[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.]
California to award $23.6M for zero-emission drayage trucks at seaports; BYD, Kenworth, Peterbilt, Volvo
May 05, 2016
The State of California is awarding $23.6 million to the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) for a statewide zero-emission drayage truck development and demonstration project. This is the first large-scale demonstration of zero-emission Class 8 trucks that involves major manufacturers, including BYD, Kenworth, Peterbilt (both Paccar companies) and Volvo. The companies receiving funds have the engineering resources, manufacturing capabilities and distribution networks to support commercialization of advanced technologies related to moving freight to and from the ports.
The South Coast air district is teaming up with air districts in the Bay Area, Sacramento, San Diego and San Joaquin Valley to make the project a statewide demonstration of 43 zero-emission battery electric and plug-in hybrid drayage trucks built by the four manufacturers serving major California ports. Demonstration trucks and charging infrastructure will be used in all five air districts, providing emission reduction benefits in key areas of California with drayage truck activity.
California issues draft plan for more efficient, less polluting freight system
May 03, 2016
California agency leaders released the Draft California Sustainable Freight Action Plan, an ambitious document that lays a foundation for modernizing California’s multi-billion dollar freight transportation system.
The Draft Action Plan puts forward a single shared vision to improve the efficiency of California’s freight system while reducing its pollution, while continuing to bolster the competitiveness of California’s goods movement system nationally and internationally. Key components of the Action Plan include:
Utah Transits Authority adding 5 battery-electric New Flyer buses to fleet
April 23, 2016
UTA and the University of Utah received a $5.4-million Low-No grant from the US Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to purchase five New Flyer battery-electric buses. (Earlier post.) Three of these will be used on route 2 in Salt Lake City and two that will serve the University of Utah campus (also in Salt Lake City).
Each all-electric bus in service with UTA will save the equivalent of 6,000 gallons of diesel fuel per year. For the three electric buses UTA will be operating on route 2, that’s a savings of approximately 175 metric tons of gas emissions per year. New Flyer has focused its electrification development on its Xcelsior platform, which also offers diesel, CNG, electric trolley, hybrid and hydrogen fuel cell variants. (Earlier post.)
Wrightspeed in $30M deal to provide range-extended electric powertrains to NZ Bus
April 21, 2016
Wrightspeed Inc. announced a US$30M deal with Infratil-owned NZ Bus, New Zealand’s largest operator of urban bus services. Under the terms of the deal, Wrightspeed will provide its Route 500 heavy-duty range-extended electric powertrain technology to NZ Bus. The move marks Wrightspeed’s first expansion beyond refuse and delivery applications into mass transit, signaling multinational and multimodal demand for the company’s powertrain technology.
The Wrightspeed Route is a Range-extended Electric Vehicle (REV) replacement powertrain that can be customized to fit a variety of heavy-duty platforms, replacing both the engine and the transmission. The Route electric powertrain drives more low-end torque to the wheels than conventional diesel engines, with less fuel, less emissions, and less noise. The on-board turbine generator, the Fulcrum, eliminates range anxiety.
New Flyer introduces first 60-foot hydrogen fuel cell bus in North America
April 20, 2016
New Flyer of America, a subsidiary of New Flyer Industries Inc., the leading manufacturer of heavy-duty transit buses and motor coaches in the United States and Canada, conducted the inaugural road demonstration of the Xcelsior XHE60 heavy-duty articulated fuel cell transit bus. Representatives from two major transit Authorities—Alameda County Transit (AC Transit) of California, and Metro Transit of Minneapolis, Minnesota—participated in the vehicle’s debut and demonstration.
Based on its Buy America compliant and proven Xcelsior X60 heavy-duty transit bus platform, New Flyer partnered with Ballard Power Systems Inc. and Siemens to develop the propulsion system. The bus will be operated in revenue service by AC Transit for 22 months following the completion of a comprehensive evaluation at the FTA’s Altoona test facility.
FTA selects 7 projects to receive $22.5M in grants for battery-electric and fuel cell buses, infrastructure
The US Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced the latest project selections for the Low and No-Emission Vehicle Deployment Program, known as Low-No. Seven transit providers in five states will receive a share of $22.5 million toward transit buses and related facilities that utilize battery-electric, fuel cell, and other innovative technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve operating efficiency.
