Changes to be made to MPGe window stickers, Auto suppliers want to see fuel economy rule adopted

More realistic than MPGe window stickers:  Discussions are going on at a few automakers on changing the window stickers on vehicles powered by alternative energy sources, according to a published report. While the miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe) system used on plug-in vehicles made some sense when adopted a few years ago, it may not be that effective in answering questions for car shoppers. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency doesn’t have plans to make changes to the Motor Vehicle Fuel Economy Label, and no interviewed for the article had a clear vision implementing an improved comparison system for consumers looking at all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

“While in principle MPGe is a good way of conveying relative efficiency, I’m not sure that it’s actually meaningful to consumers, nor is energy efficiency in general for plug-in vehicles,” said Sam Abuelsamid, senior analyst at Navigant Research. “Much as most consumers focus on what their monthly payment is going to be, for EVs, I think they are mostly just interested in the electric range and, in the case of PHEVs, the gas/diesel efficiency.”

CNG/electric hybrid:  Skoda Auto is presenting the first-ever vehicle that can run on natural gas, gasoline, and an electric drive during the Geneva Motor Show March 6-18. The Skoda Vision X sport utility vehicle features a newly configured hybrid system that can go into front, rear, or four-wheel drive as needed. The CNG/electric engine combination can offer low CO2 emissions of only 89 g/km. That comes from a combination of a natural gas and gasoline-powered drivetrain and two electric motors.

Industry group supports strong federal emissions rules:  Automotive suppliers are concerned that if the federal government softens its fuel economy and emissions rules, the economic impact could be damaging to the industry. A new advocacy consortium has been started up, the Automotive Technology Leadership Group, which supports seeing continued progress on reducing emissions and oil consumption. Made up of Advanced Engine Systems Institute, the Aluminum Association, the Emission Control Technology Association, Manufacturers of Emission Controls Association, and Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association, member companies want to have their voices heard as federal agencies prepare to finalize standards for phase two of the fuel economy rules. They’ve been making large investments to bring emissions-reducing technologies to the market and to meet domestic goals, and to make U.S.-built vehicles very competitive on the global stage. By the end of March, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is scheduled to announce whether it will keep the fuel economy and emissions standards in place, or begin work to modify them. The Automotive Technology Leadership Group would like to make sure that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the state of California, and other states that follow California’s emissions standards, will have their concerns heard and coordinated within the EPA’s ruling.

Geely chief becomes largest Daimler shareholder, States looking for solutions to highway repair

Daimler adds Geely as major investor for electrification:  Li Shufu, the chairman and main owner of Chinese carmaker Geely, has taken a 9.69% stake in Daimler AG, the German company said in a regulatory filing last week. The $9 billion in Daimler shares makes Li the largest single shareholder in the manufacturer of Mercedes Benz cars, trucks, and vans. Sources told Reuters that Geely’s main objective in the Daimler investment is sharing its EV technology to meet China’s demand for new energy vehicles. Zhejiang Geely, which owns Volvo, in December invested $3.9 billion in Volvo AB, the world’s second-largest truck maker after No. 1, Daimler Trucks. The Chinese company has also invested in Via Motors and an electric truck joint venture for China. Daimler has made comments about preparing to be the world’s leader in electrified trucks in the medium-duty and heavy-duty truck segments. Last week, the company released details on its eActros heavy-duty trucks still in development. The company said that the eActros drive system comprises two electric motors located close to the rear-axle wheel hubs. The truck can carry a payload of 11.5 tons, and will have a 125 mile range per charge. Energy will be stored in two lithium-ion batteries with an output of 240 kWh. Daimler is looking at 20 to 80 kW charge rates, which will be able to charge up the eActros in three to 11 hours.

