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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.]

Skeleton introduces 24V ultracap Engine Start Module for trucks

July 31, 2015

European manufacturer Skeleton Technologies announced the availability of a new 24V Engine Start Module (SkelStart ESM), which uses high-performance ultracapacitor technology to ensure engine start at any time, in any conditions. The SkelStart ESM is designed in a form factor that fits with European vehicles and can easily be fitted in to the D02 box types commonly used by battery manufacturers.

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ON Semiconductor introduces series of advanced image co-processors for next-gen automotive cameras

ON Semiconductor has introduced a new series of image co-processors to enable high dynamic range (HDR) 1080p automotive camera systems. Designed to work in conjunction with the company’s high performance 2 megapixel (MP) and 1.2 MP image sensor devices, the new AP020x series of co-processors enable a full range of complete solutions for automotive rear-view and surround-view cameras.

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First pump sales of Gevo isobutanol-blended gasoline in US at Express Lube Service Station in Texas

July 30, 2015

Gevo, Inc. announced that Express Lube of Fredericksburg, Texas, is the first US service station to sell gasoline blended with Gevo’s renewable isobutanol at the pump. Gevo anticipates this to be the first of many retail locations to offer the product as the company rolls out its isobutanol to the marina, outdoor equipment and off-road gasoline markets. (Earlier post.)

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BYD and Alexander Dennis partner on new $30M deal for single-deck electric buses in London

BYD Company Ltd. and Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL), Europe’s fastest growing bus and coach builder, have formed a new alliance and confirmed a £19-million (US$30-million) deal that will see the introduction of London’s first large-scale, zero-emission, single deck bus fleet. This will also be the single largest fleet of full-size electric buses in Europe.

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Canada aligns Tier 3 regulations with US

Canada has aligned new vehicle and fuel standards with the United States to cut air pollution from on-road vehicles. Canada’s Tier 3 regulations will introduce more stringent air pollutant emission standards for new passenger cars, light-duty trucks and certain heavy-duty vehicles (such as delivery vans) starting with the 2017 model year. They will also lower limits on the allowable sulfur content of gasoline beginning in 2017, aligning Canadian standards with the United States.

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Bosch, Toyota and startups join CalCharge energy storage effort

CalCharge, a California initiative designed to accelerate breakthrough energy storage technologies, welcomed six new member companies, including Bosch and Toyota Motor Corporation. The newly announced charter members, Bosch and Toyota, along with general members Blue Current, Ensor, EnZinc and ITN Energy Systems will have access to CalCharge’s programs, services and network, all of which help clear the path to commercialization.

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Caterpillar ending collaboration with Navistar on vocational trucks; bringing design and production in-house

Caterpillar Inc. will begin independently designing and manufacturing its vocational truck product family at its plant in Victoria, Texas. The plant, which opened in 2012, currently produces hydraulic excavators. Caterpillar launched its first vocational truck, the CT660, in the North American market in 2011. Two more models have since been added to the lineup, the CT680 and CT681.

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Forecast: marine hybrid propulsion market to reach $4.5B by 2022

A market study recently published by Transparency Market Research (TMR) projected that revenue from the global marine hybrid propulsion market will rise from US$2.24 billion in 2013 to US$4.46 billion in 2022—an 8.02% CAGR.

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IHS: average age of light vehicles in US rises slightly in 2015 to 11.5 years; length of new vehicle ownership hits record high

July 29, 2015

The combined average age of all light vehicles on the road in the US has climbed slightly to 11.5 years, based on a snapshot of vehicles in operation (VIO) taken 1 January 2015, according to IHS Automotive. Registrations for light VIO in the US also reached a record level of 257,900,000—an increase of more than 5.3 million (2.1%) since last year and the highest annual increase the auto industry has seen in the US since IHS began tracking VIO growth.

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Global Bioenergies bio-isobutene process hits 70% of commercial yield at R&D scale

Global Bioenergies announced that its bio-isobutene process has reached 70% of the commercial yield at R&D scale. The targeted commercial yield is 3.84 tons of low-cost, industrial-grade sugar for 1 ton of high-purity high-value bio-isobutene.

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GM OnStar tops 1 billion customer interactions

GM OnStar has fielded more than 1 billion requests from customers, who interact by phone, mobile app or embedded cellular service in their cars and trucks. Launched nearly 19 years ago as an industry-first service that would place a call from the vehicle when an air bag deployed, OnStar today remotely unlocks doors, loads driving directions directly to the vehicle, compiles and sends emails on vehicle health and can aid law enforcement by slowing down a vehicle being pursued.

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Ricardo officially opens new Vehicle Emissions Research Center

Ricardo formally opened its new £10-million (US$15.6-million) Ricardo Vehicle Emissions Research Center (VERC) as part of the company’s centenary celebrations at its world headquarters in Shoreham-by-Sea, UK. The new Ricardo VERC is designed to accommodate the development requirements of the next generation of more environmentally friendly and fuel-efficient road-going vehicles.

