ELECTRIC VEHICLES MAGAZINE
ISSUE 32 | JULY/AUGUST 2017 | CHARGEDEVS.COM
Both startups and industry giants are pushing ahead with electric airplanes p. 46
Unlocking regional markets with lower costs per passenger A CLOSER LOOK AT RARE EARTH PERMANENT MAGNETS
IMPROVING AUTOMOTIVE POWER MODULES
DYNAMIC CHARGING: IS IT FEASIBLE?
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THE TECH CONTENTS
26 A closer look at rare earth permanent magnets
Understanding a key component of the traction motors commonly found in EVs and hybrids
32 Improving automotive power modules Mitsubishi Electric uses direct lead bonding to increase power module reliability
current events 12
GKN Driveline expands European eDrive production facility
13 14 15 16
Report says EVs to spur ninefold rise in demand for copper by 2027
Qualcomm invests in safe battery tech from Amionx Elaphe tests its in-wheel motors in a BMW X6 Argonne National Lab licenses continuous ALD technology to Forge Nano Magnet Applications’ online Tech Center and new calculator apps Leclanché to supply batteries for Skoda Electric e-buses
17 Efficient Drivetrains to provide plug-in bus powertrains to 4 Chinese OEMs 18 Wuzhoulong’s Chinese e-bus uses UQM drive system 19 Infolytica’s new software suite enhances electromagnetic field simulations 20 Panasonic shifts focus to automotive tech 21 Cummins to offer electrified powertrains in 2019 22 BMW i Ventures announces strategic investment in GaN Systems
ZF showcases mSTARS electric axle system
THE VEHICLES CONTENTS
Electric airplane startups EViation and Zunum discuss the challenges and potential of battery-powered flight
38 Chinaâ€™s Sokon Industry Group establishes SF Motors as US EV brand 39 BYD and Wayne Engineering demonstrate electric refuse truck
NRDC report quantifies US jobs supported by fuel economy standards
40 Oregon legislature approves new EV rebates (and new fees)
LeEco pulls out, but Aston Martin will still produce electric RapidE
BYD Coach and Bus continues US expansion, hires new General Manager VW claims its upcoming EV will be $7,000 to $8,000 cheaper than Model 3
42 BMW i Ventures makes strategic investment in Proterra
All Volvos to have electric motors from 2019
43 Report: Shared mobility essential for realizing benefits of autonomous EVs 45 MalmĂś, Sweden orders 13 Volvo electric buses
California and China sign agreement to cooperate on green tech
IDENTIFICATION STATEMENT CHARGED Electric Vehicles Magazine (ISSN: 24742341) July/August 2017, Issue #32 is published bi-monthly by Electric Vehicles Magazine LLC, 4121 52nd Ave S, Saint Petersburg, FL 33711-4735. Periodicals Postage Paid at Saint Petersburg, FL and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to CHARGED Electric Vehicles Magazine, Electric Vehicles Magazine LLC at 4121 52nd Ave S, Saint Petersburg, FL 33711-4735.
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68 Dynamic charging:
What’s feasible? Q&A with Qualcomm’s Graeme Davison
California’s cooperative effort to capitalize on EVgrid potential
82 Tesla Superchargers
change the EV landscape
60 Allego to operate fast charging at Shell stations in Netherlands and UK
ChargePoint takes over management of GE’s charging network
61 California city incorporates charging stations into streetlights
Share&Charge is the Airbnb for charging stations
62 Tritium to provide 52 custom-built Veefil-UT fast chargers in Hamburg
ClipperCreek’s new control interface for HCS series charging stations
63 SolarEdge’s new integrated photovoltaic inverter and EV charger
Envision Solar to provide EV ARC solar chargers to New York City
65 Chargeway attempts to establish standardized symbols for charging 66 PowerCharge’s new Pro Series commercial charging stations
Porsche installs 350 kW fast charging station at tech center
67 Renault and Powervault partner for EV battery second-life trial
EVgo partners with NJ utility to open its 950th US fast charger
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Europe marches towards EVs, China sprints towards dominance As Trump administration officials move the EPA and NHTSA towards rolling back environmental regulations, and allowing more emissions from vehicles, both Europe and China are staying the course on electrification. The UK recently announced plans to join France, Norway and the Netherlands in a total phase-out of fossil-fueled vehicles, in favor of hybrids and EVs. Norway and the Netherlands have said that they will ban the sale of gasoline and diesel cars by 2025. The UK and France have set 2040 as the target year, proposing various plans to ensure that carmakers can meet the goals. Those plans pale in comparison to what’s going on in China, both in terms of scale and the impact on the global auto industry. The world’s largest car market is planning to set strict regulations mandating that PHEVs and EVs make up at least a fifth of auto sales by 2025. Strict quotas could begin as early as 2018, requiring carmakers to sell EVs and PHEVs to earn credits that are equal to 8% of total sales that year, increasing to 10% by 2019 and 12% by 2020. The rules impose severe penalties for companies that don’t comply, including revoking a company’s license to sell any vehicles that aren’t EVs.
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In June, a group of global automakers told China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology that the current proposal will be impossible to meet, and would significantly disrupt their businesses, according to a letter seen by Reuters. The letter, signed by associations representing automakers in the US, Europe, Japan and Korea, asked China to relax the terms of its proposed quotas, specifically the penalties for not meeting the goals. Some industry analysts argue that making the rules more difficult for non-Chinese companies is precisely the point. Of course, China has a huge air quality problem that it hopes to address with zero-emission vehicles, but it also sees a tremendous opportunity to increase its competitiveness as the global auto industry transitions to EVs. This is evidenced by the fact that imported EVs don’t currently receive the full subsidies, along with other proposed policies that will strongly favor batteries and vehicles manufactured in China. The global automakers’ letter argued that “this preference for domestic automakers over import automakers undermines the environmental goals of the regulation.” If so, it’s a tradeoff that China appears ready to make. The long-term benefits of a battery-powered auto industry are clear to many who are watching closely. This apparently does not include current US leadership. It’s ironic that an administration that gained power by promising to put American manufacturing first doesn’t realize that rolling back forward-looking goals will only concede our leadership position to other countries.
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Publisher Christian Ruoff Associate Publisher Laurel Zimmer Senior Editor Charles Morris Associate Editor Markkus Rovito Account Executive Jeremy Ewald Technology Editor Jeffrey Jenkins Graphic Designers Mary Rose Robinson Tome Vrdoljak Andy Windy
Contributing Writers Michael Alba Tom Ewing Jeffrey Jenkins Charles Morris Christian Ruoff
For Letters to the Editor, Article Submissions, & Advertising Inquiries Contact: Info@ChargedEVs.com
Contributing Photographers Jakob Härter Mike Mozart Nicolas Raymond Christian Ruoff Carla Wosniak Cover Image Courtesy of Zunum Aero Special Thanks to Kelly Ruoff Sebastien Bourgeois
ETHICS STATEMENT AND COVERAGE POLICY AS THE LEADING EV INDUSTRY PUBLICATION, CHARGED ELECTRIC VEHICLES MAGAZINE OFTEN COVERS, AND ACCEPTS CONTRIBUTIONS FROM, COMPANIES THAT ADVERTISE IN OUR MEDIA PORTFOLIO. HOWEVER, THE CONTENT WE CHOOSE TO PUBLISH PASSES ONLY TWO TESTS: (1) TO THE BEST OF OUR KNOWLEDGE THE INFORMATION IS ACCURATE, AND (2) IT MEETS THE INTERESTS OF OUR READERSHIP. WE DO NOT ACCEPT PAYMENT FOR EDITORIAL CONTENT, AND THE OPINIONS EXPRESSED BY OUR EDITORS AND WRITERS ARE IN NO WAY AFFECTED BY A COMPANY’S PAST, CURRENT, OR POTENTIAL ADVERTISEMENTS. FURTHERMORE, WE OFTEN ACCEPT ARTICLES AUTHORED BY “INDUSTRY INSIDERS,” IN WHICH CASE THE AUTHOR’S CURRENT EMPLOYMENT, OR RELATIONSHIP TO THE EV INDUSTRY, IS CLEARLY CITED. IF YOU DISAGREE WITH ANY OPINION EXPRESSED IN THE CHARGED MEDIA PORTFOLIO AND/OR WISH TO WRITE ABOUT YOUR PARTICULAR VIEW OF THE INDUSTRY, PLEASE CONTACT US AT CONTENT@CHARGEDEVS. COM. REPRINTING IN WHOLE OR PART IS FORBIDDEN EXPECT BY PERMISSION OF CHARGED ELECTRIC VEHICLES MAGAZINE.
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A new report commissioned by the International Copper Association (ICA) finds that the growing market for EVs will significantly increase demand for copper over the next decade. According to “Copper Intensity in the Electrification of Transport and the Integration of Energy Storage,” EVs use a substantial amount of copper in their batteries, and in the windings and rotors used in electric motors. A single car can have up to six kilometers of copper wiring. The metal is also required for busbars, used to connect modules and cells in battery packs, and in charging infrastructure. Whereas an ICE vehicle requires up to 23 kg of copper, the report found that a hybrid vehicle uses 40 kg, a PHEV uses 60 kg, and a battery EV 83 kg. A battery-electric bus can use a whopping 224-369 kg of Cu, depending on the size of the battery. Solar photovoltaic systems also rely on considerable quantities of copper. “Copper has the highest conductivity of any non-precious metal, and plays an important role in all energy production, but it is particularly important for future sustainable technology applications such as electric vehicles,” said Colin Bennett, Market Analysis and Outreach, ICA. “Copper is itself a sustainable material, as it is 100% recyclable without loss of properties.” “The demand for electric vehicles is forecast to increase significantly over the next ten years,” said Franco Gonzalez, Senior Technology Analyst at IDTechEx, who co-authored the study. “Our research predicts this increase will raise copper demand for electric cars and buses from 185,000 tons in 2017 to 1.74 million tons in 2027. That’s a ninefold increase. On top of this, each electric vehicle charger will add 0.7 kg of copper and if they are fast chargers, they can add up to 8 kg of copper each.”
GKN Driveline expands European eDrive production facility to meet growing demand GKN Driveline has announced a major expansion of its European eDrive production facility in Bruneck, Italy, as the company moves to serve increasing demand for electric and hybrid vehicle programs from OEM clients. The company will increase its current 11,000-square-meter floor space by more than 60%, to create an 18,000-square-meter facility dedicated predominantly to eDrive production. The site now employs approximately 800 people. Between 70 and 80 employees will move into eDrive manufacturing, and other driveline production will be relocated to the company’s other sites in Europe. The expansion will also help facilitate increased production of AWD technologies, such as electronic torque management units. By the time the project is completed in 2019, the Bruneck facility will be predominantly focused on eDrive production. The site’s manufacturing portfolio includes the PACE coaxial eAxle, featured on Volvo plug-in hybrids, the two-speed eAxle used on the BMW, and AWD products such as GKN’s Electronic Torque Management systems. GKN also manufactures eDrive systems in Japan, and it will begin production in China next year with its joint venture partner, SDS. “Bruneck has already established itself as a center of excellence for the production of leading electric driveline systems,” said Peter Moelgg, GKN Driveline All-wheel and eDrive CEO. “This major expansion will enable eDrive production to move up a gear, to deliver the growing number of programs won by GKN for next-generation hybrid and electric vehicles.”
Photo courtesy of GKN Driveline
Copper industry expects EVs to spur ninefold rise in demand for copper by 2027
Qualcomm invests in safe battery tech from Amionx Qualcomm has made a strategic investment in Amionx, a specialist in safe battery technology. Qualcomm President Derek Aberle will join the Amionx board of directors. Amionx has patented a technology called Safe Core that acts like a circuit breaker to prevent Li-ion batteries from triggering a fire or explosion. Safe Core is designed to protect batteries from overcharging, internal shorts, or external heat – it can be activated by temperature, current or voltage thresholds. According to Amionx, Safe Core can be implemented into existing manufacturing facilities with no additional capital cost and minimal additional material cost. It is applicable to other battery chemistries, as well as solid-state technology. “As the use of lithium-ion batteries continues to be more pervasive, we will undoubtedly see more incidents of battery fires and explosions; something which Safe
Core can prevent,” said Amionx CEO Jenna King. “The fact that Safe Core can be implemented easily into the existing battery manufacturing process and at such low cost will help drive widespread and rapid adoption,” said Qualcomm President Derek Aberle. “Safe Core can open new product opportunities for lithium-ion batteries where safety concerns have limited their use to date.”
Elaphe tests its in-wheel motors in a BMW X6
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Elaphe Propulsion Technologies has built a demonstrator vehicle that it claims is the highest-performing in-wheelpowered car ever. The modified BMW X6 uses 4 Elaphe L1500 gearless electric motors mounted inside the wheels. It delivers over 440 kW (590 hp) of power, and over 6,000 Nm (4,425 lb·ft) of direct-drive torque. The 5,300-pound vehicle can reach 62 mph in less than 4.9 seconds. Elaphe will use the demonstrator for on-vehicle validation and testing. The company is investing heavily in R&D and scaling up production – it recently won a grant of over 1 million euros from the EU to help bring its L1500 in-wheel motor into mass production.
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Argonne National Laboratory licenses continuous ALD technology to Forge Nano Argonne National Laboratory has granted an exclusive license to Colorado-based nano-coating specialist Forge Nano to commercialize Argonne’s patented system for continuous atomic layer deposition. Atomic layer deposition (ALD) is a process that deposits a uniform, ultrathin encapsulating coating around any material. It can be used to upgrade materials such as powders utilized in lithium-ion batteries, fuel cells and ultracapacitors. ALD allows for coating thicknesses down to Angstroms (1/100,000th the thickness of a human hair). Such control allows the application of coatings that are thick enough to eliminate unwanted reactions that cause degradation, yet thin enough not to adversely affect desirable material properties. ALD coatings are a compelling coating solution for eliminating capacity fade and enabling higher overall performance and safety in batteries. ALD has existed for
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decades, but it has remained a lab-scale process utilized primarily by academics. Forge Nano has successfully demonstrated a high-throughput process for applying ALD, which has the potential to reduce the cost of energy storage devices while improving their performance and safety. Forge Nano says its coatings can increase cathode material lifetimes more than 250% while enabling higher-capacity nickel-rich battery chemistries. The company is also demonstrating similar gains for anode materials such as conventional graphite and emerging silicon-based materials. Forge Nano recently commissioned a production plant for ALD-enabled materials with a capacity of 300 tons per year, and is currently constructing a 3,000-ton-peryear plant, which is scheduled to come online in early 2018.
