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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.]

UMTRI: US new vehicle fuel economy in April drops

May 04, 2016

The average fuel economy (window-sticker value) of new vehicles sold in the US in April 2016 was 25.2 mpg (9.33 l/100 km)—down 0.1 mpg from the value for March 2016, according to the latest monthly report from Dr. Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle at University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI). This decline likely reflects the increased market share of pickup trucks and SUVs, they suggested.

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Baker Institute: End of the ‘Big Oil giveaway’ is underway in the Persian Gulf

The old hypotheses that Persian Gulf energy subsidies were sacrosanct have been overturned, according to a new issue brief from Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy. In recent years, all six Gulf monarchies—Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Bahrain—have begun to challenge the notion that citizens are entitled to cheap energy.

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Daimler plans new €500M engine plant in Poland

Daimler AG plans to invest approximately €500 million (US$576 million) in a new production facility in Poland. The first Mercedes-Benz Cars plant in Poland is to be established in Jawor, about 70 kilometers west of Wroclaw, and will produce four-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines for Mercedes-Benz passenger cars.

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Rosenberger Spritzguss und Formenbau manufactures new sensor carrier for EGR in one process step and without any weld lines

Rosenberger Spritzguss und Formenbau has developed a new type of carrier for Hall effect sensors that combines the housing and printed circuit board in one component and is injection-molded in a single, fully automated production step. The whole component is mounted as a cover on exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) modules which are fitted as standard in many automobiles in Europe.

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XL Hybrids announces 25M total customer miles on road; >1.5M miles driven per month

XL Hybrids, Inc., the developer of a hybrid electric drive retrofit system for commercial and municipal fleets, announced that this month, 25 million road miles will have been collectively driven by globally-recognized brands, municipalities and nonprofits using the XL3 Hybrid Electric Drive System in their service, delivery and passenger fleets.

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Nexeon Raises US$44M million for Li-ion batteries with silicon anodes

UK-based Nexeon, a developer of silicon anode materials for Li-ion batteries (earlier post), has successfully completed a £30-million (US$44-million) funding round. The company received funding from existing investors and a new investor, Woodford Investment Management.

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Lishen orders four Li-ion electrode slurry production lines from Bühler; new process for continuous production

Lishen, a major Chinese Li-ion battery manufacturer, has ordered four electrode slurry production lines from Swiss-based Bühler, a contract worth almost US$10.5 million. The two companies have been collaborating on the development of a more efficient production process, which Lishen is now ordering.

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AVL and Greenlight Innovation partner to develop a fuel cell testing system product line

Canada’s Greenlight Innovation Corp., a supplier of testing and manufacturing equipment for hydrogen fuel cells, electrolyzers, batteries and energy storage systems, and AVL List GmbH, the world’s largest independent company for development, simulation and testing technology of powertrains for global original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), are partnering in the development of a co-branded fuel cell system testing product line.

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NextEV to build $463M plant in Nanjing; motors and modules

May 03, 2016

NextEV and the Nanjing Municipal Government signed a strategic partnership agreement to build a 3 billion RMB (US$463 million) plant facility for the development and production of high-performance motors and electronic modules in the Nanjing Economic and Technological Development Zone.

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SunLine adds first electric buses to fleet; BYD

SunLine Transit Agency, which serves more than 3.5 million passengers annually in the Coachella Valley in California, has added its first all-electric buses, manufactured by BYD.

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REG expands logistics and storage at Danville biodiesel plant

Renewable Energy Group, Inc. (REG) announced that its Danville, Illinois operation now has more than 14 million gallons of tank capacity to store both biodiesel and feedstocks.

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Tesla tests its HEPA Filter and “Bioweapon Defense Mode” under extreme conditions of 1,000 µg/m3 of PM2.5

At the launch of the Model X, Elon Musk touched on the vehicle’s oversized HEPA filters, claiming that “We can’t even detect any viruses or bacteria or spores. Zero come through. If there is ever an apocalyptic scenario, just press the bioweapon defense mode button.” (Earlier post.) While bioweapons experts were skeptical of the full scope of the claim, Tesla has gone on to demonstrate that the filter is very effective against extreme concentrations of PM2.5 particles.

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Bosch opens innovation incubator in Lund, Sweden; vehicle connectivity, security, two-wheelers

May 02, 2016

Bosch has opened a new innovation center in Lund, Sweden. The engineers there are working on new software and hardware in areas such as vehicle connectivity, automotive security systems, and motorized two-wheelers. In addition, they are developing cross-domain solutions for connecting mobility with, for example, energy and building technology over the IoT.

