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amor de cosmos Feb 8, 2014 5:37 PM


Federal Fleet Vehicles Need To Get More Alternative
By Sierra Club
Electric Vehicles, Hybrids, Transportation
February 7, 2014

Imagine pumping 400 million gallons of fuel for your cars over the course of a year. That’s roughly twice the amount of oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico by BP in 2010. That’s also the amount of fuel the federal government used in 2012. A new report by the General Services Administration shows that federal fleets are falling well short of goals set by President Obama to reduce oil consumption and shift to advanced vehicles.

In the Sierra Club’s Future Fleet campaign, we are pushing large fleets to reduce their oil consumption and stop using dirty and dangerous tar sands oil wherever possible. As the largest single fleet operator in the country, the federal government has a tremendous opportunity to lead the nation in reducing our dependence on oil. In a 2009 executive order, President Obama set a goal of reducing oil use in the federal fleet 30 percent by 2020, and outlined more specific guidelines for federal fleet managers in a 2011 presidential memorandum.

In 2012 the federal government managed more than 650,000 vehicles around the world — roughly split in thirds among military vehicles, civilian agency vehicles, and the US Postal Service fleet. According to the GSA report, vehicles in the federal fleet drove more than five billion miles, consumed nearly 400 million gallons of fuel and incurred operating costs of $4 billion. While this represents a reduction in fuel use of five percent from 2011 to 2012, the federal fleet has only reduced oil use a total of three percent since 2005.

amor de cosmos Feb 11, 2014 8:12 PM


DAILY NEWS Feb 11, 2014 10:38 AM - 0 comments
Biofuels demand to surpass 51 billion gallons annually by 2022: research

BOULDER, Colo.---In the last 10 years, biofuels have become a promising solution to solving the energy security, environmental, and economic challenges associated with petroleum dependency. The global biofuels industry is now on the verge of entering a new phase of development focused on advanced and drop-in biofuels.

“Developed nations in Europe and North America are beginning to see declines in liquid fuels consumption from the road transportation sector, due to increased vehicle fuel efficiency and growing interest in alternative fuel vehicles,” says Scott Shepard, research analyst with Navigant Research. “The continued growth of conventional biofuels relies either on policies increasing biofuel blend requirements, or on growing vehicle markets in the Asia Pacific region. Meanwhile, advances in biofuels derived from non-food feedstocks, and biofuels that require no changes to infrastructure or vehicles, promise to significantly alter the petroleum industry landscape.”


With Help From Supercapacitors, Trains Are Providing New Services to the Grid
The frequency regulation market gets noticed by the transportation sector.

Katherine Tweed
February 11, 2014

Depending on where you live, your public transportation options either provide a quality way to get around, or are the subject of endless frustration. Often it’s a little a little bit of both.

Even in the best public transportation locales, such as New York, it’s a wonder that any project gets completed, let alone expanded upon. The Second Avenue subway, finally under construction, has been in some sort of planning phase since 1929.

Ride the rails toward Philadelphia, however, and you might find yourself in the midst of a transportation system that is focused on the future, at least when it comes to energy use.

For the past two years, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority has been capturing its braking energy and then selling it back into the power grid. SEPTA’s initial project has been successful enough that it is launching into a second phase, with future expansions already being planned. Other electric modes of transportation, such as electric cars and trucks, are also participating in frequency regulation markets in PJM and ERCOT.

ABB, Viridity Energy, Saft Battery, and Maxwell are providing SEPTA with storage to gather brake energy and sell it into the PJM frequency regulation market. Frequency regulation has always been needed to balance grid fluctuations, but in areas with high penetration of intermittent renewables, faster response times are becoming more important.

“The SEPTA model is quite unique in the world,” said Jacques Poulin, product manager for energy storage and rail at ABB.

Recovering braking energy is not the novel part. That technology is widely used across the globe. The new element is the scope and use of the energy.

“Now we want to get to 100 percent recycled energy,” added Poulin. “The trend we’re trying to establish goes way beyond just regenerative braking.”


London's first electric taxi fleet hits the streets
Initial 20 vehicles manufactured by Chinese company BYD set to be followed by a further 50 later this year

By BusinessGreen staff
11 Feb 2014

London's first fleet of electric taxis has come into operation today, four years ahead of Mayor Boris Johnson's 2018 deadline for all new cabs to be zero emission.

The 20 e6 model taxis have been manufactured by Warren Buffet-backed Chinese company BYD, which launched London's first electric buses less than two months ago.

The vehicles can travel 186 miles on a single charge and will be operated by chauffeur service Thriev, which is set to install charging points at its Edgware Road site powered by British Gas. The service will rely on a brand new city-wide charging network installed by the utility.

The new fleet is expected to be joined by a further 50 cars by July, after BYD signed a memorandum of understanding to supply minicab firm Green Tomato Cars.

