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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.]

Aberdeen takes delivery of first 4 of 10 hydrogen buses

March 24, 2014

The Aberdeen (Scotland) city council has taken delivery of four of the 10 hydrogen buses ordered from Belgian firm Van Hool and to be operated by FirstGroup and Stagecoach as part of the Aberdeen Hydrogen Bus Project. The others are due to be delivered in the coming weeks; in total, the 10 will represent the largest single operating hydrogen bus fleet. Ballard Power Systems is developing the hydrogen fuel cells for the buses.

The £19-million (US$31 million) Aberdeen City Council-led bus project, which has backing from Europe, the UK Government and the Scottish Government, as well as a broad range of private sector partners, is testing the economic and environmental benefits of hydrogen transport technologies and aims to drive the development of hydrogen technologies.

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New Fuso Canter with EcoEfficiency; up to 9% more fuel efficient; new hybrid

February 25, 2014

Fuso Canter 7C15 Eco Hybrid, box body. Click to enlarge.

Mitsubishi Fuso, 90% owned by Daimler AG, has improved the performance of its Fuso Canter light-duty truck. With 140,000 units produced worldwide, the Fuso Canter is an international hit in the light-duty-truck sector and easily the best-selling truck model at Daimler Trucks. The new Canter is up to 9% more economical than its predecessor, depending on variant and field of application. At the same time, CO2 emissions have been reduced by a similar amount.

The new Canter offers compliance with Euro 5b+ emissions for the light versions up to 6.0 t permissible GVW and Euro VI for the heavy versions. The “EcoEfficiency” models combined a number of measures available as standard for all Canter model variants. These include higher injection pressure for even more efficient fuel combustion; low-friction engine oil to reduce in-engine friction; an electromagnetic fan clutch; an optimized cooling system; a start/stop system for the engine; a new axle ratio configuration; low rolling-resistance tires for the Euro VI models; and reduced friction losses in the transmission with manual gearshift.

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Initial results from first phase of road trials for 40-ft BYD electric bus in Canada

January 25, 2014

2013 STO-AVT electric bus test results chart: BYD Electric Bus energy consumption (Wh/km) over speed (km/h). Click to enlarge.

The first phase of a ten-month trial for a 40-foot BYD battery-electric bus (which commenced the Summer of 2013) was completed in Gatineau, Québec and Ottawa, Ontario in December. (Although the bus drive is zero-emissions, in frigid weather bus-heating was supplemented with a small diesel heater integrated into the bus).

The evaluation, performed by the Société de transport de l’Outaouais (STO) in conjunction with AVT (the Société de gestion et d’acquisition de véhicules de transport), found that the average speed of drivers on Gatineau and Ottawa routes was 23 km/h (14 mph), and the resulting distance the BYD bus could travel at this average speed was 250 km (155 miles)—the equivalent of 1.3 kWh/km without air-conditioning and 1.5 kWh/km with air-conditioning, and full passenger loads).

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Mayor of London: all new London taxis will need to be zero-emission capable from 2018

January 16, 2014

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, announced plans that would require all new taxis presented for licensing in the capital to be zero-emission capable from 1 January 2018, with the expectation that they will automatically operate in zero-emission mode while in areas where the capital’s air quality is at its worst—such as parts of central London.

The Mayor confirmed his plan at Transport for London’s (TfL’s) “New Taxis for London” event, at which he met five manufacturers developing zero emission capable taxis—Frazer-Nash, Nissan, Karsan, London Taxi Company and Mercedes-Benz. The new zero-emission capable taxis being developed include both plug-in full series hybrid vehicles and full electric models.

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FTA to award up to $24.9M to low- or no-emissions transit bus projects

January 10, 2014

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced the availability of $24.9 million of Fiscal Year 2013 funds (FTA-2014-001-TRI) for the deployment of low- or no-emission (LoNo) transit buses. Of that amount, $21.6 million is available for buses and $3.3 million is available for supporting facilities and related equipment.

