GreenerCar rankings and looking at rail safety and emissions

Vehicles — sales, launch trends, incentives and funding, regulatory, and auto/truckmaker news

ACEEE’s GreenerCars rankings: The Mini Cooper SE Hardtop 2 Door, Nissan Leaf, Mazda MX-30, Toyota bZ4X, and Subaru Solterra AWD — all of them electric vehicles — made the top five for an annual ranking. American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) ranked the top five most environmentally friendly cars based on guidelines quite different than other similar rankings. The nonprofit research organization, which develops policies to reduce energy waste and combat climate change, has left Tesla models off its annual GreenerCars rankings. Smaller, lighter cars go up higher on the list based on its methodology of looking at powertrain efficiency and vehicle weight as key measures. It’s all based on an environmental damage index (EDX) that reflects the cost to human health from pollution associated with vehicle tailpipe emissions, vehicle manufacturing and disposal, and the production and distribution of auto fuel and electricity. The next five on the list, led by Hyunda Elantra Hybrid Blue, are all hybrid vehicles.

Safety and environmental concerns putting more pressure on rail to improve. The hazardous chemical spill last month in Ohio, and the fatal passenger train crash in Greece this month, have put rail transport under serious scrutiny. Since then, state officials said up to 2,500 gallons of diesel may have spilled in Washington, though a BNSF spokesperson said a “minimal amount” had leaked. That makes for two environmentally hazardous spills on U.S. railways.

Two legislators are taking action to address concerns that railway workers have been voicing for years. Elected officials Michele Grim of Ohio (D) and Mike Jacobson of Nebraska (R) are working on passing legislation surrounding rail safety in their respective states, with the hopes it will become federal law as well.

Rail transportation has been working hard to surge ahead and compete with trucking as the principal transportation mode for freight; and projects have been in the works for years to bring passenger rail up to speed.

Rail for both freight and passengers has been improving for decades, with fatalities rare and injuries recently being only slightly above fatalities. Derailments and other accidents are still high, but that number has also been declining and many of them are minor incidents. Accidents were about 1,600 per year in the U.S. in 2020 and 2021, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

Surging freight demand is pushing rail operators such as Union Pacific, Burlington Northern Santa Fe, and CSX, to maximize rail across the U.S. The industry’s recent contract dispute with rail workers seeking increased paid leave for sick days also showed the impact rail can have on the economy: a strike was estimated to cost $2 billion a day from the disruption of the flow of goods. Amtrak has also been feeling the pressure, as the Biden administration seeks to expand its service and ridership, while also improving safety.

You can read more about rail transport in this month’s Market Intel, including how trains rank in greenhouse gas emissions compared to other modes of transportation.

Fuels and Infrastructure — renewable and clean fuel, fueling and charging infrastructures, renewable energy, alternative fuels

White House Opens Applications for First Round of $2.5 Billion Program to Build EV Charging in Communities & Neighborhoods Nationwide
The Biden-Harris Administration opened applications for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s new Charging and Fueling Infrastructure (CFI) Discretionary Grant Program, a key step towards the President’s goals of building a national network of 500,000 public EV charging stations and reducing national greenhouse gas emissions up to 52% by 2030. The first round of funding under the program, established by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, makes up to $700 million available for cities, counties, local governments, Tribes and others to strategically deploy EV charging and other alternative vehicle-fueling infrastructure projects in publicly accessible locations in urban and rural communities, as well as along designated Alternative Fuel Corridor

“As we electrify the economy, as we move into electric vehicles, we create a market incentive for the private sector to come into this space, a hundred billion dollars of which is on its way already. One of the things that has to be done is to build EV charging stations….500,000 across America in partnership with the private sector.” – White House Senior Advisor and Infrastructure Coordinator Mitch Landrieu

Advanced transport — sustainable transportation, autonomous, shared rides, mobility, smart cities

National Center for Sustainable Transportation Wins $20M Grant The U.S. Department of Transportation recently announced that the National Center for Sustainable Transportation, based at the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies, will receive $20 million to lead a group of seven universities studying transportation effects on the environment. It’s part of the Department of Transportation’s University Transportation Centers Program. The $20 million grant ($4 million per year over five years) will allow researchers at UC Davis and other consortium member universities to focus on accelerating equitable decarbonization that benefits both the transportation system and the well-being of people in overburdened and historically disadvantaged communities.

Sustainability and carbon reduction — setting and hitting targets, studies, regulatory, global alliances, sustainability drives

Transportation Sector Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Source in 2020 Rail, along with ships and boats, lead the way on low levels of greenhouse gas emissions being released. Light-duty vehicles have the worst emissions, followed by medium- and heavy-duty trucks, according to U.s. Environmental Protection Agency data. Read this month’s GAM Market Intel to get a good look at the numbers. Other data analytics include the fact that 60.5% of electricity was powered by fossil fuels in the U.S. in 2021 according to U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Check it out! — reports, events, webinars, and more

Speaker Lineup of Advanced Transportation Leaders for ACT Expo 2023
ACT Expo announced its confirmed speakers for its 12th annual conference, taking place May 1-4, 2023, at the Anaheim Convention Center in Southern California. Attendees will hear more than 200 expert speakers representing the nation’s most progressive fleet operators, as well as executives from leading commercial vehicle manufacturers and suppliers, infrastructure and clean fuel providers, and more.
Through a series of panel presentations, workshops, and keynotes, ACT Expo speakers will spotlight low- and zero-emission fleet case studies, financial incentives to improve TCO for advanced clean vehicles, updates on the evolving regulatory landscape, progress to accelerate development of zero-emission infrastructure, and the latest transportation technology advancements – including battery technology, charging infrastructure, biofuels, hydrogen, autonomous vehicles, and more.
ACT Expo’s dynamic lineup of executive level keynote speakers includes
John O’Leary, president and CEO, Daimler Truck North America. Click here for the list of speakers.

A challenging Super Bowl ad for full self-driving Teslas, New format and latest Market Intel 

Green Auto Market is undergoing a format change with stories organized in five categories that tend to be of much interest to readers and stakeholders. Plus, more on the next edition of GAM’s Market Intel.

Vehiclessales, launch trends, incentives and funding, regulatory, and auto/truckmaker news

Are full self-driving Tesla’s safe, Super Bowl ad asks: Tesla CEO Elon Musk was probably relieved to be attending the Super Bowl game as the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles played a tightly scored championship game. He didn’t have to watch the Super Bowl TV ad placed by Dawn Project, an organization founded by tech entrepreneur Dan O’Dowd. It starts with a warning about the full self-driving Tesla Model 3 hitting a child in a crosswalk, running into an empty baby stroller, and hitting an adult pedestrian near the end of the video; each of the two being crash-test dummies. The point comes across clearly. It ends with the question: “Why does NHTSA allow Tesla full self-driving?”

“Deceptive marketing and woefully inept engineers” are two of the charges made as causes for it in the TV commercial.

The U.S. Justice Department is currently investigatingTesla over its autopilot and Full Self-Driving features. Musk has had his own share of problems to deal with, separate from the safety challenges Tesla faces. Along with advertiser and revenue loss on Wednesday, when users in the U.S. and Canada were unable to send messages or post tweets for about a half hour.

Another Super Bowl ad: “Premature Electrification” — Ram Trucks.

