EDI welcomes you to our news bulletin where we promise to bring you valuable information and insight on the hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric vehicle drivetrain industy. We'll also share some of our company news and technology breakthroughs. If this newsletter was forwarded to you and you would like to receive it monthy please subscribe. Thanks from EDI.
In a move designed to enhance EDI's capabilities in China, the company has announced its intentions to begin manufacturing operations in Q3 in its NEAT Company located in Wuxi China. EDI had previously registered a company in Wuxi as a wholly owned foreign entity (WOFE) which had been focused on sales and business development support and is now expanding the charter and capabilities of the Wuxi Company to include manufacturing and technical support of drivetrains, battery systems, and prototype vehicles.
Using its NEAT Company, EDI plans to begin manufacturing, assembly, testing, and technical support of its proprietary drivetrain designs which are targeted at commercial vehicles in China. EDI is currently finalizing the design of several new drivetrains and upon completion, will begin to manufacture and support versions of those in its Wuxi NEAT company. Over time, the production capability will be increased to also include in-house fabrication and product development.
EDI believes that the new production focus of NEAT will provide the company with a unique advantage in competing with other China hybrid and electric drivetrain companies which don't have the same capabilities.
"We have a great opportunity to establish EDI as a high-value manufacturer in China by bringing our innovative designs into the market there as a local manufacturer. It will also enable us to take advantage of lower cost China operations to produce our systems for our market here in the U.S." said Joerg Ferchau, CEO of EDI.
The company is currently working to acquire additional partners for its manufacturing operations and is working with the city to establish expanded facilities. Additional hiring is planned in Wuxi in the Q3 timeframe.
In collaboration with a China OEM partner, EDI has kicked-off its latest project: a Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle drivetrain for an SUV. EDI has already begun the conceptual phase of the drivetrain system design while their OEM partner has selected and shipped the first SUV glider vehicle to EDI in the U.S. The vehicle is expected to arrive shortly.
EDI will outfit one of its latest PHEV drivetrain configurations into the SUV as a pre-production model. The company expects multiple versions of the vehicle to be constructed this year with early production beginning next year. The drivetrain is initially slated for the China market but ultimately may enter the U.S. market. This latest EDI drivetrain will provide innovations in cost and efficiency and will offer new vehicle features not currently available on the market.
The drivetrain system development will be completed at EDI's headquarters in Dixon, California and the vehicle integration stage of the project will be completed at EDI's NEAT Company's facilities in China. The company plans to commence vehicle testing in Q4, 2013.
The innovative drivetrain should be an attractive solution for all of China's SUV OEMs. EDI is designing the PHEV drivetrain to be adaptable to most China SUV platforms as the SUV segment of the market is ever increasing in size. The company is already receiving strong interest from multiple China OEM prospects and expects the drivetrain configuration to end up in numerous makes of SUVs.
China's government has not clearly indicated which electric vehicle technology it will incentivize most strongly, so automakers here are left with the choice of choosing one technology at the chance of it being the wrong technology, or of doing a bit of work on a bunch of EV technologies. The stands here at the Shanghai Auto Show reflected that dilemma. But, PHEVs seem to be emerging as a favorite.
General Motors may be betting on Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle technology for China. At the Shanghai show, GM touted its Riviera concept car. The Riviera is a PHEV. Developed at PATAC, the 50/50 design and engineering joint venture between GM and SAIC, the Riviera is intended to show the future of GM's design language.
But it could also show the future of GM's EV technology? GM China's interim executive director of electrification strategy David Dunahay naturally denied it had any significance. "I wouldn't take it as a signal; we want to participate in a variety of (EV) segments." To be sure, Shanghai GM did just start production of the Springo BEV. GM is going to "bring it out slowly," said Dunahay.
A Ford China executive put the situation in China's EV sector bluntly: "Automakers don't know what technology the government supports so we have to support them all," said J.D. Tang, head of marketing, sales, and service for Ford Motor (China)'s import business.
Ford China is taking a cautious approach to China's EV market. It showed no electric vehicles at its stand in Shanghai. It is waiting to see what types of EVs there is market demand for, said Kumar Galhotra, vice president of product development at Ford Asia Pacific. "You have to have technology and we have it," he said. "But whether or not we deploy it will come down to a demand for it. It is not something that can be forced on the market."
Chinese automaker Great Wall Motor Co., China's largest SUV maker, plans an entire lineup of PHEVs with its Haval brand. It was showing a PHEV version of the Haval SUV. Wang Dingcai, a new energy vehicle engineer at Great Wall's engineering institute, said production of the PHEV would begin in 2015. "Eventually the entire Haval lineup will be PHEVs," he said.
BYD wasn't touting its pure-electric car. Rather, it highlighted the latest generation of its "Dual Mode" hybrid technology, embodied in the Qin electric vehicle. BYD claims the BYD DMII Qin can go 50 kilometers in pure electric mode. It will be launched in the third quarter of 2013, said a BYD spokesperson.
