Second Wind: Air-Breathing Lithium Batteries Promise Recharge-Free Long-Range Driving—If the Bugs Can Be Worked Out: Scientific American
IBM-led research to create lithium-air electric vehicle batteries gets a boost from Japanese chemical companies toward the goal of 800 kilometers out of a full charge
Researchers predict a new type of lithium battery under development could give an electric car enough juice to travel a whopping 800 kilometers before it needs to be plugged in again—about 10 times the energy that today’s lithium ion batteries supply. It is a tantalizing prospect—a lighter, longer-lasting, air-breathing power source for the next generation of vehicles—if only someone could build a working model. Several roadblocks stand between these lithium–air batteries and the open road, however, primarily in finding electrodes and electrolytes that are stable enough for rechargeable battery chemistry.IBM plans to take lithium–air batteries out of neutral by building a working prototype by the end of next year. The company announced Friday it has stepped up development efforts by adding two Japanese technology firms—chemical manufacturer Asahi Kasei Corp. and electrolyte maker Central Glass—to the IBM Battery 500 Project, a coalition IBM established in 2009 to accelerate the switch from gas to electric-powered vehicles among carmakers and their customers.

Second Wind: Air-Breathing Lithium Batteries Promise Recharge-Free Long-Range Driving—If the Bugs Can Be Worked Out: Scientific American

IBM-led research to create lithium-air electric vehicle batteries gets a boost from Japanese chemical companies toward the goal of 800 kilometers out of a full charge

Researchers predict a new type of lithium battery under development could give an electric car enough juice to travel a whopping 800 kilometers before it needs to be plugged in again—about 10 times the energy that today’s lithium ion batteries supply. It is a tantalizing prospect—a lighter, longer-lasting, air-breathing power source for the next generation of vehicles—if only someone could build a working model. Several roadblocks stand between these lithium–air batteries and the open road, however, primarily in finding electrodes and electrolytes that are stable enough for rechargeable battery chemistry.

IBM plans to take lithium–air batteries out of neutral by building a working prototype by the end of next year. The company announced Friday it has stepped up development efforts by adding two Japanese technology firms—chemical manufacturer Asahi Kasei Corp. and electrolyte maker Central Glass—to the IBM Battery 500 Project, a coalition IBM established in 2009 to accelerate the switch from gas to electric-powered vehicles among carmakers and their customers.

EV Week: Electric Vehicle Charging: A Pilot to Turn “Challenge” into “Opportunity” « A Smarter Planet Blog
By Jonathan Marshall, Chief, External CommunicationsPacific Gas and Electric Company
Electric vehicle (EV) owners and electric utilities may soon enjoy a much closer and more fulfilling relationship than traditional car owners have with gas stations, thanks to a new pilot project announced today by IBM, Honda Motors, and Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E). This collaboration aims to demonstrate the ability to optimize the charge schedule for each customer’s EV battery so that the needs of customers and the electric grid are satisfied on an ongoing basis. That’s still a stretch for most utilities.
When the typical power engineer hears “electric vehicle,” he or she usually thinks: “challenge.” A plug-in vehicle can draw as much power as three homes in the more temperate parts of California. An enthusiastic bunch of early adopters could potentially overload local circuits if they all charge up at the same time in the same neighborhood.
But PG&E is thinking instead, “opportunity.” For one thing, we have a growing number of clean electric vehicles in our own fleet, from Chevy Volts to a new class of extended-range pickup trucks from Via Motors. And we know that widespread adoption of EVs throughout California will help the state meet its ambitious clean-air goals.
For another, we believe there’s great potential for using the latest “smart grid” technology to facilitate vehicle charging at night, when demand is low. By making use of underutilized generation and grid resources at off-peak times, EVs can help utilities make more efficient use of their assets and spread costs over a wider load without overtaxing the system.
PG&E demonstrated last year, in the first utility test of smart charging, that it could control vehicle charging through its SmartMeter™ infrastructure. But in a competitive marketplace, many customers may want to put control of their charging in other hands—such as the vehicle manufacturer or another trusted vendor. The whole process may someday be controlled by a third-party app on your smart phone.
(read more)

EV Week: Electric Vehicle Charging: A Pilot to Turn “Challenge” into “Opportunity” « A Smarter Planet Blog

By Jonathan Marshall, Chief, External Communications
Pacific Gas and Electric Company

Electric vehicle (EV) owners and electric utilities may soon enjoy a much closer and more fulfilling relationship than traditional car owners have with gas stations, thanks to a new pilot project announced today by IBM, Honda Motors, and Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E). This collaboration aims to demonstrate the ability to optimize the charge schedule for each customer’s EV battery so that the needs of customers and the electric grid are satisfied on an ongoing basis. That’s still a stretch for most utilities.