Ford adds to EV battery offerings: Ford announced today it is investing $3.5 billion to build the country’s first automaker-backed lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery plant, offering customers a second battery technology within Ford’s EV lineup. Ford says that it’s committed to build both nickel cobalt manganese (NCM) and LFP batteries in the U.S., helping America’s No. 2 EV company in 2022 bring EVs to more customers and diversify its U.S. supply chain. This plant – called BlueOval Battery Park Michigan – initially will employ 2,500 people when production of LFP batteries begins in 2026. The company may further grow its battery capacity at its Marshall, Mich., plant, which will be part of a wholly owned Ford subsidiary.

Kia PHEV wins Vincentric award: Getting a strong value rating on a plug-in vehicle is a very good thing, as Kia found out winning the 2023 Vincentric Best Value in America award for two of its vehicles — the 2023 Sorento PHEV and the 2023 Rio. Those vehicles took the Mid-Size SUV and Subcompact categories, respectively, and Kia took the passenger car category. Value is determined using a statistical analysis that incorporates the current market price and total cost of ownership of 2023 model year vehicles. Other electrified vehicle winners: Toyota Corolla Hybrid, Hyundai Ionic Electric, Lexus LC Hybrid in Luxury Hybrid, Volvo S90 Plug-In Hybrid in Luxury EV/PHEV, Kia Sorrento Hybrid in Hybrid SUV, Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid in EV/PHEV SUV, and Volvo XC90 Plug-In Hybrid in Luxury EV/PHEV SUV.

Mercedes-Benz Vans is bringing a cargo van variant of the all-new eSprinter in the U.S. and Canada in the second half of 2023, while the market launch in Europe will follow towards the end of 2023. The all-new Mercedes-Benz eSprinter will be produced in Charleston, S.C. and Ludwigsfelde, Germany in the future, in addition to the Mercedes-Benz plant in Düsseldorf.

Fuels and Infrastructure renewable and clean fuel, fueling and charging infrastructures, renewable energy, alternative fuels

Hydrogen and fuel cells: Honda, Hyundai, and Toyota just participated in the 2023 Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Seminar (HFCS), held in Long Beach, Calif. Organized by the Fuel Cell & Hydrogen Energy Association (FCHEA) and supported by the U.S. government, HFCS is the largest hydrogen industry event in North America, with a history of more than 40 years. At the event, Hyundai Motor discussed hydrogen cooperation with government agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Energy and leading global companies in the hydrogen industry. The company presented its vision to create a Hydrogen Society on a global scale, displayed its XCIENT Fuel Cell hydrogen electric truck and introduced the ‘Waste-to-energy’ concept of hydrogen production.

Association name change: The California Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition is now the California Renewable Transportation Alliance – CRTA.  The change is in response to the organization’s expanded focus on the use of renewable fuels to reduce trucking emissions. Transportation is the leading source of climate-altering greenhouse gases (GHG), as well as smog and other air pollutants.  Diesel trucks are the biggest contributors.  They are responsible for 70 % of the smog-causing pollution and 80 % of diesel particulate matter (soot), even though they number less than 7 percent of the 30 million registered vehicles in the state. “Building on a successful legacy, CRTA will remain the premiere organization that delivers on renewable fuel policies and near zero emission strategies here in the Golden State,” said Todd Campbell, Chair of the CRTA Board of Directors.  “The Alliance will continue to promote sensible solutions that aggressively advance clean air, climate protection, job creation, and real-world solutions to California’s daunting mobile source challenges.”

Advanced transport autonomous, shared rides, mobility, smart cities

Nissan is holding Nissan Futures, an event showcasing how Nissan is shaping the future of sustainable mobility and innovative design, at its Global Headquarters Gallery in Yokohama, Japan, from Feb. 4 to Mar. 1. As part of the event launch, Nissan today unveiled a physical concept model of its Max-Out EV convertible. The model was previously shown in virtual form as part of the Nissan Ambition 2030 vision announced in November 2021 under the Nissan Futures banner. The Max-Out—which will be on display for the duration of the event—embodies Nissan’s ambition to support greater access to both sustainable and innovative mobility.

Uber is working with unnamed automakers to design EVs customized for its ride-hailing and delivery services, according to The Wall Street Journal (and thanks to Green Car Reports). The company confirmed the project recently at an event hosted by the paper, but declined to say which automakers the company was working with. Ride-hailing could have seats that allow passengers to face each other, while two- or three-wheeled vehicles are being considered for delivery services owing to their smaller footprint, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said.

Sustainability and carbon reductionsetting and hitting targets, studies, regulatory, global alliances, sustainability drives

BP has further tarnished its opportunity to redeem its role in the massive Deepwater Horizon oil spill of 2010, and for being a major fossil fuel supplier. When Bernard Looney took over the British oil company three yeas ago as CEO, he’d promised to lead the way on BP becoming a an oil company transforming into a green energy giant by cutting way down on oil production and and putting billions into renewable energy. That came to an end last week while announcing record-high profits in oil sales and and a sharp rollback in meeting those sustainability and carbon reductiion targets.

Check it out!reports, events, webinars, and more

In this edition of GAM’s Market Intel, you’ll find a comparison between Tesla and BYD in their compeition to be the global leader in plug-in vehicle sales and market presence. Plus, Sustainable Transportation Market Data. Two of them are featured — Alternative Fuel Stations in the U.S. — February 2023; and Price Comparisons in Available Fuels. Renewable diesel has been added to the data this time.

Great opportunity for sustainability and mobility startups, Who’s winning the game: Tesla or BYD?

There’s a great opportunity in sustainability and mobility to gain $100,000 support and participation in a renowned support system for startups. Offered by gener8tor, the U.S. Venture Sustainability Accelerator program supports the growth of its startups through a network of experienced mentors, technologists, corporate partners, angel investors, and venture capitalists. It’s a 12-week startup accelerator sponsored by U.S. Venture, a leader in sustainable energy solutions, and powered by gener8tor. The selected teams will receive a $100,000 investment in return for 7.5% equity in their company using a Simple Agreement for Future Equity (SAFE).

To date, gener8tor’s roughly 1,000 alumni have cumulatively raised more than $1.2B in follow-on financing. The company is looking for five sustainable / mobility startups from anywhere in the U.S. Relocation to Appleton, Wisc., for the duration of the program is required.The applications close on January 9, but it may need to be extended one week. The International Trade Council recognized gener8tor as the Venture Capital Firm of the Year in October. Read all about the Accelerator here.

More on Tesla: An early release of numbers happened this week, for those interested in the Tesla vs. BYD race. BYD took the lead with 1.85 million plug-in electric vehicles sold last year — more than tripling sales in the previous year. Battery electric vehcles were still behind Tesla. That U.S. company reported 1.31 million deliveries worldwide. But there are some distinctions in this race — which will be explored more fully in the January issue of Green Auto Market’s monthly Market Intel report.

And more in the coming issue of Market Intel:
Sustainable Transportation Market Data
— Alternative Fuel Stations in the U.S. — January 2023
—Alternative Fuel Price Report
Teaser: Which has more stations in place — hydrogen or liquefied natural gas (LNG)?

Tesla not necessarily going to ‘hell in a hand basket’ in the wake of the Twitter fiasco

Did any of you hear holiday partygoers discuss Elon Musk in recent weeks, or participate in such lively discussions?

