[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.]
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.”
Iveco to supply 115 natural gas Daily Vehicles to TNT Express Italy
December 07, 2012
|Iveco Daily Natural Power vehicles awaiting delivery. Click to enlarge.|
Iveco contracted to deliver 115 Daily Natural Power light commercial vehicles to TNT Express Italy by 2013. The methane gas-powered vehicles will be used by TNT for its express courier activities in the Rome area as well as other parts of Central Italy.
The New Daily Natural Power is equipped with a 100 kW, 3.0L, in-line 4-cylinder Fiat Powertrain Technologies (FPT) Industrial CNG engine with three-way catalytic converter, using a stoichiometric combustion regime that results in exhaust emissions well below the European EEV limits. The system can detect the composition of the gas used and is able to adapt the actual air/fuel ratio accordingly, in order to maintain low emissions without sacrificing performance.
Chicago awards up to $13.4M contract to Motiv Power Systems for 20 Class 8 electric refuse trucks
November 19, 2012
The City of Chicago has awarded San Francisco Bay Area startup Motiv Power Systems an up to $13.4-million contract for 20 Class 8 electric refuse trucks. The 52,000-lb trucks, powered by a 200 kWh battery pack, will have a range of up to 60 miles.
The Motiv electric Powertrain Control System (ePCS) uses off-the-shelf batteries and motors, which can be mixed and matched to fit the size of the electric truck application. Motiv says that its ePCS can handle electric trucks from medium-duty to Class 8 heavy-duty, weighing 15,000 lbs-52,000 lbs. Motiv suggests the ePCS design approach cuts operating costs by 50% over an eight-year period. With a medium-duty pilot shuttle, Motiv reduced operating cost from 80 cents per mile ($0.80/mi) to 10 cents per mile ($0.10/mi). (Earlier post.)
GE and Clean Energy Fuels Partner to expand LNG refueling infrastructure in US for trucks; new MicroLNG plants
November 13, 2012
|GE’s MicroLNG plant can liquefy natural gas at any point along a gas distribution network. Click to enlarge.|
GE and Clean Energy Fuels are collaborating to expand the infrastructure for natural gas transportation in the United States. The agreement supports Clean Energy’s efforts in developing “America’s Natural Gas Highway,” (earlier post)—a fueling network spanning the contiguous US that will enable trucks to operate on Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) coast to coast and border to border.
As part of the collaboration, Clean Energy Fuels will initially purchase two MicroLNG plants from GE Oil & Gas. (Earlier post.) The plug-and-play modular units, which are designed to rapidly liquefy natural gas while minimizing a site’s physical footprint, will support fueling stations along major transportation corridors that run across the US. Further underscoring GE’s commitment to expanding natural gas transportation infrastructure, GE Energy Financial Services is providing up to $200 million in financing for the two GE MicroLNG plants.
NREL launches new alternative transportation web tools; planning, maps, data
November 10, 2012
The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has launched a new tool and redesigned DOE’s Alternative Fuels Data Center Web site to help fleet managers, municipalities and consumers choose from a variety of alternative fuels and energy efficiency strategies for reducing petroleum use, vehicle emissions, and operating costs.
The AFDC’s new Petroleum Reduction Planning Tool is an interactive Web application that allows fleet managers to evaluate the benefits associated with five alternative fuels—biodiesel, electricity, ethanol, natural gas and propane—along with a variety of efficiency measures, such as idle reduction and fuel economy improvements.
NREL study finds 2nd-generation diesel hybrid delivery vans show significant gains in fuel economy over conventional vans
September 29, 2012
|Laboratory and in-use fuel economy results Source: NREL. Click to enlarge.|
The US Department of Energy’s (DOE)’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has published a report on an 18-month evaluation of in-service second-generation diesel-electric hybrid delivery vans and found significant fuel economy benefits of the hybrids compared to similar conventional vans.
The NREL team collected and analyzed in-service fuel economy, maintenance, and other vehicle performance data on 11 hybrid (P100H) and 11 conventional diesel (P100D) step vans operated by the United Parcel Service (UPS) in Minneapolis. The two study groups were on different duty cycles and required a route switch to provide a valid comparison, which UPS accommodated. The hybrid group accumulated 33% fewer miles than the conventional group during the complete 18-month study. The team also performed dynamometer testing at the Renewable Fuels and Lubricants (ReFUEL) Research Laboratory in Denver.
TfL Board approves production order for 600 new hybrid buses for London
September 25, 2012
The Board of Transport for London (TfL) approved a production order for up to 600 of New Bus for London vehicles over the next four years. (Earlier post.) This will create the largest fleet of hybrid buses in Europe, according to TfL.
The 600 buses represent a 200% increase in the current hybrid bus fleet which is set to grow by a further 180 vehicles already on order. When the final batch of new bus for London vehicles is delivered in 2016, more than 1,000 hybrid buses will be in service on the streets of London.
