[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.]
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.)
UPS begins operational rollout of ORION advanced route optimization software
October 30, 2013
|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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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%.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Scania and Siemens to develop heavy-duty hybrid vehicles with trolley-assist; enabling the eHighway
March 11, 2013
|Scania truck with a pantograph on the roof (“trolley-truck”) . Click to enlarge.|
Scania and Siemens have entered into a partnership which involves the integration of Siemens’ trolley-assist technology with Scania’s expertise in the electrification of powertrains in trucks and buses.
Scania has for a long time explored the possibilities of electrifying the powertrain in buses and trucks, while Siemens has developed trolley-assist systems for heavy duty trucks and is selling its SIMINE trolley-assist system for mining trucks to that industry. At EVS26 in Los Angeles in 2012, Siemens described its ‘eHighway of the Future’ concept for the electrification of on-road commercial trucks and select highway lanes via overhead electrified wires. (Earlier post.)
FedEx Express fleet exceeds 2020 fuel improvement goal of 20%; sets new goal of 30% improvement compared to 2005
March 06, 2013
|FedEx Express alternative fuel fleet deployment as of August 2012. Source: FedEx. Click to enlarge.|
FedEx Express has exceeded its original goal of a 20% improvement in global vehicle fleet fuel economy by 2020, as compared to 2005, with a more than 22% cumulative improvement in fuel economy for its vehicles. The unit of FedEx Corp has accordingly set a a new target of 30% improvement in fuel efficiency for its global vehicle fleet by 2020. This revision mirrors the company’s 2012 announcement to increase its aircraft emissions goal from 20% to a 30% reduction in global aircraft emissions intensity by 2020.
By pursuing the most promising avenues of advanced technologies, enlisting a variety of experienced manufacturers and optimizing our vehicle operations, FedEx Express has been able to improve the fuel efficiency of its vehicle fleet at a faster rate than expected. FedEx Express has seen the biggest impact on overall fuel efficiency from its strategy of matching the right vehicle to each route.
Volkswagen’s e-Co-Motion e-van concept offers three-stage modular battery pack for different range requirements
March 05, 2013
|The e-Co-Motion. Click to enlarge.|
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles presented the e-Co-Motion concept electric city delivery van at the Geneva Motor Show. (Earlier post.) The van offers a three-stage modular battery concept to accommodate the different range requirements of customers.
A battery with a capacity of 20 kWh could be installed for driving ranges of around 100 km (62 miles), while a battery with 30 kWh would enable a 150 km (93 mile) driving range. Finally, a battery with 40 kWh storage capacity is planned for the top driving range of 200 km (124 miles). The crossmembers and rib structure of the battery box let it serve a secondary purpose as a load-bearing body element that also helps to reduce vehicle weight.
Transit operator launching test of wireless charging of electric buses in Mannheim, Germany
March 02, 2013
|Powertrain components of the PRIMOVE bus. Click to enlarge.|
German regional transit operator Rhein-Neckar-Verkehr GmbH (RNV) is introducing a pair of electric buses with Bombardier PRIMOVE wireless charging technology (earlier post) in a research project serving the city of Mannheim, Germany.
During the “PRIMOVE Mannheim” research project, the electric buses will recharge wirelessly while passengers get on and off the vehicles at bus stops along the inner city route 63. Both e-buses, built by the Swiss manufacturer Carrosserie HESS AG, are also equipped with the new Bombardier MITRAC e-bus powertrain for city buses. In addition, an electric van equipped with wireless PRIMOVE technology will be tested as a RNV service vehicle.
Yamato, Toyota, Hino start trials of battery-electric 1-tonne delivery truck
March 01, 2013
|EV Trucks for the trial. Click to enlarge.|
Yamato Transport Co., Ltd., Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC), and Hino Motors, Ltd. (Hino) will begin trials using a small battery-electric truck (EV Truck) in Yamato delivery operations. Developed by Hino, the EV Truck is a one-tonne, ultra-low bed truck featuring a cargo space equipped with compartments for keeping delivery goods refrigerated or frozen.
The truck was created in line with specifications developed jointly by Yamato, TMC, and Hino to provide “Cool TA-Q-BIN”, one of Yamato’s delivery services for goods at low or freezing temperatures.
XL Hybrids enters installation and distribution partnership with Leggett & Platt Commercial Vehicle Products; expands hybrid drive system to Ford E-series vans
February 28, 2013
|XL Hybrids hybrid drive unit in place. Click to enlarge.|
XL Hybrids, Inc., developer of a low-cost hybrid electric powertrain designed specifically for class 1 to 3 commercial fleet use (earlier post), signed a non-exclusive installation partnership and distribution agreement with Leggett & Platt Commercial Vehicle Products (CVP), one of the top commercial vehicle upfitters. Leggett & Platt CVP will incorporate XL Hybrids’ hybrid powertrain directly into its existing ship-thru process, thus providing a one-stop shopping experience for commercial fleets.
The two companies will display a hybrid cargo van upfitted with XL Hybrids’ parallel hybrid powertrain technology at the Leggett & Platt CVP Booth at the 2013 NTEA Work Truck Show in Indianapolis, Indiana next week.
Study examines potential for alternatives to new car ownership models to advance EV market
December 24, 2012
A new study by the RAC Foundation and the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) examines the potential for alternatives to new car ownership models to kick-start the electric vehicle market. The paper, “Car Rental 2.0”, summarizes the findings from a joint seminar held by the RAC Foundation and BVRLA earlier this year on alternatives to car ownership: car rental, traditional and one-way car clubs, and ridesharing.
The paper also explores the role of local authorities and central government in creating the necessary policy framework for car clubs and the rental market to mature.
Ford introduces new Transit family in North America; emphasis on improved fuel economy in commercial vehicle segment
December 14, 2012
|Highlights of the full-size Transit. Click to enlarge.|
Ford unveiled the full new 2014 Transit family of commercial vehicles for North America, comprising the full-size Transit, the Transit Connect Van, and the Transit Connect Wagon (shown earlier, earlier post). The new Transit family reflects Ford’s ongoing strategy of platform consolidation, said Raj Nair, Group Vice President, Global Product Development. In this case, Ford has consolidated two regional platforms—E-Series and the Transit—into the single Transit commercial vehicle platform.
The total commercial segment presents more potential for growth than any other segment, Nair said; global commercial vehicle sales are expected to grow by 4.8 million during the next several years to 21 million units annually by 2017. “People need to carry things,” said Jim Farley, executive vice president of Global Marketing, Sales and Service and Lincoln. “It’s that simple.”