Hyundai Stops Internal Combustion Engine Development

According to the Korea Economic Daily:

Hyundai Motor Group, South Korea’s top automaker, will stop developing new internal combustion engines in order to accelerate its transformation into an electric vehicle manufacturer.

Hyundai Motor Co., the group’s larger carmaker, closed its engine development division at its research and development center, according to industry sources on Dec. 23. The Namyang R&D Center in South Korea is the group’s brain with about 12,000 researchers.

“Now, it is inevitable to convert into electrification,” said the newly appointed R&D chief Park Chung-kook in an email to employees. “Our own engine development is a great achievement, but we must change the system to create future innovation based on the great asset from the past.”

The move came as the global automobile industry is moving towards EVs more rapidly than expected. An EV, which runs on an electric motor, does not need a powertrain, which includes an internal combustion engine and a transmission.

The engine development team was established in 1983 as the late Chung Ju-yung, Hyundai Group founder and grandfather of current Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Euisun, ordered that the company make its own engine.



Decarbonisation and Mobility as a Service

Here’s a recording of the recent, virtual Shared Transport Conference organised by
Collaborative Mobility UK, which is timed to start with the keynote speech by Trudy Harrison, the current Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport responsible for the decarbonisation of transport:


Trudy says a number of things of great interest to those of us that think that owning a car really should be a thing of the past for most residents of the United Kingdom. Take for example this from near the beginning:

We certainly need more voices such as [CoMoUK’s] so that we can design a transport system that is fit for the future and free of fossil fuels, which moves us away from the 20th century thinking centred around private vehicle ownership and towards greater flexibility, with personal choice and low carbon shared transport.

I think actually that the future is much closer than we may think. When you look at the progress that has been made in just a year, we’ve launched the Transport Decarbonisation plan, our Net Zero Strategy and of course we’ve hosted COP 26. And we’re trialling Future Transport Zones across the country, unleashing British innovation and transforming inner city journeys.

Fast forward to 5:05 and Trudy points out that:

According to Warwick Business School 78% of 18-24 year olds use a shared economy service, from Zipcar to Liftshare and Airbnb. These services are high convenience, and they can help people to manage the cost of travel flexibly, and in fact it’s becoming a lifestyle choice so transport must keep pace.

The Department for Transport’s “Decarbonising Transport” plan, published earlier this year, goes into much greater detail. For example the “Shared Mobility” section states that:

Shared mobility services can decarbonise and decongest our transport network, offer an alternative to traditional mass transit, and provide new forms of transport for the first and last mile connecting to public transport…

And outlines the following long list of “Commitments”:

  • We will take action to increase average road vehicle occupancy by 2030
  • We will publish guidance for local authorities on support for shared car ownership and shared occupancy schemes and services
  • We will support car clubs to go fully zero emission
  • We will consult on a Mobility as a Service Code of Practice
  • We will use national e-scooter trials to understand their environmental impact, safety, and mode shift potential to evaluate whether they should be legalised
  • We will reduce the barriers to data sharing across the transport sector
  • We have launched a new annual statistical release and guidance about transport’s impact on the environment and support its use by third parties
  • We will explore the introduction of a new sustainable travel reward scheme supported by businesses, community organisations and charities
  • We will support transport providers to develop communications campaigns that encourage mode-switch and sustainable transport behaviours
  • We will encourage and support UK businesses to lead the way in taking action to reduce emissions from their employees’ travel journeys through “Commute Zero”
  • We will identify specific opportunities for decarbonisation through innovation in rural areas in the upcoming Future of Transport: Rural Strategy
  • We will help build a skilled workforce for the future of transport

We at V2G UK cannot wait to see those commitments being put into practice. Especially the final two! As Trudy puts it at 9:00:

This is quite personal to me. These benefits should not be exclusive to city dwellers… I feel really strongly that this needs to be inclusive, and I also know that for many people in rural areas a car is a lifeline.

Reduced Battery Degradation Using V2G

We have previously discussed the work of the Warwick Manufacturing Group on mitigating potential battery degradation by “intelligently managing V2G technology”. In a recent press release the EV-elocity project refers to a new WMG paper on that subject, reporting that:

A number of studies have identified the strategic importance of charging infrastructure to support the introduction of electrified vehicles (EVs) and to underpin consumer acceptance of the technology. For this reason, considerable research has been undertaken to evaluate the different facets of the technology, including the ability to charge at higher rates of electrical power, the introduction of smart charging (V1G) that allows dynamic management of the charging process in terms of both power and charge time and vehicle-to-grid (V2G) that enables bidirectional energy flow between the vehicle and the supply. In recent years, the term V2G has become more generalised to V2X, to acknowledge the variability in which the EV may be integrated, either to the grid or behind-the-meter, for example within a local electrical network, such as a building (V2B).

