Automakers lobby against California’s ZEV mandate, Comprehensive study released on fuel cell technology

Automakers opposing ZEV in Washington:  Automakers lobbied Tuesday in Washington against California’s zero emission vehicle model in favor of a single national standard. During testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, John Bozzella, president of the Association of Global Automakers, made the argument that California is favoring electric and fuel cell vehicles over more practical advanced gasoline engines, lighter materials, and other technologies to reduce fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. While automakers have supported the ZEV mandate adopted by California and nine other states, automakers are hoping the Trump administration and Congress will soften he standards. ”The ZEV program produces no incremental nationwide GHG emission benefits despite the high burden placed on vehicle manufacturers. Current corporate average fuel economy and GHG emissions standards already specify each manufacturer’s total fleet-wide emissions, and therefore, in a system that averages together all vehicles in a manufacturer’s fleet, the fleet-wide emissions standards act as a cap when combined with an overall compliance fleet strategy,” Bozzella said.

Largest Semi truck order placed:  PepsiCo Inc. has placed the largest order so far for Tesla Semi electric big-rig trucks with 100 of the trucks being reserved. The maker of popular soda brands and snacks such as Doritos chips is taking on goals to reduce fuel costs and fleet emissions, the company said Tuesday. Tesla is joining other vehicle manufacturers in the electric truck segment including Navistar International Corp. and Volkswagen AG’s Truck and Bus with an electric medium duty truck by late 2019; and Daimler AG has delivered the first round of Fuso eCanter electric trucks to customers in New York.

Study looks at fuel cell technology:  Consulting firm E4tech has released The Fuel Cell Industry Review 2017, a comprehensive look at the broad range of fuel cell technologies in global markets. China is playing a leading role in market growth by reducing electric vehicle subsidies and pushing vehicle manufacturers to take light duty and heavy duty fuel cells more seriously. About 2,500 trucks and buses powered by hydrogen were deployed in 2017 compared to almost none in 2016. China faces a real challenge seen in other countries – there are only seven hydrogen fueling stations in the country with range limitations placed on the fuel cell vehicles. About 30% more fuel cell power globally was shipped in 2017 than 2016, and nearly 10,000 more units, according the the study. The study looks at three fuel segments in global markets – portable units, stationary units that provide electricity to corporate customers, and transport that includes passenger vehicles like the Toyota Mirai and heavy-duty vehicles like fuel cell transit buses. Trains and marine markets are also explored in the report, with growth seen in both sectors.

 

Study says China will lead global mobility market, Looking at real range for electrified vehicles

China will lead electrified mobility market:  China will drive the global market forward for mobility services, according to a new study by IHS Markit, Reinventing the Wheel: Mobility and Energy Future. Much of that will come from being by far the largest auto sales market in the world, with the consulting firm forecasting 28 million new vehicles to be sold there next year versus 17.1 million in the second largest global market, the U.S. Didi Chuxing is leading the way in that market for growth in app-based mobility services, as Uber and Lyft have done in the U.S. Electrified vehicles and development of autonomous vehicle technology will also play a part in China and other markets. China had more than 234,000 new energy vehicles (all-electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles) sold from January through September 2017, compared to over 140,000 unites in the U.S. market.

Robotaxis has become the buzzword among automakers and media on shared autonomous mobility services, and Nissan could be taking a leading role in the new and emerging segment. Nissan will launch a field test in Japan next year, expanding its autonomous vehicle program launched a few years ago and preparing for vehicle production by 2022. It will compete with what’s been started by Waymo this year, and by Lyft in Boston, and Renault in France. Nissan will be working with technology development company DeNA, and will operate the test project near the automaker’s headquarters in Yokohama.

Looking at real range in federal fuel economy report:  One of the more interesting parts of the federal report released last week, the 2018 Fuel Economy Guide, focuses on the range rating given by the Environmental Protection Agency. Here are the leaders in battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, along with the three commercial market fuel cel vehicles:

BEVs:
Tesla Model 3 (long range edition): 310 miles
Tesla Model S (AWD – 90D): 294 miles
Chevy Bolt: 238 miles
Tesla Model X (AWD – 75D): 238 miles
BYD e6: 187 miles

PHEVs: (total range from battery and gasoline engine combined)
Toyota Prius Prime: 640 miles
Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid: 630 miles total range
Kia Optima Plug-in Hybrid: 610 miles
Ford Fusion Energi Plug-in Hybrid: 610 miles
Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid: 590 miles
Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid: 570 miles
Chevy Volt: 420 miles
Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid: 340 miles

Fuel cell vehicle range:
Honda Clarity: 366 miles
Toyota Mirai: 312 miles
Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell: 265 miles

Driving range has been a critical issue for these vehicles, especially BEVs. It’s been less of a concern in other countries where short trips and use of other transportation modes is common. Drivers in the U.S. are more dependent on vehicles with a driving range of 300 or more miles in between fuel station stops or charging sessions.

