Is the ‘war’ of EV fast chargers really over?

September 15, 2021 by  
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What you need to know about the future of the CHAdeMo and CCS specifications, which currently rule the charging technology landscape for electric vehicles.

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Is the ‘war’ of EV fast chargers really over?

Crowley to build the US’s first fully-electric tugboat

August 10, 2021 by  
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After more than a century in business, tugboat pioneers at Crowley Maritime Corporation have revealed their design for the world’s first all-electric harbor tugboat, due to hit the  water  in 2023. As electric vehicles of all types continue to hit innovative strides, the eWolf will lead the marine industry in the fuel-free charge towards sustainable waterways.  “The eWolf represents everything Crowley stands for: innovation, sustainability and performance. With this groundbreaking tug design, our team continues to embrace our role as leaders in the maritime industry while providing our customers with innovative and sustainable solutions done right,” said company chairman and CEO Tom Crowley. Related: Sneci houseboat leaves no footprint while floating on Lake Tisza The name eWolf gives a nod to the first tug purchased by the company’s founder over 100 years ago. Yet unlike its predecessor, dubbed the Sea Wolf, eWolf will do the job while replacing a standard tugboat that eats up 30,000 gallons of diesel per year.  Crowley is looking to the future to do their part in decarbonization within the marine industry, estimating the first 10 years of use will save the  environment  178 tons of nitrogen oxide (NOx), 2.5 tons of diesel particulate matter and 3,100 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) versus today’s typical tug. eWolf will be built in a partnership with Master Boat Builders in Coden, Alabama . Plans also include a tugboat charging station being developed by Cochran Marine. eWolf’s home base will be at the Port of San Diego’s Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal. Garrett Rice, president of Master Boat Builders said, “This vessel will set a standard in the U.S. maritime industry for sustainability and performance, and its zero-emissions capability and autonomous technology will benefit the environment and the safety of mariners and vessels.” The project is a collaboration with several entities who share the common goal of turning the tide on wasteful and  polluting  boats. In fact, in addition to Crowley, the San Diego County Air Pollution Control District, the California Air Resources Board, the Port of San Diego, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Maritime Administration, all helped the idea float. “We envision the eWolf to be the first of multiple additional eTugs that can be deployed and adapted based on individual port needs and alternative energy sources. With the industry’s demands for sustainable operations and decarbonization, the design package can be replicated in multiple ports — especially when coupled with the shoreside solution developed for the eWolf,” said Porter Sesnon, director of business development at Crowley. + Crowley Images via Crowley

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Crowley to build the US’s first fully-electric tugboat

It’s code red for Earth, says new UN study

August 10, 2021 by  
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Being an environmental website, Inhabitat, unfortunately, reports on many terrifying new studies. But in what’s probably the most terrifying of all recent terrifying new studies, the U.N. chief called the report by the  U.N.’s  Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) “code red for humanity.” In this first major review of  climate change  science since 2013, the results are clear. “It is a statement of fact, we cannot be any more certain; it is unequivocal and indisputable that humans are warming the planet,” said University of Reading Professor Ed Hawkins, one of the study authors, as reported by the BBC. Related: The 10 countries most and least threatened by climate change The other most urgent message? We’re not talking about an  emergency  in the distant future. Change must happen  now  if we have any chance to avert disaster. Global surface temperatures have risen more since the 1970s than they have in any other 50-year stretch in the past two millennia. Back in the good old climate days of  1850 , the global surface temperature was 1.09 degrees Celsius lower than it was between 2011 and 2020. And the last five years have been the hottest of all. Then there’s the melting sea ice, retreating glaciers and rising oceans. In the last 50 years, the sea level rise has sped up nearly three times as fast as it increased between 1901 and 1971. The report’s authors concluded that, again, human influence was very likely the cause of glaciers’ global retreat. We’re also responsible, at least in part, for the recent spate of heatwaves, floods and other extreme  weather  events. And,  scientists  say, we’ve set changes in motion that aren’t reversible, at least not in the foreseeable millennia. Even if we start behaving now, the oceans are still going to grow warmer and more acidic, and the glaciers will keep melting. “The consequences will continue to get worse for every bit of warming,” said Hawkins. “And for many of these consequences, there’s no going back.” The scientists prepared a series of models, none of them good. While nearly every country on the planet signed the  Paris agreement , which aims to contain the global rise in temperature to less than 2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, preferably 1.5 degrees, the study authors don’t think we’ll make it. In fact, they think we’ll hit the 1.5C mark by 2040, if not sooner. “The new report’s best estimate is the middle of 2034, but the uncertainty is huge and ranges between now and never,” said study author Malte Meinshausen of the University of Melbourne in Australia, as reported by BBC. However, the report allowed a glimmer of hope alongside the huge dose of terror. Cut  emissions  in half by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050 and we might survive. “The thought before was that we could get increasing temperatures even after net zero,” said Piers Forster from the University of Leeds, another study author. “But we now expect nature to be kind to us and if we are able to achieve net zero, we hopefully won’t get any further temperature increase; and if we are able to achieve net zero greenhouse gases, we should eventually be able to reverse some of that temperature increase and get some cooling.” Via BBC Lead image via Pexels