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Battery-maker Leclanché acquires battery-maker Trineuron; focus on transport

Leclanché, the Swiss/German manufacturer of Li-ion cells and systems (earlier post), has acquired Belgian battery-maker Trineuron. The acquisition strengthens Leclanché’s product range and system integration capabilities, and will allow Leclanché to increase its offering in terms of Battery Management Systems (BMS) and module design for demanding transport applications, such as electric/hybrid buses, ferries, mining vehicles, AGVs (automated guided vehicles), and so on.

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Gulf MARINE fuel with isobutanol meets new biofuel recommendations from National Marine Manufacturers Association

July 28, 2015

Gulf Racing Fuels announced that its Gulf MARINE biofuel with isobutanol (earlier post) is one of the first fuels on the market to comply with the recent biofuel recommendations issued last week by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC). (Earlier post.)

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Daimler and Renault-Nissan Alliance start $1B manufacturing JV in Mexico for next-gen premium compacts

Five years after first establishing a strategic cooperation, Daimler and the Renault-Nissan Alliance have expanded their collaboration with the start of a manufacturing joint venture in Aguascalientes in central Mexico. The new business entity COMPAS (Cooperation Manufacturing Plant Aguascalientes) is 50:50 owned by Daimler and Nissan. The partners will invest a total of US$1 billion in COMPAS which will oversee the construction and operation of a manufacturing plant for the production of next-generation premium compact vehicles for the brands Mercedes-Benz and Infiniti.

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Cummins Westport introducing ISB6.7 G natural gas engine to Type C school bus market

Cummins Westport Inc. is introducing its new 2016 ISB6.7 G, a 6.7-liter MidRange, factory-built, dedicated natural gas engine (earlier post), to the Type C School bus market at the North American School Bus Show – STN Expo Conference and Trade Show in Reno, Nevada.

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GM and SAIC Motor to partner on all-new vehicle family for global growth markets; $5B investment from Chevrolet

General Motors and SAIC Motor are enhancing their partnership through an agreement jointly to develop the core architecture and engine of a new vehicle family targeting global growth markets. GM expects the partnership will result in significant development cost savings and optimized total vehicle cost. GM’s Chevrolet brand will invest $5 billion in the development of the all-new vehicle family.

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More than 5,000 signed up for Opel’s CarUnity carsharing in first month

CarUnity, the brand-agnostic carsharing concept powered by Opel (earlier post), currently, roughly one month after its launch, has around 1,500 cars available on the new platform, mainly in the Rhine-Main area, which is Opel’s home turf. The free app already has over 5,000 registered users.

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Emissions from auxiliary engines may be included in future air quality monitoring in London

The Mayor of London has indicated that the impact of auxiliary engines could be included in future air quality monitoring in London. This would be the first time that pollutants from secondary vehicle engines, such as on refrigerated trucks, will be measured and reported by a UK governmental body.

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Technip, EGPC and ASORC agreement for $1.5B modernization of Egypt’s Assiut Refinery; maximizing diesel

Technip Italy SpA announced the finalization of a joint agreement with Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) and Assiut Oil Refining Company (ASORC) for the $1.5-billion modernization project of the Assiut refinery, Upper Egypt. The investment aims to maximize diesel production, and will introduce the most modern refinery technologies in Upper Egypt, satisfying the growing local demand for petroleum products.

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Vitesse AuDessus introduces line of one-piece carbon-fiber wheels

US bespoke carbon fiber workshop Vitesse AuDessus has introduced a line of one-piece, full carbon-fiber wheels. Each handcrafted wheel weighs just over 13 lbs (6kg) on average.

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New one-pot conversion of CO2 to polycarbonate copolymers

July 27, 2015

Researchers at Texas A&M have developed a two-step, one-pot conversion of CO2 and epoxides (highly reactive compounds with a three-membered ring made of two carbon atoms and one oxygen atom) to polycarbonate block copolymers that contain both water-soluble and hydrophobic regions and can aggregate into nanoparticles or micelles. A paper describing their work is published in the journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition.

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Amyris converts & restructures ~$175M of convertible debt; $25M private placement; moving forward on biojet JV w/ Total

Amyris, Inc. signed definitive agreements for the conversion and restructuring of approximately $175 million of debt, to be converted to Amyris common stock, with an additional $5 million of debt converted into joint venture ownership by its joint-venture partner, Total. Simultaneously, Amyris signed definitive agreements for a $25-million private placement led by long-term investor and Board member John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, as well as Total and Naxyris.

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NRC workshop to focus on advances in catalysis needed to exploit feedstock changes driven by shale gas

July 26, 2015

The Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology (BCST) of the National Research Council (NRC) will host an interactive, multidisciplinary public workshop scheduled for May 2016 that will focus on identifying gaps and opportunities in catalysis research in an era of shifting feedstocks from crude oil to natural gas for chemical production.

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New catalytic process to convert algae-derived squalane to high-quality transportation fuels

July 25, 2015

Researchers at Tohoku University in Japan, with a colleague at the University of Tsukuba, have devised a process to convert squalane, a C30 algae-derived branched hydrocarbon, to smaller hydrocarbons—without skeletal isomerization and aromatization—over ruthenium on ceria (Ru/CeO2). A paper on their work appears in the journal ChemSusChem.