Fisker Orbit autonomous electric shuttle coming to smart cities, Hyundai Ioniq Electric takes top spot in MPGe rating

Fisker shuttle serving smart cities:  Fisker Inc. will be bringing an electric shuttle to global markets through an alliance with Hakim Unique Group, a Chinese company. The Fisker Orbit will come through the two companies designing, developing, and integrating the Fisker autonomous, electric shuttle into the first project, a smart city implemented by Hakim Unique. Fisker will start delivering the first Orbit shuttles by the end of 2018. It’s built around a shared vision in where public transportation will be going into smart cities of the future. That will come through infrastructure, design, and EV innovation, Fisker said.

NEVS 9-3 in production:  NEVS began production of the NEVS 9-3 electric vehicle at its Tianjin, China facility, on December 5. The company has annual production capacity of 50,000 EVs in the first phase and up to 220,000 in the second phase. NEVS will be developing three generations of EV powertrains in Tianjin and Trollhattan, Sweden; it was founded in 2012 and acquired the main assets of Saab Automobile after its bankruptcy. The second and third generations of the 9-3 are being developed with Chinese ride-sharing giant Didi Chuxing. The automaker is also working with the Global Energy Interconnection Corp. on a joint venture to provide service and infrastructure for EVs for ride-sharing services. NEVS also announced that it will launch mobility pilot programs in select European cities in 2020.

Ioniq Electric takes top MPGe spot:  The Hyundai Ioniq Electric has taken the top spot for the second year in a row in the 2018 Fuel Economy Guide with its 136 miles per gallon equivalent rating (MPGe). Published annually by the U.S. Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency, the guide is based on current model year vehicles. Some vehicles from last year, such as the BMW i3, didn’t make the list this year. Fuel economy information on some vehicles was not available in time to be printed in the guide. All electric vehicles are given an MPGe rating, and plug-in hybrids are ranked by their combined gasoline/electricity rating.

Tesla Semi brings in two new corporate customers, Propel Fuels study analyzes California’s LCFS

New customers for Tesla Semi:  Anheuser-Busch and and Sysco Corp. have been impressed enough with the Tesla’s upcoming Semi trucks to order 40 and 50 of them, respectively. The Budweiser beer maker and global foodservice distribution company will see production start of the all-electric heavy-duty semi-trucks in 2019. For Anheuser-Busch, the Semi ties into the company’s objective of making its supply chain more sustainable, efficient, and innovative; while also improving road safety and lowering the company’s environmental impact. Sysco sees the electric truck tying into its commitment to corporate social responsibility for positive environmental impacts along with reduced fuel and maintenance costs.

Ford building EV in Mexico:  Ford Motor Co. will be moving production of an electric crossover to its plant in Cautitlan, Mexico instead of Flat Rock, Mich., by the summer of 2020. While that won’t go over well with the Trump administration, Ford said it will make way for additional investment of autonomous vehicles in its home state. The electric crossover will be going at least 300 miles per charge, the automaker said. It ties into the automaker’s corporate strategy of takings it vehicle global markets and improving production efficiency. “This allows us to bring this exciting new vehicle to global customers in a more effective way to support our overreaching business goals,” Ford said in an internal memo obtained by Automotive News.

Low carbon fuels in California:  Propel Fuels issued a report yesterday analyzing the impact of California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard on alternative fuel consumption and the effect on emissions in the state. While targets are being met for 2020 goals, the study indicates that the current policy model will need to change to hit 2030 targets that will more than double the volume of expected low carbon fuels to five billion gallons. Propel Fuels and study partner ICF see that possible through flex fuel, high-efficiency diesel vehicles, electric vehicles, and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. Through its network of fueling statins, Propel Fuels offers E85 made from corn and next generation sources such as switchgrass and agricultural waste material. Its stations also offer high-performance renewable diesel.

