The BMW i8 has been named as Top Gear magazine’s global Car of the Year 2014. The plug-in hybrid performance vehicle beat off some stiff competition from a host of other premium and luxury manufacturers to win the overall award, according to BMW. The editorial team of Top Gear commended the BMW i8 for its breadth…
Brett Smith for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online Sawdust has often been used to soak up spills on a garage floor, but a team of European scientists may have found another way to connect sawdust and automobiles – by using a chemical process to convert the cellulose in sawdust into a gasoline precursor. “At the molecular…
Eric Hopton for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online What goes in must come out, they say, and though it might not feature in many episodes of Star Trek or Star Wars, disposing of what passes through the crew is a major part of space flight planning. Researchers now think they may have a novel answer. We…
Just days before the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Formula One drivers Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado, who drive for the Renault-powered Lotus F1 Team, electrified the world’s largest shopping and entertainment destination through 100% electric vehicle, Renault Twizy.
Renault has teamed up with Formula 1 drivers and The Dubai Mall to make an original film featuring Renault Twizy, a car which uses technology from the world of Formula One. Avant-garde design, fun to drive and easy to recharge, Twizy is the first electric car available in the U.A.E.
Through the electrically-powered car the drivers raced down the alleys of The Dubai Mall, while visitors were gazing at the unusual scenes. From the Fountains to the Aquarium and even the ice rink, drivers went around iconic places of the famous Mall.
Renault Twizy has definitely charmed Lotus F1 drivers and the visitors of The Dubai Mall!
Enjoy the first video fully shot with GoPro. Si2 first took to the skies in June, soaring across Switzerland and getting its first view of the Alps. The aircraft has now flown 21 times; with pilots seeking out the sun wherever possible at 8,500m. Co-Founders & Pilots André Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard are both confident in the capability of the aircraft and themselves to pilot Si2 for the First Round-The-World Solar Flight.
100 days from now, Solar Impulse will take off from Abu Dhabi for this pioneering journey. Between now and then, Si2 will be dismantled, packed into a cargo plane and reassembled in Abu-Dhabi.
Get more information about the project: http://www.solarimpulse.com
BERKELEY, Calif. — Imagine an electric car with the range of a Tesla Model S — 265 miles— but at one-fifth the $70,000 price of the luxury sedan. Or a battery able to provide many times more energy than today’s technology at significantly lower prices, meaning longer-lasting and less expensive power for cellphones, laptops and the…
Renowned business strategist and futurist Peter Schwartz is issuing a warning to the automotive sector: Step up or step aside in steering the future of cars. The tech industry, he says, could become the main driver of new motorized transport technologies, including Internet-connected, self-driving cars. “If [automakers]don’t adapt, they’ll just be hardware suppliers to a…
2015 sees the 125th anniversary of the death of Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh, and along with many other projects that will mark Van Gogh 2015 the Dutch city of Eindhoven has unveiled a beautiful, artistic cycle path inspired by Van Gogh’s famous “The Starry Night” painting. The one kilometer long Van Gogh-Roosegaarde cycle path was…
It appears that in 2014 Honda will sell fewer than 1,000 Honda Civic models that run on compressed natural gas. CNG, a clean fuel produced in greatly expanding quantities in the United States, is also an economic greener alternative to gasoline and diesel. However, considering that Honda sold about twice as many Civic CNG cars (see photo) last year suggests that consumers remain hesitant about the gaseous fuel.
For years, automakers have promised to expand the number of CNG models available to U.S. shoppers. In February, Chevrolet announced that the 2015 Chevy Silverado 2500HD and 3500HD heavy-duty models would be available with CNG-capable bi-fuel 6.0-liter V8 engines, sold at all Chevrolet dealerships nationwide.
In the past few weeks, there were more announcements about new CNG offerings. Michigan-based Crazy Diamond Performance received EPA approval on two new retrofit compressed natural gas small passenger vehicles, the CNG Chevrolet Cruze and CNG Chevrolet Sonic. These platforms, which run exclusively on CNG, are the first of a series of small and fuel efficient vehicles coming from CDP.
“These vehicles provide flexibility for fleets looking to purchase a domestic small mono-fuel passenger sedan, but have not had an option until now,” said Michelle Fern, executive vice president at CDP Inc. “There are significant emissions benefits over its gasoline counterpart, with an average reduction in CO2 of 25 percent.”
Meanwhile, Mercedes in October shared information about a version of its B-Class compact that runs on natural gas. It will be sold in Europe, but could be made available in the U.S. in the future. Mercedes recently began selling an all-electric version of the B-Class in select U.S. cities. Both alternative drive Mercedes models used an “energy space” to store the fuel (or batteries) under the body of the vehicle.