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It’s code red for Earth, says new UN study

What the smart roads of the future might look like

August 6, 2021 by  
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Technology is advancing at lightning speed, setting us up to look like we live in a sci-fi film. While the first flying cars are actually achieving lift off already, nations around the world are investing in new infrastructure, with varying results that could be the new normal in our lifetime. Taking a look at the possibilities for future roadway innovations, Compare the Market, a consumer research company, has outlined some road technologies that are currently in development. Solar roads Solar roads work much like any other type of solar surface, except they won’t be made of glass panels. Instead, solar roads are equipped with durable crystalline silicon photovoltaic (PV) solar panels that can be walked and driven on with no damage to the surface. There are a few challenges to address with solar roads, such as the significant cost compared to traditional asphalt, and the fact that the road really needs to be aimed in the sun’s direction for the best results. It appears it will be more likely this technology will be used as a supplement rather than as a primary energy-producing solution. Related: Valet proposes a prefab parklet system for Milan’s roads   Piezoelectric roads Unlike solar roads , piezoelectric roads produce energy thanks to a material that is mixed in beneath the surface of the road. The crystals actually absorb the energy transfer from the weight of the tires on the road’s surface. The resulting electricity can be funneled into the local grid or used on the road’s surface and surrounding area to power LED lights and smart technology. LED roads LED technology could replace the painted lines on roadways, improving visibility in all weather conditions. In conjunction with smart technology, the lights could also alert drivers to lane closures with warnings centralized in each lane. Sensors, pressure plates and security cameras with motion-capture technology are all being integrated into LED systems to prompt lane changes or signal danger ahead. LED roads can also improve energy efficiency by only lighting up when cars drive on them. Electric roads Where solar and piezoelectric roads can provide power to the city grid, electric roads create a surface that charges electric vehicle batteries as they drive, eliminating the need to stop for charging or worry about range restrictions. In current trials, there are still some kinks to work out, but if the innovation continues, electric roads will revolutionize the EV industry. Self-repairing roads Scientists and municipalities are experimenting with materials that self-repair the surface of asphalt. Currently being trialed in The Netherlands and China, self-repairing roads are made up of a special mixture that will automatically melt and reform to fill holes in the surface when a damage sensor is alerted. This technology can be used in conjunction with piezoelectric crystals beneath the surface. Repairs may take around three hours, which would require closing lanes but would eliminate the need for work crews onsite. According to Compare the Market, “It’s estimated that having worldwide self-repairing roads could reduce global emissions by 16% and lower infrastructure spending by 32%.” Smart road networks Smart technology allows different systems to communicate with each other. This can mean a software program that chats with self-driving cars to warn of obstacles ahead or a dialogue with an LED system that initiates alerts on the road’s surface. Smart innovations can improve traffic flow, especially during peak times, and provide a clear lane for emergency vehicles. + Compare the Market Images via Compare the Market and Florian Kurz

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This luxury yacht runs on 100% renewable energy

July 2, 2021 by  
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For those who enjoy yachting, there’s nothing better than long stretches of propulsion across the water while you take in the sea and scenery. Except perhaps if you get to experience the newest Sunreef 80 Eco, an electric luxury ride that’s silent and sustainable. Sunreef Yachts developed a thin, highly efficient solar cell system that mounts completely flush to all surfaces of the boat, including masts, hull sides and bimini tops. The expected capacity of the system is 34 kWp energy, which is stored in ultralight lithium batteries until needed. Related: Isaac Burrough unveils solar-powered luxury yacht concept “We reinvented solar panels for yachts . Our team has challenged the status quo in marine photovoltaic technology, making solar panels an integral part of the Sunreef Yachts Eco design. This is something unique in the whole yachting world,” said Francis Lapp, founder and president of Sunreef Yachts. In addition to the solar panels, the yacht also produces energy through wind turbines , which seems like a natural addition as wind is a natural byproduct of moving through the water. Below the surface, the boat creates additional energy through hydropower from propeller rotations capable of generating over 15 kWh at about seven knots. All of these systems work together to provide quiet sailing with no range limitations because the energy to run both the propulsion and appliances of the Sunreef 80 Eco is renewable during travel. The processes also produce enough energy to power the water toys and the tender. Systems such as air conditioning, water makers and kitchen appliances that require power are designed to be energy-efficient .   The Sunreef 80 Eco is equipped with two electric motors that produce no pollution , fumes or vibrations, regardless of the trip distance. In addition to providing an environmentally guilt-free ride as one of the most energy-efficient luxury yachts on the planet, the boat is completely customizable with endless interior and feature options. Sunreef Yachts takes its commitment to the planet seriously with interior furnishings and hard finishes that meet stringent sustainability standards. The company expects a full release of Sunreef 80 Eco this summer.  + Sunreef Yachts Via Yanko Design Images via Sunreef Yachts

