Battery breakthrough could see electric cars charged in seconds

Electric cars could be charged in a matter of seconds using a revolutionary new battery system, it has been claimed.

A so-called ‘flow battery’ system, which has been developed by researchers at the University of Glasgow, uses nano-molecules to store either electric power or hydrogen gas, creating a flexible dual-output battery system.

In a paper published in the journal Nature Chemistry, chemists from the University of Glasgow reported how they developed a ‘hybrid-electric-hydrogen’ flow battery, based upon the design of a nano-scale battery molecule that can store energy, releasing the power on demand as electric power or hydrogen gas that can be used a fuel. When a concentrated liquid containing the nano-molecules is made, the amount of energy it can store increases by almost 10 times. The energy can be released as either electricity or hydrogen gas meaning that the system could be used flexibly in situations that might need either a fuel or electric power.

One potential benefit of this system is that electric cars could be charged in seconds, as the material is a pumpable liquid. This could mean that the battery of an electric car could be “recharged” in roughly the same length of time as petrol cars can be filled up. The old battery liquid would be removed at the same time and recharged ready to be used again.

Professor Leroy Cronin, the University of Glasgow’s Regius Chair of Chemistry, said: “For future renewables to be effective, high capacity and flexible energy storage systems are needed to smooth out the peaks and troughs in supply.

“Our approach will provide a new route to do this electro-chemically and could even have application in electric cars where batteries can still take hours to recharge and have limited capacity.

“Moreover, the very high energy density of our material could increase the range of electric cars, and also increase the resilience of energy storage systems to keep the lights on at times of peak demand.”

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Porsche to stop making diesel cars in favour of electric and hybrid

Porsche is the latest vehicle manufacturer to announce that it is to stop producing diesel cars.

It follows a 2015 scandal in which its parent company, Volkswagen, admitted it had cheated emissions tests for diesel engines.

The Porsche chief executive said the company was “not demonising diesel”.

“It is and will remain an important propulsion technology,” Oliver Blume said.

“We as a sports car manufacturer, however, for whom diesel has always played a secondary role, have come to the conclusion that we would like our future to be diesel-free.

“Petrol engines are well suited for sporty driving.”

The firm’s Macan, Cayenne and Panamera four-door were all previously available with Audi diesel engines and were caught up in the dieselgate scandal.

“Nevertheless, Porsche’s image has suffered, Mr Blume added.

“The diesel crisis caused us a lot of trouble.”

Only 12 per cent of Porsches sold worldwide last year were diesel and the firm has said it will now concentrate on hybrid and electric models.

Porsche is understood to be developing a fully-electric luxury car, with a multi-billion euro investment.

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“Aftermarket has no excuses over window regulators opportunity” says Welland

WAI is warning the independent automotive aftermarket that there are no excuses in not taking advantage of the supply and fit of replacement window regulators, after the company signed a new supply agreement on the product with its same day distribution partner, Marathon Warehouse Distribution.

As vehicles begin to exit their manufacturer’s warranty and look to independent garages for cost-effective vehicle maintenance and repair, WAI has been working to focus minds on the sales potential of its window regulator product range. Now, with the same day availability through Marathon, WAIglobal UK managing director, Richard Welland, believes there are opportunities for the market.

“We’ve heard it first hand from independent garages that they not aware that their local motor factor can supply window regulators, instead opting to use the dealership. This has to change and with our OE-quality range available, garages can really take advantage of a premium product supplied on a same day service through their motor factor.”

In total, the WAI window regulator range offers 1800 parts covering 73,000 vehicle applications, quickly establishing the company as a leader in the supply of all types of window regulators namely: Scissor, cable, bowden and double bowden offers a quality aftermarket solution for window regulators.

Welland added: “Through our attendance at customer, buying group and Automechanika events and our on ongoing work with motor factors and Marathon, we’re going to make the market fully aware of the ‘untapped’ opportunities for the supply and fit of window regulators in the aftermarket.”

Highlights of the range include Asian models such as Mitsubishi, Toyota, Honda and Hyundai, as well as popular European vehicles. The range also includes manual window regulators that cover Citroen and Fiat brands.

There are also 74 parts available in WAI’s commercial vehicle (CV) programme covering the most popular applications.

The range covers both left- and right-hand, as well as front, rear and rear window, and can be equipped with comfort function technology based on the OEM manufacture.

WAIglobal has recently introduced a catalogue for its expanding selection of window regulators, including its CV range. The user-friendly A4 catalogue lists parts by model, application, WAI’s reference number, its OEM number and accompanies each listing with an image.

Marathon branches are strategically located to cover most key UK conurbations and offer a service to motor factors of up to 8 times a day. The expanding distribution centre network is supported by a national distribution centre situated in Redditch, West Midlands.

