Listen to “AD #3408 – Automakers Surprised by EV Demand; CATL Develops Battery Swapping for Semis; ONE Battery Hits 1000 Wh/L” on Spreaker.
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0:08 Automakers Surprised by EV Demand
0:47 Energy Prices Hurt EV Battery Manufacturing in Germany
1:30 CATL Develops Battery Swapping for Semis
3:02 Renault Trafic Goes Electric
3:45 Ford Transit Gets PHEV, Diesels
4:54 ONE Battery Hits 1000 Wh/L
6:34 Ford SYNC Spots Pedestrians, Bicyclists
7:16 Hyundai & Iveco Make FCEV Van
8:14 Bridgestone Develops Lunar Tires
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
AUTOMAKERS SURPRISED BY EV DEMAND
Some people say we’re not ready for electric vehicles, but the sales numbers tell a different story. The Wall Street Journal reports that EV sales tripled in the last two years and that automakers can’t build them fast enough. Last summer it took an average of 47 days to sell an EV. This year it’s 19 days, which is 4 days faster than ICE vehicles. If they could build more they could sell more, but automakers face shortages of batteries and computer chips. Until they solve that, EV sales will not be able to reach their full potential.
ENERGY PRICES HURT EV BATTERY MANUFACTURING IN GERMANY
Germany is falling behind in making EV batteries. That’s according to Martin Daum, the CEO of Daimler Truck. Batteries are very energy intensive to manufacture and energy prices in Germany and Europe are sky high right now because Russia cut off natural gas supplies to the European Union. That puts Europe at a cost disadvantage to make EV batteries. Daimler has an electric semi that it’s selling right now with LFP batteries with a range of 500 kilometers, or about 350 miles. By the end of the decade it wants 60% of its sales to be battery or fuel cell electric.
CATL DEVELOPS BATTERY SWAPPING FOR SEMIS
Speaking of big electric trucks, CATL wants to make them capable of battery swapping in China. CATL, the world’s largest EV battery manufacturer, developed what it calls MTB, or module-to-bracket technology. The modules are stacked together in a bracket, which is integrated into the chassis of the truck. On top of reducing weight, it also helps lower the center of gravity by 21%, making it safer. The system can accommodate battery packs from 140 up to 600 kilowatt hours, depending on the duty cycle of the truck.
RENAULT TRAFIC GOES ELECTRIC
After electrifying the Kangoo and Master, Renault continues to round out its EV van lineup with the all-electric version of the Trafic. It will be available in two wheelbases and two body heights. Power comes from a 90 kW or 120 horsepower electric motor, which provides a 750-kilogram towing capacity and the ability to carry over a ton. Lastly, the battery pack is 52 kWh and is estimated to return 240 kilometers or roughly 150 miles of range. But no word yet on when the electric Trafic van will be available.
FORD TRANSIT GETS PHEV, DIESELS
Speaking of electric vans, Ford revealed the all-new E-Transit Custom earlier this month, but now we’re learning more about its other powertrains. The new Transit Custom will also come with PHEV and diesel setups. There’s four diesel engine outputs available, ranging from about 110 horsepower up to roughly 170 horsepower. Those engines can be paired to a 6-speed manual with an optional limited slip diff or an 8-speed automatic that’s available with AWD, a first for the Transit Custom. As for the PHEV, its setup is going to sound familiar to the Kuga plug-in. It combines a 2.5L gas engine and a battery pack with 11.8 kWh of usable energy that provides up to 57 kilometers or 35 miles of range. It also provides 2.3 kW of power that can be tapped into for work tools or equipment. Deliveries of the new Transit Custom kick off in the middle of next year.
ONE BATTERY HITS 1000 Wh/L
ONE or Our Next Energy, revealed a new battery type that it says will help increase EV range. It’s an anode-free cell that has a volumetric energy density of over 1,000 Wh/L, which it believes is the highest for a large-format cell ever produced. But the issue with these types of cells is that they typically have a low life cycle. So, ONE is using them in a dual-chemistry architecture with Lithium Iron Phosphate or LFP cells. The LFP side does all the heavy lifting, while the anode-free cells are meant for lighter loads, like cruising. It will use this setup in a BMW iX prototype later this year that it hopes to achieve a 600-mile range with. Better still, because the anode-free battery eliminates the need for graphite and anode manufacturing equipment, ONE believes it can bring cost down to $50 kWh at scale.
FORD SYNC SPOTS PEDESTRIANS, BICYCLISTS
Ford is developing smartphone technology that can warn drivers of pedestrians or bicyclists that are in a vehicle’s path, even if the driver is blocked from seeing them. It’s an app that uses Bluetooth Low Energy messaging to communicate with a connected Ford vehicle. If it detects that a crash could occur, Ford SYNC alerts the driver on the screen with graphics of pedestrians or bicyclists along with audio alerts. Ford says the technology could also be used to detect construction zones and workers. The automaker is working with a number of companies and schools to develop the technology.
HYUNDAI & IVECO MAKE FCEV VAN
Fuel cells keep making progress, especially on the commercial side of the industry. Hyundai and Iveco revealed a prototype fuel cell version of a commercial van. Called the eDaily FCEV, it’s equipped with Hyundai’s 90-kW hydrogen fuel cell system and a 140-kW electric motor. Its 6 fuel tanks hold 12 kilograms of hydrogen and it has a range of 350 kilometers or 217 miles based on tests in Europe. And the 7.2-ton van has a maximum payload of 3 tons. Iveco says it plans to produce a small series of the eDaily FCEV for trial tests with select customers by the end of next year. Hyundai and Iveco formed a partnership earlier this year, so we expect to see more commercial trucks from the pair in the future.
BRIDGESTONE DEVELOPS LUNAR TIRES
Bridgestone is going to the moon. It’s partnering with Teledyne Brown Engineering to provide lunar tires for the lunar rover vehicle that it’s developing for NASA. There’s not a whole lot of details but it’s a metal airless tire that must operate in extreme temperatures and harsh environments over long periods of time. Teledyne teamed up with a number of partners to create the rover including Nissan North America.
TIM KUNISKIS ON AAH
Will hard-core gear heads really go for electric muscle cars? Tim Kuniskis, the head of Dodge says they will. And he’s our guest on Autoline After Hours this Thursday. We invite you to tune in to that debate and we’d love to hear what you think of the electric Dodge Charger.
But that’s a wrap for today. We hope to see you again tomorrow.
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Seamus and Sean McElroy cover the latest news in the automotive industry for Autoline Daily.