India Utility Plans to Build EVs, Startup Bollinger Motors Launches Gritty Electric Truck, Wind Energy Boosters Push Europe to Meet Paris Goals Faster

Internal combustion engine automobile manufacturers and fossil fuel investors, eat your hearts out…

Indian electrical power generation utility JSW has decided to throw its weight behind building electrical vehicles for the larger Southeast Asian market. On the other side of the world, a small U.S. EV startup plans to sell 10,000 to 20,000 off-road all-electric SUVs each year. Meanwhile, still further east in Europe, an industry consulting group is recommending a rapid off-shore wind energy build-out to help address human-caused climate change.

An Indian Electrical Power Company Decides to take a Shot at EV Manufacturing

According to reports from The Economic Times of India, the utility JSW plans to pursue an electrical vehicle (EV) build-out as part of a larger drive by India’s government to have all new vehicles sold in the country be electrified by 2030. The company is outlaying 3,000 to 4,000 crore, or more than half a billion dollars, as an investment to jumpstart its EV manufacturing by 2020.

Though JSW’s previous economic interests have primarily focused on electrical power generation, steel, and mining, the group appears to be adopting a Tesla-like business model going forward by integrating energy storage, charging infrastructure, and electrical vehicles. Prashant Jain, JSW’s chief executive officer noted to ET that:

“India is at an inflexion point and the three businesses that we have identified offer growth. While battery storage and charging infrastructure would be a forward integration for us, electric vehicle is an adjacent business, but we believe it’s a huge opportunity as it will offer level playing field to new entrants.”

Upstart Bollinger Motors’ Serious Off-Road SUV

Across the Pacific in the U.S. a small company out of Hobart, New York, population 47,000, has produced a serious EV sport utility vehicle prototype. The Jeep-Hummer mashup looking thing has an impressive 362 horsepower and can be configured with 120 or 200 miles of all-electric range. A 6100 lb towing capacity and massive wheel base communicate an underlying attitude of grit that’s something entirely new in the electrical auto world and, well, for lack of a better set of descriptors, rough and rugged.

(With the advent of less expensive and more widely available battery packs and electrical drive trains, EV and energy storage companies are starting to pop up all over the place. The above video shows Bollinger Motor’s planned EV off-road truck — which it hopes to produce at a rate of 10,000 to 20,000 per year. JSW, a traditional India-based utility, just threw its own hat into the EV ring this week. With so few EVs available and so much demand for clean energy alternatives, the market at this time appears to be wide open. Video source: Bollinger Motors.)

At $60,000 per truck, it’s well within the traditional off-road market. And Bollinger ultimately plans to sell between 10,000 and 20,000 copies of this mean machine each year — if it can make the regulatory hurdles for U.S. auto manufacturing and find a partner that will help it produce all those thousands of units. A big if — but one that achieved could really help to jump-start the off-road EV market in the U.S.

Looking at traditional auto manufacturers, you kind of have to shrug and say — why didn’t they think of this? But one industry’s apathy is another entrepreneur’s opportunity. Or at least so thinks Bollinger.

Big Wind Energy Build Recommended for North Sea

Electrical vehicles are a key element of a synergistic suite of renewable energy technologies including wind, solar and energy storage that are increasingly capable of replacing fossil fuel burning infrastructure and removing harmful carbon emissions. Rapid growth in these industries enables swift reductions in the amount of heat-trapping gasses from human sources presently hitting the atmosphere.

Facts that were obviously on the minds of wind energy boosters in Europe during recent days as Michiel Muller of energy and climate consulting group Ecofys published a new report recommending a rapid increase in offshore wind development in order for Europe to meet Paris Climate Agreement goals. Muller noted that to prevent increasingly harmful warming, “Europe will need a fully decarbonized electricity supply by 2045. Renewables are essential to making this happen.”

(A graphic description of a large wind energy build-out recommended to help Europe meet its Paris Climate Agreement goals. Image source: Europe’s Growth Rate in Offshore Energy Must Triple to Get Paris Goals in Reach.)

