Clean Transportation and Energy Resources to Tap Into, Ford Cuts Prices on Mustang Mach-E

ACT Shipper-Carrier Connect:
Ports are at the heart of the global economy these days. They’re also a major source of smog and greenhouse gas emissions from the ships, trucks, and logistics providers serving them. GNA, a TRC company and organizers of the Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo, just announced the inaugural ACT Shipper-Carrier Connect event, taking place May 22-23, 2024, in Las Vegas, co-located with ACT Expo, to unite shippers, carriers, and logistics providers to shape the future of sustainable freight. Sustainability is a new business priority for freight and logistics companies, GNA says, and this event will showcase how effective collaboration can enable shippers and carriers to achieve shared economic and environmental sustainability goals.

Eco-friendly cargo ships:
Los Angeles, Long Beach, New York and New Jersey, Georgia Ports (Savannah and Brunswick), Seattle-Tacoma, Houston, Oakland, South Carolina Ports (Georgetown and Charleston), Port Metro Vancouver, and Virginia (Hampton Roads region) are the largest ports in North America, according to Shipa Freight. One of the big frustrations for those advocating ports to reduce their emissions significantly is getting shippers to cooperate. They’re international companies, many times from China, Denmark, and other countries, and outside U.S. laws. Danish-company Maersk and other shipping companies are trying out methanol, ammonia, and hydrogen as viable alternative fuels. Canadian company Ballard Power has been very involved with these test projects by providing its fuel cell modules. The first vessels to embark on their maiden voyages last year were Norled’s MF Hydra — the world’s first liquid hydrogen-powered ferry — operating in Norway; FPS Waal, a retrofitted cargo vessel expected in service on the Rhine River in Holland; and Zulu06, the first inland cargo transport vessel on the river Seine in France.

Another profitable year for Clean Harbors:
Clean Harbors, Inc. just reported its ninth consecutive quarter of year-over-year growth; and that revenue was up 4.7% year over year in the fourth quarter — with the same number for all of 2023, according to WasteDive. The U.S.-based company is a provider of environmental and industrial services, including hazardous waste disposal for clients that include companies, small waste generators, and federal, state, provincial and local governments — including serving major ports. Safety-Kleen, a Clean Harbor company, is where much of that happens.

European Alternative Fuels Observatory:
For those wondering how alternative fuels and vehicles have been doing in Europe, go to this website to have your questions answered. If you’re interested in learning how many battery electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, hydrogen fuel cell, propane-powered, and LPG- and CNG-powered vehicles are on their roads, go visit this site. You can compare by country, overall vehicles and fleet vehicles, infrastructure, legislation and incentives, and other useful information. European Alternative Fuels Observatory is the European Commission’s knowledge center, offering a wealth of data on alternative fuels in Europe.

The future of used EV batteries:
A documentary that I recently watched forecasted that planet Earth is heading for big trouble with climate change, dependence on fossil fuels, air pollution, over-population and overdevelopment, and landfills full of waste, driving the destruction. One of the examples given in the film was how bad disposal of used batteries from increasing electric vehicle ownership has been getting. For fleets and individual EV owners, staying current on options they have to make sure they’re battery packs are recycled or disposed of sustainably and efficiently is a good idea. Resource guides have been presented by Car and Driver and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that are very much worth checking out.

Renewable fuel conferences coming up:
Advanced Biofuels USA’s calendar of events is the place to go for upcoming conferences on biofuels, renewable natural gas, algae, and other topics shaping the future of advanced fuels coming from feedstocks, manure, and organic waste materials. British event planner Active Communications International is hosting the Future of RNG North America 2024 that will be taking place in Houston on March 20-21, 2024. Experts and industry leaders will delve into case studies and success stories, showcasing how RNG projects have already revitalized the biogas world and contributed to energy independence. (And don’t forget that the RNG Coalition conference will be taking place Dec. 9-12, 2024, in Dana Point, Calif., at the Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort & Club.)………. Microalgae and macroalgae production, harvesting, extraction and new markets are being explored in a series of monthly webinars.  Seaweed-based technologies have been proven outside the lab as scalable and economically feasible. Learn how other microalgae and macroalgae solutions are reaching commercial algae production and new markets…………. ABLC 2024 will be taking place March 13-15, 2024, in Washington, DC. It’s connected series of seven conferences and events in total on the most important issues in the circular bioeconomy right now. These include the Advanced Biofuels Summit, the Renewable Chemicals & Biomaterials Summit, the Green Hydrogen Summit, the Advanced Agriculture Summit, the Sustainable Aviation Summit, and the Biogas & RNG Summit, and the Circular Bioeconomy Policy Forum. In addition, there will be special events, forums, and workshops.

Cal Fleet Advisor assisting fleets in ZEVs:
For fleets needing to integrate zero emission vehicles and all that goes with it, the Cal Fleet Advisor program can be very much worth looking into. This free assistance program has helped more than 300 California fleets, and is available now for owners and operators of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. It’s part of the state’s Hybrid and Zero-Emission Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP). HVIP is administered by CALSTART on behalf of the California Air Resources Board. It offers a personal advisor, resources to consider, and funding process assistance.

More about hydrogen and fuel cell transportation:
Need more information on hydrogen and fuel cell vehicles? For one, hydrogen stores and transports energy produced from other resource. See the ‘7 Fun Facts on Hydrogen & Fuel Cells’ at NREL for more information. One of the major challenges has been that hydrogen has very high energy for its weight, but very low energy for its volume, so new technology is needed to store and transport it. And fuel cell technology is still in early development, needing improvements in efficiency and durability. This video provides insights into where it’s going — as does the California Hydrogen Leadership Summit. That conference will be taking place June 16-17, 2024, at the Sheraton Grand in Sacramento. During “Hydrogen Decarbonizing Transportation,” speakers will take a close look at policy changes needed at both federal and state levels to empower the use of hydrogen fuel to help make transportation more climate friendly. They’ll explore the technologies offered by leading vehicle manufacturers and dig into the air quality regulations, such as the Advanced Clean Trucks and Advanced Clean Fleets rules that will require investment into hydrogen-fueled zero-emission transportation technologies.

The absolute importance of having safe water
As a few experts have said to me, if you’re interested in tracking the future of planet Earth, then pay attention to three areas: fossil fuels, energy, and water. Actor Matt Damon has been promoting the organization and website that was founded more than a decade ago by Damon and Gary White, a civil and environmental engineer. Their goal has been to work independently to help break down barriers between people in need and access to safe water. About 2.2 billion people lack access to safe water. The global nonprofit aims to bring water and sanitation to the world.

