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Articles on this Page
- 06/17/13--16:03: _Ford cuts productio...
- 06/19/13--05:54: _25-million-gallion ...
- 06/19/13--14:28: _Denza EV coming to ...
- 06/20/13--13:24: _Toyota will show Au...
- 07/01/13--08:17: _LA orders up to 25 ...
- 07/02/13--11:59: _2014 Chevy Volt sta...
- 07/02/13--17:50: _Fisker bankruptcy l...
- 07/04/13--06:36: _Brammo HQ suffers $...
- 07/07/13--15:02: _Nissan readying new...
- 07/08/13--06:00: _Audi opens renewabl...
- 07/11/13--09:57: _2014 Chevy Volt pri...
- 07/11/13--14:01: _HP2g inventor still...
- 07/11/13--16:25: _Honda, Fiat show du...
- 07/12/13--14:32: _The history of biof...
- 07/15/13--15:29: _All of a sudden, Ni...
- 07/15/13--17:59: _Waste rice husks co...
- 07/17/13--10:00: _So far in 2013, EVs...
- 07/18/13--11:02: _GM ready to double ...
- 07/25/13--07:45: _Ford puts more gree...
- 07/26/13--08:01: _Renault-Nissan will...
- 06/17/13--16:03: Ford cuts production emissions by 37% per vehicle since 2000
- 06/19/13--05:54: 25-million-gallion cellulosic ethanol plant opening in early 2014
- 06/19/13--14:28: Denza EV coming to big dealerships in China
- 06/20/13--13:24: Toyota will show Auris Hybrid production, Tweet by Tweet
- 07/02/13--11:59: 2014 Chevy Volt starts production July 15, offers dark new colors
- 07/02/13--17:50: Fisker bankruptcy likely, says once-positive Delaware Governor
- 07/07/13--15:02: Nissan readying new urban EV, may have Land Glider or Qashqai guts
- 07/08/13--06:00: Audi opens renewable energy E-gas plant in Germany
- 07/11/13--14:01: HP2g inventor still working on technology behind '110 MPGe' Mustang
- 07/11/13--16:25: Honda, Fiat show dutiful compliance in EV game
- 07/12/13--14:32: The history of biofuels goes back 300 years
- 07/15/13--15:29: All of a sudden, Nissan doesn't have enough Leafs to go around
- 07/15/13--17:59: Waste rice husks could find a home in next-gen lithium-ion batteries
- 07/17/13--10:00: So far in 2013, EVs beating plug-in hybrids in sales
- 07/18/13--11:02: GM ready to double production of vehicles that get 40+ mpg
- 07/25/13--07:45: Ford puts more green in green-car production
Ford has used efficiency gains related to water use, waste and painting processes to cut its factory emissions per produced vehicle by 37 percent between 2000 and 2012.
The US automaker, in its 14th annual Sustainability Report, adds that more changes are in store that will allow an additional 30-percent drop in CO2 emissions per vehicle between 2010 and 2025. Furthermore, Ford's tailpipe emissions, per vehicle, are down 16 percent since 2007. The company has sold more than 600,000 vehicles with its gas-saving EcoBoost engines, and it's pretty proud of its regenerative brakes, too. Additionally, through May, Ford increased green car sales fivefold from a year earlier on more sales for models like the Fusion Hybrid and the more-recent introduction of plug-in models like the C-Max and Fusion Energi vehicles. Check out Ford's press release below.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Cellulosic bio-ethanol is poised to see large scale production for the first time next year. Poet-DSM Advanced Biofuels, LLC, is ready to start construction of a plant in early 2014 that will produce 20 million gallons of cellulosic bio-ethanol annually, later ramping up to 25 million gallons. That's a lot, but to compare, the US uses 8.7 million barrels of gasoline per day (2011 average), not counting diesel fuel, and the US makes an average 832,000 barrels of corn-based ethanol each day.
