• EV's and Chainsaws

    Commuter rail, light rail, subways, and bus systems…whatever the mode the American Public Transportation Association reports that the surge in transit ridership is at a five-decade high point. Americans took 10.7 billion trips on public transit. And, all over the country, transit agencies are turning to more fuel efficient and cleaner bus options. In El Paso, Texas, Sun Metro has received 22 New Flyer buses, adding to their natural gas powered bus fleet. Electric buses have caught the attention of Spokane Transit in Washington where this month they are testing a BYD Motors all-electric bus. They also have 28 hybrid-diesel-electric buses that are realizing 17% better fuel economy than standard diesel buses. 

    XL Hybrids, developer of hybrid electric powertrains for commercial vans and trucks, is making news again. This time they’ve developed a fuel efficient gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain for the Ford E-Series cutaway and stripped chassis vans. It is now available on the Ford E-350 and Ford E-450 cutaway.

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is widening the scope of their SmartWay Program, which they announced at the 2014 Technology & Maintenance Council annual meeting. The program will add refrigerated trailers, and widen test procedures, all of which will be rolled out over the next month.

    From voluntary federal programs to incentives and rebates, more fleets are able to purchase advanced vehicle technologies. The State of Connecticut gets kudos for developing an innovative incentive plan called the Connecticut Revolutionary Dealer Award. From February 1 through July of this year, dealers who sell or lease the highest number of new EVs (PHEVs are included) will be in competition to win one of two awards. And, in Pennsylvania, Governor Corbett has announced $8 million in grants for the purchase or conversion of natural gas vehicles (NGV), as well as electric, propane or other AFVs. The application deadline is May 30. And, if you need advice on how to build an NGV fleet, Westport invites your participation in a webinar that will outline the considerations on March 26.

    Lack of basic knowledge on how electric vehicles (EV) work fueled Tesla employee Ayumi Kim’s inner agitato. She channeled that angst into a Kickstarter campaign to fund a fact-filled EV coloring book. Want to know if you can plug your chainsaw into the cigarette lighter? Kim has the answer.

    U.S. Public Transit Ridership Highest in Decades, Washington Post

    Texas’ Sun Metro Adds 22 New Flyer Buses, Metro

    BYD, Washington Transit to Pilot Electric Bus Service, Metro

    Ford E-Series Vans Get XL Hybrid Powertrain, Green Fleet

    SmartWay Program to Widen Test Procedures, FleetOwner

    CT Turns EV Incentive Plan on Its Head, Autoblog Green

    Governor Corbett Announces Alternative Fuel Grants for NGVs, Farm and Dairy

    Building Your LD NG Fleet, Westport

    Annoyed Tesla Employee Creates Coloring Book, Grist

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  • All Of The Above

    President Obama released his 2015 budget proposal this week and he remains resolved in support of his “all of the above” energy strategy that includes natural gas as a bridge fuel as well as investments in cleaner burning fossil fuel technology. At the same time the President continues to tackle climate change by including the $1 billion climate fund in his proposal. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is lending a regulatory hand by reducing the amount of sulfur in gasoline. New rules were announced earlier this week and were applauded by proponents who say it will be the President’s most significant public health achievement in his second term. 

    China’s National People’s Congress has opened with a declaration of war on pollution. Number 9 of 9 “Major Tasks for 2014” is “We will declare war against pollution and fight it with the same determination we battled poverty.” With exhaust emissions from natural gas vehicles (NGVs) being much lower than those from gasoline and diesel vehicles, China’s already got one pollution reduction strategy that’s showing better growth than in the United States. 70,000 trucks run on natural gas with 30,000 added just last year. 

    Chinese auto company Geely Holding Group has just given Emerald Automotive a big leg up in their ability to bring their electric vans to market in the U.S. Geely has acquired Emerald and is investing at least $200 million over the next five years, creating 300 jobs. They anticipate having 4000 vans manufactured by the end of 2017. Representatives from the biodiesel, natural gas and propane industries enthused earlier this week at the Green Truck Summit in Indianapolis that alternative fuels for trucking will provide fleets with many choices for years to come. The most recent fuel choice to capture the attention of delivery giant UPS is propane. The company will spend $70 million to buy 1,000 propane-powered delivery trucks, replacing gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles in their fleet.

    Reducing the carbon intensity of fuels is a high priority in California, and CALSTART will present the 2nd annual Clean, Low-Carbon Fuels Summit on April 2 in Sacramento. The forum is by invitation only and CALSTART members and others interested in receiving an invitation can contact Jamie Hall at jhall@calstart.org CALSTART is also working closely with the National Association of Fleet Administrators and will host a sustainable fleet education and training track featuring several sessions addressing how to make advanced fuels and vehicles work for their operations. The 2014 Institute & Expo is held April 8-11 in Minneapolis and the complete program is available here. 

    Obama Stands by Energy Strategy While Pushing Climate Change Fund, The Hill

    EPA Restricts Sulfur in Gasoline to Help Cut Auto Emissions, Los Angeles Times

    China Declares War Against Pollution, The New York Times

    NG Vehicles Show Phenomenal Growth in China, FuelFix

    Emerald Automotive Sold to China’s Geely Group, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    Green Trucking: Choices for Fleets Abound, FleetOwner

    UPS Expands Alternative Fuel Fleet with 1,000 Propane Trucks, Bloomberg News

    2nd Annual Clean, Low-Carbon Fuels Summit, CALSTART

    NAFA 2014 Institute & Expo, NAFA

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  • Innovate Initiate

    President Barack Obama has directed his staff to work on a new set of fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks. Climate Progress looks at the initiative as a major move to cut transportation oil use, and to reduce GHG emissions. The announcement also included plans for establishing a federal energy trust that would fund alternative vehicle technologies, as well as a proposal for a $200 million tax credit to support fueling infrastructure. Funding for the trust would come from a repeal of the $4 billion in subsidies currently given to the oil and gas industry. 

    The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), in partnership with the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE) is out with a new report on adoption rates and costs of fuel-saving trailer technologies. The study demonstrates that the market has matured resulting in tech development, cost reductions, and increasing adoption of trailer technology. Walmart is looking at truck efficiencies, too, and has announced development of a concept truck to help them meet their fuel efficiency goals. The tractor-trailer, which resembles a spaceship, has very advanced aerodynamics and is powered by a prototype advanced turbine-powered, range-extending series hybrid powertrain.

    The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is out with funding news as they prep for the sixth round of TIGER funding, which includes $600 million for the program’s funds for FY 2014. DOT plans soon to issue a notice of funding availability. DOT’s former Secretary, Ray LaHood, made industry news this week as he has joined the Board of Directors of battery-electric bus manufacturer Proterra. During his tenure as Transportation Secretary, LaHood was a strong supporter of electric-vehicle transit leading the FTA’s Clean Fuels Program. In 2011 he called the company “a model for the rest of the country.”

    There’s a lot of industry product progress out there and Echo Automotive is sharing the news that they plan to extend their EchoDrive plug-in hybrid system to GM 2500 and 3500 vans, including the Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana. Product Innovation is also on the mind of Heavy Duty Trucking’s editors which is out with their top product picks for 2014. Included among the winners are several CALSTART member companies. ENow eCharge is showcased for their solar-powered idle reduction, refrigeration, liftgate and battery charging system for the transportation industry. Other member winners include:

    Cummins-Eaton for an integrated powertrain that offers better fuel economy, lower preventive maintenance costs and total lifecycle         improvements;
    Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) for their Detroit Connect On-Board Tablet which integrates with DTNA’s Virtual Technician and Visibility fleet back-office software;
    Westport Innovations for their new iCE Pack LNG Tank System which provides increased range, longer hold times and faster fueling times.

