EV


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Breakthrough in EV battery imports

The VIA, (Imported Motor Vehicle Industry Association), has been working to develop a procedure to ensure that new and used EV, electric vehicle, batteries can be imported into New Zealand.

“We have now been able to obtain documentation for certain battery types, to ensure that shipping companies can meet their requirements under the UN dangerous goods regulations,” says the VIA.

The lifespan of EV batteries is a key factor in issuing mechanical warranties for EVs, which mean greater confidence for consumers.

The VIA has announced a new import procedure in order to meet UN dangerous goods regulations.

“While we have been able to achieve a breakthrough, it is still not an easy process as the shipping of Li-ion batteries is highly regulated.”

VIA is the business association that represents the interests of the wider trade involved in importing, preparing, wholesaling and retailing the majority of used vehicles imported from Japan, Singapore and other jurisdictions.

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Toyota and Panasonic to partner

Toyota and Panasonic are partnering in a feasibility of study to develop battery technology for electric cars, or a “joint automotive prismatic battery business.”

The move by the Japanese car maker signals not only a deeper push into battery development but an encroachment on to rival Tesla’s territory. 

The joint announcement on Wednesday builds on an existing agreement under which Panasonic, a global market leader for lithium-ion batteries, develops and builds batteries for Toyota’s petrol-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

Akio Toyoda, Toyota’s president, and Kazuhiro Tsuga, his counterpart at Panasonic, announced the companies would look at joining forces to speed up commercialisation of next-generation battery technologies.

Signing of partnership agreement between Panasonic and Toyota – Toyota Newsroom

If Toyota succeeds in commercialising solid-state batteries then it would go a long way to securing Panasonic’s industry leading position. It is currently the main supplier of electric batteries to Tesla.

“The auto industry faces many hurdles to developing next-generation batteries which are difficult for automakers or battery makers to tackle on their own,” Toyota President Akio Toyoda said at a joint news conference.

Toyota President, Akio Toyoda – Toyota Newsroom

“It would be difficult for us to meet our 2030 goals given the current pace of battery development. That’s why we’re looking to Panasonic and other companies to help us develop ever-better cars and batteries.”

While Toyota continues to pursue hydrogen vehicles, the car maker is now focused on electric car pursuits after recognising that it was falling behind on the EV technology despite its early hybrid leadership with the Prius sedan.

The pair plan to expand development of prismatic batteries with higher energy density. Panasonic already makes prismatic batteries for Toyota, whereas for Tesla, it makes cylindrical batteries of a type similar to those used in laptops.

“Our cylindrical batteries are the most widely used batteries in pure EVs at the moment,” said Panasonic President Kazuhiro Tsuga.

“But when you look at the future, it’s difficult to gauge which format holds more demand potential.”

“We need to be able to develop new battery technologies in a prismatic format, and this would be difficult on our own.”

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Honda EVs to charge in 15 minutes

One of the biggest hurdles to the expansion of the electric vehicle market is the time needed to recharge electric batteries in comparison to filling up the gas tank.

According to Nikkei, Honda claims it will have EVs capable of a full charge in just 15 minutes by 2022.

Honda currently sources batteries for plug-in hybrids from Panasonic and is looking for a partner to collaborate with on its new, quick charging battery.

Honda is also engineering lighter bodies that are able to go farther on a single battery charge to reduce the anxiety that’s been occurring since the introduction of EVs.

The goal for 2022 is for a Honda EV to go 240 km on a 15-minute charge.

Currently, the fastest quick chargers are able to charge an EV battery to about 80 percent in roughly 30 minutes. While this is good, it is not enough to establish widespread acceptance of electric vehicles with drivers who are used to the convenience of  filling fuel tanks for internal combustion engines in five minutes anywhere in the world’s massive network of gas stations.

Honda is clever to be focusing on how far an EV can go on a 15 minute charge rather than focusing on how many miles a vehicle can go on a giant battery that takes a long time to soak up electrons.

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EVs driving lithium demand even higher

The Global Lithium-Ion Battery Market is expected to reach $46.21 billion by 2022, according to a report by Allied Market Research.

Lithium-Ion battery detail

 
Lithium-ion batteries are rechargeable batteries with high energy density and are mainly used in portable equipment. 

The report reports that the market for these batteries is expected to reach significant growth due to the increasing demand for electric vehicles. 

The increasing popularity of lithium is largely to do with technologically innovating companies. Tesla is a prime example who plays a major role in the lithium industry.

Recently an agreement between the Australian Government and Tesla was made, whereby Tesla will build the world’s largest lithium-ion battery to store renewable energy in South Australia.

Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, explained how the battery will work and its benefits.

“You can essentially charge up the battery packs when you have excess power when the cost of production is very low; and then discharge it when the cost of power production is high, and this effectively lowers the average cost to the end customer. It’s a fundamental efficiency improvement for the grid.”