The Mayor's office says taxis account for around a third of all the exhaust emissions in London and from January 1 2018 Johnson wants all new taxis in London to be zero emissions, sparking a competition among manufacturers including BYD, Nissan, Metrocab, and the London Taxi Company to have electric models ready.

The electric vehicles are part of a wider range of green initiatives to tackle London's air pollution problem.


Serious Electric Car Production Growth Predicted
By Nino Marchetti
Electric Vehicles, Hybrids, Transportation
February 10, 2014

All of that activity in Europe you’ve been seeing of late, whether it involves Tesla Motors or aggressive electric vehicle development plans in the United Kingdom, heralds this part of the world is moving more towards embracing more zero emissions driving. This is highlighted in a new report recently released by IHS Automotive which suggests that, driven by tighter emissions standards in Europe, worldwide production of electric vehicles will rise by over two-thirds this year alone.

As a result of this, IHS predicted, total production of electric cars, including plug-in hybrids, will rise to over 400,000 in 2014, which is a roughly 60,000 unit increase from 2013. The Europe, Middle East and Africa region will account for the largest share of production at more than 40 percent, with the Americas and Asia-Pacific each making up about 30 percent.

Besides forecasting this growth in these types of vehicles, the report had a range of other interesting predictions for the year concerning EVs, which I share with you below:

amor de cosmos Feb 12, 2014 6:20 PM


Voxan’s 200-Horsepower WATTMAN Electric Motorcycle

Trumpeted by Voxan as being “the most powerful electric motorcycle in the world,” the company’s new model, known as the WATTMAN, certainly has a lot to live up to. Given the specs, though (listed below), it certainly appears to have an arguable claim to the title.

For those unfamiliar with Voxan, the French motorcycle manufacturer has been releasing high-end bikes since back in 1999. It released a number of notable models up until 2009, when it was forced into liquidation, before then being acquired by Venturi Automobiles. The WATTMAN is the first model to be released since being acquired by the new owners.

As you can see in the image, the bike has something of a futuristic look to it — I suppose that will add to the allure for some people? Either way, now let’s talk about the fun stuff…

The WATTMAN, powered by the first Voxan-designed electric motor, possesses an impressive 200 HP with 200 Nm instant torque up to 10,500 rpm. The bike accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (62.137 mph) in just 3.4 seconds, and possesses a top speed of 170 km/h (106 mph). The range is impressive as well, possessing the capability of traveling as far as 180 km (112 miles) on a single charge.

And recharging doesn’t seem to be much of an issue — an 80% recharge can be achieved in less than half an hour! with the aid of the COMBO II European quick-charge standard.


More Than 250,000 Vehicle-to-Grid Enabled Electric Vehicles Will be Sold From 2013 to 2022
February 11, 2014

Though negligible today, the market for plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) equipped with vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technologies – which enable the vehicles to participate in ancillary services for the power grid – is expected to expand steadily in the coming years. Compelling business models for V2G technologies are starting to emerge in select markets around the world, and it’s expected that individually owned electric vehicles will be able to participate in grid services in the second half of this decade. Click to tweet: According to a recent report from Navigant Research, more than 250,000 V2G-enabled PEVs will be sold worldwide from 2013 to 2022.

“Plug-in electric vehicles can provide services to the grid by changing the rate at which they consume power, thereby reducing peak loads, or by providing power back to the grid, helping to balance loads on the grid,” says Scott Shepard, research analyst with Navigant Research. “The benefits to operators also include smoothing the integration of renewable energy resources and generation revenue from ancillary services markets.”

Wizened Variations Feb 13, 2014 6:38 PM

I want to see a bicycle with a battery that is light- say 1.5 - 2 kg, and, very easy to remove. In addition, I would like the same bicycle to have a motor that is a snap to remove and weighs a kg or less. Finally, I would like the battery to be easy to charge and powerful enough to propel the bike up a 5% grade for 15 km.

When I went downtown, I would remove the battery and motor, put them into my backback and lock my bike.

amor de cosmos Feb 13, 2014 6:47 PM


Rimac's 1088 Horsepower Concept_One is the Electric Hyper Car of the Future
by Kevin Lee, 02/12/14

If you think EVs are stuck in the slow lane, forget about it - Croatia-based electric carmaker Rimac has created an all-electric supercar with 1,088 horsepower that can blaze by most gas guzzlers on the road today. The Concept_One is propelled by four 600 kW motors that can take it from 0 to 60 miles per hour in just 2.8 seconds.

The Rimac Concept_One‘s staggering amount of power comes from four sets of electric motors, each of which is fitted above a wheel. Rimac has developed an All-Wheel Torque Vectoring (AWTV) system that works like four-wheel drive on steroids, allowing the motors to send power to each wheel independently of each other.

