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Reports Claim Hyundai Has Closed Its Internal Combustion Engine Development Center

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There is no official confirmation from Hyundai yet, but Korean Economic Daily and Business Korea are both reporting that Hyundai Motor Group has closed its internal combustion engine development office and shifted all its attention to developing powertrains for electric cars.

KED reports newly appointed R&D chief Park Chung-kook sent an email to the 12,000 employees at the Namyang R&D Center just before Christmas saying, “Now it is inevitable to convert into electrification. Our own engine development is a great achievement but we must change the system to create future innovation based on the great asset from the past. The immediate task is to develop innovative vehicles that can dominate the future market. This reorganization will be an important starting point for change ahead in the new year.”

The powertrain system development center, first established in 1983, will now become an electrification test center, while the powertrain performance development center will become an electrification performance development center. Researchers at the engine design unit have moved to the electrification design center, although a small group will continue to explore modifications to existing internal combustion engines manufactured by the company.

In addition, a battery development center has been created within the electrification development division to pursue advanced battery technology. It will have teams for battery design and battery performance development, and will also focus on the supply chain for the raw materials batteries and semiconductors will need in the future.

Hyundai Motor CEO Chang Jae-hoon said recently the company would take aggressive steps to transform into a manufacturer of electric vehicles as quickly as possible, with a target of selling 1.7 million EVs worldwide a year by  2026.

Motor 1 says the announcement coincides with significant changes in management at Hyundai near the end of this year. Albert Biermann recently announced his retirement as the company’s R&D head, and design boss Peter Schreyer is also moving to a new role. In addition, as many as 200 executive promotions have taken place — one-third of them in the R&D division.

“Many of the new appointments represent the next generation of leaders and have been recognized for their achievements and role in the ongoing success of the Group,” a company spokesperson said in a statement about the personnel changes.

Meet The Ioniq 7

Like the Volkswagen MEB platform, the E-GMP electric car platform from Hyundai Motor Group can be the basis for a range of cars in different sizes. It’s main claim to fame is its 800-volt architecture and rapid charging ability that is the equal of the best (that would be Tesla) and better than most (as in Volkswagen, Ford, GM, Volvo, Nissan, and just about any other electric car manufacturer you care to name.)

E-GMP is used for the Ioniq 5 and the Kia EV6, and now it appears it will also be the basis for a 3-row, 7-passenger people mover known as the Ioniq 7. A concept version of that car was on display at the Los Angeles auto show this year, showcasing the company’s autonomous driving ambitions. The show car had no steering wheel, only a joy stick, for example.

Jose Munoz, CEO of Hyundai Motor North America, tells Motor Trend the production model is further along than you might think. “A lot of things can make it to production,” he says. “It’s going to be pretty close. You’ll be amazed.” The aerodynamic shape of the exterior of the Seven shows the production intent, says SangYup Lee, head of Genesis Global Design. Some older readers may see hints of the iconic Volvo 1800 ES from the 70s, one of the loveliest of all Volvo designs. Hyundai really needs to do something about that godawful front grille, though.

Image courtesy of Hyundai

The concept has the longest wheelbase of any Hyundai to date — almost 11 feet. It has pillar-less coach doors on the passenger side and symmetrical doors on the driver’s side. Expect the production Ioniq 7 to revert to conventional doors all the way around. “The interior is a little more visionary than the exterior because we have a vision of full autonomy,” Lee says. “In the meantime, we can give it [Ioniq 7] a regular steering wheel, but we still want to create a feeling of a family lounge space.”

Hyundai wanted a new in-car experience for customers with innovative use of space, said Thomas Schemera, Hyundai global chief marketing officer. To that end, the front and rear seats swivel to face front or back, there is a 77-inch panoramic screen on the ceiling, and a universal island with a 27-inch display that can be used to watch a movie or be a work space. Whether any of those features will make it into the production version of the car, which is expected to go on sale in 2924, is anyone’s guess.

The huge monitor on the transparent screen roof is doable, but might not make sense to bring to market now, says Gil Castillo, senior group manager, Alternative Vehicle and Advanced Vehicle Strategy, for Hyundai Motor North America. It was more an exploration of what is possible when vehicles become autonomous and interiors are recreated as mobile lounges.

