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Mercedes-Benz developing Blind Spot Assist system for heavy-duty trucks

2 September 2014

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An LED warning light on the A-pillar on the co-driver’s side and an acoustic warning alert the driver to an impending collision. Click to enlarge.

Collisions when turning corners are among the most common and most serious types of accidents associated with trucks and unprotected road users. To address this, Mercedes-Benz is developing a Blind Spot Assist system for its heavy-duty trucks. The system, which utilizes a radar sensor monitoring the area next to the co-driver’s side of the truck, reliably warns the driver about dangers when turning corners in critical situations with restricted vision.

The system also takes into account the tractix curve of the semitrailer and therefore also warns if there is a danger of a collision with stationary obstacles such as traffic lights or street lamps. It also supports the driver when changing lanes.

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Wireless charging company WiTricity scaling up EV charging capability as well as itself

2 September 2014

WiTricity, the MIT spin-off commercializing strongly coupled magnetic resonance wireless charging technology for EVs as well as consumer devices, industrial, medical and military applications (earlier post), has work underway to deliver wireless charging systems capable of delivering 10s of kilowatts for plug-ins, compared to the current 3.3 or 6.6 kW, says CEO Alex Gruzen.

In addition to its ongoing work on the technology, WiTricity has been steadily tuning its executive suite over the past few months, starting with the naming of Gruzen as CEO in April. Gruzen succeeded Eric Giler who, in his five-plus year term as CEO, successfully established WiTricity’s business foundation and commercial capabilities. Giler remains a member of the WiTricity Board of Directors. Gruzen earlier served in senior management roles at Dell, HP, Compaq and Sony.

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Kia selects Greenlots to provide fast chargers and open standards networking for 2015 Soul EV rollout in US

2 September 2014

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Kia is partnering with Greenlots for charging of the Kia Soul EV. Click to enlarge.

Greenlots, a global provider of open standards-based technology solutions for electric vehicle (EV) networks, is partnering with Kia Motors America (KMA) and ABB, a global leader in power and automation technologies, to offer DC fast-chargers (DCFCs) at select Kia dealerships on the West Coast for the soon-to-launch 2015 Kia Soul EV. (Earlier post.)

Unveiled in February 2014 at the Chicago Auto Show and rolling out in the third quarter of 2014, the Kia Soul EV is Kia’s first zero-tailpipe-emissions car to be sold in the US. Also beginning in the third quarter, Kia will roll out Greenlots’ SKY Smart Charging platform to 17 dealerships in California. The new DCFC stations will allow Kia Soul EV owners to charge their vehicles from empty to 80% in approximately 30 minutes. Soul EV owners can find EZCharge locations via Kia’s UVO EVServices app or the 8-inch touch screen inside the vehicle, and pay for charging with their Kia ChargeUp card.

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High-capacity, long-life Li-S cathodes using ordered meso-microporous core-shell carbon

2 September 2014

A team at Huazhong University of Science and Technology (China) has developed an ordered meso-microporous core–shell carbon (MMCS) as a sulfur container, which combines the advantages of both mesoporous and microporous carbon for use in high-capacity, long-life cathodes for Lithium-sulfur batteries.

This strategy, they suggest in a paper in the journal ACS Nano, can inspire some other related novel materials with multilayers and hierarchical porous structures, which have great potential applications not only in energy conversion and storage but also in catalysis, adsorption, separation, drug delivery, sensors, and so on.

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Rental company eHi Car Services enters into strategic partnership with SAIC Motor; more electric-drive vehicles

2 September 2014

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The recently introduced Roewe 550 plug-in is part of the eHi acquisition deal. Click to enlarge.

eHi Car Services has entered into a strategic partnership with SAIC Motor, the largest automotive manufacturer in China and a Global Fortune 500 company. This relationship starts with a first order of thousands of vehicles including Roewe E50 electric vehicles and Roewe 550 plug-in electric hybrid vehicles.

eHi already offers the Roewe E50 EV for rental; this new round of EV acquisition is based on eHi’s more than a year of operating experience, data analysis and market experiments.

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Study suggests OEMs should use a modular design for PHEV and EREV vehicle battery packs to offer capacity choices to customers

2 September 2014

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TCO in € cents/km of EREV as a function of battery size for users with different annual mileages. Redelbach et al. Click to enlarge.

Car manufacturers should develop a modular design for plug-in hybrid and extended range electric vehicles (PHEVs and EREVs), allowing them to offer a choice of storage capacity to meet individual customer requirements rather than forcing a “one size fits all” approach, according to the results of a German-market-specific TCO study by a team from the Institute of Vehicle Concepts, German Aerospace Center (DLR).