Each wheel can accelerate or decelerate hundreds of times per second, helping the driver to always stay in control for the ultimate handling. However, when all the wheels are working in concert with each other, propelling this electric-powered beast forward it can go from 0 to 60 mph in 2.4 seconds. Just for comparison, one of the quickest, street legal gas-burning vehicles, the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport can go from 0 to 60mph in 2.4 seconds. So yes, the Rimac Concept_One is awfully quick.


Originally Posted by Wizened Variations (Post 6450661)
I want to see a bicycle with a battery that is light- say 1.5 - 2 kg, and, very easy to remove. In addition, I would like the same bicycle to have a motor that is a snap to remove and weighs a kg or less. Finally, I would like the battery to be easy to charge and powerful enough to propel the bike up a 5% grade for 15 km.

When I went downtown, I would remove the battery and motor, put them into my backback and lock my bike.

that would be pretty cool

amor de cosmos Feb 14, 2014 7:04 PM


EcoMow Grass-Powered Robotic Lawnmower is its Own Energy Factory!
by Beth Buczynski, 02/13/14

EcoMow, a startup founded by engineers and business students from George Mason University, is working on an automatic lawnmower that literally creates its own fuel. Between the tailpipe emissions and noise pollution, there’s nothing very clean or green about a traditional lawnmower. Sure, there are electric mowers (still ultimately powered by fossil fuels) and pushmowers (who’s got time for that) but both seem frightfully outdated in a time when phones double as personal computers. So EcoMow is giving the lawnmower a sustainable yet sophisticated upgrade. Their robotic lawnmower not only cuts grass without assistance, but it also turns those same organic clippings into biomass fuel.

As anyone who’s maintained a lawn knows, most mowers immediately spit out clipped grass directly back onto the lawn. Some bag mowers prevent this from happening, leaving you with a huge bag of organic waste to compost. Leaving the clippings on the lawn and composting them are both very green solutions, but the team at EcoMow has an even better option: use them for power.

In addition to spinning blades, the EcoMow prototype contains a “bar cutter” and “pelletizers.” Together, these technologies press the grass into pellets much like a meat grinder would. ”The formed pellets obtained by harvesting are dropped into a collection bin where they are progressively dried with hot air from the gasifier. Dried pellets are then converted to a fuel gas in a device called a gasifier,” explains the EcoMow website.

amor de cosmos Feb 17, 2014 5:38 PM


Hydrogen Cars to Hit the Road This Spring
From: CleanTechies Guest Author, Clean Techies, More from this Affiliate
Published February 14, 2014 12:22 PM

Although electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles have been considered the only plausible alternatives to conventional cars for a long time, and practically all of the world’s biggest car makers have been investing heavily in these technologies, and governments around the world have been trying to promote the use of such vehicles by offering generous incentives and financial benefits to those who choose to buy an alternative fuel vehicle instead of a gasoline-powered car, adoption has been lagging and sales have not been as strong as the auto industry had expected.

This is one of the reasons why some manufacturers have turned their focus to other types of alternative fuel vehicles, such as hydrogen cars, with the likes of Toyota, Hyundai and Honda leading the way in the development of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. These automakers are betting on hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, and are convinced that they are a far more viable alternative than electric and hybrid vehicles, due to the fact that they are cleaner, with water as their only byproduct, and they are capable of delivering a 300-mile range, which is a great advantage over electric cars and plug-in hybrids, that can’t get more than 80-100 miles.

With Hyundai planning to start selling its Tucson Fuel Cell SUV and the Intrado this spring at some of their dealerships in Southern California, and their Japanese counterpart Toyota intending to launch their own hydrogen-powered vehicle next year, it seems that the reality of hydrogen fuel cell cars is already here, which raises a few serious questions in terms of infrastructure, regulation, and how ready car buyers are to adopt these types of vehicles.

llamaorama Feb 17, 2014 5:53 PM


EcoMow has an even better option: use them for power.
We are one step closer to android sheep now :haha:

amor de cosmos Feb 18, 2014 7:45 PM


BDNT cooperates with ABB to roll out world’s largest EV fast charger network in China
Shenzhen BYD Daimler New Technology Co., Ltd. chooses ABB to supply direct current (DC) fast chargers for rapid charging of new DENZA electric vehicle over the next six years

Zurich, Switzerland, Feb. 13, 2014 - ABB, the leading power and automation technology group, announced a strategic collaboration today with Shenzhen BYD Daimler New Technology Co., Ltd. (BDNT) to supply direct current fast chargers over the next six years for DENZA. China will become the global leader for electric vehicle (EV) fast charging.

The wall-mounted chargers will have a number of innovations designed for user convenience and safety, such as a mobile app that allows remote monitoring and control of charging sessions, with the option of charging status change notifications. First deliveries are expected in mid- 2014. The charging solution will be sold through DENZA dealerships along with the vehicle.

