For Today: Nissan Renault going mobile, FuturePorts explores future of clean trucks

Nissan Renault going mobile:  The Nissan and Renault alliance is entering the self-driving, ride-hailing and shared rides business; and the cars will be electric. It won’t be happening overnight – not likely before 2020 but within 10 years, a company executive said. The two companies have been testing self-driving vehicles. The mobility service will run on pre-mapped courses with predetermined pick-up and drop-off points. The automated system is being worked out with Japanese game software maker DeNA Co Ltd and French public transport operator Transdev SA. Several companies have revealed similar plans through alliances or on their own, including Ford, Uber, Lyft, Waymo, BMW, and General Motors. Tesla will offer its buyers fully autonomous cars that they can rent out for shared rides.

25 years in clean transportation:  CALSTART marks its 25th anniversary in October, with its symposium connecting transportation, jobs, and the environment. This gathering of national policymakers and industry leaders will explore market acceleration through transportation policies and technologies that result in creating more jobs, while meeting our climate and clean air goals. Solutions and actions to stimulate thinking toward a 2030 vision for a clean transportation economy will be explored. Stakeholders will gather on October 25 in Pasadena, Calif.

FuturePorts looks at role of clean trucks in port sustainability
The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are striding forward on their commitment made a decade ago to bring clean trucks to the southland. Trucks powered by renewable natural gas (RNG), batteries, and hydrogen are becoming part of entering the next phase, according to speakers yesterday at FuturePorts in Long Beach, Calif.

More support for fleet operators acquiring these vehicles is likely to come from revenue collected through the state’s cap and trade auction funds, which came from the state’s AB 32 global warming measure, said Wayne Nastri, executive officer at South Coast Air Quality Management District. A new bill in Sacramento, if passed, addresses vehicle smog checks and could also provide more funding for clean heavy-duty trucks, he said.

Fleets in Southern California have been early adopters of RNG, using the clean fuel in refuse trucks, street sweepers, and buses, said George Minter, regional vice president, external affairs and environmental strategy for Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas).

Yesterday also saw a major announcement by Los Angeles County’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s board authorizing the purchase of nearly 300 natural gas buses; the agency will be running them on RNG that can reduce exhaust emissions by as much as 98% when compared to MTA’s current buses.

The Advanced Clean Trucks (ACT) Now Plan was presented last month to the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. California Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition submitted the plan directed at drayage trucks serving the ports. The coalition is giving input as the ports adopt the 2017 Clean Air Action Plan. The ACT Now Plan encompasses all zero- and near-zero emission technologies and fuels, including natural gas, propane, battery electric, hydrogen fuel cell electric, and others that meet a 0.02 g/bhp-hr NOx standard. The .02 standard has been supported by public fleets and transit agencies since being adopted by California Air Resources Board and Air Quality Management Districts about two years ago.

Transit buses, refuse trucks, and medium- and heavy-duty trucks built with Cummins Westport’s ISL G near zero certified natural gas 8.9-liter engine are fueled by renewable natural gas that’s reducing NOx emissions by 90% based on the .02 standard. A Cummins Westport 11.9-liter heavy-duty natural gas engine is awaiting certification by CARB and EPA, Minter said. Other vehicle and engine manufacturers may be rolling out technology suited for near zero emission trucks, especially as the 2023 deadline for hitting Clean Air Act targets approaches, he said.

Caroline Choi, senior vice president for regulatory affairs at Southern California Edison, said her utility has been exploring ways to “decarbonize” transportation through electric power. One project involved converting over cranes to run on electricity instead of diesel at the Port of Long Beach. Electric medium- and heavy-duty trucks are on their way. The company is also getting involved in test projects using electric rubber tired gantry cranes and yard tractors, she said.

Consumers and fleet operators also want to know more about rate costs tied to charging electric vehicles, Choi said. The utility is looking into rate pricing to keep it stable and eliminate demand charges.

Ash Corson, alternative fuels vehicle manager for Toyota, talked about Toyota’s Project Portal, which is testing out heavy-duty fuel cell drayage trucks at the ports. Toyota engineers have been working on hydrogen-fueled Class 8 trucks capable of carrying up to 80,000 pounds. A Toyota video showed a fuel cell truck having a lot more torque power than a diesel truck.

Choi and Minter engaged in a bit of banter over which technology, electric or RNG, is really zero emissions – or less. Minter made the point that RNG can go lower than electric, with some of it reaching net negative in emissions when the material comes from sewage treatment plants, landfills, and particularly from dairies. Choi distinguished clean energy, coming from renewable sources like wind and solar, from renewable fuels like biomethane.

