Samsung challenges Tesla with long range battery technology

Samsung SDI revealed its latest battery technology at the Frankfurt Motor Show this week that could challenge Tesla for long range battery supremacy. Samsung’s cylindrical lithium ion cells when grouped into battery modules will reportedly extend electric vehicle range to 600 to 700 kilometers (372 to 435 miles).

For comparison, Tesla’s flagship Model S has an all-electric range of 315 miles; the Long Range Model 3 has 310 miles of range, and Model X boasts up to 289 miles of driving range.

Samsung is looking to provide versatile battery technology could have a major impact on the EV market as a whole. Many skeptics point to range and charging convenience as two aspects affecting consumers decisions. For Tesla, an improved Supercharger network — which the company has committed to expanding into urban areas — and longer vehicle range could quell any rising doubts.

Samsung said that the range of a vehicle depended on how many modules were being included in the battery.

“Its users can change the number of modules as they want as if they place books on a shelf,” says Samsung. “For example, if 20 modules are installed in a premium car, it can go 600 to 700 kilometers. If 10 to 12 modules are mounted on a regular sedan, it can run up to 300 kilometers. This pack is expected to catch the eyes of automakers, because they can design a car whose mileage may vary depending on how many modules of a single pack are installed.”

That module flexibility could mean price flexibility for automakers looking to venture into the electric car space. Just this week, Mercedes-Benz announced that it is planning to electrify its entire lineup within the next 5 years.

How do you think Samsung’s entrance as a supplier for long range electric vehicle batteries will impact Tesla? Let us know in the comments below.

Samsung challenges Tesla with long range battery technology

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Samsung Unveils Electric Car Battery with a 435-Mile Range

Samsung has managed to boost the capacity of electric car battery packs beyond those that are currently on the market, the company announced at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

As Volkswagen, BMW and others took to the stage to strut their stuff and boast about what makes their brand’s plug-in cars better than the rest, some of the most influential companies that produce the underlying technologies behind these cars deserve a bit of credit as well.

Samsung, the popular smartphone maker, also makes electric car batteries and unveiled a new battery pack at the show. By increasing energy density, the company says it’s packed more power into a single battery and addressed a challenge that all electric car makers face: achieving a longer range without compromising the size of their vehicles.  

Compared with Tesla’s 100 kWh battery, which has 16 modules consisting of 18650 cells that let its Model S P100D travel up to 315 miles on a single charge, using 16 of the Samsung battery packs, the same car could travel 348 miles, making it about 11 percent more efficient. Samsung says it could equip a premium car with up to 20 modules, giving it a range of about 435 miles, or a typical electric sedan with between 10 and 12 modules, allowing up to a 190-mile range. Unfortunately no data was made available on the theoretical test weight of either vehicle, nor the overall capacity of the batteries.

The packs use individual “2170” cells, which are named after their dimensions: 21 millimeters in height and 70 millimeters in diameter, notably the same dimensions as those used in the Tesla Model 3 manufactured at Tesla’s Gigafactory.

Using Samsung’s new battery technologies, however, may help more automakers develop longer-range vehicles, potentially boosting the shift to electric that many manufacturers are working toward today and even give Tesla and battery-maker Panasonic a run for their money.

Tesla boosts range for some vehicles in Florida to escape Irma

As Hurricane Irma was bearing down on Florida, Tesla Inc. sent a free software update extending the battery capacity for some of its vehicles, giving those owners extra range to flee the looming storm.

The update temporarily unlocked the full battery potential for 75-kilowatt-hour Model S sedans and Model X SUVs, adding another 30 to 40 miles to their range. The upgrade was first reported Saturday by the electric-car blog Electrek.

Starting in 2016, Tesla offered cheaper versions of the Model S and Model X with limited battery capacity. While they have a 75-kWh battery, software on those versions limits customers to using about 80% of available power, with a range of 200 to 230 miles per charge. Normally, unlocking the extra capacity costs about $3,000.

A Tesla spokesperson on Sunday confirmed the upgrade.