FTA awarded the FY 2015 funds after a competitive review process that prioritized transit agencies and bus manufacturers with strong records in building, deploying, and operating clean buses and infrastructure. The projects selected in this round of Low-No funding are:
Self-driving mining truck stable at 90 km/h; clothoid-based model predictive control
April 15, 2016
A prototype self-driving truck under development by Scania and Swedish research universities has tested successfully at speeds of up to 90 km/h (56 mph). According to the research lead at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, the successful tests are aimed at implementing self-driving Scania trucks in mining operations within a year or two.
KTH, Scania, Linköping University, Saab and Autoliv and collaborating in a government-funded project called iQMatic, which is aimed at to develop a fully self-driving truck for difficult environments such as mines. With much greater mass and built-in inertia than passenger cars, such trucks present a greater challenge for autonomous driving.
Volvo Trucks used SuperTruck learnings to boost efficiency, performance in 2017 powertrains; wave piston, turbocompounding, injection
April 14, 2016
Key learnings from Volvo’s SuperTruck (earlier post) efforts played a critical role in the design and engineering of Volvo Trucks North America’s recently introduced 2017 powertrain, delivering improved fuel efficiency and performance to customers. (Earlier post.)
The development of several new features, such as the wave piston, turbo compounding and a common rail fuel injection system, was supported by the SuperTruck program, sponsored by the US Department of Energy (DOE).
Adgero signs €3.5M deal with ultracap manufacturer Skeleton for road freight KERS
Adgero has signed a €3.5-million (US$4-million) distribution agreement to ensure modules from ultracapacitor manufacturer Skeleton Technologies, are part of its Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS) for road freight. (Earlier post.) Under the agreement, the French transport technology developer will now source SkelMod 160V modules exclusively for the Adgero hybrid system pioneered to increase efficiency for the truck transport industry.
The Adgero KERS unit consists of a bank of five high-power Skeleton Technologies SkelMod 50F 160V ultracapacitors, working alongside an electrically driven axle to capture energy loss and use this energy to re-power the vehicle.
Cummins-led team awarded $4.5M to develop Class 6 PHEV that reduces fuel use by 50%
April 07, 2016
Cummins Inc. has been awarded a $4.5-million grant from the US Department of Energy to develop a Class 6 commercial plug-in hybrid electric vehicle that can reduce fuel consumption by at least 50% over conventional Class 6 vehicles. (Earlier post.) When fully loaded, Class 6 vehicles weigh between approximately 19,000 and 26,000 pounds; typical examples include school buses or single-axle work trucks.
With their expertise in internal combustion engines and related products, Cummins researchers will optimize the powertrain by selecting the engine with the best architecture to use as an electric commercial vehicle range extender, using the engine to manage the charge level of the all-electric drive battery pack.
King County Metro completes accelerated durability and reliability testing of Proterra electric bus
March 30, 2016
King County Metro Transit (KCM) in Washington state has completed an accelerated durability and reliability test of the Proterra Catalyst 40' FC (fast charge) battery-electric bus. Simulating one year of continuous operation with a constant 97 passenger equivalent load, this was the most rigorous test of its nature yet performed in the industry.
Operating 24 hours per day over the 106-day period, the Proterra Catalyst vehicle achieved 32,545 total miles—nearly twice the distance of standard industry tests at Altoona. The bus was hauling 14,500 lbs (6,577 kg) of water ballast during the entire test period, which represents 125% of a normal full load of 77 passengers with standees.
Volvo Trucks unveils new powertrains featuring increased power and 2.2 to 6.5% better fuel efficiency
March 22, 2016
Volvo Trucks North America launched several new integrated powertrain solutions, offering increased fuel efficiency, productivity, reliability, packaging, comfort and uptime. Volvo’s new powertrain offerings include multiple engine enhancements, such as turbo compounding for the Volvo D13 engine; the introduction of Volvo I-Shift with Crawler Gears automated manual transmission; and a one-box Exhaust Aftertreatment System (EATS).
As a result of the improvements, Volvo is delivering between 2.2 to 6.5% better fuel efficiency with the 2017 engines compared with the previous generation.
Daimler demonstrates autonomous truck platooning; Highway Pilot Connect delivers ~7% lower fuel consumption
Daimler Trucks demonstrated the new Highway Pilot Connect system for autonomous truck platooning on the A52 autobahn near Düsseldorf. Three WiFi-connected, autonomously driving trucks operated on the autobahn with authorization for public traffic in a platoon formation.
