Toshiba lithium-ion battery could offer EVs 200-mile range after 6-minute recharge

October 25, 2017 by  
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The electric vehicle (EV) movement could receive a major boost from a new lithium-ion battery . Toshiba recently announced the battery charges up in a snappy six minutes, providing compact EVs with a 200-mile range. Toshiba said their next-generation SCiB lithium-ion battery comes with an anode comprised of a new material unlike any other on the market. Toshiba’s new 32 kilowatt-hour SCiB battery could triple the travel distance possible for EVs when compared to existing lithium ion batteries thanks to a titanium niobium oxide anode that replaces conventional lithium titanium oxide anodes. Related: ‘Instantly rechargeable’ battery spells bad news for gas-guzzling cars The energy density by volume of this new battery is twice that of Toshiba’s current SCiB, according to the company, but prototype testing shows it is as safe, with a similarly long life cycle. They also say after 5,000 charge and discharge cycles, the battery maintains more than 90 percent of the capacity it had at the start, so it could go through one recharge cycle per day for 14 years, according to Electronics Weekly . The battery can also undergo ultra-rapid recharging when it’s chilly outside – charging up in 10 minutes when the temperature is as low as minus 10 degrees Celsius. The titanium niobium oxide anode is less likely to suffer from lithium metal deposition while recharging quickly or in the cold, which can degrade batteries. Toshiba Corporate Research and Development Center director Osamu Hori said in a statement, “We are very excited by the potential of the new titanium niobium oxide anode and the next-generation SCiB. Rather than an incremental improvement, this is a game-changing advance that will make a significant difference to the range and performance of EV. We will continue to improve the battery’s performance and aim to put the next-generation SCiB into practical application in fiscal year 2019.” Toshiba didn’t give a price for the battery in their release. Via Toshiba and Electronics Weekly Images via Depositphotos and Wikimedia Commons

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Toshiba lithium-ion battery could offer EVs 200-mile range after 6-minute recharge

Toyota and Mazda establish a new company for electric cars

October 18, 2017 by  
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Toyota , Mazda and Denso have signed a new partnership through which they will jointly establish a new company for the development of electric cars. Neither Toyota nor Mazda offer any fully electric vehicles in their lineup yet, so the new partnership will give both automakers the basic structural components for EVs. For automakers to survive the changing automotive industry, they need to be able to produce several types of powertrains, including electric and fuel cell vehicles . Toyota, Mazda and Denso have decided to team up for better capability of developing electric technology that can be applied to a variety of vehicles, improving their response time to the changing market trends. Related: New Toyota concept takes the wheel when drivers get sleepy The new company, called EV Common Architecture Spirit Co Ltd. will leverage Mazda’s product planning and computer modeling-based development, Denso’s electronics technologies, and the Toyota New Global Architecture platform. The TNGA platform is already used by models like the 2018 Toyota Camry and the latest-generation Prius . Toyota will own 90 percent of the company, while Mazda and Denso will each have a 5 percent share. The new agreement covers a diverse range of models, from mini vehicles to passenger vehicles, SUVs, and light trucks. Toyota and Mazda are both behind most other automakers, since neither of them have focused on fully-electric vehicles. Toyota has focused its energies on hybrid powertrains, while Mazda continues to focus on improving the internal combustion engine . With countries now mandating zero-emissions vehicles, the partnership will not only help both automakers catch up to their competitors, but also bring new electric cars to market sooner. Mazda has already announced that it will introduce electrified powertrains as early as 2019. + Toyota All images ©Toyota

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GM’s plans for "all-electric-future" spell doom for fossil fuel industry

