Missing MH370 likely to have disintegrated mid-flight: experts

Missing MH370 likely to have disintegrated mid-flight: experts
A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 commercial jet.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Easy Taxi Makes Local Inroads

Jakarta Globe, Vanesha Manuturi & Dion Bisara, Sep 15, 2014

Easy Taxi allows users to hail the closest taxi via smartphone. 
(JG Photo/Yudhi Sukma Wijaya)

Jakarta. Six months after launching operations in Indonesia, Easy Taxi, a cab-booking mobile application, has recruited drivers from Blue Bird and Express, the country’s two largest taxi operators, to use their app in a bit to boost the service’s local capacity.

Brazil-based Easy Taxi launched its service in Jakarta in April. The company says it helps its users find the closest taxi to their location. The app removes the inconvenience of having to stand on the side of the road looking for taxis, as the driver and the user can locate each other at an agreed meeting point through the app.

The Easy Taxi app — available in 162 cities worldwide, including Singapore and Kuala Lumpur — currently has 15 million downloads globally. The company is establishing its operational inroads by partnering with both companies and drivers.

Easy Taxi usually approaches taxi operators first to feel out the opportunity for partnerships. If such an arrangement can’t be reached, Easy Taxi works directly with drivers, managing director Usman Lodhi told the Jakarta Globe on Monday.

“We’re not trying to take something away. We’re just trying to offer an additional channel for drivers to increase their livelihood,” Lodhi said.

Easy Taxi claims taxi drivers who work with the application see up to 50 percent more rides, compared with those who use conventional ways of finding customers.

Although the company typically charges a small fee — either to the drivers or the passengers, depending on the market — Easy Taxi’s service is currently still free in Indonesia as the company attempts to build its base, Lodhi said.

Cab companies’ reactions to Easy Taxi are mixed, pointing out the app’s redundancy with their own booking apps.

“We don’t have a partnership with Easy Taxi,” Teguh Wijayanto, head of public relations at Blue Bird Group, told the Jakarta Globe last week.

Teguh said Blue Bird drivers are not supposed to use any third-party booking apps. “We have our own application and we have our own fleet. Logically, why would [our drivers] add more fuss into their operations and use another application when there’s already one?”

But Express Transindo Utama president director Daniel Podiman, said on Monday that Easy Taxi was just another way for customers for reach the taxi operator.

“Express drivers are free to use all the apps that are available. If it’s easier for customers to reach us, why not?” Daniel said.

Easy Taxi may face an uphill battle convincing Jakartans of the service’s value proposition, however, as the city’s apparent abundance of taxis, licensed and not, means residents seldom face Singapore’s substantial cab queues or Kuala Lumpur’s notoriously uncooperative drivers. The experience of other cities’ introduction to Uber, however, suggests Easy Taxi’s Indonesia rollout will be worth watching.

Related Article:

Monday, September 15, 2014

71-year-old flies self-made planes in China

Want China Times, Staff Reporter 2014-09-15

Jin Shaozhi flying the White Swan in Zhejiang. (Internet Photo)

Unlike most people in their 70s, Jin Shaozhi, a native of Hangzhou, Zhejiang, is keen on flying with self-made airplanes.

Jin has invested over US$30,000 and countless time training to assemble and pilot planes over the last eight years. His latest work, the White Swan, can fly at an altitude of 1000 meters, according to media in Hangzhou.

Jin was a doctor before he retired several years ago. His penchant for planes started 30 years ago as a part-time model airplane trainer. The team he led won medlas at national amateur model airplane competitions.

"To a fan of model airplanes, the biggest dream is to actually fly a plane in the sky," said Jin, who finally had all the time in the world to immerse himself in the making and flying of airplanes after he retired.

Jin has received flight trainings in various models. He has bought two sets of Bee 3C model planes, one in 2007 and another in 2010. Bee 3C is mainly used for agricultural purposes.

Later, he started making his own planes from scratch. "If you know about model airplanes, it is not hard to make a real plane that can fly," he said. "All you have to do is just multiply the specifications of model planes by six and assemble the parts according to the drawing."