Such a combination can reduce fuel consumption by up to 7% and the road space requirement on motorways by almost half, while improving traffic safety at the same time, Daimler said. Based on the Daimler Trucks Highway Pilot system for autonomously driving heavy trucks (earlier post), the three trucks link up to form an aerodynamically optimized, fully automated platoon.
Renault upgrades heavy-duty Trucks T for lower fuel consumption, higher payload
March 17, 2016
Less than three years after its launch and positive feedback from customers, Renault is upgrading the heavy-duty Trucks T to help it be even more cost efficient for its users. The 2016 version of the T benefits from improvements to the chassis and driveline, enabling it to reduce its consumption by up to a further 2%, while at the same time increasing the payload by up to 114 kg (251 lbs). It is also introducing Optivision, a predictive cruise control system with GPS.
Renault pursued three main tracks in the upgrade, in addition to basic engine efficiency improvements: improving the aerodynamics to reduce fuel consumption; reducing the weight to increase payload; and encouraging eco-driving by means of a predictive GPS navigation system, said Sophie Rivière, the Long Haul segment manager at Renault Trucks
Israel MoEP enforcing vehicle exclusion rules in Haifa Bay Low Emission Zone; $2.8M to retrofit 700 diesel trucks with DPFs
As part the Israeli Ministry of Environmental Protection’s (MoEP’s) action plan to reduce pollution in Haifa Bay in Israel, Israel Police are actively enforcing exclusion rules that bar heavy vehicles in downtown Haifa Bay at certain times of the day.
Data from the Haifa municipality shows that until January 2016, some 600 heavy vehicles (more than 12 tons) would be on the roads in downtown Haifa every day during rush hour. However, since Israel Police began actively enforcing rules, that number has fallen to 200 vehicles, a 60% decrease. The MoEP expects the number of heavy vehicles in the area to drop even further, as police continue to enforce the rules. As of March 14, 2016, they already handed out 192 tickets to violators, totaling NIS 96,000 (US$24,768) in fines.
UPS to invest $100M more in compressed natural gas, CNG vehicles and related infrastructure
March 16, 2016
UPS plans to build an additional 12 compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling stations and add 380 new CNG tractors to its growing alternative fuel and advanced technology fleet. The CNG fueling stations and vehicle purchases totaling $100 million are part of UPS’ ongoing commitment to diversify its fuel sources and reduce its environmental impact.
UPS is working to meet its goal of logging one billion miles with its alternative fuel and advanced technology fleet by the end of 2017, using a Rolling Laboratory approach to determine the right alternative fuel solutions to meet the unique needs of route-specific driving environments.
Group of European electric bus manufacturers agrees on an open interface for charging
March 15, 2016
European bus manufacturers Irizar, Solaris, VDL and Volvo have agreed to ensure the interoperability of electric buses with charging infrastructure provided by ABB, Heliox and Siemens. The objective is to ensure an open interface between electric buses and charging infrastructure and to facilitate the introduction of electric bus systems in European cities.
Common, preferred interfaces will be opened up for all market participants and will be used for electric buses for opportunity charging (fast charging at end stops) and for overnight charging. The group is committed to contribute to European standardization activities and to share experiences with CEN/CENELEC and ISO/IEC in order to establish a common European standard for electric bus systems.
DOE to award $12.5M to improve efficiency of medium- and heavy-duty trucks as part of new tech track for US-China initiative
March 13, 2016
The US Department of Energy is soliciting applications (DE-FOA-0001542) for the formation of a Consortium to pursue five identified R&D topic areas related to improving the operating efficiency of medium- and heavy-duty trucks. The Consortium that is funded through this solicitation will form a new technical track under the US-China Clean Energy Research Center, a bilateral initiative to encourage R&D collaboration and accelerate technology development and deployment in both countries.
Funding available is $12.5 million, and will support the US Consortium. In parallel, and with equivalent resources, Chinese funding will support a collaborative counterpart Chinese Consortium. The US consortium will pursue five topics; responsive application will address all five. These are:
EPA and NHTSA seeking comments on new data for Phase 2 Heavy-Duty National Program to reduce GHG
March 09, 2016
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have issued a Notice of Data Availability (NODA) related to the Phase 2 Heavy-Duty National Program proposed in July 2015 (earlier post) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fuel consumption for new on-road heavy-duty vehicles and engines.
