Gas2 Week in Review, September 10: More Advances in EVs Revealed

Advances in EVs top this weeks’s edition of the “Gas2 Week in Review.” We start off with a story from Williams Advanced Engineering, those folks behind the Formula E racing series batteries. Williams has revealed an innovative electric car platform concept that has the potential to improve vehicle efficiency substantially. Tesla, as always, was also in the news— this time with two Morgan Stanley analysts predicting that Tesla will unveil its Semi at the NACV show in Atlanta on September 25.

Tesla is not the only manufacturer whose large capacity EV is making the headlines. Motiv Power is providing thirteen electric buses to school districts in the Sacramento area and, in doing so, improving air quality for the children it serves. Catching the electric wave is Jaguar Land Rover, which announced that it will produce only vehicles with electric motors and batteries from 2020 onward. Jaguar is also inspiring its classic car owners to join the EV cult, as it will reconfigure its iconic XK-E as an electric vehicle.

Here are those stories and more on this week’s edition of “The Gas2 Week in Review.”

advances in EVs

New Electric Car Platform From Williams Advanced Engineering

A new chassis from William Advanced Engineering called the FW-EVX will make EVs lighter, safer, and more environmentally friendly. The Williams chassis eliminates the conventional strut-style front and rear suspension layout. Innovations in battery pack design, cooling systems, and lightweight structures are integrated into a single, scalable platform. Less weight, which translates into better performance and longer range, is a critical factor for potential EV customers and marks one of the most significant advances in EVs in recent years. Williams’ carbon fiber suspension components, made with a proprietary zero waste process, are 40% lighter than conventional aluminum pieces.

Tesla Semi “Biggest Catalyst In Trucking In Decades”

The National Association of Commercial Vehicles will showcase its annual complement of heavy duty long haul vehicles at the end of September. Two Morgan Stanley analysts, Adam Jones and Ravi Shankar, have predicted that it will be at this acclaimed venue that Tesla will reveal its new Semi. Wall Street is quite interested in this addition to the Tesla catalog, as a Tesla Semi could add about 8% to the value of Tesla stock in the coming years. Focusing on the numbers involved in a production Tesla Semi, Jones and Shanker zoomed in on the necessity of a battery swapping infrastructure to support the long-haul trucking industry. They forecast that battery swapping — which could usher in significant advances in EVs across multiple sectors — could be viable for Tesla Semis with 1,500 locations drawing upon the power of an average of 3 robots per location and servicing an average of three trucks per hour on a 24 hour/day schedule.

Electric School Buses From Motiv Power Coming To California

Motiv Power focuses on large commercial vehicles like shuttle buses, delivery trucks, work trucks, and Class 8 trash trucks. Now Motiv Power is helping two Sacramento-area school districts to alleviate the typical diesel fuel inhalation that most school children experience with the introduction of thirteen electric buses. Equipped with battery electric powertrains and manufactured by Trans Tech, the electric buses offer advances in EVs that will help the city of Sacramento transition from diesel to zero emission busing. Motiv Power says its electric buses reduce operating expenses for fuel by as much as 85% and cut maintenance costs by two thirds. Motiv Power EV school bus operators should see their return on investment in six years as a result.

All Jaguar Models Will Have An Electric Motor By 2020

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has been in the British news this week, starting with the BBC, which reported that every JLR vehicle line launched from 2020 will have an all-electric or hybrid version. The first vehicle in the catalog to be released will be the Jaguar I-Pace in 2018. The news from JLR is striking, as the company has made few advances in EVs to date. Speculation for JLR’s robust and recent interest in EVs is likely drawn from quickly reducing battery prices, new favorable global regulations about EVs, enhanced power and performance capacities of electric drivetrains, and the imminent threat that Tesla poses for the luxury car market. Regardless of the rationale, it’s good to see JLR join the EV parade. Now we’ll just have to wait to see how JLR handles:

  • Hybrids: Small batteries and low range or plugs and 90% electric driving?
  • Battery production: Where and which type?
  • Prioritizing vehicles: Which models will be offered as EVs?
  • Charging options:  Partnerships with Tesla for access to a premium-class, superfast charging network? If not, what then?

Jaguar Says Electric XKE Is A “Concept” — What Does That Mean?

Haven’t you always wished that your favorite teenaged hot rod was available now with all the safety and comfort features of today’s average vehicle? Well, as part of its recent proclamations that it’s joining the trend toward EVs, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) and its Classics Division are restoring/ recreating/ recontextualizing a 1961 XKE drophead coupe. The iconic car, with its glamorous basic structure of a monocoque with a tubular front subframe to hold the 3.8-litre (later 4.2-litre) straight-six engine and four-speed gearbox, first caught the world’s attention in 1961. That’s when it debuted at the Geneva motor show, driven from the factory at Browns Lane in Coventry to Swizerland by Jaguar’s famed test driver, Norman Dewis.

The updated version will be referred to as the XK-E Zero and is purported to be exact to the original — same suspension, same dampers, same brakes, and same independent rear suspension. Certainly, there will also be differences. No longer will the XK dual overhead cam straight six engine be fitted with triple SU carburetors which lived beneath its delightful sculpted bonnet. That engine has been replaced with a battery pack that occupies the same space and eerily echoes the look of the original engine. The XK-E Zero is designed to be 80 kilos lighter and a full second faster in a 0 to 60 blast than the original. Its range is estimated to be about 170 miles with full battery recharge to take about seven hours. That significant amount of charging time is due to the fact that the car does not have a fast charging option.

Photo credit: Lorie Shaull via / CC BY-SA

Carolyn Fortuna

Carolyn grew up in Stafford Springs, CT, home of the half-mile tar racetrack. She's an avid Formula One fan (this year's trip to the Monza race was memorable). With a Ph.D. from URI, she draws upon digital media literacy and learning to spread the word about sustainability issues. Please follow me on Twitter and Facebook and Google+