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GM Teams Up with EV Industry for a Better Grid

July 29, 2014 in Electric Vehicles, EV charging, EV News, GM, Greentech, Volt

Eight automakers and 15 electric utilities work to develop smart grid program

2015 Chevrolet Spark EV Photo courtesy of GM

2015 Chevrolet Spark EV
Photo courtesy of GM

SAN DIEGO – General Motors is bringing its OnStar-enabled Smart Grid solutions, to one of the largest electric vehicle collaborations to take place within the industry. Eight global automakers, including GM, and 15 electric utilities are working with the Electric Power Research Institute to develop and implement a standardized Smart Grid integration platform.

“One thing that’s missing from most Smart Grid programs is a sense of collaboration,” said Tim Nixon, chief technology officer, Global Connected Consumer, GM. “Companies will showcase a meaningful solution, but without widespread acceptance in the industry, its usability is limited. That’s what makes this partnership unique.”

GM currently offers extended range electric vehicles – the Chevrolet Volt and Cadillac ELR – as well as the all-electric Chevrolet Spark EV. The plug-in electric vehicle market in the U.S. has grown to more than 225,000 vehicles – including more than 63,000 Chevrolet Volts, the best-selling plug-in vehicle in the U.S. since launch in 2010.

“As electric vehicles become more prevalent in the marketplace, it will present some unique challenges and opportunities for utilities who manage the flow of the electric grid,” said Dan Bowermaster, EPRI manager of Electric Transportation. “The focus of this collaboration is to create a standard program that will allow utilities to work with different types of plug-in vehicles to more efficiently manage their demand on the grid.”

For the first phase of the program, EPRI and the participating companies will work to develop a standardized Demand Response solution. Demand Response is the signal a utility sends to an energy management company communicating the supply and demand needs to the electric grid. That company then communicates with designated plug-in vehicles in the area to manage their energy consumption in accordance with the grid’s needs.

“If such a service were ever to be implemented for consumers that opt-in to it, they could receive a financial benefit or other incentive for allowing their vehicle charging to be managed,” said Nixon. “This would also allow utilities to help reduce stress on the grid and costs to all utility customers.”

The goal of this program is to develop a cloud-based, central server that would receive grid requests from a utility – like Demand Response – and then translate and standardize that request so it could be relayed to all appropriate plug-in vehicles in the designated area. Automakers would be expected to develop and deploy technologies compatible with these smart grid communications.

GM has been working with companies like TimberRock Energy Solutions, Inc. to research, test and develop potential real-world solutions like Demand Response.

The global automakers participating in this program are: American Honda Motor Co., Honda R&D Americas, Inc., BMW Group, Chrysler Group LLC, Ford Motor Co., GM, Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America, Inc., Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc., and Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc. The utilities involved are DTE Energy, Duke Energy, PJM Interconnection LLC, CenterPoint Energy, Inc., Southern Company, Northeast Utilities, Southern California Edison, Pacific Gas & Electric Company, San Diego Gas & Electric, Commonwealth Edison, TVA, Manitoba Hydro, Austin Energy, ConEd and CPS Energy.

About OnStar LLC OnStar, LLC (OnStar) is a wholly owned subsidiary of GM Holdings LLC (“GM”). Along with its affiliate Shanghai OnStar Telematics Co. Ltd (a joint venture involving OnStar, Shanghai General Motors Co., Ltd (SGM) and Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC)), OnStar serves more than seven million subscribers in North America and China. OnStar is a provider of connected safety, security and mobility solutions and advanced information technology. OnStar’s key services include automatic crash response, stolen vehicle assistance, remote door unlock, turn-by-turn navigation, vehicle diagnostics and hands-free calling.

Eight MBA teams from Babson, Columbia, Harvard, University of Michigan, University of California-Berkeley and Stanford visit the General Motors Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant - home of the Chevrolet Volt - Wednesday, July 23, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan. Sponsored by Chevrolet, the MBAs Across America teams will help more than 35 businesses nationwide, traveling in a fleet of 4G LTE Chevrolet Volts. (Photo by Steve Fecht for Chevrolet) Courtesy of GM

Eight MBA teams from Babson, Columbia, Harvard, University of Michigan, University of California-Berkeley and Stanford visit the General Motors Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant – home of the Chevrolet Volt – Wednesday, July 23, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan. Sponsored by Chevrolet, the MBAs Across America teams will help more than 35 businesses nationwide, traveling in a fleet of 4G LTE Chevrolet Volts. (Photo by Steve Fecht for Chevrolet)
Courtesy of GM

This article is a repost, credit: GM.

