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Ford Introduces New Consumer Protection Program

Ford Motor Company introduced its own most comprehensive consumer confidence program, the “Ford Advantage Plan”. GM released its plan earlier today (earlier post), and Hyundai has had a consumer protection plan (Hyundai Assurance Plus) since mid-February. Under the Ford Advantage Plan, Ford will cover payments for up to 12 months... Read more →

GM Unveils “Total Confidence” Customer Protection Package

General Motors announced the most comprehensive customer protection in the industry with “GM Total Confidence”. Elements of the plan include: “Payment Protection” provides up to nine months of payments on vehicle loans or leases ($500 max/month) if a customer loses his or her job for economic reasons. Once a buyer... Read more →

Plug In America Challenges Obama Auto Task Force Conclusion on GM Volt, Proposes Reduction in Warranty Terms to Reduce Manufacturer Cost

In response to the Presidential Auto Task Force Report that concluded that the plug-in Chevrolet Volt was unlikely to be commercially successful in the short-term due to its cost (earlier post), Plug In America is proposing a plan to make GM’s Chevy Volt and other plug-in cars more affordable. Plug... Read more →

Diesel-Fueled Cyclone External Combustion Engine Shows Near-Zero NOx

Emission testing performed by Cyclone Power Technologies on its Mark II pre-production prototype 18 hp (13 kW) external combustion engine running on diesel fuel showed near-zero emissions of NOx: 16.20 parts per million (.0016%). (Earlier post.) Cyclone compared these results from dyanamometer testing to summary results for conventional internal combustion... Read more →

The Hydrid drivetrain. Click to enlarge. At the Hannover Messe, 20-24 April, Innas BV and NOAX BV will introduce the latest design of the Innas hydraulic transformer (IHT) and the “Hydrid”, a hydraulic series hybrid drive train for passenger cars and off-road equipment. With this new design, the fuel consumption... Read more →

Presidential Auto Task Force Concluded Plug-In GM Volt Likely “Too Expensive To Be Commercially Successful in the Short-Term”

Following the short address on Monday during which President Barack Obama outlined the next steps for GM and Chrysler (earlier post), the White House posted summaries of the Presidential Auto Task Force’s assessment of the business plans provided by the two struggling automakers, which led to the terms that are... Read more →

Capstone Turbine Successfully Demonstrates EPA and CARB 2010 Diesel Engine Emissions

Capstone Turbine Corporation has demonstrated with its 30 kW microturbine emission levels compliant with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (CARB) 2010 requirements for Heavy Duty Diesel Engine (HDDE). Tests were conducted at Capstone’s development test facilities in Van Nuys, California. Internal combustion diesel engine manufacturers... Read more →

The test process for Honda’s Brain-Machine Interface technology including conceptual diagram of the brain activity measuring device, example of obtained data, and example of distinguishing results. Click to enlarge. Honda Research Institute Japan Co., Ltd. (HRI-JP), a subsidiary of Honda R&D Co., Ltd., Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International (ATR) and... Read more →

Iveco has delivered a Eurocargo diesel-electric parallel hybrid medium-duty urban distribution vehicle to Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) at the European Business Summit in Brussels. The hybrid Eurocargo from Iveco. Click to enlarge. The hybrid uses a 16-valve, 4-cylinder 160 hp (119 kW) tector Euro 5 diesel engine in combination with a... Read more →

The DE e63 in a media test drive at the Proton Center of Excellence track in Malaysia. Click to enlarge. Detroit Electric Holdings Ltd, originally formed as a joint venture between ZAP and China Youngman Group (earlier post), and Malaysia-based Proton Holdings Berhad are forming a strategic partnership for the... Read more →

Proton Energy Systems Hits Milestone With in High Pressure PEM Electrolysis Technology for H2 Production

Proton Energy Systems has demonstrated more than 18,000 hours of hydrogen generation at 2,400 psi, without any external mechanical compression, using its advanced high pressure, proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolysis technology. The 2,400 psi milestone was achieved while at the same time also increasing the hydrogen production by a factor... Read more →

Chart of the proposed North American Emission Control Area. Source: EPA Click to enlarge. The US and Canada have submitted a proposal to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) for the designation of an Emission Control area (ECA) around their coastlines in which stringent international emission controls would apply to ocean-going... Read more →

GM, Politecnico di Torino and Regione Piemonte Enter New R&D Agreement; Diesel Hybrids a Priority

GM, Politecnico di Torino and Regione Piemonte, have entered into a framework agreement on the development of sustainable mobility, research and education projects in the Turin, Italy region. The announcement was made at the GM Symposium Diesel Fuels the Future. The resulting Accordo di Programma will form the Institute of... Read more →

Obama Outlines Next Steps for GM and Chrysler

In a statement livecast on the Internet by the White House, President Barack Obama said that neither of the restructuring plans submitted by GM and Chrysler “goes far enough to warrant substantial new investment.” In his short address, the President confirmed details that had emerged over the weekend about the... Read more →

