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Ford, Daimler, BMW, VW ink agreement to build charging stations across Europe

Four main automakers have entered a Memorandum of Understanding to develop what may be Europe’s highest-powered charging network. The four main brands hope that this will signal the start of the move for battery electric vehicles (BEVs) to have a more mass-market appeal. This is because under the agreement, the brands will build a good number of charging stations to ensure that BEVs will have a longer travel range. The four companies are Ford Motor Company, Daimler AG, BMW Group, and the Volkswagen Group representing both the Audi and the Porsche.

With construction slated to being in 2017, the charging network is not only expected to offer a maximum of 350 kW in terms of power levels, but to also allow for faster charging. Though there will be 400 initial sites to be set-up across Europe, the group hopes that by 2020, BEV drivers will be able to recharge on a selection of thousands of charging stations. Another goal is to allow long-distance travel using open-network of charging stations placed on major roads and highways. At the present, this has not been seen to be feasible for many BEV drivers. The end goal is of course to make recharging as easy as refueling at standard gas stations.

The entire network will utilize the Combined Charging System standard technology with the infrastructure projected to eventually use the current AC and DC technical standards. Battery electric vehicles developed to allow for full charge at these stations will be able to recharge as well at brand-independent stations but at a faster rate. To ensure that BEV will have a strong acceptance in Europe, the group will make sure that the network will able to recharge all vehicles that are equipped with CCS.

Read the entire article Ford, Daimler, BMW, VW ink agreement to build charging stations across Europe

Daimler CEO says Apple and Google are getting nearer to making a self-driving car

It seems that tech giants Apple and Google are progressing on automotive projects faster than the top honcho of German carmaker Daimler had assumed. Daimler chief executive Dieter Zetsche told German weekly Welt am Sonntag that Silicon Valley companies that are working to develop a self-driving car seemed to know and can do more than assumed.

He noted that these companies have more respect for Daimler’s achievements than they thought. Google is currently testing prototype vehicles and is seeking partners from the auto industry, the company car’s project leader John Krafcik recently told the Automotive News World Congress.

There were also rumors that Apple is working on a vehicle, but the company did not confirm any speculations. In response to Google’s car project, Mercedes-Benz developed an S-class sedan that managed to drive 103 km (64 miles) sans any driver input.

Read the entire article Daimler CEO says Apple and Google are getting nearer to making a self-driving car

Daimler EVs getting artificial engine noise to increase safety

An electric car could be so silent that it may not alert pedestrians that it is incoming or cruising down the street. As for Daimler’s e-Smart city car, its sound engineers addressed the issue by creating artificial noise similar to those heard from conventional engines. Sound engineer Christoph Meier, head of powertrain acoustics at Daimler, and his team invented a “sonorous purring” -- pitched higher than conventional vehicles – for the e-Smart city car, and a huskier noise for the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Coupe Electric Drive to signify its power.

“People expect some exterior noise from a vehicle, because we all grew up with the ‘vroom vroom’ of combustion engines,” Meier remarked. Daimler, however, is not the only carmaker adding fake noise to electric cars to address safety as well as make their offerings stand out.

Renault SA also provided its Zoe hatchback with three noise choices and Nissan Motor Co. has endowed its Leaf EV with artificial sound. Carmakers will have to prepare for an expected move by regulators to require them to install warning noises on their vehicles as early as 2014. Artificial motor noise could save lives while protecting investments in electric cars.

Read the entire article Daimler EVs getting artificial engine noise to increase safety

Daimler starts sales and production of Smart ForTwo electric car

Daimler beat fellow German carmaker BMW in introducing an emission-free vehicle model first by commencing sales and production of its smart ForTwo electric car. Daimler started building the Smart ForTwo at its Hambach plant in France, which is currently undergoing more than EUR200 million in upgrades. The company will start delivering the ForTwo vehicles later this year.

According to Annette Winkler, smart’s global head, the upgrade of the Hambach site includes the accommodation of the production of the electric-powered smart and the next generation of the city car.

The smart ForTwo boasts of being able to travel 145 kilometers before it runs out of battery power. Customers could opt to lease or purchase smart ForTwo’s battery. If a customer chooses to lease the battery, he would have to shell out EUR65 a month, on top of the acquisition price of the smart ForTwo at EUR18,910. However, if a customer decides to purchase the battery, he would have to pay a total of EUR23,680.

Read the entire article Daimler starts sales and production of Smart ForTwo electric car

The electric version of the ForTwo minicar will start to be delivered by Daimler's Smart subsidiary in September 2012, according to Automotive News Europe. Two months ago, Smart had pledged that deliveries will begin months earlier than next September. The brand considers the electric ForTwo to be its most important launch in 2012.