Only one week to submit nominations for the IAAF 2018 Annual Awards

Recognising the best in the industry!

There is just one week left to submit nominations for this year’s awards, the closing date being 28th September 2018.

2018 sees the introduction of a new award for companies in the Service Member category. This category covers companies offering services such as insurance, lifestyle protection, trade journals, legal assistance, HR services, and software systems, amongst others.

This year, the presentations will be taking place during the IAAF Awards Dinner on 6th December 2018 at the DoubleTree by Hilton at the Stadium MK in Milton Keynes. The IAAF Awards Dinner is the premier event for the aftermarket industry, providing great networking opportunities for guests.

Categories and Sponsors

Distributor of the Year
sponsored by Denso Aftermarket
CV Distributor of the Year
sponsored by Eminox
Supplier of the Year
sponsored by Elcome
CV Supplier of the Year
sponsored by Boswell Aftermarket
And, new for 2018, Service Supplier of the Year

How to submit your nomination

Print out, complete and return the nomination form to the IAAF office, either in the post or scan and email it to Companies may nominate themselves.

The voting process will go live on the IAAF website from 2nd October, closing on 31st October.

The winners in each category will be announced at the IAAF Awards Dinner on 6th December.

For a full list of the IAAF service suppliers, please go to the IAAF Website.

IAAF Awards 2018

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Just one month to next IAAF Industry Briefing Session

The third IAAF Industry Briefing Session of 2018 will be held on 18th October at ECCO Safety Group’s EMEA HQ in Leeds. There is just one month to go and as places are limited, anyone wishing to book a place should complete and return the form as soon as possible to avoid any disappointment.

The agenda for the session will be very much the same as for previous events, with IAAF Membership Development Manager Mike Smallbone giving an update on the latest industry developments.

The main guest speaker will be Julian Lloyd, managing director of ProVQ, one of the largest approved motor industry training providers. Their research has confirmed that companies focussing on the skills, knowledge and competencies of their staff do perform better. Government policy has recently shifted significantly to financially encourage companies of all sizes to actively embrace this through the sourcing of quality training programmes. Julian Lloyd will explain how to fully exploit this change in policy to help make staff the best they can be.

The session will finish at around 1.00 pm with lunch, when delegates will have the opportunity to network with fellow members and to tour ESG’s facilities, which include their testing and design & manufacturing functions, as well as sales and distribution for the UK.

To book your place(s), download the booking form here and once completed return it to Ann Silvester at

Booking Form

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Official government guidance outlines what a no-deal Brexit will mean for type approvals

The DfT has revealed how a ‘no deal’ would affect manufacturers of vehicles and vehicle components seeking vehicle type approval.

European Community type-approval will no longer be valid for new vehicles and some part manufacturers if the UK leaves the EU in March 2019 without a deal, the Department for Transport has announced.

In an official notice, the government has outlined the contingency plans the Department for Transport (DfT) and the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) would implement in order to allow vehicle and component manufacturers to place new products on the market if the UK leaves the EU without an agreement.

It states that vehicle and some component manufacturers would need to obtain a UK type-approval before placing their products on the UK market.

European Community (EC) type-approvals issued outside of the UK, would no longer be automatically accepted on the UK market and manufacturers would need to ensure that they have the correct type-approval for each market.

In its report, the DfT states, “The UK plans to issue provisional UK type-approvals to manufacturers that already have EC type-approvals.

“This would be an administrative conversion of EC type-approvals into UK type-approvals.

“This streamlined approach would ensure that products can continue to be sold and registered in the UK.

“This provisional approval would be time-limited, for example two years.

“During this period, manufacturers would be able to approach the VCA to request a full conversion of their EC type-approval to a UK type-approval.

“Manufacturers currently holding a VCA-issued EC type-approval, who intend to continue placing their products on the EU market, must obtain a new EC type-approval from a type-approval authority in an EU country.”

Full details on the process will be made available later this year.

For motorists and fleet operators, a ‘no-deal’ scenario would not prevent them from driving cars they own or may buy either in the UK or abroad.

There are no implications for owners of vehicles registered either in the UK or abroad before the UK leaves the EU.

Current type approval standards are set out in the framework regulations on European Community Whole Vehicle Type-Approval (ECWVTA) and those on the approval of non-road mobile machinery.

For a vehicle to be sold and registered in the EU, the manufacturer must hold an European Community type-approval (EC type-approval) issued by the type-approval authority in an EU country.

Some components may also need EC type-approval.

Manufacturers who are in the process of obtaining a new EU approval at the point of exit or intend to place a new vehicle models or components onto the UK market after exit day would need to obtain a UK type-approval.

The DfT states, “They must comply with the requirements of the UK type-approval scheme, which will be fully aligned with the requirements for ECWVTA immediately after exit.

