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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.]

Ryder to fuel natural gas fleets in California with 100% biomethane from Clean Energy Fuels

November 12, 2015

Ryder System, Inc. and Clean Energy Fuels Corp. announced an agreement for Ryder to switch the fuel at their stations in Orange and Fontana, CA, to Clean Energy’s Redeem renewable natural gas (RNG)—i.e., biomethane. (Earlier post.) The fuel at the two stations will be available in both compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) to individual and public fleet vehicles.

Clean Energy’s renewable natural gas vehicle fuel is derived from biogenic methane or biogas—methane that is naturally generated by the decomposition of organic waste. The methane gas is then processed, purified and sent into the interstate natural gas pipeline and made available exclusively to Clean Energy customers.

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1-year customer field trials of FUSO electric Canter in Portugal show 64% lower costs, 37% reduction in CO2 given local power mix

November 02, 2015

Daimler has concluded customer field trials with eight pre-production Fuso Canter E-Cell electric trucks (earlier post) in Portugal. In addition to delivering a 64% savings in operating costs compared to conventional diesel trucks, the Canter E-Cells also reduced CO2 emissions by 37% compared to diesel, taking into account the current power production mix in Portugal.

FUSO developed the battery-powered and locally emission-free Canter E-Cell at the Daimler Trucks Center of Competence for Hybrid Technology. To prove the practicality of the Canter E-Cell, FUSO sent eight of them on a field trial in mid-2014. All eight vehicles travelled the roads of Portugal and were permanently monitored and analyzed during the one-year field trial. The Canter E-Cell trucks were equipped with platforms and box bodies. They were operated by couriers and freight forwarding agents as well as by municipalities and public works departments.

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Nissan partners with Scoot Networks mobility service with 10 Nissan New Mobility Concept EVs

October 18, 2015

Nissan has provided 10 all-electric Nissan New Mobility Concept vehicles to the Scoot Networks mobility service in San Francisco. The Nissan New Mobility Concept, also known as a Scoot Quad, is a battery-electric, two-seater compact vehicle with a range of 40 miles (64 km) and top speed of 25 mph (40 km/h), based on Renault’s Twizy. Nissan is also testing the EV in car sharing services in Japan. (Earlier post.)

The Scoot Quad joins the Scoot family of light electric vehicles—including a classic electric moped and a larger cargo outfit—and it is Scoot’s first foray on four wheels. The Scoot fleet currently comprises 400 customized electric scooters that go up to 30 mph (48 km/h) and have a range of 20 to 25 miles (32 to 40 km). San Francisco residents use Scoots for a variety of activities such as quick commutes across town, running errands or as a fun way to explore the city.

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ARB sees beginning of market penetration of battery-electric medium- and heavy-duty trucks and buses

October 16, 2015

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) has released its draft technology assessment of medium- and heavy-duty battery-electric trucks and buses. The draft assessment identifies the status of battery-electric vehicle (BEV) technology that can reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) and criteria pollutant emissions from Class 2b through Class 8 vehicles (gross vehicle weight of 8,501 pounds and up).

Overall, the assessment finds that BEVs are beginning to penetrate the medium- and heavy-duty vehicle markets. Battery electric transit buses are increasingly available from a variety of manufacturers and some school buses are commercially available. Battery electric shuttle buses are also increasingly available, as are other medium-duty BEVs, primarily delivery vehicles. Currently, BEVS in the marketplace typically use lithium-ion battery chemistries. Class 8 heavy-duty trucks remain a significant challenge, according to the report.

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AKASOL supplying Li-ion battery systems for eight fast-charging electric buses in Cologne

October 15, 2015

AKASOL, a Germany-based provider of high-performance Li-ion battery systems (earlier post), is supplying the Li-ion battery systems for 8 all-electric articulated 18-meter buses, manufactured by VDL Bus & Coach, to be operated by the Cologne public transport company Kölner Verkehrs-Betriebe. Both AKASOL and VDL are displaying their battery systems and Citea SLFA Electric articulated bus, respectively, at Busworld.

The VDL buses use AKASOL’s modular AKASYSTEM lithium-ion battery system in a 4 x 15M configuration in every bus. Each AKASYSTEM 15M is rated at 460 kW, 35 kWh, and 666 V and weighs 314 kg. The high-performance liquid-cooled battery system offers a charging capacity of more than 300 kilowatts and has an overall useable energy content of more than 100 kWh.