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Magnet Applications, a subsidiary of Bunting Magnetics based in Dubois, Pennsylvania, provides compression-bonded and injection-molded magnets and magnetic assemblies for automotive and other industrial applications. The company has expanded its online Tech Center, which offers a wealth of information about magnets, including articles and presentations on various attractive topics, as well as an in-depth magnetic glossary. Magnet Applications has also launched free downloadable calculator apps for Apple and Android devices. The new Magnetic Calculators can be used to calculate field strength, unit conversions and holding force for disc, ring and block magnets. “For the engineer researching magnet or magnetic assembly design and manufacturing, we want to be their one-stop source for information to assist them in their product development,” says Don Lindstrom, General Manager, Magnet Applications. “Today, we turn to mobile devices and technology to help us design, do business and more. This app will be a helpful tool for designers, engineers and sales teams that need information on the go.”
Photo courtesy of Magnet Applications
Magnet Applications’ online Tech Center and new calculator apps
Swiss battery-maker Leclanché and Skoda Electric, a maker of electric drives and traction motors for trolley and electric buses, have signed a Joint Development Agreement under which Leclanché will provide Skoda Electric with battery solutions for its electric bus expansion strategy. Leclanché will provide Skoda 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 Skoda’s e-buses. Its solutions will be modular, enabling Skoda to build e-buses from 6 to 26 meters. The agreement also covers battery systems for a range of uses, from passenger vehicles to off-road equipment. “In 2015 Leclanché unveiled its first all-electric bus in Belgium,” said Anil Srivastava, CEO of Leclanché. “Now the European e-bus industry is at a watershed moment as proven battery technology and tighter environmental legislation make electric buses economically competitive with diesel.” “Leclanché is unique in that it is fully integrated, has long-life-cycle technology across both high-energy and ultra-fast-charging power batteries, and a production facility in Europe,” said Jaromír Šilhánek, CEO of Skoda Electric. “Leclanché’s solutions give us ultimate flexibility and scalability, making the company the ideal partner for us to deliver our European electric bus strategy.”
Photo courtesy of Leclanché
Leclanché to supply batteries for Skoda Electric e-buses
Photo courtesy of Efficient Drivetrains, Inc
EDI to provide plug-in bus powertrains to 4 Chinese OEMs Four separate Chinese OEMs have selected a plug-in hybrid drivetrain made by Efficient Drivetrains, Inc. (EDI) to integrate into their 8- and 12-meter buses. EDI will supply its EDI PowerDrive 6000 system, along with the EDI PowerSuite vehicle control software, to Shaanxi Automotive, Ankai, Xiamen Jinlong and Yaxing Motors. Government regulations in China are driving the electrification of vehicle platforms, and bus OEMs are looking for partners to help them rapidly comply with mandates. The OEMs’ selection of EDI follows the company’s recent delivery of 40 bus drivetrains built on the Yaxing Motors platform to the city of Jiangsu Sheyang. EDI continues to expand commercial bus deployments to territories across China and Taiwan, and expects to close orders for several hundred more bus drivetrains by Q3 of this year. Reliable statistics on China’s transport industry can be hard to come by. According to EDI,
industry reports indicated that there were approximately 116,000 electrified buses in China in 2016 - 20% of the overall bus market. A recent report from the International Energy Agency says that China has over 300,000 electric buses. Either way, it’s a huge market. “With this kind of continued growth and market share, it can be expected that China can make an all-electric [bus fleet] a reality,” said CEO Joerg Ferchau. “Our portfolio of PHEV and EV drivetrain solutions and vehicle control software will enable large OEMs in China to rapidly introduce electrified options into the marketplace.”
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Shenzhen Wuzhoulong Motors has unveiled a 12-meter bus for the China market, powered by an electric drive system from UQM Technologies (NYSE MKT: UQM). UQM’s PowerPhase DT HD250 propulsion system includes a 2-speed Eaton transmission and delivers peak power of 250 kW and torque of 3,050 Nm. Wuzhoulong has delivered nearly 3,000 new energy buses, which are running on more than 20 routes in China. “UQM has very good power density and high performance,” said Mr. Chen Qingquan of the Chinese Academy of Engineering. “The UQM drive system Wuzhoulong used has better performance than the other E-drive suppliers, and the UQM drive system saves in volume and weight.” “After much hard work getting this bus deployed, we are glad to see the market entry of the UQM drivetrain
Photo courtesy of UQM
Wuzhoulong’s Chinese e-bus uses UQM drive system
in China,” said Joe Mitchell, CEO of UQM. “This underscores the move away from direct drive towards more power- and torque-dense UQM motors paired with a 2-speed transmission as the most efficient solution for the transit bus vehicle application.”
Infolytica’s new software suite enhances electromagnetic field simulations
Infolytica has released new versions of its MagNet, effects, should significantly improve the design of inducElecNet, ThermNet and OptiNet simulation software. tors used in switch-mode converters and power supplies, Upgrades in version 7.8 include improved nonlinear and the design of wireless power transfer coils. A 3D material treatment in AC/time-harmonic simulations MagNet model incorporating controlled switches in its and expanded circuit modeling tools for complex control circuit can fully consider these effects. systems. Infolytica’s suite of computer-aided engineering software is designed to handle the most complex electromagnetic and electric field simulations. Engineers, scientists or designers can simulate the physics of complex systems that impact electromagnetic or electric fields and in turn, the predicted performance of a device or component. The design of electric transformers, motors, inductors and other ferromagnetic-cored devices requires accurate treatment of nonlinear effects, which also affect the accuracy of iron losses. Transient solvers that have significantly longer solution times accurately handle nonlinear Safety for vehicles effects. Time-harmonic solvers balance the need for fast solution Bender’s ground fault detector, the ISOMETER® IR155-3204 and times and nonlinear approxiiso165C, provide safety in hybrid and electric vehicles as well as mation. The MagNet 7.8 release in Formula 1. improves the nonlinear approxSafety for vehicles Safety for vehicles imation of the time-harmonic The IR155-3204 and iso165C monitor the solvers, such that the accuracy of Bender’s ground fault detector, Bender’s theground ISOMETER® fault detector, IR155-3204 the ISOMETER® and IR155-3204 and complete vehicle electrical drive system and the iron losses is close to that of a t iso165C, provide safety iniso165C, hybrid and provide electric safety vehicles in hybrid as well andaselectric vehicles assuwell ppoasr provide effective protection against electric transient solve with a 90% reducWe la in Formula 1. in Formula 1. ormu tion in solution time. shocks and fire hazards. the F ms id Tea Switching effects in nonlinThe IR155-3204 and iso165C The IR155-3204 monitor theand iso165C monitor the Hybr ear inductors, transformers and vehicle electrical complete complete drive system vehicle and electrical drive system and port port rotating electric machinesprovide can effective protection e sup electric e sup provide against effective electricprotectionWagainst W a l mula be analyzed within MagNet 7.8 and fire hazards. shocks and fire hazards. ormu e For shocks h the F t s m ms by including current and voltage id Tea Safety © id Tea r r The Power in Electrical www.bender.org b b y y H H controlled switches. Accounting for switching effects, in addition to core nonlinearity, gap and 3D The Power in Electrical Safety The ©Powerwww.bender.org in Electrical Safety ©
Panasonic shifts focus to automotive tech The coming restructuring of the auto industry will yield winners and losers. New opportunities will open up for battery-makers and copper producers, but the hottest sector of all may be “auto tech,” which includes not only powertrain electronics such as motor controllers, inverters and chargers, but also self-driving hardware and software, and customer-facing components such as touchscreens, head-up displays and infotainment systems. Tech companies are moving into the automotive space, making acquisitions and alliances to position themselves for profits under the new order. Last year, GM paid a billion bucks for Cruise Automation and invested half a billion in Lyft. Intel is putting its recent acquisition, Mobileye, to work in a partnership with BMW to build self-driving vehicles. Google is working with Fiat Chrysler on self-driving cars and providing display systems for Volvo. Israeli startup Otonomo is competing with Google and Apple to sell user data to Daimler and other automakers. No company is better placed to thrive in the electric, automated future than Panasonic, which is steadily redirecting its focus from consumer electronics to auto tech. In February, Panasonic named Tom Gebhardt Chairman and CEO of its North American operations. Gebhardt’s former post was leading the company’s Automotive Systems subsidiary. “Our business has evolved…from purely a consumer business to a B2B business,” Gebhardt recently told Business Insider. “There’s a number of reasons for that: The commoditization of consumer products [and] the unfavorability in some of the cost models led us to look for better values in in-vehicle technologies.” Gebhardt said Panasonic is devoting more resources to digital cockpits and vehicle entertainment systems as self-driving vehicles get closer to reality. “If the scenar-
io says the car drives itself, it’s similar to sitting in an airplane seat, because you’re no longer actively driving,” he said. “We see that as an evolution of the space that has infinite possibilities for us.” Panasonic offered several glimpses of those possibilities at CES in January. Fiat Chrysler’s semi-autonomous Portal concept car featured a Panasonic touchscreen with facial and voice recognition. Panasonic also revealed a new system with a head-up display and augmented reality that’s designed to replace the traditional instrument cluster and many of the car’s physical controls. Some speculated that it was a preview of Model 3’s user interface. A few days later, Panasonic CEO Kazuhiro Tsuga said in an interview, “We are deeply interested in Tesla’s self-driving system. We are hoping to expand our collaboration by jointly developing devices for that, such as sensors.” Meanwhile, Panasonic’s collaboration with Tesla on batteries gives it a large stake in the potential profits as electrification gathers momentum. Panasonic is one of the largest battery manufacturers in the world, and it plans to invest $1.6 billion in Tesla’s Gigafactory. “The future is definitely electric, no question in my mind,” Gebhardt said. “What is the future timeline? Is it 10 years, 15 years, 40 years? It’s just a matter of what the adoption hits at the scale that makes this a slam dunk.” Panasonic’s increasing investment in auto tech is already paying off, according to Nikkei Asian Review. At a recent financial briefing, President Kazuhiro Tsuga said the company is expecting an increase in net profit in fiscal year 2017, its first gain in two years, largely because of strong growth in EV batteries and other auto-related products. “We are confident we can achieve increases both in sales and profit for the year through March 2018 and later years,” he said.
Photo courtesy of Carla Wosniak (CC BY 2.0)
Cummins to offer electrified powertrains in 2019 Cummins executives have outlined plans to add hybrid and fully electric powertrains to the company’s range of offerings. The delivery of battery-electric and plug-in hybrid systems, which is to begin in 2019, will be just the first step, they said – the company intends to be the leading provider of electrified powertrains in its commercial and industrial markets. With an eye on the longer term, Cummins’ R&D department continues to investigate alternatives such as biofuels, synthetic fuels and hydrogen. Cummins has also invested in exploratory projects focused on Proton Exchange Membrane and Solid Oxide Fuel Cell technologies, which it says have the potential to offer superior power density over the legacy internal combustion engine. “As a global power leader for the commercial and industrial markets, we are better positioned than any other company to win in new and emerging technologies,” said
Cummins CEO Tom Linebarger. “We are prepared to provide a range of power technologies to our customers from diesel and natural gas to fully electric and hybrid powertrains to ensure they always have the best solution for their application.”
ZF showcases mSTARS electric axle system
BMW i Ventures has announced a strategic investment in semiconductor maker GaN Systems. GaN Systems focuses on power transistors based on Gallium nitride (GaN), a wide band gap semiconductor material that promises higher energy efficiency, smaller form factors and higher performance. “GaN Systems’ power transistors have created new possibilities for engineers to build the power electronics demanded by today’s systems,” said Uwe Higgen, Managing Director, BMW i Ventures. “Gallium nitride-based transistors have become the next big stepping stone in miniaturization. We have seen systems a quarter the size while providing better efficiency than traditional silicon-based alternatives. With GaN, any system that needs power can become smaller, lighter and more efficient.” “There are many examples of how GaN benefits power systems,” said GaN Systems CEO Jim Witham. “With autonomous cars, there will be the need to massively scale the data center infrastructure. Data center power consumption is one of the biggest cost drivers, and increasing the efficiency of power conversion will account for billions of dollars in cost savings and enable a more sustainable infrastructure around the globe.”
Photo courtesy of ZF
Photo courtesy of GaN Systems
BMW i Ventures announces strategic investment in GaN Systems
German automotive supplier ZF is using a plug-in concept vehicle called Vision Zero to showcase a number of new safety and zero-emissions technologies. The entire propulsion system is housed in a space-saving modular rear axle system called mSTARS (modular Semi-Trailing Arm Rear Suspension). mSTARS is designed to make it easier to electrify existing production vehicle platforms. The 150 kW drive unit houses not only the electric motor but also a two-stage, one-speed spur gear drive, a differential, and power electronics along with control software.
The system’s integral link design and separate spring damper configuration frees up installation space between the rear wheels. ZF’s AKC active rear axle steering system, which can be combined with any modular axle configuration, is designed to improve agility, comfort and stability. “mSTARS provides our customers with a basis for a wide range of applications in multiple vehicle segments,” explains Dr. Holger Klein, head of ZF’s Car Chassis Technology Division. “The solution is suitable for hybrid, fuel cell and battery-powered vehicles as well as in combination with conventional all-wheel modules or our AKC active rear axle steering.”
