• Traction

    President Obama has climate change on his mind and today he’ll announce a series of initiatives that range from protecting the electricity supply to a variety of measures to manage impacts of rising sea levels. Yesterday, the President pressed Congress to provide more funding for transportation infrastructure, as well as to finance the Highway Trust Fund. The fund is at risk of running out of money unless Congress acts. 

    China has a new vehicle initiative mandating that 30% of government vehicle purchases have to be electric vehicles (EVs), plug-in hybrids, or fuel cell vehicles (FCVs). The measure is for purchases between now and 2016 and the requirement will be continued at a higher ratio when local provinces will also need to comply. 

    China-based electric vehicle maker BYD has announced that they are building their first factory in Brazil for electric buses. Slated to open in 2015, the maximum capacity for their first year will be 1,000 electric buses. And, in California, Foothill Transit is getting two battery-electric buses from Proterra. The 40-foot electric buses should be in service by December. Proterra’s zero emission vehicles are made in America and the company is based in Greenville, South Carolina.

    It’s time to start tucking away $35,000 as Tesla is out with news that the name of their new all-electric vehicle is Model 3 and it will go on sale in 2017. The vehicle will have a range of 200 miles and will be 20% smaller than the Model S. The 2015 Chevy Volt has an upgraded battery pack from 16.5 kilowatt-hours to 17.1 kilowatt hours. There also may be a slight improvement in overall EV range.

    For five years running California has ranked number one in an index of clean-tech activity in the U.S. Renewable energy, electric vehicles, and other emerging technologies investments and effective policy levers put the state atop the U.S. Clean Tech Leadership Index for 2014. The report tracks clean-tech activities in all 50 states and the 50 largest metro areas. The other states to make the top 10 include Massachusetts, Oregon, Colorado, New York, New Mexico, Washington, Illinois, Vermont and Connecticut. 

    White House Unveils Climate Change Initiatives, The New York Times
    http://nyti.ms/1mUIsBo

    Obama to Push for Transportation Funds, Inside Nova
    http://bit.ly/1oYvaUD

    China Requires 30% of State Cars Use Alternative Energy, Bloomberg
    http://bloom.bg/1rj9u6q

    BYD Building Factory in Brazil, Green Car Congress
    http://bit.ly/1qHgRDE

    Foothill Transit Company Buying Electric Buses, NGT News
    http://bit.ly/1oInnrb

    Tesla Motors Officially Confirms Model 3 EVs Will Go on Sale in 2017, Forbes
    http://onforb.es/1qfhk43

    2015 Chevrolet Volt, Green Car Reports
    http://bit.ly/1oInGlH

    Clean Tech Leadership Index Ranks States and Cities, TriplePundit
    http://bit.ly/1mUJ9uz


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  • Transport Evolved

    The sixth US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue is taking place and the two countries have agreed to collaborate on climate change. Included among the six new eco-partnerships is one between Shanghai Municipal Transportation and the Port of Los Angeles. Underscoring the need to clean the air, Coca-Cola has decided to offer China-based expatriate employees an environmental hardship allowance of 15% on top of their base pay because of the hazardous air pollution there. Alternative fuel vehicles make up close to 10% of Coca-Cola’s heavy-duty truck holdings.

    Alameda County in California is not only CALSTART’s newest member but they are also one of 10 governments and agencies in the San Francisco Bay Area that have united to buy 90 electric vehicles (EVs) making it one of the largest single government purchases of all-electric vehicles in the country. The purchased vehicles include the Ford Focus and Nissan Leaf. 

    The Environmental Protection Agency has added a new twist to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) by allowing renewable electricity to be made from certain biomass sources if it is used to power EVs. Enthusiasts believe this will create a new business model for EV charging infrastructure.

    Volvo North America announced yesterday that their redesigned 2015 Volvo XC90 SUV will be offered in a plug-in hybrid version. This will be the company’s first plug-in hybrid when it launches in the U.S. market next year. And, it will be the world’s first mid-size, luxury, seven-seat plug-in hybrid to go on sale.

    Toyota has garnered much attention with their plans to sell a mass-market fuel cell vehicle in Japan and the US in the near term. The bet that it will be a key technology over the next few decades hinges in part on fueling infrastructure. Making it work in California is key and Sandia National Lab is out with a study showing the state may be further ahead than it thinks. In an exam of 70 commercial gas stations in the state, they found that 14 can accept hydrogen fuel and another 17 could possibly accept it with property expansions. Sandia’s Hydrogen Program Manager Daniel Dedrick sums it up by saying the findings in the report will accelerate the deployment of hydrogen systems.

    Now that you’ve read to the very end, here’s an upcoming funding announcement tidbit for you to digest. The Department of Transportation has a Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) program, and their next solicitation opens next Monday. One topic in particular, might be of interest and that is “Using Alternative Energy to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Production in the Transportation Sector.” You can register here for a public webinar on July 29.
     