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California ARB awarding $1.6 million to LA for low-income EV carsharing pilot program

Following a competitive proposal process, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) has offered $1.6 million to the City of Los Angeles to set up a pilot carsharing program for electric vehicles in disadvantaged communities. The grant will fulfill a key mandate of SB 1275, the Charge Ahead California Initiative, enacted last year to make clean transportation more widely available, particularly in low and moderate-income neighborhoods. (Earlier post.)

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Toyota Motor continues rollout of Otto-Atkinson engines with 2016 Lexus IS 200t

July 24, 2015

Lexus is entering the 2016 model year with a three model strategy for its IS sport sedan: IS 200t, IS 300 AWD, and IS 350. The former IS 250 and IS 250 AWD are discontinued. The new IS 200t, available as RWD only, features a 2.0-liter twin-scroll turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine with intercooler paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Variable Valve Timing intelligent – Wide (VVTi-W) allows the engine to switch between the Otto and Atkinson cycles. (Earlier post.)

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EV World publisher seeking to Kickstart e-bike project; EcoForce bamboo/aluminum bike with Bike+ All-in-One hub as incentive

Bill Moore, the publisher of EV World and longtime electric bike enthusiast, has spunoff a company, QuikByke, that will rent top-quality electric bicycles in tourist markets on a seasonal cycle: winter in the tropics, summer in the north. The e-bikes are housed in mobile solar-powered rental shops based on 20 ft shipping containers (called Q•pods), each with 15 bikes. Moore is seeking $275,000 in crowdsourced funding by 14 August to build Q•pod #1.

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Efficient one-pot process to convert bio-oil fractions to gasoline-range hydrocarbons

A team at South China University of Technology has developed a one-pot process to convert the diesel distillate and residual oil fractions in bio-oil into high-quality fuels by catalytic hydrocracking with combined CoMoS/Al2O3 and HZSM-5 catalysts. A paper on their process is published in the journal Fuel.

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BYD to provide 50 e6 EVs to Opoli’s San Diego ride-sharing fleet , a ridesharing service and app based in San Diego, has partnered with China-based BYD Motors Inc, which will provide 50 e6 EVs to the Opoli fleet as part of a green initiative. The BYD electric crossover will join Opoli’s natural gas airport shuttles late summer 2015. Opoli has been allotted charging spaces at the docking station at the San Diego International Airport.

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New heat exchanger for supersonic aircraft engines

High-performance aircraft turbine engine manufacturers are facing unprecedented increases in the amount of heat that must be released in order to maintain acceptable temperatures in supersonic engines that is required for the aircraft to operate at optimum levels. A professor in Purdue’s School of Mechanical Engineering has developed a heat exchanger that could use aircraft fuel to cool hot engine components in order to alleviate the increasing temperatures.

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Navigant forecasts global natural gas refueling stations to grow from 23,001 in 2015 to 38,890 in 2025

July 23, 2015

In a new report, Navigant Research forecasts that the total number of global NGV refueling stations is expected to grow from 23,001 in 2015 to 38,890 in 2025, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.4%. More than 80% of these stations are expected to be CNG stations to support light-duty NGVs, which are projected to account for 90% of the NGV fleet at the end of the forecast period.

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Federal-Mogul Powertrain to showcase hollow-stem valves for higher engine temperatures and increased peak cylinder pressures

Federal-Mogul Powertrain, a division of Federal-Mogul Holdings Corporation (NASDAQ: FDML), will exhibit its newly acquired engine valve technology for the first time at the 2015 IAA show in Frankfurt in September. Among the components produced by the company’s Global Valvetrain business are sodium-cooled valves with exceptionally small stem diameters that deliver both reduced weight and greater resistance to the high temperatures that can be a limiting factor in highly rated downsized engines.

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Iranian team proposes intelligent control strategy for hybrids using fuzzy driving cycle identification agent

Researchers at the University of Tehran (Iran), with colleagues at Isfahan University of Technology and Iran University of Science and Technology, are proposing a new intelligent control strategy for the energy management of hybrid powertrains based on the driving cycle type. As described in a paper in the Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part D: Journal of Automobile Engineering they use similarity weights to compare every instance of an unknown driving cycle to the reference driving cycles.

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BGU, UWA researchers develop faster and more efficient system to produce graphene for energy storage applications

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and University of Western Australia (UWA) researchers have developed a new process to develop few-layer graphene for use in energy storage and other material applications that is faster, potentially scalable and surmounts some of the current graphene production limitations.

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Lacks Chromtec lightweight composite wheels featured on 2016 pickup

Lacks Wheel Trim Systems LLC, a business unit of Lacks Enterprises, Inc., announced that its Chromtec lightweight composite wheels will be featured on a 2016 full-size pickup truck. (Earlier post.) Shipments have begun.

