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[Due to the increasing size of the archives, each topic page now contains only the prior 365 days of content. Access to older stories is now solely through the Monthly Archive pages or the site search function.]

GM recycles 2M Flint water bottles into fleece for homeless, car parts and air filters

August 27, 2016

General Motors is adding 2 million water bottles from Flint, Michigan residents into its Do Your Part water bottle recycling initiative. The company partnered with Schupan Recycling to collect the bottles. The plastic is washed, flaked and turned into fleece to make three products: Chevrolet Equinox V-6 engine covers; insulation for The Empowerment Plan coats for the homeless; and air filters for 10 GM plants.

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NSC: US motor vehicle fatalities up 9% in 1H 2016; trending toward deadliest driving year since 2007

August 26, 2016

Preliminary estimates from the National Safety Council (NSC) indicate motor vehicle deaths were 9% higher through the first six months of 2016 than in 2015, and 18% higher than two years ago at the six month mark. An estimated 19,100 people have been killed on US roads since January, and 2.2 million were seriously injured. The total estimated cost of these deaths and injuries is $205 billion.

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Porsche launches Digital Lab in Berlin

Porsche has opened the Porsche Digital Lab in Berlin, which will be used to identify and test innovative information technology solutions. The Lab provides a platform for collaboration with technology companies, start-ups and the scientific community. Porsche is partnering with its subsidiary, the Ludwigsburg-based company MHP—one of the leading management and IT consultants in the automotive industry.

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Report: Hyundai to introduce new fuel-cell vehicle in 2018 at half the price of Tucson Fuel Cell

The Korea Herald reported that Hyundai Motor plans to unveil a new fuel-cell electric vehicle with a price tag of 60 million won (~US$53,900)—around half the price of the current Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell. With Korean government subsidies of 27.5 million won (~US$24,700), the purchase price for customers could be lowered to about 33.5 million won (~US$30,100). At the same time, the driving range will increase from the current 415 kilometers (258 miles) to 600 kilometers (373 miles).

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BNEF forecasts cumulative 26 GWh of second-life EV battery storage by 2025

In a new report for clients, Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) forecasts that there will be 29 GWh of used EV batteries coming out of cars in 2025. This far exceeds the size of the current stationary storage market. Of this, almost a third will get a second life as stationary storage (10GWh), bringing the cumulative total to 26 GWh.

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GM outlines short-term electrification roadmap for China

In Shanghai, GM Executive Director for Electrification Larry Nitz outlined the company’s short-term electrification roadmap for China. Expansion of GM’s electrified vehicle portfolio in China will be led by the Chevrolet Malibu XL Hybrid (earlier post) and Buick LaCrosse Hybrid (earlier post) as well as the Cadillac CT6 plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) (earlier post) that will be introduced in the market later this year.

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Report: Daido Steel to make neodymium magnets in US for motors in hybrids and EVs

The Nikkei reports that Daido Steel will build a neodymium magnet factory in the US to meet growing demand from automakers there for motors used in hybrid and electric vehicles. Daido Steel recently worked with Honda to develop a neodymium magnet that does not use any heavy rare-earth materials (earlier post). Honda is using this magnet in a new motor for hybrid drive systems. (Earlier post.)

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DENSO enters into AI technical advisory conntract with CMU Professor Take Kanade

In an effort to deepen and advance its knowledge in artificial intelligence, DENSO has entered into a technical advisory contract with one of the world’s foremost researchers in computer vision, Carnegie Mellon University Professor Dr. Takeo Kanade. Through this contract, DENSO is looking to advance its artificial intelligence technology and expand its engineering expertise in the areas of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), autonomous drive, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

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New FordPass service allows booking and pre-paying for parking

August 25, 2016

FordPass (earlier post) now offers users the ability to find, book and pay for parking at garages in more than 160 cities in the United States—all before they even step into the driver’s seat; FordPass is free for Ford owners and non-owners alike.

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Volkswagen, VW-branded franchise dealers in US reach agreement in principle to resolve diesel litigation

Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. has reached an agreement in principle to resolve the claims of VW-branded franchise dealers in the United States relating to TDI vehicles affected by the diesel emissions cheating matter and other matters asserted concerning the value of the franchise.

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Technip signs agreement with BTG Bioliquids to design and build pyrolysis plants for biomass-to-oil production

Technip has signed an exclusive cooperation agreement with BTG BioLiquids B.V. (BTL) to provide EPC (engineering, procurement and construction services) for its modular pyrolysis plants. The plants will be based on BTL’s Fast Pyrolysis Oil (FPO) technology which converts biomass to oil through a rapid pyrolysis process.

