Volvo goes ALL EV/ Hybrid by 2019 ~ Is it a BIG Deal? + Video NextGen ‘Battery Pack’ that could propel Tesla ‘S’ 2X farther at 1/2 the Cost

Still from animation - Mild hybrid, 48 volts

Original Report from IDTechEX

Volvo Cars has been in the news recently in relation to their announcement this Wednesday on their decision to leave the internal combustion engine only based automotive industry.   The Chinese-European company announced that from 2019 all their vehicles will be either pure electric or hybrid electric. In this way it has been argued the company is making a bold move towards electrification of vehicles. Volvo to capture potential market in China The company will launch a pure electric car in 2019 and that is a great move indeed, considering that the company has been owned by Chinese vehicle manufacturer Geely since 2010.

The Chinese electric vehicle market has been booming in the last years reaching a sales level of 350,000 plug-in EVs (pure electric and plug-in hybrid electric cars) in 2016. The Chinese plug-in EV market grew 300% from 2014 to 2015 but cooled down to 69% growth in 2016 vs 2015, still pushing a triple digit growth in pure electric cars. The Chinese government has announced that in 2017 sales will reach 800,000 NEV  (new energy vehicles including passenger and bus, both pure electric and hybrid electric).   IDTechEx believes that China will not make it to that level, but will definitely push the figures close to that mark.

We think that the global plug-in electric vehicle market will surpass 1 million sales per year for the first time at the end of 2017.   Until recently this market has been mostly dominated by Chinese manufacturers, being BYD the best seller of electric cars in the country with 100,000 plug-in EVs sold in 2016. Tesla polemically could not penetrate the market but in 2016 sold around 11,000 units.  

Whilst the owner of Volvo Cars, Geely, is active in China selling around 17,000 pure electric cars per year, it might be that Volvo has now realized that they can leverage on their brand in the Chinese premium market to catch the huge growth opportunity in China and need to participate as soon as possible.   More information on market forecasts can be found in IDTechEx Research’s report Electric Vehicles 2017-2037: Forecasts, Analysis and Opportunities.

Volvo 4 Sedan volvo-40-series-concepts-16-1080x720

Is Volvo Cars’ move a revolutionary one? Not really, as technically speaking the company is not entirely making a bold movement to only 100% “strong” hybrid electric and pure electric vehicles.   This is because the company will launch in 2019 a “mild” hybrid electric vehicles, this is also known in the industry as 48V hybrid electric platform. This is a stepping stone between traditional internal combustion engine companies and “strong” hybrid electric vehicles such as the Toyota Prius.

The 48V platform is being adopted by many automotive manufacturers, not only Volvo. OEMs like Continental developed this platform to provide a “bridge technology”  towards full EVs for automotive manufacturers, providing 6 to 20 kW electric assistance. By comparison, a full hybrid system typically offers 20-40-kW and a plug-in hybrid, 50-90 kW.   Volvo had already launched the first diesel plug-in hybrid in 2012 and the company will launch a new plug-in hybrid platform in 2018 in addition to the launch of the 2019 pure electric vehicle platform.   Going only pure electric and plug-in hybrid electric would be really revolutionary.   See IDTechEx Research’s report Mild Hybrid 48V Vehicles 2017-2027 for more information on 48V platforms.

Tesla Model 3hqdefaultAdditional Information: The Tesla Model ‘S’

The Tesla Model S is a full-sized all-electric five-door, luxury liftback, produced by Tesla, Inc., and introduced on 22 June 2012.[14] It scored a perfect 5.0 NHTSA automobile safety rating.[15] The EPA official rangefor the 2017 Model S 100D,[16] which is equipped with a 100 kWh(360 MJbattery pack, is 335 miles (539 km), higher than any other electric car.[17] The EPA rated the 2017 90D Model S’s energy consumption at 200.9 watt-hours per kilometer (32.33 kWh/100 mi or 20.09 kWh/100 km) for a combined fuel economy of 104 miles per gallon gasoline equivalent (2.26 L/100 km or 125 mpg‑imp).[18] In 2016, Tesla updated the design of the Model S to closely match that of the Model X. As of July 2017, the following versions are available: 75, 75D, 90D, 100D and P100D.[19]