Researchers Show Direct Bacterial Production of Methane from Electricity and CO2

Researchers at Penn State University, led by Dr. Bruce Logan, have found that methane can be directly produced using a biocathode containing methanogens in electrochemical systems (abiotic anode) or microbial electrolysis cells (MECs; biotic anode) by a process called electromethanogenesis. The results show that electromethanogenesis can be used to convert... Read more →

CenterPoint Energy, Inc.’s electric transmission and distribution subsidiary has selected GE Digital Energy as its provider of wireless communications to support the electric utility’s Advanced Metering System (AMS). The AMS is designed to give Houston-area electric consumers the ability to better monitor and manage electric use and cost in near... Read more →

Building on the idea of using DNA to link up nanoparticles, scientists at the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory have designed a molecular assembly line for predictable, high-precision nano-construction. Such reliable, reproducible nanofabrication is essential for exploiting the unique properties of nanoparticles in applications such as biological... Read more →

Continental Using BASF’s Ultramid Plastic in Latest Control Units for Dual-Clutch Transmission

The plastic parts of the integrated control units for dual-clutch transmissions produced by Continental for use at VW, Audi, Ford and BMW are made of Ultramid A3WG6, a proven PA 66 produced by BASF. This material is highly heat-stabilized, oil-resistant and, if needed, laser-markable. The transmission control unit is a... Read more →

South Carolina Opening Two Hydrogen Fueling Stations

Two hydrogen fueling stations are officially opening today in South Carolina: one in Sage Mill Industrial Park in Aiken County, the other in Columbia. The opening ceremonies will also dedicate the opening of the South Carolina Hydrogen Freeway between Aiken and Columbia. The Sage Mill facility is located in an... Read more →

Overview of the Schottky Barrier Diode with the cross-section schematic (right). (2 x 2 mm device chip is indicated by the circle.) Click to enlarge. Researchers at Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) earlier this year reported the development of rectifying diodes using ruthenium (Ru) and... Read more →

GM Confirms Wagoner Out, Fritz Henderson to Serve as CEO

Early in the morning on 30 March (East Coast time), GM announced that Rick Wagoner is stepping down as chairman and CEO, effective immediately (earlier post) and that Fritz Henderson, GM president and chief operating officer, will serve as CEO. Wagoner, 56, was named president and CEO in 2000, and... Read more →

Wagoner Out as GM CEO; Obama to Provide Details on New Auto Aid on Monday

The Detroit Free Press reports that the Obama Administration has asked GM CEO Rick Wagoner to resign, which Wagoner agreed to do today. President Obama will unveil his new rescue plan for GM and Chrysler in a White House ceremony on Monday. Not since President Franklin Roosevelt considered taking control... Read more →

AMAA 2009 Focuses on “Smart Systems for Safety, Sustainability and Comfort”

The 13th International Forum on Advanced Microsystems for Automotive Applications (AMAA) will be held in Berlin, Germany 5-6 May 2009, with the theme “Smart Systems for Safety, Sustainability and Comfort”. The two-day scientific and technical conference this year is placing a major focus on microsystems and ICT technologies enabling the... Read more →

Virgin Group Sponsors Brawn GP F1 Team; Focus on Gevo and Clean Fuels

The Virgin Group has entered a partnership agreement with the Brawn GP Formula 1 team on the team’s debut race weekend at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne. This is Virgin’s first foray into the world of Formula One and the first step in what is anticipated to be a... Read more →

The policy levels at which climate policy integration may take place. Source: Mickwitz et al. (2009) Click to enlarge. Specific measures to tackle climate change, such as emissions trading, will only be successful if they are coherently supported by other government policies addressing economic and social issues, according to a... Read more →

The Air Resources Board has revised its draft regulatory language for vehicle solar control requirements to specify only solar control requirements for new vehicles windows (glazing). The original proposed regulation contained requirements for both vehicle paint (“cool paint”) and windows to improve their ability to reflect heat from the sun.... Read more →

The proposed CO2 and H2 pathway (bottom) rather than the traditional CO and H2 pathway (top) can improve efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions by 15%. Credit: Adapted by P. Huey/Science. Click to enlarge. Researchers from the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), South Africa and Rutgers University are proposing new Fischer-Tropsch... Read more →

Onset of Expressway Toll Discount Program in Japan Sees Traffic Climb By Up To 52%

Kyodo. The first day of a two-year expressway toll discount program for weekends and holidays in Japan resulted in a 52% increase in traffic from year-earlier levels on the Tokai Ring Expressway in Gifu Prefecture, 48% on the Banetsu Expressway in Fukushima Prefecture and 46% on the Tohoku Expressway in... Read more →

Mitsubishi signs MoU with the Principality of Monaco for i MiEV Fleet Testing

Following a successful testing exercise conducted in December 2008, the Principality of Monaco, Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, Mitsubishi Motors Europe B.V. and MC Automobile (Europe) N.V.—a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Corporation—signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) regarding fleet testing of Mitsubishi Motors’ i MiEV electric vehicle with the Principality of Monaco. A... Read more →

Geely Buys Bankrupt Australian Transmission Supplier

Shanghai Daily. Geely Automobile Holdings is buying the bankrupt Australian transmission supplier Drivetrain System International (DSI), becoming the first Chinese automaker to make an overseas acquisition during the financial crisis. DSI produces four-speed and six speed automatic transmissions for supply to Ford Motor Corp, Chrysler and South Korea’s Ssangyong Motor... Read more →