We’ve all witnessed a great many scandals and crises over actions taken by Musk in his CEO role at Tesla, SpaceX, and now Twitter. It goes back to about 2010. It was strange to see Musk get away with quite a lot, but we seemed to get used to it years ago. If other automaker executives had made these types of claims, promises, and insults (do you remember the British cave diver being accused of being a “child rapist”?), they would have been seriously sidelined or removed from office.

Yet those past incidents were nothing compared to recent weeks. The chicken certainly has come home to roost for Musk. It came out of his fiasco with Twitter, but it’s certainly spread over to Tesla recently in various ways.

Twitter had been the primary social media platform for many serious players out there — news media, Washington politicians, digital entrepreneurs, political activists, actors and comedians, and Hollywood executives, to name a few. Many of them shut off their Twitter accounts after being disgusted by Musk’s takeover and initial actions. The stories were disappointing to hear, with many talented employees leaving Twitter or being forced out. And who expected Donald Trump to reject Trump’s offer to come back, or understood why Musk would have made that offer in the first place?

As mentioned, the assault on Musk’s image and reputation has been spilling over to Tesla. That became clear as I heard holiday party comments about the electric carmaker having serious problems in the China market. Another juicy one I heard is that Tesla customers are furious over the poor condition of the new electric vehicles being delivered to them.

So what is the state of affairs for the world’s largest battery electric vehicle maker when separated from the mess that Musk got himself into at Twitter? Could Tesla be going to “hell in a hand basket” as the old timers used to say?

  1. The latest on the China crisis and angry Tesla customers.
    Tesla seems to be doing alright in the world’s largest EV market, but the company is going through a difficult time along with its competitors. For example, Tesla sold 302,000 new vehicles in the US last year. In China, the company sold 473,103 units during that time, according to They won’t be leaving there anytime soon. A Reuters article stirred up some of that concern that China is a difficult place to be right now, and that Tesla is going to pull back on the market. But that’s happened before with Tesla and it could happen again.

Finding evidence of poor condition Tesla vehicles being delivered to new owners has also been a bit tricky, whether that be in China, the US, or Europe.

2. Would it be a grave error to work for one of these companies?
What’s it like to work for Tesla and SpaceX? The hours can be long — with office staff working 60+ hours, and some of the anecdotal reports coming in at 80-to-90 hours per week. Musk did crack down on his employees earlier this year who were staying away from the office because of the Covid allowance of working from home.

Visitors to the Zippia recruitment website have given the company high ratings with a 4.8 out of a 5 star rating score. Tesla has strong employee retention with staff members usually staying with the company for an average of 3.7 years. The average management-level employee at Tesla makes $108,037 per year, which is competitive for its location and industry.

There was a lot of concern expressed that Musk would use loyal Tesla employees to bump out Twitter employees and take over their workplace — with the new employer expecting staff to devote their lives to their jobs no matter what. But so far, Musk has only pulled around 50 employees over to Twitter — mostly software engineers who’ve worked on the Autopilot semi-autonomous technology team.

Musk did take the hardline with existing Twitter employees. They were told they’d have to join the team and follow his guidelines or take three months of severance. Twitter had already been falling into mayhem with employees wanting to leave or see improvements. Musk had been strong-armed into dropping down his $44 billion acquisition by the executive board. At first, last spring, they’d avoided him and his offer, but they got around to suing him into buying Twitter, a company that won’t be going back to the stock market anytime soon.

  1. The numbers aren’t so bad for Tesla.
    Tesla delivered 938,172 vehicles globally in 2021. Of these, the Tesla Model 3 had 501,000 unit sales. The Model 3 and Model Y accounted for 97% of Tesla’s sales volume in 2021. For the first nine months of 2022, Tesla brought in $21.45 billion in sales and net income of $3.29 billion. That was 55.95% growth year-over-year in sales and 103.46% in net income growth for that time period.

The company has the clear lead for global EV sales. No. 2 in the world, Chinese automaker BYD, sold 593,745 plug-in electric vehicles globally last year. That broke out to 320,810 battery electric vehicles, and 272,935 plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

Tesla has become securely established as a global automaker. The company has been building vehicles in China, the world’s largest auto market, since 2019. This year, two more giga battery factories have started up, Giga Texas (in Austin) and Giga Berlin (in Germany). The California factory is still doing well as is Shanghai, China. It’s corporate office moved over to Austin in December 2021.

  1. Stock market performance brings Tesla more in line with competitors.
    Tesla, Inc., has taken a big hit this year — down about 70% in value. How did it get there? Musk selling lots of Tesla shares and getting absorbed in a contentious role at Twitter are two reasons being floated out there by investors. Then there’s everything else — market forces impacting other carmakers and industry sectors.

If you look at a five-year chart on stock performance for Tesla, Inc., it looks similar to stock performance from some of its major global competitors. That’s not isolating EV sales and performance, but looking at the entire companies’ performance. When looking at Tesla, Ford, GM, Toyota, and Volkswagen, prices were flatlining into 2020. Then prices spiked up in 2020 and dropped into 2021; then they went way up through the early part of the next year and have been declining in recent months.

Some of that had to do with new car prices going up along with sales figures. A major shortage of computer chips has driven dealer inventory way down and kept new car prices up — and used car prices way up. Another thing driving up sales revenue has been shoppers buying more expensive trucks and SUVs, driving up revenue. They’re also buying more expensive add-ons (including from Tesla) such as automatic braking and lane departure warnings. Rising prices and consumer loan rates have been adding to the sales revenue increases.

  1. There is another company Musk oversees, and it’s doing well.
    SpaceX is doing very well these days; and while the rumors abound that management and engineers have to put in some very long hours to do the job and have no say in how the company is run, that doesn’t seem to be the case overall. Gwynne Shotwell has moved up to be SpaceX’s president and COO, and manages the daily operations of the commercial space exploration company. Shotwell and vice president Mark Juncosa are now overseeing the facility and operations of company’s Starbase,  a spaceport, production, and development facility for its rockets, which is located at Boca Chica, Texas.

Musk owns about half the privately held company and is still known for keeping a strong presence there. It has over 10,000 employees and a valuation of $74 billion. It’s been a very good year for the space travel company. The company broke its own annual records with the 60th mission that have delivered 54 Starlinks into low-Earth orbit. Starlink is bringing cell phone and internet access to several smaller countries that had never had it before.

  1. Tesla can’t force fully autonomous electric vehicles to market.
    The automaker has been building in the capacity to switch over to Level 5 fully autonomous self-driving vehicles in recent years, with Musk promising in 2017 that the technology would soon be available. But they’re not going to turn over that capacity to the vehicle owner until it gets legally cleared by vehicle safety administrators such as the National High Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and China’s Ministry of Transport. It doesn’t look like that will be happening anytime soon.

More than 100,000 Tesla vehicles have been sold with the Autopilot feature over the years, the company says. Customers can buy the whole package for $15,000 when they purchase their car, or they can pay an additional $199 a month for the Enhanced Autopilot version. Popular functions include automated lane changing on highways, automated parking, traffic-aware cruise control, and lane keeping. Some of these are included in the standard driver assistance package (which is called Autopilot) and some come with the package marketed as either Enhanced Autopilot or Full Self-Driving in the U.S. for the additional package cost of $15,000 or a monthly $199 payment.