The authors of the study, published in the journal Energy Policy, stress that they are not suggesting OEMs offer each customer an individual battery size, but rather than they offer, as an example, three different battery sizes dedicated to drivers with low, average and high mileage. The development of a modular design for battery packs could help OEMs to change the size with less effort and few implications on the rest of the vehicle, they suggested. (This is analogous to the approach taken by Tesla Motors with its two—originally three—pack capacity sizes offered in the Model S.)

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DOE seeking information on clean energy manufacturing technologies

1 September 2014

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) has issued a request for information (DE-FOA-0001158) on mid- Technology Readiness Level (TRL) research and development (R&D) needs, market challenges, supply chain challenges and shared facility needs in addressing advanced manufacturing development challenges impacting clean energy manufacturing. Submissions are due by 3 October.

Within the manufacturing sector, energy-intensive manufacturing industries account for nearly 75% of all the energy used (more than 20% of national energy use) and offer one of the largest opportunities for potential energy reductions. These industries produce and process basic materials and chemicals that go into many end-use consumer and industrial products. Energy intense industries include primary metals (e.g., steel, aluminum, metal-casting), chemicals/petrochemicals, oil and gas refining, bio-manufacturing (e.g., pulp and paper), and nonmetallic minerals (e.g., glass, cement).

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EPA staff policy assessment recommends reduction in ozone standard from 75 ppb to 60-70 ppb

31 August 2014

The staff of the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards (OAQPS) has released the final version of the policy assessment (PA) for the review of the ozone (O3) National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).

Among the staff recommendations are to further reduce the primary ozone standard from the current 75 ppb (parts per billion) to a revised level within the range of 70 ppb to 60 ppb—and preferably below 70 ppb.

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Researchers propose new class of high-temperature alloy; eutectic high-entropy alloys with both high ductility and high strength

29 August 2014

High-entropy alloys (HEAs), which represent an emerging effort in materials science and engineering, are multi-principal-element (at least four) alloys that are promising for high-temperature applications due to their high resistance to softening at elevated temperatures and sluggish diffusion kinetics.

However, HEAs so far have either high strength or high ductility; achieving both has been a challenge. Further, the inferior castability and compositional segregation of HEAs have been obstacles for commercialization. Now, researchers in China are proposing a new strategy for designing high-entropy alloys using the eutectic alloy concept to accomplish both attributes. As reported in a paper in Nature’s open access journal Scientific Reports, an eutectic high-entropy alloy (EHEA) showed an “unprecedented” combination of high tensile ductility and high fracture strength at room temperature. The excellent mechanical properties could be kept up to 700 °C.

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Shanghai GM launches Buick Envision; new 6-speed with start/stop standard, new AWD system

29 August 2014

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Buick Envision. Click to enlarge.

Shanghai GM officially launched the Buick Envision premium midsize SUV today in Chengdu. Four variants are being offered: the AWD Elite, AWD Luxury, AWD Versatile Flagship and AWD Versatile Sporty Flagship.

The Envision comes with GM’s latest-generation 2.0T direct injection turbocharged engine, named one of Ward’s 10 Best Engines for 2013. It generates maximum power of 191 kW (256 hp) at 5,500 rpm and peak torque of 353 N·m (260 lb-ft) at 5,300 rpm, with power per liter reaching 95.5 kW/L. The Envision accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 8.4 seconds; with engine start/stop standard across the lineup, combined fuel economy is 8.8L/100 km (26.7 mpg US).

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TfL to test IPT wireless charging technology on 4 extended range diesel electric hybrid buses next year

29 August 2014

TfL (Transport for London) will trial inductive charging systems provided by IPT Technology on up to four extended range diesel electric hybrid buses in east London from next year.

The specially built hybrid double deck buses will operate on route 69 between Canning Town and Walthamstow bus stations. The Alexander Dennis double-deck Enviro400H E400 buses will be fitted with technology enabling on-board batteries to receive a wireless charge boost at bus stands at either end of the route. It is hoped this will enable the buses to operate in pure electric mode for a significant period of the time they are in passenger service.

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Study finds external effects negate Hong Kong local efforts to reduce ozone pollution; multiregional policies needed

29 August 2014

Researchers from Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong’s Environmental Protection Department and UC Irvine present in a paper in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology direct evidence that increasing regional effects have negated local control efforts for O3 (ozone) pollution in Hong Kong over the past decade.

The researchers analyzed the daily maximum 8 h average O3 and Ox (=O3+NO2) concentrations observed during the high O3 season (September–November) at Air Quality Monitoring Stations. They found that the locally produced Ox showed a statistically significant decreasing trend over 2002–2013 in Hong Kong. Analysis by an observation-based model confirmed this decline in in situ Ox production, which the team attributed to a reduction in aromatic hydrocarbons.

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