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Russian automaker AVTOVAZ plans to invest 100 billion rubles (US$2.6 billion) to modernize technologies and update its lineup over the course of the next three years.
Together we account for 3% of the Gross Domestic Product of Russia. It’s a big responsibility, and we all understand it. We are making changes in order to increase the customer-orientation of the company. We will invest about RUB 100 billion in the modernization of our equipment and the development of new products. For this we rely on our Russian suppliers. Currently Lada cars have been 81% localized. Renault and Nissan vehicles manufactured by AVTOVAZ have been 51% localized. Our future bestseller, the Lada Vesta, will be 75% localized during the first stage of production.
Currently Lada has a 15.7% share of the Russian market, but at the same time we have a 37% share of the under RUB 600,000 [US$15,660] segment. We have the technical capability to manufacture 1 million cars in Togliatti, and we will achieve this level of productivity.—Bo Andersson , President AVTOVAZ
Chemists from the University of Glasgow (Scotland) have developed a new method for hydrogen production that is 30 times faster than current state-of-the-art proton exchange membrane electrolyzers at equivalent platinum loading. The process also solves common problems associated with generating electricity from renewable sources such as solar, wind or wave energy. A paper on their method is published in the journal Science.
The method uses a recyclable redox mediator (silicotungstic acid) that enables the coupling of low-pressure production of oxygen via water oxidation to a separate, catalytic hydrogen production step outside an electrolyzer that requires no post-electrolysis energy input. This approach sidesteps the production of high-pressure gases inside the electrolytic cell (a major cause of membrane degradation) and essentially eliminates the hazardous issue of product gas crossover at the low current densities that characterize renewables-driven water-splitting devices.
The new method allows larger-than-ever quantities of hydrogen to be produced at atmospheric pressure using lower power loads, typical of those generated by renewable power sources. It also solves intrinsic safety issues which have so far limited the use of intermittent renewable energy for hydrogen production.
Of the alternative methods for H2 production that are not linked to fossil resources, the electrolysis of water stands out as a mature, scalable technology for which the only required inputs are water and energy (in the form of electricity). Hence, if the energy source is renewable, H2 can be produced sustainably from water using electrolysis.
Renewable energy inputs tend to be sporadic and fluctuating, and thus the systems that are developed to harness this energy and convert it to H2 [such as proton exchange membrane electrolyzers (PEMEs), solar-to-fuels systems, and artificial leaves] must be able to deal with varying energy inputs effectively and have rapid startup times. At the low power loads that are characteristic of renewable power sources, the rate at which H2 and O2 are produced may in fact be slower than the rate at which these gases permeate the membrane. At the very least, this will severely affect the amount of hydrogen that can be harvested from such devices, and in extreme cases could give rise to hazardous O2/H2 mixtures. The PEME is the most mature technology cited for renewables-to-hydrogen conversion, but prevention of such gas crossover at low current densities remains a challenge.
… There is thus a need to develop new electrolyzer systems that can prevent product gases from mixing over a range of current densities and that make more effective use of the precious metal catalysts they employ, in order to make renewables-to-hydrogen conversion both practically and economically more attractive.—Rausch et al.
The research team was led by Professor Lee Cronin of the University of Glasgow’s School of Chemistry.
The process uses a liquid that allows the hydrogen to be locked up in a liquid-based inorganic fuel. By using a liquid sponge known as a redox mediator that can soak up electrons and acid we’ve been able to create a system where hydrogen can be produced in a separate chamber without any additional energy input after the electrolysis of water takes place. The link between the rate of water oxidation and hydrogen production has been overcome, allowing hydrogen to be released from the water 30 times faster than the leading PEME process on a per-milligram-of-catalyst basis.—Professor Cronin
A schematic of silicotungstic acid–mediated H2 evolution from water. At the anode, H2O is split into O2, protons, and electrons, while the mediator is reversibly reduced and protonated at the cathode in preference to direct production of H2. The reduced H6[SiW12O40] (dark blue) is then transferred to a separate chamber for H2 evolution over a suitable catalyst and without additional energy input after two-electron reduction of the mediator to H6[SiW12O40]. Click to enlarge.
The use of a redox mediator that can be reversibly reduced in an electrolytic cell (as water is oxidized at the anode) and then transferred to a separate chamber for spontaneous catalytic H2 evolution leads to a device architecture for electrolyzers that has several important advantages, the team noted.
It allows the electrochemical step to be performed at atmospheric pressure, while potentially permitting H2 to be evolved at elevated pressure in a distinct compartment.
Virtually no H2 is produced in the electrolytic cell itself, which (taken with the feature above) obviates the need to purge H2 from the anode side of the cell and could significantly reduce ROS-mediated membrane degradation and the possibility of explosive gas mixtures forming at low current densities or upon membrane failure.
H2 evolution from such a system is no longer directly coupled to the rate of water oxidation, and thus the decoupled H2 production step can be performed a rate per milligram of catalyst that is more than 30 times faster than that for state-of-the-art PEMEs.
The hydrogen produced has the potential to have an inherently low O2 content, both on account of its production in a separate chamber from water oxidation and by virtue of the fact that the reduced mediator reacts rapidly with O2 in solution. This final point could render the H2 produced suitable for applications requiring high-purity H2 such as fuel cells or the Haber-Bosch process, without the need for post-electrolysis purification or built-in recombination catalysts.
The research was produced as part of the University of Glasgow Solar Fuels Group, which is working to create artificial photosynthetic systems which produce significant amounts of fuel from solar power.
