• Extending Hollywood in Hollywood

    CALSTART and many of our member companies who have worked hard to ensure that California’s most important climate legislation would pass were buoyed yesterday by the passage of SB32, eliminating any uncertainty about the state’s ability to act beyond 2020. The measure requires the state to reduce heat-trapping pollution to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030, a steeper target than the current aim of reaching 1990 levels by 2020. CALSTART President and CEO John Boesel observed, “The State Assembly voted today in favor of job creation, and to make California a leader in the clean transportation technology industry going forward. We expect that passage of this measure will lead to more in-state manufacturing jobs for advanced vehicles and components.” The Los Angeles Times provides the behind the scenes story of how CALSTART and others in the industry have worked tirelessly to ensure that businesses in the clean transportation technology industry continue to thrive. SB32 offers policy certainty that California is a place where businesses can thrive and create jobs.

    Oil interests have been heavily involved in California around clean fuel and transportation initiatives and a recent Lux Research report warns that the days are numbered for the dominance of big oil. Renewable Diesel (RD) is one example of a fuel that could be a game-changer. And, for the first time ever, a Navy ship has operated using 100% drop-in RD fuel (18,000 gallons of it). The test was to show that the fuel could work without modification and that it performs equal to or better than existing petroleum-derived fuels. The results in the twelve-hour test were successful and the data is now being fully analyzed. The Navy’s target is to have 50% of its energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020.

    The ubiquitous Tesla CEO Elon Musk made a new product announcement which is an upgraded battery that will increase the Model S range to 315 miles and 289 miles for the Model X. Musk observed that the Model S can now accelerate from 0-60 MPH in 2.5 seconds.

    Canadian-based Ballard Power Systems has just signed an agreement with Toyota Tsusho (Japanese trading arm of Toyota) making the latter a distributor of Ballard’s fuel cell systems in Japan. Ballard views this as a positive global market expansion. The agreement is good through 2020, the year that Japan hosts the Olympic Games, which will use fuel cells to provide power for the event. The country has also embraced fuel cells for transportation. 

    Canadian manufacturer New Flyer Industries will deliver the first OEM installation of the near-zero 2016 Cummins Westport ISL G engine in the third quarter of this year to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The compressed natural gas (CNG) engine will power a New Flyer Xcelsior XN40 bus.  American Power Group (APG) has announced that its largest customer, WW Transport, is operating over 100 heavy-haul Class 8 trucks using (APG’s) Turbocharged Natural Gas Dual Fuel conversion technology. WW Transit, based in West Burlington, Iowa, has expertise in specialized freight.

    And kudos to Motiv Power Systems a company that exemplifies the success of California’s policies. Motiv, manufacturer of all-electric powertrains, just opened a new headquarters in Foster City, CA that is triple the size of their previous location and will afford them the space needed to hire up to 100 new employees. 

    Ending here with a noteworthy observation made by John Cheney, a San Francisco investor commenting on the value of SB32, who opined that debating whether to continue California’s climate programs is like asking, “Should we vote to extend Hollywood in Hollywood?”

    State Assembly Passes SB32, San Francisco Chronicle

    Clean Tech Leaders Put a Business Friendly Spin on Climate Change, LA Times

    Navy Ship Runs on 100% Biodiesel, Environmental Leader

    Tesla Unveils a Powerful New Battery, The Christian Science Monitor

    Ballard Teams with Toyota Tsusho to Distribute Fuel Cells in Japan, Hydrogen Fuel News

    New Flyer for ISL G Near Zero Option, Fleets & Fuels

    American Power Group Customer Reaches Milestone, NGTNews

    Motiv Opens Its New HQ, Fleets&Fuels

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  • A New Phase

    It’s finally here! The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation have finalized the new rule that will make trucks and buses much more efficient over the next decade. It gets even better as projections are that the final Phase II regulations will result in carbon pollution being cut by 1.1 billion metric tons by 2027 and will save truckers millions in fuel costs.  To pave the way for these efficiencies, the U.S. Department of Energy announced $137M in awards for SuperTruck II, to develop next generation technologies. Four teams were selected and include Cummins, Inc. and Volvo Technology of America. 

    The automotive supplier base is a big deal player in delivering efficiencies for the medium- and heavy-duty market and CALSTART has issued a new report that maps U.S. suppliers. The effort includes 255 companies operating from 535 facilities in 40 states with products that can help meet the Phase II targets. 

    CALSTART members continue to lead the way in providing products that further increase fuel efficiency and reduce GHG emissions.  Orange EV has announced it is now accepting orders for its new T-Series pure-electric terminal truck. The company cites fuel savings on the Class 8 electric truck in the $200-$400k range, per year, for a fleet of 20 vehicles.  Fuel economy improvements and a 50% Nox emissions reduction have been announced by XL Hybrids as the results from their urban drive cycle testing on Ford Transits using their system. The test results show a 26% mpg improvement. 

    Colorado-based Lightning Hybrids has delivered two of their hydraulic hybrid shuttle buses to Denali National Park in Alaska for use in shuttling visitors around the 14-mile paved section of the road at the entrance to the park. Lightning’s fuel efficiency gains come from regenerating braking energy. And, a new partnership has been announced between Sumitomo and US Hybrid to collaborate on fuel cell stack production capacity, particularly as it applies to public transportation. 

    A coalition including The Department of Energy, Colorado Hydrogen Coalition, Ohio Fuel Cell Coalition, NREL, Virginia Clean Cities, and others are collaborating on a new project to compile a database of manufacturers and suppliers to the hydrogen and fuel cell industry. Companies interested in being included in that database can do so by filling out this form

    CALSTART is out with another new report called California’s Clean Transportation Technology Industry: Time to Shift into High Gear. The findings demonstrate that executives in this industry, which is 300+ companies strong, credit much of their success to California’s forward-looking policies and that with the continuation of those commitments the potential for even greater growth is huge.

    Feds Release New Heavy-Truck Emission Rules, Detroit Free Press

    DOE Announces SuperTruck II Awards, Green Car Congress

    CALSTART Maps Supplier Base for Fuel Saving Technologies, FleetOwner

    Orange EV Launches Class 8 Electric Trucks, GreenFleet

    Urban Drive Cycle Testing Shows a 26% MPG Improvement with XL Hybrids, Green Car Congress

    New Lightning Hybrids Buses to Transport Denali National Park Visitors, NGT News

    Sumitomo and US Hybrid Have High Hopes for Hydrogen-Powered Public Transit, Yahoo!Finance

    Hydrogen Supply Chain Form, Colorado Hydrogen Coalition

    Report Shows Significant Opportunity for California’s Clean Transportation Tech Industry, CALSTART

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  • Zooming in on Zero

    Thanks to a new Obama administration directive, federal agencies will now need to do a climate change impact analysis that contemplates climate impacts of decisions they make.  The Council on Environmental Quality has finalized the process which is expected to increase public input on decision-making.  And speaking in Traverse City, MI this week, EPA’s Chris Grundler called for more aggressive carbon reduction from the auto industry saying in order to meet established targets set in Paris late last year, we need to see a lot more zero-emission solutions in transportation.

    Utah Transit Authority and New Flyer, in partnership with CALSTART, are heeding the call and thanks to $5.4 million in funding from the Federal Transit Administration, they will have five new battery-powered buses in operation early next year serving Salt Lake City and the University of Utah. CALSTART’s Fred Silver’s focus at the upcoming Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Tech Expo in Novi, Michigan is Enabling Mass Adoption of Electric Buses. He’s giving a welcome address and chairing a panel that includes representatives from Proterra, Nova Bus and Yutong Bus Company. 

    There’s buzz around a new truck presence in the market and perhaps even more so now that Nikola Motor Company reports achieving 100% zero emissions on their new hybrid-electric Class 8 truck.  The company says they can get a range of up to 1200 miles and they’ve gotten deposits for more than 7000 “truck reservations.” Their planned unveiling is December 2 in Salt Lake City. UPS’ green street cred continues to grow as they’ve met their goal, one year early, of one billion miles driven using alternative fuel. The delivery giant has invested more than $750 million in alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles. Motiv, the seven-year old manufacturer of an all-electric powertrain, is growing again and they are pleased to be moving into their own building in Foster City, CA. The company opens their doors on Thursday, August 18 from 2-4 p.m. Pacific Time. Anyone interested in attending can register here.

