Autonomous Vehicles

Published on September 5th, 2016 | by Derek Markham

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Clean Transport & Energy News Roundup (Solar Shingles, Baidu + Nvidia Autonomous Car, Remote EV Charging…)

September 5th, 2016 by  

In this edition of the clean transport and energy news roundup, we’ve got stories on remote EV charging, a cheaper carbon fiber production process, BYD’s EV profits, a water injection system from Bosch, Audi’s Formula E bid, Baidu and Nvidia’s autonomous car project, Portland’s EV showcase, solar shingles, Sri Lanka’s cash solar payouts, Pakistan’s wind energy additions, India’s solar boom, and more.

[CleanTechnica isn’t the only Important Media site to cover clean energy & transport news, and if you’re looking for more stories on electric mobility, bicycles, solar and wind energy, and other related issues, we’ve got them at sites such as Solar Love, CleanTechies, Planetsave, Bikocity, Gas2, and EV Obsession. We also host a large cleantech group on LinkedIn, called CleanTechies Around The World.]

Remote EV charging with portable DC charger:

Electric vehicle owners who have ever been worried about potentially running out of charge in a remote location may be happy to hear that the OEM power solutions firm Phihong will be releasing a new portable 10 kilowatt (kW) DC charger for use with vehicles. The new portable charger will also be able to provide 3.5 kW backup AC power. Delivery to electric vehicles is at 12V or 24V, depending on needs.

New process could cut cost of carbon fiber production by 50%:

Scientists at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory say they have invented a new process for making carbon fiber components that slashes the cost of manufacture by 50% or more. It also reduces the amount of energy needed by more than 60%. The process will be commercialized by a new start-up venture led by three time Tour de France champion Greg Lemond. He has long been involved with carbon fiber technology as part of his quest to lighter, stronger racing bicycles.

BYD EV profits up 400% in first half of 2016:

China may not be the best place to talk about pure capitalism, since its government is so heavily involved in every aspect of the national economy. But it is the world’s largest automobile market, so what happens there is important. The news is that BYD doubled its electric car sales in the first half of 2016. The big news is that its profits were up nearly 400% for the same period. Apparently there is money to be made from selling electric cars. Who knew?

BMW M4 GTS will include new Bosch water injection system:

Just last week, I wrote about my unsatisfactory experience with a water injection system I purchased from JC Whitney long ago. This week comes word that a new water injection system is included in the engine for the new BMW M4 GTS, a car that is as close to a street legal race car as you can buy. Bosch says water injection helps cool the engine internally, leading to more power and higher fuel economy. Weird. That is almost exactly the way JC Whitney described its system in the catalog.

Audi will have its own Formula E team in 2018:

Audi has decided to it wants to expand its involvement in Formula E, the open wheel racing series for electric race cars. Since Audi is part of the Volkswagen group, VW has clearly decided to turn its back on Formula One.

Baidu and Nvidia team up on self-driving cars:

The two companies began working together on artificial intelligence projects in 2012. Speaking last week at the annual Baidu World Conference, Nvidia co-founder and Chief Executive Jen-Hsun Huang announced that his company is working with Baidu to build a self driving car. The vehicle will use an Nvidia processor as part of an algorithm based operating system that will include cloud based, high definition maps. It will also feature the ability to perceive and react to different road environments.

We need autonomous cars because people are terrible drivers:

Self-driving technologies don’t have to be perfect, they just have to be better at driving than most people are. That brings me to the subject of this article — a driver in a parking lot in Ann Arbor (not far from the offices of Autoblog) apparently somehow rolled a car. In a parking lot.

Portland, OR, will showcase the benefits of EVs:

With the help of a $1,000,000 grant from the US Department of Energy, Drive Oregon will create an electric car storefront located across the street from Portland’s Electric Avenue — a downtown area that offers many charging stations for local EV drivers. The facility will offer information about and test drives of a variety of electric cars. Drive Oregon says it will also host a number of public events and pop-up EV stores in other parts of Oregon and nearby Washington communities.

Sri Lanka to introduce cash payouts for excess solar electricity generation:

The Cabinet has approved a proposal to introduce cash payouts to consumers for the excess electricity they generate. At present, the excess electricity generation by rooftop solar power systems is carried forward to up to 10 years. Under this net accounting system, Ceylon Electricity Board will pay LKR22.00/kWh (US¢15/kWh) for the first seven years while from the eighth year onward it will pay LKR15.50/kWh (US¢11/kWh). The payments will continue for a period of 20 years.

Pakistan will add 1 GW of wind energy capacity by 2018:

Pakistan is expected to see a huge jump in wind energy installed capacity over the next two years as 21 projects are lined up for commissioning. Government officials in Pakistan have told local media that almost two dozen wind energy projects are currently at various stages of development and 1,012 MW capacity is expected to be added to the grid by 2018.

Adani Enterprises will begin solar module production at Indian factory by next year:

Adani Enterprises recently stated that it plans to begin the construction of phase one of the planned 2 GW solar equipment manufacturing factory this year. The first phase is expected to be operationalized by March 2017 and will have production capacity of 1.2 GW; a second phase is expected to be operational by June 2017, increasing the production capacity to 2 GW.

Pakistan gets $500 million in offers for renewable energy investments:

Pakistan continues to receive investment offers for renewable energy projects as the current demand-supply situation in the country makes it attractive for developers to set up new projects.

India allocates additional 65 MW at Charanka Solar Park:

Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) auctioned 65 MW of solar PV capacity in the Charanka solar park, in Gujarat. The projects were auction under the viability gap funding scheme wherein developers are required to submit the minimum capital cost support they will require to set up the projects.

Solar shingles — a look backward and forward:

Today, if you add a rooftop solar system to your house, the installers will bolt a metal rack through your existing roof and into the rafters of your house. Then the solar panels are attached to the frame. But there are other options available that simply replace your roof entirely with shingles that make electrical power from sunlight. Elon Musk has stated he expects such systems to be available from SolarCity shortly. There are companies that are already in the game, as he noted, but he says Tesla’s/SolarCity’s system will be much better. Here’s a look at what’s out there now.

India will add 4.8 GW of solar this year:

According to a recent report from Mercom Capital Group, a global clean energy communications and research firm, India is likely to add a total of 4.8 gigawatts of new solar power this calendar year. Through August, new solar installations accounted for 2.8 gigawatts, bring the total nationwide to 8.1 gigawatts.


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About the Author

lives in southwestern New Mexico and digs bicycles, simple living, organic gardening, sustainable lifestyle design, slacklining, bouldering, and permaculture. He loves good food, with fresh roasted chiles at the top of his list of favorites. Catch up with Derek on Twitter, RebelMouse, Google+, or at his natural parenting site, Natural Papa!



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