Muller recommends adding significant new off-shore wind energy supplies from North Sea countries like France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Ireland, and the United Kingdom.

During recent years, turbine size increases and industrial mass production efficiency gains have resulted in falling costs for both onshore and offshore wind generation. Offshore wind, which in the past has been somewhat more expensive than onshore wind or other traditional power sources, is becoming more cost-competitive. And it’s a power source that suffers less intermittency than its onshore brethren. However, lower solar and onshore wind prices present additional renewable energy and carbon emission reduction options for European states.


Europe Must Triple Off-Shore Wind to Bring Paris Goals Within Reach

Europe’s Growth Rate in Offshore Energy Must Triple to Get Paris Goals in Reach

JSW Energy Plans Electric Vehicles Manufacturing by 2020

JSW Energy

The Bollinger B1 is an All-Electric Truck with 360 Horsepower and up to 200 Miles of Range

Bollinger Motors

Hat tip to Suzanne

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  1. Have they invented the mobile battery meanwhile? If anybody, my bet is on India. Forget the grid, trade batteries (while driving an EV).

    • Andy_in_SD

       /  August 14, 2017

      Hopefully a standard will evolve and that will occur (agreed, it only makes sense). Of course, it will be a Betamax versus VHS world until one format wins. I can see charging stations (gas station replacement) where one pulls in, and their battery pack is swapped in a minute or 2. The pulled battery is charged, and become available for a swap later in the day.

      • Jim

         /  August 14, 2017

        Tesla did just that, they developed a system where batteries could automatically be swapped in a matter of minutes. But the program was discontinued due to lack of interest. My guess is people don’t want to get what could potentially be an inferior battery (more miles on it). Interestingly it’s being floated again for use in Tesla’s upcoming Class 8 semi-tractor trailer which will require 1GW and 2GW battery packs.

        What’s amazing is that with high powered DC charging such as Tesla’s 120 kW Supercharger stations can charge a Tesla battery to 80% in 40 minutes, and many are located near restaurants so you can grab lunch or coffee while you charge. VW is deploying a network of 2000-3000 fast chargers at 400 locations across the US as part of the ‘dieselgate’ settlement with DOJ and CARB. First stations will be in California and should be operational late 2017. The remaining networks gets built out by 2020, I believe. The stations are not specific to VW and will support multiple plug standards. Chargers are fast DC 150 kW and 320kW so charge times to 80% capacity will be on the order of 15 minutes.

        And of course, Tesla, not to be outdone, has said they’re working on something faster. When asked on Twitter if Tesla would be on the order of 350 kW Musk said “A mere 350 kW…what are you referring to, a children’s toy?” Seriously though, JB Staubel CTO has said in 2012 that charge times of 5-10 minutes would be possible at some point. VW’s network above says we’re almost there.

        I’m going on a bit, but your vehicle needs to be able to support the higher current. So far that’s Tesla and upcoming German cars VW, Porsche, Audi, BWM. The chevy Bolt for example maxes out at 50kW, so an 80% charge takes an hour.

        • Ironically, I think the co-location of recharging stations with food and entertainment is a pretty critical development. If you can turn that 30-50 minute recharge period into something fun or interesting, then you can pretty much do away with any negative feelings about long trip recharges and turn it into a much-needed and anticipated break.

        • As for Volkswagen being forced to build charging stations as part of their emissions settlement — this is poetic justice. We should be doing the same with the oil, coal, and gas companies who are now dumping so much heat trapping carbon into the atmosphere. Litigate for damages caused and force them to invest in wind, solar, second gen biofuel, and storage based solutions.

      • Mblanc

         /  August 15, 2017

        Imho, the concept of swapping batteries quickly (as explored by Tesla), has been (to some extent), overtaken by the current and near-future improvements in battery tech.

        I think it could still be useful in trucks, because battery trucks are still looking too heavy for effective long distance work, at the current time. Personally, I can see fuel cells being more appropriate for them anyway, if we want to roll this stuff out asap.

