Test vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology is being set up by Fiat Chrysler as an experimental fleet for up to 700 electric cars. V2G allows for the power grids to use the energy that’s stored in the car batteries to face its driving demand during its peak hours. FCA is taking the first steps towards the electric mobility as the Italian-American carmaker is moving on from its $35 billion bid to merge with France’s Renault, a pioneer in electric vehicles, which they had previously failed at.
On Thursday, FCA signed an agreement with Italy’s national grid operator Terna so both companies can jointly test a technology that enables electric vehicles to interact with the grid, through the charging infrastructure. The project will include a feasibility study to launch an experimental demonstration fleet of cars connected to the grid via V2G support. It is set to be built in FCA’s Mirafioni plant in Turin, the two companies said in a statement.
“We’ll start with the electric Cinquecento (Fiat car model),” said FCA’s chief operating officer for the EMEA region, Pietro Gorlier. “The project will kick off in the coming months; we plan to reach 600-700 test vehicles by 2020-21”. They will start manufacturing a full-electric version of its Cinquecento mini car in Mirafiori by the second half of 2020.
The Hybrid, plug-in versions of the Renegade and Jeep Compass and Renegade, the new plug-in Alfa Romeo compact SUV, a mild-hybrid Panda small car and the Tonale, were also expected in 2020. The final assembly for the Waymo’s self-driving car project by Google will be in Detroit. Once known as Google’s self-driving car project, it is now one of the foremost leaders in pushing to develop the autonomous vehicle, Waymo was previously scouting locations in the southeast Michigan area. But they hadn’t named a specific city, until now.
John Krafcik, CEO of Waymo, revealed that Detroit was the choice the company decided on. “Today, we’re excited to announce that we’ve found the perfect facility in Detroit. We will partner with American Axle & Manufacturing to repurpose an existing facility, bringing a workforce back to an area where jobs in the automotive industry were recently lost,” according to the blog post.
The new building is said to create over 100 jobs and it could go up to 400 jobs in the area and it will have an investment of $13.6 million. Waymo requested an $8 million grant from the Michigan Business Development Program. Waymo will use a facility that already exists on the American Axle and Manufacturing campus on Holbrooke where American Axle has its headquarters, which is namedTechnology Development Center and the Detroit Business.
The location was being used as a sequencing center for the local parts suppliers, and the company stated that American Axle recently moved back into the facility where the business operations in the central portion of the building were. Chris Son, the Vice President of American Axle, said the association would benefit both companies tremendously. “We are excited to partner with Waymo and be a part of bringing future automotive technology to our Detroit Campus,” said Son to freep.com.
Waymo’s announcement came after GM decided to remove themselves from the two factories already in the state. GM will stop mass-producing at the Detroit-Hamtramck plant in the early times of January 2020. However, they are still planning to make the production versions of the Cruise car (which is self-driving) at the Michigan Orion Assembly Plant.
There’s been no set date, but there have been theories that the General Motors’ Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant, could be considered. If they decide to go with it, it will offer more than 200,000 of the square feet that Waymo is looking to expand too. There is still competition happening between GM’s Cruise Unit and Waymo’s self-driving vehicle development.
The project for Waymo is being considered as the mass production of L4 autonomous vehicles. As stated by the NHTSA (the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), Level 5 is high automation, which is one step below full automation. Under certain conditions, the vehicle can manage all driving functions.
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