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Clean Energy to provide LNG to Hawaii Gas; additional agreements in trucking, transit and refuse markets

Clean Energy Fuels Corp. has secured a contract to provide liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Hawaii Gas, the State of Hawaii’s only franchised gas utility.

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USC team develops high productivity ammonia borane dehydrogenation system

A team of researchers at USC’s Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute and Department of Chemistry has developed a high productivity, non-hydrolytic ammonia borane (AB) dehydrogenation system capable of releasing up to 2.7 equiv. of H2 at low catalyst loading.

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Quadrant CMS plastics/metal hybrid technology saves weight in airbag assemblies with integrated lead frames

A hybrid plastics/metal airbag housing with integrated lead frame, co-developed and produced by Quadrant Creative Molding & Systems for an automotive steering wheel airbag assembly, reduces weight, packing space and costs.

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Study identifies Bakken Formation alone as responsible for ~2% of global ethane emissions

April 29, 2016

The Bakken Formation, a shale oil and gas field in North Dakota and Montana, is emitting roughly 2% (about 250,000 tons per year) of the globe’s ethane, according to new study led by researchers at the University of Michigan. The paper appears in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

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Neste Renewable Isoalkane to be used for Avantherm’s renewable products for transferring heat and cold

Avantherm, a Swedish company specializing in heat transfer media products, has started using Neste Renewable Isoalkane to produce the next generation, high-performance and more environmentally friendly heat transfer media. Avantherm thus becomes one of the first companies to market Heat Transfer Media produced from renewable raw materials.

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Volkswagen starts recall of the first EA 189 Golf model in Europe for diesel emissions fix

In Europe, the Volkswagen passenger car brand is starting the technical modification of the non-compliant diesel vehicles with engine type EA 189 and the software defeat device. The first model is the Golf TDI Blue Motion Technology (BMT) with a 2.0l engine. In Europe around 15,000 Golf cars affected with a manual gearbox are being called to the workshops. Further Volkswagen passenger car brand models will follow shortly in the recall process.

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Daimler investing €500M to modernize Mercedes-Benz Hamburg plant; production of e-mobility components

Daimler is investing €500 million (US$567 million) to modernize the Mercedes-Benz Hamburg plant and is expanding its product portfolio to include key components for electric driving.

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Velocys scales up FT reactors for gas-to-liquids production

April 28, 2016

Small-scale gas-to-liquids (GTL) company Velocys says that it has successfully scaled up its Fischer-Tropsch (FT) reactor design to individual reactors with capacities in the range 350 to 1,000 barrels per day (bpd) by adding further standard reactor cores within a single pressure vessel.

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Fuel cell company PowerCell Sweden cooperates with Swiss Hydrogen SA to market fuel cell systems

Fuel cell company PowerCell Sweden AB has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Swiss Hydrogen SA, a Switzerland-based company that develops hydrogen fuel cell systems for mobile and stationary applications. The two companies will cooperate to market and sell high performance fuel cell systems based on PowerCell’s stacks.

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Porsche offering Platinum Edition of Cayenne Diesel and Cayenne S E-Hybrid

Porsche is offering a new Platinum Edition of the Cayenne Diesel and Cayenne S E-Hybrid—the latter a plug-in hybrid with a 10.8 kWh battery pack. In addition to their enhanced appearance—for example, large 20-inch wheels in RS Spyder design housed in wider wheel arches and interior features, the models’ expanded features improve comfort and safety in particular.

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Alliance AutoGas launches 5300-mile, 12-city Coast-to-Coast Clean Air Ride with converted F-150

Supported by partners, Clean City Coalitions and corporate sponsors, Alliance AutoGas is embarking on a 5300+ mile, 12-city, cross-country road trip—the Alliance AutoGas Coast-to-Coast Clean Air Ride—with its record-setting propane autogas F-150. The event is being hosted by the Metropolitan Energy Center/Kansas City Regional Clean Cities in conjunction with Veolia/Kansas City Transportation Group and Alliance AutoGas.