        Once you can put 250 miles in a car in say, 10-12 minutes, it won’t feel much different to what we have today, and as Jim highlights, that is very much in the pipeline right now.

        • Good point. Once fast charging can achieve those kinds of timeframes, battery swaps become kind of a moot point.

    • I think as batteries become smaller, more power dense, and weight less, that this will become a more widely available option.

      • Jim

         /  August 15, 2017

        Robert, I don’t know how to post images, but here’s a link to Nikola’s website. This is a full class 8 semi with a 320 kW hour battery recharged by a hydrogen fuel cell. US Xpress is the launch customer and the company reports $4B of pre-order reservations. Production is scheduled to begin 2018/2019 with units on the road by 2020. Fuel costs are expected to run $0.20-0.30 vs. diesel costs of $0.60-0.85 per mile. Battery pack consists of 32,000 18650 cells (same cell size as in a Tesla S or X), yet weighs less than a diesel engine and drivetrain. Next month we’ll see Tesla’s approach to Class 8 semis.

        While advances in battery technology and continued cost reductions are welcome, it’s clear that we’re at a global tipping point already in a broad based move from fossil fuels to electrified, and often fully electric powered transportation. And it’s not just cars, its
        motorcycles, to package delivery vans, to cargo box haulers on shipping ports to full class 8 semis. Impressively it’s the confluence of benefits that makes the transition so compelling. It’s cheaper to assemble electric drivetrains, they require less maintenance and the energy cost to drive is a fraction of fossil fuel. And Lithium Ion cell prices are low enough that they’re approaching parity with modern ICE drivetrains with pollution control. Plus the cost continues to drop 20% per year, something that is likely to increase as a massive 170GW of capacity comes on line between now and 2020.

        Modern internal combustion engine technology is truly impressive, but with a “well to wheel” efficiency of 14% it’s time to move on, and apply that brainpower to making those better, smaller and cheaper batteries and putting the fossil fuel era behind us. (off road e-vehicle)

        • Allan Barr

           /  August 15, 2017

          Almost all Hydrogen is created using natural gas, with natural gas production documented to emit around 10% before its burnt by the end user this is certainly no solution. We must stop emitting CO2 and of course natural gas aka methane is not part of that solution.

        • Will this truck have a plug? Truckers often take long stops to sleep etc and it would be a shame if they couldn’t take advantage of that time for a recharge.

          You can produce hydrogen with electrolysis. But Allan is right in that the present methods of hydrogen mass production involve natural gas — which does develop an emission. I’m not generally a big fan of hydrogen due to its cost and due to other difficulties involving its transport and storage.

          That said, the high efficiency of the Nikola is reassuring. Even moreso if it has a plug. Something on the order of an advanced high efficiency hybrid design that could be built on for more emissions reductions going forward — especially if the hydrogen fuel that Nikola provides is produced using solar and wind based electrolysis and water.

        • Bill H

           /  August 15, 2017

          Actually, hydrogen can be produced more cheaply by electrolysis …. if you run your electrolysers when electricity is very cheap, i.e. when there’s lots of wind and sun. There’s a lot of interest in this in Germany now that there is so much renewable generation: prices sometimes even going negative. See:
 This cheap hydrogen can then be used as an energy store. If you don’t like the idea of storing hydrogen then the Sabatier process will convert it to more readily storable fuels like methanol by reaction with CO2.
          Germany, which has led the world in renewables in the past is now leading the way with this technology, which is needed for full decarbonisation through renewables.

  2. Jimbot

     /  August 15, 2017

    Yep, just tow the battery packs for longer range trips.

  3. Mblanc

     /  August 15, 2017

    Good points about hydrogen production, hadn’t really considered that.

    • Jim

       /  August 15, 2017

      I couldn’t agree more on the Hydrogen production point you, Allan, and others are making. Most of it is generated by a process called steam-methane reforming where a stream of natural gas is heated to 1000 C or so. When combined with electric drivetrains there’s a reduction in CO2 emitted per mile, I’d have to look up the studies to say how much. But there’s fugitive methane emissions that never seem to enter the calculation, and so it’s really just a lighter (maybe) version of fossil fuels.