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New pop-up head-up display for Gen 8 VW Passat

July 22, 2015

The new Gen 8 Volkswagen Passat (earlier post) features a new head-up display, which projects relevant trip data and alerts onto a high-quality slide-out pane positioned directly in the driver’s field of vision. At the press of a button, the transparent display rises from its position behind the dashboard into the driver’s primary field of vision. Speed, traffic signs, the activity of the assistance systems and other functions are displayed on the 10 x 15cm surface. The display has a resolution of 480 x 240 pixels.

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Toyota Motor, SMBC, and SPARX Group considering new fund for intelligent technologies, robotics and hydrogen

Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC), Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), and SPARX Group Co., Ltd. have signed a memorandum of understanding to consider the establishment of a new investment fund aiming to encourage innovation and support the spread of advanced technologies, focusing on focus on the fields of intelligent technology, robotics, and hydrogen-related technologies.

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DEINOVE unveils bio-based muconic acid production program

DEINOVE, a biotech company developing innovative processes for producing biofuels and bio-based chemicals by using Deinococcus bacteria, says it has completed conclusive proof-of-concept for the production of muconic acid by a Deinococcus bacterium and has decided to launch a new R&D platform in this field. (Earlier post.)

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Navistar fined $250,000 for violating California air emissions regulations

Navistar Inc. paid $250,000 in penalties to the California Air Resources Board (ARB) for failing to follow proper testing procedures for one of its diesel exhaust filters, as required by state law.

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City of San Francisco replacing petroleum diesel with renewable diesel by the end of the year

San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee announced that the city will phase out the use of petroleum diesel in the municipal fleet and replace it with renewable diesel by the end of this year. Switching to renewable diesel will accelerate the progress San Francisco has made in cleaning its diesel fleet, slashing greenhouse gas emissions from diesel vehicles by more than 60%. Using renewable diesel also reduces the emissions of soot and other air quality pollutants.

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Global Bioenergies adapts its bacteria to produce bio-isobutene from sucrose

July 21, 2015

Global Bioenergies has adapted its bio-isobutene process, first developed with glucose as a resource, for the use of sucrose, the main component of sugar cane and sugar beet. The adaptation of the process to sucrose was one the first technical milestones set as part of “IBN-One”, the Joint-Venture between Global Bioenergies and Cristal Union. (Earlier post.)

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Toyota and Hino to test new fuel cell bus on public routes in Tokyo

In the next stage of development for their jointly-developed fuel cell bus (earlier post), Toyota Motor Corporation and Hino Motors, Ltd. will carry out field tests in Tokyo from 24-30 July, hoping to accelerate technological development of the bus with the aim of bringing it to market.

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Two California cities ordering Proterra electric buses

The California cities of Stockton and Porterville have each placed orders with Proterra for its new Catalyst battery-electric bus with funding from the San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution Control District.

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Israel Aerospace Industries and Cella Energy receive grant for UAV fuel cell project

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Cella Energy have been awarded industrial research and development funding by Space Florida, the State of Florida’s aerospace and spaceport development authority, and MATIMOP, Israel’s Industrial Center for Research and Development. IAI, a global leader in the development and production of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) and Cella Energy will develop and evaluate a fuel cell power system for IAI’s BirdEye Mini UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle), based on Cella’s proprietary solid hydrogen fuel system.

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BorgWarner providing R2S turbo technology for VW high-performance 2.0L diesel

BorgWarner is providing its award-winning regulated two-stage (R2S) turbocharging technology for Volkswagen's new high-performance 2.0L diesel engine. Engineered to comply with the Euro 6 emissions standard, the four-cylinder engine is the most powerful diesel engine in its class. Providing an output of 240 hp (176 kW) and a maximum torque of 369 lb-ft (N·m), it achieves an average fuel economy of 44 mpg US (5.3 liters/100 km).

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paragon AG US subsidiary Voltabox opens Li-ion battery pack assembly plant in Texas

Voltabox of Texas, the US subsidiary of German automotive supplier paragon AG, officially opened of its new plant in Cedar Park where Voltabox is now operating one fully automated assembly line for Li-ion battery packs. Further lines are set to follow. Alongside Voltabox, parts of the same building will also be let to German partners of Voltabox for use as their own US offices.

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New Ford air filtration system in Europe 50% more effective than predecessor in blocking ultrafines

Ford has introduced a new air filtration system in some of its vehicles in Europe that blocks almost all nitrogen dioxide—a key trigger of asthma—up to 99% of pollen, and gaseous pollutants and odors. The new filter is 50% more effective than its predecessor at blocking ultra-fine particles that are more than one thousand times smaller than the width of a human hair.

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GTI acquires Aerojet Rocketdyne energy assets

July 20, 2015

Gas Technology Institute (GTI) has acquired the assets of Aerojet Rocketdyne’s (AR’s) energy systems portfolio. Included in the transfer of assets are patents and intellectual property (IP), physical assets, and technologies across the spectrum of gas and oil production, gasification, gas-to-liquids, power generation, and hydrogen generation.

