Clean Energy and Transportation News for September 2018
BMW upgrades BMW i3 battery pack to 120 Ah cells, 260 kilometers range(September 28, 2018)
BMW has upgraded the BMW i3 battery pack to cells with 120 Ah capacity, and a total energy capacity of 42 kiloWatt-hours. Because the i3 is built with carbon-fiber its energy efficiency is vastly superior to all other electric cars, giving the i3 more driving range than implied by the 42 kWh pack, or a total expected driving range of 260 kiloMeters. That's a 30% improvement over previous model years.
Lucid Motors providing customers with access to Electrify America ultra-fast-charging network(September 25, 2018)
Lucid Motors, a new luxury electric car startup company, has announced an agreement with Electrify America regarding a nationwide fast charging plan. The Lucid Motors car can support ultra fast EV charging, and the company plans to go to production in 2020. It just so happens that Electrify America is building a nation-wide network of fast charging stations, with charging power up to 350 kiloWatts. The immediate goal is that by June 2019 the company will have over 2,000 DC fast charging locations across a large portion of the USA. Such a network is required in order to be competitive against Tesla Motors.
Energy Department Announces $5 Million for Energy Planning, Innovative Energy Practices, and Technical Assistance in 16 States(September 21, 2018) To hear the rhetoric about the Trump Administration, they are gutting all environmental and renewable energy projects and we are headed back to the dark ages in government policies of all kinds. The reality is that the Dept of Energy is continuing to fund renewable energy and energy efficiency project, and the project funding announced here is an excellent example. This is a $5 million package of funding in three areas - "Energy Planning" at the state level, "Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy" and other "Clean Energy Activities". I have no idea whether the funding level has decreased or not, just that the DoE is regularly making similar announcements to this, demonstrating that funding is not $0.
Audi goes Electric: All-Electric Audi E-Tron SUV unveiled, US Customers can place reservations(September 18, 2018)
Audi began talking about the E-Tron in 2011, IIRC, and has shown several different cars under this name. They've settled on this, an all-electric luxury SUV. This car has a lot going for it, with plenty of cargo space, to a high power drive train, a dual motor drive train with very good performance, high power 150 kiloWatt fast charging, and a 95 kiloWatt-hour battery pack. Curiously this press release keeps reiterating ways Audi engineers designed-in energy saving features to extend driving range. Why would that be? What's going on. The Audi E-Tron should equal the Tesla Model X in luxury, capabilities, driving range, charging speed, though not quite in raw performance. Unfortunately, Audi designed in a huge flaw: the E-Tron is only available on special order. Therefore, Audi is not serious at this time in competing with Tesla. If Audi were serious about this they'd simply take the E-Tron to production and go head-to-head with Tesla.
Audi renewable electricity, charging station installation, and charging location designs(September 18, 2018)
With the newly unveiled Audi E-Tron, Audi is showing off several EV charging connections. In a deal with Arcadia Power, E-Tron buyers can make a deal to buy renewable energy via a Community Solar program. In a deal with Amazon, E-Tron buyers can have charging stations installed by Amazon Home Services. Finally, Audi showed a concept charging facility design in San Francisco.
Nissan announces U.S. pricing for 2019 LEAF(September 15, 2018) The Nissan Leaf is still one of the most affordable electric cars available. However, how can one justify a Leaf when for about the same price GM offers the Chevy Bolt with a larger range. Having a 150 mile range in the Leaf is a big step forward over the 72 mile range on the 2011 Leaf, but the competition has a 238 mile range for not much more. Surely this is why GM is selling more Bolt's than Nissan is selling Leaf's.
Electrifying power for supreme driving pleasure: the new BMW X5 xDrive45e iPerformance.(September 7, 2018)
BMW is unveiling an updated version of the BMW X5 Plug-in Hybrid SUV. It is primarily a fossil-fuel powered SUV, with electric assist and a meager all-electric range.
Nissan and EVgo open 'I-95 Fast Charging Arc' - EV driving between Boston and Washington DC(September 6, 2018)
Nissan and EVgo have teamed up on another "Arc", meaning a series of EV Fast Charging stations connecting points A and B. In this case the route between Boston and Washington DC seems, going by the PlugShare map, to be already well-populated with fast charging services. More charging stations are certainly a good thing, however, and will encourage more of us to drive electric on longer trips. In this case it appears the maximum charging rate is 50 kW, which isn't sufficient for road trips, but the press release also says the facilities have been designed to support 150 kiloWatt fast charging in the future.