The Mercedes B200 Natural Gas Drive features CO2 emissions that are 16 percent lower than ga
Article by Brad Berman, appearing courtesy ebay Green Driving.
The most recent column on “groundbreaking innovation” Co-Exist from Fast Company was titled “If Your Neighbor Gets a Solar Panel, You’re Going to Want One Too: Whether your neighbor has a solar installation is more likely to influence your decision than politics or income level.”
The articles’ author Ben Schiller cites studies which mapped 3,843 solar units installed in Connecticut between 2005 and September 2013. What they found was “‘considerable clustering of adoptions’ in ‘wave-like centrifugal’ patterns. When they looked at the dates of the installs, they found one decision in a neighborhood tended to lead to another.”
Pretty cool, but isn’t this old news? Back in 2005, a study in San Diego compared the influence on energy consumption between potential money savings vs concern for the environment vs peer pressure. The results clearly supported social influence, which reduced consumption by 10 percent.” Influence guru Robert B. Cialdini weighed in on the remarkably effective tactic of adding a smiley face to bills for energy reduction, which further reduced energy use: “People don’t just want to conserve energy, they want to be acknowledged for conserving energy.”
Electric Vehicle (EV) adoption also spread in clusters. Not surprisingly, EV and hybrid purchases have been most concentrated in affluent communities with early-adopter characteristics. But far more interesting and perhaps even more relevant, 50.5% of all registrations are clustered in just three suburbs, Atherton and Los Altos (in Silicon Valley), and Santa Monica in Southern California. California has created an infrastructure for EV/Hubrids and is first in ownership, but if affluence was the defining attribute, wouldn’t EV/Hybrids be spread evenly across California’s many wealthy communities?
Now that many low- and mid-priced vehicles are offered in hybrid varieties (i.e., Toyota Camry, Honda Civic, and Ford Fusion), green social influence is moving from novelty for the affluent to smart money for the mainstream. It happened before with residential solar: the highest concentration of Connecticut solar installations clustered in middle income, Republican-voting areas of the state.
Peer influence is also having an impact in the corporate world, where renewable energy is replacing fossil fuels in industry clusters. Benchmarking in industries and companies – comparing your sustainability performance against your peers – leads to greater adoption of renewable energy.
As reported in the solar industry’s third annual Solar Means Business, solar installations cluster by industry, with retail leading the pack. Walmart remains the top solar user overall, spurring its leading competitor Target to move from 16th to 8th ranking with the addition of 15 new solar systems. Retailers’ large flat store roofs are well-suited to roof-top solar apps and their razor-thin margins make energy cost reduction perhaps a higher priority, but other industries are following suit. Apple, which once eschewed environmental concerns, is now fourth in solar installations. Their acknowledgement? Apple appeared first alongside Google and Facebook (their data farms run on wind power) in the Greenbiz article “Apple, Facebook, Google score in Greenpeace data center ratings.”
Peer influence, whether in a corporate or a residential setting, modifies environmental behavior. Can peer shaming work too? Freakonomics economist Steven Levitt, would argue yes. In his words: “…society actually likes it when other people get shamed. … it’s actually a really incredibly efficient mechanism for punishing people who do things we don’t like.”
Another experiment tests peer shaming empirically. San Francisco and Berkeley have both passed legislation requiring that as of March 1, 2015, gas station owners must put climate change warning labels on all gas pump nozzles. The labels say how much carbon dioxide is emitted for every tank of gas burned, saying explicitly how using gas as fuel is contributing to climate change.
Reflecting in The Guardian on a University of Minnesota study that again showed the power of social influence, Adam Corner of the University of Cardiff says, “We may currently compete through demonstrations of conspicuous material consumption, but material goods are simply a marker for social status. It’s the social status that’s important – and the markers we use to signify it can easily change.”
Article by Carol Pierson Holding. Article originally appeared on CSRHub, appearing courtesy 3BL Media.
Last year eight states in the U.S. signed a Memorandum of Understanding calling for cooperation among the states, and alliances with the private sector to speed up deployment of plug-in electric and fuel cell vehicles in their states. The goal is 3.3 million zero-emission vehicles, or ZEVs, on the road by 2025.
The plan works with carrots rather than sticks. There are not quotas, rather the state governments are buying PEVs themselves, offering rebates to buyers, and building charging infrastructure. The Beijing Municipal government is studying that cooperative model, especially California’s measures to promote ZEVs, Yunshi Wang, China Center director at the University of Davis Institute of Transportation Studies told me recently. “They want be China’s California,” says Wang.
