This Week’s Top 10: Events you should be scheduling to attend, Mercedes-Benz will roll out a plug-in hybrid version of every model

by Jon LeSage, editor and publisher, Green Auto Market 

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

  1. As AltCar Expo reminded me and colleagues last week, going to one of these events is worth all the investment of time and money. It’s great to connect with others and build relationships necessary to move forward on the regulatory front and in getting the word out on innovative vehicles, fuels, and technologies; and to stay current on issues looming up on the horizon. As for what’s coming up next, here are four events to consider:  Odyssey – National Alternative Fuel Vehicle Day launches on Oct. 17, 2014. Odyssey is a biennial event from the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium (NAFTC) at West Virginia University and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities. Events are held across the country and sometimes on other days, and are designed to bring national attention to alternative fuel vehicles and advanced technology vehicles as a cleaner and more efficient choice for transportation. For those in Southern California looking for an Odyssey event, consider attending Wings Wheels and Rotors Expo on Sunday, Oct. 26, at Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos, Calif.  Long Beach Clean Cities will have a booth there (where I’ll be tabling for a couple of hours). In other events…… For North American Green Fleet Forum & Green Fleet Expo in Sacramento, the early bird discount deadline is October 1st for the 50% off the two day registration for all events, tours, and NAFTC Petroleum Reduction Training. The conference will be held on Oct. 15-16……. Two other clean transportation events to consider:  Green Fleet Conference & Expo is Oct. 29-30 in Schaumburg, Ill. Natural Gas Vehicle Conference & Expo will be held Nov. 11-14 in Kansas City, Mo.
  2. Mercedes-Benz r&d chief Thomas Weber said that every M-B model will have a plug-in hybrid version in the next few years. This happened at a press conference for the automaker’s first plug-in hybrid, the S550 plug-in hybrid. As for other cars, it will cover the C class, E class, and replacements for the GLK class that will be called the GLC class and for the M class that will be called the GLE class. Timing hasn’t been released on the entire lineup yet, but Weber said 10 plug-in hybrids would be launched by 2017.
  3. Electric trucks just lost another OEMBoulder Electric Vehicle has closed down its production facilities in Lafayette, Colo., and Chatsworth, Calif. The company isn’t filing for bankruptcy and will be around to service vehicles that are in use with fleets primarily in Los Angeles, Texas, New York, and Chicago.
  4. California Gov. Jerry Brown just signed bills that should help boost electric vehicle sales. The Charge Ahead California Initiative, introduced by Sen. Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) has set the goal of seeing one million zero emission and near zero emission vehicles on the roads by Jan. 1, 2023; one way this will be supported is making the vehicles more affordable for low-income neighborhoods. The state Air Resources Board has been directed to draft a financial plan to hit the one million target while making sure that disadvantaged communities can participate. The clean-vehicle rebate program will provide an extra credit for low-income drivers; it will also provide assistance on using carsharing programs and installing charging stations in apartment buildings in those communities. Carpool lane stickers will be increasing through AB 2013 by Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance). It raises the cap on the Green Sticker program for electric vehicles from 55,000 to 70,000 new cars.
  5. Fisker Automotive’s owner Wanxiang Group is going to speed up re-launch of the Fisker Karma. Wanxiang will be using a design from the company’s last year of production in 2012 for reintroduction of the plug-in hybrid sports car by next year.
  6. The Union of Concerned Scientists say that electric vehicles (EVs) are doing good – in much of the country, they’re cleaner in emissions per miles driven than even the best of the hybrids. However, the group said that EVs are cleaner than hybrids in only 45% of the country. The reason for that conclusion: the majority of the electricity used to charge the vehicles was generated at coal-fired power plants.
  7. Tesla Motors took more action on legal battles with dealers. In New Jersey, Tesla filed in court arguing that New Jersey regulators don’t have the authority to shut down its direct sales. That goes against an April ruling by the New Jersey Vehicle Commission blocking sales at Tesla stores in New Jersey as of April 15, 2014, when their licenses expired. In Massachusetts, Tesla says that the high court’s recent ruling supports the automaker’s central argument about its right to set up retails stores and sell its electric vehicles directly to consumers. Dealer groups say that a ban on factory stores still exists despite the court’s ruling.
  8. Propane use continues to expand as more public transportation fleets adopt it along with school bus fleets. Six US-based public transit fleets received awards last week from Metro Magazine and Propane Education & Research Council during BusCon Expo in Indianapolis. A Canadian bus operator has also joined the propane autogas community. Southland Transportation Ltd, which operates school, charter, and specialized buses in Alberta and Saskatchewan, has taken delivery of 101 new Vision propane-powered school buses from Blue Bird Corp.
  9. A German court lifted the ban on Uber. The leading ridesharing company and its drivers had been banned from Germany. The temporary injunction had been imposed by the court at the end of last month before a hearing could be held.
  10. California just issued 29 permits for testing self-driving cars in the state on public roads. Audi was proud to receive the first two of them, but 25 of them went to Google Inc. for testing 25 adapted Lexus SUVs. Two more went to Mercedes-Benz. Audi has taken a lead on test programs, being the first to be granted a permit in Nevada, and the first to test Florida’s “connected car” expressway.

One thought on “This Week’s Top 10: Events you should be scheduling to attend, Mercedes-Benz will roll out a plug-in hybrid version of every model”

  1. So what you are saying is that the Union of concerned scientists are saying what I have been saying…Electric vehicles are not actually green vehicles for a majority of the country. I still continue to sense a contradiction…

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