Bosch launches residential EV charger for under $450

A unit of German supplier Robert Bosch GmbH said it will begin selling an electric-vehicle residential charging station for a retail price below $450.

The Bosch Power Max, a 16-amp configuration with a 12-foot cable, will offer 2,400-volt charging in half the time, and at half the price, as a Level 2 residential charging station, said Tanvir Arfi, president of Bosch Automotive Service Solutions.

Bosch Automotive Service Solutions is the former SPX Service Solutions business, which Bosch acquired last year in an acquisition valued at $1.15 billion. SPX has sold about 16,000 previous recharging stations and performed about 6,000 installations, Bosch said in a statement on Wednesday.

The unit is designed to work with all electric vehicles. It’s also available in a faster 30-amp configuration, with cord length up to 25 feet.

Some residential charging stations can cost over $1000 or more, according to Web sites selling the product.

Arfi said the company saved costs by cutting the length of the cable used by the station.

“We largely realized most of the chargers out there, including ours, have cable lengths that are much longer than needed,” he said.

Installation, permits and inspection are included in the price, Bosch said. The product has a three-year warranty.

Bosch is now taking orders, and shipments begin in June.

PPG Researchers Target Increased Fuel Efficiency

Last August, the Obama administration announced new fuel efficiency standards for the US’ cars and light trucks. It stated that by 2025 those vehicles must average 54.5 miles per gallon(4.3L/100Kms) – nearly double today’s average fuel efficiency!

To help vehicle manufacturers achieve this target, researchers at PPG’s Allison Park Coatings Innovation Center (CIC) are kicking off a three-year project. Funded by the US Department of Energy (DOE), the aim is to develop PPG pre-treatment and electrocoat technologies for the next generation of magnesium alloys. 

“These alloys are considered a significant enabler for improving automobile fuel economy,” said Dick Karabin, Associate Director of Substrate Protection and Engineered Materials at the CIC. “They’re a practical alternative for achieving more than a 50-per cent weight reduction compared to the same components manufactured from steel. This project ensures that PPG will continue to be a market leader in automotive pre-treatments and electrodeposition primers even as fabrication materials evolve for the next generation of lightweight, fuel efficient cars.” 

Work on the project will be conducted primarily at the CIC with support from PPG’s Euclid, Ohio, pre-treatment facility.

CAPTION: This demonstration automotive support structure, comprising three types of magnesium alloy, represents the materials and joints that the PPG research-and-development team expects would become part of actual vehicle construction.

GM’s Akerson Calls for Consumer-Driven National Energy Policy

Speaking at an energy conference in Houston, GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson said his company is developing the industry’s most technologically diverse range of fuel-efficient cars, trucks and crossovers to meet new fuel economy standards.

These include clean diesel, battery-powered electric vehicles, extended-range electric vehicles, natural gas and a host of fuel-saving technologies such as light electrification, cylinder deactivation and turbo direct injection.

GM is committed to saving 12 billion gallons of fuel over the life of the vehicles it builds between 2011 and 2017, the equivalent of averting the need for 675 million barrels of oil – a figure nearly equal to U.S. oil imports from the Persian Gulf in 2011. 

Mass reduction through the use of advanced materials, such as carbon fibre and magnesium as well as investments in nano steels and resistance spot welding for aluminium structures, holds great promise.

 “A good rule of thumb is that a 10 per cent reduction in curb weight will reduce fuel consumption by about 6.5 per cent,” Akerson said. “Our target is to reduce weight by up to 15 per cent” by 2016.

Cooperation Between Daimler, Ford and Renault-Nissan

Daimler AG, Ford Motor Company and Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., have signed a unique three-way agreement to accelerate the commercialisation of fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) technology.

The goal of the collaboration is to jointly develop a common fuel cell electric vehicle system while reducing investment costs associated with the engineering of the technology. Each company will invest equally towards the project. The strategy to maximise design commonality, leverage volume and derive efficiencies through economies of scale will help to launch the worlds first affordable, mass-market FCEVs as early as 2017.

Together, Daimler, Ford and Nissan have more than 60 years of cumulative experience developing FCEVs. Their FCEVs have logged more than 10 million kilometres in test drives around the world in customers hands and as part of demonstration projects in diverse conditions. The partners plan to develop a common fuel cell stack and fuel cell system that can be used by each company in the launch of highly differentiated, separately branded FCEVs, which produce no CO2 emissions while driving.

The collaboration sends a clear signal to suppliers, policymakers and the industry to encourage further development of hydrogen refuelling stations and other infrastructure necessary to allow the vehicles to be mass-marketed.