The Beijing Municipal government is already working to expand the use of new energy vehicles in its borders. New Energy Vehicles refers to plug-in electric vehicles and fuel cell vehicles. But things aren’t moving quickly enough, apparently. The Beijing government wants to make raise the profile of its NEV plan by linking with California, says Wang.
California accounts for more around 40 percent of all plug-in electric vehicles purchased in the United States. That is partly because its citizens tend to be more “green” than those in many other states. But those tendencies are magnified by state policies supporting ZEV ownership and requiring automakers who sell cars in the state to produce and sell ZEVs here.
Those policies often come out of the California Air Resources Board, usually referred to as CARB. It is a high-level state government body that works on improving California’s air quality. The Institute for Transportation Studies at UC Davis works closely with CARB. In China, a similar role is played by the China Automotive Technical Research Center, or CATARC, located in Tianjin, a coastal city near Beijing.
“CATARC provides intellectual support to the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Information Industry Technology,” says Wang. The UC Davis Institute for Transportation Studies China Center at UC Davis works closely with CATARC. Indeed, in September the ITS and CATARC signed an agreement to help speed the commercialization of PEVs and fuel-cell vehicles.
CATARC also suggests to the central government some new ideas for developing the new energy vehicle segment, he says.
For example, the Tesla-inspired idea of allowing non-automotive companies to produce new energy vehicles originated at CATARC. (Any company in China wanting to produce vehicles of any kind requires a permit from the National Development and Reform Commission.) “Existing automakers, especially plug-in vehicle makers, are strongly opposed,” says Wang.
CATARC is also promoting allowing wider usage of low-speed electric vehicles, especially in provinces such as Shandong and Jiangsu, where there are companies that produce LSEVs (especially Shandong, where it is hard to throw a rock without hitting an LSEV maker).
As for the city of Beijing working more closely with California, CATARC is talking with the city’s Science and Technology Commission about it and the Commission is “very positive” about the idea, says Wang.
Beijing vs. California: Okay, they aren’t exactly alike
To be sure, Beijing is unlike California in many ways. The government structure is very different, naturally. And Beijing’s population is not known for being exceptionally green in their thinking (though there are of course greenies in Beijing).
Also, as an attendee at a lunch presentation I gave last month in Hong Kong for Macquarie on China’s NEV sector pointed out, Beijing’s climate is very different from California’s, or at least from Southern and Northern California, where EV ownership is concentrated.
Beijing is much hotter in the summer – making car air conditioning use a necessity if one has it – and winters are much colder ergo heaters are needed. That drains a PEV battery. But like California, Beijing has set NEV goals. It aims to have 200,000 NEVs on its streets by 2017. Of that, 50,000 will be public vehicles, 150,000 privately-owned. Among the public NEVs will be some 10,000 taxis. Half of mail and sanitation trucks will be NEVs. (This is more aggressive than the central government call for 30 percent.)
Beijing has allocated license plates that will go to NEV owners free of charge, and that bypass the municipality’s registration lottery. Beijing also has its own subsidies on top of the central government subsidies.
So Beijing already has some policies that are similar to California’s, says Wang. But the Chinese city is looking at how California’s policies have been implemented and considering some tweaks to its own, as well as additional perks such as high-occupancy lane stickers to NEV owners and the like.
China’s capital city favors one technology over another – Beijing’s policies are more focused on battery-electric vehicles, says Wang, and perhaps fuel-cell vehicles in the future.
As for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, the municipal government worries that owners of those vehicles are mostly driving on liquid fuel rather than using the battery capacity, says Wang. The lack of a widespread charging infrastructure is seen as the culprit. (This is also a concern of other city governments such as Shanghai. It nonetheless subsidizes PHEVs at near the same rate as BEVs.)
The ITS at UC Davis also aims to work with other cities in China on new energy vehicle policies, says Wang. For example, he wants to work with the Shanghai International Auto City (see my November 5, 2013 on SIAC’s EV efforts) to see how much time the PHEVs there run on pure electricity, who is driving and where, and what their expectations are. That will help the government know where to place charging stations, he says. Adds Wang: “You can’t blame PHEV drivers (for not running on pure electricity). If there is an appropriate charging infrastructure, there will be no problem. You need to provide infrastructure so you don’t force drivers to use the gasoline engine.”
The five finalists for the 2015 Green Car of the Year award were announced earlier this week. The award is given out every year at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The finalists give clear evidence that green comes in many shades—using a diverse set of technologies and fuels, including electric, natural gas, diesel and even plain ol’ gasoline when efficiently burned.
In more than one case, a single model can use multiple fuels. For example, the seventh-generation Volkswagen Golf is available with a 2.0-liter clean diesel system, an efficient four-cylinder engine, and in select markets, a pure electric powertrain. The EV version is called E-Golf (shown above), the first of many battery-powered vehicles expected from VW.