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JATO Dynamics: growth slowdown in Euro auto sales in March; SUVs still lead

April 27, 2016

March 2016 was another positive month for European new car registrations, ending a strong Q1 which saw sales of 3.93 million units, up by 8.1% over the first three months of 2015, according to JATO Dynamics. Although volumes grew at a slower rate (+5.6%) than recorded in February 2016 (+13.8%), positive results in 23 of the 29 markets analyzed meant growth continued. YTD figures showed gains in 26 markets, with 16 of them posting double-digit growth. The March SAAR came in at 14.98 million units.

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Study: strong interactions with voice-guided vehicles result in more crashes

A recent study by researchers at Michigan State University, Eindhoven University of Technology, and Stanford University found that giving a car a more personal voice led to more car accidents.

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DLR presents HY4 4-passenger fuel cell hybrid electric aircraft at 2016 Hannover Messe

DLR is presenting the HY4—a four-seater passenger fuel cell hybrid electric aircraft prototype (earlier post)— at the 2016 Hannover Messe, along with research and development partners Hydrogenics, Pipistrel, H2FLY, the University of Ulm and Stuttgart Airport.

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Onboard Dynamics receives $3M from ARPA-E, others for innovative CNG refueling technology

Onboard Dynamics, Inc. (ObDI), an innovator in compressed natural gas (CNG) refueling, has received $3 million from the US Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E), Portland Seed Fund, NW Natural and other utilities, and private investors. Onboard Dynamics is currently pursuing two compressed natural gas refueling solutions, based on novel technology for both on- and off-vehicle applications:

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Volvo Cars to launch UK’s largest autonomous driving trial

Volvo Cars will begin the UK’s most ambitious autonomous driving (AD) trial next year. Volvo’s UK-based test will be called ‘Drive Me London’ and will differentiate itself from other AD programs by using real families driving AD cars on public roads.

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FCA US to invest $74.7M in Trenton Engine Complex for new 4-cylinder

April 26, 2016

FCA US will invest $74.7 million in its Trenton Engine Complex (Mich.) to retool the north plant to produce the next generation four-cylinder engine. The new engine will be assembled on the flexible production line that was installed in 2012 and will provide increased power, while improving fuel economy and reducing CO2 emissions.

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Comet Biorefining signs sugar supply agreement with BioAmber, announces investment

Comet Biorefining recently signed an off-take agreement with bio-succinic acid producer BioAmber for high-purity dextrose from Comet’s planned commercial plant in Sarnia, Ontario. The dextrose will be produced from agricultural residues using Comet’s innovative technology. (Earlier post.)

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Mitsubishi establishes special external committee to investigate improper fuel economy testing

The board of directors of Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) is establishing a special investigation committee, consisting of only external experts, to investigate the improper fuel economy testing and certification of mini-cars to which it admitted recently.

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DOE to issue $22.3M funding opportunity for vehicle technologies; MD and HD PEVs, DI propane engine and partner projects

The US Department of Energy (DOE) will issue (DE-FOA-0001534) a $22.3-million multi-topic funding opportunity for vehicle technologies (DE-FOA-0001535). The FOA will include the three areas of interest: medium- and heavy-duty plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs); direct injection propane engine; and alternative fuel vehicle community partner projects.

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Ballard’s Protonex subsidiary delivers PEM fuel cell propulsion modules for UAVs to Boeing’s Insitu

Ballard Power Systems subsidiary, Protonex, has delivered prototype PEM (proton exchange membrane) fuel cell propulsion modules to Insitu, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Boeing Company, for use in its ScanEagle unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

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ABB introduces Dynamic AC concept to marine offerings; up to 6% annual fuel savings for large cruise ships

ABB has introduced a new Dynamic AC (DAC) concept that optimizes marine engine speed, leading to significant fuel savings. It joins a number of established ABB products, such as Azipod propulsion and the Onboard DC Grid, which maximize energy efficiency for vessel owners.

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Hyundai Motor and Cisco collaborate for global connected car project

April 25, 2016

Hyundai Motor Company is collaborating with Cisco on connected vehicle technology. The cooperation is part of Hyundai Motor’s wider strategy to establish an industry-leading connected car platform through collaboration with leading technology partners.

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Survey: consumers in China less enthusiastic for autonomous vehicles than consumers in US

Consumers in China are less enthusiastic than their counterparts in the United States about the prospect of an autonomous vehicle future, according to J.D. Power and Tencent Auto joint research.

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FHI and IBM Japan collaborating on advanced driver assistance systems; cloud-based data analytics

Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. (FHI), the manufacturer of Subaru automobiles, and IBM Japan, Ltd. are exploring a collaboration in the development of a data analytics system for test images from the advanced safety system—including output from Subaru’s EyeSight driver assistance system—and evaluation using cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies.