October 3, 2017 by  
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General Motors , a symbol of 20th century automotive domination, has decided to embrace the “all-electric future” of the 21st century and beyond, declaring that someday in the near future, it will produce and sell only electric cars . “General Motors believes in an all-electric future,” said Mark Reuss, GM’s chief of global product development. “Although that future won’t happen overnight, GM is committed to driving increased usage and acceptance of electric vehicles.” To accelerate into this future, GM announced two new electric car models, scheduled to be released next year, followed by an additional 18 all-electric models by 2023. General Motors is riding high as it shifts gear into electric; the car company was the third-largest in the world in 2016. Because of its immense size, the company would not yet commit to a specific year in which it would make the transition away from combustion engine cars. However, its recent actions speak as loud as its words. At a press event on Monday, GM revealed several concept designs for upcoming electric vehicles, including an SUV, a crossover, a non-traditional model which resembled a small, boxy bus, and Surus, a heavy-duty truck with two electric motors, powered by fuel cells. Related: Renault’s Trezor is the electric car of the future Though renowned already as a pioneer in the field, thanks in part to its Chevy Bolt, GM will face heavy traffic on the road ahead. Tesla , Volvo, Nissan, Aston Martin and Jaguar Land Rover have all made various moves into the electric car industry, with more expected in the future. Ford, a fellow Big Three American automaker, announced on Monday, the same day as GM’s press event, that it will form an “Edison Group,” focused on the development of electric cars. “We see an inflection point in the major markets toward battery electric vehicles,” said Sherif Marakby, head of electrification and autonomous vehicles at Ford. “We feel it’s important to have a cross-functional team all the way from defining the strategy plans and implementation to advanced marketing.” Via Washington Post Images via Car and Driver  and Wikipedia

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Renault’s Trezor is the electric car of the future

October 2, 2017 by  
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What will the electric car of the future look like? Renault has given us a sneak peek with the Trezor – a futuristic self-driving car powered by a 350 horsepower electric powertrain that can go from 0-60 mph in less than four seconds. To enter the vehicle, the entire hood, windshield and side windows lift up – but you still have to jump over the side of the vehicle to get in, since it does without conventional doors. The vehicle also uses a rechargeable energy storage system to recover energy during braking and there are two batteries – one at the front and one at the back. The Trezor is a concept car , but it does explore the potential styling and technology that could debut on future electric cars. Its sleek, long profile is an artist’s dream. The interior feature a red wooden dashboard that incorporates the luggage compartment. The tailor-made trunks are held in place with leather straps in front of the driver and passenger. Although the wooden dashboard and red leather seats appear to be inspired by sports cars from the past, the Trezor features the latest technology with a L-shaped touchscreen that’s connected to a large dashboard screen in front of the driver. The curved OLED touchscreen is protected by a layer of Gorilla glass . The rectangular steering wheel features touchscreens that replace the traditional buttons on today’s steering wheels. The touchscreens provide access to the car’s three drive modes: neutral, sport and self-drive. In the self-driving mode, the exterior lighting changes to let other drivers know that the car is in autonomous mode. The steering wheel also comes apart and stretches out lengthwise to give a better view of the dashboard, so that the driver can watch a film or just look at the scenery. Renault’s Trezor was recently showcased at Designjunction during the London Design Festival . Renault and Nissan have announced plans to introduce several new fully-electric cars in the near future, so keep your fingers crossed that at least some of the technology in the Trezor concept will be offered in a production car. + Renault + London Design Festival Coverage on Inhabitat Photos by Renault and Mike Chino

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Renault’s Trezor is the electric car of the future

Dyson the famous vacuum maker is building an electric car

September 27, 2017 by  
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Dyson is famous for its bagless vacuum cleaners and other unique household appliances, but founder and chief engineer James Dyson has some bigger plans for the company. James Dyson sent out an email yesterday to the company announcing his ambitions to introduce an electric car by 2020. With an investment of at least $2.7 billion and a staff of 400 people, Dyson is hopeful that it can get an electric car to market in the next three years. Dyson has already started hiring engineers from automotive companies to help launch the vehicle. Related: James Dyson on using his famous vacuum technology to suck garbage from rivers In his email, Dyson outlined how in 1988 a study from the the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health that linked the exhaust from diesel engines to premature death in laboratory mice and rats, put the company on a path to improve air quality. Two years later, in March 1990, the Dyson team began work on a cyclonic filter that could be fitted on a vehicle’s exhaust system to trap particulates. Sadly, even though the prototypes were developed, automakers weren’t too interested. Now Dyson will do away with the need to reduce particulates by creating a zero emissions electric car. James Dyson hasn’t gone too far into the details, since competition in the electric car segment is incredibly strong right now. Several other startups are racing to bring their cars to market, like Lucid and Fisker, so it makes sense that Dyson would try to keep details about its technology under wraps. + Dyson Images @Dyson