Geneva will showcase Tesla-competitive models:  European automakers will be utilizing the Geneva auto show next month as a platform for being truly Tesla-competitive. That comes after a sobering finding – the Tesla Model S outsold the Mercedes-Benz S class and BMW 7 series in Europe for the first time last year. The Tesla Model 3 could add to that pressure if it makes it through production problems and hits company targets. Jaguar will be showing the I-Pace electric crossover, which is considered to be the first competitive all-electric Tesla rival. Volvo will show its Polestar 1, the first car from its new electric performance brand. The plug-in hybrid Polestar 1 won’t be directly competing with all-electric Teslas, but it will come close in its performance – capable of producing 600 horsepower and 150 kilometers (93.2 miles) in electric-only, the longest range of any plug-in hybrid. Bentley will also reveal its first plug-in hybrid aimed at customers willing to pay more. Audi, Volkswagen, and Mercedes-Benz also will show off all-electric vehicles aimed at Tesla.

States adding fees to back infrastructure cleanup:  States are watching what the federal government is doing on rebuilding the highway infrastructure, and may have to come up with their own solutions. President Donald Trump’s $200 billion plan to repair America’s transportation corridor, revealed Feb. 12, is intended to attract a huge amount of additional money from states, localities, and private investors. The goal is to generate a total pot of $1.5 trillion to upgrade the country’s highways, airports, and railroads. Finding outside funding sources is essential to the policy changes moving forward, with non-federal government sources accounting for 70% of the formula for choosing infrastructure projects. Hawaii has taken steps toward adding new fees for electric vehicle owners, to get them to “pay their fair share” towards maintaining the state’s bridges and roads. Other states, including California, are likely to add more toll road fees as voters have turned down efforts to add other fees and funds coming from Washington are drying up; and some states are considering adding more EV taxes, similar to what Hawaii has been working on. President Trump has suggested adding federal gas taxes to raise more of the funds, but that’s been fading out in Congress. Republican legislators haven’t supported it, and want to gain support from voters as the mid-term election approaches. Adding a hefty gas tax may not go well with voters.

 

 

VW settlement funds providing clean vehicle opportunities, Porsche leaves diesel while Daimler faces investigation

VW settlement funds:  States are starting to tap into the great potential coming from the Volkswagen diesel emission scandal with nearly $3 billion being directed to the Environmental Mitigation Trust. That was spurred along in October with Wilmington Trust being named the VW settlement trustee, with several states expected to release their mitigation plans in the coming weeks and months. Fleets are in an excellent position to tap into funding sources for their upcoming clean vehicle initiatives. Gladstein Neandross & Associates (GNA) has made resources available to fleets through its Funding 360 team, including its VW Funding 360 Portal, which offers users access the state-specific intelligence and breaking news on available state funding programs. It was the focus of a GNA webinar last week and is expected to be a hot topic at the upcoming ACT Expo, taking place April 30 to May 3 at the Long Beach, Calif., convention center.

Self-driving fuel cell vehicle:  Hyundai’s new Nexo fuel cell crossover SUV, which was revealed last month at the Consumer Electronics Show, is scheduled to roll out next month in South Korea. It will have a range capacity of about 500 miles and can be refueled with hydrogen in three-to-five minutes. Hyundai is also tapping into the autonomous vehicle technology front by preparing to achieve Level 4 autonomous in the Nexo by 2021. The automaker recently set a new benchmark by going 118 miles in full “cruise” mode during a highway demonstration earlier this month.

German automakers stepping away from diesel:  Porsche has officially exited the diesel engine market now that diesel variants of its performance cars are no longer available. That’s taken place over the past couple of years after its parent company, Volkswagen, has emerged from the “dirty diesel” scandal. While VW has yet to be cleared (with news of air pollution tests on monkeys a few years ago hurting its image), it may be in better shape now that German competitor Daimler. While Daimler is getting out of building diesel-powered cars, a few of its older models are still the source of investigation by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Regulators are investigating whether old models had been equipped with illegal software to help them pass emission tests. It follows lawsuits filed in 2016 by customers claiming their Mercedes-Benz diesel cars had been equipped with software designed for cheating on U.S. diesel emissions tests.