Jin now owns a self-assembled, US$16,000 gyroplane that he named the White Swan. "Most of the parts are from hardware stores except for the engine, which is a second-hand item purchased from overseas," said Jin. Theoretically White Swan can fly at an altitude of 1,000 meters. To ensure safety, however, Jin flies just around 500 meters.

According to Jin, only few out of the many people capable of making planes end up flying their own. There are only four in Zhejiang, and he is one of them.

A major challenge for amateur flyers is to find a proper site to practice flying. According to the aviation administration of China, private planes are not permitted to fly without approval, so pilots are often banned from flying.

"We would go to remote places, such as newly-paved roads not yet opened to the public, for test flights," said Jin.

Jin has had two accidents and was summoned to the Civil Aviation Administration of China for questioning. One happened in 2008, when his first Bee 3C broke down during a test flight and hit a small hill when landing. Fortunately, Jin was unharmed.

On the other test flight, he broke his leg. Nevertheless, his passion for flying has never diminished.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Sparks fly as Di Grassi wins first electric car race

Yahoo – AFP, Neil Connor, 13 Sep 2014

Lucas di Grassi drives during the Formula E race at the circuit near the Bird's 
Nest stadium in Beijing on September 13, 2014. AFP Photo / Wang Zhao (AFP Photo)

Beijing (AFP) - A spectacular crash at the last corner that ended leader Nicolas Prost's race and sent ex-F1 driver Nick Heidfeld flying into the fencing gave Brazil's Lucas di Grassi victory in the first ever Formula E electric race in Beijing Saturday.

The Frenchman, son of four-time Formula One champion Alain, led the gripping race until the final moments.

But Heidfeld made contact with the left side of Prost's E.Dams Renault shortly before the finish outside the Bird's Nest stadium in the Chinese capital and went barrelling into the air.

Lucas di Grassi of Brazil (left) celebrates
 after winning the Formula E race at the
 circuit near the Bird's Nest stadium in Beijing
on September 13, 2014 (AFP Photo/Wang
The German wriggled out of the wreckage of his vehicle and appeared to confront Prost, who looked to be gesturing his innocence.

Prost told AFP after the race: "I would not have expected for him to have attempted a suicide move at the end of the race.

"My victory was stolen. It is really hard."

Heidfeld, racing for the Venturi team backed by Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio, had clawed his way up from 17th on the grid to push Prost in the final few laps.

But the crash left the way open for Brazilian Di Grassi, who was racing for Audi Sport ABT.

"When I realised that they were off, yeah it was like a dream come true," he said.

"I was alone and have won the race, and I am really, really really happy to be in this position."

"I was very lucky, to be lucky you also need to be in the right place."

Frenchman Frank Montagny from the Andretti team finished second, while Briton Sam Bird of Virgin Racing, the team backed by British tycoon Richard Branson, took third.

Senna collides

Bruno Senna -- the nephew of Ayrton Senna, a huge rival of Alain Prost's -- suffered a miserable afternoon after the front left side of his axle appeared to give way after he collided with another car in the first lap.

He has earlier failed to record a lap time in qualification after having problems with his battery, and started the race near the back of the grid.

Lucas di Grassi of Brazil drives in the Formula E race at the circuit near the
Bird's Nest stadium in Beijing on September 13, 2014 (AFP Photo/Wang Zhao)

Chinese fans packed the main grandstands around the emblematic stadium that hosted the 2008 Olympics.

Some lined the tracksides, carrying children on their shoulders as the futuristic whine of the cars sounded across the track, and techno music added to the atmosphere.

Many fans were upset that Senna went out early.

"It is such a shame to see his car being lifted off the track," said one female fan, surnamed Zhao.

"Motorsport is not that popular in China yet, but a lot of people have heard of Ayrton Senna," she added.

The Formula E series will see 10 races on different street circuits around the world involving 20 drivers from 10 different teams.

Nelson Piquet Junior, also the son of a former motor sport great, finished eighth.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Schiphol airport tests cameras which can pick out unusual behaviour

DutchNews.nl, Thursday 11 September 2014

An emergency room of the military
police at Schiphol (NOS/ANP)
The police at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport are to test out intelligent cameras which can pick up on unusual behaviour in travellers, the NRC reports on Thursday.

