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New York Governor Joins Governors’ Ethanol Coalition

New York governor George E. Pataki is joining the Governors’ Ethanol Coalition, a bipartisan organization that is working to promote the development and use of ethanol-based fuels nationally and globally. Governor Pataki is the first Northeast governor to join the coalition of 31—now 32—states, Puerto Rico and four foreign countries... Read more →

Japan to Issue World’s First Fuel Economy Standards for Large Trucks and Buses

The Nihon Keizai Shimbun reports that Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Transport have decided to set the world’s first fuel economy standards for large trucks and buses in an attempt to curb Japan’s CO2 emissions. Such an unprecedented step (heavy-duty vehicles are untouched by... Read more →

Altairnano Ramps Up Lithium-Ion Battery Work

Altair Nanotechnologies has expanded its research, product development, manufacturing and marketing groups with the addition of eleven advanced battery scientists, engineers, manufacturing and marketing specialists. The mission of the enlarged battery team is to accelerate the development of Altairnano’s nano-structured battery electrode materials and provide new capabilities to manufacture in-house... Read more →

Nissan Unveils Pivo Concept Electric Vehicle

The Pivo EV Nissan Motor unveiled Pivo, an electric car concept, in partnership with renowned Japanese artist Takashi Murakami at the company’s Nissan Ginza Gallery in downtown Tokyo. Pivo, which Nissan will show at the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show, features an innovative cabin that revolves 360 degrees, eliminating the need... Read more →

Oxygen Picks Valence Li-Ion Batteries for Electric Scooters

Oxygen S.p.A. , a provider of electric scooters, has chosen Saphion lithium-ion battery systems from Valence Technology to power two of its models. Oxygen will use the U-Charge U1 Power System in its Oxygen E, which is designed to address the need for low-cost transportation in congested urban areas, recreational... Read more →

Capstone MicroTurbines Surpass 10 Million Operating Hours

The CARB-certified Capstone MicroTurbine HEV engine. The installed fleet of the Capstone Turbine’s MicroTurbine energy systems has surpassed the 10-million-hour mark—equivalent to more than 1,000 years of continuous operation—in documented runtime operation. Although the large majority of the more than 3,200 units in the field function in on-site power generation... Read more →

Pennsylvania Consortium to Buy Fuel Output from Waste Coal-to-Liquids Plant

Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell has announced the formation of a consortium that will purchase nearly the full output of synthetic diesel fuel to be produced by the nation’s first Coal-to-Liquids (CTL) plant that uses waste coal as a feedstock. The plant, to be built by Waste Management and Processors Inc.... Read more →

DaimlerChrysler to Partner with NextEnergy on Biodiesel Research and Development

DaimlerChrysler will collaborate with Detroit-based NextEnergy and Biodiesel Industries on biodiesel development and technical innovation, as well as the development and refinement of industry standards for the rapidly-growing biodiesel industry. Worldwide, DaimlerChrysler is putting increasing emphasis on renewable and synthetic fuels. The company has promoted use of biodiesel fuel in... Read more →

Initial Testing of Hybrid Utility Trucks Shows 40%–60% Drop in Fuel Consumption

International-Eaton Hybrid Utility truck Initial independent test results of prototype hybrid utility trucks being used in the WestStart’s Hybrid Truck Users Forum (HTUF) pilot program (earlier post) have shown a decrease in fuel consumption of 40%–60% measured against driving and work cycles typical of the utility industry. The target requirement... Read more →

Arctic Ice Melt Accelerates to Record Lows

The decline in sea ice extent from 1978-2005 Accelerating melting has shrunk Arctic ice to its smallest extent in at least a century, according to scientists from NASA, the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), and the University of Washington. For the fourth consecutive year, NSIDC and NASA scientists... Read more →

Defects in Nanotubes Could Halve Energy Required for Hydrogen Production

A water molecule interacts with a carbon nanostructure. Scientists at North Carolina State University have modeled a nanoscale method for extracting hydrogen from water that should require only half the energy of current hydrogen production methods. The researchers discovered that defects in carbon nanotubes make it easier to disassociate water... Read more →

Mack Trucks Displays Prototype Class 8 Heavy-Duty Hybrid

Class 8 Hybrid Prototype Mack Trucks, in conjunction with the US Air Force Advanced Power Technology Office (APTO), displayed on Capitol Hill a prototype mild-hybrid electric powertrain for Class 8 heavy-duty trucks. The powertrain is mounted in an Air Force R-11 6,000-gallon capacity refueler truck built on a Mack RD... Read more →

