Volkswagen Group China is beginning construction in Anting of the Group’s first factory specifically designed for the Modular Electric Drive Kit (MEB) platform. The first model that will be produced in the factory of SAIC Volkswagen will be an electric Volkswagen brand SUV in 2020. Together with the FAW-Volkswagen factory... Details →


Audi plans to apply machine learning (ML) in series production. The software Audi has developed recognizes and marks the finest cracks in sheet metal parts— automatically, reliably and in a matter of seconds. With this project, Audi is promoting artificial intelligence at the company and revolutionizing the testing process in... Details →


BMW Group, Northvolt and Umicore partner to develop sustainable life-cycle loop for EV batteries in Europe

The BMW Group, Northvolt and Umicore have formed a joint technology consortium in order to work closely together on the continued development of a complete and sustainable value chain for battery cells for electrified vehicles in Europe. The chief objective is to make battery cells sustainable by establishing a closed... Details →


Novelis breaks ground on automotive aluminum facility in Changzhou, China; $180M investment to double capacity in 2020

Novelis, the global leader in aluminum rolling and recycling, broke ground on the expansion of its automotive aluminum manufacturing facility in Changzhou, China. The $180-million investment will double the facility’s production capacity of heat-treated aluminum sheet by 100,000 metric tons in order to better meet the growing demand for automotive... Details →


BMW Group extends JV contract with Brilliance to 2040, increases stake to 75%; €3B investment in plants

The BMW Group and Brilliance China Automotive Holdings Ltd. (CBA) announced the early extension of the joint venture contract for BMW Brilliance Automotive (BBA) and the further deepening of the existing successful collaboration. The extended contract is valid for 22 years (from 2018 to 2040). Furthermore, the BMW Group intends... Details →


The Volkswagen brand has introduced a new production strategy—TRANSFORM.TOGETHER—which targets a 30% increase in productivity worldwide by 2025 compared to 2018. Production is therefore making a major contribution to achieving the profitability target of over 6% for the brand. We must invest heavily in our future. Electromobility, autonomous driving, new... Details →


DOE awards $1.2M to four vehicle and hydrogen projects under High Performance Computing for Materials (HPC4Mtls) Program

The Department of Energy (DOE) announced $1.2 million in funding for four projects—two with the Vehicle Technologies Office and two with the Fuel Cell Technologies Office—under the High Performance Computing for Materials (HPC4Mtls) Program. This program aims to utilize the high performance computing (HPC) of DOE’s national laboratories to help... Details →


DOE awards MIT researchers $1.9M to advance electrolytic production of copper; direct production of copper wire

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded MIT associate professor of metallurgy Antoine Allanore a $1.9-million grant to run larger scale tests of a new one-step, molten electrolysis process (earlier post) to produce copper from sulfur-based minerals—the main source of copper. One of Allanore’s primary goals is to make... Details →


BYD invests $5M in new warehouse facility in US; greater efficiencies and production capacity for battery-electric buses

BYD has completed its latest US investment, a new $5-million 100,000-square-foot warehouse for its Lancaster manufacturing plant. This is the firm’s fourth expansion of its current manufacturing campus in Los Angeles County, bringing its total investment in Lancaster facilities to more than $53 million. The new warehouse provides additional space... Details →


SJTU team makes progress in strain-hardening in high-strength metals by incorporating nanofillers

A team at Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU), with colleagues at Tsinghua University and Brown University, have developed a means to regain the strain-hardening ability of high-strength metals by incorporating of extrinsic nanofillers at grain boundaries. A paper on their work is published in the ACS journal NANO Letters. Grain... Details →


With the opening of three new FAW-Volkswagen vehicle plants at three locations—in Qingdao, Foshan and Tianjin—as well as the Volkswagen FAW Platform Tianjin Branch component plant, the Volkswagen Group is strengthening its localization strategy in China. With the opening of a second vehicle production plant in Foshan, a mega plant... Details →


A new Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) study by Ricardo for the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP) across a broad range of vehicle sectors finds that the relative contribution of each vehicle life cycle stage is highly dependent on the vehicle type and powertrain technology as well as what assumptions are... Details →


