VW and BMW team with ChargePoint on new EV corridors - more charging stations on both coasts to help spur electric-car use.
Alt-fuel vehicles are usually accompanied by great arguments on paper—fewer emissions, less reliance on oil, lower operating costs, etc.—but getting people to adopt them en masse is no easy thing.
The big obstacle is infrastructure, or more to the point, a lack thereof. Tesla grasped this early on and introduced the Supercharger network to give its customers free charging stations along well-trafficked corridors, thereby creating a blueprint for other manufacturers to follow.
Enter Volkswagen, BMW, and ChargePoint, who are the first to crib Elon Musk's model in the hopes that doing so will encourage more people to drive electric cars like the VW e-Golf and BMW i3.
At the Washington Auto Show, the trio announced that they're partnering to install 100 new DC fast chargers on the east and west coasts. These will be available to the public as part of the ChargePoint network, which members pay to use.
The new chargers will be set at around 50-mile intervals on two corridors: I-95 between Boston and Washington, D.C, and then a West Coast route that connects Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego.
The DC chargers let a i3 or e-Golf get an 80% charge in 20 or 30 minutes, depending on whether they're 50kW or 24kW units, and they'll be backed up at every location by Level 2 chargers—like those that EV drivers generally have installed at home—which provide about 25 miles worth of range per hour.
Apple rumoured to be working on car to rival Tesla electric vehicles.
There are signs that Apple is preparing an electric car, possibly a self-driving model, that will rival the likes of Tesla's electric cars. Quite a few different sources point to what some might consider a surprising venture for Apple. Bloomberg has been talking about the 'hiring war' going on between the two companies and some 'insiders' talking to Business Insider and Mac Observer have indicated that an Apple car is in the works.
Apple jumping into the automobile business might seem farfetched but the way it wholeheartedly grasped the MP3 player, smartphone and tablet markets might also have seemed 'far out' to industry observers used to it being a producer of beige computers mainly used in the desktop publishing industry.
Tim Cook has been teasing amazing innovative unnamed projects for quite a few quarters now but all we have seen launched under his reign so far are incrementally changed and tweaked existing product ranges. However this might change with an Apple employee claiming that his group at Apple are working on something that will "give Tesla a run for its money."
Mac Observer writer Bryan Chaffin says that his own sources back up that quote from Business Insider. He says that following up on the rumours with his own investigations he has moved to becoming close to 100 per cent sure that Apple is working on an actual car. Of course Apple is known to be working on iOS device integration in cars but that isn't what the excitement is about.
The hiring war between Tesla and Apple isn't over general employees like those bedrock employees that are needed whatever kind of tech product you might be designing/making. Looking deeper into the hiring rivalries it seems like those with expertise most suited to cars are the ones in greatest demand. BI says that "Most of the engineers Apple has hired from Tesla specialize in mechanics, manufacturing, and robotics".
At this time combustion engine car drivers are enjoying a respite in the ever increasing price of fuel. However will it be very long before prices are back up thanks to commodity traders and the reserves of oil actually running lower? By 2040 oil production levels are expected to be only 20 per cent of what we consume today. By that time hopefully we will have an established electric car industry offering long ranges per charge and a good network of recharging stations. Perhaps many of the cars on the road will be Apple iCars?
Spot Apple - "Apple Forrest Gump" | More info
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Faraday Future reveals "Car of Concept" FF Zero1 @ CES 2016 - The first electric supercar is born | More info
FFZERO1: a “Car of Concepts”
“The FFZERO1 Concept is an amplified version of the design and engineering philosophies informing FF’s forthcoming production vehicles,” said Richard Kim, head of design, Faraday Future. “This project liberated our designers and inspired new approaches for vehicle forms, proportions and packaging that we can apply to our upcoming production models.”
User-centric design is core to FF’s product development approach. Like future FF production models, the FFZERO1 Concept has a sixth sense for its drivers’ needs: featuring adaptive personalization, seamless transfer of custom vehicle configurations, access to live images and real time data visualization.
Faraday Future has directly integrated the smartphone into the steering column, representing the intersection of technology and automotive engineering. Conceptually, this setup could enable the smartphone to serve as the interface between the vehicle and the driver in – and outside – of the car.
The FFZERO1 Concept could be fully autonomous, meeting its driver at the track and perhaps taking a few perfect laps on its own to compare with, and improve upon, its driver’s performance.
Another of FF’s core philosophies is to design from the inside out. The FFZERO1 Concept’s interior is primarily white with a carbon fiber finish – a pure and extremely clean aesthetic atypical for combustion engine race cars, but reflective of a clean, quiet electric vehicle.
Inspired by NASA research, the single-seat configuration offers a comfortable, weightless body position, holding the driver at a perfect 45-degree angle, thereby helping to promote circulation.
The propeller-shaped, asymmetric instrument panel is a theme that will be incorporated into the future FF design DNA. The panel runs seamlessly into a unique Halo Safety System with integrated head and neck support, oxygen, and water supply fed to the driver through a prototype helmet. The system could also gather biometric data about its driver.
Utilizing lightweight materials and composites on the VPA platform, the FF design team experimented with new driver-focused proportions, pushing the canopy forward for a perfectly aerodynamic teardrop profile.
