Chet Atkins and Mark Knopfler playing I’ll See You in My Dreams
The International Energy Agency is forecasting the use of natural gas as a motor fuel will increase from the current 1.4% share of the market for transportation fuel in 2010 to 2.5% in 2018.
High taxes have made petrol prices in the Netherlands the highest in Europe. The average price of petrol in the Netherlands is €1.78 compared with €1.64 in Belgium and €1.55 in Germany. Italy is the closet to the Netherlands at €1.73.
The International Energy Agency is forecasting that the demand for crude oil from Africa will increase quickly during the next five years due to rapidly rising transportation and electric power generation needs.
The African country of Angola is becoming increasingly dependent on China as a market for its crude oil as US demand for imported light, sweet crude is replaced by shale oil from North Dakota and Texas. Increases in drilling efficiency have lowered the cost of extracting shale oil from North Dakota to $35-60 per barrel.
Mongolia announced it has reached an agreement with PetroChina – a subsidiary of China National Offshore Oil Corporation – to exchange crude oil drilled in Mongolia for petroleum products from China. Mongolia is attempting to reduce its dependence on Russia for petroleum products.
The US state of North Dakota reports that shale oil production hit an all-time high of 782,000 barrels of oil per day during March for 8,634 producing wells. The state says there still is adequate rail capacity to move the oil to Gulf Coast refineries.
Brazil’s state-controlled Petrobras sold $11 billion worth of bonds at auction last week as part of the $237 billion it expects to spend in the next four years to exploit deep water crude oil fields off its Atlantic coast. Petrobras hopes to double its production from the current 2.2 million b/d to 5.7 million by the end of the decade.
Venezuela is completing an agreement to borrow $4 billion from China to finance an increase of Orinoco heavy crude oil production from the current 140,000 b/d to 330,000 b/d. China is already importing 626,000 b/d from Venezuela to pay off $30 billion worth of loans currently outstanding.
The share of US natural gas production coming from the Gulf of Mexico has declined from 24% to 6% in the last decade.
The operators of Israel’s two offshore natural gas fields say that a third field is showing promise and could contain 2 trillion cubic feet of gas. These discoveries increase the possibility that Israel will be energy independent in the near future.
The UK has issued more than 330 licenses for shale oil and shale gas exploration since the ban on hydraulic fracking was lifted in December 2012.
Last week the US approved a new $10 billion liquified natural gas (LNG) facility in Texas that could begin exporting LNG by 2015. The 5.2 billion expansion of the Panama Canal will allow the economical transport of LNG from the US to Asia. There is still concern that large LNG exports will drive up natural gas prices in the US hurting thereby the economy.
Japan’s 10 major electricity utilities lost a combined $15 billion last year, the same amount as the year before. Tepco reported a $10 billion loss—nearly all as a direct result of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident. All but one of the country’s nuclear operators were affected by the shutdown of Japan’s reactors and the urgent need to replace nuclear electricity with electricity generated from more expensive imported natural gas.
China’s environment ministry has given the go-ahead for the construction of what will become the country’s tallest hydroelectric dam. To be built over 10 years and with a height of 314 metres, the dam will serve the hydropower project on the Dadu River in southwestern Sichuan province. China aims to raise the share of non-fossil fuels in its energy mix to 15% by 2020, up from 9.4% in 2011. Hydropower is expected to make the biggest contribution.
Turkey’s largest wind power plant has broken ground and is expected to generate enough electrify to power 170,000 homes. The 143 MW wind farm is located in Balıkesir. It is the country’s intention to generate a total of 20,000 MW of wind energy by 2023.
The World Wind Energy Association reports 100 countries are using electricity generated by wind turbines, with Iceland recently becoming the 100th nation to do so.
There are now 100,000 plug-in electric vehicles in the US. This figure includes both pure electric that are powered solely by a battery as well as hybrid vehicles that combine electricity with gasoline or diesel, such as the Chevrolet Volt.