The LoNo Program provides funding for transit agencies for capital acquisitions and leases of zero emission and low-emission transit buses, including acquisition, construction, and leasing of required supporting facilities such as recharging, refueling, and maintenance facilities.

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Plug Power to develop H2 fuel cell range extenders for FedEx Express electric delivery trucks

January 09, 2014

Plug Power Inc., the leading provider of hydrogen fuel cell technology to the materials handling market, will develop hydrogen fuel cell range extenders for 20 FedEx Express electric delivery trucks, allowing FedEx Express to nearly double the amount of territory the vehicles can cover with one charge. (Earlier post.)

This $3-million project is funded by the US Department of Energy (DOE) and includes project partners FedEx Express, Plug Power and Smith Electric Vehicles. The resulting hybrid vehicles will be powered by lithium-ion batteries and a 10 kW Plug Power hydrogen fuel cell system. The fuel cell solution is based on Plug Power’s GenDrive Series 1000 product architecture.

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DOE awarding $7+ million to four hydrogen and fuel cell projects, including fuel cell delivery trucks

December 17, 2013

The US Department of Energy (DOE) is awarding more than $7 million to four projects that will help bring cost-effective, advanced hydrogen and fuel cell technologies online faster for both mobile and stationary applications.

Private industry and DOE’s national laboratories have already helped to reduce automotive fuel cell costs by more than 50% since 2006 and by more than 30% since 2008. Fuel cell durability has doubled and the amount of expensive platinum needed in fuel cells has fallen by 80% since 2005. Building on this progress, the new projects will help further reduce the cost of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies, expand fueling infrastructure and build a strong domestic supply chain in the United States. These projects include:

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Two case studies outline how Houston and Loveland are saving money with EVs in their fleets

The Electrification Coalition released two case studies outlining how two cities—Houston, Texas and Loveland, Colorado—are saving money by using electric vehicles (EVs) in their vehicle fleets. The Electrification Coalition, launched in November 2009, is committed to promoting policies and actions that facilitate the deployment of electric vehicles on a mass scale in order to combat the economic, environmental, and national security threats posed by US dependence on petroleum. (Earlier post.)

City officials in Houston estimate that the city’s 27 Nissan LEAF electric vehicles will save the city $110,000 annually compared to internal combustion engine vehicles. A similar study examining Loveland, Colo. found that the city’s LEAFs will cost 41% less to own and operate than gasoline-powered vehicles.

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La Poste testing hydrogen fuel cell range extenders in Renault Kangoo Z.E. mail delivery vehicles

December 11, 2013

Symbio ALP-5 range extender. Click to enlarge.

The Franche-Comté region and La Poste (the French postal service) are testing hydrogen fuel cell range extender kits from Symbio FCell in three Renault Kangoo Z.E. electric mail delivery vehicles under real working conditions. This system is expected to double the range of the electric cars used for postal delivery.

The three Kangoos Z.E.s with fuel cell range extenders (HyKangoos) will be deployed in the first quarter of 2014 on mail delivery platforms. These vehicles, with a combination of a hydrogen fuel cell and batteries, offer an extended range that performs under demanding conditions: mail routes of 100 km (62 miles) or more through the cold, hilly and mountainous terrain. (The Franche-Comté region borders on Switzerland, with the Vosges mountains to the north and the Jura to the south.)

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UPS begins operational rollout of ORION advanced route optimization software

October 30, 2013

ORION infographic
ORION infographic. Click to enlarge.

UPS has launched its ORION (On-Road Integrated Optimization and Navigation) advanced route optimization software. The rollout of ORION is intended to optimize 10,000 delivery routes by the end of the year, reduce miles driven and reinforce UPS’ sustainability efforts. US deployment to nearly all 55,000 routes is planned to be completed in 2017 and global deployments are planned for the future.

ORION contains more than 250 million address data points. The software combines customers’ shipping requirements with customized map data the company has compiled to provide UPS drivers with optimized routing instructions that meet service-level requirements, while reducing miles driven.