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The Converging Environmental and Economic Crises, By Nate Hagens, Post Carbon Institute

July 29, 2014 in Environment, EV News, Oil

Photo courtesy of Post Carbon Institute

Photo courtesy of Post Carbon Institute

PCI Board Member Nate Hagens made this presentation at Minneapolis College of Art and Design on July 10, 2014.

Nate is a well-known speaker on the big picture issues facing human society. Nate’s presentations address the opportunities and constraints we face after the coming end of economic growth. His talk, The Converging Environmental and Economic Crises: A Pep Talk For Those Paying Attention offered suggestions on how society might better adapt, physically and psychologically, to what’s ahead.

This article is a repost, credit: Post Carbon Institute. Video courtesy of Post Carbon Institute.

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Alstom and Transmashholding obtain certification for their electric locomotive 2ES5 in Russia

July 29, 2014 in Electric Vehicles, EV News, Trains

Alstom and TMH 2ES5 locomotive just obtained the certification, confirming its compliance with Russian mandatory safety norms. By 2020, 200 units will be delivered to the customer, Russian Railways (RZD). The first ones should enter commercial service during autumn and will start operating in Syberia along winter time.

Photo courtesy of Alstom

Photo courtesy of Alstom

Developed by TRTrans, the engineering centre jointly operated by Alstom and Transmashholding (TMH), the 2ES5 electric locomotive is Russia’s first mainline freight AC1 locomotive with asynchronous motors. Production of the key components, including traction equipment, is localized in Russia and the locomotives themselves are manufactured at TMH’s Novocherkassk Electric Locomotive Plant.

The 2ES5 electric locomotive is our second product jointly developed with TMH after the EP20 passenger electric locomotive, currently the fastest in Russia, able to run at up to 200 km/h. The new freight electric locomotive is based on a modular principle and its design will provide the customer with the most advanced engineering solutions in terms of security, control systems, power consumption and driver comfort,” said Thibault Desteract, Senior Vice-President of Alstom Transport in Russia and CIS.

The advanced design of the locomotives enables a significant increase in time between overhauls, ensuring a dramatic reduction in maintenance costs.

The 2ES5 locomotives will be operated in the Eastern regions of Russia, on the Baikal-Amur Mainline, which is now being upgraded as part of a government programme.

1 - Alternating Current

This article is a repost, credit: Alstom.

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NRG eVgo Partnership with BMW Expands Access to Electric Vehicle Fast Charging Network

July 28, 2014 in BMW, BMW i3, Electric Vehicles, EV charging, EV News

eVgo, the fastest growing EV fast charging site provider, is first network to support the new SAE DC charging standard 

The ChargeNow DC Fast program offers BMW i3 EV drivers in California unlimited, no cost 30 minute DC fast charging, at NRG eVgo Freedom Station® sites equipped with DC Combo Fast Charging, through 2015. Photo courtesy of NRG

The ChargeNow DC Fast program offers BMW i3 EV drivers in California unlimited, no cost 30 minute DC fast charging, at NRG eVgo Freedom Station® sites equipped with DC Combo Fast Charging, through 2015.
Photo courtesy of NRG

SAN JOSE, Calif. — NRG eVgo (ee-vee-go), a subsidiary of NRG Energy, Inc. (NYSE:NRG), is further expanding access to the Company’s electric vehicle (EV) charging network by partnering with BMW on its new ChargeNow DC Fast program. Now, BMW i3 drivers in California can enjoy unlimited, no cost 30 minute DC fast charging, at eVgo Freedom Station® sites equipped with DC Combo Fast Charging, through 2015.

“At NRG eVgo, we are passionate in our commitment to drive the future of electric vehicle charging,” said Arun Banskota, President of NRG eVgo. “By identifying strategic partnerships and working with those partners to develop innovative solutions to EV charging needs, we can create an interconnected, reliable network of conveniently placed DC fast charging locations that gives EV drivers the confidence to drive farther than ever before.”

Based on data from the Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center, eVgo is the fastest growing provider of fast charging sites. By adding SAE Combo DC fast chargers at California Freedom Station locations as well as Level 2 charging, eVgo, furthers its commitment to support all EV drivers wherever and however they choose to charge.

“Our strategy is to provide a complete solution for electric vehicle drivers,” continued Mr. Banskota. “By offering public, home, workplace, apartment community and on-the-go charging stations in each of our markets, NRG eVgo offers EV drivers total range confidence with cost certainty.”

eVgo is committed to interoperability and its network is capable of reading multiple access cards including single all-access cards, an initiative that gives electric vehicle drivers seamless access to multiple major EV charging networks.