When the typical power engineer hears “electric vehicle,” he or she usually thinks: “challenge.” A plug-in vehicle can draw as much power as three homes in the more temperate parts of California. An enthusiastic bunch of early adopters could potentially overload local circuits if they all charge up at the same time in the same neighborhood.

But PG&E is thinking instead, “opportunity.” For one thing, we have a growing number of clean electric vehicles in our own fleet, from Chevy Volts to a new class of extended-range pickup trucks from Via Motors. And we know that widespread adoption of EVs throughout California will help the state meet its ambitious clean-air goals.

For another, we believe there’s great potential for using the latest “smart grid” technology to facilitate vehicle charging at night, when demand is low. By making use of underutilized generation and grid resources at off-peak times, EVs can help utilities make more efficient use of their assets and spread costs over a wider load without overtaxing the system.

PG&E demonstrated last year, in the first utility test of smart charging, that it could control vehicle charging through its SmartMeter™ infrastructure. But in a competitive marketplace, many customers may want to put control of their charging in other hands—such as the vehicle manufacturer or another trusted vendor. The whole process may someday be controlled by a third-party app on your smart phone.

(read more)

“Confessions of a Chevy Volt Owner.” A surprising, frank interview with an owner of a Volt after one year of driving.
203 miles per gallon in the first year at 16,000 miles. Not a typo. His previous car, a Volvo, got 18 miles per gallon. (I get about 28 mpg in my ol’ benz.)
“I wish I bought the car. I absolutely love it.” He leased it because he was skeptical of owning it. But, wishes he bought it.
“I didn’t buy it to save money.” The biggest surprise here. He bought it to help eliminate the need for oil.
“My home electricity bill is about the same as when my daughter lived here in high school.” After a year of plugging it in to his home, his electricity bill remains the same and didn’t go up as expected.
He responds to the common criticism, “The Chevy Cruze is cheaper.” “Well, a bicycle is even cheaper and saves more gas than the Cruze. So is a used car. So is walking. Look, this isn’t about money, it’s about oil.”

The interview is short and surprising. Have a look.

via climateadaptation:

“Confessions of a Chevy Volt Owner.” A surprising, frank interview with an owner of a Volt after one year of driving.

  • 203 miles per gallon in the first year at 16,000 miles. Not a typo. His previous car, a Volvo, got 18 miles per gallon. (I get about 28 mpg in my ol’ benz.)
  • “I wish I bought the car. I absolutely love it.” He leased it because he was skeptical of owning it. But, wishes he bought it.
  • “I didn’t buy it to save money.” The biggest surprise here. He bought it to help eliminate the need for oil.
  • “My home electricity bill is about the same as when my daughter lived here in high school.” After a year of plugging it in to his home, his electricity bill remains the same and didn’t go up as expected.
  • He responds to the common criticism, “The Chevy Cruze is cheaper.” “Well, a bicycle is even cheaper and saves more gas than the Cruze. So is a used car. So is walking. Look, this isn’t about money, it’s about oil.”

The interview is short and surprising. Have a look.

via climateadaptation:

(via climateadaptation)

Battery breakthrough could bring electric cars to all |  GigaOM
A startup working on battery technology says it’s developed a key  breakthrough that could one day lead to an electric car that has a  300-mile range and could cost around $25,000 to $30,000. Envia Systems,  backed by venture capitalists, General Motors, and the Department of  Energy, plans to announce on Monday at the ARPA-E conference that the  company has created a lithium ion battery that has an energy density of  400 watt-hours per kilogram, which Envia CEO Atul Kapadia told me in an  interview could be the tipping point for bringing electric cars to  mainstream car owner.
The secret sauce
Energy density is how much energy a battery can store and provide for  the car with a given battery size — the more energy dense the battery,  the less volume and weight is needed. For electric cars it is  particularly important to have a high energy dense battery because  electric cars need to be as light weight as possible (any extra weight  just drains the battery faster), and batteries that are smaller and use  less materials can also be lower in cost