    Nations Sign Pacts on Climate Change, China Daily
    http://bit.ly/1ojogGj

    Coca-Cola Offers Expats China Pollution Hazard Pay, Financial Review
    http://bit.ly/1mz7R3o

    Bay Area Governments Make Big EV Buy, The Washington Post
    http://wapo.st/1jcXCCQ

    In New Twist, RFS Could Boost EVs, E&E Publishing
    http://bit.ly/1rSvKGS

    Volvo’s High-End Performance Plug-In Hybrid, Edmunds
    http://edmu.in/1mJ5dcW

    Japan Automakers Lead Fuel Cell Drive, ABS CBN
    http://bit.ly/1jYmc4Y

    California Can Broaden Hydrogen Network, Domestic Fuel
    http://bit.ly/1k5wsc9

    Small Business Innovation Research Funding, Volpe
    http://1.usa.gov/1lhBQgY

    SBIR Solicitation Preproposal Conference, Volpe
    http://bit.ly/1nerkHp


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  • Supply Chain Headache

    While the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling dominated news early this week, energy, farm and trade groups are focused on the “other” Court decision. The Supreme Court also ruled that they will not consider a challenge to California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). The rule that requires fuel producers to reduce the carbon footprint of their products over the entire life cycle of the fuel, is viewed by biofuel industry representatives as discriminating against out-of-state commerce, specifically, that the state law places unconstitutional burdens on out-of-state fuel producers. 

    CALSTART, Efficient Drivetrains, the California Energy Commission and Greenkraft are collaborating to develop a Class 4 commercial vehicle that pairs CNG with plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) technology. The research goal, in part, is to show which duty cycles and applications for MD CNG-PHEV systems yield the greatest benefits. On the light-duty side, Volvo has announced plans to fully embrace PHEVs by offering a plug-in hybrid version of every model in its lineup. 

    Ever had a supply-chain headache? Colorado-based Lightning Hybrids did and in stepped Andrew Coors, who became CEO of Steelhead Composites to meet the demand for pressure vessels for hybrids and other products. Based in Golden, CO, the company makes light weight, high pressure cylinders for CNG, industrial gas storage and transportation, and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. 

    Fuel cell transit buses have paid off for Ballard Power Systems and New Flyer Industries as they were recently awarded the Canadian Urban Transit Association’s (CUTA) 2014 Corporate Leadership Innovation Award for the Whistler Fuel Cell Bus Project. The project involved 20 hydrogen fuel cell buses in regular service for five years, successfully logging 2.5 million miles. Transit accolades have also been conferred upon the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) for their outstanding public transit system. The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) called UTA a role model for other public transit agencies. 

    A new report has been released saying that Fortune 500 companies are saving hundreds of millions of dollars annually through investments in green technologies. PepsiCo, General Motors and UPS are among the many listed. UPS Chief Financial Officer Kurt Kuehn points to their fleet of more than 3,000 AFVs that run on LNG, CNG, hybrid electric, hydraulic hybrid and even chicken waste to lower their energy costs and make them more competitive in the global climate.

    What do Arkansas, California, Maryland, Virginia, Washington DC, Georgia, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina and South Carolina have in common? Money! While they aren’t the only states offering funding and incentives for clean transportation, they are highlighted by Fleet Owner in a robust list of grant opportunities

    Supreme Court Lets CA’s Low Carbon Fuel Rules Stand, Truckinginfo
    http://bit.ly/1ooq2sG

    EDI Partners With Greenkraft, Reuters
    http://reut.rs/1z8fljt

    Confirmed: Volvo to Offer Plug-In Hybrid Option on All Models, Plugincars
    http://bit.ly/1vu93Gi

    Steelhead Composites Featured, CompanyWeek
    http://bit.ly/1sXrlE5

    Fuel Cell Transit Bus Initiative Receives Industry Accolades, NGT News
    http://bit.ly/TD4FbJ

    UTA Honored As Nation’s Best Transit System, Salt Lake Tribune
    http://bit.ly/1lSRLkJ

    Renewable Energy Saves Fortune 500 Companies Over $1 Billion, Clean Technica
    http://bit.ly/1meZCeo

    UPS Sees Its Shipping Future in Green Technologies, The Street
    http://bit.ly/1o1Ykil

    Cash for Clearing The Air, FleetOwner
    http://bit.ly/1lzsvM8


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  • Taking a Spin

    Money talks and a trio of bipartisan powerhouses have shared their findings from a study called Risky Business, which is designed to apply risk assessment to climate change.  Led by former NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, and Tom Steyer, a leading climate policy advocate, their conclusion is that the financial consequences of inaction are punctuated by the reality that future risks are directly tied to present decisions. Creating cleaner technology pathways is one solution to climate challenges that the Illinois Clean Energy Fund addresses. The $4.6 million revolving equity fund was announced by the Clean Energy Trust as an initiative to help clean energy startups, including those focused on next-generation transportation, create new jobs that lead to a sustainable future.