    Kudos one and all.

    Until Next Week,


    Why Obama’s New Fuel Standards for Big Trucks Matter, Climate Progress

    Obama Energy Trust Would Fund Alternative Vehicle Technologies, Green Fleet

    ICCT, NACFE Report on Adoption of Fuel Efficiency Technologies, Green Car Congress

    See Walmart’s Futuristic Concept Truck, The Blaze

    USDOT Preps for TIGER VI Funding Round, Progressive Railroading

    Ray LaHood Named to Board of Proterra, Journal Star

    Echo Automotive to Extend Conversion System to GM 2500 and 3500 Vans, Green Car Congress
    http:/     /bit.ly/MA4hI9

    HDT Announces 2014 Top 20 Products, Truckinginfo

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  • Eco-tastic Winners

    Could the U.S. oil industry be on the verge of a declaration of victory in its war on the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS)? Last November federal regulators proposed lowering total volume requirements of renewable fuels and perhaps granting usage waivers for 2013 and 2014 obligations. The result has been well organized protests from renewable fuel proponents who were able to grow their market share because of the regulations. Biofuels have supplanted billions of gallons of petroleum in gasoline and diesel, eroding the oil industry monopoly on transportation fuels. There are two sides to this story but investors in advanced biofuels are getting that all too familiar feeling of reticence that stems from market uncertainty. A wide range of interests are weighing in on this debate, including VoteVets.org, a veteran group that links energy independence with a robust biofuels industry. The group collected more than 110,000 signatures urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to just say no to big oil and issue a favorable final ruling that protects the RFS.

    Fuel efficiency standards are working and U.S. drivers are now burning 5 billion fewer gallons of gasoline annually than they were six years ago. Because of new drilling techniques and discoveries of shale oil in the U.S. there are some analysts saying we are in a new era of energy independence. As a result we’re seeing increased production and decreasing imports. Of big concern to some is the growing Canadian petroleum coke known as “petcoke”, which is already a growing part of our energy mix. Petcoke emits 15% more climate pollution than coal and there is growing pressure in the U.S. for us to export high-carbon fuels to other countries, creating a tension between low carbon energy and what Rolling Stone calls climate-toxic oil riches that could allow us to export global warming.

    CALSTART member companies are doing their part to advance clean technology. ITM Power, a manufacturer of hydrogen energy systems for energy storage and clean fuels, has announced the approval of five hydrogen refueling sites on the Isle of Wight, the largest island of England. The targeted locations will be hydrogen ready by November of this year. Sturman Industries is out with good news, too, as Tenneco has acquired exclusive rights to their digital valve technology to be used in Tenneco’s DRIV suspension products. 

    Who doesn’t love a winner, especially one who makes “The World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies” list? Kudos to Boston-based XL Hybrids who made Fast Company’s list for “Siphoning Gas-Guzzlers Off the Road.” The company retrofits vans and trucks with an electric motor and lithium-ion battery and their payback is terrific enough to win over FedEx and Coca-Cola among their commercial fleet manager customers. Heavy Duty Trucking is out with their annual awards given to the country’s most forward-thinking fleet execs. This award has “Innovator” in the title too and it is no surprise that Mike O’Connell, Senior Director, Supply Chain Fleet for Frito-Lay is a winner. The award is determined by nominations from the industry, including suppliers, fellow fleet execs, associations, drivers, and others. Mike and his team have realized significant fuel-efficiency gains and operational effectiveness with a fleet that includes the largest all-electric commercial fleet in North America and 208 CNG tractors. Bravo, eco-tastic transportation innovators.

    Until Next Week,


    The Oil Industry’s Fight To Kill Renewable Fuels, Inside Climate News

    Vets Group Says EPA Should Stand Up To Big Oil, Autoblog Green

    US May be Inching Toward Oil Independence, USA Today

    How The US Exports Global Warming, Rolling Stone

    ITM-5 Hydrogen Refueling Sites Approved, ShareCast

    Tenneco Acquires Rights for Sturman Technology, Automotive World

    The World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies, Fast Company

    HD Trucking Names 2014 Fleet Innovators, Trucking Info

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  • A Find of an EV Kind

    With snow and challenging weather conditions in much of the United Sates, who wouldn’t want their car to transmit information warning drivers of an impending collision ahead or need to slow down? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is taking steps toward greater safety and efficiency by moving ahead with a regulation to require vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication systems in cars and they are considering a similar move for trucks. Another technology that’s gaining traction is RideScout, a transportation app that collects information on transit, taxi, car-share, cycling, walking, and driving and provides a list sorted by mode, cost or travel time. The app can do everything from let you know if there’s a slot available for your bike at the nearest bike share station to pinging you when it’s time to wake up and get off your bus.

    Renewable Energy Group (REG) just keeps on growing. Recently they expanded into synthetic fuels, and now the biodiesel producer has broken ground on a $13.2 million plant in Newton, Iowa. The expansion will allow them to produce a higher purity biodiesel from a broader range of raw materials.

    Anyone in the market for the newest Honda Civic Hybrid can start shopping today. If you have your eye on the Civic Natural Gas, you’ll have to wait until February 15. One of Florida’s largest transit agencies, Miami-Dade Transit, signaled last year that they are considering transitioning its fleet of 800 buses to run on compressed natural gas (CNG). Matthew Slavin has reported via LinkedIn that the County Commission will consider issuing an RFQ on February 19 to qualify vendors to design, build, operate, maintain and finance the needed infrastructure.

    Another funding solicitation hit the street this week as the U.S. Department of Energy has up to $12 million to put toward advanced production of carbon fiber material from renewable biomass. The reference number is DE-FOA-0000996. Carbon fiber can be used in fuel-efficient vehicles to reduce vehicle weight and improve fuel efficiency. Reducing a vehicle’s weight by 10% can improve fuel economy by 6-8%. 

    And every now and then there’s a statistic like this. Electric-vehicle (EV) production globally is forecast to surge 67% in 2014. IHS Automotive is the company out with the prediction and they cite several factors including tightened restrictions in the EU. Europe, the Middle East and Africa will account for 40% of all 2014 EVs with Asia weighing in at 30%, and the U.S. will build 27%.

    With numbers like that there will no doubt be skeptics amongst us, but skepticism is rooted all the way back to the origin of the first electric vehicles. BBC News reports quite a find of an EV kind. German automaker Porsche has revealed that the first car designed by its founder was indeed electric. In 1898 Ferdinand Porsche designed an electric model that took to the streets of Vienna and could reach up to 21 mph and travel up to 49 miles on a single charge. (Don’t forget to check out the photos!).

