Earth Day Event Makes Personal Electric Vehicle Connections
On a beautiful Spring day in Palo Alto, Saturday, April 14, EV owners offered test drives and showcased their vehicles to attendees of the 2018 Earth Day Festival in Palo Alto. The event was put on by Acterra, a Palo Alto-based group that brings people together to create local solutions for a healthy planet. As an Acterra EV Ambassador, I brought my Kinetic Blue Bolt EV, and was joined by owners of Nissan Leafs, Volkswagen e-Golfs, BMW i3s, Fiat 500es, Teslas and other popular electric vehicles.
The chance to drive an EV before you buy
I was one of the folks who left their car parked and had many interesting conversations, answering questions and demonstrating features of the car, while helping people understand how much fun it is to drive an EV, and how we deal with their few shortcomings.
My car (the Blue Bolt EV) was first in line of the staged vehicles, next to a VW e-Golf and Nissan Leaf–two direct competitors. We owners had fun chatting when no visitors were around. Everyone has a story. The VW e-Golf next to my car was a late ’16, so the lease deal was amazing; after a significant down payment, just $75/month! The white ’16 Leaf behind it, owned by my friend Greg, was purchased used, at a significant cost saving over a new one. That’s a good example of how to get into EV driving without a huge initial outlay.
A Chance to Get Behind the Wheel
This event answered all of the questions
Not only were cars on display, but a number of them were also available for test drives, as seen by the orange Bolt, black BMW i3 and silver 2018 Leaf driving through the area in the photo. This gave attendees a chance to get behind the wheel and viscerally sense the smooth, quick, quiet EV benefits. There were three Bolts available, as well as the two stationary ones, so we were well-represented.
There were information booths, including Acterra, charger manufacturer ChargePoint and the City of Palo Alto. I spoke with Hiromi Kelty, City of Palo Alto utility program manager, who told me that 20 percent of Palo Altans drive EVs compared to three percent statewide. She also told me about the EV charger rebate that organizations in Palo Alto can receive when they install EV chargers–up to $30,000. For more information, go to cityofpaloalto.org/electricvehicle or call (650) 329-2241.
Some folks brought their toys
I showed my car to dozens of people and had some interesting conversations. I allowed one 6-foot-5 man to adjust my seat, steering wheel, and mirrors to see if he fit in the car and could see if he was driving. The good news is that he did fit! The bad news is that it took a while to get my driving position back to normal. But I was glad to do it.
One man, who was sharing rides in his new Tesla Model 3, brought along a battery-powered skateboard. At $1,500, it an expensive toy, but could be useful for traveling between mass transit and your workplace–or for good clean fun. I declined a test ride.
When the session was over, around 1:30, we put away our signs, folded our tents, and drove our EVs home. It felt like a worthwhile experience. I only hope that someone we spoke with will decide to get their own EV.
Electric Truck Race Has Started
When it comes to electric trucks, Silicon Valley’s Tesla Semi has gotten the lion’s share of attention, but they aren’t the only one developing battery-powered heavy-duty haulers. Instead of long-haul semis, Mercedes-Benz parent, Daimler, is focusing on electric urban delivery vehicles.
This week, the automaker best known in the U.S. for its luxury cars and SUVs, introduced the eActros, the production version of the Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck concept that first appeared in 2016. An initial test fleet of 10 trucks will be deployed with customers in Europe in a few weeks. Mercedes plans to begin full-scale production of the eActros in 2021.
Mercedes-Benz is putting electric heavy-duty trucks on the road
While Mercedes isn’t attempting to build an electric semi-truck like Tesla, the eActros shows that the company wants to scale up from small, local-delivery vehicles to larger models. The company plans to spend $3.2 billion on research and development for its truck division through 2019, focusing on developing electric mobility, connectivity and automated driving technology for commercial vehicles. Meanwhile, Mercedes will launch electric versions of its Vito and Sprinter vans and an electric bus over the next two years.
Electric Motors and Batteries
The structure for the eActros is provided by the frame of the standard Actros diesel truck. Both two- and three-axle versions with a gross weight rating of 18 to 25 metric tons (39,000-55,000 pounds) depending on the variant will be evaluated by customers.
