SUZUKI, TOSHIBA and DENSO reached basic agreement to establish joint venture company for production of automotive lithium-ion battery packs in India

SUZUKI MOTOR CORPORATION (SUZUKI), TOSHIBA CORPORATION (TOSHIBA) and DENSO CORPORATION (DENSO) have reached basic agreement on establishing a joint venture company for production of automotive lithium-ion battery packs in India, and signed the agreement.

In India, higher attention is being paid to environment, and new CO2 standards for automobiles is planned to be introduced.  In the Indian automotive market where compact cars are the mainstream models, introduction of sustainable technology suitable for such affordable cars is required.  The battery pack manufacturing joint venture by the three companies will realize stable supply of lithium-ion battery packs in India in the course of promoting sustainable cars in the country and will contribute to “Make in India” initiative by the Indian Government.

The joint venture company will be established within 2017 and shall move to manufacturing phase at earliest possible timing.  The initial capital expenditure will be 20 billion Japanese yen.  The joint venture company will be capitalized at 2 billion Japanese yen, with the planned participation ratio of SUZUKI 50%, TOSHIBA 40% and DENSO 10% respectively.

Establishment of the joint venture company will be further examined in details by the three companies, and subject to approval by respective authorities in accordance with applicable competition laws.

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GS Yuasa’s Large-scale Lithium-ion Storage Battery System Installed at Cochrane Coal-fired Power Plant in Chile

GS Yuasa Corporation (Tokyo Stock Exchange: 6674; “GS Yuasa”) announced today that its lithium-ion storage battery system was delivered to the Cochrane coal-fired power plant*1 in Chile and its installation was completed in January 2017.

■The full-view of the lithium-ion storage battery system:
The lithium-ion storage battery system uses lithium-ion battery cells made by Lithium Energy Japan*2 (President: Ryoichi Okuyama; Head office: Ritto city, Shiga; “LEJ”) and has a maximum output of 20MW. It was installed as a spinning reserve*3 to output a certain amount of the plant’s power generation capacity instantaneously and supports the power plant.

This is the first project in which lithium-ion batteries made in Japan were adopted for the world’s largest storage battery system on a commercial basis.

The role of large-scale lithium-ion batteries is expected to grow further in the future to provide standby power at power plants and as a measure to stabilize power system amid increasing use of renewable energy. GS Yuasa will combine its technological capabilities built on years of experience with the mass production technology of LEJ to support the global shift towards clean energy.

*1 A power plant with power generation capacity of net 472,000 kW and gross 532,000 kW built by AES Gener (President: Javier Giorgio; Head office: Santiago, Chile), Chile’s second largest power supplier in terms of power generation capacity, and Mitsubishi Corporation in the suburb of Mejillones, Region II of the northern Chile.

*2 A company which develops, manufactures and sales large-scale lithium-ion batteries, which is jointly operated by GS Yuasa and Mitsubishi Corporation (President: Takehiko Kakiuchi; Head office: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo;).

*3 Spinning Reserve: In some regions of Republic of Chile, power producers are required to set aside a certain amount of generation capacity as spinning reserve.

[Features of lithium-ion storage battery system]
1) Compatible with high-voltage DC (900 V level) PCS (power conditioner).
2) Installed with an integrated battery management unit (BMU) that manages multiple banks (15 in parallel, 3,600 cells).
3) Voltage and storage battery capacity can be easily customized by combining multiple modules in series or parallel and can be built into a large scale storage battery system.
4) Container-based independent control enables maintenance work without stopping the entire system.
5) Remote monitoring system continuously monitors the condition of lithium-ion batteries.

[Background]
GS Yuasa received the order from Parker Hannifin Corporation (President: Thomas L. Williams; Head office: Ohio, the U.S.; “Parker”), which has been given the contract for the entire storage battery system of the power plant, through Mitsubishi Corporation, the main contractor.

LEJ manufactured the lithium-ion battery cells, GS Yuasa constructed the module and storage battery control system and Parker developed the overall lithium-ion storage battery system. They were put into ten 40 ft. containers and finally installed in the plot adjacent to the power plant.

