Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

Good News for Battery-Cars: Renewables Now Top Coal as U.S. Energy Source

Gap is small, but alternatives expected to continue growing despite Trump push for coal.

by on Jun.17, 2019

Renewables, like wind power, let EVs eliminate emissions, not just shift them from tailpipe to smokestack.

Not everyone is convinced that battery-cars really are good for the environment, noting that in some parts of the country they rely on energy generated by burning coal. But in more and more of the country, that fuel source is continuing to lose ground – to the point that renewables like hydro, wind and solar in April actually topped coal for the first time on a nationwide basis.

A report by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, likely won’t be well-received in some places, notably West Virginia, a center of the coal industry. And it flies in the face of the pledges made by Pres. Donald Trump who repeatedly has promised to bring coal back as a major source of U.S. energy.

Beyond the Headlines!

But the die appears to be solidly cast, according to FERC, with renewables expected to continue expanding their lead over coal over the coming years, with a quarter of the U.S. electric supply likely to be generated by wind, solar, geothermal and other clean sources by 2022. (more…)

Automakers Push Back on Trump Plan to Relax Mileage Rules

Expected White House plan would trigger legal actions and “untenable” uncertainty, 17 OEs warn.

by on Jun.07, 2019

Pres. Donald Trump thought he would win industry support from industry leaders over CAFE cuts but has seen opposition, instead/

In an unusual move, 17 automakers, including giants General Motors, Ford and Toyota, have sent a letter to President Donald Trump urging him not to move ahead on plans to roll back federal fuel economy standards – a move that puts the industry more in line with environmentalists than the anti-regulatory White House.

The Trump Administration has signaled since it was first inaugurated its intention to roll back Obama-era guidelines that would have seen the Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE, standard rise to 54.5 mpg by 2025. The administration’s draft plans would freeze the numbers at 2021 model-year levels, or about 37 mpg.

The Last Word!

The proposal has already generated significant opposition from environmental and consumer groups, as well as the State of California which would effectively lose its current right to set standards higher than those established by the federal government. California has played lead in the various legal actions that have been filed to block any rollback even before the original outline of a plan the White House announced was formalized.

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Bosch Agrees to Fines for Role in Dieselgate

Supplier hit with $100 million fine.

by on May.28, 2019

German auto supplier Bosch was fined $100 milloin for its role in dieselgate.

Robert Bosch GmbH, one of the world’s largest auto suppliers, agreed to pay additional fines for it role in the dieselgate scandal that has rocked the German auto industry.

German prosecutors in Stuttgart are investigating the inner workings of German companies tangled in the scandal, said Bosch, which supplies components and technology widely used in diesel engines. Bosch was fined $100 million dollars have fined due to its role in the diesel emissions scandal that erupted at Volkswagen in 2015.

News You Can Trust!

Prosecutors said that the company, formally called Robert Bosch GmbH, was fined for a negligent violation of supervisory obligations, and that the company had decided not to appeal the decision of authorities. (more…)

Nothing Mild About Mercedes’ First Mild Hybrid, the GLE 580 4Matic

Gas-electric model rivals AMG version of the midsize SUV.

by on May.24, 2019

The new Mercedes-Benz GLE 580 4Matic gets a big boost out of its 48-volt assist system.

Mercedes-Benz is getting serious about electrification, as it demonstrated earlier this month by launching sales of its first long-range battery-electric vehicle, the EQC.

The German automaker plans to introduce at least 10 BEVs in the coming years, as well as an assortment of plug-in and conventional hybrids. To that list of electrified options you now can add the first mild hybrid, the Mercedes-Benz GLE 580 4Matic.

Product News!

Mild hybrids typically come with small lithium-ion battery packs powering a relatively low-power electrical architecture. Even at 48-volts, however, the technology can be quite useful. In the case of the GLE 580, it powers the new active suspension system, as well as the Stop/Start integrated starter/generator, or ISG. But the biggest surprise is that it adds a performance boost that, at least briefly, lets the new variant outperform the AMG 53 version of the midsize SUV.

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First US Plant Turning Plastic Waste to Fuel Breaks Ground in Indiana

Facility will divert 100,000 tons of plastic from landfills annually.

by on May.23, 2019

A rendering of the Brightmark Energy plastics-to-fuel plant going up in Ashley, Indiana.

Nearly 30 million tons of plastic produced in the U.S. each year winds up in landfills, with plenty of waste also washing out to sea where vast areas of the ocean are now covered with plastic trash. But a new plant in Northeast Indiana aims to help address that problem.

Brightmark Energy is today breaking ground on what is billed as the first commercial-scale plastics-to-fuel facility in the town of Ashley, about a three hour drive from Chicago. Once it gets up to speed, the plant will be able to process 100,000 tons of plastic waste, much of it traditionally non-recyclable, transforming it into diesel, naptha and commercial-grade wax.

Environmental News!

“This sustainable technology directly addresses an acute problem facing our nation,” said Bob Powell, CEO of San Francisco-based Brightmark Energy, noting that 91% of the 33 million tons of plastic produced in the U.S. each year is not recycled.

