• 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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  • What's Old is New

    The Golden, Colorado-based National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is out with findings from a study they conducted on a 12-vehicle demonstration project by the Foothill Transit Agency in California. Battery-electric Proterra buses were compared to NABI Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses. Their finding is that the Proterra buses were nearly four times more fuel efficient than the CNG counterparts. For even more validation of the growing popularity of battery-electric buses (BEBs), California’s Antelope Valley Transit Authority (AVTA) has awarded manufacturer BYD a contract for 85 electric buses over a five-year period. AVTA’s Board Chair touted this move as a show of leadership as the agency becomes the first 100% electric public transit fleet. 

    Fleets around the country are recognizing the significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions that renewable natural gas (RNG) provides as compared to diesel fuel. Thanks to UPS and several other major fleets, Clean Energy Fuels is reporting that their RNG sales more than doubled in 2015 to 50 million gasoline gallon equivalents (GGEs) over 20 million GGEs in 2014. The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority (LA Metro) recently announced a $180 million deal with New Flyer for 350 heavy-duty, 40 foot CNG buses. The buses are expected to be delivered by the end of the year.

    American Power Group (APG) has announced new orders of $600k for their dual-fuel truck systems. APG’s technology converts existing diesel engines into clean and more efficient engines that can operate on diesel with CNG, Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), or various sources of pipeline and wellhead natural gas. 

    General Motors is innovating again and this time they are thinking partnerships. GM is contemplating making their plug-in hybrid powertrain used in the 2016 Chevy Volt available to other automakers. Charged EV suggests such a move could help them create greater economies of scale. Partnership is the cornerstone of the new Midwest Alternative Fuel Initiative launched by Clean Cities coalitions in Northwest Indiana, Chicago and southern Wisconsin in collaboration with fuel providers who will tailor alternative fuels program to the needs of municipalities or businesses. 

    Indianapolis takes center stage in early March where many industry representatives convene for the Green Truck Summit. CALSTART’s Bill Van Amburg will be there to talk about the NAFA Sustainable Fleet Accreditation Program and how fleets can use it as the template for managing their fuel, efficiency and emissions management, making smart choices to save money and reduce their impact. Some fleets, like textile rental services and supply company AmeriPride, have already seen the value of clean fleet operations by deciding to replace a portion of its fleet in Vernon, California with 10 of Motiv Power System’s 100% battery electric trucks. Motiv is one of many CALSTART member companies that will be exhibiting at the Green Truck Summit.

    The idea of electric trucks is new to many but the technology falls into the category of everything old is new again. Autoblog shares photos of a 1928 Model 10 Walker Electric Truck that is in search of a new home. Currently domiciled in Palm Springs, the truck is for sale on Craigslist and comes complete with goodies like a set of California historical vehicle license plates and a handy manual entitled “Instructions for the care and use of Model 10 light delivery Walker Electric Trucks.” For $40k it’s yours!

    NREL Analysis of Proterra Electric Bus Fuel Economy Gains, Green Car Congress

    AVTA to Become Nation’s First 100% Electric Transit Fleet, Business Wire

    Clean Energy Doubles Sales of Redeem RNG, Biomass

    LA Metro Adding 350 CNG Buses From New Flyer, NGT News

    American Power Group Receives $600k Dual-Fuel Vehicle Orders, CNN Money

    GM May License Volt Powertrain to other Automakers, Charged EVs

    Alt Fuels Group Launches New Midwest Initiative, NWI.com

    Work Truck Show 2016 Launches Green Truck Summit with Other Sessions, Trailer Body Builders

    Motiv Battery Trucks for AmeriPride, Fleets&Fuels

    This 1028 Model 10 Walker Electric Truck Needs a Home, Autoblog

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  • Mirthful Transit

    There are a lot of rumors afloat in the transportation space and the one about e-tail giant Amazon entering the freight transportation business gained traction late last week as they submitted their annual 10-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In it, there was a provision of “inbound and outbound shipping costs, including where we are the transportation service provider.” Amazon’s shipping costs increased 37% to $4.17 billion in its fourth quarter.  In recent weeks there has been talk about the company building an air delivery network and that they’ve taken delivery of thousands of truck trailers.

    Wondering what’s on Elon Musk’s mind? Electric trucks apparently. During a recent interview in Hong Kong, Tesla’s top guy said he thinks the company will turn over some of its resources to the production of an electric pickup truck. The State of Georgia may be thinking electric again, as well. Legislation has been introduced in the House to restore state income tax credits for electric vehicles (EVs). $3,000 to residents who buy or lease an EV would get up to $3k under the measure which Georgia’s Executive Director of the state’s Clean Cities program says “…is very much in line with what you see in most other states.” 