Outline of lithium-ion storage battery system
Module format LIM50EN-12 (12 cell module)
Number of batteries (cells) 36,000(20 module in series × 15 in parallel × 10 containers)
Capacity (kWh) 6,750*4 (675 × 10 containers)
Nominal voltage (V) 900

*4 Product of nominal capacity (Ah) and nominal voltage (V).

■The LIM50EN series industrial-use lithium-ion battery module

Press Release

Next step in Northvolt’s site-selection process

Northvolt proceeds with discussions with eight Swedish and two Finnish municipalities to identify the optimal site for a large scale battery production facility. Physical preconditions, logistics, local business climate and the ability to attract highly skilled labor have been particularly important in the selection process. Northvolt are now proceeding discussions with Gothenburg, Gävle, Luleå, Malmö, Mariestad-Skövde, Norrköping, Skellefteå and Västerås in Sweden, and with Kotka-Hamina and Vaasa in Finland.

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Electrification and renewable energy storage are key to a carbon neutral society. Batteries will enable this transition, and help free the world’s electricity generation and distribution from coal, oil and natural gas. Northvolt’s aim is to accelerate this transition by building Europe’s largest battery factory. The ongoing site-selection process is a central and critical part of the ambitious project.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the interest from municipalities and regions across Scandinavia. We’ve talked to some forty stakeholders and decided to proceed in discussions with eight Swedish and two Finnish municipalities. We’re moving forward swiftly to make sure we’re taking a leading role in the European market”, says Northvolt’s CEO Peter Carlsson.

The requirements for Northvolt’s large-scale battery factory are exceptional considering land suitable for industrial activity, power supply, proximity to water for cooling, conditions for environmental and other permits. These requirements must be able to be fulfilled within a tight timeframe. Additionally, logistic conditions, including access to port, rail and an international airport, are taken into account. Northvolt is also evaluating the local labor market, industrial tradition, and vicinity to universities.

Northvolt will hire a large number of highly specialized engineers, many from Asia or the United States, which adds yet another evaluation criteria as the factory must be located in a region that is attractive to talented professionals.

A new state-of-the-art industry will be established in the municipality where Northvolt will set up the production facility. Northvolt’s assessment is that the battery production alone will employ approximately 2 500 people. The overall regional impact will lead to far more job opportunities, as the factory will bring an increasing demand for transportation, convenience services and public service, as well as housing and education.

Northvolt will continue with in-depth assessments of the remaining municipalities. The aim is to have a decision in place this summer with regards to which sites the company should proceed with for environmental assessments and permitting processes.

Let me express the company’s gratitude to all municipalities who have expressed interest in our selection process, and to the individuals and representatives of the business community for their enthusiasm. Collaboration is necessary to make this project successful. We’ve met strong support for our ambitious plan from both the public and private sectors. We’re confident that we have a competitive business model in place. We have a unique opportunity to build a new industry that will help accelerate the transition into a fossil free society, and at the same time contribute to societal development, growth and thousands of new jobs.” says Peter Carlsson.


Electrification and renewable energy storage are the keys to a carbon neutral society. Batteries will enable the transition. The auto industry alone will need batteries in huge numbers to replace fossil fuels with electricity. The ability to store energy is also crucial to free the world’s energy generation and distribution from coal, oil and natural gas. Northvolt accelerates this transition by building Europe’s largest battery factory.

Press Release

 

Daimler’s FUSO showcases all-electric eCanter at NTEA Work Truck Show in USA

  • FUSO showcased its all-electric light-duty truck eCanter at the National Truck Equipment Association (NTEA) Work Truck Show 2017, in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
  • The truck on display is an outlook on the small series to be launched and delivered to customers later this year in the US, Europe and Japan
  • FUSO will be the first OEM to launch a series model of all-electric light-duty trucks, making it the front-runner in electric trucks
  • Through customer trials in real-life conditions, the zero emission FUSO eCanter has proved to be technically reliable and economically viable with enough mileage and payload for daily use
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eCanter at NTEA Work Truck Show

Kawasaki, Japan – Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation (MFTBC) showcased its all-electric, battery-powered light-duty truck eCanter at the National Truck Equipment Association (NTEA) Work Truck Show in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA.
The eCanter is the answer to increasing noise and emission pollution in today’s urban environments, making inner-city delivery clean and silent. It can travel a range of more than 100km, exceeding the average distance that many short-radius distribution trucks usually travel per day – for example, in Japan, on an average, 80% of light-duty inner-city delivery trucks travel about 50km per day.

