Global energy companies have sold off more than $22.5 billion worth of Canadian oil sands assets so far this year, concerned about depressed crude oil prices, high production costs, carbon emissions, and limited pipeline access to global markets.

More energy efficient appliances, LED lighting, and a shift away from heavy industry all have contributed to a declining use of electricity in the US. Total electricity use is forecast to increase 0.8 percent by 2050 as the American economy continues to shift to less energy-intensive industries and equipment gets more efficient, according to a 2017 annual report from the country’s Energy Information Administration.

One of the world’s largest oil producers, Total, said electric vehicles may account for close to a third of new-car sales by the end of the next decade. The surge in demand for EVs will cause demand for petroleum-based fuels to peak in the 2030s.

Volkswagen Group CEO Matthias Müller announced his company will be greatly reducing the number or petroleum engines in its vehicle line-up in order to meet the demands of European and US regulators. He said: “Even though modern internal combustion engines will be relevant for at least another 20 years, it is clear that the future will be ruled by electric drives.” The German automaker’s electric drivetrain efforts will see a tripling in investment — up to $9 billion between now and 2022. In addition to a range of EVs, VW will also produce hybrids.

China has cut its massive subsidy payouts for non-petroleum cars by 20%, raising barriers to entry for new “green” vehicles. Sales of plug-in hybrid and battery electric cars fell nearly 5% in the first quarter of this year compared with the same period a year ago, reported China’s Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

Transport for London UK has established a goal of 300 fast charging stations in the Greater London area by the year 2020 in order to meet the City’s plans to significantly reduce air pollution by expanding the number of electric vehicles on its roads and highways. London’s first 75 charging points should be operational by the end of this year.

As of January 1, 2018 London is also requiring all new taxis coming into the city must be capable of zero-emissions driving, To accomplish this, the city is offering taxi drivers up to £7,500 towards their purchase of a new zero emission capable black cab.

The Auto Future has an infographic on the growth of autonomous cars.

Waymo — the company formerly known as Google’s self-driving car project — announced plans to sign up hundreds of households living in and around the US city of Phoenix, Arizona, to provide them with free, on-demand access to self-driving cars. The program will give participants access to the company’s fleet every day, at any time, to go anywhere within much of the Greater Phoenix area. Waymo will use a large fleet of self-driving Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans and Lexus RX450h SUVs. While each car will come with a human driver, the purpose of the trial is to learn more about how people use these vehicles—where they go with them and how they interact with them during rides.

Panasonic opened its first battery manufacturing facility in China. The plant will manufacture battery cells for the growing electric vehicle market in that country. Panasonic will be producing “prismatic type lithium-ion batteries” to support around 200,000 EVs a year.

The US city of Atlanta, Georgia has committed to a goal of running on 100% renewable electricity by 2035. The city becomes the 27th in this country to adopt that pledge. The city will start by transitioning all of its buildings to renewable electricity by 2025. To achieve this goal the city will encourage energy efficiency measures such as weatherization, cogeneration, district heating and cooling, decentralized electricity generation and smart grids/microgrids, the use of industrial waste heat, building controls, automated lighting, solar-powered hot water heaters and other programs that promote energy saving.


with h/t Tom Whipple

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