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Formula E Improves BMW’s Production EVs

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BMW recently invited media to check out its Formula E Media Guide, and it had a lot of interesting information. While we don’t typically cover a lot of racing at CleanTechnica (this is something we should do more of), the guide had a lot of fascinating information about not only the Formula E vehicles, but how they’ve led to better production EVs from the company.

The Formula E Cars

In Formula E, the teams all use the same battery packs to keep things competitive. All teams thus have the same amount of energy, so nobody gets a range advantage over the others. They also can only put out so much power, so nobody’s car is more powerful than the others.

That doesn’t mean that a team can’t have a better car than the others, because they still build their own drivetrains. The more efficient the motor and other parts are, the more good they can get out of that battery pack. This gives every team’s engineers a big challenge, and BMW has been putting a lot of work over the last few years to max out its team’s abilities.

A screenshot from BMW’s Formula E media guide. Provided by BMW.

To say that BMW puts a lot of time, effort, and money into this would be an understatement. The cars look pretty barebones on the outside, but teams spend over $3 million building them. With basically no luxury features, it basically all goes into performance and safety. They use exotic materials and use other methods to get weights down and power output (compared to what’s going into the electric motor) high. Running at high RPMs and at high output, the whole system needs a lot of cooling, which also needs to be kept as compact and lightweight as possible. Electronics also need to be kept to the highest possible efficiency while being robust enough to not fail under the high loads they’re sustaining on the track.

Compared to the BMW i3’s drivetrain, the compan’s newest Formula E drivetrains are 50% lighter, 66% smaller, have double the torque density, and 50% greater efficiency. Performance is double the i3, and energy density is 300% better, while it can turn twice as fast. All of this is pretty impressive when you consider that the i3, while funny looking, was no slouchy eco car.

Translating This To The Road

If you were to swap out the i3’s drive unit for one from the Formula E’s car (and make it work properly), you’d have not only greater performance, but greater efficiency and range, even with the normal battery pack. Output might not be as high with the stock i3 pack, but you’d definitely get the efficiency advantages.

Of course, that drive unit is prohibitively expensive, and nobody would be insane enough to put something so expensive in the funky little i3, but that doesn’t mean that much cheaper road vehicles don’t benefit from BMW’s expensive (at least on a per-vehicle basis) racing efforts, and vice versa. Over the history of the Formula E program, innovations and knowledge from racing have been trickling their way into BMW’s EVs, while knowledge from road car engineers has also been shared with the racing engineers.

Control software for electric motors, which controls the motor after the inverter, is used in the Formula E car, and also in the i3, Mini Cooper SE, iX3, and also in the upcoming iX and i4. Energy management techniques, both in and out of software, have been taken from the Formula E cars and used in road cars.

Formula E has also been a great place to test technologies. When racing at this level, anything being used is going to take a beating in ways that the road cars almost never will. Knowing what the limits are in terms of cooling or metal parts simply snapping apart under the stress, is all valuable knowledge that gets used when designing road EVs.

For the future, BMW already has technology from the track that will eventually get put in the road cars. Silicon carbide inverter technology, high-powered transmissions, and 800 volt systems all got figured out for the track.

Packaging experience also translates directly to the road. Fitting everything in a small space for the track will enable future EVs to have a lot more space and utility.

The guide goes on to discuss the current season, who will be on the teams, etc., but I’ll save some of that for future articles. The guide also covers its electric pace cars, which is very interesting, but it’s something I’ve covered here recently, so I’ll just direct you to look at that other article. Here’s a cool picture of the pace cars, medical car, and emergency car, though!

Racing Has Always Been Feeding Road Vehicle Tech

Technologies coming from the race world and onto the streets is nothing new. It’s been happening since the 19th century.

Things that save our lives, like crumple zones, mirrors, better tires, and even efficiency improvements all came from the racetrack. Racing might seem wasteful, environmentally unfriendly, or even silly to many people, but the technologies have improved the environment and saved thousands of lives. If anything, we’ve been dumb in that we don’t adopt more technologies from racing for the street, like four and five point harnesses.

Other Manufacturers Do This, Too

Formula E currently has 12 teams and 24 drivers. Among them, we see Audi, DS Automobiles, Jaguar, Mahindra, Mercedes, NIO, Nissan, and Porsche.

You can bet that these other manufacturers are all doing what BMW is doing. They wouldn’t plop down all of the cash it takes to run a Formula E team and then not take the new technologies home and use them for EVs on the street. This is clearly a global thing, as we see teams from China, India, Europe, and the US all pushing the state of the art forward.

