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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.]

Hybrid and electric cars account for 7.5% of Kia 1H 2017 Europe sales, up from 1% in 2016

July 21, 2017

Kia Motors posted its best six-month sales period in Europe, with half-year sales surpassing 250,000 for the first time in the company’s history. Hybrid and electric vehicles accounted for 7.5% of European sales so far this year, up from just one per cent in the first six months of 2016, according to Michael Cole, Chief Operating Officer of Kia Motors Europe.

The latest data released by ACEA (European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association) shows that Kia sold 251,472 units across Europe during the first six months of the year, a 9.5% rise, year-on-year. In addition, Kia’s cumulative market share climbed to 3.0%, up from 2.8% (229,585 units) during the first half of 2016. Vehicles with all-electric or electrified powertrains represent the greatest area of growth for Kia sales in Europe.

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ICCT analysis finds 2025 European automotive CO2 standards can be met even if diesel share drops to 15%

July 07, 2017

Diesel has played a major role in the European Union’s efforts to reduce CO2 emissions from the automotive fleet; the market share of fuel-efficient new diesel cars in the European Union has remained above 50% since 2010. However, in the wake of emission control scandals, increasing concern over NOx-baed air-quality problems in city centers and emerging anti-diesel policy measures, the diesel market share is expected to fall significantly.

This projected shift in market share has raised some concerns over the cost of attainting CO2 emission targets. However, a new analysis by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) suggests that the EU could achieve a hypothetical 70 g/km (as measured according to the New European Driving Cycle – NEDC) passenger vehicle CO2 target in 2025 with both lower net cost and reduced NOx emissions, even with a significantly reduced diesel share.

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France launches new climate plan; Euro 7 lead; targeting ending the sale of vehicles emitting GHGs by 2040

Nicolas Hulot, France’s new minister responsible for environment and energy, presented the country’s new climate plan at a press conference at the Ministry. Prepared at the request of the President and the Prime Minister, the climate action plan is divided into six main themes: render the Paris Agreement irreversible; improve the daily life of the French; end the use of fossil energy and engage in carbon neutrality; make France the Nº 1 green economy; encourage the potential of ecosystems and agriculture; and intensify international mobilization on climate diplomacy.

Among the many actions outlined in the plan is the targeting of ending the sale of cars emitting greenhouse gases (“gaz à effet de serre”) by 2040. (The plan at this current level of detail does not specify whether or not that is tailpipe emissions or full lifecycle emissions, factoring in upstream for electric vehicles.) France also intends to initiate an ambitious (“ambitieuse”) Euro 7 standard at the European level.

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European countries struggle to meet emission limits due to emissions from agriculture and transport

July 04, 2017

Eleven EU Member States breached air pollution ceilings in 2015 mostly due to high emissions from agricultural and transport sources, according to new data and a briefing released by the European Environment Agency (EEA). The briefing includes information on countries’ 2015 emissions and national ceilings for different pollutants.

Member States recently reported the first information under the new EU National Emission Ceilings (NEC) Directive (/2284/EU). The EEA briefing NEC Directive reporting status 2017, gives a progress update on how Member States are meeting their emission ceilings under the NEC Directive. The briefing also provides an assessment of the projected emissions reported for 2020 and 2030 in relation to the Member States’ reduction commitments for those years set in the new NEC Directive.

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Germany launches €60M, 3-year consortium project on high-volume production of automotive fuel cells; BMW, Daimler, Ford, VW

June 29, 2017

Germany has launched a ~€60-million, three-year consortium of leading industrial companies to investigate high-volume production of automotive fuel cell stacks. The “AutoStack-Industrie” project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI), with €21.3 million in the first year.

The “AutoStack Industry” project is a joint initiative of the German automotive and supply industries and aims to provide the technical, economic and technological basis for the commercial introduction of fuel cell vehicles in Germany and Europe by 2020. The consortium, which is lead by BMW, comprises leading German companies in the fields of automotive and fuel cell technology: BMW AG; Daimler AG; Reinz-Dichtungs GmbH (DANA); Ford Research and Innovation Center Aachen; Freudenberg Performance Materials SE & Co. KG; Greenerity GmbH; NuCellSys GmbH; Powercell Sweden AB; Umicore AG & Co. KG; Volkswagen AG; and Zentrum für Sonnenenergie- und Wasserstoff-Forschung Baden-Württemberg.

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London launches $111M program to upgrade around 5000 older buses to Euro VI emissions standard

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, launched a £86.1-million (US$111 million) program to retrofit around 5,000 older buses with a new exhaust system that will upgrade the vehicles to Euro VI emissions standards. By September 2020 the entire bus fleet will be at least Euro VI standard, with the emissions from the retrofitte buses cut by up to 95%.