Battery breakthrough could bring electric cars to all |  GigaOM

A startup working on battery technology says it’s developed a key breakthrough that could one day lead to an electric car that has a 300-mile range and could cost around $25,000 to $30,000. Envia Systems, backed by venture capitalists, General Motors, and the Department of Energy, plans to announce on Monday at the ARPA-E conference that the company has created a lithium ion battery that has an energy density of 400 watt-hours per kilogram, which Envia CEO Atul Kapadia told me in an interview could be the tipping point for bringing electric cars to mainstream car owner.

The secret sauce

Energy density is how much energy a battery can store and provide for the car with a given battery size — the more energy dense the battery, the less volume and weight is needed. For electric cars it is particularly important to have a high energy dense battery because electric cars need to be as light weight as possible (any extra weight just drains the battery faster), and batteries that are smaller and use less materials can also be lower in cost

Electric 2012 Ford Focus now available to reserve online | The Verge
While it may not have the style of an electric DeLorean,  Ford’s now letting consumers get in line for the 2012 all-electric  Focus, which carries a base MSRP of $39,200. The Focus will be going  head to head with Nissan’s Leaf and Chevy’s Volt in the expanding  electric car market, but Ford is going into battle without announcing  detailed mileage information. Nissan claims 100 miles per charge in the  Leaf, while the Volt only gets 35 miles, but backs that up with a  fuel-based electric generator that adds over 300 miles to its range. For  Ford’s part, the only thing said on its site is that the Focus is  “competitive with other electric vehicles on the market.”

Electric 2012 Ford Focus now available to reserve online | The Verge

While it may not have the style of an electric DeLorean, Ford’s now letting consumers get in line for the 2012 all-electric Focus, which carries a base MSRP of $39,200. The Focus will be going head to head with Nissan’s Leaf and Chevy’s Volt in the expanding electric car market, but Ford is going into battle without announcing detailed mileage information. Nissan claims 100 miles per charge in the Leaf, while the Volt only gets 35 miles, but backs that up with a fuel-based electric generator that adds over 300 miles to its range. For Ford’s part, the only thing said on its site is that the Focus is “competitive with other electric vehicles on the market.”

Paris launches world-first electric car-share scheme | Physorg.com
A Bluecar is pictured in Paris, on the first day of a  test session of the Autolib electric car pick-up service. Self-service  electric cars appeared on the streets of Paris Sunday, as a French group  launched a public car-hire scheme modelled on the capital’s popular  bicycle-sharing system and designed to become the world’s largest of its  kind.
Self-service electric cars appeared on the streets of  Paris Sunday, as a French group launched a public car-hire scheme  modelled on the capital’s popular bicycle-sharing system and designed to  become the world’s largest of its kind.

Paris launches world-first electric car-share scheme | Physorg.com

A Bluecar is pictured in Paris, on the first day of a test session of the Autolib electric car pick-up service. Self-service electric cars appeared on the streets of Paris Sunday, as a French group launched a public car-hire scheme modelled on the capital’s popular bicycle-sharing system and designed to become the world’s largest of its kind.

Self-service electric cars appeared on the streets of Paris Sunday, as a French group launched a public car-hire scheme modelled on the capital’s popular bicycle-sharing system and designed to become the world’s largest of its kind.

A Plug-and-Play Plan for E.V. Batteries - NYTimes.com
The first electric car battery swapping station in Europe opened here last month, the initial site in a network of 24/7 fully automated drive-through stations. There, the lithium-ion battery packs, which weigh about 600 pounds, will be removed from specially designed cars and replaced with a fully charged pack. The swap takes five minutes.

A Plug-and-Play Plan for E.V. Batteries - NYTimes.com

The first electric car battery swapping station in Europe opened here last month, the initial site in a network of 24/7 fully automated drive-through stations. There, the lithium-ion battery packs, which weigh about 600 pounds, will be removed from specially designed cars and replaced with a fully charged pack. The swap takes five minutes.