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New top-end diesel, gasoline engines for VW Tiguan in Europe

In Europe, the new Volkswagen Tiguan can now be ordered with two new top engines: the new 2.0 TDI biturbo diesel with 176 KW / 240 PS; and the 2.0 TSI engine with output of 162 kW / 220 PS familiar from the Golf GTI. Both engines come with 4Motion all-wheel drive and a 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox (DSG) as standard.

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nuTonomy launches first public trial of self-driving car service and ride-hailing app

nuTonomy launched the first public trial of a robo-taxi service. The trial, which will continue on an on-going basis, is being held within Singapore’s one-north business district, where nuTonomy has been conducting daily autonomous vehicle (AV) testing since April. Earlier this month, nuTonomy was selected by the Singapore Land Transport Authority (LTA) as an R&D partner, to support the development of a commercial AV service in Singapore. This trial represents the first, rapid result of this partnership. (Earlier post.)

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Protonex fuel cell propulsion systems for civilian unmanned vehicles now EAR99-compliant for export

Ballard Power Systems announced that the company’s subsidiary, Protonex, received notification from the US Department of Commerce that its family of fuel cell propulsion systems are now designated as EAR99 (Export Administration Regulations 99) compliant, creating a path for commercial export and deployment in a variety of civilian unmanned vehicle applications.

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Cypress introduces new single-chip automotive MCU solution; hybrid instrument clusters, head-up displays and traditional gauges

August 24, 2016

Cypress Semiconductor Corp. announced a new addition to its Traveo automotive microcontroller (MCU) family with more memory for program code and graphics to support hybrid instrument cluster applications.

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Enerkem plant becomes first ISCC-certified plant to convert municipal solid waste into biomethanol

Enerkem Inc., a waste-to-biofuels and chemicals producer, has obtained certification from the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC) system for the biomethanol production of its Enerkem Alberta Biofuels full-scale facility in Edmonton, Canada. This biorefinery therefore becomes the first ISCC-certified plant in the world to convert municipal solid waste into biomethanol.

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Orange EV approved for California incentives of up to $120,000 per Class 8 electric truck

Orange EV announced that businesses and organizations with fleets in California can receive a preliminary voucher of $95,000, increasable up to $120,000, toward the purchase of a new T-Series battery-electric Class 8 terminal truck with extended duty battery pack.

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Stanley Engineered Fastening bringing next-gen self-pierce rivets to NA market; lightweight materials assembly

Stanley Engineered Fastening (SEF), which offers a broad portfolio of fastening solutions, such as stud-welding systems (SWS) and plastic fasteners, is bringing its next-generation self-pierce rivets (SPRs) to the North American market for the first time. Demand for SPRs, which already are well-established in Europe, is on the rise in North America as automakers increasingly adopt materials such as aluminum.

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DOE issues FY17 SBIR Phase I Release 1 FOA; includes fuel cell catalysts and hydrogen delivery

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has issued the 2017 Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) Phase I Release 1 Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), including two subtopics focused on hydrogen and fuel cell technologies.

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Honda begins production of motor free of heavy rare earth elements; debuting in the Freed next month

The Nikkei reports that Honda’s Suzuka factory has begun production of hybrid motors for smaller cars. Honda developed with Daido Steel a magnet that does not require heavy rare-earth elements. (Earlier post.) Honda will mass-produce the motors, which will debut in the redesigned Freed minivan next month, helping to ensure stable output of vehicles.

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New 100 kWh Tesla Model S hits 0-60 in 2.5 seconds; 315-mile range

August 23, 2016

Tesla’s latest Model S version, the P100D with Ludicrous mode, is the third-fastest accelerating production car ever produced, with a 0-60 mph time of 2.5 seconds. The 100 kWh battery also increases range substantially to an estimated 315 miles (507 km) on the EPA cycle and 613 km (381 miles) on the EU cycle, making it the first to go beyond 300 miles and the longest range production electric vehicle by far.

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X-energy and Southern Nuclear collaborate on advanced reactor development

X Energy, LLC, a developer of high-temperature gas-cooled pebble-bed small modular reactors, and a subsidiary of Southern Nuclear Operating Company (Southern Nuclear) have entered into a memorandum of understanding as a step toward commercializing and deploying X-energy’s High Temperature Gas-cooled Reactor (HTGR): the Xe-100.

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Albemarle signs definitive agreement to acquire lithium salts production assets in Asia

Albemarle Corporation (NYSE: ALB), a leader in the global specialty chemicals industry, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire the lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate conversion assets and supporting business functions currently operated by Jiangxi Jiangli New Materials Science and Technology Co. Ltd. The transaction includes manufacturing assets located in both Jiangxi and Sichuan, China focused on the production of battery-grade lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide.