Westport Proposing Ambitious Beijing-Qingdao Heavy-Duty LNG Project

The Beijing-Qingdao Green Corridor Westport Innovations is proposing a Green Corridor project running between Beijing and Qingdao in China that would demonstrate the feasibility and advantages of liquefied natural gas (LNG) for heavy-duty vehicles, and leave behind the largest fleet of heavy-duty (not urban transit) natural gas vehicles in the... Read more →

Johnson Controls Launches Lithium-Ion Development Lab

Johnson Controls, the world’s largest manufacturer of automotive original equipment and aftermarket batteries, has launched a $4-million advanced lithium-ion battery development laboratory in Milwaukee to work on solutions for hybrid-electric vehicles. Johnson Controls is an established supplier (through its Varta acquisition) of nickel-metal-hydride (NiMH) batteries for hybrid-vehicle applications in Europe.... Read more →

Bosch Develops Bi-Fuel Gasoline/CNG Engine Management System

Bosch Bi-Fuel management system Bosch has developed an engine management system specifically geared to bi-fuel (bivalent) vehicles which can be alternately powered by gasoline or compressed natural gas (CNG). Production will start in 2006. The system consists of an engine control unit, components for fuel supply and mixture formation as... Read more →

Dutch Team Wins World Solar Challenge, Breaks 100 km/h Threshold

Crossing the finish line The Dutch Nuon Solar Team smashed its own world record for driving a solar car from Darwin to Adelaide in this year’s Panasonic World Solar Challenge. Nuon’s latest car, Nuna 3, turned in a 29-hour and 11-minute time on the 3,021 kilometer (1.878 miles) race, with... Read more →

Bosch to Offer Micro-Hybrid System in 2006

Bosch micro-hybrid system Bosch, which like Siemens VDO (earlier post) is developing a full family of hybrid drive solutions, plans first production of a micro-hybrid electronic start/stop system for 2006. The start-stop system, which shuts off the engine when the vehicle is at rest and restarts it when the driver... Read more →

Hydrogenics to Use American Superconductor Power Converters in Fuel Cell Array for Bus

The layout of the fuel cell-ultracapacitor hybrid bus Hydrogenics has tapped American Superconductor Corporation as the provider for power electronic converters for use in the propulsion system of a 40-foot fuel cell-ultracapacitor hybrid transit bus being developed for demonstration in Canada. The fuel cell bus demonstration project, partly funded by... Read more →

Mitsubishi to Display Lancer Evolution EV at Tokyo Motor Show

The Lancer Evolution MIEV Among the production and concept cars Mitsubishi will display at the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show (22 Oct to 6 Nov) will be the new Lancer Evolution Mitsubishi In-wheel Electric Vehicle (MIEV). (Earlier post.) The Lancer is the most recent electric test vehicle (following the Colt EV... Read more →

UQM Technologies Hybrid Drive in US Army Heavy Truck Prototype

UQM Technologies is providing the hybrid electric propulsion system for use in a prototype US Army heavy truck being developed by Stewart & Stevenson Tactical Vehicle Systems. The Stewart & Stevenson contract, which is part of the Army’s Future Tactical Truck System (FTTS) effort, extends the current National Automotive Center’s... Read more →

Nissan to Introduce new 1.5-liter Subcompact in US in 2006

Nissan Tiida, the basis for the new subcompact The Nihon Keizai Shimbun reports that Nissan will begin producing its promised new low-priced subcompact for the North American market next spring. Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn had said in January that the company would produce and sell a new compact car with... Read more →

Mass Legislature to Vote on Wide-Ranging Hybrid and Alt Fuel Incentive Bill

The Massachusetts legislature is moving forward with legislation (Senate Bill No. 2176) that sets out a wide-ranging program to accelerate the adoption of hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles by private citizens and by state and local entities. The bill offers a number of incentives, including tax breaks for hybrid and... Read more →

Volvo Creating World’s First CO2-Free Automotive Plant

AB Volvo is making Volvo Trucks’ plant in Tuve the world’s first CO2-free automotive plant by using wind power and biofuel as sources for all the plant’s electricity and heat. Combined with efforts to achieve energy savings of up to 20%, Volvo, in cooperation with Göteborg Energi is currently building... Read more →

DaimlerChrysler Fuel Cell Vehicles Reach One Million Mile Mark

DaimlerChrysler announced that the company has hit the one million mile mark with its fuel cell vehicles. The figure represents the combined mileage of more than 100 fuel cell vehicles operating worldwide including the Mercedes-Benz F-Cell passenger cars, Dodge Sprinter medium-duty fuel cell powered vans and Citaro fuel cell powered... Read more →