Poet-DSM's Project Liberty will make the bio-ethanol from corn cobs, leaves, husks and stalk. The plant is being built in Emmetsburg, IA, by the two companies who formed the Poet-DSM 50/50 joint venture - major ethanol producer Poet, LLC, and global science-based company Royal DSM. Some of the plant already has been built on the facility; a biomass receiving and grinding building, which can process about 770 tons of biomass per day, is nearly complete and other sections are in the works. The next steps include continued erection of tanks, concrete, plumbing, underground electrical and installation of equipment. Once it's all functioning this fall, farmers in the area will be delivering an expected 120,000 tons of biomass bales to Project Liberty. More details on the construction project are available below.
In 2011, Poet announced it would start producing up to 25 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol a year at its site in Iowa by 2013, so it's all taking a bit longer than expected. The next question will be: Can Poet sell 25 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol a year? We suspect it can, but perhaps not as E15.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Electric cars might soon be easier to acquire in China.
The Denza electric car, built by a 50-50 joint venture between Daimler and BYD Co., may be sold through one of China's largest dealer groups. The holding company, Shenzen BYD Daimler New Technology Co., plans to announce its alliance with Zhongsheng Group Holdings, which would add Denza dealers in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen by the end of July.
BYD has been selling its B6 electric car under its own brand and the joint venture announced in April that it expects to begin deliveries of its first Denzas in mid-2014. Under the joint-venture agreement, Daimler is providing knowledge in EV architecture and safety, and BYD is bringing batteries and the e-drive system to the Denza EV.
The dealership alliance is a step forward for BYD Daimler. The two automakers joined forces in 2010. The companies plan a lineup of EVs under the Denza brand, starting with the E6 built on the platform from the first-generation Mercedes-Benz B-Class.
Like other parts of the world, sales of EVs in China have been slow, even with government incentives. Yet, the competition is growing. SAIC Motor Corp., China's largest automaker, launched its Roewe E50 electric car in November and SAIC will be rolling out other EVs with its foreign partners.
China's third-largest automotive group, Donfeng Motors, has been through fits and starts bringing its Fengshen E30 EV (a localized Nissan Leaf) to market. It will be competing directly with the Roewe E50. The race is on. Permalink | Email this | Comments
Think of it as a 325-step process in 140 characters or less. Toyota is going the social-media route to publicize production if its upcoming Auris Hybrid in the UK with updates on Twitter.
The Japanese automaker, says Automotive News Europe, will take the Twittersphere through the 325-step process of producing the hybrid wagon, including vehicle stamping, welding and painting. Toyota's Twitter page will also include links to videos, photos and blogs about the production cycle. Toyota started chirping this week, and we have to say it's perhaps a little too detailed for our Twitter feeds. It's full of things like this: "It takes 3.5 days of #training to learn how to control a forklift" and "Robots apply most of the paint for the top coat." Still, if you're interested the production process, dive in.
Toyota first revealed details of its next-generation Auris last August and showed the car off at the Paris Motor Show the following month. The new Auris Hybrid goes on sale in Europe this month. Permalink | Email this | Comments
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) has signed a contract with BYD Motors for up to 25 new all-electric buses, of a $30-million clean air bus technology pilot project. This is the first time Metro has purchased and placed into revenue service any all-electric buses and is giving the transit agency an opportunity to determine whether electric buses can meet LA's rigorous transit needs.
Metro is working with LA City, LA County and South Coast Air Quality Management District through its Advanced Transit Vehicle Consortium. Five low-floor, 40-foot electric buses are being purchased for testing and evaluation. If those work out, Metro may choose to purchase up to 20 additional buses. Metro is also soliciting bids to covert six of its existing hybrid buses to Super Low Emission Bus standards.
It may help that BYD has an assembly plant in LA County. The contract contains a stipulation that BYD implement a local jobs program. BYD will comply by performing final assembly of bus components at its Lancaster, CA, plant. Metro already operates the nation's largest compressed natural gas bus fleet, but this sets the transit agency on a new course for transitioning to even cleaner buses that will be assembled in the county, said Michael D. Antonovich, LA County supervisor and Metro board chair.
Metro's Super Low/Zero Emission Bus Program started in 2011 to meet future vehicle emission reduction targets set by the California Air Resources Board. The program tests EV technologies to check for improved operating characteristics including more range, better integrated subsystems and lighter weight construction. The question will be whether these electric buses reduce operating, maintenance and life cycle costs compared to Metro's current fleet.