The cameras can not only identity obvious gestures such as wild arm movements or people who run through a departure lounge but more subtle behaviours such as ‘spending too long in the toilet, a group of people which divides up or someone who leaves a suitcase unattended,’ the NRC said.

This, the police hope, will allow them to trace criminals and prevent attacks.

The cameras are being installed by The Hague company Qubit Visual Intelligence using research carried out by the Dutch TNO institute.

US defence department

The NRC says TNO has been researching intelligent cameras for years on behalf of the US defence department. Neither company would comment on the reports.

Publically available information gives some insight into how the cameras work. ‘We know that pickpockets often hover at the back of the same queue at a ticket machine several times without ever buying a ticket,’ TNO has said in a paper.

TNO is also researching techniques to identify if people are nervous using heat sensitive cameras and radar – such as a raised heartbeat or cold nose. It is not clear if this technology will be used at Schiphol, a spokesman said.

The justice ministry would only state: ‘we are continually involved in improving monitoring and security together with Schiphol. We are trying to do this more intelligently so that staff can do their jobs better’.

A similar project is to start at another location in the Netherlands soon but the location is being kept secret, the NRC said.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Dutch preliminary report finds MH17 'pierced by high-speed objects'

Investigators from the Netherlands have released a preliminary report on the MH17 airliner crash in east Ukraine. The findings say the airliner was pierced by "high-speed objects," and cockpit activity "ended abruptly."

Deutsche Welle, 9 Sep 2014

Air crash investigators said on Tuesday that the plane was likely hit "by a large number of high-energy objects." Furthermore, the distribution of the wreckage over a large area indicated that the aircraft broke up in the air, according the report published on the website of the Dutch Safety Board (OVV).

The Malaysia Airlines flight went down over war-torn eastern Ukraine on July 17 while en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. All 298 people on board the Boeing 777 were killed, including 193 Dutch citizens.

The West has accused Moscow-backed separatist fighters of shooting down the airliner with a Russian-supplied surface-to-air missile. The Russian government has blamed the Ukrainian military.

The OVV report does not assign blame for the incident.

At the time of the incident, the Malaysia Airlines plane was flying at approximately 33,000 feet (10,000 meters), above the restricted airspace zone, according to investigators. The cockpit voice recorder "ended abruptly" and no distress signal was sent.

"Damage observed on the forward fuselage and cockpit section of the aircraft appears to indicate that there were impacts from a large number of high-energy objects from outside the aircraft," the report said.

There was no evidence the crash was the result of a technical problem or pilot error.

Investigation difficulties

Dutch investigators have not been able to access the crash site, near the city of Torez, because of ongoing fighting in the area. They instead have had to rely on information about the scene of the incident from Ukrainian crash specialists.

Forensic experts were sent to the site not long after the crash, but their investigation was suspended do to the conflict. So far 193 of the victims have been identified.

The report's preliminary findings are based on information from the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder, otherwise known as the "black boxes." It also includes satellite and radar information, pictures and video taken at the scene and data provided by Ukrainian air traffic control.

The plane's black boxes were analyzed by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch in Farnborough, Britain.

Examination of "photographs from the wreckage indicated that the material around the holes was deformed in a manner consistent with being punctured by high-energy objects."

Further investigation

The OVV said a full report is expected in mid-2015.

The United Nations says more than 3,000 people have been killed, if the MH17 victims are included, since fighting began in Ukraine in April.

A tentative ceasefire between government forces and the pro-Russian separatists took effect on Friday.

MH17 is the second Malaysian Airlines plane to be lost this year. Flight MH370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijjing disappeared from radar in March. It is believed to have crashed in the southern Indian Ocean west of Australia, killing all 239 passengers and crew.

Ryanair orders 100 Boeing 737 planes for $11 bn

Yahoo – AFP, 8 Sep 2014

Irish budget airline Ryanair agreed to buy 100 aircraft from Boeing for $11 billion, with an option to purchase another 100 planes from the aerospace giant, the companies announced Monday.

The order covers the 737 Boeing MAX 200, which Boeing touts as a fuel-efficient vehicle for the important single-aisle civilian market.

The planes will accomodate up to 200 seats, up from the 160 in other single-aisle planes.

