For Today: Mahindra investing $600M in EVs, Tesla fires hundreds of workers

Mahindra investing more in EVs:  India’s electric vehicle market is seeing more support coming from Mahindra & Mahindra, which just announced a $600 million investment in the technology. Electric versions of its current crossover SUVs will be scheduled in the near future. Mahindra had just lost a bid for a 10,000 EV contract with the government’s Energy Efficiency Services Limited agency to its main Indian competitor, Tata Motors. Mahindra was awarded part of the contract after lowering prices to match Tata’s lowest bid; the company admitted it won’t make any profits off the sales of its eVerito electric sedan to the Indian agency. Tata was able to win the majority of the contract even though it has yet to manufacture any EVs. Mahindra has been in the segment for a few years with its e20 and e20 plus small electric hatchback models, the eVerito electric sedan, the eSupro electric van, and the e-Alfa Mini three-wheeler. The government wants to stop sales of fossil-fuel powered vehicles and is supporting electric vehicle development. The company’s subsidiary, Mahindra Electric, will operate as a separate entity supplying components to the Mahindra & Mahindra company, which will manufacture the EVs. The company currently operates a battery manufacturing plant and hopes to set up another larger facility soon.

Paris saying goodbye to fossil-fuel cars:  The city of Paris wants to speed up the elimination of gasoline- and diesel-powered cars by ending their sales starting in 2030. France had already set a target date of 2040 for banning sales of cars running on fossil fuels. The nation’s capital, which will host the summer Olympics in 2024 and not long ago hosted a worldwide agreement on climate change, had already been moving toward banning diesel cars by the time of the Olympics. City officials said it will probably not be a formal ban, but will be introducing a deadline to phase out internal-combustion engine vehicles. “This is about planning for the long term with a strategy that will reduce greenhouse gases,” said Christophe Najdovski, an official responsible for transport policy at the office of Mayor Anne Hidalgo. “Transport is one of the main greenhouse gas producers…. so we are planning an exit from combustion engine vehicles, or fossil-energy vehicles, by 2030.”

Tesla employees terminated at crucial time:  Tesla has fired hundreds of employees, according to a recent report in the San Jose Mercury News, as pressure mounts to build more of the Model 3 sedans. Workers estimated between 400 and 700 employees have been fired, including engineers, managers, and factory workers. Tesla wouldn’t say how many employees were let go, although the company expects employee turnover to be similar to last year’s attrition. They were not layoffs, the company said, but were dismissals based on a company-wide annual review. In interviews with the newspaper, former and current employees said there was little or no warning was given prior to the dismissals. “As with any company, especially one of over 33,000 employees, performance reviews also occasionally result in employee departures,” a Tesla spokesman said. “Tesla is continuing to grow and hire new employees around the world.”

For Today: Lyft part of self-driving Renault Zoe test project, Natural gas vehicle Road Rally Across America kicks off

Lyft part of self-driving Zoe test project:  Ride-hailing company Lyft will be testing out self-driving Renault Zoe electric cars in Boston with autonomous vehicle tech company NuTonomy. The two companies are waiting for approval from Boston city officials, but they do expect the pilot demonstration to begin in the next few months. The study will examine the passenger experience during self-driving rides as the electric cars travel through certain neighborhoods in Boston. Lyft has been forging other alliances in the autonomous vehicle front – including an upcoming project with shareholder General Motors and another one with Waymo. Ride-hailing giant Uber had taken the lead on that front starting last year with a Pittsburgh pilot project that included passengers getting rides; but Uber has distanced itself from Pittsburgh and is focusing on test rides in Arizona.

Automakers back Paris accord:  Automakers look like they’ll be ignoring President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris climate change agreement. Both General Motors and Ford issued statements in opposition to Trump’s decision. Both companies acknowledged that climate change is real, and that the U.S. decision will not affect their clean car strategies and manufacturing improvements. Tesla CEO Elon Musk had been clear he’d be leaving Trump’s economic advisory panel if he pulled the U.S. out of the Paris accord. Even oil giants Exxon and Shell have been backing the Paris agreement and would like to see Trump change course. It would seem that other automakers’ strategic plans on climate change and clean air would be in line with GM and Ford, including Toyota, Honda, BMW, Volkswagen, Daimler, Nissan, Renault, Volvo Trucks, BYD, and others.