And in other news……………..

Price cuts on Mustang Mach-E: Ford Motor Co. said yesterday that it had cut prices on its Mustang Mach-E electric SUV by up to $8,100 after sales fell sharply in January. It now has a starting price of $39,895, down from $42,995. The higher-end Mach-E GT will cost about $7,600 less, at $52,395. The extended-range premium version will drop in price by $8,100 to $48,895. Ford and other automakers, including Tesla, have had to cut sticker prices to get car shoppers to take that option more seriously.

Rivian cutting workforce down: Startup electric SUV and pickup truck maker Rivian said it would cut its workforce by 10% and that it’s EV production forecast widely missed estimates. The company says that it’s been hurt by downtime for factory upgrades and slowing demand for electric vehicles due to high interest rates. That could mean producing 57,000 new vehicles this year, down from the 81,700 units in the initial plan for 2024.

Franchised Dealers at the Crossroads on Electric Vehicles, Truck CEOs Speaking at ACT Expo

How do you get through to skeptical consumers who’ve never purchased an electric vehicle, and have held onto some false assumptions on the technology? The Center for Sustainable Energy (CSE) and the National Automotive Dealers Association (NADA) launched an innovative online EV sales training certification program to empower dealership staff, at the NADA Show 2024 in Las Vegas on February 1.

The training program is called ElectrifIQ, and it’s been structured to prepare dealers to address classic consumer questions: charging times and costs, driving range per charge, total cost of ownership, available incentives, and more. CSE is tapping into experience managing statewide EV incentive programs. The San Diego, Calif.-based organization has already done so with state dealer associations in California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Oregon on EV training, according to NADA. Dealers can tap into the staff training program for $199 per person or $495 per dealership.

It’s been a steep hill to climb since EVs started being available for sale through dealers in 2011. Nearly half of Buick’s U.S. dealerships, about 1,000, left the brand last year after it offered buyouts for those who didn’t want to invest in selling electric vehicles. They’re not the only dealers to do so, and it’s not all about selling EVs. U.S. franchised dealers have been preparing to retire and sell off assets to family members or competitors for a few years now. But EVs have been the tipping point for many.

If you take a look above at 2023 sales of battery electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, you can see that some brands and their franchised dealer networks will likely be more interested in trying out ElectrifIQ than others.

Kelley Blue Book’s recent study on U.S. sales of EVs reported that there were 1,189,051 new EVs that were put into service in the U.S. last year. That includes light-duty passenger vehicles, with medium-to-heavy-duty commercial EVs not counted in this report. That included 884,475 total for the top 10 sold, or 74.38% off the total.

Of the new EVs sold in the U.S. last year, 59.3% of all of these vehicles were sold by Tesla and Rivian — who don’t have dealer networks. Both companies use a direct-to-consumer sales model. Tesla had sales of 654,888 vehicles sold in the U.S. last year, three of which you can see in the Top 10 chart above. The fourth vehicles was the Model S, which had 16,466 units sold in the U.S. during 2023. Tesla continued to hold its dominant pace in the American market, with 55.1% of the new light-duty electric vehicles sold last year.

As for the top five non-Tesla automakers in EV sales last year………

  1. Ford also sold 7,672 E-Transit vans.
  2. General Motors decided to bring the Bolt back with strong demand showing up for the car and SUV versions after the company had decided to stop production. As for the other EVs, it was thin for GM: 482 Chevy Blazer SUVs and 461 Chevy Silverado pickup trucks were sold in the U.S. last year.
  3. Hyundai’s Ioniq 5 crossover SUV led the way, followed by the Ioniq 6 sedan which came in at 12,999 units sold, and its Kona small SUV coming in at 10,644. The Korean automaker’s Kia and Genesis brands are also selling a decent volume of EVs for being so new to EVs.
  4. Southern California-based Rivian is targeted at fleets and consumers. The R1S SUV was the market leader, followed by 17,726 R1T pickup trucks and 7,679 EDV 500/700 cargo vans.
  5. BMW’s i Series has been revamped more recently to be based on lovers of luxury and sports cars — and willing to pay for it. The German automakers’ market leader in the US EV space has been the i4 Gran Coupe; followed by the iX SUV at 17,301 units sold last year; the i7 luxury sedan at 3,400; and 2,133 of the i5 luxury sedan.

And in other news……….

ACT Expo just announced that top truckmaker CEOs will be speaking at the annual event in May, this time at the Las Vegas Convention Center. ‘CEO Roundtable on Scaling Vehicle Electrification’ will include:

Art Vallely, President, Penske Truck Leasing (Moderator)  
Mathias Carlbaum, Chief Executive Officer, Navistar 
John O’Leary, President and Chief Executive Officer, Daimler Truck North America 
Jonathan Randall, President, Mack Trucks 
Peter Voorhoeve, President, Volvo Trucks North America 
Jason Skoog, General Manager, Peterbilt & Vice President, PACCAR  

For an overview of this year’s ACT Expo, click here.

Gas-Free Lawn Care Starts in California, Tesla’s Autopilot Collision Data Similar to Previous Year

Sometime around 2012, I interviewed a small business startup owner at AltCar Expo in Santa Monica, Calif. He was promoting his electric leaf blower and spoke eloquently about why we need to switch over to electric lawnmowers, hedge trimmers, and leaf blowers. The noise is one reason, but the air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions was an even more serious reason, he said.

That topic has come up several times over the past year-and-a-half at a morning tai chi class I go to in Manhattan Beach. We had to move away from a park in Hermosa Beach because a lawn-care team would be there to mow lawns, run edgers, weed whackers and leaf blowers every time we showed up for class. The putrid smell and loud, obnoxious noise became too much — so we opted to move to another park.

“Wouldn’t it be great if the state banned gas-powered lawnmowers and leaf blowers and only allowed electric?” I would put out to the group. “Remind me to contact my assembly member and suggest that a bill be introduced.”

I just found out there’s no need to take that action. On January 1, 2024, California became the first state to ban the sale of new gasoline-powered lawn mowers and other lawn-care tools. That covers small off-road engines (SOREs), spark-ignition engines powered by gasoline and rated or at below 25 hp (19kW).