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Liquid Light signs agreement to further advance its CO2-to-chemicals technology

Liquid Light has signed a technology development agreement with The Coca-Cola Company. The objective of the agreement is to accelerate the development of Liquid Light’s technology which can make mono-ethylene glycol (MEG) from CO2. (Earlier post.) For example, a bio-ethanol production facility could make bio-MEG from the CO2 byproduct that results from converting plant material into ethanol.

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Xerox demonstrating analytics technology as part of Mcity

Several Xerox transportation solutions and analytics innovations are being demonstrated at Mcity, the University of Michigan’s new test environment for connected and automated vehicles. (Earlier post.)

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GFBiochemicals starts commercial production of levulinic acid from biomass

Bio-based chemical company GFBiochemicals has started commercial production at its 10,000 MT/a capacity levulinic acid plant in Caserta, Italy. GFBiochemicals is the first company to produce levulinic acid at commercial scale directly from biomass. The company made the announcement at the BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology, Montreal.

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Navigant forecasts energy storage enabling technologies revenue to total nearly $75B from 2015 to 2024

Navigant Research forecasts that worldwide energy storage enabling technology (ESET) revenue will total nearly $75 billion from 2015 to 2024. The report analyzes the ESET global market across four distinct market segments: utility-scale storage; community storage; residential storage; and commercial storage, including global market forecasts through 2024.

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Trapping Li polysulfides in a polymer matrix to improve Li-S battery performance

July 19, 2015

To overcome the challenge of soluble polysulfides as charge/discharge intermediates in Li-S batteries, researchers at the University of Texas at Austin, with colleagues at Murray State University, have designed highly crosslinked polymer-electrolyte coating layers with electron-donating groups to bind the polysulfides.

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New ionic liquid-based electrolyte with binary lithium salts improves Li-S battery performance

Researchers from the Beijing Institute of Technology and the Collaborative Innovation Center of Electric Vehicles in Beijing have designed new ionic-liquid-based electrolytes with binary lithium salts to address the issues of rapid capacity fading and low coulombic efficiency in rechargeable lithium-sulfur batteries. The Li–S cells containing this electrolyte system show and initial discharge capacity of 1264.4 mAh g−1, with 911.4 mAh g−1 after 50 cycles with coulombic efficiency of more than 95%.

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5th licensing win in China for Honeywell UOP’s Advanced Methanol-to-Olefins technology

July 18, 2015

UOP LLC, a Honeywell company, announced that China’s Better Clean Energy has licensed its Advanced Methanol-to-Olefins (MTO) process to convert methanol into high-value petrochemicals, helping meet growing global demand for plastics and other key materials. This award is Honeywell UOP’s 5th licensing win for its MTO process and comes after the successful start up of its first commercial-scale MTO facility for China’s Wison Clean Energy in September 2013. (Earlier post.)

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New zeolites more effective at removal of CO2 from gas mixtures

July 17, 2015

Researchers from South Korea, the UK and Sweden have identified and prepared a new family of zeolites—crystalline aluminosilicates with frameworks that contain windows and cavities the size of small molecules—that can separate out carbon dioxide more effectively from fuel gases than those previously known. A paper on their work is published in Nature.

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Frost & Sullivan: carsharing membership to reach 9.8M in 2025; 19.9% CAGR

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan finds that carsharing membership will grow from the mere 1.3 million in 2014 to reach 9.8 million in 2025, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19.9%.

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City of Santa Monica converting bus fleet to renewable natural gas

The City of Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus (BBB) has become one of the country’s first municipal transit authorities to convert its fleet to renewable natural gas (RNG), rated 90% cleaner than diesel. Earlier this year, BBB modified its original agreement with Clean Energy Fuels Corp to transition the supply of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) for its fleet to Clean Energy’s Redeem renewable LNG, which is non-fracked methane harvested from organic waste in landfills.

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Hyundai Heavy Industries and Accenture to design connected smart ships

July 16, 2015

Hyundai Heavy Industries and Accenture are collaborating to design a ‘connected smart ship’ that will enable ship owners to better manage their fleets and achieve potential operational savings through the application of digital technologies.

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Kettering University researchers working on more efficient Level 2 charger for HELLA

Researchers in Kettering University’s Advanced Power Electronics Lab (APEL) are working with HELLA on a more efficient Level-2 EV charger. Presently, level-2 EV chargers on the market have a three-stage design—converting AC grid voltage to 400 VDC; inverting this DC to high frequency AC to feed the transformer; and then rectifying AC to DC again to charge the battery.

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DuPont licenses cellulosic ethanol technology to NTL; beginning development of largest cellulosic ethanol plant in China

DuPont and Jilin Province New Tianlong Industry Co., Ltd., (NTL) announced a licensing agreement to begin the development of China’s largest cellulosic ethanol manufacturing plant, located in Siping City, Jilin Province, China. The agreement allows NTL to license DuPont’s cellulosic ethanol technology and use DuPont Accellerase enzymes to produce renewable biofuel from the leftover biomass on Jilin Province’s corn farms.