Tesla Battery Pack 2014-08-19-19.10.42-1280


For more specific details on the updated Tesla Battery Pack go here:

Teardown of new 100 kWh Tesla battery pack reveals new cooling system and 102 kWh capacity




Volvo 3 Truck imagesA radical move would be to drop diesel engines On-road diesel vehicles produce approximately 20% of global anthropogenic emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), which are key PM and ozone precursors.   Diesel emission pollutions has been confirmed as a major source of premature mortality. A recent study published in Nature  by the Environmental Health Analytics LLC and the International Council on Clean Transportation both based in Washington, USA found that whilst regulated NOx emission limits in leading markets have been progressively tightened, current diesel vehicles emit far more NOx under real-world operating conditions than during laboratory certification testing. The authors show that across 11 markets, representing approximately 80% of global diesel vehicle sales, nearly one-third of on-road heavy-duty diesel vehicle emissions and over half of on-road light-duty diesel vehicle emissions are in excess of certification limits.   These emissions were associated with about 38,000 premature deaths globally in 2015.

The authors conclude that more stringent standards are required in order to avoid 174,000 premature deaths globally in 2040.   Diesel cars account for over 50 percent of all new registrations in Europe, making the region by far the world’s biggest diesel market. Volvo Cars, sells 90 percent of its XC 90 off roaders in Europe with diesel engines.   “From today’s perspective, we will not develop any more new generation diesel engines,” said Volvo’s CEO Hakan Samuelsson told German’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in an interview .   Samuelsson declared  that Volvo Cars aims to sell 1 million “electrified” cars by 2025, nevertheless he refused to be drawn on when Volvo Cars will sell its last diesel powered vehicle.

Goldman Sachs believes  a regulatory crackdown could add 300 euros ($325) per engine to diesel costs that are already some 1,300 euros above their petrol-powered equivalents, as carmakers race to bring real NOx emissions closer to their much lower test-bench scores. Scandinavia’s vision of a CO2-free economy Volvo’s decision should also be placed in a wider context regarding the transition to an environmentally sustainable economy.

Scandinavia’s paper industry has made great strides towards marketing itself as green and eco-aware in the last decades, so much so that countries like Norway have tripled the amount of standing wood in forests compared to 100 years ago. Energy supply is also an overarching theme, with each one of the four Scandinavian countries producing more than 39% of their electricity with renewables (Finland 39%, Sweden and Denmark 56%, Norway 98%). Finally, strong public incentives have made it possible for electric vehicles to become a mainstream market in Norway, where in 2016, one in four cars sold was a plug-in electric, either pure or hybrid.   It is then of no surprise that the first battery Gigafactory announcement in Europe came from a Swedish company called Northvolt (previously SGF Energy).

The Li-ion factory will open in 4 steps, with each one adding 8 GWh of production capacity. This gives a projected final output of 32 GWh, but if higher energy cathodes are developed, 40-50 GWh capacity can be envisioned. A site has not yet been identified, but the choice has been narrowed down to 6-7 locations, all of them in the Scandinavian region. The main reasons to establish a Gigafactory there boil down to the low electricity prices (hydroelectric energy), presence of relevant mining sites, and the presence of local know-how from the pulp & paper industry.   After a long search for a European champion in the EV market, it finally seems that Sweden has accepted to take the lead, and compete with giants like BYD and rising stars like Tesla. This could be the wake-up call for many other European car makers, which have been rather bearish towards EV acceptance despite many bold announcements.   To learn more about IDTechEx’s view on electric vehicles, and our projections up to 2037, please check our master report on the subject .