Ryanair said the giant order will enable it to meet its growth targets, which calls for it to expand from 82 million customers in 2014 to more than 150 million in 2024, which marks the end of the delivery stream of the planes under Monday's order.

"It's going to change the game for low-fare air travel," Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary said at a news conference. "It's also going to change the game in Europe."

O'Leary said Ryanair plans to use the jets to enter new markets in Europe and challenge incumbent carriers.

"I hope it will hasten a new era of price wars in Europe over the next 10 years," he said.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Russia unhappy about China's production of J-16 fighter

Want China Times, Staff Reporter 2014-09-06

A J-16 fighter climbs during a test flight. (Internet photo)

After a satellite image revealed that Shenyang Aircraft Corporation has already produced eight J-16 multirole fighters, drawing complaints from the Russian aviation industry that its aircraft have been copied without permission, according to the Kanwa Defense Review published by Andrei Chang, a Canadian military analyst also known as Pinkov.

As the eight J-16 fighters in the image were all painted in yellow markings, the article said it remains unknown whether the aircraft will be turned over to the PLA Air Force or Navy. However, it is certain that J-16 multirole fighters will replace J-11B fighters designed for aerial combat.

China slowed down the production of fighters such as J-15, J-16 and J-11B because Russia refuses to sell more AL31F engines to Beijing, and this is the technology that China had been unable to reverse engineer. Without enough Russian-built engines, the PLA Air Force and Navy Air Force is unable to field such advanced fighters in large numbers. However, China has finally able to put its domestic Taihang engines into J-16 fighters since 2013. The reliability of the Taihang engine will be put to the ultimate test after the J-16 enters service.

Kanwa Defense Review also said reports that the J-16 is equipped with active electronically scanned array radar remain questionable. At the same time, a source from the Russian aviation industry said Russia is very unhappy about the development of the J-16 fighter as China did not gain permission from Russia to design the fighter based on the blueprint of the Russian Su-30MK2.

Related Article:

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Parts for 200th aircraft reach Airbus China assembly line

Want China Times, Xinhua 2014-09-05

Staff inspect the A320 parts arriving at the Tianjin Assembly Line, Sept. 2.

The Airbus assembly line in north China's Tianjin has received parts for the 200th A320 family aircraft, which will be delivered to China Eastern Airlines in December, Airbus said Tuesday.

Sections including the forward and aft fuselage, horizontal and vertical tail, main landing gear doors, inner flaps and engine pylons reached the A320 Family Final Assembly Line China in Tianjin on Tuesday.

Those parts and components were produced at different Airbus sites in Europe and carried by a commercial cargo vessel from Hamburg to Tianjin, Airbus said.

The wings for the A320 Family aircraft assembled at the Tianjin assembly line are locally produced in Tianjin by Airbus's partner Xi'an Aircraft Industry (Group) Company, while the engines will arrive at a later date directly from the engine supplier.

The final assembly line in China is a joint venture between Airbus and a Chinese consortium including the Tianjin Free Trade Zone and China Aviation Industry Corporation.

It started operations in Aug. 2008, assembling A319 and A320 aircraft. So far, a total of 186 A320 family aircraft have been delivered from Tianjin.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Nevada chosen for high-tech Tesla car battery factory

BBC News, 5 September 2014

Tesla says the move will cut battery manufacturing costs

Global Car Industry

The governor of the US state of Nevada has said that the Tesla electric car maker has chosen his state ahead of rivals for a $5bn battery factory.

Brian Sandoval said the California-based company will use the plant to make cheaper and more efficient batteries for future cars.

Correspondents say the factory will be a key part of Tesla's ambitions of taking on major automobile companies.

The "gigafactory" is predicted to bring nearly $100bn into Nevada's economy.

Mr Sandoval said that he hoped that target could be reached within the next 20 years, simultaneously reducing Tesla's battery costs by 30%.

Wild mustangs can still be seen roaming the hills of Nevada where the
$5bn factory will be built

Tesla Chief Executive Officer and co-founder Elon Musk said that Nevada
was chosen because of its "can-do" attitude

Tesla will prepare, provide and manage the land and buildings, while Panasonic will make and supply the lithium-ion battery cells.