Through customer trials in real-life conditions, the zero emission FUSO eCanter proved to be technically reliable and economical, able to cover enough mileage and payload for daily use.

Jecka Glasman, President and CEO, Mitsubishi Fuso Truck of America, Inc. said at the event; “We believe the eCanter will help us chart the future of light-duty trucking in urban environments. It delivers up to a 100 mile range, with zero emissions and zero noise pollution—what we call positive energy. We have had preliminary conversations with several customers and their interest and enthusiasm for the product are very encouraging.”

The displayed vehicle is an outlook on the small series of eCanter that was first shown at the 2016 International Automobil-Ausstellung (IAA) – the biggest international commercial vehicle show in Hanover, Germany, where it attracted worldwide attention.

The small series of eCanter will be launched and delivered to customers from late 2017 in the US, Japan and Europe. This makes FUSO the first OEM to launch a series model of all-electric light-duty trucks that comes with full warranty and service through its extensive dealer network.

Being a frontrunner in the fully-electric truck segment, MFTBC has so far invested 40mn euros in the development of electric driving including research and development. The zero emission model will be manufactured at FUSO’s state-of-the art production plants in Tramagal, Portugal and Kawasaki, Japan.

FUSO at a Glance

FUSO is one of the brands of Daimler Trucks, present in nearly all regions around the world including; Asia, Africa, Latin America, Europe and the Middle East. FUSO’s light-duty to heavy-duty trucks (GVW 3.5–49 tons), vans, industrial engines, and buses are sold in more than 160 markets. The Fuso brand is based on four core brand values; Trusted Quality, Economic Efficiency, Solid & Functional Design, and Committed Services.

MFTBC at a Glance

Based in Kawasaki, Japan, Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation (MFTBC) is one of Asia’s leading commercial vehicle manufacturers. In 2015, the company sold a total of about 154,200 vehicles including light-, medium- and heavy-duty trucks and buses under the Fuso brand. 89.29% of its shares are owned by Daimler AG and10.71% by various Mitsubishi group companies. MFTBC is an integral part of the Daimler Trucks division of Daimler AG.

Press Release

The London Taxi Company to manufacture zero emissions LCV at its new facility

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•    Second vehicle from brand new facility to be a Light Commercial Van
•    Purpose built, range extended EV to meet global needs of the commercial sector
•    Advanced technology to help tackle urban pollution crisis
•    Targeting “last mile” delivery, distribution and maintenance sectors
•    Incremental additional investment of around £25m bringing the total investment by parent Geely to £325m

Following the official opening of the London Taxi Company’s brand new R&D and manufacturing facility in Ansty, the company is delighted to announce that the second vehicle to come off the line will be a dedicated, range extended electric light commercial van (LCV).

This all new, highly flexible, commercially competitive electric vehicle will help fleet owners lower their running costs, improve air quality and support cities in tackling the pollution crisis in urban areas.

Chris Gubbey, CEO of the London Taxi Company said: “This is going to be the future proofed ’white van’ that people have been waiting for. Designed solely for the urban commercial sector, dedicated to the people who keep our cities working, it will be clean, competitive and ready for cities of the future.” 

The air quality crisis in many urban environments has highlighted the scale of the opportunity and demand for zero emissions capable commercial vehicles in major cities across the world. Electrification is a key component of the global strategy to reduce emissions and the London Taxi Company is determined to apply its expertise in advanced electric vehicle technology, and the taxi market, to urban commercial vehicles.

Carl-Peter Forster, Chairman of the London Taxi Company said: “In addition to our brand-new taxi, the manufacturing of this all new light commercial van is a transformative step for the company as we will move from a single product, single market organization to a multi-product, multi market organization. We remain absolutely committed to designing and manufacturing dedicated, range extended EVs that build upon our deep knowledge of advanced technologies and the needs of the urban commercial sector.”

