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electric vehicle

Electric Vehicles Go To Two Wheels

What To Expect With A Zero Motorcycles’ Electric Vehicles, I mean, Motorcycles.

With growing popularity, electric vehicles have started taking over. Some of the most popular brands on American roads are: Bolt, Prius, Proterra, and Tesla. It is rare to see or hear of a fully electric or hybrid motorcycle. Harley and Honda are two of the more popular brands of motor bikes. Their customers have expressed interest in the greener approach to riding but not many startups have been successful. Zero Motorcycles, Lightning Motorcycle, and Alta Motors are some US Companies still in the game.

electric vehicles

Zero Motorcycles CTO, Abe Askenazi, has been in the motorcycle industry for almost twenty years. He said right now a lot of Zero Motorcycles’ customers buy the company’s EV bikes alongside market-leading V-twins and V-4s. To him, that indicates Zero’s bikes perform at the same or better levels as riders’ long-held favorites. He continued, electric bikes are quiet, so riders can hear what’s happening around them, and won’t disturb the peace, which their neighbors appreciate. That quietness is one reason police departments buy Zero Motorcycles for their fleets. They can ride at any hour, and approach suspects stealthily if they drive electric.

Zero’s products range from lightweight “hot rods” to off-road models that cost anywhere from about $8,500 to $16,000. Some of the new bikes are promising 200 miles per charge, which is a significant improvement from past models. The motorcycles’ easy to read instruments, speed control, and acceleration are some of Zero’s customers’ favorite qualities.

Askenazi stated, “Optimization of chemistry has gotten us here. The beautiful thing is that batteries are plug-and-play. When that battery comes that will give you 1,000 miles, we’ll be able to use it. Where the industry is going though is not so much a bigger battery to go further between charges, but faster charging so you can go grocery shopping, plug it in, come back and then you’re ready to go again.”

The CTO said that batteries will eventually weigh less and take up less space on the e-bikes. This will allow more space for cargo and other components. Askenazi stated, “You gain a lot of practicality with this bike.” He believes over time there will be many improvements with lighter weight and stronger materials.

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    Introducing The Fully Electric Off-Road Mercedes G-Class

    Electric vehicles are typically constructed with a specific client in mind, and usually this envisioned customer is most concerned with getting around in ultimate efficiency. Tesla stirred up this stereotype with its fast sports cars, but the new Kreisel customized Mercedes G 350 d with a fully electric drivetrain adds another dimension to the image of the prospective EV buyer. The plan came together thanks in part to a high-profile stakeholder and design partner, Arnold Schwarzenegger. The former governor of California and actor drives a Mercedes G in the United States, but along with Kreisel, wanted to build a version of his beloved car that also meshed with his priorities and values when it comes to seeking out renewable energy alternatives wherever possible.


    Schwarzenegger said in a press release revealing the vehicle, “To me, with the electric version of this fantastic car, a dream has become true. The initial test drive was a real pleasure. The Kreisel is incredibly sporty and perfectly benefits from the advantages e-mobility has to offer. I really look forward to the following test runs and to the gradual further development in California.” The man who played Harry Tasker is now the official test driver for the first converted Mercedes G, and he is going to be helping with future design and development that will happen stateside in association with Austria-based Kreisel Electric.

    This first prototype was assembled in only two months, and carries a “realistic” maximum range of 300 kilometres, pretty impressive for a vehicle whose frame is not designed for maximum EV efficiency. It is powered by an 80 kWh battery, and the ar also claimed a 3 second faster 0 to 60 mph time of around 5.6 seconds, when compared to its gas-guzzling V6 progenitor. It also supports fast charging, recovering 80% of its capacity in just 25 minutes. It is a very cool retrofit, and hopefully one that consumers can soon pick up as an aftermarket modification. Kreisel is currently building a factory for large-scale production of its electric battery packs for use by automotive OEMs and other customers, so this is more of a side project.

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    Uber Technology Drives Into Portland

    Uber technology and the company’s automobiles are making their way to Portland, OR. The company doesn’t have the best history with the city, but that won’t stop Portland from becoming the first U.S. market where Uber will push a set benchmarks for electrifying its fleet.

    For the Portland version of Uber Electric, a program that the company rolled out to London last year, the ride-hailing company will team up with Drive Oregon, a partially state-funded nonprofit that seeks to get more electric vehicles on the road. With a combination of incentives and educational initiatives, Uber aims to make 10 percent of its Oregon fleet electric by 2019, statewide. Right now, the company says that 100 of the 6,000 active Portland Uber drivers use electric vehicles, so it has a lot of work to do.