    NHTSA Will Go Ahead With V2V Communications Initiative, Truckinginfo

    This Super Useful App Wants to Change How We Get Around, Atlantic Cities

    REG Breaks Ground on Newton Biodiesel Plant Upgrade, Green Car Congress

    Honda Civic Hybrid, Civic NG 2014 Models Priced, Edmunds.com

    Clean Energy To Go After South Florida CNG Business, NGT News

    $12 Million in Funding to Advance Renewable Carbon Fiber, Environmental Leader 

    DOE Renewable Carbon Fibers Solicitation

    EV Production Worldwide Forecast to Surge 67% in 2014, LA Times

    First Porsche Revealed to Be an Electric Car From 1898, BBC News

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  • Living The Dream in 2014

    There were definitely some industry relevant morsels last night in the President’s State of the Union (SOTU) address. The majority of democrats reacted with a standing ovation when President Obama said “But the debate is settled. Climate change is a fact.” Obama also recommitted to his “all of the above” energy strategy linking it to domestic energy and jobs. His position rankled some environmental groups who question how including fossil fuels in an energy strategy is consistent with cutting carbon emissions. The President also reiterated his intent to impose new fuel-efficiency standards for medium-and heavy-duty trucks. In the SOTU he said he would propose new incentives for “…trucks to run on natural gas or other alternative fuels and the infrastructure needed to run them.” 

    Could Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) be a strategy for realizing fuel-efficiency gains? You bet says Motley Fool pointing to Caterpillar, GE and UPS who are already making investments. UPS is a poster-child for fuel-efficiency commitments as it moves ahead with its purchase of 1,000 LNG powered long-haul trucks. The delivery giant expects a 40% savings on fuel costs.

    You may recall a recent US Hybrid Corporation announcement that they were awarded a Federal Transit Administration (FTA) contract, administered by CALSTART. To reach their goal of improving fuel cell technology for transit buses, they’ve announced a global licensing agreement with United Technologies Corporation (UTC) to commercialize their Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cell technologies.

    Global company BYD is making inroads around the world, notably in their home country China with electric buses and cars, and in Sao Paolo, Colombia and the U.K. While they have buses in California, the Warren Buffet-backed company expects to hit U.S. showrooms by the end of 2015 with light-duty vehicles. They compare their new Qin plug-in hybrid to the Volt. In electric-only mode they report it can go 62 MPH in 5.9 seconds and can travel 70 kilometers. 

    VIA Motors, which converts vans and pickup trucks into extended-range plug-in vehicles, is making headlines as they’ve won business worth $80 million from Sun Country Highway, which has built over 1,000 charging stations across Canada. They’ve tapped VIA to help them offer electric vehicles (EVs) alongside their infrastructure by targeting new businesses like hotels. VIA recently showed their star power at the Sundance Film Festival with a debut of a different type. The company provided shuttle service for Heretic Films, hosting a number of debuts.

    A road trip is always fun, particularly across country, John Glenney and his daughter Jill arguably experienced the trip of a lifetime as they traveled from New York to Los Angeles. Here’s the punch line-they got to do it driving a Tesla Model S AND used only the company’s network of free Supercharger stations along the way. The charging stations are a core piece of Tesla’s business model. How do you recover from the road trip of a lifetime? Napa Valley for relaxation and a massage, of course. Living the dream in 2014.

    Climate Change is a Fact, Obama Declares, E2 Wire

    Obama Defends ‘all of the above’ Energy in Speech, The Hill

    40% Savings on Fuel Costs Could Be Right Around the Corner, Motley Fool

    US Hybrid Executes Global Fuel Cell Technology Licensing Agreement, Green Car Congress

    Buffet Backed BYD Says Chinese Cars to Debut in US, Bloomberg

    VIA Motors Wins $80 Million Electrification Deal, The Detroit News

    VIA PHEV Van Shuttles Movie Fans Around Sundance, Autoblog Green

    Coast to Coast in a Tesla Model S, San Jose Mercury News

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  • Don't Hurry, Be Happy

    The headline “Congress in No Hurry….” could become an unfortunate theme this year. First up is the biodiesel tax credit as well as other renewable energy credits. Some analysts are saying that renewing the credits may not happen until the November elections but it would be applied retroactively. Never underestimate the power of the Midwest unified front in embracing the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). In response to a number of bills that have been introduced to reduce the effect of the RFS, the requirement that refiners blend increasing amounts of biofuels into U.S. fuel supply through 2022, it is unlikely that there will be enough support to repeal or weaken the measure. The recent EPA proposal to reduce the amount of ethanol blended with gasoline this year is the focal point of a public hearing that Iowa Governor Terry Branstad will hold in Des Moines on January 23. The Governor had requested that the White House host such a hearing but the request was denied.

    More and more states and cities are stepping up and incentivizing the purchase of alternative fuels and advanced technologies. For fleets operating in the five boroughs of New York City, there’s a new funding source in town. Up to $6 million in total incentives for Class 3-8 all-electric, hybrid-electric and CNG vehicles is available under the New York City Alternative Fuel Vehicle – Voucher Incentive Fund (NYCAFV-VIF), the second funding program in the New York Truck – Voucher Incentive Program (NYT-VIP). The New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA) has worked in partnership with the New York City Dept. of Transportation (NYCDOT), the New York State Dept. of Transportation (NYDOT) and CALSTART to launch this second round of funding.

    Hydrogen fueling is taking off in the Netherlands as a system built by Hydrogenics is up and ready to fuel new prototypes of hydrogen buses and a small fleet of hydrogen-powered garbage trucks. Back in the states, Republic Services is thinking compressed natural gas (CNG) for their fleet of solid waste and recycling trucks. The company has deployed 56 CNG trucks in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. They’ve also deployed 49 CNG trucks in and around Houston, Texas. Republic now has 1400 CNG vehicles and 26 NG fueling stations nationwide. 

    A new report, “Natural Gas Trucks and Buses,” has taken a look at global demand and concludes that truck and bus fleets are increasingly shifting to natural gas. The lower cost and significant reduction in ozone-forming emissions are driving the change. Navigant Research estimates that by 2022 there will be nearly 4 million natural gas trucks and buses on the road, globally.

    If registration for the World LNG Fuels 2014 conference is any indication, liquefied natural gas (LNG) fleets should continue to see steady growth. Attendance at the event to be held next week is up more than 30% over last year. CALSTART’s Kevin Beaty and Bill Van Amburg will be moderating two fleet panels. If you are in Houston, stop by Booth 207 and say howdy.

    Congress in No Hurry to Renew Biodiesel Tax Credit, Domestic Fuel

    Ethanol Mandate Unlikely to Face Repeal, Argus Leader

    Public Hearing Next Week on EPA Ethanol Mandate Proposal, AP

    NYC Makes Grant Funding Available for Clean Tech Vehicles, FleetOwner

    New Hydrogen Fueling and Bus Concept Launched in Netherlands, NGV Journal

    Republic Adds Natural Gas Powered Vehicles to Fleet, American Recycler News

    New Report Forecasts Worldwide Sales of Natural Gas Trucks & Buses, Trucking Info

    World LNG Fuels Conference, Zeus Development

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  • Climate Haiku

    We’ve heard a lot of naysaying about why electric vehicles (EVs) won’t take off but the Union of Concerned Scientists isn’t buying it. They conducted a survey and found that 56% of U.S. households have access to charging; 95% of households report five or fewer occupants in their cars and that works for most PHEVs which are 4 or 5 person passenger cars; and, 69% of weekday driving is within the mileage range of close to all battery electric vehicles (BEVs). General Motors has had a lot of good news including the announcement that Mary Barra is the new CEO. Equally interesting is their work on a vehicle similar to the Volt which aims to go 200 miles on a charge, carry a generator, and sell for about $30,000. Their target is MY 2016. And, if other major cities start going the way of New York plugging in on city streets won’t be a problem. Michael Bloomberg has signed an initiative to make at least 20% of off-street parking throughout the five Burroughs accessible to charging stations

    Renewable Energy Group (REG) of Iowa, a producer and distributor of biodiesel, is making news today as they announce the acquisition of Syntroleum Corporation. The Tulsa based company has pioneered technologies for converting gas to liquids and renewable diesel fuel. The move will expand REG’s footprint and grow its biofuels business.