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ABB launches automated fast charging system for electric buses; inverted pantograph

ABB is introducing an automated fast charging system which allows electric city buses to drive 24/7. With its automated rooftop connection and a typical charge time of 4–6 minutes, the system can easily be integrated in existing bus lines by installing fast chargers at end points, terminals, depots and/or intermediate stops. The modular design offering 150 kW, 300 kW or 450 kW of charging power provides any city bus with enough energy in only a few minutes to run its inner-city route continuously throughout the day.

The robust automated connection is based on a pantograph: a proven system used commonly on trains, trams and metro’s, but mounted in inverted position on a stylish infrastructure pole. When a bus arrives at the charging stop, wireless communication will be established between bus and charger and the pantograph will come down automatically. After all safety checks are performed the system will provide the bus with a powerful fast recharge. (A Combo 2 connector can also serve to link bus with charger.)

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Proterra introduces 35-foot electric bus

October 05, 2015

Battery-electric bus manufacturer Proterra has introduced a new 35-foot vehicle based on the same technology platform as its current 40-foot Catalyst vehicle. (Earlier post.)

Tracking the broader transportation trend towards advanced safety systems, the new 35-foot Catalyst electric bus provides customers with nimble maneuvering and enhanced automated features, including collision avoidance and traction control in a smaller model for dense urban areas, building on the performance of the 40-foot Catalyst vehicle. Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) will be the first customer for the new bus, receiving seven 35-foot Catalyst FC buses and two overhead semi-autonomous fast chargers.

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California ARB announces $24M grant solicitation for zero-emission truck and bus pilot commercial deployment projects

October 02, 2015

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) announced a grant solicitation for Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Pilot Commercial Deployment Projects. Up to $23,658,000 is available for this project from FY 2014-15 funds. Up to an additional $60,000,000 may be available for projects under this solicitation from future funds appropriated by the California legislature on or before 30 June 2016.

This project complements the Zero-Emission Drayage Truck and Multi-Source Facility Demonstration Projects solicitations released in June of this year as part of a $50-million allocation for advanced technology freight demonstrations.

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Ballard lands $17M deal for deployment of ~300 fuel cell buses in China; new 30 kW and 60 kW modules

September 26, 2015

Under a newly signed long-term license and supply agreement, Ballard Power Systems will supply Guangdong Synergy Hydrogen Power Technology Co., Ltd., an existing partner in China, fuel cell power products and technology in support of the planned deployment of approximately 300 fuel cell-powered buses in the cities of Foshan and Yunfu, China.

The deal has an estimated initial value of $17 million through 2016, with the opportunity for significant recurring royalties starting in 2017. The agreement includes supply and sale of fully-assembled fuel cell power modules; ready-to-assemble module kits; a technology license for localization of assembly; supply of proprietary fuel cell stacks; and long-term recurring royalties leveraged to unit volumes of locally assembled modules.

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DOT announces $22.5M in latest round of low or no emissions bus deployment (LoNo) funding

The US Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced the availability of $22.5 million (FTA-2015-006-TRI) through the latest round of the Low or No Emission Vehicle Deployment Program (LoNo).

The LoNo Program is a capital program focused on deploying new low- or no-emission production buses that are market-ready or near market-ready; i.e., it is not a program for designing and developing prototypes. The program gives priority consideration to the deployment of buses with the lowest energy consumption and least harmful emissions. The previous round of LoNo funding, announced in February 2015, awarded $55 million in grants to ten organizations nationwide. (Earlier post.)

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Los Angeles to lease 160 BEVs, 128 PHEVs as part of commitment to 50% EV purchases by 2017

September 14, 2015

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Friday announced a commitment to lease 160 pure battery EV vehicles, a move that will give Los Angeles the largest city-owned pure EV fleet in the US. The program commits city departments to the leasing of pure battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) to replace aging city vehicles, including those with conventional internal combustion engines. The announcement came on the eve of the US-China Climate Leaders Summit to be hosted in L.A. this week.

The Los Angeles Police, Fire, General Services, and Water and Power departments will together lease the 160 BEVS. In addition, LADWP and the General Services Department will lease an additional 128 plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

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DOE to award up to $11M for medium- and heavy-duty vehicle powertrain electrification and dual fuel fleet demonstration

September 10, 2015

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a funding opportunity (DE-FOA-0001349 ) announcement for up to $11 million to support projects covering two areas of technical interest. The first is medium- and heavy-duty powertrain electrification; the second is a dual fuel fleet demonstration. DOE anticipates making approximately 2 to 4 awards under this FOA, with the majority of funding going to electrification projects.

Area of Interest (AOI) 1: Medium and Heavy Duty Vehicle Powertrain Electrification. The objective of this area of interest is to research, develop, and demonstrate electric-drive powertrain technologies for medium- and heavy-duty Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) and Electric Vehicles (EV) that reduce fuel consumption by at least 50% when compared to an equivalent vehicle with a conventional internal combustion engine powertrain driven on a comparable duty cycle.