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Ford recycles up to 20M lbs of aluminum per month in closed-loop system; equivalent to 30K F-150 bodies

April 23, 2016

Ford recycles as much as 20 million pounds (10,000 short tons, 9 million kg) of aluminum stamping scrap per month using the closed-loop system at Dearborn Truck Plant, which builds F-150. That amount is the equivalent of more than 30,000 F-150 bodies in the largest configuration—a SuperCrew body including doors, plus hood, tailgate and 6.5-foot cargo box.

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IMO agrees mandatory system for collecting ships’ fuel consumption data

The Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has approved mandatory requirements for ships to record and report their fuel consumption. IMO said that the move sends a clear signal about its commitment to climate change mitigation.

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Baidu launching autonomous driving R&D effort in Silicon Valley

April 22, 2016

Baidu, Inc., China’s leading search engine, has formed a self-driving car team in Silicon Valley focused on research, development and testing. The team will be part of Baidu’s newly-created Autonomous Driving Unit (ADU). Baidu plans to grow the team to more than 100 researchers and engineers by the end of the year.

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SAKOR Technologies to work with Michigan State University on thermal transient anemometer

SAKOR Technologies recently won a competitive Small Company Innovation Program (SCIP) grant awarded by the Michigan Corporate Relations Network (MCRN), and will use the grant for research necessary to develop a thermal transient anemometer (TTA), a device used to measure airflow moving through a running vehicle. The research will be conducted in collaboration with Michigan State University’s Turbulent Shear Flows Laboratory.

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Daimler conducting internal investigation over exhaust emissions certification process in the US

Daimler AG announced that it is conducting an internal investigation regarding its certification process related to exhaust emissions in the United States upon the request of the US Department of Justice (DOJ).

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Volkswagen reaches an agreement in principle in US over diesel emissions issue; binding consent decrees to come

April 21, 2016

Volkswagen AG confirmed that it has reached an agreement in principle with the Department of Justice (Environmental Division); the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); and the California Air Resources Board (CARB); with the full involvement of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) concerning the diesel emissions issue. The agreement in principle will be incorporated into binding consent decrees by the Department of Justice and the FTC in the coming weeks.

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Proterra racks up 33 more orders for electric buses through FTA Low-No awards

Proterra, the market leader of zero-emission, battery-electric buses in North America, announced that SEPTA, Foothill Transit and King County Metro will use their Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Low or No Emission Vehicle Deployment Grants (Low-No) (earlier post) to purchase 33 Catalyst electric buses and charging infrastructure.

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Global Bioenergies delivers isobutene test sample to joint venture of LANXESS and Saudi Aramco

Global Bioenergies has delivered isobutene produced at its industrial pilot to ARLANXEO—a joint venture of LANXESS and Saudi Aramco and world leader in high‐quality synthetic rubbers headquartered in the Netherlands.

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LeEco unveils autonomous LeSEE EV concept; partnering with Faraday Future on autonomous driving research center

China-based LeEco introduced four different products in four distinct categories at a major launch event in Beijing, including the autonomous LeSEE electric vehicle (EV) concept car.

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Advanced high-strength steel growth in automotive use exceeds forecast

Over the past three years, the amount of advanced high-strength steel (AHSS) used each year in automotive applications has been 10% higher than forecasted by Ducker Worldwide, the Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI) announced. SMDI is a business unit of the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI).

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Largest public EV charging center in California opens in Santa Clara

The largest public multi-standard electric vehicle charging facility in California officially opened in Santa Clara. The Santa Clara Electric Vehicle Charging Center, located at the city’s Tasman Parking Garage, features 48 Level 2 chargers and one DC Fast Charger.

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Battelle team developing new hybrid direct coal-to-liquids process to produce jet fuel; lower costs and GHGs

April 20, 2016

In a cost-shared program supported by the US Department of Energy, National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) and the Ohio Coal Development Office (OCDO) of the Ohio Development Services Agency (ODSA), a team at Battelle is demonstrating a new, hybrid, direct coal-to-liquids process for producing jet fuel using biomass-derived coal solvents.

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DSM introduces Stanyl HGR1 to cut frictional torque in auto engine timing systems; reduced fuel consumption

Royal DSM has introduced an innovative new high performance material based on Stanyl polyamide 46. This new material, Stanyl HGR1, reduces frictional torque in automobile engine timing systems and will provide OEMs with a cost-effective tool for reducing fuel consumption.

