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.”

Welding Safety With Sperian Protection

Whether welding or grinding, it is important welders wear appropriate head and facial protective equipment advises Sperian Protection, the worldwide leader in personal protective equipment (PPE). With welding and grinding responsible for over 29 per cent of all eye injuries both at home and in the workplace, the use of suitable protective welding headwear is essential to minimise these preventable injuries. Offering welders the ultimate in face and head protection, the Sperian Protection range of high impact welding helmets and accessories protects welders against injuries like flash burns, UV / IR radiation as well as fine particles and vapours. Designed with a range of safety features including a sensor bar and slide, sensitivity function, delay function, shade level and girding mode, the Sperian range of welding helmets provide outstanding comfort and on-the-job performance for the professional welder. Engineered to meet the demands of professional welders, the Sperian Optrel ® Galaxy High Impact Welding Helmet is the only passive flip front, high impact approved welding helmet on the market. Rigorously tested to Australian Standards, the helmet is approved by SAI Global.

Providing welders with a complete safety solution, the Sperian Optrel ® Galaxy High Impact Welding Helmet now comes in a hard hat adaptor version to suit PA620V and

MSA V-Guard Elite hard hats, and provides maximum protection and comfort for the head without the need to switch helmets and hardhats. To eliminate the need for the welder to switch from a welding helmet to a visor when grinding, the Sperian Optrel ® Galaxy High Impact Welding Helmet features a passive Shade 10 welding filter in a flip up adaptor. Approved to High Impact AS/NZS1337:1992 for increased safety during grinding and welding applications, the Sperian Optrel ® Galaxy High Impact Welding Helmet is Sperian protection at its best.

For further information on welding and grinding PPE and the Sperian Optrel ® Galaxy High Impact Welding Helmet, contact Sperian Protection on 1300 139 166 or visit

Pro Quality Body Repair

Professional quality tools supplier Kincrome has released a new Hydraulic Body Repair Kit designed for the professional panel beater.

This 15 piece body repair kit has been designed with the pro panel beater specifically in mind.  Featuring an assortment of attachments such as a 10 Tonne Pump Unit, Cleft Toe, V base, hydraulic hose, extension bars, serrated cap, spreading wedge, rubber head, toes and Base Plate all conveniently stored in a easy to carry case with castors.

The Kincrome 15 Piece Hydraulic Body Repair Kit is now available from leading automotive stores across Australia and New Zealand with a recommended retail price of $299.00*.

For more information and details of your nearest stockist visit the Kincrome website

Waterborne Paint: The Beginner’s Guide – Part 8


Before a body shop makes the final decision to change to waterborne they should be aware of not only the advantages of using waterborne technology, but also the points of difference from their current solventborne system.
All suppliers have a different change-over strategy, this should be made very clear and the body shop should ensure it suits them. The shop management needs to check off a number of points.
Are there systems in place to measure the KPI’s (key performance indicators) of the products so the body shop can get a true comparison between their current solvent and the new waterbase systems?
Does the shop plan to run a waterbase system alongside its current solvent (and thus incur the extra cost of running two systems)?
Are colours accurate, especially local manufacturers’ colours, as most systems are developed in Europe?
Are all staff aware of the differences and willing to accept the change?
What is the cost relating to the change? Is the paint shop equipped for the change over? This will depend on a range of factors, such as the type of work, throughput, equipment needed, staff, location of shop, etc.
How many systems are in the relevant market?
Heat and humidity affect the drying of waterborne and it may be a good idea to speak to body shops which are currently using the products. Waterborne systems are generally reduced using deionized water so drying can’t be influenced without the use of a drying system. Glasurit has viscosity reducers which gives the waterbase system drying characteristics similar to solventborne systems.
The shop needs to be aware that waterborne technology is – litre for litre – dearer than solvent, but how much varies between brands. All should balance out as waterborne has better covering power than solvent. The body shop should look at not only the cost of the mixing base but also the RFU (ready for use) cost as some systems use 100 per cent mixing base for mixing a colour, while Glasurit uses only 30 per cent mixing base (the other 70 per cent is a type of binder).
Shelf life should be considered. The average waterborne mixing base has a shelf life of 12 to 24 months; Glasurit is 60 months. Shelf life not only affects how long a mixing base stays on system in the body shop but also supply, as most systems are imported. The questions needing answers include: When was the batch produced? How long did it take to arrive? How long has it been stored prior to delivery? And what time is left until expiry?
OH&S is a big part of an employer’s responsibility. The use of waterbase reduces the risks associated with continual use of solvent.
Training is a big part of the success of a change-over. How competent are the paint brand’s field technicians? Do they run a successful training programme? This could be answered by discussion with shops currently using the relevant brand of waterbase. A lot of waterbase systems are painted in an unconventional way. Glasurit 90 line is painted the same way as solvent.
Although there is as yet no legislation to drive the change from solvent to water, the benefits of using the product should be considered:
•    The majority of OEMs now produce vehicles in waterbase.
•    The way in which effect pigments (metallic) lays in the paint film will more closely replicate OEM.
•    Waterbased paint is a non-aggressive basecoat.
•    The painting of solvent-sensitive OEM waterbase finishes will no longer be an issue, eliminating the need for rework relating to ring-up or fry-up.
•    OH&S benefits from less solvent used in processing and equipment clean-up.
•    A unique way to market your business.
•    Environmentally friendly.
•    Easy to use.
Don’t be afraid to ask the questions and seriously consider this major step in the evolution of your business and your shop.