    New automotive technology is making major strides with Toyota doing their part to usher in the fuel-cell era. Japan’s Prime Minister announced the automaker’s strategy yesterday, including plans to sell their fuel-cell vehicles (FCVs) to the mass market in Japan by the end of March, 2015. Seventeen years ago the company established market dominance with the Prius hybrid, and their betting they can do it again with FCVs. Toyota is joined by Ford and Honda in topping Best Global Green Brands 2014 list of best green business practices. The winners are ranked based both on market perception, and actual environmental performance.

    Federal fuel economy standards for 2014 appear to be working, according to a new study by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA). Their findings include that of the 29 all-new 2014 vehicles, 18 meet or exceed 2015 standards with some meeting 2020 fuel efficiency requirements. The authors give credit to a combination of regulations and greater consumer demand for fuel-efficient vehicles. CFA, from an earlier survey of 1,000 people, found that consumers expect their next car to get at least 30 mpg.

    Electric vehicles (EVs) rank high in both fuel efficiency and low emissions, topics that dominated the conversation on Ira Flatow’s Science Friday last week. Jeff Allen with Drive Oregon was one of two featured guests focusing on the power of electric drive to clean transportation. The other was Chris Hoffman, CEO of Ryno Motors who has a one-wheeled electric motorcycle. You can join 10,000 others who helped his video go viral on YouTube.

    Based on last week’s announcement from Harley-Davidson about their new electric motorcycle prototype, the excitement surrounding Project LiveWire has gone viral, too. LiveWire is generating buzz as it has embarked on a tour starting with dealerships along Route 66 so they can get feedback on the electric chopper concept from fans and customers. A broader rollout in the U.S., Canada and Europe will take place in 2015.

    Facing Climate Change, Climate Progress
    http://bit.ly/1qwj2KW

    Fund Created to Help Launch Green Energy Businesses in Illinois, Chicago Tribune
    http://trib.in/1ryy82x

    Japan Moves to Fast-Track Cars Powered by Hydrogen Fuel Cells, New York Times
    http://nyti.ms/1pjw41j

    Ford, Toyota and Honda Top Best Global Green Brands, 24/7 Wall Street
    http://bit.ly/1o3sN2d

    54.5 MPG? Automakers Are on Track, Edmunds.com
    http://edmu.in/1o3sOn3

    Reinventing How City Dwellers Get Around, Science Friday
    http://bit.ly/1yO6gfA

    Taking a Spin, Digital Trends
    http://bit.ly/1jOBKbn

    A Ride to Remember, The Verge
    http://bit.ly/1iC5lKk


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  • Dump the Pump

    Who is saving 700+ million gallons of fuel and cost savings of $2.5 billion over the lifetime of a vehicle? Chrysler gets the nod for some green bragging rights. Their TorqueFlite eight-speed transmission is now in more than one million vehicles globally and the manufacturer has a cherry on top claiming more than six million metric tons of CO2 emissions reductions. Lightning Hybrids is primed for some emissions reduction green street cred, too. They’ve just released preliminary results from extensive emissions testing on their hydraulic hybrid systems, showing up to a 90% decrease in NOX, and up to 16% in CO2 emissions.

    NGI’s Daily provides many examples of ways natural gas for transportation is gaining traction this month. Scroll down to news about member company Parker Hannifin, which has a new compressed natural gas (CNG) Autocar E3 trash truck using their brake-saving RunWise hydraulic hybrid drive. There are more than 100 that have been sold to refuse operators. Miami-Dade County, FL is getting on the CNG bandwagon, too, as they issued a new RFP for bids to develop a CNG program for Miami-Dade Transit (MDT). One of their goals is to transition 300 transit buses to CNG and develop refueling stations.

    Massachusetts is acting on their commitment to make zero-emission vehicle adoption a reality. They have announced the launch of their electric vehicle (EV) rebate program allowing up to $2,500 at the point of sale. Their aim is to see 300,000 EVs on their roads by 2025. A123 Systems is doing their part to make sure batteries for vehicles have the best technology that can result in faster charges and discharges. The battery maker has purchased technology from Leyden Energy with an anticipated outcome of having some of the most powerful batteries available. 

    US Hybrid gets to play in Hawaii as they have been awarded a contract funded by the State of Hawaii and Office of Naval Research to deliver its H2Ride Fuel Cell Plug-In Shuttle Bus. The 25-passenger bus will be deployed by the County of Hawaii Mass Transit Agency (MTA) early in 2015. 