    Automotive News has confirmed that the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV, which debuted as a concept car under two years ago, is set for production beginning in October of this year. The electric vehicle range is expected to be in excess of 215 miles per charge. But if they build it will the electric charging be in place for new owners? The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has stepped up to the plate having pledged $4.5 billion in loan guarantees to seed a vision for commercial scale deployment of EV charging throughout the country.  

    One final invitation. CALSTART’s Policy Director Ryan Schuchard is inviting CALSTART members to be part of a California Legislative Briefing webinar tomorrow at 11 a.m. Pacific time. This is the final month of the session and there are several bills under consideration of critical importance to our industry.  Sign up here for updates and to learn what you can do.

    Federal Agencies Directed to Calculate Climate Change Impacts, The Washington Post

    EPA Warns Automakers of Even Steeper US Fuel-Economy Goals, Bloomberg

    UTA to Introduce Zero Emission Buses Next Year, KUTV

    Enabling Mass Adoption of Electric Buses, Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Technology Expo

    Hybrid-Electric Class 8 Truck Scores Zero Emissions in Testing, TruckingInfo

    UPS Completes 1 Billion Miles in Rolling Lab Green Fleet, Business Green

    Motiv Grand Opening

    Chevy Bolt EV to Enter Production This October, Transport Evolved

    DOE to Back Nationwide EV Charging Network with $4.5 Billion, NGT News

    California Legislative Briefing Webinar, CALSTART

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  • Quantum Leaps

    If you’ve noticed it’s so hot that your seat belt is feeling like a branding iron, it’s not just you. NASA scientists announced yesterday that global temperatures are about to hit another high temperature benchmark with 2016 marking the third year in a row of record heat. The Director of NASA’s Goddard Institute, Gavin Schmidt, says we’re now dancing with the temperature targets set in last year’s Paris climate treaty. 

    Loveland, Colorado-based Lightning Hybrids, in partnership with the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) keep doing their part to curb transportation emissions. NREL has now purchased two of Lightning’s fuel efficient hydraulic hybrid systems for use on two of their seven shuttles that transport employees and visitors around their 632-acre campus. Last fall Lightning Hybrids was the winner of the “Best Venture” award bestowed by NREL at their Industry Growth Forum.

    Sacramento County gets to add more natural gas vehicles (NGVs) to their fleet thanks to a $600k award from the California Energy Commission (CEC). The county, with 2300 fleet vehicles, continues to move toward environmentally-friendly transportation options. And CEC also gave an assist to Northern California-based Efficient Drivetrains, Inc. (EDI), one of the industry partners in a $5.9M grant to develop 10 all electric vehicles (EVs) for operation at the Port of San Diego. EDI will be creating a series of EV trucks and electrifying forklift accessories. Other industry vendors supporting the San Diego Port Tenants Association project include BYD Motors and Transpower.

    Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies is leaping into a new future having just been acquired by a billion-dollar investment firm called Douglas Acquisitions. The company, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this year, makes NG fuel systems.

    I suspect it wasn’t the finest hour for the City of Chattanooga, TN when Walter Cronkite named it the dirtiest city in America.  That was 1969 and in 1995 the Chattanooga Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA) launched an emission-free electric shuttle bus service downtown. The bus, which has one million passengers a year, was the driving force behind transforming their transportation system, according to Scott Allen Fiedler of the Tennessee Valley Authority. The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA), located in St. Petersburg and Clearwater, FL area, has finally issued an RFP to buy 3 diesel hybrid and 2 electric buses. The SunCoast Sierra Club actually organized a campaign to give the Board a little push in a zero-emission direction

    Albuquerque Rapid Transit (ART) wants to save money and decrease emissions by buying 18 electric buses. ART is working with BYD Motors on the project and Mayor Richard Berry says Albuquerque will be the first city in the country to operate a fleet of 60-foot-long electric buses.

    Cards Against Urbanity is the latest spin-off of the popular game Cards Against Humanity. The transportation-themed version of the game was dreamed up by Members of Young Professionals in Transportation as a way to teach players about urban planning. The target is “policy wonks” who are interested in infrastructure. Included among the irreverent cards is “Highways that look like Soviet bread lines,” and “Actually believing bikeshare is a Marxist plot.”

    Global Temps on Course for Another Record, New York Times

    NREL Adds Fuel Efficient Hydraulic Systems to Its Shuttle Fleet, Denver Post

    Grants Expand NGV Use in Sacramento County, PUBLICCEO

    EDI Selected as Drivetrain Provider for $8.2M Electrification Project, NGTNews

    Quantum is Back from Bankruptcy, Fleets & Fuels

    In Former ‘Dirtiest City in America’ Clean Transportation is Thriving, Southeast Energy News

    St. Petersburg, FL Goes Shopping for Electric Transit Buses, Charged EVs

    NM: Electric Buses to be used for Albuquerque Rapid Transit, Mass Transit

    Cards Against Urbanity-A Dream for Parody Wonks, The Hill

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  • Rush Hour For Electric

    More details are coming out about how states will be able to spend the $14.7 billion settlement resulting from Volkswagen’s diesel cheating scandal, where emissions from their vehicles were more than 40 times higher than legal limits. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has created a checklist with 10 categories of allowable expenditures to make sure emissions mitigation is the driver of the spending. CALSTART’s Senior VP Bill Van Amburg observed “If you clean up just one big truck, you’re offsetting the pollution created by a lot of smaller cars.” 

    The California Air Resources Board (CARB) just gave a nod to XL Hybrids making their hybrid electric vehicle conversion of newly purchased GM vans eligible for the state’s Heavy Duty Voucher Incentive Program (HVIP). XL has partner installation facilities across the state and makes it easy for purchasers as they handle the voucher paperwork on behalf of customer fleets.

    ‘It’s Rush Hour for Urban Electric Buses’ proclaims the GreenBiz headline and CALSTART CEO John Boesel echoes that sentiment saying “EV technology has made more inroads in city transit than in trucking or other heavy-duty sectors,” and he observes that the truck and bus markets move in parallel as many of the technologies are transferrable. The story points to electric bus manufacturer Proterra’s market success, having deployed buses or orders with 27 cities.

    Plug Power, makers of GenDrive fuel cells used to power forklifts in large warehouses and distribution centers has partnered with France-based FM Logistics, pushing their product into Europe. FM Logistics is a family-run business operating in 13 countries around the world. The hydrogen fuel cell supply chain has just gotten an assist in the form of the launch of a website that will connect hydrogen and fuel cell companies to each other. The U.S. Department of Energy three-year project is managed by Virginia Clean Cities at James Madison University and is designed as a resource to grow the industry.

    California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) has proven to drive innovation and investment and a significant number of companies are producing enough fuels to meet the regulations requirements. Almost 60 producers and providers of clean fuels, ranging from electricity to biofuels, recently signed a letter urging state policymakers to sustain the policy which is a tool to lower the state’s GHG emissions and drive in-state investment.

    Driving electric is a new business model twist that General Motors (GM) and Lyft are focusing on. Lyft, the ride-share company that is in partnership with GM announced a new program called “Express Drive.” The concept is that Lyft drivers can rent electric vehicles from GM to drive for hire. Drivers will have access to the 2017 Bolt EV and the 2016 Volt. The program is available in Chicago, Boston, Baltimore and Washington, DC and will launch in San Francisco this month and in LA by the fall. 

    Affordable and profitable electric transportation comes in another form in San Francisco where Scoot is growing its emissions-free scooters on demand program. Hundreds of smart-phone activated scooters are available for lease and due to a new round of funding, hundreds more, no special license required, will be available soon. One million zero-emission miles later, the company has plans to launch in new markets in 2017. 

    VW’s Diesel Cheating Settlement Provides Trucking Windfall, Trucks.com

    XL Hybrids Receives CARB Approval, NGT 

    It’s Rush Hour for Urban Electric Buses, GreenBiz

    Plug Power Closes on New Order with French Company, Albany Business Review

    Virginia Clean Cities Announces Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Nexus Website, Augusta Free Press

    Renewable Fuels Industry Urges California Lawmakers to Back LCFS, CALSTART

    Lyft and GM to Rent EVs to Ride-Hailing Drivers, LA Times

    1,000,000 Zero-Emission Miles to Date, CleanTechnica

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  • Race To A Greener Future

    The auto industry eagerly awaits a new report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that will be used to determine if the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ) standards will stay in place. The report kicks off a multiyear review period and could be released any day. The rules require that automakers produce car and truck fleets that average more than 50 MPG by 2025.

