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ZAP Lands More US Smart Orders...But Car Future in Doubt

ZAP (earlier post) has pulled in a second 100-unit wholesale purchase order worth $2 million for its Americanized version of the Smart Car, bringing its total wholesale fleet orders in-hand to $4.98 million. ZAP’s consumer auction of Smart cars on eBay was suspended a few weeks ago, pending completion of... Read more →

Peak Oil Appears in Scania Presentation

At the Tokyo Motor Show this year, the Swedish Embassy, the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) and the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) organized a one-day symposium on “Future Environmental Challenges for the Automotive Industry”. (Presentations are available here.) Hasse Johansson, Group Vice President and Head of R&D for Scania,... Read more →

Even Without the Tsunami, 2004 Set Record Losses from Natural Disasters

Losses caused by natural disasters, most of them climate-related and headed by hurricanes in America and typhoons in Japan, crossed the $100 billion threshold for the first time this year, leaping to some $105 billion, according to preliminary estimates from the Zurich-based reinsurance giant Swiss Re. This estimate pre-dated the... Read more →

Subaru R1: ICE Version of a Battery-Electric Concept Car

Subaru is introducing the R1, an all-new mini car, into the Japanese market. Subaru showed versions of the R1 earlier this year at the Tokyo Motor Show. This R1 is an ICE (internal combustion engine) production version of the R1e battery-electric vehicle concept car that appeared last year (minus the... Read more →

Working Out Biodiesel Kinks in Cold Weather

Earlier this year, the town of Breckenridge, Co. discontinued using its B20 blend in its fleet vehicles after the biodiesel fuel began gelling at cold temperatures, bringing vehicles to a halt. The Breckenridge-based Aspen Ski Company also curtailed its use of B20 in its backup generators for chairlifts for the... Read more →

New Mercedes-Benz Euro-4 Diesel Engine: More Power, Same Fuel Consumption

Mercedes-Benz is replacing its current in-line five and six-cylinder diesel engines with a new, more powerful 3-liter V-6 beginning in March 2005. The engine, with an output of 165 kW/224 hp and a maximum torque of 510 Nm (376 lb-ft), meets Euro-4 emissions limits. This successor to the five and... Read more →

Rhode Island Adopts CA Emissions Standards

Rhode Island is adopting the California Low Emission Vehicle II (LEV-2) emission standards for new vehicles sold in Rhode Island beginning with model year 2008. The California LEV-2 program requires reductions in tailpipe and evaporative emissions from new passenger cars, light-duty trucks and sport utility vehicles sold in the state.... Read more →

All Public Transit in Punjab to be CNG

Daily Times. All public transport vehicles in the administrative district of Punjab, Pakistan, will run on compressed natural gas (CNG) to combat pollution, according to Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi. Elahi said that, in the first phase, only CNG fitted buses would be allotted route permits in Lahore, Rawalpindi,... Read more →

Az County Shifting to Biodiesel for Some School Buses

Tucson Citizen. Several Pima County, Az, school districts are switching early next year to a B20 blend for their school buses. “It should not cost the districts any more in the long run, but the air-quality benefit and the benefit of the displacement of foreign fossil fuels will be immense,”... Read more →

Philippines Close to National Ethanol Program

Philippine Star. The Philippine Department of Energy (DOE) is supporting pending legislation allowing the use of ethanol as an alternative blending product for gasoline. Bills in the House and Senate call for the establishment of a National Fuel Ethanol Program. The target is a 10% ethanol blend for vehicles by... Read more →

Volvo Introduces Its Most Fuel-Efficient Engine Yet

Volvo has extended downward the engine range for its new S40 and V50 compact models (launched in 2003) with the addition of 1.6-liter engines in both gasoline and diesel versions. The 1.6-liter diesel delivers an average fuel consumption of 4.9 liters/100 km (48 mpg US) and is the most fuel-efficient... Read more →