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A CLOSER LOOK AT
PERMANENT MAGNETS By Jeffrey Jenkins
are earth magnets have gotten a lot of coverage in the EV press over the years for being expensive especially back in 2011 when a supply disruption in China sent the prices up anywhere from fivefold for neodymium to 20-fold for dysprosium over the course of a few months - yet they are still a key component in the vast majority of traction motors found in EVs and hybrids (the notable exception is Tesla, which uses induction motors). Magnets are manufactured industrially by running a current through a coil to apply an external magnetic field to a ferromagnetic material, but it is also possible to magnetize something by merely placing it in contact with another magnet, or even by striking it with a hammer. Ferromagnetic materials that are difficult to magnetize or demagnetize are called â€œhard,â€? and are preferred for use as permanent magnets - the
Figure 1 - Key properties of magnets Data via Dura Magnetics, Inc.
subject of this article - while materials that are easy to magnetize or demagnetize are called “soft,” and are ideally used in transformers, inductors and electromagnets. Hard ferromagnetic materials feature molecules with a crystalline structure that is elongated in one direction called anisotropy - and the process of magnetization is merely one of aligning all of the long axes in the same direction. Broadly speaking, there are four main types of magnets: ceramic (also called ferrite), AlNiCo, Samarium Cobalt (SmCo) and Neodymium (NdFeB). The last type is the one most commonly used in traction motors for hybrids and EVs. Key properties of the four magnet types are summarized in Figure 1. Cost and corrosion resistance are self-explanatory, although it should be emphasized that NdFeB magnets are exceptionally prone to corrosion and must be protected with some kind of coating or plating before exposure to the air. The significance of operating temperature is not quite as obvious as it might seem, however. All magnetic materials lose their magnetic properties at a certain temperature called the Curie point, and this is invariably fatal to permanent magnets. However, irreversible loss of magnetism can also occur at temperatures well below the Curie point, and it is this effect that really defines
Broadly speaking, there are four main types of magnets: ceramic (also called ferrite), AlNiCo, Samarium Cobalt (SmCo) and Neodymium (NdFeB). the operating temperature of a magnet. For example, the Curie point for NdFeB is 310-350° C, depending on the grade, but the maximum operating temperature ranges from 80° to 180° C. Conversely, AlNiCo magnets have the highest Curie point - in the range of 800-860° C and can be used at up to 530° C. Magnet strength is the most deceptive specification, because it is the product of remanence, which is the residual flux density (or B, usually measured in Gauss, or G), and coercive force (or H, usually measured in Oersteds, or Oe), which indicates how strong an external magnetic field is needed to fully demagnetize a magnet.
To put remanence into perspective, consider that the strongest grade of NdFeB magnet, N52, is rated for around 14,000 G, and a 1-inch-diameter x 2-inch-long magnet made of the stuff would require over 85 pounds of force to pull it from a steel block (or another magnet of similar or larger size). Coercive force is a bit trickier to understand, but it relates not only to how much magnetic effort, so to speak, is required to demagnetize a magnet, but also to how much effort is required to magnetize it to its maximum possible remanence value. While you can make a magnet by simply placing a ferromagnetic material in contact with an existing magnet, the new magnet wonâ€™t be very strong, because to reach maximum remanence you need to apply sufficient coercive force to saturate the ferromagnetic material, and for anything but the weakest ceramic magnets, that generally requires using a multi-turn air-core solenoid coil through which a (usually) large current is passed to create an intense magnetic field. This produces a coercive force proportional to the amount of current times the number of turns divided by the height of the coil in meters. To convert from this electrically-generated coercive force to the Oersteds usually specified for magnets, divide by approximately 80 (the actual division ratio is 1,000/4Î ). So a 1 Oe coercive force is approximately equal to 80 A*turns/m, which could be generated by any of the following combinations: 20 A*4 turns/1 m; 2 A*4 turns/10 cm; 8 A*1 turn/10 cm; etc.
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Now consider that a high-grade NdFeB magnet has an intrinsic coercive force in the range of 11,000 Oe, and the staggering magnitude of what it takes to demagnetize one of these beasts should be apparent (~880,000 A*t/m!). Magnetizing that same ferromagnetic material in the first place, however, requires somewhere in the range of 2x to 4x the same coercive force. Fortunately, such an intense field only needs to be applied momentarily, so a practical approach is to charge up a capacitor bank, then dump that charge all at once into a coil made of copper tubing through which coolant flows. Peak currents for appropriately sized coils will still exceed 10 kA, however; after all, you can’t cram 100 turns of copper tubing into a 10 cm-tall coil...unless it’s capillary tubing. In contrast, the strongest grade of AlNiCo magnet 8HE - has a residual flux density in the range of 9,000 Gauss, which is comparable to some of the rare earth magnets, but a coercive force of 1,600 Oe, making it relatively easy to demagnetize. In fact, an AlNiCo magnet will demagnetize on its own if a magnetic shunt (also called a keeper) isn’t used to bridge its North and South poles together. The low coercive force is also the reason that AlNiCo drops to dead last in the rankings above, despite being a “stronger” magnet than the typical dark gray ceramic types. Resistance to demagnetization is especially important for magnets used in motors, as the mechanism by which motors work is the interaction of a fixed magnetic field which in an AC motor is supplied, somewhat perversely, by the rotor - with a rotating magnetic field, which in an
NdFeB magnets are the current champions in both maximum field strength and in resisting demagnetization, but their Achilles heel is a very low maximum operating temperature. AC motor is created by sequentially energizing coils of wires arrayed about the circumference of the stator with an inverter. Using strong magnets that are easily demagnetized for the fixed field - such as AlNiCo - will result in a progressive loss of torque just from sitting around, even more loss from normal use, and a catastrophic loss of torque if subjected either to overcurrent or if there is a timing mismatch between the magnetic fields from the stator coils and the position of the rotor’s magnetic poles. Also, an intentional timing mismatch between rotor and stator is used to counteract some of the rotor’s field at high RPMs - this is called field weakening, logically enough - and is necessary to reduce the back EMF generated by the motor (if the back EMF exceeds the battery voltage, then the motor becomes a generator). NdFeB magnets are the current champions in both
THE TECH maximum field strength and in resisting demagnetization, but their Achilles heel is a very low maximum operating temperature. The standard N grade will start to experience reversible/minor demagnetization at 60° C, and the recommended maximum operating temperature is 80° C; above that, irreversible loss of magnetism occurs. By adding the heavy rare earth metals dysprosium or terbium to the alloy, the maximum operating temperature can be increased to as high as 180° C, but with some reduction in maximum remanence, and both of those alloying elements are much more expensive - and have more volatile price swings - than neodymium. The average spot price in March 2017, as reported by the Shanghai Metals Exchange, was $51/kg for neodymium and $242/ kg for dysprosium. Still, a 180° C maximum operating temperature matches the standard grades of magnet wire insulation, so this is generally considered “good enough” (it should be noted that the resistance of copper increases by 0.4%/° C, so increasing the maximum operating temperature isn’t necessarily desirable in the first place). Also, about 90% of the losses in the IPM motor come from the stator,
but since the stator is very close to the rotor - separated by an air gap of a couple of millimeters or less - some heat transfer is inevitable. So what about ditching the magnets completely, as in an induction motor? Unsurprisingly, there are compelling arguments for both technologies - a more comprehensive look at these (including the efforts to reduce or eliminate the use of rare earth magnets) could be the subject of a future article. Broadly speaking, however, an induction motor will be larger and less efficient for a given power output than an IPM motor. It will also have a lower power factor - which basically means some of the current rating of the inverter can’t be used to produce useful torque. On the other hand, the induction motor is practically indestructible, it doesn’t require precise rotor position feedback to deliver its maximum possible torque and there is no possibility of the failure mode called “uncontrolled generation,” which results when the inverter misfires or shuts down while field weakening is in effect - the IPM motor instantly turns into a generator, and can force such a huge current to backfeed through the inverter that it destroys the latter, and perhaps itself.
IMPROVING AUTOMOTIVE POWER MODULES WITH
DIRECT LEAD BONDING By Michael Alba
Mitsubishi Electric’s Adam Falcsik discusses how to increase power module reliability
uch as humans need a heart to distribute energy throughout our bodies, EVs need a heart to transfer energy from their batteries to their motors. This “heart” of an EV is called a power module, and it’s responsible for driving the vehicle’s propulsion unit as efficiently as possible. Considering the critical importance of power modules, you can be sure that many companies are continually working to make them better. The engineers at Mitsubishi Electric, for example, have developed a technique called direct lead bonding (DLB), which they say will provide meaningful increases in reliability.
Direct lead bonding Power modules incorporate a number of power semiconductor components, often in the form of insulated gate bipolar transistors (IGBTs). Although these components can be arranged in many different ways, a com-
Photos courtesy of Mitsubishi Electric
Mitsubishi Electric’s DLB technique concerns the way in which a power module’s IGBTs are connected together and to the device’s power terminals.
Conventional wire bond and the DLB structure
mon topology involves six components interconnected in what’s called a six pack. Mitsubishi Electric’s DLB technique concerns the way in which a power module’s IGBTs are connected together and to the device’s power terminals. Typically, these interconnections are made with aluminum bond wires. “In traditional large power modules, multiple small aluminum wires join the chips in whatever topology the module executes,” explains Adam Falcsik, Product Line Manager for Mitsubishi Products and Accessories at Powerex - the North American branding for Mitsubishi Electric products. “They connect the emitter of the upper device to the collector of the lower device, and so forth.” In contrast, DLB replaces the aluminum bond wires with a single copper lead. “Rather than using multiple small aluminum wire bonds, we use a single thick copper bond that is attached to the surface with a solder layer,” says Falcsik.
Improving reliability with DLB Why use DLB over aluminum bond wires? As Falcsik explains, aluminum wire bonds are one of the primary
Rather than using multiple small aluminum wire bonds, we use a single thick copper bond that is attached to the surface with a solder layer. points of failure in conventional power modules. “There are two main failure points in power modules, a thermal cycle limiting feature and a power cycle limiting feature,” says Falcsik. “The thermal cycle limitation concerns the overall heating and cooling of the system, and the power cycle limitation concerns the short excursions you’d see in the pulse-width modulation-type timeframe.” DLB is used to improve the durability of the power cycle. With aluminum bond wires, the power cycle is limited by a predictable failure at the junction between the bond wire and silicon chip. Falcsik claims that in power modules with DLB, this weak point is eliminated.
Images courtesy of Mitsubishi Electric
DLB and wire-bond power cycling comparison
“Rather than having all these localized hot spots on the chip surface, it’s much more evenly distributed, and so is the current flow. So rather than having to flow through these points where the wires bond, the whole surface can be utilized.” Consequently, because the power cycle typically fails before the thermal cycle, power modules with DLB benefit from increased longevity. “With DLB, the thermal cycle reliability becomes the driving force of the lifetime of the module. So rather than having to counterbalance these two features, now we can move our lifetime curve out to the thermal cycle threshold.” While DLB improves power module reliability, it can come with an increased cost over some aluminum wire bonded alternatives. However, Falcsik is confident that EV manufacturers will see the advantages of the more reliable DLB approach. “Reliability is something the market is still trying to get a handle on, because they haven’t had a lot of long-
That’s something that we’re always selling: reliability over the lifetime of the vehicle. term vehicles out there that are fully electric,” says Falcsik. “That’s something that we’re always selling: reliability over the lifetime of the vehicle. We’ve seen customers that are more in tune with the rigorous demands of an EV, and they tend to understand the benefits that our module can offer. Whenever they’re doing a side-by-side comparison of us and a competitor, they better understand the benefits.” Mitsubishi Electric has published a paper on its latest six pack IGBT power modules, called the J1-Series, in which they demonstrate some impressive results. In
this paper, DLB was shown to achieve ten times as many power cycles as conventional modules with aluminum wire bonding. The J1-series offers a number of benefits over conventional transfer molded power modules (T-PMs). According to Mitsubishi Electric’s paper, the J1-Series achieves a 76% weight reduction, 40% footprint reduction, and 30% improved thermal performance over T-PM solutions.
76% 40% 30%
The J1-series offers
Customer configured With a number of major improved thermal automakers as clients, performance Mitsubishi Electric has to provide power modules for a range of automotive needs. Ultimately, the customers drive the choice of specs. “We’re able to support customers that are chasing the high horsepower goals, but we’re also able to support somebody designing a people’s car, a commuter. So we need to have a range available to meet the range of vehicle requirements,” says Falcsik. With these different demands from different customers, Mitsubishi Electric has developed several ratings and packages in the J1-Series. “In the smaller package, which we call our J1 package, there’s a 600 A, 650 V six pack device,” explains Falcsik. “There are multiple other ratings in development, and we work closely with potential customers to zone in on exactly what those are, but right now we’re developing a 700 A, 650 V device, and possibly a 1,200 V device.” According to Falcsik, the majority of Mitsubishi Electric’s power modules are still produced for hybrids and PHEVs. However, for manufacturers of pure EVs, Mitsubishi Electric offers a more powerful module called the HPJ1. “In the larger HPJ1 package, we are currently in the final development stages for our 1,000 A, 650 V device, as well as a 600 A, 1,200 V device. So
Photos courtesy of Mitsubishi Electric
We’ve seen customers that are more in tune with the rigorous demands of an EV, and they tend to understand the benefits that our module can offer. the HPJ1 is really focused on fully electric vehicles, not a hybrid-type solution.” Whether an EV or a PHEV, a high-horsepower dragster or an efficient commuter, all electrified vehicles can benefit from more reliable power modules. As the heart of the electric powertrain, these modules have the same bottom line as our biological tickers: the longer they last, the better.
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Chinese manufacturer Sokon Industry Group, which produces multi-purpose vehicles as well as engines and other automotive components, has established a US-based headquarters in Silicon Valley. The company is launching an EV brand called SF Motors, which it promises to unveil in further detail in the coming months. The company has also established an R&D center near Ann Arbor, Michigan, and has plans for a future US manufacturing base. The brand-new 80,000-square-foot building in Santa Clara includes a vehicle showroom and a state-of-the-art garage with lots of EV charging stations. The facility is to have a headcount of 150 employees by the end of the year, while the Ann Arbor R&D center will hire 100. “In order to establish a West Coast presence and reach our goal of becoming a leader in the US EV market, SF Motors decided to build a solid foundation here in Silicon Valley,” said SF Motors CEO John Zhang. “As we expand our operations and R&D efforts, we hope to partner with like-minded corporations and recruit the top automotive and tech talent.” In a stroke of poetic justice, the company has bought an auto assembly plant where smoke-belching Hummers used to roll off the line, and plans to convert it to an EV manufacturing plant. AM General’s South Bend, Indiana plant also used to assemble SUVs for other automakers such as Mercedes (it’s not where the military Humvees are built). SF Motors plans to invest some $30 million in the factory to retool it for the production of its “next generation electric vehicles.” SF also hired Tesla co-founder Martin Eberhard
Photo courtesy of Sokon Industry Group
Chinese automaker Sokon Industry Group establishes US brand, SF Motors, to produce EVs in former Hummer factory
as a consultant, as well as several other former Tesla engineers. Few other details about the company or its planned products are available. “This transaction represents a unique opportunity to grow our intelligent electric vehicle business through the addition of an existing production facility and a skilled work force,” said SF Motors CEO John Zhang.