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DOE: MY2016 PHEV median full range longer than gasoline vehicle median range

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has compiled figures showing that although most electric vehicles (EV) have shorter ranges than gasoline vehicles, there are EVs with ranges equal to or greater than some gasoline-powered models. Further, the median range for plug-in electric vehicles (PHEVs) is 440 miles (708.11 km)—longer than the 412-mile median range for gasoline models (including conventional hybrids).

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Audi starts 7-speed transmission production in China

August 22, 2016

Together with Volkswagen Automatic Transmission Tianjin (VWATJ), Audi is inaugurating a new transmission plant in the northern China harbor city of Tianjin. The plant will supply highly efficient 7-speed S tronic transmissions for the new Audi A4 L and other locally produced models.

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Nel ASA secures repeat-order for 2 new hydrogen stations

Nel Hydrogen Solutions has secured a repeat-order for two new CAR-200 hydrogen stations from an undisclosed European customer. Nel Hydrogen Fueling, formerly known as H2 Logic A/S and a division of Nel ASA (Nel), has initiated production of CAR-200, the latest generation H2Station.

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NSF announces $55M toward national research priorities; intersection of food, energy and water systems

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has made 11 awards totaling $55 million aimed at building research capacity to develop new innovations at the intersection of food, energy and water systems and to address fundamental questions about the brain.

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HARMAN cybersecurity framework for connected vehicles

HARMAN has developed a layered 5+1 automotive cybersecurity framework which consists of a series of layers that protects the car’s head unit from being compromised and used as a portal into the in-vehicle network.

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AKASOL introducing modular Li-ion packs for commercial vehicles

August 19, 2016

At this year’s IAA commercial vehicles in Hannover, AKASOL, a Germany-based provider of high-performance Li-ion battery systems (earlier post), will introduce the AKASystem OEM. The modular and compact lithium-ion battery system is targeted for use in commercial vehicles such as buses, trucks, construction, or other special vehicles.

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US gasoline deliveries in July highest on record

Total motor gasoline deliveries—a measure of consumer gasoline demand—in the US in July moved up 2.4% from July 2015 to average nearly 9.7 million barrels per day, according to figures from the American Petroleum Institute (API). Compared with June 2016, total motor gasoline deliveries increased 0.3%. For year-to-date, total motor gasoline deliveries increased 2.5% compared with year-to-date 2015 to a record level just above 9.3 million barrels per day.

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Cadillac unveils Escala Concept, previewing future design direction; 4.2L twin-turbo V-8 with Active Fuel Management

Cadillac revealed the Escala Concept, introducing the next evolution of Cadillac design and previewing the craftsmanship and technology being developed for many future models. Following a series of private previews, Escala will be displayed this weekend at the annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

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CD-adapco accelerates development efforts for collaborative ICE simulation solutions

CD-adapco, a global provider of multidisciplinary engineering simulation and design exploration software, is accelerating its development efforts for its Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) simulation solutions. The overall plan enhances capabilities in the STAR-CD /es-ice suite of software along with enabling a majority of in-cylinder simulation features within the company’s flagship product, STAR-CCM+, by the close of 2017.

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Honeywell UOP introduces range of new hydrotreating catalysts; production of cleaner-burning gasoline and diesel

Honeywell UOP is introducing an expanded portfolio of new hydrotreating catalysts used to remove impurities and contaminants from petroleum and other refining feedstocks to produce cleaner-burning gasoline and diesel that meets new global emissions regulations.

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Scania and Asko testing hydrogen fuel cell trucks

August 18, 2016

Asko, Norway’s largest convenience goods wholesaler, and Scania, part of Volkswagen Truck & Bus GmbH, will start testing trucks with hydrogen fuel cell electric powertrain. The hydrogen gas will be produced locally, using solar cells. The trucks will run in distribution service with distances of almost 500 km (311 miles).

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Ballard and Toyota Tsusho sign distribution agreement for fuel cell products in Japan

Ballard Power Systems has signed a distribution agreement with Toyota Tsusho Corporation (TTC), a member of the Toyota Group. Under the agreement, TTC will act as a distributor of Ballard-powered fuel cell products in Japan. The initial term of the agreement runs to 31 December 2020.

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Chevrolet Cavalier nameplate is back—in China

Chevrolet will launch an all-new compact midsize family sedan in China under the Cavalier nameplate at the Chengdu Auto Show on September 2. This marks the brand’s first use of the Cavalier name in China. The Cavalier will complement the recently launched new-generation Cruze, as Chevrolet strengthens its portfolio in China.