Transport for London (TfL) will work with bus operators and five chosen suppliers to install the new bespoke exhaust systems which will reduce nitrogen oxides and particulate matter. Diesel Particulate filters will also be installed alongside this Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) equipment to reduce air pollution.

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CIEH criticizes UK gov for shifting air quality problem to local authorities, CAZ strategy; wants vehicle crackdown, more ZEVs, ULEVs

June 15, 2017

The UK’s Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) has criticized the Government’s air quality plans for unfairly shifting the burden to solve the problem to local authorities, while abdicating themselves of responsibility.

The membership body for environmental health professionals released details of its submission to the Government’s consultation on plans to improve air quality in the UK. CIEH’s chief complaint is the Government has failed to recognize poor air quality is a national issue. CIEH asserts that solving air pollution in the UK requires action from central government rather than offloading responsibility onto local authorities, who are being set-up for failure if the proposed plans are to go ahead.

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Renault and Powervault in EV battery “second-life” partnership trial

June 05, 2017

In the UK, Renault and Powervault are partnering to re-use electric vehicle (EV) batteries in home energy storage units. This partnership will reduce the cost of a Powervault smart battery unit by 30%, helping Powervault to bring home energy storage to the tipping point of mass-market roll-out in the UK.

Powervault is placing 50 trial units, powered by second-life batteries provided by Renault, in the homes of customers who already have solar panels installed. The trial will explore the technical performance of second-life batteries as well as customer reaction to home energy storage to help develop a roll-out strategy for the mass-market. The trial will be run with eligible customers of M&S Energy, plus social housing tenants and schools in the South East.

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EU greenhouse gas emissions from transport increased for the second year in a row in 2015; on-road up 1.6%

June 02, 2017

Total European Union greenhouse gas emissions increased by 0.5% in 2015—the first annual increase since 2010—according to new European Environment Agency (EEA) data. Transport was a key reason for that increase: better fuel efficiency in that sector was not enough to counter the effects of an increasing demand for transport.

Higher emissions were caused mainly by increasing road transport, both passenger and freight, and slightly colder winter conditions in Europe, compared to 2014, leading to higher demand for heating. Gains in the fuel efficiency of new vehicles and aircrafts were not enough to offset the additional emissions caused by a higher demand in both passenger and goods transport. Road transport emissions—about 20% of total EU greenhouse gas emissions—increased for the second year in a row in 2015, by 1.6%. Emissions from aviation, representing about 4% of the EU total emissions, increased by 3.3% in 2015.

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UK Government awards more than US$141M to 38 driverless and low carbon vehicle projects

June 01, 2017

The UK Government recently awarded £109.7 million (US$141 million) of government funding, alongside significant funding from industry, to help develop the next generation of driverless and low-carbon vehicles, as part of the Industrial Strategy and the government’s Plan for Britain.

The awards are divided between funding from the Advanced Propulsion Center (APC) – 7 projects with support up to £62 million (US$80 million); the Office for Low Emissions Vehicles (OLEV) – 7 projects with support up to £16.7 million (US$21.5 million); and the second round of the connected autonomous vehicles competition (CAV2) – 24 projects with support up to £31 million (US$40 million).

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Infineon launches €106M “Productive4.0” research project; largest European research effort to date in Industry 4.0

May 22, 2017

Productive4.0”, the largest European research initiative to date in the field of Industry 4.0, was launched at Infineon Technologies in Dresden. Coordinated by Infineon Technologies AG, more than 100 partners from 19 European countries will work on digitizing and networking industry.

Involved in the project are partners such as BMW, Bosch, Philips, Thales, NXP, STM, SAP, ABB, Volvo and Ericsson, and leading institutes such as the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft and the TU Dresden. At the kick-off event, representatives from politics, business and research discussed the importance of research programs for connected production.

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European Commission opens infringement procedure against Italy over insufficient action on Fiat Chrysler emission control strategies

May 18, 2017

The European Commission has launched an infringement procedure against Italy for failure to fulfil its obligations under EU vehicle type-approval legislation with regards to Fiat Chrysler (FCA) automobiles. The Commission sent a letter of formal notice asking Italy to respond to concerns about insufficient action taken regarding the emission control strategies employed by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles group (FCA).

Under current EU law, national authorities are responsible for checking that a car type meets all EU standards before individual cars can be sold on the Single Market. When a car manufacturer breaches the legal requirements, national authorities must take corrective action (such as ordering a recall) and apply effective, dissuasive and proportionate penalties laid out in national legislation.

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European PaREGEn project targeting improved gasoline direct-injection fuel-efficiency and reduced particle emissions

European partners last October launched the 36-month, €12.1-million (US$13.5-million) Particle Reduced, Efficient Gasoline Engines (PaREGEn) project. Supported with €9.95 million (US$11.1 million) of EC funding, the PaREGEn project seeks to demonstrate, at up to TRL 7, a new generation of gasoline direct-injection engined mid- to premium-sized passenger vehicles achieving a 15% reduction in CO2 emissions through the optimal combination of advanced engine and robust aftertreatment technologies.

