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BMW adamantly denies reports about diesel emission systems collusion and manipulation

24 July 2017

On Sunday, the BMW Group issued a strong rejection of German media reports charging that the company had colluded with Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche and Daimler on the design and pricing of diesel exhaust systems and that its diesel emission systems did not function properly.

On Friday, manager magazine reported that the German car makers had secret discussions on diesel exhaust aftertreatment and other technical standards.

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Study finds in-car rush-hour exposure to some particulate pollution twice as high as previously thought

23 July 2017

A new study, part of the Atlanta Commuter Exposures (ACE) Study, has assessed on-roadway in-cabin particulate pollution (PM2.5) collected from scripted rush hour commutes on highways and on non-highway side streets. Reported in the journal Atmospheric Environment, the study found that levels of some forms of harmful particulate matter inside car cabins are twice as high as previously believed.

Most traffic pollution sensors are placed on the ground alongside the road and take continuous samples for a 24-hour period. Exhaust composition, however, changes rapidly enough for drivers to experience different conditions inside their vehicles than these roadside sensors. Long-term sampling also misses nuanced variabilities caused by road congestion and environmental conditions.

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Project shows maritime fuel cell generator can increase energy efficiency by up to 30% at part load; reliability and cost issues

22 July 2017

A recent project demonstrated a 100 kW fuel cell generator with 72 kg of hydrogen storage for marine applications. Project goals were to demonstrate the use of the generator in the maritime environment, identify areas requiring additional research and development, analyze the business case, and address regulatory and other market barriers.

A report authored by Sandia National Laboratories on the project found that the project showed that it is possible to increase energy efficiency by up to 30% at part load and reduce emissions to zero through the use of hydrogen fuel cells. (Although Sandia wrote the report, the project was performed by fourteen partner organizations.) The project also identified paths forward to wider adoption of the technology in this sector.

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“Dirty, Difficult, And Dangerous”: Why Millennials Won’t Work In Oil

22 July 2017

by Tsvetana Paraskova for

Like many industries today, the oil industry is trying to sell its many job opportunities to the fastest growing portion of the global workforce: Millennials. But unlike any other industry, oil and gas is facing more challenges in persuading the environmentally-conscious Millennials that oil is “cool”.

During the Super Bowl earlier this year, the American Petroleum Institute (API) launched an ad geared toward Millennials, who now make up the largest generation in the U.S. labor force.

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SAIC-GM-Wuling launches its first EV; Buick Regal hybrid available in China

21 July 2017

In China, SAIC-GM-Wuling officially launched the Baojun E100, the brand’s first fully-electric vehicle. Available in two variants, it is priced as low as RMB 35,800 (US$5,290) after national and local subsidies. Separately, Buick brought to market the all-new Regal for China. Ten variants, including a hybrid electric, are available priced between RMB 175,800 and RMB 269,800 (US$26,000 and US$39,900).

Baojun E100. SAIC-GM-Wuling began limited pre-sales of the E100 in Liuzhou, Guangxi on 10 July. More than 5,000 people registered for the first 200 vehicles. Another 500 vehicles will be available starting tomorrow, with sales initially limited to Guangxi.

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Hybrid and electric cars account for 7.5% of Kia 1H 2017 Europe sales, up from 1% in 2016

21 July 2017

Kia Motors posted its best six-month sales period in Europe, with half-year sales surpassing 250,000 for the first time in the company’s history. Hybrid and electric vehicles accounted for 7.5% of European sales so far this year, up from just one per cent in the first six months of 2016, according to Michael Cole, Chief Operating Officer of Kia Motors Europe.

The latest data released by ACEA (European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association) shows that Kia sold 251,472 units across Europe during the first six months of the year, a 9.5% rise, year-on-year. In addition, Kia’s cumulative market share climbed to 3.0%, up from 2.8% (229,585 units) during the first half of 2016. Vehicles with all-electric or electrified powertrains represent the greatest area of growth for Kia sales in Europe.

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Two new approaches to high-performance SiOx anodes for Li-ion batteries

21 July 2017

Although silicon is a very attractive anode material because of its higher energy density, its huge volume change over repeated charge−discharge cycles rapidly degrades cycle life. As an alternative approach to mitigate the well-known drawbacks of silicon while retaining the energy density advantages, silicon monoxide (SiOx, x ≈ 1) has become attractive as well (e.g., earlier post).

