November 10, 2017 News of the Day: UPS to Convert Diesel Delivery Trucks in New York City to Electric, Senate Releases Tax Reform Proposal Reinstating Federal EV Tax Credit

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【Summary】November 10, 2017 News of the Day

  Eric Walz  ·  Nov 10, 2017 1:31 PM PT
author: Eric Walz   

UPS to Convert Diesel Delivery Trucks in New York City to Electric

ATLANTA — UPS and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) today announced that new technology will be developed to convert UPS package delivery vehicles from diesel to electric. UPS is partnering with Unique Electric Solutions LLC (UES LLC), who will design, build, test and make the conversions to electric. The project supports Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's aggressive goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030 by replacing diesel vehicles with clean technology.

"Public-private partnerships help push innovation forward and transform industries," said Carlton Rose, President, global fleet maintenance and engineering, UPS. "This program will help UPS develop and deploy electric delivery trucks faster and more affordably. Because they are cleaner and quieter, electric vehicles are ideal for dense urban environments like New York City and are a critical part of our strategy for the future."

NYSERDA is providing $500,000 in funding to develop and test the conversion system. The Bronx-based project is expected to bring a production version of the converted truck to the streets of New York City by the Spring of 2018. In addition to producing a new, cost-effective all-electric conversion kit, the project will deliver a blueprint for converting up to three UPS vehicles a day. This could lead to the eventual conversion of up to 1,500 UPS delivery trucks, which is about 66% of the company's NYC fleet, operating by 2022.

Alicia Barton, President and CEO, NYSERDA said, "This project is a prime example of the State's investment in new and innovative technology that can help us meet Governor Cuomo's nation-leading clean energy goals. I applaud UPS and Unique Electric Solutions for their leadership in developing this system that can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and has tremendous potential to be used by the entire delivery industry."

The conversions will be based on unique electric vehicle technology developed by Unique Electric Solutions. The core system features a 225 kW Switched Reluctance Motor (SRM) optimized for the duty cycle of UPS delivery trucks.

SRMs are simpler, cheaper and better suited for electric vehicles over conventional induction motors and do not rely on the use of magnets made from imported rare earth metals like permanent magnet motors do. Overall, the UES SRM propulsion system provides more miles per battery charge, reducing charging times and increasing energy efficiency up to 20%.  

This project is part of UPS's commitment to helping cities and states around the world reduce carbon and other tailpipe emissions as urban areas and e-commerce grow. UPS operates more than 770 electric or hybrid electric vehicles in urban settings around the world. They are part of a fleet of more than 8,500 alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles worldwide. UPS recently set a goal that by 2020 one in four vehicles purchased annually will use alternative fuels or advanced technology. The company has invested more than $750 million in alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles and fueling stations globally since 2009.

Senate Releases Tax Reform Proposal Reinstating the Federal EV Tax Credit

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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate on Thursday released a tax reform proposal that kept intact the Plug-In Electric Drive Vehicle Credit, the same incentive that had been eliminated from an earlier version by the U.S. House of Representatives. The credit makes plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles more affordable to a wider percentage of car buyers by offering up to $7,500 in tax credits. Without it, the cost of cars such as the Chevrolet Bolt, Nissan Leaf, or upcoming Tesla Model 3 would likely increase, resulting in declining sales.

"There is no question that the potential elimination or phase out of the electric vehicle tax credit will impact the choices of prospective buyers," said the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, in a statement, "and make it more challenging for manufacturers to comply with electric vehicle mandates in 10 states." The Alliance, which represents 12 automakers, also noted that the fuel cell credit, which expired in 2016, also hampered sales of clean and energy-efficient vehicles.

There are about 30 vehicles that qualify for the tax credit, with more to follow as the price of batteries goes down and automakers use EV vehicles to meet stringent new fuel economy and emissions requirements. The credit is designed to offer a strong incentive for buyers to adopt new technology.

The credit will eventually be phased out once EVs and plug-in hybrids are more commonly adopted and the price of EVs drops. The auto industry told Congress that eliminating the credit will cause EV sales to plummet.

How the EV Tax Credit Works

The tax credit begins with an initial credit of $2,500, and adds $417 for a vehicle that draws 'propulsion' energy from a battery with at least 5 kilowatt hours of capacity, with an additional $417 credit for each kilowatt hour of capacity beyond 5, up to a maximum of $7,500. For example, the 2017 Nissan Leaf has an 30 kWh lithium-ion battery, so a buyer would get the $2,500 credit, plus an additional $417 for each kilowatt hour over 5, which is 25 kw/h, or $10,425. So in this example with a Leaf EV, a buyer receives the full $7500 tax credit for buying one.

Once an automaker sells 200,000 qualifying vehicles in the U.S., the credit is phased out. No automaker has reached these sales numbers yet, although GM and Tesla are the likely to. According to GM Authority, the Volt has sold around 140,000 units since 2010, and Tesla has over 450,000 orders for the new Model 3.