    California has aggressively pursued policies and incentives to meet requirements under their 2006 global warming law and a new state finding shows that greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) fell in 2014 by less than 1%. There’s optimism that at this rate the state can meet short term targets but given population growth and other factors, meeting longer term goals could be challenging. 

    CALSTART President and CEO John Boesel, along with Foothill Transit’s Executive Director showcase the value of California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) in a recent editorial in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.  Transportation is responsible for 40% of the state’s GHG emissions, and the LCFS has already played a role in the deployment of over 100 zero-emission buses on the road.  One California company, Complete Coach Works, which refurbishes and repowers buses reports that it has upgraded its Zero Emission Propulsion System (ZEPS) battery pack increasing the energy storage capacity. Their electric buses operate in fleets around the country.

    EPA’s efforts to reduce emissions from older heavy-duty diesel vehicles through their Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) program just got a boost. As part of Volkswagen’s settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, VW will pay $2.7 billion into an environmental remediation fund which will be used to replace old polluting vehicles with cleaner operating diesel engines.

    General Motors, BYD and Tesla are among six manufacturers that Lux Research says will dominate the plug-in vehicle battery market by 2020. With battery and vehicle costs on the decrease, as well as increased range, their findings show the market will reach $10 billion in just a few years. 

    Jay Leno’s Garage recently featured Toyota’s i-Road EV concept vehicle which is described as a cross between a motorcycle and a car. The zero-emission vehicle gets 31 miles on a charge and Leno explained the sensation of it by saying, “It feels like I’m driving a car, but it’s almost like I’m on skis.”  

    The 2016 Indianapolis 500 which took place at the end of May was the 100th running of the race.  CALSTART member Auto Research Center, based in Indianapolis, knows a thing or two about racing and vehicles.  Check out the video they produced showing the historic race car aerodynamic  improvements they’ve seen up through today.

    Carmakers Wait to See if MPG Rules Will Stick, The Detroit News

    California’s GHG Emissions Drop, Barely, San Francisco Chronicle

    Route to a Greener Future Includes Zero Emission Buses, San Gabriel Valley Tribune

    CCW Upgrades the ZAPS Battery Pack, Fleets & Fuels

    VW Settlement Includes Funds for Truck Emissions Reduction, Truckinginfo

    Plug-In Vehicle Battery Market Expected to Swell to $10B, NGT News

    Jay Leno Drives Toyota i-Road-Video, InsideEvs

    Indycars: The Role of Aerodynamics in Racing

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  • Shifty Paradigms

    Fuel economy regulations have become an important strategy for curbing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in the transportation sector, but emissions keep rising, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). The sector keeps achieving fuel efficiency gains but Americans are driving more than ever and indulging their appetite for bigger, less fuel-efficient, trucks and SUVs than had been anticipated. The reporter asks if the technology is there. You’ll see many examples showcased below of the great industry strides to develop technology solutions that will reduce GHGs.

    Siemens is in partnership with Volvo testing an electric highway project in California to determine how the configuration of hybrid trucks can connect with the infrastructure of an electric highway in Long Beach and Los Angeles. Sweden, because they are cool, is also testing an electric highway system for trucks with hopes of developing an environmentally friendly transit system down the road.

    Lightning Hybrids makes an Energy Recovery System for medium-and heavy-duty trucks and buses and Massachusetts-based Kiessling Transit has ordered 32 units, which will come close to doubling the number of hydraulic hybrids in their fleet. Kiessling bought 35 of the units last year and the performance tests on the vehicle fleet demonstrated improvements in fuel economy and emission reductions.

    Sharing can certainly aid in the growth of clean technologies. Tesla did it and now Proterra has open-sourced its proprietary “on-route fast-charging technology” on a royalty-free basis. Citing Proterra’s commitment to expanding the electric bus market as a whole, CEO Ryan Popple said, “We hope this decision encourages even more transit agencies to bring clean, quiet, emission-free vehicles to our city streets and community roadways.” Speaking of Tesla, they could be doing that paradigm shifting thing again. Everyone gets that range anxiety is a problem and Tesla is in talks with Sheetz, a major gas station and convenience store chain about expanding their network of charging stations by putting them in their stores. Sheets operates hundreds of outlets in six, mostly mid-Atlantic, states. 

    States with vehicle purchase incentives continue to demonstrate that vouchers and rebates matter. Colorado’s legislature recently passed a tax credit bill that won’t take effect until January but Ford Motor Company says that while the car market has declined 14%, sales of electric vehicles in the state increased 6% for the first quarter of 2016. In addition to light-duty vehicles, there are also credits ranging from $7k to $20k for light-, medium-, and heavy-duty trucks.

    California has led the way in implementing market incentives for vehicle purchases which includes $150 million for clean truck projects and incentives. While the money is still there, it has been deferred until it will be finalized following summer discussions. CALSTART’s Bill Van Amburg observed that “These timing gaps can slow momentum and send confusing signals to investors and manufacturers.”  The pace of technology change in the on-road and off-road heavy-duty sector is swift and that will be a focal point of Bill’s opening keynote address at the November Electric & Hybrid Industrial Vehicle Technology Symposium 2016 in Cologne, Germany. CALSTART members receive a 10% discount off of the registration fee. Just use the code 20160614NM10 when you register.

    GHGs are Rising Despite Fuel Economy Standards, E&E Publishing

    The eHighways will Promote a Fossil Fuel Independent Transit System, Tech News Today

    Lightning Hybrids 32 More for Kiessling, Fleets & Fuels

    Proterra Open-Sources Its Fast-Charging Patents, electrek

    Tesla’s In Talks That Could Redefine Gas Stations, The Washington Post

    Ford EV Sales Surge as Colorado Named Best Place to Buy a New EV, Real Vail

    $150 Million in Clean Truck Incentive Funds Blocked by Uncertainty, Trucks.com

    Electric and Hybrid Industrial Vehicle Symposium 2016, Cologne, Germany

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  • Zero Tolerance

    The envelope please-and the winner is Columbus, Ohio which defeated half a dozen cities to claim the grand prize in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) smart city competition.  Driverless vehicles and EV charging station access will lend to changing the transportation complexion of the city. Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown was so excited about it that his office let The Columbus Dispatch in on the news overshadowing the DOT’s planned announcement for tomorrow.

    San Francisco was in the running for the Smart City award and even absent the $50M infusion, the city continues to grow their charging network. The state’s major utilities have plans underway including Pacific Gas & Electric which wants to deploy 7500 chargers in central and northern California. The state of New Jersey is employing a different strategy to get EV charging in place and it’s called It Pays to Plug In.  Phase 1 focuses on employers and provides $725,000 in grants to offset charging infrastructure costs.

    60,000 is the annual sales number expectation for Toyota’s Prius Prime plug-in hybrid. Their engineers see longer electric range, clear differentiation from the standard Prius, and easier battery recharging as the variables that will allow them to reach their sales numbers.

    San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG) and BYD are both winners in a recent $9 million award announcement by the State of California to purchase 27 zero-emission trucks. The project demonstration will last for two years and is expected to reduce 3,500 tons of carbon dioxide, 3,250 pounds of nitrogen oxide, and 170 pounds of diesel soot. Tesla cofounder Ian Wright is focusing on emission reductions too as he recently teamed up with Mack Truck to develop a new powertrain with four electric motors. The hybrid electric refuse truck is expected to reduce fuel consumption and emissions by 65%.

    If you haven’t heard of Nikola Motors that’s understandable as the announcement of its existence was just made last month. This month the company has announced that they’ve already generated $2.3 billion in pre-sales for their hybrid electric semi-truck powered by lithium battery packs and a compressed natural gas generator. CEO Trevor Milton assured questioning minds that the truck does exist and will be unveiled this December.

    UQM Technologies (motor and inverter system), Eaton’s Vehicle Group (2-speed transmission) and PiInnovo (transmission control unit) are the newest trio to partner on an electric powertrain system for the medium-and heavy-duty commercial EV market. UQM CEO Joe Mitchell believes this is the ideal drivetrain solution for electric and range-extended commercial vehicles.

    If you’ve not heard about WAVE systems, you’ll probably want to. Wireless Advanced Vehicle Electrification (WAVE) is a charging system embedded into the roadway. The Antelope Valley Transit Authority (AVTA) in California has authorized the purchase of the charging systems. The charging infrastructure, plus a recent award for 29 new battery-electric buses means AVTA is on track to be completely zero-emission by 2018.