The plant is to be located in an industrial park in Story County, about 25km (15 miles) east of Reno, an area that currently has a population of around 4,000.

Nevada fended off competition from Arizona, Texas, New Mexico and California as the site for the factory, which is expected to create 6,500 jobs with another 16,000 more indirectly.

Mr Sandoval said that the plant will become the "world's largest and most advanced battery factory".

He described the the selection of Nevada was as a "historic day" for the state.

Tesla Chief Executive Officer and co-founder Elon Musk said that while Nevada's offer to his company "was not the biggest incentive package", the state had proved it "can do things quickly" and "get things done".

Yoshihiko Yamada of Panasonic said in July that the factory would help the electric vehicle market grow.

Sales of zero-emission electric vehicles currently make up less than 1% of the world's car market.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Electric car makers in China embrace Li (NiCoMn) O2 battery

Want China Times, Staff Reporter 2014-09-04

A Tesla electric car at a charging station in Hangzhou. (File photo/Xinhua)

Li (NiCoMn) O2 batteries, with their lighter weight and longer mileage, appear to be gaining an upper hand in their competition with lithium iron and phosphate batteries for use in electric cars.

Dongfeng Travel Bus Company recently purchased 500 electric buses featuring the Li (NiCoMn) 02 battery by Skio Matrix, an electric car maker in China's Zhejiang province. It has potential plans to acquire another batch by the end of the year, and as many as 10,000 by the end of 2015.

The major appeal of Skio Matrix's Li (NiCoMn) O2 battery is shadowed by lingering safety concerns, despite its performance boost.

The competition between the two types of batteries has been ongoing for years, with BYD employing lithium, iron and phosphate batteries for their thermal stability and safety. Tesla and Nissan have joined the Li (NiCoMn) O2 battery camp for performance.

Safety concerns for the alternative lithium ion battery have been lessened in recent years, thanks to the growing popularity of Tesla cars. The battery received a strong boost further from a joint notice issued by the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and the Ministry of Science and Technology setting the energy density goal for electric car batteries at the minimum of 180Wh/kilo. The Li (NiCoMn) O2 battery is the only existing battery capable of meeting the requirement.

Recent converts include JAC, Chery, BAIC and Zotye, all of which will be packaging the battery in their latest models during Auto China 2014 in Beijing.

Foxconn to develop electric cars in Shanxi

Want China Times, Xinhua 2014-09-04

Terry Gou speaks at the Second Merchant's Assembly in Taiyuan,
Shanxi province, Sept. 3. (Photo/CNA)

Hon Hai Precision Industry or Foxconn, the world's largest electronics maker, will invest in electric cars in the coal-rich Shanxi province in north China, company founder Terry Gou said on Wednesday.

Speaking to Shanxi businessmen in the provincial capital of Taiyuan, Gou said his company will capitalize on Shanxi's rich natural resources and help transform the province from an energy exporter into an eco-friendly economy.

"The development and manufacturing of new energy vehicles is embracing a golden opportunity," said Gou, adding that Shanxi has a firm base for the development of electric cars.

Gou, also chairman of Hon Hai, the company responsible for assembling iPhones and iPads, did not specify on the investment plan.

At an annual shareholders' meeting on June 25, Gou announced Hon Hai was planning to make affordable electric cars priced under US$15,000.

Shanxi provincial governor Li Xiaopeng said earlier the province will become an electric-powered, gas-powered and methanol-powered new-energy vehicle production base by 2020 with an expected annual output of 400,000 vehicles and a sales value of 50 billion yuan (US$8.1 billion).

Hon Hai has operated two factory complexes in Shanxi's Taiyuan and Jincheng cities since 2003, with an accumulated investment of 20 billion yuan (US$3.3 billion).

The Taiyuan complex is mainly responsible for producing high-end smartphones and components for mobile phones, while the Jincheng complex mainly manufactures industrial robots, automation gears, precision cutting tools and optical lenses.

Gou said Hon Hai will increase its investment in Shanxi by at least 5 billion yuan (US$810 million) this year, creating an output value of over 60 billion yuan (US$9.8 billion) and bringing its total number of employees there to 100,000.