Around 95% of the world’s hydrogen supply is currently obtained from fossil fuels, a finite resource which we know harms the environment and speeds climate change. Some of this hydrogen is used to make ammonia fertilizer and as such, fossil hydrogen helps feed more than half of the world’s population. The potential for reliable hydrogen production from renewable sources is huge. The sun, for example, provides more energy in a single hour of sunlight than the entire world’s population uses in a year. If we can tap and store even a fraction of that in the coming years and decrease our reliance on fossil fuels it will be a tremendously important step to slowing climate change.—Professor Cronin
The University of Glasgow’s Dr. Greig Chisholm, Dr. Mark Symes and Benjamin Rausch also contributed to the paper.
Benjamin Rausch, Mark D. Symes, Greig Chisholm, and Leroy Cronin (2014) “Decoupled catalytic hydrogen evolution from a molecular metal oxide redox mediator in water splitting” Science 345 (6202), 1326-1330. doi: 10.1126/science.1257443
Peugeot is introducing new Euro 6-compliant versions of its three-cylinder PureTech gasoline and four-cylinder BlueHDI diesel engines. All are equipped with Stop & Start (S&S) technology. Each engine is also coupled with Peugeot’s third-generation Efficient Automatic Transmission 6 (EAT6) transmission.
The introduction of the new engines has reduced the average weighted CO2 emissions of Peugeot’s European range to 111.2 g/km, as measured at the end of May 2014. That compares with 115.1 g/km at the same point in 2013, putting PSA Peugeot Citroën at the top of the CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) ranking.
Earlier in 2014, the 110 hp (82 kW) and 130 hp (97 kW) turbo engines were added to the PureTech family of next-generation three-cylinder gasoline engines. They made their debut on the Peugeot 308, voted 2014 Car of the Year.
Previously equipped with a six-speed manual transmission, the Peugeot 308 1.2-liter PureTech 130 S&S is now available with the new EAT6 six-speed automatic gearbox. A paddleshift option is also available as part of a Driver Sport Pack. This is the first time that the Peugeot Stop & Start technology has been combined with automatic transmission for a gasoline engine.
EAT6 has already been used with 2.0-liter BlueHDi engines. Designed and developed in partnership with AISIN AW, the new system delivers fast, smooth gear changing, with an advanced converter ensuring effective drag reduction. Efficiency is improved by reduced internal friction and the use of lock-up clutch converters to prevent slippage.
The Peugeot 308 1.2-liter PureTech 130 S&S EAT6 achieves fuel consumption of 4.9 l/100 km (48 mpg US) and 114 g/km of CO2—an improvement of 45 g/km over with the previous 1.6-liter VTi 120 model. The 308 range will expand to include the 1.2-liter PureTech 110 S&S turbo by the end of the year, offering consumption of 4.6 l/100 km (51 mpg US) and 105 g/km of CO2.
The 1.6-liter BlueHDi 120 coupled with a manual six-speed gearbox helped the Peugeot 308 and 308 SW set new segment records for fuel consumption earlier this year, achieving 3.1 l/100 km (76 mpg US) and 3.2 l/100 km (73.4 mpg US) respectively, delivering CO2 emissions of just 82 and 85 g/km. This engine is being launched in more vehicles:
Peugeot 208, with fuel consumption of 3.6 l/100 km (65 mpg US) and 94 g/km of CO2, an improvement of 5 g/km compared with the 1.6-liter e-HDi 115.
Peugeot 2008, with consumption of 3.7 l/100 km (63.5 mpg US) and 96 g/km of CO2 , an improvement of 9 g/km compared with the 1.6-liter e-HDi 115, setting the record in the large B-segment.
Peugeot 3008, with consumption of 4.1 l/100 km (57 mpg US) and 106 g/km of CO2 , an improvement of 19 g/km compared with the 1.6-liter e-HDi 115 and tops the rankings in the large C-segment and has set the record in the same segment for a manual transmission.
Peugeot 5008, with consumption of 4.2 l/100 km (56 mpg US) and 109 g/km of CO2, an improvement of 15g/km compared with the 1.6-liter e-HDi 115 and is one of the leaders in the large C-segment.
After initially unveiling the 2.0-liter BlueHDi on the 508, then on the 308 and 308 SW, Peugeot has installed it in other vehicles in the large C and D-segments:
Peugeot 508, the 2.0-liter BlueHDi 150 BVM6 boasts CO2 emissions of just 105 g/km for the sedan and SW and has made its mark as the best technology in the D-segment among cars with a similar capacity.
Peugeot 508, the 2.0-liter BlueHDi 180 EAT6 achieves 111g/km of CO2, offering one of the best trade-offs between power and consumption in the segment.
Peugeot 3008, the 2.0-liter BlueHDi 150 achieves 4.4 l/100 km (53 mpg US) and 114g/km of CO2, an improvement of 25g/km compared with the 2.0-liter HDi 150, making it one of the best compromises between power and consumption in the large C segment.
Peugeot 5008, the 2.0-liter BlueHDi 150 achieves 4.3 l/100 km (55 mpg US) and 113 g/km of CO2 , an improvement of 25 g/km compared with the 2.0-liter HDi 150, making it one of the best trade-offs between power and consumption in the large C segment.
Since the end of 2013, Peugeot has been using the most efficient emissions-control technology on the market for all its diesel models. The Brand’s exclusive combination of Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) and a particulate filter with additive reduces NOx emissions from new-generation diesel engines by up to 90% and optimises CO2 emissions and fuel consumption, all while eliminating 99.9 % of particulates.
The BlueHDi offers two key advantages, Peugeot said:
SCR, allowing engine settings to be optimized for the best fuel consumption and specific performance, contrary to the emissions control solutions that operate at source and NOx traps, which adversely affect fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
The installation of the SCR upstream of the FAP with additive allows faster treatment of emissions from engine start-up.
BlueHDi technology already meets the Euro 6 Diesel emissions standard and presents the best potential for meeting future emissions standards, Peugeot said.