3Q Oil Production from 24 Major US-Based Energy Companies: Down 2% Year-to-Year

The Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration has released the third quarter financial results from 24 major US-based energy companies. (Earlier post on 2Q results is here.) This basket of companies includes the US-based subsidiaries of BP and Shell, but not the international operations of those companies, as both are... Read more →

Increase in Energy Prices not Spurring Conservation

Rigzone. The surge in fuel cost this year has not catalyzed any noticeable conservation. The consensus among experts is that higher prices need to persist for a longer period for change to occur, although some are more optimistic about rapid change than others. Economists, energy analysts and efficiency gurus say... Read more →

Pittsburgh Joins the Hybrid Electric Bus Club

A $6.6 million grant from the Department of Transportation is helping Pittsburgh add its first six hybrid buses, along with 14 additional conventional coaches, to the Port Authority of Allegheny County’s bus system. The Port Authority Board originally approved the purchase of six Gillig hybrids, which use the GM-Allison hybrid... Read more →

CalPERS Challenges Automakers on CA CO2 Lawsuit

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) is asking automakers to explain their decision to file a lawsuit rather than comply with the California regulations reducing CO2 emissions from new vehicles. (Earlier post.) The CalPERS Board voted to spearhead a meeting with auto industry executives and its fellow pension fund... Read more →

Dodge Ram Diesel Mild-Hybrid in Production

DaimlerChrysler has begun limited commercial production of its diesel mild-hybrid Dodge Ram truck. The Ram HEV will be available to fleet customers. Built on the Ram Heavy Duty (2500/3500) chassis, the Ram mild hybrid uses an integrated starter-alternator hybrid system to supplement a Cummins 325 hp (242.5 kW), 5.9-liter turbodiesel... Read more →

B20-ULSD Blend Cuts PM and NOx Emissions

Clean Diesel Technologies (CDT) has created a B20 blend combining ultra low-sulfur diesel (ULSD), biodiesel and its platinum- and cerium-based diesel fuel combustion catalyst (Platinum Plus). Tests on this proprietary blend, which CDT calls “Cleaner Burning Biodiesel” (CBB), show reductions of up to 51% in PM emissions and up to... Read more →

Hyundai To Introduce Euro 4 Diesels in 2005

Yonhap News reports that Hyundai will introduce diesel vehicles compatible with the Euro 4 emissions standard next year. The automaker has developed its own Euro 4-compliant diesel engine sooner than expected. South Korea is fast-tracking the implementation of emissions standards, with Euro 3 going into effect in 2005, followed only... Read more →

India Plans Large-Scale Cultivation of Biodiesel Feedstock Plants

Indo-Asian News Service. India is planning large-scale cultivation of jatropha and kanuga trees for feedstock for biodiesel production. “The government proposes to set a target for growing jatropha and kanuga plants on a large-scale for yielding bio-fuel to be used in lieu of diesel in vehicles,” Minister of State for... Read more →

Canadian Government Fleet First to Use Cellulose Ethanol

The vehicle fleet of the Government of Canada is now the first in the world to use cellulose-derived ethanol on an ongoing basis. NRCan, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and other Government of Canada departments are now using Iogen’s ethanol at a rate of about 100,000 liters per year. Iogen, a... Read more →

Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel Wins Dust-Up with CNG in Denver

Denver’s Regional Transportation District (RTD) Board proceeded last week with a planned $53.6 million purchase of 183 new diesel-powered buses despite a last-minute lobbying campaign fueled by Clean Energy, a CNG vendor, for CNG buses. The transportation district will buy diesel buses equipped to operate on ultra low-sulfur diesel (ULSD)... Read more →

China Plans to Be Third Largest Automaker by 2010

Xinhua. China plans to become one of the world’s top three largest automakers by 2010. China will make the automobile industry a pillar of the national economy in the coming six years, according to a blueprint for national automobile development in China’s 11th Five-Year Plan period (2006-2010). By 2010, the... Read more →

