Recharge Wrap-up: Honda Grace hybrid goes on sale in Japan, Daimler spends 100M euros on batteries

Honda Fires Up Brazil Wind Farm; Toyota hybrids win two WEC championships; Mercedes S-500 Plug-In Hybrid Gets Environmental Certification; Groups Call For 48-Volt Standard

  • Image Credit: Honda
The Mercedes-Benz S-500 Plug-In Hybrid has earned an Environmental Certificate from the TÜV Süd technical inspection authority. The award is based on a lifecycle assessment of the vehicle. This includes the ability to reduce CO2 emissions by 43 percent through charging, and by 56 percent if charged using hydroelectricity. Read more in the press release below.

Daimler is expanding its production capacity for lithium-ion batteries. The company is investing around 100 million euros in its subsidiary Deutsche ACCUmotive, who will provide batteries for the electric Smart Fortwo and Forfour, as well as various Mercedes-Benz models. By the end of the construction, Deutsche ACCUmotive will have quadrupled production and logistics space since 2011. Read more in the press release below.

Honda has begun sales of its Grace hybrid sedan in Japan. The Grace is based on the Honda Fit and uses the automaker's Sport Hybrid i-DCD system. It comes in front- and four-wheel-drive versions and uses a seven-speed DCT with built-in motor. The Honda Grace starts at the equivalent of about $16,500. Read more in the press release below.

Honda has begun operation of its wind farm in Brazil. The farm consists of nine wind turbines, expected to produce about 95,000 MWh of electricity per year, which is on par with Honda's consumption for automobile production in the country. Honda is aiming to cut its CO2 production by 30 percent by 2020 compared to 2000 levels. Read more in the press release below.

Toyota has won the 2014 World Endurance Championship's Driver and Manufacturer categories with hybrid technology. Toyota celebrated the win after the final race in Sao Paolo, Brazil. Toyota uses the same hybrid technology in its racing cars as it does in its production vehicles. Read more in the press release below.

Controlled Power Technologies and other groups are calling for an international 48-volt electrical standard for vehicles. The groups called for the standard at the International Conference Automotive 48 V Power Supply Systems, saying that the 48V standard for mild hybrids would help make the systems more affordable. This will make it easier for automakers to meet the more stringent CO2 standards anticipated in coming years along with the introduction of the World Light vehicles Test Procedures. Read more at Green Car Congress.
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The world's first certified three-litre luxury saloon: S 500 PLUG-IN HYBRID receives Environmental Certificate

Stuttgart. Up to 33 kilometres without producing any local emissions, up to 56 percent lower CO2 emissions in its life cycle. The S 500 PLUG-IN HYBRID sets new benchmarks in the luxury class. Its high environmental compatibility has now also been confirmed by the inspectors at the TÜV Süd technical inspection authority: the first Mercedes-Benz plug-in hybrid has been awarded the Environmental Certificate in accordance with ISO standard TR 14062. The award is based on a comprehensive life-cycle assessment of the S 500 PLUG-IN HYBRID, documenting every detail of relevance for the environment.

This means that all three hybrid S-Class models now have environmental certificates. These document the models' environmental performance from development through to recycling, across the entire lifecycle, and the performance is certified to internationally recognised standards by independent experts.

Regarding CO2 emissions the certificate of the S 500 PLUG-IN HYBRID states: "Over the entire life cycle, comprising manufacture, use over 300,000 kilometres and recycling, clear advantages result compared with the S 500. External charging with the European electricity mix can cut CO2 emissions by some 43 percent (35 tonnes). Through the use of renewably generated hydroelectricity a 56 percent reduction (46 tonnes) is possible."

"Plug-in hybrids offer our customers the best of both worlds; in the city they can drive in all-electric mode, while on long journeys they benefit from the combustion engine's range. In addition, hybridisation not only makes the combustion engine lighter, it also brings with it a special type of dynamic performance – making driving an absolute pleasure," explains Professor Dr Herbert Kohler, Chief Environmental Officer at Daimler AG. "The new S 500 PLUG-IN HYBRID is the spearhead of our hybrid strategy. It offers the power and performance of a V8, but runs on as little fuel as a compact model – and it is able to cover more than 30 km with zero emissions. The upshot is a unique combination of luxury, driving pleasure and environmental compatibility."