The change was apparently made after a Tesla owner in Florida reached out to the company and asked for a temporary upgrade to make it out of the evacuation zone. The upgrade for those Florida customers will remain in place until Sept. 16.

According to the blog Tesla Motors Club, the company sent a note to the owners who were upgraded, saying: “Due to these exceptional circumstances, and to help you better prepare to evacuate and get to safety, your vehicle has been adjusted at no cost to you to temporarily access the additional battery capacity until September 16th. You will notice the badging on the instrument cluster will read 75 during this period. We hope that this allows you to travel to your next destination with confidence and ease.”

Read: ‘Worst-case scenario’ as Hurricane Irma makes landfall in Florida

About 6.5 million Florida residents were under mandatory evacuation orders over the weekend as Irma slammed into the state. A number of Florida Tesla owners posted on social media that the company’s Supercharger stations worked well and didn’t have the long lines that gas stations did.

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Tesla flips a switch to increase the range of some cars in Florida to help people evacuate


Tesla has pushed an over-the-air update to some of its vehicles in Florida that lets those cars go just a liiiittle bit farther, thus helping their owners get that much farther away from the devastation of Hurricane Irma.

Wondering how that’s even possible?

Up until a few months ago, Tesla sold a 60kWh version of its Model S and Model X vehicles — but the battery in those cars was actually rated at 75kWh. The thinking: Tesla could offer a more affordable 60kWh version to those who didn’t need the full range of the 75kWh battery — but to keep things simple, they’d just use the same 75kWh battery and lock it on the software side. If 60kWh buyers found they needed more range and wanted to upgrade later, they could… or if Tesla wanted to suddenly bestow owners with some extra range in case of an emergency, they could.

And that’s what’s happening here.

As first noticed by Tesla owners on Reddit, the company has pushed a “temporary update” to vehicles within the evacuation zones that bumps the 60kWh models up to 75kWh.

On the road, according to Elektrek, this battery bump works out to about 30 miles of additional range on a full charge. If that little bit of range helps even one person avoid injury or get their loved ones out safely, I’d say its worth whatever work this required.

Alas, the upgrade won’t stick around forever — Tesla generally charges at least $5,000 for the permanent equivalent. Members on the Tesla Motors Club fan forum report that the temporary update will be reversed on September 16th.

(Meanwhile, in case any gas-powered vehicle owners in the path of the hurricane end up on this page: GasBuddy has rolled out a tool meant to help Floridians find gas stations near them that still have fuel. And if you can get out, please do.)

Tesla issues software update to help owners flee Hurricane Irma by increasing battery range

Tesla has issued a surprise over the air software update to Model S/X 60(D) owners living within Florida’s Hurricane Irma evacuation zone. Model S/X 60(D) vehicles with a 75 kWh battery pack that were previously software limited to 210 miles of driving range per single charge were automatically upgraded to 249 miles, and given temporary access to the full range capacity of the battery.

The update is seen as a gesture of good will by Tesla to help its drivers flee southern Florida as the state prepares for the most powerful Atlantic storm to hit its shores in nearly a decade.

Reports of Tesla Model S 60 owners living in the path of Hurricane Irma who received a sudden increase in battery range first surfaced on Reddit. “I’m in South Florida and I own a MS60. I just checked my app and look what it says. I’ve never been higher that 215 miles. Did Tesla do this for evacuations?” asked Redditor Ludachris9000.

Similar reports soon followed across the Tesla Motors Club, with one Tesla owner confirming that the battery range upgrade was issued to all Tesla owners with an upgradeable 60 kWh battery, and living in Hurricane Irma’s evacuation zone in Florida, to 75 kWh. The update adds another 40 miles of driving range.

“I verified it was released to any 60s in the evacuation zones. I was told it will be removed on September 16.” said CMPSL.

Teslarati reached out to Tesla for confirmation after hearing wide reports of similar stories being reported by owners. A Tesla spokesperson confirms that an over-the-air software update was in fact issued to increase driving range for owners that may be impacted by Hurricane Irma.

