YOKOHAMA, Japan – Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. and DeNA Co., Ltd. will begin a field test of Easy Ride, the robo-vehicle mobility service being developed by both companies, on March 5.
Easy Ride is envisioned as a mobility service for anyone who wants to travel freely to their destination of choice in a robo-vehicle. During the field test, in the Minatomirai district of Yokohama, in Japan’s Kanagawa Prefecture, the participants will be able to travel in vehicles equipped with autonomous driving technology along a set route. The route spans about 4.5 kilometers between Nissan’s global headquarters and the Yokohama World Porters shopping center.
For efficient fleet operation and customers’ peace of mind, Nissan and DeNA have set up a remote monitoring center that uses the two companies’ advanced technologies.
Nissan and DeNA will also test Easy Ride’s unique service functions. Using a dedicated mobile app, passengers can input what they want to do via text or voice and choose from a list of recommended destinations. An in-car tablet screen will show selections of nearly 500 recommended places of interest and events in the vicinity. Additionally, about 40 discount coupons for retailers and restaurants in the area are available for download on the participants’ own smartphones.
Participants will be asked to complete a survey about their overall user experience, usage of content and coupons from local retailers and restaurants, and preferred pricing for the Easy Ride service. Nissan and DeNA will use the survey results as they continue to develop the offering, and for future field tests.
The field test will enable Nissan and DeNA to learn from the experience of operating the Easy Ride service trial with public participation, as both companies look toward future commercial endeavors. Nissan and DeNA will also work to develop service designs for driverless environments, expanded service routes, vehicle distribution logic, pick-up/drop-off processes and multilingual support. The companies aim to launch Easy Ride in a limited environment at first, and then introduce a full service in the early 2020s.
With customers able to discover new local destinations, the companies expect Easy Ride will also help energize cities and neighborhoods.
DeNA (pronounced “D-N-A”) develops and operates a broad range of mobile and online services including games, e-commerce, entertainment, healthcare, automotive and other diversified offerings. Founded in 1999, DeNA is headquartered in Tokyo with over 2,000 employees. DeNA Co., Ltd. is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange (2432). For more information, visit: dena.com
A new product launched by Mahle has the potential to revolutionise the ethanol industry at a global level. MBE2 (Mahle Bioethanol 2) is a solution that increases the production of ethanol by a minimum of 10 percent without the need to increase the area of planted sugarcane.
The use of biofuels in internal combustion engines is an important alternative to significantly reduce CO2 emissions, one of the gases responsible for the greenhouse effect. Ethanol is thus used in countries all over the world as a strategic fuel. In Brazil and the US, for example, a large fleet of vehicles is powered by ethanol at concentrations of 100 percent and 85 percent, respectively. In addition, countries are increasingly using a blend of ethanol and petrol in proportions that vary between 10 percent and 30 percent to increase the fuel’s octane rating.
This is a definitive trend as a higher octane rating of the blend enables the ethanol to perfectly meet the challenges of new, more energy-efficient and explosion-proof combustion engines that require high-octane fuels.
As a measure of the global market potential of this renewable, sustainable, and environmentally friendly fuel in the next few years, China – with its massive consumption capacity –announced that it will begin using a petrol mixture that contains 10 percent ethanol across the entire country. Along the same lines, the U.S. is evaluating an increase in its current blend of 10 percent ethanol to between 25 and 30 percent.
The use of ethanol is a quick alternative to address full-cycle CO2 emissions because it uses existing infrastructure. In combination with vehicle electrification and other advanced propulsion technologies, such as fuel cells, it will assist in reducing future greenhouse gas emissions responsible for global warming.
Until electrical energy is largely produced from renewable sources and electric vehicles are manufactured exclusively ethanol will continue to play a vital role. Thus, for Brazil, one important path forward is the efficient use of ethanol, even in hybrid vehicles.
The development of MBE2
MBE2 was developed at the Mahle Tech Center in Jundiai, São Paulo (one of the 16 R&D centers of the Mahle Group in the world), based on the concepts of a third-party patent and together with their collaboration. The company also gained access to the rights to explore the ethanol-production technology on a global scale. Mahle says the intensive four-year development began in its dedicated laboratory and included a two-year pilot project followed by a period of industrial-sized operations carried out in an ethanol power plant in the region of Sertãozinho, São Paulo.
As is known, both first-generation ethanol produced using different cultures – notably sugarcane – and second-generation ethanol produced from biomass are derived from fermentation using yeast. To innovate the fermentation process, which is the bottleneck in ethanol plants, MBE2 consists of a system inside the fermenters that uses equipment to control the process as well as proprietary software. The system stimulates biochemical reactions, which results in a larger production of ethanol at a low operational cost.