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Uber acquires self-driving truck company Otto

Uber has acquired Otto, a 90-plus person technology startup the stated mission of which is to rethink transportation, starting with self-driving trucks. Anthony Levandowski, Otto’s co-founder, will now lead Uber’s self-driving efforts and report directly to Travis Kalanick, Uber CEO and Co-Founder—across personal transportation, delivery and trucking—in San Francisco, Palo Alto and Pittsburgh.

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FEV North America, Inc. opening office in Silicon Valley

FEV North America, Inc. (FEV) has established an office in Sunnyvale, California, citing a thriving automotive electronics industry on the West Coast, as well as overwhelming customer demands. FEV has long supported customers in California in the development of vehicles and electronic systems, and has become an industry development and testing leader in the electronics and connected vehicle space.

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EIA: energy-related CO2 emissions from natural gas surpass coal as fuel use patterns change

Energy-associated CO2 emissions from natural gas are expected to surpass those from coal for the first time since 1972, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). Even though natural gas is less carbon-intensive than coal, increases in natural gas consumption and decreases in coal consumption in the past decade have resulted in natural gas-related CO2 emissions surpassing those from coal.

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New LLNL electron microscope expands materials characterization capabilities

A new Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM) installed at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) earlier this year is giving LLNL researchers a clearer look at the atomic level of structures than they’ve had before.

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Orange EV taking orders for new Class 8 electric terminal truck

August 17, 2016

Orange EV is accepting orders for its all-new T-Series battery-electric terminal truck. Orange EV’s initial T-Series, a complete re-manufacture of existing trucks, has been operating up to 24+ hours per charge at sites from single shift to 24x7 in: railroad inter-modal, LTL freight, manufacturing, retail distribution, waste management and warehouse container handling. By placing a $10,000 refundable deposit by YE 2016, fleets lock in price, production priority, and Orange EV’s telematics service free of charge on trucks ordered by 31 March 2017.

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Denali National Park to use Lightning Hybrids hydraulic hybrid buses to transport park visitors

Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska, centered on Denali (formerly known as Mount McKinley), the highest mountain in North America, has taken delivery of its first two hydraulic hybrid vehicles from Colorado-based Lightning Hybrids.

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New startup Romeo Power to develop and manufacture optimized EV battery packs

Romeo Power, a Santa Monica, California -based startup will design and manufacture electric vehicle battery packs that the company says will outperform any battery systems on the EV market today. The company was launched this month by tech innovators Michael Patterson and Porter Harris.

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ABI Research forecasts more than 143M units of OSes to support software-defined cockpits to ship in 2021

August 16, 2016

With autonomous driving inching closer, cars are incorporating digital user interfaces, in-car LTE, and data utilization through cloud services. ABI Research forecasts more than 143 million operating system (OS) solutions will ship in 2021 to support the software-defined car cockpits, or automotive head units that support cluster displays and in-vehicle infotainment.

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Electrovaya-Litarion introduces higher energy density 44Ah Li-ion cell; optimized NMC/graphite

Electrovaya Inc. and its wholly owned subsidiary, Litarion GmbH, have introduced the next-generation LITACELL, LC-44—an optimized NMC/graphite-based electrode chemistry. The higher-energy-density LITACELL LC-44 delivers 44Ah in the same geometry as the 40 Ah LITACELL LC-40.

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U Magdeburg, VW AG and AEM in 3-year, €2M project to improve EV range, electromagnetic compatibility

Researchers at the Otto-von-Guericke-Universität Magdeburg are working with Volkswagen AG and AEM (Anhaltische Elektromotorenwerk Dessau GmbH) on a three-year, €2-million research project to improve EV range and also the electromagnetic compatibility of EV systems.

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DOE: median all-electric vehicle range in US grew from 73 miles in MY2011 to 83.5 miles in MY2016

From 2011 to 2016, the median all-electric vehicle range in the US increased by just over 10 miles from 73 to 83.5 miles, according to figures compiled by the US Department of Energy (DOE).

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Lyft partners with ALC for on-demand transportation for NEMT and paratransit customers

August 15, 2016

American Logistics Company, LLC (ALC), a national passenger transportation management company serving transit agencies and the healthcare industry, is partnering with Lyft to provide on-demand Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT) and paratransit services.

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VW boss Diess: brand to show near-production EV prototype at Paris; in market in 2019

In an interview with Germany’s Wirtschafts Woche, Volkswagen brand boss Herbert Diess said that the company would present a near-production prototype of a new electric vehicle with the external dimensions of a VW Golf and the internal space of a Passat at the upcoming Paris Motor Show.

