by Jon LeSage, editor and publisher, Green Auto Market
Here’s my take on the 10 most significant and interesting occurrences during the past week…….
- The United States and China, which together produce 45% of the world’s carbon emissions, made an agreement last week to extend their greenhouse gas emission reduction targets farther than before. The US has set a goal of cutting its own greenhouse gas/carbon emissions more deeply by 2025 than its previous goal through 2020. To meet the new target goal of reducing emissions 17% by 2020, the pace will have to double, according to the White House. China, which has been producing a very high carbon output through coal-powered energy plants, has agreed to cap its carbon emissions by 2030 or earlier; that will come through 20% of its electricity being generated through wind, solar, nuclear, or other zero-emission sources. While stopping climate change may not be backed by everyone, air pollution is a large factor, especially in China. Transportation has expanded dramatically in Beijing and other cities, prompting municipalities and the national government to support more electrified and alternative fuel vehicle options.
- Per usual, fleets have been making some decisions on alternative fuels and vehicles in their fleet acquisitions with four interesting announcements made in the past week. Ryder System is working with Mansfield Energy and Clean Energy Fuels to offer compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicle and fuel solutions to bulk fuel haulers……. Frito-Lay and its parent company PepsiCo have agreed to an aggressive plan to conserve fuel and reduce emissions for its delivery trucks and sales cars; through a partnership with Clean Fuels Ohio, a non-profit alliance supporting clean air in the state, Frito-Lay has already brought in 45 propane-powered Ford E350 vans and five electric Newton delivery trucks…… Nestle Waters North America added five medium-duty beverage trucks fueled by propane autogas at its Los Angeles location; Roush CleanTech supplied the trucks that will deliver Arrhowhead Mountain Spring Water in the region…….. In its 12th annual Sustainability Report, UPS reported that it met its 2016 goal of reducing its air and ground transportation fleet’s carbon intensity by 10% three years early. Last year, carbon emissions decreased 1.5% from 2012 even as global shipping volume increased nearly 4%. “Industrial technology advances by the OEMs” were one of the key reasons these gains were made, according to Mike Britt, director of maintenance & engineering, international operations, ground fleet for UPS.
- The US Senate is expected to vote on the Keystone XL pipeline today, which passed through the House on Friday. The bill, which would allow for a pipeline between Alberta and Houston, would transport refined tar sands oil back to refineries in Canada. If the bill passes through the Senate, the president may veto it or stall on it while waiting for the US State Department to release its statement on the project. It’s been nearly six years that the Canadian government and oil industry has been pushing to get this through.
- Land Rover may take on Tesla with an electric Range Rover model, which will probably be a smaller version of the luxury SUV than the flagship model. The upcoming Jaguar compact model based on the C-X17 concept could be the basis for what Land Rover rolls out.
- NGVAmerica has released its NGVAmerica Station Analysis Map that shows US compressed natural gas and liquefied natural gas station locations, accessibility, and contact information. It also highlights the vehicle ranges supported by the stations in 100-, 400-, and 600-mile increments. Its purpose is to help fleet operators make their routing and travel planning easier with natural gas fueling.
- Via Motors received EPA certification for its plug-in hybrid van. The eREV is now available to fleet customers in the US; Via has delivered about 25 of them so far. Via says it can get more than 100 mpge in typical daily driving.
- Hyundai and Kia plan on raising their fleets’ average fuel economy 25% by 2020 to meet emissions regulations in the US, Europe, and South Korea. To do this the number of green cars available for sell will increase from seven to 22, the company says. That will come out to 12 hybrid models, six plug-in hybrid mid-size and compact cars, two battery-electric cars, and two fuel-cell cars.
- Natural gas is feeling more scrutiny in California, where its measurement and taxation rates are being redefined by the State Board of Equalization for the first time since 1971. The agency is using existing Use Fuel Tax Laws; CNG will now be sold as a gasoline gallon equivalent equal to 8.87 cents per gallon, or 5.66 pounds; it has been six cents per 100 cubic feet. LNG is currently seven cents per gallon and will go up to a diesel gallon equivalent (DGE) equal to $.1017/DGE or 6.06 pounds. Dispensers also have to show “gasoline gallon equivalent” on CNG and “diesel gallon equivalent” on LNG.
- The 2015 Alternative Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo will highlight another industry alliance, this time through an expanded partnership with Trucking Efficiency; this is a joint effort between the American Council for Freight Efficiency and Carbon War Room. Their goal is to double the freight efficiency of goods movement in North America.
- Honda revealed a revised version of its new hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle in Japan. The Honda FCV Concept will soon be shown with more details as to what the five-passenger mid-size sedan will look like when it appears on Japanese roads in early 2016. At the LA Auto Show next week, Honda plans to announce its commitment to assist in expanding California’s hydrogen fueling stations.