Powered by electricity generated from hydrogen and oxygen, FCEVs emit only water while driving. FCEVs are considered complementary to today’s battery-electric vehicles and will help expand the range of zero-emission transportation options available to consumers.

“Fuel cell electric vehicles are the obvious next step to complement today’s battery electric vehicles as our industry embraces more sustainable transportation,” said Mitsuhiko Yamashita, Member of the Board of Directors and Executive Vice President of Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., supervising Research and Development.

“We look forward to a future where we can answer many customer needs by adding FCEVs on top of battery EVs within the zero-emission line-up.”

“We are convinced that fuel cell vehicles will play a central role for zero-emission mobility in the future. Thanks to the high commitment of all three partners we can put fuel cell e-mobility on a broader basis. This means with this cooperation we will make this technology available for many customers around the globe,” said Prof. Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, Group Research & Mercedes-Benz Cars Development.

“Working together will significantly help speed this technology to market at a more affordable cost to our customers,” said Raj Nair, group vice president, Global Product Development, Ford Motor Company.

“We will all benefit from this relationship as the resulting solution will be better than any one company working alone.”

Engineering work on both the fuel cell stack and the fuel cell system will be done jointly by the three companies at several locations around the world. The partners are also studying the joint development of other FCEV components to generate even further synergies.

The unique collaboration across three continents and three companies will help define global specifications and component standards, an important prerequisite for achieving higher economies of scale.

How a fuel cell electric vehicle works

Like today’s battery-electric vehicles, FCEVs are more efficient than conventional cars and diversify energy sources beyond petroleum.

The electricity for an FCEV is produced on board the vehicle in the fuel cell stack where it is generated following an electro-chemical reaction between hydrogen – stored in a purpose-designed, high-pressure tank in the car – and oxygen from the air. The only by-products are water vapour and heat.

(L-R) Raj Nair, Group Vice President, Global Product Development, Ford Motor Company, Prof. Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, Group Research & Mercedes-Benz Cars Development and Mitsuhiko Yamashita, Member of the Board of Directors and Executive Vice President of Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., supervising Research and Development.

High Speed, On Street Electric Car Charger

NRMA Motoring & Services and the City of Canada Bay and Origin Energy have switched on Sydney’s first free-of-charge public, high-speed electric vehicle charging station.

The new charging station, or the DC Fast Charge, will charge a Mitsubishi i-MiEV or a Nissan LEAF in less than 20 minutes, compared to the four to eight hours using a 15 amp power point.

Origin Energy is sponsoring the charging station, providing 100 per cent government accredited GreeenPower for motorists, while the City of Canada Bay allocated a kerbside parking space for the fast charge station.

NRMA president Wendy Machin said it is important that NRMA takes the lead by encouraging motorists to use alternative fuels and technology like electric vehicles.

“NRMA is pleased to offer this community service to electric car users. These cars are becoming increasingly popular; it’s a wonderful initiative which will make charging on the go faster and more convenient,” said Machin.

“We believe that electric vehicles will form part of the long-term solution in meeting Australia’s future transport demands.”

Origin’s CEO energy markets Frank Calabria said: “This partnership with the NRMA is an active demonstration of Origin’s ongoing commitment to the development of innovative and sustainable energy solutions for Australians.  When powered with 100 per cent GreenPower, electric vehicles are practically emissions free.

“Together with the NRMA, Origin hopes to encourage the take up of more electric vehicles in Australia.”

The charger is currently only suitable for charging the Mitsubishi i-MiEV and Nissan LEAF vehicles. It is located at 9 George Street, North Strathfield, opposite the head office of NRMA Motoring & Services. 

Will Iron Batteries Return?

 Electric vehicles (EVs), whether hybrid or pure-electric for land, water or air, employ batteries on board, where supercapacitors have not replaced them. For more on this see the IDTechEx report, “Electric Vehicle Traction Batteries 2012-2022” (

However, EVs also employ larger battery banks in some types of stationary fast-charging infrastructure beyond the vehicle and sometimes static battery banks are used to capture braking energy of electric trains, though here supercapacitors are increasingly proving more reliable and lower in cost over their (longer) life. See the IDTechEx reports, “Electrochemical Double Layer Capacitors: Supercapacitors 2012-2022” ( ) for a broad treatment and “Supercapacitor / Ultracapacitor Strategies and Emerging Applications 2013-2025” ( ) for detail on these aspects and the technology, including many interviews.