The cabin features many recyclable materials such as copper and bamboo, Lee notes. Hygiene is a central theme that will make it into the production car. The Seven concept has many air filters and a “hygiene mode” to clean the car between uses. The air circulation system mimics that of an airplane, with ventilation that allows each row to breathe different air in a pressurized cabin. Among the many storage spaces inside is a box where shoes can be placed to clean and deodorize them while driving.

The Takeaway

Some legacy automakers are paying lip service to the idea of converting their production to electric vehicles. Truth be told, GM and Ford are making all the right noises about bringing electric trucks to market and that’s a good thing, but neither is talking about electric cars for mainstream drivers. The all new electric Hummer, at nearly 10,000 pounds, is an embarrassment — an excrescence that will appeal to a very limited range of (very wealthy) drivers just like the original Hummer did. Both are devices that allow middle-aged men who are worried about their sexual potency to parade around like stags during mating season.

There are very few companies that appear to be fully focused on building only electric vehicles. Right now today, that list includes Tesla, Volkswagen, and Hyundai Group. More power to them and God speed.

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Tesla’s Policy Lead Testifies at PUCT Open Meeting As Tesla Focuses on Supporting the Texas Grid

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Tesla’s US Energy Markets Policy Lead, Arushi Sharma Frank, was recently asked to testify at a Public Utility Commission of Texas Open Meeting. A photo of Frank wearing an LFDECARB tee shirt popped up on Twitter. The tee shirt itself is a message focused on decarbonization by the group Bros for Decarbonization. You can learn more about the group here.

Frank confirmed that it was an impromptu request to testify. She also shared exactly what she talked about.

The document Frank shared was a filing receipt for supplemental comments from Tesla signed by Frank. There’s also a video of her testimony which you can watch here. In the document, Tesla said that it appreciated the opportunity to share its comments regarding PUCT’s discussions that were held on June 16, 2022 — the open meeting regarding Tesla’s proposal OBDRR041 as well as its prior work demonstrating how virtual power plants (VPPs) work.

I recently published an article about Tesla’s VPP workshop, which was related to OBDRR041. Tesla also said that it appreciated the Commission’s comments related to its Distributed Energy Resource (DER) pilot projects. Tesla especially supported the conversation between Commission representatives and the staff at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), as well as with the market participants. The conversation covered the real implementation of the system through a pilot as opposed to a task force approach. The latter, Frank noted, could unnecessarily create delays in implementing a grid service solution for DERs.

Looking At The Document & Tesla’s Statements

The Commission’s decision to encourage ERCOT to get stakeholders together and develop a pilot project allowing the market solution of exports from VPPs to be tested is also something Tesla expressed its appreciation for. This allowed for addressing issues raised by utilities and other market participants that have concerns about the potential impacts of site-exporting DERs on distribution facilities. It also allowed for a discussion of the net impact and benefits to the transmission grid.

Tesla also clarified and provided information as a response to a few discussion topics and questions that were raised at the open meeting. These topics included the OBDRR041 status, the ERCOT Pilot Proposal, and a question posed to Tesla by Chairman Lake at the open meeting.

OBDRR041 status

Tesla noted that since the OBDRR041 is currently tabled at the ERCOT Technical Advisory Committee, it would not seek a vote until there was further development of issues and positions from ERCOT and the potential members of the committee.

“At this time, Tesla believes that OBDRR041 may remain tabled at the Technical Advisory Committee pending consideration of the feasibility of a Virtual Power Plant pilot as the Commission proposed at the Open Meeting.”

ERCOT Pilot Proposal

Tesla expressed its views on the formal ERCOT Pilot Proposal that was introduced at the Open Meeting. Tesla noted that for a formal ERCOT pilot approach to be a feasible alternative to OBDRR041, a pilot should :

Have ERCOT’s support and the market’s acceptance and approval from ERCOT’s governing board.
Be amenable to commercialization in that sufficient participants could be aggregated across sufficient distribution service areas (more than one, but in capped quantities, in each service area as described in a proposed pilot framework).
Adequately capture data addressing clearly identified distribution utility concerns, in parallel to or as part of the pilot’s scope.
Have provisions to ensure market services compensation commensurate with grid services provided by pilot participants
Have an identified “start date” and “end date” which are technically feasible for involved parties.