“The VCA would grant a UK type-approval where a manufacturer can demonstrate it holds a valid EC type-approval issued post exit.

“Where necessary, the VCA would carry out conformity of production checks and review the documentary evidence, including test reports and approval certificates.

“Manufacturers wishing to place new products on the EU market after exit would need to follow the existing procedure for obtaining a new EC type-approval.”

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Another successful show for IAAF members exhibiting at Automechanika Frankfurt

Automechanika Frankfurt is the world’s leading trade fair for the automotive service industry and this year the biennial trade fair celebrated its 25th anniversary with a host of new themes and REIFEN as a co-located show.

This year the new Hall 12 came onstream and hosted REIFEN, Classic Cars and the new area: Car Wash, Care & Reconditioning. The popular Mechanic Games were held each day of the show, offering visitors a chance to have a go at bull-riding, car racing, test your strength and piston lifting.

IAAF supplier members who exhibited at the show include:

NGK Spark Plugs

Click on the company name for a full report of their successes at the show.

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ZF Aftermarket and in-tech Ensure Clean City Air with e-troFit

ZF Aftermarket and engineering company in-tech have formed a strategic partnership in order to significantly reduce greenhouse emissions in cities. This focuses on converting buses within the public transport system from conventional to environmentally friendly electric drives. With e-troFit, Munich-based development specialist in-tech has developed an innovative bridge technology that enables an efficient switch from the current diesel engines to the smart and sustainable alternative. As the systems supplier, ZF Aftermarket contributes the necessary vehicle components and at the same time offers access to its global workshop network.

Lucerne, Switzerland – 8 May, 2016: a Mercedes-Benz Citaro bus standing on the bus stop at the Lucerne train station. Mercedes-Benz Citaro is a single-deck bus manufactured by Mercedes-Benz/EvoBus, it was introduced in 1997. Lucerne is a city in central Switzerland, it is the capital of the Swiss Canton of Lucerne and the capital of the district of the same name.

For Helmut Ernst, head of the Aftermarket Division, e-troFit is timely as it offers the ideal solution for the transition into the age of purely electrically driven vehicles. “The markets won’t be ready to provide the necessary volume production of electrically driven vehicles until 2025. Until then, converting conventional commercial vehicles to electric drives is an excellent opportunity to substantially support cities in the electrification of public transport and still reach the required climate protection objectives.” Numerous studies show the importance of entering the field of electro-mobility, especially for the public transport system. For example, Clean Air, a federation of nine European environmental associations, found that diesel buses used in public transport are a major missions contributor in cities. According to the project group, in some cities, buses represent a mere two percent of all vehicles, yet they account for around 30 percent of the pollutants emitted.

Uncomplicated installation with CeTrax and AxTrax AVE With its broad product and service portfolio, ZF is driving the electrification of commercial vehicles and performs a leading role in the development of zero-emission drive solutions for city vehicles with a limited range. With CeTrax, an electric central drive developed specifically for city buses, and the AxTrax AVE electric portal axle, ZF is moving towards local, zero-emission public transport. Converting conventional bus models is extremely simple.

“CeTrax,” explains Helmut Ernst, “can be installed directly into the existing vehicle platform without having to make any major modifications on the chassis, axles or differential.” With maximum power of up to 300 kilowatts and a maximum torque of 4,500 newton meters, CeTrax is equal to conventional drive units when it comes to performance. The bus accelerates from standing without any torque interruption, so passengers don’t notice a thing. It also offers significantly lower chassis vibrations and a quieter ride than conventional engines. As CeTrax can be combined with single rear drive axles and conventional low-floor axles, it can be installed in low-entry buses and low-floor axle buses of all sizes. Compared to other solutions, ZF’s central drive provides clear weight advantages, high performance and excellent efficiency. This is down to the seamless engineering over the entire driveline and an innovative electric motor layout. The new electric drive, with its climbing ability of up to 25 percent, has no problem with hills either.

The AxTrax AVE electric portal axle is ideally suited to various types of drives for city buses: whether as a serial hybrid, all-electric drive powered by a fuel cell or battery or from the overhead contact line. The increased use of the braking energy or – in combination with hybrid drives – the use of smaller combustion engines also helps significantly reduce fuel consumption and pollutant emissions compared to conventional concepts. Even lane-independent, zero-emission driving in cities is possible. This vastly increases cost-efficiency and utilizability.

Each wheel is driven by a compact, high-speed and liquid-cooled asynchronous motor to keep the axle weight including the integrated motors low. The maximum engine output is 250 kilowatts and a maximum torque of 22,000 newton meters. As no separate engine or propshaft is needed, this reduces the amount of space required and the vehicle’s weight. Space gained means it’s possible to install a more powerful battery or optimize the vehicle’s interior in order to transport more passengers. No special wheel components are required with the AxTrax AVE. Tire-rim combinations used in normal buses as well as standard disc brakes can both be used. The brakes are fitted in the same easy-to-service position as standard axles.