The vehicles will also comply with upcoming Euro 6 RDE limits with particle number emissions measured to a ⌀ 10 nm threshold. Ricardo is coordinating the research initiative as part of a 16-partner consortium, representing all sectors of the European automotive industry.

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EEA: Fuel efficiency improvements of new cars in Europe slowed in 2016

April 20, 2017

The fuel efficiency of new cars sold in the European Union (EU) continued to improve last year but at a slower rate, according to provisional data from the European Environment Agency. The 1.4 g of CO2/km reduction (-1.2%) compared to 2015 constitutes the smallest annual improvement recorded over the last decade.

Official emissions have decreased by a total of more than 22 g CO2/km (-16%) since 2010, when an updated monitoring system started under the current EU legislation. The EU remains well below its target of 130 g CO2/km set for 2015; however, compared to 2016, annual improvements in vehicle efficiency need to increase significantly in each of the coming five years in order to achieve the second average emissions target of 95 g CO2/km by 2021.

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London and Paris launch car scoring initiative based on real-world emissions; ICCT the technical lead

March 29, 2017

Mayor of Paris and Chair of C40 Cities Anne Hidalgo and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan announced they are working together to create schemes to score new cars based on their real-world emissions and their impact on air quality and to provide that data in an accurate and accessible form to the public. Other cities have committed to work with the C40 Cities toward adoption of similar schemes.

The initiative announced today by Paris and London is supported by The Real Urban Emissions (TRUE) Project, funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the FIA Foundation, and the Joshua and Anita Bekenstein Charitable Fund. This new undertaking will capture detailed information on pollutants from vehicle exhaust using remote-sensing equipment and portable emissions monitoring systems. The ICCT will be the lead technical organizational partner managing vehicle testing and data analysis in the TRUE Project.

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Hermes to deploy 1500 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and Vito electric vans by 2020; pilot project in 2018

March 28, 2017

Hermes and Mercedes-Benz Vans have agreed on a wide-ranging strategic partnership to electrify the courier service’s vehicle fleet. The companies are to start using battery-electric vehicles in the logistics provider’s normal operations in a pilot phase in Stuttgart and Hamburg in early 2018.

The focus will be on the economy, sustainability and practicality of tailpipe emission-free delivery vans when used for the last mile. By the end of 2020, Hermes Germany intends to deploy 1,500 Mercedes-Benz Vito and Sprinter electric vans in urban areas across Germany.

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Honda Motor Europe: 2/3 of European sales to feature electrified powertrains by 2025; “Electric Vision”

March 07, 2017

Speaking at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, Honda Motor Europe’s President and COO, Katsushi Inoue outlined Honda’s commitment to an electric future in Europe, with a specific aim to have electrified powertrains in two-thirds of Honda cars sold in Europe by 2025.

Honda’s focus on electrification in Europe will initially be driven by a roll-out of hybrid technology across its automobile range. The first new hybrid model, which will feature Honda’s two-motor hybrid system, will go on sale in 2018.

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PSA to acquire Opel/Vauxhall & GM Financial Euro operations for €2.2B; partnering on electrification and maybe fuel cells

March 06, 2017

General Motors and PSA Group announced an agreement under which PSA Group will acquire GM’s Opel/Vauxhall subsidiary and GM Financial’s European operations in a transaction valuing these activities at €1.3 billion (US$1.38 billion) and €0.9 billion (US$0.95 billion, respectively. With the addition of Opel/Vauxhall, which generated revenue of €17.7 billion (US$18.75 billion) in 2016, PSA will become the second-largest automotive company in Europe, with a 17% market share.

GM will also own warrants to purchase shares of PSA. GM and PSA also expect to collaborate in the further deployment of electrification technologies. Existing supply agreements for Holden and certain Buick models will continue, and PSA may potentially source long-term supply of fuel cell systems from the GM/Honda joint venture.

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Danish Parker project developing universal definition for EV integration with electric grid for V2G services

Nissan, Mitsubishi Corporation, Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, PSA Groupe, NUVVE, Frederiksberg Forsyning, Enel, Insero and DTU (Technical University of Denmark) Electrical Engineering (PowerLabDK) are partnering in the Danish project Parker to develop a universal definition for grid integration for electric vehicles.

Parker’s objective is to validate that series-produced electric vehicles—as part of an operational vehicle fleet—can support the power grid by becoming a vertically integrated resource, providing seamless support to the power grid both locally and system-wide. Furthermore, Parker seeks to ensure that barriers regarding market, technology and users are dealt with to pave the way for further commercialization, as well as to provide an evaluation of specific electric vehicles’ capability to meet the needs of the grid.

