Volkswagen says the German government’s goal to have 1 million electric cars on the country’s roads by 2020 can be achieved if partly battery-powered cars like hybrids are taken into account.
“We will make our contribution toward this goal,” Volkswagen Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkorn said today at a panel discussion at a ceremony near chemical producer BASF SE’s headquarters in Ludwigshafen, Germany.
Plug-in hybrids “offer the biggest market potential,” and should help with a roll out of electric mobility on a larger scale, Winterkorn said.
The CEO reiterated Wolfsburg, Germany-based Volkswagen’s plan to offer as many as 40 electric or hybrid models in the event that demand for low-emission cars takes off. The manufacturer will produce 14 vehicles with alternative drive through next year after introducing electric versions of the Golf hatchback and Up! city car at the Frankfurt auto show last month. Volkswagen also showed new plug-in hybrid versions of the Porsche brand’s Panamera four-door coupe and Audi’s A3 compact.
VW’s move echoes initiatives by peers such as Nissan and General Motors to promote purely electric and hybrid cars, which help automakers comply with tightening fleetwide emission regulations across the globe.
VW’s e-Up! went on sale in Germany this month for 26,900 euros ($37,000). The model is “deliberately positioned” against the battery-powered i3 city car that Munich-based BMW is bringing out, Rudolf Krebs, head of electric-powertrain technology at VW, said on Sept. 4.
BMW, the world’s biggest luxury-vehicle manufacturer, presented the i3 in Frankfurt last month, as well as a plug-in hybrid version of the X5 sport-utility vehicle. The i3, priced at 34,950 euros, will enter showrooms in Germany in November.
Plug-in hybrids have the most potential and BMW plans to eventually offer one in every model line, Herbert Diess, the automaker’s development chief, said in an interview last month. Cars with electromobility will make up 5 percent to 10 percent of the market by 2020 from well under 1 percent now, Diess said.
Other alternative-drive vehicles shown at the Frankfurt auto show included an all-electric Mercedes-Benz B-Class crossover from Daimler that will use a drivetrain supplied by Palo Alto, California-based Tesla Motors, and a hybrid coupe prototype from Volvo Car Group.
Nissan is leading a consortium which aims to establish a network of rapid chargers for electric vehicles running the full length and breadth of the United Kingdom and Ireland.
When complete, a total of 74 rapid chargers will have been installed, covering more than 1,100kms of major trunk routes and providing EV-friendly links to five seaports and five international airports.
The project, named Rapid Charge Network (RCN), was presented at the Trans European Transport Network (TEN-T) event in Tallinn, Estonia, which was hosted by European Commission Vice President Siim Kallas. Estonia was the first country in the world to open a nationwide EV fast-charging network.
Funding for the Rapid Charge Network (RCN) project is being led by Nissan and is co‑financed by the European Union through the TEN-T programme, with further contributions from fellow consortium members Renault, BMW and Volkswagen and ESB Ireland's Electricity Supply Board. It also draws on the network expertise of Zero Carbon Futures and Newcastle University
"Nissan is delighted to be leading this important initiative. The UK's Rapid Charge Network will provide a vital sense of security for all EV drivers, not just those using the award-winning Nissan LEAF, as well as helping to promote the advantages of zero emission mobility to others," said Olivier Paturet, General Manager Zero Emission Strategy & Corporate Planning.
Running on two priority road axes on the mainland, the network will link major ports and cities including Stranraer, Liverpool, Holyhead, Birmingham, Felixstowe, Leeds and Kingston upon Hull with connections to existing networks in Dublin and Belfast in Eire and Northern Ireland.
Significantly, the rapid chargers being deployed will be the first state-of-the-art multi-standard units in public operation in Europe. This will ensure that every EV owner in the country can undertake long journeys secure in the knowledge that they will never be far from a rapid charger no matter what brand of car they drive. The units are compatible with cars using 44kW DC CCS, 44 kW DC Chademo or 43 kW AC systems. Installation of the rapid chargers is due to be completed by the end of 2014.
By providing a network of chargers for EV drivers, the RCN project is designed to encourage further take up of electric vehicles in a bid to further decarbonize road transport.
The network will also be used to gather strategic information from users, including customer charging behavior and changes in mobility patterns, to help plan the roll-out future rapid charging infrastructure in member states across Europe.
The RCN project is one of 30 priority transport projects across Europe identified by TEN-T. The Projects were chosen according to the added value they offer to the European community and their contribution to the sustainable development of transport systems. They include rail, mixed rail-road, road and inland waterway projects, as well as a ‘motorways of the sea' scheme.
Audi has defended its titles early in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) in Japan. The success with the R18 e-tron quattro was achieved by Audi Sport Team Joest in odd circumstances: Heavy rain at Fuji meant that not a single lap could be completed under the Green Flag. In the end, the leaders of the standings, Loïc Duval/Tom Kristensen/Allan McNish (F/DK/GB), as the best Audi team took second place overall in the race, their team-mates Marcel Fässler/André Lotterer/Benoît Tréluyer (CH/D/F) were classified in fourth place in the LMP1 category. Consequently, the drivers’ classification will be decided between the two Audi squads at the remaining rounds.