Hacking Hybrids for Greater Fuel Efficiency

How MIMA works A group of people on Insight Central, an Internet forum focused on the Honda Insight, have initiated a project that provides greater driver control over the activation/charging of the Insight hybrid system: MIMA, or Manual Integrated Motor Assist. The premise behind MIMA is that (some) humans can... Read more →

Ohio Governor Mandates DOT to use B20 and E85 Biofuels

Ohio Governor Bob Taft has instructed the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) to use at least one million gallons of B20 biodiesel fuel and 30,000 gallons of E85 ethanol per year, and to select only Flex-Fuel (capable of running gasoline or ethanol blends up to E85) vehicles for new car... Read more →

Siemens VDO Developing Family of Hybrid Drives

Siemens hybrid modules Siemens VDO Automotive is developing a series of modular hybrid drives that will meet micro-, mild- and full-hybrid applications. The company is currently testing the micro and mild modules, and plans to have the full-hybrid drive with electrical outputs of up to 75 kW available by 2008.... Read more →

Minnesota Governor Calls on Other States to Implement E10 by 2010

In a speech to the meeting of the Governors’s Ethanol Coalition (GEC), Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty called on every state to take steps toward use of at least 10% ethanol in gasoline (an E10 blend) by 2010. Pawlenty chairs the GEC, which includes 31 states as well as Puerto Rico,... Read more →

Siemens VDO Highlights Work with the Electronic Wedge Brake

Siemens EWB Siemens VDO Automotive used the Frankfurt IAA to exhibit its work with the electronic wedge brake (EWB) which will be the foundation of its brake-by-wire systems for the 12-volt vehicle electrical system due for production in this decade. The EWB eliminates the need for components such as hydraulic... Read more →

President Bush Extends EPA Waivers, Calls for More Refineries

In discussing the impact of Hurricane Rita on the gasoline and energy supply, President Bush said he has instructed the EPA to keep the clean-fuel waivers in place issued in response to Katrina (earlier post), and well as for continuance of the waiver of the Jones Act restrictions on fuel... Read more →

Toyota Dream House with Plug-In Prius

Recharging stand for hybrids and EVs in the center of the garage A 6-month long public exhibition of a Toyota concept home—one aspect of which is a plug-in Prius—ended Sunday in Japan. Designed and developed by TRON (The Real-time Operating system Nucleus) project leader Ken Sakamura in cooperation with Toyota... Read more →

Maxwell Introduces New 48-Volt Ultracapacitor Module Based on MC2600

48-volt Ultracap Module Maxwell Technologies has unveiled a compact, fully integrated, 48-volt multi-cell BOOSTCAP ultracapacitor module for heavy-duty transportation and industrial energy storage and power delivery applications. The new BMOD2600-48 module consists of 18 2.7-volt BOOSTCAP MC2600 cells. The MC 2600 cell, introduced earlier this year (earlier post) provides increased... Read more →

Malaysia Investing in Three Palm-Oil Biodiesel Plants

Bernama. The Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) will invest RM60 million (US$16 million) on three palm-oil biodiesel plants, each with an annual capacity of 60,000 tonnes (about 18.4 million gallons US, or 70 million liters). The three plants, to be operated on a 50:50 joint venture basis with three local... Read more →

Porsche Plans to Buy 20% of VW

Porsche AG announced that it plans to buy 20% of Volkswagen’s common shares to prevent a takeover of Europe’s largest carmaker. The investment would be worth about €3.3 billion (US$4 billion) based on the current price of the common stock. At the IAA, Porsche announced that it would develop a... Read more →

World Solar Challenge in Australia Underway

The World Solar Challenge Route Twenty-one entries from 10 countries started the biennial World Solar Challenge on Sunday, a 3,021-kilometer (1,876-mile) race for solar-powered vehicles from Darwin in the north to Adelaide in the south. The race will last between four and five days. Favored vehicles include the new car... Read more →

DOE Releases Draft (for Comment) of Strategic Plan for Greenhouse Gas Reduction

With the backdrop of the current hurricane season putting increasing public focus on global warming (in the UK, Sir John Lawton, chairman of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution criticized what he termed U.S. “climate loonies” for ignoring the issue), the US Department of Energy has released for comment its... Read more →