California’s green lawn care law covers all lawn care and gardening equipment manufactured after Dec. 31, 2023, that use SOREs. The list includes: lawn mowers, riding mowers, string trimmers, edgers, hedge trimmers, leaf blowers, and log splitters. That one started January 1, and it sets zero-emission standards for outdoor equipment except generators and large pressure washers. Phase two will take effect in 2028 and includes generators and large washers.

While most Californians want the loud noise to go away, the main focus in the state has been reducing emissions from lawn-care equipment that is more polluting than all the cars in the state combined. That policy was adopted as debate goes on all over the country over getting rid of gas-powered equipment including gas stoves. This issue has faced opposition from some Republican elected officials, gas companies, and others who say the restrictions reduce consumer choice.

In California, it came from Assembly Bill 1346 in 2021, authored by Assemblymember Marc Berman (D-Menlo Park). It required California Air Resources Board, by July 1, 2022, to be consistent with federal law, and to adopt cost-effective and technologically feasible regulations to prohibit engine exhaust and evaporative emissions from new small off-road engines, as defined by CARB. Such regulations had to apply to engines produced on or after January 1, 2024, or as soon as CARB determined if its feasible, whichever was later. CARB ruled it would start at the first of this year.

It ties into California’s ambitious plan to reach carbon neutrality by 2045 — and that the negative impact of gas-powered lawn care equipment has to be taken seriously. CARB reported that one hour use of a gas-powered lawn mower releases as much pollution as a Toyota Camry does over 300 miles. And as you can see on the map graphic at the beginning of this article, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reported that lawn tools emitted more than 30 million tons of carbon dioxide in this country during 2020. California, Texas, and Florida, had the highest levels of CO2 emissions from lawn and garden equipment in the U.S. during that time — another good reason for the state of California to enact this law.

And in other news……….

Autopilot safety: Tesla just reported that the number of collisions for drivers using its Autopilot semi-autonomous features was similar to 2022. The quarterly report said that for the results were 21% worse in Q1 versus that quarter in 2022, 21% better in Q2, 6% worse in Q3 and 11% better in the fourth quarter. It’s not entirely clear if the the safety factor has been been improved or is staying the same. Tesla vehicles not using Autopilot are reporting more accidents than those vehicles equipped with it, the company said. Last month, Tesla recalled more than two million vehicles to fix a function that makes sure drivers are paying attention when they use Autopilot. That followed a two-year investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration into a series of crashes that happened while the Autopilot was in use, with some of them being fatal. NHTSA found that Tesla’s method of ensuring that drivers are paying attention can be inadequate and needs improvement.

EV infrastructure jobs: You can now download a report on the International Council on Clean Transportation website called, Charging Up America: The Growth of United States Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Jobs. It explores how much it will need to change to expand light-duty vehicle (LDV) and medium- and heavy-duty vehicle (MHDV) charging infrastructure to meet annual charging needs through 2032. That’s being driven by growth in the electric vehicle fleet coming through newly proposed federal standards. That will mean the hiring, training, and development of skilled workers to carry out the necessary infrastructure expansion.

Mississippi battery cell production: Three partners have chosen Marshall County, Miss., as the future site of an advanced battery cell manufacturing site for their planned joint venture. Accelera by Cummins, the zero-emissions business segment of Cummins Inc.; Daimler Trucks & Buses US Holding LLC; and PACCAR, another major truck manufacturer, started all of it in September 2023 by forging the joint venture. They will be localizing battery cell production to create about 2,000 U.S. manufacturing jobs, with the option to expand it even more as demand grows. The 21-gigawatt hour (GWh) factory is expected to begin producing battery cells in 2027. I just completed a master’s degree program at Missouri School of Journalism in strategic communication. One of my homework assignments in December for my final course was to create a website promoting myself and my work. Part of that assignment was boiling it all down: What do I do? I’d also completed my research project last month, GenZ Journalism Majors on Discerning Valid, Legitimate News. Over the years, I’ve been fascinated with, and occasionally obsessed with, researching topics that jump out at me. One of the sections of my new website, Hot to Not Lie With Statistics, gives homage to one of my favorite books, How to Lie with Statistics. That has to do with my love for research and investigation and putting it into words and numbers. I’ve had growing concerns about how important it is for all of us to tap into fundamental research methods — making it our own. We Americans live in a country known for iconic figures such as P.T. Barnum, William ¨Boss¨ Tweed, Henry Ford, Madison Avenue, Hollywood, Jim Jones, Ted Bundy, Steve Jobs, Facebook, and Elon Musk. We have some of the best marketing, entertainment, political campaigns, technology innovations, and charismatic, adventurous leaders with famous and occasionally tragic lives. But how do we determine accuracy, validity, and meaning for our own lives? Bringing it home…… Are you concerned about the cleanliness of clean energy? Then start with your research question, such as: What’s the state of clean energy in America? My career has been a mix of market research and business journalism, and its always been there in my jobs — such as tracking market indicators in industry segments or digging into what consumers and business decision makers think about electric vehicles and charging, and many other topics and interests. Visiting my website,, will give you a look at how this is all coming together for me.

Transport and energy firms on Corporate Knights Global 100 list, Exxon Mobil sues activist investors

Corporate Knights this month released its 20th annual Global 100 list. This Toronto-based media and research company focuses on advancing a sustainable, low-carbon economy. As a group, the 2024 Global 100 most sustainable corporations invested 55% of their capital expenditures, research and development, and acquisitions in sustainable practices like clean energy, compared to an average of 17% by large companies (more than $1 billion in revenue) overall. Here’s a look at nine companies in transportation and energy and how their sustainability initiatives are being carried out. 

#4 Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp.

Taiwan High Speed Rail (THSR) is the high-speed railway of Taiwan consisting of one line that runs approximately 350 km (217 miles) along the west coast, from the capital Taipei to the southern city of Kaohsiung. That happened through a $513.3 billion investment in 1998 by this private company. Sustainability comes through three points: low carbon, low air pollution, high energy features on the trains; strengthening environmental management around the operation route; and adding renewable energy devices at maintenance depots and major stations.

#7 Schneider Electric SE

This French multinational company has a decarbonization program that provides training, consulting, and tools and solutions. That might come through energy and sustainability consulting to optimizing lifecycles of assets, and technology products and services to meet these goals. Schneider Electric  helps the top 1,000 suppliers deliver on their climate-positive goal to reduce CO2 emissions by half by 2025. The company had been visible in electric vehicle charging a few years ago.

#13 Clean Harbors Inc.