At the sixth of eight WEC rounds, difficult weather conditions prevailed. Steady rain had prompted race control to start the endurance race behind the safety car. But the 4.563-kilometer track at the foot of Mount Fuji was too wet for the race to be released in these conditions, so the stewards of the meeting interrupted the race after eight laps. A resumption behind the safety car after two and a half hours ended in another interruption 22 minutes later. Another two hours later, the participants again started behind the safety car before the race was finally stopped after just one lap. The stewards decided that force majeure had prevented a regular course of the race. As a result, the drivers, due to the shorter race distance, were awarded half the points equating to their positions – even if they had not been in the cockpit at all. With two remaining rounds, Audi is out of reach in the manufacturers’ World Championship with a 66.5-point advantage.
As the best Audi squad in the race, the leaders of the standings, Loïc Duval/Tom Kristensen/Allan McNish, who had started from position four, achieved second place. They extended their lead in the Championship to 40.75 points. Among other things, the Audi designated as car number ‘2’ benefited from the fact that the number ‘8’ Toyota, which had qualified in position two, could not assume its place on the grid. As a result, the car had to start from the pit lane and was unable to overtake under safety car conditions.
The number ‘1’ Audi suffered misfortune. André Lotterer/Marcel Fässler/Benoît Tréluyer initially led the race from position one on the grid. When debris impaired the intake duct of the engine Audi Sport Team Joest decided to perform a repair for safety reasons. The team used a second caution period to do so when there were prospects for a weather improvement and thus a resumption of the race. However, since this did not occur and the rain became heavier again, last year’s World Champions had to settle for fourth place in their class and 26th place overall. For the first time in almost exactly one year, the Audi LMP sports cars thus had to formally admit defeat. At Shanghai, the next WEC round will be on the agenda in three weeks from now. There, Audi could have another reason to celebrate, as an early title decision in the drivers’ classification is probable in China.
NEDRA President John Metric took his Miata, Assault and Battery to an all-time 1/4 mile record for an Electric door slammer at Royal Purple Raceway with a best time of 9.12 at 145 mph!
The EV record has been held by Black Current III since 2010 with a 9.51 sec @135 mph pass of Santa Pod.
The tube frame and tubbed 2002 Mazda Miata runs a 340 volt LiPo pack with 2x 2000 amp Zilla 2K-EHV controllers feeding dual brushed DC NetGain 9-inch motors, a Lenco 2 speed and double GV overdrive. For the record run the controllers were set to 170 volt & 1100 amps per motor.
BMW could build a large battery powered sedan to compete head on with Tesla's Model S.
Following the critical success being enjoyed by the Tesla Model S many within BMW's i project are already convinced that there is potential for a model larger than the i3.
The company is still deciding whether the new car – likely to be called i5 – would be a crossover or a conventional sedan.
'We are having these discussions right now,' said the senior BMW source, 'and no decision has been taken. In fact, there's still not an absolute decision that the car, if it is called i5, should even happen. Many, including myself, believe that there is potential. Then if we decide the car should happen, we need to decide if it is a regular sedan or something where the passengers are sitting slightly higher up.
'Then after that we need to decide whether a car of this size can be a fully electric edition, like the i3, or whether it needs to be a range-extender – or perhaps even a plug-in hybrid. That could ultimately be the best solution for that model; we don't know yet.'
BMW have already underestimated demand for their first fully electric i3 and have announced they are planning to have a plug-in hybrid in each and every model series. BMW have also already road tested an all electric X1 crossover, initially bound for Chinese production in a joint venture with Chinese partner Brilliance Auto, so perhaps an all electric 5 series or X5 is a logical next step.
Nissan bosses have refused to rule out the introduction of an electric version of the next-generation Nissan Dualis (Qashqai in EU)
According to Autocar Guillaume Cartier, Nissan's head of European sales and marketing says the Japanese automaker won't consider an electric-drive version of the model "for now," implying that there may be one in the future for Europe. He added that economies of scale are driving battery-electric powertrain production costs down, so Nissan is likely to expand the battery-electric option well beyond models such as the Leaf.
The Qashqai has been built at Nissan's UK plant in Sunderland since December 2006. Nissan started production of the LEAF at Sunderland in March of this year.
Cartier also said that Nissan's EV lineup will continue to grow, but EV technology will not be retro-fitted into existing models. New models will be designed with electric propulsion in mind from the outset.
Japanese fans will have the first opportunity to see the revolutionary Nissan ZEOD RC in action when the car makes its public on-track debut at this year's Fuji Speedway round of the FIA World Endurance Championship.