This NODA provides an opportunity to comment on the new information being made available by the EPA and by NHTSA, including memoranda and data, which been placed in the public dockets. Data relating to the potential stringency of the proposed standards includes:
Loop Energy wins $7.5M from SDTC to support battery/fuel cell powertrains for heavy-duty trucks
March 04, 2016
Loop Energy—formerly known as PowerDisc Development—has been awarded a $7.5-million grant from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) to accelerate deployment of the company’s new zero-emission powertrain for heavy-duty trucks.
The Loop heavyduty powertrain combines an electric battery with a hydrogen fuel cell designed around its patented eFlow technology. eFlow addresses unequal current distribution in the fuel cell by improving the flow of oxygen, fuel and water within a fuel cell and avoiding degradation of the fuel cell membrane and stack materials.
DOE launching $80M Supertruck II initiative; ≥ 55% BTE; awards $12M for 3 medium- and heavy-duty plug-in projects
March 02, 2016
The US Department of Energy (DOE) is launching SuperTruck II, an $80-million funding opportunity (DE-FOA-0001447), subject to congressional appropriations, for research, development and demonstration of long-haul tractor-trailer truck technology.
The project is a follow-on to the successful $240-million SuperTruck I initiative (earlier post), the goal of which was to develop tractor-trailers that were 50% more efficient on a ton‐mile‐per-gallon basis than baseline models by 2015. Two teams have already exceeded this goal and two are on track to meet it.
MIT/CalTrans study finds pavement-vehicle interaction accounts for 1% of overall fuel consumption on California highways
March 01, 2016
A recent collaboration between the MIT’s Concrete Sustainability Hub (CSHub) and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) showed that phenomena associated with deflection-induced pavement-vehicle interaction (PVI) accounts for 1% of overall fuel consumption on California highways.
Deflection-induced PVI—which results from a vehicle overcoming a resisting force (i.e. dissipating energy due to deformation of the pavement structure)—results in wasted fuel because the dissipated energy does not contribute to the vehicle’s forward movement. Past studies on PVI and the three elements that impact PVI—texture, roughness, and deflection—have been empirical in approach, using actual trucks on actual pavements. This approach has ignored the pavement layer structure and material properties, and has led to high variability in the reported results.
Volvo sells 11 electric hybrid buses with 2 ABB automated fast-chargers to Namur, Belgium
February 25, 2016
Volvo has received an order for 11 electric hybrid buses and 2 ABB automated electric bus fast-chargers to the city of Namur in Belgium with public transport authority and operator TEC. This is the largest order to date for the company’s electric bus system.
TEC is buying the bus system as a turn-key solution. Volvo takes full responsibility for vehicle servicing, battery maintenance as well as maintenance of the standard-based charging stations for a fixed monthly cost. Start in-service is planned towards the end of 2016. Every year the TEC Group transports more than 250 million passengers.
Mercedes-Benz Trucks approves HVO renewable diesel for its medium- and heavy-duty engines; neat or blended
February 22, 2016
With immediate effect, Mercedes-Benz Trucks is granting approval for the use of Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) renewable diesel for the in-line six-cylinder engine variants of the Mercedes-Benz OM 470, OM 471 (first generation) and OM 936 as well as the in-line four-cylinder variants of the OM 934 meeting the Euro VI emissions standard. The engines are designed as standard to make use of the new HVO fuel. The approval applies to all engine variants whatever their output category.
HVO is a renewable diesel produced from waste materials such as waste fat, used cooking oil and also oil from crop plants. The HVO raw material is sourced from controlled and certified cultivation facilities and as such does not compete with foodstuff production. A leading example is Neste’s NEXBTL.
NREL analysis of Proterra electric bus demo finds average fuel economy nearly 4x that of CNG baseline buses
February 12, 2016
Proterra battery-electric buses in service in a 12- vehicle demonstration by Foothill Transit in California offered significant fuel savings compared to similar conventional vehicles, according to a recently published analysis of the results of the demonstration by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
The NREL team found, inter alia, that the battery-electric buses (BEBs)had an overall average efficiency of 2.15 kWh per mile on the service route, which equated to 17.48 miles per diesel gallon equivalent (DGE). The baseline CNG buses had an average fuel economy of 4.04 miles per gasoline gallon equivalent (GGE), which equates to 4.51 miles per DGE. These results indicated that the BEBs have an average fuel economy that is nearly 4 times higher than that of the CNG buses.
Antelope Valley Transit orders up to 85 electric buses from BYD; first US all-electric public transit fleet
The board of directors of the Antelope Valley Transit Authority (AVTA) in California voted to award BYD a contract to manufacture up to 85 electric buses over a five-year period. Under the order from AVTA, BYD Motors will build and deliver a variety of all-electric bus models including a 40-foot low floor transit bus, a 60-foot low floor articulated bus, and a 45-foot commuter coach.
