Marines Continuing Research On Robotic UTV For Troop Support

The US Marines are continuing efforts to develop a cargo-carrying robotic “mule” meant to accompany ground troops on foot patrols and into combat.  While other branches of the military have had difficulty keeping costs down, the Marines are trying to use off-the-shelf hardware to be more cost efficient.

Known as the Ground Unmanned Support Surrogate (GUSS) mule, it is being jointly designed by the Marines’ Warfighting Lab, Virginia-based tech firm TORC Technologies and students at Virginia Tech.  Vehicle prototypes are based on a stock MZ700 6×6 utility vehicle from Polaris.  In July four prototypes reportedly performed well in early stage testing using “realistic training events”.  Learn more:

EV Infrastructure News

Eaton & Murphy Oil USA start EV charging demonstration project. Eaton will provide their DC Quick Chargers and Murphy Oil USA brings over 1,000 gas stations in 22 states to the project.  An initial test deployment will begin in Tennessee before the partners decide how to expand distribution.  Learn more:

Santa Cruz, CA to add more charging stations. The Monterey Bay Electric Vehicle Alliance recently secured more funding for installing more charging stations around the county.  While existing stations initially targeted NEVs, the new stations will also offer enough voltage for charging highway electric cars.  Learn more:

LSV Shuttle/Taxi Services Sprouting Up

A number of shuttle and taxi services using LSVs have been appearing in various parts of the US over the past two years and it looks like this usage is developing into a niche market for LSVs.  The latest service is in Tuscaloosa, AL where Sylvester Morgan, owner of Druid City Shuttle, has purchased four LSVs to shuttle people to and from Alabama football games.  Morgan expects the Tomberlin e-Merge LSVs will be easier to maneuver in and around gameday crowds.  The vehicles can take up to five people and Morgan plans to charge between five and ten dollars a person.  Learn more:

In Woodland near Houston, TX Go Green Taxi, operated by Sara and Jimmy Bissig use a five passenger and a ten passenger Sky Car NEV for their shuttle service.  Passengers are charged three dollars for the service.  Learn more:

Green Tech Automotive To Offer MyCar NEVs At A Discount

GreenTech Automotive (GTA), announced at the 2010 Annual Meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) that the company will be offering the first 100,000 MyCar NEVs to consumers at a discounted price of $10,000.  Production of the MyCar is expected to begin in the US in mid-2011, and eventually plans on employing up to 5,000 workers and produce five different models.  The discounted price is aimed at overcoming the affordability hurdle for electric vehicles.  Learn more:

CARB Increases Rebate For Zero Emission Agricultural UTVs

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) recently increased the rebates for zero emission utility vehicles used for agricultural operations from 15% to 25% of MSRP.  CARB funds the Zero-Emission Agricultural Utility Terrain Vehicle (Agricultural UTV) Rebate Program which is administered statewide by the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD).  Vehicles that are eligible for the rebates include electric powered models from Bad Boy Enterprises, Barefoot Motors, John Deere, Polaris and ZAP.  According to the program’s website, rebates are given on a first come, first serve basis.  A total of $990,000 has been allocated for the program of which only about $20,000 for 12 vehicles has been distributed to date.  Learn more:

UK’s ePower Trucks Launches New Vehicle

ePower Truck XT320E

ePower Truck XT320E

ePower Trucks based in the UK recently launched the ePower Truck XT320E, a battery powered vehicle with a 1,000 kg payload.  The vehicle features a 13kw battery pack and an estimated range of 60 miles.  Battery packs can be swapped out using a forklift and an additional battery pack can be added to extend the vehicle’s range. The vehicle costs an estimated $47,000 US.

The company expects to expand the product line in the future with three more electric trucks.  ePower Trucks is a division of LiftSafe, the lifting and handling equipment supplier and specialises in the supply of golf buggies, electric trucks, electric vehicles, electric tugs and a wide range of utility vehicles.  Learn more:

California’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Projects Gets More Funds

The California Air Resources Board recently added $5 million to the state’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP).  The funds are in addition to the $4.1 million originally put into the program.  Some of those funds have already been distributed for qualified vehicles.  According to project management eligible vehicles include medium duty all-electric vehicles, zero emission motorcycles, NEVs and full function light-duty vehicles.  The Nissan Leaf will be eligible when it comes to market and is likely to account for a large portion of the rebate funds distributed in the future.

