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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.]

CNG Fuels launches renewable biomethane in UK; heavy-duty fleet operators committing to use

December 04, 2016

In the UK, CNG Fuels launched its renewable biomethane fuel, the most cost-effective and lowest-carbon alternative to diesel for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs). The fuel is 35%-40% cheaper than diesel, and emits 70% less CO2 on a well-to-wheel basis. It therefore offers fleet operators the chance to significantly reduce running costs and emissions. Retailers Waitrose, John Lewis and Argos, as well as hauler Brit European, have already committed to using the new biomethane fuel for their long-distance articulated trucks.

CNG Fuels is the UK’s leading supplier of CNG (compressed natural gas) fuel, and it is now sourcing its entire supply from biomethane. The biomethane is made from the gas harvested through the processing of waste generated by food production, which is then injected directly into gas pipelines. The gas is subsequently compressed at CNG Fuels’ own high-capacity refueling stations in Leyland (Lancashire) and Crewe (Cheshire).

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US FTA to award up to $2.75M for zero-emissions public transportation tech

December 01, 2016

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced the availability of $2.75 million of funding for its Zero Emission Research Opportunity (ZERO) (FTA-2017-001-TRI). The ZERO program is to facilitate the advancement, production, and deployment of zero-emission public transportation vehicle technology and related infrastructure.

FTA intends to select, and enter into cooperative agreements with, multiple (up to three) nonprofit consortia to build on past research innovation and development efforts to facilitate the deployment of zero-emission vehicles and associated advanced technology. Eligibility for future ZERO funding opportunities in fiscal years 2017-2020 will be limited to those nonprofit consortia selected under this fiscal year 2017 notice.

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NREL report finds hydrogen fuel cell bus fuel economy up to 1.4x that of diesel, 1.9x CNG

The US Department of Energy (DOE) Fuel Cell Technology Office (FCTO) has released the latest edition of an annual report showing that the average fuel economy of fuel cell electric buses from three fleets is 6.8 miles per diesel gallon equivalent (DGE) (ranging from 5.56 - 7.71 DGE), 1.4 times higher than conventional diesel buses (~4.2 miles per DGE) from one fleet and up to 1.9 times higher than compressed natural gas buses (~3.3 miles per DGE) in another fleet.

This demonstrates significant fuel economy improvement toward the DOE and Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) target of 8 miles per DGE. FCEB durability has reached 23,000 hours, surpassing FCTO’s 2016 target of 18,000 hours, and range has reached up to 340 miles (547 km), more than 13% above the 2016 target of 300 miles (483 km).

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Ballard signs fuel cell supply agreement with Solaris; initial order of 10 modules as range extenders for electric trolley buses

November 30, 2016

Ballard Power Systems has signed a Long-Term Sales Agreement (LTSA) with Solaris Bus & Coach, a bus OEM headquartered in Poland, for the sale and supply of fuel cell modules to support deployment of Solaris fuel cell buses in Europe. An initial order placed under the LTSA is for 10 FCveloCity-HD fuel cell modules, with deliveries planned to start in 2017.

Each 85 kilowatt FCveloCity-HD fuel cell module that has been ordered will be deployed as a range extender in a Solaris Trollino model low-floor trolley bus. Solaris has signed a contract with Rigas Satiksme, the transport operator in the city of Riga, Latvia for 10 of the Trollino trolley buses.

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London transport operator Go-Ahead adds two Irizar electric i2e buses to fleet after successful operating results

November 29, 2016

Based on the success of two Irizar 100% i2e electric buses that have been operating in London since June 2015, London’s largest transport operator, Go-Ahead, is incorporating the buses into its fleet and has signed an agreement with Irizar that includes service and maintenance.

For over a year, these two buses have been operating on the busy routes 507, connecting Waterloo Station with Victoria Station, and 521, which connect Waterloo Station with London Bridge Station. The operating data has successfully fulfilled the objectives requested. With this change, both buses will begin to operate for longer periods on the 108 route which runs from Stratford International Station to Lewisham Station with different operating conditions. In addition, Irizar will offer comprehensive maintenance of the buses.

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Hyliion developing hybrid system for semi-trailers

November 27, 2016

Hyliion, a start-up founded by a group of graduate students at Carnegie Mellon, has developed an add-on hybrid system for semi-trailers. Combining regenerative braking and power boost for the trailer to reduce on-the-road fuel consumption, the system also functions as an auxiliary power unit to reduce engine-on idling. Their patent application describing the basics of the system was published earlier this month,

The Hyliion System—comprising motor, battery and control electronics—can power a truck cab for 20 hours, out-performing an industry standard, idle-free all-electric APU. Overall fuel savings are upwards of 30%, according the company.

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Loop Energy introduces fuel cell range extender for heavy-duty vehicles; in-service operation to begin in 2017

November 25, 2016

Loop Energy (earlier post) has introduced a new range-extender (REX) power module for heavy-duty electric transport vehicles. At the core of the module is Loop’s unique fuel cell design which improves performance, durability and cost. Following a three-year development period, the Loop power module is now being integrated by an original equipment manufacturer and will begin in-service operation in 2017.

Loop’s patented eFlow fuel cell features an improved design, and is the competitive advantage within all Loop fuel cell stacks and power modules. By optimizing air flow inside the fuel cell, Loop’s eFlow design produces greater power density than industry-standard fuel cells, the company says. This higher power density allows Loop to simplify and significantly increase the efficiency of the fuel cell stack and system.

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Peloton in ARPA-E NEXTCAR project to cut HD truck fuel use by 20% with smart powertrains and platooning

November 15, 2016

Peloton Technology, a connected and automated vehicle technology company developing platooning technology for heavy-duty trucks (earlier post), is participating in the Next-Generation Energy Technologies for Connected and Autonomous On-Road Vehicles (NEXTCAR) program sponsored by the US Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). (Earlier post.)

The Peloton project, led by Purdue University (earlier post) will apply next-generation truck platooning technology and concepts for smart, cloud-connected powertrains to achieve 20% fuel savings for tractor-trailers.

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Orange EV approved to give up to $150K discount for electric terminal trucks with NY EV vouchers

November 13, 2016

Orange EV, a manufacturer of battery-electric heavy-duty trucks, announced that fleets in the state of New York can now save up to $150,000 per T-Series pure electric terminal truck (the 160 kWh model; the 80 kWh model is approved for a $123,960 voucher). Discounts are enabled by the New York State Electric Vehicle – Voucher Incentive Fund (NYSEV-VIF). Vouchers may be requested through December 31, 2016.

NYSEV-VIF has $9 million available in voucher incentives for all-electric battery vehicles. The vehicle must be domiciled (registered and garaged) and operate 70% of the time in one of New York State’s 30 counties currently in non-attainment.