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Republic Services opens new CNG fueling station in Long Beach; >75% of local fleet powered by alternative fuel

Republic Services has opened its latest Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) fueling station. The new fueling station is designed to support the recent addition of 56 new CNG-powered collection trucks that serve customers throughout greater Long Beach, California. The additional CNG trucks have replaced older diesel-powered trucks, and bring the total number of alternative fuel vehicles operated by Republic Services of Long Beach to 147.

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Lux: carbon nanotubes begin to gain commercial traction; $560M market in 2025

Lux Research forecasts that multi-walled nanotubes (MWNTs) will represent a a $560-million MWNT market in 2025. MWNTs are an established alternative to carbon black in conductive composites for electrostatic discharge (ESD) protection in applications such as automotive fuel lines and conductive packaging for electronics. MWNTs have also established a firm foothold as an additive for Li-ion battery electrodes.

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Saskatchewan school division switches entire bus fleet to propane; nearly quadrupling propane-fueled buses in province

August 13, 2016

Saskatchewan’s Regina Catholic School Division (RCSD), in partnership with LP3 Transportation Solutions, unveiled its new fleet of Blue Bird propane-powered school buses. RCSD partnered with LP3 Transportation Solutions to add 89 Blue Bird Vision Propane buses from Legacy Bus Sales in Saskatoon. These Blue Bird buses make up 100% of its Type C fleet, and is the largest fleet of propane buses in Saskatchewan.

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Report: Volkswagen in cooperation talks with SMA Solar

Reuters, citing a story in Hessische Niedersaechsische Allgemeine, reported that Volkswagen is in early talks with German solar power equipment maker SMA Solar about working together.

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Elio Motors locks in base price of $7,300 for non-refundable reservation holders for 3-wheeler

August 12, 2016

Elio Motors, the start-up vehicle manufacturer planning to launch a three-wheel vehicle that will get up to 84 mpg (2.8 l/100 km), is establishing a vehicle purchase base price of $7,300 for its non-refundable reservation holders until the company reaches 65,000 total reservations.

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IBM Research and Stanford researchers ID develop new catalyst for cheaper bioplastics

A team from IBM Research and Stanford University has identified a chemical catalyst that can be used to create cheaper, biodegradable plastics from plants such as palm trees and beets. These inexpensive plastics can be used for making common consumer plasticware, such as eating utensils, as well as medical devices.

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NSF to award $4.8M for catalysis research

The National Science Foundation will award up to $4.8 million through its Catalysis program (PD-16-1401) is to advance research in catalytic engineering science and promote fundamental understanding and the development of catalytic materials and reactions that are of benefit to society. NSF anticipates an award duration of one to three years. The typical award size for the program is around $100,000 per year with allowance for up to $150,000 per year for collaborative projects or those involving multiple investigators.

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American Chemical Society to establish ChemRxiv preprint server to promote early research sharing

The American Chemical Society intends to form ChemRxiv, a chemistry preprint server for the global chemistry community, proposed as a collaborative undertaking that will facilitate the open dissemination of important scientific findings. The Society is presently in the process of inviting interested stakeholders to participate in helping to shape the service ahead of its anticipated launch.

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Total new car sales in Europe drop 2% in July; SUV sales up 12.5%

New car registrations in Europe’s Big 5 markets dropped by 2% in July, as market conditions halted the positive trend that had dominated over the previous 15 months, according to figures from JATO Dynamics. In terms of segments, SUVs continued to grow their market share, with their registrations in July accounting for more than a quarter of the total market (25.8%).

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Hyundai delivers first fuel cell vehicle in Québec

August 11, 2016

Hyundai Auto Canada Corp. has delivered a 2016 Tucson Fuel Cell vehicle to the Centre de Gestion de l’Equipment Roulant (CGER)—its first customer in Québec, the third province where the vehicle can now be found.

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LPE chooses Veefil for Australia’s first commercial EV fast-charging station

Australian energy retailer Locality Planning Energy has chosen Tritium’s Veefil (earlier post) as the first commercial electric vehicle (EV) fast-charging stations to be deployed in Australia. The first charging station, to be operational at Noosa, Queensland next week, is one of five planned across southeast Queensland and will enable drivers to charge EVs 25 times faster than a standard home charger.

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Sumitomo to acquire 25% of Hay Holding GmbH from Musashi; expanding its automotive business

Sumitomo Corporation and Musashi Seimitsu Industry Co., Ltd. have reached a basic agreement on the acquisition by Sumitomo Corporation of 25% of the shares of Hay Holding GmbH, a major German manufacturer of automotive parts whose shares are all held by Musashi.

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2017 Mazda3 with G-Vectoring arrives in N. America

August 10, 2016

Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) introduced the US-spec 2017 Mazda3, which gains notable improvements in refinement, packaging and handling. The new Mazda3 will come standard with G-Vectoring Control (GVC), an all-new, Mazda-exclusive technology that uses the engine in conjunction with the steering, throttle inputs and suspension to provide sharper chassis control. (Earlier post.)