Clean Harbors, Inc. is an American provider of environmental and industrial services, including hazardous waste disposal for clients that include companies, small waste generators, and federal, state, provincial and local governments — including serving major ports. Safety-Kleen, a Clean Harbor company, is where much of that happens. That includes parts washer technologies; parts-cleaning services with a comprehensive selection of equipment, technology, solvents and chemistries; a nationwide fleet of trucks, tankers, rail-cars and barges that collects used oil from thousands of locations across the U.S, Canada and Puerto Rico; the company’s fleet of over 220 vacuum trucks will pump out liquid, sludge and solids at client facilities, while ensuring proper disposal of their waste through their industry leading service; and recycling and disposal of both hazardous and non-hazardous waste.

#25 XPeng Inc.

Chinese electric vehicle maker XPeng sells most all of its electric sedans and SUVs in China. As of November, XPeng deliveries exceeded 120,000 for the year, which is 11% more than a year ago. The company says that it is China’s first automaker to implement high-level ADAS (advanced driver assistance systems) for urban areas in series-produced cars. Its Zhaoqing Plant was recognized as a “Green Plant” by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of the People’s Republic of China. The automaker established a VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) evaluation standard system and process specifications covering the entire vehicle, including parts and materials.

#34 First Solar Inc.

As of 2023, First Solar ranked fourth in a list of largest companies within the U.S. solar industry based on revenue, according to Investopedia. The company is an American manufacturer of solar panels, and a provider of utility-scale PV power plants and supporting services that include finance, construction, maintenance and end-of-life panel recycling. CEO Mark Widmar said in the company Sustainability Report 2023 that the company has set for itself a roadmap to reduce its absolute scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 34% by 2028 and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, relative to 2020. One key element is building its commitment to a circular economy through its next-generation photovoltaic (PV) modules and manufacturing processes. That comes through raw material sourcing to high-value recycling with closed loop semiconductor recovery.

#43 Li Auto Inc.

Li Auto Inc. is a Chinese electric vehicle maker headquartered in Beijing, with manufacturing facilities in Changzhou. Founded by Li Xiang in 2015, the company mainly builds electric vehicles that use range extenders for a power supply. Li Xiang is a Chinese billionaire with other ventures including New York-listed Autohome, an auto news and services portal. Li auto’s current model lineup includes Li MEGA, a high-tech flagship family MPV, Li L9, a six-seat flagship family SUV, Li L8, a six-seat premium family SUV, and Li L7, a five-seat flagship family SUV. The company is proud to have maintained excellent AA MSCI ESG, ratings in recent years, reaching the leader level. This ratings system measures a company’s management of financially relevant environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks and opportunities.

#46 Tesla Inc.

Along with being No. 1 or No. 2 in EV sales worldwide (depending on how you measure it), Tesla is being recognized here for corporate sustainability practices. As part of its Master Plan Part 3, the automaker identified five key areas:  1. Repower the Existing Grid with Renewables, where four US sub-regions (Texas, Pacific, Midwest, Eastern) are modeled to account for sustainable generation and storage. 2. Switch to Electric Vehicles, which are four times more efficient than internal combustion engine vehicles due to higher powertrain efficiency. 3. Switch to Heat Pumps — using the appropriate selection of refrigerants and best heat pump technology. 4. Electrify High Temperature Heat Delivery and Hydrogen Production to cost effectively accelerate industrial electrification; and 5. Sustainably Fuel Planes & Boats — where ocean shipping  can be electrified by optimizing design speed and routes to enable smaller batteries with more frequent charge stops on long routes. 

#55 Samsung SDI Co. Ltd.

Samsung SDI Co., Ltd. is the battery and electronic materials manufacturer division of the South Korean giant. Samsung SDI focuses its business with Energy Solutions and Electronic Materials segment; which includes EV battery packs, which come with prismatic battery cells for automotive applications. Last year, the company said that its top priority was to disseminate ESG management across its supply chains. The company disclosed its Scope 3 emissions, which is the result of activities from assets not owned or controlled by the reporting organization — suppliers. 

#56 Rivian Automotive Inc.

The startup electric pickup and SUV maker is moving toward transforming its manufacturing plant to 100% renewable energy on an annual basis and over 90% hourly carbon-free electricity by 2030. Its EVs will be charged by 100% renewable energy on Rivian’s charging network. The EV maker will continue to partner with suppliers to meet high sustainability standards. The company wants to make sure that 100% of strategic suppliers meet or exceed its social and environmental standards by 2030. Another goal is working to ensure all Rivian employees experience genuine community, shared values and a sense of belonging, regardless of role, location or personal identity.

And in other news………
Exxon Mobil Corp. continues to fall out of favor with sustainability advocates. The oil giant on Sunday filed a complaint in a Texas court against activist investors seeking to get Exxon to strive to reduce climate emissions. Arjuna Capital, a U.S. activist investment firm, and shareholder activist group Follow This, is leading the investor coalition that’s asking Exxon and other oil majors to adopt tighter climate targets. They want to Exxon to set Scope 3 targets — something that the other four Western oil majors have committed to.

RNG growth: Renewable natural gas (RNG) leaders expect to see more growth in 2024 — after seeing more than 60 projects go online last year. That brought the total number to about 350, according to data collected by the American Biogas Council (ABC), which excludes wastewater treatment plants. ABC also estimates that biogas producers and developers invested about $1.8 billion in projects last year. Growth should be in the 10% to 40% range, and probably on the high end, ABC said.

EV affordability: Zero Emission Transportation Association (ZETA) just launched its Electric Vehicle Affordability Resource Page. It addresses one of the top requests the association gets: to break down how much electric vehicles cost compared to gas vehicles, and what fuel savings actually look like. Visitors get to find out that driving an EV is more affordable than they may think.

NREL and Amazon: The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Amazon, which says that its become the largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy worldwide since 2020, are working to modernize greenhouse gas emissions quantification using higher-resolution data and longer-term modeling. The government agency and the corporation are collaborating on a guidance document and new data sets, published by NREL, that will allow corporations to make better-informed decisions around their respective GHG emissions.

What’s Next in Performance EVs, EPA Revises Tesla Range Specs

Car and Driver recently published a comprehensive look at what’s coming up in the next four years for cars, SUVs, and pickup trucks, with most all of these innovative vehicles being all-electric.

The new vehicle options continue to improve as zero emission vehicle standards increase in California and partner states, and to meet federal guidelines for fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions. Here’s a good look at some of the long-awaited models, with some of them in high price ranges.