The drive system comprises two electric motors located close to the rear-axle wheel hubs. These three-phase asynchronous motors are liquid-cooled and operate with a nominal voltage of 400 volts. They generate an output of 170 horsepower (125 kilowatt-hours) each, with maximum torque of 358 pounds-feet of torque (485 Nm) each. The gearing ratios convert this into 8,113 pounds-feet (11 000 Nm) each, resulting in driving performance on a par with that of a diesel truck.
It has a claimed driving range of 125 miles (200 kilometers), provided by two lithium-ion batteries with an output of 240 kWh. The batteries are accommodated in 11 packs: three of these are located in the frame area, the other eight are to be found underneath.
The high-voltage batteries do not just supply energy to the drive system, but to the vehicle as a whole. Ancillary components such as the air compressor for the braking system, the power steering pump, the compressor for the cab air-conditioning system and, where relevant, the refrigerated body, are also all electrically powered.
A full recharge takes three to 11 hours, depending on the power of the charging station. Recharging of the prototype trucks will be provided by portable rechargers.
Two Years, 20 Test Customers
“We are now passing both two- and three-axle variants of our heavy-duty electric truck, the Mercedes-Benz eActros, into the hands of customers. Initially, the focus will be on inner-city goods transport and delivery services—the ranges required here are well within the scope of our Mercedes-Benz eActros,” said Stefan Buchner, head of Mercedes-Benz Trucks.
The eActros battery pack can charge in 3-11 hours
The range of requirements means that the vehicles are fitted with a variety of bodies—refrigerated box bodies, tankers or tarpaulin sides are used. The drivers of the eActros are trained specially to work with the vehicle.
The first 10 pilot customers, including German supermarket chain Edeka and parcel delivery service Hermes, will be testing the vehicles in real-life operations for 12 months, after which the trucks will be going out to a second set of customers for a further 12 months.
A Poke At Tesla
Daimler cast doubt on Tesla’s plan to deliver electric heavy trucks next year, saying its more modest goal to start selling battery-powered big rigs by 2021 is more realistic, according to trade publication Automotive News.
As the largest global truckmaker, Daimler has the most to lose should Tesla succeed in producing a semi-truck with a 500-mile range for delivery starting in 2019.
“If Tesla really delivers on this promise, we’ll obviously buy two trucks—one to take apart and one to test because if that happens, something has passed us by,” head of Daimler Trucks Martin Daum said. “But for now, the same laws of physics apply in Germany and in California,” he added.
Who Will Win the Race?
Daimler and rivals including Tesla, Volkswagen’s MAN, Volvo AB and U.S. truck maker Kenworth and engine maker Cummins are all racing to bring electric trucks to market to cope with a push to shift from fossil fuels to greener vehicles and reduce pollution and greenhouse gases. At the moment, Daimler is at the front of the pack while Tesla can boast of 100s of orders for its future truck.
The eActros can be configured to haul up to 55,000 pounds
In October of last year, Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation, part of Daimler Trucks, launched its new Fuso eCanter in New York City, the world’s first series-produced all-electric medium-duty truck. First on the list to buy three eCanter trucks was the United Parcel Service (UPS).
A few days after the New York introduction, Fuso showed off a Class 8 electric truck at the Tokyo Motor Show. The E-Fuso Vision One concept, called a trailerless or “straight” truck with an enclosed cargo area, carries a payload of approximately 11 metric tons (24,000 pounds) with a driving range of 210 miles on a single charge.
So, while Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, talks (brags) about a big electric truck, Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz and Fuso already have two being driven by customers and the eActros arriving in a few weeks.
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BMW Goes Electric on Two Wheels, Too
In the past few years, the auto industry has been busy moving to electric drive. Much of the attention has been on cars and even semi trucks, but the motorcycle world is being impacted as well. One prime example is BMW’s new model of scooter. Let’s see why the new BMW C Evolution Electric Scooter is a game changer.
BMW is moving to electrify on two wheels and four
The Emergence of BMW C Evolution Electric Scooter
The motorcycle industry has becoming more and more competitive over the years. New companies have emerged on the scene and old companies continue to make innovations. BMW, for one, made another creation–the BMW C Evolution Electric Scooter.
BMW C Evolution Electric Scooter: The Specifications
Let’s look at this motorcycle’s specifications and features to get a better idea of why it has become such a game changer in the industry.