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NXP and DAF Trucks commit to set new benchmark in truck platooning: 30x faster than human reaction time

November 08, 2016

NXP Semiconductors N.V. and DAF Trucks announced plans to empower truck platoons to react 30 times faster than humans in 2017, enabling a reduced distance between platooning trucks. Achieving this goal would mark a significant milestone in the introduction of platooning to fleet operators who expect considerable efficiency and safety gains while maintaining a maximum level of data security.

In Munich, NXP and its partners are showcasing the progress of secure intelligent transport systems in advance of this year’s electronica show. The demonstrations include platooning live on Munich roads, traffic signal and vehicle synchronization, and technology that protects vulnerable road users based on secure vehicle-to-everything technology (V2X). Platooning promises to increase fuel efficiency up to 10%, improve road safety and reduce exhaust emissions.

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Cummins working on two medium- and heavy-duty PHEV projects; Class 6 truck, Class 7 and 8 buses

November 03, 2016

At the SAE 2016 Range Extenders for Electric Vehicles Symposium this week in Knoxville, Gary Parker, Director of Electromobility programs for Cummins, Inc. outlined two of the plug-in hybrid projects in which the engine manufacturer is currently involved.

The first project, in partnership with the Ohio State University, PACCAR, NREL and Argonne National Laboratory and funded with $4.5 million from the DOE, is 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.)

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Wrightspeed and the Ratto Group introduce range-extended electric refuse truck; 15 trucks over next 12 months

November 02, 2016

Wrightspeed, the leading manufacturer of range-extended electric vehicle (REV) powertrains for heavy-duty applications, and The Ratto Group, a Santa Rosa, California-based refuse, yard waste and recycling collection and processing company, unveiled the first commercial application of a range-extended electric refuse truck. Ratto and Wrightspeed will roll out 15 Route-equipped trucks—retrofits of trucks in Ratto’s fleet—over the next 12 months to meet community needs.

With the support of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, communities in Sonoma and surrounding counties will be serviced by a fleet of clean, quiet trucks from The Ratto Group, powered by Wrightspeed’s range-extended powertrain, The Route. (Earlier post.) Designed to deliver economic, environmental and performance benefits in both OEM-installed new vehicles and existing fleet retrofits, The Route is a scalable solution that has been recognized by The State of California for its ability to help meet progressive climate and air quality mandates. Wrightspeed was awarded $7 million in grants by the California Energy Commission to further develop the technology for broad-based adoption.

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Ballard closes JV deal for fuel cell stack production in China

October 26, 2016

Ballard Power Systems has closed of its joint venture transaction with Guangdong Nation Synergy Hydrogen Power Technology Co. Ltd. (Synergy) for the establishment of an FCvelocity-9SSL fuel cell stack production operation in the City of Yunfu, in China’s Guangdong Province. (Earlier post.) As of closing, Ballard received initial payments totaling $10.9 million.

The fuel cell stacks manufactured by the JV are expected to be used primarily in locally-assembled fuel cell systems to provide propulsion power for zero-emission buses and commercial vehicles in China.

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Toyota to start sales of fuel cell buses under the Toyota brand from early 2017

October 21, 2016

Toyota Motor Corporation will begin to sell fuel cell buses (FC buses) under the Toyota brand from early 2017. After repeated field tests of the hydrogen-powered buses for practical use, the Bureau of Transportation of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government plans to utilize two of the Toyota FC Buses as fixed-route buses.

Toyota plans to introduce more than 100 FC buses mainly in the Tokyo area, ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. In view of this, the FC buses will be sold for the first time in Japan in early 2017, so as to help increase the level of understanding by the general public of the utilization of FC buses as a form of public transportation.

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Daimler Buses to offer electrohydraulic power steering to reduce fuel consumption

October 19, 2016

Daimler Buses will offer electrohydraulic power steering (EHPS) to reduce fuel consumption in coming bus models. The fully integrated system replaces the conventional power steering pumps used currently in all buses with a gross weight of more than 7.5 t.

Conventional hydraulic power steering (HPS) is driven directly by the internal combustion engine via belts or gear trains with a fixed gear ratio which results in a pump speed that is directly proportional to the engine speed. To provide sufficient power for the steering in every situation, the pump must be able to deliver the full volumetric flow rate even when the engine speed is low—meaning that it is over-dimensioned for most operating situations. For this reason, higher engine speeds require a restriction of the volumetric flow rate by means of a bypass, which, however, entails unnecessary losses.

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HD REV powertrain company Wrightspeed gearing up for commercialization push

October 13, 2016

Wrightspeed Inc., a developer and manufacturer of advanced range-extended electric vehicle (REV) powertrains for heavy-duty applications (earlier post), is gearing up for a commercialization push with the appointent of four advanced engineering and commercialization executives. Tim Dummer, Greg Anderson, Erin Sawyer and Vlad Kalika are joining the Business Operations, Production and Engineering teams respectively. Recently relocated to an 110,000 ft2 manufacturing space in the emerging Alameda Point technology center, Wrightspeed is expanding to meet growing demand for its award-winning The Route REV powertrain systems.

The Wrightspeed Route is a Range-extended Electric Vehicle (REV) powertrain designed for original or retrofit applications that can be customized to fit a variety of heavy-duty platforms, replacing the engine, the transmission and the differential systems. 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 microturbine generator, the Fulcrum (earlier post), is fuel-agnostic and eliminates range anxiety.

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Maxwell Technologies unveils 51-Volt ultracapacitor module for hybrid buses

October 12, 2016

Maxwell Technologies, a leading developer and manufacturer of ultracapacitor-based energy storage and power delivery solutions, has introduced a 51-volt (51V) module, the newest addition to its ultracapacitor product offerings for rugged applications. The 51V module uses Maxwell’s leading 2.85V, 3,400-farad (F) ultracapacitor cell to deliver the company’s highest available energy and power density.

As durable and efficient energy storage solutions are in strong market demand, Maxwell’s 51V module provides a self-cooling system solution that helps to optimize the performance of hybrid buses and other high-duty cycle applications.

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VanDyne SuperTurbo and Allison Transmission collaborating to maximize benefits of downspeeding, supercharging and turbo compounding

VanDyne SuperTurbo Inc. and Allison Transmission Inc. are collaborating to co-develop a vehicle demonstrator. The companies plan to leverage the unique performance benefits of VanDyne’s mechanically driven turbocharger in combination with Allison’s TC10 transmission in a Class 8 tractor.

Through the deployment of advanced control techniques, the two technologies will maximize the benefits of engine downspeeding, efficient supercharging and turbo compounding. The primary objective of the collaboration is to demonstrate how these two products, when paired with an intelligently controlled vehicle, can reduce carbon dioxide emissions and improve fuel efficiency without sacrificing performance.

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Sweden launches $3.1M study on electric road systems

October 04, 2016

Electric Road Systems (ERS) are already being demonstrated on public roads in Sweden. (Earlier post.) Now, a new project in Sweden, “Research and Innovation Platform for Electric Roads”, will explore how to make the step to large-scale operation along with the supporting business ecosystem as well as technical issues such as the standardization of interfaces.