Tesla has been cooperating, over the years, on recalls and safety investigations on its vehicles. Tesla is once again undergoing vehicle safety tests to two more vehicles with NHTSA. One involved a 2021 Tesla Model S moving erratically through traffic lanes on the San Francisco Bay Bridge on Thanksgiving Day. The Tesla driver caused a crash on the bridge involving eight cars, and claimed he was using the Tesla Full Self Driving features.

Another recent crash incident being looked at by the safety agency involves a 2020 Tesla Model 3. NHTSA reported to CNBC that it has gathered data for review on at least 41 crashes involving Tesla vehicles where automated features such as automatic emergency braking, or more extensive driver assistance system features included in Autopilot, FSD and FSD Beta, were involved.

  1. What does Tesla have to offer? And what’s next?
    Here are Tesla’s entries for the 2022 model year — and a look at 2023 and possibly beyond………

—Tesla Model 3 Rear-Wheel Drive: $46,990 
—Tesla Model 3 Long Range: Unavailable Until 2023.
—Tesla Model Y Standard Range: $61,990
— Tesla Model 3 Performance: $62,990
—Tesla Model Y Long Range: $65,990
—Tesla Model Y Performance: $69,990
—Tesla Model S Long Range: $104,990
— Tesla Model X Long Range: $120,990
—Tesla Model S Plaid: $135,990
— Tesla Model X Plaid: $138,990
— Future model: 2023 Tesla Cybertruck: pricing removed
— 202X Tesla Roadster: pricing removed
— 202X Tesla hatchback: ~$35,000

Source: Inside EVs

In conclusion, Elon Musk is no longer the rock star that he used to be. He’s got a lot to clean up, but it looks like Tesla and SpaceX should continue to exist. As for Twitter, we’ll have to wait and see.

Nuclear fusion breakthrough Q&A, California doubling its EV chargers

The National Ignition Facility is a laser-based inertial confinement fusion research device, located at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

A few points on the major nuclear fusion lab breakthrough:
What happened: Tuesday’s announcement by the U.S. Dept. of Energy and the DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) reported that on Dec. 5, a team at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California was able to achieve an historic first: it produced more energy from nuclear fusion than the laser energy used to drive it. Achieving this “fusion ignition,” means that it was “a major scientific breakthrough decades in the making that will pave the way for advancements in national defense and the future of clean power,” DOE said.

It is going to take quite a long time to become commercially viable. Kim Budil, the director of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, said on Tuesday that cheap, abundant electricity from nuclear fusion is still “probably decades” away.

What are the advantages?
“This astonishing scientific advance puts us on the precipice of a future no longer reliant on fossil fuels but instead powered by new clean fusion energy,” U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer said in the Tuesday announcement.

It is a zero emissions energy source, and it excels past nuclear fission (which fuels nuclear power plants across the U.S. and the world) mainly because it doesn’t produce the nuclear waste associated with these current nuclear power plants; radioactive waste that can last thousands of years. Another strength is that nuclear fusion can be commercialized at scale.

Where does national defense come in?
That’s one of the main mission statements at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory — ensuring the safety, security, and reliability of the nation’s nuclear weapons. Scientists have known how to produce fusion since 1952, when it started being used in thermonuclear weapons.

U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said this breakthrough solves two fundamental problems — producing clean power to combat climate change and
“maintaining a nuclear deterrent without nuclear testing.”

There have been concerns over nuclear power plants becoming weaponized if governments are prone to starting wars. Iran’s supply of enriched uranium from nuclear power plants has been the focus of heated debate and pressure on that country for several years.

Does it raise the concerns of the anti-nuke protestors?
Yes, but so far the reactions have been more quiet than they were years ago. Protestors in the late 1970s and 1980s were most concerned about the implications of the Three Mile Island accident in 1979 that was a partial meltdown of its Unit 2 reactor in Pennsylvania. It’s been the most significant accident in U.S. commercial nuclear power plant history but there have been several incidents before and after; and many more around the world. The San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, near San Clemente, Calif., was shut down in 2013, and was another incident raising concerns over safety.

There’s also a sense of purism for many Americans who belong to environmental groups like the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, and Friends of the Earth. For many of them, the ideal future would be having solar and wind power our electricity supply, which would then transmit power to energy-efficient homes and commercial buildings, and keep electric vehicles charged up and ready to drive. America and the rest of the world has many years ahead before that, or anything like it, could be the norm. It is looking like it won’t just be renewable energy — green hydrogen and nuclear fusion look like they’re getting the backing they need to be part of the clean energy and clean transportation future.

The California Energy Commission on Wednesday approved a $2.9 billion investment backing zero emission vehicles and their needed infrastrucrure. The plan will bring 90,000 electric vehicle (EV) chargers to the state — more than double the current level at around 80,000 chargers. The 2022-2023 Investment Plan Update increases funding for the CEC’s Clean Transportation Program by 30 times; and it accelerates California’s 2025 EV charging and hydrogen refueling goals. Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles will benefit from $90 million going to hydrogen refueling infrastructure, $118 million for zero emission vehicle manufacturing, and other funding. Much of it will go to the medium-to-heavy duty vehicle infrastructure.

In this month’s Green Auto Market — Market Intel
One reason that hydrogen and fuel cells continue to stay visible is all the deals being made by publicly traded companies (and a small number of privately held) in the field. Here’s a look at these companies that are going way beyond transportation………. If you take a good look at where self-driving passenger cars, drones, and autonomous transport is going these days, there are a few positive stories. But most of what’s coming out implies that AVs still have a few years left before gaining mass market approval. Click here to order, or back issues.

Has Elon Musk gotten carried away, and it’s time to pay the price? Things are not looking good for the CEO of Twitter, Tesla, and SpaceX. This may be the year the chickens come home to roost, after many years of him getting away with various shenanigans. For one thing, Tesla’s global electric vehicle share dropped down to 65% in the first six months of 2022 — that’s down from 79% share in 2020. The numbers will likely drop as competitors to continue to surge forward. Musk is taking an aggressive approach to legal squabbles over at Twitter. The company has also cut payments for leasing its HQ building, and has written off a nearly $200,000 bll for private chatter flights the week he took over. But the situation may be much bigger than Musk’s fight to take over Twitter. Reuters reports that Tesla may be down in stock price but so is Rivian Automotive. Other EV startups had it even worse. Electric van maker Arrival warned it could run out of cash in less than a year. Lucid Group Inc., backed by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, struggled to build its Air luxury EVs. Chinese Tesla challenger Xpeng Inc.’s shares lost more than 80% of its value.

Mileage and emissions numbers improve: On Monday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its annual Automotive Trends Report, which shows that model year (MY) 2021 vehicle fuel economy remained at a record high while emission levels reached a record low. The report also shows all 14 large automotive manufacturers achieved compliance with the Light-duty Greenhouse Gas (GHG) standards through at least MY2020. For MY 2021, vehicle fuel economy remained at an all-time high of 25.4 miles per gallon (mpg), and new vehicle real-world carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions decreased to a record low of 347 grams per mile (g/mi).

“Today’s report demonstrates the significant progress we’ve made to ensure clean air for all as automakers continue to innovate and utilize more advanced technologies to cut pollution,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “Working together across the public and private sector, we can deliver on EPA’s mission to protect public health, especially our most vulnerable populations, and advance President Biden’s ambitious agenda to combat the climate crisis.”