    Not the reindeer, too. A new study out of Canada says that mining, logging and oil and gas activities are degrading reindeer habitat so much that by 2070 there could be shrinkage of 89% of the Canadian reindeer (caribou) lineage. Conveying the severity of the breadth of impacts from climate change can’t be done through talking points, until now. Scientist Greg Johnson tried summarizing the findings of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and he managed to summarize the entire report in illustrated Haiku. The 19 drawings/poems are a moving and innovative distillation. 

    The French government is in the business of innovation, too, as they have launched their Worldwide Challenge Innovation 2030. The country is allocating 300 million euros toward seven goals, one of which is energy storage. 

    January is right around the corner which means so is the World LNG Fuels Conference to be held in Houston, Texas. CALSTART’s Kevin Beaty and Bill Van Amburg, as well as representatives from member companies UPS, Cummins, Capstone, GE Transportation, and EControls will all be speaking. The conference focus is advancing markets for LNG as a transportation fuel. UPS will be recognized as a finalist as a recipient of the Black-Diamond Award. If you plan to attend, stop by and visit the CALSTART Booth, #207.

    Millions of Americans Could Use an Electric Vehicle, Union of Concerned Scientists

    Next Chevy Volt to Be $30k, Business Week

    NYC Requires 20% of all Parking Spaces to Be EV Charger Ready, Autoblog Green

    The Nation’s Largest Biodiesel Producer Just Got Bigger, The Motley Fool

    Santa, NO! Climate Change Will Threaten Reindeer, Grist

    The Entire IPCC Report in 19 Illustrated Haiku, Sightline Daily

    Innovations 2030 Worldwide Innovation Challenge

    Black-Diamond Award Recognizes 5 Leading LNG-Fuel Projects, MarketWatch

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  • Green, Green, My World is Green

    The Christian Science Monitor declares that electric vehicles (EVs), from the Tesla S to the Toyota Prius Plug-in are now officially common in California. Chrysler, Ford, GM, Honda and Nissan have gangbuster sales there, too. What about other parts of the country? Oregon comes in #2 and then sales numbers start to get spotty with Connecticut, Maryland, Vermont, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Maine and Rhode Island all ranking in the top ten. Michigan didn’t make that list but the state has some EV infrastructure news. Today Tesla will open its first of three Michigan charging stations in St. Joseph, allowing lucky Model S owners to travel between Detroit and Chicago.

    Nissan’s doing something nifty in Japan where they have been testing their Vehicle-To-Building system. The building’s power distribution board is connected to the batteries of six Nissan LEAFs, driven by employees and the charging is phased during the day. The savings, calculated from this early field test, is estimated at $4,800 annually.  Also from the what will they think of next department, Volvo Car Group plans a pilot project where they will use 100 self-driving cars on public roads in everyday driving conditions in Gothenburg, Sweden. Drivers hand over the control to the vehicle which handles the driving functions, at the driver’s discretion. The “Drive Me” project also includes driverless, fully automated parking.

    Volvo Trucks North America is reporting that grocery chain SuperValu has added 35 compressed natural gas (CNG) VNL day cabs to its fleet. Volvo VNL tractors were displayed during a ceremony at SuperValu’s distribution center which operates 105 tractors. The company plans to convert 65% of its fleet to NG by 2015. FedEx Express continues to step up its game by adding 1900 new fuel efficient vehicles to its fleet. The delivery giant buys from multiple companies including XL Hybrids, a developer of low-cost hybrid electric powertrain systems, to convert 10 conventionally-powered panel vans into fuel-efficient, hybrid vehicles. 

    ‘Tis the season to prognosticate about the future and the Technology and Maintenance Council of the American Trucking Association offers 8 things to expect on the truck of tomorrow. Not surprisingly, number 4 is alternative fuels including NG, biofuels from algae and other non-food stocks, DME, hybrid electric, propane, and NG-to-liquid. And, Convenience Store News has issued results from their motor fuels study and the most important finding is that retailers want to grow their sales of alternative fuels. Schneider Electric was represented at a recent Summit where these findings were reported and their director of EVs, Mike Calise, said 100,000 EVs will be sold next year. CS News reports that 7% of their survey respondents plan to install EV charging in five years’ time. 

    Top States for Electric Cars, The Christian Science Monitor

    Tesla Will Open First Michigan Charging Station Today, Detroit Free Press

    Six Nissan Leaf EVs Power An Office in Japan, Autoblog Green

    Volvo Car Group in Multi-Year Pilot With Autonomous Cars, Green Car Congress

    Grocer SuperValu Takes Delivery of Volvo NG Tractors, Fleet Owner

    FedEx Adds 1,900 New Lightweight, Fuel Efficient Vehicles to Fleet, Wall Street Journal

    8 Things To Expect on Tomorrow’s Trucks, Truckinginfo

    Future Looks Bright for Alternative Fuels, Convenience Store News

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  • Air Apparent

    We’ve got an emissions problem and our need to curb it just got statistically more challenging. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) finding that the increase in global temperature should be below 2 degrees Celsius is wrong, according to a new report by 18 leading scientists. In fact, that number is too high and needs to be in the range of 1 degree C. Salon reports that we’re further off than ever in reaching even the 2 degrees C level. As the two largest carbon emitters in the world, the U.S. and China have something in common. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy heads to Asia next week to meet with China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection to build on an existing relationship to address climate change.

    The envelope please. EPA and the Department of Energy (DOE) are out with their annual list of the top ten most fuel efficient vehicles. The first seven on the list are all electric and the remaining three are plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). Toyota, Ford and GM are among the usual suspects making the top ten. 

    California has been developing vehicles and regulations to drive low emissions for a long time “…making it one of the most valuable markets for the global auto industry” according to Hydrogen Fuel News. Like many other markets, challenges remain around fuel and charging infrastructure for clean vehicles. California-based ChargePoint is doing their part by recently adding their 50,000th user to their EV charging networks. The customer is from San Francisco which happens to top ChargePoint’s list of the “Top 10 EV-friendly Metropolitan Markets.” San Diego and Los Angeles are the other two California cities that made that list. Green Car Reports reminds us that if you are thinking about getting a charging station, the clock is ticking if you want to take advantage of a Federal tax-credit of 30% of the cost of purchase and installation. The credit expires on December 31.

    Sao Paolo Transit (SPTrans) is getting credit of a different kind. Beginning in March of 2014, BYD Motors (the Americas’ entity) will deliver two new battery-electric buses. The Brazilian Transit Agency has one of the largest fleets in South America, totaling 16,000 buses, and is being lauded for their commitment to cleaner buses. 

    And credit goes to the state of New York for funding the New York Truck-Voucher Incentive Program (NYT-VIP). CALSTART is administering the program and will be hosting a webinar next Tuesday, December 12 for fleets, manufacturers, dealers and NE stakeholders wanting to learn more about the program. You can reserve a seat by clicking here.


