For Today: EPA chief takes aggressive stance on emissions violators, DOE grants issued for advanced vehicle technologies

Pruitt ready to go after emissions violators:  U.S. Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt is ready and willing to apply his aggressive, combative stance to automakers who are violating emissions rules, as Volkswagen AG was caught doing by the agency in September 2015. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles was sued by EPA in May, accused of illegally using software to bypass emission controls in 104,000 diesel engine Ram pickups and Jeep Grand Cherokees sold since 2014. He doesn’t think the Obama administration was being too aggressive when taking action on emissions violations, and it’s the duty to EPA to enforce the rules. “Look what VW, and Fiat – you have this Fiat case that is on the horizon as well. The emails and the communications that I’m aware of – it was strategic and intentional and should be dealt with very aggressively,” Pruitt said.

Koch brothers back anti-EV video:  A new video attacks electric cars as losing their environmental contributions based on what’s going into their batteries. The information used in biased and used to set up an argument against the technology. It was made by Fueling U.S. Forward, which supports fossil fuels. It’s led by Charles Drevena, a long-time oil lobbyist, and is funded by the Koch brothers, who are known for advocating fossil fuels and denying climate change. The video claims that metals such as cobalt and lithium used in electric vehicle batteries come from morally reprehensible sources. One example given is the pollution and child labor problem from the metals in the Congo. While that is happening, automakers are practicing policies to avoid purchasing rare earth metals from these markets.

DOE research grants:  The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $19.4 million for 22 new cost-shared projects to accelerate the research of advanced battery, lightweight materials, engine technologies, and energy efficient mobility systems.  Mercedes Benz and General Motors are joining a long list of university research centers, including Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Mercedes Benz is funding a project supporting solid state electrolyte membranes for high performance lithium-sulfur batteries; and GM is supporting research into pouch format cells for lithium-sulfur batteries to achieve high energy density and long cycle life.