Mercedes-Benz analyses the environmental compatibility of its models throughout their entire life cycle – from production, through their long years of service, to recycling at the end of their lives. This analysis goes far beyond the legal requirements. The Environmental Certificate and supplementary information are made available to the public as part of the "Life Cycle" documentation series, which can be accessed at

Daimler Expands Manufacturing Capacities for Lithium-Ion Batteries

- Investments of around €100 million in Deutsche ACCUmotive
- Frank Blome, Managing Director Deutsche ACCUmotive: "We are looking forward to continuous growth in the demand for Deutsche ACCUmotive batteries in coming years."
- Entry in new field of stationary energy storage

Kamenz, Germany – Daimler AG is expanding the production capacities for lithium-ion batteries with investments of around €100 million in the Deutsche ACCUmotive subsidiary in coming years. Currently, a new building to be completed by mid-2015 is under construction in the Saxon city of Kamenz. "We are looking forward to continuous growth in the demand for Deutsche ACCUmotive batteries", said Frank Blome, Managing Director of Deutsche ACCUmotive, during the topping out ceremony for the new production hall on Monday, which was attended by Saxony's Prime Minister Stanislaw Tillich and further guests from politics and the economy. With the completion of the third construction phase Deutsche ACCUmotive will have nearly 20,000 m² of production and logistics space at its disposal - or four times the area since the start of production in the year 2011.

"The production of battery systems by Deutsche ACCUmotive GmbH in Kamenz will contribute significantly to the growing expertise of the auto state Saxony in the area of electro mobility and battery technology. That is why I am pleased about the three-digit million investments in a company like Deutsche ACCUmotive GmbH here in Kamenz", said Tillich. "The expansion of the company again shows that Saxony has much to offer as an innovation location. With excellent research close to industry at the technical universities, colleges and research facilities as well as with very well educated specialist manpower. These are the best prerequisites for investments here in Kamenz and in the entire free state of Saxony", said the Prime Minister.

Deutsche ACCUmotive was founded in 2009 for the development and production of lithium-Ion battery systems for vehicles. The company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Daimler AG. The research and development activities of Deutsche ACCUmotive are located in Nabern in the Stuttgart area and the production takes place in the Saxon city of Kamenz. Series production started in the year 2011. The Daimler subsidiary supplies lithium-ion batteries for the current smart fortwo electric drive and the hybrid variants of the S-, E- and C-Class of Mercedes-Benz, and has delivered more than 50,000 lithium-ion batteries to date.

"Deutsche ACCUmotive will be producing the lithium-ion batteries for the upcoming electric versions of the smart fortwo and forfour from 2016 as well as for future hybrid models of Mercedes-Benz", announced Blome. "The development and production of our lithium-ion batteries is competitive in every respect. We are in the black at Deutsche ACCUmotive." Thus, Kamenz and the Nabern development location will continue to play a key role in high-performance batteries for alternative drives - from hybrid models to the pure electric vehicle - as a high-tech location in the Daimler Group.

Additional growth opportunities outside the automotive industry also arise for Deutsche ACCUmotive through the entry into the business with stationary applications, where the vehicle batteries serve as the technological foundation for the development of stationary energy storage units. The scalability of the systems enables the use of the lithium-ion batteries in big industry for network stabilization and smoothing of peak loads (peak shaving) for energy producers as well as private households, for example, in conjunction with photo-voltaic installations. Deutsche ACCUmotive can already profit from economies of scales through series production of vehicle batteries and score with the high safety standards from the automotive industry. The company is certified according to ISO TS 16949. "We have already concluded the first customer contracts. With our systems we can make an important contribution to the energy turnaround", said Blome.

About Deutsche ACCUmotive

Deutsche ACCUmotive GmbH und Co. KG, founded in 2009, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Daimler AG. The company develops and sells highly complex drive batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles based on lithium-ion technology. The company headquarters of Deutsche ACCUmotive, located in Nabern in the Stuttgart area, also houses the research and development function. The production takes place in the Saxon city of Kamenz. The Daimler subsidiary employs more than 250 employees – about 180 in Kamenz and approximately 80 in Nabern. Deutsche ACCUmotive has delivered more than 50,000 lithium-Ion batteries to date.

At this time the product range of Deutsche ACCUmotive includes three lithium-ion battery systems for different models. This includes the current smart fortwo electric drive and the Mercedes-Benz Models S 300 BlueTEC HYBRID, S 400 HYBRID, E 300 BlueTEC HYBRID, E 400 HYBRID and C 300 BlueTEC HYBRID. Systematic hybridization is a fixed element of the Daimler powertrain strategy. In the current year, Mercedes-Benz has sold more hybrid-driven vehicles than all other German manufacturers combined.