Azure Dynamics to Acquire Solectria to Create Broader Hybrid Capability

Azure Dynamics, a Canadian provider of hybrid electric powertrains for commercial vehicles, is acquiring US-based Solectria Corporation in an all-stock deal worth approximately $18 million (US). Azure Dynamics is the integrator providing series hybrid vans to Purolator (earlier post). Solectria supplies hybrid electric powertrains and components to the US military... Read more →

Sanyo, Bosch to Partner on Batteries for Hybrids

The Nihon Keizai Shimbun reports (subscription required) that Sanyo Electric will team up with major German autoparts maker Robert Bosch GmbH to develop rechargeable batteries for hybrid vehicles. Details such as the intended car models and battery types are to be discussed later. The newspaper reported that Sanyo management believes... Read more →

New Diesels in Western Europe Reach All-Time High of 51.9%

Diesel marketshare of newly registered passenger cars in Western Europe reached an all-time high of 51.9% in October, according to figures from Robert Bosch GmbH. This represents a 5.3 percentage point jump in comparison to October 2003. According to Bosch, the percentage of new diesel cars in Germany reached a... Read more →

ZAP and Anuvu Shoot for a Consumer H2 FCV in 2005

ZAP, an electric vehicle distributor, says it intends to create fuel cell-powered vehicles for delivery to consumers in 2005 by working with PEM fuel cell manufacturer Anuvu. ZAP (Zero Air Pollution) is a ten-year old company that started by distributing electric bicycles and folding electric scooters. In 1999 ZAP added... Read more →

Additional Detail on the Michelin/PSI HY-LIGHT Prototype

Michelin is providing a bit more information on the HY-LIGHT hydrogen fuel cell concept car, including a simplified schematic (at right). Developed in partnership with the Paul Scherrer Institut (PSI), the HY-LIGHT made its debut at the Challenge Bibendum in Shanghai this year. (Earlier post.) The lightweight car (850 kg)... Read more →

On the Wings of a Beetle: ~60+ mpg

The wings. Ernie Rogers, an aerospace engineer, set out on a mission “to promote fuel conservation and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by researching, developing and commercializing novel technologies that simply and cost-effectively improve the efficiency of cars and trucks.” One of those technologies or approaches is the addition of a... Read more →

Turning the Prius into a Plug-in Hybrid

The California Cars Initiative (CalCars), a non-profit startup dedicated to jump-starting the market for plug-in hybrids (PHEV), is building a prototype Prius (the Prius+) capable of functioning as a plug-in hybrid and running in full EV (electric vehicle) mode for longer distances than possible with the original Toyota equipment. As... Read more →

Seattle: Diesel Hybrid Buses with GM Drive Falling Short on Fuel Economy

The Seattle Post Intelligencer reports today in a lengthy piece that the diesel hybrid buses purchased by King County Metro with the expectation of using up to 40% less fuel than existing buses have fallen far short of that. At times, the New Flyer buses, using the GM Allison hybrid... Read more →

GM, DaimlerChrysler Partner on Two-Mode, Full Hybrid System

GM and DaimlerChrysler are working together on a two-mode, full hybrid system that could support a range of applications, from compact cars to large SUVs, including front-wheel and read-wheel drives, and using a variety of powertrains including diesel, gasoline, and possibly alternative fuel systems. When participating on a conference panel... Read more →

GM and DaimlerChrysler to Partner on Hybrids

Bloomberg reports that GM and DaimlerChrysler will jointly develop a gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain. Neither company to date has stressed the development of a full gasoline hybrid vehicle. GM has plans to implement its Belt Alternator Starter (BAS) system (earlier post) to provide stop-start functionality and regenerative braking across several passenger... Read more →

RealClimate: A Climate Site by Climate Scientists

RealClimate is a new commentary site on climate science created by a number of working climate scientists for the public and working journalists. Climate science is one of those fields where anyone, regardless of their lack of expertise or understanding, feels qualified to comment on new papers and ongoing controversies.... Read more →