    School Transportation News takes a look at school buses using a recent CALSTART webinar on renewable diesel (RD) as a springboard. San Jose Unified School District is transitioning its 72-bus fleet to RD. Pat O’Keefe with NexGen Fuel says greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced by 65 to 90% when running on RD.

    The operative words are “substance” and “free” when talking about the High-Efficiency Truck Users Forum (HTUF) 2016 National Meeting & Technical Interchange, which is put on by CALSTART and the U.S. Army TARDEC National Automotive Center. The focus is on technologies that support commercial and military vehicle capabilities. The meeting is August 1 in Novi, MI, space is limited, and you can register here.  

    Columbus Awarded $50M in Smart City Grants, The Columbus Dispatch

    Utilities Want to Plug in More Electric Drivers, KQED

    New Jersey Offers Business Grants for EV Charging Stations, TAPinto

    Toyota Targets Annual Sales for Prius Plug-In, InsideEVs

    California Awards Fleets $9M for Zero-Emission Trucks, HDT Truckinginfo

    Tesla Co-Founder Plays Frankenstein With Hybrid Electric Garbage Truck, Digital Trends

    Electric Truck Start Up Nikola Motors Claims $2.3 Billion in Preorders, Jalopnik

    UQM for a New Full Electric Drive System, Fleets&Fuels

    AVTA to Purchase WAVE Charging Systems, NGT News

    The Next Big School Bus Alternative Fuel Is…Diesel? School Transportation News

    HTUF 2016 National Meeting & Technical Interchange, August 1, 2016, Eventbrite

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  • From Sea to Shining Sea

    There was good news out of Washington D.C. last week where the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee approved a standalone, five-year reauthorization of the Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA). Competitive incentive funding is available to aid in reducing emissions from older diesel powered vehicles and equipment. The demand for the program is high with applications exceeding available funding by a 35-to-1 ratio. 

    Funding programs for advanced technologies offset the higher costs of clean and fuel efficient vehicles which CALSTART has witnessed first-hand through California, New York and Chicago voucher programs we administer. Trucks.com captured not only that but the full range of fuel and technology neutral work CALSTART offers across the commercialization process from policy and technology development to tech validation and helping start-ups grow. 

    Incentives come in many forms and a new, successful one is the National Association of Fleet Administrators (NAFA) Sustainable Fleet Accreditation Program. Time Warner Cable’s fleet manager George Survant provides insights into the strategies he has employed to become one of the first 10 companies to receive the national accreditation as a sustainable fleet. CALSTART is a partner in the program and CEO John Boesel observed, “It helps fleets measure themselves against each other” and enables potential clients to measure the relative greenness of trucking companies bidding for their business.

    Kudos to Clean Fuels Ohio which played an instrumental role in the Ohio General Assembly approving  legislation allocating $5 million in grants for compressed natural gas (CNG) and propane conversions in vehicles. The bill is expected to be signed into law by the Governor in the next few weeks. Clean Fuels Ohio Director Sam Spofforth believes there is significant demand for the program and will work to expedite funding for vehicle acquisitions and conversions.

    Volvo Trucks is thinking big and in partnership with the Swedish Energy Agency they are shooting to improve long-haul truck efficiency by 50%. They are well on their way with a new concept truck that uses 30% less fuel than a typical long-haul truck. The U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center is in testing mode, too, and along with the Michigan Department of Transportation, plans are underway for a convoy to test driverless vehicle technology. The test is scheduled to take place late this month on Interstate 69 in Michigan.

    Next stop-Albuquerque, New Mexico. That’s where the CNG from Sea to Shining Sea Road Rally will be today. Through June 10 Natural Gas Vehicles (NGVs) will make stops in 13 cities to demonstrate that vehicles and fueling infrastructure (911 CNG public stations) are in place across the country.

    Diesel Emissions Reduction Act of 2016 On Way to 2021, Construction Equipment

    CALSTART: Easing the Way to Cleaner Trucking, Trucks.com

    Time Warner Cable: Forging a Path Toward Fleet Sustainability, UFP

    A Green Measuring Stick for Truck Fleets, Trucks.com

    Ohio to Provide $5M in Grants for Alt-Fuel Conversions, GreenFleet

    Volvo Concept Truck Slashes Fuel Consumption by 30%, Gizmag.com

    US Army to Test Driverless Vehicle Technology in Michigan, CBS Detroit

    CNG From Sea to Shining Sea Road Rally, NGVAmerica

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  • Bus Eats Cars

    The US insurance industry is the second largest institutional investor in fossil fuels and a new report from Ceres suggests divestment strategies are in order to avoid losing money. Insurers are beginning to look at investment risks posed by climate change and have already invested $7 billion in clean energy companies

    Last week the World Health Organization (WHO) reported an 8% increase in harmful airborne particulates in cities around the world and some experts are concerned that a contributing factor could be growing discrepancies in vehicle emissions between laboratory tests and real world air pollution from cars. Experts point to improved vehicle emissions standards as a way to cut air pollution.

    The changing car culture has captured the attention of auto manufacturers and Toyota and Volkswagen are the latest to announce investments in start-ups. Toyota has formed a partnership with and is investing in Uber, and the New York Times suggests automakers are considering a future where mobility solutions won’t require individual car ownership. While auto sales have not been hurt to date, everyone’s jockeying to understand and stay ahead of the changes.

    The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is poised to consider a new, $150 million in funding for clean trucks programs, next month. The funds include $63 million for truck operators to purchase clean and advanced equipment. CALSTART’s Bill Van Amburg applauds the air board’s management of the limited funds available; he also signaled a need for more zero-emission trucks.  The San Joaquin Valley in Central California is known for its air pollution problems and now the California Energy Commission (CEC) has awarded the Fresno Local Government Commission (LGC) and its project partners which include CALSTART, $1.5 million to create a clean energy market in their community. 

    Peapod is delivering good news around Chicago where they’ve taken advantage of the Drive Clean Chicago voucher program to operate two fuel-efficient, hydraulic hybrid delivery trucks as they deliver groceries in the area. Colorado-based Lightning Hybrids is the designer and manufacturer of the Energy Recovery System (ERS) which offers significant fuel and brake savings. The emissions reductions are expected to be in the 50% range.

    Fuel and brake savings as well as fast payback are the promises of a new technology that will be available in mid-2017. A group of engineers based in Pittsburgh is developing a hybrid-electric drive trailer tandem with a projected payback within as little as six months. Hyliion, the company name, stands for hybrid lithium ion, which is the type of battery in the system.

    If you are tired of reading, just watch the video for an under two minute look at a model Land Airbus which straddles the traffic lanes on rails but allows vehicles to pass under it. The bus, being dreamed up in China, can hold up to 1400 passengers, would run on electricity and take the place of 40 buses. Transit Explore Bus is building a life-size model in Changzhou and it is to be tested in July or August. 

    Fossil Fuel Investments Growing Riskier for Insurers, Inside Climate News

    Unreliable Car Emissions Tests Harming Fight Against Air Pollution, The Guardian

    Automakers Girding Against a Changing Car Culture, The New York Times

    CARB Seeks $150M for Clean Trucks Program, Trucks.com

    Fresno on Path to Becoming an Advanced Energy Community, Business Journal

    Peapod Deploys Hydraulic Hybrid Delivery Trucks in Chicago, NGT News

    Hybrid Electric-Drive Trailer Tandem Promises Quick Payback,  Heavy Duty Trucking

    Watch This Straddle Bus Eat Cars While Speeding Down the Highway, City Lab

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  • Charge Ready

    It’s anticipated that over the next 35 years, truck traffic will increase by 80% nationally and 50% in California, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. Does this portend a bleak CO2 future? Not necessarily. The authors say the outlook is bright if, among other things, we accelerate zero emission vehicle (ZEV) technologies of urban delivery, refuse collection, drayage trucks, and transit applications. 

    Moran Transportation is doing their part as they recently announced a follow-on order for Orange EV’s T-Series Electric Terminal Truck. The company reports “an immediate and substantial effect on reducing their carbon foot print,” as well as an 80% reduction in unit energy cost. Loop Energy out of Vancouver, Canada is another company concerned about emissions from heavy-duty vehicles. Their solution is to use hydrogen fuel cells as a part of hybrid hydrogen-electric drive trains. The company is testing a prototype fuel cell on a yard truck in a deal with a major Chinese trucking company.