 

 

Tesla factory in Shanghai unraveling, Robotaxis may be the way autonomous vehicles thrive

Tesla may not build a factory in China:  Tesla may not be able to bring a factory to China under the appealing terms that had been reached with the government last fall, according to a Bloomberg report. CEO Elon Musk had been in talks about building an assembly plant in the Shangai area, but the two parties couldn’t reach an agreement on how the ownership structure would work. The national government wants it to be like all the others – a joint venture with local partners and Tesla wants to own the factory entirely. In October, Tesla had reached an agreement with the government in Shanghai to build a production facility in the city’s free-trade zone. Tesla would have been able to sidestep China’s steep tariffs by building a factory in the zone. Tesla has done well selling its electric cars in China, but an import tax of 25% raises the sticker price beyond what most consumers are willing to consider. A Tesla Model X made in the U.S. and shipped to China costs about 835,000 yuan ($132,000). Neither Tesla nor China responded to Bloomberg queries on the state of the potential agreement.

Evolution offers information resources for EV shoppers:  For those of you thinking about buying a plug-in vehicle in the Midwest, or need resources for marketing them, check out EVolution: Choices for a Smarter Purchase. Consumers interested in buying an all-electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle can check out a new-vehicle purchase guidance tool created by Argonne National Laboratory. The EVolution website connects to the Alternative Fuels Data Center, FuelEconomy.gov, U.S. Energy Information Administration websites, and others in one convenient platform to provide the most recent information about electric-drive and conventional powertrain types, public charging locations, and available incentives. Argonne National Laboratory designed the research tool as a part of the seven-state Midwest EVOLVE project, providing information on buying an EV in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, or Wisconsin. Midwest EVOLVE is a partnership between the American Lung Association and eight Clean Cities coalitions in the Midwest to educate consumers about the clean-air and performance advantages of plug-in electric and hybrid vehicles.

Shared Mobility Principles for Livable Cities:  While autonomous vehicles has become the leading edge issue in the auto industry, the question always comes up about how companies will be able to build viable, profitable business models and meet demands for real-world transportation. That would include doing it safely and addressing public concerns about how realistic self-driving cars would be to release on our roads.

In the past year, the topic of robotaxis has been the focus, with automakers forging alliances with tech giants and mobility service companies. The business model is appealing to many, as it could meet future demand for transportation in increasingly crowded, traffic-packed, air-polluted cities. Consumers may not want to own autonomous vehicles as much as they’d be willing to take an Uber or Lyft ride driven by a robot.

The Shared Mobility Principles for Livable Cities was launched last year and led by Robin Chase, a Zipcar co-founder. Earlier this month, the organization brought in 15 leading technology and transportation companies and adopted a set of rules and principles addressing equity, environmental, and social concerns. The companies – Uber, Lyft, BlaBlaCar, Citymapper, Didi, Keolis, LimeBike, Mobike, Motivate, Ofo, Ola, Scoot Networks, Via, and Zipcar – account for 77 million passenger trips per day and inform the travel decisions of 10 million people each day, according to a statement released by the World Resources Institute, the organization which facilitated the agreement.

The Shared Mobility Principles for Livable Cities was launched in October 2017 at the Ecomobility World Festival in Taiwan. It was initially signed by policy think tanks and advocacy organizations, including Transportation for America, Natural Resources Defense Council, ITDP, the World Resources Institute, and the Rocky Mountain Institute. The organization has written 10 non-binding principles in the statement offering a vision for a sustainable mobility future that incorporates multimodal transportation options.