Photo courtesy of BYD
NRDC report quantifies American jobs supported by BYD and Wayne Engineering fuel economy standards demonstrate electric refuse truck for City of Los Angeles
Los Angeles Sanitation (LASAN) has completed a demonstration project using a Class 6 battery-electric refuse truck developed by BYD and Wayne Engineering. During the four-month pilot, the truck logged over 5,200 miles, and achieved an average range of 99 miles. Operating on the same routes and variable terrain as LASAN’s regular trucks, the e-garbage truck delivered up to four tons per day to the landfill, all on a single charge, with no major mechanical or performance issues. “We’ve been designing and manufacturing innovative equipment for the waste management sector for half a century, and that has all been a buildup to this project, bringing cutting-edge electric technology to refuse hauling, which can easily be a zero-emission operation,” said Kevin Watje, CEO of Wayne Engineering. “BYD set out to prove that our battery-electric refuse trucks reliably achieve 100 miles of range in everyday operating conditions, and we achieved that goal with a record-breaking 99 miles per charge over a four-month timeframe,” said Macy Neshati, Senior VP of BYD Heavy Industries. “This demonstration with LA Sanitation proves to other municipal refuse fleets that electrification is possible today.”
Over 288,000 American workers are employed building technologies for the auto industry to reduce pollution and improve gas mileage, according to a new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council. “Supplying Ingenuity II: U.S. Suppliers of Key Clean, Fuel-Efficient Vehicle Technologies,” a joint production of NRDC and the BlueGreen Alliance, finds that hundreds of thousands of Americans are employed in 1,200 manufacturing and engineering facilities across 48 states to build the technologies that help automakers to meet vehicle fuel efficiency standards. Over the years, automakers have consistently claimed that new efficiency and safety regulations – from seat belts to air bags to catalytic converters to the current regime of emissions reductions – would impose impossible burdens on the industry (former EPA official Margo Oge documents the long and ongoing struggle in her book, Driving the Future). However, the fact is that, since 2009, the US auto industry has added nearly 700,000 retail and manufacturing jobs, at the same time meeting ever-stronger federal and state standards and achieving record sales. With an anti-regulation regime in Washington, automakers are making a new push to water down vehicle standards. NRDC argues that this would stifle innovation and put US automotive jobs at risk. Emissions standards not only reduce air pollution, they save consumers money – more than $36 billion since 2012, according to the new report. American drivers are expected to save over a trillion dollars in fuel cost over the lives of vehicles made under the current standards, which extend to 2025. The future of manufacturing lies in high technology, and international competition in the auto industry is fierce. Consistent government policies and smart initiatives, from the federal CAFE standards to California’s ZEV mandate to federal and state charging infrastructure programs to basic and applied research at the national laboratories, support American innovation - and American jobs.
The Oregon House and Senate have approved a $5.3-billion transportation funding package that includes pointof-purchase rebates for EVs. Governor Kate Brown is expected to sign the legislation within the next few days. The bill authorizes $12 million each year for six years to fund rebates for the purchase or lease of a new EV or PHEV with a base MSRP of $50,000 or less. The rebates will be $2,500 for vehicles with a battery capacity of 10 kW or more, and $1,500 for vehicles with a battery capacity less than 10 kW. Starting in 2019, rebates will also be available for electric motorcycles and neighborhood electric vehicles. The legislation also creates additional rebates of up to $2,500 for low- and moderate-income drivers who scrap a car that is at least 20 years old and replace it with a new or used EV. These Charge Ahead rebates can be combined with the standard rebates to offer up to $5,000 towards the price of a new EV. As government gives with one hand, it takes away (a little) with the other – as several other states have done, Oregon will impose special registration fees on EVs of approximately $110 per year. However, thanks to pressure from EV advocacy groups, those fees will be phased in starting in 2020.
Photo courtesy of Aston Martin
Photo courtesy of Nicolas Raymond (CC BY 2.0)
LeEco pulls out, but Aston Oregon legislature approves Martin will still produce new EV rebates (and new electric RapidE fees)
In February 2016, Aston Martin announced that it would work with Chinese tech company LeEco on the RapidE, an electric version of the Rapide four-door sports sedan. LeEco, facing a cash crunch, has pulled out of the project, but Aston Martin Chief Executive Andy Palmer told Reuters that his company will still produce the EV. The plan seems to be to make the RapidE a bit more exclusive. Aston Martin will build only 155 units, a third of the original plan. The launch date has been pushed back to 2019. “We’ve decided to make this car rare, which will obviously tend to push the price higher,” Palmer said. “Aston Martin now plans to proceed independently, funding further development of RapidE by ourselves.” Aston will start taking orders for the RapidE next month. Prices start at around 200,000 pounds ($255,000), 50,000 pounds more than the existing V12 Rapide. Battery packs for the RapidE will come from a new production facility built by a consortium led by Williams Advanced Engineering, which supplies power packs to the Formula E electric car racing series, and also built the RapidE prototype that was unveiled in 2015. Aston’s further EV plans include an electric version of the DBX crossover it plans to be launched in 2019. “The RapidE project was always about learning in readiness for the DBX derivative,” Palmer said. “We can do that through a limited series.”
VW claims its upcoming EV will be $7,000 to $8,000 cheaper than Model 3
BYD Coach and Bus, which is steadily expanding deliveries of electric buses in the US, has announced the hiring of a new General Manager. Milo Victoria, an industry veteran with 41 years of transit industry experience, will oversee operations of the company’s electric bus manufacturing facility in Lancaster, California. BYD employs nearly 700 individuals in California and expects to add more than 500 jobs in the coming years. BYD Coach and Bus also announced the promotion of Bobby Hill to Vice President of US Sales. Hill will manage all US-based transit sales. His scope will also include the Caribbean, as BYD’s business in the region expands. “Milo Victoria is a well-respected veteran of the transit industry, having started as a mechanic who worked his way up to executive leadership positions at several of the country’s largest and busiest transit authorities,” said Macy Neshati, Senior Vice President of BYD Heavy Industries. “He is knowledgeable on every aspect of transit bus operations, and we are pleased to count him as part of the BYD Coach and Bus family now.” “Bobby Hill has been an invaluable asset to BYD for more than two years and this promotion is in recognition of that,” Neshati continued. “His customer service and sales expertise is unmatched.”
Volkswagen execs have been talking some smack about Tesla. “Anything Tesla can do, we can surpass,” CEO Herbert Diess said in May. VW is working on its first native EV (that is, the first one not adapted from an ICE vehicle), code-named the ID Concept, and it has released specs comparable to those of Tesla’s Model 3. It plans to launch the vehicle in Europe in 2019. At the recent Automobil Forum in Germany, Volkswagen Chief Strategist Thomas Sedran said that the company hopes to sell the new vehicle for about $7,000 to $8,000 less than the price of a Model 3.
Photos courtesy of Volkswagen
Photo courtesy of BYD
BYD Coach and Bus continues US expansion, hires new General Manager
“We are confident that in this new world we will become a market leader. [Tesla] is a competitor we take seriously,” said Mr Diess. “Tesla comes from a highpriced segment, however they are moving down. It’s our ambition, with our new architecture, to stop them there, to rein them in.”
All Volvos to have electric motors from 2019
Photo courtesy of Proterra
Photo courtesy of Volvo
BMW i Ventures makes strategic investment in electric bus company Proterra
Electric bus manufacturer Proterra has closed a Series 6 round of funding, raising $55 million from various investors, including BMW i Ventures. Proterra will use the new money to increase production at its manufacturing facilities in South Carolina and Los Angeles, and to boost R&D efforts at company headquarters in Silicon Valley. For BMW i Ventures, this represents its first investment in heavy-duty EV manufacturing. “BMW i Ventures invests in companies that will transform mobility and transportation, and Proterra is pushing the mass transit industry forward with the most innovative heavy-duty electric bus,” said Partner Zach Barasz. “Due to Proterra’s efforts, electric mass transit is overtaking fossil-fuel buses as the new standard.”
Volvo Cars has announced that, beginning in 2019, every one of its models will have an electric motor, making it the first legacy automaker to phase out ICE-only vehicles. In the future, Volvo will offer only three powertrains: pure electric, plug-in hybrid, and mild hybrid, which uses a battery to store energy from regen, or for stop/start functionality. Volvo also announced that it would launch five pure electric cars between 2019 and 2021 – three under the Volvo brand and two under Polestar, the high-performance subsidiary that has recently been reorganized as an electric sub-brand. The company also aims to make its manufacturing operations climate-neutral by 2025. Volvo Cars was acquired by the Chinese firm Geely in 2010, and some believe that the new owners are behind the company’s new-found interest in electrification. “This announcement marks the end of the solely combustion engine-powered car,” said CEO Håkan Samuelsson. “Volvo Cars has stated that it plans to have sold a total of one million electrified cars by 2025. When we said it, we meant it. This is how we are going to do it.”
New report finds shared mobility essential for realizing full benefits of electrification and automation The coming generation of electric, autonomous vehicles promises to make transportation safer, more convenient and greener. However, these benefits won’t be fully realized unless users make the transition from private car ownership to a shared mobility model. That’s the conclusion of a new report, “Three Revolutions in Urban Transportation,” from a team at the University of California, Davis, and the nonprofit Institute for Transportation & Development Policy. “While vehicle electrification and automation may produce potentially important benefits, without a corresponding shift toward shared mobility and greater use of transit and active transport, these two revolutions could significantly increase congestion and urban sprawl, while also increasing the likelihood of missing climate change targets,” write Lew Fulton and colleagues. “In contrast, by encouraging a large increase in trip sharing, transit use, and active transport through policies that support compact, mixed-use development, cities worldwide could save an estimated $5 trillion annually by 2050.” The new report builds on the conclusions of a much-discussed recent report from research group RethinkX, which projects that within 10 years of regulatory approval of driverless vehicles, 95% of US passenger miles traveled will be served by on-demand autonomous EVs – a business model called Transport as a Service (TaaS). The “three revolutions” of the new report’s title refer to electrification, autonomy and new ownership models, and it’s important that all three take place together. If drivers embrace electric, self-driving cars, but insist on owning their own (the “2R scenario”), then vehicle travel will increase, and emissions reductions will depend on the extent to which the world’s electricity production shifts to renewables. “If the world’s electricity production is not completely decarbonized by 2050, this scenario may produce more CO2 emissions in 2050 than is consistent with targets to limit global temperature rise to 2° C.” An autonomous-vehicle world without electrification (i.e. using ICEs) and without vehicle sharing would not cut CO2 emissions at all by 2050. Again, vehicle travel would increase, but the superior efficiency of AVs would keep the total level of energy use and emissions close to today’s levels. The “3R scenario,” a world of shared, electric autonomous vehicles, “has the potential to deliver an efficient, low-traffic, low-energy, and low-CO2 urban transport system around the world. In this scenario, the widespread adoption of on-demand travel with substantial ride sharing, along with greater use of public transport, cycling, and walking, reduces car travel by well over half in 2050, and the number of cars by nearly three quarters.”
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Malmö, Sweden orders 13 Volvo electric buses
Bus operator Nobina has ordered 13 electric Volvo buses, which will begin operations in the Swedish city of Malmö at the end of next year, the biggest single order so far for the Volvo 7900 Electric. The buses will run on route 7, a distance of 15 km, and will be fast-charged at the route’s end stops, a process that takes between three and six minutes. The Volvo 7900 Electric is a two-axle, 12-meter city bus with low floor and three door openings. It charges via the open interface OppCharge. According to the company, it consumes 80% less energy than a corresponding diesel bus. “It’s really gratifying that one of Malmö’s main routes will now be completely electrified with our quiet and exhaust-free electric buses,” says Jörgen Sjöstedt, head of Volvo Buses on the Nordic market. “It’s also highly significant that we are yet again delivering to Nobina, to whom we have been supplying buses for more than 80 years.”
California and China sign agreement to cooperate on green tech As the US federal government abandons support for green technology, states are taking matters into their own hands. California Governor Edmund Brown recently traveled to China to sign an agreement to deepen cooperation on the development of green tech. The Governor met with President Xi Jinping as well as the country’s Minister of Science and Technology. The new agreement, which builds on two pacts that Brown signed earlier with Sichuan and Jiangsu provinces, expands cooperation on such technologies as zero-emission vehicles, renewable energy, energy storage, grid modernization and low-carbon urban development. Governor Brown and California Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols also met with execs from Chinese automakers and battery manufacturers, and agreed to establish a new working group through the China-US ZEV Policy Lab at UC Davis to expand cooperation. California and China are arguably the two global leaders in the development of the new energy economy. Both have serious air pollution issues, and both have set ambitious goals to deploy more zero-emission vehicles. Governor Brown has set a goal of putting 1.5 million ZEVs on the roads by 2025 and 4-5 million by 2030. China’s national “road map” calls for ZEVs to account for 20% of total vehicle sales by 2025, or about 7 million vehicles a year. China is expected to announce a ZEV credit policy this year modeled after California’s program – a result of collaborative efforts led by the China-US ZEV Policy Lab. “In order to achieve California’s climate goals, we need more electric cars and more hydrogen fuel cell cars that are charged with renewable energy,” said Governor Brown. “We welcome any Chinese technology that will help us achieve these goals. We have a very tall hill to climb and we want to introduce clean technologies as quickly as possible. We need a great leap forward.”
FLYING By Charles Morris
ELECTRIC EViation and Zunum push ahead with electric airplanes
Photo courtesy of EViation
I was looking at this for a very long time and I thought that a lot of the things that made sense in a car, but were difficult to obtain when youâ€™re doing it electric, actually are easier with a plane.
