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UMTRI researchers suggests safety expectations for self-driving vehicles may be overblown

In a new white paper, a team from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) discussed issues related to road safety with self-driving vehicles and concludes that expectations for improved road safety may be, in some cases, overblown. In their paper, Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle assessed safety from... Read more →

Petrobras is world’s largest operator of floating production platforms

Petrobras now operates more floating production platforms (including self-owned and chartered ones) than any other company in the world, according to Petrodata, a consulting firm that specializes in providing information about the global oil industry. According to the company’s latest figures, as of December 2014 Petrobras operated 110 offshore production... Read more →

Argonne National Laboratory released the newest version (3.0) of the online tool Water Assessment for Transportation Energy Resources (WATER) this week. This latest version of WATER allows, for the first time, biofuels manufacturers to analyze water consumption associated with use of cellulosic feedstocks such as residue left from lumber production... Read more →

Nissan and Hydro-Québec partner to expand the public charging network in Québec; 20 DC Fast Charging sites in 2015, 5 in 2016

At the Montreal International Auto Show, Nissan announced it will support the expansion of the public charging network “the Electric Circuit” with an investment in 25 DC Fast Charging sites. The partnership agreement is part of a new phase of development of the Electric Circuit, which targets up to 50... Read more →

Extensive testing with the second generation of Porsche’s Le Mans prototype will begin on 18 January on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit. As scheduled, this marks the start of the 2015 motorsport season for the Porsche Team. The new Porsche 919 Hybrid is a comprehensive evolution of the successful car... Read more →

smart fortwo now available for ordering with twinamic dual clutch transmission; manual or automatic gear shifting

As the first model of the new smart generation, the smart fortwo rated at 52 kW/71 hp is now available for ordering with the twinamic dual clutch transmission. (Earlier post.) This enables gear shifting to be carried out either fully automatically or manually. With twinamic, the fortwo accelerates from 0... Read more →

Cal Energy Commission to award ~$1.2M for center for alt fuels and advanced vehicle technologies

The California Energy Commission Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program (ARFVTP) is making up to $1,194,659 in grant funds available to develop a new center or expand an existing center for alternative fuels and advanced vehicle technologies in Central California. (PON-14-606) The solicitation is open to both public... Read more →

Crazy Diamond Performance offering dedicated CNG vehicle and refueling package

Crazy Diamond Performance Inc. (CDP) is now offering BRC FuelMaker residential and commercial fueling compressed natural gas (CNG) products, when ordered in conjunction with its advanced dedicated CNG vehicle retrofit systems. CDP is offering a package of an EPA certified 2015 mono-fuel CNG Cruze LS (earlier post) and a BRC... Read more →

Researchers from Nanjing Forestry University and the University of Maryland have designed high-performance microfibers by hybridizing two-dimensional (2D) graphene oxide (GO) nanosheets and one-dimensional (1D) nanofibrillated cellulose (NFC) fibers. The resulting well-aligned, strong microfibers have the potential to supersede carbon fibers due to their low cost, the team suggests in... Read more →

CAMISMA seat prototype is 40% lighter than conventional seats. Click to enlarge. Johnson Controls and its partners are working to reduce the use of metals in vehicle seat structures by replacing them with multi-material systems in the CAMISMA (carbon-amide-metal-based interior structure using a multi-material system approach) research project. (Earlier post.)... Read more →

During the Automotive News World Congress this week, IBM released results of its new Automotive 2025 Global Study, outlining an industry ripe for disruptive changes that are breaking down borders of the automotive ecosystem. The study forecasts that while the automotive industry will offer a greater personalized driving experience by... Read more →

ITS-Davis director Dan Sperling to chair US Transportation Research Board

Dan Sperling, director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Davis, and member of the California Air Resources Board, has been appointed the 2015 chair of the Transportation Research Board’s Executive Committee, which provides independent scientific advice to the nation on transportation issues. Sperling is a professor of civil... Read more →

DOE issues $14M solicitation for vehicle technologies

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) has released its FY2015 Vehicle Technologies Office Incubator funding opportunity (DE-FOA-0001213). (Earlier post.) The incubator FOAs are intended to support innovative technologies and solutions that could help meet existing goals but are not represented in a... Read more →