Viktoria Swedish ICT is coordinating the project and us working together with the research partners Chalmers University of Technology, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, the Norwegian Institute of Transport Economics (TØI), and the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI); with the industry partners Fortum, Profu, Scania, Vattenfall, and Volvo Group; as well as with the deployment proposals managed by Airport City Stockholm, Region Gävleborg, and Region Kalmar.

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Daimler Trucks North America collaborates with AT&T and Microsoft on new connectivity solutions for HD trucks

Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) announced new collaborations with AT&T and Microsoft Corporation with the goal of delivering further enhancements to its Detroit Connect suite of connected vehicle services. (Earlier post.)

AT&T will provide cellular service for the new Detroit Connect Truck Data Center, an intelligent piece of hardware that connects the truck to the Internet of Things. Exclusive to the new Freightliner Cascadia, the box out of Daimler Trucks global modular system provides communications capabilities for the Detroit Connect telematics system. This includes Detroit Connect Remote Updates, which enables over-the-air engine updates and powertrain electronic firmware update capabilities for customers, as well as the ability to integrate third-party telematics applications.

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Volvo Trucks introduces Volvo Active Driver Assist; combining radar and camera for emergency braking

Volvo Trucks North America introduced Volvo Active Driver Assist (VADA), a comprehensive collision mitigation system that combines both radar and camera capabilities to provide emergency braking and help drivers maintain a safe following distance through alerts and interventions.

Volvo currently is the only OEM to fully integrate the system into its Driver Information Display, so no additional display units or prep kits are needed. Volvo made the announcement during the American Trucking Associations (ATA) Management Conference & Exhibition in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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Navistar SuperTruck demo vehicle CatalIST exceeds DOE freight efficiency goal; 50.3% BTE, path to 55%

October 02, 2016

Navistar unveiled its innovative SuperTruck demonstration vehicle, CatalIST, which has achieved a freight efficiency improvement of 104% compared to the control vehicle, exceeding the improvement goal set by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for the SuperTruck program. In addition, the Navistar vehicle has achieved fuel efficiency of 13 miles per gallon, and demonstrated 50.3% Brake Thermal Efficiency (BTE) and a path towards 55% BTE.

The last three letters of the vehicle’s name, the CatalIST, stand for “International SuperTruck,” referencing the company’s International commercial truck brand. The CatalIST concept underscores the company’s conviction that the innovations achieved through the program will serve as the catalyst for significant improvements in future commercial vehicles.

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GD Tech delivers prototype direct-CNG injectors to Fiat Powertrain for 13L IVECO engine; HDGas project

September 24, 2016

GDTech Engineering s.a. has developed and delivered prototype direct-CNG injectors to Fiat Powertrain for heavy-duty long-haul LNG mono-fuel engines.

This injector will be applied in the future IVECO Cursor 13 DI-CNG engine being developed as part of the HDGas project in Europe. GDTech is the injector supplier to Fiat Powertrain Technology Industrial (which is in charge of the development of new IVECO engines for coaches, buses & industrial applications).

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DEKRA-certified tests: Mercedes-Benz HD trucks cut fuel consumption 22% in 20 years while meeting more stringent emissions rules; VECTO

September 22, 2016

Despite drastically more stringent emission standards for nitrogen oxides and particulates, the fuel consumption of Mercedes-Benz heavy trucks has been reduced by 22% over the last 20 years, according to the results of a comparative test drive certified by the test organization DEKRA.

The August 2016 testing by commercial vehicle magazine Lastauto Omnibus (LaO) compared the latest generation of the Mercedes-Benz Actros long-distance truck compared to the basic model of 1996—a Mercedes-Benz from the SK model series and therefore one of the last representatives of the pre-Actros era. The model 1844 was certified according to the Euro II standard valid in 1996, and was therefore allowed to emit 7 grams of NOx per kilowatt hour (kWh) while staying within the limiting value of 0.15 g/kWh for particulate matter. The number and size of the soot and other particles was not prescribed.

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Cummins introduces next-gen X-series Euro 6 engines; up to 605 hp

At the IAA Show in Germany, Cummins Inc. revealed the next generation X Series for heavy-duty truck applications with 15-liter and 12-liter displacements to meet Euro 6 (VI) and equivalent emissions standards as they become globally adopted from 2019 onward.

Across a broad 350 hp to 605 hp (260-451 kW) range, the X Series introduces an innovative approach to duty-cycle optimization with a medium-bore X12 engine and two big-bore configurations, available as the X15 Efficiency Series and the X15 Performance Series.

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MAN Truck & Bus selects ABB fast chargers for its e-bus R&D facilities

September 21, 2016

ABB is supplying fast chargers for depot and opportunity charging of electric buses to MAN Truck & Bus, a member of the Volkswagen Group, for its new e-bus R&D facilities in Munich, Germany. In July, MAN Truck & Bus announced serial production of fully electric buses by 2019. Pilots of the e-buses are planned to go into operation in 2018. The buses are being developed at MAN’s R&D facilities in Munich, using a test bench equipped with different charging technologies from ABB.

For depot charging tests—used at the terminus where a bus has a longer stop—MAN will use an ABB fast charger with a CCS2 connector at its facility. Following the EU standardization for electric vehicle charging, it is the same connector that is used for electric cars.

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Volvo Trucks SuperTruck demonstrator improves freight efficiency by 88%, fuel efficiency by 70%

September 15, 2016

Volvo Trucks North America unveiled an innovative SuperTruck demonstrator whose combination of advanced aerodynamics, vehicle and powertrain technologies achieved a freight efficiency improvement of 88%—exceeding the 50% improvement goal set by the US Department of Energy (DOE) Supertruck I program.

The sleek tractor-trailer combination boosted fuel efficiency by 70%—exceeding 12 mpg, with some test runs showing more than 13 mpg—in road tests, and powertrain brake thermal efficiency reached 50%.

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Cal Energy Commission approves $1M grant to develop 12L near-zero NOx nat gas engine

The California Energy Commission approved a $1-million grant to develop a 12-liter natural gas engine that produces near-zero nitrogen oxide (NOx) tailpipe emissions. The engines would be suitable for heavy-duty vehicles. The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) will work with Cummins Westport, Inc., to develop the engine. Cummins has a history of developing natural gas engines for heavy-duty application, and its engines are being used globally in a variety of commercial vehicles.

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) 2010 emission standards for heavy-duty engines establish a limit for NOx emissions of 0.2 grams per brake horsepower hour (g/bhp-hr), and constitute a 90% reduction of emissions compared to the previous standard (CARB 2007) of 2.0 g/bhp-hr. Nevertheless, it is projected that even with the entire on-road fleet of heavy-duty vehicles compliant with the 2010 standards, upcoming National Ambient Air Quality Standards requirements for ozone attainment cannot be achieved in California’s worst air basins without further significant reductions in NOx emissions from heavy-duty fleets.

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Proterra launches new Catalyst E2 series electric bus with nominal range of up to 350 miles

September 12, 2016

At the American Public Transit Association (APTA) Annual Meeting, Proterra unveiled the newest addition to its fleet of electric buses: the Catalyst E2 series, named for its Efficient Energy (E2) storage capacity of 440 - 660 kWh. Last month, an E2 series vehicle achieved a new milestone at Michelin’s Laurens Proving Grounds where it logged more than 600 miles (966 km) on a single charge under test conditions.

Its nominal range of 194 - 350 miles means the Catalyst E2 series is capable of serving the full daily mileage needs of nearly every US. mass transit route on a single charge and offers the transit industry the first direct replacement for fossil-fueled transit vehicles. The high-mileage Catalyst E2 series joins the existing Catalyst FC and XR series vehicles, designed for circulator and intermediate-mileage routes, respectively.

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Ballard providing ten 30 kW fuel cell modules to UpPowerTech; expanding into China’s Guangxi Province

September 08, 2016

Ballard Power Systems has signed a purchase order from Shenzhen UpPower Technology Co., Ltd. (UpPowerTech), a leading fuel cell bus systems integrator in China, for the supply of 10 FCveloCity-MD 30 kW fuel cell power modules to be integrated by UpPowerTech into clean energy buses manufactured by Gaungxi Yuanzheng New Energy Co. Ltd. (Yuanzheng), a Chinese bus manufacturer, for deployment in the City of Nanning in the Province of Guangxi.

UpPowerTech previously demonstrated a hydrogen fuel cell bus, using Ballard’s new FCveloCity-MD 30-kilowatt fuel cell power module as a battery range extender, during the “4th Shenzhen International Low Carbon City Forum.” The bus was a 12-meter (40-foot) city bus with a powertrain built by UpPowerTech. The coach was manufactured by Xiamen King Long United Automotive Industry Co., Ltd. The Forum, held in Longgang District of Guangdong Province, featured low carbon urban development and innovation technologies designed to tackle global environmental challenges.

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KCL study finds London air pollution from traffic improving, but continues to exceed limits in many parts of city

September 05, 2016

New research by scientists at King’s College London suggests that air pollution from London’s roads is improving overall but more work may be needed to tackle some sources of traffic pollution, which continue to breach limits in many parts of the city.

The study, published as an open-access paper in the journal Environmental Pollution, examined trends in air pollution over a ten-year period spanning 2005 to 2014, using data collected from 65 roads. Researchers looked at changes in a number of pollutants including nitrogen dioxide (NO2 ), particulate matter as fine (PM2.5) and coarser (PM10) particles, carbon dioxide (CO2) and black carbon.

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Daimler Trucks NA presents new Class 8 Freightliner Cascadia with fuel efficiency improved up to 8%

September 02, 2016

Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) has presented its new heavy-duty truck flagship: the new Freightliner Cascadia.

When developing the new Cascadia, the engineers set a priority goal of achieving significant fuel savings. A fresh, aerodynamic shape with dozens of new updates and advanced powertrain components contribute to increased fuel efficiency by up to 8% over a 2016 Cascadia Evolution. One key benefit of the new Cascadia is its integrated powertrain. Unlike in Europe, it is quite common in the North American commercial vehicle market that the customer has third party aggregates in its trucks.

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Ballard MOU with strategic partner Broad-Ocean targets fuel cell modules for buses and commercial vehicles

September 01, 2016

Ballard Power Systems has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with strategic partner Zhongshan Broad-Ocean Motor Company Limited with the goal of producing fuel cell modules for use in buses and commercial vehicles in select cities and regions in China.

In July, Broad-Ocean announced a $28.3-million strategic equity investment in Ballard, through which Broad-Ocean acquired a 9.9% ownership position in Ballard, making it the company’s largest shareholder. (Earlier post.)

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Cummins and Peterbilt to team up on SuperTruck II

Cummins will partner with Peterbilt Motors Company, a division of PACCAR to develop and demonstrate technologies under the US Department of Energy (DOE) SuperTruck II program. (Earlier post.)

For SuperTruck II, the Cummins–Peterbilt team will focus on breakthrough advances in Class 8 vehicle freight efficiency technologies that are cost-effective enough to be used in everyday real-world applications. Building on the solid foundation of SuperTruck I, Cummins will develop and demonstrate 55% or greater engine Brake Thermal Efficiency (BTE) at a 65 mph cruise condition and the full team will demonstrate a greater than 100% improvement in vehicle Freight-Ton Economy (FTE) over the 2009 baseline vehicle.

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First electric bus customers for new UQM PowerPhase DT heavy-duty drivetrain pilot program

UQM Technologies (UQM) has secured global commercial customers as early adopters of its new full drivetrain solution, the PowerPhase DT. These early adopters include Hybrid Kinetic Group, Wuzhoulong Motors and ITL for a Yangtse full-size bus in China and ADOMANI in the US.

These customers will work in close collaboration with UQM, and suppliers Pi Innovo and Eaton, to develop heavy-duty commercial and transit all-electric vehicles, enabling them to rapidly deploy vehicles to market. The PowerPhase DT will be delivered to early adopters this fall for pilot program deployment.

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Volvo Group selected to participate in DOE’s SuperTruck II Program; 55% BTE

August 31, 2016

Under a SuperTruck II award announced by the US Department of Energy (DOE) (earlier post), Volvo Group North America is scheduled to receive $20 million in federal funding that it will use to improve the freight-moving efficiency of heavy-duty trucks. The Volvo Group and its partners will match the development funds dollar-for-dollar.

The Volvo Group’s team of researchers and engineers will use alternative engine designs and an integrated system approach to build a lightweight tractor-trailer concept that exceeds the freight efficiency goal of 100% improvement on a ton-mile-per-gallon basis compared with a 2009 baseline. The team also will demonstrate a powertrain capable of 55% brake thermal efficiency.

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Select truck fleets boosted fuel economy 3% in 2015 compared to national Class 8 average

August 28, 2016

Seventeen trucking fleets operating more than 62,000 tractors and 217,000 trailers recorded a 3% increase in fuel economy in 2015, saving an accumulative $501 million on fuel when compared to the 2015 national average fuel spend of 1.7 million over-the-road class 8 trucks. They achieved these gains by purchasing a variety of fuel efficiency technologies, according to the Annual Fleet Fuel Study released by the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE).

As a result of these investments, fleet-wide mpg increased from 6.87 to 7.06 in 2015, the largest margin of improvement in eight years of consecutive improvements. The trade cycle for these fleets is a little over five years, meaning that the new trucks are about 16% more efficient than the 2010 model year trucks they replaced.

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USDOT proposes speed limiters for large commercial vehicles; potential savings up to ~$1B in fuel each year depending on limit

August 26, 2016

The US Department of Transportation’s (DOT’s) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) are proposing equipping heavy-duty vehicles with devices that limit their speeds on US roadways, and requiring those devices be set to a maximum speed, a safety measure that could save lives and more than $1 billion in fuel costs each year.

Specifically, NHTSA is proposing to establish a new Federal motor vehicle safety standard (FMVSS) requiring that each new multipurpose passenger vehicle, truck, bus and school bus with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of more than 11,793.4 kilograms (26,000 pounds) be equipped with a speed limiting device.

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Kenworth receives $8.6M in grants for low-emission T680 Day Cab drayage truck projects in California; hybrids, CNG hybrid and fuel cell

August 20, 2016

Kenworth has been awarded three government grants totaling $8.6 million that will support low emissions projects involving Kenworth T680 Day Cabs targeted for use as drayage tractors in Southern California ports.

The first two projects are funded at $1.9 million each by the US Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), with Southern California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) as the prime applicant. Kenworth will build two, proof-of-concept T680 Day Cab drayage tractors to transport freight from the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to warehouses and railyards along the I-710 corridor in the Los Angeles basin.

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New Flyer adds 2016 Cummins Westport ISL G Near Zero engine to Xcelsior bus lineup; debuting in LA

August 18, 2016

Flyer of America Inc., a subsidiary of New Flyer Industries Inc., the largest heavy-duty transit bus and motor coach manufacturer and parts distributor in North America, is adding the 2016 Cummins Westport ISL G Near Zero engine (earlier post) to its Xcelsior bus family. New Flyer is the first transit manufacturer to offer the industry’s cleanest certified engine and will deliver the first original OEM installation of a the engine in the third quarter of 2016.

The ISL G NZ compressed natural gas is certified by both US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Air Resources Board (ARB) in California to meet the 0.02 g/bhp-hr optional Near Zero NOx Emissions standards for medium-duty truck, urban bus, school bus and refuse applications. The engine will be used to power a New Flyer Xcelsior XN40 bus for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro). LA Metro operates the largest natural gas engine transit vehicle fleet in North America.

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DOE to award up to $137M for SuperTruck II, Vehicle Technology Office programs

August 16, 2016

The US Department of Energy (DOE) will invest up to $137 million in two programs, subject to appropriations, to develop next-generation technologies that will support industry in going beyond the newly announced Phase II standard for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles (earlier post) and also accelerating technology advances for passenger cars and light trucks.

One initiative, SuperTruck II (earlier post), will award $80 million to four projects to develop and to demonstrate cost-effective technologies that more than double the freight efficiency of Class 8 trucks. Through the other initiative, the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Vehicle Technologies Office Program Wide Funding Opportunity Announcement (earlier post)selections, 35 new projects will receive $57 million to develop and deploy a wide array of cutting-edge vehicle technologies, including advanced batteries and electric drive systems, to reduce carbon emissions and petroleum consumption in passenger cars and light trucks.

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EPA and DOT issue final Phase 2 GHG and fuel efficiency rulemaking for medium- and heavy-duty trucks

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) jointly released the finalized Phase 2 greenhouse gas and fuel efficiency standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks.

The product of four years of testing and research and outreach to industry, environmental organizations, labor unions, and other stakeholders, the vehicle and engine performance standards will 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. These standards will result in significant GHG emissions reductions and fuel efficiency improvements across all of these vehicle types. For example, when the standards are fully phased in, tractors in a tractor-trailer will achieve up to 25% lower CO2 emissions and fuel consumption than an equivalent tractor in 2018.

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Sumitomo and US Hybrid partnering to grow hydrogen fuel cell business for commercial vehicles and mass transit

August 12, 2016

Sumitomo Corporation together with Sumitomo Corporation of Americas (collectively, SC Group) announced a strategic collaboration agreement with US Hybrid to grow US Hybrid’s fuel cell production business through the expansion of fuel cell stack production capacity. (Earlier post.) SC Group will play an integral role in the project by coordinating discussions with OEMs using the integrated trading company’s global network.

US Hybrid, together with its Fuel Cell division, US FuelCell, has more than 26 years of experience in fuel cell balance of plant components and vehicle development and deployment. US FuelCell was established in 2013 after US Hybrid purchased the UTC Power PEM fuel cell Transportation division along with the global PEM IP license. The company currently offers an 80 kW integrated fuel cell system (FCe 80) and a 150 kW system (FCe150).

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CALSTART white paper shows nationwide tech supplier industry ready to support more efficient heavy-duty trucks and buses

A new high-level white-paper from clean transportation industry group CALSTART shows that US companies that develop and manufacture high-efficiency, low-carbon technologies for heavy-duty vehicles are ready to support more efficient trucks and buses.

In a first attempt to gauge the scope of the United States’ high-efficiency technology supplier sector for heavy-duty trucks and buses, CALSTART conducted an initial scan of businesses and identified and mapped 255 companies. The firms range from vehicle manufacturers to component suppliers to technology developers, and operate from 535 facilities in 40 states, impacting 80% of the nation.

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Daimler Trucks unveils electric heavy-duty Urban eTruck from Mercedes-Benz; fleet trial for the light-duty Fuso Canter E-Cell

July 27, 2016

Daimler Trucks has unveiled the Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck, an all-electric, short-radius distribution heavy-duty truck, based on a three-axle truck from Mercedes-Benz. The entire conventional drivetrain has been replaced by an electrically driven rear axle with electric motors directly adjacent to the wheel hubs. Their maximum output is 2 x 125 kW, while the peak torque is 2 x 500 N·m. In combination with the gearing, the torque at the wheel reaches 11,000 N·m.

The power is supplied by a battery pack consisting of three modules of lithium-ion batteries with a total capacity of 212 kWh. This results in a range of up to 200 km (124 miles)—normally enough for a typical day's delivery round. Depending on the desired range, the modular battery pack can be customized by adding or removing batteries. The Urban eTruck is connected to the charging station using the Europe-wide standardized Combined Charging System (CCS) Type 2 connector. With a charging power of 100 kW, the fully discharged batteries are charged to 100% in two to three hours. (The system will support up to 150 kW.)

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Argonne National Laboratory to lead US consortium for new CERC medium- and heavy-duty truck technical track; 50% boost in efficiency

July 23, 2016

The US Department of Energy (DOE) selected Argonne National Laboratory to lead a consortium of university, private sector and national laboratory partners for a new, medium- and heavy-duty truck technical track under the US-China Clean Energy Research Center (CERC) Truck Research Utilizing Collaborative Knowledge (TRUCK) program.

The multidisciplinary consortium includes Cummins Inc.; Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation; Ohio State University; Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Purdue University; and the University of Michigan. The program will address cost-effective measures to improve on-road freight efficiency of medium- and heavy-duty trucks by greater than 50% compared to today’s vehicles.

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European Commission fines truck producers record €2.93B for colluding to pass on emission compliance costs

July 22, 2016

The European Commission found that truck makers MAN, Volvo/Renault, Daimler, Iveco, and DAF broke EU antitrust rules by colluding for 14 years on truck pricing and on passing on the costs of compliance with stricter emission rules. The Commission has imposed a record fine of €2,926,499,000 (US$3.22 billion).

MAN was not fined as it revealed the existence of the cartel to the Commission. All companies acknowledged their involvement and agreed to settle the case.

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Musk’s “Master Plan, Part Deux”; expands Tesla to heavy-duty electric trucks and urban transport; integrated energy generation and storage

July 21, 2016

Elon Musk has, as promised, published his second “master plan,” composed with the help of all-nighters and the Gatsby soundtrack.

Master Plan Part 1—public now for ten years—outlined (1) the creation of an expensive low-volume electric car (Roadster) to fund (2) a medium-volume electric car (Model S, X) at a lower price to create (3) an affordable high volume car (Model 3) and (4) provide solar power. Master Plan v2.0 takes Tesla into integrated energy generation and storage (i.e., Tesla’s acquisition of Solar City, earlier post) as well as into heavy-duty electric vehicles and urban transport.

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Daimler showcases semi-automated Mercedes-Benz Future Bus with CityPilot; driving 20 km BRT route

July 18, 2016

Daimler is highlighting its development of the semi-automated Mercedes-Benz Future Bus with CityPilot. The technology of the CityPilot in the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus is based on that of the autonomously driving Mercedes-Benz Actros truck with Highway Pilot presented two years ago. (Earlier post.)

The Mercedes-Benz Future Bus with CityPilot, which Daimler will showcase at the upcoming IAA 2016 in Hannover in September, is already making its first public journey on part of Europe’s longest BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) route in the Netherlands, linking Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport with the town of Haarlem.

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Ballard Power signs deal for production of fuel cell stacks in China; est. $168M over 5 years; buses and commercial vehicles

Ballard Power Systems signed definitive agreements with Guangdong Nation Synergy Hydrogen Power Technology Co. Ltd. (Synergy) for the establishment of an FCvelocity-9SSL fuel cell stack production operation in the City of Yunfu, in Guangdong Province. The fuel cell stacks will be packaged into locally-assembled fuel cell systems and integrated into electric buses and commercial vehicles in China.

Subject to closing, the transaction has a contemplated minimum value to Ballard of $168 million over 5-years and includes these key elements:

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ABB wins 1st commercial order for 600 kW 15-second flash charging technology; electric buses in Geneva

July 15, 2016

ABB has been awarded orders totaling more than $16 million by Transports Publics Genevois (TPG), Geneva’s public transport operator, and Swiss bus manufacturer HESS, to provide flash charging and on-board electric vehicle technology for 12 TOSA (Trolleybus Optimisation Système Alimentation) fully electric buses (e-buses) which will run on Line 23, connecting Geneva’s airport with suburban Geneva.

ABB will deliver and deploy 13 flash-charging stations along an urban transit bus route, as well as three terminal and four depot feeding stations. This will be the world’s fastest flash-charging connection technology taking less than 1 second to connect the bus to the charging point. The onboard batteries can then be topped-up in 15 seconds with a 600-kilowatt flash charge at the bus stop. (Earlier post.)

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Cal Energy to award up to $4M for off-road heavy-duty natural gas vehicle research and development

July 13, 2016

The California Energy Commission will award up to $4 million (GFO-16-501) to projects to to support the research and development of heavy-duty off-road vehicles powered by conventional or renewable natural gas.

Projects should incorporate advanced low emission engine technology currently available for heavy-duty on-road vehicles. Existing advanced natural gas engine technologies could be adapted to provide this market segment with a natural gas engine option capable of exceeding current, Tier 4, emission regulations while simultaneously meeting the performance needs of off-road applications.

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UMTRI: GHG emissions from industry down over past 25 years, transportation emissions up; MD, HD truck share increasing substantially

July 11, 2016

While the industrial sector in the US has made solid advances in reducing greenhouse gas emissions over the past 25 years, the transportation sector has increased its carbon footprint, according to an analysis by researchers at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI).

Industry, still the US’ largest emitter, accounts for about 29% of all anthropogenic GHG emissions—down from nearly 36% in 1990. However, transportation—the country’s second-largest contributor to greenhouse emissions—has increased its share from 24% in 1990 to 27% in 2014.

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Opinion: Feet where our heads should be: Are we going about EVs the wrong way round?

July 08, 2016

by Roger Bedell, Founder, Opbrid

Are we looking at vehicle electrification upside down? Why are we focusing on electrifying smaller vehicles like cars and delivery trucks when electrifying really big trucks makes the most economic sense?

Electricity is about ½ the cost of diesel or gasoline. This means the more fuel you burn, the more money you save. Heavy long-haul trucks are the kings of fuel consumption, so therefore they are the best target for electrification from an economic standpoint. A 40-ton long-haul truck driving at 60 mph (about 100 km/h) uses between 8 to 13 gallons of diesel per hour according to a detailed Swedish survey. This is 20 to 30USD per hour, or in the UK, 40 to 60 USD per hour! This makes fuel costs much higher than a driver’s salary on a per hour basis, and is the largest percentage cost item for trucking companies. If fuel costs can be cut in half by switching to electricity, electrification can be very interesting indeed for a truck operator.

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Canada, US and Mexico commit to align light- and heavy-duty fuel efficiency and GHG standards out to 2025 and 2027, respectively

June 30, 2016

As one of the outcomes of the “Three Amigos” meeting in Ottawa, Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, US President Barack Obama, and Mexico President Enrique Peña Nieto committed to an “ambitious and enduring” North American Climate, Clean Energy, and Environment Partnership. A key element of that partnership is a goal for North America to strive to achieve 50% clean power generation by 2025.

The action plan also encompasses a range of initiatives, including a focus on clean transportation. As part of that effort, the leaders committed to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from light- and heavy-duty vehicles by aligning fuel efficiency and/or GHG emission standards out to 2025 and 2027, respectively. They further agreed to reduce air pollutant emissions by aligning air pollutant emission standards for light- and heavy-duty vehicles and corresponding ultra low-sulfur fuel standards by 2018. In addition, the SmartWay freight transportation program will be extended to Mexico.

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WABCO and ZF demonstrate prototype of Evasive Maneuver Assist for commercial vehicles; connecting active braking and steering capability

WABCO Holdings and ZF have developed and demonstrated a prototype of a new collision avoidance technology for commercial vehicles. The Evasive Maneuver Assist (EMA) combines WABCO’s world-class braking, stability and vehicle dynamics control systems on trucks and trailers with ZF’s active steering technology—an industry first. EMA marks another step toward enabling autonomous driving in the commercial vehicle industry.

Evasive Maneuver Assist leverages the capabilities of WABCO’s OnGuardACTIVE, its radar-only collision mitigation system. A radar sensor identifies moving or stationary vehicles ahead and alerts the driver via visual, audio and haptic signals of impending rear-end collisions. Should the driver determine that the system cannot avoid a rear-end collision by driver-initiated or autonomous braking alone, Evasive Maneuver Assist engages to help the driver to safely steer around an obstructing vehicle and to bring truck and trailer to a complete and safe stop.

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Proterra offers single-blade overhead fast-charging technology to transit industry on royalty-free basis

June 29, 2016

In a move intended to accelerate wider adoption of EV technology and development of the supporting infrastructure, electric bus manufacturer Proterra will open its overhead on-route fast-charging technology to the transit industry on a royalty-free basis.

With the recent issuance of foundational patents (Nºs 8324858, 8829853 and 9352658) covering this technology, Proterra will offer a complete technology package to the market. Proterra will grant anyone royalty-free access to its patents covering its single-blade overhead charging design. This includes the bus-mounted, single-blade charging design and the overhead charging coupler.

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Wrightspeed named as World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer

June 28, 2016

Wrightspeed Inc., developer of heavy-duty range-extended electric vehicle powertrains, was named one of the current crop of World Economic Forum Technology Pioneers—and was the only purely automotive technology company so selected. Designed as a replacement for conventional piston engine and transmission systems, Wrightspeed’s the Route (earlier post) is a range-extended electric vehicle powertrain that provides unlimited range and significant fuel cost reductions for today’s refuse, delivery and mass-transit markets.

Wrightspeed was chosen by a professional jury among hundreds of candidates as one of the 30 selected companies. Advanced Li-ion battery company 24M was also selected this year. (Earlier post.)

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Beijing Foton launches “China Internet Super Truck Global Innovation Alliance”; Auman Energy Super Truck

June 23, 2016

Chinese truck and utility vehicle manufacturer Beijing Foton has launched the China Internet Super Truck Global Innovation Alliance and showcased the Auman EST (Energy Super Truck) at an event in Athens, Greece.

The Internet super truck project is a collaboration that brings together Foton Motor Group, Cummins, and Daimler AG and aims at building Internet-driven super trucks that are green, efficient, safe, and intelligent through the integration of global resources, the effective use of new energies, the establishment of vehicle networks, and the implementation of intelligent truck-loading technology.

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Sweden inaugurates its first electric road

June 22, 2016

Sweden inaugurated a test stretch of electric road on the E16 in Sandviken, thus becoming one of the first countries to conduct tests with electric power for heavy transports on public roads.

The test stretch on the E16 is two kilometers long. The technology is similar to light rail, with contact lines 5.4 meters over the roadway. The truck has a pantograph on the roof that feeds 750 VDC to the truck’s hybrid electric system. The current conductor can connect automatically at speeds up to 90 km/h (56 mph). The test stretch is equipped with posts 60 meters apart that hold up the electric lines over one of the lanes.

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Iveco launches the New Stralis XP long-haul truck; fuel savings up to 11%

June 20, 2016

Iveco has introduced the New Stralis XP long-haul truck, featuring fuel savings of up to 11% and a reduction in total cost of ownership (TCO) of up to 5.6% in long-distance transport operations.

The New Stralis XP builds on the foundation of the Stralis Hi-Way, launched in 2012 and named “International Truck of the Year 2013”. It carries over the best of its predecessor, and in particular the Hi-Way cab, which is very well appreciated by customers, Iveco’s HI-SCR Euro VI solution that requires no regeneration and preserves the long-term value of engine and vehicle, and the quality and reliability of the previous range.

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BYD announces its first 16 electric buses sold in France; RATP trial; expanding capacity in China

June 19, 2016

At the Transport Publics event this last week in Paris, BYD announced orders for 16 of its all new battery-electric buses and coaches to French operators. BYD also announced a six-month trial with Paris operator RATP and unveiled its 12 meter single deck bus—displayed for the first time in France. BYD is the world’s largest manufacturer of battery-electric buses, having produced 10,000 units so far.

BYD France’s first customer is B.E. Green of Yvelines near Paris which has ordered three BYD pure electric coaches and one 12m BYD ebus to add to its 100% electric fleet. The Nedroma Group of Athis Mons, also close to Paris, has ordered 12 BYD electric coaches—the largest order so far for this new model from a Western customer.

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California to award $9M for 27 BYD zero-emission trucks at two rail yards, one freight transfer yard in Southern California

June 10, 2016

The State of California is awarding $9 million to the San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG) for 27 zero-emission trucks to replace diesel-powered heavy-duty tractors used in rail yards and large-scale freight distribution centers. The funds come from the California Climate Investments (CCI) program and are designed to reduce greenhouse gases (GHG), while also reducing petroleum usage and improving air quality in residential communities.

The two types of trucks funded by this grant are the most common at every major freight location in the US, providing a model for truck electrification that could be scaled to any facility. The project will demonstrate 23 battery-electric 80,000-pound (GVWR) Class 8 yard trucks, also known as “yard goats,” which are used to move heavy freight containers short distances within freight yards, warehouses, distribution centers and port terminals.

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DOE issues request for information on medium- and heavy-duty fuel cell electric truck targets

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Fuel Cell Technologies Office (FCTO) has issued a request for information (RFI) (DE-FOA-0001600) to obtain feedback and opinions from truck operators, truck and storage tank manufacturers, fuel cell manufacturers, station equipment designers, and other related stakeholders on issues related to medium- and heavy-duty (MD and HD) fuel cell electric truck targets.

The MD/HD market spans multiple weight classes (i.e. class 3-8 or 10,000-80,000+ lbs.) and vocational uses (i.e. delivery van, tractor trailer, flatbed, etc.). Today, MD/HD trucks account for 28% of petroleum use in the US transportation sector, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).

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Daimler Trucks pushing forward with platform strategy for chassis and electrics/electronics

June 08, 2016

Daimler Trucks is systematically expanding its strategic pillars of intelligent platforms and modules beyond the existing modular drivetrain components. The platforms for drivetrain components for medium- and heavy-duty engines and for automated transmissions are already successful in the market, and account for about 50% of a truck’s value added.

Daimler Trucks is now introducing multi-brand platforms for other truck module groups, including uniform electrics/electronics architecture (E/E), chassis and cab. Joint development and purchasing will be carried out wherever there is no impact on customer perception and brand differentiation.

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Mack Trucks to showcase Wrightspeed turbine-based extended range electric powertrain in Class 8 refuse truck

At this week’s WasteExpo2016, Mack Trucks, one of North America’s largest manufacturers of heavy-duty Class 8 trucks, engines and transmissions, will showcase Wrightspeed’s The Route turbine-based extended range electric powertrain (earlier post) applied in a refuse truck.

Designed as a replacement for conventional piston engine and transmission systems, the award-winning Route is a range-extended electric vehicle powertrain that provides unlimited range and significantly reduced fuel costs for today’s refuse, delivery and mass transit markets. Wrightspeed counts FedEx, Ratto Group and New Zealand Bus as early Route customers.

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DOE to award $22.3M to accelerate the development of MD, HD plug-in vehicles and use of other sustainable transportation technologies

June 06, 2016

The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced approximately $22.3 million of funding to support research, development, and demonstration of innovative plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) and direct injection propane engine technologies, as well as community-based projects to accelerate the adoption of light, medium, and heavy duty vehicles that operate on fuels such as biodiesel, electricity, E85, hydrogen, natural gas, and propane.