Indeed, there is much talk of electric vehicles becoming part of the smart grid and closely associated with frequency and load balancing battery banks, so the search for better battery technology in this EV firmament continues to be very broad. For more see the IDTechEx report, “Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure 2012-2022” ( ).

A place for iron in rechargeable batteries

Most of the existing manufacturers and nearly all of the new manufacturers of lithium-ion “Li-ion” batteries use lithium iron phosphate active cathodes because of advantages such as no materials subject to severe price hikes, low cost materials and easier patent position. They have good temperature performance that can be reflected in greater safety though no Li-ion cell is inherently safe and the first defender of safety is the battery management system (BMS), not the cell. Several recent fires and explosions have been related to something other than the cells.

Look deeper at the chemistry and we again see a different picture. The Japanese Institute for Information Technology notes that the leaders in sales of Li-ion batteries for vehicles are in Japan, which has the lowest material cost for the advanced materials, and Korea, which has the fastest production lines, not China. We are told that the Japanese and Koreans, notably

Panasonic including its Sanyo subsidiary, AESC and LGChem, base their success on ignoring lithium iron phosphate (LFP).

Will iron batteries return?

Source: IDTechEx report ‘Most-Needed Chemicals for New Disruptive Electronics and Electrics’ ( )

Certainly, huge leaps in energy density and, potentially, cost/kWh, have been reported just lately, for example by Envia Systems. In development, this has broken the world’s record for energy density at 400 watt-hours/kg, more than double today’s batteries. This matches the best of the so-called rechargeable lithium/lithium metal batteries that do not employ the lithium intercalation at the electrode that characterises Li-ion. Such traction batteries are in use in modest quantities for military, aerospace, unmanned vehicle and car purposes. The small number of companies preparing them for major rollout sometimes claim they will replace Li-ion traction batteries because of various advantages, not least energy density, where some feel that 600 kWh/kg will be achieved – maybe more. Unfortunately, use of iron does not give the best potential in these respects even though Volvo Bus and Truck, for example, swears by LFP because it has other priorities. For a bigger picture, IDTechEx has looked at, “Most-Needed Chemicals for New Disruptive Electronics and Electrics” ( ) finding that the chemistry of iron is of modest importance overall. Is that about to change?

Super iron

For rechargeable batteries, potentially even including very big ones, a very different approach is being revisited. The “Super-iron” battery is the name for a new class of rechargeable electric battery reminiscent of Edison’s nickel-iron battery all those years ago. It involves a special kind of ferrate salt (iron(VI)). Potassium ferrate (K2FeO4) or barium ferrate (BaFeO4) can apparently be used in this new class of battery researched at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and elsewhere since about 2004. The salts readily accept three electrons per ion, meaning more energy stored. They usually employ the same zinc anode and electrolyte as an alkaline battery, but energy density is claimed to be around 50% higher.

“A High-Performance Rechargeable Iron Electrode for Large-Scale Battery-Based Energy Storage” is the topic of a new article in the Journal of The Electrochemical Society (2012, Volume 159, Issue 8, Pages A1209-A1214). In this work, Aswin K. Manohar et al. of Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute, Department of Chemistry, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California have shown a high-performance rechargeable iron electrode formulated with carbonyl iron and bismuth sulfide that is “far superior in characteristics compared to a commercially available iron electrode.” They achieve one tenth of the usual hydrogen evolution rate, a high charging-efficiency at 96%, a high discharge capacity at 0.3 Ah g−1, and also a twenty-fold increase in capacity for the two-hour discharge rate. “The high level of purity of carbonyl iron combined with the in-situ produced bismuth electro-deposits suppresses the wasteful evolution of hydrogen, while the in situ formation of mixed-valent conductive iron sulfides facilitates high discharge rates.” Apparently, the efficiency and discharge performance were stable with repeated cycling.

Sri Narayan, professor of chemistry at his lab in USC Dornsife researching in iron electrodes.

The researchers have also demonstrated a viable “pressed-plate” type battery electrode that can be inexpensively fabricated using this new formulation of active materials. They say that these high-performance electrodes “have broken the once-formidable barrier of low charging efficiencies and unneeded hydrogen evolution in iron-based aqueous alkaline batteries. Thus, both iron-air and nickel iron batteries can now become the basis for low-cost, durable, and efficient large-scale electrical energy storage systems.”

The research was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy ARPA-E (GRIDS program, DE-AR0000136), the Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute, and the University of Southern California.