And in other news…………

EPA revises Tesla range: As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency revises electric vehicle range following a Department of Justice investigation last year, Tesla will have to revise its specifications. Four trim levels across these three Tesla models received lower range estimates following the new EPA testing guidelines. Edmunds says the new figures are closer to what they discovered in its own real-world testing.

The Model Y Long Range now has a 310-mile range estimate, down from 330 miles. The Model Y Performance’s range estimate dropped from 303 miles to 285 miles, while the Model X Plaid’s range has been reduced from 333 miles to 326 miles. The range estimate for the Model S Plaid has been lowered from 396 miles to 359 miles when equipped with the smaller 19-inch wheels. The Model S Plaid’s range estimate on the larger wheels remains unchanged.

IEA reports on coal and petrochemicals: International Energy Agency reported that coal consumption in 2023 appeared to drop sharply in most advanced economies, declining by around 20% in both the European Union and the U.S. Meanwhile, demand in emerging and developing economies remained strong – increasing by 8% in India and by 5% in China due to rising demand for electricity and weak hydropower output.

The production of petrochemicals – which are used to make clothing, tires, detergents, fertilizers and other everyday products – is expanding rapidly, according to IEA’s new commentary. The sector’s growth is most notable in China, where the speed and scale at which new plants have been rapid. The oil industry has reaped big rewards from this development. According to the commentary, were it not for the petrochemical sector’s strong growth, the world’s oil consumption would have remained comfortably below pre-pandemic levels.

UAW Strike, COP28, Tax Credits & Other Memorable Events from 2023

New vehicles, including EVs, up this year: According to the Cox Automotive U.S. new vehicle sales forecast released today, sales volume this month is expected to rise 6.2% over December 2022. The seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) is expected to finish near 15.1 million in December. This SAAR is 1.6 million higher compared to last year’s pace. Stellantis is the only major automaker to have a decline in sales from 2022, and it only dropped down 2.1% from calendar year 2022. On the electric vehicle side, Tesla is expected to be coming in at 650,259 new vehicles sold this year. That’s up 24.5% from last year and puts the automaker at No. 8 in overall U.S. new vehicle sales for 2023, right ahead of Volkswagen and Subaru. Rivian is expected to have 50,749 units sold this year in the U.S., up 149.6% from the previous year; Lucid should be coming in at 5,764 units sold this year, up 117% from the previous year.

EVs included in UAW contracts: Member of the United Auto Workers were pleased to see that the contracts coming out of the six-week strike against Ford, Stellanitis, and General Motors, ensure that workers who build engines and transmissions today will still earn top union wages making electric vehicle (EV) batteries and components in the future. The agreements included commitments by the Big 3 to build future EVs in existing U.S. factories, which will further ensure job security for workers as the industry transitions over to meeting federal and state targets for reducing vehicle emissions.

COP28 saw clean transportation as part of the solution: Reducing fossil fuel consumption to fight climate change was the central theme at the United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference in Dubai — COP28 — in an agreement signed by representatives of nearly 200 countries before the event closed on Dec. 12. North America played a leadership role in some landmark moments at the event, helping to accelerate the adoption of clean transportation technologies. The U.S. has made a $53.6 million commitment to developing countries for sustainable solutions to decarbonize urban transportation. The Zero Emission Vehicles Transition Council (ZEVTC) launched the Global ZEV Transition Roadmap, setting out for the first time in any global sector a holistic package of actions to systematically strengthen international support for emerging markets and developing economies (EMDEs) this decade. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael S. Regan added momentum by co-developing the roadmap. Vice President Kamala Harris furthered American support with a $3 billion pledge to the Green Climate Fund, an investment that will foster international collaboration for “low emission transport” via evidence-based methodologies.

Changes to Inflation Reduction Act: You don’t have to wait to file your taxes to get electric vehicle tax credits under 2024 changes coming to implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, offering purchase price reduction at the point of sale. Once the new year starts, you can claim $3,750 if at least half of the value of your vehicle’s battery components are manufactured or assembled in North America. You can claim the other $3,750 if at least 40% of critical minerals — like graphite, lithium and cobalt — are sourced from the U.S. or a trade partner. Both minimum requirements increase in the coming years, with battery components reaching 100% in 2029 and critical minerals maxing out at 80% in 2027. Nearly 50 vehicles are eligible for one of or both credits under the new provisions — including EVs from Chevy, Ford, Tesla and VW — which are in effect through Dec. 31, 2032. The list of available EVs is expected to grow as manufacturers submit updated information and change suppliers. Find the most up-to-date info on FuelEconomy.Gov.

Support for EVs waning? There’s been a consensus agreement this year that electric vehicle sales are not doing well in the U.S. and that the charging infrastructure is just fine. That’s coming from media observers and investor analysts who have focused on automakers cutting back on their battery manufacturing plans. Tesla, Ford, GM and Rivian have been turning cautious and scaling back on, among other things, their battery manufacturing plans. But sales have suggested otherwise. The National Automobile Dealer Association (NADA) reported that through 11 months of 2023, battery electric vehicle sales totaled 1,007,984 – an increase of 50.7% year-over-year. It’s the first time EV sales in the U.S. exceeded the 1M sales threshold in a single sales year.

Cummins pays hefty penalty for using defeat devices. Cummins, a major manufacturer of diesel and alternative fuel engines and generators, and related components and technology, reached an agreement in principle with the U.S. and the state of California to pay a $1.675-billion penalty to settle claims that it violated the Clean Air Act by installing emissions defeat devices on 630,000 model year 2013 to 2019 RAM 2500 and 3500 pickup truck engines. Defeat devices are parts or software that bypass, defeat, or render inoperative emissions controls such as emission sensors and onboard computers. Cummins also allegedly installed undisclosed auxiliary emission control devices on 330,000 model year 2019 to 2023 RAM 2500 and 3500 pickup truck engines. Cummins has been cooperating with regulators on these matters. The company says that it has seen no evidence that anyone acted in bad faith and does not admit wrongdoing.

Buick dealers struggle with EV sales:  As Buick prepares to switch over to electric powertrains only in its vehicle lineup by the end of the decade, dealers as struggling to determine if they’re going to stay in the network. About 47% of Buick dealers in the U.S. are looking to drop the Buick brand if they have to invest in electrification. That’s been the case with dealers in other brands, too, who’ve expressed concerns that car shoppers are still being very skeptical about whether an EV can give them what they need in driving range and the impact that harsh weather, especially during winter, will have on their EV performance. The challenge continues for dealers and their partners — automakers, charging networks, and electric utilities — to improve conditions for consumers and fleets that are looking at the possibility of acquiring EVs. 