Natural-gas truck road trip:  “Road Rally Across America” started yesterday in Long Beach, Calif., as several heavy-duty trucks and other vehicles powered by natural gas began a coast-to-coast road trip from California to Washington, D.C. The trip was kicked off by representatives from the California Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition (CNGVC), which is calling for the adoption of low nitrous oxide emissions heavy-duty truck technology powered by renewable natural gas in the Clean Air Action Plan of the San Pedro Bay Ports. That, called ACT Now, was announced last month in Long Beach during ACT Expo 2017. The 4,825-mile road trip is being sponsored by NGVAmerica. “NGVAmerica and its membership, including companies like Clean Energy and SoCalGas, believe that natural gas-fueled vehicles are the best and most immediate solution for eliminating the negative impacts of diesel and combatting climate change,” said Chad Lindholm, vice president of sales for Clean Energy and representative of NGVAmerica.

For Today: Plug-in vehicle sales in May, Pope Francis receives Ampera-e

How plug-in sales performed:  The Toyota Prius Prime led U.S. plug-in vehicle sales for the second month in a row, beating the Chevy Volt 1,908 units sold over 1,817, respectively. The Volt barely nudged out the Tesla Model X, which came in at an estimated 1,800 units sold last month, according to HybridCars. The Model X beat the Model S, with the Model S coming in at about 1,700 units sold. All of the top selling vehicles were up from the previous month with the Model X leading the pack by doubling sales over April. Both Tesla models and the Chevy Volt and Bolt were up over April and over May 2016. Plug-in hybrids did very well overall compared to last month and one year ago. Hybrid vehicles also saw a good month with May sales up 9% over April and 10.4% over May 2016. The Toyota Prius beat the Ford Fusion Hybrid in sales during May.

Waymo self-driving trucks:  Alphabet’s Waymo autonomous vehicle division is testing out its self-driving technology on a Class 8 heavy-duty Peterbilt truck. Testing has been taking place on a private test track in California. Highway testing is to be conducted later this year in Arizona, the company said. This is taking place as Waymo continues its legal battle with Uber over alleged intellectual property theft used in the Otto autonomous truck startup that Uber had acquired. Now Waymo is getting into trucking its own way. “We’re taking our eight years of experience in building self-driving hardware and software and conducting a technical exploration into how our technology can integrate into a truck,” said the company in a statement.

Opel Ampera-e in Vatican City:  Pope Francis, who does believe climate change is real, has accepted the keys to a new Opel Ampera-e (aka Chevy Bolt). Opel CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann delivered the all-electric sedan, which is contributing to Vatican City’s goal to become the first carbon free country in the world through the use of electric mobility and renewable energy. “We are proud that we as Opel can contribute to the ambitious goals of the Vatican City. Our new Ampera-e will make electric mobility feasible for everyday use without any compromises,” said Neumann.

For Today: Reactions to Trump on Paris accord, DOE funding increase

Reactions to Trump on Paris climate accord:  Cities, states, and major corporations are staying committed to backing the Paris climate change agreement after President Donald Trump said yesterday that the U.S. will be leaving it. Tesla CEO Elon Musk is stepping down from Trump’s economic advisory panel over it, while Apple, Google, Twitter, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, IBM, and other companies have issued statements that climate change is an urgent threat that requires a global effort to combat. As of yesterday, an unnamed group that includes 30 mayors, three governors, more than 80 university presidents, and more than 100 businesses, has gone directly to the U.N. to back the Paris climate accord. California Governor Jerry Brown, representing one of the three states, is traveling to China today and will be in discussions encouraging the world’s largest auto market to cut back on air pollution and emissions regardless of what the U.S. government has chosen to do. The Climate Mayors group, representing 83 cities in the U.S., issued a letter backing the Paris climate agreement. Cities, states, universities, and companies would like to see the U.S. meet a previous commitment made under the Obama administration to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80% below 2005 levels by the year 2050.

DOE funding increase:  The U.S. Department of Energy announced yesterday that it’s it is honoring additional commitments to 10 previously selected Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) awardees for a total of $20 million. It includes completion of approval for projects in ARPA-E’s Next-Generation Energy Technologies for Connected and Autonomous On-Road Vehicles (NEXTCAR) and Renewable Energy to Fuels Through Utilization of Energy-Dense Liquids (REFUEL) programs. NEXTCAR projects support improving vehicle energy efficiency, with a goal of reducing individual vehicle energy usage by 20%. REFUEL projects will use water, molecules from the air, and electricity from renewable sources to produce high-energy liquid fuels for transportation and other uses.