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Futuristic floating bubble car wins London design competition

September 21, 2017 by  
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Renault and Central Saint Martins – UAL have teamed up to develop the car of the future. Part of a design competition, students of the school’s MA Industrial Design program have been challenged to think about the future of autonomous, modular cars, along with the infrastructure and services that might support them. The winning design, The Float, envisions futuristic bubble cars that use magnetic levitation technology to get around. The competition started with 15 students with three semi-finalists left standing – Stephanie Chang Liu for her ‘Flo’ design, with three different sized vehicles, Tuna Yenici for his emotive vehicle named ‘Vue’ and Yuchen Cai for her vision of vehicles moving around using Maglev technology, called ‘The Float’. Yuchen Cai was announced as the winner at the opening of Designjunction 2017. The Float connects people in a new way, demonstrating how autonomy will help drivers become more open and social with the outside world. With the appearance of a bubble that moves without conventional wheels, it uses magnetic levitation technology that gives it the ability to move in any direction without the need to turn around. Related: Audi unveils two new swanky self-driving concepts in Frankfurt The exterior is covered in transparent glass, while passengers sit in silver seats. The large swathes of glass will provide a new way for people to connect through tessellation. Users can also use a smartphone app to rent a Float, just like how a user would request an Uber or Lyft ride. The concepts have been unveiled in London at Designjunction 2017, which runs from September 21-24. Renault is a partner in the competition, since it is eager to develop the technologies of the future with an emphasis on electric power, autonomous driving and connected technologies. Renault’s ultimate goal is to have autonomous electric vehicles on the road by the early 2020s. + Renault Images @Renault

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Audi unveils two new swanky self-driving concepts in Frankfurt

September 15, 2017 by  
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Audi is working hard on future self-driving cars that will forever change your daily commute. This week at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the automaker unveiled two new concept cars that feature Level 4 and Level 5 autonomous driving technology. Hit the jump for a closer look. The first concept, the Aicon, is a futuristic looking four-door electric vehicle with a 500-mile driving range. The Aicon is a large concept vehicle at almost 18-feet-long. Audi says its design is a preview of what cars will look like in the future; with pushed-out wheels and without the need for an engine, the overall layout maximizes the space between the wheels for more interior volume. Related: Audi’s new solar-roofed car expected by the end of 2017 One cool feature is that the Aicon’s exterior surfaces can display information to warn pedestrians or cyclists of dangerous situations. Plus, horizontal stripes of light move from the bottom up when the car accelerates and in the opposite direction when braking. Their speed increases or decreases in sync with that of the car. The interior features two individual front seats that can move back and forth up to 19 inches and even swivel up to 15 degrees. There’s room for two additional passengers that sit on an integrated rear bench seat. Audi’s Aicon is powered by four electric motors that generate a total 349 horsepower. It can also travel up to 500 miles on a single charge and be recharged up to 80 percent in a short 30 minutes. The second concept, the Audi Elaine, looks familiar since it debuted as the E-Tron Sportback concept a few months ago. On the outside, not much has changed from the original concept, but Audi is using the Elaine concept to showcase its Level 4 autonomous driving technology with a new highway pilot autonomous system. The highway pilot system can control the vehicle between 37 to 80 mph. Audi hasn’t announced any production plans for the Audi Aicon concept, but the production version of the Elaine/ E-Tron Sportback will arrive in 2019. + Audi Images @Audi

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Audi unveils two new swanky self-driving concepts in Frankfurt