On the commercial fleet side, concerns are being expressed over the California Air Resources Board’s rules that would ban manufacturers from selling any new fossil-fueled medium-duty and heavy-duty trucks by 2040. The new rules would also require large trucking companies to convert their fleets to electric models, buying more over time until all are zero-emission by 2042. Some truck operators have expressed concern that CARB’s Advanced Clean Fleets regulation could drive many family-owned and smaller fleet operators out of business. But the incentives are plentiful from the Air Quality Management Districts, CARB, and other agencies. The charging infrastructure for electric trucks is getting better too, especially near the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and in the Bay Area.

Worried about oil prices?  For those of us who still rely in gasoline prices for the time being, there’s been a lot of concern about the war in the Ukraine, the Gaza Strip, and other tumultuous events that affect pricing. Prices had gone over $100 per barrel on the Brent benchmark rate, which took place after Russian supplies were disrupted following the start of the Ukraine war in 2022. It’s gone down to about $80 per barrel this year. A Reuters survey of 30 forecasts from economists and analysts sees Brent crude averaging $84.43 a barrel in 2024. Even though oil demand growth forecasts are strong, oversupply in the market should keep it around this price level, one global energy strategist predicts. 

Top Challenges Faced by Electric Vehicle Makers and Owners

Plug-in electric vehicles, and other clean transportation and technology solutions, are growing by leaps and bounds in sales and support by fleets, trucking companies, consumers, and government support. But the challenges continue to grow right along with it. Here’s a look at a few of the issues that tend to come up, and solutions that will need to be considered…………………….

What’s going into the EVs on the parts and components side: There’s the challenge of “embodied emissions,” which come from the materials that go into these passenger and fleet/commercial vehicles. High-carbon materials like steel and aluminum that are made with coal-fired energy is one of the central challenges to overcome by automakers and their suppliers. Vehicle emissions are being reduced substantially by EVs, but emissions from the manufacturing side have been linked to cancer, respiratory illnesses, and premature death predominantly in disadvantaged communities. An impressive speaker panel, Eliminating Dirty Supply Chains in the EV Transition, will take place today, Nov. 15, at 4:00 pm Pacific time in Los Angeles.

Copper supply diminishing: Lack of copper is a serious problem for EVs and solar and wind power coming up. A temporary surplus is keeping prices low for now and discouraging investors from funding projects that would expand the supply as demand continues to increase. China, which consumes more than half the world’s supply of the metal, increased its purchases more than 150% higher than the same nine-month period of 2022, according to Goldman Sachs. Copper miners say investors are waiting for this factor, and a few others, to kick in before it becomes a worthwhile investment.

Lithium has its own problems: Major lithium producers for now are bullish about demand for the essential EV battery materials even through prices have been dropping lately. LG Energy Solution, General Motors, Honda, and other auto and battery makers have trimmed EV expansion plans in recent weeks, partly due to rising interest rates, raising concerns about a supply glut for the battery metal. Australia-based Pilbara Minerals, operating in the world’s largest lithium-producing nation, has been the most-shorted stock on the Australian Stock Exchange, which suggests investors are concerned about lithium demand. Overall, lithium, which varies by region and type, has dropped more than 60% this year. Concerns over lithium supply for EV battery pricing stability have been part of OEMs and suppliers looking for alternatives. In 2022, lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide (NMC) remained the dominant battery chemistry with a market share of 60%, followed by lithium iron phosphate (LFP) with a share of just under 30%, and nickel cobalt aluminium oxide (NCA) with a share of about 8% — point to new alternatives to conventional lithium-ion being on the rise, according to International Energy Agency.

Are EVs really fluctuating in sales? Several automakers have been warning this year that the transition over to increased sales will need to slow down as demand declines. Part of the reason is likely due to the fluctuations in supply for a few of the EV models — not the entire market, according to David Reichmuth, Senior Engineer, Clean Transportation Program at Union of Concerned Scientists. About a year ago, a number of EV models were in short supply and dealers had waiting lists of buyers. This year, oversupply has been the case for some EV models. Buyer interest is still there (measured by sales, which are up this year in the US), but the supply of some EV models is facing diminishing consumer demand (or unrealistic production forecasts). Overall, the EV market in the US and other global markets is still looking good, but there could be a downturn the rest of the year. Sales were down in October of this year — with EV sales down, and prices down about 22% year-over-year, which is mainly affected by Tesla sales dropping.

Taking a wholistic approach to sustainable emissions reduction: The most intensive country for electric vehicles as a share of its new vehicle sales presents a good look at the real challenges markets around the world face in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and keeping a workable transportation system in place. That would be Norway, which plans to ban the sale of all fossil-fuel powered vehicles, including hybrids, from 2025. Last year, more than 153,000 plug-in electric vehicles were registered in Norway, which made up nearly 88% of the total volume — higher than in 2021 by nearly one percent. For 2022, Norway led the global market for percentage of total new vehicle sales followed by Iceland (41%), Sweden (32%), the Netherlands (24%), and China (22%), according to analysis by World Resources Institute. The country has been receiving praise and acknowledgement for that accomplishment by the New York Times, the Guardian, Environmental Defense Fund, the World Economic Forum, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

The generous subsidies that drove the EV sales won’t be so plentiful in the near future. Norway may back down from funding the subsidies and redirect funds to other goals, such as supporting city efforts to transition over to alternative transportation modes supporting transit, bicycling, and other efforts to reduce the volume of vehicles on roads, that would address emissions reductions, enhance road safety, and help enliven urban life. There’s also been criticism that EV subsides have gone mainly to affluent Norwegians, adding to the gap between rich and poor in a country that’s prided itself on progressive social policies. This debate is being addressed in the US and around the world. While supporting EV sales and charging infrastructure is a necessity, concern over crowded, congested city streets continues to rise. Perhaps there will be greater support for vehicles such as electric buses and vans transporting groups from Destination A to B — eventually autonomous as well.