China backing off mandate:  China has lightened up on its target for automakers selling all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles in that country. Last September, the government proposed mandating that 8% of all new vehicles sold be these “new energy vehicles” by 2018, which received protests from domestic and international automakers. After meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Thursday, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said a “solution” for implementing the quotas had been found, but he didn’t lay out a specific Chinese government program to be implemented.


California SB 32 and AB 197 set tone for next wave of clean transportation policies and funding if accepted by key stakeholders in government and business

CARB websiteCalifornia has settled a legislative battle through simultaneous passage of Senate Bill 32 and Assembly Bill 197 – or at least has gained a temporary truce. SB 32 extends the state’s greenhouse gas mandate another 10 years and reduces greenhouse gases even more. AB 197 expands oversight of the California Air Resources Board with a priority set on cutting emissions from local oil refineries and manufacturers. The two bills were “double-joined,” which is legislative jargon meaning both bills have to be signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown to take effect. That signature is expected to be happening soon. Brown had already filed an executive order with similar goals, but the legislation once signed turns it into law.

Questions will need to be answered on what these new laws will mean for vehicle emissions, oil production, and power plants over the next 15 years. Observers will need to watch whether leadership in both political parties, and major corporations in the state, can buy into decisions made in the legislature and agencies such as CARB and California Energy Commission. Here’s a look at the regulatory issues that are expected to set the stage:

Senate Bill 32: SB 32 requires the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. The current target is reaching 1990 levels by 2020, a goal the state is on track to meet. Sen. Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) wrote the new legislation and the 2006 legislation (AB 32) that set the foundation for the new bill. The state’s cap and trade program and low carbon fuel standard came from implementation of AB 32.

“People once thought we were being alarmist when we talked about drought and year-round wildfires,” Pavley said to the LA Times. “But all these predictions have come true, and the realities of climate change seem to be accelerating and are tangibly visible sooner than I ever expected. The discussion here now is how to address it, not if.”

Media reports and analyst commentary predict how these steeper reduction targets in SB 32 may impact industries. Some possible policy changes could be increasing the number of electric cars required to be sold in the state, adding penalty fees to purchase traditional fossil fuel-powered vehicles, renewing incentives for solar and wind power, and pushing for batteries to store energy at homes and commercial buildings.

It’s also likely to be an engine for constructive job creation. Earlier this month, CALSTART released a report, “California’s Clean Transportation Technology Industry: Time to Shift into High Gear,” profiling OEMs and suppliers that are now based in California and are building zero- and near-zero emission light, medium, and heavy duty vehicles; and clean fuels, engines, and components. The report also acknowledged that state policies and funding investments are encouraging more companies to move to, or expand, in California.

“The State Assembly voted today in favor of job creation, and to make California a leader in the clean transportation technology industry going forward. We expect that passage of this measure will lead to more in-state manufacturing jobs for advanced vehicles and components,” said CALSTART President and CEO, John Boesel, in a press release last week.

Last year, the state legislature failed to pass a bill to cut petroleum use in half by 2030, after the oil industry waged an intensive campaign against it. That’s where the double-joined strategy came from, with legislators crafting and joining the two bills to address concerns from local community groups and pressure from the oil industry and manufacturers.

Assembly Bill 197: Introduced by Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella), AB 197 increases legislative oversight of CARB, and requires the agency to focus more attention on cutting emissions from local refineries and manufacturers. One issue that shaped the writing of the law was the air quality impact of oil refineries, which are usually located near disadvantaged communities.

CARB has been both admired and admonished in the state and beyond, with praise given to its zero emissions vehicle mandate and adoption by other states; and criticism for adopting policies potentially raising fuel and energy costs, and for increasing the cost of doing business in California, which can motivate companies to move away to others states. Republicans and a few Democrats have accused CARB of wielding too much power in implementing climate laws; they demanded more legislative control over the agency, which became part of AB 197. It also addresses concerns from lawmakers who remain skeptical about whether policies to tackle a global problem are having a positive impact in their communities.

Garcia made comments that his bill addressed nuts-and-bolts questions about how the state would meet its goals, and how they would affect residents. “It’s great to hear about saving polar bears and hugging trees, and making sure we address global warming from a world perspective,” he said to the LA Times. “But how about people?”

Environmental groups have expressed concerns over the state’s cap-and-trade program. Though it puts an economic burden on companies until they reduce their carbon emissions, some environmental groups are frustrated because the companies can continue to release more carbon as long as they pay the price.