Nastri reiterated SCAQMD’s stance on being technology neutral, supporting technologies that are dramatically reducing vehicle emissions. All of the panelists agreed on that point, and emphasized being cooperative in the decades-long battle between petroleum and clean fuels.

For Today: Tesla making agreement on Chinese factory, NAFA launches new website

Will Tesla forge a Chinese JV?:  Tesla is very close to finalizing an agreement to build a factory in China, according to sources close to the matter. The agreement is being made with the city of Shanghai and is expected to be released this week. The U.S. automaker will need to set up a joint venture with at least one Chinese company, which is the case for all other automakers manufacturing vehicles in China. While Tesla wants to cut out the 25% tariff being charged to import its cars to China, creating a JV has been outside Tesla’s corporate culture (an example being creating its own Supercharger fast charger and not sharing the tech with other automakers). In early May, CEO Elon Musk had met with Chinese vice premier Wang Yang, which was reported in state-owned media as focusing on a JV being forged. The electric automaker released a statement at that time denying it will be going into business with a Chinese company. But Tesla does want to have a strong presence in China, having tripled its revenue there to $1 billion last year; creating a JV may be a necessity.

BMW 530e being outsourced to Magna:  BMW is outsourcing manufacturing of a new 5-Series plug-in hybrid to North America’s largest auto supplier, Canadian company Magna International. Production will take place at the Graz, Austria plant of the Magna Steyr subsidiary with building of the BMW 530e starting this summer. Magna is opening the door to a new space for auto suppliers – contract manufacturing at a large scale. Magna Steyr will be manufacturing the Jaguar I-Pace electric SUV starting in early 2018. Companies like BMW and Jaguar will be able to outsource some of their production, keeping costs down and allowing them to use their factories for other vehicles. That means moving forward on hitting carbon emission targets and getting electric cars out at a faster pace.

New NAFA website and webinars:  NAFA Fleet Management Association (NAFA) has unveiled a new website,  which is providing more value to the memberships and visitors. It was redesigned to be easy to navigate and mobile device responsive. You can also view listings for upcoming clean transportation webinars in the Upcoming Events area. “Electrifying Your Fleet: How the latest technologies can significantly reduce the infrastructure and operating costs of driving on electricity,” will take place on August 16 and will be presented by charging infrastructure supplier ChargePoint. “Case Studies of Green Fleet Activities in Canada” will take place on October 18 and will be presented by Fleet Challenge.

For Today: Electrified Hyundai Kona, Uber facing more upheaval

Hyundai Kona:  Hyundai will be offering electrified versions of its new Kona crossover SUV. While the 2018 Hyundai Kona is scheduled to come to the U.S. later this year, it’s not clear which electrified options will be available and if any of those variations will come to the U.S. The all-electric model is supposed to come out in 2018 and will have range of about 240 miles; though that will likely be fewer miles in the U.S. under the Environmental Protection Agency rating. “Clean mobility is a core strategy of the Hyundai Motor Company in the future,” the company said during unveiling of the Kona in Seoul. It could join the Ionic as part of the Korean automaker’s ambitious global strategy for green vehicle introductions. All three electrified versions of the Ioniq were displayed on the freeway side of the Hyundai’s U.S. headquarters office recently.

Electric Transit postal vans:  Deutsche Post, Germany’s postal carrier, has entered an agreement with Ford’s German subsidiary, Ford-Werke GmbH, to manufacture battery-electric vans. The chassis of the Ford Transit will be used by Deutsche Post and fitted to a battery-electric drive train. The German postal carrier had previously designed and produced the all-electric smaller van StreetScooter. The new van will be larger and offer more shipping capacity. Production with Ford will start next month. The target is to build and deliver at least 2,500 vehicles before the end of 2018, which would make Deutsche Post DHL Group the largest manufacturer of battery-electric medium-duty delivery vehicles in Europe, the company said.

Uber upheaval:  Uber board member David Bonderman is leaving the company after making a disparaging comment to another board member, Arianna Huffington. After Huffington talked about how having one woman on the board often leads to more women joining, Bonderman said, “Actually, what it shows is that it’s much more likely to be more talking.” This followed news of CEO Travis Kalanick taking a leave of absence from the company, and a plan released by the company Tuesday that more accountability will be brought to executives for their actions. Huffington has been part of a panel investigating allegations made by a female ex-employee back in February over sexual harassment by an Uber executive. Earlier this month, Uber fired 20 employees over harassment, discrimination, and inappropriate behavior stemming from the February blog post by the female ex-employee. This has been a stormy year for Uber that includes an intensive court room battle with Alphabet’s Waymo subsidiary in its claims against Uber stealing its intellectual property for self-driving cars. Uber’s main U.S. competitor, Lyft, seems to be benefiting from the storm Uber is under, and continues to add partner companies to its future.