The cost of the battery packs: The 65 kWh 350V lithium-ion battery battery pack inside the Chevrolet Bolt runs the full wheelbase of the car and weighs 960 pounds. The standard car model version of the Bolt weighs 3,589 pounds. That would mean it makes up about 26.75% of the Bolt’s total weight. The average lead-acid car battery in a passenger vehicles weighs around: 25-40 pounds. The popular SUV, the Toyota RAV4, weighs 3,370 pounds for its standard model. That would be about 1.2% of the vehicle’s weight for the battery. A semi-truck including its cargo can weigh a maximum of 80,000 pounds. A battery for an electric truck can be up to 16,000 pounds, according to recent reporting by CNBC. That would be about 20% of the total weight. An EV battery might cost between $4,000 and $20,000, depending on the brand and model of your passenger vehicle, JD Power reported in May. It’s harder to find information on the cost of the battery needed for a heavy-duty truck. Transport Topics reported in May that the base price of a Class 8 battery-electric truck is between $350,000 to $500,000, or three to five times that of a diesel-powered heavy-duty truck. The battery has a lot to do with that. Recycling and disposing all of these battery packs will also be one of the major issues to deal with in the near future.

And in other news:
Most air-polluted cities: New Delhi, India, has again topped a real-time list of the world’s most polluted cities compiled in an air quality index by Swiss group IQAir, which put the Indian capital’s AQI at 640 in the “hazardous” category, followed by 335 in the Pakistani city of Lahore. The reasons for it? A seasonal combination of lower temperatures, a lack of wind and crop stubble burning in neighboring farm states had caused a spike in air pollutants in New Delhi, wreaking havoc on the eyes and itchy throats of local residents and workers.

Electrify America and 4 Gen Logistics: Electrify America, the nation’s largest open DC fast charging network for electric vehicles (EV), and 4 Gen Logistics, a leader in sustainable logistics solutions, recently announced the start of construction of a charging station at the Port of Long Beach to support 4 Gen’s growing fleet of electric class 8 drayage trucks. The first phase of the project, funded through Electrify America’s $25 million “Green City” investment, includes installation of thirty 350 kW DC fast chargers at the Port of Long Beach in support of advancing zero-tailpipe emissions and electrification of class 8 heavy duty trucks. 

EV tire company recognized: Electric vehicle tire company Enso was named one of 15 global finalists for the environmental Earthshot Prize. Launched by Prince William in 2020, the award aims to acknowledge sustainability leaders; and help scale the world’s most innovative climate and environmental solutions to protect and restore the planet. With 1.5 billion vehicles globally, addressing the issue of tire pollution is of critical importance in the fight against climate change. Research from Imperial College London in 2023 says that globally, tires emit six million tons of pollution each year and more airborne particulate matter than all tailpipes combined, according to London-based Enso. Michelin is also selling a line of its tires customized for EVs. You can see a banner at Costco stores advertising it.

Panelists Talk About the Realities of Deploying California’s Advanced Clean Fleets Rule

We’re three months away from new trucks having to register in California Air Resources Board’s TRUCRS online system to conduct drayage activities in the state. Those new trucks will have to emit zero emissions, running on batteries or hydrogen fuel cells.

Los Angeles Transportation Club hosted a speaker panel in Long Beach on Wednesday, Sept. 27, to discuss CARB’s Advanced Clean Fleets regulation, which was approved on April 28. The regulation’s first phase applies to trucks performing drayage operations at seaports and railyards, fleets owned by State, local, and federal government agencies, and high priority, last-mile, delivery fleets. 

Bill Robertson, vehicle program specialist, Mobile Source Control Division at CARB; Matt Schrap, CEO of the Harbor Trucking Association; Mike Gallagher, head of indirect sourcing, North America at Performance Team; and Matt LeDucq, CEO of Forum Mobility, spoke on a panel chaired by Bill Mongelluzzo, a senior editor at The Journal of Commerce.

The reasons for California going in this direction are clear with the health risks built in for those living near the ports and freeways where heavy-duty diesel trucks pass through; and for the impact medium- and heavy-duty trucks have on carbon emissions and climate change. But the hurdles are high for fleets to clear for all of it to work under the new rules.

Forum Mobility is currently developing a network of charging depots around the Oakland and Los Angeles and Long Beach ports, and along common trucking routes to warehouse destinations. The company is also putting together a $100 million charging infrastructure from Long Beach to Compton and Fontana. Forum Mobility is bringing in third-party capital to build the needed infrastructure.

LeDucq said that 50 to 150 trucks are typically using Forum Mobility’s charging network. One of the challenges his company, and all the supporters of clean transportation in the state, have to overcome is working with smaller companies to bring in the electric trucks they’ll need to serve the ports. They may be starting with five-to-10 electric trucks, but the cost and steps needing to be taken, can seem overwhelming for these small-to-medium sized truck fleets.

Legal fights expected soon
Schrap expects to see legal battles flare up soon as fleets grapple with meeting the ACF rules. An electric heavy-duty truck costs about $500,000 or more to purchase, and the charging infrastructure is still in its early phase. The megawatts needed to charge all these trucks will need to be set up for these mandates to be served, Schrap said. In his role heading up HTA, Schrap has been heavily involved in clean truck rules since 2005. There is certainly a lot to learn, he said.

“It’s tough to go buy trucks when there’s nowhere to charge them. It’s a chicken and egg” conundrum, Schrap said.

In May, the American Trucking Associations criticized the ACF regulations. ATA President and CEO, Chris Spear, said the state’s rule ignores the electric trucks are in their early stage, and the charging infrastructure needed to support them doesn’t exist yet.

The cost of these electric and hydrogen-power trucks are being offset by state incentives, and through project funding available to the ports through SCAQMD and other agencies. The federal Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 included commercial vehicles in its tax incentives. The legislation includes a tax credit for the purchase of electric commercial vehicles that’s equal to 30% of the vehicle’s purchase price, up to $40,000 per unit.

CARB’s Robertson said that the agency has to take a “push with the pull” approach that comes from integrating the Advanced Clean Trucks rule that’s already in place and the ACF going online in a few months. It’s also about the number of regulatory agencies involved with clean vehicle programs around the state — from South Coast Air Quality Management District, and the San Joaquin valley and Bay Area districts, the California Energy Commission, Gov. Gavin Newson’s executive orders, and state laws.

Fleet operators, truck makers, charging infrastructure suppliers, government officials, commercial property owners and developers, and transportation networking groups, have to stay well informed on all of it. The incentives are a necessity to tap into, and fleets need to make sure they’ve got all the bases covered when acquiring clean vehicles and setting up their charging networks, and having access to hydrogen stations.