    To reach its 10 percent goal, Uber is pursuing a range of local collaborations. The company will work with Portland’s Black Parent Initiative to expand electric vehicle access to underserved communities, Cynergy E-Bikes to connect UberEATS couriers with electric bikes, and Arcimoto, an Oregon-based EV company. Uber is expected to use its auto-lease subsidiary Xchange Leasing to offer in-house deals to drivers wishing to get behind the wheel of an EV.

    Uber stated about its mission in the city, “The City of Portland has also adopted some of the nation’s most aggressive measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Uber Electric will help Portland and the state of Oregon achieve these important clean energy goals.” Uber isn’t the only alternative transportation company going electric in Portland. Late last year, the city became the second market for BMW’s ReachNow, a Zipcar-like service with a focus on electric vehicles, and a previous initiative by Car2Go sprinkled electric smart cars onto its rainy streets all the way back in 2012.

    In a world where a quarter of cars could drive themselves by 2030, Uber’s decision to take two years to recruit a few hundred EV drivers is more incremental than revolutionary. Still, it shows that the company is implementing both long and short-term strategies for rethinking transportation, even in the midst of one of the worst PR crises the tech industry has ever known.

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    Divergent 3D’s technology delivers many advantages vs. traditional manufacturing.

    Previously we were looking at how Lamborghini uses forged composite carbon fiber in automobile manufacturing. However, forged composites are not the only possibilities when talking about cutting edge materials. Divergent 3D is creating additive manufacturing auto parts for the everyday consumer (3D printing for you and me). They recently signed a partnership with PSA Group (Peugeot and Citroën) and today they created a partnership with engineering firm Altran. Divergent 3D is currently creating the technology to enable OEM’s to produce components; in volume, using extremely low energy and much lower capital costs as compared to conventional methods.

    Auto parts are manufactured today in pretty much the same way they have been made for over 20 years. Huge presses are used to stamp out metal parts. These presses are extremely expensive and utilize substantial amounts of energy. Kevin Czinger, Divergent 3D’s founder and CEO, realized this when he co-founded a business that manufactured electric vehicles. He told Ars: “I learned that what slows down advances in the auto industry is hard-metal tooling and stamping. You need hundreds of millions of dollars up front for hardware design and construction, which needs to be amortized, and changes to that hardware become prohibitively expensive.”

    Divergent 3D’s innovation utilizes direct-metal laser sintering. Layers of aluminum alloy powder are developed to make the fundamental parts or to fabricate molds for non-metallic segments. Furthermore, in light of the fact that mind boggling shapes can be made effortlessly, parts that as of recently have been made of a few pieces that must be welded together can be made as single pieces.

    As per Czinger; Divergent 3D and its partners are working on structural parts and segments of suspension, but over time “large complex structures like cylinder heads and engine blocks will be 3D printed.” The goal is to lower the number of parts per car by three fourths as well as lower the weight of cars by half. Lighter cars are more fuel efficient. According to Czinger, his parts are 10-15 percent lighter than T6 aluminum, but just as tough.

    Czinger said that a factory of sixteen 3D printers; priced at approximately $1 million each, would be capable of producing approximately 10,000 auto’s per year. Design changes are also easier to make considering they either utilize the 3D printer or parts created by the 3D printer, (easily reconfigured once the revised part is designed in silico).

    PSA Group’s Chairman Carlos Tavares said: “We are very impressed by the promising new opportunities in Divergent 3D’s technology. We’re convinced that these spectacular advances in 3D printing will help position PSA Group as a leader in automobile manufacturing. This has the potential to dramatically scale down the size and scope of our manufacturing footprint, reduce overall vehicle weight and build complexity, while also giving us almost limitless flexibility in design output. We are talking about a radical change for our industry.”

    Altran; a large engineering and R&D company, appears to be just as excited. Rob Vatter, CEO of Altran North America, said: “The dramatic transformation the auto industry is facing must take into consideration not only how to leverage disruptive innovation, but also how to reduce the capital required to bring connected and intelligent vehicles to market. This partnership will address both considerations by streamlining the process of creating and integrating complex systems that will make up the cars of the near and distant future. At the same time, Divergent 3D’s platform will help us optimize our customers’ value chains by lowering costs and speeding up development timelines.”

    Cizinger plans to take the next three to four years to prove the technology, then he feels we will start seeing it become available in commercial vehicles. “As more niche vehicles get built this will be used more and more because of low upfront capital cost and time,” he told Ars.

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    technology SkyX Ltd

    Technology Breakthrough with SkyOne Drone

    SkyX Ltd. recently arrived to share details about its unique industrial drone technology designs. The company’s SkyOne drones take off and land like a helicopter, but fly more like an airplane, with a range of up to 65 miles per charge. For drone industry nerds, this means they have both VTOL and fixed-wing elements.