‘Quick Charge’ Trucks Will Save Your Stranded EV 
 
AAA is rolling out North America’s first fleet of quick-charge trucks that will rescue dead electric vehicles and get them back on the road.
The move, announced today at the big Plug-In Conference & Exposition in Raleigh, North Carolina, should help alleviate “range anxiety,” the nagging fear of being stranded with a dead battery. AAA is the perfect vehicle — pardon the pun — for this because it is a big provider of roadside assistance. The company, which has more than 52 million members, wants to establish itself in a new niche as more automakers join Nissan in offering mainstream mass-market EVs.
“As an EV advocate-turned EV salesman, I applaud the AAA for taking the lead offering this service to EV drivers,” said Paul Scott, a founder of the advocacy group Plug-In America. “Many people have asked me what would happen if they were to run out of juice on the freeway and now I have a very good answer: They get juiced up by AAA.”

 Wired.com

via electricpower:

‘Quick Charge’ Trucks Will Save Your Stranded EV 

AAA is rolling out North America’s first fleet of quick-charge trucks that will rescue dead electric vehicles and get them back on the road.

The move, announced today at the big Plug-In Conference & Exposition in Raleigh, North Carolina, should help alleviate “range anxiety,” the nagging fear of being stranded with a dead battery. AAA is the perfect vehicle — pardon the pun — for this because it is a big provider of roadside assistance. The company, which has more than 52 million members, wants to establish itself in a new niche as more automakers join Nissan in offering mainstream mass-market EVs.

“As an EV advocate-turned EV salesman, I applaud the AAA for taking the lead offering this service to EV drivers,” said Paul Scott, a founder of the advocacy group Plug-In America. “Many people have asked me what would happen if they were to run out of juice on the freeway and now I have a very good answer: They get juiced up by AAA.”

Wired.com

via electricpower:

 Paris to Launch the World’s First Municipal Electric Vehicle Hire Scheme | This Big City
Parisians will soon be zipping round Charles de Gaulle Etoile in  little blue bubble-like cars, as the world’s first municipal electric  vehicle (EV) hire scheme gets underway. Mayor Bernard Delanoë has  pioneered the €110 million Autolib initiative to complement the Vélib bicycles, introduced in 2007. The fleet of 3,000 lithium battery-powered cars is designed by Italian partner Pininfarina, best known for their work on desirable brands like Alfa Romeo and Ferrari. Manufactured by French company Bolloré, they will be available later this year from 1,000 self-service hire points throughout the city.
The four-seater ‘Bluecars’ will be able to travel about 250km on one  charge, with a full recharge taking around four hours. They’re designed  for efficiency rather than pace: a top speed of 130km/h won’t thrill  Jeremy Clarkson. But for people simply wanting a straightforward car to  hop across town in, they could be ideal. They come equipped with GPS and  an emergency call button in case of an accident.
Subscription to the scheme costs just €12 a month, with additional  charges of €5 for the first half an hour of use, €4 for the next, and €6  for each subsequent 30-minute slot. The charging rates are clearly  designed to favour single, short-ish trips, rather than compete with  mainstream car hire schemes. Bluecar needs to attract just 160,000  subscribers to cover its costs, an achievable feat in a city where 58%  of the population do not own a car, and 16% of those who do use it less  than once a month.

 Paris to Launch the World’s First Municipal Electric Vehicle Hire Scheme | This Big City

Parisians will soon be zipping round Charles de Gaulle Etoile in little blue bubble-like cars, as the world’s first municipal electric vehicle (EV) hire scheme gets underway. Mayor Bernard Delanoë has pioneered the €110 million Autolib initiative to complement the Vélib bicycles, introduced in 2007. The fleet of 3,000 lithium battery-powered cars is designed by Italian partner Pininfarina, best known for their work on desirable brands like Alfa Romeo and Ferrari. Manufactured by French company Bolloré, they will be available later this year from 1,000 self-service hire points throughout the city.

The four-seater ‘Bluecars’ will be able to travel about 250km on one charge, with a full recharge taking around four hours. They’re designed for efficiency rather than pace: a top speed of 130km/h won’t thrill Jeremy Clarkson. But for people simply wanting a straightforward car to hop across town in, they could be ideal. They come equipped with GPS and an emergency call button in case of an accident.

Subscription to the scheme costs just €12 a month, with additional charges of €5 for the first half an hour of use, €4 for the next, and €6 for each subsequent 30-minute slot. The charging rates are clearly designed to favour single, short-ish trips, rather than compete with mainstream car hire schemes. Bluecar needs to attract just 160,000 subscribers to cover its costs, an achievable feat in a city where 58% of the population do not own a car, and 16% of those who do use it less than once a month.