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Clean Energy Fuels to distribute biomethane vehicle fuel to fleets and public stations

October 03, 2013

Clean Energy Fuels Corp., North America’s largest provider of natural gas for transportation, is commercially offering a biomethane vehicle fuel—Redeem—made from waste streams such as landfills, large dairies and sewage plants directly to fleets around the country and at 35 public Clean Energy stations throughout California. Redeem will be available in either compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied natural gas (LNG) form.

Andrew J. Littlefair, president and CEO of Clean Energy, said that the company’s goal is to produce and to distribute 15 million gallons of Redeem in the first year. Clean Energy’s natural gas fueling infrastructure includes 400 fueling stations throughout the nation; the company is developing multiple biomethane production facilities that are expected to produce Redeem.

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XL Hybrids introduces 3rd generation hybrid system for Class 1-4 trucks; XL3 features in-line motor to ease upfitting

October 01, 2013

XL Hybrids’ third-generation inline post transmission motor and system components. Click to enlarge.

XL Hybrids, Inc., developer of a low-cost hybrid electric powertrain designed specifically for class 1 to 4 commercial fleet use (earlier post), unveiled its third-generation XL3 product release for model year 2014 vehicles. The XL3 system features a patent-pending inline traction motor system design, the newest upgrade for its hybrid conversion system.

The new inline (post-transmission) motor delivers the same output power rating (40 kW peak) as the preceding system, which used a motor installed in parallel to the existing drivetrain along with a 1.8 kWh Li-ion battery pack, said Justin Ashton, VP Business Development and co-founder. From a system-level perspective, the XL3 will deliver the same level of fuel economy, the same overall system efficiency Ashton said—but with lower cost components and lower cost installation.

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Georgia Tech study finds MD electric urban delivery trucks have cost advantages over diesel in some conditions; relative benefits depend on numerous factors

September 26, 2013

The study found that TCO for electric and diesel medium-duty urban delivery trucks were similar. The electric truck is relatively more cost-effective on the NYCC and when VKT demand is higher. Cost-competitiveness of the electric truck diminishes in drive cycles with higher average speeds. Credit: ACS, Lee et al. Click to enlarge.

Researchers at Georgia Tech have compared medium-duty (MD) electric and diesel urban delivery trucks in terms of life-cycle energy consumption, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and total cost of ownership (TCO). One surprise among their findings was that the electric truck had cost advantages over the diesel vehicle under some conditions. The team had expected that electric truck costs would always be higher, especially since the purchase price of the electric truck studied was higher than that of the diesel truck.

In a paper published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology, they report that the relative benefits of electric trucks depend heavily on vehicle efficiency associated with drive cycle; diesel fuel price; travel demand; electric drive battery replacement and price; electricity generation and transmission efficiency; electric truck recharging infrastructure; and purchase price.

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3.0L I-4 EcoDiesel to make North American debut in 2014 Ram ProMaster van

September 09, 2013

Fred Diaz, President and CEO - Ram Truck Brand and Chrysler de Mexico, introduces the 2014 Ram ProMaster at the Chicago Auto Show. Click to enlarge.

The Chrysler Group’s 2014 Ram ProMaster van, developed from the Fiat Ducato, will mark the the North American introduction of the 174 hp (130 kW) 3.0-liter inline 4-cylinder EcoDiesel engine that generates peak torque of 295 lb-ft (400 N·m) as early as 1,400 rpm. The engine is paired with the new M40 electronically controlled six-speed automated manual transmission—exclusive to the EcoDiesel.

Designed by Fiat, which employs the engine in numerous applications including Class 2, 3 and 4 commercial vehicles, the 16-valve, dual-overhead cam I-4 has been adapted for the North American market with a wide range of modifications that enable regulatory compliance, while also enhancing performance. The 2014 Ram ProMaster also offers a 280 hp 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 gasoline engine option.