    Our Current Warming Limits Are Way Too High, Salon


    US Official to Build on EPA Relationship With China, Bloomberg


    10 Most Fuel Efficient Cars in US, Clean Technica


    California Continues to Embrace Clean Transportation, Hydrogen Fuel News


    ChargePoint Plugs in 50,000th User, Autoblog Green


    Electric-Car Charging-Station Tax Credit Expires 12/31/13, Green Car Reports


    Sao Paulo Transit Completes Successful Trials of 40-Foot BYD Electric Bus, Mass Transit


    Webinar For Those Interested in NY Clean Truck Incentives, FleetOwner



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  • REneweconomy

    Prepare for the buzz as the LA Auto Show kicks off this Friday and runs through December 1. Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are rising to the top of the news coverage as Toyota, Honda and Hyundai unveil prototypes and rollout plans for 2014 and 2015. Not long ago skeptics readily asserted “hydrogen is the fuel of the future and it always will be.” Well, the future is now. Hyundai plans to sell a Tucson SUV, mass-market fuel cell vehicle in 2014 and they’ll announce details to the press today. Toyota plans to stick with a design similar to the Prius as they display their FCV concept in LA, with plans to make it available in Japan in 2015 and in Europe and the U.S. the next year. Honda, too, will unveil a next generation version of their fuel cell vehicle that’s been around for eight years.

    Today’s the last day of EVS27, taking place in Barcelona, Spain. The largest EV exhibition in the world features Protean Electric which is announcing two new technical developments related to the development of in-wheel motors for the industry. Protean Drive is a fully integrated, in-wheel motor, direct-drive solution.

    Calling all natural gas (NG) enthusiasts-the California Energy Commission (CEC) estimates that $24 million will be available for NG R&D for FY 2014-2015 and they want your ideas. If you have suggested initiatives you think they should pursue, you can submit those by December 6. Cleveland’s Regional Transit Authority (RTA) can qualify as a NG enthusiast as they voted yesterday to purchase 240 NG buses. The RTA Board approved $28.3 million to buy the first 60 buses in 2015.

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced their 2013 Construction Equipment Rebate Program, which is part of the Diesel Emission Reduction Program (DERA). There is $120,000 available to either retrofit or replace nonroad construction equipment engines. The application period opens today and the deadline is January 15, 2014. Eligible applicants will be chosen by a lottery system. 

    EPA regulations have raised the ire of the ethanol and corn industry after lowering the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) cap on proposed 2014 renewable fuel volumes.  Iowa Governor Terry Branstad has a lot at stake in this decision as his state leads the nation in biofuels production with 42 ethanol refineries and 12 biodiesel facilities. Governor Branstad has now launched a new website allowing visitors to sign a petition urging EPA to reverse their decision.

    What do Coca-Cola, FedEx Express, Florida Power & Light, Frito-Lay, Pacific Gas & Electric, UPS, and Waste Management have in common? You get an A+ if you guessed that they are all CALSTART members. They, though, get an A+ for making Heavy Duty Trucking’s list of top 50 green fleets in the country. Well deserved. Take a bow.

    All Eyes on Fuel Cell Vehicles at LA Auto Show, REneweconomy

    Hyundai to Sell Hydrogen-Powered SUV in 2014, AP

    Toyota Vows Fuel Cell Model by 2015 in Green Push, ABC News

    Protean Electric at EVS 27, Protean Electric

    CEC Solicits Ideas for NG R&D and Demo Projects, Green Car Congress

    Cleveland’s Transit Authority to Buy 240 NG-fueled Buses, The Plain Dealer

    EPA Rebates for Clean Construction Equipment, West Coast Collaborative

    Branstad Launches a new Website to Support Ethanol, Biodiesel Use, Des Moines Register

    HDT’s Top 50 Green Fleets, Truckinginfo

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  • CALSTART Lollapalooza

    Today’s news lineup is a CALSTART member lollapalooza. Except for the big story of the day, the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) annual announcement yesterday of their World Outlook, the rest of the news is about the companies in partnership with CALSTART to advance the clean transportation technology industry.

    First up is IEA which is again finding that the world is slow to curb fossil fuel dependence. National Geographic reports on the six main trends that feed that conclusion beginning with their new assessment of the rise and decline of the U.S. as the world’s largest oil producer. Another interesting observation is that while transportation is a major driver of energy demand, in the U.S., trucks, not cars, are behind growing consumption.

    The New York Times offers a comprehensive look at the growing market for electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure chronicling what industry and government are doing to make sure EV owners can get a charge when they need one. How an employer or charger owner allows use of the infrastructure is still getting sorted out, according to Dimitrios Papadogonas, VP of Marketing for device manufacturer ChargePoint. While which comes first, the vehicle or the infrastructure is being sorted out, askmen is having a serious bromance with Tesla’s Elon Musk and the Model S. So much so that they laud him as a superhero detailing his accomplishments that led them to name him their “Most Influential Man of the Year,” complete with some pretty good evidence to back it up.

    Parker Hannifin has reached a milestone as they celebrate one million miles of operation for their fleet of refuse trucks equipped with their RunWise Hybrid Drive System. Parker reports the average fuel savings at 43%. Reducing both fuel consumption and emissions is what Achates Power does through their improved internal combustion engine and they recently signed a joint development agreement with Fairbanks Morse Engine, further validating their work and potential market growth with the automotive, commercial truck and military industries.

    Anyone who follows clean technology transit trends is no doubt familiar with SunLine Transit Agency in the Coachella Valley of Southern California. Two weeks ago Lauren Skiver, the first woman in SunLine’s history to head the Agency, stepped into her new role as General Manager. She was shaped by her service in the U.S. Army and brings that training to SunLine, along with a commitment to advancing the clean transportation efforts observing, “SunLine is really the hub of testing real transit applications for the rest of the country.”

    Transit agencies make their mark in different ways and look no further than Moscow for an eye-catching idea. Given the advent of the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, city officials have tied their commitment to a “sporting lifestyle” as the host of the upcoming Winter Olympics. All you have to do is squat 30 times near the electronic vending machines and then ride for free. That should make for some superb people watching.

    IEA World Outlook: Six Key Tends Shape Energy Future, National Geographic Daily News

    A Recharging Industry Rises, New York Times

    Elon Musk Named Most Influential Man of 2013, Autobloggreen

    Parker’s Hydraulic Hybrid Systems Approaching 1M Miles of Operation, Green Car Congress

    Fairbanks Morse Engine and Achates Team Up, Business Wire

    SunLine’s GM Makes Her Mark, mydesert.com
    Do 30 Squats and Ride the Subway for Free, Grist

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  • Fractious Fracking

    There weren’t too many surprises from yesterday’s election results, but natural gas interests were paying attention to Colorado and Ohio. The fractious fracking measures in those states ended up with mixed results. Moratoriums and a ban on hydraulic fracturing were approved in three out of four Colorado measures, but two of three measures in Ohio failed. 

    Three CALSTART member companies are in the news for making steady progress in advancing new technologies. Quantum Fuel Systems has announced an additional $3.2 million in new agreements to develop fully-integrated compressed natural gas (CNG) storage and fuel delivery system for aftermarket conversion of heavy-duty (HD) diesel fleets to run on natural gas. These agreements were awarded by ZHRO Solutions, developer of a technology used in the conversion of HD trucks. And, Indiana-based Crosspoint Kinetics has announced that Maxwell Technologies is supplying their ultracapacitors to store energy and to deliver power in its S3000 NEXT Generation Hybrid System. The hybrid drive system is used for small para-transit buses, shuttle buses, and package delivery vehicle applications.