Beautiful cow barn in Basel is made of tree branches topped with a grassy roof

September 15, 2017 by  
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Swiss architects Forschungs + Architekturbüro AG have made some lucky cows very happy with a stunning new barn outside of Basel. The architects used natural materials from the surrounding area to create the light-filled structure. The walls are made from tree trunks and long sticks, while the roof is covered with a thick carpet of green grass. The 2,000-square-meter cow barn is built on a sloped hillside that made construction a bit challenging. The architects decided to make the shape of the barn mimic the surrounding topography, embedding it into the landscape. Related: Architects transform an old hay barn into a stunning minimalist home The tree trunks and large sticks that make up the structure’s walls are embedded in a rectangular concrete base. This design strategy has many benefits – the materials could be sourced locally, and the walls let natural light into structure, creating a healthy environment for the beauteous bovines. An elongated green roof further fuses the design into the lush, grassy landscape. Two large vertical milk silos jut out from the structure, giving a bold nod to the building’s industrial purpose. + Forschungs + Architekturbüro AG Via Archdaily Photography by Christian Baur and Serge Hasenböhler

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2018 Nissan Leaf debuts with 150 mile driving range for just 30k

September 6, 2017 by  
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After teasing us for weeks, Nissan has finally unveiled the second-generation 2018 Nissan Leaf. The new Leaf is completely new inside and out, with single-pedal driving, automation, more power, and most importantly, its driving range has been increased to a more usable 150 miles. It’s hard to believe that it’s already been seven years since the first Nissan Leaf arrived in 2010. Now seven years later the Leaf is facing much stiffer competition than it originally did. As a result, the new Leaf has been amped up to tackle the Chevy Bolt and the Tesla Model 3. Related: BMW releases a sportier i3 electric car For starters, Nissan fixed the main concern electric car buyers had with the last generation: its driving range. With a max 107 mile driving range, the current generation Leaf has been overshadowed by the Bolt, Model 3 and even slightly squeezed out by the BMW i3 and 2017 VW e-Golf. With the 2018 Nissan Leaf being able to now travel 150 miles on a single charge, that means the Leaf is now closer to the top of the segment, only to be out done by Tesla and the Chevy Bolt . Under the hood, there’s also a new electric powertrain that now generates 147 horsepower and 236 lb-ft. of torque. If you want a more powerful Nissan Leaf with a longer driving range, Nissan has confirmed that another more expensive version of the Leaf is coming for 2019. Besides the new electric powertrain, the 2018 Leaf also features new driving technologies. The ProPILOT Assist driver assistance technology allows for semi-autonomous driving on single-lane highways. The 2018 Leaf also comes with Nissan’s new e-Pedal technology, that perfects one-pedal driving. It lets drivers start, accelerate, decelerate and stop by using only the accelerator. Inside the 2018 Leaf’s seats are covered in seats with vibrant blue stitching and a new 7-inch touchscreen sits in the center console. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto have also been added. The 2018 Nissan Leaf is scheduled to arrive in the U.S. and Europe in early 2018. Pricing for the 2018 Leaf in the U.S. will start at $29,990. Images @Nissan + Nissan

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2018 Nissan Leaf debuts with 150 mile driving range for just 30k

MINI re-envisions the Cooper hatchback as an EV

August 30, 2017 by  
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MINI is adding an exciting new car to its lineup sometime during 2019 – and it’s totally electric . The MINI Electric Concept offers a futuristic interpretation of the MINI Cooper hatchback with a slew of special details, including unique wheels, a new hexagonal grille and restyled lighting. The MINI Electric Concept will have its official debut at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show next month, where the company will test the public’s reception to a new electrified MINI. It’s been nearly 10 years since MINI released the MINI E electric car in 2018, which was the first fully electric car from the BMW Group. Related: Volkswagen confirms when the Microbus is coming back as an EV MINI’s next electric car will reach beyond the potential of the MINI E. For starters, its electric motor won’t have the same cooling needs as a traditional gas-powered car, so the grille and air intakes have been closed off to improve airflow. And the headlights have a new LED design. As you move to the back, the MINI Electric Concept’s taillights each form one half of the Union Jack as an LED dot matrix. “The MINI Electric Concept is a quintessential MINI – compact, agile, simply the ideal companion for everyday driving. At the same time, it conveys a whole new take on the concept of sportiness,” explains Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President BMW Group Design. + MINI Images @MINI

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