A Daimler spokeswoman confirmed the revision in the schedule, explaining that the delay is only for three months and that deliveries would have started in June. She said that the plan had to be changed due to the setback with Li-Tec, its battery cell supplier.

When Li-Tec ramped up production, it encountered problems. However, she wouldn’t specify what the issues are related to the manufacturing process. The spokeswoman clarified that the batteries have no technical or quality defects but the company doesn’t want to lower its standards when it comes to quality.

Read the entire article Daimler delays the Smart ForTwo electric car

Daimler AG will offer a trial version of its Smart electric car to Hong Kong partners as the city fights record pollution. In a statement, Daimler said that its trial partners, including the Hong Kong Jockey Club and Swire Coca-Cola HK, will employ the two-seater car for 6-12 months. Mercedes Benz will set up a service center with technicians and mechanics.

The pilot program, which runs for four years, enters a push by companies like Mitsubishi Motors Corp. and Nissan Motor Co. to present electric vehicles in Hong Kong.

Government data show that in Hong Kong, pollution reached "very high" levels on a record one in four days last year. Last February, lawmakers said that the city government intends to replace several fuel-powered vehicles with electric ones and is looking into the possibility of hybrid buses.

Read the entire article Daimler to offer a trial version of Smart electric car in Hong Kong

Renault SA and Daimler AG are currently in discussions over a plan to extend their partnership over batteries for electric vehicles, a person who is familiar with the situation told Reuters on Thursday. The partnership will bring Renault into the Li-Tec battery joint venture of Daimler with chemicals group Evonik.

Specifically, the two automakers are in talks regarding the technical requirements, and once these become clear, they will begin discussions with Evonik, the person familiar on the matter disclosed.

Currently, Renault and Daimler are already in a partnership on small cars like the Twingo and Smart under a stake-swap and development agreement disclosed last year in April.

Read the entire article Daimler, Renault to extend their partnership to batteries for electric cars

Daimler AG anticipates a huge drop in the costs for EV batteries and fuel cell cars. Herbert Kohler, head of e-drive and future mobility at Daimler, told Automotive News Europe that a lithium ion battery was priced at about 1,500 euros per kilowatt hour but in the midterm, it is expected to be at a level of 400 euros. Kohler said he anticipates an even bigger price drop for fuel cells.

Kohler said that by 2015, a fuel cell car will not cost higher than a four-cylinder diesel hybrid that complies with the Euro 6 emissions standard. He said that he expects EVs to be priced higher than fuel cells in less than five years. This is why Daimler is working fast to get more fuel cell cars on the road.

He said that by 2013-2014, the company seeks to bring a “four-digit-number of fuel cell vehicles to market."

Read the entire article Daimler expects costs for EV batteries, fuel cell cars to drop significantly

Automakers are currently testing packs of lithium-ion batteries that were assembled by Silicon Valley startup Tesla Motors Inc. Such batteries cost less than bigger, car-only batteries used by Nissan Motor Co., Mitsubishi Motors Corp. and General Motors Co. Now, Daimler AG, BMW AG and Toyota Motor Corp. are turning to laptops for economical ways to power their electric cars and their sales.

A pack of 6,831 cylinder-shaped cells made by Panasonic Corp. powers Tesla's $109,000 Roadster sports car for up to 245 miles (nearly 295km) per charge.

According to Sanyo Electric Co., the world's largest battery maker, the auto industry will help lithium-ion battery makers more than triple sales to JPY5 trillion ($60 billion) in a decade from JPY1.5 trillion in the year ending in March.

Read the entire article Toyota, Daimler and Bmw to adopt Tesla’s laptop strategy for electric cars

During a speaking engagement in Stuttgart last Thursday, Dieter Zetsche, Daimler AG’s CEO, said that governments must offer consumers financial incentives to buy electric vehicles to help compensate for the extra cost for manufacturers to build cars.

Zetsche says the costs of electric autos might run several thousand Euros more than conventional vehicles for the foreseeable future.

Daimler is creating battery-powered versions of the gull-wing SLS sports car and two-seater Smart city car to meet regulatory demands to decrease carbon-dioxide emissions and compete with BMW AG.

Read the entire article Daimler CEO wants more financial incentives for consumers to buy electric vehicles

Daimler AG and China's BYD Co. have “made good progress” on the development of an electric car and now have specifications for the model in place, according to Daimler AG CEO Dieter Zetsche.

At a forum in Shanghai last Saturday, Zetsche revealed that the partnership will soon decide on the car’s design.

