle design or refinement.—Dr. Mark White, Jaguar’s Chief Technical Specialist; Body Complete

The structure also delivers exceptional torsional stiffness. The light but strong architecture incorporates highly advanced suspension systems delivering ride quality, handling and steering, Jaguar says.

Chassis technologies. In the first technology preview, Jaguar previewed some of the chassis technologies for the new XE, including its integral link rear suspension, unique to this segment.

The Integral Link suspension delivers benefits over conventional multi-link designs, Jaguar said. By providing lateral and longitudinal stiffness, the integral link delivers sharp response and handling while retaining a refined, luxurious ride.

Many components of the Integral Link suspension have been forged or hollow-cast in aluminum.

XE’s front suspension is based on that of an F-TYPE sports car. Mounted to a subframe with cast aluminum suspension towers, the XE’s double wishbone front suspension delivers high levels of handling and road-holding, according to the company.

The advanced design includes some key components designed to deliver Jaguar XFR-levels of stiffness. These ensure the XE enjoys a similar level of agility and connected steering feel. Like the rear suspension, many components are made from cast and forged aluminum and some are produced using a patented process.

XE will also become the first Jaguar to be equipped with the latest generation Electric Power Assisted Steering. The new software algorithms now allow much greater scope for tuning than hydraulic-based systems and deliver better quality steering feel. Other benefits include variable steering damping, ease of low-speed maneuvering and the ability to adapt to Jaguar Drive Control settings. EPAS also enables a range of Active Safety and Driver Aid features.

Jaguar has also developed All Surface Progress Control, a new feature in its class. ASPC works like a low-speed cruise control to deliver optimum traction in the most slippery conditions without skidding and without the driver using the pedals.

Click to enlarge.

Designed and engineered in the UK, the XE will be the first Jaguar to be manufactured at a new purpose-built production facility at the company's Solihull plant in the West Midlands in the UK.

Mayor of London looks to disincentivise diesel engines

Pipe: Passenger vehicles - Tue, 2014-07-29 05:22
Drivers of diesel cars could soon pay additional vehicle excise duty and a 10 levy on the London Congestion Charge, under air quality improvement ...

GM bringing wireless smartphone charging with Powermat to Cadillac models

Pipe: Advanced tech - Tue, 2014-07-29 05:00

Cadillac will add wireless charging of smartphones in the 2015 model ATS sport sedan and coupe launching this fall, to the CTS sport sedan this fall and to the Escalade SUV at the end of 2014.Compatible with Powermat and other in-phone wireless charging technologies, the feature eliminates the need for cords on board.Following its introduction into the 2015 ATS, wireless charging technology will be added

A recent survey from IHS revealed that 70 percent of consumers charge their mobile phone at least once per day, with 30 percent charging more than once. This is driving demand for charging access in multiple locations throughout the day, something wireless charging can address in a more convenient way than the consumer having to carry one or more wired chargers around with them on a daily basis.—Ryan Sanderson, associate director, Power Supply & Storage Components at IHS Technology

Powermat enables the phone to simply sit on a rubberized pad while the battery is recharged by means of an electromagnetic field. An increasing number of smartphones have wireless charging either embedded or as an option. The wireless charger GM and Powermat created accommodates the majority of these enabled devices.

The wireless charging feature will be located inside the storage bin behind the fully motorized center instrument panel faceplate of the ATS. This location creates a convenient option for drivers so they can keep their hands on the wheel. Using Bluetooth, a driver can pair his or her phone to the vehicle and enjoy many of the connectivity elements of the mobile device while it is both out of the way and charging.

Cadillac CUE is the centerpiece of the ATS Coupe’s in-vehicle technologies. For 2015, CUE includes new enhanced content such as a Text-to-Voice feature for smartphone users with Bluetooth profile (M.A.P.), which reads incoming texts through the car’s speakers. Using the feature requires a compatible smartphone with Bluetooth profile and applicable text messaging feature.

