Electric buses will make up half of market by 2025, Midwest EVOLVE and Clean Cities supporting EV adoption in region

China dominating electric bus market:  Electric buses are becoming a major force in global vehicle electrification, with China playing a big part in its future. Nearly half of the municipal buses on roads worldwide will be electric by 2025, according to a report from
Bloomberg New Energy Finance. That will mean last year’s 386,000 units sold will go up to 1.2 million in the next seven years. Strong domestic support and aggressive city-level targets will mean China accounts for 99% of the world’s battery-powered buses by 2025, the report said. Last year’s electric bus sales dropped from 115,700 sold in China in 2016 to 89,546 last year due to policy changes and incentives being cut back during that time. This year will see changes as policy from national and local/city governments start to collide, according to a Clean Technica report. Hydrogen fuel cell buses will see an increasing trend as Chinese governments provide more support and subsidies. The Bloomberg report is taking a more optimistic view overall on electric bus growth with China supporting electric buses aggressively.

Two Chinese bus makers are dominating the domestic market – Yutong and BYD. BYD is the leading electric bus manufacturer, and Yutong is the largest overall bus manufacturer in the country. The EV manufacturer not long ago supplied 20 electric coaches to two Macao tourism enterprises in China. BYD continues to be active in other global markets, including supplying buses in the U.S. to transit districts. The Chinese company just announced it will supply 11 BYD ADL Enviro200EV single deckers operated by Go-Ahead London for the Transport for London. They’ll be similar to other BYD electric buses already on London roads operated by Go-Ahead London.

Renewable CNG case studies:  The U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory and Energy Vision released two case studies of successful projects utilizing renewable compressed natural gas (R-CNG) from anaerobic digesters capturing biogases coming from decomposing organic waste. One case study looks at Fair Oaks Farms, an Indiana dairy cooperative with roughly 36,000 cows, where biogases power its milk tanker trucks. The other study explored the Sacramento BioDigester, the first food-waste digester in California to turn commercial organic waste into R-CNG vehicle fuel using anaerobic digestion.

Midwest EVOLVE and Clean Cities bringing more EV experience to the region:  Midwest EVOLVE and its Clean Cities coalition partners are rolling out events offering a hands-on experience to test drive electric vehicles available locally, to help consumers and fleets make sound purchase decisions. One of these will be taking place February 10-19 during the 2018 Chicago Auto Show, where attendees will have the chance to test drive vehicles such as the all-new 2018 Nissan Leaf, 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, and 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. Chicago Area Clean Cities Coalition is hosting the test drives in partnership with the Midwest EVOLVE program. The American Lung Association is a key sponsor to Midwest EVOLVE. The Clean Cities partners include Twin Cities Clean Cities Coalition, Chicago Area Clean Cities, Clean Fuels Ohio, Earth Day Coalition, Greater Lansing Area Clean Cities, North Dakota Clean Cities, South Shore Clean Cities, and Wisconsin Clean Cities.

A few of these Clean Cities coalitions active in Midwest EVOLVE will be hosting their own events this year. Clean Fuels Ohio is highlighting electric vehicles at auto shows throughout Ohio. Wisconsin Clean Cities recently announced the debut of The Electric Room at the 2018 Greater Milwaukee Auto Show, representing the first all-electric vehicle display in that auto show’s history.The Electric Room will feature the latest in electrified vehicles and charging stations. The Greater Milwaukee Auto Show is taking place Feb. 24 through March 4.

For Today: Tesla take world’s largest energy storage contract, Support needed for Clean Cities funding

World’s largest energy storage:  Tesla Energy, the electric carmaker’s battery storage unit, has taken on the world’s largest grid-scale battery project – and must get it done in 100 days. It comes from a tweet CEO Elon Musk made in March to back up South Australia with 100-megawatt-hour battery storage in 100 days or it would be free. That part of Australia has been devastated by power outages. It will be the largest lithium-ion battery storage project in the world, surpassing the second largest – an 80-MW facility in California – also supplied by Tesla Energy. Power will comes from a wind farm operated by France’s Neoen, and will be able to light up 30,000 homes in another blackout were to occur.

