Last month OPEC crude oil production reached its highest level in recent history as Iran increased production and sales following the lifting of the nuclear sanctions by Western nations, and Saudi Arabia and Iraq increased their output.

An electric, driverless shuttle bus will soon take to the public streets of the Netherlands. The WePod will ride back and forth in the central Dutch agricultural town of Wageningen. The shuttle pilot project will be expanded in coming months and will eventually be used as public transport along a 6 kilometer route in the town. When fully operational, the WePods will travel at 25 km per hour.

In April, the Netherlands will hold the first trial of driverless semi-trucks at the port of Rotterdam, with the goal of sending cargo using autonomous road trains from Europe’s largest port throughout the continent by 2019.

The UK government has announced the formation of 8 projects to gather detailed information about autonomous or driverless automobiles. One project, UK Connected Intelligent Transport Environment, will explore the benefits of “talking car” technologies, on 40 miles of Coventry roads. Another will develop driverless shuttles with advanced sensors and control systems, with a focus on providing transport for disabled and visually impaired people.

Japanese automaker Honda said it will be selling its new hydrogen fuel cell vehicle in the US state of  California by the end of this year. Honda’s Clarity Fuel Cell will sell for about $60,000. By 2020, Honda predicts that about 20% of all vehicle sales in the US will be hybrids. As with Toyota, the success of these new vehicles is dependent on the state constructing a sufficient number of hydrogen re-fueling stations for drivers.

Honda and General Motors announced they plan to work together to build a new plant to produce hydrogen fuel cells and begin their mass production by 2025. The purpose of the joint venture facility is to cut down on the development time and production costs of these new vehicles. They will each build their own hydrogen vehicles independently.

In 2015 French automaker Renault sold the most electric cars on the European continent with a total of 23,086 or 23% of the EV market. Total electric car sales in Europe last year was 97,786 units, which was a 47.8% increase over 2014. Electric vehicles represent 0.61% of all vehicles on the European continent.

The demand for electric cars in Germany remains weak – with only 12,363 newly registered e-cars in the country last year, in contrast to a total of around 3.2 million newly registered passenger vehicles of all types. EVs accounted for a minuscule 0.004% of all German vehicle sales.  To remedy this senior government officials are meeting this week to discuss what support, if any, it could provide to boost EV sales in that country.

Green Car Reports provides an electric car price guide for the 2015-2016 models.

 


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