For Today: Plug-in vehicle sales in May, Pope Francis receives Ampera-e

How plug-in sales performed:  The Toyota Prius Prime led U.S. plug-in vehicle sales for the second month in a row, beating the Chevy Volt 1,908 units sold over 1,817, respectively. The Volt barely nudged out the Tesla Model X, which came in at an estimated 1,800 units sold last month, according to HybridCars. The Model X beat the Model S, with the Model S coming in at about 1,700 units sold. All of the top selling vehicles were up from the previous month with the Model X leading the pack by doubling sales over April. Both Tesla models and the Chevy Volt and Bolt were up over April and over May 2016. Plug-in hybrids did very well overall compared to last month and one year ago. Hybrid vehicles also saw a good month with May sales up 9% over April and 10.4% over May 2016. The Toyota Prius beat the Ford Fusion Hybrid in sales during May.

Waymo self-driving trucks:  Alphabet’s Waymo autonomous vehicle division is testing out its self-driving technology on a Class 8 heavy-duty Peterbilt truck. Testing has been taking place on a private test track in California. Highway testing is to be conducted later this year in Arizona, the company said. This is taking place as Waymo continues its legal battle with Uber over alleged intellectual property theft used in the Otto autonomous truck startup that Uber had acquired. Now Waymo is getting into trucking its own way. “We’re taking our eight years of experience in building self-driving hardware and software and conducting a technical exploration into how our technology can integrate into a truck,” said the company in a statement.

Opel Ampera-e in Vatican City:  Pope Francis, who does believe climate change is real, has accepted the keys to a new Opel Ampera-e (aka Chevy Bolt). Opel CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann delivered the all-electric sedan, which is contributing to Vatican City’s goal to become the first carbon free country in the world through the use of electric mobility and renewable energy. “We are proud that we as Opel can contribute to the ambitious goals of the Vatican City. Our new Ampera-e will make electric mobility feasible for everyday use without any compromises,” said Neumann.

For Today: Republic Services triples RNG use / Hyundai reveals electric bus

Republic Services tripling RNG:  Waste disposal company Republic Services will be increasing its usage of renewable natural gas (RNG) by three times what it used in 2016 in its CNG-powered refuse trucks through an expanded agreement with Clean Energy. Clean Energy’s Redeem brand of RNG fuel will be deployed across Republic’s CNG-fleet in 20 states. Republic will be able to reduce its fleet emissions by approximately 110,000 metric tons of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) over a three-year period, which is equal to planting 2.8 million trees or removing 23,200 cars from the road. Using RNG and alternative fuel trucks will combine with intelligent routing and the company’s One Fleet maintenance initiative will help the company hits its greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets.

Texas blocks Tesla:  The Texas state legislature has voted down two bills that would have allowed Tesla the right to directly sell its electric vehicles in the state. That was a tough call for Tesla, with Texas being the nation’s’ second largest auto retailing market after California. The company is close to starting production of the Model 3, and losing out on the Texas market will affect its future sales. That legislative battle has been dragged out for years in a state that Tesla had once considered setting up its Gigactory within.

Hyundai electric bus:  Hyundai just revealed the Elec City electric bus during an event in Korea. It has a 256 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery and a 240 kW electric motor, delivering a driving range of 180 miles. Fast charging capability will enable a full recharging in just over an hour. Production and sales begin in 2018. No word yet on whether it will stay in Korea or go overseas to compete with electric bus makers BYD and Proterra.

For Today: Canada bringing out ZEV policy in 2018, Two significant events coming up

Canada adopting ZEV policy: Canada will be developing a national policy supporting more adoption of zero emission vehicles for release next year. The ministries of Transport and Innovation, Science and Economic Development will work with provincial and territorial partners, industry, and stakeholders, to promote sales and infrastructure for battery electric, plug-in hybrid, and fuel cell vehicles. An Advisory Group has been set up to explore five key barriers for greater adoption of these vehicles: vehicle supply, cost and benefits of ownership, infrastructure readiness, public awareness, and clean growth and clean jobs. The national government has been funding more charging stations and alternative fuel gas stations including hydrogen and natural gas.