    Tesla’s Elon Musk made headlines yesterday while talking about their latest quarterly report and announcing a giant facility they might build to make battery cells. Musk focused on the sheer production capacity of batteries acknowledging that if electric vehicles (EVs) take off in a big way, it will overwhelm the battery demand for electronics. He offered details suggesting the factory could assemble cells and battery packs, recycle used ones, and it would likely be located in the U.S.

    Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is in Denver today where he will announce a $10 million, five-year initiative to use overgrown and beetle decimated Western U.S. forests as a source of liquid fuel for transportation. The research is run by Colorado State University and they are working with Cool Planet which develops small scale biorefineries that convert non-food biomass into gasoline, jet fuel, and biochar. 

    Heads up-there’s a new acronym out there you may want to know about. AFLEET stands for Alternative Fuel Life-Cycle Environmental and Economic Transportation and it is a new online calculator for fleet managers that has multiple uses. Thanks to Clean Cities and the Argonne National Lab, the tool helps estimate gas usage, GHG emissions, air pollutant emissions, and the cost of ownership of vehicles. The tool spreadsheet and user guide are available here

    Dennis Smith from the U.S. DOE Clean Cities program, as well as Dr. Dayne Boysen from DOE’s ARPA-e program are speakers at the upcoming North American NGV Conference and Expo in Atlanta November 18-21. The event is put on by the good people at NGVAmerica and includes 100 exhibitors, as well as sessions of interest to fleet operators, policy makers and industry stakeholders. 

    Votes on Fracking Limits Show Mixed Results, New York Times

    Quantum Awarded Additional $3.2 Million, Green Car Congress

    Crosspoint Kinetics using Maxwell Ultracaps in Hybrid System, Green Car Congress

    Tesla Considers Building Battery Factory, San Francisco Chronicle

    Feds Launch CSU-Liquid Fuel Research, Denver Post

    Feds Develop Alt-Fuel Analytical Tool, GreenFleet

    AFLEET Tool, Argonne National Laboratory

    2013 North American NGV Conference & Expo Fast Approaching, Fleet Owner

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  • Big Pumpkin

    Governors of eight geographically diverse states are taking initiative in working together to promote zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs). California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to do a range of things including getting ZEVs in public fleets and establishing incentive and finance programs. 

    Chinese automaker BYD hopes to make strong inroads in Southern California through the sale of their battery-powered buses. The company, with an electric bus assembly plant and a separate battery factory north of LA, has contracts with transit agencies in LA and Long Beach. The $800,000 eBus has a range of 155 miles on a charge. School districts are being introduced to new electric bus technologies, too. The Kings Canyon Unified School District in the San Joaquin Valley of California will be the recipient of the first collaboration between Trans Tech Bus and Motiv Power Systems. The bus can save 16 gallons of fuel a day or $11,000 annually, according to Trans Tech’s President. The bus uses FIAMM’s SoNick batteries.

    Battery technology company Quallion has a new owner. EnerSys, an industrial battery maker in Pennsylvania has bought Quallion for $30 million, making EnerSys the largest domestic provider of battery technology to the space industry. EnerSys motive power batteries are used in electric fork trucks and other commercial electric powered vehicles. 

    The natural gas boom means more trucks are running on compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied natural gas (LNG). Ryder, a supply chain management company, has been selected to provide LNG vehicles for Blu fleets in Utah and Georgia. Blu is an operator of LNG fueling stations and their lease agreement provides for 55 LNG tractors. Republic Services, a waste and disposal service company, has just added 67 CNG solid waste and recycling trucks to their fleet. Their trucks will serve customers in New Jersey and Philadelphia.

    The oil industry continues to lobby Washington to lower quotas for renewable fuels. The oil industry wants the renewable fuel  standard (RFS) adjusted to lower 2014 targets to reflect current biofuels production vs. what is projected for 2014. Spokespeople for the Advanced Ethanol Council and the Biotechnology Industry Organization said that the result of adjustments to the RFS would “…greatly reduce or eliminate the drivers that facilitate more biofuel blending over time….” 

    Bickering in Washington, DC is getting tricky and I’m getting spooked. There’s Big Oil, Big Pharma, and now—Big Pumpkin. The Department of Energy (DOE) and the oil industry are carving out new turf to win over trick-or-treaters. First, DOE rolled out some pumpkin-carving innovations related to renewable energy, and in the process offended  the American Petroleum Institute (API). Not to be outdone, API now offers their high energy pumpkin complete with stencils of an oil barrel and a fuel gauge. Children. Children.

    Governors Join To Spur Growth of ZEVs, Sacramento Bee

    From China to LA, Taking the Electric Bus, New York Times

    Trans-Tech-Motiv Partnership Spurs News, All Electric School Bus, School Transportation News

    Mann’s Quallion Sold to Pennsylvania Company, Green Car Congress

    Blu Pushes LNG Growth With 55 Ryder LNG Tractors, NGV Global News

    Republic Deploys New Fleet of NG Powered Trucks, Truckinginfo

    Don’t Put Oil Industry in Driver’s Seat, Fuel Fix

    Halloween PR Fight Pits Oil Industry Against DOE, The Hill

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  • Smog, Milestones, and Chicken Vests

    What does an expanding economy and a growing U.S. population mean for carbon emissions? As counter-intuitive as it seems, they are on the decline. Energy-related carbon emissions dropped 3.8% to the lowest levels seen in 18 years. The reasons are the recession and a shift from coal power to natural gas. On the bad news side, this trend is limited to the U.S. as the rest of the world faces an increasing threat of global emissions

    Case in point-China. This week their infamous smog resulted in factory shutdowns and closing schools, airports and highways. The smog was so bad that visibility was reduced to a few yards. Shanghai is contemplating a congestion charge where drivers are charged a fee for entering certain parts of the city during normally high volume hours. In other places the charges have been implemented to lessen traffic but Shanghai’s aim is to reduce the dangerous particulate matter emitted from vehicles.

    The American Clean Skies Foundation has been focusing on policy strategies to clean the air and reduce petroleum dependence. In a new report they urge the federal government to shift federal transportation contracts to vans and trucks running on alternative fuels. The economic benefit in taxpayer savings  would be $7 billion annually and about $25 billion by 2025. Daimler Truck has some policy suggestions, too, related to US emissions policies for trucks. Wolfgang Bernhard, the new CEO, spoke at a press event this week during the American Trucking Associations’ annual conference and offered several suggestions including harmonizing truck emission standards, an open approach to reducing GHG emissions, and policies that encourage retirement of older trucks. 

    Lowe’s is focusing their fleet efforts on strategies to reduce emissions and save on fuel costs. The company has launched a fleet of liquefied natural gas (LNG) fueled trucks that are expected to reduce GHG emissions by 20% and keep fuel costs down. There’s more good news for light-duty natural gas enthusiasts, too. Impco Automotive, according to Fleets&Fuels, has an aftermarket kit for the MY 2014 Chevrolet Cruze making it the only EPA-certified bi-fuel sedan for 2014 on the U.S. market.

    General Motors has marked a noteworthy achievement with their Fuel Cell Equinox which reached a milestone of 100,000 miles. The auto manufacturer continues their part to advance hydrogen-powered vehicles and is in the process of building a new Fuel Cell Development Laboratory in Pontiac, MI, where their fuel cell work will be focused.

    Why did the chicken cross the road? Better yet, why would a chicken wear a jacket? The Telegraph has a whole story, complete with photos of spiffy pink or yellow high visibility vests for chicken traffic safety. Really? One reader commented “Only in Britain.” Let’s hope so.