Lyft raises $1.5 billion, GNA profiled as 25 year anniversary approaches

Newsworthy:  Lyft continues to see a very strong year, now finding that its initial plan to raise $1 billion has gone up to $1.5 billion from a group of investors. Backers include Fidelity Management & Research Company and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. AllianceBernstein, Baillie Gifford, KKR, Janus Henderson Investors, and Rakuten. CapitalG led the billon-dollar round. The ride-hailing firm’s valuation is now at $11.5 billion. Alphabet, the Google parent company, played a key role in bringing in more investors for Lyft during October – after pulling away from financial support for arch-competitor Uber and filing its intellectual property theft lawsuit affecting its Waymo division……………..

A Morgan Stanley analyst expects that Tesla Inc. could lose attention from CEO Elon Musk, who may be devoting more time to his SpaceX intergalactic travel company. Morgan Stanley’s Adam Jonas wrote in a report Tuesday that we may see more of an alliance between Tesla and SpaceX in the future. “Investors widely expect Elon Musk to, over time, devote increasing amounts of his time and talents to SpaceX, raising the very real question of who could replace him at Tesla,” Jonas wrote. “A combination of efforts between the two firms could address this important issue.” The two companies will play on the alliance during an commercial in January. A SpaceX rocket will carry a Tesla Roadster sports car owned by Musk as payload when it travels toward Mars………….

Gladstein, Neandross & Associates was profiled in a newsletter article this week by California Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition. Along with putting on ACT Expo and other clean transportation events, GNA has played a key role in raising millions of dollars in grant funding for clients during its history. The consulting firm will celebrate its 25 year anniversary next year. The company has effectively supported the use of renewable fuels, and has provided research and analysis for all parts of the clean transportation industry. GNA also does emissions modeling, assists with technical fleet planning, monitors government affairs, and provide communications and media services to clients, CNGVC said.

Jeep Wrangler will see plug-in hybrid version, Toyota cars and trucks powered by animal waste

Newsworthy:  Fiat Chrysler Automobile is bringing its second plug-in vehicle to market – the refreshed 2018 Jeep Wrangler will come out with a plug-in hybrid version in 2020. The company hasn’t yet released specs on the variation such as fuel economy and battery-only range. The other FCA plug-in vehicle, the Chrysler Pacifica, comes with a 16 kW hour battery and has been given an 84 mpg combined fuel economy rating. The Wrangler will most likely need its own plug-in hybrid system. FCA will probably carry over technologies from its other vehicles, a typical practice by the automaker to bring economies of scale to its product lineup………….. Journalists were able to take a ride in a self-driving Chevy Bolt in San Francisco this week. Led by General Motors’ Cruise Automation unit, it was the first time the autonomous electric car had been experienced by non-GM employees. The only time one of the GM employees had to take over a ride was after it took too long for test car to wait behind a parked taco truck bringing lunch to construction workers………….. The Honda Clarity took Green Car of the Year at the LA Auto Show yesterday, with other nominees being the Honda Accord, Hyundai Ioniq, Nissan Leaf and Toyota Camry. The Clarity was acknowledged for offering all three green powertrains in one single model – all-electric, plug-in hybrid, or fuel cell vehicle with the automaker’s ability to readily shift production from one technology to another to meet future sales……………. The more costly, long-range version of the Tesla Model 3 has been given a 310-mile range rating by the Environmental Protection Agency. It’s also been given a 131 miles per gallon gasoline equivalent (MPGe) city, 120 MPGe highway, and 126 MPGe rating combined. While the entry level version for the Model 3 starts at $35,000, the long-range version starts out pricing at $44,000.

Waste to energy:  The question of where hydrogen is being extracted from – and how clean and economically feasible it is – is always being asked by fleet operators and other parties. Animal waste is much more appealing than natural gas, taking the landfill mass typical to agribusiness states like California and using it for something constructive. During the LA Auto show, Toyota announced that it will using animal waste from the state’s Central Valley to power clean cars and trucks such as the Toyota Mirai and hydrogen-powered semi trucks currently being piloted at the Port of Long Beach. Called the Tri-Gen Project, Toyota hopes that participating in the demonstration will help support moving fuel cell vehicles and hydrogen fueling forward.