The SAIC stand had perhaps the most diverse selection – it doesn't hurt that SAIC partners with both GM and VW in China so could include EVs made at those joint ventures at its stand. But, the actual production status of the models is an illustration of the dilemma automakers in China are facing regarding electric vehicles.
Walking into the SAIC stand, it would appear that the company was going all-out for electric vehicles. I am greeted by a line of six electric vehicles: The SAIC 550 PHEV, the SAIC BEV550, a Shanghai brand Light Weight Fuel Cell Vehicle, the Roewe 750 light hybrid, the Shanghai Volkswagen e-Lavida sedan, and the Springo BEV from Shanghai GM. Impressive, but then I ask the young men at the stand which of the EVs are available to buy right now. Only the Roewe 750 is on the market, and sales are slow. The PHEV will launch later this year, they said.
Let's Not Let Failure Halt Our Progress Toward Success
With so many companies having made a run at the electric and hybrid vehicle market opportunities without succeeding, it's easy to start assuming there's limited opportunity and to hold back on investments, to cut back on government support for these initiatives, and to halt the innovation that leads to the best solutions that truly make sense in the market.
Many of those companies didn't go forward due to many of the same issues and by acknowledging those, we can all create the best business strategies for the Version 2.0 EV and HEV companies that are positioning in the market today. In the initial push, a common belief was that people would adopt EV/HEV vehicles regardless of the economics to mitigate global climate change, then it was the rapidly spiking price of fuel, then energy independence, then job creation, and now – to meet the new fuel economy and emissions requirements. Regardless of the motivation, there is and has been a steady stream of "reasons" to doing something better than just building more traditional gas and diesel vehicles.
Many of the first companies rushed into market and ended up offering solutions that were much too expensive for the market, scaling up operations too early, relying too much on government support, releasing designs before they were ready for the street, or not having sufficient differentiation. It's possible to pursue the market in a much clearer way today.
Today the market is much less about passion and government incentives and is much more about addressing real needs such as achieving fuel economy requirements, reducing emissions, overall cost of operation, and energy security (depending on the country). The market requirements have crystallized and the world is moving to hybrid and electric energy in a much more organized and market savvy approach.
Although more oil is being discovered and produced due to today's high prices and increasing demand, we already have over 1 billion vehicles on the roads and according to some sources will have over 2 billion by 2030. If you can imagine the ongoing political tension over securing long term oil supplies and the amount of air pollution generated by operating 2 billion vehicles around the world a day, it should be really apparent why we can't let the failures of the industry's past diminish our efforts to do something better and halt our progress toward electrification of all types.
Joerg Ferchau, CEO
Efficient Drivetrains Inc.
Parallel Versus Series PHEVs
Confusion abounds about fuel efficiency differences between Parallel and Series PHEVs. All claim to achieve 100 MPG "equivalent" fuel economy, or better. The question: What things are needed to better understand/judge the two PHEV architecture's fuel efficiencies.
The public's criteria are for minimum vehicle cost and lowest fuel use. But what is the meaning of system differences in terms of "typical" use?
Dual fuel vehicles (PHEVs) can use either fuel to cover a given distance. But since the technology is new, and it's still unknown exactly how people will use these cars, numbers being promoted are purposely vague, and can therefore be interpreted to suit specific manufacturers' interests.
Since the criteria to judge fuel efficiencies of PHEVs is not well understood by the public, the EPA, DOE, and others have devised a single number, Mile per Gallon Equivalent (MPGe), to judge performance. The problem is that it hides the real fuel efficiency of a drivetrain by diluting it with use of electricity tied to assumptions of how the vehicle will be charged based on the size of the battery pack, etc.
Instead, the differences should be classified in more ways, not just one. For example: fuel efficiency using only gasoline in Gallons/100 miles; electricity only in kWhrs/mile for given trips or driving cycles; and annual use of fuel and electricity for a "typical person" using a particular system. The "typical person" is currently undefined so the advertised numbers cannot be used to judge the value of Series versus Parallel PHEV configurations.
The general consensus is that Series are less efficient than Parallel systems, but poorly controlled Parallel systems may fall short in distance travelled under certain conditions to well-controlled/designed Series systems.
The EDI approach is to build Series-Parallel PHEV systems with the fewest number of parts to capture the best of both concepts and provide additional features not available by either concept alone.
In the end; as the market grows and there continues to be a choice between Series and Parallel architectures a new "hybrid" method for measuring the various configurations will have to come about. Until then, consumers will have to become more informed about the design differences and what the market rhetoric really means.
Professor Andy Frank, CTO
Efficient Drivetrains Inc.
We'd appreciate any feedback on the newsletter or particular stories. If you would like to comment or inquire about an article please email us at: email@example.com Thanks!