Top image source: Volvo Cars Learn more at the next leading event on the topic: Business and Technology Insight Forum. Korea 2017 on 19 – 21 Sep 2017 in Seoul, Korea hosted by IDTechEx.

More Information on ‘NextGen Magnum SuperCap-Battery Pack’ that could propel a Tesla Model ‘S’ 90% farther (almost double) and cost 1/2 (one-half) as much: Video


From Renewables to Batteries ~ Coatings to Sensors: How Nanotechnology is Helping to Combat Climate Change + Video


Hamburg, Germany: The Hamburg G20 Summit where 20 of the world’s largest economies following the U.S.’s withdrawal from the Paris climate pact, will be searching for and talking about ways to combat Climate Change. How can Nanotechnology be a part of the Solution?

1. Lightweight nano-composite materials – Any effort to reduce emissions in vehicles by reducing their weight , in turn, decreasing fuel consumption can have an immediate and significant global impact. It is estimated that a 10% reduction in weight of the vehicle corresponds to a 10% reduction in fuel consumption, leading to a proportionate fall in emissions. In recognition of the above, there is growing interest worldwide in exploring means of achieving weight reduction in automobiles through use of novel materials. For example, use of lighter, stronger, and stiffer nano-composite materials is considered to have the potential to significantly reduce vehicle weight.



2. Nano-coatings – Nanotechnology coatings are a good short-term way of reducing emissions and and maximizing clean energy production. For example, nano-coatings can be applied to aircraft, which can make aircraft’s smoother, reducing drag and also protect the materials from the special conditions of the environment where they are used (instead of the conventional bulk metals such as steel). Since the amount of CO2 emitted by an aircraft engine is directly related to the amount of fuel burned, CO2 can be reduced by making the airplane lighter. Hydrophobic nano-coatings can also improve the energy produced from solar panels for example.



3. Nanocatalysts – Nanotechnology is already applied to improve fuel efficiency by incorporation of nanocatalysts. Enercat, a third generation nanocatalyst developed by Energenics, uses the oxygen storing cerium oxide nanoparticles to promote complete fuel combustion, which helps in reducing fuel consumption. Recently, the company has demonstrated fuel savings of 8%–10% on a mixed fleet of diesel vehicles in Italy. Reducing friction and improving wear resistance in engine and drive train components is of vital importance in the automotive sector. Based on the estimates made by a Swedish company Applied Nano Surfaces, reducing friction can lower the fuel consumption by about 2% and result in cutting down CO2 emissions by 500 million tons per year from trucks and other heavy vehicles in Sweden alone.



4. Nano-structured Materials – Thanks to nanomaterials like silica, many tires will in the future be capable of attaining the best energy rating, the green category. Cars equipped with category A tires consume approximately 7.5% less fuel than those with tires of the minimum standard (category G). Residential and commercial buildings contribute to 11% of total greenhouse gas emissions. Space heating and cooling of residential buildings account for 40% of the total residential energy use. Nanostructured materials, such as aerogels, have the potential to greatly reduce heat transfer through building elements and assist in reducing heating loads placed on air-conditioning/heating systems. Aerogel is a nanoporous super-insulating material with extremely low density; silica aerogel is the lightest solid material known with excellent thermal insulating properties, high temperature stability, very low dielectric constant and high surface area.


5. Improved Renewables – Nanotechnology may accelerate the technology behind renewables in various ways:experts are discovering means to apply nanotechnology to photovoltaics, which would produce solar panels with double or triple the output by 2020; wind turbines stand to be improved from high-performance nano-materials like graphene, a nano-engineered one-atom thick layer of mineral graphite that is 100 times stronger than steel. Nanotechnology will enable light and stiff wind blades that spin at lower wind speeds than regular blades;nanotechnology could play a major role in the next generation of batteries. For example, coating the surface of an electrode with nanoparticles increases the surface area, thereby allowing more current to flow between the electrode and the chemicals inside the battery.