As nearly 5.6 million people or more than one quarter of the state’s population has been asked to evacuate ahead of Hurricane Irma making landfall, long lines at gas stations have put more stress on fuel supply than previous storms of the past, leaving many stations empty and drivers stranded. The hoarding of gasoline has prompted Governor Rick Scott to ask evacuees to take only as much gas as needed.

 

Tesla issues software update to help owners flee Hurricane Irma by increasing battery range

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Redesigned 2018 Nissan Leaf Boasts More Power, Improved Range

While other electric vehicles have dominated the headlines over the past year, Nissan has quietly been chugging away at a new version of the top-selling Leaf EV. The second-generation Leaf will arrive at dealerships in early 2018, with improved range, a more powerful motor, and a host of advanced driver aids.

On the hardware side, the new Leaf’s 40-kWh lithium-ion battery pack offers up to 150 miles of range (up from 107 miles) while the electric motor now delivers 147 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque (up from 107 hp and 187 lb-ft). According to Nissan, the improvements under the hood — or in this case, the floor — allow for much quicker acceleration both from a stop and while in motion. The zero-to-60-mph sprint is said to be 15 percent quicker, so figure a time of around 8.5 seconds. (The previous Leaf managed a time of 10.2 seconds in Edmunds testing.)

There are a handful of new driver assistance features, some of which are unique to the Leaf. One is called ProPilot Assist, which combines adaptive cruise control, lane departure intervention, and an emergency braking system to help reduce fatigue in low-speed driving situations. It maintains a set distance between the Leaf and the car in front, in addition to keeping the Leaf centered in the lane and braking to a full stop if necessary.

Another new feature is called E-Pedal, which allows the driver to control both acceleration and braking with a single pedal. It speeds the Leaf up like a normal car when pressed down, but when the driver’s foot is removed, both regenerative and friction brakes are applied to slow the vehicle down. It will come to a complete stop and remain stopped until the accelerator is pressed again.

The Nissan Leaf will face significant challenges in the EV market when it launches early next year in all 50 states. The Tesla Model 3 and Chevrolet Bolt offer greater range — 220 and 238 miles from a full charge, respectively — though they are both more expensive than the Leaf, which will start at a base price of $30,875.

Nissan also announced that it will offer a Leaf with more power and greater range starting with the 2019 model year.

Unless you have a killer commute or plan on taking your EV on lengthy road trips, the Leaf with its standard battery pack should fit your driving requirements. Its comparatively low price and wealth of driver aids add to its value proposition, especially when you consider that even in its top-trim SL form, the Leaf costs about the same as the Bolt and Model 3 in their base configurations.

Samsung Release Funky New Campaign For New Wearables Range

Cheil Worldwide Seoul has created ‘Go beyond fitness’ – a new film for Samsung – in which the new Samsung Gear Sport, updated Gear Fit2 Pro and IconX products are positioned not just as tools to help improve fitness and sport achievement but overall wellbeing.

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The new brand message ‘Go beyond fitness’, depicts a variety of everyday activities the new wearable products can help optimise so wearers can achieve a well-balanced life.

The film creates an emotional connection to Samsung Wearables by broadening the appeal and relevance of the products beyond the category’s conventional positioning around fitness bands for athletes and sports fanatics.

Each piece of additional content related to a Samsung wearable product launching over the next 12 months will reinforce the ‘Go beyond fitness’ theme.

Directed by Leonardo Dalessandri – director of the Watch Tower series – through @radicalmedia ‘Go beyond fitness’ launched this week and is available to view online.

Sungho Park, senior professional, Samsung Mobile, said: “Samsung passionately believes everyone should be aware of how they can improve their wellbeing, beyond those just monitoring their PB. The Gear Sport provides this more holistic approach to maintaining and improving health.”

Kate Oh, executive creative director at Cheil Worldwide Seoul, said: “This manifesto film shows that fitness is not some special activity but a part of our everyday lives, and that Samsung Gear is designed for exactly that – everyday life.