EVs are one of China’s seven emerging strategic industries. ABB and DENZA will work together to help support China’s efforts to increase sustainable mobility.

The Chinese government has introduced a direct current (DC) fast charging “GBT” standard to encourage technical innovation and stimulate market acceptance of EVs. The urban charging infrastructure will be a key driver for EV adoption. The GBT standard will give Chinese consumers the opportunity to conveniently charge their vehicles at home or at public charging stations. Public DC fast charging is expected to be rolled out in China in the near future.

“We are honored to be a partner in this venture to move urban transportation forward in a more sustainable way. By combining car sales with fast chargers, DENZA is taking a bold step to address a key obstacle for potential buyers of EVs,” said Ulrich Spiesshofer, CEO of ABB Group. “ABB’s EV charging solutions have been expanding rapidly worldwide as the underlying technology combines our key strengths in power electronics, software, service and power distribution.”


Audi’s Strategy to Enable Carbon-Neutral Driving
Scott Shepard — February 16, 2014

Audi recently announced that results from testing of the company’s synthetic liquid fuels, or e-fuels, indicate that e-fuels perform significantly better than conventional fuel counterparts in conventional vehicle internal combustion engines. The company subsequently announced that it will broaden its e-fuels initiative through its partnership with French biofuels company Global Bioenergies. Audi’s e-fuels initiative is unique, as no other major automaker has pursued the development or distribution of gaseous or liquid fuels – carbon-neutral or not – for the transportation market.

Through a partnership with Joule, Audi’s e-fuels program aims to produce three products: e-gas, e-diesel, and e-ethanol. Audi also intends to produce e-gasoline through a partnership with Global Bioenergies. The purpose of this initiative is to provide drivers of Audi vehicles with carbon-neutral driving options as a selling point for its gasoline, diesel, and/or compressed natural gas- (CNG-) powered vehicles. However, Audi drivers worldwide may be physically unable to fill up with the carbon-neutral synthetic fuels developed by Audi due to a lack of refueling stations. The automaker will enable Audi drivers to indirectly contribute to increased amounts of carbon-neutral synthetic fuels into the overall fuel pool through what amounts to offsets.

Powered by E-Gas

An example of how Audi’s strategy works is its production of e-gas, the e-fuel closest to market. E-gas is produced from the electrolysis of water, which produces hydrogen, which is then combined with waste CO2, producing methane as a synthetic natural gas substitute. The e-gas production facility is powered by wind turbines and uses concentrated waste CO2 from a nearby biogas plant. The production and consumption of e-gas using this system generates no new carbon emissions. The e-gas is then piped into the greater natural gas network at the e-gas production facility in Werlte, Germany.


Karma Chameleon
China potential sparks electric car investment

Ethan Bilby
February 18, 2014
Last Updated at 21:21 IST

China is already the world's largest car market. Now the likes of Tesla and parts maker Wanxiang Group are betting the same will soon be true of electric vehicles. Though infrastructure lags behind the West, dense cities and strong central planning should give Chinese sales a jolt.

Wanxiang Group recently won the battle to buy what's left of bankrupt US electric carmaker Fisker. For an upfront investment of $149 million, China's largest car parts maker got a dormant American manufacturer of plug-in hybrid coupes which foundered over technical problems. Wanxiang had already bought Fisker's battery provider at an earlier auction.

Gaining control of designs for Fisker's high-end Karma cars provides a leg up towards making electric cars in China, which is set to be the world's largest by sales in 2020, according to International Energy Agency data. Tesla is also bullish: it expects global sales to double in 2014, and that China will account for about 30 per cent of the total. That implies it will shift about 14,000 all-electric cars on the mainland, despite the price tag of 734,000 yuan ($121,000).

Unlike hybrids, which can run on petrol, all-electric cars depend on a network of charging stations. Tesla has built a network of fast-charging stations in the United States, but repeating the trick in China may be less straightforward. Domestic rivals like BYD have similar plans, and Beijing has been pushing for carmakers to adopt a single standard for charging technology. The absence of charging stations explains why Chinese bought only 18,000 plug-in electric vehicles in 2013, while American drivers bought roughly five times as many. Finding a way to efficiently recharge cars for apartment dwellers is also a challenge.

However, the Chinese government has greater powers to force a rapid buildout of a uniform charging network. If done right, electric cars could quickly catch on among the country's dense urban population, especially given widespread concerns about pollution. Though China's love affair with the car has not extended to electric vehicles so far, don't bet on that lasting.


02/17/2014 12:40 PM
Electric Vehicles Charge Forward With 150 Mile Range News

Electric vehicles (EVs) are slowly winding their way into the hearts and minds of drivers and the pace is expected to pick up this year.

Worldwide production of all-electric and plug-in vehicles is expected to rise 67% in 2014 to 403,000 vehicles, up from 242,000 last year, according to market research firm IHS Automotive, when they were the fastest growing segment of the auto industry.