Pike Research forecasts 14% and 19% CAGR worldwide for natural gas trucks and buses
September 04, 2012
|Annual sales of NG trucks and buses by segment, world markets: 2012-2019. Source: Pike. Click to enlarge.|
Pike Research expects the global market for natural gas (NG) trucks to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14% between 2012 and 2019, reaching 111,319 sales in 2019. Pike expects medium-duty (MD) trucks to be the largest of the truck markets, growing to 85,848 vehicle sales; heavy-duty (HD) truck sales will reach 25,471 vehicles.
The company expects the market for NG buses to grow at a CAGR of 19% during the same period. Asia Pacific is the largest NG bus market, accounting for 86% of NG bus sales by 2019, according to Pike. While the North American and Western European markets will see strong NG bus growth (10% CAGR), Asia Pacific will see growth rates of 21% with India, China, and Thailand leading the region in NG bus sales.
California state fleet reduces petroleum consumption 13% compared to 2003
August 28, 2012
The California state fleet has reduced its petroleum consumption by 13% compared to a 2003 baseline, according to a state progress report. Key to this reduction has been the development and implementation of a plan that has improved the State fleet’s overall use of alternative fuels, the reduction of unneeded fleet vehicles, and reducing unnecessary vehicle miles traveled.
In 2003, the state fleet consumed 38,559,715 gallons of petroleum-based fuel (gasoline and diesel), according to the report. In 2010, the fleet consumed 33,509,180 gallons of petroleum fuel (-13%) as well as 3,793,904 gallon of alternative fuels, comprising:
Scotland greenlights £3.3M for clean energy hub with 10 hydrogen buses in first phase
August 15, 2012
Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond gave the green light for a pioneering clean energy hub in Scotland, including Europe’s largest hydrogen bus fleet, as he announced funding of up to £3.3 million (US$5.2 million) for the EU-backed project.
The Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise funding will enable Aberdeen City Council, supported by Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group, to start the project’s first phase with an order for 10 hydrogen fuel-cell buses. They will be operated on First and Stagecoach bus routes in the city by early 2014 and refueled at Scotland’s first large hydrogen refueling station, which will also be able to refuel hydrogen-powered passenger cars, as they become available.
euroFOT study demonstrates how driver assistance systems can increase safety and fuel efficiency
June 26, 2012
|euroFOT brought together 28 partners testing 8 functionalities using more than 1,000 vehicles. Source: euroFOT. Click to enlarge.|
The euroFOT consortium published the findings of a four-year study focused on the impact of driver assistance systems in the Europe. The €22-million (US$27.4-million ) European Field Operational Test (euroFOT) project—which began in June 2008 and involved 28 companies and organisations—was led by Aria Etemad from Ford’s European Research Centre in Aachen, Germany.
The study looked at existing technologies and their potential to both enhance safety and reduce environmental impact. euroFOT also revealed a link between these systems and improvements in driver behavior, fuel efficiency and traffic safety, as well as overall cost savings.
CA Energy Commission awarding Wrightspeed $5.789M grant for retrofit range-extended electric powertrain for medium-duty commercial vehicles
June 22, 2012
|Wrightspeed’s Geared Traction Drive integrates an electric motor, a two-speed gear box and an inverter. Source: Wrightspeed. Click to enlarge.|
The California Energy Commission CEC is awarding Silicon Valley startup Wrightspeed a $5.789-million grant for Advanced Vehicle Technology Manufacturing. The grant is part of the CEC’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program. CEC also awarded $1,815,123 to Zero Motorcycles; $10 million to Tesla Motors; and $2,230,595 to Quallion LLC out of the same program.
The CEC grant funds are to accelerate manufacturing of Wrightspeed’s Route retrofit powertrain for the medium-duty commercial fleet market (earlier post). Funds for Zero Motorcycle are to expand its manufacturing capability in California; Tesla’s award is for the manufacturing line for the upcoming Model X; and Quallion’s funds are to expand battery management system integration facilities for lithium ion battery modules.
California Energy Commission awards more than $2.6M for natural gas vehicles
April 12, 2012
The California Energy Commission approved funding of $2,604,000 to help bring more buses and trucks powered by natural gas to the state’s highways. The awards are expected to support the purchase of more than 125 new natural gas vehicles; funding comes from the Commission’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program.
The Energy Commission previously awarded approximately $29 million to help buyers afford new, alternative-fueled passenger vehicles, buses, and trucks. These awards help to pay the difference between the cost of conventional gas- or diesel-powered vehicles and new ones that use propane or natural gas. Eligible vehicles meet all the emission requirements of the Air Resources Board and are fully warranted by their manufacturers.
DOT awarding $13.1M to 11 projects under National Fuel Cell Bus Program
April 02, 2012
US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced $13.1 million in federal funding for 11 research and demonstration projects under FTA’s National Fuel Cell Bus Program.
The funds are shared by Calstart in Pasadena, Calif.; the Center for Transportation and the Environment in Atlanta, Ga.; and the Northeast Advanced Vehicle Consortium in Boston, Mass. All three will engage in work to develop various fuel cell components; test US-made buses under real-world conditions powered by fuel cells; and conduct educational outreach.