Resolving differing fuel economy policies:  Six U.S. senators introduced legislation Friday to bring consistency to the practice of transferring fleetwide credits earned under National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Environmental Protection Agency emissions programs. It’s been asked for by automakers since last year, but is finding opposition from environmental and consumer advocacy groups concerned it weaken federal emission standards. The Fuel Economy Harmonization Act is aimed at correcting statutory differences between the programs related to the expiration date, amount and type of credits manufacturers can earn in one model year and apply to another. Regulators would also be called upon to harmonize other aspects of their programs.

Nissan selling stake in AESC:  Nissan is close to selling its stake in battery supplier AESC (Automotive Energy Supply Corp.), which has supplied battery cells and modules to the Nissan Leaf, e-NV200, and a few Renault models. The Japanese automaker has owned a 51% stake and NEC Corp. the remaining 49%.  Nissan will be selling its stake to Chinese private equity firm GSR Capital for $1 billion in a deal expected to be signed within two weeks.

Two events to watch for: EV Roadmap 10 and ITEC2017
The EV Roadmap Conference brings together stakeholders from utilities, local governments, vehicle manufacturers, charging providers, interest groups, and drivers to explore emerging trends, share best practices, and map the road ahead. Produced by Forth (formerly Drive Oregon), the event will take place June 20-21 in Portland, Ore. Attendees will explore widespread electric vehicle adoption and the supportive ecosystem needed for it to succeed.

ITEC2017 is aimed at helping the industry in the transition from conventional vehicles to advanced electrified vehicles. IEEE’s Transportation Electrification Conference & Expo will be held June 22-24 in Chicago. The conference is focused on components, systems, standards, and grid interface technologies, related to efficient power conversion for all types of electrified transportation, including electric vehicles, hybrid electric vehicles, and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles; as well as heavy-duty, rail, and off-road vehicles and airplanes and ships.

For Today: EVs cheaper than conventional in a decade, Trump budget cutting Clean Cities

EV battery costs dropping:  A new study by Bloomberg New Energy Finance indicates that declining battery costs will mean electric vehicles will also be cheaper to buy in the U.S. and Europe as soon as 2025. In EVs, batteries make up about half the cost. The study predicts that prices will fall by about 77 percent between 2016 and 2030. French carmaker Renault predicts total ownership costs of electric cars like its Zoe will be conventional to gasoline-engine cars by the early 2020s.

RNG in Metro buses:  Clean Energy Fuels Corp. announced that the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) has awarded Clean Energy a renewable natural gas (RNG) contract to fuel its fleet of transit buses with Redeem brand renewable natural gas. The fueling contract begins with a one-year pilot where Clean Energy will provide Redeem to one of Metro’s eleven compressed natural gas stations, which are currently operated and maintained by Clean Energy. Each station provides fuel for approximately 200 CNG buses. That may lead to the company providing its RNG to the entire Metro fleet of 2,200 natural gas buses for four more years.

Tucker Perkins new CEO:  The Propane Education & Research Council has named industry veteran Thomas “Tucker” Perkins as its next president and chief executive officer, said PERC Chairman Thomas Van Buren, who also led the executive search team. Perkins, 60, joined PERC in 2012 as Chief Business Development Officer and most recently served as Chief Operations Officer. Current president and CEO Roy Willis, 67, who has led the PERC staff since operations began nearly 20 years ago, recently announced that he will retire on July 31, 2017. Willis will serve in a supporting role for a limited time to help with the transition.

Big cuts in Trump’s DOE budget: The Trump administration is proposing dramatic cuts to the Department of Energy budget for the 2018 fiscal year, which begins October 1. Funding would be cut entirely for the Clean Cities program and the DOE’s Vehicle Technologies Program would see huge cuts. You can view the proposed DOE budget here with details on the cuts presented on pages 28, 47, and 48 in PDF document pages; these three pages can be seen on pages 22, 41, and 42 in the report’s page numbers at the bottom of each page of the Congressional Justification document.

Weeks ago, news came out that Trump’s 2018 budget proposed eliminating the DOE’s Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program (ATMVP) and Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). Trump would like to see a $54-billion increase in defense spending that would be offset in cuts to other departments. DoE would see a $1.7 billion cut for the next fiscal year. Of the $28 billion in the DoE’s budget funding, about $1.4 billion will be increased for the National Nuclear Security Administration.