ABI Research forecasts that global driverless vehicle shipments will increase from 1.1 million in 2024 to more than 42 million in 2035, with an installed driverless vehicle base reaching 176 million.
While autonomous driving under the control of a human standby driver is quickly gaining acceptance, robotic vehicles mostly remain out of bounds, especially for car manufacturers, despite Google's recent announcement to start prototype testing. However, only driverless vehicles will bring the full range of automation benefits including car sharing; driverless taxis, and delivery vans; social mobility for kids, elderly, and impaired; and overall economic growth through cheaper and smoother transportation critical in an increasing number of smart mega cities. Many barriers remain but the path towards robotic vehicles is now firmly established with high rewards for those first-to-market.—Dominique Bonte, VP and practice director
Although there is progress on the technological side—both on sensor hardware and Artificial Intelligence—user acceptance, security, liability issues, and regulation remain huge bottlenecks. Single-mode driverless vehicles face the biggest hurdles towards adoption as Google has already experienced, forced by the California Department of Motor Vehicles to test its prototypes with a steering wheel and brake and acceleration pedals firmly in place, ABI notes.
While the evolutionary character of autonomous driving, gradually appearing in small, incremental steps is often highlighted, removing the driver out of the equation represents a disruptive transition. However, this paradigm shift offers the opportunity to address mounting safety concerns about manual-autonomous handover management in co-pilot vehicles, rendering sophisticated HMI and driver monitoring systems superfluous. Removing the ambiguity about who is in charge—the vehicle or the driver—is acknowledged by Google as a critical step forward.
There is a great case for driverless vehicles, and the automotive industry should start preparing, instead of spending all its time, effort, and money on various complicated forms of semi-autonomous driving, ABI suggests. However, it remains unclear if and when car OEMs will be ready for this “leap of faith” with Google already moving in to exploit the opportunity of leading the automotive revolution.
ABI Research’s Driverless Vehicles report is part of ABI Research’s Automotive Safety and Autonomous Driving Market Research, which covers OEM and aftermarket telematics, infotainment and connected car solutions, ADAS, active safety, and autonomous vehicles.
European industry has launched Metallurgy Europe, a 7-year, €1-billion ($1.3-billion) R&D program in the field of metals research and manufacturing. The program was recently been selected as a new Eureka Cluster, and it will integrate the efforts of more than 170 companies and laboratories from across 20 countries.
Some of the largest engineering companies in Europe have joined forces, including Airbus Group; BP; Siemens; Daimler; Rolls-Royce; BMW; Thales; AvioAero; PSA Group; BAE Systems; Philips; Ruag; Sener; Bombardier; OHB Systems; Linde Group; ESI; Rolex; Richemont; ArcelorMittal; Sandvik; Bruker; SKF; Johnson Matthey; Tata Steel; GKN; Boston Scientific; ThyssenKrupp; Outokumpu; Haldor Topsøe and Fiat. More than 60 small and medium-sized companies are also teaming up.
The European Space Agency (ESA) and a number of European organizations such as the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF); the Institut Laue Langevin (ILL); the European Powder Metallurgy Association (EPMA); and the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE-ITER) are also providing their expertise and innovation to this initiative.
This new program allows us to enter the high-tech metals age. The top management of industry have come together for the first time on this important topic, and there is a confident feeling that Metallurgy Europe will deliver many unique, exciting and profitable technologies.—Prof. David Jarvis, Chairman of Metallurgy Europe and Head of Strategic and Emerging Technologies at ESA
Background. In 2012, the Materials Science and Engineering Expert Committee (MatSEEC) of the European Science Foundation presented a position paper entitled “Metallurgy Europe”. This document was developed by a working group led by Professor Jarvis. MatSEEC recommended the creation of the “Metallurgy Europe” research and development program, based on substantial and sustained contributions from the EC (Horizon 2020), national funding agencies, EU industry, EIRO forum partners and academia. The position paper called upon European decision-makers and funding agencies to act and to implement that central recommendation.
The report identified 17 future material requirements and 50 cross-sectoral metallurgical R&D topics, to be funded during a 10-year period (2012-2022). The 50 topics were categorized according to (i) material discovery; (ii) novel design, metal processing and optimisation; and (iii) fundamental understanding of metallurgy.
They comprise R&D activities on theory, experimentation, modeling, material characterization, property testing, prototyping and industrial scale-up.
Metallurgy Europe – A Renaissance Programme for 2012-2022 Science Position Paper (ESF)
A new study has found that rapid-charging a lithium-ion battery and using it to do high-power, rapidly draining work may not be as damaging as researchers had thought, and that the benefits of slow draining and charging may have been overestimated. The study, led by researchers from Stanford University and the Stanford Institute for Materials & Energy Sciences (SIMES) at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, with colleagues from Sandia National Laboratories, Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology America and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, is published in Nature Materials.
The results challenge the prevailing view that “supercharging” batteries is always harder on battery electrodes than charging at slower rates. The results also suggest that scientists may be able to modify electrodes or change the way batteries are charged to promote more uniform charging and discharging and extend battery life.
The fine detail of what happens in an electrode during charging and discharging is just one of many factors that determine battery life, but it’s one that, until this study, was not adequately understood. We have found a new way to think about battery degradation.—William Chueh of SIMES, senior author
The results, Chueh said, can be directly applied to many oxide and graphite electrodes used in today’s commercial lithium ion batteries and in about half of those under development.
An important source of battery wear and tear is the swelling and shrinking of the negative and positive electrodes as they absorb and release ions from the electrolyte during charging and discharging.Researcher Yiyang Li describes the results of his team’s experiments watching how batteries charge and drain.