    San Diego Gas & Electric received great news last week as the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved their pilot project to, over three years, install up to 3,500 EV charging stations at 350 businesses and multi-tenant residential sites. 

    More options will soon be available for all-electric school buses thanks to Motiv Power Systems and Creative Bus Sales.  Motiv manufactures an all-electric powertrain and Creative Bus Sales is the nation’s largest bus dealership with locations throughout the country. 

    On the transit side, WAVE Technology is thinking about electric buses, too. WAVE stands for “Wireless Advanced Vehicle Electrification” and their technology transfers power through the air from an embedded charging pad placed in the pavement. Metro McCallen in McCallen, TX has completed a two-bus project that installed the technology on Complete Coach Works buses. The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) has also completed a round of testing on two all-electric buses and they now have plans to add up to 30 more over the next several years. The test buses are manufactured by New Flyer Industries, which has also received good news from the State of Maryland, which has approved almost $100 million to buy 172 new clean diesel buses. The Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) has contracted with the Winnipeg-Manitoba-based manufacturer.

    And now for a little transit silliness. Berliner Kazim Akboga is an advertising copywriter by day and referred to as a German-Turkish “Weird” Al by night. His client, the Berlin Transport Company hired him to make a Public Service Announcement (PSA) for public transport and chopping onions to bringing a horse on board are all part of what Slate says might be the best PSA you’ll ever see.

    Amazon the ‘Transportation Service Provider’, American Shipper

    Elon Musk Talks Electric Trucks, International Business Times

    New EV Tax Credit Introduced in General Assembly, Atlanta Business Chronicle

    California Regulators Approve $45M SDG&E EV Charger Rollout, UtilityDIVE

    Motiv Power and Creative Bus Partner on new Electric Bus, Trailer Body Builders

    WAVE Technology Install Completed for McAllen Electric Buses, Mass Transit

    Chicago Transit Authority Gives Thumbs Up to All-Electric Buses, Chicago Business Journal

    MTA Approves Nearly $100M for New Flyer Clean Diesel Buses, Baltimore Business Journal

    The Best PSA You’ll Ever See?, Slate

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  • Center of Transportation

    Earlier this year Ford Motor announced that their fully autonomous Ford Fusion Hybrid vehicles will hit California’s public roads in 2016. The Department of Transportation’s Secretary Anthony Foxx continues the momentum with his announcement that the Obama administration plans to invest $4 billion over the next ten years to pave the way for autonomous technologies. While America is innovating in autonomous and connected vehicles, China is on track to lead the world in electric vehicle (EV) sales. Last year alone Chinese company BYD sold over 60,000 plug-in vehicles, mostly in its home country.  Autoblog suggests that government incentives, combined with disincentives for driving a polluting vehicle could mean China will soon lead the world in EV sales.

    Could General Motors be poised to turn their new Chevy Bolt into a mass market vehicle in the United States? Consumer Reports recently tested it out and the word “impressive” was ubiquitous in their review. The Bolt is expected to roll off the production line at the end of the year offering 200 miles of range for $30,000 (after a $7,500 federal tax credit). Innovations in fueling infrastructure in Southern California will help grow the market. Southern California Edison (SCE) just got approval from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to begin implementing their $22 million “Charge Ready” program to install 1500 charging stations in their service territory. Education and outreach, including for business customers, will be provided to raise awareness of transportation electrification options.

    XL Hybrids has announced a pilot program using their hybrid conversion technology in Denver on two step vans used for delivering construction supplies. BMC provides building materials and construction services and looks forward to achieving the fuel efficiency and emission reductions others have realized with the XL Hybrids system.

    Kudos to San Joaquin Regional Transit District General Manager/CEO Donna DeMartino who is the recipient of the Sacramento Chapter of Women’s Transportation Seminar’s Woman of the Year Award. Among her many accomplishments, DeMartino has brought to fruition a bus rapid transit system and brought new hybrid and electric bus technologies into their fleet. CALSTART is pleased to be working with San Joaquin RTD as we’ve officially opened the San Joaquin Valley Clean Transportation Center, which is funded through a competitive California Energy Commission (CEC) solicitation. CALSTART’s Joseph Oldham, a life-long Valley resident, is the Director of the Center and his aim is to advance clean transportation solutions in the region. 