    By 2030, one in five transit buses are expected to be ZEVs. Western Massachusetts’ Pioneer Valley Transit Authority is the latest to introduce three Proterra electric buses into their fleet. On the other side of the country, the pioneering SunLine Transit Agency has just announced the purchase of their first pure EV. BYD is SunLine’s technology partner providing the 40 ft. low floor bus that achieves a range of 155 miles on a single charge.
    Self-driving cars are all the rage but The New York Times points to a Google engineer led start-up called Otto, as a reason why the commercial trucking industry may have a leg up in bringing autonomous vehicles to long-haul freeway driving. Adding self-driving technology to cars would mean a huge expense but putting robotics on a $150k truck might be more affordable. Once emerging from a regulatory maze, Otto anticipates offering their technology as an upgrade to truck owners. Automated trucks will be one of several focal points on August 1 in Novi, Michigan as CALSTART hosts the 2016 High-Efficiency Truck Users Forum (HTUF). It is held in conjunction with the Ground Vehicle Systems Engineering and Technology Symposium (GVSETS). Mark your calendar and stay tuned for more details.

    Pending an expected signature from Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, as of January of next year state residents will be able to get $5k off an alternative fuel vehicle (AFV) at the time of purchase.  Add the $7500 federal tax credit to that and backers of the bill expect AFVs to account for 3% of vehicle purchases, up from the current 0.9%.

    Southern California Edison (SCE) is making electric vehicle ownership more convenient as they move ahead with their Charge Ready EV pilot program. The utility is putting $22 million toward partnering with employers, landlords, universities and others in their service territory to add up to 1,500 new charging stations. 

    If you want to travel far and fast, Popular Mechanics offers one GIF and a 188-year-old look at the history of electric vehicles. From Anyos Jedlik’s first experiment in 1828 up to the Tesla Model 3, see it all in seconds.

    Hitting US Climate Targets: Will Electric Trucks Deliver the Goods, UCCS

    Moran Transportation Announces Orange EV Follow-on Order, Orange EV

    Vancouver Firm Wants to Clean Up Heavy Transport Emissions, Vancouver Sun

    PVTA To Introduce Electric Buses on Holyoke-Springfield Line, MassLive

    SunLine Expands Fleet With First All-Electric Bus, InsideEVs

    Want to Buy a Self Driving Car? Trucks May Come First, New York Times

    Buying an EV in Colorado Just Got $5k Cheaper, The Denver Post

    SCE Launches $22M Charge Ready Program for 1,500EV stations, NGT News

    The 188-Year-Old History of the Electric Car in One Gif, Popular Mechanics

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  • Pollution Solution

    Transitioning away from oil and gas to clean and renewable energy are key to meeting global greenhouse gas (GHG) climate commitments and global space agencies are calling for a new reporting tool that could pinpoint country by country where GHG’s are coming from. The plan involves 6-8 satellites that would map clouds of carbon dioxide resulting in greater precision in verifying emission reports from the member states of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.  Argonne National Lab has updated its fleet tool, AFLEET, which includes vehicle air pollution emission factors. Additions also include fuel cell vehicles, state-based fuel pricing, private station fuel pricing, and fueling infrastructure costs.

    Freight transport, according to the California Air Resources Board (CARB), accounts for about half of toxic diesel particulate matter and 6% of GHG emissions in California. CARB and the South Coast Air Quality Management District announced a pollution solution pilot project last week designed to facilitate the commercialization of zero-emission truck technologies. CALSTART worked with the air districts to help identify and recruit key truck makers and suppliers. The $23.6 million award means 43 zero-emission trucks will operate in Disadvantaged Communities. BYD, Peterbilt, TransPower, Volvo, Kenworth, and BAE Systems are all part of the team.

    Missouri-based Orange EV, maker of electric drive terminal trucks, is expanding. The company has received a $150k investment from the Missouri Technology Corp, they are moving to a new much larger plant, and the staff is expected to double in size by year-end.

    Delivery giant UPS has committed to log 1 billion miles with advanced technology vehicles by the end of 2017 and toward that end they’ve upgraded and improved the fuel efficiency on 125 of their hybrid-electric delivery trucks. In partnership with Workhorse Group, the trucks now have a quiet 2-cylinder engine and updated E-Gen chassis. 

    UPS has also committed to purchasing 46 million gallons of clean renewable diesel (RD). Several fleets along the West Coast including Oregon, Washington and California have made big commitments to RD and most recently the city of Corvallis, OR decided to switch its 55-vehicle fleet to RD. Pat O’Keefe, President of Nexgen Fuel urges policy makers in state legislatures to mandate the use of low carbon fuels to make them more competitive. 

    Zero-emission vehicles are the centerpiece of Toyota’s strategy to roll out their hydrogen fuel-cell Mirai Sedan in California as well as Northeast states over the next two years. Fleets&Fuels reports that there are 150 Mirai’s on California roads with an aim to sell or lease 3,000 of the vehicles in targeted markets by the end of 2017. Ford Motor Company has ambitions, too, but their focus is electrification with a battery-electric vehicle that gets 200 miles or more of range. The Ford Model E will likely be sold as a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid and an all-electric vehicle.

    There are a lot of clean and fun ways to travel and some border on the downright funny. Check out 27 bikes from around the world that you’ve never seen before.  Being a fan of bikes is a vicious cycle.

    Potential Eyes in the Sky on GHGs, The New York Times

    Argonne Rolls Out New Version of Advanced Vehicles Analysis Tool, Phys.org

    California Funds Zero-Emission Trucks, MM&D

    Electric-truck Maker Orange EV is Expanding, The Kansas City Star

    UPS Adds 2-Cylinder Engine to Hybrids to Boost Range, Truckinginfo

    Renewable Diesel Facing Availability Issue, Hard Working Trucks

    City’s Diesel Fleet Switching to Renewable Diesel, Corvallis Gazette-Times

    Toyota Takes the H2 FCV Commercial, Fleets&Fuels

    Ford Confirms 200-Mile Electric Car, Green Car Reports

    Funny Bikes You’ve Never Seen Before, Bajiroo

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  • Airbnb on Wheels

    Scientific American reports that automakers continue to meet or exceed fuel economy rules set by the U.S. EPA and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) doubling car fuel efficiency in 2025 from 2012. 63% of all new 2016 vehicles were CAFÉ-compliant compared to 41% last year.  On the light truck and SUV side the percentage of CAFÉ-compliant vehicles stayed the same at 40%. 

    The city of San Diego is setting ambitious targets as Republican Mayor Kevin Faulconer aims to have the city run on 100% renewable power by 2035. His efforts are being touted as a bipartisan push that could be a model for other cities that are growing impatient over federal bickering on climate change. San Diego will switch half of its fleet to electric power as part of the plan. Startup First Element is doing its part to make low carbon fuel available in California, having completed a network of 15 hydrogen fueling stations. The company has also rolled out their new brand with the stations going by the name True Zero.

    Kudos to Kirt Conrad, the ubiquitous Executive Director of Ohio’s Stark Area Regional Transit Authority. Conrad was just selected to be the Board President of the Ohio Public Transit Association. SARTA is a leader in adopting clean bus technology and will have 10 fuel cell buses in its fleet by 2017. The market for battery-electric buses is growing and Utah-based WAVE (Wireless Advanced Vehicle Electrification) is at the ready to equip transit properties with their wireless charging system that will soon provide an invisible infrastructure. WAVE expects to have 20 systems in place later this year in several cities.

    Everyone’s coming up with new ideas and perhaps Elon Musk is leading the pack. This time he’s taking a look at inner-city, high density transport problems. Speaking at a conference in Oslo recently, Musk used “autonomous vehicles” and “not exactly a bus” together in suggesting a future solution to getting passengers beyond the bus stop. BMW is out with a new idea, too. Addressing growing interest in ride-sharing, BMW’s AG Mini brand is looking to install devices allowing owners to rent out their vehicles. A BMW exec likened it to Airbnb on wheels

    Well, who better than former NHTSA Administrator David Strickland to take the lead in making sure the federal government defines the rules of the road in laying out federal standards for autonomous vehicles?  Ford, Volvo, Google, Lyft and Uber have formed a “Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets” and leading it is Strickland himself. The coalition will work with lawmakers and regulators to make sure vehicles meet federal safety standards. 

