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The Week in Sustainable Vehicles (06/05/05)
Mike Millikin, 5 Jun 05

Every Sunday, Green Car Congress' Mike Millikin gives us an update on the week's sustainable mobility news, looking at the ongoing evolution of personal transportation. Take it away, Mike:


Sales of hybrids in the US increased 2.3 times in May 2005 to 16,887 units from 7,275 units the prior year. However, results for all automakers were down from the torrid pace set in April.

Sales of the market-leading Prius dropped back below 10,000 to post the car's third strongest month to date. Combined with the 2,931 units of the Lexus Rx400h -- the strongest of its two months of sales -- Toyota captured 73% of all hybrid sales for the month. (GCC)

The first public sale of a Mercury Mariner Hybrid was at the annual charity auction held by Heal the Bay, a Santa Monica, California-based environmental group. Ford donated a 2006 Mariner Hybrid SUV as the premier auction item at the group's annual "Bring Back the Beach" dinner.

Based on the hybrid powertrain used by the Escape, the Mercury Mariner Hybrid is the second hybrid SUV produced by Ford. The Mariner Hybrid delivers an estimated 33 mpg (city), 29 mpg (highway) and is targeted to meet California's Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle standard -- the cleanest a fossil-fuel vehicle can be.( GCC)

Purolator formally introduced ten hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) and one hydrogen fuel-cell hybrid electric vehicle (FC-HEV) into its Toronto curb-side delivery fleet in a large-scale pilot program. The company plans to integrate an additional 20 HEVs into its fleet in other major metropolitan areas in Canada.

The company expects the HEVs to eliminate up to 50%, and the FC-HEVs up to 100%, of greenhouse gasses currently emitted with conventional gasoline/diesel delivery vehicles. If the operational results match these expectations, then Purolator intends to add up to 400 HEV vehicles to its fleet annually as it replenishes vehicles. (GCC)

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is beginning a preliminary investigation of the Toyota Prius based on reports of the engine stalling without warning. The initial probe will involve about 75,000 cars of the 2004-2005 model years. (GCC)


A new Korean electric carmaker, GEO EV, will begin production of its EV1 mini-car in March 2006.

GEO EV, which was set up in February, said the 600 kg mini-car can cover 250 kilometers (155 miles) at a speed of 120 km/h (75 mph) after the battery is fully charged. Charging takes three hours, according to the company. (GCC)

TianJin QingYuan Electric Vehicle Company, which participated in the 2004 Challenge Bibendum with two earlier EV car models, announced that it has shipped six of its Happy Messenger electric autos to the US. (GCC)


Conventional biodiesel is produced by the processing of the fatty acids in vegetable oils which are produced from an agricultural crop.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin are working on a method to create a diesel fuel directly from the carbohydrates that constitute about 70%-75% of a plant's dried weight -- in other words, using more of a plant's biomass as the feedstock rather than just the processed oil from its seeds.

The process -- Aqueous Phase Dehydration/Hydrogenation (APD/H) -- combines hydrogen and alkane (fuel molecules) production. The team has so far produced hexane--a light alkane. Work continues to develop new catalysts and reactor designs to support the production of heavier alkanes with better combustion properties. (GCC)

Blue Sun Biodiesel plans to open 10 new biodiesel fueling stations in Colorado on July 4. The new stations will pump B20 (20% biodiesel, 80% petroleum diesel). The company plans to have 50 fueling stations by the end of this year. (GCC)

The US Environmental Protection Agency awarded a $75,000 grant to a group of business and government organizations in Santa Cruz, Calif. to help fund a waste vegetable oil-to-biodiesel project.(GCC)

Comlurb, the municipally owned trash collection company serving Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, has begun using O2Diesel's proprietary ethanol-diesel fuel blend in its fleet of trash-hauling vehicles. Comlurb's use of O2Diesel represents the first time that ethanol-diesel fuel has been used in a commercial on-road truck application in Brazil. (GCC)


At the opening of United Nations World Environment Day today in San Francisco, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger called for the state to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 2000 levels by 2010; to 1990 levels by 2020; and to a level 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.

The Governor signed Executive Order S-3-05 which establishes these GHG targets and charges the California Environmental Protection Agency secretary with the coordination of the oversight of efforts to achieve them. (GCC)

Mazda has updated its global environmental charter for the first time in 13 years. The revised plan defines the expanded scope of environmental initiatives for the entire Mazda group and reinforces the company's worldwide corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts. (GCC)

Leaders from thirteen major UK and international companies sent a letter to UK Prime Minister Tony Blair offering to support the Government in developing new, longer-term policies for tackling climate change.

The companies, members of the Corporate Leaders Group, argue that there is a need for urgent action to be taken now to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, and offer to work in partnership with the Government towards strengthening domestic and international progress on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. They also pledge to engage other British businesses, the UK public and governments and businesses internationally to back this effort. (GCC)

Missouri Governor Matt Blunt is renewing his push for a statewide requirement that all gasoline contain at least 10% ethanol. Currently, only Minnesota has a 10% ethanol standard, although Montana and Hawaii recently passed similar legislation. (GCC)

In a possible precursor to legislation mandating ethanol inclusion in the country’s fuel, Australia Prime Minister John Howard has commissioned a taskforce to examine the latest scientific evidence on the impacts of ethanol and other biofuel use on human health, environmental outcomes and automotive operations. On this basis, and taking into account the most recent economic analyses of fuel supply in Australia, the Taskforce will assess the costs and benefits of biofuel production. (GCC)

The US EPA rejected petitions made by the states of California, New York and Connecticut to waive the oxygen content requirement for reformulated gasoline (RFG). (GCC)


The EPA has announced an in-use emissions testing program for diesel truck and bus emissions that is more accurate, less expensive, and more effective than prior testing techniques. The program is the result of cooperation involving EPA, the California Air Resource Board (ARB), and diesel engine manufacturers.

Vehicles under test will have portable measuring devices attached to the engine during normal operation for five days to assess exhaust emissions of hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter. (GCC)
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i bumped into this the last week, interesting take, but is it too marginal to ever make it:

Posted by: ville on 5 Jun 05

When I read how awesome hybrid vehicles are doing in sales and then see that GM and Ford are both planning to cut production because nobody wants their vehicles, I really have to worry about U.S. manufacturing.

I can’t wait for the day when US business wake up to the fact that what’s good for business can also be great for the planet. I read the other day that GM’s market cap is like $20 billion and yet they have like $250 billion in debt. Ouch.

Jason Trout

Posted by: Jason Trout on 5 Jun 05

~The bus system here in Bloomington, Indiana is implementing biodiesel & I'll send more details once I write a piece on it. I write for the & shall soon post @
~My friend used the kit he got for a few hundred $ @ on his diesel pick-up truck. It is apparently working fine for him & he gets his fuel for free from fast-food chains. It is only a step & not the best option, but it is precisely what will work for someone in an area that doesn't provide such alternatives @ the pump.
~If anyone has any footage or videos about green vehicles or anything eco that I could incorporate N2 my TV show or air @ I.U., please lemme know.
Mylo Roze,

Posted by: Mylo Roze on 6 Jun 05



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