Cummins Westport Awarded More Funding for Low-Emissions ISL G Natural Gas Engine

Rendering of the ISL G The South Coast (CA) Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) has awarded Cummins Westport Inc. $690,000 in funding for CWI’s heavy-duty ISL G natural gas engine development program. The Cummins Westport ISL G engine will meet 2010 emission standards of 0.2 g/bhp-hr oxides of nitrogen (NOx)... Read more →

Israeli Startup Tackles On-Board Hydrogen Generation for Combustion Engines

A sketch of the Engineuity process. An Israeli startup, Engineuity R&D Ltd, claims it has developed and demonstrated a technology for on-board hydrogen production for use with a modified internal combustion engine. The technology is based on a high-temperature process causing a light metal wire (e.g., aluminum or magnesium) to... Read more →

Rentech Closes $31M Stock Offering to Support Coal-to-Liquids Work

Rentech, Inc., the developer and licensor of a proprietary Fischer-Tropsch process, has closed the sale of 13,436,000 shares of its common stock from its shelf registration at a price of $2.30 per share. Net proceeds to the Company are $30,902,800. Rentech intends to use the proceeds to continue to move... Read more →

CalCars Engages with Designer/Architect William McDonough on Plug-Ins Development

The California Cars Initiative (CalCars.org), the non-profit organization behind the Plug-in Prius (earlier post), has announced that it will be working with William McDonough to integrate Cradle-to-Cradle approaches in its future technology development work. CalCars is thus expanding its efforts to motivate automakers to build plug-in hybrid vehicles to incorporate... Read more →

Ghosn: Hybrids Are a “Terrible Business Prospect”

Carlos Ghosn, joint chief executive of Nissan and Renault, continues to describe gasoline-electric hybrids as a “terrible business prospect.” He made his latest remarks during an update for the media on the status of Nissan’s business plan. Although Nissan plans to introduce a hybrid version of its Altima based on... Read more →

D1 to Open First Indian Biodiesel Refinery in 2006

PTI. UK-Based D1 Oils will open its first Indian biodiesel refinery in Chennai early next year. D1 Oils, which has formed a joint venture with Mohan Breweries and distilleries, plans to produce 8,000 metric tons of oil from jatropha in the initial year. It has begun large-scale jatropha cultivation in... Read more →

Why Are There No Volume Lithium-Ion Battery Manufacturers in the US?

The shift toward electric drive systems is well underway—whether the future is an all-electric vehicle, a plug-in hybrid or a fuel cell vehicle, the machine that actually turns the wheels will likely be an electric motor, with some form of energy storage. That makes electric motors and batteries critical technologies.... Read more →

LA Metro to Buy 194 CNG and 6 Gasoline-Electric Hybrid Buses

The Los Angeles Metro Board of Directors authorized the purchase of 200 new buses, six of them gasoline-electric series-hybrids for testing, the other CNG-fueled. The bus procurements will cost more than $100 million although the final purchase price will be determined once bids for the largest block of coaches are... Read more →

Ford Delivers Five Focus Fuel Cell Hybrids to Florida

Ford Motor Company is delivering five hydrogen hybrid Ford Focus Fuel Cell vehicles (earlier post) as part of a five-city 30 car-program for testing of fuel-cell technology. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will get three vehicles and Progress Energy will receive the other two. The Ford Focus Fuel... Read more →

Sanyo to More than Double NiMH Battery Production Based on Hybrid Demand

Nikkei. Sanyo Electric plans to raise monthly production of NiMH batteries for hybrid vehicles from the current 1 million units to up to 2.5 million by the end of fiscal 2005. (Each hybrid battery pack can contain hundreds of batteries; the Ford Escape hybrid battery uses 250 cells, for example.)... Read more →

Purchases of Low-Emissions Cars in Japan Rose 4.7% in 2004

Nikkei. Shipments low-emissions vehicles in Japan rose 4.7% in 2004 to 4.2 million units, according to a report by the Japan Manufacturers Association (JAMA) released Wednesday. The bulk of those purchases were of low-emissions gasoline-powered cars. Shipments of hybrid cars jumped 56.8% to 66,540 (2% of the “green” total). However,... Read more →

Orange County Transit Buys 50 New Flyer CNG Buses, Options for 327 More

New Flyer CNG bus. Click to enlarge. The Orange County (CA) Transportation Authority (OCTA) has ordered 50 compressed natural gas (CNG), 40-foot buses from New Flyer to be delivered in 2006, with options for 150 buses in 2007 and 177 buses in 2009. OCTA has also planned for the purchase... Read more →