6. Batteries – Such techniques could increase the efficiency of electric and hybrid vehicles by significantly reducing the weight of the batteries. Nanotechnology is positioned to create significant change across several domains, especially in energy where it may bring large and possibly sudden performance gains to renewable sources and Smart Grids. Nanotech enhancements may also increase battery power by orders of magnitude, allowing intermittent sources such as solar and wind to provide a larger share of overall electricity supply without sacrificing stability.


Moreover, superior batteries would complement renewables by storing energy economically, thus offsetting the whole issue of intermittent generation.In a somewhat more distant future, we may see electricity systems apply nanotechnology in transmission lines. Research indicates that it is possible to develop electrical wires using carbon nanotubes that can carry higher loads and transmit without power losses even over hundreds of kilometers. The implications are significant, as it would increase the efficiency of generating power where the source is easiest to harness. Semiconductor devices, transistors, and sensors will benefit from nanotechnology especially in size and speed.


7. Nanotech sensors – Sensors could be used for the Smart Grid to detect issues ahead of time, ie, to measure degrading of underground cables or to bring down the price of chemical sensors already available for transformers. Nanotechnology will likely become indispensable for the Smart Grid to fully evolve in the near future. Energy efficiency is a way of managing and restraining the growth of energy consumption. It is one of the easiest and most cost effective ways to combat climate change, improve the competitiveness of businesses, and reduce energy costs for consumers.

Learn More: Video: Can This Carbon Nanomaterial Solve Global Warming

WEF: Was 2016 the Year We Turned the Corner? Are Renewables Now Cheaper than Fossil Fuels?

In 2016, after decades of painstaking work to deliver environmental progress based on government and corporate cooperation, we saw important political shifts in the world. The shocks of Brexit and the US election are the most visible part of this, but the signs are more widespread than the rise of populism, driven by stagnant wages and deep divisions among society.

I have felt the dismay in those who worked so hard to deliver the Paris Agreement, and their sense of concern that in this newly shaped environment we will fall back. We all knew in 2015 that we were setting a course and a destination, but that the speed of the shift was going to have to be iterative, with increasing cycles of ambition.

The fear is that this will now become a weak point, and that the ambition will not materialize. That would be highly dangerous; missing a target on climate and potentially unleashing natural feedback loops from which we may not recover is not that much better than never having set one at all.
I hear these concerns, and I understand them, but I myself take a different view.
There are three parts to my response.

The falling cost of renewables

First, we should remember that the Paris Agreement resulted in large extent from a deep shift in the underlying economics of our society. In recent years we have seen dramatic drops in the cost of renewable energy, to the point that solar is now the cheapest form of new energy, and the world record for unsubsidised power from solar is now below $30 per megawatt hour.

This makes renewables strong enough to permanently disrupt the monopoly of fossil fuel based energy around the world and indeed, fully half of the investment in new energy in 2015 went into renewables. That progress is being mirrored in the development of battery storage capacity, and is set to radically transform the world’s transportation sector, which currently accounts for over 50% of fossil fuel use. This is part of a long-term trend that is still unfolding as further breakthroughs in technology continue to bring prices down and capacity up.
Further, even the economics of resource exploitation are changing; in December 2016 the winning bid for a potential sea-floor development for a US offshore wind farm provided the US federal government over double what it got for new oil leases in the Gulf of Mexico earlier in the year.

Of course, a country could provide massive public subsidy for coal to try to protect the industry from the underlying economic trends, while simultaneously removing support for renewables and we may well see that, but the result of such an approach is questionable. Ultimately, a country cannot withstand the global shift forever, in particular with the state of public finances and the need to provide wage growth and jobs, any country that resists this trajectory also relinquishes potential competitive advantage in the new marketplace and in the long run, will only damage itself.

All on the same team

Second, there is overwhelming evidence now that people everywhere want their elected leaders to provide them with a safe and stable environment, including limiting climate change. Those who voted for populist candidates last year, and may do so again in 2017, are not voting for polluted air and health risks for their children. On 8 November, 2016, US citizens voted for more than $200 billion in local measures, funded by their own local tax dollars, to improve quality of life and reduce carbon pollution.

