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NEWSLETTER: September 2015
Welcome to the EDI newsletter, where we’re committed to delivering valuable information and insight on the hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and electric vehicle drivetrain industry. We'll also share some of our company news and technology breakthroughs. If this newsletter was forwarded to you and you would like to receive it monthly please feel free to subscribe. Thanks from the team at EDI.
CEO CORNER: Fire Evacuation Center Support
Contributed by Joerg Ferchau, CEO
Recently, in Northern California, a trio of powerful wildfires engulfed several towns, forcing over 23,000 residents to flee their homes. With very little time to prepare—just minutes to evacuate, residents very quickly learned that communications devices like cell phones and laptops were rendered inoperable as batteries depleted, leaving them unable to reach family members to provide updates. Additionally, as the Red Cross swiftly architected fire evacuation centers for victims, they were challenged to quickly locate and import a number of mobile generator units to keep the camps operational.
In partnership with PG&E, EDI assisted the Red Cross, providing critical sustained energy sources with our Power Export technology, integrated into utility trucks. EDI team members delivered around the clock support and uninterrupted power supply to the evacuation camps—powering the lighting, emergency kitchen infrastructure, charging evacuee cell phones, laptops, and other critical equipment.
It’s a great example of how mobile power export technology is practical in new applications--providing mobile power anywhere it's needed. To me, it was gratifying to see our technology used in a real-world application that makes a difference in the lives of people in need. Even more so, I’m appreciative that employees at our company are readily willing to donate their personal time and resources, after working full days at the office to support an organization like the Red Cross.
Learn more about our support activities.
Track the Trucks: Disaster Relief Truck for City of Napa
In support of better emergency preparedness during major power outages and to commemorate the first responders of last year’s 6.0 earthquake in Napa, EDI in collaboration with Pacific Gas & Electric developed a plug-in hybrid electric pickup truck as an innovative, new tool to use during emergency response.
The truck, which combines 30 miles of all-electric driving with 350 more miles of hybrid driving range, was donated to the City of Napa during the “Napa Strong 6.0/365” commemoration event on August 24. The truck provides up to 40 kVa of exportable power and is capable of providing enough electricity to power a small neighborhood. The on-board exportable power will also allow first responders to plug in lighting, equipment and other tools at the site of an emergency.
“By supporting the city and first responders with new technologies like this next-generation electric hybrid truck, we are furthering our collaboration toward increasing local emergency preparedness,” said Barry Anderson, PG&E Vice President of Emergency Preparedness and Operations.
For more information on EDI’s collaboration with PG&E and the donation to the City of Napa, read the official press release.
Product Unveil: Port Truck for City of Shanghai
In support of China’s newest emissions regulations, EDI developed a fleet of PHEV trucks in collaboration with Shaanxi Automotive for the Port of Shanghai. The new trucks are operationally identical to the conventional gas vehicles they are replacing and eliminate noise, fumes and heavy levels of emissions, helping to improve the air quality of the port area.
For more information on EDI’s port truck, see the official press release.
India drives alternative fuel vehicle adoption
With the United States, China, and India making up nearly half of the entire world’s emissions, the three nations have come under increased pressure to reduce their carbon footprint. Most recently, India has introduced the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles (FAME) program to help promote the use of clean vehicles. The program is part of India’s National Electric Mobility Mission Plan, aiming to move the country towards a greener future.
Union Minister of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, Shri Anant Geete, plans to implement the FAME program in the heavily polluted metropolises of India and will leverage “Smart Cities,” including Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, and Gujarat, which will be equipped to use digital technologies to support the quality and performance of rapid urbanization. The program will affect all vehicle segments, including two- and four-wheeled vehicles, sedans, light commercial vehicles and buses, among others. To incentivize the adoption of clean technology, hybrid and electric vehicles will be offered at a lower price at the time of purchase and the Indian government will also grant subsidies to manufacturers that convert to hybrid and electric vehicle manufacturing.
In addition to the FAME program, there are a number of pilot projects that have been planned for India. Pure electric vehicles may start to be used to make home deliveries for companies such as Dominos and KFC and for industrial distribution of groceries. Public transportation fleets could soon start to include electric taxis and hybrid buses. There is a fair amount of skepticism regarding the effectiveness of this change as the efficiency of pure electric vehicles depends on a large number of public charging facilities – of which India has very limited numbers – but Union Minister Geete will address this issue as the plan moves forward. The concern at hand is to begin building out the much-needed incentives to galvanize the change towards clean energy in India.