Opel KARL to debut at Geneva show; 1.0L Ecotec

Opel will stage the world premiere of the new Opel KARL (earlier post) at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show (5-15 March). Opel’s new entry-level model will be powered by one of the company’s new all-aluminum, 55 kW/75 hp, 1.0-liter, three-cylinder Ecotec engines (earlier post), paired with a five-speed manual transmission.... Read more →

Boeing, Embraer open joint aviation biofuel research center in Brazil

Boeing and Embraer have opened a joint sustainable aviation biofuel research center in a collaborative effort to further establish the aviation biofuel industry in Brazil. At the Boeing-Embraer Joint Research Center in the São José dos Campos Technology Park, the companies will coordinate and co-fund research with Brazilian universities and... Read more →

Production and sales of plug-ins boomed in China in 2014

The production and sales of plug-in vehicles in China boomed last year, according to statistics from CAAM (China Association of Automobile Manufacturers). Total production reached 78,499 units, 3.5 times the number in 2013. Among the total, 48,605 units were battery electric vehicles (BEV) (62%) and 29,894 units were plug-in hybrids... Read more →

Toyota to quadruple original production capacity for Mirai FCV; 1,400 units already ordered

The Nikkei reports that Toyota will further boost its production capacity for the Mirai fuel cell vehicle to 3,000 units by 2017, based on demand in Japan and the company’s plans to introduce Mirai into other markets. In December 2014, the Nikkei reported that Toyota would invest some $165 million... Read more →

Google begins talks with automakers to bring self-driving cars to market eventually

Chris Urmson, director of self-driving cars at Google, said at the Automotive News World Congress in Detroit that the company has started talks with most of the world’s top automakers and assembled a team of global suppliers to speed its push to bring self-driving cars to market. The suppliers named... Read more →

California approves another $18M for clean energy projects; $12M for alternative vehicles

The California Energy Commission approved nearly $18 million to fund projects that will help the state meet its climate and energy goals. Twelve million dollars will go toward three alternative fuel projects, $4 million will help fund two geothermal projects and $3.5 million will help fund local energy efficiency projects.... Read more →

China’s leading mobile taxi booking app secures $600M from SoftBank Group, Alibaba Group and Tiger Global

Travice Inc., the operator and developer of KuaiDi Dache, a leading mobile taxi booking app provider in China, SoftBank Internet and Media, Inc. (SIMI), and Alibaba Group Holding Limited announced an agreement under which SoftBank Group (further described below) led a financing round of approximately US$600 million, with participation from... Read more →

The new Ford GT on display in the Ford stand at NAIAS. Click to enlarge. In December, Ford President and CEO Mark Fields said Ford would focus on five key areas of innovation, one of them being performance. He said that more than 12 new performance vehicles would be introduced... Read more →

ASG life-cycle study finds aluminum Ford F-150 “Best Full-size Truck of 2015” from environmental and economic perspective

According to the latest annual life-cycle study from the Automotive Science Group (ASG), the all-new lightweight aluminum 2015 Ford F-150 leads the full-size light-duty truck competition in all environmental and economic performance areas; accordingly, ASG selected the F-150 as its Best Full-size Truck of 2015. According to ASG and the... Read more →

USABC to evaluate Seeo Li-poly batteries with an eye to EV applications

Seeo, a developer of advanced lithium polymer batteries, announced the award of a contract for technology assessment from the United States Advanced Battery Consortium LLC (USABC), a collaborative organization of FCA US LLC, Ford Motor Company and General Motors. Under the contract, Seeo will deliver its DryLyte battery modules to... Read more →

Gevo begins sales of renewable isobutanol to Brenntag Canada; solvents and specialty chemicals

Gevo, Inc. has begun sales of renewable isobutanol to Brenntag Canada Inc., a member of the Brenntag group companies, for distribution into the solvents, oil & gas, mining and specialty chemicals markets. The initial market entry is focused on Canada. Brenntag Canada has purchased truckload quantities of isobutanol from Gevo... Read more →

Ram introducing 1500 EcoDiesel HFE full-size pickup with 29 mpg highway

The Ram Truck brand is adding a new, more fuel-efficient model to its half-ton truck lineup. The new 2015 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel HFE will deliver the highest highway fuel economy (29 mpg) among all current full-size truck competitors—12% higher than the next-closest, the aluminum-bodied 2015 Ford F-150 2WD with 2.7-liter... Read more →