    Cameras and sensors on board enable SkyOne drones to gather data about infrastructure below and send it back to cloud-based applications for analysis. The drones also launch from and land on proprietary charging stations, called xStations, which close a kind of shell over the UAVs when they are not moving, protecting them from theft. The charging stations do not remove and replace the batteries within the drones, but charge them directly, then send the drones on their way.

    technology SkyX Ltd

    Other companies land their unmanned aerial vehicles on charging stations where their batteries are swapped out for fresh ones. Positioning charging stations along a route can give drones a virtually unlimited range. It’s a design idea we should expect to see until battery tech and other power systems advance significantly.

    SkyX founder and CEO Didi Horn spent his earlier career flying for the Israel Air Force. Horn stated, “I always knew I wanted to develop something around drones and aviation for commercial use when I got out. But in consumer there were already great products. There was nothing great for long-range, but that’s where I knew there would be demand. There are millions of kilometers of oil and gas pipelines already built in the world today and they are all at risk of leaks, or terror attacks, you name it.”

    The technology company is first focusing on the energy industry, as its drones and charging stations can be configured to cover long distances between pumping stations along oil and gas pipelines. The drones also can be used to cover acres of solar panels installed on vast farms, or wind turbines installed along roads, even in remote areas, Horn explained. The xStations can plug into a typical electric outlet. Or they can be connected to solar panels or other freestanding generators, he noted.

    Though SkyX did not have permission to disclose the names of its earliest customers, it is working with several energy companies on safety tests and pilot projects today in the Americas, Horn said. The drones fly autonomously, and the company also has to secure permission in different markets to fly beyond the line of sight of human observers or pilots on the ground.

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    formula e

    Manufacturers Ready For The All Electric Race; 2018 Formula E Season

    Formula E recently announced the nine manufacturers that will race electric cars in seasons five, six, and seven. You may think it’s that big of a deal, but it is. Beginning in season five, each team will race one car per driver for the entire race, instead of two.

    formula e


    Because battery technology fell behind series founder Alejandro Agag’s aspiration for all-electric racing, Formula E teams have fielded two drivers with two cars per driver. That meant four cars in the garage. Usually about halfway through the race the driver would have to pull into pit row, climb out of the first car, and jump into a second car with a charged battery.

    The new single-car standard will cover seasons five, six, and seven, which begin in fall 2018. The nine manufacturers who have met this standard are: ABT Formel E, BMW AG, DS Automobiles, Jaguar Land Rover, Mahindra Racing, NextEV NIO, Penske Autosport, Renault, and Venturi Automobiles.

    There are teams currently racing that are not represented on this list, including Faraday Future Dragon Racing and Techeetah. However, other manufacturers are continuing their commitment to electric open-wheel racing, like Renault, Venturi, NextEV, and Mahindra. Jaguar joined the series for 2016-2017, while MS Amlin Andretti seems to be dropping out before the new standards come into play. Mercedes-Benz had been planning to join the fray in season five, but its name is not on this list published by FIA, the series’ governing body.

    There will also be a new Formula E car on the track in 2018; Spark Racing Technology will produce identical bodies for each team to paint and cover in stickers however they would like. The new battery that makes single-car racing possible will be supplied to the teams by McLaren Applied Technologies. The Roborace series should be up and running by that time, too.

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    Augmented-Reality Technology Company Attracting Big Investment

    Technology & e-commerce company Alibaba is digging deeper into the automobile industry after launching its first car last year. The company announced the Chinese Internet and e-commerce beast is the lead investor in smart car tech developer WayRay’s $18 million Series B round. Founded in 2012, WayRay makes holographic navigation systems. According to its funding announcement, WayRay has already spent $10 million of its own cash, as well as previous venture funding, on the technology that underpins Navion, an augmented-reality dashboard that overlays directions and other information onto a driver’s view of the road. WayRay plans to unveil a consumer version of Navion in 2017.


    Alibaba Group’s senior investment director, Ethan Xie stated, “We believe there is huge potential in the development of leading-edge technology like augmented reality and its application to various industries, like WayRay’s AR navigation system in the auto sector. The potential of augmented reality makes it an exciting and promising area.” Alibaba made its first appearance in the car industry last summer, when the RX5, a smart car it designed with SAIC (one of China’s “big four” state-owned auto manufacturers) opened for pre-orders. The RX5 uses Alibaba’s Yun operating system and the company anticipates to make the vehicle part of an Internet-of-Things ecosystem that will include its other smart hardware and Internet services like Alipay.

