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2018 VW Tiguan and new 2.0 TSI B-cycle engine gives VW a strong offering in compact SUV segment

27 June 2017

Volkswagen of America is in the process of rolling out its all-new long wheelbase 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan (earlier post). As with the all-new 2018 Volkswagen Atlas full-size SUV (earlier post), the new Tiguan is based on Volkswagen’s Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB) architecture.

The all-new 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan—the second-generation of the vehicle—is powered by the latest version of the EA888 four-cylinder engine, the 2.0L TSI EA888 Gen3 B-Cycle (Budack-cycle, earlier post), coupled with an 8-speed automatic. This is the only engine/transmission combination available in the Tiguan in the US. 4Motion with Active Control all-wheel drive system is optional. The core element of the new engine is a new combustion process combining short intake events with a high compression ratio.

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ChargePoint takes over GE’s EV charging network; nearly 10,000 new residential and commercial charging spots

27 June 2017

ChargePoint, Inc. has acquired assets and customer contracts related to GE’s charging network business, adding more than 1,800 commercial and about 8,000 residential charging spots to the ChargePoint network. The specifics of the agreement remain confidential. ChargePoint will maintain GE’s existing software and commercial charging spots, helping to make the transition to ChargePoint as easy and seamless as possible for existing clients and drivers.

ChargePoint is the only EV charging company that designs, develops and manufactures its own EV charging hardware and software solutions. In addition, ChargePoint’s OnRamp program was designed specifically to bring other manufacturers to connect their charging stations to ChargePoint’s industry-leading network. GE stations will be supported by the ChargePoint support team. Drivers who are currently on the GE network will also be invited to start using the ChargePoint mobile app to locate available stations, track usage and more.

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Study finds anthropogenic PM and dust undercutting global solar energy production

27 June 2017

According to a new study led by a team at Duke University, airborne particulate matter and dust are cutting solar photovoltaic energy output by more than 25% in certain parts of the world, with roughly equal contributions from ambient PM and PM deposited on photovoltaic surfaces. The regions hardest hit are also those investing the most in solar energy installations: China, India and the Arabian Peninsula. An open-access paper on the study appears in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters.

With colleagues at the Indian Institute of Technology-Gandhinagar (IITGN) and the University of Wisconsin at Madison, Michael Bergin, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Duke University and lead author of the study, measured the decrease in solar energy gathered by the IITGN’s solar panels as they became dirtier over time. The data showed a 50% jump in efficiency each time the panels were cleaned after being left alone for several weeks.

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Leclanché signs preferred partnership agreement with Škoda Electric to supply battery packs for electric buses

26 June 2017

Energy storage company Leclanché SA and Škoda Electric, a manufacturer of electric drives and traction motors for trolley and electric buses, have signed a Joint Development Agreement and Framework Purchase Contract through which Leclanché will provide Škoda Electric with battery solutions for its electric bus expansion strategy. The agreement is worldwide in scope and will operate for an initial term of five years.

Leclanché will provide Škoda Electric with high energy (larger G/NMC batteries for overnight charging) and ultra-fast power battery solutions (smaller LTO battery packs for more regular charging, such as at bus stations during the day) for its e-buses. Its solutions will be modular, thereby enabling Škoda Electric to build e-buses from 6 meters to 26 meters across all market segments.

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Schaeffler and Audi to cooperate to develop next 3 generations of Formula E powertrain

26 June 2017

Schaeffler and Audi have agreed on an extensive cooperation in the development of the powertrain for the next three generations of the Formula E race car. Schaeffler Chief Technology Officer Prof. Peter Gutzmer and Peter Mertens, Member of the Board of Management, Technical Development AUDI AG, signed a three-year agreement—up to and including the 2019/2020 season—in Berlin-Tempelhof during the home round of Team ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport in Berlin.

Schaeffler has been involved in the innovative electric racing series from the beginning—designing, developing and building the powertrain for the only German Formula E race car in partnership with Team ABT since the 2015/2016 season. Audi AG entered the series with a factory-backed commitment as of the fourth season beginning in fall of 2017 (earlier post). Their partnership will include joint work on the electric motor, suspension and power electronics for the powertrain.

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Stock-flow modeling suggests energy transition within transportation will take several decades

26 June 2017

Using a stock-flow model based on data from Norway, a researcher at the country’s Institute of Transport Economics (TØI) has calculated the energy transition time lag for motor vehicles under a number of scenarios.

In his paper in the journal Energy Policy, Lasse Fridstrøm finds that in the most optimistic scenario for the energy transition affecting Norwegian registered vehicles, zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) would constitute 90% of the flow of new passenger cars in 2024; however, 90% penetration of ZEVs into the stock of passenger cars would not occur until 2039.

