Recharge Wrap-up: Formula E testing results, Denza 400 is a 250-mile EV for China

New material could mean better, cheaper fuel cells.

A BYD and Daimler joint venture has begun production of the 250-mile Denza 400 EV for China. Shenzhen BYD Daimler New Technology is building the Denza 400 on a dedicated line at BYD's facility in Shenzhen, China. Thanks to the improved electric motor, electronic control, and upgraded 62-kWh battery, the car provides up to 250 miles of driving range, meaning the average driver in China would only need to plug in the car once a week. We can expect further clean car development from Daimler in China, according to board member Hubertus Troska, who is responsible for activities in the country. "Daimler will continue to invest in research and development of efficient and eco-friendly new energy vehicles, which represent a key pillar of our China growth strategy," he says. Read more from Daimler.

S├ębastien Buemi finished fastest during the first day of preseason testing for Formula E's 2016-2017 season. At 1:30.143, the Renault e.Dams driver outpaced the next fastest driver, Mahindra Racing's Nick Heidfeld, by three-quarters of a second. Lucas di Grassi took third driving for ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport. Di Grassi still holds the lap record at Donington Park after clocking 1:29.920 last year. "It's always very early to know where you are and whether you've done a good enough job," says Buemi, "but clearly the car is an evolution of what we had last year. Hopefully it will be enough to stay at the front and fight for more wins and titles." Read more from Formula E.

A new material could make fuel cells cheaper and more useful under a wider range of conditions. Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory have found that fuel cells using what's called a (deep breath, now) phosphate-quaternary ammonium ion-pair can operate with or without water. This means it functions under a wider temperature range than existing polymer-based fuel cells. Essentially, this new class of fuel cell bridges the gap between low-temperature fuel cells requiring water, and high-temperature fuel cells that can do without. "Current fuel-cell vehicles need humidified inlet streams and large radiators to dissipate waste heat, which can increase the fuel-cell system cost substantially," says project leader Yu Seung Kim, "so people have looked for materials that can conduct protons under flexible operating conditions. It is very exciting that we have now found such materials." Read more from TechXplore.

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