Powermat’s technology was formally adopted by the PMA (Power Matters Alliance), and is the platform of choice for such global leaders as Duracell, General Motors, AT&T and Starbucks.

Mercedes-Benz introduces new Vito mid-size van; up to 41.3 mpg US, new front-wheel drive option

Pipe: Advanced tech - Tue, 2014-07-29 04:50

New Vito. Click to enlarge.

Mercedes-Benz introduced its new Vito model series for the mid-size van (2.5–3.2 t GVW) segment. Among the variants is the Vito 116 CDI BlueEfficiency, offering fuel consumption of 5.7 l of diesel per 100 km (41.3 mpg US).

The new Vito is also the first van in the mid-size segment to offer three different drive system variants—rear-wheel, all-wheel, and, new, front wheel drive systems. The Vito also and incorporates a broad range of innovative safety and assistance systems.

The new front-wheel drive Vito is a very light vehicle, and is being marketed at a very attractive price. The proven rear-wheel drive system is suited for jobs involving heavy loads or trailers, and situations where very dynamic handling is required. The all-wheel drive system is the ideal choice when a high degree of traction is required, especially in tough driving conditions and on unpaved roads.

OM 622 diesel for front-wheel drive. The variety of diesel engines available in the new Vito is also unique in the model’s segment. The front-wheel drive variants are equipped with a compact, transverse-mounted four-cylinder engine with 1.6-liter displacement (OM 622 turbodiesel engine). This engine is available in two performance classes: 65 kW (88 hp) and 84 kW (114 hp).

With double overhead camshaft and direct injection the turbocharged four-valve engine is an advanced design with crossflow cylinder head, low-friction coating for the cylinder liners and steel pistons with stress-relieved, and therefore low-friction, piston rings. Common-rail injection technology works with an injection pressure of max. 1600 bar; piezoelectric injection nozzles with seven holes respond exceptionally fast and with precision.

A VNT turbocharger ensures an immediate response and fast build-up of output in the lower engine speed range along with appealing performance at high revs—the compact engine behaves like a large one in terms of power delivery. An almost square design with 80 mm bore and a stroke of 79.5 mm creates the conditions for high pulling power and revving ability.

Smooth and quiet with low vibration levels, the engine is deployed with all three lengths and the three weight variants: 2.5 t, 2.8 t and 3.05 t permissible gross vehicle weights.

Emission control comes via exhaust gas recirculation, a diesel particulate filter and an oxidation catalytic converter. The engine meets the requirements of the Euro 5b+ emissions standard as they currently stand. It is already ready for the future Euro 6 emissions standard.

The new OM 622 is available with two power ratings:

  • Vito 109 CDI, 65 kW (88 hp) at 3800 rpm, max. torque 230 N·m at 1500–2000 rpm
  • Vito 111 CDI, 84 kW (114 hp) at 3800 rpm, max. torque 270 N·m at 1500–2500 rpm

OM 651 with rear or all-wheel drive. In cases where demands on performance are high, use will be intensive, high gross vehicle weights are required, trailer towing will be demanding or plenty of traction is needed to deal with lots of weight, the new Vito with rear-wheel drive and the powerful Mercedes-Benz OM 651 engine is the option. It works in practically every car or van from Mercedes-Benz—all the way up to the S-Class. The engine has been substantially upgraded for use in the new Vito.

With a 83 mm bore and a stroke of 99 mm, the four-cylinder unit with a displacement of 2.15 liters is a long-stroke design for high pulling power. The double overhead camshaft operates a total of 16 inlet and exhaust valves and is driven by a combination of gearwheels and a short chain. Common-rail injection technology works with an injection pressure of max. 1800 bar. Fuel is injected by solenoid injectors and injection nozzles with seven holes. For all three power ratings, there is a two-stage turbocharging system. A small high-pressure turbocharger ensures good responsiveness right from low revs barely above idling. The large low-pressure turbocharger is responsible for high output at higher revs.