Helmut Ernst says: “In cooperation with in-tech we offer a one-stop shop solution for conversions. ZF provides the products with CeTrax and AxTrax AVE. In addition, we also provide the necessary expertise including workshop capacities and act as a trade and service partner for in-tech and our customers.”

Speedy conversions instead of long waits “For many cities and municipalities, procuring new, electrically powered buses means long waits and high purchasing costs. This is why e-troFit is an ideal alternative that can be quickly realized. The fact that e-troFit was recently awarded the German Mobility Award supports this,” says Andreas Hager, head of the Smart Mobility Business Unit at in-tech. Provided that all components are available, converting vehicles takes a mere four weeks. In comparison, transport companies currently need to plan for a delivery time of at least 16 to 18 months for a new, all-electric bus. In addition, the conversion costs up to 50 percent less per bus when compared to a new purchase. “With a service life of ten years, the electric buses save €100,000 worth of fuel alone,” adds Andreas Hager.

“The advantages for customers are very clear.” And the customer potential is huge: Any vehicle that does not comply with emission standard Euro 6 can be converted. Currently, the main focus is primarily on the articulated and solo busses of large manufacturers in German market, with the next step being the wider European market.

ZF Aftermarket shapes the future of mobility e-troFit is just one of many examples illustrating how ZF Aftermarket is shaping tomorrow’s mobility today. With innovative technologies and tailor-made service concepts, the Aftermarket Division at ZF Friedrichshafen AG sets the pace in the industry.

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Our Virtual Academy latest member to sign up to IAAF

The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) has announced that online training provider Our Virtual Academy (OVA) has become the latest company to join the industry body’s growing membership roster.

Using cutting-edge learning technology and its vast industry expertise, OVA supports vehicle technicians by providing online interactive video-based technical training at manufacturer level, delivering a cost-effective training solution through an internet subscription.

Via constantly evolving content, it delivers training in order to enhance technicians’ knowledge and expertise, bringing manufacturer level knowledge and skills to the aftermarket.

Through a series of online automotive technical training videos, OVA covers a wide range of technical subjects, as well as tackling the more complex topics of Diesel Diagnostics, Hybrid and EV and Air Conditioning, to arm technicians with essential know-how for future technology.

With a customer base including several leading names in the automotive industry and independent workshops across the UK and Ireland, OVA also provides training to colleges to equip tomorrow’s talent with the right industry skills.

Ben Stockton, Our Virtual Academy managing director, said: “Through being a member of the IAAF we will be able to keep our ‘ear to the ground’ regarding future trends and issues associated to the automotive industry. In addition, we look forward to developing further strong relationships throughout the sector.”

Wendy Williamson, IAAF chief executive, said: “We are extremely pleased to welcome onboard OVA, a company whose main objective is focused on equipping the automotive aftermarket with the right tools to handle the technological developments and challenges that are just around the corner.

“Our aim is to ensure they get the most out of what benefits IAAF membership has to offer.”

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Automechanika Birmingham appoints Jack Halliday as new Event Director

Automechanika Birmingham has promoted Jack Halliday to the position of Event Director, just under a year ago he joined the Messe Frankfurt UK subsidiary as Head of Sales.

As the event prepares to return to the NEC for the fourth time next year and with many major industry players signed up to exhibit, Halliday will oversee all event management at the UK’s leading exhibition for the automotive industry.

He said: “I am delighted to be have become Event Director for Automechanika Birmingham. With the help and support of our award-winning team, we are excited at what the event can deliver for both exhibitors and visitors in 2019. With it being the last chance to see the UK market before the event goes biennial, returning in 2021, the 2019 event is expected to be a great success”.

Halliday has worked within B2B exhibitions for over 15 years, successfully managing teams, events launches and large-scale events like Automechanika Birmingham. He has also worked within the automotive industry for BP Mobil and for Castrol as Regional Development Manager.

Simon Albert, Messe Frankfurt UK Managing Director, said: “Jack is an industry specialist and we’re delighted to further harness his breadth of experience. He has hit the ground running since joining the team only ten months ago, fully immersing himself in the automotive industry and making a significant contribution to Automechanika Birmingham 2018’s success.”

The UK’s must-attend automotive exhibition will run from 4 to 6 June 2019 and expects to house 600+ exhibitors with more than 12,000 visitors attending.  Visitors will be welcomed with a new layout, as well be reacquainted with 2018’s hugely successful Garage Quarter, alongside a facilitated meetings programme and plenty of networking opportunities, to name a few.

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