The London Taxi Company’s research and development team of around 200 people, now based in Ansty, has been working around the clock, building upon its new core EV platform architecture, to develop an outstanding LCV that is fit for the world’s cities in the 21st century. Its ground-breaking work in developing the all new taxi underpins the LCV strategy having been created on the same range extended EV technology platform. With this platform and manufacturing capability already in place, designed for flexible production from day one, the company can bring to market the new LCV through an incremental additional investment of around £30m taking the total investment from parent company Geely to £325 million.

The new vehicle will help to meet emissions targets in cities around the world, as well as being able to handle the toughest urban environments. Importantly for drivers, the vehicle will be city ready and lower running costs, even as electric charging infrastructure continues to develop.

Zhou Jianqan, the Head of Geely’s Commercial Vehicle Division, said: “I am extremely proud to see Geely’s investment in the London Taxi Company allow it to evolve beyond the taxi market. The light commercial van sector in cities across the globe holds enormous potential and urban leaders are embracing zero emissions at an incredibly rapid pace. This vehicle is a result of the new R&D team based at Ansty and will complement Geely’s global expertise in electric vehicle technology adding to the world class talent across the group.”

Mahindra mulls turning Pininfarina into premium EV brand

SEOUL–India’s Mahindra Group plans to enter the U.S. and China, the world’s two biggest auto markets, with high-end electric vehicles to be made by its Italian auto-design affiliate Pininfarina SpA, the auto giant said.

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Pininfarina H2 speed Concept

“We’re exploring right now the potential of building an electric supercar, which will be branded Pininfarina. Certainly, we’re looking to sell it in the U.S.,” Anand Mahindra, chairman of the Mahindra Group, said in an interview.

Mahindra will also will look to enter China, the world’s No. 1 auto market and a good market for high-end performance cars, through Pininfarina, he said.

Mr. Mahindra is in Seoul for the 2017 Seoul Motor Show.

Mahindra Group, a conglomerate that makes airplanes, cars and tractors, acquired the Italian auto-design specialist in 2015 in a EUR25.5 million ($28.1 million) deal to boost its automotive credentials globally.

Best known for a historical relationship with Ferrari NV, Pininfarina’s designs have long been copied by other global auto makers.

Mr. Mahindra said the group aims to enhance its investments and presence in the U.S. largely through its South Korean auto unit, Ssangyong Motor Co.

“Competing in the U.S. is like the old Frank Sinatra song that if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere,” he said. “So when you sell cars in the U.S., it forces you to be the most competitive.”

He said the auto group would “double its bets” in the U.S. but declined to reveal specific amounts.

Global auto makers have announced increased investments in the U.S. as President Donald Trump is raising demands that more goods be made in America.

“President Donald Trump’s policies are not global, but inward looking,” Mr. Mahindra said. Still, he said, Mr. Trump’s promises will help the American economy strengthen.

Hyundai Motor Co. said in January that it would invest up to $3.1 billion in its U.S. manufacturing facilities and that it is considering building a new plant there, joining other auto makers in highlighting investment plans after Trump criticized the industry.

Ssangyong Motor Chief Executive Choi Johng-sik said Thursday that the company is preparing for a U.S. entry but that it would take at least three years to complete its decision.

More immediately, Mr. Choi said, Ssangyong is considering expanding its presence in China by building a manufacturing plant in the world’s largest market and localizing its products there.

He said the company would complete a decision on that by the end of the first half.

Ssangyong, which specializes in sport-utility vehicles, signed an initial agreement with China’s Shaanxi Autombile Group Co. in October to start a joint venture.

Shaanxi Automobile is China’s fourth-largest maker of heavy-duty trucks by output.

Tata Motors launches Hybrid & Electric buses; Showcases India’s first Fuel Cell Bus

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  • Launches Emission-free, Ultra Quiet and Efficient 12m & 9m Electric and 12m Hybrid buses
  • Order received for 25 Hybrid buses, from MMRDA Mumbai.