“Since most people are not serious athletes, I am pretty sure that young audiences will be able to see themselves in this film.”

PRODUCTION CREDITS

 

Executive Creative Director   Kate Hyewon Oh

Creative Director                    Hyunjung Park

Art Director                             Gayoung Choi, Daewon Kim

Copywriter                              Nahil Kang, John Park

Agency Producer                     Joyce Chun

Director                                   Leonardo Dalessandri

Producer                                Ray LEaky

Production Company              @RadicalMedia

Editor                                      Leonard King at Stitch

Post Production                       Locus

Sound Design                          Wave Studios

DoP                                         Faith Turker, Filippo Chiesa

Tesla’s Electric ‘Long-hauler’ Rumored to Have a Range Under 300 Miles

tesla-semi-teaser

Tesla Motors will be dabbling in the commercial freight industry when it unveils its electric semi-trailer next month. But, with news of it only possessing a 200- to 300-mile range between charges, dabbling may be a best-case-scenario. Diesel-powered rigs traditionally run in excess of 1,300 miles between stops, even though they also go through hundreds of gallons of fuel in the process. And it’s all that burned fuel that makes the concept of an electric tractor-trailer so appetizing to the trucking industry.

However, the EV prototype “long-hauler” won’t be fit for cross-country trips due to its limited range — meaning the inevitable Smokey and the Bandit remake probably isn’t going to have the Bandit or Snowman driving Teslas. 

According to Reuters, Scott Perry, chief procurement officer at Ryder, said he met with Tesla officials earlier this year to discuss the technology at the automaker’s main facility in Fremont, California. Perry explained the manufacturer’s goals centered around an electric day cab rig with no sleeper compartment, capable of traveling roughly 200 to 300 miles with a complete payload before needing to be recharged. But even among shorter distance day cab trucks, Tesla’s rumored range isn’t exactly competitive. Non-sleeper diesel tractors can easily clock 600 miles before having to worry about refueling.

“I’m not going to count them out for having a strategy for longer distances or ranges, but right out of the gate I think that’s where they’ll start,” Perry explained.

Tesla Motors is famous for teasing details and not providing the full story until the very last minute. It may already have something better waiting in the wings. Company CEO Elon Musk has expressed his desire for large-scale production of the Tesla Semi within a couple of years. It’s conceivable that the prototype could represent a modest offering, with longer range variants to follow. The company is also promising autonomous features that would eventually limit the need for a human operator.

“We’re getting [the trucking industry] closely involved in the design process, so the biggest customers of the heavy duty Tesla semi are helping ensure that it is specified to their needs, so it’s not a mystery,” Musk told shareholders in June. “They already know that it’s going to meet their needs, because they’ve told us what those needs are. So it’ll really just be a question of scaling volume to make as many as we can.”

The trucking industry has been monitoring Tesla’s trucking plans with healthy dose of skepticism, though. Servicing these already expensive vehicles could be extremely problematic and no fleet manager is going to green-light spending if the logistics don’t work. Range is also a critical factor within the commercial freight industry and these hypothetical EV trucks offer diminished distances and a lengthy recharging period.

Electric semi trucks are believed to lose their economic feasibility past a 300-mile range. Present-day battery technology would effectively limit it to around that threshold. Anything more and rigs would need to be equipped with heavy external power supplies, probably in the trailer — which would limit their usefulness.

“There is a certain amount of hype to Tesla’s announcement,” said Antti Lindstrom, an analyst at global research firm IHS Markit, last April. “It doesn’t seem that long-distance trucking is ready for electrification right now.”

Musk disagrees, obviously. “A lot of people don’t think you can do a heavy-duty, long-range truck that’s electric, but we are confident that this can be done,” he said.

Roughly 30 percent of U.S. trucking jobs are regional trips of 100 to 200 miles, according to Sandeep Kar, chief strategy officer of Toronto-based Fleet Complete, which tracks and analyzes trucking routes. “As long as [Musk] can break 200 miles he can claim his truck is ‘long haul’ and he will be technically right,” Kar said.