For this study scientists looked at a lithium iron phosphate cathode material. If most or all of the nanoparticles in the material actively participate in charging and discharging, they’ll absorb and release ions more gently and uniformly. However, if only a small percentage of particles take in the ions, they’re more likely to crack and get ruined, degrading the battery’s performance.
Previous studies produced conflicting views of how the nanoparticles in the cathode material behaved. To probe further, researchers made small coin cell batteries, charged them with different levels of current for various periods of time, quickly took them apart and rinsed the components to stop the charge/discharge process. Then they cut the electrode into extremely thin slices and took them to Berkeley Lab for examination with intense X-rays from the Advanced Light Source synchrotron, a DOE Office of Science User Facility.
We were able to look at thousands of electrode nanoparticles at a time and get snapshots of them at different stages during charging and discharging. This study is the first to do that comprehensively, under many charging and discharging conditions.—Yiyang Li, lead author
Analyzing the data using a model developed at MIT, the researchers discovered that only a small percentage of nanoparticles absorbed and released ions during charging, even when it was done very rapidly. However, when the discharge rate increased above a certain threshold, more and more particles started to absorb ions simultaneously, switching to a more uniform and less damaging mode. This suggests that scientists may be able to tweak the electrode material or the process to get faster rates of charging and discharging while maintaining long battery life.Two simulations show the differences between a battery being drained at a slower rate, over a full hour, versus a faster rate, only six minutes (a tenth of an hour). In both cases battery particles go from being fully charged (green) to fully drained (red), but there are significant differences in the patterns of discharge based on the rate. Source: SLAC. Click to enlarge.
The next step, Li said, is to run the battery electrodes through hundreds to thousands of cycles to mimic real-world performance. The scientists also hope to take snapshots of the battery while it’s charging and discharging, rather than stopping the process and taking it apart.
This should yield a more realistic view, and can be done at synchrotrons such as ALS or SLAC’s Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource, also a DOE Office of Science User Facility. Li said the group has also been working with industry to see how these findings might apply in the transportation and consumer electronics sectors.
Research funding came from the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology Global Research Outreach Program; the School of Engineering and Precourt Institute for Energy at Stanford; the Samsung-MIT Program for Materials Design in Energy Applications; and the US Department of Energy; and the National Science Foundation.
W. Chueh et al. (2014) Nature Materials doi: 10.1038/NMAT4084
Audi factory driver Lucas di Grassi and the Audi Sport ABT Formula E team won the inaugural event of the new all-electric FIA Formula E Championship in Beijing. (Next weekend, di Grassi will return to the cockpit of the Audi R18 e-tron quattro hybrid sports car in round four of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) at Austin). The inaugural round of the 10-race season of the global electric race series was closely contested throughout. Winding round the Bird’s Nest stadium built to host the 2008 Olympic Games, the Beijing course supplied all usual ingredients of a city-center circuit, with a succession of straights, chicanes and 90° bends.
For this inaugural season, the entire field is competing in Spark-Renault STR01E single-seaters. (Earlier post.) Spark-Renault, together with a consortium of leading motorsport companies, produced 40 cars for the race, with each driver using two cars during the 1-hour event. Thirty-five of the 40 cars entered crossed the finishing line without incident.
The racer. Dallara, with more than 40 years of motorsport experience, constructed the monocoque chassis, aerodynamically designed to aid overtaking. Made from carbon fibre and aluminium, the chassis is both super lightweight and strong and fully complies with the latest FIA crash tests—the same used to regulate Formula One.
Providing the electric powertrain and electronics is McLaren Electronics Systems. Williams Advanced Engineering, part of the Williams group of companies that includes the Williams F1 Team, is supplying the batteries producing maximum power of 200 kW, the equivalent of 270 bhp. This is linked to a five-speed paddle shift sequential gearbox, supplied by Hewland, with fixed ratios.
Maximum power is available only during practice and qualifying sessions. During races, power-saving mode (150 kW, equivalent to 202.5 bhp) applies with the FanBoost system temporarily allowing maximum power of 180 kW for a limited time of 5 seconds per car.
The racer accelerates from 0 - 100 km/h (0-62 mph) in 3 seconds, and has a maximum speed of 225 km/h (150 mph).
The traction battery is a Rechargeable Energy Storage System (RESS) and supplies electric energy to the Power Circuit and thus to the traction motor. Any onboard battery electrically connected to the Power Circuit is considered to be an integral part of the vehicle’s traction battery. The amount of energy that can be delivered to the MGU (motor generator unit) by the RESS is limited to 28 kWh. This is permanently monitored by the FIA.
The maximum weight of the battery cells and/or capacitor of the RESS must not be higher than 200 kg (441 lbs).
Specially designed 18" treaded tires, supplied by Official Tire Partner Michelin, are capable of providing optimum performance in both wet and dry conditions.
Beijing. Starting from pole position, Nicolas Prost (e.dams Renault) made the perfect start to lead into the opening corner. He went on to dominate most of the 25-lap race before a clash ended his hopes of victory on the final lap, handing the win to Lucas di Grassi (Audi Sport ABT). The fastest lap was taken by Takuma Sato (Amlin Aguri) in 1:45.101.
Despite the closeness of safety barriers, the characteristics of the Spark-Renault SRT01_E enabled the drivers to outbrake one another at the corners.
What an exciting first Formula E race ! This is a real achievement for all the partners who have worked on this project. Despite the test sessions held in recent weeks, there was still a degree of uncertainty involved, linked to the start of the competition proper. By holding the practice sessions, qualifying and the race all on the same day, it has been an intense few hours for the teams, drivers and organizers. I think Renault Sport can be very pleased with how things went today, as there were no major technical problems on the forty single-seaters.—Patrice Ratti, Managing Director of Renault Sport Technologies
The City of Grenoble, France, its metropolitan area Grenoble-Alpes Metropole, EDF and its affiliate Sodetrel, Toyota Motor Corporation and Cité lib officially launched the new “Cité lib by Ha:mo” electric vehicle car-sharing service. (Earlier post.)