Delivery to commence in Quarter 1 of FY17-18

Also presents other SMART BUSES, FOR CLEAN, GREEN CITIES

  • Country’s first Fuel Cell bus (12 m)
  • Country’s first LNG bus (12 m)
  • Articulated Bus (18 m)
  • Amritsar BRTS Bus (12 m)
  • Best AMT Bus (12 m)

Showcases Green last mile Electric vehicles

  • Super ACE E.V
  • Magic IRIS E.V
  • Magic E.V.

Tata Motors, one of the global top 10 truck and bus manufacturers today unleashed the future of mass public transportation at its Pune facility thus reiterating the company’s commitment towards smart and green technology and mobility solutions. The company launched the STARBUS ELECTRIC 9m, the STARBUS ELECTRIC 12m and the STARBUS HYBRID 12m buses and displayed a range of SMART BUSES FOR CLEAN & GREEN CITIES, designed, developed and powered by alternate fuels, to meet the current and future passenger transportation needs of Smart Cities.

Tata Motors has always been at the forefront of innovation providing products and mobility solutions catering to discerning needs of the society. Taking a leap, the company also showcased the country’s first FUEL CELL BUS (12m), LNG Powered bus (12m), and 18m ARTICULATED BUS. Developed indigenously, these buses are safe and comfortable and are economically viable ‘MADE IN INDIA’ solutions, Present at the launch, Ravindra Pisharody, Executive Director – Commercial Vehicles, Tata Motors said, “We are delighted to launch our new hybrid and electric buses today. At Tata Motors, our aim is to not only comply with emerging regulations of clean and green emission but also be ahead of the requirements. We have consistently been developing and manufacturing products that can contribute to CO2 reductions across all road transport segments and with early investments in new technologies, we are geared up to further strengthen our market leadership. With our new range of Future ready buses, we will continue to play an active role in mass public transportation, with a commitment towards striking the right balance between sustainable growth and profitability. We will work closely with government and regulatory authorities to intensify its efforts at tackling pollution, focusing on building alternative transport fuels and infrastructure, for smart cities of tomorrow.”

Tata Motors currently designs, develops and manufacturers its buses in Pune, Dharwad, Pantnagar and Lucknow. Besides its partnership with ACGL of Goa for bus bodies, Tata Motors also has a joint venture with Marcopolo S.A. of Brazil, one of the largest bus body manufactures’ in the world, for fully built bus (FBV) solutions. Tata Motors’ approach of manufacturing FBVs (Fully Building Vehicles), meets the government’s new norms in terms of safety, fuel efficiency, wider bus gangways, with the flexibility to be powered by both CNG and Diesel.

Tata Motors is one of the country’s largest bus manufacturers, with the most complete range of transit vehicles that meet every need, arising from day-to-day travel. It has continued to be a leader in this segment not just by setting technological benchmarks but also by adapting innovations effectively to suit Indian travel conditions. With a whole range of coach designs, e.g. microbus, intercity and touring coaches, luxurious inter-city travel options, to safe transport choices for school going children, Tata Motors is best suited to cater to customers’ needs with an entire gamut of day-to-day mass passenger transport solutions. The company continues to be a leader in this segment not just by setting technological benchmarks, but also by adapting innovations effectively to suit travel conditions in Indian cities and rural areas. The company continues to actively participate in the development and implementation of solutions for mass passenger transport in the key markets across the world.

