Daimler AG announced plans to spend $1 billion to start production of Mercedes-Benz electric vehicles at its factory in the US state of Alabama. The plant will assemble electric sport utility vehicles, making Daimler the first European company to assemble plug-in EVs in the US.

The alliance of automakers Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi revealed their six-year plan in which they will accelerate their collaboration on common platforms, powertrains and next-generation electric, autonomous and connected technologies. 12 new zero-emission electric vehicles will be launched by 2022, sharing common electric vehicle platforms and components for multiple segments. At the same time 40 vehicles will be introduced with different levels of autonomy, all the way to fully autonomous capability. The member companies will increase their use of common platforms, with nine million units based on four common platforms. They will also extend the use of common powertrains to 75% of total sales. In addition there will be a major expansion in shared electric vehicle technologies, alongside the development and deployment of advanced autonomous drive systems, vehicle connectivity and new mobility services. On the EV side the companies say:

  • a new family of EV motor and batteries will be introduced from 2020, shared across the member companies
  • a 600 kilometer (373 miles) EV range will be reached by 2022
  • they expect a 30% decrease in battery cost from 2016 to 2022
  • their vehicles will require 15 minutes charging time to deliver a range of 230 km (143 miles) by 2022

The city of Trondheim, Norway has ordered 25 electric buses from Volvo. Starting a year from now, the buses from Volvo will run on four routes covering distances of between 12 and 15 kilometers each. The purchase will increase the number of electric buses in the city to 35, giving it the the largest electric bus fleet in the Nordic country.

Reuters tells us how the road to electric car paradise is paved with handouts. Norway, with the most EVs per capita, has used 12 billion kroner ($1.5 billion) of the taxpayers money to put 140,000 pure electric cars on the road.  Countries are finding when the EV subsidies are removed, EV sales drop and sometimes precipitously, revealing that it is economics and not ideology that is driving EV sales.

Neste and Genève Aéroport in Switzerland are partnering on the introduction of renewable jet fuel into aircraft operations from Geneva International Airpor. They hope by the end of next year renewables will comprise 1% of the annual jet fuel consumption at Genève Aéroport 2018. Neste is the world’s leading renewable biodiesel producer from waste products and residues. The International Civil Aviation Organization has set a target that from 2020 onwards the growth in aviation is carbon-neutral. Currently, the only viable alternative to fossil liquid fuels for powering commercial aircraft is sustainable renewable jet fuel.

British Airways has entered into a partnership with Velocys to design a series of waste plants that convert household waste into renewable jet fuel to power its jet fleet. Velocys is a renewable fuel company.The airline plans to supply its aircraft fleet with increasing amounts of renewable jet fuel over the next decade. The first plant will take hundreds of thousands of tonnes of household waste per-year, destined for landfill or incineration, including diapers, plastic food containers and chocolate bar wrappers, and convert it into renewable jet fuel.

A new report from Global Market Insights reveals that by 2024, the total global market for pumped hydro storage will exceed £350 billion in investment and 200 gigawatts in installed capacity. The economic drivers for this means of storing energy varies by region. In North America, the two main market forces are increasing demand for grid storage technologies and growing demand for a larger renewable energy mix. In Europe, the market is favoured by supporting government policies for storage, while regulations against emissions are becoming more and more stringent. In the Asia Pacific region, the two main driving forces are the significant increase in future energy demand and energy security and reliability of power supply. Open loop systems account for over 90% of pumped hydro storage systems globally. (For a discussion of how pumped hydro storage works see here.)

In Australia, Brisbane Airport Corporation is investing in a solar PV project, capable of generating more than 9 million kilowatt-hours a year. The 6 megawatt system, consisting of 22,000 solar panels, will be installed across six sites at Brisbane Airport. Electricity is one of the largest expenses to running Brisbane Airport, with dozens of large buildings requiring lighting, and cooling or heating, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The system is expected to be operational a year from now and will supply 18% of the airport’s electricity needs. The solar electricity generated per year is equivalent to powering over 1,700 Australian homes for a year.

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