    As snowflakes are falling outside my window, you’ll forgive me for pining for a bicycle car. Swedish design engineer Micael Kjellman’s creation is a bicycle with four wheels and is covered by waterproof fabric complete with studded tires, a mini-trunk, a heated windshield and a seat with back support. I just checked and his Indiegogo funding campaign is at over $40k meaning he’ll be assembling a kit so we the people can create our own “PodRides.” I’m in!

    American Cars on Track to Double Fuel Efficiency, Scientific American

    San Diego Republican Mayor Pushes 100% Renewable Energy, The Guardian

    True Zero to be Brand for Hydrogen Fueling Stations, Green Car Reports

    Conrad to Head Ohio Public Transit Association Board, Crain’s

    WAVE Wireless Charging Helps Transit Agencies, ChargedEVs

    Might Tesla Revolutionize the Bus Industry, Ecowatch

    BMW-Airbnb on Wheels, Bloomberg

    Let’s Get Cracking on Self-Driving Car Regulations, PC Mag

    Swedish Cyclist Designs a CarBike, inhabitat

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  • Bolt Baring

    “The U.S. Senate acted in a bipartisan fashion….” Wait, what? That’s the news today from the Washington Post where the Senate passed a sweeping energy bill in a vote of 85-12. The result seems to be cheering from industry and a more tepid appraisal from environmental interests. The bill included a measure authored by Michigan’s senators promoting investments in the research and development of more fuel-efficient vehicles. The next step is a conference committee with the House to reconcile the Senate and House bills.

    The new and fuel-efficient Chevrolet Bolt is garnering a lot of attention and for those of you really wanting to delve into the electric powertrain, Charged EVs is here to help. In a series of photos you’ll also be able to see the battery pack in comparison to the Volt and the Spark EV. What will it take to get more EVs on the road? Michael Shepherd with E Source points to utilities playing an education and awareness building campaign suggesting that now is the time for them to play the disruptive innovator and transition transportation from petroleum to electricity. This is the first in a five-part series on the role utilities should play in bringing EVs to market.

    Fleet managers in Oregon can begin or resume transitioning their fleets  as the Oregon Department of Energy has $6 million in tax credits for those wanting to replace two or more fleet vehicles with EVs, CNG, LNG, propane, RNG, hydrogen, renewable diesel or butanol. Seven lucky transit fleets are the recipients of $22.5 million from the Federal Transit Administration’s (LoNo) program. The funds will be used to pay for battery-electric, fuel cell and other innovative technologies in their fleets.  CALSTART is pleased to be on two of the winning teams including partnerships with the Utah Transit Authority and the Stark Area Regional Transit Authority in Ohio.

    New Flyer has announced the inaugural road demonstration of their Xcelsior XHE60 heavy-duty articulated hydrogen fuel cell transit bus with participation from Metro Transit of Minneapolis and Alameda County Transit based in California. New Flyer’s fuel cell propulsion system partners were Ballard and Siemens. There’s a hydrogen fuel cell rally underway today in California where California Air Resources Board (CARB) Chair Mary Nichols is joined by California Energy Commission (CEC) Commissioner Janea Scott and Tyson Eckerle, Deputy Director of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development. The group will be part of a ribbon cutting this afternoon for the unveiling of the Central Valley’s first hydrogen refueling station. The delegation is traveling 400 miles from Los Angeles to ARB headquarters in Sacramento in celebration of Earth Day.

    Cultivating new relationships and introducing new companies to the hydrogen and fuel cell market in California is the goal of an upcoming Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Supply Chain Exchange and Partnership Development Workshop next month in Long Beach. The workshop takes place on Thursday, May 5 from 1-5 p.m. at the Convention Center.

    The Senate Just Passed an Energy Bill, The Washington Post
    The New Chevy Bolt Bares All In Juicy Powertrain Pictures, Charged EVs

    Why Utilities Should Promote EVs to Consumers, UtilityDIVE

    Oregon Makes $6M Available for Alt-Fuel Fleet Projects, NGT News

    FTA Selects 7 Projects to Receive $22.5M in Grants, Fleets&Fuels

    FTA Provides Funding for 51 Zero Emission Buses-CALSTART on Two Winning Teams, Market Wired

    New Flyer Intros First 60-Foot Hydrogen Fuel Cell Bus in North America, Newswire Today

    ARB Chair Mary Nichols Leads Hydrogen Fuel Cell Rally, The Business Journal

    Supply Chain Exchange Workshop, California Hydrogen Business Council

    Registration http://bit.ly/1U6J34m

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  • Love Thy Neighbor, Even in the Subway

    Washington Post reporter Chris Mooney doesn’t think that Tesla’s more than 325,000 pre-orders for the Model 3 will lead to the decarbonization of transportation. For scale that makes a difference he points to Norway (and pays homage to California, too) where serious incentives and an awareness campaign resulted in electric vehicles (EVs) accounting for 18% of new cars sold last year. To underscore why perceptions matter he highlights an NREL study suggesting Americans aren’t psychologically ready for EVs due to a combination of lack of awareness of charging outlets and range anxiety. 

    The good legislators in the state of Minnesota offer a Ya You Betcha to the need for incentives. Recently the legislature introduced two EV tax credit support bills that would offer tax rebates or a tax credit and would require utilities to develop public charging infrastructure. In Colorado, one innovative dealer  has been shopping for used EVs you can only get in cool California and putting them on the lot of Green Eyed Motors in Boulder. Green Car Reports says buyers can get a $6k income-tax reduction the first time an EV is registered in the state. 

    Toyota continues their rollout of the hydrogen-fueled Mirai and in collaboration with fueling provider Air Liquide, they are building out infrastructure in the north east. Their goal is to sell 3,000 units by the end of next year. Stations are going up in California and now Air Liquide has announced the locations of the first four NE stations which will be placed in Connecticut, New York, and Massachusetts (2).  Toyota has gotten a nod from Best Buy which is a fan of the new Prius because of both its fuel economy and carbon emission benefits. As a result the company has decided to leave the VW Beetle behind and add 1,000 new 2016 Prius C’s to their Geek Squad fleet. 

    Cummins Westport has announced that they will begin taking orders this month for their natural gas near-zero Nox engine. An appealing description of the significance of their technology was offered by Executive VP Jim Arthurs who said if you converted all 2,200 transit buses in LA to the new engine it would result “…in the total Nox emissions from the entire fleet being the equivalent of what was emitted by just two buses in 1985.” IndyGo, the transit agency for Indianapolis is all about future technologies and their President Mike Terry casts a vision of a progressive model. From their all-electric bus rapid transit line to claiming the number two spot as the largest public operator of electric transit buses (provided by Complete Coachworks) in the country they are strategically providing “a gateway to advanced technologies of the future.”  

    Indianapolis is also known for BlueIndy, the largest electric car sharing program in the country. Recently the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) President embraced ride-sharing programs like Uber and Lyft for their contributions in creating a multimodal lifestyle. Many transit agencies are now partnering with upstart service providers and encouraging customers to use ride apps.

    “Love thy neighbor, even in the subway!” is the caption of one vintage poster in a new exhibit called “Transit Etiquette or: How I Learned to Stop Spitting and Step Aside in 25 Languages.”  The exhibit in the New York Transit Museum displays global campaigns dating back to 1940 depicting how transit agencies used art and humor to encourage civility.

    How do we Jam the Roads with EVs by 2030? The Washington Post

    Minnesota Legislature Mulling New EV Tax Rebates, EVObsession

    Dealer Brings ‘Forbidden Fruit’ to Colorado, Green Car Reports

    Air Liquide-Toyota Hydrogen Fuel Station Sites Announced, Petro Plaza

    Geek Squad Trades in VW Beetle for Toyota Prius, AdAge

    Near-Zero Nox NG Engine Is On the Way, Trucks.com

    Indy’s Mass Transit Poised for Future Technologies, Inside Indiana Business

    Why Transit Agencies are Finally Embracing Uber, CityLab

    Exhibit Studies Subway Etiquette, WTOP

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  • The New Normal

    Twenty-one countries have fully decoupled their economic growth from carbon emissions and a new study from the International Energy Agency (IEA) shows that this is a continuing trend. In the United States the decoupling was achieved by the boom in domestic natural gas production and energy-efficient technology. Many questions abound but enthusiasm is strong about breaking the link between economic growth and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. 