Volkswagen, in partnership with HP and GKN Powder Metallurgy, is the first automotive manufacturer using the “HP Metal Jet” process in propduction. HP Metal Jet simplifies and speeds up metallic 3D printing; productivity improves fifty times compared to other 3D printing methods, depending on the component. Volkswagen and its partners... Details →


The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory announced the availability of a new manufacturing technology that simplifies the manufacture of nanomaterials in high volumes. Known as Flame Spray Pyrolysis (FSP), the technology offers significant benefits over traditional methods used to manufacture the particle-based substances that are critical to... Details →


NextGenAM 3D printing project pilot plant opens; focus on high level of automation

The partners in the NextGenAM 3D printing project—Premium AEROTEC, Daimler, and EOS—have put their first pilot plant into operation at Premium AEROTEC in Varel, northern Germany. The partners launched the project in May 2017 to develop the basis of a future system for series production using 3D printing technologies. Additive... Details →


The US Department of Energy (DOE), in partnership with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, is awarding nearly $3 million to 13 projects to stimulate the use of high performance supercomputers to advance U.S. manufacturing. The US DOE national laboratories have some of the most significant high performance computing (HPC) resources available,... Details →


Audi is now the first premium manufacturer to produce automobiles completely free of wastewater. At its site in San José Chiapa, Mexico, the company is using a new water treatment process that collects 100 percent of the wastewater produced there, purifies it and feeds large volumes of clean water back... Details →


Teijin acquires composites company Inapal to expand European automotive business

Teijin Limited has acquired Inapal Plasticos SA (Inapal), a leading automotive composite supplier in Portugal. The shares of Inapal will be purchased by Teijin Holdings Netherlands B.V., the Teijin Group’s holding company in the Netherlands. The acquisition was completed at the beginning of August 2018, following the satisfactory completion of... Details →


High growth in demand for lithium batteries is spurring three-fold growth in mine production of lithium over the next four years, with 86kt of new lithium metal capacity coming on stream, according to data and analytics company GlobalData. After moderate growth in lithium supply between 2010 and 2017 of 6.4%... Details →


FCA US has awarded the production of the power electronics module for the Jeep Wrangler PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) to its Toledo Machining Plant. As part of the Capital Markets Day presentation in June, FCA committed to expanding its electrified propulsion systems in global architectures spanning the full range... Details →


DOE funds a fifth round of projects pairing manufacturing, high performance computing; KeraCel and solid-state batteries

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded nearly $3.8 million for 13 industry projects under fifth round of selections for the High Performance Computing for Manufacturing (HPC4Mfg) Program for the HPC4Mfg Program, led by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and its partners Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and Oak... Details →


Study concludes environmental regulations drove steep declines in US factory pollution even with increased production

The federal Clean Air Act and associated environmental regulations have driven steep declines in air pollution emissions over the past several decades, even as US manufacturers increased production, according to a study by two University of California, Berkeley, economists. The study, forthcoming in the American Economic Review, found that polluting... Details →


McKinsey & Co. survey finds huge gap between piloting and deploying digital manufacturing; automotive no exception

Automakers and their suppliers, like manufacturers in many other industries, have been exploring the potential of digital manufacturing strategies to increase productivity, profitability and decision-making. Audi, for example, just last week announced plans with Ericsson to pilot the use of 5G as a future-proof enabling communication technology for such Industry... Details →


Daimler joins multiple initiatives for a sustainable raw material supply chain; future focus on battery cell supply chain

Daimler has joined the Responsible Cobalt Initiative, the Responsible Mineral Initiative, the Responsible Steel Initiative and the Aluminum Stewardship Initiative. Joining the four initiatives takes a product’s entire life cycle into account—from development, via procurement and production to recycling. As part of the offensive for a sustainable raw material supply... Details →


A new analysis of the cost of current (2017) direct hydrogen fuel cell vehicles by a team from the Department of Energy, Argonne National Laboratory and Strategic Analysis found the lowest estimated system cost to date for high annual production rates. The highest volume predictions, for 100,000 and 500,000 units... Details →


