2011's Hottest Hybrids: Cadillac, Porsche & BMW
What’s hotter than getting a new car this year? Getting the hottest hybrid. Mercedes, Porsche, Honda and even Cadillac debuted their eco-friendly versions at this year’s motor shows. Today, worldwide retailers anxiously await these new additions, and 2011 is expected to be a great year for the luxury hybrid – cars providing better fuel efficiency with the same speed and style as their predecessors.
Porsche 918 Spyder hybrid supercar
You’re saving the environment, but you won’t save much on dough as this revolutionary Porsche masterpiece costs about $600,000 to make. The Porsche will inspire all those green geeks just enough to keep them from gawking at the price tag.
The 918 Spyder hybrid was one of three new Porsche hybrids that premiered at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show providing the perfect mix of lavish living with an environmental twist. Rumors circled for months, and when it finally appeared, the Porsche 918 Spyder was said to emit more than just 70 g/km of CO2. Porsche is going to remain the leader in the industry with consumption at 3.0 liters per 100 kilometers and speed from zero to 62 in 3.2 seconds.
Mercedes Benz S400 Hybrid
The S Class defines all what a luxury vehicle should be, so as we welcome 2011, it isn’t surprising that with the New Year comes a new definition of a Mercedes Benz’s classic. The S400 Hybrid will still suit the traveling businessman while offering an environmental touch courtesy of Hollywood. Robert Downey Jr. picked up the new hybrid for the final shots of his film “Due Date.”
The S400 Hybrid produces 296 hp from its 3.5 liter V-6 engine to tear up the asphalt when you hit the gas, and comes with the start-stop technology of traditional hybrids. The Mercedes Benz S400 Hybrid is the first lithium-ion battery for a production hybrid, allowing it to zoom off at 30 miles per gallon on the highway while still giving 46 percent better fuel economy than your average V8 powered ML550 model.
BMW ActiveHybrid 7
BMW’s ActiveHybrid 7 premiered at the 2009 Frankfurt International Motor Show IAA, but is only just now showing its true colors – because as we all know, everything else BMW touches has to be about perfection. Their BMW ActiveHybrid Technology introduces a plug-in hybrid with a three cylinder turbo diesel with hybrid synchronous motor at the front axle and full hybrid engine at the back.
The ActiveHybrid 7 is already an early award winner with its 99 grams per kilometer CO2 emission rating and low fuel consumption – making that number unique in the market. The eight speed automatic transmission and V8 gasoline engine hardly counts for anything after you get a whiff of the acceleration numbers – rocketing from zero to 80 in under five seconds.
Cadillac Escalade Hybrid
Sure, the Cadillac Escalade Hybrid premiered last year, but after several months on the market, we still don’t think this humdinger of an automobile has earned itself enough press. It’s the notoriety and class of the Cadillac Escalade with the environmental focus of a hybrid. What more do you want?
Contradictory at best, the $75,000 artillery tool might garner more than just a Ludacris lyric or camera time during another Michael Phelps’ DUI case, but without the equipment running it, few rap stars or athletes would be as impressed. The small amount of press isn’t surprising, considering the Escalade sells itself with its name and appearances throughout popular culture. With a Gen IV 6.oL V8 engine, LIVC with Active Fuel Management and seating for eight, your whole crew can ride green.
Honda Jazz Hybrid
At nearly every car show this year, Honda strutted its stuff in the hybrid department. At the Paris Motor Show, it was the Jazz Hybrid, where Honda introduced a new, shapely figure for the practical hatchback. Offering the familiar IMA hybrid technology, characteristics of which are also available with the Insight and CR-Z Hybrids, it featured the spacious and famous “Magic Seats” and serious boot space.
In Honda tests, this spicy number has Co2 emissions at 104 g/km with a combined fuel consumption of 4.4 l/100 km. Europe will get to hear the Jazz first, with the rest of the world trailing not far behind. Still featuring the clean look of the Honda Jazz from around the world, this hybrid version will put a spotlight on the average, petrol-electric hybrid in no time.
Sakuu Corporation creates 3D printer for EV batteries
Sakuu Corporation has announced a new industrial-grade 3D printer for e-mobility batteries which it claims will unlock the mainstream adoption of electric vehicles.