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FreeWire partners with Siemens on mobile charging system; project first US use of Siemens’ eCar Operation Center technology

FreeWire Technologies, Inc. and Siemens are partnering to pilot and commercialize the Mobi Charger (which uses onboard second-life EV batteries), employing the Siemens eCar Operation Center (OC) and the Siemens VersiCharge electric vehicle-charging technology. Mobi Charger rolls the charger to the vehicles, regardless of where they are parked in the lot. The Mobi is capable of dual Level 2 and Level 3 Fast Charging.

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Solar Impulse grounded until 2016 due to battery damage; team studying better thermal management

Solar Impulse, the solar-powered electric aircraft attempting to fly around the world, will be grounded in Hawaii until early spring 2016 due to damage to the batteries which overheated in the record-breaking oceanic flight from Nagoya to Hawaii.

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F-150 air curtain technology improves aerodynamics and fuel efficiency

The 2015 Ford F-150 is the most aerodynamically efficient F-150 ever, due in part to new aero curtains that reduce wind drag by guiding airflow across the front wheels. Air curtain technology, which Ford first introduced on the new Ford Mustang, allows air to flow through a vent underneath the headlamps and out around the wheel. Side-by-side animations show how airflow is smoother at the front wheel and down the side of the truck with the air curtain, versus without it.

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HORIBA acquires MIRA, moves into vehicle engineering and testing consultancy

July 15, 2015

Japan-based HORIBA, a leading supplier of automotive test systems, is acquiring the global advanced vehicle engineering, research and product testing business operated by UK-based MIRA. The acquisition enables HORIBA to add new products and services at the cutting-edge of next-generation mobility development in areas such as autonomous vehicles, electric vehicles and ultra-low fuel consumption vehicles.

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GM invests $1.4B for Arlington Plant upgrades for SUVs

In its largest single plant investment in the US this year, General Motors announced $1.4 billion for a range of improvements to its Arlington Assembly Plant to more competitively produce high-quality full-size SUVs.

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Dynapower to supply 250kW energy storage inverters for Tesla Powerpack

July 14, 2015

Dynapower Company will be supplying the 250 kW energy storage inverters as an integral part of Tesla’s recently announced Powerpack Commercial battery systems for large commercial and utility customers.

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DOE to solicit projects for medium- and heavy-duty vehicle powertrain electrification and fleet demonstrations

The US Department of Energy (DOE) intends to issue, on behalf of its Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO), a Funding Opportunity Announcement (DE-FOA-0001349) entitled entitled “Medium and Heavy Duty Vehicle Powertrain Electrification and Dual Fuel Fleet Demonstration.” DOE expects the FOA will include the following Areas of Interest:

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New grade carbon fiber from Toho Tenax for aircraft and automotive

Toho Tenax Co., Ltd., the core company of the Teijin Group’s carbon fibers and composites business, has developed a new grade carbon fiber— TENAX XMS32—that achieves both high-intensity and high-tensile modulus required for aircraft and automotive applications.

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Volvo Cars buys 100% of Polestar; performance PHEVs

Volvo Cars has acquired 100 per cent of Polestar, the Swedish high performance car company, including the Polestar brand. Polestar will now be used as the model name for special high performance Volvos. Polestar will also in future utilize Volvo’s twin engine electrification technology (plug-in hybrid) to develop next-generation performance cars.

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Renesas Electronics and Audi agree on strategic partnership for Audi’s progressive semiconductor program

Automotive semiconductor leader Renesas Electronics Corporation and Audi have established a strategic relationship as part of the Audi Progressive SemiConductor Program (PSCP) to accelerate automotive innovation. This strategic relationship covers traditional automotive control areas such as powertrain, chassis, body and safety; driver infotainment and driver assistance systems; and newer application areas including automated drive, connected car and the electrical vehicle.

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Tesoro fined $1M for violating California’s gasoline regulation

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) announced that Tesoro Corp. has paid $1,014,000 in penalties for violations of California’s reformulated gasoline regulations.

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California customer request portal for Toyota Mirai fuel cell vehicle opens 20 July

July 13, 2015

Beginning 20 July, California custners can request a Toyota fuel cell Mirai by visiting All requests will be made through Eligible customers will ultimately choose one of the eight authorized California dealers for Mirai delivery.

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Genovation Cars nearing completion of prototype electric Corvette

Genovation Cars is nearing the completion of a prototype high-performance all-electric Corvette called the Genovation Extreme Electric (GXE). Assembly of the GXE will be completed by the end of July, followed by a three-week testing phase. The GXE is based on a 2006 Z06 Corvette.

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BorgWarner to acquire Remy International

BorgWarner has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Remy International, Inc., a global market leading producer of rotating electrical components. With key technologies and operations in ten countries on five different continents, Remy is strongly positioned to benefit from global growth. As of December 31, 2014 the company employed 6,600 people and, for the fiscal year, it generated sales of $1.2 billion.

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New curly MnOx nanomembrane cathode for high-performance Li-O2 battery; improved stability

Researchers at the Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research Dresden (IFW Dresden) have prepared new curly manganese oxide (MnOx) nanomembranes for use as cathode materials for rechargeable Li-air systems. The Li–O2 battery using such curly MnOx nanomembranes as the cathode delivers a specific discharge capacity of 4610 mAh gC−1 at a current density of 70 mA gC−1 which is higher than that of carbon black.