All 85 buses will have a range of more than 160 miles on a single battery charge. AVTA is also installing a wireless charging system to extend the fleet’s range to ensure the electric buses will be able to serve the agency’s longest rural routes.
Gen 2 low-cost flywheel-based Torotrak KERS for buses en route to production in mid-2016
January 05, 2016
Torotrak Group and Wrightbus have completed the in-service trial of a Wrightbus StreetLite midi bus fitted with Torotrak’s Flybrid mechanical kinetic energy recovery system (KERS). The trial was made possible by and conducted with Arriva, one of the largest bus operators in the UK.
The trial, conducted on a standard bus route in Gillingham, Kent from March 2015, successfully demonstrated the performance of the Flybrid KERS under real-world operating conditions including the capture, storage and release of energy from the brakes and the drivability of the system. The learnings from the trial have already proven invaluable in selecting the operating strategy for the volume production system, which will be a second generation design, the partners said.
Westport to begin delivering HPDI 2.0 early production-design-intent components to OEMs in Q1 2016
November 02, 2015
Westport Innovations Inc. announced that early production-design-intent components in the Westport High Pressure Direct Injection (Westport HPDI) second-generation (HPDI 2.0) development program for dual-fuel diesel/natural gas engines (earlier post), including the latest-generation injector from Delphi, are undergoing engine testing at Westport, and will be delivered to OEM customers for validation and vehicle testing early in the first quarter of 2016.
Since the announcement of the HPDI 2.0 system in September 2014, Westport has worked with its development partners and suppliers to complete component testing and system validation. The latest generation of HPDI injectors, developed under a Joint Development Agreement with Delphi (earlier post), feature a new direct-connected architecture and incorporate technologies from both companies and higher performance, lower cost and much easier packaging on the engine than prior HPDI injection system.
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.
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.
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.)
Proterra introduces 35-foot electric bus
October 05, 2015
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.
Daimler Trucks testing the first series-production semi-autonomous truck on public roads
October 02, 2015
Daimler Trucks today demonstrated the first series-production truck to operate on an automated basis—automation level 2 (partially automated driving)—on the A8 public highway between Denkendorf and Stuttgart. The standard Mercedes-Benz Actros equipped with the Highway Pilot system is approved as a test vehicle in accordance with §19/6 StVZO (German road traffic type approval law).
The version of the Highway Pilot installed in the Actros allows semi-autonomous driving. Although the Highway Pilot is able to steer the truck by itself on motorways, the driver retains full responsibility; needs to monitor the traffic at all times; and must be able to intervene at any time. Daimler compares the Highway Pilot to the autopilot commonly used in aviation.
California ARB announces $24M grant solicitation for zero-emission truck and bus pilot commercial deployment projects
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.
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.
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.)
Ricardo in EU-funded HDGAS; seeking >30kW/L, 10% improvements in power, torque and GHG in natural-gas fueled heavy-duty trucks
September 23, 2015
Ricardo is one of 19 collaborating commercial and academic partners in the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 Green Vehicle Initiative project HDGAS—a project that aims to develop, demonstrate and optimize advanced powertrain concepts for dual-fuel and pure natural gas-powered heavy duty vehicles. Particular areas of focus for the company will be the development of engine and aftertreatment systems that offer the prospect of delivering real driving emissions well below Euro VI limits for heavy duty vehicles.
Long haul trucks are an essential element of the transportation mix of modern, industrialized society. They are, however, inherently less amenable to the type of electrification and hybridization strategies that are already contributing to reduced carbon emissions and potential long-term sustainability for the light vehicle sector. A key global imperative is, therefore, the substantial improvement of heavy vehicle engine efficiency and reduction of environmental impact.
DOE awards nearly $55M to advance fuel efficient vehicle technologies in support of EV Everywhere and SuperTruck
September 18, 2015
The US Department of Energy (DOE) is awarding nearly $55 million for 24 projects to develop and deploy advanced vehicle technologies, supporting the Energy Department’s EV Everywhere Grand Challenge to make plug-in electric vehicles as affordable to own and operate as today’s gasoline-powered vehicles by 2022.
Through the Advanced Vehicle Power Technology Alliance with the Energy Department, the Department of the Army is contributing an additional $2.26 million in co-funding to support projects focused on battery modeling technologies and computational fluid dynamics.