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European truck manufacturers call for action to prevent aftermarket manipulation of NOx emissions controls

February 23, 2017

In the wake of a report by the German television station ZDF identifying widespread aftermarket manipulation of NOx emissions control technologies on trucks, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) is calling for government action to preclude such manipulation.

The ZDF report, based on research ZDF commissioned at the University of Heidelberg, found that some 20% of trucks operating in eastern Europe have effectively circumvented NOx reduction technology, causing around 14,000 tonnes more NOx to be emitted per year than would be the case if all trucks that say they use AdBlue were doing so. The additional 14,000 tonnes of NOx would make it twice the size of the Volkswagen “Dieselgate” scandal of 2015, noted environmental NGO T&E.

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Peugeot launching Partner Tepee Electric at Geneva Motor Show

February 20, 2017

Peugeot will launch the Peugeot Partner Tepee Electric at the 2017 Geneva International Motor Show. The electric leisure activity vehicle will go on the market in September. The new Peugeot Partner Tepee Electric has a 170-km (106-mile) range on the New European Driving Cycle.

Designed based on the Peugeot Partner Tepee leisure activity vehicle with an internal combustion engine, the new Partner Tepee Electric borrows the electric powertrain from the Peugeot Partner Electric van, introduced in 2013. The electric motor—compact, synchronous with permanent magnets, 49 kW (67 hp)/200 N·m—is located under the hood. The electric motor is paired with a single-speed constant-ratio transmission.

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Mercedes-Benz starting small series production of heavy-duty Urban eTruck with electric drive this year for customer trials

February 15, 2017

Mercedes-Benz Trucks is bringing its all-electric heavy-duty truck (earlier post) to market in a small series this year. Following the presentation of the Urban eTruck with 25 t perm. GVW and a range of up to 200 km at the International Commercial Vehicle Show in 2016, the first vehicles will be delivered to customers this year.

The electric truck is based on a three-axle truck, with the entire conventional drivetrain replaced by an electrically driven rear axle with electric motors directly adjacent to the wheel hubs. Maximum output is 2 x 125 kW, while the peak torque is 2 x 500 N·m. In combination with the gearing, the torque at the wheel reaches 11,000 N·m.

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H2ME has 100 fuel cell vehicles on the road in Germany, France and UK

February 08, 2017

Hydrogen Mobility Europe (H2ME), a multi-country, multi-partner project to demonstrate that hydrogen can support Europe’s future transport demands, announced that it has deployed its first 100 fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) in Germany, France and the UK.

Sixty Symbio Renault Kangoo ZE-H2 range-extended fuel cell vans have been deployed in the UK and France, supporting the development of a network of hydrogen refuelling stations in those markets. Powered by a compact 5 kW fuel cell module, coupled with a hydrogen storage unit and medium-size automotive battery pack, Symbio’s range-extender kit doubles the range of Renault’s electric-only Kangoo ZE model to 320 km.

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voestalpine, Siemens & VERBUND building one of the world’s largest electrolysis plants for H2 production; EU-funded H2FUTURE

The European Commission has awarded the H2FUTURE project consortium—comprising voestalpine, Siemens, VERBUND and Austrian Power Grid (APG) as well as the research-partners K1-MET and ECN—the contract for the construction of one of the world’s largest PEM electrolysis plants for producing green hydrogen.

The project partners will work and research cooperatively on implementing an innovative hydrogen demonstration plant at the voestalpine site in Linz. The green hydrogen generated there will be fed directly into the internal gas network, allowing the testing of the use of hydrogen in various process stages of steel production.

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Global Bioenergies reports first production of ETBE entirely from renewable resources

February 07, 2017

Global Bioenergies announced the production of ETBE—Ethyl tert-butyl ether, an oxygenate additive for gasoline—purely from renewable resources. ETBE features very different and advantageous physical and chemical characteristics, compared to ethanol, when blended into gasoline. These include significantly lower blending volatility; no significant distortion of the distillation curve; better tolerance of wet distribution systems; double the octane increase per “barrel” at equivalent ethanol content and narrower octane sensitivity; and better material compatibility. (ETBE RON = 119, MON = 103, AKI = 111)

ETBE also provides a series of environmental benefits compared to ethanol used alone, such as lower VOCs emission, lower permeation losses in the vehicle, and additional CO2 emissions reduction due to less severe refinery operations.

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Chinese battery company takes 22% stake in Valmet Automotive; strategic partnership for EVs

January 31, 2017

China-based Contemporary Amperex Technology Limited (CATL), a leading global provider of battery and energy storage solutions, has taken a 22% stake in Finland-based Valmet Automotive as part of a new strategic partnership in electric automotive solutions. Simultaneously CATL has subscribed to new shares issued by Valmet Automotive for a 22 % ownership in the company. After the new share issue, the owners of Valmet Automotive are Pontos (39%), Tesi (39%) and CATL (22%).

