News Roundup: Mothership Vans, Cloud Services, and Electric Rallycross Racing


This week was another busy week in electric and autonomous vehicles. We’ve got a lot to cover. If you’re interested in what appeared at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, we covered that separately here.

Jaguar Land Rover buys into CloudCar, a cloud services platform for the Jaguar I-PACE. The buy-in puts Rover in a good position to be the first to adopt CloudCar’s platform for the upcoming I-PACE electric vehicle.

Samsung SDI shows high-energy-density fast-charging cell for EV, aims for 2021 production. The introduction of the cell could give driving ranges of up to 373 miles with a 20-minute fast charge. Coinciding was a battery module concept that has 10% fewer components and weight than current modules.

University of California, Riverside engineers have come up with an algorithm for figuring hybrid car use that could reduce a hybrid car’s fuel usage by up to 30%. The software rethinks the way that combustion engine and battery power are used in everyday driving.

Electric rallycross racing is coming this season, thanks to Speedleague and STARD. Five North American stops have been announced, starting in October. Red Bull Global Rallycross Championship founder Brian Gale is behind the new league.

Scania wll begin full-scale autonomous truck platoon project in Singapore. The commercial truck maker will use public roadways in Singapore, mostly to move port containers between terminals. The test will include creating and managing convoys as well as automated processes for docking and undocking.

Nissan will begin on-road testing of the autonomous LEAF in London. Starting next month (February), Nissan will bring real-world demonstrations of the self-driving LEAF to the United Kingdom.

FCA says life-cycle global warming impact of the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid plug-in is 31% less than that of the previous-generation Chrysler minivan. The calculations are based on 120,000 miles of operation and were made using industry-standard software.

Renault has introduced two new electric light commercial vehicles. The New Kangoo Z.E. and the Master Z.E. join the Twizy Cargo and New Commercial ZOE.

Mercedes-Benz Vans has invested in Starship Technologies for delivery robots. Part of the Mercedes vision for a delivery vehicle includes a “mothership” ideal in which a large delivery vehicle, like one of their vans, moves the goods from a warehouse to a general location close to several deliveries (ala a neighborhood), then robot/drone delivery vehicles carry individual packages to their final destinations.