Ultimately we must understand that averting climate change is not part of the partisan debate. We are all united in wanting to live in a safe, stable environment and to provide our families with good jobs that will serve the economy of tomorrow. There is no us vs them when it comes to delivering a low-carbon future. Paris was achieved for everyone, and we must not let that fall from our minds or allow ourselves to be drawn into narratives of political divide.

Thirdly, leadership on climate change is proving to be remarkably resilient, even in this mixed up year, and it is evident and building from all sectors of society. For example:

National leaders are meeting potential setbacks with ambition, such as the 47 developing countries that upped their climate change plans to go to 100% renewable energy, well beyond what their NDC’s lay out, a week after the US election. The Indian government then forecast that India will exceed the renewable energy targets it set in Paris by nearly half, three years ahead of schedule. India predicts that 57% of its total electricity capacity will come from non-fossil fuel sources by 2027. The Paris Agreement target was 40% by 2030.

States and cities are continuing to lead the way. One hundred and sixty five states and regions in 33 countries representing one billion people and $25 trillion in GDP (35% of total GDP), have committed to transforming their economies to stay under the 2°C limit as part of the Under2MOU. The C40 cities, in which 1 in 12 people worldwide live, have adopted 2020 as the deadline to turn the corner on their emissions as part of plans to ensure their cities remain competitive, attractive and resilient. This leadership at the city level will deepen and grow with the announcement of the Global Covenant of Mayors as a merger of the Global Compact and the EU Covenant of Mayors, and will begin a period of significant expansion later this year.

The private sector is also not slowing down. Close to 90 multi-national companies have committed to using 100% renewable energy, creating incentive and demand for further progress. Further, and very importantly, over 200 businesses have set science-based targets to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in a manner that is sufficient given the scale of the challenge. We are even seeing high emitting industries such as the aviation industry begin to challenge themselves with limits on emissions.

Financial institutions already recognize the risk to their clients and beneficiaries of not participating in the transition to the low carbon economy. In October 2016 Société Générale joined the ranks of financial institutions that have committed to no longer finance new coal-fired power plant projects, and align their financing and investments with a 2°C climate pathway.

The fossil fuel divestment movement just passed the $5 trillion threshold across 688 institutions in 76 countries, and in the US alone, sustainable, responsible and impact investing assets have grown by 33% in just two years to $8.72 trillion.

Importantly, the financial industry is also moving forward with recommendations laid out by the Task Force for Climate-Related Financial Disclosure that should be adopted by the G20 in June. The recommendations will drive better accountability and transparency and ensure that business plans are stress-tested against the 2°C target.

These steps alone are not enough to achieve the Paris goals, but they are vital signals of intent, and show us what is possible with a strong vision and commitment. The benefits are already being felt in a steady increase in secure, long-term renewable-related jobs and reduced carbon pollution.

As the groundswell of momentum towards the Paris Agreement rose in 2015, global carbon intensity fell by a record-breaking 2.8%, and many emerging economies saw big reductions in their coal consumption.

At the same time global GDP grew 3.1%. That was the third year in a row that we glimpsed a world that has decoupled economic growth from greenhouse gas emissions.
Our ability to solve the challenge of climate change, which is also a challenge of energy, food security, immigration, health and fair economic growth, especially for the world’s most vulnerable people, is very strong. We must remain optimistic and realistic, pragmatic and visionary. We need to work together in radical collaboration, reaching out across the divides that have grown within our societies.

The next five years will make the difference, and this incredible opportunity demands immediate and urgent responsive leadership from us all. Despite the hurdles we have faced and will continue to face, the overlaying imperatives for achieving a long-term climate-safe world are on everyone’s side. I urge everyone to raise ambition so that we can go further, faster together.

%d bloggers like this: