Big Picture: New SoCal alt fuel tech center, Fisker Automotive has a new owner

California Energy CommissionThe California Energy Commission has awarded funds to a consortium of Southern California-based organizations led by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) to establish a Southern California Center for Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicle Technology. The Center will consist of one virtual hub and two physical locations—one in San Diego, which will be managed by the California Center for Sustainable Energy, and one in Los Angeles, which will be managed by the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator. The Center will serve the counties of Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Barbara and Ventura.

“Our goal with this critically important Center is to also leverage these assets to ensure that we’re a leading developer, designer and producer of these lower-emission technologies to add the high-value jobs and wages as well as the tax revenues that will result from a thriving advanced transportation cluster,” said Bill Allen, President and CEO, LAEDC. The California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE), a nonprofit organization that administers the statewide Clean Vehicle Rebate Project for the California Air Resources Board, will operate the San Diego Center. The Los Angeles Center will be managed by the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) at the La Kretz Innovation Campus in downtown Los Angeles.

And in other clean transportation news…….

  • Fisker Automotive has a new owner – Wanxiang:  The assets of bankrupt Fisker Automotive were sold to Wanxiang America for $149.2 million; Hybrid Tech Holdings had opened the bid for $55 million. It took two days and 19 rounds for the acquisition deal to be closed at the Delaware bankruptcy court. Wanxiang’s parent company in China is that country’s largest auto-parts supplier and it also owns A123 Systems, the lithium battery maker that has supplied battery packs to the Fisker Karma. US Bankruptcy Court Judge Kevin Gross chose the public auction route so that unsecured creditors could receive some payback from the deal.
  • Long Beach Clean Cities Coalition, which had been on hiatus for the past year, has now started up again through an alliance with the Municipal Equipment Maintenance Association (MEMA) Southern California chapter. Paul Condran, Fleet Manager for City of Culver City, CA, now serves as president of the board; three of the board members are Long Beach Clean Cities representatives. Bi-monthly MEMA meetings are serving as a main platform for recognizing Clean Cities’ goals and objectives; planning is being done for meetings, seminars, and educational sessions on green technologies, alternative fuels, and carbon footprint reduction methods. MEMA’s next general meeting will be on March 20, 2014 and details will be announced soon – see the chapter’s website for information on this meeting and alternative fuel vehicle educational sessions frequently offered by the organization.
  • US Secretary of State John Kerry mocked those who deny climate change in a speech in Indonesia. He didn’t say one word about the State Department’s and the Obama administration’s decision on the Keystone XL pipeline, which many analysts would say has a lot to do with climate change. Hmmmm………..
  • NAFA’s 2014 Institute & Expo (I&E) will be coming up April 8-11, 2014 in Minneapolis. I&E features over 60 hours of educational sessions, keynote speakers, an expo floor with more than 250 exhibitors, and excellent networking events. I had a great time attending last year, including the NAFA and Calstart workshops on alternative fuel vehicles and advanced technologies. Here’ s the conference’s website for more information and registration.
  • Tesla Motors will have its full-year financial reporting. There’s a slight chance the automaker may announce that day, or sometime soon, or never at all, that Apple may buy the luxury electric car maker. Executives may have had a conversation about it last fall and acquisition may have been discussed; another analyst said that, acquisition or not, Tesla may integrate Apple’s iOS system into Tesla vehicles.
  • ASTM International has issued a standard for dimethyl ether (DME), which could support a major advancement in alternative fuels that’s being developed by Oberon Fuels with Volvo Trucks and Mack. ASTM D7901 for DME provides guidelines for production of the diesel replacement fuel that can made from organic material. It would also apply guidelines to engine developers and for consumers of the fuel.
  • Green Automotive Company announced that its Californian subsidiary Newport Coachworks is planning to launch its 100% electric shuttle bus at the LCT Show in Las Vegas. The fully American built electric shuttle bus, The e-PATRIOT, will be presented for the first time at the upcoming February 16-18th International LCT Show at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
  • ChargePoint announced the installation of twenty-seven new stations at MGM resorts on the Las Vegas Strip and two new stations at Circus Circus in Reno.

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