BYD says its electric buses can travel 155 miles between charges - and that's when they're full of passengers - thanks to the company's own iron phosphate rechargeable batteries. Neighboring municipality Long Beach has brought in 10 BYD electric buses, which sparked an attack by electric bus competitor Proterra. The city is deciding whether to stay with the BYD contract.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Electric Francophiles looking to continue their July 14 Bastille Day festivities might be comforted to know that the party can run right into the following day when General Motors will celebrate the first 2014 Chevrolet Volt models rolling off the assembly line.
Yes, July 15 will mark the day the first 2014 Volts will be finished up at General Motors' Hamtramck factory in Michigan, according to Inside EVs. While the extended-range plug-in won't be much different from the current versions, folks will have a few more color options (ashen gray metallic and brownstone metallic, pictured) as well as goodies such as a leather-wrapped steering wheel and heated seats.
GM is also cutting energy use at its plants. Specifically, GM is taking part in the US Department of Energy's Better Buildings, Better Plants program, Hybrid Cars says. The company will cut the amount of energy required to produce each of its vehicles by at least 25 percent by 2018.
Either way, GM is doing what it can to help boost Volt demand. Through May, the model's sales rose just 1.4 percent to 7,157 units after tripling last year to more than 23,000 vehicles. Then June came and brought with it excellent sales news for the Volt. Permalink | Email this | Comments
Delaware Governor Jack Markell gave business leaders a decidedly negative take on two possible futures for Fisker Automotive: bankruptcy or a negotiated settlement to pay off the $170 million it owes in federal loans at a reduced rate. Neither sounds very good for the governor of the state that brought Fisker into the former General Motors assembly plant in Wilmington in 2009. Markell gave the luxury extended range EV automaker a package of $21.5 million in state grants and loans to set up shop there. The state has continued to pay for utility bills at the plant, as well. Fisker was going to build its Atlantic plug-in hybrid there, but that never happened and the plant has remained shuttered since GM left.
It's not clear if a bankruptcy or negotiated payoff of the federal loan would include the Delaware plant, or if it's been essentially written off the books. The US Department of Energy wouldn't comment on whether Delaware is being included in the federal loan negotiations. A spokesperson for the governor said Markell was merely citing press reports when he laid out the two options for Fisker's future.
Markell had been counting on the Fisker deal to boost his political future, according to The News Journal. The Fisker plant was supposed to bring jobs back to the state after GM and Chrysler both closed plants and laid off workers during the recession. Fisker never made a in the First State and laid off the last of its Delaware employees in the spring of 2012. Permalink | Email this | Comments
Electric motorcycle maker Brammo Motorsports took a hit over the weekend - a fire at its Ashland, OR, facility caused more than $200,000 in damage. Thankfully, this incident won't slow down business, according to the company's director of marketing, Adrian Stewart, who added that the fire had no impact on Brammo's production or distribution process.
The fire took place in Brammo's research lab, which was separated from the rest of the headquarters building. An emergency sprinkler system kicked in and nearly put out the fire. By the time firefighters showed up, there was only light smoke left for them to contain. Most of the damage in the lab was water damage, Stewart said.
The fire started up when a group of batteries caught fire, according to NewsWatch 12. Brammo uses lithium batteries in its e-bikes. This could more bad news about lithium battery pack safety; the Mitsubishi Outlander, Boeing Dreamliner, Chevrolet Spark EV and Chevrolet Volt have all been through the publicity wringer with fire-related problems.
The Translogic team had a much better experience with Brammo this pasts spring during a visit to the Ashland plant. They rode the Brammo Empulse R electric bike, which can go 100+ miles per hour and has a range of 121 miles. Its six-speed transmission offers powerful acceleration and an impressive top speed, according to Translogic. Permalink | Email this | Comments
Nissan says it will roll out an urban electric vehicle that's even better than alliance partner Renault's Twizy. While Renault is marketing the Twizy small electric car as an alternative to scooters on European streets, Nissan thinks its upcoming EV will have more to offer.