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This luxury yacht runs on 100% renewable energy

Tesla-powered trolley spotted charging in Minnesota

October 26, 2017 by  
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Tesla vehicles are the only ones that can charge via a Supercharger , at least at this time. So the sight of what looked like a custom-built orange electric bus charging up at the Oakdale Supercharger station in Minnesota raised a few eyebrows. A battery monitor seemed to show the electric bus actually charging up. Tesla reportedly has talked with other carmakers about utilizing their charging network, but as of this point non-Teslas can’t partake of electricity at Supercharger stations. So the sight of an orange bus charging naturally drew interest. The bus had a Tesla logo on the front, and was equipped with a battery monitor that showed the vehicle drawing power from the Supercharger. Related: Tesla announces plan for world domination: includes trucks, buses, and solar power Electrek said the bus could be equipped with a Tesla powertrain. Internet user Ingineer commented on the Electrek article, saying they did electronics and integration for the bus. Ingineer said the bus is a 1968 Westcoaster “originally built as an EV, but with a 15 mph top speed and lead-acid batteries.” They said now the bus is equipped with a “Tesla pack and drive unit, and a 15,000BTU heat pump.” They said the bus belongs to Minneapolis craft brewery tour company Hoppy Trolley , which shared a picture of the orange bus on their Twitter and Facebook accounts a couple days ago, with the caption, “Teslafied trolley supercharged!” Ingineer said in a comment the orange bus won’t typically utilize Superchargers, and the pictures captured a test. In another comment, they said, “The drive mechanical was done by Concept Motorsports in Grass Valley, California. Tesla component installation, electrical, and software was done in at Ingineerix in Berkeley, California. The final mechanical and Tesla pack installation are being finished by PZ Global Auto in Lino Lakes.” They said the plan was for a large rooftop solar array to generate electricity to help power the trolley. Via Electrek Images via Hoppy Trolley on Twitter and screenshot

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Tesla-powered trolley spotted charging in Minnesota

New EV charging system lets Nissan Leaf owners sell power back to the grid

October 11, 2017 by  
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UK residents who plan to purchase an electric vehicle (EV) next year should hold out for a Nissan Leaf. Energy company Ovo has partnered with the automaker to allow anyone with a garage to receive a special charger that facilitates a “vehicle-to-grid” energy exchange. During off-peak hours, when electricity costs are low, the charger will power up batteries, and switch back to charging up a home or even selling energy back to the grid during peak hours. Essentially, this means EV owners may never have to pay to charge their eco-friendly car. In off-peak hours in the UK, electricity costs approximately 5 cents a kilowatt ($0.07). At peak hours, that increases to as much as 25 cents. “In other words, the value of the electricity that’s stored in the battery goes up by a factor of five,” said Stephen Fitzpatrick, CEO of Ovo. “It provides an economic benefit for electric vehicle owners, so they get more use of out of the vehicle that they’ve got parked in the driveway.” By no means is the Nissan Leaf inexpensive. The brand-new car costs £26,490, or $35,064. However, by taking advantage of Ovo’s new program, car owners could save thousands of dollars in energy costs in the long-term. According to Fitzpatrick, the “vehicle-to-grid” technology is not complicated, which is why “other electric car manufacturers are looking at this.” He said, “If it lowers the cost of vehicle ownership, if it lowers the cost of driving the vehicle per mile, I think there will be a lot of consumer demand for it, and that will translate into agreement on technical standards with other car manufacturers.” As FastCompany reports, using the battery automatically in this way — instead of leaving it plugged in, is also better for its battery life. Related: 2018 Nissan Leaf debuts with 150-mile driving range for just 30k By 2021, there will be approximately 1 million electric cars on the road in the UK. If every single vehicle were to be plugged in at the same time, there would be a demand for seven gigawatts of power — or the equivalent of 10 power stations. On the contrary, if the cars were plugged in and charging at a peak time, the power stations would be obsolete. Clearly, technology such as this is needed. And, not only will “vehicle-to-grid” tech help solve the challenge of providing enough electricity to the growing number of EVs, it will also save vehicle owners money. “The flexible use of car batteries is a perfect complement for renewable generation,” said Fitzpatrick. “You can imagine as we see more electric vehicles on the road, we can have more and more renewable generation without compromising the grid stability…renewable energy and electric vehicles are the perfect complement, just like oil and the internal combustion engine.” Via FastCompany Images via Pixabay , Nissan Leaf