Cap and trade program: AB 32 required businesses that emit greenhouse gases to buy permits at cap-and-trade auctions. Oil companies, refineries, electric utilities, and manufacturers have been spending millions on credits to comply with state rules. Cap and trade auction revenue has funded programs for fleets to acquire clean vehicles, electric vehicle purchase incentives, and other clean transportation gains.

Cap and trade was not included in SB 32 or AB 197. The carbon tax, and cap-and-trade auction system, is scheduled to sunset in 2020. Gov. Brown has said that he might lead a statewide ballot measure in 2018 if lawmakers don’t come to agreement on an extension.

Recent cap-and-trade auction results have dropped, with revenue falling millions short of expectations. Funds raised since the auction started in 2012 have been substantial, and has created a new funding channel for clean transportation and clean energy stakeholders to tap into.

This Week’s Top 10: California climate change measure double-joined to second bill, Tesla adds 100 kilowatt-hour battery pack

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. SacramentoCalifornia climate change bill: Legislation extending California’s climate change law through 2030 narrowly passed in the Assembly, but its future depends on the approval of another bill. Advocates for the state’s climate change law scored a major victory yesterday with the passage of Senate Bill 32 introduced by Sen. Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) that extends the state’s goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; however, it is contingent on passage of Assembly Bill 197 and on approval in the state senate. AB 197, introduced by Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella), would increase legislative oversight of the California Air Resources Board. It also has language that makes it contingent on Pavley’s bill. The two bills are “double-joined,” meaning that both bills need to be signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown to take effect. Oil companies are putting pressure on legislators to change the AB 197 wording, with portions of the bill targeted at slashing emissions from local refineries and manufacturers. SB 32 has been seen as a crucial step for reauthorizing the state’s cap-and-trade program. The bill now requires a 40% reduction from 1990 levels by 2030. The current climate law, AB 32, required the state to reach 1990 levels by 2020. CALSTART released a statement supporting passage of SB 32 as an engine for moving clean transportation, and advanced vehicles and components, forward.
  2. Tesla battery upgrade: Tesla Motors is adding a 100-kilowatt-hour battery pack for both the Model S sedan and Model X crossover. The Model S P100D will now have an EPA-estimated 315 miles of range, an increase of 45 miles over the P90D. The Model S P100D Price will begin at $134,500, and X P100D will start at $135, 500. It’s available for order immediately and due for deliveries starting in September
  3. Next step in commercial truck rules: Manufacturers of medium- and heavy-duty trucks, buses, and cargo vans are required to follow federal regulations on reducing carbon greenhouse gas emissions in three phases by 2027. It the latest step in a multi-year process designed to cut carbon emissions by about 1.1 billion metric tons over the vehicle’s lifecycle; that equates to about a 25% reduction compared to current standards. “This next phase of standards for heavy- and medium-duty vehicles will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions while driving innovation, and will ensure that the United States continues to lead the world in developing fuel-efficient technologies through the next decade and beyond,” said Gina McCarthy, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