Etienne Henry, Nissan's head of product strategy and planning, said the Nissan urban car will be compact and nimble like a motorcycle, and will offer protection from weather conditions and the safety features of a conventional car. While the Twizy is also working on combining these functions, Nissan thinks there are "optimizations possible with this kind of vehicle," Henry told Automotive News Europe.
Some are speculating that the optimization could be delivered through ideas from the Nissan Land Glider, a two-seat electric concept car Nissan began showing in 2009. While that made for "a very interesting concept with very challenging and meaningful technology," Henry declined to comment on whether any part of the Land Glider would end up in the urban EV.
Henry sees a correlation between the Nissan Qashqai compact crossover, where he'd served as product manager, with the concept EV. While the concept car mixes motorbikes and cars, the Quashqai fused the utility of a compact hatchback with the styling of an SUV. It will also address another European trend - fast growing, congested cities, he said.
The Automotive News piece also sees Toyota traveling down this path. At this year's Geneva auto show, the Japanese competitor showed its i-Road urban electric concept car. The three-wheel i-Road will only see limited production at first, and will join other Toyota EVs for a car-sharing program next year in Grenoble, France. Permalink | Email this | Comments
Audi has opened the doors to its new power-to-gas facility, which will make what the automaker calls E-gas, in Werlte, Germany. The plant produces hydrogen and synthetic methane and these clean fuels come from renewable energy, water and carbon dioxide. Audi says it's the first automaker to "develop a chain of sustainable energy carriers."
"The power-to-gas facility we built in Werlte can become a beacon project for the entire energy revolution, far beyond the boundaries of our company," Peter Altmaier, German Federal Minister of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, said at the inaugural ceremony, as quoted in the Audi press release (available below).
The Audi E-gas plant uses electrolysis to split water molecules into oxygen and hydrogen, which will someday power fuel-cell vehicles. For now, methanation is the process used to make the synthetic natural gas. Audi reacts the hydrogen with CO2 to generate renewable synthetic methane. The E-gas can be delivered through existing natural gas pipes since, chemically speaking, it's nearly identical to natural gas. Delivery of E-gas through the infrastructure is scheduled to start in the fall of 2013.
Audi says E-gas from the plant can power 1,500 new Audi A3 Sportback G-tron vehicles for 15,000 CO2-neutral kilometers (about 9,321 miles) each year. The Werlte plant is part of Audi's comprehensive e-fuels strategy and sustainability initiative. In parallel with the E-gas plant in Werlte, Audi also runs a research facility in Hobbs, NM, for the production of E-ethanol and E-diesel in collaboration with renewable fuel company Joule.
There could be another reason for building the plant beyond sustainability. New vehicle sales in Europe are experiencing a serious downturn. Analysts also say that global OEMs are starting to transform their identities from "automakers" to "mobility companies," so Audi's e-gas plant could cover a few strategic agendas.Permalink | Email this | Comments
For those waiting with bated breath on news of the 2014 Chevrolet Volt, consider this a case of one step up, and possibly two steps back. Chevy parent General Motors confirmed that details about the '14 Volt will be revealed in August, both Hybrid Cars and Inside EVs are reporting, citing Chevrolet spokeswoman Michelle Bunker Malcho. What that means is anyone's guess, but we figure that at least we'll know how much the Volt will cost. Despite some published reports out there, we've been told by GM that there are no changes in the battery capacity between the 2013 and 2014 model years. The 2013 has a 16.5-kWh lithium ion pack that offers a 38-mile EV range. We also know that the Volt will be offered in two new colors: ashen gray metallic and brownstone metallic. Sweet.
There are no changes in the Volt's 16.5-kWh battery capacity between the 2013 and 2014 model years
What we're not sure of is whether a previous report that 2014 Volt production would commence in July at General Motors' Hamtramck factory in Michigan was correct, or whether it was premature. For those keeping track, 2013 Volt production started in June 2012, while shipments began the following month, so the 2014 MY is running a bit late, by comparison.