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BMW ReachNow car sharing adds “Park and Fly” service at Sea-Tac

BMW’s ReachNow car sharing has added a new “park and fly” service for the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Beginning 10 August, any ReachNow member will be able to park and pick-up ReachNow cars from the off-site Wally Park Premier Garage, located next to the airport.

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Toyota and Horizon Educational Group challenge SoCal high school students to build fuel cell vehicles

August 09, 2016

Toyota is partnering with Horizon Educational Group to bring the Hydrogen Horizon Automotive Challenge to 20 California schools in Los Angeles and Orange Counties.

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Ryder 1st commercial fleet provider to surpass 100M natural gas vehicle miles

Ryder System, Inc. announced that its fleet of natural gas vehicles (NGVs) has surpassed 100 million miles of operations, making it the first commercial fleet outsourcing provider to reach this milestone. Through this achievement, Ryder has gained substantial insight into the NGV industry and how to optimize this solution for customers looking to reduce costs and emissions.

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DOE: number of PEV battery packs sold in 2015 dropped 3.4% from 2014, but overall capacity sold increased 22.6%

According to data compiled by the US Department of Energy (DOE), the number of battery packs sold for plug-in electric vehicles (PEV) in the US declined by 3.4% from 2014 to 2015. However, the total battery capacity for all PEVs sold between 2014 and 2015 increased by 22.6%.

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Pete Savagian leaves GM to become VP Engineering at Faraday Future

August 08, 2016

Pete Savagian, who served in critical electric drive engineering roles at GM since the EV1, has left General Motors to become the VP Engineering at Faraday Future.

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Karma using independent dealers and company centers for launch or Revero plug-in hybrid

Karma Automotive’s planned distribution strategy will use both independent dealers and also company owned brand-experience centers to sell and service the new high-end Revero plug-in hybrid. The company said it has been curating best-in-class dealers in key markets in preparation for the Revero going on sale later this year.

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Toyota to collaborate with Japan Federation of Hire-Taxi Associations on next-gen taxi; role of automated driving

August 06, 2016

The Japan Federation of Hire-Taxi Associations and Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) have entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to study on areas for collaboration, so as to develop and introduce the Japanese taxi of the future.

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MIT researchers developing LiDAR on a chip

August 05, 2016

Researchers at MIT’s Photonic Microsystems Group are developing a LiDAR-on-a-chip system that is smaller than a dime, has no moving parts, and could be mass produced at a very low cost to be used in self-driving cars, drones, and robots. An article describing the new system is published in IEEE Spectrum.

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California oil producer applies for LCFS credits for producing crude oil using solar-generated power

Under California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), crude oil producers may generate credits for oil that has been produced using innovative methods and delivered to California refineries for processing. Seneca Resource Corporation (Seneca) has applied for LCFS credits for producing crude oil using solar generated electricity.

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UMTRI: Average US new vehicle fuel economy in July up 0.1 mpg from June

The average fuel economy (window-sticker value) of new vehicles sold in the US in July 2016 was 25.4 mpg (9.25 l/100 km)—up 0.1 mpg from the value for June 2016, according to the latest monthly report from Dr. Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle at University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI). Fuel economy is down 0.4 mpg from the peak reached in August 2014, but still up 5.3 mpg since October 2007 (the first month of their monitoring).

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Germany’s new plug-in car incentives attract 1,791 buyers so far; BMW most popular choice

Since launching on 1 July, Germany’s new plug-in vehicle (battery-electric and plug-in hybrid) discount scheme has attraced 1,791 buyers as of 4 July, according to figures released by Germany’s BAFA (Bundesamt für Wirtschaft und Ausfuhrkontrolle).

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Nissan expands “No Charge to Charge” program expands to 10 new US markets

August 04, 2016

Nissan has expanded its “No Charge to Charge” program to 10 new markets, continuing the push to provide LEAF owners with no-cost public charging. The program offers new LEAF buyers free public charging for the first two years of ownership The 10 new markets are:

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Survey finds big shift in UK buyers’ attitude to diesel; more concern over running costs than environment

UK car buyers are turning away from diesel in favor of gasoline models, according to new research by Whatcar.com. The changing mood among buyers is reflected in the latest What Car? Intelligence survey results, which indicate that more than seven in 10 would be likely or very likely to choose a gasoline car, compared with the four in 10 who would consider buying a diesel.