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Nissan announces record EV fleet sales in Europe in FY2015

Sales of the Nissan LEAF and e-NV200 in the fleet market in Europe rose for a fourth consecutive year in fiscal year 2015, up 45% on the previous fiscal year. Nissan sold more than 7,500 LEAFs and e-NV200s to fleet operators and municipalities in Europe, commanding a 28% share of the pure electric fleet market. More than 20,000 Nissan EVs have been sold to fleet customers across Europe since launch.

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Paice files complaint against VW Group with ITC alleging hybrid patent infringement

Paice (earlier post), an early developer of hybrid vehicle technology, has filed a complaint against the Volkswagen Group with the US International Trade Commission (ITC). The complaint alleges patent infringement by VW, Audi and Porsche and asks the ITC to issue an exclusion order that would prohibit the companies from importing certain hybrid vehicles, including the VW Jetta Hybrid, Audi A3 e-tron Hybrid, Audi Q5 Hybrid, Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid, and Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid.

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2017 Lincoln MKC adds available stop-start for 2.0L AWD

April 19, 2016

The 2017 Lincoln MKC small utility is offering more standard features and available, among them Auto Start-Stop, which is now available on 2.0-liter all-wheel-drive MKC, and standard on front-wheel-drive model.

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ContiTech advanced engine mounting system reduces weight by ~20%; used in the Malibu

ContiTech has supplied the entire engine mounting system for the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu. Almost all the functional components of the hydraulic mounts are made of polyamide. The significant increase in high technology polyamide elements has resulted in a weight reduction of around 20 percent in the mount components.

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SII Semiconductor introduces new line of automotive LDO voltage regulators

SII Semiconductor Corporation, a subsidiary of Seiko Instruments Inc. will launch the S-19244 / S-19243 Series low-dropout (LDO) Regulators in May, 2016. The S-19244 / S-19243 Series offers multiple options including soft-start function as well as high temperature operation of 125 °C. This new LDO series has a 10V input as well as options for 1A and 0.5A output current capability. The target applications includes engine ECUs, body ECUs, meters, automotive use cameras, car navigation, car audio, and automotive infotainment systems.

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DLR signs cooperation agreement with Canadian universities to focus on lightweighting and crashworthiness

April 18, 2016

The Institute of Vehicle Concepts at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, DLR) has signed a cooperation agreement with the University of Waterloo and the University of Windsor in Canada. Central elements of the collaboration will be research into and the exchange of scientific data on the subjects of lightweight construction and the crashworthiness of vehicles, as well as planning and collaborating on projects.

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FLIR Systems launches next generation high-performance uncooled thermal camera core

FLIR Systems introduced Boson, its smallest, lightest, and least power-consuming, high-performance uncooled thermal camera for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). Sized between FLIR’s Tau and Lepton camera cores, Boson is the first thermal camera core to incorporate a low-power multi-core vision processor running FLIR XIR expandable infrared video processing architecture.

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XL Hybrids introduces cloud-based fleet vehicle connectivity and analytics system

XL Hybrids has introduced the XL Link cloud-based big data analytics system, which measures key performance indicators—including MPG performance—and reports carbon dioxide emissions reductions in clients’ hybrid-electric fleet vehicles.

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H2 Logic launches next generation H2 refueling station; 3x capacity, ⅓ the footprint

Logic A/S (H2 Logic), a subsidiary of NEL ASA (NEL), launched the H2Station CAR-200, a hydrogen refueling station (HRS) that triples the fueling capacity while reducing the footprint to one-third of the current generation.

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Decrease in air pollution associated with decrease in respiratory symptoms among children

Decreases in ambient air pollution levels over the past 20 years in Southern California were associated with significant reductions in bronchitic symptoms in children with and without asthma, according to a study by researchers at the University of Southern California published in JAMA.

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Volkswagen teases new Beijiing concept PHEV SUV

Volkswagen released a few teaser images for the Beijing Concept luxury SUV to be revealed at the Beijing auto show next week. The vehicle—which Volkswagen says previews its direction with SUVs—demonstrates both the continued digitalization of the automobile, as well as a performance-oriented plug-in hybrid powertrain.

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Nopetro opens largest US public/private CNG fueling facility

April 17, 2016

Nopetro, Florida’s leading compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling infrastructure provider, has opened the US’ largest public/private compressed natural gas fueling facility.