When you add the federal credit with manufacturer, state and local incentives, the combination can essentially reduce a $35,000 sticker price down to around $27,000, which is more attractive to potential buyers. Although the credit was never intended to be a permanent incentive, most automotive analysts caution against its removal until battery prices fall (as expected) and the price of the technology gets closer to traditional levels. They warn that removing the credit now may have slow EV sales in a growing alternative energy segment.

Ford Tests Exoskeleton to Ease Strain on Factory Workers

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DEARBORN, Mich., — Companies are proposing using functioning exoskeletons for real-world applications, from the military to helping paraplegic patients walk. But they could also be customized to help everyday workers with their physical tasks. Ford is investing in the EksoVest, a new exoskeleton that supports factory employees' upper bodies to ease strain when lifting and performing overhead tasks.

According to Ford, certain factory employees perform these tasks up to 4,600 times per day and up to a million times per year. The non-powered EksoVest, designed by Ekso Bionics in partnership with Ford, assists a person in lifting five to fifteen pounds, easing the strain on users' upper bodies and preventing some fatigue.

This assistance could help prevent workplace accidents resulting from tired muscles and minds. The EksoVest fits employees from 5-feet to 6-feet 4-inches tall and is designed for anyone in load-bearing work, from factories to construction sites to distribution centers.

"Collaboratively working with Ford enabled us to test and refine early prototypes of the EksoVest based on insights directly from their production line workers," said Russ Angold, co-founder and chief technology officer of Ekso Bionics, in Ford's press release. "The end result is a wearable tool that reduces the strain on a worker's body, reducing the likelihood of injury, and helping them feel better at the end of the day – increasing both productivity and morale."

Ford is currently testing the EksoVest in two US factories with plans to expand the pilot program to European and South American sites. The United Automobile Workers (UAW) lent their support to the concept.

Leddartech's Solid-State 3D LiDAR Receives Two CES 2018 Innovation Awards

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NEW YORK — LeddarTech has been named a CES 2018 Innovation Awards Honoree in two prestigious categories for its LedderCore LCA2 solid-state LiDAR IC: Embedded Technologies, and Vehicle Intelligence and Self-Driving Technology.

The LeddarCore LCA2 is the world's first LiDAR integrated circuit (IC) enabling rapid high-volume deployment of solid-state 3D LiDARs that meet the automotive industry's stringent performance, cost and reliability requirements.

By integrating a powerful, proven, discrete solid-state LiDAR (SSL) technology into low-cost ICs, the LeddarCore LCA2 solves one of the industry's most pressing challenges: enabling rapid, large-scale production of automotive-grade SSLs at an affordable price for commercial deployment in mass-market vehicles.

"The LeddarCore LCA2 truly is a breakthrough innovation that brings LiDAR technology to the mass markets. The LCA2 delivers unique added value, reduces inherent risks at all levels of the value chain, and accelerates the path toward commercial deployments of semi- and fully autonomous driving solutions," said Charles Boulanger, LeddarTech's CEO. "These two CES awards are an acknowledgement of our technology excellence and LeddarCore IC business model geared toward mass production of SSL sensors by Tier-1 manufacturers for deployment by automotive OEMs as early as 2020," he adds.

The CES Innovation Awards recognizing achievements in product design and engineering are sponsored by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), the owner and producer of CES 2018, a global event covering all business of consumer technologies.

Products chosen as CES Innovation Honorees reflect innovative design and engineering in some of the most cutting-edge tech products and services coming to market. The products entered in this prestigious program are judged by a preeminent panel of independent industrial designers, independent engineers and members of the trade media to honor outstanding design and engineering in cutting edge consumer electronics products.

Mahindra Considering Selling Ssangyong Motor's Vehicles in U.S.

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Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. is considering introducing vehicles made by its South Korean subsidiary in the U.S., according to Managing Director Pawan Goenka. Ssangyong Motor's is South Korea's fourth largest automaker.

Mahindra hasn't yet decided which Ssangyong Motor Co. models it will sell in the U.S., Goenka said in an interview on Friday in Mumbai. The automaker is waiting for the board of its South Korean unit to approve the plan and an announcement will be made shortly, he said without providing details.

The Indian automaker plans to open an auto assembly plant in the Detroit area, the first new factory in the region in more than 25 years, and will announce the details on Nov. 20. The plans for Ssangyong Motor are separate from this Detroit facility for off-road vehicles, Goenka said.

Deliveries at Ssangyong Motor, which has a lineup of sport utility vehicle models including the Tivoli and Rexton, have declined in seven of the past eight months. Mahindra owns a majority stake in Pyeongtaek, South Korea-based Ssangyong Motor.

In other company news, SsangYong Motor's announced that the company acquired permission for driving of autonomous vehicle and will begin road test starting this month. SsangYong has been researching and developing autonomous driving technology with the Korea Automotive Technology Institute (KATECH) since 2014 in line with the government's aim to partially commercialize the level 3 autonomous driving vehicle by 2020.


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