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Have a Research Idea? Submit it to CARB

The California Air Resources Board is soliciting research ideas for its 2005-2006 fiscal year research plan. The goal of the research program is to provide timely scientific and technical information needed to develop and support the public policy decisions required for an effective air pollution control program. The deadline for... Read more →

Comparing Civics: Hybrid, Diesel, CNG, Gasoline

This is a follow-on to the earlier post comparing the different powertrain versions of the Accord. Here I’m tackling four versions of the Honda Civic: Diesel (UK), Hybrid, CNG and Gasoline. The comparison isn’t quite as exact—the diesel version (from the UK) is a 5-door, the others are 4-door sedans.... Read more →

Renault Adds New CNG Trucks to Lineup

Renault Trucks, Europe’s largest and the world’s second largest truck manufacturer, has launched two new CNG vehicles: the Midlum NGV and the Puncher NGV. Targeted for use in refuse collection, street cleaning, and urban delivery, both models are powered by Cummins Westport natural gas engines. The Puncher NGV, the product... Read more →

Hollywood, FL, Adds More Hybrids and CNG to Fleet

Sun-Sentinel. City commissioners in Hollywood, Fl, agreed to the purchase of 18 new hybrid and alternative-fuel vehicles for the fleet. The city will add 10 Toyota Priuses, five hybrid Chevrolet Silverado pickup trucks, and three more Silverados that run on compressed natural gas. With the purchase, 31% of the city’s... Read more →

SoCal Funds Westport HPDI CNG Work

The California South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) made a $1.95 million award to Westport Innovations to advance further the development of Westport’s proprietary High Pressure Direct Injection (HPDI) natural gas fuel systems (earlier post) for heavy-duty truck engines. Under the program, Westport will continue developing its HPDI natural... Read more →

Comparing Accords: Diesel, Hybrid and Gasoline

After posting about the Honda clean diesel ad (earlier post), I decided to do some quick side-by-side comparisons using three models of the Honda Accord: the Accord Diesel featuring the new, clean 2.2 i-CTDi engine touted in the ad (picture at right), the new Accord Hybrid, and two gasoline sedans.... Read more →

Automakers Challenge CA CO2 Regulation in Court

As expected, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers has joined a group of automobile dealers in California’s Central Valley to file suit against California’s new regulation of CO2 emissions. Automakers and dealers filed their challenge in the U.S. District Court in Fresno, California. The core of their argument is that the... Read more →

Now There’s an Accessory for a Hybrid-Electric Vehicle...

LA Times. Northrop Grumman and United Defense Industries (maker of the Bradley fighting vehicle) are designing an armored vehicle with a laser to defend against attack. The battery-powered, solid-state laser would be used to destroy enemy rockets, artillery and mortar shells. The laser is being developed by Century City-based Northrop,... Read more →

Tokyo Gas Offers Home Hydrogen System

Tokyo Gas Co. is introducing a home hydrogen fuel cell-based co-generation system to provide electricity, heat and hot water—but not, as does the Honda Home Energy System II (earlier post) hydrogen gas for vehicles. Not yet, at least. The systems, jointly developed with Ebara Ballard Corporation and Matsushita Electric will... Read more →

Japan Wants H2 Fuel Cell Train by 2010

Yomiuri Shimbun. Japan’s Railway Technical Research Institute (RTRI) has studies underway to get a fuel cell-powered train into service by about 2010. Created in 1987 as the joint R&D unit for the seven Japan Railway companies, the institute has among its projects the development of a Maglev system. RTRI has... Read more →

“Hate Something, Change Something, Make Something Better”—Maybe Even Car Advertising

Honda apparently finds itself with a surprise advertising hit in the UK: an animated song that promotes Honda’s new clean diesel engine. From the Guardian: It is an advert like no other. ‘Can hate be good? Can hate be something we don't hate?’ says the mystifying animated song. And if... Read more →