EV market becomes more competitive in US, Automakers navigating through chaos in Chinese market 

The Tesla Model Y is the clear global and national winner so far this year — 409,378 units sold globally through the end of August followed by Wuling Hong Guang Mini EVs at 278,838. The Telsa Model 3 was third at 268,157 vehicles sold, according to InsideEVs. BYD took six of the remaining Top 10 global units during the first eight months of this year.

Tesla still dominates the US market, but car buyers are starting to open up to alternatives more so this year than in the past. Once you get away from the obvious top two selling Teslas, the Ford Mustang Mach-E, Tesla Model S, Chevrolet Bolt, Tesla Model X, Hyundai IONIQ 5, and Kia EV6 came in fairly close together in sales during the first three quarters of this year. The Mustang Mach-E, Ioniq 5, and EV6, are newcomers to the list and are doing particularly well. 

And in other news……

A locked-down China:  Public protests aside, China continues to be a strange place to be. Driven by Chinese President Xi Jinping’s lockdown to fight Covid, automakers have had a hard time running their businesses. BMW expects to see more COVID-19-related lockdowns in China into next year, despite strong demand there for the automaker’s full-electric models and expectations of stable global sales. Honda suspended its operations in Wuhan, the city where the pandemic began in 2020, because of limitations being placed around movement enforced in the area. How long it will remain closed is yet to be seen. Jeep declared bankruptcy for its part in the GAC-FCA joint venture just months after Jeep’s parent Stellantis had increased its share in the company. Tesla and Mercedes have been taking action to stabilize their presence in China’s large electric vehicle market. Tesla is changing it marketing starting and offering insurance subsidies as part of cost cuts. Mercedes slashed the price for its flagship EQS electric sedan by as much as $33,000 to restore is share in the world’s largest EV market. Volkswagen   halted production at a joint venture plant that it has with China FAW Group on Monday of this week. The German automaker attributes the shutdown to a shortage of components.

Exhibitor information is available for the 36th Electric Vehicle Symposium and Exhibition (EVS36), taking place June 11-14, 2023 in Sacramento, Calif.  Registration for attendees opened up on Oct. 3. Organized and hosted by EDTA, it’s considered to be the premier global showcase for industry innovation and is the longest-running international conference devoted to electric transportation and technologies. Featuring compelling presentations from industry and thought leaders, a cutting-edge exposition with exhibitors from around the globe and multiple networking events, EVS36 will provide a wide array of opportunities to showcase leadership, learn from the experts and educate the public and the media about electric transportation.

California’s Advanced Clean Fleets Rule: Beyond the zero emission vehicle mandate, California is rolling out its Advanced Clean Fleets (ACF) Rule that was put together by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and later backed by Gov. Gavin Newson. It applies to drayage fleets and those operated by state, local, and federal agencies, as well as “high priority fleets.” CARB says that “high priority fleets” are companies with $50 million or more in gross annual revenue that either own, operate, or control at least one vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) greater than 8,500 pounds, or entities that own, operate, or control a total of 50 or more vehicles with a GVWR greater than 8,500 pounds. As for timeline, CARB states that 100% zero-emission drayage trucks, last mile delivery, and government fleets are in place by 2035; 100% zero-emission refuse trucks and local buses by 2040; and 100% zero-emission capable utility fleets by 2040. There are also regulatory components to the proposed rule that would affect manufacturers, local and state agencies, drayage fleets, and high priority and federal fleets that break out the mandates and timing. 

Investors not feeling good about Musk and Twitter:  According to a survey conducted by Morgan Stanley, a bulk of investors are distressed by the drag on Tesla shares driven by Elon Musk’s Twitter purchase. About 75% of respondents to the bank’s survey indicated that the Twitter purchase has been a major contributor to the steep slide for Tesla share prices as of late, with 65% also indicating the acquisition will have a “negative or slightly negative impact on Tesla’s business going forward.” Only 5% said the acquisition is likely to be positive for the automaker’s business — a strange statistic to see from a financial community used to praising Musk. The social media giant continues to go through upheaval under Musk with layoffs and other bad news moving along. They have been happy to find out the company has delivered its first electric semi truck in California. CARB had awarded the grant to an air district in California’s Central Valley that partnered with PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay to transform its manufacturing site in Modesto, Calif. The company wanted to replace all of its diesel-powered freight equipment with zero-emission trucks and install solar panels and energy-storage systems.

Coal ain’t going away soon:  Coal is the world’s single-largest source of carbon dioxide emissions from energy, and massive efforts are needed to quickly reduce these emissions to avoid severe climate change impacts, according to International Energy Agency (IEA). In a new special report – Coal in Net Zero Transitions – the agency lays out what is needed to reduce global coal emissions rapidly enough to meet international climate goals while supporting energy security and economic growth. The analysis in the report, which was launched on Energy Day during the COP27 Climate Change Conference in Egypt, shows that over 95% of global coal consumption is occurring in countries that have pledged to achieve net zero emissions. To reverse this reality, super-charging the renewable energy replacing coal, and extensive job training and development spending is needed. 

Texas seeing a lot of methane emissions:  A special report from PBS that first aired Nov. 23, explored how extensive Texas’ destructive methane emissions is, with much of it coming from the regional Permean basin that comes from hydraulic fracturing into the earth (called fracking) for natural gas. Sharon Wilson of environmental group Earthworks is shown doing a “climate bomb” with a sophisticated $100,000 camera that tracks and records pollution. About 1,100 super emitters have been found in Texas by this organization and other testers. Natasha Miles, a Penn State University participating in a study measuring emissions, disputes industry reporting about fumes being released. Her research team has found five times more emissions than what’s being reported by companies doing the fracking. Investigations being done by Texas Commision on Environmental Quality has been far from impressive and authentic.

Camper friendly trucks and high-performance racers: An editor’s notebook at the LA Auto Show 

It’s nice to see public events return to near-normal conditions. Though not as all-encompassing as pre-Covid auto shows, the LA Auto Show offered a few treats to car buffs, auto media, and other regular attendees at the special event opening day called Automobility LA.

Rugged, do-it-yourself camping gear was a theme at this year’s LA Auto Show

This year’s themes were similar to what’s been building up in recent years — electric crossover utility vehicles, SUVs and pickups showing off camping gear, and expensive high-performance cars with some of them being zero emission vehicles. 

The LA Auto Show, one of the industry’s iconic events, was canceled in 2020, rescheduled to May 21-31, 2021, and was then postponed until Nov. 19-28 of that year. It was fairly well attended last year with people wearing masks and showing proof of vaccinations or evidence of testing negative for Covid. This year, Autombobility LA took place on Nov. 17, which kicked off the LA Auto Show through Nov. 27 — including being open 9:00 am to 4:00 pm on Thanksgiving Thursday. 

The ride and drives were revamped with an outdoor EV Test Track powered by Electrify America, offered test drives on the track from Chevrolet, Genesis, Kia, VinFast (a Vietnamese startup offering eSUVs) and Volkswagen; and Porsche during the first weekend only. 

Attendees enjoyed seeing a new offering — indoor test rides inside the exhibit halls featuring new EVs — Ford F-150 Lightning, Hyundai Ioniq 5, and Nissan Ariya. In West Hall, the Camp Jeep, Ford Bronco Built Wild, and RAM Truck Territory, were available to be driven around tracks that included roller-coaster-style humps somewhere around half the elevation peak you usually see in amusement parks. Other test drive cars were available outside the convention center from Ford, Alfa Romeo, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, Ram, Toyota, and Volkswagen. 