Solar panels were cheaper than wind turbines for the first time last year in certain markets, per unit of capacity, and are rapidly closing a remaining gap in the full cost of power generation. As early as this year, solar could for the first time surpass wind in annual global installed capacity, given an expected contraction in the wind market. The full costs of wind power generation remain less than solar because of higher productivity and lower installation costs, but those advantages are eroding rapidly given current trends in equipment prices, with a glut of Chinese-made solar panels sending prices tumbling.
with h/t Tom Whipple
Tags: Africa, automobiles, Brazil, China, electricity, energy, fossil fuels, Fukushima, hydro power, Japan, natural gas, nuclear, oil, renewable, shale gas, shale oil, solar, transportation, UK, United States, wind
EV World says we can expect 10 million charging stations globally by 2020. A new study from IMS Research predicts the number of EV charging stations will grow from 135,000 worldwide in 2011 to as many as 10.7 million in 2020, with the fastest growth likely to occur in the US, China, Japan and Germany. “These countries have strong domestic carmakers that are pursuing electric vehicles, public and private investment in charging infrastructure, and comparatively strong government leadership with regard to e-mobility,” the report said. See also autonews, In boost to EVs, report sees surge in charging outlets worldwide.
FleetNews notes the UK city of London has added another 13oo EV charging points. The charging points have been installed at over 300 sites including supermarkets, shopping centres, council and private car parks, hospitals and on the street. London now has Europe’s largest urban charging network.
CSPnet looks at the obstacles facing the growth of public fast charging stations for EVs. Direct Current (DC) Fast charging is an electric vehicle supply equipment technology that can provide a full charge to an all-electric vehicle in less than one hour, compared to lower-voltage Level 1 and Level 2 home and public charging stations, which can take several hours. Often it is referred to as Level 3 charging. One of the biggest barriers to the roll out of DC fast charging equipment is its costs which is currently about $16,000 per unit. There is also the problem of different standards used by Japanese automakers versus US and European manufacturers, which is similar to the BETA vs. VHS videotape issue. Experts expect it will take a decade to get a common global standard. Finally, because utilities charge different prices for electricity over the day, the owner of the DC fast charger equipment needs a sufficient demand from EVs in order to work out a profitable pricing policy. Otherwise it could be stuck with very large costs for its electricity depending on when EVs recharge.
plugincars tells how buses in Long Beach, California will be using wireless charging. The buses are to be built by Chinese automaker BYD and the wireless charger by WAVE Inc. The wireless charger can recharge the vehicles with an air gap of eight to ten inches. WAVE will construct 2 wireless charging stations in the city.
In the village of Hornstein, Austria a bus is operating on solar power reports the Austrian Independent. The electricity for the electric motor comes from the photovoltaic systems, which can harness the power of the Sun both on the roof of the 9-seater bus as well as on the roof of its garage.
The sun energy is stored in two exchangeable batteries. When one is in use, the other is loaded. Therefore, in principle, the bus can drive for an unlimited distance without having charging breaks.
DailyTech informs us that the US city of Lansing, Michigan has opened the first municipality-owned solar powered electric vehicle charging station in that country.
The charging station generates 5 kW of solar energy for charging electric vehicles. The solar power also operates the LED lighting for the signs and banners on the charging station. It was designed to recharge the fleet of Lansing Board of Water & Light EVs. When the carport is not being used, the electricity will go into the local gird and be used elsewhere in the city.
Several posts appeared this week about weak EV sales this year. The Australian said Electric car market faces rocky road in US while Consumer Affairs says the Outlook for electric cars remains hazy. In addition we have a survey from the American Automobile Association reported by The Auto Channel:
…eight out of ten U.S. adults are unsure about or unlikely to buy an electric vehicle (EV) and 30 percent of them say it is due to mileage limitations and availability of charging stations locations….The AAA survey also finds many consumers citing the higher cost in general of an electric vehicle as a reason they would be unlikely to make such a purchase.
Consumer Affairs also notes that people who have leased the Chevrolet Volt in the US are trying to get out of their lease after only 12 months into their 36 month lease. For the Toyota Prius hybrid this number is at only 9 months.
Things are not much better in China. The China Post wrote Like US, China slow to embrace electric vehicles. “Despite choking pollution in big Chinese cities, consumers here see EVs as too expensive or too difficult to recharge.” Even with the availability of large government subsidies, total sales of hybrid and electric vehicles last year were 12,791, according to the Chinese Association of Automobile Manufacturers. However, the real number of electric vehicles sold in China last year was only about 3,000, when factoring out hybrids and vehicles that aren’t roadworthy, such as golf carts, according to Namrita Chow, a Shanghai-based analyst for IHS Automotive.