Images courtesy of EViation Aircraft
With EVs, things don’t break down after
10,000 n the popular imagination, aviation represents the last frontier for electrification. Considering the weight and limited range of batteries, an electric airplane might seem practically impossible. However, while electric long-haul airliners probably lie pretty far in the future, the fact is that, in some applications, the technical obstacles to electrified aircraft are not as formidable as one might think. NASA has been researching electric aircraft for several years, industry giants Airbus and Boeing are exploring the field, and several startups see opportunities in electric aviation. Charged recently sat down with executives from two young companies that are taking two different approaches to electrifying the skies.
EViation Aircraft Omer Bar-Yohay is the founder and CEO of Israeli startup EViation Aircraft. He started the company in 2015, together with two other investment partners, after spending several years in the EV industry, including a stint with the ill-fated Better Place. “I really wanted to do this, and after a while I managed to convince enough
We found that, if you start from scratch and build the best electric aircraft you can build, then today’s battery technology is good enough. engineers and enough investors to get this started,” he told Charged. “Being a physicist, you think [in terms of] what’s possible, and it seemed very possible. After starting, we found that, not only is it possible, but it’s probably less of a technology challenge than you think. I was looking at this for a very long time and I thought that a lot of the things that made sense in a car, but were difficult to obtain when you’re doing it electric, actually are easier with a plane. It doesn’t sound intuitive, but trust me, once you start looking at the numbers, it is.” “It’s very hard to convince people, because they say,
Omer Bar-Yohay, founder and CEO of EViation Aircraft
‘Wait a minute. The electric car is having such a hard time getting out there in big numbers, so how are you going to do a plane?’ But a plane is almost by definition something that you share as a means of transport. One of the things that don’t work so well with electric cars is the cost, because of batteries - it’s very hard to compete with 100-year-old technology, so everything new you’re building is going to be expensive. But if you share [a vehicle] you don’t really care that it’s a little more expensive.” As is the case in most commercial EV scenarios, over time the lower operating expenses more than com-
pensate for the higher upfront cost. “Making the plane electric makes the direct operating cost of the aircraft lower, and this is because of the energy cost and the potential reduction of maintenance. You don’t have any oil, your engine reserves are dramatically lower, and things generally work more easily because they just don’t break down after 10,000 hours.” Bar-Yohay doesn’t believe that any battery breakthroughs are necessary to build an economically viable e-plane. “We found that, if you start from scratch and build the best electric aircraft you can build, then today’s battery technology is good enough. You can build a very compelling product for a specific existing market, and the fact that I can fly only a third of the range of an equivalent-size aircraft really doesn’t matter. If you look at the air taxi market, or if you look at regional transport, an electric plane makes perfect sense.” “The other thing that we found is that building the plane electrically - I mean, building the plane to take the most advantage possible from electric propulsion from the ground up - actually makes for a better aircraft,” says Bar-Yohay, “because you just put the pro-
When you burn fuel, you get efficiencies in the area of
Images courtesy of EViation Aircraft
20 50% to
With electrics, you can easily get efficiencies over
You don’t have to cool so much, so you don’t have to waste your aerodynamic efficiencies on cooling drag. peller where you think propulsion makes aerodynamic sense. I think the easiest example to look at is cooling drag. Every aircraft has some fraction of air that has to go in and cool the radiator or directly cool the sleeves of the pistons of the engine, and that is because when you burn fuel, you get efficiencies in the area of 20% to maybe 50% at best. With electrics, you can easily go over 90% efficiency, which means you don’t have to cool so much, so you don’t have to waste your aerodynamic efficiencies on cooling drag. This is only one example out of probably dozens of things you can do better because of electric drive.” “We’re building a plane that has a battery roughly 10 times the size of [a Tesla battery pack], and it will fly nine people plus two crew members at 240 knots unpressurized under 10,000 feet. 240 knots is extremely fast for this kind of aircraft, and it will do it extremely efficiently - we invest well under 280 kilowatts to sustain cruising speed. That makes for a very efficient way to move the weights of nine passengers.” “Our go-to-market is extremely difficult, because it is extremely difficult to bring any aircraft to market. The certification process is lengthy and very safe, and that’s a good thing - you don’t want one of these things to fall on your head. And we decided to take it one step at a time, but most importantly, to build it certifiable, so we’re building a plane that could be certified under today’s rules and today’s regulatory environment. Still, we believe that the regulatory implications of such a new and relatively complex system in an aircraft will take years.” EViation has been flying several subscale prototypes for a while now, “flying and crashing, and also flying and learning.” The company’s EViation Orca is a 600-pound drone with a 15-foot wing span - roughly a third the size of the airplane it plans to build. The Orca was originally built as a technology demonstrator, but EViation has sold some units to the Israeli National Wa-
ter Company, which will use them to provide mapping services. “It can fly at 150 knots, which is very fast for a drone, and this allows us to cover large areas at a fraction of a cost of anything that’s [available] today,” said Bar-Yohay. “Flights will start at the end of 2017.”
Planes, drivetrains and automobiles It’s well known that one of the main things holding back electric cars is their higher cost. However, for an airplane, the important figure isn’t the cost per vehicle, but the cost per passenger/mile. Replacing fossil fuels with electricity dramatically lowers this cost, for several reasons. Not only is electricity cheaper than energy from liquid fuel, but the electric motor’s higher efficiency means that you use less of it. Savings on maintenance are also huge, as Mr. Bar-Yohay explains. “This is something most people overlook, but roughly a third of the cost of flying is related to the fact that you have to burn oil, and you have to maintain the airframe, and you have to basically throw the engines away after 2,000 hours of use and give them a terribly expensive overhaul every 200 hours of use, because you really don’t want to lose an engine up in the air.” “Once you take out this behemoth of 700 moving parts and put in a single-moving-part motor and an electrical system that’s built around it, the potential efficiency gains are insane, and that’s even before counting the obvious - no oil, no gearboxes, no high temperatures, no vibrations - there are a lot of small things that
The concept of range anxiety just does not exist in this market. add up to what we see as roughly a 50 to 75% reduction in direct operating costs of the aircraft. And this is an insane number - this industry has lived off single-digit improvements for decades.” Bar-Yohay estimates that EViation’s plane will have a range roughly a third that of an equivalent ICE propeller or jet plane - however, it’s an inexact comparison, because the ranges of different ICE planes vary considerably. “The plane can fly 600 miles on a charge plus AFR [alternate runway] reserve, which for us translates to roughly 50 minutes extra of cruise speed, and then 45 minutes extra of battery reserve. Technically it could fly for almost four hours, and I think this is a very compelling range, because if you look at the [average trip length] of existing planes of that size, you’ll see that people use them to fly sometimes 70, sometimes 200 miles. Technically, you’re never even close to your range limitation, and this is a very big advantage because it means you can put this technology in without the operator having to care about range at all. The concept of range anxiety just does not exist in this market.”
The market for e-planes EViation’s business plan is to develop the planes and then sell them to airlines. “Manufacturing an aircraft is a joint effort. We’re doing it as a consortium with a couple of manufacturers that have more experience than we do in the other parts of aircraft creation, [including] the certification process, manufacturing, and of course avionics and all the rest, so [we are] basically a small startup that’s leading the way for a consortium of Tier 1 suppliers and airframe manufacturers that are building this plane together.” Bar-Yohay envisions leasing the batteries, at least at first, so that operators won’t need to worry about battery life or charging issues. Eventually, however, he foresees other companies emerging to handle charging, swapping, and refurbishing aircraft batteries.
On a charge, the plane can fly
plus alternate runway reserve
Images courtesy of EViation Aircraft
THE VEHICLES EViation is not alone in the market. Both startups and major manufacturers are working on electrified planes. “There are a few startups, some of which are good friends and are quite promising, building interesting designs. Most of them are not flying yet, but some of them are and these are looking at different sizing, different aspects of the market. Some are saying they want to build an airliner with hundreds of seats up front, some are saying they want to build a two-seater to see how it works. It’s really a matter of how you build your go-tomarket, and how much money you have. There is no doubt Airbus is working in that direction. We will see an all-electric A320 sooner than people think, because it just makes sense.” Bar-Yohay sees large opportunities for electric aircraft in regional short- and medium-haul markets, where today, flying tends to take about the same
Aluminum in the air need to cool anything. You just put in roughly two to three hundred kilos of aluminum and you’re good to go. This, for a big system, makes a lot of sense.” As exciting as aluminum-air tech may be, EViation plans to go to market with currently available battery technology. “We’re not waiting for some exotic technology to come of age - the vested interest we have with Phinergy is going to wait until the FAA says what it has to say about aluminum-air in the air, and until then we’re going to have a lithium-ion aircraft that’s going to be, we believe, very fast to market.”
Photo courtesy of Phinery
EViation believes it can build a viable aircraft with the batteries that are available today, but for the future, it’s investigating some more exotic technologies. It has made a strategic investment in Phinergy, an Israeli startup that’s building aluminum-air batteries (Phinergy was featured in the April 2014 issue of Charged). “They have a really amazing energy density,” says Bar-Yohay. “Phinergy is of course a different company, so I cannot discuss too much about where they stand today, but their batteries basically work. They found a very clever and robust way to eat away aluminum and technically get back the energy that you invested in making it aluminum. Basically, you do not charge it, but you need to refuel it, give it more new aluminum, and then you also need to sort of refresh this electrolyte, basically swap liquid.” “In a way, it solves two problems. First, at the system level their energy density is dramatically better than lithium-ion, roughly twice as good. They’re talking about 400 watt-hours per kilogram. The second thing is that... mechanical charging might sound like a bug, but in some big systems it’s actually a feature, because you don’t have to wait for the conversion of energy between electrical current to chemical connection in a battery. You don’t
Images courtesy of Zunum Aero
amount of time as driving. “You want to go 1,000 miles, you’re flying, but when you want to go 100 or 400 miles, you usually drive, and that’s a terrible drive - it doesn’t matter what kind of car you’re using, even if it’s an autonomous machine.” “I think we’re looking not only at a new variation of an aircraft, we’re looking at a whole new market, and with a new market there’s room for everybody, so really, competition is helpful because everybody’s getting new solutions out there and everybody’s pushing the regulation in the right direction, so in a way I think that for every new startup that’s out there and for every major player that puts its money behind it, we’re happy.” Bar-Yohay believes that a pure electric drivetrain is superior to a hybrid architecture. “I think there is a basic problem. When you do hybrid you add a lot of complexity because you do not get rid of anything, and then what you will get is longer range and easy charging, which is really important, but what you lose is the potential benefits for cost reduction on the maintenance
Matt Knapp, Zunum Aero Chief Engineer
side, at least this is how our math came out. I believe in the long run it’s the wrong way to go [although] it could be a solution for many applications.”
Zunum Aero Zunum Aero, based in Kirkland, Washington, has been around for about four years, and has secured some funding from the venture investment arms of Boeing and JetBlue. Whereas EViation is working on a pure electric drivetrain, Zunum believes a plug-in hybrid system is the way to go. However, the two companies agree that there is huge potential in the regional short-haul market, and that it is quite practical to build an electrified plane to serve this market using existing battery technology. Zunum Aero Chief Engineer Matt Knapp told Charged that he has a clear vision of the problem that the company’s electric aircraft can solve. “We are devel-
Typically, in a regional setting, we are saving somewhere between 40 and 80 percent off the direct operating cost, compared to conventional aircraft. oping hybrid-electric aircraft for the early 2020s timeframe, 10 to 50 seats, targeting ranges of 700 to 1,000 miles. What we’re trying to enable is regional travel, three to four times faster than you can do now, at a cost which is a fraction of what an airline or high-speed rail charges you to make that trip.” As every frequent flyer has surely noticed, the realities of today’s air transport system make it terribly inefficient for shorter trips. Despite all our advances in technology, the time it takes to make a 400-mile trip has not improved since the 1960s.
“It takes you as long to fly 300 or 400 miles as it does to go across the country, because by the time you go through the major hub and add all the parking and TSA and the transfer time, you might as well just drive,” says Knapp. “It’s about five hours to get you from door to door if you’re going across a state, or if you’re going most of the way across the country. And in fact, door to door travel times are generally getting worse.” Meanwhile, the US has an enormous number of underutilized secondary airports, many of them close to major urban centers. Putting this unused resource to more efficient use could offer an attractive alternative to travelers (and a huge opportunity to the company that can make it happen). Of course, Mr. Knapp is not the first to recognize this paradox, but he believes that electrified aircraft are the missing piece to the puzzle. The reason that few airlines offer short-haul flights from small airports is that it isn’t cost-effective to do so with conventional airplanes. “This really comes down to the economics of the propulsion system,” says Knapp. Zunum’s goal is to change this cost equation, and open up an entirely new transportation network. Just as a hybrid car is more efficient in stop-and-go traffic,
THE VEHICLES a hybrid plane would be more efficient for flying short distances. “When you’re flying short distances, you have a dramatic efficiency advantage in the electric motor compared to a small gas turbine, which is, simply by physics, an internally very inefficient machine. If you’re talking about flying across the Pacific on a 777 with a huge gas turbine up at its happy cruising altitude, then that’s really hard to beat. But as far as regional transport goes, the electric motor is a fantastically more efficient device for short-term flights.” The fuel savings are substantial, although they vary greatly depending on the distance and the particular airplane selected for comparison. “Typically, in a regional setting, we are saving somewhere between 40 and 80 percent off the direct operating cost, compared to conventional aircraft,” says Knapp. Electric aircraft have other advantages - lower noise is a big one. “Obviously an electric motor is much quieter than a jet engine, starting from just the combustion noise,” Knapp told us. “Beyond that, you do need to put some serious effort into moving the air quietly. That is one reason we are working on a quiet electric propulsor, the electrically driven duct fan, because we want to operate in and out of communities with absolute minimal community impact, and a quiet electric propulsor is one of the ways we solve that problem.” Quieter aircraft could enable the use of airports that aren’t currently open to commercial flights. “Some of these small regional airports don’t allow noisy jets, and if they do there’s usually a curfew time, because a business jet is actually considerably louder than a commercial jet in flight. That’s very important to our company. We’re producing a very environmentally friendly aircraft, not just in emissions but also noise.”