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Lockheed Martin invests in Peloton Technology and truck platooning

August 31, 2015

Lockheed Martin has joined a $17-million investment round in Peloton Technology, a developer of truck platooning systems, co-led by DENSO International America and Intel Capital (earlier post).

The Peloton Truck Platooning System electronically couples pairs of trucks through a combination of vehicle-to-vehicle communications, radar-based active braking systems and proprietary vehicle-control algorithms. The system improves safety and allows trucks to travel at closer distances, which improves aerodynamics and reduces fuel use.

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Renault Trucks and partners launch EDIT project to cut distribution vehicles’ fuel consumption by 13%

August 27, 2015

After Optifuel Lab 2 (earlier post), the laboratory vehicle which brought together technological innovations designed to reduce long-distance trucks’ fuel consumption, Renault Trucks is extending its research to distribution vehicles.

Renault Trucks and six partners—Valeo, Lamberet, Michelin, BeNomad, INSA de Lyon (LamCoS) and IFSTTAR (LICIT)—have launched the EDIT (Efficient Distribution Truck) project, which aims to reduce distribution vehicles’ fuel consumption by 13% compared with a current production vehicle.

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Clean Energy to build new CNG stations for multiple transit agencies and large school district; agreements with trucking, refuse and others

August 26, 2015

Clean Energy Fuels Corp. will construct new compressed natural gas (CNG) stations for Arlington Transit (ART) in Arlington County, Virginia; Nassau Inter-County Express (NICE) in Long Island, NY; and North Kansas City (MO) School District, which is set to become the largest school district in the US to transition its school bus fleet to CNG. The company also announced additional agreements across transportation market segments of transit, refuse, trucking and the bulk fuel market.

Transit. NICE has awarded Clean Energy the contract to design, build and operate and maintain a new CNG station that will, upon completion, replace its existing Mitchel Field station, and operate and maintain the existing CNG stations. The five-year contract valued at just over $13 million will extend the partnership between NICE and Clean Energy and will support a fleet of over 200 CNG buses. Clean Energy currently supports another 100 CNG buses at an additional station and provides a total of 4.6 million GGEs of CNG annually for the NICE bus fleet. Completion of the new station is expected for summer 2017.

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EDI and Shaanxi Automotive introducing PHEV port trucks at Port of Shanghai

August 24, 2015

Hybrid and electric drivetrain solutions company Efficient Drivetrains, Inc. (EDI) and Shaanxi Automotive, one of the world’s largest truck and bus manufacturers, are introducing a fleet of plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) trucks to the Port of Shanghai.

The PHEV port truck is capable of operating at 99,000 pounds (44,907 kg) gross vehicle weight (GVW) with electrified vehicle accessories—including air conditioning and heating—allowing the use of accessories for driver comfort without idling the engine. The PHEV port truck provides all-electric zero emissions driving capability as well as parallel and series hybrid operation.

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Daimler wraps up eMERGE EV 2-year fleet trial, launches larger eMERGE2 with EVs and PHEVs

July 31, 2015

Daimler reports that the two-year eMERGE real-world trial of 146 smart fortwo electric drive vehicles has been completed. Those taking part in the project were private and business customers in Berlin, Potsdam and North Rhine-Westphalia. The lowest average energy consumption per vehicle over one year was 10.4 kWh/100 km, while the longest single-charge range was 161 kilometers (100 miles). The smart fortwo electric drive is certified with a consumption of 16.3 kWh/100 km and a range of 145 kilometers (90 miles).

eMERGE is being followed directly by eMERGE2, which will see up to 200 cars being used in the model regions of Berlin/Potsdam, Stuttgart, Rhine-Ruhr and Rhine-Main. The vehicle fleet will include the battery electric B 250 e and plug-in hybrids from Mercedes-Benz. The different technology and vehicle segments suggest different use cases than the smart fortwo electric drive.

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UPS announces renewable diesel agreements with Neste, REG and Solazyme; up to 46M gallons over next 3 years

July 29, 2015

UPS announced agreements for up to 46 million gallons of renewable diesel over the next three years, constituting a 15-fold increase over prior contracts and making UPS one of the largest users of renewable diesel in the world.

Neste, Renewable Energy Group (REG) and Solazyme will supply renewable diesel to UPS to help facilitate the company’s shift to move more than 12% of its purchased ground fuel from conventional diesel and gasoline fuel to alternative fuels by the end of 2017. UPS has previously announced a goal of driving one billion miles with our alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles by the end of 2017.

