Gas2 Week in Review, September 17: EV Concepts Bring the Future One Step Closer
EV concepts were all over the headlines this week on Gas2, partially because of the Frankfurt Auto Show but also, well, because ’tis the season. Tesla’s featured news story of the week was all about the upcoming October 26 reveal of its new Tesla Semi, which analysts are saying could revolutionize the trucking industry.
Two EV concepts spurred lots of excitement at the Frankfurt Auto Show: Volkswagen’s I.D. Crozz and Honda’s Urban EV. The Volkswagen I.D. Crozz is a crossover SUV and a four-door coupé, which will surely appeal to fun-loving young Generation Zers. The Honda Urban EV folks are bragging about its amazing interior and exterior interactive display screens that are sure to rival any competitors.
And, while the U.S. executive-in-chief is vacillating about immigration, Dreamers, and walls with our largest trade partners, China has announced that it will be designing a flying train that will move commuters across borders in record time. Here are those stories and more on this week’s edition of the “Gas2 Week in Review.”
The Tesla Semi, a Class 8 electric truck, will be officially revealed to the public on October 26, 2017. The newly scheduled date is about one month behind original expectations, but the implications of this long-haul truck for the transportation industry far exceed any displeasure the public and press are expressing about having to await its reveal. If the Tesla Semi is the disruptor that two Morgan Stanley analysts have predicted, then the trucking industry is due for a complete overhaul. People-in-the-know are saying that battery swapping will be part of the package, with swapping stations costing about $500,000 each. The EV concept is assumed to have a range of between 200 and 300 miles on a single battery charge. Always the consummate showman, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has hinted broadly that the company is in talks with major constituents in the trucking industry. “They want to know how many can they buy, and how soon,” Musk has said. adding the the unveiling will certainly include a few surprises. Stay tuned for more EV concepts from Tesla, folks.
Volkswagen is committing 6 billion Euros to electric mobility over the next five years. In these times in which EV concepts trigger the dreams of average people, Volkswagen intends to make modern technology available to masses of people during this era of technological transformation. Volkswagen’s new MEB chassis — which has been designed specifically for electric cars— is the foundation for three future models: I.D. four door sedan, the I.D. Buzz. and the I.D. Crozz crossover SUV.
The I.D. Crozz is one of the “people’s car” manufacturer’s EV concepts that is really causing a lot of buzz. A crossover of an SUV and a four-door coupé, the I.D. Crozz has two motors with a total output of 225 kW, voice activated doors, an advanced air filtration system, and a reported range of 500 kilometers. Shock absorbers in the newly redesigned suspension are electronically controlled for greater control over a variety of road surfaces. A pre-show press release indicated that Volkswagen knows its audience, as the I.D. Cross should make “a powerful and masculine impression with its wide bonnet, cleanly contoured wings, and roof with a high-gloss black exterior finish.” Who said that the clothes don’t make the man?
Of any EV concepts from Honda, the Honda Urban EV seems to be the one with the most likelihood of reaching the marketplace in this decade. Scheduled for a 2019 release, the Honda Urban EV Concept features a full width electronic display screen with interior wrap-around, doors that are hinged at the rear, and an interactive display screen between the headlights that can broadcast messages to pedestrians, bicyclists, and other drivers. The Urban EV Concept offers the on-board advanced Honda Automated Network Assistant, which acts as a personal concierge by learning to detect which emotions lead the driver to make judgments. It will then apply what it has learned from the driver’s past decisions to make new choices and recommendations. I know what you’re thinking, said the human to the machine…
Mitsubishi Fuso, a subsidiary of the Daimler Truck Group, has unveiled its Fuso branded eCanter electric light duty delivery truck, which has been under development for several years. The Fuso eCanter has a range of 100 kilometers, a load capacity up to three and a half tons, an electric powertrain that consists of six 420 volt lithium ion battery rated at 13.8 kWh each, and projected operating costs at least $1,000 less for every 6,000 miles traveled in comparison to a traditional diesel truck. The Seven Eleven Corporation will be adding twenty-five of the Fuso eCanter delivery vans to its fleet in Japan, and UPS says it will add them to its U.S. fleet of sustainable vehicles. To be manufactured in Portugal, the Fuso eCanter should be on sale later in 2017 in the U.S., Europe, and Japan. Company execs see this new electric delivery van positioned at the right time for the marketplace and are preening that they will be the first to actually commercialize a series produced all electric truck. Take that, Elon Musk.
The China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation has announced plans to build a high speed “flying train” that could eventually travel as much as 4000 kilometers per hour inside sealed tubes using magnetic levitation technology. The proposal is part of a massive $3 trillion Chinese global infrastructure proposal known as One Belt One Road (OBOR), which would connect most of Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. The T-Flight trip would move at Mach 4 speeds one day in the future, with time between the end of one trip and the beginning of the next at about 3 minutes. That speed will be due, in part, to highly advanced turntables at each terminus. Each pod would carry about 20 passengers. Watch your backs, Hyperloop afficianados. Here come the T-Flight; here come the T-Flight.