Key Milestones for Tata Motors’ for Buses

  • A partner to several State Transport Unions and as a leading supplier to Bus Rapid Transportation System (BRTS) operators, Tata Motors E-Mobility journey began in 2005.
    • The company successfully tested CNG Hybrid Electric technology at the New Delhi Commonwealth Games in 2010, presenting the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) with four STARBUS CNG-Electric Hybrid Low-floor buses.
    • These buses were deployed on a trial basis in Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Surat.
    • This was the first time in India that hybrid buses were used for public transportation.
  • During the same year, Tata Motors also won a prestigious order to supply 10 CNG Series Hybrid low-floor city buses to EMT Madrid, a Madrid city public transportation company.
    • Delivered in 2012, these buses have collectively covered over a million kilometers.
    • Tata Motors has the largest number of CNG powered buses on the road today. 
  • In 2016, Tata Motors signed a contract for the single largest order for Hybrid Electric vehicle technology, with the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), to supply 25 nos. of the STARBUS DIESEL SERIES HYBRID ELECTRIC BUS, with Full Low floor configuration.
    • These buses, to be delivered in Q1FY17-18, will connect Sion, Bandra & Kurla to Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC), improving feeder services, to the fastest-growing business hub in Mumbai.
  • Tata Motors also unveiled the country’s first ‘ZERO EMISSION’ Hydrogen Powered STARBUS FUEL CELL bus, which is a zero-emission mass transport solution, for inter-city commute
    • The bus has been developed in partnership with ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation).
    • Combining hydrogen gas and oxygen, the STARBUS FUEL CELL in turn produces electricity to power the electric motor, with water and heat as a byproduct, for Zero tailpipe emission, a first by an Indian manufacturer.

About Tata Motors buses:

Tata Motors Limited is India’s largest automobile company, with consolidated revenues of INR 2, 75, 561 crores (USD 41.6 billion) in 2015-16. Through subsidiaries and associate companies, Tata Motors has operations in the UK, South Korea, Thailand, South Africa and Indonesia. Among them is Jaguar Land Rover, the business comprising the two iconic British brands. It also has an industrial joint venture with Fiat in India.  With over 9 million Tata vehicles plying in India, Tata Motors is the country’s market leader in commercial vehicles and among the top in passenger vehicles. Tata cars, buses and trucks are being marketed in several countries in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, South East Asia, South America, Australia, CIS and Russia.

Source: Tata Motors

[CES 2017][Video] Hyundai reveals Ioniq electric scooter concept

CES 2017, Las Vegas:Hyundai revealed a scooter concept at CES to be used with the Ioniq Electric. The electric-powered scooter is stored inside the front door of the car and is charged when stored.

It’s aimed at getting people to and from their cars on the first and last mile of their journeys, although at this stage it is only a concept rather than a full production accessory for the Ioniq.

India’s first 100% electric vehicle fleet cab service: Lithium Urban Technologies

Lithium Urban Technologies calls itself the company which delivers tomorrow’s transport transportation today(their tagline “TOMORROW’S TRANSPORTATION. TODAY.) and that might sound like an audacious claim from an Indian cab service provider that too from a startup. But that is true, it is the only company in India to have 100% electric fleet, it is the first zero emission transport service provider of India.

Lithium Urban Technologies Pvt Ltd is founded in October 2014 by Sanjay Krishan in Bengaluru. The company initially started off with 10 Mahindra e2o’s  and now they have a fleet of 200 plus electric vehicles and several hundred more are in pipeline. They started their operations initially in Bengaluru and now they are planning to enter North Central Region(NCR) of India. Despite many oddities the company is successfully marching ahead into new regions and new segments.

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Lithium Urban Technologies Co-Founder Sanjay Akhileswaran Krishnan. Image source: link

Why Electric Vehicles? Simple, the founders are feeling responsible for the the environment and are daring enough to do something good.

Is it Commercially Viable? Looking at the oddities the answer must be a big no, but the company is proving that it is possible to strike balance between commercial viability and environmental friendliness.In general, addressing one negates the other and growing while balancing both(profitability & environmental friendliness) is a commendable job.

What are the oddities before the company? 