U. Waterloo / BASF team reports new strategy for stabilizing high-performance Li-S cathodes; “transfer mediator”

A team from the University of Waterloo in Canada and BASF has devised a successful new strategy to stabilize cathode in Li-S batteries, thereby significantly improving performance and cycle life. In a study exploring the mechanism published in the journal Nature Communications, the researchers, led by Prof. Linda Nazar at... Read more →

Constellium supplying high-strength aluminium structural parts for the 2015 Ford F-150 pickup truck

Constellium N.V. announced that it provides Ford Motor Co. with aluminium structural parts for the all-new Ford F-150 pickup truck that extensively uses high-strength, military-grade, aluminium alloy as a build material. Constellium, a global leader in the development and manufacturing of aluminium structural parts for the automotive industry, is one... Read more →

Lexus unveils GS F with 5L V8; Atkinson cycle in cruising range

Lexus unveiled the GS F high performance sports sedan and the latest model in the “F” series at the North American International Auto Show. The 5.0-liter, V8 engine equipped with the D-4S direct injection mechanism produces the linear power feel and superior response characteristics of a normally aspirated engine, while... Read more →

BASF launches next-generation PremAir NXT catalytic coating technology for direct ozone reduction

BASF announced the commercial launch of PremAir NXT, a next-generation direct ozone reduction (DOR) catalytic coating technology for heat exchange surfaces such as radiators that can help automakers meet new US Tier 3 and California LEV III emissions reduction requirements. When applied to such surfaces, the PremAir NXT solution converts... Read more →

Honda brings FCV Concept to N. America, promises new EV and PHEV models by 2018

Honda staged the North American debut of the Honda FCV fuel cell vehicle at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS); the company also announced US availability for the FCV in 2016. (Earlier post.) Honda also used the venue to announce that it will offer several next-generation, advanced powertrain vehicles,... Read more →

EPA approves Algenol ethanol as RFS advanced biofuel with D5 code; 69% reduction in GHG compared to gasoline

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved ethanol made from Algenol’s process as an advanced biofuel, meeting the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reduction requirements under the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS). Algenol’s ethanol, produced by photosynthetic cyanobacteria, is now eligible for a Renewable Identification Number (RIN) under the D5 classification. (Earlier... Read more →

Local Motors is 3D printing and assembling a Strati—the first 3D-printed car—live from the show floor at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). (Earlier post.) The design was chosen in May 2014 from more than 200 submitted to Local Motors by the company’s online co-creation community after launching a... Read more →

NSX at the reveal. Click to enlarge. Acura unveiled the production model of the next-generation NSX at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). The high performance hybrid features a new twin-turbocharged 75-degree DOHC V6 engine with an Acura-designed 9-speed dual clutch transmission (DCT) and three-electric motor Sport Hybrid system,... Read more →

Toyota introduces all-new Tacoma with new 3.5L non-hybrid Atkinson cycle engine

At the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), Toyota introduced the completely revamped Tacoma mid-size pickup. The new Tacoma will be powered by a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine and an all-new, segment-first 3.5-liter Atkinson cycle V6 equipped with Toyota’s D-4S technology, featuring both direct and port fuel injection. (Earlier post.) Both... Read more →

Scientists at the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have developed an enzyme that can enable the conversion of biomass to sugars up to 14 times faster and more cheaply than competing catalysts in enzyme cocktails today. The enzyme called CelA, a cellulase from the bacterium... Read more →

Lufthansa Group aircraft will fly from Oslo on biokerosene beginning in March; deal with Statoil

The Lufthansa Group will be fueling their aircraft at Oslo airport with a biokerosene mixture beginning this March. The Group recently became the first airline group to sign this kind of contract with the Norwegian oil company Statoil Aviation. Lufthansa is thus pushing forward along the path of research, testing... Read more →

Ford to introduce next version of AppLink next year for improved smartphone integration

Several weeks after Ford introduced its next-generation SYNC 3 in-vehicle connectivity system (earlier post), the company announced it will roll out Ford SYNC AppLink 3.0 next year, giving customers the ability to access their favorite compatible navigation app—much as they do on a smartphone—on in-vehicle touch screens. (Upon launch later... Read more →