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Excellance showcasing CNG-powered ambulance

Excellance Inc, producer of custom ambulances and emergency vehicles, will showcase a CNG-powered ambulance at FDIC International in Indianapolis.

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Diamond Green Diesel to expand renewable diesel capacity to 275M gallons per year

April 16, 2016

Diamond Green Diesel (DGD)—a joint venture between Valero Energy Corporation and Darling Ingredients—will expand its annual production capacity at its plant in Norco, LA from 160 million gallons of renewable diesel to 275 million gallons.

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AZRA invests C$40 million (CAD) in transport electrification in Canada; 2K new charge points and Twizy

Over the next 18 months, AZRA will invest C$40 million (US$31 million) to install 2,000 new electric charging stations and deploy the Twizy, Renault’s first 100% electric vehicle in Canada.

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Komatsu Europe introduces new 36t hydraulic hybrid excavator; 20% fuel savings

April 15, 2016

Komatsu Europe International has introduced the new HB365LC-3, a 36-tonne hydraulic hybrid excavator. Compared to a standard PC360LC-11 excavator, the new Komatsu Hybrid excavator provides a 20% fuel savings.

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Toshiba launches new opto-isolated IGBT pre-driver IC for inverters for HEVs and EVs

Toshiba Corporation’s Storage & Electronic Devices Solutions Company launched the TB9150FNG, an opto-isolated IGBT (Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor) gate pre-driver IC with various enhanced protective functions for the in-vehicle inverters of electric and hybrid vehicles.

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JATO Dynamics: SUVs continue to drive growth in Europe’s big 5 markets

The latest figures for Europe’s top 5 markets—Germany, UK, Italy, France and Spain—show further positive results for March 2016. The total for the Big 5 markets surpassed the one million units mark, rising to 1.36 million new cars, up by 5% over March 2015. First quarter registrations advanced 8% to 2.89 million cars, while the March SAAR came in at 11.04 million across the five markets. SUV registrations ranked first, accounting for more than one out of four passenger cars registered, according to data from JATO Dynamics.

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Momentum Dynamics says it will deliver 200 kW wireless charging for bus market this year

Wireless charging company Momentum Dynamics (earlier post) says it will deliver 200kW wireless (inductive) charging systems in 2016 for the municipal bus market.

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FAA approves Alcohol-to-Jet biofuel

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has approved the use of another biofuel for aviation: Alcohol to Jet Synthetic Paraffinic Kerosene (ATJ-SPK). (Earlier post.) In collaboration with the aviation industry, the FAA approves new renewable jet fuel pathways through ASTM International. The FAA’s Continuous Lower Energy, Emissions and Noise (CLEEN) partnership with industry was crucial in completing the necessary steps to support ASTM International approval of this new fuel.

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DOE to offer up to $4.5M for research on methane hydrates

The Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) has issued a $4.5-million funding opportunity announcement (DE-FOA-0001536) for projects that focus on fundamental research on methane hydrates.

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Researchers developing solvent-based method for lithium recovery from brine with purity up to 99.9%

April 14, 2016

Researchers in Finland are developing new methods for lithium recovery from natural brine with increasingly effective recovery of lithium and purity of the lithium solution increasing from 95% to 99.9%—difficult and resource-intensive to accomplish using traditional methods. A paper on their studies is published in the journal Hydrometallurgy.

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TECAT announces first wireless torque sensor model featuring shunt calibration

TECAT Performance Systems has introduced the WISER 2030-S, the first version of the company’s wireless torque sensor (earlier post) to feature shunt calibration. The new WISER 2030-S will simplify instrumentation verification for users while allowing them to check calibration of the system in the field.

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GM recycles water bottles to make part for Chevy Equinox, coat insulation for the homeless, air filters

General Motors is turning its employees’ recycled water bottles into a noise-reducing fabric insulation that covers the Chevrolet Equinox engine. The bottles—collected from five of its Michigan facilities—are also being turned into air filtration components and insulation in coats for the homeless community.

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SAE World Congress technical track on advances in fuel cell vehicle applications

April 13, 2016

The 2016 SAE World Congress is again featuring a technical track (PFL 720) on advances in hydrogen fuel cell vehicle technology, followed by a technical expert panel discussion (PFL 799) on the commercialization of fuel cell vehicles and hydrogen infrastructure. The PFL 720 / 799 sessions are on Thursday, 14 April,  in room 420A, Cobo Hall. During the PFL 720 sessions at last year’s Congress, Toyota presented a set of four technical papers describing some of the technology innovations used in its production fuel cell hybrid electric vehicle Mirai. (Earlier post.)