    The city of Berkeley, California is eager to dump the pump. The city is making progress toward requiring warning stickers on gas pumps letting people know that CO2 emissions contribute to global warming. Modeled on warnings on cigarette packaging, one councilmember wants to remind citizens that there are greenhouse gas impacts and alternatives do exist. In case you missed it, it’s the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) 9th annual national “Dump the Pump Day.” This year 135 transit agencies are participating to lure drivers out of their cars and onto buses. From scavenger hunts on train and bus routes in Atlanta and Greensboro to free rides in more than 20 cities the goal is to raise awareness of the environmental, financial and health benefits of choosing public transportation over driving. 

    Chrysler Says Its 8-Speed Transmissions Will Save 700 Million Gallons, Autoblog Green
    http://aol.it/1phvLj8

    Lightning Hybrids Releases Initial Emissions Results, Lightning Hybrids Blog
    http://bit.ly/SWbq8e
     
    CNG, LNG Transportation Fuel Markets Get Boost, NGI’s Daily
    http://bit.ly/1rbLW2F

    County Issues Major CNG RFP, NGT News
    http://bit.ly/1lCnFU7

    Massachusetts EV Rebate Program Now Online, TorqueNews
    http://bit.ly/1nRdf1C

    A123 Systems Buys Battery Tech, Crain’s Detroit Business
    http://bit.ly/1pMsSdR

    US Hybrid Awarded Fuel Cell Contract, Green Car Congress
    http://bit.ly/1nmyQ07

    The City of Berkeley Considers Gas Pump Climate Change Stickers, Los Angeles Times
    http://lat.ms/1qqCQ4D

    More Americans Dumping the Pump for Public Transportation, StreetsBlog USA
    http://bit.ly/1lCwQnJ


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  • Fiddle Faddle

    This week the Environmental Defense Fund and the California Chapter of the American Lung Association released a study analyzing the impacts of California’s cap-and-trade emissions program and the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). They concluded that $8.3 billion will be saved by 2025 in health benefits. Another analysis looks at what the future emissions in the state would be if climate change laws weren’t in place. How the state continues to invest in light-, medium-, and heavy-duty vehicle technologies is the subject of a high stakes debate in the California legislature over how to invest auction proceeds from the cap-and-trade program, potentially providing $850 million this year and over $1 billion in future years. Yesterday, the California Senate successfully passed two CALSTART supported bills-SB 1204 (Lara and Pavley) and SB 1275 (de Leon) that would guide these investments.

    The nation’s largest biodiesel producer just made a deal with Tyson, the company that produces 20% of all chicken, beef, and pork in the US. Renewable Energy Group (REG) will purchase Tyson Foods’ 50% ownership position in Dynamic Fuels if and when it finalizes the acquisition of Syntroleum Corporation, the owner of the other 50% of the venture. The two purchases means REG will have full ownership of Dynamic’s plan with an annual production capacity of 75 million gallons of biodiesel. 

    Big things are also happening for CALSTART member company XL Hybrids. The Massachusetts-based, 6-year old company is attracting customers by adding a fuel-saving system to vans for delivery and utility fleets for an $8,000 investment. The system improves gas mileage by up to 25% and has attracted the attention of Coca-Cola, which has already bought 100. 

    Volvo is doing its part to make Gothenburg, Sweden an even more beautiful place. Working in collaboration with the Swedish Transportation Administration they are working on building electric roads that would allow city buses to be charged from electricity in the road as the buses are operating.

    Toyota garnered international attention recently with the announcement that they are moving their U.S. corporate headquarters from California to Texas. Even more interesting is how bullish the company is about hydrogen for fuel-cell vehicles (FCVs). With their fuel-cell Camry-sized vehicle due for sale in the U.S. next year, the company is confident that the state of California’s plans to have 50 hydrogen fueling stations within two years is the ticket to support at least 10,000 FCVs in the state.

    Canada-based Ballard Power Systems continues to put stock in fuel-cells for transportation. Forbes conducts a frank interview with company leaders who talk about the shift from R&D to commercialization and their cautious optimism about the fuel cell bus market. The company powered 12 new buses last year and is bidding for another 25 in Europe. And Kinetics Drive Solutions, provider of intelligent drive systems and control solutions for mobile applications, is on the move with yet another new partnership, this time it is with Efacec. The two are collaborating on electric bus propulsion systems

    Uh-oh. US Airways decided to take on Big Violin by telling members of a classical string trio en route to a gig that their violins needed to go under the plane. There was a standoff and the trio protested in the best way they knew how-they sweetly played Bach’s Prelude from the Sonata in E Major. A contrite US Airways eventually found their way to an apology.