Show attendees got a kick out of driving a Ford Bronco over a ramp.

Other show highlights included:

  • Hyundai introduced an electric Ioniq 6 with a 340-mile range in its North American version. The Ioniq 6 EV, with an arched design, is coming to the US next spring. 
  • British company Charge Cars showed off its 67, a carbon-fiber-clad EV inspired by a 1967 Mustang that has a starting price of $460,000. A variety of interior and exterior trim options are available for modification upon request, the company says. 
  • The all-electric Fiat 500e will be coming back to America in the first quarter of 2024. It’s likely to use the higher-powered 117-hp electric motor from the European version, though more details will come out lately. Fiat’s parent company Stellantis expects it will be part of building the Fiat brand in America. 
  • Czinger founder Kevin Czinger and crew were present to show off the 21C, a high performance $2.3 million hybrid hypercar. It’s built as a 3D printed sports car by about a dozen robots at its facility in Los Angeles in an efficient small space. Established in 2019 by Founder and CEO Czinger, former head of Coda Automotive, This company is shooting for achieving success through future Human‑AI design within an environmentally sustainable system. 
The Czinger 21C got a lot of attention during Automobility LA, the first day of the auto show.

Nine finalists were named for the 2023 North American Car, Truck and Utility Vehicle of the Year (NACTOY). The jurors vote based on elements including automotive innovation, design, safety, performance, technology, driver satisfaction, user experience, and value.

The finalists for each category, in alphabetical order, for

North American Car of the Year:

Acura Integra

Genesis G80 EV

Nissan Z

North American Truck of the Year:

Chevrolet Silverado ZR2

Ford F-150 Lightning

Lordstown Endurance

North American Utility Vehicle of the Year:

Cadillac Lyriq 

Genesis GV60 

Kia EV6

Six of them are electric: Genesis G80 EV, Ford F-150 Lightning, Lordstown Endurance, Cadillac Lyriq, Genesis GV60, and Kia EV6. The winners will be announced at a special event in Detroit on January 11, 2023.

US will be running clean fuel test program with government in Ukraine, Market Intel on hydrogen fuel cell vehicles — Part 2 

Special Presidential Envoy John Kerry spoke at COP27 in Egypt on Saturday. The US and Europe will be working with Ukraine on production of clean hydrogen and ammonia.

The US and Ukraine made a significant announcement during COP27. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry and Ukraine Minister of Energy German Galushchenko announced a Ukraine Clean Fuels from SMRs Pilot project on Saturday that will demonstrate the production of clean hydrogen and ammonia using secure and safe small modular nuclear reactor (SMR) and cutting-edge electrolysis technologies in Ukraine. The idea behind is to develop first-of-a-kind pilot of commercial-scale production of clean fuels from SMRs using solid oxide electrolysis. Building on existing capacity-building cooperation launched under a US program, the project seeks to support Ukraine’s energy security goals, enable decarbonization of hard-to-abate energy sectors through clean hydrogen generation, and improve long-term food security through clean ammonia-produced fertilizers. It’s a very good move economically and geopolitically with much of Ukraine’s economy tied to its agriculture, and much of the pressure coming from Russia has to do with oil and gas. 

Kerry also used that opportunity to announce Project Phoenix, which is aimed at accelerating the transition in Europe of coal-fired plants to SMRs while retaining local jobs through workforce retraining. Project Phoenix will provide direct U.S. support for coal-to-SMR feasibility studies and related activities in support of energy security goals for countries in Central and Eastern Europe. This could help free up neighboring countries that have been shipping a lot of natural gas over from Russia. The US reiterates that it’s committed to supporting the use of innovative clean energy technologies to power global decarbonization efforts and providing options to achieve net zero transition in hard-to-abate energy sectors.

Speaking of partners in Ukraine:  Those of you looking for good online tutoring/teaching services, consider Preply. This Ukraine-based company has been working with thousands of students around the world to improve their skills for testing to get into college and grad school, and other tangible goals. During my time in grad school, I’ve been working with them to gain more teaching and tutoring experience. It’s been very insightful to speak with students around the world on their goals and dreams.  —Editor Jon LeSage

Market Intelligence — HFCVs, Pt. 2:   Available now is the second part of the report exploring hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles, hydrogen technology, and hydrogen fueling stations. This edition looks at all the vehicle manufacturers that are now in this space, and what’s coming up next. This has been leaning toward hydrogen-powered trucks and vans, with much of the opportunity coming from commercial vehicles serving ports. The zero emission vehicle mandate is pushing much of it, as is greater confidence in the hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. The fueling infrastructure has a long way to go, along with access to “green hydrogen.” But the opportunities are increasing. Here’s a look at the strengths and weaknesses of the technology and fuel. Click here for more information. 

And in other news:

The latest on Musk and Twitter:  So, do you have to pay for the $7.99 per month subscription fee to use Twitter now that Elon Musk owns the company? No, Musk says it’s about verifying accounts as the new owner works to overhaul the platform’s verification system. There are other advantages to joining the club for those interested, but there’s still a lot for Musk and his management team to work out there. Musk has two other challenges coming up soon. Musk go to court later this week to defend his $56 billion pay package from allegations by Tesla shareholders that it was tainted with easy performance targets. Also, a Tesla Model S owner is on trial for manslaughter. It may become a first-of-its-kind legal test of the responsibility of a human driver in a car with advanced driver-assist technology like Tesla’s Autopilot.

COP27:  The COP27 climate conference that is taking place through November 18 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, is the platform for nearly 200 countries to strike a deal to steer the world towards cutting greenhouse gas emissions, and to scale up finance for countries being ravaged by climate disaster. Delegates from many of the former-colony, developing nations around the world are calling for the major global economies to fund renovation of their infrastructures toward clean energy and efficiency. There might be more movement forward on this pressing issue than in past UN climate change conferences. A few countries have resisted mentioning a global goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius in the official text of the COP27 summit in Egypt, U.S. Special Climate Envoy John Kerry said at the conference on Saturday; its too early to tell if this will stop an agreement being reached. Attendees are looking forward to hearing newly elected Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (aka Lula) is heading to the COP27 summit this week, to reassure the world that Amazon rainforest is now in safe hands. Deforestation in Brazil reached a 15-year high under outgoing President Jair Bolsonaro, as farm owners had been able to push back on protected rainforest acreage under Bolsonaro. 

Speaking of deforestation:  Elelectric carmaker Tesla will have to do more of around its new Brandenburg Gigafactory to set up its needed production plant. The company will be applying for expansion and is beginning to clear local pine forests. This clearing process will remove pine trees over about 173 acres of currently forested area. The electric carmaker said it has already begun taking the necessary steps for species and forest protective measures. This factory will be important for Tesla to expand its European market presence. 

GM’s EV push:  General Motors CEO Mary Barra is planning on telling investors this week that GM expects its electric-vehicle program to be profitable in 2025, the same year it’s targeting sales of 1 million battery-powered electric vehicles. GM has plans in the works to roll out a $30,000 Chevy Equinox EV and electric Silverado pickup next year.