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Osaka team develops new solar-to-hydrogen catalyst that uses broader spectrum of light

26 June 2017

A team at Osaka University in Japan has developed a new material based on gold and black phosphorus to harvest a broader spectrum of sunlight for water-splitting to produce hydrogen.

The three-part composite maximizes both absorbing light and its efficiency for water splitting. The core is a traditional semiconductor—lanthanum titanium oxide (LTO). The LTO surface is partly coated with gold nanoparticles. Finally, the gold-covered LTO is mixed with ultrathin sheets of the element black phosphorus (BP), which acts as a light absorber. The optimum H2 production rates of BP-Au/LTO were about 0.74 and 0.30 mmol g-1 h-1 at wavelengths longer than 420 nm and 780 nm, respectively. A paper on the team’s work is published in the journal Angewandte Chemie: International Edition.

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Kyushu team develops multifunctional catalyst for poison-resistant hydrogen fuel cells; both H2 and CO as fuel

25 June 2017

Researchers at Kyushu University, Japan, have developed the first catalyst that can oxidize both hydrogen and carbon monoxide, depending on the pH of the reaction system. Carbon monoxide is a common pollutant in commercially available hydrogen gas but it poisons the platinum catalysts used in today’s fuel cells. A paper on the work appears in the journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition.

The new catalyst, based on a nickel-iridium [NiIr] complex, mimics the behavior of two enzymes: hydrogenase in acidic media (pH 4-7) and carbon monoxide dehydrogenase in basic media (pH 7-10). The team, led by Prof. Seiji Ogo, constructed a proof-of-concept fuel cell that turned the tables on carbon monoxide poisoning by using it as a fuel and generated energy from a 1:1 mixture of the two gases.

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Parker Aerospace offering lubrication, combustion, & thermal management systems to cut aircraft engine weight, fuel consumption, and emissions

24 June 2017

Parker Aerospace, a business segment of Parker Hannifin Corporation is introducing technologies designed to enhance the efficiency of aerospace engines in the areas of lubrication, combustion, and thermal management systems.

Engine lubrication innovations include the first-time use of composite materials for engine lubrication reservoirs, deploying oil demister technology to reduce emissions, and the development of sophisticated test rigs to optimize engine lubrication systems. Among the Parker Aerospace innovations in engine combustion are ecology tanks, enhanced combustor and fuel atomization nozzle design, and flexible lines for fuel manifolds. Parker Aerospace is also developing highly efficient, low-profile thermal management equipment to save envelope and weight on the engine.

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New efficient, low-temperature catalyst for converting water and CO to hydrogen and CO2

24 June 2017

Scientists in the US and China have developed a new low-temperature catalyst for producing high-purity hydrogen gas while simultaneously using up carbon monoxide (CO) via the water-gas shift (WGS) reaction. The discovery—described in a paper in the journal Science—could improve the performance of fuel cells that run on hydrogen fuel but can be poisoned by CO.

The WGS reaction (CO+H2O = H2+CO2) is an essential process for hydrogen generation and CO removal in various energy-related chemical operations. The reaction is favored at a low working temperature. Application in fuel cells requires a WGS catalyst to be highly active, stable and energy-efficient and match the working temperature of on-site hydrogen generation and consumption units.

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ZF showcases mSTARS electric axle system for axle hybrids or fully electric vehicles

23 June 2017

ZF is using its plug-in Vision Zero concept vehicle to showcase a number of new safety and zero local emissions technologies. The vehicle features a 150 kW electric axle drive system for dynamic acceleration. The entire propulsion system, including the integrated power electronics, is housed in an innovative, space-saving modular ZF rear axle system called mSTARS (modular Semi-Trailing Arm Rear Suspension).

This modular axle system makes it easier to electrify volume production vehicle platforms—even existing ones as demonstrated in the Vision Zero Vehicle. The system offers vehicle manufacturers the opportunity to respond to a diverse range of market requirements using just one car platform variant.

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Nissan teases new LEAF with ProPilot Assist semi-autonomous features

23 June 2017

At the Consumer Electronics Show in January, Nissan chairman of the board and chief executive officer Carlos Ghosn announced that the company would launch a new Nissan LEAF with ProPILOT technology (earlier post,) enabling autonomous drive functionality for single-lane highway driving. (Earlier post.) Nissan has now released a teaser image and video of the application of ProPILOT Assist in the new LEAF.

ProPILOT Assist supports drivers by helping control acceleration, braking and steering during single-lane driving on the highway. In the coming years, Nissan’s ProPILOT technology will offer increasing levels of autonomy, with the system eventually able to navigate city intersections.

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