    Forget Saving the Planet, Driving an Electric Car Will Save Your Life, Grist
    http://bit.ly/1nxyVQL

    REG to Acquire Tyson Foods’ Ownership Share of Dynamic Fuels, Biomass Magazine
    http://bit.ly/1mFrDt2

    In for the Long Haul, Slate
    http://slate.me/1lEp1bR

    Volvo to Build Electric Roads, Autosphere
    http://bit.ly/1lRb76g

    Toyota ‘Bullish’ on Hydrogen Amid California Station Plans, The Detroit News
    http://bit.ly/1lRbeyJ

    Ballard: Living to Fight Another Day in the Fuel Cell World, Forbes
    http://onforb.es/1oKagIx

    KDS Electric Bus Propulsion Systems, Green Car Congress
    http://bit.ly/1rgL2FO

    Disallowed Airplane Violin Leads to Funny Passive-Aggressive Protest, Jalopnik
    http://bit.ly/SQzyJU

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  • Poetry and Science

    The Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Annual Energy Outlook has spotted several trends of note related to transportation. Their findings range from growing domestic production of natural gas leading to wider use of the fuel for freight railroads to changes in driving demographics. Notably, EIA points out a decline in light-duty vehicle (LDV) energy use attributable to efficiency offsetting vehicle miles traveled (VMT). The Department of Energy (DOE) is all about supporting the transportation industry in realizing greater efficiency solutions. Midwest Energy News showcases Ford’s successes in using DOE’s Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Loan Program (ATVM) to transform 13 of their factories into state-of-the art facilities. DOE wants component manufacturers focused on efficiency to know that the ATVM loans are available to them as well. 

    From transit properties to LDV manufacturers, air quality, cost-savings, and efficiency shifts are evident everywhere. TransLink, a British Columbia transit agency has just approved an order for 40 heavy-duty buses that will run on natural gas, with an option to buy an additional 135. The contract is with New Flyer Industries. Transit operators report that air quality benefits and cost-savings are driving them to make the shift. And, BYD is out with news that they have a record-setting new order of electric buses and taxis from the city of Hangzhou in China. Officials there see electric vehicles as a solution to growing air pollution and, they say, “…EV technologies have matured to the point where every city transit should be adopting them.”

    Even ferries are doing it…it being powering transportation using batteries. Sweden’s Green City Ferries is launching the world’s first supercharged electric passenger ferry using high-tech Nilar Nickel-Metal-Hydride batteries. And, there they grow again. VIA Motors has acquired a design startup called Prodigy Engineering. This gives VIA exclusive access to a Lithium Ion battery cooling technology license. The two companies have been working together under contract to prototype new vehicle technologies

    General Motors is out with a good story of innovation, too. The manufacturer is charging full steam ahead as they set up workplace charging stations where the majority of their engineering facilities and corporate offices are located. There are over 400 charge stations available to employees and visitors at no cost. Compared to GM, which employs over 200,000 employees, Tesla’s not all that big. But, they have added 3,000 jobs in California in the past year and expect to have 6,000 employees soon. Bloomberg says Tesla now employs more workers in California than any other automaker. Grist reminds job seekers that the company plans to hire 500 more people by the end of the year. 

    “Giant Poem Scrubs the Air Clean of Pollutants” is a headline you can’t ignore. It turns out a poet and scientists at the University of Sheffield have a poem called “In Praise of Air” displayed on a 20-metre high billboard which is coated with a layer of titanium dioxide nanoparticles that react with pollutants to purify the air around it. Here’s to the marriage of poetry and science.


    EIA Foresees Shifts Ahead for Transportation, Fleet Owner
    http://bit.ly/1jsvklz

    Fuel Efficiency Loan Program Looking Beyond the Big Three, Midwest Energy News
    http://bit.ly/R9kQfN

    Translink Awards New Flyer a 180 NG Bus Contract, The Wall Street Journal
    http://on.wsj.com/1o6eI6n

    BYD Lands 2,000 Electric Bus and 1,000 Electric Taxi Order, Clean Technica
    http://bit.ly/1lQny3l

    Sweden Launches World’s First Quick-Charging Electric Passenger Ferry, Gizmag
    http://bit.ly/1iHbp2h

    VIA Motors Acquires EV Startup, Automotive Business Review
    http://bit.ly/1i0wvEA

    GM’s EV Charge Stations Surpass 400, The NewsWheel
    http://bit.ly/1gPxb59

    Want a Job? Knock on Tesla’s Door, Grist
    http://bit.ly/1o6eSeb

    Giant Poem Scrubs Air Clean of Pollutants, The Independent
    http://ind.pn/1sUGBw3




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  • Two Thumbs Up

    What in the world could be responsible for conflicts over food and water and escalating longstanding regional and ethnic tensions into violent clashes? A leading military research group points to an accelerating rate of climate change as the catalyst for major global political conflicts which, they predict, will mean even greater demand for American troops to be deployed globally. Weaning ourselves from climate unfriendly energy sources could help slow climate change but the International Energy Agency (IEA) says it will cost the world $44 trillion to end our fossil fuel reliance by 2050. Switch now to good news and that same IEA finding concludes that we can save $115 trillion in fuel costs by 2050 if we move toward clean energy, meaning a net savings of $71 trillion.