Electric pickup truck competition:  A new startup, Bollinger Motors, is taking on Workhorse Group and Tesla in the electric pickup truck market. New York entrepreneur Robert Bollinger brings his background in cattle ranching, cosmetics and marketing to the company – and his new business plan. Bollinger Motors will give its electric trucks easily replaceable riveted body panels and a design that allows owners to quickly convert the pickup into an SUV. Power comes from N electric drive system built from off-the shelf components but fueled with electrons from its own lithium-ion battery pack. The company is designing and assembling prototype trucks in upstate New York, and will host a reveal event in New York City on July 27.

Support funding for Clean Cities:  Transportation Energy Partners is encouraging supporters of the Dept. of Energy’s Clean Cities program to write Congress so that funding can be salvaged. The White House Budget for the next fiscal year wants to eliminate funds for Clean Cities as part of the proposed 73% cut to DOE’s overall Vehicle Technologies program. You can help save Clean Cities by adding your name to TEP’s national letter to the Congressional appropriations leaders. You’re also encourage to contact your Members of the House and Senate directly and urge them to protect funding for the DOE Clean Cities program. Here’s the link.

This Week’s Top 10: More on the VW scandal, Sacramento Clean Cities hosting Clean Technology Forum

by Jon LeSage, editor and publisher, Green Auto Market

Here’s my take on the 10 most significant and interesting occurrences during the past week…….