Last year, 96,000 EVs sold in the US.

Thanks to competition, battery prices are dropping rapidly - the most costly component of EVs - starting this year, bigger batteries will be in many cars, giving them a 150 mile range.

Battery makers now include LG Chem (Chevy Volt), Panasonic (Tesla's Model S) and Samsung SDI (BMW i3 and Fiat 500e).

IHS points to two reasons for greater growth this year: more stringent emission standards in Europe which take effect later this year and the greater variety of models available on the market.

New vehicles entering the market this year include: BMW's i3, Volkswagen's e-Up!, Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric and Audi's A3 e-tron plug-in hybrid. More product availability and greater choice will help widespread adoption of EVs.


11 February 2014 Last updated at 19:13 ET
Jaywalking: How the car industry outlawed crossing the road
By Aidan Lewis BBC News, Washington

The idea of being fined for crossing the road at the wrong place can bemuse foreign visitors to the US, where the origins of so-called jaywalking lie in a propaganda campaign by the motor industry in the 1920s.

The California Vehicle Code states: "No pedestrian shall start crossing in direction of a flashing or steady "DON'T WALK" or upraised hand symbol." It also forbids crossing between controlled intersections, or "jaywalking".

Late last year, police began a concerted effort to enforce the rules in central Los Angeles. Pedestrians had been "impeding traffic and causing too many accidents and deaths", one traffic police official said. Fines range from $190-$250 (£115-£152).

Then in New York officials responded to several pedestrian deaths last month by issuing a flurry of tickets for jaywalking. The campaign quickly ran into controversy when an 84-year-old Chinese immigrant who had been stopped for jaywalking suffered a gash to his head during an altercation with the police.

Enforcement of anti-jaywalking laws in the US is sporadic, often only triggered by repeated complaints from drivers about pedestrian behaviour in a particular place. But jaywalking remains illegal across the country, and has been for many decades.

The first known reference to it dates to December 1913, says Peter Norton, a history professor at the University of Virginia and author of Fighting Traffic - The Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City. That month a department store in Syracuse hired a Santa Claus who stood on the street with a megaphone, bellowing at people who didn't cross properly and calling them jaywalkers.

A key moment, says Norton, was a petition signed by 42,000 people in Cincinnati in 1923 to limit the speed of cars mechanically to 25mph (40kph). Though the petition failed, an alarmed auto industry scrambled to shift the blame for pedestrian casualties from drivers to walkers.

Local car firms got boy scouts to hand out cards to pedestrians explaining jaywalking. "These kids would be posted on sidewalks and when they saw someone starting to jaywalk they'd hand them one of these cards," says Norton. "It would tell them that it was dangerous and old fashioned and that it's a new era and we can't cross streets that way."

"The newspaper coverage quite suddenly changes, so that in 1923 they're all blaming the drivers, and by late 1924 they're all blaming jaywalking," Norton says.

Soon, he adds, car lobby groups also started taking over school safety education, stressing that "streets are for cars and children need to stay out of them". Anti-jaywalking laws were adopted in many cities in the late 1920s, and became the norm by the 1930s.

In the decades that followed, the cultural ascendancy of the car was secured as the auto industry promoted "America's love affair with the automobile". Car makers portrayed them as the ultimate expression of personal freedom, an essential element of the "American dream".

Meanwhile, an overriding goal of city planners and engineers became allowing traffic to circulate unhindered.

"For years, pedestrians were essentially written out of the equation when it came to designing streets," says Tom Vanderbilt, author of Traffic - Why We Drive the Way We Do.

"They didn't even appear in early computer models, and when they did, it was largely for their role as 'impedance' - blocking vehicle traffic."

amor de cosmos Feb 19, 2014 5:56 PM


Former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood joins electric bus company: "EV is the future of transit"
Michael Graham Richard
Transportation / Public Transportation
February 18, 2014

In this episode of "Where are they now?"...

Ray LaHood, who was transportation secretary between 2008 and mid-2013, certainly wasn't perfect, but he surprised many skeptics by favoring many policies that greens have been advocating for a long time. It looks like he's not ready to retire and go play golf or sip piña coladas on a beach somewhere, though. He's still working on some of the same issues that he was working on when inside the government, but now he's doing it in the private sector:

He has just joined Proterra, an electric bus company that makes EV buses that can be quickly charged (5-10 mins) while the bus is parked at a station, waiting for passengers to get in and out.

"I believe in the need for dependable, lower cost, more sustainable transit options," said LaHood. "EV is the future of transit, and I am pleased to lend my knowledge and support to building this future with Proterra – the clear industry leader and the only American EV bus manufacturer."