A Lanchester balancer with two counter-rotating shafts, moving the camshaft drive further back and a two-mass flywheel contribute to the engine’s smooth running.

The bottom two power ratings for this engine likewise meet the requirements of the Euro 5b+ emissions standard as they currently stand. Emission control comes courtesy of exhaust gas recirculation, a diesel particulate filter and an oxidation catalytic converter. In its highest power rating the engine already complies with the future Euro 6 emissions standard.

Because this emissions standard cannot be attained by engine modifications alone, Mercedes-Benz deploys SCR technology (Selective Catalytic Reduction) with BlueTEC engine technology and injects AdBlue into exhaust gases to control them.

The AdBlue tank on the new Vito has a capacity of around 11.5 litres. To fill the AdBlue tank a filler neck is conveniently located underneath the opening for diesel fuel.

The OM 651 is available with three power ratings:

  • Vito 114 CDI, 100 kW (136 hp) at 3800 rpm, max. torque 330 N·m at 1200-2400 rpm
  • Vito 116 CDI, 120 kW (163 hp) at 3800 rpm, max. torque 380 N·m at 1400-2400 rpm
  • Vito 119 BlueTEC, 140 kW (190 hp) at 3800 rpm, max. torque 440 N·m at 1400-2400 rpm

Transmissions. A six-speed manual transmission transmits power in the new Vito with front-wheel drive and OM 622. The ratios are tuned specifically to the new Vito and cover a range from i=4.182 to 0.549 along with the need for high starting performance when laden and for less revving—and therefore more economical, quieter driving—at higher speeds.

The ECO Gear six-speed manual transmission is standard in conjunction with rear-wheel drive and the Mercedes-Benz OM 651 engine. With its wide spread and ratios from i=5.076 to 0.675 it ensures maximum traction when moving off as well as low revs—and therefore a quiet, fuel-saving driving style—at higher road speeds. Due to lifetime filling with low-friction oil the transmission now runs more smoothly and thus more economically.

The optional 7G-TRONIC PLUS automatic transmission with torque converter is likewise designed for maximum fuel economy. It is available as an option for the OM 651 with the bottom and mid power rating and as standard for the most powerful version, as well as the Vito 4x4 with all-wheel drive.

The world’s only automatic transmission with torque converter and seven gears for vans is employed for the first time in the Vito. Here too those seven gears provide a wide spread with high traction at low road speeds and fewer revs at high speeds. The automatic transmission is combined with an ECO start/stop function that responds fast. Low slippage with the lock-up clutch creates a direct connection at the accelerator pedal and thus high agility.

At the same time fuel consumption is lowered. Shift points are precision-tuned to the engine characteristics. A torsional damper ensures operation is comfortable even at very low revs and provides slip control for the torque converter lock-up clutch from a low load. The development engineers have also optimized the way the oil heats up during cold running and the torque converter’s hydraulic system. This means that the oil heats up quickly to minimise friction losses after a cold start.

Fuel efficiency. The developers of the new Vito made the model extremely fuel efficient. Average NEDC diesel consumption has been reduced by around 20% compared to the predecessor model. The Vito with BlueEfficiency package is especially fuel efficient. The BlueEfficiency package can be ordered with the new rear-wheel drive Vito. It is also standard in all Vito Tourer models that have an automatic transmission, are registered as passenger cars, or are variants equipped with the model series’ most powerful engine.

All the different new Vito engine variants also benefit from a long maintenance interval of up to 40,000 km (25,000 miles) or two years.

Auxiliaries. The steering and auxiliary units were also optimized with an emphasis on low fuel consumption. The new electromechanical power steering system, for example, requires energy only when the steering wheel is turned. Because it is speed-dependent, power consumption decreases considerably at high speed.