BMW did point out that it feels like they’ve gotten about all out of it that they could unless the race changes in the future, and it is not the only one looking for other racing opportunities to keep growing. For example, Audi is going to switch its racing teams to running the Dakar Rally in 2022, with a beefy off-road series hybrid (because there aren’t any charging stations).

It’s good to see that racing is going to be alive and well even as things trend toward electric.

Featured image provided by BMW.


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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/04/29/formula-e-improves-bmws-production-evs/

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Peugeot Shines in Hot French Plugin Electric Vehicle Market — Charts

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The French plugin vehicle market continues in the fast lane, with April’s plugin share reaching 15% (6.8% BEV). That keeps the year-to-date (YTD) share at a record 14% (6.9% BEV), which is a 3% increase over the 2020 result (11%). The 20% share I predicted for the whole of this year looks on target.

Interestingly, most of the growth is coming from plugin hybrids, with PHEVs representing 54% of plugin vehicle registrations in April, a 2 percentage point increase over this year average and a significant jump over the 40% they had in 2020. Maybe it’s time to cut subsidies on PHEVs?

After winning the Best Seller trophy for the first time in January, the Peugeot 3008 PHEV has done it again, and with a record performance (1,726 registrations), its second in a row. Furthermore, with the 208 EV (e-208) ending the month in the second spot, Peugeot grabbed gold and silver last month.

This time the Renault Zoe got a podium seat, benefiting from the usual off month of the Tesla Model 3 (209 units in April), but the Renault EV is far from seeing its best days, this being only its second podium position this year (the other was a 3rd place in January).

The bad news continued for Renault, with the Twingo EV being beaten by its Stellantis rival, the Fiat 500e, and the Italian EV jumping to 4th, thanks to 740 units registered.

The only ray of light for the Renault-Nissan Alliance was the (slow) delivery ramp-up of the Dacia Spring, now at 249 units. We should see the low-cost EV showing up on the table in the coming months.

Elsewhere, a mention is due for the record score (its second in a row) of the #7 Mini Cooper EV, with 592 deliveries. Meanwhile, the Volkswagen ID.4 showed up in #17, thanks to 372 deliveries, just 19 units below the VW ID.3, which had another disappointing performance, just 391 registrations.

Below the top 20, a mention goes out to the 282 deliveries of the Citroen C4 EV, a new record for the nameplate and a sign that the production ramp-up is still in development. The Skoda Enyaq landed with 134 sales, a promising sign for the Czech MEB-based station wagon disguised as SUV.

Looking at the 2021 ranking, the Peugeot e-208 recovered its leadership position, but with the top 3 separated by just 220 units, anything can still happen.

Other Stellantis models climbing positions were the Fiat 500e and Citroen C5 Aircross PHEV, with the small EV climbing to #7 and the SUV to #8.

The Mercedes GLC300e/de is also going up, with the German SUV now at #10. In the second half of the table, we have the Mini Cooper EV jumping 3 spots, to #16, while April saw another Mercedes join the table, with the compact SUV GLA250e jumping to #18, thus making the current top 20 score among the 3 Premium Maries (BMW, Audi, and Mercedes) now showing: Mercedes — 2; Audi and BMW — 0. Who would have thought a couple of years ago that Mercedes would be the most dynamic of the three….

Another sign of the Rise of the PHEVs is the fact that between the #17 Peugeot 508 PHEV and the #23 Volvo XC60 PHEV, all models belong to the plugin hybrid category.

Looking at the manufacturer ranking, Peugeot (18%) and Renault (15%) are stable in the top positions, while Tesla (7% share, down 2 points) closes out the podium, ahead of rising Mercedes (6%).

As for OEMs, Stellantis is the major force, with a commanding 30% share, while the Renault-Nissan Alliance is far behind, with only 16%. The best foreign OEM is the Volkswagen Group, with 11% share.


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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/05/16/peugeot-shines-in-hot-french-plugin-electric-vehicle-market-charts/

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A City Planning Model In Shanghai Reveals Land Reserved For Tesla Giga Shanghai

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Kelvin Yang has shared a photo on Twitter that may be of particular interest to Tesla/EV followers. He noted that Shanghai’s city planning office has a city model that reveals land that is reserved for Tesla Giga Shanghai. He also shared an article with more info.

The article, published by 36Kr, noted that there is longer-term planning going on at Giga Shanghai. Around 2 kilometers south of Tesla’s factory on Zhengija Road is a 460,000 square meter piece of factory land that is reserved for Tesla in Lingang.

It also pointed out that the official website of the Shanghai Land Market shows that the land has been successful. Zhao Zhendgong, the investment manager of the Investment Management Department of Lingang Industrial Zone Economic Development Co., Ltd., believes that although there’s been a flow mark, land is a scarce resource. “The Tesla team should not let it go easily,” he said.