Honda Begins Sales of the All-New "Grace" Hybrid Sedan

TOKYO, Japan, December 1, 2014 - Honda Motor Co., Ltd. today began sales of the all-new Grace hybrid sedan at dealerships across Japan.

Being developed as a compact sedan for a new era under the development concept "innovation of the compact sedan," the all-new Grace fuses together the easy handling and excellent fuel economy of a compact vehicle in 5-number size category and spacious cabin, stately styling, high visibility and tactile qualities and agile driving experience of an upper-middle-class sedan.

While a compact sedan, the cabin space for rear seat occupants comes close to that of the Accord Hybrid thanks to Honda's ingenious packaging developed within a vehicle that features a long wheelbase and stately styling. The combination of high-quality occupant comfort and excellent quietness provides all occupants with a relaxing, enjoyable and comfortable drive.

As for the powertrain, the all-new Grace is equipped with Honda's SPORT HYBRID i-DCD*1 one-motor hybrid system that enables the driver to start in EV mode and realizes both outstanding fuel economy of 34.4 km/L (JC08mode)*2 , which is the best among all hybrid sedan models*3 in the market, and highly-responsive and dynamic driving performance. Moreover, for the first time as a compact hybrid sedan in 5-number size category*4, the all-new Grace offers a 4WD version in its lineup, enhancing security for customers who drive in colder climates and/or snowy areas while benefiting from the excellent fuel economy that can be achieved only by a hybrid vehicle.

<Passion behind the name of Grace>
The English word "grace" includes the meaning of "elegance" and "kindness." The name Grace represents the passion of the development team who strived to create a sedan that envelops the time people spend in the vehicle with their loved ones.

*1 i-DCD stands for the "intelligent Dual Clutch Drive."

*2 HYBRID DX (FF) and HYBRID LX (FF) were tested by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism in Japan.

*3 Excluding plug-in hybrid models. Honda internal research (as of October 2014)

*4 Honda internal research (as of October 2014)

●Sales plan (in Japan, monthly, series total): 3,000 units

●Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (in Japan)

<Grace> ◎shown in the photo
Type Engine Transmission Drive Price with 8% consumption tax
HYBRID DX 1.5L Atkinson cycle
i-DCD 7-speed DCT with built-in high-output motor FF 1,950,000 yen
4WD 2,144,400 yen
HYBRID LX FF 2,040,000 yen
4WD 2,293,800 yen
HYBRID EX 7-speed DCT with built-in high-output motor
+ paddle shifters FF 2,210,000 yen ◎
4WD 2,409,800 yen

<Grace special needs vehicle>
Type Engine Transmission Drive Price with 8% consumption tax
With a rotating front passenger seat 1.5L Atkinson cycle
i-DCD 7-speed DCT with built-in high output motor FF 2,122,200 yen
4WD 2,316,600 yen

* The price does not include insurance premium, taxes (excluding consumption tax) and cost related to vehicle registration.

* Based on the automobile recycling law, a separate recycling charge will be necessary. The recycling charge includes a recycling deposit (cost necessary to recycle shredder dust, air bags, chlorofluorocarbon (CFCs) and information management cost) and a fund management cost.

* 32,400 yen (30,000 yen excluding consumption tax) extra charge for Gold Brown Metallic, While Orchid Pearl, Tinted Silver Metallic, Premium Deep Rosso Pearl
<Key features of the all-new Grace>

■ Spacious and comfortable cabin and packaging come close to those of an upper-middle sedan

・Cabin space which is almost as spacious as that of an upper-middle sedan was realized within the easy-to-handle compact body in 5-number size category of the all-new Grace. In addition to its long wheelbase, placing rear seats at the rearmost possible position helped create legroom for rear seat occupants as spacious as that of the Accord Hybrid.

・While placing rear seats at the rearmost possible position, opening of the rear doors was enlarged to increase the accessibility.

・The Grace features a large and user-friendly trunk space with a capacity of 430L*5. Despite being a hybrid vehicle, a through-hole to the trunk was made possible by placing a compact design IPU (intelligent power unit) under the floor.

*5 In case of FF vehicle. Including under-floor storage space (4L).
The trunk capacity was measured by Honda using the VDA measuring method.