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Chevy Volt hits 100,000 mark in US sales; almost 1.5B all-electric miles

Chevrolet has sold 100,000 Volts in the US since the plug-in’s introduction. Since sales of the Chevrolet Volt began, owners have driven almost 1.5 billion miles in EV mode of a total 2.5 billion cumulative miles.

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SII Semiconductor releases automotive 3-wire (microwire) EEPROM with ultra-small package

SII Semiconductor Corporation, an affiliate of Seiko Instruments Inc., released the S-93CxxCD0H Series (105˚C) and the S-93AxxBD0A Series (125˚C), new automotive 3-wire (microwire) serial EEPROM products available in the ultra-small HSNT-8 package (2030) (2.0×3.0×t0.5 mm). With an industry-leading write speed of 4ms (max.) and low-voltage operation down to 1.6V, the S-93CxxCD0H Series (105˚C) is suitable for a wide range of automotive applications.

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Phihong introduces new 10 kW portable EV DC charger for roadside assistance & remote charging

Phihong, a leading global supplier of OEM power solutions, has announced a new 10 kW portable EV DC charger for roadside assistance and remote area charging applications. Mounted on four wheels for easy portability, the new 10 kW EV DC chargers deliver 12V and 24V to power electric passenger cars and busses, and also function as energy storage systems, providing 3.5 kW backup AC power. In June, the company unveiled a new family of mobile DC fast chargers—compliant with the Chinese national GB/T standards that directly correspond to IEC 61851 requirements—with 20 kW, 40 kW, and 60 kW capacities.

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GM delivers July record 270,529 Vehicles in China; Cruze in China outsells Cruze in US

General Motors and its joint ventures delivered a July record 270,529 vehicles in China, taking deliveries for 2016 past 2 million vehicles. July deliveries advanced 18% year over year, with the Buick, Cadillac and Baojun brands reaching all-time highs for the month.

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Graphene ultracap manufacturer Skeleton Technologies receives €13M investment; Series C led by FirstFloor Capital

August 03, 2016

European ultracapacitor manufacturer Skeleton Technologies has received €13 million (US$14.5 million) in new investment led by FirstFloor Capital, a Malaysian venture capital investment firm specializing in funding high-growth technology companies.

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Postal Fleet Services selects Ryder for natural gas vehicle solution in four states; 20 CNG heavy-duty trucks

Ryder System announced that Postal Fleet Services has signed a full-service agreement for 20 compressed natural gas (CNG) heavy-duty vehicles supporting mail delivery operations in Orlando, Fla., Lafayette, La., Jackson, Miss., and La Vergne, Tenn.

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Quantum Materials Corp developing nanomaterials for tracing fracking fluids to point of origin

North American quantum dot manufacturer Quantum Materials Corporation has partnered with a Texas-based E&P technology business and is currently developing specialized nanomaterials for use in oil and gas well production optimization.

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Continental, Cummins, HARMAN, and ZF join Auto-ISAC for automotive cybersecurity

Continental, Cummins, HARMAN, and ZF have joined the Automotive Information Sharing and Analysis Center (Auto-ISAC) as original equipment supplier members. The four new members continue Auto-ISAC’s recent expansion beyond automakers, as the organization acknowledges the critical role that suppliers play in creating strong vehicle cybersecurity protections.

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ExxonMobil invests $15M in University of Texas at Austin Energy Institute; renewable energy, battery technologies and power grid modeling

ExxonMobil will invest $15 million as a leadership member of the University of Texas at Austin Energy Institute to pursue technologies to help meet growing energy demand while reducing environmental impacts and the risk of climate change. The joint research initiative will study transformational energy innovations including integrating renewable energy sources into the current supply mix and advancing traditional energy sources in ways that improve efficiency and reduce impacts on water, air and climate.

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City of London Corporation bans diesel vehicle purchases for its business

The City of London Corporation—the municipal governing body of the City of London—has banned the purchase of diesel vehicles for its business, in a drive to reduce public exposure to air pollution. The policy is the latest in a series of anti-pollution measures brought in by the local authority, which has a fleet of more than 300 vehicles.

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ABI Research: augmented reality to redefine automotive user interface while mitigating the transition to autonomous driving

August 02, 2016

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) automotive applications will redefine the driving and ownership experience, turning it into a safer, seamless, and intuitive activity, according to ABI Research.

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Westport Fuel Systems completes sale of non-core assets for >$12M

On 1 June, Westport Fuel Systems Inc. announced completion of the merger between Westport Innovations Inc. and Fuel Systems Solutions, Inc. (Earlier post.) Now, Westport Fuel Systems Inc. has announced initial post-merger actions targeted at consolidating operations and driving efficiencies while maintaining ability to deliver OEM customer programs on schedule. Included in these efforts is the sale of non-core assets that unlock invested capital without disrupting delivery of OEM customer programs.