For Today: More on the all-new Nissan Leaf, Qualcomm and Mercedes moving forward on wireless charging

All-new Leaf reveal:  A Nissan executive says that the next-generation Leaf will be unveiled on Sept. 6 in Tokyo. Pierril Pouret, Senior VP in Europe, confirmed the date and that the 2018 Leaf be an all-new offering. “This will be a brand new model, designed from a blank sheet, that will make sure we are still in the front,” he said. The company put out a teaser photo yesterday of the new headlights and announced that more will be revealed this summer. The automaker said that the Leaf is the world’s best-selling electric vehicle with more than 260,000 on the road globally.

Qualcomm and Mercedes bringing wireless charging forward:  Qualcomm is getting ready to bring wireless electric vehicle charging (WEVC) to market in a big way, starting next year with Daimler. Mercedes-Benz S550e plug-in hybrid drivers can park over a charging pad where charging begins automatically once the plug-in hybrid is close enough to the charging platform. It’s meant to take away the problem of plug-in vehicle owners forgetting to charge. The Qualcomm Halo division has designed WEVC units that use resonant magnetic induction to transfer energy. The WEVC system will be manufactured by an automotive electronics supplier which has licensed the technology Qualcomm Halo. Qualcomm worked with Mercedes on the FIA Formula E. Besides running the Qualcomm Safety Car with wireless charging, the company has worked with the Mercedes factory Formula One team, Mercedes AMG Petronas.

Uber gets into trucking:  Uber announced yesterday that it’s bringing its role as a third-party broker matching customers to drivers over the freight hauling business. Uber Freight is now available to large trucking firms and smaller independent operators nationwide; a test version had been run in Texas since September. It will be separate from its Otto driverless truck business, which has been at the center of a lawsuit by Google’s Waymo against an Uber employee who’s been accused of stealing its self-driving car technology.

Solar energy storage:  Mercedes-Benz Energy and Vivint Solar will bring the Mercedes-Benz customizable home energy storage system to the U.S., starting in California. It will offer cost savings to homeowners on energy bills, backup energy during blackouts, and clean energy for those driving electric cars. Vivint Solar is one of the largest solar providers in the U.S and will bring its experience installing solar at more than 100,000 homes across the country.

RNG academic research center:  The University of California, Riverside and Southern California Gas Co. this week announced the establishment of a new Center for Renewable Natural Gas. The Center is the first academic establishment in the U.S. dedicated to the study and applied research of renewable gas technologies. It was funded in part by SoCalGas with a matching donation from the South Coast Air Quality Management District and the National Center for Sustainable Transportation. It’s part of UC Riverside’s Center for Environmental Research & Technology (CE-CERT). “Renewable gas can play a key role in reducing greenhouse gases and meeting California’s renewable energy goals,” said Lisa Alexander, vice president of customer solutions and communications for SoCalGas.  “In California, the agriculture and waste industries produce a great deal of methane that could – and should – be used as renewable gas to heat homes, and fuel power plants and near-zero-emissions trucks.”

 

RNG Will Be Important Part of Hitting Port Clean Truck Goals

There’s a lot happening right now as the largest port in the U.S. moves farther toward clean transportation.

 

Earlier this month at ACT Expo, the California Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition (CNGVC) announced submission of the Advanced Clean Trucks (ACT) Now Plan to the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The coalition is giving input as the ports adopt the 2017 Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP), the next phase of the clean truck program. They want to see emissions further reduced from the 13,000 heavy-duty trucks that currently serve the ports.

 

The ACT Now Plan encompasses all zero- and near-zero emission technologies and fuels, including natural gas, propane, battery electric, hydrogen fuel cell electric, and others that meet a 0.02 g/bhp-hrNOx standard and can achieve a minimum 40% reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions using renewable fuels or energy.

 

For now, port commissioners are showing more interest in electrified transportation in hitting emissions targets. While that would more than meet these emission reduction targets, it will take several years for the heavy-duty electric trucks to become available at that scale. Renewable natural gas could serve as an ideal bridge fuel during that time, according to members of the coalition.

 

Currently, the ports have about 700 natural gas-powered trucks serving them, according to the Southern California Gas Co. All of these trucks operating in the region currently have access to RNG, also known as biomethane, through natural gas fueling stations. Southern California has been the hub of these natural gas fueling stations, which will help drayage and carrier truck companies convert over to the fuel.