Mahle says MBE2 is a much cheaper alternative to increase production both in terms of the investment and operational cost. It contributes to the plant’s results and to sustainability because it does not require an increase in the planted area and significantly reduces greenhouse gases.
This technology can be applied to any raw material and the production of any sugarcane- or biomass-based biofuel, such as that from corn, which is largely used in the U.S. The increase in revenue is yet to be determined.
Ficosa, a top-tier global provider devoted to the research, development, manufacturing and marketing of high-technology vision, safety, connectivity and efficiency systems for the automotive sector, has closed five important contracts for battery management systems (BMS) for the Chinese market. These orders, placed by two tier-one automobile manufacturers, are valued at over €200 million and will be used for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.
In the words of Jaume Prat, Ficosa’s Electromobility Systems Business Unit Director: “These contracts are an important milestone for Ficosa, expanding our portfolio of products in China and consolidating the company’s technological expansion in the field of electromobility. In addition to reaffirming our leadership in battery management systems, these orders reinforce our expertise as systems integrators, as we will deliver the whole system, including the electronic control unit (ECU) and the high-voltage protection devices (HVPD).”
Ficosa’s battery management systems give users the required safety and allow them to monitor the battery charge level at all times, as well as its health. The software, hardware and mechanics for these orders are being developed at the Viladecavalls Technology Centre (Barcelona, Spain), while production, which will begin in 2019, will take place at the Taicang Technical Centre (China).
Prat highlights: “The Viladecavalls Technology Centre has consolidated its place as the company’s global hub for electromobility systems, connectivity systems and ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems). Likewise, with these projects we are further strengthening the company’s solid position in China, a key market for Ficosa, where, in addition to Taicang, we are present in Chonging and Shenyang with the main aim of being close to clients and giving them the best possible service.”
Leaders in electromobility
With these orders, Ficosa is reaffirming its leadership in electromobility, a sector in which it develops software and hardware solutions for hybrid, electric and hydrogen vehicles. These products stand out for their quality, reliability, innovative technology and compliance with the strictest standards. Specifically, the company produces battery management systems (BMS), electrical boxes to protect and distribute power from the battery (BDU / eBOX) and battery charging devices (OBC) in the field of electromobility.
Joint Venture will launch a line of green logistics commercial vehicles for sale and distribution in North and Latin America.
VIA Motors will co-develop a green logistics medium duty truck for Geely New Energy Commercial Vehicles (“GCV”) in China under an exclusive arrangement which includes a technology transfer of VIA software and control systems.
As part of this arrangement VIA will be responsible for manufacturing, sales and distribution in North and Latin America.
In line with Geely’s corporate global vision of producing the safest, most environmentally-friendly and most energy-efficient “New Energy Commercial Vehicles,” VIA Motors International, Inc., a leader of electric and hybrid drive systems offering a range of extended range (eREV) and EV commercial vehicles, today announces that it has completed an exclusive agreement with China based Zhejiang Geely New Energy Vehicle Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of Zhejiang Geely Commercial Vehicle Group.
The parties have agreed to co-develop a medium duty extended range electric truck, which incorporates VIA’s industry leading proprietary vehicle software and systems control technology, for launch in China and the Americas in 2019.
Mr. Nathan Yu Ning, Zhejiang Geely Holding Vice President of International Business and Executive Advisor to the Board said “Geely selected VIA Motors due to the company’s advanced commercial vehicle software and control systems technology, specifically developed to meet the demanding duty cycle and performance requirements of commercial vehicles.”
“I believe that range extended hybrid drive systems are a leading technology for the next 5-10 years and the co-developed truck will utilize proven technology such as a Volvo engine for the range extender. VIA Motors provides technology plus an engineering and management team that can support GCV to accelerate to be global leading commercial vehicle company and assist the introduction of GCV Trucks into North and Latin America through our newly formed joint venture,” continued Mr. Yu.
“VIA Motors is honored to partner with Geely Commercial Vehicles. This agreement allows VIA to execute our strategy with the launch of an expanded portfolio of advanced drive systems and vehicles,” commented Peter Guile, CEO of VIA Motors. “We are excited to be working with our new global partners to electrify the future of the world’s working vehicles,” he continued.