Latest on the US DOE and Funding Projects, Getting a Handle on Twitter and Musk’s Other Businesses

Now that nearly all U.S. states (45 of them) offer incentives for battery electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, we’re not dependent on support merely from Washington, D.C. Having said that, everyone should have a handle on what the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE) has to offer. Here’s an overview — perhaps best named “DOE 101,” featuring a list of DOE segments that clean transportation stakeholders need to be familiar with; plus a fascinating look at state incentives for electrified transportation. DOE is well funded under the current administration, with many inspiring research projects moving forward. 

And the latest:  GM partnership on advanced batteries General Motors and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Microvast Holdings, Inc., were selected by DOE to receive a $200 million grant through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that will fund a new separator facility to supply battery components. It was one of 20 companies and partnerships to receive grant funding from DOE’s $2.8 billion available. With existing operations in Tennessee, Florida, Colorado, and Texas, the company was thrilled to enhance its vertical integration strategy by expanding its domestic footprint and production capabilities to include battery components. Its highly thermally stable polyaramid separators will transform high-energy lithium-ion battery development and drive significant value for the industry, the company said. Microvast expects the new separator facility to supply battery components to its existing battery cell manufacturing facility in Clarksville, Tenn., as well as other customers across the commercial, specialty, and passenger electric vehicle (EV) markets, energy storage systems (ESS) and other applications.

Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E)  The ARPA-E advances high-potential, high-impact energy technologies that are too early for private-sector investment. ARPA-E awardees are unique because they are developing entirely new ways to generate, store, and use energy. ARPA-E empowers America’s energy researchers with funding, streamlined awards process, technical assistance, and market readiness through a rigorous program design, competitive project selection process, and active program management ensure thoughtful expenditures. 

And the latest:  The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) late last month announced $39 million in funding for 16 projects across 12 states to develop market-ready technologies that will increase domestic supplies of critical elements required for the clean energy transition. The selected projects, led by universities, national laboratories, and the private sector aim to develop commercially scalable technologies that will enable greater domestic supplies of copper, nickel, lithium, cobalt, rare earth elements, and other critical elements. The Biden-Harris Administration has remained focused on strengthening the critical materials supply chain as rare-earth elements are necessary to manufacture several clean energy technologies—from electric vehicle batteries to wind turbines and solar panels. President Biden has underscored the importance of deploying energy sources that reduce carbon pollution, lower costs for families and businesses, and ultimately mitigate the impacts of climate change.  

Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs:  The SBIR/STTR programs are U.S. government programs, intended to help certain small businesses conduct Research and Development (R&D). The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) SBIR/STTR programs provide grant opportunities to small businesses performing R&D in support of the DOE mission.  Grants are competitively awarded for the development and commercialization of new ideas and innovative research. 

And the latest:  On Oct. 26, 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced $3,169,239 in funding to eight small businesses to further develop and commercialize their environmental technologies, delivering economic and environmental benefits to the communities they serve. Awarded projects include an air purifier that reduces the risk of transmitting viruses and bacteria, a forecasting tool that reduces unwanted pesticide drift, software technologies for improved recycling, and a process for producing a sustainable low- carbon building material.

Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE):  Funding, Prize, and Competition Opportunities. Come to the site to see current open EERE funding opportunities; visit EERE Exchange to see past opportunities. EERE primarily supports research and development (R&D) on energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.

Late last month, the EPA announced $3,169,239 in funding to eight small businesses to further develop and commercialize their environmental technologies, delivering economic and environmental benefits to the communities they serve. Awarded projects include an air purifier that reduces the risk of transmitting viruses and bacteria, a forecasting tool that reduces unwanted pesticide drift, software technologies for improved recycling, and a process for producing a sustainable low- carbon building material.

Clean Cities Coalition Network:  Connect with Clean Cities’ national network of local coalitions and stakeholders working to implement alternative fuels, advanced vehicles, and fuel-saving strategies. The Clean Cities Coalition Network is a coordinated group of nearly 100 coalitions in the US working in communities across the country to advance affordable, domestic transportation fuels, energy efficient mobility systems, and other fuel-saving technologies and practices.

Bionergy Technologies Office: The U.S. Department of Energy Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) supports research, development, and demonstration to enable the sustainable use of domestic biomass and waste resources for the production of biofuels and bioproducts. 

2022–2023 AlgaePrize Competition: Launched in January 2022, the AlgaePrize is a new competition from DOE BETO that encourages students to pursue innovative ideas for the development, design, and invention of technologies within the commercial algae value chain. Learn more about this student competition.

Sustainable Aviation Fuel Grand Challenge: The U.S. Department of Energy is working with the U.S. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and other federal government agencies to develop a comprehensive strategy for scaling up new technologies to produce sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) on a commercial scale. Learn more about the SAF Grand Challenge and BETO’s SAF R&D.

Sustainable Aviation Fuels: BETO empowers energy companies and aviation stakeholders by supporting advances in research, development, and demonstration to overcome barriers for widespread deployment of low-carbon sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). SAF made from renewable biomass and waste resources have the potential to deliver the performance of petroleum-based jet fuel but with a fraction of its carbon footprint, giving airlines solid footing for decoupling greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from flight. The U.S. Department of Energy is working with the U.S. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and other federal government agencies to develop a comprehensive strategy for scaling up new technologies to produce SAF on a commercial scale.

Vehicle Technologies Office The DOE’s Vehicle Technologies Office provides low cost, secure, and clean energy technologies to move people and goods across America. Technology areas include batteries, charging, and electric vehicles; energy efficient mobility systems; advanced engine and fuels technologies; lightweight and propulsion materials; technology integration; and reports and publications. 

Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office The Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office (HFTO) focuses on research, development, and demonstration of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies across multiple sectors enabling innovation, a strong domestic economy, and a clean, equitable energy future. Clean energy sources such as hydrogen help combat climate change by addressing industrial emissions that are often hard to decarbonize. And, it can be produced from a variety of clean energy sources including renewables and nuclear.

Office of Science Laboratories. The National Laboratories have served as the leading institutions for scientific innovation in the United States for more than seventy years. The Energy Department’s 17 National Labs tackle the critical scientific challenges of our time — from combating climate change to discovering the origins of our universe — and possess unique instruments and facilities, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. They address large scale, complex research and development challenges with a multidisciplinary approach that places an emphasis on translating basic science to innovation.

Argonne National Laboratory For clean transportation stakeholders, Argonne is a very significant test center. Projects have included electric vehicle testing, and alternative fuel vehicle, hybrid electric, and plug-in hybrid testing. Measuring energy use and emissions output for a wide variety of vehicle and fuel combinations are among the top issues studied at the test center. Analysis of transportation systems on a life-cycle basis permits the research staff to better understand the breadth and magnitude of impacts produced when vehicle systems are operated on different fuels or energy options like electricity or hydrogen. Such detailed analysis also provides the granularity needed to investigate policy implications, set R&D goals, and perform follow-on impact and policy assessments. With the support of several programs within the US Department Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the Systems Assessment Group in Argonne’s Energy Systems and Infrastructure Analysis division has been developing the GREET (Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy use in Transportation) model to provide a common, transparent platform for lifecycle analysis (LCA) of alternative combinations of vehicle and fuel technologies.

Plus, another resource: state offerings on hybrids and EVs. The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) offers this database: 

NCSL — State Policies Promoting Hybrid and Electric Vehicles Forty-five states and the District of Columbia provide an incentive for certain EVs and/or PHEVs, either through a specific utility operating in the state or through state legislation. The incentives range from tax credits or rebates to fleet acquisition goals, exemptions from emissions testing, or utility time-of-use rate reductions. 