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London adding 51 more all-electric buses to operating fleet

July 17, 2015

Transport for London (TfL) announced that two additional bus routes, the 507 and 521, will operate entirely with electric single-deck buses from autumn next year. The 5-year contract to operate the routes has been awarded to Go Ahead following a competitive tender process, and will mean that 51 electric buses will operate across the two routes that will become the second and third pure electric bus routes in the Capital.

Go Ahead will confirm which manufacturer will supply the buses in due course. By 2020, as part of the Ultra Low Emission Zone, TfL is committed to ensuring all 300 single-decker buses operating in central London are zero emission (e.g. electric or hydrogen), and all 3,000 double deck buses are hybrid.

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Berkeley Lab analysis finds autonomous electric taxis could greatly reduce US LDV GHG emissions

July 06, 2015

Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have found that the per-mile greenhouse gas emissions of an electric autonomous taxi in 2030 would be 63-82% lower than a projected 2030 hybrid vehicle driven as a privately owned car and 90% lower than a 2014 gasoline-powered private vehicle. Their paper appears in the journal Nature Climate Change.

The autonomous vehicles (AVs) gain their through three synergistic effects, the researchers found: (1) future decreases in electricity GHG emissions intensity; (2) smaller vehicle sizes resulting from trip-specific autonomous taxi deployment (i.e., “right-sizing,” where the size of the taxi deployed is tailored to each trip’s occupancy needs); and (3) higher annual vehicle-miles travelled (VMT), increasing high-efficiency (especially battery-electric) vehicle cost-effectiveness.

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China’s ZTE pushing ahead with high-power wireless charging vehicle test deployment

ZTE Corporation, China’s largest listed telecommunications equipment company, is developing high-power wireless charging systems and services for electric vehicles, with a focus on public charging infrastructure. At a China-US workshop on electric vehicle standardization held in June (earlier post), Academus Tian, VP of ZTE New Energy Vehicle Co., presented an overview of ZTE’s efforts in wireless power transfer (WPT).

Tian said that ZTE’s inductive charging WPT module has a potential capacity of up to 30 kW, with a gap of 20 cm and efficiency of up to 90%. The footprint of the device is less than 1 m2; frequency is 85 kHz. ZTE, which has aggressively partnered with a number of passenger and commercial vehicles makers over the past few years, has recently launched a series of commercial vehicle (bus) WPT trials.

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4 more cities sign Global Clean Bus Declaration raising total to >40K ultra-low emission buses by 2020; London to trial BYD electric double-decker

June 30, 2015

Four additional cities—Amsterdam, Lima, Catalonia (Barcelona) and Rome—signed up to the Global Clean Bus Declaration at the 1st global Clean Bus Summit in London.

The Global Clean Bus Declaration, developed by the Mayor of London Boris Johnson in partnership with the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, launched in Buenos Aires in March 2015 with 20 original signatories. Bus manufacturers including BYD, Volvo, Wright Bus, Optare, Mercedes, Evo Bus, and Alexander Dennis attended the London summit and committed to supporting cities in delivering fleets of new ultra-low emission buses. The World Bank and Green Investment Bank have also signed up to this commitment.

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Proterra Catalyst electric bus sets records at Altoona in efficiency, gradeability, weight and acceleration

June 10, 2015

Proterra has completed the structural testing program at the Altoona Bus Research and Testing Center with its new Catalyst battery-electric bus (earlier post), in the process setting records for efficiency, gradeability, weight and acceleration. The full public Altoona report is available here.

While conventional diesel buses average 3.86 mpg (60.9 l/100 km), the Proterra Catalyst achieved the best overall average fuel consumption rating yet for a 40' transit bus at 22.16 MPGe (equivalent to 10.7 l/100 km) (1.70 kWh/mile). Nearly six times more efficient than a diesel or CNG bus, the Catalyst is also ~15% more energy efficient per mile than its closest competitor’s electric bus on the same test (BYD, which averaged 1.988 kWh/mile), which translates to a lower lifetime energy consumption of 15%. Proterra’s new 40' bus is more energy efficient per mile than most light-duty trucks and SUVs on the road today.

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Overhead fast charging system for electric buses from Fraunhofer and partners

June 01, 2015

Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Transportation and Infrastructure Systems IVI and its several partners in the EDDA Bus project, have developed a pantograph fast-charging solution for electric buses that supports route-based opportunity charging. Operational system testing of a converted bus and its charging station began in Dresden in November last year.

The solution is based on four core technologies: the Dresden-based company M&P GmbH designed a charging station with very high charging capacities; HOPPECKE Advanced Battery Technology GmbH supplied special batteries designed for such high power capacities; Vossloh Kiepe GmbH was responsible for adapting the power electronics; and the contact system located on the roof of the bus was realized by Fraunhofer IVI together with Schunk Bahn- und Industrietechnik GmbH.