The ever-improving battery One huge difference between a plane and a car has to do with the life of the battery pack. “Unlike an electric car, where you’re basically buying a 10-year energy storage supply, a commercial operator with these aircraft will fully exploit the battery pack in about three or four months, maybe six, depending how often they fly the airplane.” Wait a minute - why should the lifetime of a battery pack be shorter in an airplane than in a car? It isn’t. The cycle life is the same, but the calendar life is shorter because the battery is being used in a different way. Knapp explains: “A battery is sized at about 1,000 to 1,200 cycles of full charge and discharge. For a car,
Image courtesy of Zunum Aero
On a regular basis, these airplanes will be getting a new set of batteries. where a lot of their drives are really short, they’ll only see maybe 100 cycles a year, so 1,000 cycles in the 10year lifetime of the car.” Zunum’s hybrid aircraft, however, will fully deplete the battery on every flight. “Even a half-hour flight, you’re going to end up depleting the battery, so if you fly the airplane five or six times a day, you’ve gone five or six full cycles in a day. So, out of 1,000 cycles, that’s 200 days.” At first glance, this may sound like a problem, but it’s actually an advantage. Remember, with a plane the important figure isn’t the cost of the vehicle, but the cost per passenger/mile. Using the batteries that are coming out of Tesla’s Gigafactory today (for example), this cost is already considerably lower than it is with a fossil-fuel aircraft. And as the battery packs are replaced, it will quickly get even lower. “As batteries continue to improve - and the trend has been a five or six percent improvement every year - the business case on the airplane gets better and better,” Knapp explains. “On a regular basis, these airplanes will be getting a new set of batteries, and the operator will be able to routinely get upgraded at the [newest] level of technology.” Zunum’s airframe is designed to be battery-agnostic, so it will be able to take advantage of new developments in battery packs. “An airplane typically lasts 20 or 25 years, so we’ve got to forecast for batteries for the next 25 years,” says Knapp. “We are [assuming] that the storage technologies are going to continue to improve, and our airplanes are designed to be future-proof, so the operator continues to see improving range, speed, and cost.” Considering that its duty cycle is so different from that of a car, does an airplane require a different battery chemistry or pack design? Not really, says Knapp. “Our requirements are similar to [that of an EV]. A small hybrid, like a Prius, has a very high-rate charge/ discharge in a small battery - that is not the battery that we need. But the pack that would be in a Volt or a Tesla, a large-format, large-capacity, high-source-density pack, those are the sorts of batteries that we will use in the aircraft.”
We’re developing what we call a quiet electric propulsor, which is a ducted fan with an electric motor integrated in the duct. Image courtesy of Zunum Aero
Zunum plans to develop its own battery packs, but will source the battery modules from a vendor. Knapp mentioned Tesla, but said that the company has had discussions with various battery suppliers, and declined to be any more specific. “We’ll get the best of what’s being offered on the market. But, at the same time, we are an FAA-certified product, which means that we need to have control over what that pack looks like and how heavy it is, how it fits in the airplane, and show the FAA that we have a safe solution to hauling a lot of kilowatthours around the Earth.”
Planning for efficiency Another difference between designing an electric car and an electric plane has to do with the fact that, when an airplane sets out on a journey, its operators typically know exactly how far it’s going to travel, and at what speed. This means that engineers can design a plane with just the right size battery for its intended use case (something like a bus, which can be designed with just enough range for a fixed route), whereas designers of a passenger car must plan for every conceivable trip that a consumer might want to make. It also enables an electric plane’s control software to optimize efficiency for a particular trip. “The hybrid lets us tailor the airplane to fly a range/ speed profile,” Knapp explains. “When you take off in an airplane, you usually know how far you’re going, how fast you’re going to fly, and how much energy you’re going to use, and you’ll have a forecast of the winds aloft. So part of our technology development is how to optimally utilize the various parts of the powertrain to deliver the most cost-effective, energy-efficient flight over that distance and speed.” “The range/speed profile is the key. That’s not really a variable that you have access to when you drive, so you can’t optimize the cycle between the combustion and
the battery, which is something that we spend a good bit of time and effort developing. It is quite a different proposition, really, flying versus driving.” “The platform management software that we’re developing is designed to enable the pilot to have minimal extra workload to manage this new system, and it’s a fairly complex system,” says Knapp. “You’ve got a stored energy source and a generation energy source, which don’t function the same way with respect to altitude, with respect to discharge rate. So part of our development is to make sure that an existing traditional pilot will be able to fly these with minimal extra training, so that we can step right into the existing pool of pilots and operators and airports and air traffic control and have a viable commercial product right off the starting line.”
From the ground up Zunum has designed a family of aircraft, guided by feedback from operators of on-demand and business aviation services, as well as at least one mainstream airline. Zunum’s plane uses a new type of propulsion - it isn’t a jet, but it isn’t exactly a traditional propeller plane either. “We’re developing what we call a quiet electric propulsor, which is a ducted fan with an electric motor integrated in the duct. So it looks like a jet engine and it uses a lot of the same technology for the bypass fan of a conventional jet engine, but is a completely electrically driven fan.” The new e-plane will be a plug-in series hybrid, designed as a modular system that could accommodate different types of combustion engines - a turbodiesel, a turbine burning jet A, or conceivably a fuel cell, if those prove to be a viable option. “We are developing all our aircraft from the ground up as electric planes,” says Knapp. “We will use an existing aircraft as a test bed to get our technology in the air and flying more quickly, but the eventual product will be an all-new aircraft.” Other than the drivetrain, does building an electric
THE VEHICLES aircraft require major changes to the design? “It requires some,” says Knapp. “As [Slovenian light aircraft manufacturer] Pipistrel has shown with their two-seat trainer, you can have an airplane that looks almost the same, and they actually have the same airplane, one that has a gas engine and one that has an electric motor and a battery pack in the same space. So fundamentally, you can have that level of plug-and-play.” At the other end of the spectrum, several companies (including Workhorse, profiled in the May/June 2017 issue of Charged) are building vertical take-off aircraft that use multiple small electric motors. “We’re somewhere in the middle. Our airplane looks more conventional, but the design criteria have changed a little bit. They’re carrying big liquid fuel, we’re carrying batteries. We have a generation engine we have to position somewhere, and properly provide that with fuel and cooling and all those things. So it doesn’t necessarily require big changes, but we do make some changes to optimize the aircraft for the most efficient integration and utilization of the electric engine.”
Zunum is currently working on ground-based prototypes, and plans to be flying an experimental test bed within the next two years. “We are targeting FAA certification in the early 2020s, and at launch, we’re looking at an aircraft that flies for 700 miles. As the decade progresses and the technology is improved, we will continue to improve the aircraft and be looking at flights up to 1,000 miles by 2030.”
What about charging? “The charging infrastructure is much less of a dramatic shift than anything in the automotive world,” Knapp told us. “We’re talking about 5,000 airports compared to 11 million gas stations in the country. So to some extent it’s really not a huge problem.” Electric buses could provide a model - Zunum’s home metro area, Seattle, recently deployed several Proterra e-buses, and Knapp was impressed when he saw the company’s fully automated charging system in action. “These guys pull in and top up the bus at a half-megawatt charge rate in like ten minutes, and it’s really astounding.”
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Photo courtesy of Mike Mozart (CC BY 2.0 )
Allego to operate fast charging at Shell stations in Netherlands and UK
Netherlands-based charging operator Allego has partnered with Shell to install and operate DC fast chargers at selected Shell stations in the Netherlands and the UK. The new 50 kW chargers are expected to be operational by the end of 2017. The first locations will be in Greater London, Derby and Randstad in the western Netherlands. “We see that people are willing to shift towards electric mobility,” said Anja van Niersen, CEO of Allego. “But a lack of appropriate level of charging infrastructure and interoperable charging services is one of their main concerns. Allego and Shell join forces by adding fast chargers at the right service stations…a network that is accessible for all EV drivers, despite the brand of the car.”
Photo courtesy of ChargePoint
ChargePoint takes over management of GE’s charging network
Charging network operator ChargePoint has become the exclusive operator of GE’s EV charging network, adding some 1,800 commercial and 8,000 residential charging spots to its network. The agreement includes support for both residential and commercial DuraStations and WattStations. ChargePoint will maintain GE’s existing software and commercial charging network, and GE will continue to fulfill its warranty obligations. “A reliable and consistent charging experience is crucial for fostering EV adoption and these are the key elements that ChargePoint has integrated into our business model for more than a decade,” said Pasquale Romano, CEO of ChargePoint. “We have worked closely with the GE team to ensure a seamless transition for customers and drivers.” “Given its decade of experience, comprehensive portfolio and track record in the industry, we are confident ChargePoint is the best fit for our EV customers,” said Bryan Groulx, General Manager of GE’s EV operations. “We are committed to working together to ensure a smooth transition.”
Photo courtesy of eluminocity
Adding EV charging stations to streetlights is an interesting idea – it can save money, because the electrical lines are already in place, and it can enable smart features that deliver increased efficiency. The City of Lancaster, California has launched a demonstration project that will integrate chargers into five streetlights in the trendy downtown district. The charging units are made by ebee Smart Technologies, a specialist in controller technology designed to make installing public charging cheaper and more flexible. The company has installed some 10,000 of its controllers in chargers in Europe. A grant from the Antelope Valley Air Quality Management District will cover 80% of the project cost, including installation, maintenance, and five years of data collection. The remaining 20% will be covered by ebee and its partners, EasyCharge and eluminocity, which created the charger housings. “We bring knowledge from decades in the international automotive industry and have applied it to make installing state-of-the-art EV charging technology simpler and more cost-effective for cities and workplaces,” said ebee Smart Technology CEO Dr. Henning Heppner.
California owners of charging stations enabled with eMotorWerks’ JuiceNet smart-grid charging technology will soon have the capability to rent out charging time on their stations, using a peer-to-peer (P2P) network powered by MotionWerk’s Share&Charge platform. The Share&Charge mobile app connects EV drivers with available residential and commercial EV charging stations and facilitates blockchain-based payments from visiting EV drivers to station owners. “By establishing networks of individuals willing to share their charging stations, we are opening up more charging options to EV drivers, while ensuring station owners are compensated accordingly,” says Dietrich Sümmerman of Share&Charge. Share&Charge’s P2P charging network, which is already up and running in Germany, uses Ethereum blockchain technology to allow people to share and bill products and services securely and conveniently. Through the app, residential and commercial owners of JuiceNet-enabled stations can choose the times to share their chargers and set the price to charge visiting drivers. California owners of any JuiceNet-enabled devices are eligible to participate. Currently compatible devices include eMotorWerks’ JuiceBox Pro, Aerovironment EVSE-RS JuiceNet Edition, Clipper Creek HCS-40 JuiceNet Edition, and Nayax EVMeter. The new service is also compatible with eMotorWerks’ JuicePlug smartgrid charging adapter, which allows any charger from any manufacturer to participate in the program. All EV drivers can sign up to make use of the shared charging stations. “By allowing individuals and companies both small and large to make their stations accessible to the public, and to be paid for their use, station owners gain the opportunity to have their station pay for itself over time,” said Val Miftakhov, CEO of eMotorWerks.
Photo courtesy of Share&Charge
Share&Charge is the Airbnb California city incorporates for charging stations charging stations into streetlights
ClipperCreek’s new advanced control interface for HCS series charging stations
Tritium to provide 52 custom-built Veefil-UT fast chargers in Hamburg
Photo courtesy of Tritium
Australia-based Tritium has won a tender to provide 52 Veefil-UT fast chargers for German power distribution company Stromnetz Hamburg. The chargers, which support both CHAdeMO and CCS fast charging standards, have been adapted in partnership with Stromnetz to comply with German regulations and retain their signature small footprint. Each will feature an 11 kW AC output. The units will be delivered by October. “Stromnetz Hamburg was attracted to Tritium’s liquid-cooled technology that reduces maintenance and increases the unit’s life expectancy, but equally important was our ability to produce a unit that could directly connect to the grid whilst still maintaining a footprint that is much smaller than any other comparable charger,” explains Paul Sernia, Tritium’s Commercial Director. “In the narrow streets of Germany’s older city centers, the Veefil-UT can be installed on a standard pedestrian walkway without obstructing pedestrian traffic, pushchairs, wheelchairs, etc.”
EVSE manufacturer ClipperCreek has unveiled a new expansion card for its HCS line of Level 2 charging stations. COSMOS, which can be added to any HCS series charging station for $184, was designed for developers, system operators, and system integrators – it features a simple digital load management interface, as well as UART Serial Communication interface for more advanced connection to third-party monitoring and control systems. Available UART Serial commands include: • Set EVSE Pilot (available power) level – 5 levels • Monitor vehicle connected status • Monitor EVSE active/inactive status • View advanced EVSE diagnostics information Digital Load Management Interface features include: • Four levels of output power control • Optically-coupled Open Collector output – pulled low when EVSE makes power available for charging “Many companies desire integration of EV charging with existing building energy management systems,” said ClipperCreek President and founder Jason France. “COSMOS is a comprehensive interface that can be utilized by a variety of systems, but is extremely affordable.” “COSMOS allows users to easily add EV charging to existing building and energy management or other control infrastructure, leveraging what they already have in place to get the features they need at the best value,” added Director of Sales Will Barrett. “The COSMOS digital and serial interfaces are both being successfully used by several companies and developers today.”
Photo courtesy of SolarEdge Technologies
Photo courtesy of Envision Solar
Envision Solar wins contract SolarEdge’s new integrated to provide EV ARC solarphotovoltaic inverter and EV powered chargers to New charger York City
SolarEdge Technologies, a provider of photovoltaic inverters, power optimizers, and module-level monitoring services, has unveiled an inverter-integrated EV charger. According to the company, its new HD-Wave inverter, combined with an EV charger, offers cost savings on hardware and labor by eliminating the need for an additional conduit, wiring, and dedicated circuit breaker. The EV charger is embedded into SolarEdge’s HDWave inverter and leverages its “solar boost” mode, which uses both grid and PV-generated power to charge at 9.6 kW (40 Amps). If PV power is not available, the inverter-charger uses grid power to charge at 7.6 kW (32 Amps). The new inverter-integrated EV charger, which comes with a 12-year warranty, is expected to be available in the last quarter of 2017. “SolarEdge is dedicated to developing innovative solutions for increasing the use of renewable energy and cost savings for our customers and end users,” said Guy Sella, CEO of SolarEdge. “Adding EV charging to our growing range of products further enables system owners to easily manage their energy needs.”
