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New VW Group CEO: “swift and relentless clarification” of emissions scandal; technical solution to be presented to authorities

6 October 2015

Speaking at a plant meeting in Wolfsburg, Matthias Müller, the new CEO of Volkswagen AG, promised employees “swift and relentless clarification” of the emissions scandal. He said that what had happened went against everything the Group and its people stand for and that there was no excuse.

Müller said that the company will shortly be presenting the technical solutions to the responsible authorities—in particular the German Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA)—for approval. Müller said that while in many instances a software update will be sufficient, some vehicles will also require hardware modifications. “We will keep our customers constantly informed about the measures and arrange workshop appointments.

Continue Reading “New VW Group CEO: “swift and relentless clarification” of emissions scandal; technical solution to be presented to authorities”

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Toyota testing new Highway Teammate automated driving vehicle; aiming for commercialization around 2020

6 October 2015

Toyota has been testing a new automated driving platform, a modified Lexus GS called Highway Teammate, with the aim of launching related products by around 2020. In addition to demonstrating the capabilities of next-generation safety technologies, the vehicle represents Toyota’s view of the evolving driver-car relationship in the age of artificial intelligence.

Toyota believes that interactions between drivers and cars should mirror those between close friends who share a common purpose, sometimes watching over each other and sometimes helping each other out. Toyota refers to this approach as the Mobility Teammate Concept. Highway Teammate represents an important first effort to give form to this concept.

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CWI ISL G Near Zero natural gas engine certified to near zero NOx; 90% below current standard

6 October 2015

Cummins Westport Inc. (CWI) announced that its new ISL G Near Zero (NZ) natural gas engine is the first mid-range engine in North America to receive emission certifications from both US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Air Resources Board (ARB) in California that meet the 0.02 g/bhp-hr optional Near Zero NOx Emissions standards for medium-duty truck, urban bus, school bus and refuse applications.

Cummins Westport ISL G NZ exhaust emissions will be 90% lower than the current EPA NOx limit of 0.2 g/bhp-hr and also meet the 2017 EPA greenhouse gas emission requirements. CWI natural gas engines have met the 2010 EPA standard for particulate matter (0.01 g/bhp-hr) since 2001.

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Study: marine cyanobacteria produce 100s of millions of tonnes of hydrocarbons annually

6 October 2015

An international team of researchers, led by the University of Cambridge, has estimated that photosynthetic marine cyanobacteria annually produce hundreds of millions of tonnes of hydrocarbons in the oceans. These organisms in turn support another population of bacteria that feed on these compounds.

In the study, conducted in collaboration with researchers from the University of Warwick and MIT, and published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the scientists measured the amount of hydrocarbons in a range of laboratory-grown cyanobacteria and used the data to estimate the amount produced in the oceans.

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Opinion: Is Russia Plotting To Bring Down OPEC?

6 October 2015

by Dalan McEndree for

President Putin’s recent moves in the Middle East—to shore up Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria through deployment of combat aircraft, equipment, and manpower and build-out of air-, naval-, and ground-force bases, and the agreement in the last week with Iran, Iraq, and Syria on intelligence and security cooperation—could contribute to Russian efforts to combat the myriad negative pressures on Russia’s vital energy industry.

Live by Energy…

Energy is the foundation of Russia, its economy, its government, and its political system. Putin has highlighted on various occasions the contribution Russia’s mineral wealth, in particular oil and natural gas, must make for Russia to be able to sustain economic growth, promote industrial development, catch up with the developed economies, and modernize Russia’s military and military industry.

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Freudenberg-NOK wins first regular-production order for dry gas-lubricated frictionless engine seals

5 October 2015

Freudenberg-NOK Sealing Technologies (Freudenberg-NOK) has won its first major order for its new generation of dry gas-lubricated automotive seals—a first in the automotive market. The frictionless Levitex seals, a subject of the company’s research for years, will go into an engine for a global platform in 2017. The new seals function with a cushion of air, reducing both fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. CO2 reductions can be as high as 1 gram per kilometer driven.

Freudenberg-NOK initially will produce Levitex seals in Europe, although the company plans to expand product into North America in the future as customer demand grows.