“We are confident the rapidly-expanding eVgo DC Fast Charging network will provide significant benefits to BMW i3 drivers in California,” said Robert Healey, EV Infrastructure Manager, BMW of North America. “The ChargeNow DC Fast program brings us closer to the reality of one card, one account public charging network interoperability.”

BMW 13 Photo courtesy of BMW

BMW i3
Photo courtesy of BMW

With comprehensive EV charging networks in San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, the greater Washington, D.C. area, Dallas and Houston, eVgo public chargers have powered more than 2.1 million electric miles so far. Through the eVgo network, NRG provides access to hundreds of public charging sites across the United States and continues to expand nationally, increasing its footprint in at least 20 new markets.

About NRG eVgo

The NRG eVgo SM network gives electric vehicle (EV) owners new freedom and range confidence via home and workplace charging docks plus a network of fast charging stations conveniently located at retailers along major transportation corridors within eVgo cities. Service plans offered by eVgo can provide EV owners a home charger and unlimited use of eVgo’s Freedom Station® sites – all for one low monthly fee. eVgo is a subsidiary of NRG Energy, Inc., a Fortune 250 company at the forefront of changing how people think about, buy and use energy. Through eVgo, NRG will provide access to hundreds of public charging sites across the United States. To find out more, or to join the eVgo network, visit www.nrgeVgo.com. Connect with eVgo on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @nrgevgo.

This article is a repost, credit: NRG.

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Chilean Minister of Energy on BYD’s Pure Electric Bus

July 28, 2014 in BYD, Electric Bus, Electric Vehicles, EV News

Santiago, Chile – BYD Company Ltd. has joined Chile’s fight to save the environment. The Chilean Exhibition on Energy-Saving Technologies took place recently, and among an array of offerings was a BYD k9, the world’s first long-range battery electric bus. The event was attended by the Chilean Minister of Energy, Máximo Pacheco, who spoke on Chile’s need for a diversified, balanced and sustainable energy mix.

Pictured above: Máximo Pacheco on board the pure electric BYD k9 Photo courtesy of BYD

Pictured above: Máximo Pacheco on board the pure electric BYD k9
Photo courtesy of BYD

Currently, the Chilean goal is to immediately reduce emissions and wasteful energy consumption by 20%. This is crucial not only for the environment, but for the balance sheet of a nation that is currently importing nearly 70% of energy consumed. Minister Pacheco noted that full service new energy companies such as BYD are necessary to implementing the change required for meeting these goals, and is excited to see the BYD electric buses operating on the streets of Santiago in the near future. Last year, the Chilean Minister of the Environment, Maria Ignacia Benitez had similar remarks during a BYD Electric Bus Pilot Program with the University of Lima.

About BYD

BYD Company Ltd. is one of China’s largest companies and has successfully expanded globally. Specializing in battery technologies, their green mission to “solve the whole problem” has made them industry pioneers and leaders in several High-tech sectors including High-efficiency Automobiles, Electrified Public Transportation, Environmentally-Friendly Energy Storage, Affordable Solar Power and Information Technology and Original Design Manufacturing (ODM) services.

As the world’s largest manufacturer of rechargeable batteries, their mission to create safer and more environmentally friendly battery technologies has led to the development of the BYD Iron Phosphate (or “Fe”) Battery. This fire-safe, completely recyclable and incredibly long-cycle technology has become the core of their clean energy platform that has expanded into automobiles, buses, trucks, utility vehicles and energy storage facilities. BYD and all of their shareholders, including the great American Investor Warren Buffett, see these environmentally and economically forward products as the way of the future.

BYD has made a strong entrance to the North, Central and South American markets with their battery electric buses, and lineup of automobiles. Their mission lies not just in sales growth, but also in sociological integration and local job creation as they have poured incredible investments into developing offices, dealerships and manufacturing facilities in the local communities they now call home, truly a first for Chinese companies. For more information, please visit www.byd.com.

This article is a repost, credit: BYD.

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First Model S Deliveries in Hong Kong

July 28, 2014 in Electric Vehicles, EV News, Model S, Supercharger, Tesla

Photo courtesy of Tesla

Photo courtesy of Tesla

By The Tesla Motors Team

Hundreds of Tesla customers and enthusiasts came together at Hong Kong’s Kai Tak Cruise Terminal on Wednesday to celebrate the arrival of the first right hand drive Model S’s in Asia. On hand to deliver eight Model S keys and introduce Hong Kong’s first two Supercharging sites was Jerome Guillen, Tesla’s Vice President of World Wide Sales and Service.

“We could not be here without you,” Guillen told the crowd. “It is really meaningful and we appreciate your commitment to helping us with our goal, which is to accelerate the transition to sustainable transportation.”