Performance Team, a third-party logistics company acquired by Maersk in 2020, has a lot of experience tapping into these programs and testing clean vehicles in its warehousing, distribution, consolidated, and transportation operations. The company currently operates more than 60 distribution and fulfillment center locations in North America. Gallagher said that in August, the company hit the “one million mile” mark for clean vehicles used in its local fleet.

His company has to take a careful look at which locations should be getting the charging infrastructure set up. That has a lot to do with how much ground space if available at these sites to place the chargers, Gallagher said.

Another concern has been fluctuating prices for California’s low carbon fuel standard credits. Prices have come down to about $70 per credit recently, after having been up at the $200 level not long ago. Fleet operators would like to sell their credits to regulated companies that need to buy them — and would love to see the credit prices stay high.

How phase-in process will work
CARB is taking a phase-in approach to hitting the targets. Non-zero-emission “legacy” drayage trucks may register in the system through December 31, 2023. ACF allows drayage and high priority and federal fleets to continue using their existing trucks until the earlier of 18 years or 800,000 miles, or a minimum of 13 years if the truck has over 800,000 miles. All drayage trucks entering seaports and intermodal railyards would be required to be zero-emission by 2035.

New trucks coming in after January 1, 2024, will have to be zero emissions — electric and hydrogen fuel cell medium-to-heavy duty trucks. CARB is requiring:
* 100 percent zero-emission drayage trucks, last-mile delivery, and government fleets by 2035.
* 100 percent zero-emission refuse trucks and local buses by 2040.
* and 100 percent zero-emission capable utility fleets by 2040.
Trucks will have to be active in CARB’s registry, and come to a port at least once a year.

The end goal is to have fleet operators of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles in California purchase and operate ZEVs by 2045. For vehicle makers, CARB wants them to sell only zero emission Class 2b-8 vehicles starting in 2036.

Outside of California, New Jersey is adopting similar rules and incentives as California has in place. Washington and Oregon appear ready to head in this direction, too, and other states are considering it.

And in other news………

House bill could stop California and other states from limiting internal combustion engine vehicles.

Tesla Cybertruck launch coming up

Run on Less started by NACFE

Hilton joins other hotel chains in adding EV charging stations

Largest hydrogen stations for heavy trucks coming to Port of Oakland

Toyota Land Cruiser brings back classic 1958 look

Expansion Phase for EV Makers Slowly Picking Up Momentum, $15.5B in US Available Grants

Rivian’s R1T is the top seller for the Irvine, Calif.-based electric automaker.

Beyond Tesla, how are electric vehicle makers doing in the US light-duty vehicle market? It’s gone beyond the startup phase, with these companies having spent years — some well over a decade — designing and manufacturing their first models.

Don’t be surprised if you hear an engineer brag about getting a job offer at Rivian Automotive, at least if you’re living in Southern California near the Irvine headquarters. Rivian had 14,122 employees on December 31, 2022. The number of employees increased by 3,700 or 35.50% compared to the previous year, the company reported. Revenue in 2022 came in at $1.66 billion.

So far, Amazon has about 1,000 electric delivery vans from Rivian, out of its order for 100,000 units. While the R1T electric pickup truck is the top seller so far, Amazon is expected to be getting the remaining 99,000 units of its EDV700 order in the near future and will be the major revenue driver for Rivian.

Taking a look at US sales, only four companies were included in the KBB Q2 EV sales report:

Source: Cox Automotive and KBB

Both Rivian and Lucid Motors have modest market valuations — with each of them around $13 billion in value. Rivian has access to a lot more cash, which makes it more attractive for investors to buy shares. But is Lucid overdoing it in executive pay? Automotive News reported that Lucid CEO Peter Rawlinson made 11 times more than GM CEO Mary Barra last year.

Rivian says that its dual-motor R1T pickup with the 180-kWh Max battery pack just won an EPA rating to go an estimated 410 miles on a charge. That hasn’t been posted yet by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Fisker Inc. is only just starting to deliver cars; the company has the advantage of working with experienced production partner Magna International. Lucid and Fisher both downgraded their product forecasts recently.

Polestar Automotive also reduced its outlook for 2023 production. Volvo Cars, one of Polestar’s major shareholders, needs more time to write the software for a new production platform that Polestar will use for its new sport-utility vehicle, Polestar said. The Polestar 3 will roll out in 2024, rather than later this year as previously predicted.

Vietnamese automaker VinFast in July said that it would start construction of a $4 billion electric vehicle factory in North Carolina soon, as part of its push to expand in the US market. The automaker is part of Vingroup, Vietnam’s largest conglomerate. VinFast started operations in 2019. It plans to start vehicle production in 2025.

There are a number of other EV maker competitors that are still struggling to get in to the expansion phase and roll out new vehicles to customers:
—Lordstown Motors
—Faraday Future
—Bollinger Motors
—Karma Automotive

And in other news………

$15.5B available: The federal government is making $12 billion available in grants and loans for automakers and suppliers to retrofit their plants to produce electric and other advanced vehicles, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told reporters on Thursday. The White House is also making $3.5 billion in funding for domestic battery manufacturers.

NASA has released the first data maps from time-lapsed videos taken from space. It shows several urban areas in the US, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean as hotspots for air pollution, particularly during certain times of day. The visual reports show high levels of pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide.

Musk influencing foreign affairs: A comprehensive feature in New Yorker revealed several more interesting facts about Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s extremely busy life. One interesting point: SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet terminals have been provided through the Pentagon to Ukraine for them to plan attacks and defend themselves in the war with Russia. But the company was reported to have given the Defense Dept. an ultimatum — a $400 million bill for providing annual service. No payment, no access. Soon after, connectivity was severed as Ukrainian forces entered that territory contested by Russia. The article also delved into safety investigations being done on the Autopilot semi-autonomous option for Tesla owners. In other news, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will soon make an announcement about its two-year investigation into Autopilot, the agency recently told Reuters.

Hybrids aren’t going away: Hybrid-electric vehicles are not disappearing as automakers put more time, capital, and talent into all-electric models. Ford is the latest of several top automakers, including Toyota and Stellantis, planning to build and sell hundreds of thousands of hybrid vehicles in the U.S. over the next five years, industry forecasters told Reuters.

BMW’s Mini subsidiary is set to roll out the Mini Cooper E and Mini Cooper SE at IAA 2023 in Munich. The base version E will go 189 miles, while the SE can go 249 miles. The E has 181 horsepower and 213 pound-feet of torque, allowing the driver to take it 0 to 62 mph in 7.3 seconds.

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