Navigant Research thinks the situation in Europe may be different with higher petrol prices than North America driving EV demand, says The Auto Channel. Navigant believes national energy policies in Europe coupled with increasing availability of electric vehicle charging infrastructure will encourage strong growth in the market for plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs). It expects sales of PEVs will grow from fewer than 37,000 in 2012 to more than 669,000 in 2020. The top six European countries for battery electric vehicles on the road in 2020 will be Germany, France, Norway, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Sweden, with this group representing more than 67% of the total European market. You can access the report here.
Next Generation Transportation News reports the US federal government is adding 10,000 hybrid EVs to its fleet of vehicles. The addition of these vehicles is expected to reduce gasoline consumption by about 1 million gallons annually.
Energy Live News tells us police in The West Midlands of the UK are leasing 30 new electric cars from Nissan for patrol duty. In 2009, this police force became the first in the country to operate an electric patrol car. The Nissans offer a range of between 70 and 80 miles from a full battery charge. The cost to fully charge the battery is £1.75 compared to a full tank of petrol which costs around £50.00.
The next electric car breakthrough will be short distance vehicles according to plugincars. The post refers to a triall by Toyota in Japan to focus on supplying EV service (electric car or electric bike) for the “last mile” rather than a long trip. The idea is to move people from their homes or businesses to public transportation rather than for long trips where range anxiety sets in. Using smart cards or other devices, people would rent the EV on a short-term basis to move them that mile or two where they could connect with public transportation.
In a transportation context, it (the last mile) applies to the tremendous potential for carbon reduction and other benefits if public transit and city centers can be made accessible to the masses of people who live a mile or two away.
SKIFT tells us that in Norway early adopters of electric cars are rich, urban, educated men.
NewsDaily informs us that Hong Kong has its first electric taxis. 45 bright red BYD e6′s are now operating in the Chinese city. The electric cars have been rented by the Hong Kong Taxi and Public Light Bus Association, which is testing them over the next six months. The sedans are powered by iron phosphate batteries and take two hours to charge, They can then travel for 300 kilometres (more than 180 miles).
Post Danmark has its first of 50 new electric vans reports Post & Parcel. The Mercedes-Benz Vito E-Cell vehicle joins an existing fleet of 1,700 electric bikes and 100 electric scooters. The postal operator is installing vehicle charging stations in various delivery depots where the 50 electric cars will be operating. Powered by a lithium ion battery, the van has a range of about 100 km and the batteries can be recharged in 6 hours with a fast charging system.
The future of the automobile industry was the focus of a roundtable of experts at the Massachusetts Institution of Technology (MIT). BOLDRIDE summarized the discussion for us. Called Mass vs. Efficiency the panelists grappled with the conundrum of meeting new mileage standards set by the US while simultaneously adding new technology and the extra weight of required safety equipment. US auto sellers are required to meet the goal of a fleet average of 35.5 MPG by 2016 and 54.5 MPG by 2025. The key appears to be to find new ways to replace weight from automobiles. One alternative is to use lighter materials. GM and BMW are experimenting with carbon fibre. Volkswagon was highlighted for its use of aluminum extrusions which enable its XL1 to be capable of 200 MPG. The panelists agreed that there is no magic bullet for reducing weight and that each auto company would have to come up with its own solutions for their vehicles. Another alternative is to introduce innovative powertrains such as the Volvo V60 Plugin. Combining a diesel powertrain with plug-in capabilities and a hybrid powertrain, this vehicle achieves 125 MPG, with a 31-mile pure-electric range.
In a related post from Green Car Reports, Volkswagon talked about its future at the Vienna Motor Symposium. Going forward the company plans to introduce an eclectic mix of plug-in hybrid cars, natural gas vehicles, diesels, and a new ten-speed dual-clutch transmission. Most of VW's plug-ins will feature an electric range of around 30 miles. Volkswagen's goal is to bring the carbon dioxide emissions of its European fleet down to as low as 95 g/km by 2020. Variable valve timing, high-pressure injection and an 'e-booster' electric turbocharger will all contribute to better petrol mileage. We also learn from The Bionenergy Site that Volkswagon is experimenting with biiodiesel made from wood. Finland-based biofuels producer UPM is working with VW to start fleet tests of renewable domestic diesel derived from forest waste. The tests will focus on engine functionality, consumption and CO2 emissions. Test vehicles will drive up to 20,000 kilometres within the Helsinki metropolitan area.
