December 31, 2006
Nikkei. Nissan Motor will build a factory in India that will start operations in the latter half of 2009 with an annual output capacity of around 200,000 units, The Nikkei learned Sunday.
Construction on the facility will begin this year, with an investment of ¥50-60 billion (US$420-504 million). The factory will produce 1-liter-class subcompacts. About 30% of the vehicles will be sold in India and the other 70% exported to Europe and other markets, according to the report.
|Angola’s oil concessions. Click to enlarge. Source: Sonangol.|
At the OPEC meeting in Abuja, Nigeria earlier in December, the assembled members unanimously admitted the Republic of Angola—sub-Saharan Africa’s second largest oil producer behind Nigeria—as the twelfth full member of the organization, effective 1 January 2007.
The Conference also decided to reduce OPEC production by a further 500,000 barrels per day (bpd), effective 1 February 2007, “in order to balance supply and demand.”
|E85 muscle car: the Interceptor.|
Ford will introduce a Mustang-based E85 concept muscle car at the upcoming North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit.
The Ford Interceptor uses a Ford Racing 5.0-liter V-8 “Cammer” engine running on E85 (85% ethanol blend). The 4-valve, dual overhead cam (DOHC) engine produces more than 400 hp (298 kW), and powered the Mustang FR500C to the 2005 Grand-Am Cup Championship in its first year of competition.
December 30, 2006
German Transportation Program for EU Council Presidency Focused on Safety, Fuels and Emissions; Transport Minister Rejects Speed Limits
|The EU adds two new members (Bulgaria and Romania) in 2007, for a total of 27 countries. Click to enlarge.|
Germany takes leadership of the Group of Eight and the 6-month European Union Council Presidency in 2007. German Minister of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs, Wolfgang Tiefensee, has presented his program for the German EU, which is focused on safety, fuels and emissions.
However, the Minister is opposed to implementing a speed limit in Germany. “...A general speed limit on open stretches of road does not make sense,” he said in response to the urging for such limits as a means of reduction of fuel consumption and emissions.
Gulf Times. Pakistani busmakers are cutting the prices of their locally produced and compressed natural gas (CNG) buses by 15% following the government’s decision early in December to zero-rate sales tax on the import and supply of all buses which can carry 40 or more passengers, including CNG buses.
As part of the same action on 6 December, the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet also zero-rated the sales tax on purpose-built taxis and abolished the 5% customs duty on the import of liquid petroleum gas (LPG).
December 29, 2006
Enova Systems reported a third-quarter loss of US$1.641 million—a doubling of its US$0.782 million loss in Q3 2005. The company, which develops and manufactures electric, hybrid and fuel-cell drive systems and management systems, attributed the increased costs to expanding product and marketing initiatives.
Net revenues dropped to US$312,000 for the third quarter, down from US$857,000 for the same period in 2005. Revenues in the first quarter and nine months of 2006 derived mainly from production type contracts with Hyundai Motor Corporation and the State of Hawaii. Enova attributed the decrease in revenues in the first nine months of 2006 to contracts that were completed or near completion in 2005.
US Ethanol Industry Has a 4.9 Billion Gallon Year; Consumption Beats RFS Standard by 1 Billion Gallons
|Iowa’s ethanol output, 1978-2006. Click to enlarge.|
US ethanol production in October tied the all-time high set in September 2006 of 333,000 barrels per day (bpd), according to data released by the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
The US ethanol industry was averaging 310,000 bpd of production through October, an annualized volume of 4.75 billion gallons. Industry estimates show ethanol production reaching 4.9 billion gallons for the year, an increase of more than 25% from 2005, according to the Renewable Fuels Association.
New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson has signed an executive order (2006-69) that specifies greenhouse gas emission reduction strategies to address climate change in New Mexico.
The order creates a state government implementation team tasked with ensuring policies from the order are carried out. These policies include:
|Cat 5 Cyclone Larry (at right) at landfall with winds of 180 mph. Source: Bureau of Meteorology|
Although the insurance industry was largely spared major losses from natural catastrophes in 2006, unlike in the previous two years, when hurricanes such as Katrina caused record losses, Munich Re Group’s outlook is that weather-related catastrophes—exacerbated by global warming among other factors—will increase.
Economic losses up to the end of December totalled US$45 billion, around one-fifth of the previous year’s figure of US$219 billion. Insured losses amounted to US$15 billion, less than one-sixth of the total in 2005 (US$99 billion). Munich Re ascribes this “relatively positive” outcome to the absence of major hurricanes in the North Atlantic.
Honda Motor Co. thinks it will be able to mass produce fuel-cell vehicles for the general market by 2018, Honda President Takeo Fukui said in a recent interview with Kyodo News.
Honda plans to begin leasing a hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle based on its FCX Concept in Japan and the United States in 2008. The stack in the current FCX Concept delivers 100 kW of power, and the vehicle has a range of 560 kilometers (350 miles). (Earlier post.)