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The Week in Sustainable Mobility
Mike Millikin, 22 Jul 07
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The world’s auto manufacturers produced a record 67 million new vehicles in 2006. While global production grew 4% last year, China increased its production by nearly 30%, overtaking Germany to become the third largest producer. More...

GM will invest US$500 million in its operations in Argentina and Brazil for the development of a new generation of small vehicles for emerging markets. More...

Honda President and CEO Takeo Fukui’s annual mid-year speech contained little in the way of new technology or product, but focused more on execution—primarily the worldwide development and expansion of production capabilities and of sales channels. More...

In preparation for a public workshop on 24 July, the staff of the California Air Resources Board (ARB) published a concept paper that further develops proposed changes to the California Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) regulations. More...

US Representative Jay Inslee (D-WA) has introduced a bill designed to force a decision by the EPA on the waiver required for California to implement its regulations on vehicle greenhouse gas emissions. More...

Implementing stringent fuel economy standards for light-duty vehicles is one of the principle strategies needed to reduce petroleum demand that is outlined in a report presented to the Secretary of Energy by the National Petroleum Council (NPC). More...

The state of Illinois introduced its Green Rewards program, which awards consumers a $1,000 rebate with the purchase of a new hybrid or other fuel efficient vehicle. More...

The European Union is inviting stakeholders to comment on proposed future Euro VI emissions standards for heavy-duty vehicles, which it hopes to bring forward by the end of 2007. More...

Two studies released by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) show that widespread use of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) in the United States could significantly reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and has the potential to provide small but significant improvements in ambient air quality in most areas of the US. More...

HYBRIDS and PLUG-IN HYBRIDS

The percentage of new-vehicle shoppers who are considering a hybrid has declined as consumers become more realistic about the fuel efficiency capabilities of hybrid vehicles, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2007 Alternative Powertrain Study. However, actual sales of hybrid vehicles in the first half of 2007 increased more than 56% over aggregate sales in the first half of 2006, climbing to more than 181,000 units. More...

Toyota’s Supra HV-R hybrid race car won the Tokachi 24-Hour Race last weekend, marking the first time that a hybrid race car has won such a competition. More...

The US General Services Administration (GSA) has purchased 55 Saturn Aura Green Line Hybrid sedans for its fleet. More...

Toyota Motor Co. will obtain permission from Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport by the end of July for the testing of a prototype plug-in Prius on public roads. More...

The Plug-In Hybrid Coalition of the Carolinas will take delivery of its first plug-in hybrid—a converted Prius—on 23 July. More...

As part of its Clean Transportation program, San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E), a public utility that is part of Sempra Energy Services, publicly converted two Toyota Prius hybrids into plug-in hybrids. More...

ELECTRIC VEHICLES

Think Global, the manufacturer of the TH!NK electric city car, has completed a private placement of approximately $60 million. Combined with the $25 million raised earlier this year, the company has a financial base of $85 million. More...

Hybrid Technologies announced that it has begun production of its all-electric version of a BMW MINI powered by lithium-ion batteries. More...

Smith Electric Vehicles, the UK-based maker of the Edison and Newton electric urban delivery vehicles (earlier post), is investing an initial US$30 million to launch its range of battery-powered commercial vehicles in the United States. More...

China has developed its own electric vehicle motors after more than a decade of research, according to Wen Xuhui, top researcher of the electric vehicle project of the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ (CAS) Institute of Electrical Engineering. More...

ENERGY STORAGE SYSTEMS

Toyota Motor plans to build a new factory on the site of Panasonic EV Energy Co—its battery joint venture with Matsushita Electric Industrial Co.—to boost the annual production capacity for NiMH cells used in the automaker’s hybrid vehicles by 50%. More...

Axeon Holdings plc, a provider of advanced battery and battery management systems primarily to the automotive industry and the supplier of battery packs to UK electric truck maker Modec, has conditionally agreed to purchase Ristma A.G., a Swiss battery pack manufacturer primarily serving the handheld cordless power tool market. More...

BIOFUELS

Jane’s Intelligence Review reports that while biofuels offer many advantages for producing countries, the potential long-term environmental degradation and increased competition for land and water resources means it cannot be viewed as a risk-free alternative to non-renewable fuels. More...

Mascoma Corporation chose Michigan as the site for a cellulosic ethanol plant that will primarily use wood chips and other non-food agricultural crops for feedstock. More...

Virgin Fuels has joined founding investor Khosla Ventures in a Series B venture round for Gevo, Inc., a spinoff from Caltech, targeting the production of bio-butanol and other advanced biofuels from a variety of biomass feedstocks. More...


FPL Energy, LLC, a subsidiary of FPL Group, has signed a letter of intent with Citrus Energy, LLC, of Boca Raton, FL, to develop the first commercial-scale citrus peel to ethanol plant. More...

A team of researchers has discovered a novel thermophilic bacterium that transforms light into chemical energy in the hot springs of Yellowstone National Park. More...

Researchers at the University of Warwick are coordinating a global effort to sequence the genome of the mushroom Agaricus bisporus—also known as the table or button mushroom. A better understanding of the mushroom’s genome could assist in the creation of biofuels, support the effort to manage global carbon, and help remove heavy metals from contaminated soils. More...

GreenField Ethanol, Canada’s largest ethanol producer, completed a successful trial demonstration of a new membrane dewatering technology from Vaperma that can significantly improve the efficiency of the ethanol production process. More...