  • Lack of Charging Infrastructure: Charging stations to electric vehicles are like petrol bunks to IC engine cars. In America there are very few charging stations compared to the number of gas stations, let alone India the number is minuscule.
  • Lack of uninterrupted power supply: If somehow the company manages to find or establish charging stations, then there is this problem of getting 24*7 power supply let alone quality supply. Getting quality power without interruptions throughout the year throughout the country is a tough ask in India.
  • Lack of Proper Electric Vehicles: The only electric vehicle available for purchase in India is Mahindra e2o(at the time founding Lithium Urban) which in many aspects is inferior to its conventional counterparts. Aspects like cramped interiors, rear seats access and range per charge are a few to say.
  • Battery Life and Replacement Costs: Battery pack to electric vehicles is like a fuel tank to IC engine cars. Let me use an analogy to help you understand the problems associated with battery packs. Imagine if your car’s fuel tank decreases in size over time & it cannot hold same amount of fuel as it does in the initial days and also it cannot take fuel at higher inflow rates so you have to slowly pump the fuel or it will spill off. And you have replace the fuel tank a couple of times before you replace the car itself. That is how it is with Electric Cars & Battery Packs. Though this a problem now, in the future this might not be a problem as the batteries are constantly improving and also battery costs are constantly falling.
  • Establishment Costs: Apart from the real estate costs,telemetry platform costs and other costs, the major capital requirement for any cab service provider is capital to purchase the fleet. In case of electric vehicle fleet the cost is multiple times higher than that of the conventional fleet. Mahindra e20 base variant on-road price in Bengaluru is INR 7.10 lakh and Tata Nano base variant on-road price in Bengaluru is INR 2.32 lakh. (*According to Cardekho and Tata Motors websites respectively ** Mahindra e20 is now discontinued and replaced with Mahindra e20 Plus)
  • And many more challenges like customer perception towards electric vehicles, safety(possibility of battery explosions),…etc are to be addressed by the company.

Lithium Urban Technologies despite all these challenges is managing to succeed and move forward. And apart from these inherent challenges associated with electric vehicles there are challenges like competition from established players and biggies national & international like Ola and Uber etc.

How the company is overcoming all these difficulties and progressing? The answer is simple, to start with, they chose a sub segment which they can serve despite their limitations. And as the numbers rise they will explore new segments and new geographies.

litihium_urban_technologies
Lithium Urban’s website’s landing page

What is the segment and city that they chose to start their operations? The segment is Corporate Employees Transport and the city is Bengaluru/Bangalore. The company found out that catering to corporate customers can solve many of their hurdles at once. Well, but why & how choosing corporates as their clients can help them. And what is the business model adopted.

  • Lithium is counting on the corporate companies to recharge their cars as the companies will already have the required infrastructure to supply uninterrupted & quality power. Lithium establishes a charging station at the premises of a company that signs up with them for their transportation services.

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    Lithium’s charging station at a company’s premises
  • The corporates have to pay Lithium on per-car-per-month basis irrespective of the miles driven. And the companies(clients) have to bear the electricity bills.
  • As the routes are fixed, timings are known and passengers are known, predictability is more and the complexities involved are less compared to that of their counterparts.
  • Coming to financial hurdles, apart from the founding members own investments, Lithium got backing from Robin Chase and Ramachandran. Ramachandran is chairman at InKlude Labs and former head of Morgan Stanley India. Robin Chase is a transportation entrepreneur and co-founder of ZipCar. Both the investors are happy and optimistic about Lithium Urban.

Companies saw partnering with Lithium Urban Technologies as a tool to reduce their carbon footprint and as a part of their social responsibility. Soon, Lithium roped in Tesco Plc as their first client. And other companies followed the suit. Companies like Accenture, Adobe Systems and VMware are few of their clients. VMware is one of their biggest clients.

Where Next and What Next? Lithium is planning to operate pan India. As most of their corporate clients have offices at more than one city and have thousands of employees at each city, Lithium is planning to extend the services to their existing clients at their other locations. This includes cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad etc.

As they spread across various  cities and scale up, they will start catering to non corporate clients i.e., to public. Until then they will concentrate only on corporate clients.

Coming to the what next question, The future of urban public transportation will be driven by four key tenets: clean, distributed, shared and connected, according to Krishnan. Keeping that in mind, he wants Lithium to eventually engage across the electric mobility value chain.

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Image source: link

Sanjay Krishnan plans to collaborate with more OEMs to introduce different new form factors (vehicles) for freight, mass transit and consumer transport by April 2017, and wants the company to expand its fleet to 6,000 vehicles in four years.To do all that and more, the company, which has raised $1.3 million of equity and $1.3 million of debt, is looking to raise $6-7 million.

In addition to Ramachandran and Chase, Lithium counts KPIT promoters’ group, Kewal Nohria, Cognizant’s Lakshmi Narayanan, H.V. (Prasad) Subramaniam and Subrata Ghosh as its angel investors.