Model: C Series
Engine: Electric Motor
Top Speed: 80 mph
Battery: Air-cooled high-voltage battery
Battery Voltage: 133 V (nominal)
Features of the New BMW C Evolution Electric Scooter
The C Evolution is available in Ionic Silver Metallic and Electric Green. The color scheme emphasizes the shape of the motorcycle. Additionally, the touch of light electric green with the complementary color of the ionic silver, creates an attractive guise.
The electric performance of the C Evolution is at the same level as that of a combustion engine. With its 19 kW continuous output, and 35 kW peak output, this motorcycle offers remarkable power.
The C Evolution uses the same plug as electric cars
The version of the C Evolution for the European market also provides about the same level of drive power, with an 11 kW continuous output.
The C Evolution’s European version has top speeds of 129 km/h (80 mph)in long range and 120 km/h (74.5 mph) in the average range. So make sure you have all your safety equipment along.
With its engine technology, the C Evolution can take motorway driving and overtaking with complete ease. It can even carry two people with the same level of affluence. Plus, it can handle just about any type of road – from a steep slope to narrow roads.
Compared to traditional combustion engines, the C Evolution’s electric drive offers significant driving advantages, especially when you’re at low speeds. Its power electronics set-up allows the rider to have a sensitive and spontaneous response.
- Innovative Electric Drive
The C Evolution’s electric drive is integral to its swing arm. The e-motor behind the motorcycle’s battery casing functions as the swing arm’s integrated component.
BMW’s C Evolution also enables an optimum suspension set-up and a sensitive, yet spontaneous response. This is made possible by the proximity of the e-motor output shaft and the arm axles. Together, they minimize the inertia around the swing arm’s center of rotation.
The motorcycle’s secondary drive is positioned by the tooth belt from the location of the e-motor to the output shaft. The total gear reduction of the secondary drive is 1:8.28, and the e-motor’s maximum rotational speed is 10,000 rpm.
BMW has conducted a number of different road tests in order to develop a method of energy recuperation. Moreover, the C Evolution’s intelligent recuperation is unique from any other sing-track vehicles in the market. More importantly, it doesn’t have to initiate recuperation as the vehicle does the recuperation automatically when necessary.
BMW’s electric two-wheeler can keep up with the competition
The C Evolution makes use of Torque Control Assist (TCA) as the vehicle’s slip control feature. TCA limits the engine torque on rear wheel slip.
These features are only a few of the reasons why the new BMW C Evolution Electric Scooter is a game changer. Give it a try and see so for yourself. Basically, The C Evolution electric scooter has a lot of features to offer.
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Cargo & People Hauling To Became Cleaner in 2019
Mercedes-Benz pulled the covers off its new Sprinter van line this week at the company’s logistics center on the Mercator Island in Duisburg, Germany. In addition to the usual diesel- and gasoline-powered models, the truck and carmaker Daimler revealed an all-electric Mercedes-Benz eSprinter. The eSpritner goes on sale in Europe in 2019 and will be offered eventually in the U.S., said Volker Mornhinweg, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans.
Few Electric Drivetrain Details
The 2019 Mercedes-Benz eSprinter will be front-wheel drive only and at this point Mercedes says the new van will have a 41.4-kilowatt-hour battery pack and a driving range of around 100 miles. The exact specifications could change before the vehicle comes to market, including the battery size.
It’s a big electric box
According to Mercedes, the pairing of the electric battery with dedicated front-wheel drive lowers the load floor by 80mm and may end up as a slightly lighter drivetrain. Both low load floors and lighter vehicle weight are important factors not only for fleet purchasers, but for the drivers who end up running delivery routes in them.
Mercedes says the eSprinter will primarily be used in large metropolitan areas, where range isn’t critical, but emissions are. European cities like London, where electric-vehicles are exempt from a congestion charge, will likely make the electric van a popular choice for small and large trucking fleets. Mercedes says operating an eSprinter will cost about the same as a diesel-powered Sprinter. These electric vans can be tailored for specific payload requirements.
In Profile, Still A Sprinter Van
The 2019 Sprinter van’s exterior hasn’t changed much since its 1995 introduction. In profile, the new third-generation model remains with its boxy design, but the front and rear have some nips and tucks to look fresher. Of note, the new look up front adapts the latest Mercedes design direction that applies to both its latest vans and passenger cars.