Learn more:

Kawasaki & John Deere Reach Production Milestones

Teryx 750 FI 4x4 Sport

A Teryx 750 FI 4x4 Sport is the 3,000,000th vehicle produced at Kawasaki's Lincoln, NE plant

The 3,000,000th vehicle recently rolled off the assembly line of Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing’s facility in Lincoln, NE.  In this case the vehicle was a Teryx 750 FI 4×4 Sport.  Over the 36 years of operation the plant has produced motorcycles, snowmobiles, jet skis, ATVs, UTVs industrial robots and rail cars.   Learn more:

Meanwhile John Deere’s Horicon, WI plant just produced the company’s 500,000th Gator utility vehicle.  The XUV825i, the fastest and most powerful Gator yet, rolled off the line seventeen years after the first Gator was produced in 1993.  Learn more:

Zap Acquires 51% Stake In China’s Jonway Auto

EV manufacturer Zap recently announced an agreement to purchase a 51% stake in Zhejiang Jonway Automobile Co. Ltd for $29 million.  The deal gives Zap an entry into the fast growing electric vehicle market in China and access to high volume production capacity.  According to Zap,

The ZAP Jonway merger accelerates cost-effective manufacturing of ZAP’s electric vehicles and gives ZAP access to the Chinese market through Jonway’s distribution channels of more than 80 factory direct dealerships that feed into hundreds of factory authorized dealers. Jonway’s volume manufacturing capacity gives ZAP a strong manufacturing base with the means of commercializing its innovative EV technologies.

Zap will be able to purchase the remaining 49% of the Jonway by march, 2011 at  the same evaluation.  Jonway had revenues of $40 million in 2009 and $20 million in the first quarter of 2010 alone.

Jonway Automobile, with approximately 800 employees, is currently manufacturing approximately 1,000 vehicles per month and has a capacity to produce up to 30,000 vehicles per year at its modern, 3.6 million square foot plant in Sanmen on approximately 141 acres of land. Focused on quality, Jonway is ISO 9000 and China Compulsory Certification (CCC) certified. Jonway distributes through a nationwide network of auto dealerships in China and distribution partners in Europe and Egypt. Jonway’s 3-door SUV has been CE approved in Italy by its European partner for the European market.

Learn more:

EV Charging Infrastructure Develpments

The Car Charging Group of Miami is planning to install their charging stations next May in New York and Florida.  The test project targets malls, condominium complexes, office parks, and public parking garages as potential service locations.  The stations will be free for the hosting locations and revenue will be shared.  The project will use Coulomb Technologies charging station technology.

Coulomb Technologies has already started rolling out their Chargepoint America program starting in Florida.  The $37 million program includes plans for approximately 5,000 stations in nine major metropolitan including Austin, Texas; Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, Orlando, Sacramento, Calif.; San Jose, Calif.; the Bellevue and Redmond areas in Washington state; and Washington, D.C.

Meanwhile Ecotality reports installing 400 charging stations for on-road vehicles and over 5,000 for other uses such as airport and marine uses.  the company offers several different systems with varying charging characteristics.

Ecotality has also been awarded a contract to develop 11,000 charging stations in 11 major cities.  Initial locations include Phoenix, AZ; Tucson, AZ; San Diego, CA; Portland, OR; Eugene, OR; Corvallis, OR; Seattle, WA; Nashville, TN and Chattanooga, TN.  The Department of Energy funded project will include:

  • 14,650 Level 2 (220V) Chargers
  • 310 DC Fast-Chargers
  • 5,700 Nissan LEAF Cars
  • 2,600 Chevrolet Volt Cars

Some chargers are expected to be in place by the end of this year.  The project will be evaluated after two years.  Learn more:

Sunpods of San Jose, CA offers a solar powered charging station that is mobile.  Learn more:  Greentech Patures blog

Japan based JFE Engineering claims to have developed a fast charger that can recharge a vehicle to 50% in 3 minutes or 70% in five minutes.  The company has tested their product with the Mitsubishi i-MiEV and expects to have chargers in the market in march 2011 in Japan.  At a cost of $60,000 or twice as much for the more expensive version, the company is targeting gas stations and convenience stores.  Learn more:

As part of a Department of Energy funding award The Forest Foundation and Triangle Clean Cities Coalition recently received over $12 million in Green Jobs Funding part of which will be used for installing 132 electric vehicle charging stations in the Carolinas.  In addition, 56 NEVs will be purchased as part of the initiative.  Learn more:

Evatrans Plugless Power charging station

Evatrans Plugless Power charging station

Evatrans is developing a wireless charging station product named Plugless Power.  The charger uses electromagnetic induction to deliver power to an electric vehicle’s battery within its proximity.  The station consists of a model-specific vehicle adapter that’s mounted onto the car and a charging station with a floor-mounted magnetic charging block close to where the driver parks.  The system is 10% less efficient than typical wire and plug systems according to the company.  In test trials near Evatrans headquarters in Wytheville, Va., a Zenn LSV cost $1.43 to charge up.  Learn more: