A new report finds that silicon carbide (SiC) will likely be the key to cheaper EVs. Using SiC or gallium nitride (GaN) instead of silicon power electronics is more efficient, and allows components to be smaller, lighter and cheaper to manufacture. The report states that SiC is close to being commercially ready and will be used as early as 2020. SiC could reduce battery costs in a Tesla Model S by $6,000. The use of SiC could make charging faster, make EVs cheaper and more convenient and possibly convince more people to ditch their fossil fuel-powered vehicles. Read more at Inside EVs.
General Motors is instituting a bikesharing program to allow employees to get around its 330-acre Warren, MI tech center. Through a partnership with Zagster, a total of fifty bicycles will be placed at at least seven locations around the campus. The center is home to 19,000 employees, 61 buildings, and 11 miles of roads. The bikes are part of ongoing sustainability efforts by GM. Read more at Bloomberg.
The US and EU are looking to lower their biofuel goals, according to a new report. The US is considering cutting 3 billion gallons from the required renewable fuels for 2014. This adjustment comes in response to a decrease in demand in gasoline over the last seven years, and would be the first step to relaxing the Renewable Fuel Standard. In Europe, concerns over inflation of food costs are causing regulators to consider lowering the ceiling of food-based biofuels from 10 percent to 7 percent. Read more at Domestic Fuel.
The Volvo 7900 Electric Hybrid will be officially launched at the International IAA Commercial Vehicles show in September. Silent, cleaner and with significantly lower fuel consumption, it represents a new generation of public transportation. Volvo has already signed contracts with several European cities for supplies of the buses.
Volvo Buses takes the next step in electrification and launches the Volvo 7900 Electric Hybrid. The plug-in technology reduces fuel consumption and carbon dioxide by up to 75%, compared to a conventional diesel bus. Total energy consumption is reduced by 60%. Three Volvo Electric Hybrids have run in a field test in Gothenburg the past year, a test which has verified the reduction in energy consumption and emissions.
Noise is a growing problem in many cities. The noise level near to an Electric Hybrid is 65 decibels, i.e. normal conversation level. The Volvo 7900 Electric Hybrid runs in electric mode in average 70% of the route, silent and emission-free.
The Volvo 7900 Electric Hybrid offers great flexibility in operation; it can run as an electric bus in selected areas, and performs as a hybrid on any route. Charging at end stations takes 6 minutes. The Volvo 7900 Electric Hybrid shares the technology of the well-proven Volvo 7900 Hybrid, securing high uptime and availability.
A number of European cities are showing a keen interest in the Electric Hybrids. Hamburg, Luxembourg and Stockholm have already signed up for supplies of the buses in 2014 and 2015. Serial production is scheduled to commence early 2016.
Coach: Reinforcing safety leadership
At the IAA, Volvo strengthens its position in safety by introducing an auto brake technology for the coach range. Volvo's Forward Collision Warning and Emergency Braking functionality is able to brake also towards standstill objects in curves three years before the legal requirement comes in 2018.
The functionality is part of the Volvo Driver Support System which includes an Adaptive Cruise Control that automatically adapts the distance to the vehicle in front and a Lane Keeping Support System. The Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) uses radar to determine the distance to the vehicle ahead, when approaching a slower vehicle the ACC will override the cruise control speed setting and instead adapt the speed to the vehicle in front. The Lane Keeping Support System warns the driver if the vehicle drifts across a lane marking.
Visitors to the IAA will also be able to get acquainted with Volvo's broad service portfolio, aimed at increasing fuel efficiency and uptime and lowering maintenance costs.
Volvo's buses to be exhibited at IAA 2014 include:
- Volvo 7900 Electric Hybrid (incl charging system
- Volvo 7900 Hybrid Articulated
- Volvo 9900
Volvo Buses will exhibit in hall 17, stand A05.