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DENSO invests in truck platooning company Peloton; platooning as managed service

May 28, 2015

DENSO International America, Inc. has entered into an investment agreement with Peloton Technology, a developer of platooning systems for large truck transportation fleets. Peloton’s truck platooning system is an integrated safety, efficiency and analytics platform that builds on advanced safety technologies such as collision mitigation and adaptive cruise control systems.

DENSO and Intel Capital co-led the $16-million oversubscribed Series A investment round, which will help accelerate Peloton’s development and deployment of platooning technology. Volvo Group Venture Capital, a subsidiary of the Volvo Group, has also invested in Peloton. (Earlier post.) The deal was finalized late last month.

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Smith Electric Vehicles and FDG form JV for commercial EVs in US; new joint EV platform

May 13, 2015

Smith Electric Vehicles executed an agreement to form a joint venture with China-based strategic partner and investor FDG Electric Vehicles, a vertically integrated electric vehicle and lithium-ion battery manufacturer engaged in the R&D, production and distribution of all-electric vehicles. Both parties have also entered into Intellectual Property (IP) and technology licensing agreements with the JV, taking full advantage of the combination of FDG’s electric vehicles designs and Smith’s technologies and distribution network, so as to accelerate the development of the FDG brand name and products in the US market.

FDG will contribute the US-exclusive right to use its self-designed passenger van, minibus, panel van and cab/chassis (a US$30-million consideration) into the JV and also subscribe to the JV’s shares with US$15 million in cash; Smith will inject all of its US-exclusive IP pertaining to electric vehicles and its current client base (a US$40-million consideration). In addition, the JV will enter into an exclusive sourcing agreement for electric vehicles’ SKD (semi-knocked down) kits and electric vehicle battery with FDG, and the exclusive agreement of assembly and production with Smith respectively to entrust Smith to manufacture electric vehicles using FDG SKD kits and batteries.

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California ARB posts discussion document for developing Advanced Clean Transit (ACT) regulation

May 09, 2015

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) has posted a discussion document for upcoming workshops on the development of the Advanced Clean Transit (ACT) regulation.

The proposed Advanced Clean Transit regulation will consider strategies to achieve additional criteria pollutant emissions reductions from transit fleets and to accelerate purchases of zero emission buses as part of an overall strategy to transform all heavy duty vehicles to zero emission or near zero emission vehicles to meet air quality and efficiency improvement goals. ARB staff Staff is evaluating four potential broad elements to the Advanced Clean Transit regulation:

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UPS enters agreement with Clean Energy Fuels for renewable natural gas (biomethane) in the US

May 05, 2015

UPS has entered into an agreement to purchase renewable natural gas (RNG) for its delivery vehicle fleet from Clean Energy Fuels Corp. RNG (biomethane) can be derived from many abundant and renewable sources, including decomposing organic waste in landfills, wastewater treatment and agriculture.

The deal signifies UPS’ plan to expand significantly its use of renewable natural gas for its alternative fuel and advanced technology fleet. The company has a goal of driving one billion miles using its alternative fuel and advanced technology fleet by the end of 2017. Clean Energy Fuels, co-founded by T. Boone Pickens, is the exclusive producer of Redeem, the first RNG made available in commercial quantities.

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Emissions testing shows Lighting Hybrids hydraulic hybrid drive delivers significant reduction in NOx, up to 18% improved fuel consumption

April 21, 2015

The LH gasoline hydraulic hybrid shows an extreme reduction in NOx compared to a diesel baseline. Source: Lightning Hybrids. Click to enlarge.

Lightning Hybrids (LH), a provider of hydraulic hybrid drive systems for fleet vehicles such as shuttle buses, delivery vehicles and work trucks (earlier post), has released some results from its ongoing emissions testing with SGS Environmental Testing Corporation. Broadly, the test results show significant reductions in NOx, particularly against a non-hybrid diesel baseline, and fuel economy improvements of up to 18% for the vehicle and under the drive cycles tested.

By design, LH noted, a hybrid drive system provides benefits during a vehicle’s braking and subsequent acceleration phases, so not all drive cycles will take equal advantage of the system. For example, an urban delivery truck which stops many times per mile will benefit strongly, whereas a truck that spends most of its time on the highway would not be a good candidate for any form of hybridization.