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Convergent Science forms Computational Chemistry Consortium

CFD software company Convergent Science (earlier post) has formed the Computational Chemistry Consortium (C3). The goal of the consortium is to provide the most accurate and comprehensive computation chemistry combustion and emissions models, tools, and mechanisms to the entire scientific community.

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Toyota launching new telematics car insurance services company in US

Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance Co., Ltd. (AD), Toyota Financial Services Corporation (TFS) and Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) announced that their respective US subsidiaries established the jointly owned telematics car insurance services company Toyota Insurance Management Solutions USA, LLC (TIMS), on 1 April.

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Toyota and Clemson showcase Gen-Z focused EV concept at SAE World Congress

At the 2016 SAE World Congress, Toyota and Clemson University unveiled an innovative, flexible concept called uBox that is intended to appeal to the next generation of car buyers: Gen-Z. Designed, engineered and hand-built by graduate students at Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR), the vehicle is the result of a two-year collaboration with Toyota Motor North America designers and engineers.

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Lexus has sold more than 1M hybrids

April 12, 2016

Lexus International announced it has sold more than 1 million hybrid vehicles worldwide since the RX 400h went on sale in April 2005. As of the end of March 2016, Lexus had sold approximately 1,000,600 hybrid vehicles in 11 years.

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California ARB releases proposed strategy to reduce impact of short-lived climate pollutants

The California Air Resources Board released a new draft of California’s Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Strategy to significantly reduce the near-term climate impacts of these potent pollutants. SLCPs are chemical agents with an outsized global warming impact up to thousands of times stronger than CO2; these agents include methane, black carbon (soot) and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)—chemicals most often used as refrigerants, aerosols and in insulation.

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HRL to receive $4.3M DARPA award to develop next-generation inertial sensor technology for precise navigation

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded HRL Laboratories, LLC, $4.3 million to develop vibration- and shock-tolerant inertial sensor technology that enables future precision navigation system accuracy needs without utilizing GPS.

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Study: even relatively low levels of air pollution appear to affect a child’s lungs

In a paper published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care, researchers report that children exposed to higher levels of air pollution—even if relatively low—including fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and soot (black carbon), had worse lung function than those living in less polluted areas. By age eight, the lung function of children living within 100 meters of a major roadway was on average 6% lower than that of children living 400 meters or more away.

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New SAE International symposium on range extenders for electric vehicles

April 11, 2016

SAE International will hold a new two-day symposium in Knoxville, Tennessee on 2-3 November 2016 on range extenders for electric vehicles (REX). Organized by Robert Wagner and Scott Curran of Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and Hugh Blaxill of Mahle Powertrain, “Range Extenders for Electric Vehicles” will include sessions on policy and regulation driving the design and implementation of prime movers for REX applications; unique and advanced prime movers (e.g., fuel cell stacks as well as engines); recent powertrain advances for enabling REX; infrastructure role on range extender options; and the future of REX from a prime mover perspective.

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Jaguar Land Rover launches new mobility services technology business InMotion

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has launched InMotion, a new technology business that builds apps and on-demand services to overcome modern travel and transport challenges. Next month InMotion will begin real-world testing of a number of different services such as car sharing and car ownership solutions, across North America, Europe and Asia in the coming months.

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Report projects £51B/year boost to UK economy if government acts now on charging infrastructure and workforce training

An independent academic report to be published on 13 April will urge the UK government to make significant investment in charging infrastructure and upskilling of the UK motor industry or risk missing out on major economic benefits in the future.

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Air Liquide announces locations of first four of 12 hydrogen fueling stations in northeast US; Blue Hydrogen

April 08, 2016

Air Liquide announced the locations of four public hydrogen fueling stations planned for the northeastern region of the United States. The stations are the first of twelve hydrogen stations planned by Air Liquide in the northeast United States, in collaboration with Toyota Motor Sales USA, Inc.

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BOC and ITM Power sign hydrogen refueling & siting agreement

BOC, the UK’s largest supplier of industrial gases, signed an agreement with ITM Power to provide infrastructure for ITM Power’s new electrolyzer-based hydrogen refueling stations for passenger cars. The announcement underpins ITM Power’s ongoing plans to build a network of hydrogen refueling stations in the UK.

