Fisker patents EV battery with a range of 500 miles that can be charged in 1 minute

November 16, 2017 by  
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It might sound too good to be true – but Fisker is working on an electric vehicle battery that can charge up to 100% in just one minute. They’ve reportedly made a breakthrough in solid-state batteries – and their technology could allow an EV to travel 500 miles after a single charge. Designer Henrik Fisker relaunched his EV venture last year, and since then he has teased the 2019 EMotion and started accepting pre-orders this past summer. Now the company has filed a patent for a groundbreaking solid-state battery. Related: Fisker is back with the $130,000 400-mile range EMotion EV Green Car Congress reports that the patent includes claims about manufacturing processes and novel materials, saying, “Fisker’s solid-state batteries will feature three-dimensional electrodes with 2.5 times the energy density of lithium-ion batteries .” Recharging such a battery, they pointed out, would take less time than filling up a tank of gas today. Electrek said while they’ve been dubious about some of the claims attached to the EMotion , there could be some credibility behind the battery as the effort has been helmed by Fabio Albano, co-founder of Sakti3 and Fisker’s vice president of battery systems. Albano said, “We are addressing all of the hurdles that solid-state batteries have encountered on the path to commercialization, such as performance in cold temperatures; the use of low-cost and scalable manufacturing methods; and the ability to form bulk solid-state electrodes with significant thickness and high active material loadings.” The first EMotions will employ lithium-ion batteries similar to those in other EVs, but Fisker aims to have their solid-state battery production grade ready sometime around 2023. The company could show their first working prototype of the technology at CES 2018 in Las Vegas in January. + Fisker Via Electrek , Green Car Congress , and HuffPost UK Images via Fisker

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VW floats plan for an electric, zero-emissions Beetle

November 14, 2017 by  
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Volkswagen’s Beetle is iconic – and according to recent reports, the car company actively considering developing an electric version. Herbert Diess, chairman of the board of management of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand told Autocar they’re mulling over an electric successor to the Beetle of today utilizing their Modular Electric Baukasten (MEB) platform. He said such an electric Beetle would actually be “much closer to history” as it could be rear-wheel drive like the VW Beetles of our 1960’s dreams. Will Volkswagen draw on nostalgia – blended with modern, zero-emissions technology – for a Beetle of the future? The carmaker hasn’t yet made a firm decision about the car’s successor, according to Diess, but he did hint any direct successor would be electric. He told Autocar, “If we wanted to do a Beetle, electrically it would be much better than today’s model, much closer to history, because it could be rear-wheel drive.” Related: Volkswagen confirms when the Microbus is coming back as an EV Autocar reports an electric Beetle is one of many proposals to be given to Volkswagen board members when they gather to vote on how they want to build on the initial range of electric vehicles . Diess told Autocar, “The next decision on electric cars will be what kind of emotional concepts we need” – referring to the nostalgia surrounding designs like the Beetle or the Microbus . He said the MEB platform is already set to support as many as 15 new electric models – five will be sold with the Volkswagen name. An electric Beetle could open up options for Volkswagen – Diess said the MEB platform is very flexible. Autocar said the rear-wheel drive and rear-mounted electric motor of the ID hatchback shown at the Paris Motor Show last year are similar to the original Beetle. An electric Beetle could have a front luggage compartment. Via Autocar and Engadget Images via Evan Kirby on Unsplash and Nine Köpfer on Unsplash

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Hidden passageway discovered at ancient Mayan ruins

November 14, 2017 by  
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Researchers at Chichen Itza, a massive Mayan city founded over 1,400 years ago on the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico , have discovered a new secret passage that may be connected to an underground cave at the Temple of Kukulkan. The discovery was made by underwater archaeologist Guillermo de Anda and his team of researchers from the Great Mayan Aquifer Project, who used advanced imaging techniques, such as lidar, to uncover the hidden passageway. Water-filled caves known as cenotes were sometimes used in Mayan sacrificial rituals and the researchers hope to find evidence of such practices as well as additional information about how the Mayans lived. The team originally uncovered the passageway by using lidar, a form of radar that sends electromagnetic signals through walls and other structures within Kulkulkan to create a virtual map of the temple’s interior. Now that they are aware of the passageway’s existence, the researchers are hoping to pinpoint its location and explore the passageway in person. In an interview with El Universal , Dr. de Anda stated that the Mayans likely sealed the passageway themselves, adding intrigue to what might be discovered behind these closed doors. Related: 15-year-old student discovers lost Mayan city The pyramidal Temple of Kulkulkan was built to honor the Mayan serpent god Kulkulkan, of which little is known by modern people. Researchers originally discovered the cenote which lies beneath the 1,000-year-old Kulkulkan in 2015. There is concern that the water-filled cenote, which is fed by an underground river , may be threatening the integrity of the ground on which the temple stands, threatening it with collapse. Some archaeologists suggest that the Temple was deliberately built over the cenote because it was believed that the river that flows below occupied the center of the Mayan universe, nurturing the roots of the “tree,” or temple, above. Via the Daily Mail Images via Depositphotos (1)  

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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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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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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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