Offering a new type of mobility based on ultra-compact electric vehicles, the service aims to complement Grenoble’s public transport network with a solution for short-trips—including one-way trips—that can be planned as part of overall city journeys. The vehicles and the charging stations are seamlessly connected to the IT infrastructure of Grenoble’s transport network, offering both route planning and online/mobile app reservations.
Toyota is providing 35 Toyota i-ROAD EVs, the largest number in service in the world. (Earlier post.) The Toyota i-ROAD is an innovative, fun-to-drive three-wheel personal mobility vehicle equipped with Active Lean technology that emulates the movements of a skier. The i-ROAD is as agile as a scooter with the enclosed-canopy comfort of a car. Toyota is also providing 35 four-wheel COMS vehicles. (Earlier post.)
The 70 Toyota vehicles will be available for short city trips in 27 charging stations installed and operated by Sodetrel—including for one-way trips from one station to another. A total of 120 charging points for the project and 41 for other plug-in vehicles will be added to the city’s transport infrastructure.
Each station—which is located close to tram, bus or train stops—is equipped with at least four spots for i-ROADs and COMS. Some stations also feature one or two spaces for other EVs and PHEVs.
Users can pick-up one of the 70 vehicles and drop it off at any station near their destination without having to return it to the original pickup point. They will only be charged for the ride.
The service eliminates the need to look for a parking place. In addition, the compactness of the vehicles makes it easier to plan and build parking and charging infrastructure.
Toyota is not only contributing the 70 electric vehicles to the project, but is also responsible for the car-sharing management system—called Ha:mo (for Harmonious Mobility)—which it has been piloting in its home town of Toyota City in Japan. Toyota considers that electric vehicles are part of the overall solution for low-carbon transport and are especially suited to short-distance, urban journeys, while hybrids, plug-in hybrids and fuel cell vehicles will prove more practical for longer trips.
Having operated a car sharing service in Grenoble for nearly 10 years with 80 vehicles (gasoline, hybrids, CNG and electric), Cité lib will manage the day-to-day operation of the new service. The additional EVs will double its fleet and offer a different type of service to its subscribers.
A simple pricing plan dubbed “3, 2, 1 euros” for respectively the first, second and third 15-minute increments will be proposed to Grenoble citizens. For annual local transport card subscribers, the price will be reduced, at 2+ 1 euro for respectively the first and subsequent 15-minute increments.
Cité lib by Ha:mo will open to the public on 1 October 2014 for a three-year period. The project partners will use this trial to collect valuable data on technical aspects and user behaviors.
Petrobras’ consolidated oil and natural gas production in Brazil and abroad reached 2,759 thousand barrels of oil equivalent per day (boed), rising 2.2% from a reported production of 2,699 thousand boed in July.
Petrobras’s domestic oil production increased by 2.7% from 2,049 thousand barrels per day (bpd) in July to 2,105 thousand bpd in August. Regarding the total oil production operated by Petrobras domestically, which includes the share operated by the company for its partners, a production of 2,232 thousand bpd was reported in August. This represents a 3.7% rise from July’s production of 2,152 thousand bpd.
Petrobras’s total domestic oil and natural gas production rose by 2.9% from a production of 2,479 thousand boed in July to 2,551 thousand boed in August. Total domestic oil and natural gas production operated by Petrobras, in turn, rose by 3.9% from a production of 2,634 thousand boed in July to 2,736 thousand boed in August.
The rise in production was driven primarily by the ramp up of platforms P-55 at Roncador field (Campos Basin), P-58, which started-up in March at Parque das Baleias (northern section of Campos Basin), and FPSO Cidade de Paraty at Lula Nordeste (Santos Basin).
Eleven new offshore wells started-up in August in the Santos and Campos Basins and, along with them, 47 new wells have already gone into operation in 2014. With the arrival of the Pipe Laying Support Vessel (PLSV) NO 105, from McDermott, on August 30, the company’s fleet reached 15 vessels. Increasing production in the pre-salt
Pre-salt production reached 532 thousand bpd in August. The higher daily production of 581 thousand barrels for the Santos and Campos Basins pre-salt was set on August 25. These volumes also include the share Petrobras operates for its partners, and was set following the start-up of well LL-28 on FPSO Cidade de Paraty, which increased the production of this unit to 95 thousand bpd, with three wells.
In compliance with the company’s maintenance schedule, some platforms underwent shutdowns in August, which led to the temporary suspension of 25 thousand bpd in average monthly production. Some of the units whose production was interrupted due to maintenance activities include P-56 at Marlim Sul field, and P-19 at Marlim field. These units have already resumed normal operations.
Daily production of 71.022 million cubic meters of gas in August rose by 4% from the previous month’s production of 68.3 million m³/d. The gas production operated by Petrobras, which includes the share operated for its partner companies, reached 80.151 million m³/day, up 4.7% from July’s production of 76.6 million m³/day. In addition, the beginning of gas exports from P-62 on August 30 was set.
Production abroad fell by 5.3% in August to 208,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boed) in relation to the previous month’s production of 219.7 thousand boed.
Average oil production abroad in August fell by 4.3% to 115 thousand barrels of oil per day (bpd), from the previous month’s production of 120.1 thousand bpd and average natural gas production abroad fell by 6.6% to 15.807 million m³/d, from the previous month’s production of 16.921 million m³/d.
These decreases are driven predominantly by lower gas and liquids (NGL and condensate) production at Lot 57, Kinteroni Field, Peru, stemming from lower demand for LNG exports from this country.