Shanxi has produced 14 billion tons of coal since 1949, accounting for a quarter of the country's total output, causing pollution and resource exhaustion problems.

Airlines struggle to serve sustainability

Airlines around the world are trying to reduce their ecological footprint by serving locally-produced and sustainable food. While the trend appears to be growing, experts say more needs to be done.

Deutsche Welle, 3 Sep 2014

Consumer awareness and demand are driving the food industry in industrialized countries toward sustainability - locally sourced food and waste reduction are among the top trends for restaurants in 2014, according to a US restaurant association survey. Demand for regional and organic food continues to increase in Europe, including in Germany.

Despite ever more organic bistros sprouting up, it is still not standard practice to serve sustainable or locally-sourced food on airline flights. But this is starting to change.

"Increasingly, customers want to know where their food is from and how it's been sourced," explains Sinead Ferguson, a menu design manager for British Airways. "So we've embraced this."

Sustainability taking off

In the UK, one percent of all food transport is done by plane, but it accounts for 11 percent of carbon emissions, according to Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs statistics. By using food grown locally that doesn’t have to be flown to the airport before being served to passengers, airlines can reduce the amount of greenhouse gases produced.

Airline meals typically come with
plenty of packaging
Today, cookies served on British Airways flights come from an organic bakery located on the Scottish island of Mull. The fish, tea and coffee served are sustainably sourced, and the airline says its bottled water comes in packaging that is entirely renewable.

In October 2012, China Airlines began labeling food on flights from Taipei to Frankfurt with its respective carbon footprint, becoming the world’s first airline to do so. The carbon footprints are calculated by the Taiwan-based Industrial Technology Research Institute. Items such as the "Authentic Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup" for business class passengers and "Plain Omelette with Mini Sausage and Hash Brown" meal for economy class range from between 0.43 and 3.52 kilograms (one to 7.76 pounds) of equivalent carbon dioxide emissions per meal.

Another airline using sustainable food and beverages is KLM. "We want to set the standard for sustainable aviation," says Roel Verwiel from KLM. "Instead of getting the chicken [on our flights] from South America or Thailand, we've replaced that by locally-sourced chicken."

And Bobbie Egan from Alaska Airlines says that utensils on the US carrier's flights are compostable - and the airline's coffee mugs are made from recycled water bottles.

Coming back down to earth

But despite these projects, Simon Heppner - founder of the Sustainable Restaurant Association - says airlines still have a way to go before being truly sustainable in the food and drinks they serve.

He sees the main problem as the tight profit margins in the aviation industry, which make prioritizing sustainable food products and packaging a low priority. This is combined with the fact that airlines tend to tackle one issue of sustainability at a time.

"I think there have been lots of examples in the past couple of decades of airlines that have focused on a specific issue within sustainability," Heppner told DW. "But no one's looked at it holistically and said 'we want to push forward on all of these, and all at the same time.'"

KLM uses uses beef from "free cows"
Food waste is another issue, Heppner says. Due to international regulations, uneaten airline food and the containers they are in must be incinerated, used as fuel or disposed of in a landfill. This is done to avoid spread of nonnative animal or plant species that could harm local ecosystems.
"The reality is that everything you see on board is not able to be recycled," says Heppner.

Sharing sustainability

With the continued growth of worldwide air travel - airlines carried more than three billion passengers in 2013, according to the International Air Transport Association, with the according to the Carbon Neutral Company's roundtrip flight from Frankfurt to New York emitting more than a ton of carbon dioxide - British Airways' Ferguson says focus on sustainable food and drinks may increase in the future.

And, indeed, some German airlines are beginning to include sustainable food on their flights. Lufthansa's "Discover Slow Food" campaign, in cooperation with the sustainable food advocacy group Slow Food, served business class passengers on European flights local German specialties such as Diepholzer Moorschnucke, a breed of sheep from Lower Saxony.

Related Article:

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Tesla partners with China Unicom to build charging stations

Want China Times, Xinhua 2014-08-30

A public charging station for electric cars in Shanghai, May 28.
(File photo/Xinhua)

China Unicom, a major state-owned telecom company, said on Friday it will partner with US electric carmaker Tesla to build charging stations in 120 cities to expand the service network for electric cars.