[Image: Tesla]

Skoda electric car range to grow with ‘Felicia E’ hatch and coupe-SUV by 2020

Skoda is gearing up for a double electric onslaught by the start of the next decade, launching a pure-electric hatchback and a coupe-SUV that’s likely to become the most expensive vehicle in the brand’s 122-year history.

The Czech manufacturer will launch its electrified vehicle strategy with a Superb plug-in hybrid and an electric version of its Citigo in 2019. But it will really push ahead with its dedicated EV plans a year later, with the production version of its Vision E concept, which was revealed at this year’s Shanghai Motor Show. It’ll be one of the first cars to appear on the VW Group’s new MEB chassis architecture, which has been designed to accommodate all-electric powertrains.

• Best electric cars to buy now

Volkswagen’s I.D. will be the first MEB car, with an Audi variant following soon after. Skoda’s effort is being given almost the same level of priority in the rollout because of the company’s burgeoning sales in China, seen as a key developing region for EVs, so it’ll appear in 2020.

The coupe-SUV will sit between the Karoq and Kodiaq in length, but the clever packaging allowed by MEB should mean that its interior space is at least a match for the latter of those models. 

The number of batteries required to power its 302bhp electric motors and deliver an expected range of up to 500km (310 miles) will mean a price tag of around £40,000. That would make it the most expensive vehicle in Skoda’s line-up, but around half the price of a Tesla Model X.

Skoda has yet to confirm a badge for its big coupe, but the company has registered a wide range of names ending in the letter Q – its designation for SUVs. Amiq, Eliaq and Anuq are among the possible names for the new model. It’s likely to be built at the VW Group’s factory in Bratislava, Slovakia, alongside other MEB products.

New Skoda EV hatch could get Felicia E name

The coupe-SUV will sit on one of the longer MEB wheelbases, but around a year after its arrival on the market, the brand will add a second, smaller EV designed for more modest budgets. 

This car – which could potentially bring back a famous old Skoda name by carrying the badge Felicia E – will, in effect, be the firm’s version of the I.D. hatchback, complete with that car’s rear-mounted 168bhp electric motor. It will also mirror the Volkswagen’s probable I.D. range structure, which is likely to feature at least two grades of model that will allow buyers to prioritise either cost or battery capacity and range.

The ‘Felicia E’ is likely to be about the same size as the Rapid Spaceback, so it will be smaller than an Octavia. But the packaging advantages offered by MEB mean that its cabin space could come close to that of the roomy Superb.

VW has stated that this I.D. hatch will cost roughly the same as a well specced diesel Golf – around £26,000 – and Skoda is likely to undercut that figure slightly, giving the Felicia E a starting price of around £24,000.

Smaller Karoq-sized electric SUV and 300bhp sports car by 2025

These two models will be joined in the first half of the decade by a smaller pure-electric SUV – a sister car, in effect, to the Karoq – and, in what is seen as a significant move by a practicality-focused brand, an all-electric coupe. This model – which could be a two-door or a four-door ‘coupe saloon’ – was referenced by Skoda’s head of research and development Christian Strube back in May. When asked if Skoda would build a sports coupé in the spirit of its old 110R, Strube replied: “Yes, but electric.”

It’s expected to have a pair of electric motors, more than 300bhp and a range in excess of 300 miles. Skoda will feel comfortable with launching this car in China, where there is little ‘brand legacy’, but the company may hesitate before offering it to customers in Western Europe, where Skoda is known for practicality.

This uncertainty about being ‘desirable’ continues to hold up the coupe version of the regular Kodiaq. That conventionally powered car is destined to arrive in China before the end of the decade, but it’s still not confirmed outside that region due to marketing concerns and limitations on manufacturing capacity.