      As for the Nikola truck, I don’t believe the current has a plug, but they’ve been refining the model as they work with trucking companies. The current proposal is to generate the hydrogen by electrolysis using PV solar panels.

      • If they stick to the electrolysis method, then this will be a purely renewable drive train. Lets hope they do.

        • wili

           /  August 15, 2017

          At some point we are going to have quite a few period when wind and other renewables in certain locations are making more electricity than the local grid needs or can use. It has always seemed to me that having a number of electrolysis plants around that could handle at least some of this surplus would be a way of smoothing those peaks without having to shut down windmill during good, windy days.

        • Bill H

           /  August 15, 2017

          Heh, Wili, see my post further up this thread! The Germans are already doing this.

  4. PlazaRed

     /  August 15, 2017

    Just a thought on Charging batteries which I have put forward before.
    As heavy trucks run for long periods on Free-ways and toll roads then they could use a similar system to what is used in electric trains and town buses, in which an electrical conductor is extended onto overhead cables. This could then charge the batteries while the truck is running along. The truck would have a meter for the amount of electrical charge received and this would then be paid to the supply company.
    When the truck left the charging area the conductor would be retracted onto the truck roof.
    If pairs of polls as in train systems were placed at the sides of roads and the trucks kept to the slow or inside lane while charging, there seems to be no reason for the power lines to continue for several miles charging the batteries as the trucks drive. An added advantage would be to put the poles on upgrades, so as the truck batteries are not used in high demand going up hills.

    60 years ago in England we had this system with what were called “trolley buses” or electric buses all over many towns, they were dismantled in the 70s but some towns are now re installing them.

    • I think something like this was being tested in Germany recently. It’s a pretty innovative system for trucks. Of course the notion of wireless recharge while driving for EVs has been floated as well. You could use something like an EZ pass to enter a wireless recharge lane and get your range extended.

      Overall, I think electricity has various advantages that have yet to be leveraged for transport. If development continues as it has recently, I think we’ll see a lot more utility from these options.

  5. Bill H

     /  August 15, 2017

    Heh, Wili, see my post further up this thread! The Germans are already doing this.

  6. Arch

     /  August 16, 2017

    There are more companies in India jumping on the electric bandwagon:

  7. Suzanne

     /  August 16, 2017

    Just catching up with your posts from the last few days Robert. Thanks for “hat tip”..and for writing about Bollinger. 🙂

      • Suzanne

         /  August 18, 2017

        Hi Robert…I had forwarded this post to my husband’s email because I knew he would be interested. He told me today that he forwarded a link to your post, in an email, to the Bollinger folks…who he has been communicating with about the B1. Just thought you might like to know.

  8. Mblanc

     /  August 17, 2017

    Just picked up this interesting article about EV’s in the UK becoming less polluting.

    ‘Electric vehicles now contribute to less CO2 emissions than ever, through increasing use of renewable energy sources.

    A report produced by Imperial College London partnering with energy company Drax, shows that EV emissions – produced by electricity generation in power stations which is then transferred to EVs when charging – fell by 10% compared with last year, and is up to a third of what it was five years ago.

    The carbon intensity (grams per kilometre) of electric vehicles has dramatically decreased, with the Tesla Model S falling from 124g/km in Winter 2012 to 74g/km in Winter 2016, to 41g/km today. EVs are generally less efficient in winter, so the real average figure lies somewhere between the two.

    The scientist behind the Electric Insights report, Imperial College London’s Iain Staffell, explained that as the UK continues to move away from coal-fired power stations to natural gas and biomass, as well as renewable energy sources, the emissions will continue to fall. This reduction can be sustained for another 12-24 months, before slowing as the reductions in emissions become harder to achieve.

    This must be happening pretty much worldwide. EV’s are the first cars I’ve ever heard of that actually get cleaner as time goes by.


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