Audi and Ericsson to pioneer 5G for automotive manufacturing

Audi and Ericsson plan to pioneer the use of 5G technology for automotive production. At Audi’s headquarters in Ingolstadt, Germany, the two companies agreed on a range of activities exploring the potential of 5G as a future-proof communication technology that can meet the high demands of automotive production. Audi and... Details →


Novelis to acquire downstream aluminum producer Aleris for ~$2.6B; meeting automotive demand, expanding into aerospace

Novelis Inc., the leading producer of flat-rolled aluminum products and the world’s largest recycler of aluminum, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Aleris Corporation, a global supplier of aerospace and automotive rolled aluminum products, for approximately $2.6 billion including the assumption of debt. Aleris has been an important supplier... Details →


BMW Group has introduced computer tomography (CT) into prototype development, production and analysis—a first in the automotive industry. With this technology, the full range of vehicles, from MINI to Rolls-Royce, can now be quality-controlled even in the early stages of development. Scans are performed by four robots which move around... Details →


Volkswagen’s main plant in Wolfsburg has won the Automotive Lean Production Award for the first time. Series production at Wolfsburg began in 1945; since then, more than 45 million vehicles have rolled off its lines. The plant currently produces up to 3,500 units of the Golf, Golf Sportsvan, Touran and... Details →


Geely officially discloses new global B-segment automobile modular architecture: BMA; new BMA-based SUV to launch this year

Automobile modular architectures—for example, TNGA of Toyota, and MQB, MLB and MEB of the Volkswagen Group—hav become a major trend in the auto industry. Modular technology has become an important criterion for evaluating whether an automobile company is combining global R&D technology and market layout with a cost-effective manufacturing approach.... Details →


BYD opened a 24 GWh power battery factory in Western China’s Qinghai province; the company is preparing to increase its total production capacity to 60 GWh by 2020. Power battery factory in Western China’s Qinghai province. The factory—equivalent to the size of 140 football fields—will be the largest in the... Details →


Toyota AI Ventures, TRI launch call for innovation to fund robotics startups focused on mobile manipulation

Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm Toyota AI Ventures launched a global “call for innovation” in partnership with the Toyota Research Institute (TRI). Designed to spur entrepreneurial innovation by identifying key technology gaps, the initiative uses a call-and-response approach to offer promising startups the opportunity to secure from $500,000 to $2... Details →


Volkswagen Group further advancing electromobility offensive in China; LoI with FAW Group, ICV; investing €15B through 2022

The Volkswagen Group is expanding its successful business relationships in China with a particular focus on e-mobility. As part of the 5th German-Chinese government consultations, the Volkswagen Group China signed letters of intent with a long-time joint-venture partner, the FAW Group, and with the China Intelligent and Connected Vehicles (Beijing)... Details →


The Chinese EV battery manufacturer Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd. (CATL) is building its first plant outside of China in Thuringia, Germany. The focus of the 14 GWh plant is on the automated production and intelligent production of batteries. CATL develops battery systems for global customers in EV, HEV and PHEV... Details →


Roskill: predominance of lithium production shifting to mineral vs brine, driven by volume requirements of EVs

Roskill Information Services forecasts that the lithium industry will need to add nearly 100kt of new lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) production per year by 2027 to keep up with demand driven by the global transition to electric vehicles. Global lithium resources have increased significantly over recent years, driven by a... Details →


Ford hits CO2 manufacturing emissions reduction target of 30% per vehicle 8 years early

Ford Motor Company has met its goal to reduce manufacturing CO2 emissions eight years ahead of schedule. The goal, set in 2010, aimed to reduce the company’s global carbon dioxide emissions from manufacturing operations by 30% per vehicle produced by 2025. As described in its 19th annual Sustainability Report, Ford... Details →


The Chinese start-up Byton, which is developing fully networked and highly automated electric vehicles (earlier post) has commissioned Dürr to construct a complete paint shop. Distinguishing features are a 20% reduction in the facility’s physical footprint and the use of pioneering technologies such as the EcoInCure oven—which is highly suited... Details →