Unicom will provide space for the construction and some basic services, while Tesla will be responsible for the charging facilities, according to the plan.

The two companies are aiming to build stations with two or more charging posts in 20 Chinese cities within this year.

Jiang Zhengxin, vice general manager of Unicom, said the cooperation will allow effective use of the infrastructure and human resources at the over 20,000 Unicom outlets across China, which in turn will act as promotion for the company.

The Chinese government has been encouraging consumers to buy electric vehicles as one of the solutions to the country's pollution problems, but the effort has been hindered by lack of charging infrastructure.

Salt water-powered Quant e-Sportlimousine gets European approval

Gizmag, C.C. Weiss, July 18, 2014

Nunzio La Vecchia accepts the TÜV registration

After making a debut at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, the Quant e-Sportlimousine has received approval from Germany's TÜV Süd. The car, which uses an electrolyte flow cell power system, is now certified for use on German and European roads.

As I stood around waiting for NanoFlowcell's Geneva Motor Show press conference in March, my eyes bounced back and forth between the exotic curves of the concept car at center dais, the oddly punctuated letters of the make and model and the bubbling tanks of water that looked like they were ripped off the wall of an after-hours lounge. Then Nunzio La Vecchia sauntered out, wearing his best jet black pompadour, and made a bunch of bold claims about the 912-hp, gull-winged 2x2 and its bleeding-edge flow cell technology.

Everything about the scene suggested that it might very well have been the last we heard of the NanoFlowcell Quant e-Sportlimousine. Promises of a magic bullet of energy storage, made by a three-month-old company, packaged with outlandish numbers like 0-62 mph (100 km/h) in 2.8 seconds and a top speed of 236 mph (380 km/h), hinted, rather strongly, that this car's technology and performance would only exist on paper. Given that a similarly outlandish Quant car, centered in a similar black-walled booth, introduced by a very different Nunzio La Vecchia company, had vaporized years earlier, it seemed a responsible assumption that the e-Sportlimousine would do the same.

Just a few months after its debut, however, the car has resurfaced and taken a step forward. After an in-depth inspection of the car, the German TÜV Süd in Munich handed over the official registration plate this week. Now the company will be able to test the car on public roads in Germany and Europe as it prepares it for series production.

"We are delighted as pioneers to be able to present an automobile driven by flow cell technology on public roads, and one which achieves not only fantastic performance values but also zero emissions," said Le Vecchia, tossing out a slightly revised set of numbers, including "a projected top speed of over 350 km/h (217.5 mph), acceleration from 0-100 in 2.8 seconds, a torque of four times 2,900 Nm (2,139 lb-ft) and a range of more than 600 km (373 mi)."

The flow cell system powering the Quant e-Sportlimousine's four electric motors develops electricity from an electrochemical reaction created by two electrolyte solutions. This electricity is forwarded to super capacitors where its stored and distributed.

Beyond fancy supercars, NanoFlowcell sees its technology taking on a variety of applications. Presumably it will work its way down to more affordable cars, but its perceived potential reaches far beyond the road's edge.

"We've got major plans, and not just within the automobile industry," says NanoFlowcell AG Chairman of the Board Prof. Jens-Peter Ellermann. "The potential of the NanoFlowcell is much greater, especially in terms of domestic energy supplies as well as in maritime, rail and aviation technology. The NanoFlowcell offers a wide range of applications as a sustainable, low cost and environmentally-friendly source of energy."

We'll wait to see the Quant e-Sportlimousine live up to its billing before we get too excited about that future expansion.

Source: NanoFlowcell
Related Article:

Malaysia Airlines to slash 6,000 jobs in survival bid

Yahoo – AFP, Julia Zappei, 29 Aug 2014

Airport groundstaff walk past Malaysia Airlines planes parked on the tarmac at
 the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang on June 17, 2014 (AFP
 Photo/Manan Vatsyayana)

Malaysia Airlines will slash 6,000 jobs, trim its route network, and replace its CEO under plans announced Friday to stave off bankruptcy after two air tragedies plunged the already troubled carrier deeper into crisis.

State investment fund Khazanah Nasional, which controls the failing flag carrier, said it would pump 6 billion ringgit ($1.9 billion) into the airline, hoping the changes will return the company to profitability within three years.