In addition to that last point, Tesla added that the following are requirements in Section 25.361 (k) regarding pilot development and approval:

“ERCOT may conduct a pilot project upon approval of the scope and purposes of the pilot project by the governing board of ERCOT. Proposals for approval of pilot projects shall be made to the governing board only by ERCOT staff, after consultation with affected market participants and commission staff designated by the executive director.

“The ERCOT governing board shall ensure that there is an opportunity for adequate stakeholder review and comment on any proposed pilot project.”

Tesla noted that pilot  project proposals approved by the ERCOT governing board should include the following:

The scope and purposes of the pilot project;
The designation of temporary exceptions from ERCOT rules that ERCOT expects to authorize as part of the pilot project;
Criteria and reporting mechanisms to determine whether and when ERCOT should propose changes to ERCOT rules based on the results of a pilot project.
An estimate of costs ERCOT will incur attributable to the pilot project.
An estimated date of completion of the pilot project.

Tesla’s Response To Chairman Lake

Tesla expressed its appreciation for Chairman Lake, who stated that “nothing teaches like experience, so the sooner you get something in the field, the more you learn faster.”

Tesla also responded to a question posed by the chairman and said that it’s concerned that it will not be able to scope a pilot program in a Non-Opt-in-Entity (NOIE) area. Currently, Texas homeowners are unable to participate in VPPs due to the law. Tesla said:

“Primarily, this approach may not be economically rational as it could mean a substantial resource investment in a pilot that is not scalable to a commercial retail offer where Tesla could continue to directly serve those customers and grow the program’s strength and viability.

“The customers in a pilot should be able to continue to benefit from the value for their systems beyond the end-date of the pilot, in a commercially viable solution – but with a NOIE-only pilot, Tesla would have no control, legally or otherwise, over the continued participation of such customers once the pilot closes, even if a viable market participation framework is implemented following that pilot’ s conclusion.

“Any formal program participation of those customers would be solely at the option of the NOIE serving those customers. More simply, the purpose of a pilot is to study a solution that can be scaled following adoption of market rules based on pilot learnings. To build a program off the learnings of a pilot, the customer base involved in the pilot should be able to continue service under that formalized program, so that parties involved are not running the risk of raising a wholly new set of unstudied issues in a new distribution system type that was not part of the pilot.”

Frank also shared a link to over 60 pages of data from Tesla. Deep dive coming soon.

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Coalition Calls for EU Hydrogen Quota for Shipping

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Energy providers, shipping companies and NGOs call on the EU to introduce a minimum quota of 6% sustainable and scalable hydrogen fuels by 2030

A broad coalition of energy providers, shipping companies and NGOs — including Siemens Energy, Viking Cruises, Green Power Denmark and Brussels-based organisations Hydrogen Europe and Transport & Environment (T&E) — has called on the EU to introduce a minimum quota of 6% sustainable and scalable hydrogen fuels by 2030.

Last year the European Commission, the EU’s executive body, proposed a shipping fuel law (FuelEU Maritime Regulation) aimed at increasing the uptake of alternative marine fuels. Unfortunately, the law fails to guarantee the competitiveness of sustainable and scalable e-fuels, and risks promoting cheaper, unsustainable fuels. The coalition therefore calls on the European Parliament and EU Council to improve the proposal by including a dedicated e-fuels sub quota in the proposed regulation.

Delphine Gozillon, sustainable shipping officer at T&E, said:

“An ambitious shipping fuels law will be key to set the shipping sector on course for full decarbonisation. Sustainable e-fuels are currently too expensive compared to other alternatives such as fossil LNG and biofuels, holding back investments in production facilities, refuelling infrastructure in ports and zero-emission ships. However, with a bit of a push e-fuels produced from renewable hydrogen can be scalable. That’s why we need a quota to get the ball rolling and encourage companies to start investing in clean shipping fuels. Shipping does not need to be a dirty industry forever.”

A list of all the coalition’s demands can be found here.

Download the letter.

Courtesy of Transport & Environment.