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US DOT awards $13.6M to 8 projects to advance fuel cell technology for transit industry

September 05, 2013

The US Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) awarded $13.6 million in federal funding to 8 projects to advance the commercialization of American-made fuel cell buses for the transit industry. The awards come from FY2012 funds via FTA’s National Fuel Cell Bus Program, which has provided nearly $90 million since 2006 to speed the development of fuel cell technology.

Over the period of that program, fuel cell lifetimes (in transit operations) have more than doubled while costs have declined by 50%.

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BAE Systems’ HybriDrive HDS300 technology to power new articulated buses in San Jose

August 27, 2013

New Flyer Industries has selected BAE Systems’ HybriDrive HDS300 propulsion system to power a fleet of new 60-foot, low-floor rapid transit buses for the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) in San Jose, California. New Flyer Industries will provide up to 29 articulated hybrid buses for the transit agency, with an option for up to 20 additional buses at a later date. Articulated buses are comprised of a single-deck design with two rigid sections linked by a pivoting joint, allowing for higher passenger capacity.

The HDS300 articulated bus solution, which powers 60-foot transit buses, is the most recent addition to the HybriDrive Solutions product line. The HybriDrive family of products also includes the HDS100 European lightweight bus model and the HDS200 for 30- to 40-foot North American bus fleets.

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New York launches $19M truck voucher incentive program; $9M for EVs, $10M for alt fuels

August 09, 2013

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced a $19-million New York Truck Voucher Incentive Program to encourage the purchase of battery-electric commercial trucks as well as other energy-efficient transportation, including hybrid and CNG (compressed natural gas) trucks. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) estimates that this program could encourage the purchase or retrofit of up to 1,000 low-emission trucks in areas of the state with the poorest air quality.

The truck voucher program will include two voucher funds: $9 million for battery-electric truck vouchers offered in 30 counties around the state that did not meet federal clean air standards, primarily downstate New York, the Capital Region and Western New York; and a $10-million alternative fuels voucher fund for New York City, which also includes compressed natural gas, hybrid-electric vehicles and retrofitting diesel engines with emission control devices.

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KAIST rolling out dynamic wireless charging in buses in South Korea

August 08, 2013

The OLEV bus in Gumi. Click to enlarge.

The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) is trialing a bus application for its Online Electric Vehicle (OLEV) technology, a dynamic wireless charging technology that recharges a vehicle’s battery while the vehicle is in motion. (Earlier post.) An OLEV bus thus requires no pantographs to feed power from electric wires strung above the tram route.

Following the development and operation of commercialized OLEV trams (at an amusement park in Seoul) and shuttle buses (at KAIST campus), respectively, the city of Gumi in South Korea, beginning on 6 August, is providing its citizens with OLEV public transportation services. After the successful operation of the two OLEV buses by the end of this year, Gumi City plans to provide ten more such buses by 2015.

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Neste Oil in renewable diesel blend demonstration project aimed at commercialization; Diesel R33

August 01, 2013

Test bus for the Diesel R33 project. Click to enlarge.

Neste Oil is part of a fleet demonstration program of a new blend of diesel fuel in Coburg, Germany. The aim of the program is to introduce to the market a fuel with a significantly higher proportion of renewable content than current diesel blends. The German Minister of Transport, Peter Ramsauer, kicked off the project today in Coburg.

The new blend—Diesel R33—contains 26% NExBTL renewable diesel, an hydrogenated vegetable oil (HVO)-type renewable diesel fuel produced by Neste Oil; 7% conventional biodiesel (FAME) produced from used cooking oil; and 67% fossil diesel. With the 26% share of NExBTL, the new blend offers the highest biofuel content of any diesel blend that fulfills and exceeds the requirements for diesel fuels used in the European Union.

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UPS sets 2017 goal of 1 billion alternative fuel miles

July 27, 2013

UPS released its annual Sustainability Report announcing that while the total number of packages shipped in 2012 increased, the company reduced its total Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions. Environmental achievements included ground and air fuel savings, increased investments in alternative fuel vehicles, and retooled routes that shaved 12.1 million miles from ground deliveries.