    There are a lot of winners among industry pacesetters doing their part to make clean energy for transportation a reality. First up, Ballard Power Systems has signed an agreement with CALSTART to deploy a fuel cell hybrid bus at the University of California in Irvine. BAE Systems and ElDorado National are part of the partnership as well. And, Wisconsin-based Odyne has received California Energy Commission funding to demonstrate the viability of installing Odyne plug-in hybrid systems on existing medium-and heavy-duty vehicles in the California market. The Odyne systems can reduce fuel consumption by 50% or greater. Hino Trucks has announced that their 195h diesel electric cab-over vehicles have been approved by the New York Truck-Voucher Incentive Program (NYT-VIP). The incentives are designed to accelerate deployment of alternative fuel vehicles for medium to heavy-duty commercial fleets in New York.

    Kansas City-based Smith Electric Vehicles has a new investor. Sinopoly Battery Ltd. has committed $42 million and production of their electric vehicles will resume this summer. And Forbes reports that one of the largest network providers of electric vehicle charging stations, ChargePoint, has raised $22.6 million in late-stage venture capital. ChargePoint sells charging stations to businesses for public locations like parking lots, apartment buildings and workplaces.

    One gasp-worthy topic in industry circles is platooning which in the case of Peloton Technology means allowing trucks to travel closer together than they normally would, reducing drag and saving fuel. Peloton’s cloud-based platooning operations center is the key to successfully pairing trucks and the California company has attracted the interest of Nevada’s primary transportation agencies which got a demonstration of how the system works. Even Nevada Lieutenant Governor Brian Krolicki has given Peloton’s technology two thumbs up remarking on how innovative it is. 

    Mobility solutions can take many forms and a blogger from the Netherlands enjoyed compiling a collection of let’s say unconventional ways to get around. Take a look.
                                  
    Climate Change Deemed Growing Security Threat by Military Researchers, New York Times
    http://nyti.ms/1sNJK2o

    End Fossil Fuel Burning, Save $71 Trillion, Grist
    http://bit.ly/1v4oQhP

    Ballard Signs an Agreement with CALSTART, Altenergymag
    http://bit.ly/QJ8lHv

    California Awards Odyne $776,000, EV World
    http://bit.ly/1mY0HE0

    Hino Wins NY Certification for Hybrid Trucks, Today’s Energy Solutions
    http://bit.ly/QJ5HS8

    Smith Electric Finds $42 Million Investor, Kansas City Business Journal
    http://bit.ly/REliTE

    ChargePoint Raises $22.6 Million, Forbes
    http://onforb.es/1omWGN9

    Truck Platooning System Offers Fuel Savings Potential, Trucking Info
    http://bit.ly/1orfESI

    Unusual Transportation, Marco Folio
    http://bit.ly/1st7jvm



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  • EV's and Chainsaws

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

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

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

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

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

    U.S. Public Transit Ridership Highest in Decades, Washington Post
    http://wapo.st/1cQPXqJ

    Texas’ Sun Metro Adds 22 New Flyer Buses, Metro
    http://bit.ly/1i65MJ4

    BYD, Washington Transit to Pilot Electric Bus Service, Metro
    http://bit.ly/1cTb7Pt

    Ford E-Series Vans Get XL Hybrid Powertrain, Green Fleet
    http://bit.ly/O1TwyR

    SmartWay Program to Widen Test Procedures, FleetOwner
    http://bit.ly/PthiVN

    CT Turns EV Incentive Plan on Its Head, Autoblog Green
    http://aol.it/1fqc165

    Governor Corbett Announces Alternative Fuel Grants for NGVs, Farm and Dairy
    http://bit.ly/1gkSicq

    Building Your LD NG Fleet, Westport
    http://bit.ly/O1REGk

    Annoyed Tesla Employee Creates Coloring Book, Grist
    http://bit.ly/NYzGoi

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  • All Of The Above

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

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

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

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

    Obama Stands by Energy Strategy While Pushing Climate Change Fund, The Hill
    http://bit.ly/1c9r5d7

    EPA Restricts Sulfur in Gasoline to Help Cut Auto Emissions, Los Angeles Times
    http://lat.ms/1fHLn8F

    China Declares War Against Pollution, The New York Times
    http://nyti.ms/1drCzao

    NG Vehicles Show Phenomenal Growth in China, FuelFix
    http://bit.ly/1l0Ydnv

    Emerald Automotive Sold to China’s Geely Group, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    http://bit.ly/1drtbDE

    Green Trucking: Choices for Fleets Abound, FleetOwner
    http://bit.ly/1oqVhAG

    UPS Expands Alternative Fuel Fleet with 1,000 Propane Trucks, Bloomberg News
    http://bloom.bg/1c9jwDh

    2nd Annual Clean, Low-Carbon Fuels Summit, CALSTART
    http://bit.ly/1k7LeDk

    NAFA 2014 Institute & Expo, NAFA
    http://bit.ly/1icscvx





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  • Innovate Initiate


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

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

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

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

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

    Kudos one and all.