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Proterra introduces 35-foot electric bus

5 October 2015

Battery-electric bus manufacturer Proterra has introduced a new 35-foot vehicle based on the same technology platform as its current 40-foot Catalyst vehicle. (Earlier post.)

Tracking the broader transportation trend towards advanced safety systems, the new 35-foot Catalyst electric bus provides customers with nimble maneuvering and enhanced automated features, including collision avoidance and traction control in a smaller model for dense urban areas, building on the performance of the 40-foot Catalyst vehicle. Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) will be the first customer for the new bus, receiving seven 35-foot Catalyst FC buses and two overhead semi-autonomous fast chargers.

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Aemetis harvests demo crop of optimized biomass sorghum in California for advanced biofuels; ~90 days from planting to harvest

5 October 2015

Aemetis, Inc., an advanced renewable fuels and biochemicals company, has harvested 12- to 15-foot tall biomass sorghum grown in Central California that was produced using proprietary seed genetics from Nexsteppe, a provider of optimized sorghum feedstock solutions. Biomass Sorghum is a feedstock for low-carbon advanced biofuels.

The 20-acre demonstration crop of biomass sorghum was planted, grown, and harvested by Aemetis in approximately 90 days, validating the potential use of biomass crops for the production of lower-carbon, advanced biofuels or as a rotational crop in California.

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USABC awards $1.64M to NOHMs Technologies for development of ionic liquid electrolytes for Li-ion batteries

5 October 2015

The United States Advanced Battery Consortium LLC (USABC), a collaborative organization of FCA US LLC, Ford Motor Company and General Motors, recently awarded $1.64 million contract to NOHMs (Nano Organic Hybrid Materials) Technologies in Rochester, New York, for the development of electrolytes for automotive lithium-ion battery applications.

The 18-month program will focus on the development of functional, ionic liquid-based electrolyte and co-solvent combinations that exhibit high ionic conductivity and stability for application in 4.6-5.0-volt lithium-ion batteries, consistent with USABC goals.

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PSA prototype travels 580km from Paris to Bordeaux in autonomous mode

5 October 2015

On 2 October, one of PSA Peugeot Citroën’s four autonomous vehicles drove itself 580 km (360 miles) on the highway from Paris to Bordeaux entirely in autonomous mode to take part in the Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) World Congress, which runs until 9 October. The car autonomously adjusted its speed and changed lanes to overtake, taking into account other vehicles, speed limits and infrastructure.

In July 2015, the Group became the first carmaker to obtain the relevant authorizations to carry out open road tests in France using 4 autonomous prototypes, with 15 such models in 2016.

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Intelligent Energy announces US$1.8B deal for ~27K telecom towers in India; fuel cell power for ~70%; landmark in fuel cell deployment

4 October 2015

UK-based fuel cell developer Intelligent Energy will purchase contracts from GTL Limited to supply energy-management services across more than 27,400 telecom towers in India—about 6.4% of the country’s total. Essential Energy, a subsidiary of Intelligent Energy in India, will assume the power management for the towers—a figure equivalent to 50% of the UK’s telecom towers and 13% of the US’. Essential Energy intends to transition around 70% of the managed telecom towers from diesel power to hydrogen fuel cells throughout their contracts’ tenure.

The transaction delivers contracted revenues of approximately £1.2 billion (US$1.8 billion) over ten years—a major development for Intelligent Energy and the industry, said Henri Winand, CEO of Intelligent Energy Holdings. The landmark deal also represents a major milestone in hydrogen fuel cell deployment.

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Cohda introduces new 360˚ radar for V2X connected vehicles

4 October 2015

Cohda Wireless is introducing a low-cost, 360-degree radar for vehicles fitted with V2X connected car systems. The new V2X-Radar delivers a 360-degree sensor that can detect buildings, road signs and also older vehicles that are not equipped with V2X technology. Unlike current technologies, it is unaffected by rain, snow or fog, and can “see” around corners.

V2X-Radar takes advantage of current V2X systems that use IEEE 802.11-compliant wireless signals to share sensor information between vehicles and infrastructure. These radio signals bounce off many objects—walls, road signs and other vehicles—as they travel from transmitter to receiver. V2X-Radar can use these radio waves

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