If the iron battery, as opposed to the LFP version of Li-ion batteries, became popular again after over 100 years it will be part of a pattern. The switched reluctance motor was invented over 100 years ago and it is only now finding a toehold as a traction battery, though it has long been used in other applications. Tesla’s asynchronous motor (“AC induction”) became popular as a traction motor only after 100 years, particularly in large electric vehicles like buses and trucks and heavy duty ones such as forklifts. See the IDTechEx report, “Electric Motors for Electric Vehicles 2012-2022” ( ). IDTechEx is preparing a report on fuel cells for electric vehicles and these may become popular as hybrid vehicle range extenders but over 130 years after their invention.

Farécla G3 Extra From StorkAWD

 Stork AWD and Farécla are proud to announce the launch of a new Farécla cutting compound for Australian conditions; G3 Extra.

G3 Extra has been developed exclusively for the Australian market. This new product comes as a result of extensive testing to ensure it meets the needs of the end user.

Key Features:
•    Very quick cutting action; removes P1500 marks in a flash! Up to 30 per cent faster than main competitor.
•    Virtually no flick off therefore significantly reduced clean up time.
•    Dry use, no water required.
•    Works with any foam or woollen pad.
•    Can be used on Medium Solid & High Solid paints.

G3 Extra cutting compound can be used on its own as a single step quick  cutter or as part of a system with G3 Polish swirl remover to remove swirls on darker colours.

The new G3 Extra cutting compound will be launched in Australia in October.  It will be sold throughout Australia by a select group of distributors. 

A special introductory offer will be available to customers who purchase the new product of an exclusive limited edition G3 Extra T-Shirt.

For further information contact Stork AWD on (03) 9553 1977,
email [email protected] or visit the website



TomTom Announces Ground-Breaking Insurance Partnership

TomTom has made a move into the insurance market by providing the technology behind a new insurance product, which bases premiums on driving behaviour.
TomTom has teamed up with insurance broker Motaquote for the launch of Fair Pay Insurance – a product that rewards ‘good’ drivers with lower premiums.
“Our entry in the insurance market with our proven fleet management technology puts us at the forefront of a move that could help to revolutionise the motor insurance industry,” said Thomas Schmidt, Managing Director TomTom Business Solutions.
“We offer a unique combination of navigation, traffic information and telematics which opens up great opportunities for insurance companies to promote greener, safer driving and create a ground breaking portfolio of new insurance products.”
“We are delighted Motaquote have recognised this potential in the launch of such an innovative product.”
Fair Pay Insurance gives drivers control over their own policy by using driving ability and behaviour to allocate premiums, rather than so-called risk factors such as postcode, gender, and age or vehicle type.
“We’ve dispensed with generalisations and said to our customers, if you believe you’re a good driver, we’ll believe you and we’ll even give you the benefit up front,” said Nigel Lombard, Managing Director of Fair Pay Insurance.
“This is unlike some other telematics-based schemes where you may have to prove your ability over a number of months. So if you think of your insurance as your car’s MPG – the better you drive, the longer your fuel will last. It’s the same with Fair Pay Insurance, good drivers get more for their money and in that sense they will pay ultimately less.”
Drivers who sign up for Fair Pay will benefit from a specially-developed TomTom PRO 3100 navigation device, which includes Active Driver Feedback and LIVE Services. This means policy-holders can be alerted to driving events, such as harsh cornering and sharp braking, and benefit from accurate traffic information updated every two minutes.
They will also have a LINK tracking unit fitted in their vehicles, allowing driver behaviour and habits to be monitored. This information can then be viewed by the policy-holder in their driver dashboard, an online tool that details journey and driver behaviour data, and in regular email bulletins.

Collision Hub Partners with BASF on LIVE Waterborne Panel Broadcast

Collision Hub announced a partnership with BASF Automotive Refinish Solutions for the LIVE video broadcasting of BASF’s Waterborne Panel Discussion at this year’s AASP Northeast Tradeshow.