    Until Next Week,

    Kimberly

    Why Obama’s New Fuel Standards for Big Trucks Matter, Climate Progress
    http://bit.ly/N7gKmy

    Obama Energy Trust Would Fund Alternative Vehicle Technologies, Green Fleet
    http://bit.ly/1nNMwjP

    ICCT, NACFE Report on Adoption of Fuel Efficiency Technologies, Green Car Congress
    http://bit.ly/1c2MMq3

    See Walmart’s Futuristic Concept Truck, The Blaze
    http://bit.ly/1e5DBoA

    USDOT Preps for TIGER VI Funding Round, Progressive Railroading
    http://bit.ly/1gStpo3

    Ray LaHood Named to Board of Proterra, Journal Star
    http://bit.ly/1gf17lw

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

    HDT Announces 2014 Top 20 Products, Truckinginfo
    http://bit.ly/1cWyvv2



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  • Eco-tastic Winners


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

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

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

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

    Until Next Week,

    Kimberly

    The Oil Industry’s Fight To Kill Renewable Fuels, Inside Climate News
    http://bit.ly/1dCDLnf

    Vets Group Says EPA Should Stand Up To Big Oil, Autoblog Green
    http://aol.it/1dgzkmk

    US May be Inching Toward Oil Independence, USA Today
    http://usat.ly/NtlvaY

    How The US Exports Global Warming, Rolling Stone
    http://rol.st/1if3SF8

    ITM-5 Hydrogen Refueling Sites Approved, ShareCast
    http://bit.ly/1h8uQ4K

    Tenneco Acquires Rights for Sturman Technology, Automotive World
    http://bit.ly/1guezm3

    The World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies, Fast Company
    http://bit.ly/1lY1ZSP

    HD Trucking Names 2014 Fleet Innovators, Trucking Info
    http://bit.ly/1nu7EeO


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  • A Find of an EV Kind


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

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

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

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

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

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

    NHTSA Will Go Ahead With V2V Communications Initiative, Truckinginfo
    http://bit.ly/1ati9i1

    This Super Useful App Wants to Change How We Get Around, Atlantic Cities
    http://bit.ly/1aWgu56

    REG Breaks Ground on Newton Biodiesel Plant Upgrade, Green Car Congress
    http://bit.ly/1fuYoUL

    Honda Civic Hybrid, Civic NG 2014 Models Priced, Edmunds.com
    http://edmu.in/1eqnWpI

    Clean Energy To Go After South Florida CNG Business, NGT News
    http://bit.ly/1g2d7aq

    $12 Million in Funding to Advance Renewable Carbon Fiber, Environmental Leader 
    http://bit.ly/1e3CYeZ

    DOE Renewable Carbon Fibers Solicitation
    http://1.usa.gov/1b2oDVy

    EV Production Worldwide Forecast to Surge 67% in 2014, LA Times
    http://lat.ms/1fR9Vj1

    First Porsche Revealed to Be an Electric Car From 1898, BBC News
    http://bbc.in/1efvKZI


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  • Living The Dream in 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Climate Change is a Fact, Obama Declares, E2 Wire
    http://bit.ly/1fbpK2f

    Obama Defends ‘all of the above’ Energy in Speech, The Hill
    http://bit.ly/1mXKld7

    40% Savings on Fuel Costs Could Be Right Around the Corner, Motley Fool
    http://bit.ly/LoqesY

    US Hybrid Executes Global Fuel Cell Technology Licensing Agreement, Green Car Congress
    http://bit.ly/Me8XTm

    Buffet Backed BYD Says Chinese Cars to Debut in US, Bloomberg
    http://buswk.co/1fdZ5mJ

    VIA Motors Wins $80 Million Electrification Deal, The Detroit News
    http://bit.ly/1fwINEC

    VIA PHEV Van Shuttles Movie Fans Around Sundance, Autoblog Green
    http://aol.it/1iLzwxw

    Coast to Coast in a Tesla Model S, San Jose Mercury News
    http://bit.ly/1f8LRI1


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  • Don't Hurry, Be Happy

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

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

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

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

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

    Congress in No Hurry to Renew Biodiesel Tax Credit, Domestic Fuel
    http://bit.ly/1eAKOPe

    Ethanol Mandate Unlikely to Face Repeal, Argus Leader
    http://argusne.ws/JWjnGA

    Public Hearing Next Week on EPA Ethanol Mandate Proposal, AP
    http://bit.ly/KXmYVM

    NYC Makes Grant Funding Available for Clean Tech Vehicles, FleetOwner
    http://bit.ly/1hR5Z56