    US Carbon Emissions Fall to 18 Year Low, Christian Science Monitor

    Choking Smog Paralyzes Cities in NE China, Washington Post

    Shanghai Mulling Congestion Charges to Combat Pollution, Autoblog

    Policy Group Urges Government Fleets to use Alternative Fuels, Truckinginfo

    Daimler Trucks Calls For More Efficient Emissions Strategies, FleetOwner

    Lowe’s Launches Natural Gas Fleet, GreenFleet

    Impco Offers Bi-Fuel CNG Cruze for 2014, Fleets&Fuels

    Fuel Cell Equinox Tops 100,000 Miles in Real-World Driving, Green Car Congress

    Best Dressed Chicken in Town, The Telegraph

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  • Fine Particle Pile Up

    Six years ago the Supreme Court ruled that EPA is required to regulate greenhouse gases (GHG) under the Clean Air Act if it posed a threat to human health. Resulting from that ruling are things like stricter vehicle fuel economy standards. Yesterday the Court decided to review a narrow question related to the Clean Air Act but will leave intact most of what EPA has been regulating. They will though be looking at whether the Agency “permissibly determined” that the motor vehicle regulation allows them to also regulate stationary sources of GHGs.  The trouble with these pesky emissions means a fine particle pile up resulting in more deaths by vehicle tailpipe emissions than actual car accidents. That’s a new finding from MIT showing that 53,000 people a year die prematurely from auto pollution vs. 34,000 who perish in traffic accidents. 

    The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) should be happy with a National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) finding that there’s no evidence of deterioration in engine durability or maintenance issues in using E15 or E20 compared to E0 and E10. Further findings show that increases in evaporative emissions between vehicles using E10 and E20 are small or non-existent.

    A round of applause now for five industry stakeholders including Achates, Volvo, UPS, Cummins and Ford. San Diego based green engine manufacturer Achates gets a nod for completing a third round of venture capital finanancing, this one for $35.2 million. Volvo is helping fleets save money with their exceptional efficiency (XE) package, which has been expanded. The XE11 is now available on two models and shows fuel efficiency gains up to 3%.

    What is the UPS strategy to displace more than 24 million gallons of diesel fuel annually? By the end of 2014 the company will have 13 LNG refueling stations to support the operation of 1000 UPS LNG vehicles. LNG takes center stage in mid-January as World LNG Fuels 2014 returns to Houston.  CALSTART is pleased to partner with program organizers in presenting green transportation sessions. Hats off to Cummins for signing up as the lead sponsor. Cummins projects that by 2020, nearly 30% of its high-horsepower engine production will be natural gas fueled.

    Ford is defying the “Valley of Death” defined as that space between basic research and full-fledged manufacturing. The company is a main funder of a new lab that will help electric vehicle (EV) battery developers focus on manufacturing batteries on a pilot scale for testing. The lab opened this week and is located at the University of Michigan campus.

    Hello Batman fans. Remember the Batpod which was armed with dual front-mounted cannons, machine guns and grappling hooks? If you are still dreaming about that special mobility device, look no further than eBay which has an electric, shotgun-shooting, flame-throwing Batpod. The price? Just $27,500.

    Until next week-same bat time, same bat channel,


    US Supreme Court to Review EPA Greenhouse Gas Emissions Permitting, Washington Post

    More Americans Die From Car Pollution than Car Accidents, Quartz

    NREL Review of E15 Effects Finds No Meaningful Differences Over E10, Green Car Congress

    Achates Power Nets $35.2 Million in Capital, UT San Diego

    Volvo Extends Fuel Efficiency Package, FleetOwner

    UPS Expands LNG Fueling Stations, Environmental Leader

    Cummins Named Lead Sponsor for World LNG Fuels 2014, Bulk Transporter

    Ford Jumps EV Battery Gap With New $8 Million Research Lab, Clean Technica

    Battery-powered Batpod is ready for battle, Autoblog Green

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  • Poetiquette Transit Style

    Well that can’t be good. A  University of New Mexico study found that one-fifth of the US population is living near a highly trafficked road with elevated pollution levels from vehicle exhaust. The study found that non-white and low-income people are the most affected. James Kenny, MD, a retired pulmonologist says everyone needs to be worried but what he and others are angsty about is diesel fuel exhaust from school buses which can get trapped inside the bus where tiny particle levels can be 5-10 times higher than outside. What’s the answer? Green Circle North Carolina is looking to biodiesel which improves air quality by 80% compared to fossil fuels. 

    It is a long way from North Carolina to Katmandu but there’s a movement in the crowded tourist city toward a growing fleet of electric vehicles (EVs) in the form of a battery powered autorickshaw. Already, more than 100,000 commuters are riding in them. EVs are viewed as an important climate change mitigation strategy. From Nepal to the UK, support for EVs is growing. A UK government funded study with 350 drivers found that 80% of those who participated in a demonstrator program could imagine replacing their ICE vehicles with an EV and half said that is just what they plan to do. 

    While the drivers in the UK test did not report range anxiety issues, having enough charging infrastructure remains a priority in ensuring the success of EVs. Navigant Research reports that there are 64,000 public electric charging points worldwide and the charger market is driven by sales growth for plug-in hybrid vehicles. It gets better as private investment is now leading government support in the expansion of the charging market. 

    And the winner is…not sure yet but YOU can play a role in selecting the winner of the 2013 Energy Security Prize. Definitely think for yourself but think about Laurence Fromm and Achates Power please. This CALSTART member company is knocking greenhouse gas emissions and improvements in fuel efficiency out of the park. Vote today!

    Can I say it enough? Nope. The High Efficiency Truck Users Forum national meeting is next week in Chicago. There are many reasons to attend, not the least of which is the Hino sponsored Ride & Drive. Check out the participants. And, following that, CALSTART is China immersed as the US-China Clean Truck and Bus Summit takes place October 22-24 and we are calling all interested people to join us. Check that out here.

    Finally, what do poetry and transit buses have to do with each other? Everything if you are in London. Today is National Poetry Day for the Brits and the London Underground is papered with poems helping transit riders behave properly on the subway. In addition to poetic teaching missives, real poets will be popping up randomly in Tube stations to share their poetiquette. Brilliant.

    One-fifth of US Lives Near Roads with Higher Air Pollution, Los Angeles Times

    The Dangers of School Bus Diesel Exhaust, WNCT9

    Electric Rickshaws Give one of the World’s Poorest Countries a Charge, E&E

    Once You Go Electric There’s No Turning Back, Business Green

    EV Charger Sales on the Rise, Business Green

    Public Voting for Securing America’s Future Innovation Award Now Open, Politico

    HTUF National Meeting Ride & Drive, CALSTART

    US-China Clean Truck and Bus Summit 2013, CALSTART

    Poetiquette on London Buses, Grist

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  • Tomorrow-The Busiest Day of the Week

    Between new product innovations and a flurry of industry meetings, we are heading into advanced vehicle technology candy land. ChargePoint continues to innovate new electric vehicle (EV) charging strategies and the latest is a finance option that would let EV owners get a new charging station without having to pay the upfront equipment or installation costs. The company will be making an announcement soon. Plentiful infrastructure is on the minds of a new consortium focused on meeting growing demand for LNG powered long-haul trucking. Eagle, Clean Energy, GE Ventures and a host of others are joining forces to expand fueling options. Targeted states under consideration include Florida, Washington, Colorado, North Dakota, Ohio and Texas.

