October 31, 2005
Nikkei. A research group including Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. and Hitachi Maxell Ltd. is developing a storage cell for hybrid automobiles capable of recharging and discharging electricity at 100 times the current speeds.
The partners, which include Nagasaki University and the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, aim to commercialize the cell in three years.
PNM, a New Mexico utility, has begun using B20 biodiesel in its diesel fleets in Albuquerque and Santa Fe. The utility began phasing in the B20 for 240 diesel-powered vehicles—including medium-duty trucks, large trucks, backhoes, compressors and welding units—in July.
Those 240 vehicles represent about 57% of the PNM diesel fleet. Other diesel equipment is located in more remote areas of the state that do not yet have access to the biodiesel fuel.
|The Obvio! 828|
ZAP has broadened its future minicar offerings by becoming the exclusive North American distribution for a pair of new flex-fuel minicars to be produced by Obvio! in Brazil. The two companies expect to unveil prototypes of the two in the US by the end of 2005. Initial plans are to roll out the vehicles in 2007.
Unlike its approach with the Americanized Smart Car, where ZAP takes the responsibility for converting imported smarts to meet US requirements, ZAP, which has taken a 20% stake in the company, will work closely with Obvio to ensure the vehicles are fully compliant when they leave the plant.
An executive delegation from the Port of Los Angeles is visiting China and Taiwan this week as part of a mutual pact between the United States and China to manage air pollution derived from marine vessels and ports. China is the Port’s number one trading partner, with more than $64 million worth of cargo coming through the Port of Los Angeles last year alone.
Discussions at the ports of Shanghai and Taipei will focus on reducing diesel emissions and managing urban air pollution resulting from port-related operations.
In a demonstration of the effectiveness of its retrofit technology, Caterpillar is equipping all land-based equipment at the Port of Cleveland with emission-reducing catalyzed converter/mufflers (CCM). Port operator Federal Marine Terminals owns the 26 lift trucks and other machines being retrofitted under this effort.
The project represents the type of retrofit solutions that can be supported nationwide under the Diesel Emissions Reduction Program (earlier post), which was introduced by Senator George Voinovich (R-Ohio) and passed into law as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
|The hot Outlander|
In an indication that SUVs are still popular around the world, Mitsubishi Motors has already taken 5,000 orders in Japan for its new Outlander mid-size SUV, which launched two weeks ago on October 17. This greatly exceeds the monthly sales target of 2,000 vehicles.
The company began accepting pre-launch orders for Outlander in the middle of September and these had reached some 2,500 by the October 17 launch date.
Toyota Motor Sales is temporarily suspending model year 2006 Prius sales to government and rental fleets and cancelling existing order agreements due low inventories and an anticipated surge in retail demand.
The company is advising commercial fleet buyers that availability will remain limited with longer than normal order-to-delivery timing (“possibly in excess of six months”).
October 30, 2005
The Standard. Hong Kong’s Secretary for Environment Works and Transport, Dr. Sarah Liao, countered criticism that not enough is being done to battle rising air pollution by pointing to the long-term promise of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
The Secretary has been vocal in her support for a hydrogen solution for a number of years (earlier speech).
Kansans are using more ethanol in their vehicles, and more stations are set to start offering ethanol-blended fuels in the next year.
According to fuel reports from the Kansas Department of Revenue, Kansans consumed more than 4.3 million gallons of ethanol (in E10 and E85 blends) in July and August compared to the same two-month period in 2004—more than seven times the 2004 number.
NWAnews. The Eastman Chemical Co. plant near Batesville, Arkansas has begun producing biodiesel from soybean oil, the first facility in Arkansas to do so. By the end of this year, the company plans to also use recycled vegetable-based cooking oil as a feedstock.
The Eastman Chemical plant has a current capacity of 3 million gallons annually. Eastman plans to double that by the end of the year.