Study shows five US cities as most traffic congested, Green Auto Market celebrates six year anniversary

LA most traffic congested city:  U.S. cities took five of the Top 10 Most Congested cities for last year. In the INRIX 2017 Traffic Scorecard, Los Angeles topped the list and was joined in the ranking by New York City, San Francisco, Atlanta, and Miami. The ranking is based on analysis of the total cost to average drivers in wasted time and fuel cost. Indirect costs are included that affect businesses operating in those cities who pass their increased costs from congestion on to consumers through higher prices. Thailand leads with the highest average hours spent in peak congestion (56 hours), surpassing Indonesia (51 hours), Columbia (49 hours), Venezuela (42), with the U.S. and Russia both at 41 hours. The INRIX study found that traffic congestion costed U.S. drivers nearly $305 billion last year, averaging about $1,445 per driver. While other countries have high-speed rail and other transportation modes (including biking), the U.S. seems to be looking at finding a good balance, long term, between mobility services, autonomous vehicles, and clean vehicles, to deal with the congestion and air pollution problems.

New Sonata Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid:  The refreshed 2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid are being shown off at the Chicago Auto Show. Changes made to the Sonata lineup include revisions to the front and rear fasicas, hood, front fenders, and alloy wheel designs. New LED headlights utilize the new Dynamic Bending Light, which moves in alignment with the steering wheel. Both variants of the Sonata run off of a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, an electric motor, and a six-speed automatic transmission, which produces a combined 193 horsepower in the Hybrid and 202 hp in the Plug-in Hybrid. The Plug-in Hybrid can go an estimated 26.7 miles on battery power.

Green Auto Market anniversary:  Special thanks to all who’ve sent me a LinkedIn happy birthday for Green Auto Market’s six year anniversary. The newsletter had started out prior as Green Automotive Digest with its Green Machine Digest blog. It became Green Auto Market in February 2012 with emphasis on the emerging business of clean vehicles, infrastructure, fuels and energy, advanced technologies, and the economic and political context behind all of it. It was monthly at that time, and went to weekly in June 2013 to a much longer list of readers. Special thanks to Editorial Advisory Board members for participating in monthly conference calls in recent years, especially Craig Shields, 2GreenEnergy; Peter Ward, Alternative Fuels Advocates, LLC; Joe Stergios and Greg Tabak, Enterprise Holdings; and Michael Taylor, Propane Education & Research Council.

As for topics of most interest to readers (according to the open rate):
“Tesla 4th quarter results / Trillium CNG building hydrogen station”
“Performance pay for Elon Musk / Be careful with cryptocurrency”
“Robotaxi JV from BMW and Daimler / Global Cleantech 100”

According to Constant Contact, the “most engaged subject line” since Green Auto Market started using its service and sending out to about 9,000 readers:
Aug. 6, 2013: “Monster waves and Mazda’s SkyActiv / Toyota tops sales”

Tesla reports wider loss as Model 3 production grows, Trillium CNG adds hydrogen fueling to its services

Tesla yesterday reported a $675.4 million net loss, or $4.01 per share, in the fourth quarter as the automaker continued to invest in ramping up production for the Model 3. The net loss widened from $619.4 million, or $3.70 per share, in the previous quarter but it was smaller than analysts had expected. Revenue was higher than expected at $3.29 billion in Q4, a nearly 10% increase from Q3 of last year. The company is taking a positive outlook for 2018, with the planned ramp of both the Model 3 and its energy storage products that should drive a revenue growth rate much higher than last year’s rate. The company’s cash balance remained stable last quarter even with the Model 3 production increasing, and not at the level originally planned by Tesla. CEO Elon Musk has been able to alleviate concerns that more cash will need to be raised soon. Customers are supporting efforts by putting down more than $850 million in deposits for its vehicles including the Semi truck and revised Roadster that Musk revealed in November. Timing of the SpaceX launch has helped, with the Musk’s Roadster being packed into the world’s most powerful rocket, the Falcon Heavy. “If we can send a Roadster to the asteroid belt, we can probably solve Model 3 production,” Musk said during the conference call with analysts yesterday.