 Why Can’t America Make Alternative Fuels Work? – Gas 2.0
60 years ago, there didn’t seem to be a single challenge America  couldn’t overcome. Now, there’s just a lot of negativity about America,  especially when it comes to alternative fuels. What are these people so  afraid of?
In particular, I’m talking about how in the same breath a person can criticize Big Oil for rising gas prices,  and then start talking trash about any kind of alternative to gasoline  for fuel. It makes no sense to me that we, as Americans, should have  nearly infinite options when it comes to buying just about anything you can imagine, except fuel for our cars. That’s all I really want. Options. I want a  gas station that sells more than gas. I want CNG, I want propane, I want  different ethanol blends, and I want charging stations that are built  by a combination of private and public investment. Is that really asking  so much?
For some people, it apparently is. It’s as though we’re afraid of  messing with the formula that has made America the most effective  economic giant in the world for the last century or so. Make no mistake  about it, putting cars into the hands of the common people radically  altered the human dynamic. No longer were people confined to the towns  where they were born, or reliant upon massive railroads who dictated  where tracks were or weren’t laid.
If I had to pick one symbol for America in the 20th century, it’d have to be the Ford Model T. For thousands and thousands  of years, the fastest mode of overland travel was the horse, which like  humans required lots of food and lots of rest. But with the advent of  the automobile, people now had a source of mobility that could take  farther and faster than even the swiftest thoroughbred, and required  only a few gallons  of a seemingly inexhaustible source of fuel.
But we’re in the 21st century now. America may no longer  be the world’s most prolific economy in as little as 5 years. There are  many billions more people in the world today than there were 60 years  ago. And there people are starting to get their hands on automobiles  too, changing the dynamics of their lives as well. The world is  changing, and if America wants to stay on top, we need to be the  innovators in the 21st century that we were in the 20th century.
The problem is, there aren’t a whole lot of things left that we can  take the lead in, and not everything we’re first in is exactly  admirable. So why would anyone believe that, at a time when the entirety of the rest of the world is leaning towards renewable fuels, would we want to in the other  direction? If Europe and China want solar panels and electric cars and  wind turbines, well they should buy it from America. That’s a surefire  way to get our economy back on track, and the oil companies called  before Congress this week have the knowledge and resources to make it  happen. So why don’t they?
We’re afraid. We don’t want to mess with success. Oil is cheap and  abundant, except its not anymore, and we’re afraid that our lives our  going to be lesser for it. So we want to drill for more oil and build  bigger highways to we can sit in longer traffic jams and pay ever more  for gasoline, because there really is no other option?

Why Can’t America Make Alternative Fuels Work? – Gas 2.0

60 years ago, there didn’t seem to be a single challenge America couldn’t overcome. Now, there’s just a lot of negativity about America, especially when it comes to alternative fuels. What are these people so afraid of?

In particular, I’m talking about how in the same breath a person can criticize Big Oil for rising gas prices, and then start talking trash about any kind of alternative to gasoline for fuel. It makes no sense to me that we, as Americans, should have nearly infinite options when it comes to buying just about anything you can imagine, except fuel for our cars. That’s all I really want. Options. I want a gas station that sells more than gas. I want CNG, I want propane, I want different ethanol blends, and I want charging stations that are built by a combination of private and public investment. Is that really asking so much?

For some people, it apparently is. It’s as though we’re afraid of messing with the formula that has made America the most effective economic giant in the world for the last century or so. Make no mistake about it, putting cars into the hands of the common people radically altered the human dynamic. No longer were people confined to the towns where they were born, or reliant upon massive railroads who dictated where tracks were or weren’t laid.

If I had to pick one symbol for America in the 20th century, it’d have to be the Ford Model T. For thousands and thousands of years, the fastest mode of overland travel was the horse, which like humans required lots of food and lots of rest. But with the advent of the automobile, people now had a source of mobility that could take farther and faster than even the swiftest thoroughbred, and required only a few gallons  of a seemingly inexhaustible source of fuel.