Toyota May Embrace Wireless Electric Car Charging
By Nino Marchetti
Electric Vehicles, Transportation
February 18, 2014

Wireless electric vehicle charging technology continues to remain in its infancy to this stage, not being even remotely as common as charging stations scattered throughout the land and in personal garages. Japanese automaker Toyota may be looking to change this, however, announcing recently verification testing is to begin later this month of a new wireless battery charging system it has developed for vehicles that use an electric powertrain.

This new Toyota offering, similar to other wireless charging technology out there, allows a car to be charged simply by parking it in alignment with a coil set into the surface of the ground. The system transmits electricity using magnetic resonance created by changes in magnetic field intensity between the ground coil and a receiving coil in the car. It is reportedly designed “so that it can reduce any loss in power transmission efficiency caused by misalignment or height differences between the coils.”

Video Link


Why New Semi Trucks Are a Win for the Environment
Written by Derek Mead
February 18, 2014 // 11:25 PM CET

Quick, what's better for the environment: Replacing your Prius for a Tesla, or trading in a fuel-swilling semi truck for a more efficient one? Well, an electric car seems the obvious choice. But heavy-duty trucks use a lot of gas, and America uses a lot of trucks, which means efficiency gains can have a huge impact.

Today, President Obama asked the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation to build upon fuel economy standards first laid out by the White House in 2010. Those standards, which required that medium- and heavy-duty trucks have fuel economy increases of between 15 and 20 percent by 2018, will now be extended and increased into the future, based on a new EPA and DOT assessment that will be released by March 2016.

According to the President, using less fuel means using less imported oil, reducing greenhouse emissions, and saving operators (and thus consumers) money. The White House says that semi trucks haul "about 70 percent of all freight tonnage and over 70 percent of the value of all goods shipped" in the United States, which means savings add up quickly.

"It's not just a win win. It's a win, win, win," Obama said at an event earlier today, where he was surrounded by two delivery trucks, per the AP. "You got three wins."

But how much fuel will that save? Medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, which include semi trucks, delivery trucks, garbage trucks, and so on, are the second-largest vehicular consumers of oil behind passenger cars and trucks. In 2010, the year Obama first laid out the request for new truck standards, US semi-trucks consumed 29.9 billion gallons of petroleum fuels.

Wizened Variations Feb 19, 2014 6:50 PM


Originally Posted by amor de cosmos;6459134


The huge use of resources that large trucks consume also relates to how much wear large trucks cause on roads and bridges.

As the trend line cost for energy and minerals continues to rise, the indirect costs related to axle weight will be more and more prominent.

I read somewhere (not cited) that each axle on a loaded semi-truck damages road surfaces as 5x much as the two axles do on a 4 wheeled car.

IMO, over the next 20 years, semi-truck traffic will be almost eliminated for journeys over 500 miles, due to steadily increasing efficiencies resulting from inter modal transport rail-truck service.

To use your graph, a similar reduction in fuel consumption would result from decreasing truck traffic 10% or so. Combine the reduced wear on infrastructure and the energy equivalents might add another 2% on that.

The key, IMO, will be smaller areas served by trucks, and, more efficient and more frequent transport between large "rail-truck" ports that eventually will exist adjacent to every metro area in the US.

M II A II R II K Feb 20, 2014 6:33 PM

Ed Bacon competition examines Philly with driver-less cars

Read More:


What would life in Philadelphia look like if cars, buses, taxis and other vehicles drove themselves around the city, communicating with each other and with the people who summon them to get to work or play?

- First prize winner IndePENNdense 2076, from Cornell University, answered with a redesign of the Vine Street corridor in Center City. --- Scott Baker, Kate Benisek, Ruslan Filipau, Andrea Haynes and Ashley Pelletier suggested changes across many aspects of transportation. Passengers would use mobile devices to summon various types of vehicles, which pick them up on demand. Public transit buses, as they do today, would carry large numbers of passengers. Carshare owned vans would take smaller groups as would passenger cars with both carshare and private ownership.

- In the central business district, vehicles of all types would pick up and drop off people only on designated blocks, easing congestion. In residential neighborhoods, buses are limited to drop-off spots, but all other vehicles could stop anywhere. --- These vehicles would not only be communicating with passengers, but with the city streets department. And that allows the city to change the use of some streets – from vehicle priority to pedestrian priority and back again, for example.

- Use could even be switched by the day or hour. Some zones would allow only autonomous, or driverless, vehicles. Only multi-passenger vehicles would be allowed in the core business district. It would cost more to travel within a congestion pricing zone. --- The change to a “pick-up, drop-off culture,” as the IndePENNdense team calls it, means less need for parking in Center City and other neighborhoods. That freed-up space could be used for infill development, putting the “dense” in IndePENNdense.


M II A II R II K Feb 20, 2014 6:34 PM

Wizened Variations Feb 20, 2014 6:46 PM


Originally Posted by M II A II R II K (Post 6460754)

Never forget that such pedestrian friendly areas will never cover more than a small portion of US cities. The question is not utopia, but, how can US cities have more pedestrian friendly venues.