    But Alibaba’s smart cars are already up against challengers from other big Chinese tech companies like LeEco, which bills its electric car LeSee as “the first mobility ecosystem on wheels,” and Baidu, which is developing smart car technology and autonomous vehicles with BAIC, another of China’s big four state-owned automakers. WayRay also said that it will partner with Banma Technologies (a joint venture between Alibaba Group and SAIC) to create an augmented-reality navigation and entertainment system for a car that will be launched by Banma in 2018. WayRay claims that this is “the world’s first vehicle in-production with a holographic AR head-up display.”

    technology gm lyft

    GM And Lyft May Launch Autonomous Technology In Test Bolts In 2018

    Technology has evolved and can now be seen in self-driving groups of vehicles may be sharing the roads with human drivers sooner than many of us predicted. Beginning in 2018, General Motors will field thousands of self-driving technology-based electric test vehicles, primarily based on the Chevy Bolt platform, Reuters reported. According to the report, the fleets of cars will mainly be used with partner Lyft for on-demand ride-hailing service technology.

    technology gm lyft

    This is much sooner than the anticipated 2020 date Ford and others have been aiming for large-scale deployment of self driving vehicle groups in similar ride-sharing functions. The report calls this a launch of “test fleets,” so these cars will still likely not be positioned as a commercial debut of a service, but it sounds like we may still see them in active service with customers, since Lyft is said to be planning to operate them in a test capacity in multiple states among its ride-sharing service fleet.

    General Motors has said in the past that it intends to start piloting its self-driving vehicle technology in ride-sharing services “sooner than you might think.” The company has also been sharing periodic updates from GM-owned Cruise, which is actively testing autonomous Bolt EVs driving city streets in San Francisco, as well as in Arizona, with plans to expand to Michigan roads soon.

    In the course of testing its Cruise fleet, General Motors has made use of a smartphone app that allows a user to choose a beginning and end point for the trip, and it’s very likely we’ll see similar technology used in any consumer-facing trials at a larger scale. In May of 2016, General Motors and Lyft previously discussed plans to begin testing self-driving taxi service on public roads “within a year.”

    Lyft rival Uber also announced that Daimler would be the first automaker joining its so-called self-driving vehicle platform, which is open to all OEMs and will allow them to operate fleets of their own autonomous cars on Uber’s network for ride-hailing services. The tie-up between Lyft and General Motors has seemed a more exclusive arrangement, and it looks likely to stay that way at least through this test period, if this report is accurate.

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    Airbus Should Have Self-Flying Technology Vehicle Prototype This Year

    Airbus CEO Tom Enders announced the company aims to roll out a prototype self-flying technology for small urban transport made for single-passenger travel by the end of this year. Airbus has been advancing its self-governing vertical take-off and landing concept through Project Vahana, an internal project designed to research viability and refine a model for urban air transport. Enders told the DLD tech conference in Munich that Airbus is taking the project “very seriously.” Airborne’s transit for goods and individual passengers would be highly beneficial for alleviating urban congestion, and redefining how urban planners think about city designs.


    Vahana plans to have a workable production urban aircraft for short trips ready by 2021, and so actual model tests by the end of 2017. The company previously said it was wishing to field a full-scale model sometime in 2017. It seems like Enders is still dedicated to keeping his company to that deadline. The self-flying vehicle will most likely use a 4 rotor design with variable positioning possible to aid with vertical take off, and then shift to push the vehicle forward in the air. The architecture process is taking into account what’s most economical, given requirements like an electric motor, which Airbus is focusing on so that a fleet of the vehicles will not have a worse impact on the environment than ground-based transportation in terms of adding to air pollution.

    Flying cars might seem outrageous but helicopter-creator Airbus thinks that they would be ignoring the category at their peril, given the advance of technology that can help make it possible. If Airbus can pull off the model, the biggest hurdle might be regulation. Transporting people by drone is still a big legal concern in metropolitan areas. It will be difficult to prove its safety to municipal regulators.

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    Where companies like Tesla, Google, and even Uber are racing at break neck speeds to be a leader in self driving automobiles, Ford is taking a slower pace. According to reports, the long standing US automotive companies could see its first self driving car in 10 years, versus 10 months but for good reason. Last month Ford CEO Mark Fields said that the company will put self driving vehicles into mass production in 2021 but only for “ride hailing duty”. Normal consumers will have to wait longer in order to be able to self park one of these new rides in their garages.

    Why will it take so long? Mostly, this hesitation has a lot to do with the safety issues this new technology faces. There was already a reported death from the malfunctioning of Tesla’s new self driving electric car. With this comes many more questions regarding the fail-safes that should and hopefully will be put in place by automakers. Basically the greater level of automation implemented, the more time it will take for the human driver to get reengaged in actually driving the vehicle when the system needs that “human touch.”

    The results may show Ford becoming a laggard in the marketplace of self driving cars but then again it allows the company to sit back and watch companies like Tesla become to test subjects for the formal roll-out of the eventual Ford Self-Driving Auto. For investors of Ford, they’re just going to have to sit back and wait, which may actually work out for the better considering the missteps already going on within the market via some of the other “early birds”.

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