■ Honda SPORT HYBRID i-DCD realizes both No. 1 fuel economy among hybrid sedan models and dynamic driving

・The all-new Grace is equipped with Honda's SPORT HYBRID i-DCD that combines a 1.5L Atkinson cycle DOHC i-VTEC engine, 7-speed DCT with built-in high-output motor and the IPU with a built-in lithium-ion battery. With this powertrain, the all-new Grace realizes outstanding fuel economy of 34.4 km/L, which is the best among all hybrid sedan models in the market.

・For the first time for a compact hybrid sedan, the all-new Grace offers a 4WD version in its series lineup. Through the adoption of a lightweight and compact viscous coupling-type 4WD system, an enhanced security for customers who drive in cold climates and/or snowy areas was provided while benefiting from the excellent fuel economy that can be achieved only by a hybrid vehicle.

■ Stately exterior design suitable for a sedan model

・A compact body with a long enough hood, creates an impression appropriate for the vehicle category. A traditional sedan style with a long wheelbase that expresses the ample size of the vehicle was fused together with a coupe-like elegant form.

・Honda's design identity, "Solid Wing Face," was adopted to emphasize an advanced look and wideness by connecting together the platinum-plated front grille and 4-lamp LED headlights.*6

・While a compact size sedan, a stately design and high-class look were achieved by connecting the rear combination lamps that extend horizontally to the trunk lid and chrome-plated license plate garnish.

*6 Available for HYBRID LX type and HYBRID EX type

■ High-quality and comfortable interior design offers hospitality to all occupants

・Striving to realize an interior that offers hospitality to all occupants, a sense of high-quality was added to every detail of the interior, such as the instrument panel design that provides the comfort of being enveloped, metallic luster, shapes and figures, tactile quality and needlework of soft pads.

・Rear seats were developed while paying particular attention to details such as cushion thickness, softness and tactile quality of surface materials and the angle of the backrest. As the result of developing rear seats that have specifications equivalent to that of seats for an upper-class sedan, the all-new Grace features a sofa-like comfortable seat that gives a sense of being embraced.

・Air conditioning outlet for the rear seat occupants is placed on the back end of the center console. There are a total of three accessary sockets that can be used for charging a smart phone – one for front seat occupants and two*7 for rear seat occupants. As for audio speakers, the all-new Grace features an 8-speaker system that includes a total of four tweeters*7 located in the front of the inner door handle in front and back. Overall, a comfort space that offers full-hearted hospitality to all people in the vehicle was realized.

*7 Available for HYBRID EX type

■ Occupant comfort and quietness realized by sheer persistence contribute to a high-quality experience in the vehicle

・Through the adoption of damper mount architecture that divides input force, the distribution of the load is managed differently depending on the severity of input received. The suspensions realize high-quality occupant comfort.

・All spaces and gaps where noise could come inside the vehicle are addressed thoroughly. Taking all measures such as optimizing the distribution of noise insulation/absorbing materials and increasing the thickness of the front door glass, this sedan body, with a basic structure that helps achieve quietness, was further perfected to realize excellent quietness to enable the occupants to enjoy a comfortable time in the vehicle.

■ Concentrating advanced safety and security features in a compact body

・The all-new Grace features the Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body that applies Honda's original G-Force Control Technology (G-CON) to enhance self-protection and make it less aggressive to other vehicles in the event of a collision. The Grace also features the Pedestrian Injury Mitigation Body structure to absorb the impact of a collision in the front part of the body, which is at the highest risk of causing a pedestrian injury in the event of a collision.

・In the area of active safety, with the goal to prevent an accident before it happens, the all-new Grace features the Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) system, a Hill-Start Assist function as well as the Emergency Stop Signal (ESS) system that warns vehicles following behind of a sudden stop. These active safety functions are featured as standard equipments on all types.

・The "safety package" that combines the City-Brake Active system that is designed to help drivers avoid rear-end collisions while driving at the speed of below 30 km/h, with a side curtain airbag system and a front seat i-side airbag system (variable capacity type) is available on certain types.

■ All-new Grace with a rotating front passenger seat

・Leveraging the ease of getting in and out of the all-new Grace, a special needs vehicle equipped with a rotating front passenger seat was added to the lineup.

・With the smooth rotation of the seat done by an easy lever operation and ample legroom for the passenger during the rotation reduces the burden of getting in and out of the vehicle.

