Exxon Pioneered the Electric Car Drivetrain in the 1970s—and Then It Was Abandoned

InsideClimate News: For Exxon, Hybrid Car Technology Was Another Road Not Taken

Reeling from oil crises of the 1970s, the American auto industry grappled with tough new mileage standards they feared could make their gas guzzlers obsolete. In 1978, Exxon presented manufacturers with a novel solution from its own labs: a device to help power the electric motors of hybrid vehicles.

“The future of the full-sized car was questionable — until now,” according to a glossy brochure Exxon printed for the pitch. Exxon said its technology “is not in developmental stages; it is ready now. The prototype has been engineered, tested, driven, proven.”

Exxon by then was at least four years into pioneering research to find alternatives to gasoline-powered cars, driven by worries that petroleum would soon run out. The company had already unveiled the first rechargeable lithium-ion battery, which it thought could be a precursor of batteries for electric vehicles. Now, Exxon hoped its new electric drive technology could make mass production of hybrids feasible.

Engadget: Faraday Future Unveils 'World's Highest Energy Density' Battery

Faraday Future has partnered with LG Chem to build battery packs for Faraday's upcoming FFZero1 supercar and other vehicles that use its new electric car platform. In a joint press release, the companies said they have produced “the world's highest energy density for a production automotive battery.” Faraday Future and its products are still a mystery, but LG Chem is a well-known firm that's supplying batteries for two important EVs set to arrive this year: the Chevy Bolt and Renault Zoe.

Tesla and Panasonic are the current car battery density champs, and Elon Musk's company is the only one building cars with 60 kWh and larger batteries. As Electrek points out, Tesla managed the feat using cylindrical batteries, and Faraday Future recently tweeted out a picture of what looks like its own cylindrical battery.

NPR: Personal Transit — a Revolution That Didn't Happen

This is a story about a revolution that never happened.

In 1975, a novel transportation system called Personal Rapid Transit, or PRT for short, started operating in Morgantown, W.Va. It was supposed to usher in a new age of public transit. It didn't.

But West Virginia University, which operates the PRT system, remains committed to it — and is spending more than $100 million to refurbish the aging system.

PV-Tech: Centrotherm Warns That Solar Customers Postponing Orders

PV and polysilicon manufacturing equipment specialist centrotherm photovoltaics has withdrawn its earnings forecast for fiscal year 2016, due to PV manufacturers postponing capital expenditure (capex) plans on overcapacity and rapid price declines.

Centrotherm previously reported sales in its core Photovoltaics & Semiconductor segment of €42 million for the first half of 2016 and retained previous full year revenue guidance of €120 million to €150 million.

Bloomberg Markets: Lifeline Worth Billions Thrown to Utilities After Slump

Electric utilities, hurt by plunging commodity prices and anti-pollution programs, are being thrown a high-tech lifeline.

After losing about half their value since 2007, European power companies are pivoting away from fossil fuels, where profits have all but evaporated amid subsidized competition from renewable energy. By moving electricity grids into the digital age, utilities can get low-risk, government-regulated rates for distributing their power, as well as new revenue from running more efficient networks or providing household battery-storage and electric vehicle systems.

European power networks will spend as much as 62 billion euros ($69 billion) on digitizing grids through 2025, an investment that could almost double utilities’ dividend yields to as much as 9 percent, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Smart-grid expenditure is already up, rising 10 percent worldwide to a record last year, Bloomberg New Energy Finance data show.

from GTM Solar http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/exxon-pioneered-the-electric-car-drivetrain-in-the-1970s

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