National Academies release third review of the 21st Century Truck Partnership
September 14, 2015
The National Academies have released a third review of the 21st Century Truck Partnership (21CTP); the review follows the Phase 1 and Phase 2 reviews by the National Research Council in 2008 and 2012 (earlier post) and assesses the progress the partnership has made. The report highlights goals that have been achieved and identifies remaining issues that the partnership should continue to address.
The 21st Century Truck Partnership is a cooperative research and development (R&D) partnership comprising four federal agencies and 15 industrial partners. The Partnership aims to “accelerate the introduction of advanced truck and bus technologies that use less fuel, have greater fuel diversity, operate more safely, are more reliable, meet future emissions standards, and are cost effective.” To do so, it supports research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) that can lead to commercially viable products and systems. Its strategic approach includes:
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.
Achates Power proposes EPA/NHTSA medium- and heavy-duty engine standard require 15% decrease in fuel consumption and emissions
Achates Power, Inc., the developer of a family of efficient compression-ignition opposed-piston two-stroke (OP2S) engines (earlier post), proposed more stringent engine fuel efficiency and emission standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles at a recent public hearing held by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on “Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Medium- and Heavy-Duty Engines and Vehicles – Phase 2”.
Earlier this year, NHTSA and EPA jointly announced the proposed Phase 2 standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. (Earlier post.) While these vehicles as a whole will have to curb fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions by up to 24% between the 2018 and 2027 model years, the agencies are proposing separate engine standards requiring only a 4% decrease.
New Tandem Axle Lift function from Volvo Trucks lowers fuel consumption up to 4%
September 09, 2015
Volvo Trucks has introduced a new function—Tandem Axle Lift—that makes it possible to disengage and raise the second driven axle even while driving. This gives better road grip and up to 4% lower fuel consumption when the truck is driven without a load. The new function is designed for heavy duty transports with loads being carried one way and empty return trips—for example, when hauling timber or in construction and bulk cargo operations.
By replacing the differential in the first driven axle with a dog clutch, the second driven axle can be disengaged and raised; the tires can be lifted 140mm (5.51 inches) off the road surface. The driver thus has access to both the power and capacity of two driven axles (6X4) and also the better maneuverability of a single driven axle (4X2).
Skeleton Technologies and Adgero introduce ultracap-based KERS system for truck trailers
August 26, 2015
UK-based ultracapacitor company Skeleton Technologies and France-based Adgero SARL are introducing an ultracapacitor-based Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) for truck trailers. The hybrid system is designed to reduce fuel consumption and associated emissions by up to 25%, and is optimized for intermodal road transport solutions.
The Adgero Hybrid System consists of a bank of Skeleton high-power ultracapacitors working alongside an electrically-driven axle, which is mounted under the trailer. The technology is controlled by an intelligent management system that tracks driver input in order to automatically control the regenerative braking and acceleration boost.
Clean Energy to build new CNG stations for multiple transit agencies and large school district; agreements with trucking, refuse and others
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.
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.
Cal Energy Commission grants $2.4M for Class 8 fuel cell hybrid trucks at ports; $1.2M for PEV fleet and V2G software upgrade
August 13, 2015
The California Energy Commission approved a grant of $2.4 million to the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) under the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program to build and to test seven hybrid fuel-cell, Class 8 trucks to transport cargo at the Long Beach and Los Angeles ports.
The Commission also approved $1.2 million to expand the data collection effort for the plug-in vehicle project at Los Angeles Air Force Base (earlier post) to assess fully the economic and technical viability of transforming military base tactical vehicles to plug-in electric drive vehicle drive vehicles participating in vehicle-to-grid services.
International Truck invites Class 8 competitors to open event for head-to-head testing on fuel economy, aerodynamics and drivability
July 24, 2015
International Truck (Navistar’s flagship vehicle brand) has invited each of its Class 8 competitors to participate in an open performance testing to compare fuel economy and drivability of their new trucks during the week of 31 August at the Navistar Proving Grounds in New Carlisle, Indiana. Competitors will have the opportunity to bring their two best performing vehicles with regards to fuel economy and drivability.
The vehicle specifications for the test include: Class 8, on-highway sleeper; model year 2016, calendar year 2015 builds; include only factory installed options (hardware, software, and fluids), and currently meet compliance and are capable of delivery to all customer applications; and must fall within total mileage range of 2,500 – 15,000 miles (4,000 - 24,000 km) to maintain consistent break-in levels.