Porsche will be doubling its spend on vehicle electrification to more than 6 billion euros ($7.4 billion) by 2022, CEO Oliver Blume said in a statement. Half will go to material assets and the other half to development costs. About 500 million euros will develop variants of the Mission E all-electric sports car that will debut next year. The Mission E is expected to be rolled out with a few performance versions. The company will also will invest 1 billion euros for the electrification of its existing products. Porsche has been placed to that a plug-in hybrid version of the Panamera sedan as it top version with longer electric range has been a success. About 60% of the new Panameras sold in Europe were equipped the hybrid powertrain, Porsche said.

Trillium CNG will be expanding its services, adding the design, building, and maintenance of hydrogen fueling stations. New services will also include electric vehicle charging infrastructure, solar panel installation, and microgram design and construction. The first hydrogen station will supply fuel cell buses starting this summer for the Orange County Transportation Authority’s (OCTA) Santa Ana, Calif., facility. Transit buses will be able to tap into 35 kilograms of hydrogen per bus in 6 to 10 minutes simultaneously from two fueling lanes. The station will be able to fuel the current 10 fuel cell buses and can go up to 50 buses. Infrastructure will be added to OCTA’s existing CNG fueling lanes. The current CNG station was designed and built by Trillium CNG in 2007 and continues being maintained by the company. Air Products & Chemicals, Inc., will supply and deliver liquid hydrogen. The Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE) a nonprofit that advocates for clean, sustainable, innovative transportation and energy technologies, is managing the project. CTE secured funds for the project from the California Air Resources Board through the California Climate Investments program, a statewide program that puts billions of cap-and-trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment.

VW on making EVs profitable at dealerships, Space travel beyond SpaceX

Newsworthy:  Volkswagen has been in talks with its global dealer network to establish a profitable model for selling and servicing electric vehicles. With the ambitious I.D. lineup and other electric models rolling out over the next decade, VW is looking to follow Tesla and other automakers who’ve created strong networks that can make it work when servicing vehicles that don’t need nearly as much time in a garage, or parts replacement, as internal combustion engine vehicles. The company is simplifying its maintenance with over-the-air software upgrades, and lengthening the service relationship through longer coverage periods built into the sale of the vehicle……………… The BMW Group is bringing more mobility services to China. In partnership with EVCARD, a Shanghai-based electric car-sharing company, has launched its car-sharing service in Chengdu under the co-brand “ReachNow Powered By EVCARD”. The mobility service based in the capital city of Southwest China’s Sichuan province will offer station-based premium electric car-sharing starting with 100 BMW i3s.

Space travel is next:  If you’re spending time in Orlando for vacation or business, take some time to visit the Kennedy Space Center less than an hour away in Cape Canaveral. You can take a bus tour and see historic sites for Gemini and Apollo launches in the 1960s, and get a good look at the future of NASA and its partners that include SpaceX and Boeing.

For SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and others, the future of space travel is going to Mars. A few years ago, the last NASA space shuttle flight safely landed and ended a long-term focus for the federal agency. Now, it’s about researching minerals on Mars and helping commercial partners launch six-month long trips to the planet – where millions of Earth residents have expressed interest in living the rest of their lives.

Green Auto Market is taking a look in its Extended Edition at where these commercial partners are investing time, energy and talent – and lots of dollars – paving the way for space travel, flying cars, fast rail (or tube) systems, and electrified transportation. Bloomberg has conducted a study on companies and leading executives who have been making major investments in space travel with Microsoft’s Bill Gates coming in first, followed by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, and Google’s Larry Page. Tesla/SpaceX chief Musk is No. 10 on the list.

The new study will take a deeper look at why Virgin founder Richard Branson acquired Hyperloop One and services his Virgin Galactic space travel company will supply to customers. X Prize founder Peter Diamandis is leading the way on mining asteroids for rare metals, and former Blink 182 rock star Tom DeLonge has assembled an impressive list of aeronautics and space travel experts for his To The Stars Academy of Arts & Science. The academy, which launched in October, will explore the “outer edges of science” and technologies including UFOs.