Volkswagen Group: Foshan Plant Phase II mega-factory key for China; strengthening e-mobility strategy

Through the completion of the Foshan Plant Phase II, Volkswagen Group’s Foshan production site’s capacity will double from 300,000 to 600,000 cars annually. The first SUV-model of the Volkswagen brand built by FAW-Volkswagen—the T-Roc—successfully rolled off the line in April this year. Together with the Audi Q2L, which will also... Details →


The new Advanced Metal Processing Center (AMPC) has opened at Brunel University London. The new center provides a boost for manufacturers to work with Brunel on large-scale research and development activity, enabling innovations such as novel structures for lightweight car parts to make the leap from the lab to full-scale... Details →


Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. will build more models using a new type of super high formability (SHF) steel that combines high tensile strength with a previously unachievable degree of formability, resulting in lighter vehicles that can help lower emissions while protecting occupants. (Earlier post.) Nissan is the world’s first carmaker... Details →


Magna intends to form two new joint ventures with Beijing Electric Vehicle Co. Ltd (BJEV)—a subsidiary of the BAIC Group for electric cars—for the engineering and complete vehicle manufacturing of electric vehicles. Over the coming months, Magna and BJEV will work with authorities to implement legally binding joint-venture agreements which... Details →


Leading steel and mining company ArcelorMittal has begun construction of new premises at its site in Ghent, Belgium, to house a new installation which will convert carbon-containing gas from its blast furnaces into bioethanol. The technology in the gas conversion process, which utilizes microbes that feed on carbon monoxide to... Details →


Mercedes-Benz Cars is starting construction of its first “Full-Flex Plant“ in Kecskemét, Hungary, about 90 km in the south of Budapest. Overall, the company is investing €1 billion in the new car plant and creating more than 2,500 jobs. The first global “Full-Flex Plant” of Mercedes-Benz Cars is based on... Details →


Volkswagen launches new engineer training program for ID EV family

The Volkswagen brand has launched a program—the “Future Electronic Engineer Program” (FEEP)—to train 100 young engineers and skilled workers throughout the world as top production experts in e-mobility. The first participants to complete the three-year program will support the run-up phase of the I.D. family, the new generation of full-electric... Details →


DOE Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute awards ~$10M to 10 projects

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CESMII) will award nearly $10 million for ten projects to help advance its goals and enable US manufacturers to develop and implement innovations that will advance U.S. manufacturing competitiveness, sustainability, and innovation. Launched in 2016, CESMII focuses on... Details →


Siemens and Northvolt, a company working to build a European Li-ion gigafactory with 32 GWh of battery capacity (earlier post), are partnering for the development of best-in-class technology to produce high-quality lithium-ion batteries. The partnership, which will be supported by Siemens through an investment of €10 million (US$11.7 million); after... Details →


Novelis, the leader in aluminum rolling and recycling, plans to invest approximately $180 million to double its automotive aluminum body sheet capacity at its Changzhou facility in China. The company will begin expanding its existing facility in 2018 and be fully operational by 2020, helping key traditional automakers and electric... Details →


Toyota projects that global sales of fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) will increase significantly after 2020 to at least 30,000 per year from today’s 3,000. To prepare for this growth, the company unveiled plans for two major new facilities: a brand-new building near its original automobile factory for expanding fuel... Details →


Mercedes-Benz to invest ~€500M to produce electric compact EQ model at Hambach plant

Mercedes-Benz Cars is expanding its production capacities for electric cars in Europe. The Hambach plant in France, which currently produces smart brand electric vehicles, will produce a compact electric car of the new product and technology brand EQ. Mercedes-Benz Cars plans to launch more than ten electric cars by 2022... Details →


Mercedes-Benz Cars plants in Germany to be supplied with CO2-neutral energy from 2022

In Germany, all Mercedes-Benz plants will be supplied with CO2-neutral energy. The preparations for exclusively green electricity for a climate-friendly production in Europe are already well advanced. From 2022, the production of our Mercedes-Benz plants in Germany will operate CO2-neutral. Thereby, we completely forego coal-based electricity and obtain our electrical... Details →