In the meantime, Volt watchers will have to be satisfied with the news that the model's sales have been on the upswing. Last month, Chevy moved 2,698 of the extended-range plug-ins, up 53 percent from a year earlier. For the year, Volt sales have risen 12 percent to 9,855 vehicles. Permalink | Email this | Comments
One Ohio-based inventor who's long proposed a technology that substantially boosts the driving range of a typical V8 engine says his idea still has plenty of legs. Doug Pelmear, whose HP2g technology was the guts behind the high-miles-per-gallon converted Mustang in 2009 and the Revenge Verde (pictured) that was displayed at the 2010 Detroit Auto Show, continues to try to get financial interest in his system. The idea is to boost fuel economy by shutting off fuel to some of the cylinders under non-accelerating driving conditions.
Pelmear, according to reports from the Toledo Free Press and The Street, is looking to raise financing for his "Skip Fire" system. He's tested the system, which he says will cost about $1,400 as an aftermarket product and will boost fuel economy by about 30 percent, on about 60 vehicles, and is trying to boost that count to 250. Interested parties should stop by the official website for more information.
There are some things to be aware of, though. There was trouble between Pelmear and the Automotive X-Prize and Pelmear says financing has been difficult to come by because a creditor mistakenly put a lien on HP2g instead of one of his other companies. The entrepreneur says he has patents pending in the US and China for the product, which uses a magnet system to shut certain cylinders down when the car is cruising or braking. Stopping those cylinders helped the Revenge Verde get an advertised 100 miles per gallon equivalent while delivering as much as 400 horsepower (we've wondered about the methodology before). The company looks to sell its aftermarket product to fleet-vehicle operators once it gets regulatory approval to do so. Permalink | Email this | Comments
Despite long waiting lists, neither Honda nor Fiat have any plans to boost production of their popular, low-volume electric vehicles and both say future production output for both the Honda Fit EV and Fiat 500e is pretty much spoken for for the rest of the year. In doing so, the automakers have effectively confirmed that the Fit EV and 500e are so-called "compliance cars" produced solely to meet the California zero-emission vehicle requirements that kicked in last year, according to Green Car Reports.
Last month, Fiat confirmed to Wards Auto that the 500e is sold out in California for the rest of the year, and reiterated that its production target won't be changed for the EV. Now we learn that Honda may be headed for a General Motors EV1/Who Killed the Electric Car? scenario because the company is only offering the all-electric Fit for lease and will take the cars back once the leases expire. The Japanese automaker is sticking to its plan to make about 1,100 Fit EVs over three years, and is sending US dealers about 45 vehicles a month. With about 200 US Honda dealers qualified to lease the car, that means each dealer is getting about three Fit EVs a year. Through June, Honda leased 291 Fit EVs and you can read more over on GCR about how these two companies are playing the CARB ZEV game well, but are not planning on winning it any time soon. Permalink | Email this | Comments
With 200 US Honda dealers qualified to lease the Fit EV, each dealer is only getting about three a year.
While the history of electric vehicles has been getting a lot of play lately, biofuels have quite a story to tell as well. Hemmings Daily just featured a brief history overview that's full of surprises - one is that biofuels date back more than 300 years, well before any real internal combustion engines.
Biofuels come from the same fermentation and distilling process that produces alcohol. Around the 1700s, people began processing corn husks, oily plants (such as peanuts) and crop waste into a fuel that could be burned in stoves, lamps and then was an ingredient in moonshine. Alcohol was one of the very first fuels influencing the design of internal combustion engines around the world. US citizen Samuel Morey was credited with running his prototype engine on alcohol in 1826.
But the passage of the Internal Revenue Act in 1862 had an impact, taxing alcohol at $2 per gallon, played a big role in biofuels fizzling out. Europeans continued to use ethanol and other biofuels for tractors, farm equipment, stoves and lamps. German inventor Rudolph Diesel got busy trying to get his famous diesel engine to run on peanut oil. The most fascinating American mentioned in the article is Henry Ford. 100 years ago, companies like Standard Oil were putting a lot of cheap gasoline on the market and Ford eventually saw that the Model T would run on gasoline. There was a time, though, where he advocated biofuels.