China Mandates Govt. Fleet Electrification
Contributed by guest Author: Alysha Webb
Generous government subsidies have not convinced Chinese consumers to buy electric vehicles in volume yet. Like consumers in other countries, they are wary of an EV’s higher cost and limited battery range.
There is one area where Beijing can dictate purchases, however – government fleets. In July of last year, Beijing mandated that 30 percent of central government fleet purchases be new energy vehicles – which includes plug-in electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles but in practice only involves battery-electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.
That sounds great, but the impact has been limited. Government purchases make up less than 10 percent of total new vehicle purchases in China, Yang Song, which is a Hong Kong-based analyst at Barclays Plc. told Bloomberg Business. “So just to rely on government purchase would be a challenge,” he said.
Beijing is always flexible in its policy making, however. So it turned its attention to another area where it can dictate consumption habits – the bus and taxi fleets owned by local governments. It mandated that 88 “pilot” cities in China begin adding electric vehicles to their fleets, aiming for 330,000 to be on the road by the end of this year. That has provided a shot in the arm to electric bus purchases.
“The local cities are crazily purchasing (electric) buses, and some are replacing their taxi fleets with new energy vehicles, as well,” says Yale Zhang, managing director of Auto Foresight, a Shanghai-based consultancy.
Like all of China’s electric vehicle policies, this pilot city policy has evolved. When first conceived in 2009 only 25 cities were included in the program. But by 2011, those cities had added only 11,949 electric vehicles.
The central government quickly realized it would not even come close to reaching its lofty goal with such a small number of cities, so more cities were added, finally arriving at the number of 88, which the central government may hope is their lucky number. (The number eight sounds like “to get rich” in Chinese.)
The mandate includes both government-owned bus and taxi fleets but buses have been the most frequent targets for electrification. In China, local governments are primary owners of the local bus fleets and, in larger cities, often own some or all of the companies operating taxi fleets, as well.
But in many smaller cities the taxis are privately owned, says Zhang. The local governments there have been mainly adding electric buses. “That is the only way they can meet the target,” he says.
Electric bus sales in China hit 27,000 by the end of 2014, according to Beijing-based ResearchInChina. In the first half of 2015, that rose to close to 20,000. By 2020, purchases are expected to hit 154,000, when 70 percent of new buses added will be electric, says ResearchInChina.
BYD, one of China’s largest electric vehicle makers, has benefitted much from the policy. The company doesn’t release its e-bus sales figures, but according to Chinese media 2,500 of BYD’s electric buses were ordered or delivered in 2014. That is expected to grow to 6,000 in 2015. BYD also produces the e6 electric crossover vehicle, which has become a popular taxi fleet vehicle.
Among the customers, the east China city of Nanjing purchased 600 of BYD’s electric buses last year, and 400 e6 electric crossovers to use as taxis. Hangzhou, another east China city, bought 2,000 e buses and 1,000 e6 taxis.
“There is growing traction for specialty (electric) vehicles in China, especially electric buses,” says Cosmin Lasnau, senior research analyst at Lux Research.
Un-subsidized EV fleet sales growth
Electric bus purchases in China receive government subsidies of up to 500,000 RMB, or $78,667 at current exchange rates. But specialty electric fleet vehicle purchases are growing in some unsubsidized areas as well.
For example, UQM Technologies, a Colorado-based developer and manufacturer of power-dense, high-efficiency electric motors, generators, and power electronic controllers in February signed a 10-year agreement to provide motors and inverters for explosion- proof underground mining vehicles to Changzhou Keshi Group. UQM has already started shipping product to China and expects the volume of vehicles it supplies to eventually reach 1,000 per year.
“When it first began selling in China, UQM focused on the automotive market,” says Adrian Schaffer, vice president of business development at UQM. “But its focus has shifted to fleet vehicles.”
“Four years ago, we were down a track that was not the same track we are on now,” he says. “Directionally, we were pursuing automotive applications. We continue to approach the automotive OEM market, but our efforts are focused on commercial fleet, industrial, and truck applications.”
BYD makes specialty electric fleet vehicles, too. Before the huge military parade held recently in Beijing, a fleet of electric street sweepers produced by BYD and the Beijing Environmental Sanitation Engineering Group Ltd. cleaned the roads.