CATL is a private Chinese company developing, manufacturing and providing after-sales services of lithium-ion battery solutions for electric vehicles and energy storage markets. It is among the three leading electric vehicle battery providers globally and the clear market leader in China with a large portfolio of customers. CATL is seeking to expand its business in the fast evolving European electric vehicle market. At the end of 2016, CATL employed more than 10,000 employees worldwide.

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Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, IVECO and ENGIE collaborating to promote natural gas in Europe starting from Belgium

January 25, 2017

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), IVECO (a brand of CNH Industrial) and ENGIE (Global Energy Player) are broadly collaborating to promote natural gas vehicles and infrastructure in Europe. This collaboration is in line with the implementation of the DAFI Directive (Directive 2014/94 - Deployment of Alternative Fuels Infrastructures), with a particular focus on certain countries and regions, starting from Wallonia, Belgium.

At the “Salon de l’Auto” in Brussels, the Minister of Mobility and Environment announced a program for the improvement of air quality in Wallonia. In line with COP 21, the Walloon strategy envisages that 50% of its public fleet vehicles, in need of replacement, will run on alternative fuels starting from 1 January 2017, and the percentage will rise to 100% starting from 1 January 2030. The Government of Wallonia also set a new regulation to promote the development of CNG infrastructure.

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ICCT: New RDE regulations not enough to control diesel car NOx fully; additional actions required

January 13, 2017

Real-world NOx emissions from new diesel cars could still exceed the Euro 6 emission limit of 80 mg/km by a factor of three or more, even after the new Real-Driving Emissions (RDE) regulation takes effect, according to a new white paper released by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT). However, taking specific actions beyond those mandated in the regulation—such as introducing spot checks for randomly selected vehicles and expanding the range of driving conditions covered by RDE testing—could reduce new diesel car NOx emissions to 96 mg/km—just 1.2 times the Euro 6 limit—by 2022.

For the study, the team analyzed an extensive set of diesel car emissions data using modeling of the boundary conditions of the RDE regulation. The researchers also examined the impact of ICCT’s proposed modifications.

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Volkswagen Group receives all approvals from KBA for NOx fixes for EA189 TDI engines

December 22, 2016

The Volkswagen Group has now received all necessary official approvals within the remit of the German Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) for the modification of diesel vehicles with type EA189 engines. (Earlier post.) In close consultation with the relevant authorities, the Group brands concerned will successively notify European and international vehicle owners in the weeks ahead. All customers will then be able to make an appointment in the short term to have their vehicles modified at an authorized service center of their choice.

In Germany, customers are being notified in a two-step process. In the first step, all affected owners received a letter agreed with the authorities back in spring, notifying them that their vehicles are affected by the modification. Now that the German Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) has approved the technical solutions for all models, customers are to be requested with a second letter to arrange an appointment with a partner workshop of their choice.

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Euro NCAP 2016: Toyota Prius, Hyundai Ioniq and VW Tiguan best in class

December 21, 2016

In 2016, Euro NCAP tested 18 new passenger cars and four heavy quadricycles; three cars were awarded “Best in Class”: the Toyota Prius in the Large Family Car category; the Hyundai Ioniq in the Small Family Car category; and the VW Tiguan in the Small Off-Roader category.

To define the Best in Class, a calculation is made of the weighted sum of the scores in each of the four areas of assessment: Adult Occupant, Child Occupant, Pedestrian and Safety Assist. This sum is used as the basis for comparison of the vehicles. Cars qualify for Best in Class based only on their rating with standard safety equipment. Additional ratings based on optional equipment are excluded.

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London to phase out diesel buses; all new single deckers for central London to be zero emission

December 13, 2016

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan recently committed to phasing out purchasing new pure diesel buses from the capital. No more pure diesel double-deck buses will be added to the capital’s fleet from 2018 and all new single-decks for central London will be zero-emission. The Mayor made the announcement along with unveiling the first double-decker hydrogen bus, manufactured by the Wrights Group. (Earlier post.)

London has committed to procuring roughly 300 zero emission buses by 2020, with 51 battery electric buses recently going into service on the 507/521 route, taking the number of completely electric bus routes to three, with 79 zero emission buses in total in the fleet.

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Study: growth in aviation and shipping GHG emissions will undo 43% of savings from rest of transport in Europe through 2030

December 12, 2016

Growth in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from shipping and aviation, based on demand for liquid fossil fuels, will undo nearly half (43%) of the

savings expected to be made by the rest of transport in Europe through to 2030, according to a new study by consultant CE Delft, commissioned by environmental NGO Transport & Environment.