But the passage of the Internal Revenue Act in 1862 had an impact, taxing alcohol at $2 per gallon, played a big role in biofuels fizzling out.
Ford saw biofuels as a pragmatic symbol for American economics, unifying farms and factories. Farmers could use their crop waste to fuel factories, and factories could make farm equipment and passenger cars. The early Model T was designed to run on both alcohol and gasoline. Ford was convinced that another reason to go this route was that America would someday run out of oil that was easy to pump out of the ground. 100 years later, we're finding out he was right. Read the Hemmings Daily article for more. Permalink | Email this | Comments
March: 2,236. April: 1,937. May: 2,138. June: 2,225.
Those are the US sales totals for the Nissan Leaf over the last four months. According to Erik Gottfried, Nissan's director of electric vehicle sales and marketing, the numbers are a bit too high. Or production is too low. Or something. Point is, demand is apparently outstripping supply.
Despite having a stated annual capacity of 150,000 Leaf EVs at its Smyrna, TN plant - over 10,000 a month - Leaf production in the Volunteer State has not yet ramped up to a level that can satisfy demand for 2,200 Leafs a month. According to Automotive News, Gottfried recently told dealers in Texas that, "we're doing everything we can to get them more inventory. But it's taking some time. ... We're going to be short on inventory all through the summer. It will be late fall before we can produce enough to satisfy everybody."
Nissan says it's "going to be short on inventory all through the summer."
Everybody in this case means the expanding markets outside the West Coast, where all the cool EVs have long been allowed to play. AN says that the third-largest market for the Leaf is now Atlanta, where there is only a nine-day supply of the EV. The world's most popular highway-speed EV (over 60,000 have been sold worldwide, and around 30,000 in the US) got a big price drop earlier this year when the company started making the car in the US. Previously, all Leafs were exported from Japan. Permalink | Email this | Comments
Lithium-ion batteries have two big hurdles to climb if they're going to power millions of plug-in vehicles - they're too expensive and their reliability has been called to question. For next-gen li-ion batteries to make it, there had better be a cheap and plentiful component. How about rice husks?
Researchers at Chungnam National University in South Korea say there's huge potential for the husks, which make up 20 percent of harvested rice kernels and are produced at a rate of about 80 million metric tons a year. Until now, rice husks were mostly thrown away because their usage has been limited to low-value agriculture functions such as fertilizer additive and bed soil. They have tough and abrasive properties, which severely limits the value. But the Chungnam researchers figured out that silica in the rice husks can be converted into silicon for high-capacity lithium batteries. Silicon is in high demand for batteries that are used in many hybrid and electric vehicles. Perhaps rice husks could make the silicon cheaper and thereby reduce the battery price?
The researchers took several steps to extract the silica. Through acid and heat treatments, they found that the silicon had excellent electrochemical performance when used for anodes, further suggesting the potential of rice husks.
We wonder if Toyota might be game to try out this potential. Aside from its passion for next-gen batteries, the company recently dug up some controversy surrounding with the leveling of a 17th century rice patty. Rice farmers would likely be pleased to see Toyota make restitution by paying for rice husks to support the future of next-gen lithium batteries. Permalink | Email this | Comments
During the past two years, plug-in hybrid and extended range electric vehicles like the Toyota Prius Plug-In and Chevy Volt were beating battery electric vehicles like the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i-MiEV in sales volume. That changed for the first time in the first half of 2013, with battery EVs beating plug-in hybrids by thousands of units.
Green Car Reports estimated that pure electric vehicles reached approximately 20,939 units sold in the first six months of 2013 versus 18,335 plug-in hybrids and extended range Chevy Volts during that time. Electric Drive Transportation Association gave battery electric vehicles an even higher number - 22,712 sold in the first six months and the same number for the competing category as cited by Green Car Reports - 18,335. That may have something to do with estimates made on Tesla Model S sales figures, since Tesla Motors hasn't been supplying that data.