Due to intelligent management the alternator is preferentially charged in overrun mode. When accelerating or travelling at a constant speed, therefore, all engine power is available to the drive system without restriction. The electric fuel pump controls the fuel supply on a demand basis so the rated flow is variable. The same applies to the engine oil pump. Finally, the belt-driven supercharger for the optional air conditioning is one-way and is therefore only active when the unit is switched on.

BlueEfficiency. Given all these specific measures the new Vito is intrinsically very economical. The BlueEfficiency package is available for the new Vito with OM 651 engine and rear-wheel drive and is already standard for all Vito Tourers with automatic transmission and a car registration, as well as all models with the most powerful engine (140 kW/190 hp).

BlueEfficiency comprises multiple components. The ECO start/stop function independently switches off the engine while the car is at a standstill provided that no gear is engaged and the clutch pedal is not being operated. On vehicles with the automatic transmission 7G-TRONIC PLUS in mode D it is enough to stop with the foot brake pressed.

In conjunction with ECO start/stop the new Vito is equipped with an additional buffer battery. This supports the power supply to electrical consumers when starting the engine. Alternator management has been optimized for greater efficiency. The same is true of the fuel pump which controls the supply pressure and flow rate as needed. Tires optimized for minimum rolling resistance require less energy to rotate them. Further, underbody panelling improves the aerodynamics, thereby reducing fuel consumption.

Safety and driver assistance. The Vito panel is the only van equipped with airbags and a seatbelt warning system for both the driver and front passenger. With its maximum eight airbags for the driver and passengers, the new Vito Tourer is now the new benchmark in this regard. Standard equipment in the new Vito also includes the Attention Assist system and a tire pressure monitoring system.

In a unique development in the mid-size van segment, the Crosswind Assist system is available as basic standard equipment in the new Vito model series. Crosswind Assist is able to compensate nearly fully for strong wind gusts. Additional assistance systems are available as options. Also new—and unique in the van segment as a whole—are the Active Parking Assist and Collision Prevention Assist systems. Also available is a Blind Spot Assist, which warns drivers of approaching vehicles when they switch lanes, and a Lane Keeping Assist, which prevents drivers from inadvertently leaving the lane.

The new Vito comes with halogen headlights as standard, but it can also be ordered with the optional LED Intelligent Light System (ILS). Previously, such a system was not available in the van segment. The ILS consists of LED blinkers and LED daytime driving lights, low-beams, high-beams, and cornering lights. These headlights can adjust the manner in which they distribute their beams in line with the speed of the vehicle and requirements on the road or highway.

The new Vito is scheduled to be launched in Germany in October 2014. The model will subsequently be introduced in other European countries. Prices for the Vito 109 CDI panel van will start at €17,990 (US$24,200) in Germany (excluding value-added tax).

We’re attacking in the mid-size van segment. We’re now offering new entry-level variants in our traditional markets. But we also plan to conquer new markets, such as North and Latin America, with the new Vito. The vehicle will follow in the footsteps of the Sprinter and become our second global model.—Volker Mornhinweg, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans

Mercedes-Benz vans. Between the time of the Vito’s market launch in 1995 and the end of 2013 nearly 1.2 million units of the Vito have been sold. Like its predecessor, the new Vito is being built at the Mercedes-Benz Vans plant in Vitoria, which is situated in the Basque region of Spain. The division invested around €190 million (US$255 million) in the plant for the model changeover in the mid size segment.

Overall unit sales at Mercedes-Benz Vans increased by +9% to 76,000 vehicles in the period April–June 2014. At €2.5 billion (US$3.4 billion), revenues were also up from the second quarter of last year (€2.4 billion). EBIT amounted to €242 million (US$325 million) (Q2 2013: €204 million), which led to an increase in the division’s return on sales from 8.4% in Q2 2013 to 9.7% in the second quarter of this year.

In terms of regional performance, Mercedes-Benz Vans achieved a significant sales increase of 17% in Western Europe, to 49,600 units. Increases were particularly sharp in Germany (+16%), the UK (+28%), and Spain (+96%). Sales development also remained positive in the United States and China. Sales in the US rose by 18% in the second quarter, to 7,200 units, and sales increased in China by 17% to 3,900 units.