  1. Volkswagen diesel recallVW diesel emissions scandal: The biggest automotive scandal of the year (and maybe the decade) carries on….. Consumer Reports did some road testing with TDI diesel Volkswagen models and found mild differences in the reporting. The team tested a 2011 Jetta SportWagen TDI, powered by the now-discontinued EA 189 engine, and a 2015 2015 Jetta TDI sedan, which is equipped with the company’s new EA 288 engine. The newer engine has the latest in diesel emissions technology, a selective catalytic reduction system, while the older model does not; and both are included in the 482,000 unit U.S. recall. The 2015 VWs’ fuel economy slipped from 53 to 50 mpg in the tests, while older models’ fuel efficiency went from 50 to 46 mpg. The new model drove from 0-60 in 9.1 seconds in regular driver mode and 9.2 seconds in “cheat mode,” and the 2011 Jetta slowed from 9.9 seconds to 10.5 seconds……. W’s credit rating was cut one level by Standard & Poor’s, which said the German carmaker’s cheating on U.S. diesel-emissions tests indicates management weaknesses that may lead to a further debt downgrade……… California has given Volkswagen until November 20 to come up with a plan to fix diesel models affected by its deceptive emissions tests, according to the California Air Resources Board……… VW is offering a $2,000 loyalty bonus to current owners of its diesel and gasoline models, which can be used to buy a new gasoline or hybrid 2015 or 2016 model……. Volkswagen of America is wiring additional “discretionary funds” to dealers in its network to be used as incentives, sales bonuses, and floorplan subsidies. Diesel models have made up more than 20% of sales for VW and Audi dealers in the U.S., so incentives are needed to deal with the downturn.
  2. Clean Tech Forum: The Sacramento Clean Cities Coalition will be holding the Northern California Clean Technology Forum on October 14-15th at the California Automobile Museum in Sacramento, Calif. A tour of the Sacramento CNG Station and Natural Gas Compliant Shop will take place on the afternoon of the 14th and a reception will be held that evening. Panel discussions and networking will take place on the 15th. This year’s event will showcase vehicle and fuel technologies in the next two years and the next two decades. I’ll be moderating a speaker panel on Oct. 15, “A Panel Discussion on Future Technologies,” featuring Jason Schulz, Partnership Marketing Manager & Business Development for the 21st Century, Toyota; Jean-Baptiste Gallo, Senior Project Engineer, CALSTART; and Tim Lipman PhD, Co-Director Transportation Sustainability Research Center, UC Berkeley. You can view the agenda here.
  3. BlueIndy adds to carsharing membership: The new electric carsharing service in Indianapolis, BlueIndy, has surpassed the 500-member mark and the number of trips have passed the 1,500 mark. The electric service launched on September 2 and quickly began registering daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly memberships. The vast majority of members opt for the yearly plan which is the most economical with a 20-minute ride costing just $4. Indianapolis is the first American city to use the Bluecar, an electric vehicle developed by the Bolloré Group. Indianapolis was selected to be the US showcase for this unique service, with plans to expand to other leading cities around the globe; the city’s fleet has been dedicated to deploying electric vehicles and accessing carsharing services.
  4. Smart parking solutions: Finding parking in crowded city spaces is gradually becoming a major source of stress and more air pollution around the world. The parking industry is being transformed by new technologies that are enabling cities to reduce levels of congestion significantly. Sensor networks that detect vehicle occupancy are providing the basic intelligence behind smart parking systems. Adoption of these necessary technologies has been slower than expected, according to a Navigant Research study, but government funding is helping system adoption to grow steadily. Another solution has come from other segments of the market, such as universities, airports, and corporate campuses, ramping up deployments of smart parking systems.
  5. Propane autogas recognition: At this year’s BusCon Expo in Indianapolis, the Propane Education & Research Council partnered with METRO Magazine to recognize five top transit fleets for their use of clean, domestic propane autogas. Groome Transportation, Historic Tours of America, Inter-County Public Transportation Authority, LeeTran, and VIA Metropolitan Transit were each presented a “Top User of Propane Autogas” award. These transit agencies and transportation companies are operating hundreds of propane-powered vehicles for significant emissions reduction, cutting operating costs, and decreasing dependence on foreign oil.
  6. Ford Focus Electric ad: Ford has launched its first-ever ad campaign for the Focus Electric, which “delivers a 100% electric punch with zero C02 emissions.” It’s part of Ford’s car campaign that follows the iconic Built Ford Tough pickup truck ad campaign. The car campaign is built on the slogan, “That feeling of power? It’s By Design.”
  7. Peak year of fossil fuel use? Yes, according to global futurist David Houle. The supply of oil is far outstripping demand, and we’ll never see the $100 per barrel price of oil again. What’s behind it? “The transportation and building sectors have become vastly more energy efficient than in 2000, or even 2010. The price of alternative and renewable energy has dropped dramatically in the last ten years and is now comparable in cost to fossil fuels as a source of electricity. There is a rapidly growing critical mass of people who fully see and understand the magnitude of climate change,” Houle predicts. He also predicts that oil producing regions – Middle East, Africa, and Latin America – all have an abundance of sun and wind and will turn to them for their own energy rather than spending money on gas subsidies for their citizens.
  8. Biofuels cleaner than electric vehicles?: Yes, according to Biofuels Digest editor Jim Lane. Looking at the “well-to-wheels” emissions for plug-in hybrids and battery electric vehicles, they’re higher in emissions than E85 or renewable diesel, according to the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s recent Quadrennial Technical Review. Lane twists the knife a little deeper, playing on the wealthy EV owner criticism that’s grown in popularity this year: “Electrics are generally purchased by rich white guys, who get big tax breaks, at the expense of the poor and Latinos, who tend to favor renewable fuels over electrics when it comes to reducing carbon.”
  9. Hyperloop taking shape: Originating in August 2013 when Tesla CEO Elon Musk issued a whitepaper on the 700-mph low-pressure tube train, Hyperloop Technologies Inc. is seeing gains. The team of over 50 full-time employees was founded in 2014 by Brogan BamBrogan and Shervin Pishevar, and is headquartered in the downtown Los Angeles Arts District; with former Cisco President Rob Lloyd joining the company as CEO. The team of engineers are focusing on everything from rockets, to turbines, to laser communication systems, to electric vehicles, and fusion energy research diagnostics.
  10. More from Elon Musk: Speaking to German newspaper Handelsblatt,Musk talked about the buzz around Apple possibly getting into the electric and autonomous car business through hiring more staff: “(Apple) have hired people we’ve fired. We always jokingly call Apple the ‘Tesla Graveyard’. If you don’t make it at Tesla, you go work at Apple. I’m not kidding.”

This Week’s Top 10: DOE offering $4.5M in Clean Cities funding, Tesla announces more price-competitive model

by Jon LeSage, editor and publisher, Green Auto Market 

doe-logoHere’s my take on the 10 most significant and interesting occurrences during the past week…….