Audi introduces new Q7 SUV, plug-in hybrid variant coming later this year

As promised (earlier post), Audi introduced the new Q7 at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. The revamped 7-seater SUV offers diverse drivetrain technologies (gasoline, diesel, plug-in hybrid), intelligent muti-material lightweight construction, and a full range of connectivity and electronics features. The multimaterial mix of aluminum and... Read more →

Hyundai introduces hybrid version of new Sonata; 10% improvement in fuel economy over predecessor

Hyundai introduced the Hybrid version of the seventh-generation Sonata at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Sonata Hybrid continues to visually differentiate itself from other Sonata models with purposefully unique wheels and front and rear fascias that improve aerodynamics while highlighting Sonata Hybrid’s advanced technology and efficiency. Hyundai... Read more →

Hyundai lanched the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle—Hyundai’s first plug-in hybrid vehicle—along with the hybrid version of the seventh-generation Sonata, at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The PHEV is fitted with a 9.8 kWh lithium polymer battery pack—roughly five times larger than the Sonata Hybrid’s... Read more →

Mercedes-Benz introduces C 350 PLUG-IN HYBRID; on sale in March

Mercedes-Benz introduced the C 350 PLUG-IN HYBRID, in both sedan and wagon versions, at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). Following the C 300 BlueTEC HYBRID, the C 350 PLUG-IN HYBRID is the second hybrid model in the new C-Class and the second Mercedes-Benz model (following the S 500... Read more →

Siemens developing monitoring system for pantographs for eHighways

Siemens is developing an automatic monitoring system for pantographs. Designed initially for electric and hybrid trucks on eHighways (earlier post), the system uses cameras and sensors to check the condition of pantographs in order to prevent damage to the contact wire. Similar but more complex systems are occasionally used for... Read more →

2016 Nissan Titan XD Cummins 5.0L V8 Turbo Diesel. Click to enlarge. Nissan’s new 2016 Titan XD full-size pickup, which made its debut at the 2015 North American International Auto Show, was also the platform for the debut of the first vehicle installation of the all-new Cummins 5.0L V8 Turbo... Read more →

Ford collaborating with DowAksa on automotive-grade carbon fiber, part of IACMI

Ford and DowAksa are accelerating joint research to develop high-volume manufacturing techniques for automotive-grade carbon fiber, aiming to make vehicles lighter for greater fuel efficiency, performance and capability. The companies will be part of the newly formed Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI), created by the US government. (Earlier... Read more →

At the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), Chevrolet introduced the Bolt EV concept crossover—a vision for an affordable, long-range all-electric vehicle designed to offer more than 200 miles of range starting around $30,000. The Bolt EV concept is designed to offer long-range performance in all 50 states and many... Read more →

Johnson Controls providing AGM batteries for Start-Stop F-150

Johnson Controls is providing its advanced Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) battery technology to the all-new 2015 Ford F-150; this is Ford Motor Company’s first truck with Auto Start-Stop. AGM batteries used in a Start-Stop system help reduce fuel consumption as the engine shuts off when the vehicle comes to a... Read more →

Amec Foster Wheeler awarded syngas-to-liquids project in the US; focus on jet fuels

UK-based Amec Foster Wheeler signed an agreement with D’Arcinoff Group, a US-based investment and alternative technology development company, to provide engineering and technical services for an integrated 30,000 barrels per day syngas-to-liquids facility, known as the West Texas Renewable and Gas Monetization Project in Hudspeth County, Texas. The facility will... Read more →

UPM Lappeenranta Biorefinery begins commercial production of wood-based renewable diesel

The first wood-based renewable diesel biorefinery has started commercial production in Lappeenranta, Finland. UPM Lappeenranta Biorefinery is based on a hydrotreatment process developed by UPM, and produces approximately 120 million liters (31.7 million gallons US) of renewable UPM BioVerno diesel yearly. (Earlier post.) The UPM BioVerno diesel is produced out... Read more →

ExxonMobil Research and Engineering and Arisdyne collaborating on controlled flow cavitation technology for petroleum-based fuels, lubes and chemicals

ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company (EMRE) has signed a Joint Development Agreement with Arisdyne Systems Inc. (Arisdyne) jointly to develop and commercialize new applications based on Arisdyne’s Controlled Flow Cavitation (CFC) Technology for the production of petroleum-based fuels, lubricants and chemicals. CFC can provide high shear forces used for superior... Read more →