UPS places largest Semi order: The largest operator of commercial trucking fleets in the world has taken the largest order so far of the Tesla Semi electric trucks. UPS has played an order for 125 of Tesla’s new all-electric Semi tractors. It falls into the company’s extensive clean transportation fleet that includes vehicles powered by electricity, natural gas, and propane. Tesla Semis are poised to usher in a new era in improved safety, reduced environmental impact, and reduced cost of ownership, UPS said in a statement. Last week, PepsiCo Inc. had placed the largest Semi order with Tesla at 100 units in its efforts to reduce fuel costs and fleet emissions.
Cap-and-trade auction strong: The California Air Resources Board reported strong transfer activity in its most recent cap-and-trade auction results for November. Since the program’s inception, the total amount of auction proceeds that have been placed into the California Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund comes out to about $6.4 billion. California’s cap-and-trade program began auction sales in late 2012 as an offshoot of the state’s AB 32 global warming act. Under the state’s regulatory structure, large polluters buy carbon credits that come from businesses generating surplus allowances. Collected funds from the auctions fund emission-reducing endeavors, including sustainable energy projects and rebates for electric vehicles and solar panels.
Branson becomes chairman: Virgin Hyperloop One has raised an additional $50 million ahead of its Series C round of funding. Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, will become chairman of the high-speed transportation company. Branson joined the board of directors in October after Virgin Group invested in the company. The company has also completed its third phase of testing achieving historic test speeds of 387 kilometers per hour (240.4 miles per hour). Branson is internationally known for achievements in air, rail, and space transportation, and his commitment to sustainability.
Nissan Leaf with e-Pedal: Nissan has just added the e-Pedal to the upcoming refreshed Leaf electric car. Flipping a switch turns the accelerator into an e-Pedal, where you get to accelerate, decelerate, and stop the car all on one pedal. That will include driving on hills, and will ease some of the burden of being stuck in traffic – with 90% of driving needs now being met on one pedal. The new feature comes from Nissan Intelligent Mobility, which is dedicated to transforming how cars driven, powered and integrated into society. More will be revealed on e-Pedal, along with several other interesting changes, during the new Leaf launch in September.
Ports looking at Clean Air Action Plan: The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach this week will be releasing updates to their Clean Air Action Plan. Mayors Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles and Robert Garcia of Long Beach have vowed to bring several near-zero emissions to the ports by 2035. Concerns over the increased cost of the trucks have been raised by trucking companies and others, and support for the measures has been coming from local residents, environmentalists, and an industry coalition. California Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition has accelerated education efforts on the financial and environmental benefits of using renewable natural gas as a transportation fuel; that alternative fuel is expected to play a big part in the ports hitting the near-zero goal. The Coalition just hosted an RNG advocacy day in Sacramento, participated in a joint agency workshop on renewable gas, and co-hosted a webinar on the economic impacts of fueling low-NOx natural gas trucks with RNG.
Cap-and-trade continuing: California on Monday extended the cap-and-trade program through 2030, which will raise more funds for clean vehicle programs in the state. Support came through when eight Republicans broke ranks and joined with Democrats to continue the program that came from AB 32; it requires companies to buy permits to release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Gov. Jerry Brown has been committed to adding the bullet train from Los Angeles to San Francisco, and bringing more electric vehicles and infrastructure to the state. Sources say there’s already more than $200 million available through the cap-and-trade auctions, now in their fifth year, that can go toward alternative fuels and infrastructure in the state.