SiOx offers high reversible specific capacity and improved cyclic performance; however, it still suffers from inevitable volumetric changes and poor electrical conductivity. A number of research efforts have tackled those challenges as well. Now, separate research teams in China and the US report two new approaches toward a commercially viable SiOx electrode.

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First crop of DOE Battery500 seedlings awarded nearly $6M; high-risk, high-reward toward 500 Wh/kg

21 July 2017

Announced in 2016, the Battery500 consortium, led by the US Department of Energy (DOE) Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), intends to build a battery pack with a specific energy of 500 Wh/kg, compared to the 170-200 Wh/kg per kilogram in today’s typical EV battery. (Earlier post.) Achieving this goal would result in a smaller, lighter and less expensive battery, and electric vehicles with significantly extended range.

As part of its efforts, the Battery500 consortium announced the “Seedling” program—new, potentially risky battery technology research projects complementing the core Battery500 research effort (earlier post)—and said it was setting aside a projected 20% of its 5-year, $50-million funding for that purpose, or about $2 million per year. Now, DOE has selected the first crop of seedlings: 15 Phase 1 projects, receiving almost $5.7 million in funding. (Earlier post.) Promising phase 1 awardees will be competitively down-selected at the end of 18 months for a second phase of research.

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KAIST team extends cycle life of silicon anodes with molecular pulley polyrotaxane in binder

21 July 2017

Silicon anodes can deliver 3~5-times higher capacities compared with current graphite anodes in lithium-ion batteries. However, their volume expands enormously during each charge-discharge cycle, leading to fractures of the electrode particles or delamination of the electrode film, both resulting in rapid capacity decay. Typical charge-discharge numbers for microparticle-size Si anodes are less than 100.

Numerous approaches have been tried to address this problem. Now, a KAIST research team led by Professors Jang Wook Choi and Ali Coskun have integrated molecular pulleys, called polyrotaxanes, into the electrode binder to enable stable cycle life for silicon microparticle anodes at commercial-level areal capacities. A paper on their work appears in the journal Science.

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San Pedro Bay Ports release draft of 2017 Clean Air Action Plan Update; $7-$14 billion price tag

21 July 2017

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach released the draft of their proposed 2017 Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP) Update. The document outlines a new set of aggressive near-term and long-term strategies for the nation’s busiest harbor complex to further reduce harmful air pollution from all port-related sources, assist the state in meeting aggressive greenhouse gas reduction goals, and ultimately achieve zero emissions for trucks and terminal equipment.

A preliminary analysis estimates the cost of implementing the 2017 CAAP at $7 billion to $14 billion. Given the magnitude of the investment, the draft plan calls for the ports to intensify their funding advocacy and increase collaboration with their partners to finance the new strategies.

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California to receive additional $153M in final settlement with Volkswagen

20 July 2017

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) filed a consent decree for its final settlement with the Volkswagen Group of America (VW). The company will be required to pay an additional $153.8 million to California over the company’s use of illegal defeat devices in 2009-2016, 2.0 and 3.0 liter diesel passenger cars. Before today, VW had paid $533 million to California, of which $422 million will flow to the state through a mitigation trust. Volkswagen also is making $800 million in ZEV-related investments in the state.

The additional consent decree was negotiated by attorneys and technical experts from CARB and the California Attorney General’s Office, and is subject to court approval. The overall VW settlement is the largest ever for violations of vehicle air quality rules.

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Volvo Cars and Geely to establish JV to boost synergies, accelerate next-gen electrified vehicle technology

20 July 2017

Volvo Cars plans to set up a new joint venture technology company with Geely Holding, the Chinese car group, to share existing and future technology, to deepen industrial synergies and to provide the economies of scale that will allow them to develop next generation electrified vehicle technology more rapidly.

According to a Memorandum of Understanding signed today, Volvo Cars, Geely Auto and LYNK & CO will share vehicle architecture and engine technologies via cross licensing arrangements of technologies managed by the new joint venture. They will also cooperate more deeply by commonly sourcing components and cutting procurement costs.

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