The total production reported to Brazil’s National Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels Agency (ANP) in August 2014 was 10,507,616.94 m³ of oil and 2,604,926.66 thousand m³ of gas. This production corresponds to the total production of the concessions where Petrobras is the operator. It does not include shale, NGL volumes and third parties’ production where Petrobras is not the operator.
Alon USA Energy, Inc. has received the necessary approval from the Kern County Board of Supervisors to construct a new rail facility at the Bakersfield refinery and to make modifications to the refinery that will allow it to process light crude—e.g., Bakken Crude. The permit allows Alon to construct a double rail loop from a new spur connection off of the existing BNSF Railway capable of receiving two unit trains (a unit train contains about 100 cars) per day of crude. The refinery’s 70,000 barrels per day (bpd) maximum crude processing capacity is not being increased.
The project also entails the addition of up to three boilers; construction of process unit upgrades and/ or modifications; repurposing of existing tankage; and relocation and modernization of existing Liquefied Propane Gas (LPG) truck rack and upgrades to the sales rack.
Alon expects to provide information on the cost of constructing the new rail facility and the expected crude-by-rail volumes at the time of its third quarter 2014 conference call. Construction of the rail facility is expected to be completed by the end of 2015.
Background. The existing refinery has been used as a petroleum refinery since 1932. Current refinery process units include crude distillation; delayed coking; hydrocracking; and catalytic reforming. Current products include gas oil, gasoline, diesel fuel, and petroleum coke. The refinery also includes a number of ancillary and support facilities including steam boilers, process heaters, cooling towers, storage tanks and interconnecting pipelines; and a terminal with truck and rail loading facilities.
Although the existing refinery has a maximum rated crude processing capacity of 70,000 bpd, due to a 2008 bankruptcy of the prior owner, crude oil refining was temporarily suspended. In 2011, the Alon Bakersfield Refinery resumed refining in numerous process units to convert gas oil produced by its affiliated refinery in Paramount, California into finished fuels. Alon intends to resume operation of several existing process units under existing permits, including a return to crude oil refining.
The overall objectives of the project are to (1) provide greater flexibility for the existing refinery to utilize a variety of crude oils that can be processed in order to better manage operational costs and to increase efficiency of onsite production; and (2) expand the existing crude terminal operations of the facility.
In the project’s Environmental Impact Review (EIR) submitted to the County, Alon noted the issues surrounding the volatility of Bakken crude, the recent rail accidents involving the crude, and the government’s current state of response.
Alon said it would work with the rail carriers delivering crude oil to the rail terminal to ensure compliance with any Emergency Order (EO) issued by the US Department of Transportation (DOT) related to requirements for rail carriers to notify State Emergency Response Commissions (SERCs), and others as specified by the EO, regarding the expected routing of the Project’s unit trains of Bakken crude oil. The notice will include, but not be limited to:
reasonable estimate of the number of trains carrying 1,000,000 gallons or more of Bakken crude oil, per week and by county;
with the crude oil identified and described in accordance with 49 CFR part 172, subpart C;
with the emergency response information required by 49 CFR part 172, subpart G; and
the routes over which the crude oil will be transported.
Alon USA Energy, Inc., headquartered in Dallas, Texas, is an independent refiner and marketer of petroleum products, operating primarily in the South Central, Southwestern and Western regions of the United States. Alon owns 100% of the general partner and approximately 82% of the limited partner interests in Alon USA Partners, LP, which owns a crude oil refinery in Texas with an aggregate crude oil throughput capacity of approximately 73,000 barrels per day.
In addition, Alon directly owns crude oil refineries in Louisiana and California, with an aggregate crude oil throughput capacity of approximately 144,000 barrels per day. Alon is a leading marketer of asphalt, which it distributes through its asphalt terminals predominately in the Western United States. Alon is the largest 7-Eleven licensee in the United States and operates approximately 300 convenience stores in Texas and New Mexico.
Kern County Alon Bakersfield Refinery Crude Flexibility Project documents
Renault Samsung Motors (RSM) is loaning ten SM3 Z.E. (earlier post) sedans to Seoul City for free so that members of the Seoul Taxi Association and their passengers can discover the benefits of using an electric vehicle for taxi work.
Free use of the cars is just part of the campaign, which runs until April 2015. Taxi businesses involved in the scheme will be exempt from tolls through a number of tunnels into the city. They will also be given a 50% discount on parking fees in the city center and will be given free access to the City’s 34 quick chargers, a network that the Korea Environment Corporation has undertaken to expand still further.
Presented at the Busan Motor Show in June 2012, the 100% electric vehicle has been produced and sold as the first Korean-made mass market sub-mid-sized EV since 2013. The EV model features a variety of newly developed technologies of Renault Group and RSM.
Equipped with a 23 kWh Li-ion battery pack from LG Chem, SM3 Z.E. runs up to 182 km (113 miles) in UDDS (Urban Dynamometer Driving Schedule) mode on a single charge. Topspeed is 135 km/h (84 mph), and the motor has a maximum output of 70kW and maximum torque of 226 N·m (167 lb-ft).
RSM dominates Korea’s EV market, claiming a 58% share in 2013.
Following a successful validation program, a new Flybrid bus KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System), developed by Torotrak PLC will enter service in the UK with operator Arriva, applied in a Wrightbus bus.
Wrightbus, which estimates a five-year operator payback for the technology, exhibited a KERS-equipped bus at the Cenex LCV show this month. This is the first customer bus from Arriva to be fitted with the system and will be the first fully mechanical hybrid bus to travel on a public service route in the UK.