MTU Friedrichshafen forms partnership with AKASOL for battery systems for hybrid and e-drive propulsion systems
July 22, 2015
MTU Friedrichshafen GmbH, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of large diesel engines and complete propulsion systems, has formed a close development partnership with AKASOL GmbH, a Darmstadt-based subsidiary of Schulz Group (Tettnang) and a leading manufacturer of Li-ion battery systems for high performance applications. The partnership aims to develop and to deliver battery systems for MTU’s hybrid and e-drive propulsion systems.
With the help of AKASOL battery systems, MTU aims to extend its current product range with hybrid propulsion systems for mobile applications in the marine, heavy duty ground vehicles and rail sector. In the near future, AKASOL systems will be used in stationary industrial drives as well.
China Zhongwang and Brilliance Bus partner to develop all-aluminum new energy public buses
July 20, 2015
China Zhongwang Holdings Limited, the second largest industrial aluminum extrusion product developer and manufacturer in the world and the biggest one in Asia, has successfully designed, manufactured and developed all-aluminum new energy electric buses for Brilliance Bus (Dalian) Company Limited. This co-operation marks China Zhongwang’s inauguration as the first and only aluminum processing enterprise in China to have the capability of undertaking both the design and manufacturing of all-aluminum new energy public buses.
The frame and body of this new public bus model use aluminum alloy as the key material. Its weight is reduced by 40% compared to its steel counterparts. Aluminium-bodied vehicles are more durable, corrosion resistant and have better vibration absorption capabilities. The lighter auto bodies increase the vehicles’ driving range, thereby conserving energy and reducing operating costs.
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.
BMW and SCHERM put 40t battery-electric truck into service for material transport in 1-year pilot
July 06, 2015
The BMW Group and the SCHERM group have put a 40-ton electric truck for material transport into service on public roads in a one-year pilot. The truck, a Terberg YT202-EV electric tractor, has successfully completed its first test drives. The truck will travel a 2km route (1.2 miles) eight times a day between the SCHERM group logistics center and the BMW Group plant in Munich, transporting different vehicle components such as shock absorbers, springs and steering systems.
The truck battery takes three to four hours to charge. When fully charged, the vehicle has a range of up to 100 kilometers (62 miles). Thus, the electric truck can theoretically complete a full production day without any additional recharging.
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.
Mercedes-Benz introduces next-gen OM 471 heavy-duty engine; more fuel efficient, more torque with fast build-up at very low revs
July 03, 2015
Mercedes-Benz Trucks has introduced the latest generation of its OM 471 six-cylinder, in-line heavy-duty diesel engine. The latest generation reduces fuel consumption by up to 3% while increasing torque; the new series is also spearheaded by a unit offering new top performance figures of 390 kW (530 hp) and 2600 N·m (1,918 lb-ft) of torque.
Assuming an annual mileage of 130,000 km (80,778 miles) in long-distance transport and a consumption of approx. 28.5 liters/100 km (8.25 mpg US) on a demanding route covered at full load capacity, the latest-generation OM 471 engine would save around 1100 liters (291 gallons) of fuel a year and emit about three tonnes less CO2.
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.
Volvo Trucks approves 100% renewable diesel for all Euro 5 engines, prepping certification for Euro 6
June 22, 2015
After extensive field testing of renewable diesel HVO (Hydrotreated Vegetable Oils), Volvo Trucks has approved the fuel for all Euro 5 engines and is preparing certifications for Euro 6 engines. HVO (such as Neste’s NEXBTL) is produced from renewable raw materials such as vegetable and animal fats and acts as regular diesel. HVO can reduce CO2 emissions between 30-90%, depending upon the raw material.
In 2013, Volvo Trucks started a field test together with Renova, DHL Freight and OKQ8 to see how the use of 100% HVO affected engine performance and components. The six field test trucks were equipped with Euro 5 engines and covered approximately one million kilometers (621,000 miles) in commercial service over a two-year period.
EPA and NHTSA propose Phase 2 GHG and fuel efficiency standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks
June 19, 2015
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are jointly proposing Phase 2 standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles to improve fuel efficiency and cut greenhouse gas emissions. The proposal builds on the Phase 1 fuel efficiency and GHG emissions standards already in place for model years 2014-2018. (Earlier post.)