    Talk about strong enthusiasm, ubiquitous headlines about Tesla’s hundreds of thousands of preorders for their new Model 3 dominate the news. Scientific American quotes CALSTART President and CEO John Boesel as saying, “Both the announcements by GM and Tesla for their 2017 cars are establishing a new normal for the EV market.” Oak Ridge National Laboratory is striving to create a new normal for fast and efficient wireless vehicle charging. Researchers recently announced they’ve invented a new wireless charging system that charges three times as fast as ordinary systems. Their version operates at 20-kilowatts and they highlight the benefits for bus systems to be able to charge along their routes.

    Residents of New York will soon see incentives for purchasing plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles, as well as recharging infrastructure. The state has approved a rebate program that will give consumers a $2,000 per-vehicle credit as well as $5,000 from the Environmental Protection Fund for EV infrastructure. 

    For those on the advanced vehicle technology fast track, NVIDIA has announced their technology will power the custom sports cars competing in the upcoming driverless racing series Roborace. The race with no drivers will run in conjunction with Formula E starting in the 2016-17 season. As the race to an autonomous vehicle future is heating up in the U.S., the Truck News headline “Autonomous Trucks Aren’t Driverless” provides some comfort. Their story focuses on the Daimler Trucks North America introduction of the first road-legal autonomous truck which they debuted in Nevada, the first state to make it road legal. Many drivers were concerned about the potential for that to erode their job security but the writer points out that a Level 3 autonomous vehicle will always require oversight from a trained professional driver. 

    Kudos to Altec International for winning the Work Truck Show 2016 Green Award. Judges included trade media editors and truck fleet managers. In the announcement Altec showcases the JEMS 4 Series, a hybrid electric system for utility trucks which reduces idle time and realizes significant reductions in emissions. 

    Ben & Jerry’s, General Mills and Patagonia are among 12 companies calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to be firm in not watering down the upcoming Phase 2 emissions and fuel-efficiency standards. The 12 companies represent more than 500 million freight miles driven annually and are seeking a 40% reduction in fuel use from heavy trucks by 2025. 

    Connected vehicles, the future of the transportation industry and sustainability are all topics at the upcoming NAFA I&E meeting coming up in two weeks in Austin, Texas. CALSTART’s Bill Van Amburg will be there with fleet managers who are enrolled in the Sustainable Fleet Accreditation Program and will share their experiences from the first year of the program. The complete agenda is available here.

    Signs Are Promising That Economies Can Rise as Carbon Emissions Decline, The New York Times

    Tesla Releases Its Electric Car for the Masses, Scientific American

    ORNL’s 20-kw Wireless Charging for EVs, Science World

    New York Now Offering $2k Rebate for PHEV Purchases, NGT News

    NVIDIA Will Power the First-Ever Driverless Race Cars, engadget

    Autonomous Trucks Aren’t  Driverless, trucknews.com

    Altec Receives NTEA Work Truck Show 2016 Green Award, sys.conmedia

    Business Coalition Says Proposed EPA Truck Rules Too Easy, Trucks.com

    NAFA I&E in Austin, TX April 19-22, NAFA

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  • Apples to Tesla's

    A new report is out showing that an impressive 2.5 million Americans are working in the clean energy sector. Electric vehicles (EVs) account for the majority of jobs in the advanced vehicle sector which employs about 170,000 people. A recent UN report, Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2016, shows that batteries for EVs have dropped dramatically in price over the last five years. A Bloomberg News Energy Finance chart shows a compelling visual depicting significant price decreases between 2014 and 2015. Argonne National Lab predicts, at this rate, EVs will constitute 58% of the light vehicle market by 2030.  Perhaps responding to job growth in the EV sector, Charged EVs just this morning announced a jobs board saying “The automotive industry is changing quickly and with emerging technology comes a stressed talent pool.” 

    Volvo is contributing to the growth in the EV market by selling about 1,000 of their plug-in hybrid XC90 vehicles a month since putting it on sale last year. Hybrid Cars reports that 402 of the vehicles have been sold in the US. General Motors is gearing up for the rollout of their 200-mile 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV. Last week they announced that the pre-production units are now being assembled at their plant in Orion Township, Michigan. 

    Toyota is fast at work on the hydrogen-powered Mirai as they carefully balance production with the rollout of hydrogen fueling infrastructure. Building the future of sustainability comes with a price tag for manufacturers including engaging in building out hydrogen fueling as well as subsidizing some of the purchasing and operating costs. The company has helped with 14 stations so far in California and is working on 12 more in northeastern states over the next two years.

    Companies like BYD employ more than 15,000 R&D engineers to develop their technologies. Their latest announcement is the upcoming delivery of four battery electric transit buses to Wenatchee, Washington’s Link Transit this summer. More than 6,000 of the BYD KNS 35-foot buses are in service from Los Angeles to London and Hong Kong. 

    Pi Innovo is a Michigan-based controls engineering firm that designs auxiliary systems for electric vehicles. They’ve recently announced a partnership with semiconductor manufacturer GaN Systems to meet the growing demand of auto manufacturers for a pathway to the electrification of vehicle auxiliary systems in multi-voltage conventional, hybrid-electric and pure electric vehicles.

    Tesla Motors has been called the Apple Inc. of the auto industry and just like Apple, lines are forming (well at least one person in Australia and another in Canada) a day before Elon Musk reveals the final details of the Model 3 all electric sedan tomorrow. If you want to see it to believe in it, don't heed the advice of Product Reviews to get your order in early. They've heard that Tesla may take 100,000 reservations before the Model 3 is revealed.

    2.5 Million Americans Work in Clean Energy, CleanTechnica

    Why EVs are About to Become Mainstream, Tech Insider

    Charged EVs Jobs Board, Charged EVs

    Volvo Says 20% of all XC90s Sold are PHEVs, Autoblog

    2017 Chevy Bolt EV Now Being Built, Green Car Reports
    Fueling the Success of the Hydrogen-Powered Toyota Mirai, re/code

    BYD to Deliver 4 Electric Buses to Wash. Transit Agency, Metro Magazine

    Pi Innovo and GaN Systems Collaborate, Charged EVs

    Tesla Model 3 Order Eagerness, PR.net

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  • Angry Birds & Climate Change

    A new list is out and this one uses multiple criteria to rank the top cities in the US that are electric vehicle (EV) ready. Indiana University researchers put their minds to the challenge and while several of the top cities are on the coasts, some aren’t, like Denver which ranked number 5. Purchase incentives, not surprisingly, are a big driver. Toyota is at the New York Auto Show this week where they launched their newest EV, the 2017 Prius Prime. The plug-in vehicle doubles the electric range and can go 22 miles on electric power before reverting to hybrid operation.

    Ethanol advocates are taking note of new analysis from Reuters showing that close to one-fifth of vehicles on U.S. roads can handle running on gasoline with a 15% blend of ethanol. There’s a lot to be gained by US ethanol manufacturers like Pacific Ethanol and the biofuel industry as a whole as automakers continue to adopt new models to run on higher ethanol blends to meet regulatory demands. The majority of vehicles sold last year were approved for E15 by manufacturers. Fiat Chrysler was the last of the “Detroit Three” to approve the higher blend in its 2016 models.

    The City of Oakland, UPS, and the Eugene Water and Electric Board are among a growing number of fleets adopting renewable diesel (RD), a fuel made from renewable sources. Fleets like it as it is a low cost, clean fuel that meets ASTM D975 industry specs for diesel fuel and can be used in any vehicle that uses diesel. Golden Gate Petroleum’s Pat O’Keefe says GHG emissions reductions when using RD range from 13-90% and CO2 can be reduced by 60-90%.

    The California Energy Commission (CEC) has awarded the Gas Technology Institute $1 million to develop and demo an advanced natural gas (NG) engine to be used in applications such as delivery trucks and school buses. The Cummins Westport ISB6.7 NG engine meets both EPA’s Heavy-Duty (HD) Onboard Diagnostics requirements as well as the California Air Resource Board’s (CARB) optional low Nox emissions. Volvo Trucks is also working on engine enrichments ranging from retooled engines to total powertrain enhancements. The target rollout is for later this year and into 2017.

    Canada’s Loop Energy was recently awarded $7.5 million from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) to work with Peterbilt to speed deployment of a new zero-emission powertrain for HD trucks. The Loop powertrain combines an electric battery with a hydrogen fuel cell.