Irrespective of the exact nature of the integration method, understanding the impact of different strategies on battery degradation is a key requirement that may ultimately underpin consumer acceptance. Only a few studies have examined the potential impact of V2G operation on battery degradation. Often their assertion is that the increased charge-throughput will negatively impact battery life. These works often neglect that the battery will equally degrade through a process of calendar-ageing in which the retained capacity of the battery reduces as the battery is stored at no-load.

As highlighted in these results from the EV-elocity project, the nature of the degradation is highly complex with dependencies that crosscut: the state of charge (SOC) of the battery with respect to the optimal SOC storage condition and the duration of the parking interval. To further compound the challenge, experimental results shows that the optimal SOC point varies with battery life.

The paper referred to is open access and entitled “A Study of Reduced Battery Degradation Through State-of-Charge Pre-Conditioning for Vehicle-to-Grid Operations“. The abstract begins as follows:

Transport electrification is a key enabler to reduce fossil fuel depletion and related carbon dioxide emissions. However, critical barriers exist in terms of battery costs and their expected life. Vehicle-to-grid technology can bring benefits to both the electrical power grid and electric vehicle owners, while its practical implementation faces challenges due to the concerns over accelerated battery degradation. This paper presents a comprehensive study on reduced Lithium-ion battery degradation through state-of-charge pre-conditioning strategies that allow an electric vehicle to participate in vehicle-to-grid operations during periods in which the vehicle is parked. Energy capacity reduction of the electric vehicle battery are predicted using semi-empirical ageing models, which have been built and validated to capture the degradation behaviours of the battery with respect to both calendar and cycling ageing. Five charging strategies for battery state-of-charge pre-conditioning have been developed to evaluate the ability to mitigate battery ageing before commencing vehicle-to-grid operations. Simulation studies on battery degradation utilizing such charging mechanisms under two different operational profiles have been undertaken.

At this point you may be wondering exactly what the various charging mechanisms entail? Here’s a summary of the assorted strategies from the press release:

and here’s a summary of the results:

Going back to the abstract from the et al. paper, the brief conclusions are that:

The analytical results show that the proposed charging strategies do not accelerate battery degradation and are capable of mitigating the total ageing process from 7.3 – 26.7% for the first 100 days of operational life and gradually vary to 8.6 – 12.3% for one-year continual operation compared to the reference standard charging approach.

To summarise, leaving your electric vehicle plugged in and “fully charged” is not good for the “state of health” of its traction battery. Here’s a video from Euan McTurk that delivers a similar message:


Storm Barra Barrels Towards Britain

As we anticipated yesterday, Storm Barra has been officially named by Met Éireann even though the remaining power cuts due to Storm Arwen have yet to be repaired:

Here is the Met Office’s current high wind warning for Tuesday:

and here is the current GFS wind gust forecast for early Wednesday morning:

We anticipate more power cuts across Ireland as well as here in Cornwall and further afield across the United Kingdom.

Here is ESB Networks’ view of the calm before Storm Barra:

[Edit – December 7th 09:00]

The rain from Storm Barra has recently arrived here in South West England:

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Toyota Announce bZ4X 100% BEV, with V2L!

You could argue that Toyota’s recent launch of a 100% battery, non hybrid, electric vehicle was worthy of an article on this web site, but what with one thing and another we had more important things to write about. However that has now changed!

“First of all here’s the UK version of the bZ4X “world premiere” press release from October 29th, which states that:

Today, Toyota presents the world premiere of the all-new bZ4X, the first model in a new series of bZ – beyond Zero – battery electric vehicles (BEVs).

Faithful in its design and technology to its concept predecessor, revealed earlier this year, the production-ready bZ4X is the first model to be developed by Toyota entirely as a BEV. It is also the first car to be built on the company’s new dedicated BEV platform. Based on e-TNGA philosophy, this has been co-developed by Subaru and Toyota.

Incorporating the battery unit as an integral part of the chassis, beneath the vehicle floor, it gives the fundamental benefits of a low centre of gravity, excellent front/rear weight balance and high body rigidity for high levels of safety and ride and handling quality…

With a fully charged battery, expected range is more than 280 miles (depending on version, exact data to be confirmed later). The bZ4X will also offer advanced technology features, including a solar panel roof to help charge the battery while driving or parked, and third generation Toyota Safety Sense with new and improved active safety and driver assistance systems.