FF’s soon-to-be signature “UFO line” runs around the center of the vehicle and is intended to give the sense that this vehicle is not completely of this world.
Aero tunnels run through the interior length of the vehicle, allowing air to flow through the car rather than around it, dramatically reducing drag and improving battery cooling.
Featuring four motors, one at each wheel, FFZERO1 is built for its use case: the track. If developed for limited production, it will have more than 1000 horsepower and will accelerate from zero to 60 in under three seconds, with a top speed in excess of 200 miles per hour.
Since its inception 18 months ago, Faraday Future’s team of multidisciplinary experts from the technology, automotive, aerospace and digital content fields has dedicated itself to not only building the next generation of safe, reliable, high-quality electric vehicles, but also to creating an entirely new vision for mobility. In doing so, many design and engineering team members were encouraged to sketch out additional possibilities. One drawing of a high- performance racecar particularly intrigued Nick Sampson, who suggested building it on the VPA as a proving ground for FF’s design and engineering concepts.
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Mercedes-Benz has a Vision of autonomous, drone-launching delivery vans
Mercedes-Benz pulled the wraps off a concept that it hopes will allow the commercial vans division of the company to branch out into logistics and delivery. Think of it as the kitchen sink approach: not only does the van have every of-the-moment gizmo imaginable, it also represents an entirely Mercedes supply chain from warehousing to final delivery.
Oh, and it has a couple of delivery drones on the roof. That's so very 2016.
Mercedes calls it the Vision Van, which sounds a lot like something you'd see parked at an Arby's with a mural of a wizard riding a dragon on it. There aren't any murals on the big, blank, plain slab sides. Think of it as more of a collection of preexisting ideas brought together in an integrated system, or a particularly new vehicle idea, and you're on the right track. It's bringing all this stuff together that's the interesting part. After all, you've seen concept vehicles with joystick controls and plenty of fully electric city vehicles already.
The Vision Van concept itself is a battery-electric vehicle intended for dense urban delivery, with about 100 horsepower and a range of just under 170 miles. Ignore the drones; the really neat stuff is in back. There's a "one-shot" loading system, essentially fitted smart racks that slide into the cargo area robotically. At the delivery location, the rack with the package maneuvers itself automatically to a pass-through just behind the driver, preventing time lost both loading the van efficiently and repacking the cargo area to get the packages ready for the next delivery. When it's done, the robot slides out the rack and slides in the next one. The robot loader isn't quick, but this is all a concept anyhow.
The precariously-perched rooftop drones look neat, and they also are loaded automatically through a port in the roof. It's an interesting idea to have delivery trucks serve as mobile drone carriers and probably the most gee-whiz feature here.
Mercedes Benz Vision Van | More info
Mercedes-Benz Vision Van comes with drones for autonomous air deliveries
Lucid Air: Sideways in the Snow | More info
Winter testing at -18°F is challenging for both car and driver. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun. Check out the video, then get the full story here:
Lucid Motors is a Silicon Valley-based luxury mobility company that is reimagining what a car can be. Learn more at lucidmotors.com.
by Kirk Nason
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NIO, formerly NextEV in the U.S., is a global start-up, designing and developing smart, high-performance, premium electric vehicles. NIO has thousands of world-class R&D and design experts from around the world with significant technology and management background from leading automobile and high tech companies. NIO has more than 2,000 employees in San Jose, Shanghai, Munich, London and eight other locations. In October, NIO USA announced that it was issued an Autonomous Vehicle Testing Permit by the California DMV and it would begin testing on public roads under the Autonomous Vehicle Tester Program guidelines as it progresses on its path to bring autonomy to market. Investors include Tencent, Temasek, Sequoia Capital, Lenovo, TPG and other world-renowned investment institutions. The company is also involved in the FIA Formula Championship, the world’s first single-seater, all-electric racing series. The NextEV NIO Formula E team won the inaugural drivers’ championship title in 2015.
NIO SXSW Highlights | More info
Pretty Soon Electric Cars Will Cost Less Than Gasoline.
Battery powered cars will soon be cheaper to buy than conventional gasoline ones, offering immediate savings to drivers, new research shows.
Automakers from Renault SA to Tesla Inc. have long touted the cheaper fuel and running costs of electric cars that helps to displace the higher upfront prices that drivers pay when they buy the zero-emission vehicles.
Now research from Bloomberg New Energy Finance indicates that falling battery costs will mean electric vehicles will also be cheaper to buy in the U.S. and Europe as soon as 2025. Batteries currently account for about half the cost of EVs, and their prices will fall by about 77 percent between 2016 and 2030, the London-based researcher said.
“On an upfront basis, these things will start to get cheaper and people will start to adopt them more as price parity gets closer,” said Colin McKerracher, analyst at the London-based researcher. “After that it gets even more compelling.”
Renault, maker of the Zoe electric car, predicts total ownership costs of EVs will by the early 2020s equal conventional internal combustion engine vehicles (known in the trade as ICE), according to Gilles Normand, the French company’s senior vice president for electric vehicles.
“We have two curves,” Normand said in an interview earlier this month in London. “One is EV technology cost reductions because there are more breakthroughs in the cost of technology and more volume, so the cost of EVs will go down. ICE going to go up as a result of more stringent regulations especially regarding to particulate regulations.”