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New EV charging system lets Nissan Leaf owners sell power back to the grid

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

Tesla patent reveals plans for a new battery-swapping machine

September 20, 2017 by  
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In the not-so-far future when  electric vehicles (EV) rule the road, don’t expect to sit around in line waiting for your battery to charge. That’s because electric automaker Tesla recently filed a patent for a mobile battery swapping technology that could replace a depleted battery in under 15 minutes. In 2013, the company toyed with the idea of building stationary rigs that can replace a car’s battery pack. However, that idea never took off. Now, the EV maker is improving on the concept and has filed a patent application for a more compact, mobile version that would be placed in strategic locations where Superchargers aren’t always available. As Elektrek reports, Tesla’s original system was designed to be autonomous, while the newer one can be operated by technicians. Additionally, the original battery swap service claimed a 90-second swap, whereas the new one says “less than fifteen minutes” is more plausible. Says the patent application, “In some implementations, the battery swap system is configured for use by one or more technicians, who will monitor certain aspects of the system’s operation and make necessary inputs when appropriate. For example, the battery -swapping system can be installed at a remote location (e.g., along a highway between two cities) and one or more technicians can be stationed at the location for operating the system. This can reduce or eliminate the need for the system to have vision components, which may otherwise be needed to align the battery pack or other components. Using techniques described herein it may be possible to exchange the battery pack of a vehicle in less than fifteen minutes.” As can be seen from the application figures, the patent application references swapping Model S and Model X battery packs. Both vehicles’ battery packs have been designed to be easily swappable. Model 3’s battery pack is not, on the other hand. Because the company aims to expedite the process in 15 minutes or less, it is unlikely the system will apply to more complicated swaps. Related: Tesla to TRIPLE number of Superchargers by end of 2018 When Tesla CEO Elon Musk last mentioned the battery swap system, he said it would likely be developed to support commercial fleets — if pursued at all. Now that plans for Tesla’ all- electric Semi-Truck have been shared, Musk’s vision is coming into focus. + Tesla Via Elektrek Images via Tesla , Pixabay

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Tesla patent reveals plans for a new battery-swapping machine

Germany unveils plans for the world’s largest EV charging station

September 14, 2017 by  
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As more people purchase electric vehicles (EVs) – and countries move to ban sales of gas-guzzling cars – the world will need more charging stations . German company Sortimo plans to build what’s been described as the world’s biggest EV fast-charging station – with 144 charging ports. It is slated for construction near the A8 highway in Germany . 4,000 cars a day could be charged at Innovationspark Zusmarshausen, Germany’s upcoming charging station, according to the company. 24 of the 144 charging ports could be supra-superchargers with charging capacities of 350 kilowatts (kW), which beats out the Tesla Supercharger with its capacity of around 150 kW. According to Sortimo, Innovationspark Zusmarshausen could offer savings of 29.5 million liters, or around 7.8 million gallons, of fuel , and could save nearly 60,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide every year. Related: This electric car charging tower can power up a dozen EVs at the same time Innovationspark Zusmarshausen goes beyond the typical vision of a gas station. According to FAZ, the station could also feature offices, shopping, and eateries; Sortimo said people could order food before they arrive so they could eat while their car charges. Commuters might be able to park and charge their vehicles simultaneously in DC parking, perhaps even while working in the offices onsite. Images of the planned station suggest it could be topped with green roofs , and Sortimo mentions in their press release that Innovationspark Zusmarshausen “is very close to nature and architecturally aware of the environment,” so they envision people resting in a park at the charging station as well. As you may have guessed, renewable energy is part of the plan for the massive charging station. Sortimo said solar power can be stored at the station and used during peak times “in a network of surrounding companies and private households.” The charging stations are also integrated into Innovationspark Zusmarshausen’s thermal station management, according to Sortimo, so waste heat can help supply the buildings. FAZ said engineering firm Steinbacher Consult is also behind the design, technology, and operation. A translated version of the German press release suggests the charging station, which is receiving support from the Ministry of Transport, will be constructed in 2018. Via Sortimo , FAZ , and CleanTechnica Images via Sortimo

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