  4. Bill on California HOV lane stickers: Plug In America expressed concern over another California bill, which could hurt adoption of electric vehicles. Assembly Bill 1964 would remove the limit of 85,000 green HOV decals for plug-in hybrid vehicles to access the HOV carpool lane. Those who purchase an EV between January 2018 and January 2019 will have access to the HOV lane until January 2021, and those who purchase after January 2019 will also have access for three years. This gives anyone purchasing a PHEV some certainty that a green decal will be available and they can use the HOV lane. Plug In America is concerned that the bill only extends the green HOV decal program for PHEVs, but not the white decal program for pure battery electric vehicles (BEVs). If nothing changes in the proposed legislation, drivers of BEVs will not be allowed to access the HOV lane after January 1, 2019. The organization is encouraging those concerned to take action on the bill.
  5. PEV sales in Europe: The European plug-in electrified vehicle market saw a 21% increase in the first six months of this year compared to that same period last year, according to EV Obsession and CleanTechnica partner EV Volumes, with 91,300 PEVs sold. In June, the best selling model was the Renault Zoe held the top spot in June, which made up 14.2% of all PEV sales in Europe. This was followed by the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (10.2%), the Nissan Leaf (9.3%), and the Tesla Model S (8.7%).
  6. Tesla state battles: Tesla Motors is focusing on the state of Utah, where last year a bill intended to give the electric carmaker the right to sell its vehicles in the state stalled out after a series of compromises. State legislator Kim Coleman had led the drive, but so many amendments had been added to it that Tesla withdrew its support and the bill was voted down. Lawmakers and a dealer association are continuing to debate the issue of Tesla being allowed to have sales presence in the state. In Alabama, as state senators has filed a proposed a bill that would “allow a manufacturer of alternative fuel vehicles to sell and lease its vehicles directly to the public.” That would apply to Tesla and other manufacturers of vehicles fueled by electricity, natural gas, or propane. Direct sales are considered “an unfair and deceptive trade practice” in the state. Tesla’s sales are also banned in Arizona, Michigan, Texas, Connecticut, Utah, and West Virginia.
  7. CityAirbus ridesharing: Aircraft manufacturer Airbus is developing CityAirbus that will transport riders out of crowded cities via the sky. Short air trips will cost about as much as a taxi ride for each passenger. The first test run for CityAirbus will start in late 2017. Passengers can board the multi-propeller aircraft by using a mobile phone app, then going to a nearby helipad to catch the next ride. Airbus says it will offer avoidance of traffic congested areas, and it will be faster and more sustainable than what’s out there now.
  8. RNG in NYC refuse fleet: Robert Catell, former chairman of National Grid, US, and Joanna Underwood, chairwoman of Energy Vision, wrote a commentary piece for the New York Times, making a case for renewable natural gas. New York City’s Department of Sanitation plans to buy 340 new trash trucks this year, with at least 300 powered by diesel engines. Its 5,200 heavy-duty diesel trucks make up a fifth of the fleet, yet emit more than 60% of its greenhouse gas emissions. RNG comes from biogases emitted by decomposing organic waste, offering significant emissions reductions from fuel that can be sourced within the city.
  9. Lease programs on Model S and X: Tesla Motors has announced two-year lease programs on the Model S (for $593 a month) and the Model X ($730 a month) for their cheapest, starting price versions. There will be a hefty down payment – $6,000 for both models. There’s also a $695 acquisition fee and a month’s lease payment due when taking delivery of the car. There’s a 10,000 miles per year cap on the lease, unless you pay more for a 12,000 or 15,000 mile cap.
  10. Another Chinese startup: Chinese air-conditioning manufacturer Gree will be investing $2 billion to buy Zhuhai Yinlong New Energy Co., company that builds electric buses, lithium batteries, and drivetrain components. Yinlong has been manufacturing batteries for electric vehicles since 2009 and also builds drive trains for EVs and hybrids. The Chinese automaker says that it has seven electric cars in the development phase, but so far has focused on building electric buses. Gree is one of many companies making the purchase in order to support the Chinese government’s “new energy vehicles” program to clean up the environment and promote new, advanced technologies.

