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Green Fleet Roundup: VW, Nissan, Fuel Cell Buses

The first all-electric Volkswagen, e-up! (pictured), debuted at the Annual Press and Investors Conference in Wolfsburg, Germany this week. VW says the new four-seater EV has a 18.7 kWh lithium-ion battery that can cover 150 km on a single charge. It also has quick charging to recharge as much as 80 percent of its energy storage capacity within 30 minutes. The electric motor has 60 kW of peak power, and accelerates from zero to 100 km/h within 14 seconds with a top speed of 135 km/h.

In other VW news, the German automaker says it will launch at least 6 plug-in hybrid vehicles starting in 2014, Inside EVs reports. These will include both pure electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, adding to Volkswagen Group’s five conventional hybrids: the VW Touareg, Porsche Cayenne S, Audi Q5, Porsche Panamera S and VW Jetta. Hybrid versions of both the Audi A6 and Audi A8 are coming soon, according to the EV blog. The car company didn’t give details about where each vehicle will launch first, or which countries will get the various plug-in cars.

Nissan Motor Co. says it will expand the use of advanced high tensile strength steel in up to 25 percent of the vehicle parts (measured by weight) installed in its new production models. This effort will begin in 2017 and aims to reduce vehicle weight by 15 percent with corresponding body structure rationalization.

Ballard Power Systems will supply a 150 kW FCvelocityTM-HD6 fuel cell module to the Center for Transportation and the Environment. The fuel cell will then be integrated into a bus that will be deployed with CTTransit in Hartford, Conn. The company expects the fuel cell hybrid bus to be delivered in 2015, bringing the total number of such buses in operation to five.

Eaton and Cummins have unveiled a powertrain package for the North American heavy duty truck market expected to deliver 3 to 6 percent fuel economy improvements, lower preventative maintenance costs and total lifecycle cost improvements. The new product integrates an Eaton Fuller Advantage Series automated transmission with new Cummins ISX15 SmartTorque2 ratings. The product will be available in the fall of 2013 for linehaul, regional haul and less-than-truckload applications.

Scania and Siemens have entered into a partnership that involves the integration of Siemens technology to power vehicles with Scania’s expertise in the electrification of powertrains in trucks and buses. The companies say the partnership means that Sweden may become the world’s first country with electrically powered trucks and electrified roads for commercial use.

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