Collision Hub announced a partnership with BASF Automotive Refinish Solutions for the LIVE video broadcasting of BASF’s Waterborne Panel Discussion at this year’s AASP Northeast Tradeshow.
The Waterborne Panel Discussion is scheduled to air LIVE Friday, March 18, 8PM EST (SATURDAY MIDDAY AUSTRALIAN EASTERN DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME) on The program will be presented by Tom Hoerner, Strategic Initiatives, BASF Refinish, and is set to feature some of BASF’s current waterborne partners for an informative and enthusiastic panel discussion about the easy and cost-effective transition to a waterborne paint system.
BASF’s presentation of this information to a LIVE audience through Collision Hub’s multiple media channels is in line with an ongoing attempt to educate the industry as a whole on a sustainable approach to collision repair. The broadcast also continues BASF’s push to provide cost effective programs for knowledge sharing in an open forum such as the one Collision Hub provides.   
“BASF Automotive Refinish is very pleased to have the opportunity to spread the word about waterborne paint systems to attendees at the AASP Northeast Tradeshow,” said Darlene Eilenberger, Director of Marketing for BASF Automotive Refinish in North America. “And thanks to Collision Hub, BASF can now share its waterborne panel discussion with the entire nation via a live Web cast.”
“Collision Hub is excited about another opportunity to provide a much-needed educational service to the Collision Repair Industry”, stated Collision Hub Founder and CEO Kristen Felder, “and with the help of BASF Refinish we look forward to making waterborne education increasingly accessible and affordable as we move into 2011.”

About Collision Hub
Collision Hub is the premier networking and multi-media marketing website created for the Collision Repair Industry. Collision Hub’s mission is to provide a central network for all participants in collision repair and related industries. The site encourages participation of all parties including: technicians, shop owners, suppliers, insurance companies, auto glass installers, towing companies and rental car agencies. For more information, visit or contact Elizabeth Blackman at [email protected] .

About BASF
BASF offers intelligent solutions based on innovative products and tailor-made services. They create opportunities for success through trusted and reliable partnerships and support Their Glasurit®, R-M® and Limco® systems with advanced color information, business management solutions, and technical training. Dedication to the customer’s success is fundamental to BASF; it is what drives the business. This is why they’re always ready to help you find the best way to use our paints. For more information, visit



AkzoNobel Car Refinishes Puts Colour Retrieval In Your Pocket

AkzoNobel Car Refinishes has gone mobile and brought the convenience of its industry-leading Mixit Online colour retrieval system to mobile phones. Mixit Online can now be accessed 24 hours a day, seven days a week from any mobile phone that connects to the Internet and is available free of charge to AkzoNobel Car Refinishes customers.

AkzoNobel Car Refinishes has gone mobile and brought the convenience of its industry-leading Mixit Online colour retrieval system to mobile phones. Mixit Online can now be accessed 24 hours a day, seven days a week from any mobile phone that connects to the Internet and is available free of charge to AkzoNobel Car Refinishes customers.

With the new mobile online option, it’s no longer necessary to request formula information from a laptop or desktop. All the customer needs to do to obtain colour formulations for the premium Sikkens and Lesonal products is to enter simple, straightforward search criteria (such as make, year, colour code and/or colour group) via the mobile phone and the AkzoNobel colour retrieval system provides the formula for a perfect colour match. AkzoNobel’s software designers have developed a friendly, easy-to-use interface that adjusts the layout to the size and shape of the user’s smartphone screen. The mobile online technology delivers clear, crisp, highly readable web pages on smartphones like Blackberries, the HTC HD2, the Nokia N900 and dozens of others, and is compatible with the Windows Mobile, Windows Phone 7, and Android mobile operating systems. The same information is also available on older web-enabled mobile phones, but it is then delivered as text instead of web pages.

“We’ve always tried to give our customers a little bit more,” commented Ralf Schueler, Marketing Director for AkzoNobel Car Refinishes. “What we are doing here is to exploit state-of-the art information technologies to provide the added flexibility of mobile phone functionality to what is already an outstanding colour retrieval system. That flexibility, I believe, will mean greater efficiency and faster throughput for our Sikkens and Lesonal customers.”

iPhone app

Along with the smartphone application, AkzoNobel is offering iMatchColor for customers with an Apple iPhone (OS level 3.1.3 or higher), iPod Touch or iPad. The app can be downloaded free of charge from Apple’s App store, and delivers even more convenience by taking advantage of the iPhone interface and tools for an even better user experience.

AkzoNobel has been delivering online colour retrieval solutions to its customers since 1997, drawing on the most complete and up-to-date database of car colours available. That means that you have access to the very latest formulas for the full range of AkzoNobel Car Refinishes products straight from the mobile phone in your shirt pocket.
“Delivering colour information to mobile phones is just the latest example of the colour solutions AkzoNobel Car Refinishes offers its customers,” said Ben Zweers, Colour Marketing Director for AkzoNobel Car Refinishes. “We are asserting our leadership in colour by example. When it comes to innovative colour solutions and a commitment to the highest quality, AkzoNobel is truly living up to its brand promise to deliver Tomorrow’s Answers Today.”