What to see at LA Auto Show, Mahindra supplying EVs to Uber

Newsworthy:  AutoMobility LA, the special media preview days at the LA Auto Show, will see crossovers and SUVs take the stage, including a long-awaited Jeep Wrangler revision. Speaker panels and displays will emphasize the future of mobility, including autonomous, electrified vehicles. BMW will be showing the i8 Roadster plug-in hybrid two-seater that will go on sale in early 2018. It had been initially shown in 2014, and this one will have 358 horsepower and 330 miles of range with 14 in EV only. Porsche will show four models including the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo that gets 680 horsepower. The 2017 Top Ten Automotive Startups Competition startups range from enterprise carpooling and in-air hand controlled devices, to electric motorcycles and analytics software for commercial vehicles. The “Smarter LA 2060” challenge will show what the city would be like of a major international sporting event such as the Olympics were to be held in the city in 2060………. The Tesla Semi will start at an “expected base price” of $150,000 for a truck with a 300-mile range per battery charge, the company announced. That price will go up to $180,000 for a 500-mile range truck. The first 1,000 Tesla Semis as “Founder’s Series” models and priced them at $200,000 (but fleet orders probably won’t be included)………….. BMW AG said it’s talking to suppliers of cobalt and other battery materials as fears intensify over supply running short, pushing already inflated prices higher. Sourcing of cobalt and other materials is “the most important” question BMW has to address before it decides whether to produce its own battery cells, the company said.

Electrified shared rides:  Friday saw Indian automaker Mahindra and Mahindra and Uber announcing a pilot project to test out electric vehicles on the Uber platform in India. Hundreds of EVs will roll out in Delhi and Hyderabad starting in March, and other Indian cities will be under consideration. This announcement came days after Uber acknowledged that it had paid off hackers $100,000 over a year ago to destroy stolen data on more than 57 million customers and drivers. That’s brought up a few class-action lawsuits and a federal probe. Mahindra will be adding two new EVs to its fleet, with one being jointly developed with its South Korean unit, Ssangyong Motor Co, India’s national government continues to push forward on the plan for clean vehicles and energy, with some of it being deployed through public transportation. Uber and Mahindra will work with public agencies and private companies to establish charging stations, starting in Hyderabad.

For Today: Electrified vehicles see sales increase in October, Shell looking to grow profits beyond motor fuel

Green car sales up in October:  Hybrid and plug-in vehicle sales were up from a year ago during October but down from September, which was the case with the overall new vehicle sales market. Sales were up for each category (hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery electric) year-to-date. Hybrids came in at 2.18% of U.S. new light duty vehicle sales in October, and plug-in electrified vehicles made up 0.996%. The Toyota Prius Liftback continues to fall out of place as the top selling hybrid in the U.S., coming in third place last month behind the Ford Fusion Hybrid and Toyota RAV4 Hybrid. It’s still the leading hybrid model for this year at 55,443 units sold versus 49,764 of the Ford Fusion Hybrid. The Prius Liftback is way down from last year, with 83,793 sold at this point in time during 2016. The Fusion Hybrid has almost doubled in volume form 26,699 sold through October 2016. The Chevy Bolt was the leader, by far, in plug-in electrified vehicle sales last month, with 20.7% of plug-in vehicle share. The Chevy brand took the first and third spots in total U.S. plug-in sales for the month. The Tesla Model S and Model X were way down in sales from September (75.6% and 73.5%, respectively), as the company struggles to prepare its car and battery factories for producing large volumes of the Tesla Model 3. For this calendar year, the Model S is No. 1 in U.S. plug-in sales, while the Model X is in the fifth position.