One of the factors of success here was the new Sprinter, which, like its predecessor, is a bestselling model just one year after its launch. Sales of the large van spurred growth at the Vans division in the second quarter of 2014.

During this period 48,700 Sprinters were sold around the globe. This figure represents a 15% increase compared with the second quarter of 2013. Mercedes-Benz Vans also increased its second-quarter sales of vans in the mid-size segment, where the new Vito is expected to become a big hit. Global sales of mid-size vans increased to 22,300 units in the second quarter (Q2 2013: 20,800).

Jaguar XE <b>fuel economy</b> targets under 4 litres per 100 km combined thanks to aluminium <b>...</b>

Pipe: Passenger vehicles - Tue, 2014-07-29 04:28
Because the engine has to lug less weight around, Jaguar is targeting to deliver a fuel economy of less than 4 litres per 100 km (75 mpg) on the EU ...

Yamaha looking to increase market share by launching fuel efficient bikes

Pipe: Passenger vehicles - Tue, 2014-07-29 04:15
The Managing Director of Yamaha Motor Research, Toshikazu Kobayashi, spoke about the same, and said, "Fuel economy of course is a key factor ...

Human-induced water vapour next climate threat

Pipe: India - Tue, 2014-07-29 04:03
The rising levels of water vapour in the upper troposphere - a key amplifier of global warming - owing to greenhouse gases will intensify climate change impacts over the next decades, scientists said.

Diesel drivers to be penalised in drive to cut <b>air pollution</b>

Pipe: Passenger vehicles - Tue, 2014-07-29 01:26
Cars with diesel engines could soon incur new charges and higher taxes as part of efforts to lower air pollution levels in Britain's towns and cities.

Peugeots neue Markenstrategie: Wachsen durch Schrumpfen

Pipe: Europe - Tue, 2014-07-29 01:10
Peugeot schreibt Milliardenverluste. Der Autobauer muss dringend umsteuern, sonst wird es eng. Bei der Präsentation des 508 stellte PSA-Chef Carlos Tavares deshalb nicht nur ein aufgefrischtes Auto vor. Es ging um viel mehr - die Überlebensstrategie.

Startup Wants You to Capture the World in 3-D

Pipe: Aviation - Tue, 2014-07-29 00:00

Mantis Vision is developing 3-D scanning technology that could end up in lots of tablets.

Gur Bittan envisions a future where you’re not just capturing a regular video of a child’s first steps with a smartphone; you’re doing it in 3-D, and sharing it with friends who can manipulate the video to watch it from different perspectives—even the kid’s point of view, providing you’ve scanned the scene from enough angles.


NASA airplanes fly low over Denver skyline and the Front Range testing ozone levels

Pipe: Passenger vehicles - Mon, 2014-07-28 20:56
Gabriele Pfister of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) speaking about the Front Range Air Pollution and Photochemistry ...

exams -- CEA B-Chief, Industrial Strategies Division

Pipe: Advanced tech - Mon, 2014-07-28 19:26
Final Filing Date: August 8, 2014 or until filled.

newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for July 28, 2014.

Pipe: Advanced tech - Mon, 2014-07-28 19:19
ARB Newsclips for July 28, 2014.

Diesel drivers face new charges to cut pollution

Pipe: Passenger vehicles - Mon, 2014-07-28 17:11
Drivers of diesel cars face penalties and restrictions to combat the growing threat posed by air pollution in cities, The Times has learnt. Almost all ...

BMW introduces compact i DC Fast Chargers; ChargeNow DC Fast program for no-cost 30-min charge through 2015

Pipe: Advanced tech - Mon, 2014-07-28 17:02

BMW of North America launched its BMW i DC Fast Chargers, which can charge the BMW i3 all-electric vehicle’s battery up to 80% in 30 minutes, at the Plug-In 2014 conference. The fast chargers are a joint development between BMW and Bosch Automotive Service Solutions.