“We believe hydrogen technology has the potential to become the powertrain of the future,” said Doug Murtha, a group vice president for strategic planning with Toyota’s North American operations. It will be “a key milestone in Toyota’s larger commitment to clean mobility.”

The Tri-Gen Project will generate 1.2 tons of hydrogen per day. Bringing it to the port ties well in the state’s commitment to support clean air near its ports and freeways, where disadvantaged communities are especially vulnerable to the health problems caused by diesel-powered heavy-duty trucks.

Tesla reveals the long-range semi, What drunk driving means for self-driving cars

Newsworthy:  Tesla revealed its electric semi truck at a long-awaited Los Angeles unveiling last night. CEO Elon Musk bragged that it will go 500 miles per charge, with 400 of those miles capable of being charged in 30 minutes. An even faster charge may be coming, too. The heavy-duty truck will be able to go zero to 60 in five seconds, and can hit 60 mph in 20 seconds with an 80,000 pound payload. Musk said that it will make a real difference in the commercial truck market with its cost savings and driver comfort features. It will also save truckers a lot in maintenance costs, with Musk expecting the trucks to not break down until they pass the one million mile mark. The Tesla chief also said that the semi truck will be able to work in a three-truck convoy, reducing its cost per mile for the fleet down to $0.85 per mile, versus diesel being at about $1.25 per mile. The truck was revealed in a larger, long-haul version and a day cab without a sleeper. Attendees at the event were also able to view a new version of the Tesla Roadster roll out of the semi’s trailer. The sports car now has a removable glass roof. Musk said the Roadster will be the fastest car in production on the market with a maximum speed of 250 mph; and the ability to go from 0 to 60 in 1.9 seconds. It can go up to 620 miles on a single charge, a record for production-level electric vehicles………. Toyota is thinking about forging a joint-venture alliance with a Chinese automaker to build electric vehicles locally and meet new energy vehicle mandates issued by the government. China will be starting a quota requirement for all-electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles beginning in 2019 with an ambitious target of seeing 2 mission NEV sales by 2020; and a potential phase-out of fossil-fuel powered vehicles. Toyota currently operates JV companies in the country with China FAW Group Corp and Guangzhou Automobile Group………  Daimler AG will be investing 5 billion yuan ($755 million) in China for factory capacity to manufacture electric cars and their battery packs. The company wants to be well prepared for its Mercedes-Benz and Smart brands comply with new energy vehicle mandates.

Safe automated driving:  A warning sign on California freeways says that “Buzzed driving is drunk driving.” A few other states have similar public education campaigns. What is the meaning of driving buzzed, and does it have anything to do with California and a few other states legalizing marijuana consumption? No, it has to do with a key issue state regulators and safety analysts bring up – the need to eliminate drunk driving and the necessity of bringing self-driving cars to U.S. roads. Buzzed driving refers to driving a car with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .01% to .07%. That’s slightly under the .08% BAC standard used in most state’s drunk driving laws; but there’s been a great deal of concern that while .01% to .07% is legal for drivers, it can be just as dangerous as .08% or higher drunk driving for some of them. Self-driving cars are expected to dramatically reduce the highway fatality rate by taking away control of the car from drunk drivers being part of it. Drunk driving is still the leading cause of fatal crashes in the U.S. Last year was one of the worst ever, with an average of 20 people per day killed in DUI crashes. Safety experts have shared concerns about states legalizing marijuana and its possible side effects on road safety. That’s not measurable in a BAC standard used in drunk driving, but it may become part of state legislation in the future. Ride-hailing firms like Uber and Lyft have successfully tapped into concerns over drunk driving and see their rides as providing a solution to the problem. Uber and Lyft drivers have stories about riders expressing gratitude for their services, not having risked drunk driving after an evening at a night club or party. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has been working with Uber in recent years to inform people that taking an Uber ride is much safer than getting behind the wheel after they’ve been drinking.