Dennis Lo, a Tesla Roadster owner and one of the eight people to take delivery of a new Model S at the event, also spoke to the crowd, which included Hong Kong movie star and new Model S owner Alex Fong. “Tesla has completely redefined what an electric car can be, and what can be achieved with zero emissions,” Lo said.

Hong Kong’s first Superchargers are the latest and most advanced models and will soon be followed by a series of Supercharging locations throughout Hong Kong, allowing Model S owners to charge for free.

For more scenes and action from the event, watch this highlights video.

This article is a repost (7-26-14), credit: Tesla. Video courtesy of Tesla.

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Study: Climate change and air pollution will combine to curb food supplies

July 27, 2014 in Climate Change, Environment, EV News, Pollution

Ozone and higher temperatures can combine to reduce crop yields, but effects will vary by region.

Illustration: Christine Daniloff/MIT Courtesy of MIT

Illustration: Christine Daniloff/MIT
Courtesy of MIT

By David L. Chandler, MIT

Many studies have shown the potential for global climate change to cut food supplies. But these studies have, for the most part, ignored the interactions between increasing temperature and air pollution — specifically ozone pollution, which is known to damage crops.

A new study involving researchers at MIT shows that these interactions can be quite significant, suggesting that policymakers need to take both warming and air pollution into account in addressing food security.

The study looked in detail at global production of four leading food crops — rice, wheat, corn, and soy — that account for more than half the calories humans consume worldwide. It predicts that effects will vary considerably from region to region, and that some of the crops are much more strongly affected by one or the other of the factors: For example, wheat is very sensitive to ozone exposure, while corn is much more adversely affected by heat.

The research was carried out by Colette Heald, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering (CEE) at MIT, former CEE postdoc Amos Tai, and Maria van Martin at Colorado State University. Their work is described this week in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Heald explains that while it’s known that both higher temperatures and ozone pollution can damage plants and reduce crop yields, “nobody has looked at these together.” And while rising temperatures are widely discussed, the impact of air quality on crops is less recognized.

The effects are likely to vary widely by region, the study predicts. In the United States, tougher air-quality regulations are expected to lead to a sharp decline in ozone pollution, mitigating its impact on crops. But in other regions, the outcome “will depend on domestic air-pollution policies,” Heald says. “An air-quality cleanup would improve crop yields.”

Overall, with all other factors being equal, warming may reduce crop yields globally by about 10 percent by 2050, the study found. But the effects of ozone pollution are more complex — some crops are more strongly affected by it than others — which suggests that pollution-control measures could play a major role in determining outcomes.

Ozone pollution can also be tricky to identify, Heald says, because its damage can resemble other plant illnesses, producing flecks on leaves and discoloration.

Potential reductions in crop yields are worrisome: The world is expected to need about 50 percent more food by 2050, the authors say, due to population growth and changing dietary trends in the developing world. So any yield reductions come against a backdrop of an overall need to increase production significantly through improved crop selections and farming methods, as well as expansion of farmland.

While heat and ozone can each damage plants independently, the factors also interact. For example, warmer temperatures significantly increase production of ozone from the reactions, in sunlight, of volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides. Because of these interactions, the team found that 46 percent of damage to soybean crops that had previously been attributed to heat is actually caused by increased ozone.

Under some scenarios, the researchers found that pollution-control measures could make a major dent in the expected crop reductions following climate change. For example, while global food production was projected to fall by 15 percent under one scenario, larger emissions decreases projected in an alternate scenario reduce that drop to 9 percent.

Air pollution is even more decisive in shaping undernourishment in the developing world, the researchers found: Under the more pessimistic air-quality scenario, rates of malnourishment might increase from 18 to 27 percent by 2050 — about a 50 percent jump; under the more optimistic scenario, the rate would still increase, but that increase would almost be cut in half, they found.

Agricultural production is “very sensitive to ozone pollution,” Heald says, adding that these findings “show how important it is to think about the agricultural implications of air-quality regulations. Ozone is something that we understand the causes of, and the steps that need to be taken to improve air quality.”

Denise L. Mauzerall, a professor of environmental engineering and international affairs at Princeton University who was not involved in this research, says, “An important finding … is that controls on air-pollution levels can improve agricultural yields and partially offset adverse impacts of climate change on yields. Thus, the increased use of clean energy sources that do not emit either greenhouse gases or conventional air pollutants, such as wind and solar energy, would be doubly beneficial to global food security, as they do not contribute to either climate change or increased surface-ozone concentrations.”

The research was supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Park Service, and the Croucher Foundation.

This article is a repost, credit: MIT.