Case study on fleet savings:  Tesloop, a two-year-old company based in Culver City, Calif., that takes passengers to and from locations in Southern California in a Tesla, has released a case study showing how much money fleet operators can save going with electric vehicles over traditional gasoline-engine luxury cars. Looking at total cost of ownership over 300,000 miles with a Tesla Model S compared to a Mercedes S-class and Lincoln Town Car found that, in the case study, Tesla Model S cost only $10,500 in maintenance and fuel costs. The Mercedes had about $86,000 ($52,000 for maintenance and $36,000 for fuel) for the same mileage. The Lincoln Town Car had about $70,000 ($28,000 for maintenance and $42,000 for fuel). It is only a case study with several variables changing based on several conditions, but the cost savings are being seen by fleets for electric passenger cars and commercial vehicles; that has much to do with a lot less maintenance and replacement parts needed for electric drivetrains along with substantial fuel savings.

Shell shifting away from motor fuel:  One of the Big Oil giants, Royal Dutch Shell, is preparing to bring in more future revenue in other segments than vehicle fuel. As its executives have been stating in the past year, the company expects that demand for gasoline will likely reach its peak by the 2030s with owners switching over to electric vehicles ad traditional engines becoming even more efficient. Refined oil products and petrochemicals present a viable market growth opportunity, the company says. Examples include viable substitutes for asphalt as developing nations build more roads; or for polymers and chemicals used in production of cars, toys, and clothes. Shell will be doubling the size of its chemical operations by the mid-2020s with several new plants coming to Louisiana and Pennsylvania that benefit from access to cheap shale gas. The oil company wants about 20% of its revenue from its worldwide fuel stations to come from electric vehicle charging stations and from low-carbon fuels by 2025.

For Today: Pressure on German chancellor as election approaches, Natural gas vehicles not going away

Chancellor Merkel may ban fossil-fuel vehicles:  Germany will have to follow the lead of France and Great Britain in banning diesel vehicles, said Chancellor Angela Merkel during media interviews this week; and that will likely apply to gasoline-powered vehicles as well. Merkel wouldn’t name the exact year, but said that the UK And France’s plans to ban the sale of new vehicles with internal combustion engines starting in 2040 “were the right approach.” The pressure is on Merkel and auto industry executives as the Sept. 24 election approaches. Merkel is seeking her fourth term in the office, and has been called upon to make sure auto executives respond ethically to the vehicle emissions scandal. In a YouTube interview, she called on local government officials to meet with her on September 4 to discuss toxic emissions.

Shared mobility is stepping stone to AVs:  The current hype about autonomous vehicle is accompanied by a surge of interest from shared mobility operators. Ride-hailing companies such as Uber, Lyft, and Didi are investing heavily into autonomous vehicle technology. Earlier this year, Uber announced its partnership with Daimler to bring self-driving technology to the market. Didi has opened up an artificial intelligence lab in Silicon Valley. Lyft’s collaboration with investor General Motors will include self-driving Chevy Bolt test runs,. This month, Lyft announced an investment coming in from Jaguar Landrover to bring autonomous connected vehicles on the road. And read all about the upcoming Meeting of the Minds conference, being held October 23-25 in Cleveland.

Natural gas isn’t going away:  A Bloomberg analysis piece points to natural gas vehicles having failed in a race won by cheap gasoline prices and growth in electric vehicle sales. While oil and gas industry leader T. Boone Pickens was citied as championing the alternative fuel since about 2008, the results haven’t gone in that direction. The article cites cheap gasoline prices and growth in EV sales, including orders being placed on the Tesla Model 3, as evidence for its argument. While the natural gas-powered Honda Civic was taken off the market a few years ago, NGVs continue to play an important role for fleets converting over to clean fuel options. Transit and city fleets are bringing them in with a few major corporate fleets like UPS, Ryder System, and AT&T, continuing to acquire them and install more CNG fueling stations. Ford and GM continue to add the CNG option to their pickup trucks and van offerings. Renewable natural gas is also supporting the clean fuel and its infrastructure, as more fleets start using RNG. Liquefied natural gas is also playing a role in adoption of the fuel in various transport sectors.