    Transportation challenges can take many forms and the Wall Street Journal identified one in Durham, North Carolina where an underpass has plagued countless trucks because of a 100 year old train trestle that is 11 feet and 8 inches tall, about two feet lower than the minimum for standard sized trucks. Documenting the traffic infrastructure logistics problem is Jurgen Henn, a systems analyst who works in a nearby office and has a camera at the ready to document more than 100 trucks that have had their tops shaved off. You can check it out here.

    DOT Unveils Autonomous Vehicle Development Plan, MotorAuthority


    Tesla and BYD Kings of the EV Market, CheatSheet


    The Growing Electric Vehicle Market in China, Autoblog 


    Electric Chevy Bolt Promises Long Range, Low Price, Consumer Reports


    Regulators Green-Light SCE’s $22 Million EV Charging Program, NGT News


    XL Hybrids Trial by BMC in Denver, Fleets & Fuels


    RTD General Manager Honored by Sacramento Group, Central Valley Business Journal


    Center Helps California Transportation Stay on Track, Scienceblog


    The Joys of Watching a Bridge Shave the Tops off Trucks, The Wall Street Journal


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  • Imagine the Future

    There’s no more powerful way to kick off the year by looking into the future than the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) taking place in Las Vegas this week. The trade show which used to be for the tech industry seems to have become another venue for automakers to display their latest interactive technology. Ford CEO Mark Fields stated that clearly last night, “We want to put an exclamation point on our move from an auto company to an auto and mobility company.” Among their actions they will triple their fleet of autonomous vehicles this year and integrate their in-car software with Amazon’s connected home devices. 

    General Motors (GM) is making a big CES splash too. Today they are unveiling their first purely electric vehicle, the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV with an estimated range of 200 miles per charge. The unique thing is that it was designed intentionally as a ride-sharing vehicle. And that makes sense as the New York Times reports that GM has invested $500 million in Lyft. Their vision is far-reaching including the development of an on-demand network of self-driving cars and short-term car rental hubs throughout the country.

    Gill Pratt is the head of the new Toyota Research Institute (TRI) and he spent his time at CES talking about the need to invest more time and research into getting the technology right. Toyota has partnered with Stanford Research Park in California and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to figure out ways to solve the unpredictable and difficult circumstances in “hard driving” that accounts for most of the 30,000 annual traffic deaths in the U.S. 

    Hard driving could be the order of the day for California PHEV owners who haven’t yet gotten their HOV stickers. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has announced that the cap for the allotted 85,000 Green Clean Air Vehicle Decals has reached its limit.

    CALSTART has been pleased to have worked with the Stark Area Regional Transit Authority (SARTA) in Canton, Ohio to secure Federal Transit Administration funding to purchase a fleet of zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell-powered buses. With seven fuel cell buses soon to be in operation, SARTA has the largest fuel cell bus fleet in the nation outside of California. Yesterday, several dignitaries joined SARTA Executive Director Kirt Conrad for a ground-breaking ceremony for the transit authority’s new hydrogen fueling facility.

    Next month, TransIT Services of Frederick County, Maryland will be the recipient of five buses provided by Complete Coach Works (CCW), resulting in savings of $2.3 million over the lifetime of the buses. CCW refurbishes old buses and equips them with their Zero Emission Propulsion System, an all-electric battery motor.

    Fleets & Fuels reports that also next month, Clean Cities Coordinators and industry stakeholders will convene in Washington, D.C. for the annual Energy Independence Summit. This national transportation policy summit is where energy leaders convene to share best practices and educate policymakers about the importance of alternative fuels and advanced technologies for transportation. The early bird registration is available through this week. 

    Ford Partnerships to Make Cars That Talk to Everything, re/code

    GM Says Lyft Shaped the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV Design, gmauthority.com

    General Motors, Gazing at Future, Invests $500 Million in Lyft, New York Times

    Toyota Research Take on Autonomous Vehicles, TechTimes

    Max Limit for California Green HOV Stickers Reached Again, hybridCARS

    Stark County to Use Clean Energy in Buses, Ohio.com

    CCW to Deliver ZEPS Buses to NE Transit Agency, Mass Transit

    EIS in Washington Next Month, Fleets&Fuels

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  • Mission Possible

    Good things continue to happen following the gathering of world leaders in Paris last week to tackle the vexing challenges of reducing carbon emissions. First up, the mayors of Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland and San Francisco have pledged to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2050. In San Diego, the world’s eighth-largest city, the City Council went too far as to legally commit to a 100% transition to renewable energy by 2035. They also announced that half of their city fleet will include electric vehicles by 2020. And just in time, Ford Motor Company is making a pledge that by 2020 they will develop 13 electrified models. To do that the company has committed $4.5 billion to the University of Michigan’s battery lab for research.