The “Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Vehicle Technologies Multi-Topic Funding Opportunity Announcement” (DE-FOA-0001535) seeks cost-shared projects across three areas of sustainable transportation technologies.

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Santa Monica signs 5-year deal with Clean Energy for renewable LNG for bus fleet; deploying CWI Near-Zero NOx engine

June 02, 2016

The City of Santa Monica, California has awarded Clean Energy a multi-year liquefied natural gas (LNG) contract to fuel its Big Blue Bus (BBB) fleet of vehicles. The 5-year deal, worth an estimated $3 million per year, will enable BBB to continue using Clean Energy’s Redeem brand of renewable natural gas (RNG), rated up to 90% cleaner than diesel. BBB began using Redeem by Clean Energy in January 2015. (Earlier post.)

BBB, one of the first transit agencies in the nation to contract for Redeem, will also become one of the first agencies to incorporate the new Cummins-Westport 8.9L ISL G Near-Zero 0.02 NOx engine, the first mid-range engine in North America to receive emission certifications from both US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Air Resources Board (ARB) in California that meet the 0.02 g/bhp-hr optional Near Zero NOx Emissions standards. (Earlier post.) ARB has defined this certified Near Zero NOx emission level as equivalent to a 100% battery truck using electricity from a modern combined cycle natural gas power plant.

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Volvo Trucks’ new concept truck cuts fuel consumption by more than 30%

May 31, 2016

With support from the Swedish Energy Agency, Volvo Trucks has developed a new concept vehicle, the Volvo Concept Truck. The result of a five-year long research project aimed at creating more energy-efficient vehicles, the new concept truck cuts fuel consumption by more than 30%. The aim of the project is to improve the efficiency for long-haul truck transportation by 50%.

One of the key factors behind the low fuel consumption is the massive 40% improvement in aerodynamic efficiency that has benefited both the tractor and trailer. Aerodynamically optimized chassis side-skirts cover the rear wheels on the tractor and all the trailer wheels; aerodynamic spoilers extend the trailer and cut air resistance.

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MAN Truck & Bus invests $8.5M in logistics startup FR8 Revolution

MAN Truck & Bus AG, part of Volkswagen Truck & Bus, is investing up to $8.5 million in the US start-up FR8 Revolution Inc. (“Fr-eight”). Silicon-Valley-based FR8 has developed a comprehensive “operating system” for a connected transportation industry that will be launched in the second quarter of 2016. The IT platform will provide shippers, carriers, and truck drivers with a uniform and transparent platform for planning cargoes based on real-time data.

Currently, around 12,000 freight brokers in the US act as intermediaries for free-loading capacities between shippers and carriers via telephone, e-mail, and fax. The system is highly fragmented and thus often very inefficient; it is difficult to compare prices and costs for mediation are high. The FR8 system aims to support all parties involved in the process of this ecosystem, to leverage the existing potential, and to make it significantly more efficient.

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Furrer + Frey proposes tractor swapping as solution for electrification of long-haul trucking

May 30, 2016

Furrer + Frey, a provider of rail electrification and rapid charging systems for transport, is proposing tractor swapping as a solution for the electrification of long-haul trucking. Furrer + Frey is a long-time partner of Opbrid, the provider of the overhead pantograph-based ultra-fast charging Opbrid Bůsbaar for buses (earlier post).

At IAA 2014, Opbrid introduced the Trůkbaar for heavy-duty trucks; the Trůkbaar is one element for the Furrer + Frey tractor swapping solution. Furrer + Frey has also acquired Opbrid, and folded it into its operations. (Earlier post.)

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Pasha, Port of LA and California ARB partner on $26.6M Green Omni Terminal demo project; emerging zero and near-zero emission tech

May 26, 2016

Pasha Stevedoring and Terminals L.P. and the Port of Los Angeles are launching the Green Omni Terminal Demonstration Project, a full-scale, real-time demonstration of zero and near-zero emission technologies at a working marine terminal.

At full build out, Pasha will be the world’s first marine terminal able to generate all of its energy needs from renewable sources. The $26.6-million project is funded in part by a $14.5-million grant from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) for reducing greenhouse gases and other pollutants. As part of the project, Pasha will integrate a fleet of new and retrofitted zero-emission electric vehicles and cargo-handling equipment into its terminal operations and demonstrate the latest generation of advanced technology for capturing ship emissions from vessels unable to plug into shore power at berth.

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Proterra boosts capacity of Catalyst XR battery pack 28% to 330 kWh with new design, same volume as predecessor

May 16, 2016

Battery-electric bus manufacturer Proterra announced a new battery pack design for the Proterra Catalyst XR transit vehicle at the American Public Transportation Association Bus and Paratransit Conference (APTA). Within the same volumetric footprint as that in the original Catalyst XR, the new energy storage system now holds 28% more energy at 330 kWh.

All current Catalyst XR customers that are still waiting on their buses to be delivered will receive a complimentary upgrade to the higher energy level.

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Scania delivering 51 hybrid buses to Madrid

May 12, 2016

In June, Scania, part of Volkswagen Truck & Bus GmbH, will begin delivering 51 hybrid Scania Citywide buses to Madrid. These complete buses feature cost-saving and emission-reducing hybrid technology that meets the EU suburban and short distance Class II regulations.

The City of Madrid recently enforced tough temporary measures to tackle pollution, including limiting speed limits and banning passenger car access to the city center if NOx levels exceed acceptable levels. In parallel, the Madrid transport authorities have required bus operators to gradually switch to greener technology; conventional diesel has not been permitted in new bus acquisitions since 2010.

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Loop Energy collaborates with CRRC to develop fuel cell electric drive systems for heavy-duty trucks

May 06, 2016

Canada-based Loop Energy (earlier post) has entered a collaboration agreement with Hunan CRRC Times Electric Vehicle Co., Ltd. (a subsidiary of CRRC Corporation Ltd.) to develop zero-emission power systems for heavy-duty transportation applications.

The power system to be developed for the initial project will combine Loop’s fuel cell technologies with CRRC’s leading electric drive train system to provide a better performing solution for heavy-duty trucks in comparison to traditional diesel engines.

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Volvo Trucks introduces new one-box aftertreatment system

Volvo Trucks North America recently introduced a new one-box design for its Exhaust Aftertreatment System (EATS), resulting in increased flexibility, increased fuel capacity and a more aerodynamic vehicle. Standard with Volvo D11- and Volvo D13-equipped vehicles, the one-box EATS offers greater flexibility with the vehicle.

The smaller packaging benefits Volvo’s on-highway lineup—VNM, VNL and VAH models—with increased frame rail space for additional fuel capacity or to mount APUs or any other frame-mounted accessories. On the vocational side, the one-box system provides the Volvo VHD better back-of-cab clearance and up to 12 inches of frame rail space to provide body builders greater flexibility for equipment installation.

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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.

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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:

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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.)

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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