Ghosn says Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance rolling out a dozen new EVs, IHS Markit takes a look at the future of personal mobility

Newsworthy:  The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance will be rolling out 12 new all-electric models using common platforms by 2022, according to CEO Carlos Ghosn. Plug-in hybrid models will also be utilized, coming from Mitsubishi’s experience with the Outlander PHEV. Two other utility plug-in hybrids will be coming to market over the next two years. The alliance companies have collectively already sold more than a half million plug-in electrified vehicles…………. Solid-state batteries are gaining more support for fast charging, long-range electric vehicles for the next decade. Fisker, Inc., has filed patents for these types of batteries, and expects to see them used in mass-scale production of its EMotion electric sedan around 2023. Toyota believes enough in the technology to launched EVs with energy stored in solid-state batteries around 2022…………. Major Chinese automaker Geely will be buying up U.S. flying car startup Terrafugia for an undisclosed amount. Terrafugia plans to bring its first flying car to market in 2019. The company will remain headquartered in the U.S…………… The BMW Group announced that by 2020, the company will only sources its electricity from renewable energy; that’s up from 63% of it coming from renewables at the end of 2016. The automaker made the announcement during the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany.

Going Mobile:  Plug-in electrified vehicles will make up 30% of new vehicle sales in four critical markets by 2040 – China, the U.S., Europe, and India – according to a new study by IHS Markit. You’ll notice that the percentage isn’t anywhere near 100% if fossil-fuel bans were to be enacted across these four markets. China, India, France, Great Britain, and other markets are considering banning gasoline and diesel powered engines entirely.

Reinventing the Wheel is a new multi-client, scenarios-based research initiative by IHS Markit that combines its energy, automotive and chemical teams for system-wide analysis of the new reality of transportation. It includes the future of mobility and car ownership, which is expected to have a major impact on the energy chosen to power vehicles of the future.

Consumers will be shifting away from car owners to paying for mobility services during the transition time, the study says. By 2040, vehicle miles traveled (VMT) will have grown to an all-time high of around 11 billion miles per year in the four studied markets. That makes for a 65% increase of VMTs from now. Over that times, sales growth of new light-duty vehicles will slow substantially, according to the study. Use of autonomous vehicles will also be a driving force for change.

“A great ‘automotive paradox’—where more travel via car than ever, but fewer cars will be needed by individuals—will be a defining quality of the new automotive future,” said Daniel Yergin, IHS Markit vice chairman. “The shift is just beginning. By 2040, the changes in transportation will be accelerating in a way that will be visible on roads and highways around the world. The pace and degree of this dynamic shift will have significant implications for industry, for public transportation systems and for how people get to work and live their lives – and spend their money on transport.”

While the U.S. may not ban fossil-fuel vehicles and could soften mileage and emissions rules under the Trump administration, market forces will still be at play for EVs to hit the 30% mark across the four major auto markets included in the study. The IHS Markit study concludes that higher fuel economy and emissions standards and reduction in gasoline’s share of new vehicle sales will lead to an aggregate decline for oil that ends up in gas stations during the 2020s. Another tipping point cited in the study will be seeing the cost of EV battery packs drop significantly by the 2030s, making EV costs much more competitive with internal combustion engines.

New format in GAM looks at news highlights and Toyota’s take on electric vs. fuel cell vehicles

Newsworthy:  Autonomous trucks appear to be ready to adoption on public roads faster than self-driving cars with huge investments being made for that to take place, according to technologists like Tesla and Embark. Trucking companies may not be as optimistic about the fast pace. Tesla will be showcasing its electric truck with some autonomous capabilities, while Silicon Valley startup Embark has been testing its autonomous trucking technology in a three-way partnership with Ryder and appliance giant Electrolux. CB Insights reports that companies will place about $1 billion in commercial truck autonomous systems this year, 10 times the level of spending three years ago………. General Motors’ joint venture company will be able to hit China’s new energy vehicle requirement of 10% in annual sales by 2019 without having to buy credits, GM China chief Matt Tsien said. “I can’t give you any specific (NEV production and sales volume) numbers other than to say that through the complicated formula we will either meet or exceed,” he said………….. Faraday Future is continuing to struggle, with three top executives leaving the company or already having done so. Stefan Krause, a former financial executive at BMW and Duetsche Bank, has left as CFO. Ulrich Kranz, another BMW veteran, and tBill Strickland, head of vehicle manufacturing who previously headed the Ford Fusion program, are exiting Faraday……….. It looks like the Ford C-Max will stop production over the next year. The 2018 model year lineup has dropped the C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid, and the C-Max Hybrid is expected to finish up at the Michigan Assembly Plant in mid-2018………. Volkswagen may be adding the third-generation Beetle to its electric vehicle lineup built on the new MEB platform, according to Board Chairman Herbert Diess.