    2020 out to 2050 do sound like solid targets but kudos to the City of San Francisco for reaching one of their goals right now in 2015. Last July Mayor Lee said the city would transition its entire fleet from petroleum diesel to renewable diesel (RD) and the mission has been accomplished. The result is a 50% reduction (or 50,000 metric tons) in greenhouse gas emissions. Volvo also lauds the drop-in fuel as Volvo Trucks North America has approved the use of RD for its engines. RD is derived from biomass feedstocks and the California Air Resources Board has determined under the Low Carbon Fuel Standard the fuel can realize GHG reductions of 15% to 80%. 

    In 2004 serial entrepreneur James Lemke, founded San Diego-based Achates. Eleven years later they are going strong having recently been awarded $9 million from the Department of Energy to develop a 3-cylinder, 3-liter, opposed-piston gasoline compression engine that is expected to improve efficiency by at least 50%. Earlier this year they received $14 million to develop new engines with Cummins for future combat and tactical vehicles for the US Army. Navitas Systems, a company that provides energy storage and power electronics, also is doing some work for the US Army. They were recently awarded $7.2 million to develop second-gen lithium-ion 6T batteries.

    You, too, have a shot at pursuing recently announced funding. NGT News shares a recently announced opportunity in Pennsylvania for vehicle purchasers to receive up to $2k in rebates for the purchase of alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs). The vehicles need to be registered and primarily operated in Pennsylvania to quality. And, in North Carolina the NC Clean Energy Technology Center has received $4.5M in the fourth phase of a project to decrease transportation-related emissions in 24 counties in the state.  Funds are available for “…education and outreach, emission reduction sub-awards, and recognition of exemplary efforts among fleets and organizations reducing their transportation-related emissions.”

    West Coast Mayors Form EV Consortium, Pledge Carbon Reductions, Green Car Reports

    San Diego Vows to Move Entirely to Renewable Energy in 20 Years, NY Times

    Ford Promising 13 New EVs by 2020, EV World

    San Francisco Completes Fleet-Wide Switch to RD, SF Bay

    Volvo Endorses Renewable Diesel, Fleets & Fuels

    Opposed-Piston Engine: New Breakthrough with Old Tech?, Detroit Free Press

    Navitas to Develop Second-Gen Li-ion Batteries for Military Vehicles, Charged EV

    Two State Alternative Fuel Programs Provide More Funds, NGT News

    NCCETC Receives $4.5 Million to Continue Emissions Reduction Efforts, FleetOwner

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  • Yes Oui Can

    Thank you Grist for the headline “Yes Oui Can.” Global climate talks in Paris (COP21) entered day nine today where delegates are working toward an agreement to keep global warming below two degrees Celsius. The talks have stimulated conversations around the world including one from California Senator Fran Pavley who put forward her state’s noteworthy 2002 climate-policy law which assumed if California would lead,  the world would follow. With the Paris talks as a backdrop, she warns that even her state needs to “…redouble our commitment to long-term climate action.” She also quotes CALSTART’s CEO John Boesel who recently  testified before the Senate Select Committee on climate change when he said there’s good reason that four separate companies have each made $1 billion-plus investments to develop electric vehicles (EVs) in California and that’s because the Golden State is where the action is. 

    California Governor Jerry Brown is talking EVs at the UN Summit in Paris. He observed that the market is growing but not fast enough to meet the state’s 2030 emission reduction goals. ChargePoint’s chief executive, Pasquale Romano believes part of the answer is building out a lot more charging infrastructure. But as it all relates to curbing global warming, Brown told his audience, “I don’t want you to think we’re even close to a solution. We are really far away. What we have to do, we don’t even know how to do yet.”

    As world leaders are deliberating in Paris, New York City Mayor Bill Deblasio is scaling up plans for the Big Apple to replace 2,000 gas-guzzling sedans with plug-in electric vehicles (PHEVs) over the next ten years. And, Volvo Group North America has joined with more than 150 U.S. companies in support of the American Business Act on Climate Pledge. Volvo Group has a long-standing commitment to be the leading provider of sustainable transportation solutions.  