There is, nor ever has been, a "Father Knows Best" suburban miracle filled with happy glowing faces, and, never will be. Urban cores, too, will have pedestrian friendly promenades and cozy squares, but, for the foreseeable future, as a percentage of area, will be places one drives through quickly.

M II A II R II K Feb 20, 2014 6:54 PM

The asphalt could at least be replaced with greenery in less dense places.

amor de cosmos Feb 20, 2014 7:00 PM


Tesla Motors
The electric car company’s CTO explains what’s going on under the hood.

By Kevin Bullis on February 18, 2014

Car companies have struggled to sell electric cars. Tesla Motors is the exception. Last year, the first full year of sales for its Model S luxury sedan, Tesla sold more than twice as many cars as either Nissan or GM did when they introduced their battery-powered vehicles, the Leaf and the Volt. Tesla did this even though it’s a startup with no dealer network, selling a car that’s more than twice as expensive as the electric cars from the major automakers.

It’s easy to be dazzled by the car’s style or features like its 17-inch touch screen. But the innovation goes much deeper than that. MIT Technology Review’s senior editor for energy, Kevin Bullis, asked JB Straubel, Tesla’s cofounder and chief technical officer, to help identify the engineering advances behind Tesla’s success.


Tesla Beats Q4 Profit Estimates, Shares Up 12% After Hours to $216
Elon Musk announces “giga factory” and expects to ship 35,000 Model S units in 2014.

Eric Wesoff
February 19, 2014

EV pioneer Tesla Motors announced its fourth quarter and 2013 results after market close today. Most recently, share price is up 14 percent after hours to $220. The shareholder letter is here.

Tesla Motors (TSLA) beat analyst profit estimates but fell short of revenue forecasts.
  • The electric car pioneer had Q3 revenues of $615 million. This quarter's revenue did not include any ZEV credit sales but did include $15 million in regulatory credits.
  • The automaker sold a record 6,892 Model S vehicles during the period and expects to ship 35,000 Model S units in 2014.
  • Tesla's gross margin of 25.2 percent is in line with expectations. By the end of this year, the automotive supplier expects gross margin closer to 28 percent.
  • The supercharger network has been built across most of the U.S. and northwest Europe.
  • GAAP losses of $16 million for the quarter on revenue of $615 million
  • Expecting over 55 percent vehicle delivery growth in 2014 and 28 percent automotive gross margin by Q4

Highlights from the investor letter
  • The Model S was the top-selling vehicle in North America among comparably priced cars.
  • Toward the end of the year, Tesla expects sales in Europe and Asia combined to be almost twice that of North America.
  • Tesla believes an automotive gross margin of 28 percent, excluding ZEV credit sales, is "a reasonable target for Q4 2014."
  • Tesla claims that 80 percent of its customers are using their Model S as their primary vehicle.

2014 Expectations
  • Tesla expects to deliver over 35,000 Model S vehicles in 2014, representing more than 55 percent growth over 2013. Production is expected to increase from 600 cars/week presently to about 1,000 cars/week by end of the year as Tesla expands its factory capacity and addresses supplier bottlenecks. Battery cell supply will continue to constrain production in the first half of the year, but will improve significantly in the second half of 2014.
  • First-quarter production is expected to be about 7,400 vehicles.

The Giga factory

Musk in the shareholder letter:

Very shortly, we will be ready to share more information about the Tesla Giga factory. This will allow us to achieve a major reduction in the cost of our battery packs and accelerate the pace of battery innovation. Working in partnership with our suppliers, we plan to integrate precursor material, cell, module and pack production into one facility. With this facility, we feel highly confident of being able to create a compelling and affordable electric car in approximately three years. This will also allow us to address the solar power industry’s need for a massive volume of stationary battery packs.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Why Clearing Sidewalks Isn’t a Priority Like Plowing Streets
by Angie Schmitt

If where you live is anything like where I live, the sidewalks are a mess right now. People are walking in the streets and getting summarily blamed by the press when a driver injures them.

Plows are out all night salting and scraping the streets, but sidewalks are a private responsibility, and compliance with shoveling laws is haphazard enough to make mixing with SUVs seem like the best option for a lot of pedestrians.

To their credit, community leaders in Akron, Ohio, have been debating how to keep children safe when they walk to school. On his blog Notes from the Underground, Jason Segedy, head of Akron’s metropolitan planning organization, AMATS, wrote about the relative lack of concern for kids who walk:
The immediate, specific, and tactical answer to the question of “Why don’t we make safe and accessible sidewalks a priority?” has to do with a panoply of thorny and interrelated fiscal, legal, and property issues.