For now, there is still a deserted open grassland. Workers who laid the river piles on the site said that a future factory is planned, according to Future Auto Daily. The workers noted that they weren’t sure what company would build the factory. “Now the laying of river piles has just begun, and the muck truck and bulldozer have just started work. It will take eight or nine months before the plant starts.”

Following this part of the article is the photo shared by Kelvin Yang on Twitter with the caption, “Lingang partial land plan.” The article also noted that Tesla Giga Shanghai is the largest factory in Lingang and that its suppliers have also set up in Lingang. By the end of September 2020, Xinquan Co., Jinyaunsheng, and 11 others landed in the area to cover supporting products such as body, chassis, sensors, and electronic components.

Tesla Gigafactory 3 employees in Shanghai, courtesy Tesla.

Future Auto Daily noted that in 2020 more than 10 Tesla-based suppliers would settle in the Lingang New Area, which would enable Tesla to gather its required parts in half an hour. An unnamed source told Future Auto Daily that, “As long as the quality permits, Tesla’s localization rate can continue to increase, which will also bring more innovation opportunities to domestic companies.” Lingang has a planned target for new energy vehicle production capacity of 1 million units per year. This includes both vehicles coming from Tesla’s gigafactory and Zhiji vehicles produced at SAIC’s factory.

The same source described Lingang as a blank canvas. “Lingang is like a blank piece of paper. In the next 5 years, it will take the road of other auto cities for 10 or even 20 years,” noting that Lingang is betting on electrification in the face of a wave of new energy vehicles. You can read the full article here.

What Does This Mean For Tesla?

Honestly, I am not sure. What we do know is that there is factory land reserved for Tesla to use in a city where this type of land is pretty hard to come by. Whether or not Tesla plans to use it, or when it would use it, or what it would use it for, isn’t 100% certain.


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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/05/16/a-city-planning-model-in-shanghai-reveals-land-reserved-for-tesla-giga-shanghai/

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Workers At Tesla Giga Texas Get Up Close & Personal With The Tesla Cybertruck

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A new video of the Tesla Cybertruck at Giga Texas has found its way to TikTok and Twitter user Marc Benton, who shared the video on Twitter. In the video, construction workers get up close and personal with the Cybertruck.

It seems that after its adventure in New York City, the Tesla Cybertuck returned to Texas to get down and dirty. Twitter user Mr. Grey shared this photo of the Cybertruck and I think I like it looking a bit messy. The dirt on the front gives it that rugged work truck feel instead of its usual real-life CGI or Cyperpunk 77 vibes.

Mark Larsen pointed out something that those of us here in the buggy South would often worry about — bugs. He mused as to what the front end would look like when bugs are swarming thick at sunset. That image popped into my head as well, since here in Louisiana we are bug central with an added mix of humidity.

Trevor from Tesla Owners Online had a solution and I definitely took notes.

He suggested WD-40 and noted that he used it on his airplane cowling and that it works. He doesn’t use it on his Tesla due to the matte PPF and ceramic on the vehicle. The Cybertruck will have a stainless steel exoskeleton. When I get mine, I will probably just leave it as is even though I do like purple a lot.


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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/05/16/workers-at-tesla-giga-texas-get-up-close-personal-with-the-tesla-cybertruck/

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Workers At Tesla Giga Texas Get Up Close & Personal With The Tesla Cybertruck

Avatar

Published

on

A new video of the Tesla Cybertruck at Giga Texas has found its way to TikTok and Twitter user Marc Benton, who shared the video on Twitter. In the video, construction workers get up close and personal with the Cybertruck.

It seems that after its adventure in New York City, the Tesla Cybertuck returned to Texas to get down and dirty. Twitter user Mr. Grey shared this photo of the Cybertruck and I think I like it looking a bit messy. The dirt on the front gives it that rugged work truck feel instead of its usual real-life CGI or Cyperpunk 77 vibes.

Mark Larsen pointed out something that those of us here in the buggy South would often worry about — bugs. He mused as to what the front end would look like when bugs are swarming thick at sunset. That image popped into my head as well, since here in Louisiana we are bug central with an added mix of humidity.

Trevor from Tesla Owners Online had a solution and I definitely took notes.

He suggested WD-40 and noted that he used it on his airplane cowling and that it works. He doesn’t use it on his Tesla due to the matte PPF and ceramic on the vehicle. The Cybertruck will have a stainless steel exoskeleton. When I get mine, I will probably just leave it as is even though I do like purple a lot.


Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.

 



 

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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/05/16/workers-at-tesla-giga-texas-get-up-close-personal-with-the-tesla-cybertruck/

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