Under measures already in place, land transport is expected to consume 43 Mtoe (million tonnes of oil equivalent) less energy per year in 2030 than it did in 2010, according to calculations on the European Commission’s projections for greenhouse gas emissions to 2050 by consultant CE Delft. Even this 43 Mtoe cut is less than half of what will be required from land transport under the EU’s proposed 2030 Effort Sharing Regulation.

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ICCT: 2025 target average of 70 g/km CO2 for new cars in EU feasible and economical; more so with electric drive

November 22, 2016

A 2025 CO2 target of an average 70 g/km for new cars in the EU could be met with very little electrification and with an average payback period of less than 4 years, according to a new study by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT). However, transitioning soon to electric drive could lower manufacturers’ compliance costs by as much as €500 (US$532) per vehicle in 2025.

Under current European Union regulations, average new car CO2 emissions must decrease from the present 120 grams per kilometer (g/km) to 95 g/km by 2021. Although no further reductions are presently mandated, new targets for 2025 and 2030 are under discussion in Brussels. In 2013 the European Parliament recommended an “indicative range” of 68–78 g/km for 2025, while holding out the possibility that even lower targets should be considered if justified.

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IMI calls on UK Government to invest £30M in hybrid and electric vehicle training; affordability issue

November 21, 2016

In the UK, the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) is calling on the UK Government to make a £30-million (US$37-million) investment in specialist electric and hybrid vehicle training for thousands of maintenance and repair technicians in the independent retail sector. IMI asserts that the investment is crucial to support the public switch to ultra low emission vehicles (ULEV).

The IMI says the Government will need to spend a proportion of the £600 million (US$815 million) it has set aside to promote the uptake of low emission vehicles, on the technical skills infrastructure across the whole UK. It says the £40 million (US$49 million) already allocated to cities to meet air quality and emission targets, and the Chancellor’s goal of every new car and van being ULEV by 2040 will not work in isolation.

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ICCT/TNO study: Real-world vehicle fuel consumption discrepancy widens to 42% in Europe

November 17, 2016

The average gap between official fuel consumption figures and actual fuel use for new cars in the EU has reached 42%, according to the latest update by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) to its on-going research into vehicle fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

Since 2001, the discrepancy between official measurements of vehicle efficiency and actual performance of new cars in everyday driving has more than quadrupled—a discrepancy that translates into €450 per year in extra fuel costs for the average vehicle. As a result, less than half of the on-paper reductions in CO2 emissions since 2001 have been realized in practice.

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T&E report: electric cars sales in Europe doubled in 2015; now at 1% market share

November 14, 2016

Roughly 145,000 new electric vehicles (EV) were sold in Europe in 2015—double the 2014 tally, according to a recent T&E report. EV sales have now reached the milestone of a 1% market share; figures for 2016 to date suggest significantly more than 200,000 plug-in vehicles will be sold in Europe this year. That would take the total number of EVs on the road to more than half a million cars.

Currently, there are 34 EV models on the European market available, including battery-, plug-in-hybrid- and range-extended-electric vehicles. Established manufacturers have announced new plans to expand their portfolio of EVs within the next five years. Although EVs still constitute only a fraction of all car models available, Europe (including Switzerland and Norway) is the second biggest EV market in the world behind China.

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Dalia EuroPulse survey finds 58% of Europeans would consider buying an EV; 34% approve of more gov’t support

November 01, 2016

In August, Berlin-based Dalia Research conducted an EU-wide survey to find out the demand for electric vehicles (EV) among Europeans. The results show that 58% of Europeans would consider purchasing an electric vehicle. Approximately 1% of respondents say they already own one, matching the current estimate of electric vehicle sales in Europe.

Although the Germans are leading the charge on a political level, it is the Italians who have the highest share of potentially interested customers: 54% of Germans would consider buying one, compared to 79% of Italians (lowest is the UK with 52%).

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Toyota to produce hybrid transaxle and new gasoline engines in Poland; adjusting to shrinking diesel share in Europe

October 20, 2016

Toyota Motor Europe will start production of a hybrid transaxle in 2018 at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Poland (TMMP) in Walbrzych, and add two gasoline engines—a 1.5L in 2017 and a 2.0L in 2019—at Toyota Motor Industries, Poland (TMIP) in Jelcz-Laskowice. Combined, the new projects represent an additional investment of approximately €150 million (US$165 million), bringing the total investment to-date of Toyota’s manufacturing operations in Poland to more than €950 million (US$1 billion) since operations started in 2002.

The hybrid transaxle to be produced at TMMP is a key part of Toyota’s hybrid powertrain, and will be fitted with the 1.8L ZR engine. This hybrid engine equips all Toyota Auris and Auris Touring Sports Hybrid vehicles sold in Europe, and will equip the new crossover Toyota C-HR when it starts production at the end of this year.