Honda Begins Operation of the First Wind Farm by an Automaker in Brazil - Generating Renewable Energy to Cover Current Electricity Needs for Annual Local Automobile Production -

Xangri-lá, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, November 26, 2014 – Honda Energy do Brasil Ltda. (Honda Energy), Honda's wind power generation business subsidiary in Brazil, today began operation of its wind power generation facility and held a ceremony to commemorate the start of its operation. The ceremony was attended by government officials and representatives of local communities.

Striving to minimize the environmental footprint of its business activities, Honda became the first automaker in Brazil*1 to start a wind power generation business. Honda Energy built its wind farm, an investment of approximately 100 million Brazilian reais (approximately 4.6 billion yen*2), in the city of Xangri-lá in Rio Grande do Sul, the southernmost state in Brazil (approximately 1,000 km south of Honda's current auto production plant in Sumaré, São Paulo). Honda Energy will be proactive in promoting the use of renewable energy in Brazil.

Honda Energy's wind farm will be equipped with nine wind power turbine units, and is expected to generate approximately 95,000 MWh of electricity per year, equivalent to Honda's current annual electricity needed for automobile production in Brazil (approximately 140,000 units). By generating renewable energy to cover the electricity needed for the plant, Honda is expecting to reduce CO2 emissions by more than 2,200 t annually.

*1 Honda internal research
*2 Calculated based on the exchange rate of 1 Brazilian real = 46 yen

Comment by Carlos Eigi, president of Honda Energy do Brasil Ltda.:
"Since Honda began its business activities in Brazil in 1976, Honda has been cooperating with the local community and striving to minimize the environmental footprint of our production activities. I am very much pleased that Honda made another significant step toward the utilization of renewable energy by starting the operation of our wind farm today. Under our global environmental slogan – 'Blue Skies for Our Children' – Honda will continue to be proactive in pursuing environmental conservation activities in Brazil."

Honda has set a target to reduce CO2 emissions from its global products by 30 percent by the end of 2020 compared to year 2000 levels. Striving to attain this goal, Honda has been strengthening its initiatives on a global basis to reduce CO2 emissions from all business activities, including production and the supply chain.

About Honda Energy do Brasil Ltda.
Establishment: March 21, 2013
Capital Investment: 1,000 Brazilian reais
Capitalization Ratio: 99.99% Honda Automoveis do Brasil Ltda.
0.01% Others
Representative: Carlos Eigi, President
Location: Xangri-lá city, Rio Grande do Sul State, Brazil
Business Area: Managing and operating wind power generation business
Number of Wind Turbines: Nine units (one unit: maximum output of three MW)
Generation Capacity: Maximum output of 27 MW (nine units total)

Toyota Hybrid Technology Takes World Endurance Championship - Toyota Thanks Fans for Support

TOKYO, Dec. 1, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Toyota Racing won both the Manufacturers and the Drivers categories of the 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), a series of eight endurance races, including the renowned Le Mans 24 Hours event, held on international road racing circuits.

Toyota Racing expresses sincere gratitude to our fans for their encouragement and our partners for their support.

The WEC is one of the five major classes of automotive competition sanctioned by the Federation International de l'Automobile (FIA).

After winning several WRC titles Toyota first entered the re-established WEC series in 2012, where the strong competition included Audi and, this year, Porsche. Having won five of the eight races in 2014 Toyota Racing secured the WEC Manufacturers and Drivers titles.

Toyota launched its first hybrid car, the Prius, in 1997, a pioneering venture that surprised the automobile industry with its unrivalled combination of exceptional fuel economy and high performance. Since the launch Toyota's Hybrid System has continued to evolve as a state-of-the-art, energy efficient yet powerful source of automotive propulsion.

Toyota's Hybrid System consists of a gasoline engine and an electric motor seamlessly mated together to provide energy efficiency and high performance in a reliable package. Uniquely, Toyota's environmentally-friendly production car features performance capabilities that make it enjoyable to drive.

To prepare for its entry in the WEC the Toyota Hybrid System Racing (THS-R) was mounted in the various cars and developed further in Japanese races. The decision to improve the technology through racing was in keeping with Toyota's philosophy of pursuing perfection through competition. Expectations and confidence were high but still had to pass the supreme test.

Toyota's crowning achievement in 2014 took place at the final race in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Since the championships were won using the same hybrid technology available in its production vehicles, the chief beneficiaries of the sporting success in the WEC are those who choose Toyotas for their personal transport.

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