And in other news

Twitter purchase: New Twitter owner Elon Musk has pulled more than 50 of his trusted Tesla employees, mostly software engineers from the Autopilot team, into his Twitter takeover, according to CNBC. He also brought in two employees from his Boring Company (underground tunnels) and one from SpaceX’s Neuralink business.  Musk fired top executives from the social media company. Musk’s Tesla had a solid quarter of earnings last month but now the company says it won’t be able to reach a full 50% growth rate from the 936,000 units it delivered in 2021. In breaking news, Tesla will be opening what’s being called a “unique EV research, testing, repair, and maintenance facility” in Southfield, Mich. 

BYD working with Toyota, reports big profit gain: Toyota Motor Corp announced the launch of a small electric sedan, which will be powered by BYD’s batteries and will be produced and sold in China. The Japanese automaker said the car would be called the Toyota bZ3. It did not say when the vehicle will be available in showrooms. Last month, BYD reported that net income for Q3 2022 could jump 365% versus Q3 2021. BYD’s strong results worked against China’s economy and strengthened the strong image the automaker is gaining. 

Big fleets converting over to EVs: Amazon, FedEx, and other big fleet operators, are moving fast to replace their huge fleets of gasoline- and diesel-powered delivery trucks with electric vehicles. It’s a win for the environment, but these sizable fleets have to installing lots of chargers and work on charging up when electricity rates are cheap.

Lucid Air lineup will be added to on Nov. 15: The Lucid startup electric vehicle company will be unveiling more of its Lucid Air lineup on November 15 at the Lucid Studio Beverly Hills. That will complete the Air luxury sedan lineup with the Air Pure and Air Touring being the newest ones. The online global launch will also show off the Grand Touring, Grand Touring Performance, and the Sapphire-The Dream Edition. 

GAM Market Intel digs into hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in its launch issue, Saying goodbye to automotive media pioneer Chuck Parker 

While clean transportation stakeholders have been leaning towards plug-in electric vehicles — whether that be through cars, SUVs, or medium-to-heavy-duty trucks — hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles and hydrogen as a fuel/energy source have had quite an impressive year. Cleantech advocates who lean into EVs and renewable energy have been much more open to considering the technology to hit core targets. One element is how California has included fuel cell vehicles as the sister technilogy to EVs in its zero emission vehicle mandates. This edition of the new publication — GAM Market Intel — is the first of two parts on hydrogen and fuel cell technology with this one exploring fuel cell vehicles around the world, and how they’ve been doing in sales. The debate over which technology is better to hit the zero-emission vehicle target — plug-in electric or hydrogen fuel cell — still comes up occasionally. A decade ago, it was common to hear the arguments, when Elon Musk might have attacked fuel cell vehicles just a few years after the movie Who Killed the Electric Car? accused the California Air Resources Board of backing hydrogen fuel ceil vehicles over EVs. Several major car and truck makers have added fuel cell vehcles over to their offerings to hit these targets and becasue buyers are showing more interest in expanding their choices. 

The second GAM Market Intel report digs into the sometimes grandiose commitments governments had been making to hit lofty goals by 2030 — as if they could only make available in their countries electric vehicles that will be semi-to-fully autonomous and part of sharing networks. Not liketly of course, but what it is a more realsitic projection on where the technology stands today and a more realstic view of where it’s going in the near future? It ties into urban planning, development, and transportation strategies in place globally that assume EVs and mobility services will be leading the way in traffic- and smog-congested cities.

You can visit the order page for the two studies to learn more, or you can click the Market Intel link in the left column.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Goodby, Mr. Parker:  For those of you fortunate enough to have known Chuck Parker, I’m sure it was sad to hear about his passing away on Sept. 21 at the age of 88. I’ve appreciated reading about parts of his life that I’d forgotten about, or never knew. Special thanks to my colleagues Janice Sutton, CEO and Editor in Chief, Fleet Management Weekly, and Mike Antich, Editor and Associate Publisher, Automotive Fleet, for writing wonderful tributes to Chuck’s impressive professional career and fine qualities as a human being. It was also good to read about how much other professionals in automotive appreciated him, and the stories they had to tell in Sutton’s LinkedIn page. My heart goes out to Chuck’s family, including his wife Nancy Edwards, who was an honor to work with along with her husband. 

I’d like to acknowledge Chuck for creating the business and editorial platform that the industry’s first digital media company, Automotive Information Network (AIN). Automotive Digest served as the flagship publication website that AIN’s nine industry e-newsletters operated from; it all started up in 1998 and was the first of its kind in the industry. Those of us working with Chuck had to learn how to do video interviews, edit segments for viewing, write about significant news and events in the US auto industry, and sometimes globally, from a concise and focused format, and to look for the “big picture” significance of trends in the market. We were able to interview some of the most interesting and influential leaders in the auto industry, fleet management, remarketing, auto finance, digital marketing, advanced vehicle technology, and clean transportation. It was a digest for busy, thoughtful insightful professionals in the auto industry — and for others fascinated with what was going on. Fleet Management Weekly is continuing with this editorial model, and is a must-read and must-view for professionals in that discipline. Green Auto Market started out as part of the Automotive Digest media titles; and I thank Chuck and Nancy, and other colleagues, for supporting this publication.

And in other news………..

New OPEC embargo on the way?  Did you know that Russia joined OPEC in 2016, and that it was renamed OPEC Plus? This coalition, led by Russia and Saudi Arabia, announced Wednesday it will cut way back on oil production by 2 million barrels per day. It’s possible it may push up gas prices worldwide and play into the tension and chaos from Russia’s war in Ukraine. “The President is disappointed by the shortsighted decision by OPEC Plus to cut production quotas while the global economy is dealing with the continued negative impact of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine,” U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan and National Economic Council Director Brian Deese said in a statement.

German car rental company Sixt is following global competitor Hertz’ lead by announcing it will be bringing in 100,000 electric vehicles. That order will be fulfilled by Chinese automaker BYD between now and 2028. The first batch will be delivered this year to Germany, France, the Netherlands, and the U.K. during Q4 of this year. Hertz announced about two weeks ago that it will order up to 175,000 EVs from General Motors over the next five years. Other deals were made by Hertz to bring in thousands of electric cars built by Polestar and Tesla. The end goal is to covert 25% of its fleet over to EVs by 2024. It’s also very good news for BYD, which has been trying to build its global band presence. Its commercial vehicles are going in fairly small numbers all over the world, and it has a significant share of China’s EV market. Bringing in movie star Leonardo DiCaprio as brand ambassador for its new energy vehicles has been part of that strategy. 

Hydrogen and fuel cells have gained enough presence to earn an annual day of recognition. The U.S. Dept. of Energy says that October 8 was chosen to be designated as National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day by the number 1.008. That’s the atomic weight of hydrogen. The national day of recognition was set up to support efforts to celebrate hydrogen and its role to transition to “a cleaner and more equitable energy future.”

Jon LeSage, author of the two studies featured above and editor of Green Auto Market, is available for consulting services including being interviewed on clean transportation and related topics. He brings experience, expertise, and broad, global perspectives on the auto industry, alternative fuel vehicles, sustainability issues, government policies, and the future of automated mobility. Contact him at