    A lot of other companies are doing their part to accelerate clean transportation in the U.S.  New Flyer announced last week that a consortium of transit agencies including Greater Lafayette Public Transit, Rock Island Metro, Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit, South Bend Public Transportation and Santa Rosa Transit will purchase 159 buses from them over the next five years. The options include ultra clean diesel, diesel-electric hybrid and CNG. 

    Thanks to funding from the California Energy Commission and Southern California Gas Company, Westport Innovations and the Gas Technology Institute will work together to advance state-of-the-art natural gas combustion technology. Westport manufactures natural gas engines and vehicles that reduce emissions and fuel costs. Achates Power is getting much deserved attention in the form of a $9 million award for their opposed-piston engine design. The California-based company will work with Argonne National Lab on a 3 liter, 3 cylinder engine that could power future pickup trucks and SUVs while realizing a 20% improvement in gas mileage.

     City of Oakland Fleet Manager and East Bay Clean Cities Coordinator Richard Battersby is a renewable diesel (RD) enthusiast. He’s so enthused that he’s converted all 250 of the cities diesel vehicles to RD which Neste reports reduces GHG emissions by 60-85%. When asked what advice he would offer to fleet managers, Battersby replied “Check with your local Clean Cities Coalition.” On the other coast, NJ Clean Cities Coordinator Chuck Feinberg was interviewed recently by “Comcast Newsmakers” where he offers an impressive 101 overview of the clean transportation market today. 

    California Still is a Leader on Climate, But for How Long?, Ventura County Star

    California Falling Short on Push for More Clean Vehicles, Los Angeles Times

    NYC to Cut Vehicle Emission in Half by 2025, Daily News

    Volvo Joins American Business Act on Climate Pledge, FleetOwner

    New Flyer Hybrid and CNG Buses Joint Buy, Fleets&Fuels

    Westport & GTI Awarded $900K, StreetInsider.com

    Achates Awarded $9 Million, Forbes

    Oakland Remains Happy With Renewable Diesel, Hard Working Trucks

    New Jersey Clean Cities, Comcast Newsmakers

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  • Rolling iPads

    Who is going to win the automotive race to the future? Michigan seems like a fine candidate with 326,000 automotive industry workers in the state. But, Jerry Hirsch with the Los Angeles Times asserts that California is emerging as “…the global center for the future of personal mobility.” The magic formula includes regulations, incentives, Silicon Valley and the growing reliance on software and electronics. Hirsch’s suggestion that cars will become more like rolling iPads is exemplified at this year’s Connected Car Expo at the Los Angeles International Auto Show where the City of LA announced the establishment of the Coalition of Transportation Technology. This planning project is lauded as the first in the world to look at the logistics and scale of a somewhat near-term future with autonomous vehicles running in U.S. cities. 

    Back in Detroit, General Motors (GM) is once again demonstrating their forward looking bonafides in collaboration with the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center. GM will test its fuel cell powertrains by building ATVs powered by hydrogen fuel cells for use by the Army. Georgia Power is looking ahead as well and expects to open more than 61 new public electric vehicle (EV) charging stations by the end of 2016 at their utility locations across the state. The utility has just opened the first eleven in Atlanta.

    Propel Fuels is out with news that consumer adoption of Neste’s renewable diesel has increased by 300% compared to its biodiesel B20 product. This 100% drop-in renewable diesel for use in any diesel engine is a low-carbon fuel. Propel is adding 13 new distribution centers in Southern California. Lightning Hybrids is taking their product a little further south. This week the hydraulic hybrid system manufacturer is introducing their energy recovery system (ERS) for saving fuel and reducing emissions. The ERS will be featured on a diesel-powered passenger city bus in Guadalajara, Mexico.

    With the holiday season right around the corner, many people will be hosting celebrations and that is where UberEvents wants to be considered a service provider. Good bye party bus! UberEvents is a national program that allows a party-giver to create an event online to receive pre-paid guest passes to distribute to party-goers. Nice host. Cheers!

    California is Steering the Auto Industry Toward Its Future, Los Angeles Times

    Los Angeles Is the First City to Take Autonomous Cars Seriously, Jalopnik

    GM Expands Fuel Cell Vehicle Program with New Collaboration, hybridCARS

    Georgia Power Adds, Plans EV Charging, Fleets & Fuels

    Propel Fuels Reports Strong Consumer Adoption of Renewable Diesel, Green Car Congress

    Lightning Hybrids to Mark Mexican Debut of Energy Recovery System, NGTNews

    New Uber Offering Could Replace Party Buses, Metro Magazine

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