UPS also set a new alternative fuel goal of one billion cumulative miles (from a baseline of the year 2000) driven by alternative fuel/advanced technology vehicles by 2017, said David Abney, UPS Chief Operating Officer—more than double the previous goal of 400 million miles. Through the end of 2012, UPS has logged 295 million cumulative alternative fuel miles.

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Renault Trucks and Norbert Dentressangle testing 16t series hybrid electric truck

July 22, 2013

Series hybrid 16-t truck. Click to enlarge.

Renault Trucks is working with Norbert Dentressangle, a major transport, logistics and freight forwarding company, to develop and to test a 16-tonne series hybrid electric truck. Developed on a Midlum chassis, the vehicle has an all-electric range of up to 60 km (37 miles), with a total operating range of more than 400 kilometers (249 miles).

The vehicle will be tested from June 2013 to January 2014 in the Paris region on behalf of ThyssenKrupp Materials France. This project is part of the continued technology partnership between Renault Trucks, PVI and IFP Energies nouvelles.

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Georgia Tech life-cycle study finds TCO of medium-duty electric and diesel delivery trucks similar; electric life-cycle energy use and GHG lower than diesel

July 06, 2013

Life-cycle energy use and GHG emissions normalized with NYCC diesel case (8.06 MJ/t·km and 0.63 kgCO2e/t·km) at 100%. Numbers in red are net total including recycling effect. Credit: ACS, Lee et al. Click to enlarge.

Comparing life-cycle energy consumption, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and total cost of ownership (TCO) of medium-duty electric and diesel urban delivery trucks for a range of drive cycles and electricity generation scenarios, a team from Georgia Tech found that all in all, the life-cycle energy use and GHG emissions of the electric truck are lower than that of the diesel truck, particularly for the frequent stop and low average speed (NYCC- and OCTA-type) drive cycles.

They also found that the total costs of ownership (TCO) of the electric and diesel trucks are similar. Over an array of possible conditions, the median TCO of electric trucks is 22% less than that of diesel trucks on the NYCC. However, the cost-competitiveness of the electric truck diminishes in drive cycles with higher average speed. Battery replacement along with EVSE will also greatly affect the relative TCO of the electric truck. The study is published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.

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Study suggests operational optimization can maximize the health and climate benefits of public transit investments in new bus technologies

April 02, 2013

A study by a team from the University of British Columbia and Metro Vancouver suggests that optimized operational control strategies for transit bus fleets ultimately offer transit agencies a way to maximize the benefits of their capital investments in new, cleaner technologies.

In their paper published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology, they note that the evolution in bus technologies, particularly with respect to controlling pollutants that impact health—such as PM—combined with capital investments by transit agencies in these technologies, have resulted in the potential for large differences in emission factors within transit bus fleets. Operational optimization strategies such as vehicle assignment and scheduling can exploit this heterogeneous mix and minimize the climate and health impacts as well as operating costs of transit systems with minimal capital expenditure, they suggest.

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CaFCP proposes two Centers of Excellence in California for fuel cell buses to accelerate commercialization; $100M program

March 30, 2013

The California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP) has published “A Road Map for Fuel Cell Electric Buses in California: A zero-emission solution for public transit”. The roadmap suggests the steps necessary to move from the pre-commercial phase of fuel cell electric bus (FCEB) deployment and manufacturing (2012-2015) to the early commercial phase (2016- 2017) to a commercial model in 2018 and beyond, including the requisite fueling infrastructure.

This road map suggests a specific strategy for the implementation of two Centers of Excellence in Northern and Southern California, each of which would cost approximately $50 million and would operate 40 FCEBs. The two centers would allow for economies of scale sufficient to achieve 2016 DOE/DOT targets and begin to overcome the primary barriers to market: the capital cost of the vehicles and the cost of fuel, CaFCP suggests.

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