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California Energy Commission awards nearly $9M to 3 projects to support local manufacturing of heavy-duty electric vehicles, PHEVs

April 09, 2015

As part of its approval of more than $83.7 million in grants and loans for 46 projects covering transportation, energy storage, biogas and efficiency programs, the California Energy Commission awarded nearly $9 million to three companies to encourage the manufacturing of heavy-duty electric vehicles and components in California.

The Energy Commission also approved the 2015-2016 Investment Plan Update for its Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program (ARFVTP). The program develops and deploys innovative technologies that transform California’s fuel and vehicle types to help attain the state’s climate change goals. The annual Investment Plan Update determines priorities and opportunities for the program, describes how funding will complement existing public and private efforts, and guides funding decisions. Recent legislation extended the ARFVTP until 1 January 2024.

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CEC awards Proterra $3M toward electric bus manufacturing plant; Foothill Transit orders 13 more buses

The California Energy Commission (CEC) awarded a $3-million grant to leading battery-electric bus manufacturer Proterra as one of 46 transportation, energy storage, biogas and efficiency projects receiving a total of $83.7 million in grants and loans. The grant to Proterra will fund the design, development and construction of Proterra’s new battery-electric transit bus manufacturing line in California. The plant will be Proterra’s second after its original plant in Greenville, SC; the company said that its expansion was prompted by the strong growth in market demand for the new Proterra Catalyst electric buses.

Concurrent with the award, Proterra announced that Foothill Transit, the primary public transit provider of the San Gabriel and Pomona valleys in California, has ordered an additional 13 Proterra buses to be delivered in 2016; this is Foothill Transit’s fourth order from Proterra in five years. This latest order is Foothill’s largest order to date, bringing the all-electric fleet to about 30—nearly 10% of the transit agency’s total. Foothill Transit will also become the first customer for Proterra’s new extended-range vehicle, the Proterra Catalyst XR. (Earlier post.)

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UPS to add 1,400 new CNG vehicles over next year; building 15 new CNG fueling stations

April 02, 2015

UPS CNG package truck. Click to enlarge.

UPS announced plans to purchase and deploy 1,400 new CNG vehicles over the next year, representing a 27.5% increase to UPS’ current industry-leading alternative fuel and advanced technology fleet of 5,088 vehicles worldwide.

To support the purchase and planned deployment of the 1,400 new CNG vehicles, UPS plans to build 15 compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling stations. Twelve of the CNG stations will be in new natural gas vehicle deployment areas, and three will replace existing CNG stations with more robust, higher capacity equipment.

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Millbrook joins APC-funded consortium to develop fuel cell range-extended electric LCVs

March 30, 2015

Millbrook, one of Europe’s leading independent test and technology centers for vehicles and vehicle systems, will join a UK industry consortium to develop a new class of light commercial vehicle (LCV) combining fuel cell technology with battery electric vehicles to provide significantly improved range and rapid refueling. The consortium, led by Intelligent Energy (earlier post), will receive a £6.3-million ($9.3-million) grant from the UK’s Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) for the £12.7-million ($19-million) project. The other partners are Frost Electronics, Frost EV, CENEX, British Gas and DHL.

The three-year project will develop validated systems and vehicle conversion expertise ready for volume manufacture. The goal is also to provide fleet operators with a solution that enables vehicle operation for extended periods while being emissions-free at the tailpipe.

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Total natural gas vehicle sales in US down 6.5% in 2014 due to 34% drop in light-duty sales; medium- and heavy-duty up

March 29, 2015

In 2014, light-, medium-, and heavy-duty natural gas vehicle (NGV) production/sales in the US totaled just over 18,000 vehicles, down 6.5% from 2013, according to NGVAmerica’s 2014 NGV Production/Sales Report. The report is based on the organization’s annual survey of OEMs and approved aftermarket suppliers.

The heavy-duty market segment grew at a healthy pace, up 30% over 2013. The medium-duty market segment also grew steadily, up 24% over 2013. The light-duty segment fell 34% from 2013, mostly related to a drop in orders from the gas and oil exploration and production (E&P) sector.

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Daimler Trucks NA SuperTruck achieves 115% freight efficiency improvement over 2009 baseline; 50.2% engine BTE

March 27, 2015

DTNA’s SuperTruck was unveiled at the 2015 Mid-America Trucking Show. Click to enlarge.

Daimler Trucks North America’s (DTNA) SuperTruck program has achieved 115% freight efficiency improvement (gallons of fuel consumed per ton of goods moved per mile traveled)—surpassing the Department of Energy (DOE) program’s goal of 50% improvement and exhibiting the best results of all reporting OEMs. (Earlier post.) DTNA unveiled its SuperTruck at the 2015 Mid-America Trucking Show (MATS) in the Freightliner Trucks booth.