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New cathodes for low-temperature solid-oxide fuel cells

Researchers at Korea University in Seoul have developed high-performance, low-temperature solid-oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) using silver cathodes surface-treated with yttria-stabilized zirconia (YSZ) nano-particulates fabricated by atomic layer deposition (ALD).

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New TiO2 reaction pathway could be used in novel hydrogen storage system

July 12, 2015

A research team comprising scientists from Tohoku University, RIKEN, the University of Tokyo, Chiba University and University College London have discovered a new chemical reaction pathway on titanium dioxide (TiO2), an important photocatalytic material. Lead author Prof. Taketoshi Minato (Tohoku Univ. and RIKEN, currently Kyoto University) observed that “The new reaction pathway could be exploited in nanoscale switching devices and hydrogen storage technology. For instance, electric fields could be used to extract hydrogen from a TiO2-based storage device.

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Study finds surprisingly high geothermal heating beneath West Antarctic Ice Sheet

July 11, 2015

The amount of heat flowing toward the base of the West Antarctic ice sheet from geothermal sources deep within the Earth is surprisingly high, according to a new study led by UC Santa Cruz researchers. The results, published in an open access paper in Science Advances, provide important data for researchers trying to predict the fate of the ice sheet, which has experienced rapid melting over the past decade.

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GE Capital Canada partnering with Gaz Métro Transport Solutions and Shell to advance trucking industry use of natural gas

July 10, 2015

GE Capital, Canada and Gaz Métro Transport Solutions (GMTS), a subsidiary of Gaz Métro, signed a strategic agreement that will facilitate the trucking industry’s adoption of natural gas as a fuel in Eastern Canada. Under this agreement, fleet operators will work with GMTS for natural gas supply and purchase and, separately, with GE Capital to secure loans or leases for natural gas vehicles (NGVs). NGVs that are eligible under this agreement use either compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied natural gas (LNG).

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Mitsubishi joins PSA and other French partners in second-life batteries demonstration

Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) and Mitsubishi Corporation (MC) announced the launch of a joint demonstration project for utilizing used lithium-ion batteries from electric-powered vehicles. The project will be executed in partnership with Electricité de France (EDF); Forsee Power, a key provider of energy storage solutions sponsored by EDF; and PSA Peugeot Citroën. The demonstration project will be inaugurated in September 2015 at Forsee Power’s new Headquarters near Paris.

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Study finds heavy upwind air pollution contributed to the catastrophic 2013 Sichuan Flood

Researchers from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and their collaborators in Israel and China have found that heavy human-caused air pollution over the Sichuan Basin just upwind contributed to the catastrophic 2013 Sichuan Flood that killed up to 200 people with hundreds more missing. The flood was a 50-year event with up to 17 inches of rain from 8-13 July, causing mudslides and disrupting the lives of more than 6 million people.

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Elio’s crowdfunding campaign attracts $16M in non-binding interest so far

Elio Motors’s equity crowdfunding campaign has attracted more than $16 million in expressed non-binding interest from nearly 5,000 potential investors in 19 days. (Earlier post.) Elio Motors’ goal is to raise $25 million through the campaign.

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Argonne team develops effective low-pressure catalyst for reduction of CO2 to methanol

July 09, 2015

Researchers at the US Department of Energy (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory, with colleagues at Universität Freiburg in Germany, have developed an effective low-pressure catalyst for the reduction of CO2 to methanol (CH3OH). In a paper in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, they report their investigation into the use of size-selected Cu4 clusters supported on Al2O3 thin films for CO2 reduction in the presence of hydrogen.

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IBM Research alliance produces industry’s first 7nm node test chips; path for next-generation semiconductors

An alliance led by IBM Research has produced the semiconductor industry’s first 7nm node test chips with functioning transistors. The breakthrough, accomplished in partnership with GLOBALFOUNDRIES and Samsung at SUNY Polytechnic Institute’s Colleges of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (SUNY Poly CNSE), could result in the ability to place more than 20 billion transistors on the fingernail-sized chips that power everything from smartphones to spacecraft.

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Westport completes HPDI 2.0 technology program with Daimler for heavy-duty engine

Westport Innovations Inc. has completed an engineering program with Daimler AG to develop and to assess the Westport High Pressure Direct Injection (HPDI) system for a Daimler heavy duty engine. The prototype HPDI engine met all technical targets resulting in a payment of €2.4 million (approximately US$2.7 million) by Daimler to Westport. For competitive reasons, further terms of the program have not been disclosed.

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Report: Iwatani boosting liqufied hydrogen production 80% to meet demand from fuel cell vehicles

The Nikkei reports that Iwatani will invest as much as ¥12 billion (US$97.3 million) to boost its production capacity for hydrogen gas 80% by fiscal 2018 to meet future demand from fuel cell vehicles. The new investments will give Iwatani the capacity to produce 504,000 liters of liquefied hydrogen a day (equivalent to 397,202 m3 of gaseous hydrogen), or enough to fill up 7,200 Toyota Mirai fuel cell cars. The company is targeting hydrogen sales of 600 million m3 on anticipated fuel cell vehicle demand of 2,400 million m3 by 2025.