Featured image courtesy of Maersk.

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Diving Into Tesla’s 60+ Pages of PUCT Filings (Mostly Data)

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Tesla has over 60 pages of Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) filings that have recently been shared publicly, and we’re about to dive into them. Grab some water and a coffee and let’s go.

Tesla and its team, including its US Energy Markets Policy Lead, Arushi Sharma Frank, have been working hard to help Texan Powerwall customers be able to take part in virtual power plant (VPP) pilot programs. In May, Tesla held a VPP workshop for the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) and Frank was one of the key leaders hosting the meeting.

Recently, Frank was asked to testify at an open meeting of the PUCT, and there she shared Tesla’s comments and statements addressing questions and other concerns relating to VPPs.

Frank tweeted a thank you to the PUCT for the opportunity of allowing Tesla to provide comments. In addition, she followed up with two more tweets, with one mentioning her favorite part of the filings — Tesla describing a phenomenon called “clumping.” Clumping is a reference to capturing the full value of distributed energy renewables capacity in an aggregate load resource (ALR).

63 Pages Of Data For PUCT

In total, there were 63 pages. I’m only going to go over some of the data briefly. I think it’s important to highlight Tesla’s hard work because if Texas allows its residents who own Powerwall batteries systems to participate in VPPs, this opens the door for other states in the Deep South to at least consider clean energy solutions for various problems, especially grid-related. Texas is well known for its grid instability, and if it allows Tesla Powerwall customers to take part in VPPs, this could mean saving lives during disasters.

Included in the filings were comments from Tesla, a request from Tesla that the Commission direct ERCOT to prioritize several actions such as allowing ALRs (Aggregated Load Resources) to provide injection capacity from individual sites in a framework by December 2022, an informal narrative of Tesla’s VPP demonstration in ERCOT, and 47 slide pages detailing the ERCOT/Tesla ancillary service demonstration.

I think the most important part for us outsiders observing here is the 47 slides, because they highlighted a lot of data that shows just how the Texas grid will benefit from VPPs. The 47 slides showed several key meetings between Tesla and ERCOT about the demo program.

Key Meeting Between Tesla & ERCOT Shows Tesla Has Been Working Hard Trying To Convince Texas To Allow VPPs

In March, there were four meetings in which Tesla defined clumping, Frank’s favorite part, as well as two telemetry signal approaches. Following that were weekly meetings around the demo results with the last demo result being April 15, 2022. On April 9, Tesla and ERCOT revisited clumping and the two telemetry signals approach.

This tells me and anyone paying close attention that Tesla has been quietly working with ERCOT to help the Texas grid for quite some time. This, I think, is a good thing, especially for Texas.

Tesla Seeks To Register The First ALR In ERCOT

According to the documents, Tesla wants to register the first ALR in ERCOT and participate in services that are currently unavailable. These services include non-spin and sCED load reduction dispatch. Tesla wants to do this with the full value of grid services that injecting devices can provide in an ALR.

Tesla said that it will lead efforts to modify the utility’s ALR Policy Other Binding Document to make it fit with practical operational, registration, and qualification issues. It clarified that ERCOT can exchange two telemetry points with an aggregation-qualified scheduling entity (QSE).

Tesla ERCOT Demo Tests

Tesla’s first demo looked at the comparison of battery and premise-level telemetry. Below is a chart showing the initial conditions, test steps, data collected, and pass criteria.

Table courtesy of Tesla

This first test results show that VPPs work beautifully in Texas. According to the results, the load decreased during the evening while in the morning it decreased while exporting to the grid. And during the daytime, the exporting of energy to the grid only increased. Tesla explained further:

“Discharging from the customer’s battery using a step function can clearly be identified in the premise-level data.

“At different times of day, premise-level data will look differently, depending on the current load:

1. Evening time: during the evening peak, user load is typically high, and discharging the battery will show up as a decrease in premise-level load.

2. Morning time: during the night/morning time, user load is typically lower, and discharging the battery will both decrease load, and export energy to the grid.

3. Daytime: during the daytime, solar is exporting to the grid, and discharging the battery will increase the export.”

You can view the full demo, test results, and all of Tesla’s comments here.

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