 

The benefits of using RNG in trucks equipped with natural gas-powered engines are becoming well known among fleet managers. In a 2011 study of RNG production methods (PDF), Argonne National Laboratory concluded that all RNG methods show significantly less GHG emissions and fossil fuel consumption than conventional fossil natural gas and gasoline.

 

Both of the ports are reviewing the ACT Now Plan as part of the process, with more expected to be decided upon this summer. You can read the announcement here, find a summary here, and the see the plan here.

 

For those interested in learning more about the port’s clean truck program and the role ACT Now Plan will play, attending the upcoming FuturePorts 2017 Annual Conference would be ideal. Conference speakers will be looking at the 10-year mark since the Clean Air Action Plan was implemented at the ports; and some of them have been involved in bringing clean trucks to the ports. The conference “will focus on the trends in energy, port operations and efficiency that are disrupting historical business models and setting the course for a competitive future.” It’s taking place Thursday, June 22, 2017, 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Long Beach.

For today: Lift joins up with Waymo, Musk boring underground LA

  • Lyft partners with Waymo: Ride-hailing firm Lyft has forged a partnership with the Waymo self-driving car firm. The partners will work on pilot projects and product development in self-driving car technology, with the end goal of bringing needed transportation to fast-growing cities. The timing of the deal comes about as Waymo has taken ride-hailing giant Uber to court over allegedly stealing that technology. Uber had acquired the Otto startup, which led Waymo filing the lawsuit based on claims of intellectual property theft. Yesterday, the federal judge ruled that Uber must return Waymo documents. The judge also said that Uber can continue working on self-driving car technology, but Anthony Levandowski must be removed from any work relating to a key automated technology called lidar. Levandowski had been a leader in Google’s self-driving car research and a founder of the Otto self-driving truck firm.
  • Boring in LA: In a set of photos and video on his Instagram page Friday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk showed what’s been happening with The Boring Company concept. What started in late 2016 as a set of Twitter posts about his frustrations being stuck in traffic while driving to Hawthorne (SpaceX HQ and Tesla service center), shows an “electric sled” that can go up to 125 mph through an underground tunnel somewhere in Los Angeles. The word “Boring” has to do with boring a tunnel underground. Musk has been secretive about where it’s located, and how much ground it covers. The tunnel has got to be at least a mile long, if you watch the videos. Musk said that the tunnel will run from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Culver City, Santa Monica, Westwood, and Sherman Oaks. There will be more tunnels, and they’ll cover all of the greater Los Angeles area, he said. No word yet on whether Musk has regulatory approval to continue the track – or Boring Machine 1, which he’s nicknamed Godot.
  • Chinese EV plant: Guangzhou Automobile Group, or GAC Group, has started building a vehicle assembly plant in China’s southern Guangdong province that will have the capacity to product up to 200,000 electric cars a year by the end of 2018. It should cost the company about $700 million to get there. The company’s first electric car, the GE3, was introduced at the 2017 Detroit auto show in January. Its new plug-in hybrid sedan, the GA3S, and plug-in hybrid SUV, the GS4, were unveiled at the Shanghai auto show in April.
  • Propane fueling acquisition: Agility Fuel Solutions’ Powertrain Systems unit has acquired the assets of CleanFUEL USA and some of its employees. The company will add business locations in Wixom, Mich., to focus on fuel systems, and Georgetown, Texas to focus on refueling equipment. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Powertrain Systems will be able to offer complete propane fuel systems for commercial vehicles based on patented liquid propane injection technology. The company said it will be able to offer “turnkey propane fueling packages for both private fleet and retail locations, enabling a complete propane solution for commercial fleets globally.”
  • Renewable diesel station: Ryder System has begun to offer renewable diesel (RD) fuel at its San Francisco fueling facility, located at 2700 3rd Street. With this implementation, Ryder customers will be better able to address their sustainability goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions while still utilizing diesel vehicles. Based on production levels and availability of RD, Ryder will continue to monitor other markets with plans for expanding this offering. The company also plans to analyze market opportunities that would benefit its customers to have RD available for their fleets.
  • GM’s sustainable tires: General Motors Co. is taking on another corporate sustainability drive by changing over to tires made from sustainable natural rubber. The automaker is working several tire suppliers to create an industry first. The definition of sustainable tires includes that the natural rubber “did not lead to deforestation,” was harvested to aid an area’s economic and social development, and is “managed in a transparent and traceable manner.” This will apply to about 49 million tires that the Detroit automaker buys each year. GM is also known for its going “landfill-free” at its facilities around the world, with all waste from daily operations recycled, reused or converted to energy.