The award committee, organized by the Green Car Journal magazine, also put the Audi A3 TDI on the finalist list. Like the diesel Golf, the A3 DI also uses a 2.0-liter diesel engine.
The all-electric BMW i3 is also a finalist. In a sense, the fuel diversification theme continues with the i3—because it’s available either as a pure no-tailpipe electric car, or with a small optional range-extending engine that holds a small tank of gasoline on reserve to extend the EV’s 80-mile range for an additional 80 miles. Engineers also increased efficiency by using a lightweight carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) body on an aluminum space frame for the BMW platform.
Meanwhile, the Chevrolet Impala Bi-Fuel, another finalist, gives drivers of the popular mid-size four-door sedan the ability to switch between natural gas and conventional gasoline.
Finally, the third-generation Honda Fit makes the list. The Fit has long been respected for providing big utility from a small car. It leads its class of compacts in interior space, while offering 41 miles per gallon on the highway—not from electricity, diesel or natural gas, but from a highly efficiency 1.5-liter gasoline engine.
The winner will be announced on Nov. 20 at the L.A. auto show.
Article by Brad Berman, appearing courtesy ebay Green Driving.
General Motors is working on a new pure-electric car that it expects will go 200 miles on a single charge. That’s according to Mark Reuss, GM’s global product chief, who confirmed the project last week during a presentation to investors.
As reported in Automotive News, a trade publication, two other people familiar with GM’s plans, said it would be based on the Sonic subcompact model (shown above). While Reuss didn’t offer specifics about the nameplate or timeline, the unidentified sources said an electric car based on the Sonic is scheduled for about 2017.
Today’s electric cars have the capacity for between about 80 and 100 miles per charge—except the expensive Tesla Model S, which already offers between 208 and 265 miles per charge, depending on the model.
If Reuss’s comment about a pending 200-mile EV sounds optimistic, then consider what Dr. Heinz-Jakob Neusser, chief of powertrain development at Volkswagen, said earlier this month. Speaking at a conference, Neusser said that a range of between 300 and 370 miles is possible in about five years. Until then, we should expect suite of plug-in hybrids from VW and other automakers. Plug-in hybrids are capable of combining grid-supplied energy and petroleum—an approach characterized by Neusser as a “bridge technology.”
Plug-in hybrid versions of the Golf and Passat have recently been introduced to European markets, and might come to the United States in the next couple years.
The 2015 VW E-Golf goes on sale in the U.S. (in select states) later this month. “We can look [today]to the E-Golf, which has an operating range of around 115 miles,” said Nuesser. “I expect the next generation in 2015-17 will increase to around 185 miles, and the following step will be around 300 to 370 miles.”
If EVs can offer 200 to 300 miles on a single charge, while keeping costs in check, then the popularity of battery-powered cars will rapidly increase.
Article by Brad Berman, appearing courtesy ebay Green Driving.
Save time, travel costs and carbon? Yup, there’s an app for that: TripGo*. It’s already being used in over 50 major metropolitan cities around the globe to streamline commuting times, travel itineraries and intelligently lower travel emissions.
Created by the Australian-based company SkedGo, the underlying sustainability focus of the TripGo app is designed to reinforce the need for smarter, cleaner and resource friendly transportation methods, i.e., smart cars, electric vehicles, improved mass transit infrastructure, bicycle commuting, ride shares, etc.
Because according to the latest findings in, A Global High Shift Scenario, the report released last month by the Institute for Transportation and the University of California, “Transportation, driven by rapid-growth in car use, has been the fastest growing source of CO2 in the world.”
So whether you’re trying to shave minutes off of your daily commute, or taking a vacation in an unfamiliar city, TripGo automatically plans trips to, from and between events in your calendar, and smartly proposes the least carbon-intensive connections using your personal transport preferences.
TripGo supports the following modes of transportation:
- Public transport: buses, ferries, subways, trains, trams
- Shuttle services
Additional TripGo features include:
- Real-time public transport information.
- Door-to-door options for easy comparison on price, time and environmental impact – including public transport, taxi and bike share.
- Trip planners according to your transport preferences.
- Get reminders for your upcoming planned trips
- Public transport pricing.
- Tolls and car park information.
- Taxi fares.
- Search for points of interest and businesses.
- Save trips to calendar.
- Open from Apple Maps.
- Launch turn by turn navigation.
- Universal for iPhone and iPad.
To date, over 500k have downloaded TripGo. To learn more, download the app, or see if TripGo is available in your city: http://skedgo.com/tripgo
*This article is brought to you by our sponsor — TripGo