By recovering kinetic energy the bus would otherwise lose under braking, and mechanically transferring this energy to spin up a high speed carbon fiber and steel flywheel, the Flybrid KERS can store significant proportions of the available energy. The high-efficiency system then transfers the stored energy back to the driveshafts of the bus, reducing load on the engine under acceleration and thus saving fuel and reducing emissions including CO2 and particulates.
As part of the project with Wrightbus, Torotrak also developed an accurate route simulation tool which allows operators to calculate the potential savings on various routes using the Flybrid system. This has been validated by testing using the industry standard duty cycles at Millbrook Proving Ground.
The in-vehicle work at Millbrook has confirmed that we can now accurately predict energy flows in and out of the system. Combined with our complex model of real-world operating conditions, we can now provide operators with robust predictions for fuel savings on their different routes.—Jon Hilton, Torotrak product development director
Operators can also expect further savings from the purely mechanical system, which uses no high voltages and is designed for the full service life of the bus. Torotrak believe resale values for these Flybrid KERS-equipped vehicles will also remain high.
PEUGEOT is showcasing its 208 HYbrid Air 2L Demonstrator at next month’s Paris Motor Show. The 2L stands for two liters per 100 km, equivalent to 118 mpg US, and is based on a production version of the Peugeot 208 1.2-liter PureTech 82 hp 5-seater Hatchback.
Peugeot’s Hybrid Air (earlier post) is a full-hybrid solution combining compressed air and hydraulic power, with no battery required for energy storage. Hybrid Air combines the PureTech gasoline engine; a compressed air energy storage unit located beneath the trunk; a hydraulic pump/motor unit in the engine bay; and and an automatic transmission with an epicyclic gear train.
The compressed air is used to assist and even replace the gasoline engine to enable maximum efficiency during transition phases, such as acceleration and starts.
In Air (ZEV) mode, the car runs on compressed air alone. This method of driving does not consume fuel and gives off no CO2 emissions, making it ideal for urban environments.
In Gasoline mode, the car is powered only by the 1.2-liter gasoline engine. This is more suitable for travelling at a steady speed on main roads and highways.
The Combined mode is designed for transition phases in urban environments, such as standing starts and acceleration. It draws on the two energy sources in proportions adjusted to achieve optimal fuel consumption.
The compressed-air tank is recharged when slowing down (while braking or taking the foot off the pedal) or by part use of the energy developed by the three-cylinder engine to compress the air. Both methods can achieve maximum pressure in just 10 seconds.
At the 2013 Geneva Motor Show, Peugeot showed an application of the Hybrid Air powertrain in a 2008 crossover.
Weighing just 860kg—100kg less than the production car—the 208 Hybrid Air 2L demonstrator is a mix of steel, aluminium and composites. Engineers selected only those materials compatible with existing production facilities and a high manufacturing output. In addition, the process involves reducing consumption without altering the car’s characteristics, retaining a style synonymous with high-end products and services.
Carbon composites are used for the body panels, sides, doors and roof, along with the coil springs providing suspension. In the latter case, the use of composites has a positive impact on dynamic handling by reducing unsprung weight. The car has also been fine-tuned aerodynamically, with a number of improvements to reduce drag, including a lower stance on the road.
The campaign to reduce weight has not focused solely on the use of new materials; it has also sought to redesign existing parts. This has led to changes in the thickness of the stainless steel exhaust system, enabling a 20% improvement on this part alone.
Mercedes-Benz has given its B-Class range—more than 350,000 of which have been sold worldwide since market launch in late 2011—a major facelift including exterior and interior enhancements along with redefined design and equipment lines. Sales of the new B-Class commenced on 12 September, with the world première taking place during the Paris Motor Show (4 to 19 October). The revamped models will be making their way to dealerships from 29 November 2014.
Buyers have a wide choice of powertrains: five diesel models with fuel ranging from 3.6 to 5.0 l/100 km (65.3 to 47 mpg US); four gasoline engines at between 5.4 and 6.6 l/100 km (43.6 and 35.6 mpg US); alternative drive systems (B 200 Natural Gas Drive and B-Class Electric Drive); as well as optional 4MATIC all-wheel drive. The sports tourer also features a Cd value of less than 0.25. Prices in Europe will start from €27,102.25 (around US$35,000) for the B 180.
Both the B 200 Natural Gas Drive and the B-Class Electric Drive use the B-Class’s modular ENERGY SPACE body concept: The underbody houses one large and two smaller gas tanks and a 14-liter gasoline tank (B 200 Natural Gas Drive) or the lithium-ion battery (B-Class Electric Drive). Due to this intelligent packaging method, the five-seater model has been able to retain its luggage space.
Model B 160 CDI B 180 CDI B 180 BlueEfficiency B 200 CDI B220 CDI
Number of cylinders/arrangement
Rated output (kW/hp at rpm)
66/90 at 2750-4000
80/109 at 4000
80/109 at 4000
100/136 at 3200-4000 [3400-4400]
130/177 at 3600-3800
Rated torque (N·m at rpm)
240 at 1700-2500
260 at 1750-2500
260 at 1750-2500
300 at 1400-3000
350 at 1400-3400
Combined fuel consumption from (l/100 km)
4.3 (4.0) [5.0]
Combined CO2 emissions from (g/km)
111 (104) 
A (A+) [B]
Acceleration 0-100 km/h (s)
9.9 (9.8) [9.8]
Top speed (km/h)
210 (210) 
Price (€) (Germany)
Figures for model with 7G-DCT in round brackets, figures for 4MATIC version in square brackets.