State of the Technology:  While Toyota and a few other global automakers are taking hydrogen fuel cell vehicles quite seriously, the clean technology’s chances of reaching mass adoption are still far away. Yoshikazu Tanaka, chief engineer of the Toyota Mirai FCV, said that Toyota won’t be giving up on fuel cell vehicles, but electric vehicles are in a stronger position for widespread adoption in the marketplace. “Elon Musk is right – it’s better to charge the electric car directly by plugging in,” he said.

The Japanase automaker has so far only sold about 2,400 of its Mirais in the U.S., and about 4,300 total worldwide. That comes after two years of being on the market, and pales in comparison to EV sales in China, the U.S., and Europe. Toyota’s strategy is based on a diverse product portfolio, with hydrogen-powered commercial trucks being tested in Japan, sales of the Prius Prime plug-in hybrid taking off, and a new business unit dedicated to electric vehicle development. That comes from increasing pressure by governments to provide fossil-fuel free vehicles in the coming decades; and forecasts by several companies including oil giant Shell.

Fuel cell vehicles will be part of it as zero emission vehicles complying with government mandates, but the expectations are strong for mass adoption of EVs by the 2030s. Toyota doesn’t see a fight between the two technologies to be inevitable. “We don’t really see an adversary ‘zero-sum’ relationship between the EV and the hydrogen car. We’re not about to give up on hydrogen electric fuel-cell technology at all,” Tanaka said.

Fuel cell technology is seeing a lot of its business growth with companies like Amazon using it for powering fork lifts and providing energy to massive warehouse facilities. Plug Power is seeing demand grow in these sectors, with the company reporting 250% revenue growth in the third quarter.

For Today: UberAir bringing flying taxis to Los Angeles in 2020, Audi setting up e-diesel plant in Switzerland

UberAir coming to LA:  Uber may have had its self-driving car project sidelined by a major courtroom battle with Waymo, but its flying taxis are moving forward. The ride-hailing firm said that it will begin testing a flying taxi service in Los Angeles in 2020; there are plans in place to go to Dallas and Dubai as well. UberAir will transport passengers by air in an electric aircraft through the region. As Uber is doing with riders getting trips in cars, the company will operate the software for end users to book and take the trip, earning a commission for doing so. Transportation will come from aviation manufacturers such as Embraer, Bell Helicopter, Pipistrel, Aurora Flight Sciences, and Mooney Aviation. The new service will differ from the UberChopper helicopter service by being much cheaper; instead of thousands of dollars for helicopter rides, UberAir will be comparable to UberX rides on city streets. Uber has partnered with NASA to help it develop air traffic management systems for its flying taxi initiatives. NASA will help create a framework for the air traffic management of drones, an agency spokesman said. Recommendations will be presented by NASA and its partner companies to the Federal Aviation Administration in 2019, for determining whether these flight services can be integrated into existing air traffic systems.

Supercapacitor potential in EVs:  Lamborghini announced the Terzo Millennio (“third millennium”) concept car at the EmTech conference in Cambridge, Mass., earlier this week, showing the potential for electric drivetrain technology of the future. It comes from the first year in a three-year partnership between the automaker and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology focusing on super-powered batteries. The project is developing supercapacitors that can provide the level of energy needed to power a supercar and that could be applied to any battery electric vehicles. Supercapacitors are in an early phase for current vehicle applications, such as supporting stop-start systems in hybrid vehicles. They store energy and don’t generate the heat of lithium ions, and have the potential for playing a key role in advanced electric drive systems of the future.

Audi adding to its e-fuels:  Audi is preparing to start production of a synthetic diesel fuel that it’s calling e-diesel. Working with two partner companies, a plant will be set up in Laufenburg, Switzerland, that will be able to take excess energy coming from hydropower combined with CO2, converting it into a CO2-neutral diesel fuel. The CO2 being used will come from the air or bio waste gases. Construction of the plant will start in 2018 and should be finished by the end of that year, with the capacity of producing around 105,000 gallons of e-diesel per year. Audi’s e-fuels started in 2011 with plans to start energy production from wind turbines in the North Sea that would feed the renewable energy back into the grid. That led to turning renewables into liquid fuels that could power vehicles, with the first one being e-gas in 2013. The E-gas synthetic fuel, similar to natural gas, was followed by e-benzin in 2015, a synthetic fuel named after Germany’s term for gasoline, benzin.