Three years in development, the proposed Phase 2 vehicle and engine performance standards would cover model years 2021-2027, and apply to semi-trucks, large pickup trucks and vans, and all types and sizes of buses and work trucks. They would achieve up to 24% lower CO2 emissions and fuel consumption than an equivalent tractor in 2018, based on the fully phased-in standards for the tractor alone in a tractor-trailer vehicle.
New generation GKN Hybrid Power flywheel hybrid system for Audi R18 e-tron
June 16, 2015
Among its many other changes, the hybrid Audi R18 e-tron quattro that placed third at the Le Mans 24 Hours this past weekend featured a new generation of the Gyrodrive flywheel hybrid energy storage system, developed by GKN in collaboration with Audi Sport. (Earlier post.) Audi driver André Lotterer set a new record lap time of 3m 17.47s with GKN’s technology on board.
GKN increased the energy storage capacity and average power rating while retaining the same dimensions and mass, enabling Audi to compete this year in the 4-megajoule of hybrid energy category. GKN said the technology advances embodied in the new flywheel hybrid system will accelerate its work to scale the technology into a lower-cost alternative to battery hybrids for transport applications.
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.
Scania to test electrically powered trucks on “electric road” under real-life conditions
June 04, 2015
In February 2016, Scania will start testing electric trucks on the electric road which will become a reality as the Swedish Transport Administration has now approved support for the Gävle Electric Road project. The project will demonstrate and evaluate conductive technology, which involves electrical transmission through overhead lines above vehicles equipped with a pantograph power collector.
The investment in the Gävle Electric Road project is in line with the Government’s goal of an energy-efficient and fossil-free vehicle fleet by 2030. The project consists of about SEK 77 million (US$9.3 million) in public financing combined with about SEK 48 million (US$5.8 million) in co-financing from the business community and the Gävleborg region.
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.
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.
CMU study compares lifecycle GHGs of natural gas pathways for MHDVs; MD BEVs can deliver large reductions, but diesel hard to beat for Class 8
May 27, 2015
A study by Carnegie Mellon University researchers comparing life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from different natural gas pathways for medium and heavy-duty vehicles (MHDVs) found that the GHG reduction potentials of the pathways vary sharply between non-Class 8 MHDVs (e.g., pick-up trucks, parcel delivery trucks, and box trucks), Class 8 transit buses, and Class 8 MHDVs (e.g., refuse trucks and tractor-trailers).
Battery-electric (BEVs), LPG, and CNG pathways could reduce life cycle GHG emissions for non-Class 8 MHDVs compared to the baseline petroleum fuels. Similarly, BEVs achieve emission reductions for transit buses. On the other hand, none of natural gas pathways, CNG, LNG, and F-T liquids, achieve any emission reductions per unit of freight-distance moved for Class 8 trucks compared to conventional diesel. The study is published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.
Volvo Trucks introduces automatic all-wheel drive for improved driveability and fuel economy
May 13, 2015
Volvo Trucks is introducing automatic all wheel drive—a feature it calls Automatic Traction Control—on construction trucks. ATC activates the drive on the front axle automatically when in motion, if the truck risks getting stuck—i.e., when the rear wheels lose traction on slippery or soft ground. The driver enjoys improved maneuverability, and the owner benefits from lower fuel consumption and less wear and tear on the truck.
The solution consists of software connected to the wheel speed sensors which detect and control wheel drive. When a rear wheel starts to slip, the power moves automatically to the front wheels without the truck losing torque or speed. A dog clutch activates the front-wheel drive in just half a second. The clutch is lighter and has fewer moving parts than a traditional solution with permanent all-wheel drive. If the driver encounters particularly rough ground, then it is possible to manually lock the other differentials at both front and rear.
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:
First 18-meter electric bus in China powered by TM4 SUMO HD powertrain with external rotor motor technology
May 07, 2015
China’s first 18-meter battery electric bus has been put into service in Beijing. The Foton AUV 18-meter Harmony City BJ6180 is powered by a TM4 SUMO HD electric powertrain with a maximum torque of 3,500 N·m (2,581 lb-ft), 1600 N·m (1,180 lb-ft) continuous.
The SUMO HD is designed to interface with standard rear differentials without the need for an intermediate gearbox. Its direct drive / gearless approach makes it a good match for high-duty platform and commercial vehicle applications. The system features TM4’s external rotor motor technology (in which the rotor rotates on the outside of the stator). The external rotor motor technology delivers higher power density, high torque density, and increased long-term reliability than a similar motor with an internal rotor, according to TM4.