Bateman Litwin N.V., a mid-sized Oil, Gas, Power and Renewable Energy EPC (engineering procurement and construction) contractor, is acquiring US-based Delta-T Corporation, a leading builder of ethanol plants, for US$45 million in cash and 11.8 million new ordinary shares in Bateman Litwin. More...

Although production of biodiesel in Europe has more than doubled in the last two years, urgent market measures are required to create a real market for the fuel quantities being produced, according to the European Biodiesel Board (EBB). Absent those measures, the Board says, production may decline. More...

China will shift from corn to sorghum, cassava and sweet potato as feedstock for bio-fuel over the next five years. Cassava and sweet potato both are high-yield plants, and though edible, are not used as a staple food. More...

O2Diesel Corporation has received the regulatory approvals necessary to start delivering its proprietary diesel ethanol blended fuel, O2Diesel, in the French market. More...

The German government will increase the mandatory blending requirement of biofuels in gasoline and diesel to 10%, up from the current 5%. More...

Malaysian production of crude palm oil is expected to rise to 20 million tonnes annually by 2020, an increase of 21% from this year’s projected levels. Malaysia is the world’s leading producer of palm oil. More...

VeraSun Energy Corporation, one of the US’ largest ethanol producers, and Enterprise Rent-A-Car, the largest rental car company in North America, will work collaboratively to promote the use of VE85, VeraSun’s branded E85, in Enterprise’s Flexible Fuel Vehicles (FFVs). More...

Rochester Institute of Technology and the County of Monroe, New York have created a research partnership to assess the performance of the County’s fleet of E85 flex-fuel vehicles. More...

The Dow Chemical Company, the world’s largest producer of polyethylene, and Crystalsev, one of Brazil’s largest ethanol players, plan to form a joint venture to manufacture polyethylene from sugar cane ethanol. With production expected to start in 2011, the plant will have an annual capacity of 350,000 metric tons. More...

Three Welsh inventors claim they have developed a device that can trap mobile source CO2 emissions for subsequent removal and processing in a algae-to-biodiesel operation. More...

HYDROGEN

Quantum Technologies Worldwide, Inc., has been awarded a contract to supply ten hydrogen-fueled Prius hybrids to VistOrka for use in Iceland’s SMART-H2 project. More...

ECOtality, Inc. and Arizona State University (ASU) have agreed to work together to develop regeneration solutions for magnesium oxide. Magnesium oxide is the main byproduct of ECOtality’s Hydratus. Hydratus is a portable apparatus that produces hydrogen on-demand from magnesium and water, and operates in conjunction with existing hydrogen fuel cell technology. More...

NATURAL GAS

Schmack Biogas AG, with E.ON Ruhrgas and E.ON Bayern, plans to build Europe’s largest biogas plant. More...

Hyundai East Africa Limited will import natural gas vehicles for the East African market. More...

Great Eastern Energy Corporation Ltd (GEECL) has begun the production and sale of coal-bed methane (CBM), the first such commercial project in India. More...

DIESEL

Volkswagen has squeezed an extra one tenth of a liter per 100km of fuel economy out of its Polo BlueMotion diesel, lowering the vehicle’s fuel consumption to 3.8 l/100km (62 mpg US). With the decrease in fuel consumption, the Polo BlueMotion’s CO2 emissions hit a low 99 g/km. More...

Audi announced that it will begin production of a new generation of TDI diesel engines in mid-2008. The new diesels will use an optimized combustion process and an ultra-low emission system to comply with US EPA Tier 2 Bin 5 requirements as well as future European standards. More...

General Motors has reached a joint venture agreement with Penske Corporation to purchase a 50% equity stake in VM Motori S.p.A, a designer and manufacturer of diesel engines based in Cento, Italy. VM Motori is one of GM’s development partners for a new closed loop control combustion (CLCC) diesel engine. More...

Volvo is extending the engine range in the Volvo C70 with a 2-liter turbodiesel, making this the first four-cylinder engine in the convertible. More...

SYNTHETIC FUELS

Adelaide-based Sapex Limited and Brisbane-based Linc Energy have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) under which Linc will identify suitable locations within Sapex’s South Australian licence areas to establish underground coal gasification (UCG) fields for the co-production of power and coal-to-liquids (CTL) diesel. More...

Researchers in China are reporting the development and successful field-testing of an improved method for an underground coal gasification (UCG) process that could lead to more economical operation. More...

OTHER

An Industrial Design and Technology student from Brunel University in West London has designed an air-filtering cycle helmet and respirator that will filter out contaminants. More...

Audi has introduced a new, four-cylinder, turbocharged, gasoline direct injection TFSI engine with a displacement of 1.4 liters for the Audi A3 and A3 Sportback. More...

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has certified Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company’s commercial truck tires featuring Fuel Max Technology for use on SmartWay-eligible trucks. While company officials are citing up to a 4% hike in fuel economy with the new tires, Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) lab test results showed an 8% improvement in fuel economy compared with standard Goodyear over-the-road tires. More...

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Comments

Omitted from most discussions of the automobile's awful impact on city life is the growing role played by motorbikes, scooters and other motorized two-wheelers. In cities clogged with cars and few places to park, many people, especially the young, have turned to buying motorbikes which are cheaper and easier to park, especially on sidewalks when available. Many European cities are totally dominated by the noisy motorbikes.
No analysis of what is to be done by urban transportation planners is complete without taking into account these two-wheeled public nuisances.


Posted by: Sidney Falco on 28 Jul 07



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