Envision Solar’s EV ARC is a stand-alone solar-powered charger that fits inside a parking space and generates enough electricity to power up to 225 miles of EV driving each day. New York City has awarded the company a three-year contract worth $3.8 million. The city’s first order will be for at least thirty EV ARC units in 2017, making it the largest order in the company’s history so far. The first units have already been delivered, and were featured at the city’s annual Fleet Show at the Unisphere in Flushing Meadows. The EV ARC units charged EVs and supplied the event’s power needs before being relocated to their permanent locations at the World’s Fair Marina and Thomas Edison High School in Queens. New York has also ordered the company’s ARC Mobility transportation system, which allows a single operator to pick up and move an EV ARC anywhere within a 1,500-mile radius. The EV ARC units will be deployed across the five boroughs and will be used to charge the city’s fleet of EVs. Each EV ARC is also equipped with an emergency power panel, which allows first responders and utility personnel to use the EV ARC as an emergency generator during disasters or other grid outages.
September 12 – 14, 2017 Novi, Michigan, USA
Power your imagination at the industry’s leading conference Book your conference pass online now passes start from $595 WHAT WILL YOU LEARN? • Hybrid and Electric vehicles future market trends • Implications of autonomous vehicles for the EV automotive supply chain • Next-generation powertrain technologies • 48V systems and components for mild hybrids • Thermal management in the electric vehicle and much more HOW WILL YOU BENEFIT? • Learn new ideas to make you more effective and efficient at work • Network and form new relationships and strengthen existing ones • Be inspired by your peers to help take your business to the next level • Gain insights from leading professionals to improve your company’s ROI
Ken Stewart, Chief Business and Technology Officer, Karma Automotive
Mohamad Abdul-Hak, Manager, High Voltage Systems & Power Electronics, Mercedes Benz
John Juriga, Director of Powertrain, Hyundai America Technical Center
Gary Horvat PhD, Chief Technology Officer, Proterra
Daniel Kok, Electrified Powertrain Systems, Ford Motor Company
Matti Vint, North America Engineering R&D Director – Powertrain Systems, Valeo
Heraldo Stefanon, Manager Advanced Powertrain – Gasoline Hybrid Group, Toyota Technical Center
Benoît Ferran, E-FAN Battery Technical Stream Leader – Power & Propulsion Architectures (TX3P), Airbus Group Innovations
www.evtechexpo.com | email@example.com
Just as dinosaur drivers need to choose among regular, premium and diesel, EV drivers have several charging options, and novices (including some of our colleagues in the mainstream media) still find the different choices confusing. Here in the US, we have Level 1 (120 volts), Level 2 (240 volts), and three different DC fast charging standards. In Europe and Asia, there are other standards, and the same ones are known by different names. Furthermore, the same car can charge at different rates depending on the charging station, but those rates are not displayed at most public chargers. Matt Teske, a marketer and long-time EV owner from Portland, has devised a set of uniform symbols to denote the different charging standards and speeds. Teske’s system, called Chargeway, uses color-coded circles for charging standards, with a single number inside to indicate the charging speed – the higher the number, the higher the charging power available. For example, J-1772 Level 1 is indicated by a blue 1, J-1772 Level 2 by a blue 2, and CHAdeMO 50 kW DC fast-charging by a green 3 symbol. The symbols could be affixed inside an EV’s chargeport door, and on public charging stations. They could also be included on highway signs, and incorporated into existing smartphone apps, so drivers would know at a glance whether a station could charge their car.
Photos courtesy of Chargeway
Chargeway attempts to establish standardized symbols for EV charging
Teske showed the Chargeway system at the recent EV Roadmap 10 conference in Portland, and got rave reviews. “We need this concept to be seen and [backed] as soon as possible by all industry stakeholders: car and charging manufacturers, regulators and environmental organizations,” said Shad Balch from Chevrolet. “The Chargeway description of the various types and speeds of EV charging makes it super-easy and simple for consumers to understand,” said Katherine Stainken, Policy Director for Plug In America.
Photo courtesy of PowerCharge
PowerCharge’s new Pro Series commercial charging stations
PowerCharge, a division of Moser Services Group, has entered the US charger market with its new Pro Series line of commercial charging stations. The Pro Series Level 2 (208-240 volt) stations are offered in 16-Amp, 30-Ampand 40-Ampconfigurations. The 40-Ampunits allow for 50% faster charge times than the popular 30-Ampchargers. All are available in both networked and non-networked configurations. Networked versions allow station owners to charge drivers a fee and collect usage data. PowerCharge units do not require a subscription to any charging network – anyone with a credit card can swipe, plug in and charge. PowerCharge’s sister company, EV Charge Solutions, is one of the largest EVSE distributors in the US. “As a distributor of 10 product brands, we recognized a gap in a few product offerings,” said President Mike Moser. “As our team searched for solutions, we determined there was an opportunity to bring a new brand of products to market. The EV charging industry will always have room for high-quality, competitively priced products, and that is what we are providing with PowerCharge.”
Porsche has installed a charging station using its new 800 V 350 kW fast charging system at its technology center in Berlin-Adlershof. The Porsche High Power Charging (HPC) station is liquid-cooled, and uses CCS connectors. The new tech center also features a 25-meter-high solar pylon that is expected to generate up to 30,000 kWh of electricity annually – enough to cover the entire annual demand of the adjacent Porsche Center. Porsche says its Mission E, which it plans to bring to market by 2020, will be the first production vehicle with 800-volt charging technology. The company is building another charging station to test the new HPC technology at its US headquarters in Atlanta. Porsche, Audi, BMW, Daimler and Ford are partnering on the creation of an HPC network in Europe, with power levels up to 350 kW. An initial deployment of about 400 sites is planned.
Photos courtesy of Porsche
Porsche installs 350 kW fast charging station at tech center
Photo courtesy of Powervault
Photo courtesy of EVgo
Renault and Powervault partner for EV battery second-life trial
EVgo partners with New Jersey utility to open its 950th US fast charger
Renault and British energy storage provider Powervault are collaborating on a UK pilot to re-use EV batteries in home energy storage units. Powervault will place 50 trial units, powered by Renault second-life batteries, in the homes of customers who have solar panels. The trial will explore the technical performance of second-life batteries as well as customer reaction, in order to help develop a roll-out strategy for the mass market. According to Renault, the batteries used in EVs usually have a lifetime of 8 to 10 years. However, they are still useful for stationary applications for up to 10 additional years. Renault removes the battery packs from the vehicles, unpacks and grades them, and Powervault makes them into smaller battery packs for its application. The Powervault trial will start in July and last 12 months. The 50 units in the trial will be delivered to customers of utility M&S Energy, as well as social housing tenants and schools in the borough of Greenwich. “Thanks to this partnership with Powervault, Renault is adding a new element into its global strategy for second-life batteries, which already covers a large number of usages from industrial to residential buildings,” said Nicolas Schottey, Program Director, EV Batteries and Infrastructures at Renault.
Charging network operator EVgo has opened its 950th fast charger in the US, at Molly Pitcher Service Area on the New Jersey Turnpike. Located in Cranbury, NJ, the service area sees a huge amount of traffic – almost two million visitors in 2016. The Molly Pitcher station includes two 480 V fast chargers, each of which can deliver a 50 kW charge – enough to charge most EVs to 80 percent in 30 minutes. EVgo dual chargers offer both CHAdeMO and CCS plugs. EVgo offers several flexible payment solutions, including pay-as-you-go, membership plans and unlimited charging plans for customers of partner OEMs, including BMW, Nissan and Ford. Partnering with EVgo to deploy the new station is Public Service Electric and Gas (PSE&G), New Jersey’s largest electric utility. PSE&G currently operates public charging stations with a total of 90 plugs at 12 sites, as well as an employee EV charging program with 45 plugs at various company locations. “The lack of convenient, accessible charging stations in New Jersey is clearly an impediment to EVs’ continued growth in the state,” said PSE&G VP Courtney McCormick. “By partnering with organizations like EVgo to offer chargers on the Turnpike, PSE&G is doing its part to help current EV owners and show potential owners that EVs are a viable option in New Jersey.”
Photos courtesy of Qualcomm
By Michael Alba
CHARGING WHAT’S FEASIBLE? Q&A with Qualcomm’s Graeme Davison Charged has been writing about Wireless Electric Vehicle Charging (WEVC) technology for several years. As far back as 2012, automakers have said they plan to include the technology on future EVs. While those plans have been delayed for a few different reasons - interoperability standards, uncertainty in the EV market, etc. - it now appears that WEVC will be available as a factory-installed option before we know it. The new next-best-thing that EV innovators are working on is Dynamic Electric Vehicle Charging (DEVC), which allows an EV to charge wirelessly as it’s driving down the road. One of the most active players in stationary and dynamic charging is the wireless technology juggernaut Qualcomm, which recently developed and tested one of the world’s first DEVC test tracks. The system is capable of charging an EV dynamically at up to 20 kW at highway speeds (100 km/h). Qualcomm also demonstrated simultaneous charging, in which two vehicles on the same track can charge dynam-
THE INFRASTRUCTURE Photos courtesy of Qualcomm
ically at the same time. The vehicles were able to charge in both directions along the track, and even in reverse. The demonstrations took place at the 100-meter test track at Satory Versailles, recently built by the French research institute VEDECOM as part of the FABRIC project. The Qualcomm Halo DEVC system was integrated into the test track, and the receiving components were installed in two Renault Kangoo EVs. The development of the DEVC technology was supported in part by the European Commision’s FABRIC program (FeAsiBility analysis and development of onRoad chargIng solutions for future electric vehiCles). To learn more about the future of DEVC, Charged chatted with Graeme Davison, VP of Business Development and Marketing at Qualcomm Europe, Inc. Q Charged: The DEVC system you recently built
and tested was a feasibility study, which indicates that we’re still in the very early days of the technology, is that correct?
Graeme Davison, Qualcomm Europe, Inc.
A Graeme Davison: That’s correct. We pushed the
engineers to answer two questions: one, what velocity of vehicles could we get to; and two, what do we need to understand, going forward, about how DEVC could be implemented? A lot of the work we did was to test different situations, like the vehicle not travelling in a perfect line down the center of the track. Other scenarios we tested were the vehicle coming off charging as it changed lanes, and then coming back on to charging; the vehicle stopping whilst on the charging track, and then moving on; and even what happens if you put two vehicles on the track at the same time. When we showed this at Versailles, we actually demonstrated all those environments that we could bring up. Vehicles swerving in and out, vehicles stopping, vehicles charging while stationary, and then two vehicles at the same time. So we have the ability to answer those questions, regarding the what-ifs of charging - what does the driver do, how does the system react, and things like that. And it was a fantastic foundational point for DEVC. When the FABRIC program was set up by the European Commission, the overall goal was to look at EV charging technologies. And that included everything from plug-in all the way through to static wireless charging and dynamic charging, and other technologies anybody could bring to the table. Around the same time as the FABRIC program kicked off, we’d just started a research program in New Zealand
We pushed the engineers to answer two questions: one, what velocity of vehicles could we get to; and two, what do we need to understand, going forward, about how DEVC could be implemented? to look at dynamic charging. And then FABRIC came along and they gave us the opportunity to build this 150-meter-long track, and also to be able to push it into a much more real-world environment. Q Charged: So the next step would be to explore the
A Graeme Davison: Yes. When we started WEVC, I
remember going and speaking to the OEMs. But we also went and spoke to the infrastructure people, the power companies, city planners, car park owners and other ecosystem stakeholders. We were talking to them about the models that would be used and how people would
look at both private and public static charging. And one of the questions they asked was how many EVs do we have to plan to charge? And of course, we were in exactly the same early days with the OEMs. So we backed off from speaking to the infrastructure players, focused on the OEMs, and now we’re at the point of final testing and vehicle development for static wireless charging. So now we’re going back to the infrastructure players for static and saying to them, these EVs are coming on the road. A huge number of EVs and plug-in hybrids are going to be launched by car manufacturers over the next few years. When you take those figures to the guys that are looking at rolling out infrastructure for static charging, they’re now starting to look seriously at how they do that.
Now we’re in a similar situation with dynamic charging. We’ve proved it can be done with the technology, we’re showing the OEMs how the static charging they’re putting in evolves to this, and how it’s a fairly easy step for them. But now we’ve got a new set of people to talk to, and that’s the city planners, the traffic planners, the people that work out traffic flow patterns and how vehicles move through streets. But we’ve also engaged with a couple of universities around the world, to get them to help us understand the economics and complexities and what we need to do with the road infrastructures. Q Charged: Where do you see the low-hanging fruit
for dynamic technology in commercial settings?
A Graeme Davison: We think the first applications will
be semi-dynamic charging, in which vehicles are in a loop, and they may be starting and stopping at a regular cycle and they’re going down a particular path. One of the most interesting ones that comes to mind is that of the taxi rank. Most cities around the world have ambitious
Photos courtesy of Qualcomm
programs to move their taxi environments much more to electrification programs. The City of London, for instance, is an easy one for us to talk to - by 2020, every new London taxi sold must have a minimum capability of 65 km of emission-free travel. And if they don’t, they don’t get their taxi license. So that forces the manufacturers that provide those vehicles to really look at all options. We’re already engaged with various folks to talk about putting semi-dynamic charging environments into the taxi ranks, where the taxis stop and go. They sit for maybe two to three minutes while someone gets in the taxi at the front of the queue, and then all the taxis move forward a little bit and then park again for a period of time. We think that’s a low-hanging fruit, and one that brings a great benefit to the city, of being able to look towards that taxi rank environment. But there are other ones out there as well, and more and more of them are coming to us as we explore this area.