Offering an industrial scale ‘local’ battery production capability, Sakuu believes the technology will provide increased manufacturer and consumer confidence. Sakuu’s Alpha Platform for its initial hardware offering will be available in Q4.
Backed by Japanese automotive parts supplier to major OEMs, Musashi Seimitsu, Sakuu is set to enable fast and high-volume production of 3D printed solid-state batteries (SSBs) that, compared with lithium-ion batteries, have the same capacity yet are half the size and almost a third lighter.
The company’s KeraCel-branded SSBs will also use around 30%-50% fewer materials – which can be sourced locally – to achieve the same energy levels as lithium-ion options, significantly reducing production costs. Sakuu anticipates the 3D printer’s attributes being easily transferable to a host of different applications in other industry sectors.
"For the e-mobility markets specifically, we believe this to be a landmark achievement, and one that could transform consumer adoption of electric vehicles,” said Robert Bagheri, Founder, CEO and chairman, Sakuu Corporation. “SSBs are a holy grail technology, but they are both very difficult and expensive to make. By harnessing the flexibility and efficiency-enhancing capabilities of our unique and scalable AM process, we’re enabling battery manufacturers and EV companies to overcome these fundamental pain points."
The ability to provide on-demand, localised production will create more efficient manufacturing operations and shorter supply chains, he added.
Sakuu will initially focus on the two-, three- and smaller four-wheel electric vehicle market for whom the company’s SSB proposition delivers an obvious and desirable combination of small form factor, low weight and improved capacity benefits. The agility of Sakuu’s AM process also means that customers can easily switch production to different battery types and sizes, as necessary, for example to achieve double the energy in the same space or the same energy in half the space.
Beyond energy storage, Sakuu’s development of print capability opens complex end device markets previously closed off to current 3D printing platforms. These include active components like sensors and electric motors for aerospace and automotive; power banks and heatsinks for consumer electronics; PH, temperature and pressure sensors within IoT; and pathogen detectors and microfluidic devices for medical, to name a few.
"As a cheaper, faster, local, customisable and more sustainable method of producing SSBs – which as a product deliver much higher performance attributes than currently available alternatives – the potential of our new platform offers tremendous opportunities to users within energy, as well as a multitude of other markets," said Bagheri.
Ongoing research and new funding collaborations
Omega Seiki, a part of Anglian Omega Group of companies, has partnered with New York-based company C4V to introduce SSBs for EVs and the renewable sector in India. As part of an MoU, the two companies are also looking at the manufacturing of SSBs in the country, according to reports.
Solid Power, which produces solid-state batteries for electric vehicles, recently announced a $130 million Series B investment round led by the BMW Group, Ford Motor Company and Volta Energy Technologies. Ford and the BMW Group have also expanded existing joint development agreements with Solid Power to secure all solid-state batteries for future EVs. Solid Power plans to begin producing automotive-scale batteries on the company's pilot production line in early 2022.
"Solid-state battery technology is important to the future of electric vehicles, and that's why we're investing directly," said Ted Miller, Ford's manager of Electrification Subsystems and Power Supply Research. "By simplifying the design of solid-state versus lithium-ion batteries, we'll be able to increase vehicle range, improve interior space and cargo volume, deliver lower costs and better value for customers and more efficiently integrate this kind of solid-state battery cell technology into existing lithium-ion cell production processes."
A subsidiary of Vingroup, Vietnam’s largest private company, Vinfast has signed an MoU with SSB manufacturer ProLogium - which picked up a bronze award at the recent Edison Awards - to accelerate commercialisation of batteries for EVs (click here).
Xin Li, Associate Professor of Materials Science, Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, is designing an SSB for ultra-high performance EV applications. The ultimate goal is to design a battery "that outperforms internal combustion engines so electrical vehicles accelerate the transition from fossil-fuel-based energy to renewable energy," according to The Harvard Gazette.
The dramatic increase in EV numbers means that the potential battery market is huge. McKinsey projects that by 2040 battery demand from EVs produced in Europe will reach a total of 1,200GWh per year, which is enough for 80 gigafactories with an average capacity of 15GWh per year.