This Week’s Top 10: Bill Gates announces investor coalition at COP21, FAST Act approved in Washington

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. COP21Investors announced at COP21: COP21, the United Nations climate change conference being held in Paris, is about halfway through the negotiation process. Nearly 200 countries have gathered for the challenging task of forging a deal; reducing fossil fuel use in energy and transportation is at the heart of discussions. Early last week, billionaire Bill Gates announced formation of the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, a group of 28 investors that will include Gates, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg, and Virgin Group founder Richard Branson. The dollar amount hasn’t been announced, but investment funds will be available for biofuels, solar and wind power, efforts to capture carbon emissions from fossil fuels, and other clean energy projects. Another coalition that has met during COP21 is the ZEV Alliance, a group of local and national governments that plans drastic reductions in vehicle emissions over the next 35 years. Members include California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Quebec, Germany, The Netherlands, Norway, and the United Kingdom. While the U.S. government hasn’t joined yet, the U.S. said it intends to double its current $5 billion R&D investment portfolio in advanced transportation systems and fuels, along with other cleantech products and technologies.
  2. FAST Act approved in Washington: House and Senate negotiators passed the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, a five-year, $305 billion package, late Tuesday in a 1,300 page transportation bill. President Obama signed the bill into law on Friday, with just hours to spare before the scheduled expiration of the nation’s road and transit spending. Critics have warned it doesn’t provide enough funding to deal with several infrastructure issues – nor does it provide a long-term source of funding. Advocates are pleased to see support for the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program; incentives for natural gas vehicles and fueling infrastructure; and support for intelligent transportation systems.
  3. EV sales in November: The Tesla Model S continued its strength as the No. 1 selling plug-in electric vehicle in the U.S. in November. The Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf continue swapping the No. 2 and No. 3 spots on the list. In its second full month on sale, the 2016 Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid sold 1,980, bringing sales over for October and November to more than 2,000 a month. With year-to-date sales of 13,279, the Volt follows the Nissan Leaf, which so far has sold 15,922 units in the U.S. The Ford plug-in hybrids – the Fusion Energi and C-Max Energi – continue to see moderate and steady sales figures.
  4. SCAQMD strengthens pollution credit trading: The South Coast Air Quality Management District has significantly strengthened the region’s pollution credit trading program, requiring major emission reductions from some of the largest facilities in Southern California. SCAQMD has ordered cumulative reductions of 12 tons per day of smog-forming nitrogen oxide (NOx) credits from 56 RECLAIM (Regional Clean Air Incentives Market) facilities to be implemented from 2016 to 2022. Along with internal combustion engines, compliance levels are being monitored for fluid catalytic cracking units, refinery boilers and heaters, refinery and non-refinery gas turbines, cement kilns, glass melting furnaces, metal heat treating and petroleum coke calciners, and other equipment affecting air quality in the region. The AQMD says that since RECLAIM’s adoption in 1993, there’s been a 71% reduction in emissions, new technology for pollution controls, better monitoring and reporting, and a high level of compliance in achieving facility emissions caps.
  5. NYC going electric: New York City will be deploying a lot of electric vehicles into its fleet by 2025, says Mayor Bill de Blasio. EVs could make up half of the city’s non-emergency fleet by that time, and a large network of charging stations will be installed to keep them fueled up. That will include about 2,000 cars used by the Parks and Recreation Department. The fleet will have a mix of battery electric models like the Nissan Leaf and plug-in hybrid vehicles like the Chevrolet Volt.
  6. Plug-in roundup: More announcements on upcoming plug-in electric vehicles…… Porsche is getting ready to launch its first pure battery-electric supercar, the Mission E. It will deliver a maximum output of 600 horsepower, and will be able to go from 0 to 62 mph (based on kilometer conversion rating), in 3.5 seconds. Porsche said it will be able to travel at least 310 miles per charge, about 5-to-10% more than the Tesla Model S……… Hyundai will launch a new vehicle in January named the Ioniq. It will have available three electrified drivetrain options in one body type – all-electric, traditional gasoline-electric hybrid, or plug-in hybrid powertrain. It will debut in South Korea next month, and then be shown at the Geneva and New York auto shows in March………. The 2017 Chevrolet Bolt battery electric vehicle’s production version will be unveiled January at International CES in Las Vegas. A spy photo near Palm Springs, Calif., shows that it closely resembles the 2016 Chevrolet Volt in its grille and side styling. But it looks a bit different than the concept model shown at the 2015 Detroit auto show.
  7. The National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium (NAFTC), in partnership with the Tulsa Area Clean Cities (TACC), today is launching three newly developed Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) First Responder Safety Training classes at Tulsa Community College in Tulsa, Okla. Focused on targeted information for firefighters, emergency medical services, and law enforcement, these three courses feature techniques to safely respond to vehicle collisions, incidents and injuries involving alternative fuel vehicles. In addition to the training sessions, activities associated with the training launch include a press conference and an alternative fuel vehicles display. The vehicles on display will be utilized as part of the training sessions and available for viewing by the media and press conference attendees. For more information, contact Judy Moore of NAFTC at
  8. M-B fuel cell SUV: Mercedes-Benz will be rolling out a hydrogen fuel cell powered version of its GLC luxury SUV. It will replace the GLK and will be called the GLC F-Cell when it comes out in 2017; and will be revealed at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show to reach showrooms the following year. The SUV is targeted to have a combined range for the fuel cell and battery of up to 373 miles, and a refueling time of three minutes.
  9. Latest on VW diesel scandal: About 50 Volkswagen employees have come forward to testing in an “internal witness program” in Germany; that followed a raid of corporate offices by German prosecutors. In the U.S., sales by the VW brand tumbled by a 24.7% last month. A federal judicial panel will decide soon how to handle the more than 300 lawsuits already filed over the scandal. Plus, VW has lined up a $21 billion bridge loan it may need to cover the costs it’s expected to incur.
  10. Growth in workplace charging: This year, the Workplace Charging Challenge (sponsored by the U.S. Dept. of Energy) celebrated a major milestone – it reached the halfway point to its goal of 500 Challenge partners committed to installing workplace charging by 2018. Their efforts have resulted in more than 600 workplaces with over 5,500 charging stations accessible to nearly one million employees. In 2015, more than 9,000 PEV-driving employees charged at these worksites on a regular basis.