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EETE OCT 2013

Daimler transplants Tesla drive into B-Class Benz By Christoph Hammerschmidt Daimler’s investment into US electric car pioneer Tesla bears fruit: At the IAA automotive fair, Daimler announced a version of its Mercedes-Benz B-Class compact car with electric drive. The powertrain is widely based on technology from Tesla. The electric B-Class will hit the dealer showrooms in 2014 - and the vehicle will be introduced first in the U.S. market. The design focus was on a sporty driving behaviour, as far as such a goal is possible in a comfortable four-seat compact car. At the fair, Daimler already gave deep insights into technology and equipping. The electric motor generates 130 kW, enough to accelerate the vehicle from zero to 100km/h (62,15 mph) in less than 8 seconds. Top speed is limited to 160 km/h (100 mph). As usual with electric motors, it develops its maximum torque (340 newton-metres) from zero rpm. The lithium-ion battery is housed in a so-called “energy-space” in the vehicle’s underfloor. The driving range is relatively ample at 200 km, compared to other current electric vehicles. Of course, the range depends greatly on the driving cycle and the driver’s inclination to make generous use of the accelerator pedal. Another highlight is an audio package that previously was reserved to higher vehicle classes including a 15cm colour display, a high-class GPS system (Becker Map Pilot) and Daimler’s COMAND online multimedia system with internet access and voice control. And it is “connected”: the vehicle’s homepage allows remote interrogation and configuration of many features and functions in the car. For instance, users can ascertain the current battery charge status or show the vehicle’s current range on a map. It also features a full range of advanced driver assistance systems including a radar-based collision prevention assist. Flexible curved displays to top $27 Billion by 2023 By R. Colin Johnson Flexible and curved displays are a booming market that is just getting off the ground. From flexible displays for mobile devices like e-books to curved wraparound displays that provide an immersive experience for television viewers, the market for flexible and curved displays is growing rapidly, according to a Touch Display Research report released this week. “The flexible and curved market will be $388 million this year,” Jennifer Colegrove, president and analyst of the Santa Clara, Calif., research firm, told us. “And we forecast it will grow to $27 billion by 2023 at a compound annual growth rate of 53 percent.” According to the report, flexible electrophoretic displays (like those from E Ink for e-books) will grow quickly, especially in 2014. Flexible and curved active-matrix organic light-emitting diode and curved liquid crystal displays (LCDs) will start to grow rapidly after 2016. In fact, the curved display television market is already taking off. LG and Samsung already have curved televisions on the market, and Sony is promising a model in time for Christmas that uses an curved LED backlit LCD. The report says that 260 companies and research institutes are developing flexible and curved display designs. In addition to televisions and e-books, a market is emerging for wearable Internet of Things (IoT) devices, some of which are poised to reach the market in 2014. For instance, most smartwatches today use rigid displays, but Touch Display Research predicts that flexible and curved displays that are more ergonomic for wrist-wear (and provide more surface area) will be all the rage. Smartwatches that wrap around the wrist and display not just the time, but also all sorts of alerts and other information from a Bluetooth connected smartphone, will become very popular over the next few years. All types of other devices could profit from a flexible or curved display, according to the report. For instance, Lexar’s flash memory cards already use a flexible electrophoretic display from E Ink to provide a storage capacity meter. Many similar applications Fig. 1: A curved display from Sony. are already here or in development. The time is right, because the materials and subsystems are available to original equipment manufacturers to capitalize on the popularity of flexible and curved displays, the report said. For instance, thin-film transistors (TFTs) are widely available on flexible polymer substrates. Ultra-thin curved glass is commercially available. Inexpensive replacements for the indium-tin oxide that connects to TFTs are in mass production, and the roll-to-roll facilities for high-precision manufacturing of flexible displays are up and running. The report also details the many challenges that must be overcome to reach the $27 billion mark. 6 Electronic Engineering Times Europe October 2013 www.electronics-eetimes.com


EETE OCT 2013
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