Q Charged: You said that static charging could evolve
into dynamic - does that mean you’re aiming to use the same hardware for both? A Graeme Davison: One of the key challenges we set for
ourselves in the early days was that the on-vehicle components for DEVC were going to be exactly the same as the on-vehicle components for our current static WEVC systems. What we had to show people was, if they made a move now and put static charging on a vehicle, they had the future of dynamic coming as well. The technology itself, the actual pad design and the on-vehicle electronics, are the same for current static and the future dynamic. The on-road hardware also started very similar to the
THE INFRASTRUCTURE efficiency, we were able to get much more tolerance on the inability to go in a straight line. Q Charged: Do you envision an autonomous align-
A Graeme Davison: No, we expect this to be driver-
One of the key challenges we set for ourselves in the early days was that the on-vehicle components for DEVC were going to be exactly the same as the on-vehicle components for our current static WEVC systems. stationary pads, but there was a lot more control and a lot more intelligence required. You had to know when the vehicle was over the pads, you had to power up the pads in front of the vehicle in a very quick manner, you had to de-power pads behind the vehicle so that you didn’t have pads excited when there was no vehicle over them. So there was a lot of system architecture stuff to do for the pads themselves, how the in-vehicle and on-road stuff communicate to power on and power off, and how the vehicle itself passes that information on. In the end, there was a lot of difference in the design of the dynamic track stuff versus the static. Q Charged: Are there efficiency trade-offs between
static and dynamic?
A Graeme Davison: Yes, there is a little bit at the
moment. And that’s because we’re at a very early generation of dynamic versus where we are in static. Static efficiency is north of 90 percent end-to-end, from energy put into the system to energy into the battery. For dynamic efficiency, we’re currently at about 80 to 85 percent. And there are some system trade-off compensations for that. For instance, by accepting a slightly lower
operated. And in fact, the system was designed to allow the vehicle to wander back and forth across the line. There was no requirement for pinpoint driving accuracy. Most of the drivers were engineers, and we gave them the challenge of getting the maximum efficiency possible over as wide an area as possible, so that we still charged when the vehicle moved a small amount. But then if the vehicle moves a large amount, for instance in a lane change, we actually drop all the charging as the vehicle moves out of the charging lane. When the vehicle comes back into the lane, it immediately picks up charging again. So the system is able to compensate for driver inaccuracies. Q Charged: When can we expect to see OEM announce-
ments for static wireless systems offered with new EVs? A Graeme Davison: Within the next year to eighteen
months, you’ll start seeing OEMs rolling out WEVC technology on vehicles. In the early days, the general way OEMs feel out customer acceptance for things that are very new is to put it on the options list. Everyone that we’re talking to is seeing that at the moment. When you’re choosing the alloy rims you want, which color you want, etc., one of the options on the tick list will be wireless charging. So you get your charging point put in the home, same as you do with plug-ins now, but instead of it being a twenty-foot cable on there, there’s a cable to a ground pad which is mounted onto the floor. As I mentioned, we’re now pushing hard with the infrastructure and EVSE manufacturers that do commercial installations to start looking at hundreds of bays at supermarkets, cinemas and shopping malls, places where people spend a couple of hours doing something and would happily pick up a couple hours of extra charge. I drive an EV, and one of the things I’d love is to get half of my trunk back and not have to carry so many cables around with me. We’re looking forward to the minute WEVC can be out there and purchased by people, so that they can experience the ease of use that we’ve been able to experience on the prototype vehicle that we run around Qualcomm.
CALIFORNIAâ€™S COOPERATIVE EFFORT
TO CAPITALIZE ON EV-GRID
POTENTIAL By Tom Ewing
ast September, Carla J. Peterman, a commissioner with the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC), outlined new requirements for California’s investor-owned utilities that would measurably advance commitments to transportation electrification (TE). One technical requirement singled out by Peterman was addressed in a document called “Enabling Vehicle-Grid Integration Through a Communications Standard,” which focused on the question of how to link together - to integrate EVs and the electric grid so that vehicle owners, utility ratepayers and the grid itself all realize the potential benefits from TE investments. Vehicle-Grid Integration (VGI) is the technical core of EV smart charging, which would take advantage of lower utility rates, perhaps at night or during the workday. A smart charging app would enable the car’s battery to help the electric grid by alternately serving as storage or generator (with the owner being compen-
VGI is not a wish-list item. it is required by Governor Brown’s Executive Order sated) and having the battery ready to go at, say, 7:00 am, sufficiently charged for the day’s travel. Obviously, this is complex science. To realize the full system-wide benefits, there will need to be commonly accepted standards and practices for hardware, software, security and communication, among all participants, some of whom are otherwise direct competitors - automakers, for example - and might work very hard to keep electronic advantages proprietary. In her ruling, Peterman noted that, as policy, VGI is not a wish-list item. Rather, it is required by Governor Brown’s Executive Order B-16-2012, which directs that “electric vehicle charging will be integrated into the electricity grid” by 2020. VGI is one of the demands within the State’s zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) directive. In other words, this has to work. Peterman writes that “the accelerated development of the electric transportation market at scale necessary to reduce climate change and air pollution will rely on harnessing technologies that enhance the capability of vehicles to establish communications with a variety of devices and entities, both proximal and distant, for many use cases.” In response to Peterman’s focus on VGI, California’s major investor-owned utilities suggested that the next steps would benefit from a new public working group. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) supported that suggestion, and the Vehicle-Grid Integration Communications Protocol Working Group was established in April, a cooperative effort among many state agencies, including the CPUC, the California Energy Commission and the California Air Resources Board (CARB). The Working Group includes many public members. Several automakers are active participants, including
Honda, BMW, Fiat Chrysler, Ford, Nissan, Tesla and Toyota. There is also a separate, smaller group established to provide technical comments and insight. This smaller group, called the OEM Group, is led by Richard Sholer, Manager, Vehicle-to-Grid for Fiat Chrysler. The Working Group has an ambitious work plan and schedule - it hopes to finish its work in October, and send its recommendations to the CPUC. Then, likely in the spring of 2018, the CPUC will decide the merits of specific utility investments (including what to fund and where). These will be “go/no go” decisions as they pertain to proposals with the utilities’ TE filings, submitted last January 2017. July is about the mid-point of the Working Group’s
The Working Group has an ambitious plan - it hopes to finish its work in October. schedule. For an observer, progress is hard to judge. This is a devilishly difficult subject and, understandably, participants have spent a lot of time reviewing and challenging work directions, definitions and the scope of the Working Group. Important concepts still need common ground. Consider “definitions,” for example, which has its own sub-group. In June, the list of definitions was 27 pages long, with 60 new terms recently added. There are, for example, eight potential ways to define “capacity.” A technically based communication standard, however, demands precision, especially when dealing
with questions of value, money, safety, security and apportioning that value and responsibility among many players - vehicle owners, ratepayers, building owners, employers, utilities and generators. Another difficult, but central, topic centers around the analysis of what are called “use cases.” These are descriptive outlines that start with relatively simple and basic EV charging situations but become increasingly complex as possibilities and opportunities expand. An analysis may start with one car plugged into one charging unit with power flowing just one way from just one utility. With this “use case,” benefits are relatively easy to define: the EV owner buys power, the utility sells power with no middleman, and the transaction clears the market. But consider much more advanced use cases. Let’s say 10,000 vehicles are controlled by a third-party power aggregator. The vehicles are not in the same location - they could even be in different cities. Connections, at various times, could include multiple utilities. Power could flow both ways, benefitting a range of generators, transmission operators and ratepayers. Importantly, the participants may not be prompted by what CPUC staff refer to as “unified actor objectives,” i.e., people
A frequent concern at the Working Group meetings is whether EV customers are being properly kept in mind. have different expectations and interests. With these complex use cases, how should costs and benefits be measured and distributed among EV owners, aggregators, grid operators, utilities, and energy management centers in buildings? The “use case” sub-group has dominated recent agendas. At the end of June, 30 “use case” reviews had been finished, and 21 more were coming up. It’s a slow, hard process, done by volunteers. End points are hard to determine. Possible next steps, for example, include
The top guiding principle for the automakers is that outcomes meet EV drivers’ needs and preferences.
establishing a new sub-group to map the use case requirements to communication protocols. A frequent concern at the Working Group meetings is whether EV customers are being properly kept in mind. After all, EVs are not being developed and promoted for energy officials to use as granular parts of the electric grid, plugging and unplugging in timely ways to help offset intermittent solar and wind generation. That’s nice, but people buy a car to move around (after all, this is California) and green enthusiasm will sour quickly if huge bots essentially tell people they can drive only after a remote grid is judged to be in balance. The top guiding principle for the automakers is that outcomes meet EV drivers’ needs and preferences, specifically regarding a “driver’s mobility, need for simplicity, and that privacy is preeminent and that a vehicle’s charging behavior is consistent with the battery management system and mobility requirements are not externally curtailed by an entity without consulting the driver.” Another concern is that more delays regarding VGI policies will slow EV demand. Potential customers may wait until these uncertainties are settled. Buyers may shrug their shoulders and return to what’s familiar: an internal combustion vehicle. That’s not the kind of momentum needed to help the EV market flourish, and help California meet its statutory requirements regarding ZEVs, energy and climate change. Considering VGI’s complexities, Richard Sholer was
asked whether VGI technology is ready to go, whether theory can be put into practice today. Sholer said, “Yes, we’ve been creating the standards for the last 10 years.” He noted that there are utility standards, electrical engineering standards and OEM standards, all demonstrated to work. “It’s ready to go,” he said. Then, what’s the hold-up? Sholer said the automakers are “looking to the CPUC and the Energy Commission to understand any value proposition, because there’s still the cost of implementing communication in a home or in a fleet or a public [charging] location.” There remains a basic question: “What’s the value to the customer?” Another concern for the automakers is a common one regarding public policy, technology and the future. Technology - particularly communications technology - changes so fast that there are dangers in setting goals and looking for outcomes, with prescriptive directives based on today’s hardware and software. Jeremy Whaling, Grid Connected Project Manager for Honda, presented these concerns on behalf of the automakers and the utilities at the June 26 meeting. Whaling and his group use the phrase “future-proofing” to describe the direction in which VGI should move. Future-proofing is defined as “minimizing risk, not market development or defining VGI value.” Future-proofing should not limit or impede innovation. This becomes difficult territory for policy makers. Recall that VGI is not a wish-list item - it has to work, it has to be part of transportation electrification in California. Recall Commissioner Peterman’s comment that the benefits of an EV market at scale will rely on vehicle-grid communication. That’s the hard part: making choices today that will remain reliable and viable in a field that seems to change overnight.
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change the EV landscape esla rarely strays from the media spotlight - lately colleges, drug stores and other almost-useless locations. Model 3 and Tesla Energy have been the talk of Skeptics point to these and say, “Why build more chargers the global village, and rightly so. However, away when nobody’s using the ones we have?” from the headlines, Tesla is quietly pulling off another coup One thing that has become clear is the critical importance as it shifts its charging infrastructure program into maxiof offering the right type of charging at the right locations. mum plaid gear. The problem of long-distance travel is best addressed with In 2016, before the Model 3 launch, Tesla had about 600 DC fast charging along highway corridors and Level 2 Supercharger locations around the world. The latest count chargers at “destinations.” Another problem is the plight of is 909 locations with 6,118 individual chargers, and Elon apartment dwellers who have no fixed parking spaces - this Musk just announced that the number of Superchargers will may be part of the rationale behind Tesla’s new city center triple by the end of 2018. Tesla is also adding more chargers locations. to existing stations. The current average is 6 or 7 chargers So, there’s one answer to the question of how this enorper station - the busiest locations have as many as 12. Now mous expansion benefits Tesla - it increases the value of Tesla has announced 3 new sites with 40 charging stalls its vehicles, and eliminates a couple of typical objections each (2 in California and one in Norway), and is planning to buying one. It’s also worth noting that Supercharging stations with as many as 50 or 100. Thanks to its continualis generally superior to anyone else’s fast charging - most ly-updated fleet data, Tesla is able DC fast stations charge at a power to target the busiest stations for level of 24-50 kW, whereas some upgrades. Superchargers can deliver as much Tesla has also started adding as 120 kW, and for existing S and X Even for Tesla boosters, different types of charging locaowners, it’s free. the scale and speed of the tions to its empire. The classic As a recent blog by fleet charging Supercharger site is located along provider EverCharge (via EVanbuild-out is astounding. a major highway, and is intended nex) points out, the big buildout has to enable long-distance travel. also given Tesla a head start on its Recently, the company has been potential competitors. The charging deploying Destination Chargers, located at hotels and other strategies of other EV-makers have varied to date - Nissan places where travelers stop overnight (in a few cases, it has and BMW have made sizable investments in infrastructure, also installed non-Tesla chargers for the use of drivers of VW is working on it, GM is not. other EVs). In the latest evolution of its strategy, Tesla is now Tesla has always understood that cars are part of an deploying stations in downtown areas - not just in Caliecosystem that includes third parties such as repair shops, fornia metropoles, but in small cities from Mississippi to dealers and fueling stations. “What Tesla realized was they Wyoming to Charged’s hometown of St Petersburg, Florida. needed to build out this ecosystem on their own, as too often Even for Tesla boosters, the scale and speed of the buildthird parties were the reason people were not enjoying their out is astounding. Why is Tesla pouring so much money vehicles,” write the experts at EverCharge. “Tesla now has into infrastructure, and what, specifically, does it hope to thousands of charging stations installed that only Tesla owngain? ers can use, and that means they can completely optimize Industry insiders disagree about how much public and standardize that experience. It’s a massive land grab, and charging infrastructure will be needed in the coming EV the competition just let Tesla take all the prime real estate.” ecosystem, and less-informed players muddy the waters. Tesla’s highly visible charging sites, strong branding and Pundits perpetuate the myth that charging stations, like gas technical superiority are making it the gold standard for stations, need to be on every corner (remember the clown charging (it’s always been the gold standard for vehicles). The who said Tesla would need to add 30,000 Superchargers to proprietary term “Supercharger” may come to be used as a “match the convenience” of gas stations?). Well-meaning term for any DC fast charging, the way people use “Scotch city governments and corporate chains, tempted by federal tape” or “Kleenex.” Such a marketing coup would be a colossubsidies, have installed hundreds of chargers at city halls, sal blow to the legacy automakers.
Photos courtesy of Jakob Härter (CC BY 2.0)
By Charles Morris
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CHARGED Electric Vehicles Magazine - Issue 32 JUL/AUG 2017