“Geely is the ideal strategic partner for VIA Motors, as the fastest growing global vehicle company, with a demonstrated commitment to the electrification of their portfolio of award winning vehicles,” commented Bob Lutz, Chairman of VIA Motors and former Vice-Chairman of GM. “The alliance between Geely and VIA Motors combines technology, access to their industry leading suppliers, and a mutual entrepreneurial spirit dedicated to accelerating the global adoption of extended range electric commercial vehicles,” further commented Mr. Lutz.
About VIA Motors
VIA Motors International, Inc. develops and markets extended-range electric (eREV) and all electric (EV) power-train systems, incorporating industry leading VIA developed vehicle software and control systems technology, which provides clean energy solutions for most vehicle classes from light duty through Class 8.
VIA’s vehicle integration capability, at both production facilities in Utah and Mexico, provides a range of commercial vehicles to meet zero emissions requirements. VIA vehicles are marketed under the VTRUX™ brand and under the VIA power-train systems V-Drive™ brand.
About Geely Commercial Vehicle Group
Zhejiang Geely Commercial Vehicle (GCV) is a subsidiary of Zhejiang Geely Holding Group (ZGH)
ZGH consists of many well-known international automotive brands including Geely Auto, Lynk & Co, Volvo Cars, Polestar, PROTON, Lotus, London Electric Vehicle Company, Yuan Cheng Auto, and Terrafugia with global operations spanning the automotive value chain, from research, development and design to production, sales and servicing. ZGH also recently announced acquisition of 8.2% of Volvo AB.
Zhejiang Geely Commercial Vehicle (GCV) has two sub brands; the London Electric Vehicle Company and Yuan Cheng Auto. The London Taxi Company (LTC) became known as the London Electric Vehicle Company (“LEVC”) in July 2017 as the company transitions into being a provider of urban focused new energy commercial vehicles. Yuan Cheng Auto has three core product lines; new energy focused trucks and bus chassis and also new energy powertrains. Yuan Cheng launched its first core products in October 2016 with the introduction of the E12 pure electric city bus and an E200 pure electric logistics vehicle.
GCV has two core research and development centers in Hangzhou, China and Coventry, UK with over 2,000 engineers and production facilities in both China and the UK together with a total of over 3,000 production and administration staff.
The company on forward looking statements:
We cannot be certain that any expectation, forecast, or assumption made in preparing forward looking statements will prove accurate, or that any projection will be realized. It is to be expected that there may be differences between projected and actual results. Our forward looking statements speak only as of the date of their initial issuance, and we do not undertake any obligation to update or revise publicly any forward looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.
The share purchase makes Li Shufu currently the single largest shareholder of Daimler AG
(Hangzhou / Stuttgart) Geely Group, a company owned by Li Shufu and managed by Zheijang Geely Holding Group, has acquired a 9.7 percent stake of Daimler AG, Stuttgart through open market purchases of shares. The company made regulatory disclosures after the close of markets yesterday.
“Daimler is an outstanding company with a first-class management. It will be an honor to support this unique team under the leadership of Dieter Zetsche in the future,” said Li Shufu, chairman and owner of Zheijang Geely Holding Group. “I am particularly pleased to accompany Daimler on its way to becoming the world’s leading electro-mobility provider.”
The share purchase makes Li Shufu currently the single largest shareholder of Daimler AG and points to a long-term commitment. For the time being neither Geely Group nor any other company in the Zheijang Geely Holding Group intend to acquire additional shares. Li Shufu said he will fully abide by the company charter and governance structure of Daimler AG and respect its values and culture.
With revenue exceeding RMB 270 billion (USD 42.7 billion) in 2017, the Zheijang Geely Holding Group is China’s largest privately owned automotive manufacturing company and one of the world’s leading providers of electro-mobility. Major assets of the group include leading Chinese automaker Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd., Hangzhou (46 percent), Volvo Cars, Gothenburg, Sweden (100 percent), Volvo Trucks, Gothenburg, Sweden (8.2 percent), Lotus Motor Cars, Norfolk, UK (51 percent), Proton Cars, Malaysia (49.9 percent), London Taxi, Coventry, UK (100 percent) and China’s largest car-sharing provider, Cao Cao (100 percent), operating a fleet of around 16.000 electric vehicles worldwide.
Li Shufu: “The competitors which technologically challenge the global car industry in the 21st century are not part of the automotive industry today. But with challenges come opportunities. No current car industry player will be able to win this battle against the invaders from outside independently. In order to succeed and seize the technology highland, one has to have friends, partners, and alliances and adapt a new way of thinking in terms of sharing and united strength. And we have act now. My investment in Daimler reflects this strategic vision.”