GEEKQUINOX says we may have flying cars by 2021. (see photo above and video) The US. company Terrafugia Inc. plans on producing a flying car that can be flown by anyone, and it should be ready as early as 2021. Its TF-X will be a small four-seater hybrid vehicle that will not only be legal to drive on streets and highways, but will also be able to take off and fly in the air. In order to take off and land, it will only need about 30 metres of level ground. In the air it can travel up to 315 km/h, and with a range of around 800 kilometres. The cost is likely to be between $500,000 and $1 million. See also Gadget Review, A New Hybrid for Land and Air TF-X Receives FAA Approval.
EV World explores The wild and wonderful electric cars of the future. How about folding wheelbases, 360 degree turning capability, strong, light weight materials, easy vehicle disassembly and recycling, in-wheel motors?
With so many competing transportation fuels on the market this decade (diesel, gasoline, natural gas, electricity, hydrogen), greener ideal explores the best way to compare fuel efficiency among alternative fuels . Until now we have used miles per gallon (MPG) or litres per 100 kilometers (l/100 km) as the means of comparing engine efficiency. That is changing with the introduction of electricity where MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent) has been introduced. For example, in the US the Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid is rated at 95 MPGe and the Tesla Model S 85kWh is rated at 89 MPGe. The writer of this post now offers another consideration. How about MPC or cents per mile? "What we really want to know is how much it’s going to cost for us to fill up every week." However, as the author acknowledges, this measure would fluctuate constantly as the price of fuel differs from day to day and from location to location. Hence, there would have to be a continuous reassessment of efficiency comparisons among vehicles as the prices of gasoline, diesel, natural gas and electricity change. We really need an all-inclusive metric that relates distance, energy used and price to make an accurate comparison of vehicle efficiency.
Forbes looks at data that suggests e-bikes (electric bicycles) may be replacing cars in Europe. While car sales continue to decline in Europe, e-bike purchases are climbing. Navigant Research expects the growth of e-bikes in Europe to grow to between 1.0 million and 1.2 million sales in 2013.
Not every city is enamored with electric bikes. Gas2 tells us the US city of New York has increased the fine for riding an electric bike from $500 to $1,000, thereby preventing New Yorkers from adopting these bike/scooter hybrids. The city's decision follows on numerous complaints of pedestrians nearly being hit on the congested NYC streets, and bike lanes, by delivery men using electric bikes which can reach speeds up to 30 miles per hour. David Pollack from the Committee for Taxi Safety went so far as to say the bikes are “a menace to little children” and a “menace to society”.
REVE says EVs will only comprise between 2% and 10% of the global car population by 2035. A report by Innovation Electricity Efficiency says the higher number will only be reached if battery technology increases markedly. Lower battery cost (a significant portion of the EV total cost), greater range, and faster recharge times are critical if EVs are to become commonplace as hoped for by many governments and environmental groups. It turns out that the initial purchase price of an EV is more important to potential EV purchases than the price of oil (i.e. gasoline or diesel).
To overcome the initial price barrier for consumers, Mercedes-Benz is offering a lease the battery option for its Smart Fortwo EV in the US market. Earth Techling reports customers can buy or lease the vehicle with or without the battery.
The option, called Battery Assurance Plus, enables a customer to buy the vehicle only – without the battery – for $19,990 and separately rent the battery (the performance of which is guaranteed for up to 10 years) for $80 a month plus taxes. For leasing customers, the total monthly payment is $199 with the battery rental included. Battery Assurance Plus also covers annual maintenance on the battery and, if necessary, replacement. The rental contract for the battery is transferrable for up to 10 years with no mileage restrictions.
The Union of Concerned Scientists offers its views on the issue of EV range anxiety while plugincars educates us on what to expect from EV range now and over time. However, having read the latter article's discussion of battery degradation over time and then the comments on this aspect of the article, one begins to understand why people are not racing to their local EV dealer to trade in their internal combustion engine. Confusion and lack of knowledge with complicated technology is a bane to product success.
Gas2 notes that the automobile aftermarket is coming out with EV accessories. One of the more popular accessories is a charging cord upgrade that facilitates 240 volt charging of the Nissan Leaf, Toyota Prius PHEV, MItsubishi i-MiEV, Chevrolet Volt, and Honda Fit EV. For example, this upgrade will enable the Nissan Leaf to charge in four hours using a 240 volt, 30 amp outlet, rather than 7 to 8 hours on a household circuit.
Click Green gives us the top 5 green vehicles in the UK this year. Its choices: Nissan Leaf, Peugeot iOn, Renault Zoe, Chevrolet Volt, and Citroen DS5 Hybrid 4.