The bZ4X will have its European premiere on 2 December; customers who want to be among the first to obtain the new model will be able to place a reservation via the Toyota.co.uk website from 15 December.

The “European premiere” press release on December 2nd added a range of additional information, including:

Toyota has drawn on almost 25 years’ experience in electrified vehicle battery technology to ensure the new lithium-ion unit in the bZ4X has world-leading quality, durability and reliability. Its confidence in the technology is reflected in an extended care programme that guarantees the battery will still operate to 70 per cent of its original capacity after up to 10 years of ownership or one million kilometres driven, subject to the customer taking their vehicle to an authorised Toyota service centre for an annual health check. To ensure this guarantee could be offered, Toyota developed the battery with a target of 90 per cent of capacity retained after 10 years/240,000 km.

This level of quality and performance is supported by multiple monitoring of the battery’s voltage, current and temperature, from individual cell level. If any abnormal heat generation is detected, controls are automatically triggered. Countermeasures have been put in place to mitigate any material degradation, and there are safeguards in the manufacturing process to prevent foreign matter from entering the battery. In a Toyota first, the battery is water-cooled.

All very interesting of course but still no mention of any mechanism for discharging the bZ4X’s water cooled battery to the outside world. Until now that is! Earlier today my attention was drawn to the Toyota Global bZ4X launch video:

On board solar panels included with the bZ mean that the electricity generated can not only run the vehicle but also be used like a mobile power station in emergencies and in outdoor activities.

Which sounds an awful lot like V2L to me! Close inspection of the associated
press release
reveals the following information:


Roof solar panel (specially equipped vehicles)

Generates electricity equivalent to 1,800 km of driving distance per year (in-house estimate), contributing to superb cruising range. Can charge in parking lots where there are no charging stations, and solar power can be used to charge in disasters or other emergencies.

DC external power supply function (Japanese specifications)

Can connect to a power feeder to supply high-output electricity to homes and home appliances for outdoor activities, and during disasters and other emergencies.

When used with home solar power generation, solar power can supply electricity to the house in the daytime, surplus electricity can be used to recharge the vehicle via a power feeder, and electricity stored in the vehicle can be used to power the home at night.

The bZ4X is scheduled for launch in all regions from mid-2022.

Which is extremely interesting, because unlike other V2L/V2H capable EVs that have been announced recently this one seems to claim that it offers a “high-output DC” rather than a “low-output AC” feed:

However be sure to read the (very) small print. Only in Japan by the sound of it.

Watch this space!

EV OEMs Invest in Factorial Solid State Batteries

At the end of last month Factorial Energy issued a press release which announced that:

Factorial Energy, Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Corporation are partnering to test Factorial’s novel solid-state battery technology and its integration in Hyundai electric vehicles. Under the Joint Development Agreement, which includes a strategic investment, the companies will integrate Factorial technology at the cell, module, and system levels, perform vehicle-level integration, and co-develop specifications for manufacturing Factorial’s batteries. The announcement is Factorial’s first major strategic investment from a major automotive Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) group and deepens its existing research relationship with Hyundai.

Factorial has developed breakthrough solid-state technology that addresses key issues holding back widescale consumer adoption of electric vehicles: driving range, and safety.

Factorial’s advances are based on FEST™ (Factorial Electrolyte System Technology), which leverages a proprietary solid electrolyte material that enables safe and reliable cell performance with high-voltage and high-capacity electrodes and has been scaled in 40Ah cells that perform at room temperature. FEST™ is safer than conventional lithium-ion technology, extends driving range by 20 to 50 percent, and is drop-in compatible for easy integration into existing lithium-ion battery manufacturing infrastructure.

Earlier today Stellantis issued a press release which also announced an investment in Factorial Energy:

Stellantis N.V. and Factorial Energy announced today the signing of a joint development agreement to advance Factorial’s high-voltage traction solid-state battery technology. The agreement also includes a strategic investment from Stellantis.

“Our investment in Factorial and other highly recognised battery partners boosts the speed and agility needed to provide cutting-edge technology for our electric vehicle portfolio,” said Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares. “Initiatives like these will yield a faster time to market and more cost-effective transition to solid-state technology.”

Factorial has developed breakthrough solid-state technology that addresses key issues holding back wide-scale consumer adoption of electric vehicles: driving range and safety.

