Category Archives: Electric vehicles

China’s electric car market given a jump-start by government and looks set to boost lithium industry

open pit lithium mine

An open pit lithium mine. Picture courtesy of The Future of Energy

The market for electric cars in China is huge already and it’s growing at almost an exponential rate annually. 

Commentators in the country include electric cars in the category called “new energy vehicles”, which also refers to hybrid energy vehicles, and are saying the market will be further accelerated as a result of government backing.

Edward Tse, CEO of Gao Feng management consultancy, says: “With the issuance in April 2017 of the Automotive Industry Mid to Long Term Development Plan, the Ministry for Industry and Information Technology provides guiding principles for the development of China’s auto industry for the next decade. 

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Roborace shows off its driverless electric racing car in the US

roborace new york 2 small

Roborace has been showing off its driverless electric racing car in New York, in the US, after organising similar exhibitions in other countries. 

Roborace organises what is believed to be the world’s first driverless electric car racing series, using vehicles based on Nvidia’s Drive PX2 artificial intelligence platform.

The car incorporates technologies such as lidar, radar, cameras, ultrasonic sensors, optical speed sensors, GNSS positioning, and others, according to

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Electric autonomous vehicle maker Navya to open first US production plant

Autonomous electric vehicle maker Navya is set to open its first US production plant. Michigan Economic Development Corporation and Ann Arbor Spark are to collaborate with Navya on site selection and talent recruitment.

In a joint statement, Navya, MEDC and Ann Arbor Spark said the Michigan plant will be located in the city of Saline, Michigan with a 20,000+ sq ft facility.

Navya plans to build approximately 25 of its Arma fully autonomous and electric shuttle vehicles at the plant before the close of 2017. 

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Volkswagen and Kuka research ways to use robots for future electric and autonomous cars

Volkswagen’s new concept autonomous and electric car, Sedric

Volkswagen self-driving concept car, which it calls Sedric

The Volkswagen Group is researching ways in which robots can be used in the future when cars become more electrified and computerised as a result of increasing demand for clean and autonomous vehicles. 

The German automaker, which owns the Audi, Bentley, Seat, Porsche and Lamborghini brands among others, is working one of the world’s largest industrial robotics and automation providers, Kuka, to research and develop a number of ideas.

The current area of interest for the strategic partnership between Kuka and Volkswagen is the area of service concepts for vehicles of the future, and the two companies have agreed a contract to jointly develop robot-based innovation concepts for vehicles of the future. 

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World’s largest automotive companies and an intro to their autonomous and electric vehicle tech moves


A picture of a car production line, this one in an Audi factory

In the first of a series of articles about large industrial companies, we list 20 of the leading automakers in the world in order of their last reported annual revenue amount, and highlight some of their more interesting developments in autonomous technologies. 

Automakers are have long been the largest market for industrial robotics and automation systems, but also, more recently, the vehicles they produce have become more robotic.

The design and development of road vehicles are becoming increasingly an exercise in developing computing technology – both hardware and software. Add to that the growing importance of artificial intelligence to run the advanced driver assistance systems that many new cars already have.

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Energised by smartphones, sensors are driving the automotive industry

dsp concepts auto-measure

One of the main reasons why highly-sophisticated sensors have come down in price to affordable levels in the past few years is smartphones. 

The economies of scale achieved through having to produce literally billions of sensors for smartphones has established a strong manufacturing base for sensing technology.

And from that base, sensors are now driving many different markets, perhaps most interesting of which is the automotive market. 

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ABB and EVgo launch first high-power fast charging station for electric vehicles

evgo abb

EVgo, which claims to operate the US’ largest network of public electric vehicle fast charging stations, has partnered with ABB to launch what the companies claim is the nation’s first high-power fast charging station in Fremont, California, capable of delivering incredibly fast charging speeds.

The High-Power fast charging system, manufactured by ABB, features a maximum charging rate of 150 kW – providing a charge which is three times faster than what is available today.

The charger will assist with next generation electric vehicle charging research, and will allow testing of EV research platforms at 150 kW initially. 

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Volkswagen launches its first autonomous and electric concept car

Volkswagen’s new concept autonomous and electric car, Sedric

Volkswagen’s new concept autonomous and electric car, Sedric

Volkswagen has unveiled what it says is its first autonomous concept car, describing it as a “comfortable lounge on wheels”. 

The company claims to be the first automobile manufacturer to present an integrated mobility concept for mobility of the future in road traffic, including a concept car developed from scratch for autonomous driving.

Volkswagen says “Sedric”, the name of the new self-driving car, provides an insight into the future of individual mobility that can be used by everyone, but which can be geared to personal needs.