    There seems to be a trend in sleuthing news from job announcements on corporate websites. Autobloggreen ponders whether Chrysler is poised to hire EV engineers again. Their website indicates that they are casting a broad net for engineers to accelerate hybrid and EV development. Eaton is also advancing their hybrid technology development, this time in partnership with the Department of Energy (DOE) as they work on a system that would reduce battery size by 50%. 

    Many folks will be heading off to Louisville, Kentucky next week where utility contractors and municipalities will participate in the International Construction & Utility Equipment Exposition (ICUEE). CALSTART’s Steve Sokolsky is presenting two Sustainability for Fleets sessions with one on Wednesday, October 2, and the other on Thursday, October 3. 
    It appears that all of the cool kids are launching hybrid systems for commercial vehicles and happily many of them will have their products on display at the High-Efficiency Truck Users Forum taking place in Chicago from October 7-9. Crosspoint Kinetics, a subsidiary of Cummins has introduced a second-generation parallel-electric hybrid system for small para-transit bus, and package delivery applications. The HTUF 2013 Ride & Drive is sponsored by Hino Trucks which is showcasing their 195h Cab Over Engine Hybrid. 

    Echo Automotive has also announced that they will bring their EchoDrive demonstration vehicle to the Chicago event. The technology features bolt-on aftermarket plug-in hybrid technology. Speaking at HTUF 2013 is Steve Burns, CEO of Workhorse, who will speak on the 
    Zero Emission Truck and Bus Breakthrough panel. And, this is also the public debut for the Workhorse E-100 All-Electric Walk-in van, which is available for participants to see and drive. 

    For those of you who haven’t registered yet, it is a good day to remember that tomorrow is the busiest day of the week. Why not do it today?!

    Novel Financing for Electric-Car Charging Stations, SF Gate

    Consortium Developing LNG Infrastructure, Trailer Body Builders

    Chrysler Ready to Hire EV Engineers Again?, AutoblogGreen

    Eaton Developing Smaller Hybrid Battery, Transport Topics

    ICUEE-Sustainability Sessions for Fleets

    Cummins Subsidiary Launches Next Gen Hybrid, Light & Medium Truck

    HTUF’s R & D to Feature Echo’s EchoDrive, Yahoo! Finance

    Workhorse To Unveil All-Electric Walk-In Van at HTUF, MarketWatch

    HTUF 2013

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  • Some Kind of Groovy

    Policy geeks everywhere can appreciate that California hearts were palpitating last week as the State Senate and Assembly passed a measure that provides more than $2 billion in funding over time for clean and low carbon transportation. The legislation was authored by Assemblyman Henry T. Perea, with Senator Fran Pavley as Principal co-author. CALSTART, the California Air Pollution Control Officers Association and the American Lung Association in California were the co-sponsors.

    Looking for a job? There’s a new position open for “…developing vehicle-level decision-making and lateral and longitudinal control strategies to pioneer fully automated driving.” The clever journalists at Wired caught wind of the listing on Tesla’s website and couldn’t help but ponder exactly what this portends for the automakers autonomous electric vehicle (EV) pathway.  Let’s see, 200 miles of electric range sounds like a Tesla Model S but rumor has it that GM is developing a rival technology that gets the same range and at a price of $30,000. No one is sure how soon this technology might come to market but GM did just celebrate the opening of a 50,000 square-foot addition to their Global Battery Systems Lab in Warren, MI. The expectation is that the facility will aid in creating a better battery technology sooner. 

    CALSTART is thinking ahead, too, about a future (and the present) where employees will be able to charge their EVs at work. To help companies figure out the mechanics of implementing an EV charging program, CALSTART has published a best practices document that is available here.

    If you happen to have an interest in school buses in Texas, keep reading. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) is accepting grant applications through December 6 to reimburse school districts that want to install pollution-control retrofits on older diesel school buses. Information is available here. 

    And when the wheels on the bus stop going’ round and ‘round, it is time for some kind of groovy. Two friends in Israel wanted to get creative, imagined a super chic house made from a decommissioned bus, and voila-this is definitely worth looking at. 

    CA Legislature Passes Historic Clean Transportation Bill, CALSTART

    Tesla Job Posting Reveals Push for Fully Autonomous Vehicle, Wired

    GM Developing Tesla Model E-Rival, Green Car Reports

    GM Shows Off Battery Lab in Warren, Detroit Free Press

    Doing Workplace Charging the Best Way, Market Watch

    Best Practices for Workplace Charging, CALSTART

    TECQ Grants to Retrofit Diesel School Buses, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality

    Chic-Public Transit Style, Treehugger

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  • Chicago in October

    CALSTART has enjoyed a seven year relationship with the Federal Transit Administration, where recently they made an announcement of a $7.7 million variety. CALSTART was awarded the funds for four separate projects to make zero emission, low carbon fuel cell buses more affordable and competitive with diesel. Member companies BAE Systems, Ballard Power Systems, and SunLine Transit are all part of the mix. Another CALSTART member, US Hybrid, has also become a major player in the FTA’s fuel cell transit work. They are the new main supplier and will support FTA’s commercialization goals. 

    In other funding news, Michigan companies including Chrysler and General Motors have received $9 million for advancing vehicle technologies to maximize fuel efficiency. The University of Michigan not only got some research dollars but they are also touted by the Washington Post for a new report showing that combustion engines are getting more fuel efficient and that there’s been a 19%  improvement since 2007 in average per driver monthly emissions of greenhouse gases

    State vs. federal control related to hydraulic fracturing is the regulatory focal point of North Dakota’s congressional delegation. A trio of elected officials is petitioning the Interior Department to let their state regulations trump final rules being crafted that would regulate fracking on federal and Indian lands. The fractious fracking debate is deafening and so it was with delight that I found scholar, radio personality, and longtime friend Clay Jenkinson’s thoughtful editorial in the Bismarck Tribune. He quietly lays out his viewpoint on what’s at stake from the perspective of a North Dakota native.

    Finally, here are three upcoming industry happenings that you should at least know about. First up is Dr. Rebecca Boudreaux, President of Oberon Fuels and an expert in synthetic chemistry, who will be testifying later this month in Washington, DC on bringing dimethyl ether (DME) to North America as a commercial transportation fuel. For those interested in biodiesel for transportation, the Renewable Energy Group (REG) is hosting a free webinar on September 18 at 11 a.m. EST. 

    Finally, the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE) has found the answer to what stands between fleets and better fuel economy. Findings from their report will be featured at the High-Efficiency Truck Users Forum (HTUF) national meeting coming up October 7-9 in Chicago. Throughout the three-days participants will learn about the range of current and emerging options to drive and use more efficient commercial vehicles, complete with an expanded Ride & Drive at Soldier Field. What could be better than Chicago in October? Sign up now…it’s just 17 work days away!

    CALSTART and Partners Awarded $7.7 Million in FTA Funding, Green Energy News

    US Hybrid Joins FTA’s Fuel Cell Transit Bus Work, NGT News

    $9 Million in Grants Going Toward MI Advanced Vehicle Projects, MLive

    Cars are More Fuel Efficient, Washington Post

    ND Seeks Exemption from Interior Fracking Rules, The Hill

    When We Start to Lock our Doors, Are We Still ND?, Bismarck Tribune

    Oberon Fuels Presenting Benefits of DME, PR Newswire

    REG Offers Free Webinar on Tips for Using Biodiesel, FleetOwner

    HTUF Presents Barriers to Fuel Saving Technology, Trucking Info


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