He said that the specs for this car have been defined so the companies now “know the specific details this car should fulfill.” He said that soon, they will define the shape and form of the car -- the prerequisites for starting development itself and its execution.

Read the entire article Daimler and BYD made good progres on developing an EV, says Dieter Zetsche

To be able to comply with tightening emission reduction regulations, Daimler AG has decided to expand its cooperation with Renault SA and Nissan Motor Co. in the development of electric cars. In an interview with Reuters, Daimler's research chief, Thomas Weber, said that the alliance will be expanded to include all three partners with regards to electric motors, batteries and powertrains.

As deadlines for reduced emission levels near, carmakers and car parts suppliers are racing to get established in the market for zero-emission vehicles. Last Monday, Toyota Motor Corp. said that by 2012, it will offer the cheapest green car of its kind – a plug-in version of its Prius model.

Last April, Renault, Nissan and Daimler signed a cooperation deal that was initially focused on small cars, light commercial vehicles and engines. The deal included the next-generation Smart ForTwo and Renault Twingo models, the electric versions of the cars, plus the expansion of the Smart and Twingo model lines. Throughout the world, car emission standards have been tightened as efforts to prevent global warming.

Read the entire article Daimler expanding cooperation with Renault-Nissan to develop electric cars

The competition is getting fiercer between Daimler AG and BMW AG as they race towards achieving serial production of small electric cars. Both are intent on changing their reputations of only creating high-performance luxury cars that are not at all fuel-efficient.

Daimler and BMW have long been reliant on V-8s that are used on the BMW X6 crossover and the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Gullwing.

But now, these companies are focused on their efforts to develop zero emission vehicles. Last July, BMW decided to stop its participation in Formula One racing in order to strategically realign the channeling of resources for the development of new sustainable powertrain technologies.

Read the entire article A new war: Bmw and Daimler fighting to electric cars lead

BMW’s European customers who are looking forward to have a new range extender version of the 2019 BMW i3 (BMW i3 REx) will have to bear a bad news from the German premium carmaker. They won't be able to get a new one as BMW will stop producing and offering the i3 REx in Europe starting 2019 model year.

It should be noted that BMW still listed the i3 REx in the 2019 model year specification, although its Web site aren’t offering any information about the ranger extender version anymore. This has led to confusion, with many still assuming that that REx version of the i3 would still be available for the upcoming model year. To an extent, there is some truth to this, since while the 2019 BMW i3 REx will be discontinued in Europe, it will still be offered in the United States.

At first glance, it may seem odd that BMW would discontinue the range extender version of the i3, after all the REx had accounted for 60 percent of the model’s sales, despite being around £,3150 more expensive than a standard i3, which is pure electric. However, the true appeal of the i3 REx isn't really the combination of electric motors and a range-extending two-cylinder 650-cc petrol engine to provide additional charge to the drive battery. The true charm of the i3 REx lies on fact that it allows its driver to travel more distance even when the battery pack has reached a certain low charge.

Read the entire article BMW i3 REx to be discontinued for 2019 model year in Europe

The distance a vehicle can travel with a full tank of gas or a single full charge is important to any driver. This is why most carmakers reveal the range of their vehicle offerings. With the first example of the I-Pace already delivered to its retail customer, Jaguar has released its MPGe estimates for its electric SUV. Sad to say, but the Jaguar I-Pace doesn’t measure to its EV competitors in terms of electric range.

When Jaguar said that the new I-Pace electric SUV would be getting a large battery as its core, expectations were high for its electric range – until it release its estimated MPGe figures. MPGe stands for miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe), as how the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) converts the power consumed by an EV into a term that is familiar to most Americans. MGPe is essentially how far an electric car can travel on the amount of energy that is equivalent to one gallon of gasoline.

According to Jaguar, the new I-Pace returns 80 MPGe city, 72 MPGe highway and 76 MPGe combined. This means that the Jaguar I-Pace can travel up to 234 miles in all-electric range in a single charge from its 90-kWh battery. That may sound impressive, but wait until its electric range is compared against other EVs, in particular the Tesla Model X that is considered as its main rival as both are electric SUVs.

Read the entire article Jaguar says I-Pace electric SUV has an electric range of 234 miles

The new Porsche Taycan is considered as revolutionary at the German sports car maker as the upcoming model is its first all-electric vehicle. Nonetheless, the new Taycan four-door EV will also be the starting point of a new revolution in the company. As Porsche is committing itself to electric mobility, it also has to undergo a significant change, especially in terms of production.

Porsche is currently building its conventionally powered vehicles, including its 911 sports car, using the traditional principle of an assembly line. But when it commences the production of the Taycan, Porsche will be implementing major changes for the production and assembly facilities of the new EV.