BMW also announced its new ChargeNow DC Fast program in cooperation with NRG eVgo, in which BMW i3 drivers in California can enjoy no-cost unlimited 30 minute DC fast charging, at NRG eVgo Freedom Station sites equipped with DC Combo Fast Charging, through 2015.

EL-51620 BMW i DC Fast Charger Voltage 400V–480V, 3 phase
Input power 24kW Input current/phase 30A Rec. breaker 40A Connector/Cable SAE Combo 1 Mounting Wall mount or optional pedestal. Weight 125 lbs (57 kg) Cord length 20 ft (6 meters) Dimensions 31" H x 19" W x 12" D
(86 cm x 48 cm x 30 cm) Temperature rating -40 °F to 185 °F Enclosure Indoor/Outdoor rated, IP54 enclosure Price $6,548

The 24 kW DC Fast Charger feeds the current directly to the vehicle’s battery, resulting in a more efficient and faster charge. BMW i DC Fast Chargers use the SAE Combo 1 connector, the North American automotive industry standard for fast charging; feature a rugged aluminum IP54 enclosure; meet NEMA 3 requirements; and are designed to perform in extreme weather conditions, from -40°F to 185°F.

Conventional DC fast chargers can be about the size of a standard refrigerator, cost tens of thousands of dollars and require a significant amount of electricity. By contrast, the BMW i DC fast chargers are half the size of a traditional electric vehicle DC charger—measuring 31"H x 19"W x 12"D and weighing approximately 100 pounds—can be mounted on a wall, a first for electric vehicle DC fast chargers.

In addition, BMW i DC Fast Chargers will be priced significantly less than other DC Combo chargers—in the market at $6,548 for authorized BMW partners.

With more than five years of real world experience, we understand that a robust network of publicly available DC Combo Fast Chargers is a key part of the mobility of tomorrow. BMW is offering the BMW i DC Fast Charger at an appealing price point, and more manageable size, to make the convenience of DC fast charging more accessible for BMW i3 owners.—Robert Healey, EV Infrastructure Manager, at BMW of North America

Additionally, the BMW i DC Fast Charger is ChargePoint network-enabled, allowing electric vehicle drivers with the SAE Combo 1 inlet to access the BMW i DC Fast Charger using a ChargePoint or ChargeNow card. Major automakers including BMW, GM, Ford, Chrysler, Daimler, Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche have committed to adopting the SAE Combo 1 inlet for DC charging.

The BMW i DC Fast Chargers will be available for BMW i Centers across the US beginning in August.

ChargeNow DC Fast. BMW, in cooperation with NRG eVgo, will offer no cost charging to BMW i3 drivers at participating eVgo Freedom Station sites equipped with DC Combo Fast Charging in California through 2015.

Using their ChargeNow cards, BMW i3 drivers will have access to unlimited 30-minute DC fast charging sessions with the ChargeNow DC Fast program. BMW i3 owners can sign up for ChargeNow DC Fast at In order to receive the full benefits of the program, BMW i3 drivers must use the ChargeNow card, provided with their BMW i3, to charge the vehicle at least once by 31 December 2014, at a participating eVgo Freedom Station. By doing so, BMW i3 drivers will enjoy continued access to no cost DC charging sessions through the end of 2015. Eligible BMW i3 vehicles must be equipped with the DC Fast Charging option (SAE).

eVgo will deploy a minimum of 100 BMW i3 compatible DC Fast Chargers across California to support the ChargeNow DC Fast Program.

Google and IEEE launch $1M challenge for downsized inverters

Pipe: Advanced tech - Mon, 2014-07-28 15:17

Google and the IEEE have launched the Littlebox Challenge—an open competition to design and build a small kW-scale inverter with the highest power density (of at least 50 W/in3, or 3.05 kW/L) in an enclosure of less than 40 in3 in volume (0.66L). The winning inverter, which will receive a $1-million prize, will be the unit which achieves the highest power density while meeting the required specifications under testing for 100 hours. In the event of a tie on volume, efficiency will be used to determine the grand prize winner. The grand prize winner will be announced sometime in January, 2016.