The Sprinter dash ups the tech quotient
Inside, the story is much the same. That means the Sprinter retains its durable, everything-is-hard plastic. But changes were made to bring the van into the 21st century, such as incorporating the display screen into a semi-floating part of the dashboard that tilts upward. There’s also a plethora of storage from under-seat cubbies to large slots and bins on the dashboard. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Mercedes-Benz without door-mounted seat controls.
It’s not known what tech gear will be offered on the eSprinter when it arrives, but the standard van is lousy with new=fangled tech, whether it’s intended for driver convenience, safety or the fleet company.
In terms of safety equipment, the Sprinter’s tried-and-true Crosswind Assist system returns to help mitigate the effects strong wind has on a slab-sided van. Distronic will guide the van in its lane on the highway, keeping distance between the Sprinter and any traffic ahead. It’ll brake on its own if something gets in the way, and traffic-sign recognition will help drivers navigate unfamiliar areas.
The Sprinter will come in several different configurations
LED headlights will keep the road ahead nice and bright, while a new “Wet Wiper” system puts the wiper fluid nozzles inside the wiper arms for better dispersal and less spray-related mess. USB Type C connections allow you to charge devices at amperages up to 1.5A, but there’s a traditional 12-volt port in there, too, if you need that.
The infotainment screen can display both the backup camera and a top-down view of the world around the van when navigating gets a little tight.
Speaking of infotainment, the Sprinter can also be optioned with Mercedes-Benz’s new MBUX infotainment system. With a 10.25-inch screen, MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) brings new connectivity to the table thanks to a new digital assistant that understands natural-language requests like, “I’m cold” or “The gas tank is empty.” Paired with the MBUX system is the new Mercedes Pro internet connectivity system. It connects customers to help with efficient fleet management, improved navigation, analysis of driving style, digitalized recording and remote vehicle operations.
Regular Sprinter vans will arrive in the U.S. before the end of this year and will be offered for the first time with a gasoline engine in addition to diesel engines. It will have configurations that work for nearly every commercial van use as well as serve as a recreational vehicle platform. It will come as a regular cab—the most popular body for a delivery van—as well as a crew cab.
As for the eSprinter, we’ll just have to wait (hopefully not too long) for details.
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Europe To Get Electric Trucks Next Year; the U.S. Later
Last year, beverage industry giant Anheuser-Busch InBev announced that, by 2025, it would purchase only 100 percent renewable electricity; proving that corporations are beginning to realize that fish don’t drink beer and rising sea levels could be very bad for business. This year, InBev followed that commitment by placing an order to receive 40 of Tesla’s new electric semi-trucks (whenever Tesla gets around to making them). But Tesla is not the only automaker looking to capitalize on the green corporate shift.
Volvo’s not saying which model, but here’s one likely candidate already in the city
Not to be outdone by the playground upstart, industry giant Volvo Group announced this week that it will also sell electric trucks in North America; but it’s not saying when. While Europe will get electrified medium-duty Volvo trucks in 2019, the auto maker has not released a firm timeline for bringing its trucks across the pond.
“By using electrically powered and quieter trucks for goods transport in urban areas, we meet several challenges simultaneously,” said Claes Nilsson, President of Volvo Trucks. “Without disturbing noise and exhaust gases, it will be possible to operate in more sensitive city centers.”
Urban Delivery Focus
However, urban truck mobility is not the only positive electrified trucks would bring. Less noise means trucks can operate during more hours of the night, reducing the number of trucks on city roads during daytime rush-hour traffic.
The first electric semis will likely be found making short runs in town
Electric range and mandatory recharge periods could also help prevent driver fatigue, a problem that has been blamed for causing many accidents involving semi-trucks. But the path to electrified product transportation could be a long one; especially in the U.S.
“Enabling long-term sustainable transport is a complex issue that requires a holistic and wide range of measures,” said Jonas Odermalm, Head of Product Strategy for Medium Duty Vehicles at Volvo Trucks. “We are working closely with customers, cities, suppliers of charging infrastructure and other key stakeholders to create the necessary framework for electrical trucks.”
Potential range, powertrain specifications and price have not yet been released.
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