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ABI Research: vehicle sensor crowdsourcing to transform the digital map ecosystem; need for standards

Highly accurate, real-time maps are an essential next step as the automotive industry steers toward the future of fully driverless cars. All autonomous and driverless vehicle maps will need to combine accuracy, environmental models, and real-time attributes allowing positional and temporal awareness. To achieve that, says Dominique Bonte, Managing Director and Vice President at ABI Research, “crowdsourcing is crucial.

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GTI International acquires BKi; operator of California Fuel Cell Partnership

GTI International (GTII), a subsidiary of Gas Technology Institute (GTI), has acquired BKi, a professional energy services and consulting firm serving energy efficiency, energy supply, and alternative transportation markets.

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Williams Advanced Engineering collaborates with Wille on zero-emission multi-function machines

April 07, 2016

Williams Advanced Engineering will work with Vilakone Oy to create a new zero emission multi-function machine based on the existing Wille 665 platform. Vilakone Oy is Northern Europe’s largest manufacturer of environmental management machinery such as leaf collectors, snow ploughs and city sweepers.

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Alcoa to supply 3D-printed titanium parts for Airbus aircraft

Alcoa has entered into an agreement with Airbus to supply 3D-printed titanium fuselage and engine pylon components for Airbus commercial aircraft. Alcoa expects to deliver the first additive manufactured parts to Airbus in mid-2016.

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JATO Dynamics: China’s smaller cities help boost new car sales in 2015; SUVs biggest growth drivers

China’s new car market continues to be affected by the economic slowdown and the introduction of car purchase restrictions in eight key cities, according to the latest analysis by JATO Dynamics. New passenger car registrations in the world’s largest market totalled 18.9 million in 2015, an 11% increase on 2014. Although new car sales growth for 2015 was still in the double digits, the rate declined for a second year in a row—dropping to 11% from 13% in 2014 and 16% in 2013.

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SAIC-GM to unveil new Buick LaCrosse hybrid in Shanghai

SAIC-GM will unveil the all-new Buick LaCrosse Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) will be unveiled in Shanghai on 18 April. GM’s joint venture with SAIC will also outline Buick’s vision for green transportation and introduce the award-winning Buick Avista concept for the first time in China.

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Honeywell partners with Juhua in China to produce low GWP MAC refrigerant Solstice yf

Honeywell entered into a multi-year supply agreement with Juhua Corp., one of China’s top fluorine material enterprises, to produce Honeywell Solstice yf, further extending its global supply base for this low-global-warming-potential (GWP) mobile air conditioning (MAC) refrigerant.

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NASA, Boeing designing truss-braced wing expected to reduce aircraft fuel consumption and emissions by 50%

NASA and Boeing have been working together to design a longer, thinner and lighter wing—so different from typical commercial transport aircraft wings that it requires a truss to provide the wing extra support. The researchers expect the lighter weight, lower drag truss-braced wing to reduce both fuel burn and carbon emissions by at least 50% over current technology transport aircraft, and by 4 to 8% compared to equivalent advanced technology conventional configurations with unbraced wings.

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Summit Ag Group breaks ground on $115M corn ethanol plant in Brazil

US-based Summit Agricultural Group recently broke ground on the first large-scale corn ethanol production facility in Brazil. The $115-million plant is an international collaboration between Summit and Brazilian agribusiness Fiagril.

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CARB research seminar on new car buyers’ valuation of ZEVs

On 20 April, Dr. Ken Kurani of the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies will present findings from a study commissioned by the California Air Resources Board (ARB) assessing consumer attitudes, barriers, and motivators toward purchasing zero, near-zero, and low-emission vehicles.

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Global Bioenergies’ bio‐isobutene now at 99.77% purity; polymer-grade level

April 06, 2016

Global Bioenergies has purified its bio‐isobutene to 99.77%, a polymer‐grade level. Global Bioenergies routinely produces isobutene batches using its industrial pilot located in Pomacle‐Bazancourt, eastern France. Up to now, 95% purity was reached, a level sufficient for several applications, such as fuels and paints.

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BMW i Ventures makes strategic investment in RideCell; software for mobility as a service

BMW i Ventures made a strategic investment in RideCell, a provider of software to power mobility-as-a-service (MaaS), including car-sharing, ride sharing, fixed-route, and dynamic transit services.

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