Google and IEEE are emphasizing size reduction in their challenge, without targeting a specific application area such as automotive. As a few points of comparison, the Bosch INVCON 2.3 inverter used in the Fiat 500e has a volume of about 5 liters, while the motor inverter used in the 2010 Prius drivetrain has a volume of about 5.4L (according to a DOE deconstruction.) The peak power density of the 2010 Prius motor inverter is 11.1 kW/L (while the peak PD for the Lexus 600h 6.4-liter unit reaches up to 17.2 kW/L.)

(In its efforts to encourage the development of next-generation inverter technologies for vehicles, DOE is emphasizing a balance of cost, power density, specific power, and efficiency. For example, GM is leading a DOE funded project for a next-generation inverter targeting improving costs to $3.30/kW produced in quantities of 100,000 units; power density to 13.4kW/l; specific power to 14.1kW/kg, and an efficiency >94% (10%-100% speed at 20% rated torque) to meet the DOE 2020 goals.)

We believe that inverters will become increasingly important to our economy and environment as solar PV, batteries, and similar power sources continue their rapid growth. More broadly, similar forms of power electronics are everywhere: in laptops, phones, motors drives, electric vehicles, wind turbines, to give just a few examples. We expect that the innovations inspired by this prize will have wide applicability across these areas, increasing efficiency, driving down costs, and opening up new uses cases that we can’t imagine today. It also doesn’t hurt that many of these improvements could make our data centers run more safely and efficiently.—Google FAQ on the challenge

Applicants must register their team by 30 September 2014. Eligible academics interested in pursuing grant funding must apply by 30 September. Registered teams must submit a technical approach and testing application by 22 July 2015.

Up to 18 finalists will be notified of their selection for final testing at the testing facility. They are required to bring their inverters in person to a testing facility in United States by 21 October 2015.

To be considered for testing, participants in the competition must submit a technical approach document not to exceed 4 pages. The document should describe at a high level what approach and innovations the team are using to achieve the high power densities claimed for their inverters. A 1-page appendix with biographical information about the key team members must also be included.

Click to enlarge.

Google will make public a subset of the technical approach documents; the level of detail required in the technical approach document is meant to be high-level and not divulge any trade secrets. The content and descriptions of the device should be comparable to a short IEEE paper meant to explain conceptually how a new device can work without revealing all the details about the exact values of components used, nor going into details about the control algorithms and other more detailed aspects. General guidelines include:

  • Power density achieved: the volume of the rectangular enclosure used and thus the resulting power density achieved at a load of 2 kVA should be specified.

  • Switch level schematics: schematics should be detailed enough to reveal what general topology is being used, but not include every passive component or other circuit detail.

  • Order of magnitude passive component values: For passive components which typically take up a large volume, or are otherwise critical to the the conceptual design of the circuit, an order of magnitude value for what was used (e.g. 10s of microfarads vs. 100s of microfarads) is acceptable.

  • Order of magnitude frequency values: For switching frequencies used in creating an alternating current output from a direct current through a pulse­width modulation or other technique, specifying the order of magnitude of frequency used (e.g. 10s of kilohertz vs. 100s of kilohertz) is acceptable.

  • Semiconductor device type(s): Participants should specify the type of semiconductor switching devices that they are using (e.g. silicon, gallium­nitride, silicon­carbide, etc.). Participants may or may not specify the vendors and providers of these semiconductor switching devices at their discretion. The same is true of any novel passive components used.

Teams should also provide clearly indicated sections on what innovations they have used to confront challenges including: the 120 Hz input current/voltage ripple requirement; miniaturization of components for DC­AC conversion; thermal management; and electromagnetic compliance.