The massive demand for global lithium is already sending shocks throughout industries. There are already expectations of a significant shortfall in the very near future.

To answer the heavy demand, lithium companies are increasing their production capacities and searching for new sources of lithium. This includes a number of early stage lithium mining companies who are using the market’s momentum to advance more quickly toward production.

 

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Mercury meets fleet EV target

Mercury has announced that it has converted all possible vehicles in its fleet to electric, one year ahead of schedule. Mercury’s corporate fleet now has over 70 per cent fully electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles.

The target was set back in 2014 at the company’s Annual Shareholders’ Meeting. 

Fraser Whineray, Chief Executive, announced today that the company has changed every vehicle that can be practically transitioned to electric models currently available.

“We saw that using home-grown electricity to fuel transport was a stunning opportunity for New Zealand and New Zealanders, and it also made total sense for us as a business,” says Fraser.

“We’ve made our company fleet as electric as it can be right now. It’s powered at a fraction of the cost of fossil fuels and is clearly better for the environment.”

Mercury has worked with other New Zealand organisations to encourage widespread uptake of EVs including a landmark commitment by over 30 New Zealand companies to transition at least 30 percent of their company vehicles to electric by 2019.

Mercury was one of the main players to help bring the Electric Highway to New Zealand with the EV charger location app, ‘Plugshare’.

There is also support across all major political parties to electrify their vehicles with the current coalition Government aiming to make their vehicle fleet emissions-free by 2025 to 2026. 

“There’s still a long way to go, but we are confident that the transition of New Zealand’s vehicle fleet to electric will be well supported by business and Government. It’s 30 cents per litre, a 3-pin plug will power it up, and there’s plenty of renewable electricity to support the charge,” says Fraser.

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China to reach one million units

Production of Electric Vehicles (EVs) in China could reach one million units by next year and three million by 2020.

Chairman of carmaker BAIC group, Xu Heyi said the production is likely to exceed a target set by the Chinese government.

“Rather than the time when gasoline-fuelled cars are withdrawn, it is more important to consider the extent to which new energy vehicles are popularized, or their market share,” Xu told reporters at the Communist Party Congress.

Wang Chuanfu, chairman of leading EV producer BYD, said in September that all of China’s vehicles could be “electrified” by as early as 2030.

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EV breaks world record

The official Guinness Book of World Records title has been awarded to Los Angeles-based company IT Asset Partners (ITAP) for the longest range of an electric vehicle (EV).

The record-winning vehicle, called The Phoenix was created by ITAP leader, Eric Lundgren and made out of 90 per cent recycled parts, in an effort to promote electronic waste recycling.

The vehicle travelled more than 1,600 kilometres at the Auto Club Speedway in California over a two-day consecutive run. This breaks the previous record of 1,298 kilometres, which was made in Japan in 2013.

The Phoenix, which cost $14,000 to build, is just one of the many projects that Lundgren has been involved with which work towards addressing e-Waste pollution across the globe.

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Honda to close Japanese plants as focus shifts to EVs

Honda is taking the rare step of closing one of its Japanese plants, as the car maker shifts its focus toward EVs.

Reuters reports that the company will end production at its Sayama plant by 2022. The move will cut domestic capacity by around 24 per cent.

The automaker has seen stagnant domestic sales and said on Wednesday it was streamlining its Japanese operations as it takes a nimbler approach to development and manufacturing in the face of fierce competition from carmakers and technology companies to make EVs and self-driving cars.

“As we focus more on adopting electrification and other new technologies, we want to hone our vehicle manufacturing expertise in Japan and expand it globally,” CEO Takahiro Hachigo told a press conference.

Honda’s CEO at a press conference on Wednesday. Source: Reuters

Honda said it would end production at the ageing plant north of Tokyo, consolidating output at its Yorii plant in the same area by the end of the 2022 financial year. Most workers currently at Sayama would be transferred to the Yorii facility.

“Domestic sales haven’t increased as much as we were expecting and it has become difficult to boost exports,” Hachigo said.

The move would cut overall domestic annual production capacity to around 810,000 units, the same as Honda’s current output levels, which are around 76 per cent of its current production capacity of 1.06 million vehicles.

Following the closure, Honda said the Yorii plant will produce EVs and serve as a major center for developing manufacturing technology for electric cars.

While the car maker makes cuts in Japan, it plans to open a new plant by 2019 in China, where it has seen massive growth. Overall, global annual production would remain largely unchanged at around 5.06 million units, Honda said.

Honda is complying with a request from Japan’s transport ministry for inspection records after Nissan said on Monday it would recall 1.2 million vehicles due failing audits of their final inspection processes.