And another member to back Lithium Urban Technologies is none other than the man who gave India its first electric car Reva, Chetan Maini. Maini is also very optimistic about Lithium.

“When I started Reva, it was way ahead of its time. What is happening today is a host of factors coming together” such as better technology, awareness of electric cars and a more favourable policy stance from global lawmakers, he said.

“The long-term vision is to move into several different product platforms,” said Maini, who is a co-promoter, board member and investor of Lithium.

While Lithium is currently focused on corporate transport in India, Maini expects a future where it could dabble in other mobility areas such as goods transport and “first-mile/last-mile” delivery, and think beyond India.


Reference links and source links:

  1. Company Profile
  2. Sanjay Krishnan
  3. Company Website
  4. The Better India
  5. PluginIndia
  6. LiveMint
  7. Company Profile @ Zauba Corp

 

Hyundai Motor demonstrates ‘MOBILITY VISION’ with Hyper-Connected Car and Smart House

HYUNDAI MOTOR DEMONSTRATES 'MOBILITY VISION' WITH HYPER-CONNECTED CAR AND SMART HOUSE
  • Hyundai Motor extends commitment to customer care with innovation by revealing ‘Mobility Vision’ concept
  • Concept pairs Connected Car and Smart House for seamless technological convergence, allowing users to ‘move while living, and live while moving’
  • Hyundai Motor blurs line between home and car at CES in Las Vegas

Jan. 4, 2017 – At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2017 in Las Vegas, Hyundai Motor has revealed its ‘Mobility Vision’ concept that, in the future, will connect autonomous cars to living and working environments. Signaling the start of a new era, Hyundai Motor’s Smart House technology blurs the line between mobility and living and working space, integrating the car into the daily lives of users.

The Smart House concept shown at CES is an important demonstration of Hyundai Motor’s plans for ‘Mobility Vision’, which places Connected Car technologies at the center of the home. The CES display suggests how the car could shed the image of a conventional vehicle, integrating itself with the living space when docked, before becoming a mobile living space when customers need to move around.

Hyundai Motor’s future vision makes full use of the car for mobility and, crucially, when not traveling it enables customers to continue living without interruption by integrating its functionalities with the home. The new concept combines the comfort, convenience and connectivity features of the car and the home into ‘one space’.

Hak Su Ha, Director of Hyundai Design Center said: “Hyundai Motor recognizes the significance of connected technologies and the extent to which they could benefit our customers’ daily lives. Our Smart House concept fully integrates the car into the home, ultimately making the user’s life more comfortable and convenient. By seamlessly blending features from the car with home and work environments, the user experience is uninterrupted whether socializing, working at home, or on the move.”

When ‘docked’ with the Smart Home, Hyundai Motor’s mobility concept becomes an integral part of the living space, performing useful functions and enhancing the living environment. For example, the mobility concept can act as an air conditioner; share its entertainment facilities by mirroring audio and visual outputs with the home’s smart devices; and even provide power in emergency situations, using its on-board fuel cell as a generator.

In addition to presenting an innovative solution to overpopulation and limited living space, the ‘Mobility Vision’ ambition extends to connected technologies that make users’ lives easier on a daily basis. Hyundai Motor’s investment in ‘hyper-connectivity’ will become so advanced that users will not feel the movement of transport as they continue using the living and working space. Advanced communication with other cars and traffic systems means the user can continue living until they reach their destination making it possible to carry on working or relaxing without interruption.

Hyundai Motor Company

Established in 1967, Hyundai Motor Company is committed to becoming a lifetime partner in automobiles and beyond. The company leads the Hyundai Motor Group, an innovative business structure capable of circulating resources from molten iron to finished cars. Hyundai Motor has eight manufacturing bases and seven design & technical centers worldwide and in 2015 sold 4.96 million vehicles globally. With more than 110,000 employees worldwide, Hyundai Motor continues to enhance its product line-up with localised models and strives to strengthen its leadership in clean technology, starting with the world’s first mass-produced hydrogen-powered vehicle, Tucson Fuel Cell and IONIQ, the world’s first model with three electrified powertrains.

Via Hyundai News