Running in pure electric mode, the Nissan ZEOD RC will undertake demonstration runs on October 18, 19 and 20 – all three days of the Japanese round of the WEC. The Fuji demonstration was announced today at the Nissan 360 global media event in California.
The ZEOD RC (Zero Emission On Demand Racing Car) will make its race debut at next year's Le Mans 24 Hour. The global leader in electric vehicles for the road, Nissan will trial variants of new electric drive train technologies as part of its intended future return to LM P1 competition to challenge for overall victory at the world's most prestigious endurance race.
The Nissan ZEOD RC will kick off its testing and development program soon in the UK with inaugural Nissan PlayStation GT Academy winner Lucas Ordóñez behind the wheel.
Ordóñez and Krumm were teammates at Le Mans this year where they scored third place in the LM P2 class with 2011 GT Academy winner, Jann Mardenborough.
Nissan is also enjoying a highly successful season in the FIA World Endurance Championship in the LM P2 class with pole position and victory at the first four rounds of the season at Silverstone, Spa-Francorchamps and Le Mans and Interlagos.
"One of our goals with the Nissan ZEOD RC is to draw back the curtain for fans so they can see what goes on behind the scenes in the development of such a unique race car," said Nissan's Global Motorsport Director, Darren Cox.
"As part of that philosophy, we thought it would be quite fitting that rather than just test behind closed doors, we give the fans the chance to see the car in action.
"To be able to do that at such a great venue like Fuji Speedway only 90 minutes away from the home of Nismo in Yokohama was too good to pass up.
"We'll be on track with many of the cars from the WEC at Le Mans next year so our demonstration runs will also give us some initial comparison data as well."
After the Fuji events, the Nissan ZEOD RC will continue its development program in Europe with Lucas Ordóñez returning to the driver seat. The car is scheduled to make its race debut at next year's Le Mans 24 Hour where it will occupy Garage 56 – an additional entry reserved by the Automobile Club de l'Ouest for cars using new and innovative technology not previously seen in the French endurance classic.
"Nissan has become a global leader in the development of zero emission automotive technology and the Nissan ZEOD RC will allow us to further develop those capabilities using the toughest endurance race in the world as a mobile test bed to test the potential of our planned LM P1 power train," said Andy Palmer, Executive Vice President and Executive Committee member at Nissan Motor Company Limited.
"The ZEOD RC program is designed to develop multiple technologies to evaluate how they could be used for a future LM P1 class return of Nissan at the Le Mans 24 Hour."
Nissan is already a global leader in the development of electric vehicles for the road. Launched in 2010, the Nissan LEAF has become the world's best-selling all-electric car. The LEAF won the 2010 Green Car Vision Award, the 2011 European Car of the Year, the 2011 World Car of the Year, and the 2011–2012 Car of the Year Japan.
Nissan launched the Nissan LEAF RC in 2011 – a race car prototype powered by the same 107-hp electric motor that is used in the road car.
The Nissan ZEOD RC is the next step in the electrification of motorsport. The new car will turn speeds faster than GTE class cars running purely on electric power with zero emissions.
Bloomberg reporter Matt Miller tries to make a case that BMW and Audi are going to squeeze out Tesla at the top-end of the market, but the analysis is fairly poor.
Miller's argument starts by comparing BMW's two seater plug-in hybrid i8 sports car to Tesla's seven seater 100% battery electric Model S 4 door sedan? These cars aren't even in the same market segment!
We're not even sure how Audi enters the competitive analysis as Audi admitted defeat and canned the R8 e-tron saying they couldn't figure out how to make a high performance battery only car economically viable and they have not announced any plans for a high performance battery only sedan to go up against the Model S.
This is the kind of trash reporting that listed companies must endure, commentators constantly trying to talk the stock price up or down. At least it's good to see a 'real' analyst like Dougherty & Co.'s Andrea James who actually knows what's she's talking about get some air time.
The recent Electric Vehicle Racing in Motor Sports Japan Festival saw some interesting EV race car demonstrations, some of which have made their way onto Youtube.
While the environmental benefits of converting tire rubber into smoke are debatable, what is of particular interest is the demonstration of the horsepower available in Monster Tajima's EV class winning Pikes Peak Special.
GKN EVO axial flux motors power all the leading Japanese Pikes Peak EV entries and we believe Tajima's Monster Sport E-RUNNER runs 2x AFM-240 Axial Flux motors, each capable of 335 kw (455 hp) and 1200 Nm Peak.
While we don't know what differential gearing the car runs front and back so are unable to calculate torque at the wheels, anyway you look at it, that's just over 900 horsepower shredding tires in this car park demo, which equals the 900 hp 900 kg Peugeot 208 T16 Pikes Peak Special used by nine time World Rally Champion Sébastien Loeb to win overall.
When asked about beating the new gasoline record, the 63 year old Tajima responded: “We are able to do that very soon, it depends on the battery. With a high quality and high density battery, I can beat that record for sure.”