B-Class gasoline models
Model B180 B 180 BlueEfficiency B200 B220 4MATIC B250
Number of cylinders/arrangement 4 in-line 4 in-line 4 in-line 4 in-line 4 in-line Displacement (cc) 1595 1595 1595 1991 1991 Rated output (kW/hp at rpm) 90/122 at 5000 90/122 at 5000 115/156 at 5300 135/184 at 5500 155/211 at 5500 Rated torque (Nm at rpm) 200 at 1250-4000 200 at 1250-4000 250 at 1250-4000 300 at 1200-4000 350 at 1200-4000 Combined fuel consumption from (l/100 km) 5.6 (5.4) 5.2 5.6 (5.4) 6.5 6.1 (6.6) Combined CO2 emissions from (g/km) 129 (125) 122 130 (125) 151 141  Efficiency class B (B) B B (B) C C [C] Acceleration 0-100 km/h (s) 9.3 (9.2) 9.3 8.6 (8.4) 7.5 6.8 [6.7] Top speed (km/h) 200 (200) 190 220 (220) 225 240  Price (€) (Germany) 27,102.25 27,578.25 29,036.00 33,647.25 35,134.75 [37,336.25]
Figures for model with 7G-DCT in brackets, figures for 4MATIC version in square brackets.
B-Class alternative drive systems
Model B 200 Natural Gas B-Class Electric Drive
Number of cylinders/arrangement 4 in-line - Displacement (cc) 1991 - Rated output (kW/hp at rpm) 115/156 at 5000 132/180 Rated torque (Nm at rpm) 270 at 1250-4000 340 Fuel consumption, combined, from 4.3 kg (4.2 kg) 16.6 kWh/100 km Combined CO2 emissions from (g/km) 117 (115) 0 Efficiency class A (A) A+ Acceleration 0-100 km/h (s) 9.2 (9.1) 7.9 Top speed (km/h) 200 (200) 160 Price (€) (Germany) 32,903.50 not yet available
Figures for model with 7G-DCT in brackets.
The facelifted B-Class with a gasoline or diesel engine features a new bumper, wide radiator trim with two louvres and now integral daytime running lamps in the headlamps. The rear bumper has also been modified and now features a contoured covering and an additional chrome trim strip. Optional LED High Performance headlamps are not available for the B-Class Electric Drive or Natural Gas Drive).
Mercedes-Benz has enhanced a number of details in the B-Class such as the large, free-standing head unit display, which is now larger, with a diagonal of up to 20.3 cm (8 inches), and the dial layout for the instrument cluster. There is a choice of 12 colors for the ambient lighting, allowing different moods to be created.
Mercedes-Benz has also revised the model range and aligned the logic to the other compact models. There are three new design and equipment lines: Style, Urban and AMG Line. Each features a number of distinctive exterior and interior details.
KEYLESS-GO is new as an optional extra. This access and drive authorization system with KEYLESS-GO starting function allows the vehicle to be opened, started and locked simply by carrying the electronic key.
When it made its début, the B-Class redefined the standard of safety in the compact class with a variety of new driving assistance systems, some of them included as standard equipment. These functions have now been enhanced and new assistance systems added to give the driver more support.
COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST PLUS extends the functionality of COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST with autonomous partial braking to reduce the risk of rear-end collisions.
The standard ATTENTION ASSIST feature has also been upgraded: operating within an extended speed range (60 - 200 km/h, or 37 - 124 mph), this now uses a five-stage bar display to visualise the driver’s current attention level.
Next-generation telematics offer more intuitive operation; functions are more accessible due to animated menus and visual representations on a larger display in the head unit.
Porsche Automobil Holding SE has acquired a stake of around 10% in INRIX, one of the leading providers of real-time traffic information. The investment volume is around $55 million. For Porsche SE, the acquisition is the first step towards creating a portfolio of investments complementing its existing shareholding in Volkswagen AG.
Porsche Automobil Holding SE is a listed holding company and holds the majority of the ordinary shares in the Volkswagen Group, one of the world’s leading automobile manufacturers. The Volkswagen Group comprises twelve brands from seven European countries: Volkswagen Passenger Cars, Audi, SEAT, ŠKODA, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, Ducati, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, Scania and MAN.
In addition to this anchor shareholding, Porsche SE intends to make further strategic investments along the automotive value chain. This comprises the entire spectrum of basic technologies geared to supporting the development and production process through to vehicle- and mobility-related services.
Connectivity between cars and infrastructure is one of the important mega trends in the automotive industry. The need for traffic-related information and data-based solutions is therefore growing fast. We see a tremendous potential in this segment of the automotive value chain.—Philipp von Hagen, member of Porsche SE’s executive board responsible for investment management
As part of the strategic investment, von Hagen joins the board of directors at INRIX. Von Hagen said that Porsche SE is examining additional investments related to the topics of connectivity and mobility.
With Porsche SE, we have found an investor who shares our vision for transforming INRIX from a traffic data company to a connected car and smart cities leader worldwide.—Bryan Mistele, President and CEO of INRIX
INRIX holds a leading position worldwide in the area of real-time traffic information, where continued double-digit growth is expected in the coming years. The company is a pioneer in the development of technologies for the collection and interpretation of traffic data.
The INRIX Traffic Intelligence platform continuously analyzes real-time data from various sources including a crowd-sourced network of more than 175 million data sources such as vehicles and mobile devices. Today, the company provides real-time traffic information for around 6.4 million kilometers (around 4 million miles) of roads across 40 countries and is continuously adding more roads and countries to its coverage.
Apart from comprehensive information on road traffic conditions, INRIX has smart analysis tools for a range of applications such as traffic forecasting. The company currently offers services for the six market segments automotive, public sector, mobile enterprise, fleet, media and real estate. The range of services includes inter alia real-time traffic information and navigation data, visualization of traffic data for media-enabled presentation as well as traffic data analytics and accurate traffic-related forecasts for traffic management, such as for cities and municipalities or transport and logistics.