“It is a great honor to partner with Stellantis, a leading global mobility player, which has some of the most iconic auto brands in the world,” said Siyu Huang, Co-founder and CEO of Factorial Energy. “It is an incredible opportunity for us to advance the adoption of our clean, efficient and safe solid-state battery technology to the mass market.”

Stellantis announced during its EV Day program in July 2021 its target of having the first competitive solid state battery technology introduced by 2026.

One cannot help but wonder how well this exciting new battery technology will handle the modest cycling requirements of V2G technology!

The Electric Vehicles (Smart Charge Points) Regulations 2021

I’ve spent a busy few days covering the power cuts caused across the UK by Storm Arwen. Before she arrived on the scene I intended to go into more detail about Boris Johnson’s announcement last week about “New laws to supercharge the electric vehicle revolution”. Finally the time has come to look at some of those new laws in a bit more detail!

According to the preamble to “The Electric Vehicles (Smart Charge Points) Regulations 2021“, currently merely a “Draft Statutory Instrument”:

The Secretary of State, in exercise of the powers conferred by sections 15, 16, 17 and 18 of the Automated and Electric Vehicles Act 2018(1) (“the 2018 Act”), makes the following Regulations.

In accordance with section 18(4) of the 2018 Act, a draft of this instrument has been laid before Parliament and approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament.

The Secretary of State has consulted such persons as the Secretary of State considered appropriate in accordance with section 18(3) of the 2018 Act before making these Regulations.

PART 1
Introduction

Citation, commencement and extent
1.—(1) These Regulations may be cited as the Electric Vehicles (Smart Charge Points) Regulations 2021 and come into force on 30th June 2022.
(2) These Regulations extend to England and Wales and Scotland.

To summarise, if duly enacted by Parliament the following interesting extracts from the bill will come into force on 30th June 2022. Which is approximately 7 months from now:

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The Great Davidstow Blackout Saga

Today’s title refers back to a similar incident we experienced back in 2014 at our previous premises half way up Haldon Hill near Exeter. The forecast for Storm Arwen suggested lots of power cuts in lots of places. We thought we had escaped unscathed. Until the very early hours of this morning that is, when this happened:

https://twitter.com/jim_hunt/status/1464760584591843332

A few minutes later this information appeared on Western Power Distribution’s power cut map:

By that time our mains power had returned, but that of 18 of our near neighbours had not.

It is now over 12 hours later, and those 18 properties are still unintentionally “off grid”:

I’ve recently returned from a bike ride around the local, somewhat soggy lanes, where I happened across a valiant 3 man WPD repair crew:

It seems that some of their South West colleagues were up country helping out in the Midlands, and they had started their current shift a mere 6 hours after finishing the previous one.

Their efforts seem to have paid off, since after returning home the WPD web site was running properly once again, to reveal this no doubt welcome information to our near neighbours:

Based on my conversation with the repair crew and subsequent poring over a map of WPD’s distribution grid here is my best estimation of what happened during the power cut in Trevivian. Firstly here’s my video of what was happening to WPD’s wires in the vicinty of Tremail in the immediate aftermath of Storm Arwen, together with a comment on the current high retail price of electricity:

I’m not sure why it took until gone midnight, but 2 of the conductors carrying the 3 phase 11 kV supply from Tremail past Trevivian came down in the early hours of Sunday morning:

At first Tremail was amongst those cut off by the fault, but then WPD opened the air break isolators identified by green arrows and turned the power from Davidstow substation back on. After that everyone’s lights came back on apart from the properties powered by the network between the two isolating switches.

What with one thing and another it then took quite a while to repair those sections of cable and close the ABIs again! Here’s a close up of the ABI at the Tremail end of the isolated section of the local electricity distribution grid in normal operation:

and here’s a picture of it that might be more familiar to those who travel the road between Tremail and Trevivian on a regular basis:

Storm Arwen Blacks Out Scotland

The United Kingdom’s Meteorological Office has officially named the first severe storm of the winter of 2021/22:

As you can see from the forecast above, very strong winds are forecast to hit the north east coast of Scotland later today, which will inevitably lead to a large number of power cuts.

The UK Met Office has now also issued a red weather warning for Storm Arwen:

[Edit – November 26th 22:00]

High winds speeds in Scotland have been expected, but the coast of South Devon has also been subject to gusts over 60 mph:

Here’s the latest power cut map for the north of Scotland from Scottish and Southern Electricity, showing a total of 201 “unplanned outages”:

and here is Scottish Power’s map for further south:

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