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Cal Energy Commission approves >$10M in grants for medium- and heavy-duty battery-electric and fuel cell vehicle projects

The California Energy Commission approved more than $10 million in grants for four projects demonstrating advanced medium- and heavy-duty vehicle technologies utilizing battery-electric or fuel-cell electric powertrains that will enhance market acceptance and lead to vehicle production and commercialization. Scoring preferences were provided to projects located in disadvantaged communities.

The Energy Commission also awarded $3.6 million to the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory to provide technical support for the state’s Zero-Emission Vehicle Action Plan, to assess the benefits of the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program (ARFVTP) and to review proposals for hydrogen fueling stations.

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GE to provide static power solution for French Navy in port

July 08, 2015

GE Energy Management has signed a contract with French electrical engineering company Cegelec in Brittany, France to supply a complete static power solution for the French Navy. The solution will use GE’s advanced Static Frequency Converters (SFCs) technology to provide high conversion efficiency and a safe and reliable power transfer from the electric power grid to the French naval vessels while in port.

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Cal Energy Commission grants Hydrogen Energy California suspension, denies request to terminate power plant project

The California Energy Commission committee reviewing the proposed 390-megawatt Hydrogen Energy California (HECA) power plant (earlier post) rejected a motion to terminate the project’s application for certification (AFC) and granted a separate request to suspend the AFC for six months.

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DEINOVE reaches the third milestone of DEINOL 2G ethanol program; €1.2M from Bpifrance

DEINOVE, a biotech company developing innovative processes for the production of biofuels and bio-based chemicals using Deinococcus bacteria as host strains (earlier post), has reached the third and penultimate milestone of its DEINOL project supported by Bpifrance. Achievement of this milestone triggers funding, adding up to €1.2 million (US$1.3 million) from Bpifrance, in the form of an innovation grant.

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Stanford’s Yi Cui receives CalTech Resonate award for battery work

Stanford Professor Yi Cui has received one of this year’s five Resonate Awards from Caltech’s Resnick Sustainability Institute for engineering enhanced batteries and other sustainable energy related devices through innovations in nanotechnology.

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US Navy holding industry forum to discuss electric leasing plans in California

The Department of the Navy is planning to lease approximately 300 to 600 passenger-carrying electric vehicles, with an initial focus on its sedan fleet, to be used at various Navy and Marine Corps installations within California. To facilitate an interactive electric vehicle leasing discussion with industry partners, the Naval Facilities Engineering Command is holding an Industry Forum on 21 July 2015 from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM at the CalEPA Headquarters Building in Sacramento, California.

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Bosch offering sub-$10K 24 kW DC fast charger for North America; SAE J1772 DC Combo connector

July 07, 2015

Bosch Automotive Service Solutions has introduced the Power DCPlus DC fast charger in North America, starting at less than $10,000. Using the SAE J1772 DC Combo connector, the 24 kW Bosch Power DCPlus will charge compatible EVs to 80% in less than 30 minutes. The station has been approved by General Motors and can be ordered through GM’s Dealer Equipment Program.

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ChargePoint Home EV charger to be available from Amazon starting at $499

The ChargePoint Home EV charger, introduced at CES in January (earlier post), will be available to order on Amazon later this summer. The price of the networked station ranges from $499 to $749.

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Westport offering dedicated LPG package for 2016 Ford 5.0L F-150

Westport Innovations Inc. will offer dedicated liquid propane systems for 2016 Ford 5.0L F-150 trucks. This new liquid propane system will be offered in addition to Westport’s compressed natural gas (CNG) package for 2016 Ford F-150 trucks. Both fuel options are part of the Westport WiNG Power System and are expected to be certified to EPA and CARB standards.

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Platts Survey: OPEC pumps 31.28M barrels of crude per day in June; highest since Aug 2012

Oil production from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) totaled 31.28 million barrels per day (b/d) in June, up 170,000 b/d from May and the fourth consecutive monthly increase since February, as Saudi Arabia and Iraq pushed out more oil, a Platts survey of OPEC and oil industry officials and analysts showed Monday. The June total leaves OPEC pumping nearly 1.3 million b/d in excess of its official 30 million b/d ceiling.

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Small-scale GTL company Velocys suspends CEO

July 06, 2015

Velocys plc, a company developing and commercializing smaller scale gas-to-liquids (GTL) technology, has suspended its Chief Executive Officer, Roy Lipski, pending an investigation into allegations of “serious misconduct.” The allegations do not involve any element of fraud or financial impropriety.

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UMTRI: average new car fuel economy in June drops from May; April EDI up

The average fuel economy (window-sticker value) of new vehicles sold in the US in June was 25.4 mpg—down 0.1 mpg from May, according to the monthly report from Dr. Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI). They suggested the decline likely reflects the increased sales of light trucks and SUVs in June.

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