To measure freight efficiency, DTNA ran vehicle testing on highway routes in Oregon and Texas; one city route in Portland, Ore.; and anti-idle testing in both a cold chamber and hot chamber. These tests resulted in the combined 115% freight efficiency improvement over a 2009 baseline truck. Testing was also conducted at the DTNA Detroit engineering facility to demonstrate engine efficiency by achieving 50.2% engine brake thermal efficiency.

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XALT Energy in major multi-year contract to supply LTO batteries to HK Group for electric buses in China

March 25, 2015

XALT Energy (originally founded in 2009 as Dow-Kokam, LLC), a leading developer and manufacturer of lithium-ion batteries, signed a global exclusive agreement with Hybrid Kinetic Group (HK Group) of China for the supply of its Lithium Titanate (LTO) batteries from its manufacturing facilities in Midland, Michigan for all-electric buses in China.

Production is expected to begin during the third quarter of 2015. The multi-year contract, valued at more than $1.0 billion, will create 300 new high-tech and manufacturing jobs in Midland this year. Hiring is underway with 80 positions expected to be filled in April.

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Obama orders GHG cuts for Federal Agencies; 50% of all new agency vehicles to be ZEV or PHEV by 2025

March 19, 2015

President Obama today signed a wide-ranging executive order mandating cuts in greenhouse gas emissions for Federal agencies. Through more efficient Federal operations, agency direct greenhouse gas emissions can be cut by at least 40% over the next decade, the order suggests. The order has operational directives for building and fleet management, electricity generation, water use, waste management and purchasing.

As an initial outcome, within 90 days the head of each agency sis to propose to the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) percentage reduction targets for agency-wide reductions of scope 1 and 2 and scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions in absolute terms by the end of fiscal year 2025 relative to a fiscal year 2008 baseline.

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Lightning Hybrids secures order for 35 hydraulic hybrid systems from Kiessling Transit

March 05, 2015

Lightning Hybrids, developer and manufacturer of hydraulic hybrid systems for medium- and heavy-duty trucks and buses (earlier post), announced an agreement with Kiessling Transit to supply 35 hydraulic hybrid systems. The sale marks Lightning Hybrids’ largest order to date. The company’s system demonstrated improvements of 30% in fuel efficiency and significantly reduced NOx emissions during a year-long pilot program with the leading Massachusetts-based transportation company.

Kiessling Transit’s vehicles, featuring new 2015 and 2016 model year Ford E450 chassis and Elkhart Coach bodies, will have the Lightning Hybrids patented parallel hybrid system installed prior to delivery this summer. The technology, which has no electric batteries, applies a hydraulic system to the driveline of a vehicle to regenerate braking energy. Hydraulic pumps and a lightweight accumulator store braking energy and use the stored energy to power the wheels. The application of this technology will result in improved emissions, less fuel use, longer brake life, better low-end torque, and lower maintenance and operational costs.

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UPS accelerates use of ORION routing optimization software; reducing 100M miles driven annually at full deployment

March 03, 2015

UPS expects its ORION (On-Road Integrated Optimization and Navigation) routing system (earlier post) to reduce the distance driven by its drivers by 100 million miles annually when fully implemented in 2016. The company is accelerating its implementation to complete all planned US routes by then. The deployment will result in a 100,000-metric-ton reduction in CO2 emissions, equivalent to taking 21,000 passenger cars off the road for a year, according to the Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator.

The company expects additional benefits including annual savings of 10 million gallons of fuel and more than $300 million when ORION completes US implementation. Additional environmental benefits and cost reduction savings will be realized when vehicles outside the US are equipped with the technology in future years, the company said. During 2015, UPS plans to complete installation of ORION routing on about 70% of the planned routes.

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French Post Office and Renault Trucks testing electric truck with fuel cell range extender

February 24, 2015

Maxity Electric with fuel cell range extender. Click to enlarge.

Renault Trucks and the French Post Office (La Poste) will introduce on an experimental basis, and as a first in Europe, an electric truck equipped with a hydrogen-powered range extender. The range-extended 4.5-ton Maxity Electric model doubles th electric truck range to 200 kilometers (124 miles) and will be tested for one year under actual operating conditions in the city Dole (Jura Department), allowing Renault Trucks to explore all potential avenues of hydrogen technology under actual operating conditions.

For La Poste, which at present owns the world's largest fleet of electric vehicles, this experiment is part of a continuous effort underway to extend the range of its fleet. For nearly a year, in the Franche-Comté Region, the Post Office has been testing, during carriers’ collection and distribution of mail and packages, Renault Kangoo Z.E. mail delivery vehicles with fuel cell range extenders. (Earlier post.)