    There’s good news out of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) related to the efficiency of electric buses. The Lab worked with California’s Foothill Transit on a 12-vehicle Proterra electric bus demo and their conclusion is that the buses are four times more efficient than compressed natural gas (CNG) buses while being three times more reliable. Proterra’s growing demand for electric buses has resulted in their placement of a new order with UQM Technologies for their HD electric drive systems. The order will be fulfilled this year. 

    Electric bus manufacturer BYD is marking a first after delivering the first five new all-electric additions to London’s bus fleet. The double-decker buses come complete with zero emissions and zero tailpipe-pollution, news that could put a smile on the face of an angry bird. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has been talking with Red, the lead character of the mobile game “Angry Birds” about being an honorary ambassador to address climate change. As part of a new campaign, people are asked to take pictures of themselves while riding on clean public transportation or carpooling and then post them using the hashtag #AngryBirdsHappyPlanet. 

    America’s Top EV Ready Cities, EV World

    Toyota Prius Prime Plugs in with 22 EV Miles, Cnet

    Big Corn Finds Unlikely Allies in US Biofuels Push, Reuters

    What You Need to Know About Renewable Diesel, Government Fleet

    CEC Awards $1 Million for CNG Engine Project, NGT News

    Volvo Trucks Announces Engine, Powertrain Enhancement, Fleet Owner

    Loop Energy, Peterbilt to Build Zero-Emission Truck, Truckinginfo

    Battery Electric Buses Four Times More Fuel Efficient than CNG, Clean Technica

    UQM Receives Follow on Order from Proterra, Business Wire

    BYD Puts Electric Double Deckers on the Streets of London, Renewable Energy Magazine

    The UN’s new Climate Mascot is…an Angry Bird?, Grist

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  • Uber swift lift

    Clean truck leaders are gathered in Indianapolis this week.  CALSTART’s Bill Van Amburg addressed the Green Truck Summit audience and discussed strategies to help fleets be more efficient and reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). He highlighted the NAFA Fleet Management Association’s Sustainable Fleet Accreditation Program as an important tool for fleets. Department of Energy (DOE) Deputy Assistant Secretary Reuben Sarkar spoke as well calling for the US to become a global leader in fighting climate change.

    The Environmental Protection Agency aims to regulate components of heavy-duty trucks to lessen their carbon impact. The Agency is asking for public comments on new data added “…relating to the potential stringency of the proposed standards….” The data includes powertrains, aerodynamic testing, drive cycles for vocational vehicles, and cycle average mapping data. The notice will be published in the Federal Register today.

    General Motors aims to introduce big hybrid trucks into the California market this spring by resurrecting their mild hybrid “eAssist” versions. The resulting fuel economy improvement is 13%. AmeriPride was in the news last month when they received the first of ten all-electric delivery trucks from Motiv Power. This week they are back announcing that they’ve added even more hybrid step vans using XL Hybrids electric drive system. The truck is on display this week at the Work Truck Show in Indianapolis.

    Calling for kudos as zero emission bus manufacturer Proterra announces that they’ve successfully completed two million miles of revenue service throughout the country. Their fleet consists of 63 buses on the road today in nine states.  Complete Coach Works (CCW) is one of the largest transit bus remanufacturers in the country. CCW is making news with a compelling price comparison between their Zero Emission Propulsion System (ZEPS) battery-electric buses and new diesel buses. The company is offering their remanufactured buses at a price comparable to the cost of a new diesel bus.

    Indianapolis is one of half a dozen cities in the country using CCW buses in their fleet. In fact, they have 21 of them which is the biggest CCW order to date. Not only is there a Green Truck Summit AND a clean transit story in Indianapolis, but CALSTART also has a new member that is headquartered in the largest city in Indiana.  FleetOwner picked up the news that Auto Research Center (ARC), a research and development company with efficiency, handling, and fuel economy at their core, is CALSTART’s newest member.  Full Service members will get a chance to experience ARC as they host our June Leadership Circle meeting.

    Next up-an uber swift lift is about to enter the market. Anyone who talks to Uber drivers has probably heard some discontent about the company. The Uber Drivers Network was formed for drivers to come together as one voice to express concerns and is resulting in a co-op model “for drivers, by drivers” to lure drivers away from Uber and Lyft. The ability to deliver low passenger rates, fast service, and a robust driver network will determine how swift this idea is.
    Green Truck Summit Focuses on Transportation Sector’s Environmental Impact, Truck News

    DOT, EPA Seeking Comments on New Phase 2 Data, CCJ

    GM Jump Starts Its Big Hybrid Trucks, Forbes

    Hybrid Step Vans Saving Fuel for AmeriPride, Truckinginfo

    Proterra Zero Emission Buses Complete Two Million Miles of Service, Mass Transit

    Complete Coach Works Offers a Remanufactured Electric Bus for the Cost of a new Diesel, Charged

    CALSTART Accepts ARC as Latest Member, FleetOwner

    Swift is an Uber Competitor Built by ex-Uber Drivers, The Daily Dot

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  • Harmless Hokum

    Electric vehicle (EV) champions will be buoyed by a Bloomberg New Energy Finance report that concludes that by 2022, EVs will be cheaper to own than conventional vehicles. The plummeting cost of batteries is cited as the primary reason. One potential hiccup is that the analysis uses oil price projections of $50-$70 a barrel in 2022. If the price is $20 a barrel the timeline is moved out 3-9 years.

    Due to serious pollution problems in China, some government departments in the country have committed to increasing by more than half the amount of new clean vehicles purchased. The government has been pushing EVs and timeline details are pending. General Motors on the other hand is very specific about their timeline for offering incentives on the 2017 Volt. Lucky residents of 11 states are entitled to $1,000 cash and other incentives. And, Honda, champion of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, is out with an announcement that they want partially or fully electric vehicles to account for two-thirds of global sales by 2030.

    The California Energy Commission (CEC) recognizes and is taking a leadership role in making sure EV owners can get from here to there in California. ChargePoint, a charging network operator based in California received a $4-million contract to provide fast charging stations from British Columbia to Baja California. 

    Workhorse has been making news having just inked a deal with Panasonic to use their lithium-ion batteries for their all-electric and hybrid trucks. UPS has purchased 125 hybrid-electric delivery trucks from Workhorse in recognition of the environmental benefits of the vehicles. The UPS trucks will operate in Arizona, Texas, Nevada, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Florida beginning in the first half of this year. CALSTART member companies UQM and New Eagle are now collaborating to design integrated electric drivetrain solutions for electric vehicles which will be used for medium-duty commercial passenger and cargo delivery vehicles. 

    US Ports and those interested in freight projects have until April 29 to apply for $500 million in repair, maintenance and expansion projects through the Department of Transportation TIGER grants. Priority is given to projects that foster economic development and give greater access to reliable, safe and affordable transportation. And, the state of Pennsylvania has details on their $7 million Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant Program (AFIG). They’ll accept proposals throughout the calendar year. Retrofits, refueling infrastructure, R&D, biofuel blend purchases, and cost offsets for the purchase of bi-fuel, dual-fuel, hybrid or dedicated vehicles are all part of the opportunity.

    Colorado company Lightning Hybrids has been making an impact with their hydraulic hybrid regenerative braking drive systems for fleet vehicles, buses and delivery trucks. Through an innovative program that drives investment capital into communities, Lightning Hybrids is a candidate in the CO Impact Days People’s Choice Award. It takes one second to click here and vote yes!

    And now for a little bit of harmless hokum. The NPR Car Talk website hosted a science light poll where 10,000 people answered two questions-what kind of car they drive and which presidential candidate they support. For what it matters, my vehicle and favored candidate were perfectly captured. Check it out here.

    Electric Cars Will be Cheaper than Conventional Vehicles by 2022, The Guardian

    China to Boost Government Purchases of Clean Vehicles, Reuters

    Chevrolet Offers Incentives on New Volt, Detroit Free Press

    Two-thirds of 2030 Honda’s will be Electrified or Zero Emissions, Green Car Reports

    ChargePoint Wins Contract to Complete the West Coast Electric Highway, ChargedEVs

    Workhorse Pact for Panasonic 18650s, Fleets&Fuels

    UPS Goes Green with Workhorse, Truckinginfo

    UQM, New Eagle Join Forces, NGTNews

    Port, Freight Project Backers Eye $500 Million in TIGER Grants, Construction Equipment

    Pennsylvania Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant Program, PA.GOV

    Colorado Impact Days

    The Car You Drive Predicts Your Favorite Presidential Candidate, Autoblog

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