Khazanah's Managing Director Azman Mokhtar said, however, there were no plans to change the carrier's name -- now deeply tarnished by its association with the MH370 and MH17 tragedies, which have pummelled bookings.

Azman Mokhtar, managing director of state
 investment fund Khazanah Nasional Berhad
 which owns Malaysia Airlines, addresses
media in Kuala Lumpur, August 29, 2014
(AFP Photo/Manan Vatsyanana)
"The combination of measures announced today will enable our national airline to be revived," Azman said.

Aviation analysts, however, said it was far too early to predict success, citing a lack of details in the plans, intense industry competition, and the airline's sullied image.

Malaysia Airlines (MAS) has bled money for years, with analysts blaming poor management and a failure to keep up with industry competition.

But the outflow has become a torrent due to this year's disasters.

MH370 mysteriously vanished on March 8 with 239 passengers and crew aboard. MH17 went down July 18 -- believed hit by a surface-to-air missile -- in rebellion-torn eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 on the plane.

MAS previously had a solid safety record.

Smaller staff, regional focus

The airline released a statement saying its flights would operate as normal during the restructuring.

Azman said the company will shed about 6,000 -- or 30 percent -- of the airline's nearly 20,000 employees.

Ismail Nasaruddin, head of Malaysia's flight attendants union, said the union was awaiting details on how the layoffs would be carried out.

"The numbers are pretty high," he said. "A lot of frustration is in the air. That's obvious."

MAS also will "rationalise" its flight network -- a term it has used previously for cutting unprofitable routes -- to become a "principally regionally focused" carrier, Azman said, giving no further details.

A Malaysia Airlines employee writes a message expressing prayers and well-wishes
 for passengers onboard missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370 at Kuala Lumpur
 International Airport in Sepang on March 14, 2014 (AFP Photo/Manan Vatsyayana)

A new CEO would be chosen by end-2014, though current under-fire boss Ahmad Jauhari Yahya would stay in charge until July 2015 to ensure a smooth transition.

Azman added that Khazanah may sell stakes in the carrier to strategic buyers from the private sector in the future.

Khazanah Nasional, which already owns 70 percent of Malaysia Airlines, announced plans in early August to acquire all remaining shares and de-list the company's stock as it works to revive it.

That process is still under way, and it remains unclear whether Khazanah will be able to carry out its plans.

Even before this year, aviation analysts have long said the airline needed wholesale reform.

Some also have complained that MAS CEOs have come from non-aviation sectors, blaming that for a series of poor business decisions over the years.

The carrier has controversially been kept aloft for years by transfusions of public money, and Azman stressed that "public accountability for the use of the funds" means the carrier cannot remain on life support "at any cost".

But Shukor Yusof of aviation consultancy Endau Analytics said Khazanah's plans were essentially a government bailout.

'Throwing good money after bad'

"This is throwing good money after bad," said Shukor, who called the plans "piecemeal."

Normi Abdullah (C) wife of Malaysia Airlines in-flight
 supervisor, Mohd Ghafar Bin Abu Bakar, one of the
 Malaysians killed in the July 17 MH17 disaster, cries 
during a ceremony at Kuala Lumpur International
 Airport in Sepang on August 24, 2014 (AFP Photo/
Mohammed Rasfan)
"Returning to profitability in three years is wishful thinking. Its brand is now severely damaged."

He said Khazanah was part of the problem, noting that previous turnaround strategies under it have failed.

Adrian Ng, analyst with Kenanga Research, said too little was known about the company's future focus to say whether MAS can become self-sustaining.

"The industry is tough, and the competition is very stiff," he said.

On Thursday, MAS announced that it posted its sixth straight quarterly loss in the April-June period and predicted more losses this year as the disasters' impact on bookings intensifies.

MH370 inexplicably diverted from its Kuala Lumpur-Beijing course. The Malaysian government believes it went down in the Indian Ocean, but no trace has been found.

The government and Malaysia Airlines came under fierce global criticism over their failure to account for the jumbo jet, a slow-footed response and accusations of secrecy.

Western leaders say MH17 was shot down by pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine. An investigation is ongoing.