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Mercedes-Benz unveils its revamped G-Class

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The all-new G-Class makes its public debut at the Detroit auto show in G550 form. Completely redeveloped and fitted with a 4.0-liter V8 biturbo gasoline engine offering 427ps and 450 lb-ft of torque at 2,000rpm to 4,750rpm, despite near-identical looks to its predecessor plenty has changed for the Mercedes-Benz SUV.


Ford’s F150 pickup gets its first diesel motor

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Developed by the powertrain team behind the 6.7-liter Power Stroke engine for super duty trucks, the all-new 3.0-liter V6 Power Stroke unit promises 250ps, 440 lb-ft of torque, and an anticipated 5175kg of towing capacity.


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In light of Fisker's solid-state battery breakthrough and claims of a one minute charge time, will this electric vehicle technology development kick-start mass BEV uptake? 

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GM joins EV collective for better grid development

General Motors has joined a collective of carmakers and electric utilities, adding its OnStar-enabled Smart Grid solutions to one of the largest EV collaborations to take place within the industry. Eight global automakers – American Honda, BMW Group, Chrysler Group, Ford, GM, Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America, Mitsubishi Motors and Toyota North America – and 15 electric utilities are working with the US’s Electric Power Research Institute to develop and implement a standardized Smart Grid integration platform.

 “One thing that’s missing from most Smart Grid programs is a sense of collaboration,” says Tim Nixon, chief technology officer, global connected consumer at GM. “Companies will showcase a meaningful solution, but without widespread acceptance in the industry, its usability is limited. That’s what makes this partnership unique.”

GM currently offers extended range electric vehicles – the Chevrolet Volt and Cadillac ELR – as well as the all-electric Chevrolet Spark EV. The plug-in electric vehicle market in the US has grown to more than 225,000 vehicles.

“As electric vehicles become more prevalent in the marketplace, it will present some unique challenges and opportunities for utilities who manage the flow of the electric grid,” says Dan Bowermaster, EPRI manager of electric transportation. “The focus of this collaboration is to create a standard program that will allow utilities to work with different types of plug-in vehicles to more efficiently manage their demand on the grid.”

For the first phase of the program, EPRI and the participating companies will work to develop a standardized Demand Response solution. Demand Response is the signal a utility sends to an energy management company communicating the supply and demand needs to the electric grid. That company then communicates with designated plug-in vehicles in the area to manage their energy consumption in accordance with the grid’s needs.

“If such a service were ever to be implemented for consumers that opt-in to it, they could receive a financial benefit or other incentive for allowing their vehicle charging to be managed,” says Nixon. “This would also allow utilities to help reduce stress on the grid and costs to all utility customers.”

The goal of the program is to develop a cloud-based, central server that would receive grid requests from a utility – like Demand Response – and then translate and standardize that request so it could be relayed to all appropriate plug-in vehicles in the designated area. Automakers would be expected to develop and deploy technologies compatible with these smart grid communications.

6 August 2014


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