  1. The US Department of Energy is now offering $4.5 million more in funding for alternative fuel vehicles through Clean Cities. The goal is to increase consumer outreach, training, and strategic planning; technologies and fuels include plug-in electric, natural gas, propane autogas, and flex-fuel vehicles. Concept papers to apply for funding are due the beginning of next month, Aug. 1, 2014. Areas of focus are on-the-road demonstrations, safety-related training, and emergency preparedness. Read more about the announcement and find the link to apply for funding here.
  2. A long-awaited announcement came out last week on a more price-competitive model from Tesla Motors. Starting in 2017, Tesla’s Model III car will be introduced with a starting price of $35,000. That model will follow the upcoming Model X crossover and is thought to compete directly with the BMW 3 Series. It will be the first time Tesla enters the market somewhere between the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf in starting prices. Tesla CEO Elon Musk said it will get 200 miles on a full charge, and will be about the same size as the BMW 3 Series.
  3. The US Environmental Protection Agency may be rethinking fuel economy ratings. Automakers may have to road test their vehicles to verify mileage claims posted on window stickers, according to a proposal being considered by the EPA. The EPA is requesting more accurate information in the wake of Ford, Hyundai, and Kia overstating fuel efficiency on some of its models. “Some automakers already do this, but we are establishing a regulatory requirement for all automakers,” Chris Grundler, director of the EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality, told The Wall Street Journal.
  4. Google Earth Outreach is working with Environmental Defense Fund to map out natural gas leaks under the streets of Boston, Indianapolis, and New York City’s Staten Island. Google is providing cars and drivers traveling streets to measure leaking natural gas, which is mostly methane, through its Google Street View mapping; along with sensing and analytical technologies to measure environmental indicators. Two years ago, the California Air Resources Board launched a mapping tool using Google Earth that allows users to locate major sources of greenhouse gases and examine the emissions of each facility. Along with Street View and driverless car technology, another recent move by Google was a $500 million acquisition of Skybox Imaging in June. Skybox Imaging provides commercial high-resolution satellite imagery, high-definition video, and analytics services. It will be interesting to see where Google is going with telematics, mapping, and autonomous vehicle technologies.
  5. Level 2 charging will grow 14-fold by 2020, says research by GlobalData. The market could grow from $67 million in revenue this year to $947 million by 2020. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has provided attractive incentives for electric vehicle (EV) charging stations installations, according to the study.
  6. LG Chem is working on second-generation batteries for electric vehicles that can travel more than 200 miles per charge when it comes out in 2016. The battery maker, based in South Korea, currently supplies batteries for General Motors, Renault SA, and other automakers.
  7. The Government Car Service in the UK is considering a few Tesla Model S deliveries to transport officials. The government has dedicated 5 million pounds ($8.6 million) for the program designed to buy more than 150 ultra-low emission vehicles.
  8. Volvo is setting up a global partnership with ABB to co-develop and commercialize electric and hybrid buses along with fast charging systems. Their first project will be the implementation of Volvo electric hybrid buses and ABB’s automatic e-bus chargers in the Luxembourg public transport system; 12 Volvo Electric Hybrid buses will be running on existing lines by 2015.
  9. Tesla Motors offered a $10,000 prize at a hackers conference for any one of them that could hack into a Model S. Chinese hackers at the SyScan360 conference in Beijing say they’ve found a vulnerable entry point. A post on the social network Weibo said that the IT department from Chinese company Qihoo 360 Technology Co had been able to take control of the car’s door locks, horn, headlights and sunroof. Tesla Motors has promised to fix any “legitimate vulnerability” to the Model S.
  10. Student Transportation Inc.’s 435 school buses operating in Nebraska’s Millard and Omaha public school district were able to gain cost saving of $5,000 per day switching over to propane autogas. That data comes from a one-year test program. The buses travel between 100 to 150 miles per day for an average of about 50,000 miles each year, as was learned during the one-year test program; that equates to about 4.2 million fewer pounds of carbon dioxide being released after switching over to propane.