    New Hydrogen Fueling and Bus Concept Launched in Netherlands, NGV Journal
    http://bit.ly/1fsNp2J

    Republic Adds Natural Gas Powered Vehicles to Fleet, American Recycler News
    http://bit.ly/1hR60pr

    New Report Forecasts Worldwide Sales of Natural Gas Trucks & Buses, Trucking Info
    http://bit.ly/1j4lN4w

    World LNG Fuels Conference, Zeus Development
    http://bit.ly/1eIO3od

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  • Climate Haiku


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

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

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

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

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

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

    Next Chevy Volt to Be $30k, Business Week

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

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

    Santa, NO! Climate Change Will Threaten Reindeer, Grist

    The Entire IPCC Report in 19 Illustrated Haiku, Sightline Daily

    Innovations 2030 Worldwide Innovation Challenge

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

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  • Green, Green, My World is Green


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

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

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

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

    Top States for Electric Cars, The Christian Science Monitor
    http://bit.ly/18BviPX

    Tesla Will Open First Michigan Charging Station Today, Detroit Free Press
    http://on.freep.com/IPnqDx

    Six Nissan Leaf EVs Power An Office in Japan, Autoblog Green
    http://aol.it/IOr4xr

    Volvo Car Group in Multi-Year Pilot With Autonomous Cars, Green Car Congress
    http://bit.ly/1cASOB3

    Grocer SuperValu Takes Delivery of Volvo NG Tractors, Fleet Owner
    http://bit.ly/1aUR7tD

    FedEx Adds 1,900 New Lightweight, Fuel Efficient Vehicles to Fleet, Wall Street Journal
    http://on.wsj.com/18UgVfm

    8 Things To Expect on Tomorrow’s Trucks, Truckinginfo
    http://bit.ly/J5Mo1O

    Future Looks Bright for Alternative Fuels, Convenience Store News
    http://bit.ly/1bAVKxb

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  • Air Apparent

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


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


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


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


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

     

    Our Current Warming Limits Are Way Too High, Salon

    http://bit.ly/1cYcEnU


    US Official to Build on EPA Relationship With China, Bloomberg

    http://bit.ly/Is7RSw


    10 Most Fuel Efficient Cars in US, Clean Technica

    http://bit.ly/IsqqG9


    California Continues to Embrace Clean Transportation, Hydrogen Fuel News

    http://bit.ly/1jlQiBA


    ChargePoint Plugs in 50,000th User, Autoblog Green

    http://aol.it/1hyip1f


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

    http://bit.ly/1jjRCF5


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

    http://bit.ly/1913g3W


    Webinar For Those Interested in NY Clean Truck Incentives, FleetOwner

    http://bit.ly/1gEC3pt


    http://bit.ly/1eWn7m0

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  • REneweconomy

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

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

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

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

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

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

    All Eyes on Fuel Cell Vehicles at LA Auto Show, REneweconomy
    http://bit.ly/17K2BQq

    Hyundai to Sell Hydrogen-Powered SUV in 2014, AP
    http://apne.ws/1aCBwll

    Toyota Vows Fuel Cell Model by 2015 in Green Push, ABC News
    http://abcn.ws/18PR6ag

    Protean Electric at EVS 27, Protean Electric
    http://bit.ly/1iuQC0w

    CEC Solicits Ideas for NG R&D and Demo Projects, Green Car Congress
    http://bit.ly/1h2hdTo

    Cleveland’s Transit Authority to Buy 240 NG-fueled Buses, The Plain Dealer
    http://bit.ly/1fdUhjv

    EPA Rebates for Clean Construction Equipment, West Coast Collaborative
    http://1.usa.gov/Igr3Cb

    Branstad Launches a new Website to Support Ethanol, Biodiesel Use, Des Moines Register
    http://dmreg.co/I1Ll2y

    HDT’s Top 50 Green Fleets, Truckinginfo
    http://bit.ly/1bD77B3


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  • CALSTART Lollapalooza

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

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

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

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

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

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

    IEA World Outlook: Six Key Tends Shape Energy Future, National Geographic Daily News
    http://bit.ly/1eJ6bSi

    A Recharging Industry Rises, New York Times
    http://nyti.ms/1cUVX19

    Elon Musk Named Most Influential Man of 2013, Autobloggreen
    http://aol.it/1j2RU05

    Parker’s Hydraulic Hybrid Systems Approaching 1M Miles of Operation, Green Car Congress
    http://bit.ly/1cj5xGe

    Fairbanks Morse Engine and Achates Team Up, Business Wire
    http://bit.ly/1aecYvp

    SunLine’s GM Makes Her Mark, mydesert.com
    http://mydesert.co/1i9JBSH
     
    Do 30 Squats and Ride the Subway for Free, Grist
    http://bit.ly/1aRjezv

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