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FCA, IVECO and Snam sign MoU for development of natural gas as an environmentally friendly vehicle fuel

October 06, 2016

Alfredo Altavilla (Chief Operating Officer of FCA EMEA Region), Pierre Lahutte (IVECO Brand President) and Marco Alverà (Chief Executive Officer of Snam), signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at fostering the development of natural gas as a fuel for road vehicles. The MoU was signed in the presence of Italy’s Minister of Economic Development Carlo Calenda and Minister of Infrastructure and Transport Graziano Delrio, and is part of a wider set of initiatives to promote sustainable mobility.

Italy is the leading European market for natural gas consumption for vehicles, with more than 1 billion cubic meters consumed in 2015 and about 1 million vehicles currently in circulation. Italy’s natural gas value chain in the transport sector is globally recognized for its technological and environmental excellence, and Italy is also able to leverage Europe’s largest, most accessible gas pipeline network, stretching over more than 32,000 km (20,000 miles).

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Toyota Motor Europe hybrid sales up 45% year-to-date; targeting 50% hybrid take-rate by 2020

September 27, 2016

Toyota Motor Europe (TME) reported that sales of hybrids have increased 45% so far this year compared with the same period in 2015—which was already a record year. The company is tracking to sell close to 300,000 hybrids this year, said Karl Schlicht, Executive Vice President of TME.

31% of Toyota Motor Europe’s customers have opted for a hybrid powertrain in 2016; 41% in Western Europe alone. Toyota’s target is to reach 50% of its European sales with hybrid vehicles by 2020, with a hybrid version in every major market segment.

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EEA: large-scale roll-out of EVs will help EU shift to green transport, but may challenge power grid

A large scale roll-out of electric cars on European roads would result in significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions and lower levels of certain air pollutants, according to a new European Environment Agency (EEA) assessment. However, widespread use of such vehicles would pose challenges for Europe’s power grid in meeting increased electricity demand.

The EEA briefing Electric vehicles and the energy sector — impacts on Europe’s future emissions looks at the impact of different scenarios that take into account the increased use of electric cars and their effect on the European Union’s (EU) energy system, and on emissions of greenhouse gases and selected air pollutants.

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T&E: VW sells least polluting Euro 6 diesels in Europe; no brand meets Euro 6 in real-world driving; loopholes & defeat strategies

September 26, 2016

A new study by Transport & Environment (T&E) shows that Volkswagen is currently selling the least polluting (Euro 6) diesel vehicles. However, the report “Dieselgate: Who? What? How?” also found that no brand in Europe complies with the latest Euro 6 air pollution limits for diesel cars and vans in real-world driving.

For the in-house analysis, T&E analyzed emissions test data from around 230 diesel car models. Data were taken from the investigations conducted by the British, French and German governments, as well as a large public database. The carmakers’ ranking was built with on-road performance figures mostly measured in real world driving. Among the real-world findings per car brand:

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Cummins introduces next-gen X-series Euro 6 engines; up to 605 hp

September 22, 2016

At the IAA Show in Germany, Cummins Inc. revealed the next generation X Series for heavy-duty truck applications with 15-liter and 12-liter displacements to meet Euro 6 (VI) and equivalent emissions standards as they become globally adopted from 2019 onward.

Across a broad 350 hp to 605 hp (260-451 kW) range, the X Series introduces an innovative approach to duty-cycle optimization with a medium-bore X12 engine and two big-bore configurations, available as the X15 Efficiency Series and the X15 Performance Series.

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Cummins Euro 6 engines compatibile with HVO renewable diesel & other paraffinic fuels; fuels at “point of commercial maturity”

Cummins Inc. announced Euro 6 (VI) engine compatibility for use with Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) renewable diesel and other EN 15940 paraffinic fuels, representing a significant step forward to reduce the carbon footprint of Cummins-powered bus, truck and coach fleets operating in Europe.

Compared with conventional fossil-based diesel, HVO offers the potential to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 40 to 90 percent over the total life cycle of the fuel, dependent on the level of sustainable feedstock used in the production process.

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Researchers find magnetite nanoparticles similar to those from traffic pollution in brain; possible link with Alzheimer’s

September 06, 2016

Researchers from the UK, Mexico and the US have found abundant magnetite nanoparticles in the brain tissue from 37 individuals aged three- to 92-years-old who lived in Mexico City and Manchester, UK. This strongly magnetic mineral has been implicated in the production of reactive oxygen species (free radicals) in the human brain, which are associated with neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s disease (e.g., Hautot et al. 2003). Their paper is being published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Professor Barbara Maher, from Lancaster Environment Centre, and colleagues (from Oxford, Glasgow, Manchester and Mexico City) used spectroscopic analysis to identify the particles as magnetite. Unlike angular magnetite particles that are believed to form naturally within the brain (i.e., biogenic), most of the observed particles were spherical, with diameters up to 150 nm, some with fused surfaces, all characteristic of high-temperature formation—such as from vehicle (particularly diesel) engines or open fires.