But the holistic, general, and strategic answer to that question is simply this: our culture does not value or respect people on foot the way that it does people behind the wheels of cars. To be clear, this cultural orientation is not the result of conscious antipathy toward pedestrians, or an intentional organized conspiracy to disenfranchise or disrespect the marginalized and the poor. Instead, it’s simply the way that our society has evolved over the past 60 years, as the automobile has achieved near complete dominance as a mode of transportation – at least for the affluent majority.

I discuss this issue with people all of the time, and often hear people say “Why waste the time or money on this? No one walks anyway.” My translation: “I don’t walk anywhere, no one that I know walks anywhere, and since I occupy a place of privilege in society, I really don’t notice anyone that does walk.”

In addition to being patently false, the generalization “no one walks anyway” misses the point entirely. Social equity and fairness in transportation is not about a tunnel-vision view of the needs of the majority that drives, considered in a vacuum; but rather, about looking out for the needs of the minority that does not drive.

amor de cosmos Feb 21, 2014 7:13 PM


Banana Peels And Coffee Grounds To Power The Bus
By Pete Danko
Biofuels, Renewable Energy, Transportation
February 20, 2014

Up to 50,000 tons of food waste a year won’t be going into landfills in Norway. It’ll be going into buses.

How’s that? Well, the grimy grub will become transportation fuel at a new Wärtsilä-built biogas liquefaction plant outside Oslo.

“This plant will mean that 135 Oslo region buses will be able to run on biogas,” said Jannicke Gerner Bjerkås, of the city of Oslo’s Waste-to-Energy Agency. Bjerkås said going with biogas will trim carbon dioxide emissions by 10,000 tons a year and cut particulate emissions as well.

Biogas is a cousin of natural gas – methane being the key agent in each – and liquefied biogas is an even closer relative of compressed biogas.

First on biogas: Norway is a leading European producer of natural gas, but biogas holds an obvious advantage – by using plant matter that has fixed carbon from atmospheric CO2, it can be a carbon neutral alternative. Oslo notes, too, that the EGE biogas plant in Nes on Raumarike can produce some 90,000 cubic meters of bio fertilizer per year as an offshoot of the biomethane production.

Now, regarding liquefaction: Compressed gas takes up far less volume than gas in its natural state, of course, but liquefaction – achieved by cooling the gas to around -260 F – makes biomethane even smaller, if you will. In the liquid form, you can store as much as 2.5 times as much compared to compressed gas, though LBG does require the use of vacuum-insulated storage tanks.

This increased energy density is why liquefied gas is seen as a viable alternative fuel for big, long-haul vehicles, like semi-trucks. For buses, compressed gas is the more common option, but manufacturers of buses that use liquefied gas point to greater driving range, lower curb weight, much shorter refueling times and tanks that take up less space.


New Japanese Electric Buses Soon To Be Solar Powered
By Nino Marchetti
Electric Vehicles, Transportation
February 20, 2014

Though most of the time when you hear about electric buses these days it is because of Chinese manufacturer BYD, others do have contributions to the developing mass transit space as well. One of these is Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which is supplying two units in “a zero emissions transportation system being planned by the city of Kitakyushu, Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan.”

The buses, which Mitsubishi said are full-size, low-floor models for the city’s regular route network, operate on the company’s lithium-ion rechargeable batteries. They measure 11.065 meters (m) in length, 2.495 m in width and 3.475 m in height, and weigh 11,250 kilograms (kg).

Making use of a specially developed charger that enables full recharging in approximately half the required time, the buses are able to travel up to 80 kilometers (km) on a full charge, at a top speed of 85 km per hour. The load capacity is said to be 72 passengers.

Some interesting random aspects of this project include plans in October for renewable energy generated by solar power that will be stored in an energy storage system for use in recharging, as well as word that the battery being used on board the buses “already achieved a significant track record through its widespread adoption in cargo container-type energy storage systems, hybrid forklifts and other advanced products.”

kilbride102 Feb 21, 2014 9:25 PM

With regard to sidewalks, the costs of plowing or shoveling for the small amount ofpeople who would walk are prohibitive. Also sidewalks are part of the property and not the city's responsibility.

vid Feb 22, 2014 4:39 PM

My city plows all sidewalks within a 72 hour period. Considering how many people here walk, and how long we have snow in winter, it's a necessity, not a luxury. The city tried to get rid of it once and opposition was so high they abandoned the idea.

The sidewalks, boulevards, and roads are all city property here. The only responsibilities home owners have to them is to make sure the grass is cut, as it is cost-prohibitive for the city to cut boulevards. The city even sweeps all of the sidewalks regularly in summer.

scalziand Feb 22, 2014 4:50 PM

Where I live, the sidewalks are private property, but are supposed to be cleared within 24 hours of a snowfall. Most do, but there's always a couple houses and vacant lots that don't clear the sidewalks in front of them, which is especially bad when they're next to a school with kids walking to and from it.

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