But we’re in the 21st century now. America may no longer be the world’s most prolific economy in as little as 5 years. There are many billions more people in the world today than there were 60 years ago. And there people are starting to get their hands on automobiles too, changing the dynamics of their lives as well. The world is changing, and if America wants to stay on top, we need to be the innovators in the 21st century that we were in the 20th century.

The problem is, there aren’t a whole lot of things left that we can take the lead in, and not everything we’re first in is exactly admirable. So why would anyone believe that, at a time when the entirety of the rest of the world is leaning towards renewable fuels, would we want to in the other direction? If Europe and China want solar panels and electric cars and wind turbines, well they should buy it from America. That’s a surefire way to get our economy back on track, and the oil companies called before Congress this week have the knowledge and resources to make it happen. So why don’t they?

We’re afraid. We don’t want to mess with success. Oil is cheap and abundant, except its not anymore, and we’re afraid that our lives our going to be lesser for it. So we want to drill for more oil and build bigger highways to we can sit in longer traffic jams and pay ever more for gasoline, because there really is no other option?

Free ride: Rising oil prices boost electric cars’ affordability 
One of the biggest knocks against electric cars, other than their  current range, is the rather steep upfront cost due to the price of the  battery.
Of course, you’re essentially pre-paying much of your fuel costs for  the life of the car. But that’s a hard message to get across to a  potential buyer contemplating forking over $41,000 for a Chevrolet Volt  or $33,000 for a Nissan Leaf before state and federal incentives.
However, rising gasoline prices — now topping $4 a gallon in the San  Francisco Bay Area — may finally drive the message home that electric  cars, despite the expense of the first generation mass production  models, are a hedge against an uncertain fuel future. (Not to mention  environmental catastrophe.)
In a new report on electric cars and the smart grid, GTM Research  includes a handy chart listing average gasoline prices (as of Jan. 2011)  in the United States and Europe, along with the price of electricity  and the savings from trading in a gas-guzzler for an electron-sipper.
In the U.S., drivers of battery-powered rides can save the equivalent  of $2.05 a gallon, assuming gas prices of $3.25 a gallon and  electricity rates of 12 cents a kilowatt-hour. Of course, gas and power  prices in the U.S. vary dramatically from state to state. In California,  both are among the highest in the land. But so are subsidies for solar  panels, which can be used to charge your car, a further hedge against peak oil.

Free ride: Rising oil prices boost electric cars’ affordability

One of the biggest knocks against electric cars, other than their current range, is the rather steep upfront cost due to the price of the battery.

Of course, you’re essentially pre-paying much of your fuel costs for the life of the car. But that’s a hard message to get across to a potential buyer contemplating forking over $41,000 for a Chevrolet Volt or $33,000 for a Nissan Leaf before state and federal incentives.

However, rising gasoline prices — now topping $4 a gallon in the San Francisco Bay Area — may finally drive the message home that electric cars, despite the expense of the first generation mass production models, are a hedge against an uncertain fuel future. (Not to mention environmental catastrophe.)

In a new report on electric cars and the smart grid, GTM Research includes a handy chart listing average gasoline prices (as of Jan. 2011) in the United States and Europe, along with the price of electricity and the savings from trading in a gas-guzzler for an electron-sipper.

In the U.S., drivers of battery-powered rides can save the equivalent of $2.05 a gallon, assuming gas prices of $3.25 a gallon and electricity rates of 12 cents a kilowatt-hour. Of course, gas and power prices in the U.S. vary dramatically from state to state. In California, both are among the highest in the land. But so are subsidies for solar panels, which can be used to charge your car, a further hedge against peak oil.

China Pours Billions Into Electric Cars, Hybrids | Fast Company
China, that contradictory land of coal, smog, and renewable energy, may be on the verge of leadership in another green technology sector: electric and hybrid vehicles. The Chinese government announced today a plan to invest up to $15 billion in a state-run venture that will research, develop, and generate standards for upcoming hybrids and EVs. The venture will also put millions of electric cars on the road in the coming years, according to the New York Times.

China Pours Billions Into Electric Cars, Hybrids | Fast Company

China, that contradictory land of coal, smog, and renewable energy, may be on the verge of leadership in another green technology sector: electric and hybrid vehicles. The Chinese government announced today a plan to invest up to $15 billion in a state-run venture that will research, develop, and generate standards for upcoming hybrids and EVs. The venture will also put millions of electric cars on the road in the coming years, according to the New York Times.