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Could Tesla’s High-Flying Ride on Wall Street be Ready to Come Crashing Down?

Shares head towards $200 for first time since 2016, as key analyst warns $10 is possible.

by on May.21, 2019

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has plenty to worry about as investors turn bearish on its stock.

After sliding to its lowest level since December 2016 on five days of losses, Tesla stock fell to its lowest level in nearly 30 months, at just above $200 — and one key analyst, Morgan Stanley’s Adam Jonas, warns Tesla could see the stock plunge to just $10 a share.

Not much has gone right for the California automotive upstart in recent months, starting with word that first-quarter sales had fallen well short of expectations. Its unexpectedly deep, $702 million loss for the quarter didn’t help. And the situation only grew worse when CEO Elon Musk last week ordered a “hardcore” belt-tightening covering “literally every payment that leaves our bank account.” Then, the National Transportation Safety Board weighed in, blaming a fatal March 2018 crash on Tesla’s much-ballyhooed Autopilot system.

Breaking News!

Even where the automaker appeared to pull off a coup, topping substantially what it had expected to raise with last month’s combination of stock and debt offerings, Musk told employees in an e-mail, that the $2.7 billion Tesla brought in “actually only gives us about 10 months at the Q1 burn rate to achieve breakeven!”

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Another Automaker Abandons the V-8

Genesis will drop Tau V-8 when new G80 debuts this autumn.

by on May.20, 2019

The next version of the Genesis G80 will come to market without its familiar Tau V-8.

Way back in the late 1970s, when twin oil shocks and the then-new Corporate Average Fuel Economy mandate forced automakers to start focusing on energy efficiency, conventional wisdom had it that the V-8 would soon vanish. It didn’t quite work out that way and the engine of choice for many performance and heavy-duty vehicles has remained surprisingly robust.

But as global emissions and mileage regulations continue to tighten, the V-8 appears, once again, to be an endangered species, and the Hyundai Motor Group is the latest getting ready to throw in the towel.

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The Korean carmaker’s luxury brand Genesis plans to abandon its 5.0-liter Tau V-8 when it rolls out new versions of its two biggest sedans, according to the marque’s CEO. That phase-out will begin later this year with the launch of a new version of the G80.

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Senators Look to Rally U.S. EV Material Production

Committee looking to expedite mining process for needed materials.

by on May.17, 2019

Tesla's Gigafactory is basically a one-stop shop for EV production. A Senate committee is looking to make it easier for EV makers to get the materials needed in the U.S.

While the Trump administration – through the Environmental Protection Agency – continues to press for changes in fuel economy regulations that would to sideline efforts to put more EVs on the road across the United States, the U.S. Congress is getting nervous about China’s fast moving electric-car effort.

Both Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. Senate are voicing support for a national electric car supply chain policy in the United States Senate, according to a report from Reuters.

Technology News!

The Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee recently held a hearing on the American Mineral Security Act. The legislation aims to make it easier and quicker for U.S. mines to meet regulations and gain permits for lithium, graphite and other minerals or precious materials needed for electric car production. It would also require a tally of metal reserves in the country. (more…)

Elonroad Takes EV Charging Where it Hasn’t Gone Before

Swedish developed system designed to be efficient and safe.

by on May.13, 2019

Why is this man smiling? Tesla CEO Elon Musk has a revolutionary new charging system named after him and he didn't even have to invent it.

The rocketing growth of new electric vehicles produced by automakers has producers of EV charging stations hustling to keep up; however, a new innovation may circumvent the need for the onslaught of stations.

The Swedish city of Lund is conducting a trial of a roadway that charges electric vehicles as they roll down the “tarmac.” Named “Elonroad,” after Tesla co-founder and CEO Elon Musk, the plans call for a 1 kilometer stretch of road to be a test bed for the new technology.

Electrifying News!

The purpose is to contribute to increasing knowledge about electricity routes as part of the future fossil-free transport system, says Elvag Syd, the company working with the Swedish Transport Administration, on the project. It´s the first electric road with ground level ing system tested for buses in a city. The project is a test and demonstration project from 2019-2022. (more…)

Daimler to Go “Carbon Neutral” Under “Ambition2039″ Sustainability Plan

Company credited with inventing the I.C. engine is helping to put it to rest, says environmental group.

by on May.13, 2019

Mercedes revealed the U.S. version of its first long-range EV, the EQC Edition 1886, in NY last month.

The automaker that effectively brought the internal combustion engine to life appears ready to drive a nail into its coffin.

Daimler AG, the parent of the Mercedes-Benz and Smart brands says it expects plug-in hybrids and pure battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs, accounting for fully 50% of its sales by 2030, with a goal to go completely “carbon neutral” by 2039.

We Keep You Plugged In!

“One of the defining issues is how we address our CO2 footprint,” Ola Kallenius, Daimler’s next CEO, said during a conference in its headquarters city of Stuttgart on Monday morning.

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