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NEESC releases 2015 hydrogen & fuel cell development plans for eight Northeastern states; power generation and transportation

February 20, 2015

The Northeast Electrochemical Energy Storage Cluster (NEESC), administered by Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology Inc. (CCAT), released the 2015 Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Development Plans for each of the eight states in the Northeast US. The state-specific plans focus on hydrogen and fuel cell applications that are both technically and economically viable, and recommend specific goals for stationary and transportation hydrogen fuel cell deployment to meet economic, environmental, and energy needs.

Cumulative goals for the Northeast states include approximately 1,300 megawatts of installed stationary fuel cell capacity; 10,800 fuel cell electric vehicles; 640 fuel cell powered buses; and 110 hydrogen refueling stations to support the fuel cell electric vehicles and buses.

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Lightning Hybrids introducing hydraulic hybrid system on walk-in box truck

February 16, 2015

Morgan Olson walk-in van with Lightning Hybrids hydraulic drive system installed for AmeriPride. Click to enlarge.

Lightning Hybrids, developer and manufacturer of hydraulic hybrid systems for medium- and heavy-duty trucks and buses (earlier post), will introduce the application of its first emission-reducing brake regeneration technology on a walk-in box truck. The debut will take place during the South Shore Clean Cities annual meeting in Merrillville, Indiana, on 17 February.

Lightning Hybrids’ hydraulic hybrid system on the vehicle, featuring a Ford F59 chassis and Morgan Olson Route Star walk-in van body, enhances fuel efficiency while significantly reducing emissions.

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FTA awarding $55M to 10 projects deploying battery-electric and fuel-cell buses

February 06, 2015

The US Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has selected 10 projects that will receive a share of $55 million in competitive grants that will help put a new generation of zero-emission buses on the road. Funding is provided through FTA’s Low or No Emission Vehicle Deployment Program (LoNo). (Earlier post.)

Established under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), the LoNo program focuses on deploying the cleanest and most energy-efficient US-made transit buses designed to cut CO2 and criteria pollutant emissions. Grants from the LoNo program help transit agencies integrate more of these advanced buses into their fleets. The selected projects are:

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Navigant forecasts 29.3% CAGR growth for electric-drive and electric-assisted commercial vehicles to nearly 160K units in 2023

January 28, 2015

In a new report, Navigant Research forecasts that global sales of electric drive and electric-assisted medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles (MHDV, Classes 3 to 8) will grow from less than 16,000 in 2014 to nearly 160,000 in 2023, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 29.3%. Powertrain type included in the report are hybrid-electric, plug-in hybrid electric, and battery electric. Onboard energy storage can be achieved via batteries, ultracapacitors, or a combination of both.

The medium and heavy duty vehicle (MHDV) market includes all highway-capable vehicles in excess of 10,000 lbs (4,536 kg) gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). Navigant Research defines medium duty (MD) vehicles as between 10,000 lbs and 26,000 lbs (11,793 kg) and heavy duty (HD) vehicles as greater than 26,000 lbs.

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Symbio FCell delivers first 5 Kangoo ZE electric utilities with fuel cell range extenders in La Manche

January 26, 2015

Symbio FCell has delivered the first five Renault Kangoo ZE Light commercial vehicles (LCVs) powered by its hydrogen Fuel Cell Range-Extender, as part of a full fleet project led by the Conseil Général de la Manche which will ultimately deploy 40 vehicles. (Earlier post.) La Manche is a département in West Normandy, France.

The Renault Kangoo ZE-H2 electric utility vehicles are equipped with the Symbio FCell Range-Extender. This technology recharges the battery when it drops below a certain level and permits the vehicle to be refueled with 1.8 kg of hydrogen, 1kg of which provides a range of more than 100 km (62 miles); the range-extender therefore almost doubles the daily range of battery powered vehicles, a significant improvement that makes hydrogen-powered electric vehicles more competitive in the automotive markets.

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DOE to fund development of processes to aggregate purchases of alt-fuel and advanced vehicles; goal is cost reduction and accelerated adoption

November 21, 2014

DOE plans (DE-FOA-0001236) to issue in the February 2015 timeframe a funding opportunity (DE-FOA-0001237) to develop and to implement effective purchasing/procurement processes designed to coordinate and consolidate bulk alternative fuel vehicle and advanced vehicle orders and thus reduce the per-unit prices of commercially-available vehicles.

DOE expects that such an aggregated purchasing/procurement process will enable original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and suppliers to increase production volumes; achieve economies of scale; and reduce incremental vehicle costs specific to electric drive, natural gas, propane, hybrid, and other alternative fuel vehicle and advanced vehicle technologies.

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