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Ford to increase EV range

Ford Motor Co. said Monday it will increase its battery electric vehicle offerings beyond the 480 km range crossover EV it plans to offer by 2020.

To develop and research EVs, Ford is setting up an internal team named “Team Edison” in a clear nod to the historical rivalry between its namesake and his contemporary, Nicola Tesla. It will be separate from Ford’s other electrification efforts, which include hybrid and plug-in hybrid offerings.

Henry Ford and Thomas Edison.

“We see an inflection point in the major markets toward battery electric vehicles,” Sherif Marakby, Ford’s head of electrification and autonomous vehicles told website Automotive News. “We feel it’s important to have a cross-functional team all the way from defining the strategy plans and implementation to advanced marketing.”

Marakby said Ford is on track to deliver 13 electrified vehicles over the next five years, and has announced seven of those.

He also said the new team will explore partnerships. Ford was rumored to be in talks earlier this year about acquiring Lucid Motors, and in August said it would form a joint venture with a Chinese manufacturer to produce all-electric vehicles for the Chinese market.

“We are open to partnerships, but this team will be responsible to define the strategy,” Marakby said.

He said the team’s goal was to “move fast and think big and really grow the BEV offerings from Ford.”

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Mevo gets 250k investment from Z Energy

New Zealand’s first electric on-demand car rental company has secured a quarter of a million-dollar investment from Z Energy, and will use the funds to expand its Wellington fleet to 50 vehicles.

Kiwi EV on-demand car rental company Mevo has been in operation since late last year, and provides on-demand transport with a network of hybrid Audi e-trons. members can book, lock and unlock the vehicles using the company’s app, which connects securely to the onboard security system.

The Mevo founders Erik Zydervelt and Finn Lawrence.

Mevo users can pay anywhere from hourly to yearly fees for use of the service.

Co-founder of Mevo Erik Zydervelt, said the investment from Z Energy indicates his companies vision is a viable in the long term.

“We’re excited to have forward-thinking partners who support our mission to not only lower carbon emissions, but to increase the livability of Wellington by reducing the number of cars on the road. We are leading the change in the car-sharing industry, not only in New Zealand but globally,” Zydervelt said.

Z Energy chief executive Mike Bennetts said that his company’s investment is the latest in a series of moves Z is making to provide environmentally sustainable alternatives to fossil fuels.

“We are proud to support and invest in a New Zealand company helping change how people get around.”

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Ford-Mahindra alliance announced

Ford Motor Co announced on Monday they would launch a strategic alliance with Indian car manufacturer Mahindra that the pair say will help to counter challenges posed by rapid technological developments and global competition, Reuters reports.

As increasing numbers of policy makers throughout the world signal that they will transition to entirely electric vehicles, manufacturers of traditional combustion engine vehicles come under pressure to find ways to remain profitable.

One potential benefit to Ford of a partnership with Mahindra is access to lower cost electric vehicle designs and local suppliers it needs to compete in markets such as India.

Ford has less than a 3 per cent market share in India, although its exports from India are expanding. Mahindra could help Ford lower its distribution costs or send production work to Ford’s Indian plants.

Mahindra’s EV concept at the 2017 Geneva motor show.

Mahindra plan on increasing productions from the current 200 vehicles per month to 5000 in the next two years. Mahindra believe that the future of passenger vehicle travel is in electric vehicles, for their environmental, economic and costs saving benefits.

Mahindra’s managing director stated in May that the company plans to increase production  from the current 200 vehicles per month to 5000 in the next two years.

“We plan to expand our range of electric vehicles in the country beyond the four products that we currently have in our line-up,”…”“As the pioneers of electric vehicles in the country, the Group is committed towards making electric vehicles more accessible in order to build a clean and green tomorrow,” he said.

Ford has also made moves to enter the Chinese market recently, and has shifted the production of the Ford Focus (for the US market) to China, rather than Mexico as initially planned.

Following the announcement of the agreement between the two companies, Ford shares rose 0.9 per cent.

Ford president of global markets, Jim Farley, and Ford’s head of Asia Pacific operations, Peter Fleet, told Reuters on Monday that teams from the companies will start meeting next week to discuss ways to benefit in the short and medium term.

“We are focused on the now and near with this initiative. We want to work on the opportunities that are right in front of us,” Farley said.

In the shorter term, Ford and Mahindra suggested they could benefit from collaborating on distribution of vehicles in India, pooling purchasing and collaborating on forays into ride services.

Longer-term projects could include sharing technology or development efforts for electric vehicles, the companies said.

Ford, like global rivals, faces a challenge because electric vehicles engineered for the United States or Europe are too expensive for Indian or Chinese customers. Policymakers in China and India, as well as some European countries, have signaled they want the industry to phase out diesel and gasoline vehicles over the next two to three decades.

 

 

 

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