Lutz Meschke, Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board and Member of the Board responsible for Finance and IT at Porsche, remarked that starting 2025, more than 50 percent of the Porsche models delivered are expected to be electrified. While this will require substantial investments in development, production, and staff training, Porsche believes that the carmaker will still be able to achieve a target profit margin of at least 15 percent.

Read the entire article Porsche to implement flexi-line production system for new Taycan EV

It has been a year since Nissan commenced sales of the second-generation Nissan Leaf. Already at that time, consumers were already more receptive to electrified vehicles, especially in Europe. The timing could never be so good for Nissan to launch the 2018 Leaf as the Japanese carmaker posted excellent sales of the electric vehicle in Europe just a year after its release.

According to Nissan, the new generation of the Leaf EV is experiencing astounding success especially in Europe. The around 26,000 units of the 2018 Leaf has been handed to customers in Europe since its launch, making it the best-selling electric vehicle in the region this year. In addition, the new Nissan Leaf managed to become the best-selling EV in Europe every month in the first eight months of 2018. Put into other perspective, Nissan is selling a new Leaf EV in the region every 10 minutes.

On the other hand, the new second generation of the Leaf is the best-selling passenger car in Norway so far in 2018. This is quite a feat since the 2018 Leaf managed to beat not just other electric vehicles in this European country, but also conventionally powered models as well.

Read the entire article Second-generation Nissan Leaf goes strong in Europe with a unit sold every 10 minutes

There will be a major shakeup at German group Daimler AG involving its Supervisory and Management Boards. In particular, it involves Dieter Zetsche, the chairman of the Daimler’s Board of Management and the chief executive of Mercedes-Benz Cars.

Zetsche has been a member of the Board of Management at Daimler AG since December 1998, and has been its chairman since January 2006. He will be stepping down from these capacities, including as Head of Mercedes car, at the end of Daimler AG’s annual shareholders’ meeting in 2019. This, however, doesn’t mean that Zetsche is quitting Daimler; he is just being prepared to take a new position.

Currently, the Daimler’s Supervisory Board is led by Manfred Bischoff, its current Chairman. His term is set to expire at the end of the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting in 2021. Bischoff has been holding this post since April 2007. As preparation for Bischoff’s exit from the Supervisory Board, Daimler is already preparing a succession process this early.

Read the entire article Dieter Zetsche to step down as chairman of Daimler’s Board of Management in 2019

Not a few motorists were enthralled when Volkswagen unveiled the ID Buzz Concept at the 2017 Detroit Motor Show. VW is putting the ID Buzz into production and make it available as early as 2022. Now, the German group, through Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, is now testing the waters for the possibility of offering a zero-emission transporter based on the ID Buzz.

The new ID Buzz Cargo is simply a progressive sibling for the ID Buzz. But instead of carrying people, the all-electric ID Buzz Cargo carries out the job as a commercial vehicle. VW unveiled and is currently displaying the ID Buzz Cargo concept at the 2018 IAA Commercial Vehicles in Hannover, Germany (September 20 to 27, 2018). Created as a supplementary model to the VW Transporter T6, the ID Buzz Cargo being presented in Hannover is already close to production, which may happen as early as 2021.

Just like the ID Buzz, the ID Buzz Cargo will be available in different battery sizes, according to the purpose and budget of the customer. Underpinned by the Modular Electric Drive Kit (MEB), the ID Buzz Cargo can be installed with batteries that allow all-electric ranges of between 330 km and over 500 km (as per WLTP). Battery capacities are pegged at between 48 kWh and 111 kWh.

Read the entire article Volkswagen ID Buzz Cargo Concept is your next-decade zero-emission transporter

Porsche has already officially announced that it is dropping its diesel-powered vehicles across its lineup while the German sports car maker re-focuses its energy towards electrification. But unofficially, it seems that Porsche is also planning to drop its petrol offerings in favor of an all-electric lineup, save for its 911 sports car.

Citing a person privy with Porsche, manager magazin reported that with the exception of the 911, all other models at Porsche – Boxster, Cayenne, Macan and Panamera – will become pure electric offerings. This means that non-911 models would be dropping not just their diesel engines, but also their petrol engines as well. That basically means no more internal combustion engines at Porsche, except for the 911. The 911 would be spared from being converted into a pure electric unit simply because it is a sports car for the purists.

Porsche conversion of its non-911 models into all-electric vehicles would mean that there would be no hybrid powerplant for these offerings. Hybrids usually combine an internal combustion engine with electric motors, making them electrified vehicles, but not all-electric.

Read the entire article Report says Porsche is planning to convert all non-911 models into EVs