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Peugeot brings BlueHDi diesel engines to Boxer commercial vans; 6-speed manual, Stop & Start

September 05, 2016

Peugeot is completing the roll-out of its range of Euro 6 engines with the large van segment. The Peugeot Boxer will now be available with a new range of 2.0 BlueHDi diesel engines (earlier post), designed and produced by the PSA Group.

BlueHDi technology has been tried and tested in Peugeot saloons and SUVs since 2013, treating up to 90% of NOx and 99.9% of even the finest particulates. The new range of Peugeot Boxer 2.0 L BlueHDi engines offers 3 power levels for the core market:

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KCL study finds London air pollution from traffic improving, but continues to exceed limits in many parts of city

New research by scientists at King’s College London suggests that air pollution from London’s roads is improving overall but more work may be needed to tackle some sources of traffic pollution, which continue to breach limits in many parts of the city.

The study, published as an open-access paper in the journal Environmental Pollution, examined trends in air pollution over a ten-year period spanning 2005 to 2014, using data collected from 65 roads. Researchers looked at changes in a number of pollutants including nitrogen dioxide (NO2 ), particulate matter as fine (PM2.5) and coarser (PM10) particles, carbon dioxide (CO2) and black carbon.

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Samsung SDI building Li-ion battery plant in Hungary; global triangular production structure

August 31, 2016

Samsung SDI has decided to use Hungary as its Li-ion battery production base in Europe. The new battery plant will be built in Goed, north of Budapest in a 330,000 m2 site, using existing facilities previously used for display production. The new facility in Hungary will enable Samsung SDI to establish a global triangular production structure along with existing plants in Ulsan, Korea and Xian, China.

Aiming to start commercial production in 2nd half of 2018, the company will build production lines with annual capacity of batteries for 50,000 pure electric vehicles, investing around 400 billion won (~US$358 million).

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Opel introducing Ampera-e at Paris Show; European cousin of Chevy Bolt

August 24, 2016

Opel will introduce the Ampera-e at the upcoming Paris Motor Show in September. Ampera-e is the European cousin to the Chevy Bolt (earlier post), as the Ampera was to the Chevy Volt.

In the run-up to the world premiere, Opel is touting the performance of the battery-electric vehicle. With maximum torque of 360 N·m from the 150 kW electric motor, the compact car accelerates from 0 to 50 km/h (31 mph) in 3.2 seconds; acceleration from 80 to 120 km/h (50 to 75 mph) for overtaking in 4.5 seconds (provisional figures). The Ampera-e thus performs at the same level as OPC models, the sporty spearheads of Opel.

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Survey: Norwegian PHEVs drive electrically 55% of time, BEVs driven more in total and in everyday traffic

August 16, 2016

Norway leads the European market for plug-in vehicles, with more than 105,000 units registered through May 2016. A recent survey of 8,000 vehicle owners in Norway by Norway’s Institute of Transport Economics found that plug-in hybrids there drive electrically with power from the grid 55% of the time (and 63% on work trips), while battery electric vehicles are driven more in total and in everyday traffic.

The survey also found that buyers of battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles have different transport needs but both are motivated by economy of use and environment; battery electric vehicle owners are also motivated by a free toll road incentive. Battery electric vehicle owners are younger, have more children, a longer distance to drive work and own more vehicles than other vehicle owners.

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European Strategy for low-emission mobility stresses digital tech, electrification and ZEVs

July 22, 2016

Earlier this week, the European Commission published a strategy for low-emission mobility, which sets out guiding principles to Member States to prepare for the future. EU legislation currently refers to low-emission vehicles as vehicles having tailpipe emissions below 50 g/km. This would include some plug-in hybrids, full electric cars and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. The latter two examples also represent zero-emission vehicles.

The low-emission mobility strategy will frame the initiatives that the Commission is planning in the coming years, and it maps the areas in which it is exploring options. It also shows how initiatives in related fields are linked and how synergies can be achieved. In parallel to this strategy, the Commission is launching public consultations on the approach towards reducing emissions from road transport: cars and vans as well as trucks, buses and coaches.

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European Commission fines truck producers record €2.93B for colluding to pass on emission compliance costs

The European Commission found that truck makers MAN, Volvo/Renault, Daimler, Iveco, and DAF broke EU antitrust rules by colluding for 14 years on truck pricing and on passing on the costs of compliance with stricter emission rules. The Commission has imposed a record fine of €2,926,499,000 (US$3.22 billion).

MAN was not fined as it revealed the existence of the cartel to the Commission. All companies acknowledged their involvement and agreed to settle the case.

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