What do you think of Skoda’s electric car plans? Let us know in the comments…

Tesla Model 3 Launches for $44,000 in Long Range Guise; Cheaper Version to Follow

Tesla Model 3, Image: Tesla

Perhaps the most anticipated automotive event of the year (Tesla disciples might say millenium) took place in California last night, as electric car guru Elon Musk handed over the first 30 production Tesla Model 3 sedans to customers — most, if not all, of them employees — at a glitzy, livestreamed event.

Eyesight was restored to the blind. Others rose from their wheelchairs, walking for the first time in years. Okay, that’s not true, but the depths to which some Tesla fans deify Musk and his car company cannot be understated. Certainly, after seeing the final production model, learning its specifications, and hearing Tesla’s lofty production plans, even a cynic drowning in a vast ocean of media-driven hype can’t help but feel impressed.

Hailed as the first affordable, long-range, mass-produced electric car — a crown stolen by the Chevrolet Bolt months ago — the Model 3 will retail for $35,000 before federal incentives, but not just yet. The only version available at launch is the $44,000 Long Range model, good for 310 miles of range per charge.

The 220-mile base sedan, which carries that vaunted lower sticker price, won’t be available until this fall. So, what can the roughly 500,000 reservation holders expect? If they’re on a budget, black had better be their favorite color.

That’s because any color other than Henry Ford’s shade du jour increases the price by $1,000. Silver, red, white and blue are optional. Indeed, there’s no limits to the ways in which a Tesla buyer can upgrade their Model 3 at extra cost.

The Enhanced Autopilot package costs an extra $5,000, with full autonomy capability requiring a further $3,000, even though the option (which Musk promises) isn’t yet a available. Power adjustable (heated) seats, premium audio, tinted roof glass, and other luxury appointments — many would call them “necessities” — are all bundled into another $5,000 package. Of course, you can also choose to upgrade the wheels to 19-inchers. All told, the Model 3 tops out at $59,500 with every option on board, which still places it below the lowest-rung Model S.

Tesla Model 3, Image: Tesla

Inside the Model 3’s spartan yet airy cabin (which you’ll access via a Bluetooth-enabled phone; no keys, thank you very much), you’ll find a distinct lack of instrumentation. A massive 15.4-inch touchscreen display dominates the center of the barely-there dash, from which owners will control practically all functions. It’ll tell you everything you need to know. Even the vents, if you can believe it, are positioned using this interface. The Long Range variants seen at the event carried wood trim, so not every traditional luxury trapping went by the wayside in the development of this vehicle.

Performance isn’t on par with the scorching Model S, but the Model 3 isn’t a slouch. Regular variants will scoot to 60 miles per hour in 5.6 seconds, topping out at 130 mph. The Long Range model, with its larger battery, unlocks more juice for shenanigans. The uplevel Model 3 hits 60 mph in 5.1 seconds, boasting a 140 mph top speed.

For would-be owners who waited until this moment to drop $1,000 on a reservation, don’t expect a car anytime soon. If production goes according to plan, clearing out the half-million existing orders will take until late 2018 before a newly ordered Model 3 can take its place on the Fremont, California production line.

Now, about that production. At the event, Musk claimed his employees face “at least six months now of manufacturing hell” as the factory ramps up to a hoped-for 5,000 vehicles per week by the end of this year. Any delay in reaching that goal could see deliveries pushed back to 2019.

Musk claims all elements of the vehicle were designed with easy manufacturing in mind. For his sake, not to mention that of reservation holders, let’s hope the quality issues seen on the Model S and X don’t crop up in this so-called everyman’s car.

Another potential issue lies in the price. Tesla’s share of federal tax credits — good for a $7,500 reduction in retail price — are anticipated to dry up within months if the Trump administration doesn’t renew the program. If this comes to pass, lower-volume rival EVs like the Bolt, which doesn’t come with a year-and-a-half waiting period, would suddenly gain a significant advantage.

Still, given the number of fawning EV fanatics in Musk’s orbit — people who seem more than happy to ignore any and all electric cars missing a Tesla badge — finding buyers willing to shell out more for a Model 3 might not be a problem.

[Images: Tesla]