Charlottesville, Va Adding CNG School Buses

Daily Progress. Charlottesville, Va, will purchase up to four CNG-powered school buses next year, using a $181,000 federal grant to offset the additional cost of the buses and fueling infrastructure. The grant from the U.S. Department of Energy is part of a pilot program administered by the Virginia Department of... Read more →

Westport: Building up CNG Vehicles and Infrastructure in China

Westport Innovations has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with two Chinese companies to work together on establishing a business plan to develop, market, and sell CNG/LNG-fueled vehicles and infrastructure solutions in China. One partner, Beijing Sinogas Co. Ltd., specializes in the construction of CNG/LNG stations and managing operations involving natural... Read more →

Honda’s Polyfuel Strategy

Robert Bienenfeld, who has been pushing the alternative fuel agenda at Honda for years, outlined Honda’s 10-point “polyfuel” strategy at the CALSTART conference. Polyfuels in this context does not refer to the fuel cell manufacturer of the same name. The term is a label for the pragmatic short- to medium-term—and... Read more →

Euro City Car Market Getting Three New Competitors

In 2001, PSA Peugeot Citroën and Toyota began collaborating to design, develop and produce fuel-efficient entry-level vehicles (city cars) for the European market. The two companies released a photograph of their first three models this last week. The new vehicles, the Peugeot 107, Toyota Aygo and Citroën C1, are set... Read more →

Washington State May Join CA in Regulating CO2

Seattle Post Intelligencer. Washington state may follow California’s lead in passing a bill that regulates CO2 emissions from vehicles. The chairman of the state House Transportation Committee, Rep. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, will introduce the bill next year. “We have an issue of global warming, but, more importantly locally, our own... Read more →

Driving Bans Loom in German Cities for Unfiltered Diesels

Reuters. Diesel-powered cars without particle filters could face occasional bans in many German city centers next year under new EU air quality rules about to take effect, officials and activists say. “We assume that there will be driving bans in all the big (German) cities in built-up areas and indeed... Read more →

India’s Oil Reserves May Last Only Until 2016

India News. At the current rate of production, India’s discovered oil reserves are expected to last only until 2016 if no new discovery is made, according to Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar. More pressure on the global oil supply, more pressure on India to work out its alternatives to pertroleum.... Read more →

The Land of Giant Cars: US SUVs Up 56% Over 5 Years

A just-released report by the US Census Bureau shows that SUV registrations increased by 56 percent between 1997 and 2002, from 15.5 million to 24.2 million. VMT (vehicle miles travelled) for SUVs increased 47%—from 214.8 billion miles in 1997 to 314.8 billion in 2002. Nationwide, there was approximately one registered... Read more →

CA’s Transportation Energy Strategy: Conservation, Efficiency, Alternatives

California, as pointed out by several speakers at CALSTART’s California 2020 conference, is a quasi nation-state with big energy issues. Its economy is the fifth largest in the world, the state is the fifth largest consumer of energy in the world, and it is the second largest consumer of gasoline... Read more →

Dongfeng–Cummins Establishing Engine Research Institute

Xinhua. Dongfeng Automobile Co and Cummins, its diesel engine joint venture partner, are setting up a engine research institute in Wuhan in central China. Xinhua said Dongfeng Auto is setting up the joint venture to enhance its engine production technologies in China and to develop customized products for the mainland.... Read more →

Nov-04 Big 6 Sales Dashboard: GM and Ford Continue Down, Cut Production for 2005

Ford and GM sales declined again in November, while those of Chrysler, Toyota, Honda and Nissan increased. While car sales for Ford and GM are showing the sharpest drop, the two largest automakers saw their sales of light trucks decline as well. Both have indicated they will cut production in... Read more →

Chinese Conglomerate to Acquire Montana-based Biofuels Firm

YaSheng Group, a Chinese $1.5 billion hi-tech agriculture, salt chemistry and biotech conglomerate, has signed a letter of intent to acquire 80% of Montana-based biofuels firm Sustainable Systems, LLC. Sustainable will become a division of YaSheng and continue its focus on developing biorefineries and continue to research, develop and commercialize... Read more →