Volkswagen says Sedric highlights the major importance of fully automated driving in the future strategy of the company. 

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Worldwide sales of Toyota hybrids surpass 10 million units

toyota china motor show

In the footsteps of the iconic Prius that started it all, Toyota now sells 34 different hybrid models in more than 90 countries and regions across the globe

Toyota says it has reached cumulative global hybrid vehicle sales of 10.05 million units as of January 31, surpassing the 10 million unit mark.

More than a numerical milestone, Toyota says this demonstrates the staying power of a technology that is now emerging as a mainstream solution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants.

Helping to mitigate the environmental effects of automobiles has long been a priority for Toyota, claims the company in a statement. 

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ABB and Nova Bus announce collaboration on electric transportation

abb nova buses electric charging

ABB links up with Nova Buses for electric charging. Picture: Anna Rehnberg for ABB

ABB and Nova Bus have partnered to meet what they see as the “growing need for electric buses and charging infrastructure in North America”

ABB, an engineering company specializing in automotive energy technologies, and Nova Bus, the North American buses manufacturer and division of Volvo Buses, have entered a business collaboration that consists of the delivery of the first ABB’s electric bus “opportunity charger” in North America.

This is the latest development in ABB’s growing network of electric charging infrastructure.

This collaboration reflects Nova Bus plans to keep investing in climate action by offering charging stations and electrified bus solutions to major cities in the United States and Canada.

Derek Monk, general manager, ABB in Canada, says: “Transportation can be one of the biggest contributors to climate change. Supporting Nova Bus with ABB’s innovative charging solution will help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“We’re thrilled to collaborate with Volvo Buses, it represents a major step in the advancement of electric buses in public transit in North America and it will be the first ABB electric bus opportunity charging station in the Americas.” 

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Akasol wins ‘major contract’ to supply lithium-ion battery systems for new e-buses

akasol kvb e-bus

Sustainable passenger transportation without environmentally damaging emissions: one of eight battery-powered articulated buses with Akasol battery systems operating as part of Cologne’s public transportation network. (Photo: Koelner Verkehrsbetriebe)

Akasol says it has agreed a deal with “an internationally operating commercial vehicle manufacturer based in northern Europe” for the serial production of lithium-ion battery systems for its entire fleet of e-buses. 

Akasol claims the contract with the original equipment manufacturer is worth “hundreds of millions of euros” and lasts until 2023, and outlines a close, long-term partnership between both companies and involves the supply of up to 4,500 battery systems.

Sven Schulz, CEO of Akasol, says: “Thanks to our technological expertise and nearly 30 years of experience in the field of traction battery systems for the automotive industry, we made an impressive bid and were able to set ourselves apart from the competition.” 

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Infineon joins electric charging association to support global standards

charin ev

Chipmaker Infineon Technologies has joined an organisation which is developing a global network of charging stations for electric vehicles.

Infineon says an appropriate charging infrastructure is “critical” to support the rapidly growing electric vehicles market worldwide.

Infineon often boasts that it is the world’s leading semiconductor supplier for driver assistance systems and electric mobility.

The company currently claims its technology is the “key” to securing the future of all life on Earth.

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ABB to invest $90 million in new research centre in Canada

abb montreal

Engineering giant ABB is to invest another $90 million into a research and development centre in Canada. 

The Swiss company, which also is one of the world’s biggest industrial robot manufacturers, is to establish its new North American research and development facility in Montréal.

As a result of the investment, Canadians will develop next-generation solutions for electric vehicles, says the government in a statement.

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Siemens offers its employees free charging for their electric vehicles

siemens ev charging point

Free “refuelling” at up to 100 Siemens locations in Germany, with charging stations “internationally linked”

Beginning in 2017, Siemens employees at as many as 100 of the company’s locations in Germany can “fill up” their electric vehicles free of charge. This will apply not only to all-electric vehicles but also to plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

For this service, Siemens will use its existing network of charging stations, which it is expanding with normal and high-speed charging stations.

To reduce their carbon footprint, the charging points will supply electricity only from renewable energy sources. The electricity and the use of the charging stations are likely to be free for the duration of 2017. 

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Panasonic to test self-driving car tech in Colorado

panasonic gebhardt ces

Panasonic’s Gebhardt making the presentation at CES

lockElectronics and industrial components giant Panasonic is planning to test its autonomous car technology in the state of Colorado, in the US. 

The company has been making some significant moves in the automotive space, and this week revealed some of its ideas at the Consumer Electronics Show.

Tom Gebhardt, president of Panasonic Automotive Systems Company of America, made a presentation at CES in which he said the company’s “smart mobility” plan starts with energy. 

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