Electric Taxis in China, Chinese Partner for Ecomotors and Mercedes Robotic Test Driver

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1. Forty all-electric taxis, believed to be the first to go into service in China, were officially launched Monday in southern Guangdong Province’s Shenzhen City.
The five-passenger BYD E6, with a maximum speed of 140 km/h, consumed 21.5 KWH of power per 100 km and could run about 300 km on one charge, a record for a vehicle of its kind. BYD plans to have 100 E6 taxis on Shenzhen’s roads by the end of June. The company expects to start selling E6 cars to the United States through its headquarters in Los Angeles later this year, he said. Wang said BYD would try to roll out E6 in the European market in February 2011. If all-electric taxis could be promoted across China, it would greatly improve the air quality in cities.

2. EcoMotors International CEO Don Runkle announced today that Zhongding Holding (Group) Co., Ltd. has signed a letter of intent to fund further development of EcoMotors’ innovative opoc® (Opposed piston oppposed cylinder) engine technology.

The agreement specifies that Zhongding Holding (Group) Co., Ltd. and Global Optima LLC will commit up to$18 million of advanced engineering focused on the proven opoc® technology, including refinement of the existing EM100D diesel engine, and development of a smaller gasoline version, the EM65FF. Global Optima has expressed the possibility of direct equity investment in EcoMotors.

The revolutionary opoc® provides such unparalleled benefits as:

* Higher Efficiency: The unique engine architecture – specifically, the ability to achieve true modular displacement — delivers up to 60% greater fuel efficiency.
* Half the weight and half the size of a conventional engine: The opoc® engine’s smaller profile yields unparalleled power density and exciting new vehicle design opportunities.
* Lowest Cost Solution: With 50% fewer parts than a conventional engine, the opoc® is less expensive to manufacture, to purchase and to operate.

3. Mercedes-Benz is putting robot stunt drivers in the front seat in the hopes that bots can make the cars safer for humans.

Mercedes says its production-series cars equipped with robotic systems are the first in the world to test computer-controlled safety maneuvers, such as near-misses, that can’t be reproduced by human drivers.

In the test cars, separate robot systems control steering, acceleration, and braking. An onboard computer runs the machines so the vehicle follows a programmed course on a closed test track.

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