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DOE: California had highest concentration of plug-in vehicles relative to population in US in 2015: 4.68 PEVs/1,000 people

In 2015, only five states had more than two plug-in vehicles (PEVs) registered per 1,000 people, according to figures compiled by the US Department of Energy (DOE). California had the highest concentration of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) with 4.68 PEVs per 1,000 people.

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BAC testing use of graphene in body of Mono supercar

August 01, 2016

UK-based bespoke supercar manufacturer BAC (Briggs Automotive Company) BAC has partnered with Haydale Composite Solutions to create rear wheel arches made out of graphene, and has been putting the material through its paces on the Mono, the world’s only road legal single-seater supercar.

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IC Bus announces availability of over-the-air programming for school buses

IC Bus announced that over-the-air (OTA) programming of engine control modules (ECM) will be made available for IC Bus models powered by Navistar proprietary engines and, going forward, by Cummins engines.

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Ford Transit passenger van sales up 30% through June; outselling minvans

Ford reports that sales of its full-size Transit passenger vans are up 30% year-on-year through June, partly driven by growing numbers of large families are turning to the Transit instead of minivans.

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Researchers significantly improve H2 storage properties of sodium aluminium hydride by doping with 2D titanium carbide

July 31, 2016

A team at Zhejiang University in China has significantly enhanced the hydrogen storage properties of sodium aluminum hydride (NaAlH4) by doping it with a 2D titanium carbide (Ti3C2) MXene. (“MXenes” are exfoliated 2D carbide and carbonitride nanosheets that are structurally similar to graphene, where M represents transition metals, and X is either C or/and N, earlier post).

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GAC Motor completes phase II factory, launches GA3S PHEV

July 30, 2016

China-based GAC Motor recently held the completion ceremony of the company’s new phase II factory in Guangzhou in June, and launched the new GS8 SUV and GA3S PHEV plug-in hybrid sedan.

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Edmunds.com: number of leased vehicles reaches all-time high in first half of 2016

More new vehicles in the US were leased in the first half of 2016 than during the first half of any other year in history, according to the latest Lease Market Report from Edmunds.com, the leading car shopping and information network.

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Brookhaven Lab to focus on characterizing composite solid electrolytes and sulfur cathodes in Battery500 project

July 29, 2016

For its part in the 5-year, $50-million Battery500 project targeting next-generation batteries (earlier post), Brookhaven National Lab will focus on determining the characteristics of composite solid electrolytes and sulfur cathodes using intense beams of x-rays at the National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II), a DOE Office of Science User Facility, and other techniques including mass-spectroscopy and high-resolution transmission electron microscopy at Brookhaven's Center for Functional Nanomaterials (CFN), another Office of Science User Facility.

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RoboVent introduces small-footprint Spire dust collector for robotic welding

Robotic welding—heavily used in automotive manufacturing—generates volumes of smoke and fumes that must be controlled to meet air quality regulations. To address this issue, manufacturers traditionally used hoods and oversized fans to collect, filter and exhaust welding fumes to the outside. A different approach is to use an individual fume and dust collector associated with each welding cell. Michigan-based RoboVent, which offers a line of such ventilation systems of robotic welding cells, has now introduced RoboVent Spire to address the needs of robotic welding operations where space is at a premium.

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Formula E gets a new look for third season with new two-tier front wing

The Formula E car will feature a new look for the 2016/17 FIA Formula E Championship, with the introduction of a new two-tier front wing.

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Genovation’s GXE breaks street-legal all-electric land speed record: 205.6 mph

July 28, 2016

Genovation broke the land speed record for a street-legal all-electric vehicle with the Genovation Extreme Electric car (GXE). The GXE reached 205.6 mph (330.88 km/h) during supervised tests with Johnny Bohmer Racing at Space Florida’s Shuttle Landing Facility in Kennedy Space Center, FL. The record was certified by the International Mile Racing Association (IMRA). The previous record, which also was held by Genovation, stood at 186.8 mph (300.63 km/h).

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Subaru starts pre-orders for XV Hybrid tS in Japan

Subaru Tecnica International (STI), the motorsports division of Fuji Heavy Industries, has started to take pre-orders of the Subaru XV Hybrid tS. The model will go on sale this fall through Subaru dealerships in Japan.

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Forge Hydrocarbons awarded $500K from Alberta toward lipids-to-hydrocarbons pre-commercial plant

Edmonton, Canada-based Forge Hydrocarbons has been awarded $500,000 from Alberta Innovates Bio Solutions (AI Bio) (earlier post) to support a $1.26-million project optimizing a pre-commercial plant for its Lipid to Hydrocarbons (LTH) process.

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