What's the difference between 2013 and previous sales figures? The Tesla Model S is the obvious answer; see AutoblogGreen's June sales figures to compare the numbers - 9,304 units sold in the first six months of this year versus zero during that time period in 2012. While it's a lot more expensive than the Nissan Leaf and and other pure EVs, Telsa has been persuasive through its "revolutionary" financing option and strong guaranteed resale values.
Nissan has played a part in the shift toward battery electrics through its aggressive pricing and financing packages this year; price wars have helped other pure EVs like the Honda Fit EV grow sales figures. The Leaf's discounts are mainly a byproduct of Nissan moving production of the Leaf from Japan to its Smyrna, TN, plant, which lowered its manufacturing costs and its sticker price. Leaf sales jumped three fold from a year ago - 9,839 units sold in the first half of 2013 versus 3,148 in the first six months of 2012, according to AutoblogGreen sales figures.
General Motors is planning to be twice as nice to the environment four years from now when it comes to producing high-MPG vehicles. The US automaker recently spelled out its green goals in its sustainability report and notably predicted that it would double the number of vehicles it makes that get at least 40 miles per gallon (highway) by 2017. That means boosting production of extended-range plug-ins like the Chevrolet Volt and Cadillac ELR as well as increasing sales of the Chevrolet Sonic, Cruze Eco and Diesel, and Chevrolet Spark EV. In all, GM says it will have a half-million hybrids, extended-range plug-ins and electric vehicles (including those with eAssist) on US roads by 2017, while its fleet will have cut its CO2 emissions by 15 percent by 2016.
GM is also trying to boost its green production cred by increasing the number of recyclable materials while boosting the use of solar and biomass energy and reducing waste. Already, the General has cut its factory carbon footprint by 5.3 percent since 2010.
GM lost a bit of momentum this year when it comes to boosting green-car sales. Through June, company green car sales basically tread water, with EV, extended-range plug-in, hybrid and mild hybrid sales up just 1.4 percent from a year earlier. That year-over-year growth rate slowed from 14 percent at the end of the first quarter. You can find GM's press release below and check out a copy of its sustainability report here (PDF).Permalink | Email this | Comments
'Follow the money,' states the old axiom, and when it comes to green-car production, Ford is doing just that. The US automaker is boosting its number of electrification-engineering staff by 50 percent this year to 500 workers while sinking $50 million in its electrified-vehicle development centers. And by the end of the year, Ford will have doubled its electrification-battery testing capacity.
"Strong consumer acceptance of Ford hybrids shows that our plan to lead in fuel economy across our lineup is working," said Raj Nair, Ford's group vice president of global product development in a July 19th statement. "Our commitment to deliver great fuel economy in our cars, utilities and trucks is a key reason we are seeing strong growth in coastal markets and with import buyers."
Indeed, Ford has boosted its US market share of hybrid and plug-in vehicle sales to 16 percent from 4 percent a year ago. Through June, Ford's green-car sales have jumped more than fivefold from a year earlier to 46,197 vehicles. Check out Ford's press release below.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Renault and sister company Nissan, long advocates of electric-drive adoption, are gearing up for increased demand in emerging global markets by starting production on a modular-based platform in India in 2015. The Renault-Nissan Alliance said last week that it would start producing its Common Module Family (CMF) of vehicles at the companies' Chennai plant in 2015. CMF is based on an engine bay, cockpit, front underbody, rear underbody and electrical architecture that can be reassembled into "hundreds" of configurations. This platform is an alternative to what Renault-Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn calls a "decontented" car that is often handed down from more mature automotive industries to developing markets.
While Renault-Nissan didn't specifically mention electric-drive vehicles, here's guessing that the models based on CMF will be of the smaller, more fuel-efficient variety, given that the Chennai factory produces models such as the Nissan Micra (pictured above) and Renault Duster and that first-time car buyers aren't likely to go for gas-guzzlers. Between 2008 and 2015, the Chennai factory, which officially opened in 2010, will have received about $1 billion worth of investments from Renault-Nissan.
The initiative for the Chennai factory, which produces about 400,000 vehicles annually, is driven by rapid growth in the so-called BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries, which account for about 30 percent of Nissan sales, up from just one percent in 1999.
Check out Nissan's press release below.Permalink | Email this | Comments