Opel, the University of Stuttgart’s Institute for Combustion Engines and Motor Vehicles, Bosch and the Research Institute for Motor Vehicles and Vehicle Engines Stuttgart (FKFS) have developed a mild-hybrid CNG-electric version of the Opel Astra Caravan. The CNG Turbo Hybrid. Click to enlarge. The CNG hybrid Astra, developed in a... Read more →

The SEV US Newton. Click to enlarge. Smith Electric Vehicles US Corporation (SEV US) has selected Kansas City, Missouri as the site for its US assembly plant. (Earlier post.) The new assembly plant will be located at a portion of an airline overhaul base at Kansas City International (KCI) Airport... Read more →

National Academies to Hold “Summit on America’s Climate Choices”

In response to a request from Congress, the National Academies have initiated a suite of studies called America’s Climate Choices designed to inform and guide the US response to climate change. More than 90 experts from government, academia, and the private sector have been selected to serve on the steering... Read more →

NHTSA Sets MY 2011 CAFE Standards; Estimates Industry-Wide 27.3 mpg

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has set the model year 2011 CAFE standards, which it estimates will raise the industry-wide combined light-duty vehicle fuel economy average to 27.3 mpg, save 887 million gallons of fuel over the lifetime of the MY 2011 cars and light trucks, and... Read more →

Stacked plots of in situ 7Li static NMR spectra and electrochemical profile of the first discharge (C) of an actual crystalline Si vs Li/Li+ battery. Credit: ACS. Click to enlarge. Using a new spectroscopy technique, researchers at SUNY at Stony Brook (New York) and Université de Picardie Jules Verne (Amiens,... Read more →

New BASF Catalyst Helps Refiners Meet Higher Diesel Demand

BASF Catalysts has introduced a proprietary new technology that enables petroleum refiners to utilize their current gasoline-oriented fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) units to meet the increased global demand for diesel fuel. BASF’s HDXtra catalyst helps refiners increase diesel yields by maximizing production of the light-cycle oil (LCO) produced from the... Read more →

JM Energy to Introduce Higher Capacity Lithium-Ion Capacitors

Nikkei. JM Energy Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of JSR Corp. will begin mass production this summer of lithium-ion capacitors (LICs) with a 50% larger capacity than its current highest-end product. (Earlier post.) The electrochemical difference between EDLC and Lithium Ion Capacitors. Click to enlarge. In 2008, JM Energy, originally... Read more →

Embedded metal oxide compounds for Li-ion cathode material. Source: BASF. Click to enlarge. Under the leadership of BASF Future Business GmbH, eighteen partners from industry and science have formed the cross-sector consortium “HE-Lion” to develop and bring to market safer, more affordable high-energy lithium-ion batteries over the next four to... Read more →

Two smart2go units in Austin. Click to enlarge. Daimler will bring its car2go mobility concept (earlier post) to the US in a pilot phase to start this fall in Austin, Texas with an initial fleet of about 200 smart fortwo mhd vehicles with start/stop functionality. The US introduction coincides with... Read more →

The plant-derived DuPont Zytel 610 nylon resin is making its debut under the hood on DENSO Corporation’s new automotive radiator end-tank. This marks the first use of DuPont renewably sourced plastic in mechanical components exposed to the hot, chemically aggressive underhood environment. The DENSO radiator end tank with Zytel 610.... Read more →

Smith Electric Vehicles Delivers First Battery-Electric Truck into Ireland

Building materials retailer Grange Builders Providers, of Baldoyle, Dublin, has purchased a Smith Newton truck for deliveries of building and DIY products. The 10-tonne truck is the largest pure electric vehicle on the road in Ireland. Designed for city and town center use, the Smith Newton is powered by an... Read more →

DOE to Provide $3.2B in Funding for Local Energy Efficiency Improvements, Including Transportation Programs

The US Department of Energy announced the availability of $3.2 billion for investment in energy efficiency and conservation projects in US cities, counties, states, territories, and Native American tribes. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 appropriated the $3.2 billion for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant... Read more →

California ARB Adopts Tire Pressure Regulation to Reduce GHG Emissions

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) adopted a regulation that will require California’s automotive maintenance industry to check the tire pressure of every vehicle they service. Effective July 1, 2010, this rule is one of 44 early action measures required by AB 32, California’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction law. The... Read more →

GM Supports CSMCRI Jatropha Biodiesel Research in India

The Hindu. GM has entered into an agreement with India’s Central Salt and Marine Chemicals Research Institute (CSMCRI) to support the production of jatropha biodiesel. Under this proposal, CSMCRI will conduct a research, produce and supply jatropha oil for two years, which in the form of biodiesel will be tested... Read more →

DOE Awards RPI $1.6M to Develop New Fuel Cell Manufacturing Technology and Processes

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) a $1.6 million grant to create new technology and processes for faster, more cost-effective manufacturing of fuel cell membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs). Consisting of a stacked proton exchange membrane (PEM), catalyst, and electrodes, MEAs are the... Read more →