Airbus plans to put its electric flying taxi, the CityAirbus, into operation late next year. This announcement came after a successful full-scale ground test of the vertical take-off and landing vehicle’s propulsion system. The vehicle is entirely battery-powered (with electric 100 kilowatt motors), uses a four propeller design to navigate through crowded cities, and can carry up to four people. The plan is travel along fixed routes at a top speed of 120 km/h (74.5 mph). While Airbus would like to make it fully autonomous, they’re starting with pilots to “to ease certification and public acceptance.”

Speaking of flying vehicles, German startup E-volo, has plans to launch a taxi service next year, while Uber says it will  introduce its own flying taxis by 2020. Dubai recently successfully tested its autonomous Volocoper, to be used in urban areas for shorter, 30-minute trips. In addition, German company Lilium just received $90 million to develop an all-electric flying taxi, with the intent to have a series of commercialized aircraft by 2025.

Automaker Renault announced a six year plan in which by 2022 it will add 8 pure electric vehicles, 12 electrified vehicles and 15 autonomous vehicles.

Germany’s federal transport minister, Dorothee Bär, said her government has set aside 303 million euros ($355 million) to help build tens of thousands of electric vehicle charging points on the German highway network. She added:

“The main obstacle to expanding e-mobility is not a technical one but rather people’s concern that they will run out of battery power while they are on the road.” 

Governors from seven western US states announced plans to expand access for electric vehicles along more than 5000 miles of their highways. The EV network will be called the Regional Electric Vehicle West EV Corridor. The states include Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. The goal is to coordinate electric charging station locations so there will be less overlap yet enough frequency to keep vehicles charged; create voluntary minimum standards for charging stations to create consistency in administration, operations and management; and to incorporate charging stations into planning and developing in the region.

The US Energy Department estimates there are 16,000 electric vehicle charging stations in that country, with 43,000 actual recharging plugs available as of June. These stations charge more than 500,000 plug-in EVs, which accounts for about a quarter of the global market. The Department says the number of EV plug-in ports will need to increase more than 130% to meet future growth of the electric vehicle market in the US.

India’s wind power tariff fell to a record low of Rs2.64 per unit in an auction conducted by state-run Solar Energy Corp. of India for 1 gigawatt of wind power contracts. These tariffs are lower than the average rate of power generated by coal-fired plants owned by India’s largest power generation utility, NTPC Ltd, at Rs3.20 per unit.  India’s wind sector is transitioning from a feed-in tariff regime to tariff-based competitive auctions. Feed-in tariffs ensure a guaranteed price for wind power producers while competitive auctions do not. Anish De, partner at the infrastructure and government practice at KPMG, commented:

“These are unbelievable prices. One would have never imagined these kind of margins existed for the wind industry.”

Another oil company is entering the solar energy business. Norwegian state-owned petroleum company Statoil announced it had signed an agreement to acquire a 40% stake in the 162 megawatt Apodi solar asset in Brazil. Construction on the facility, in the northeastern state of Ceara, will commence this month with the target of producing electricity from the end of next year. The project will generate electricity for some 160,000 households. Statoil has been involved with wind projects in the North Sea off England.

Mining corporation Rio Tinto is operating the world’s first fully-autonomous train in Western Australia. The train successfully completed its first unmanned mission, travelling 100 kilometres (62 miles) without a human on board. The firm has used autonomous trains since early 2017, with about half of its train operations being completed autonomously, but always with drivers present. Rio Tinto hopes to have a fully autonomous train network by late 2018 provided it meets Australia’s safety and acceptance criteria first, as well as obtain the necessary regulatory approvals.

Petroleum companies Statoil, Shell and Total have entered a partnership agreement to develop carbon storage on the Norwegian continental shelf. The project is part of the Norwegian authorities’ efforts to develop full-scale carbon capture and storage in Norway. The first phase of this CO2 project could reach a capacity of approximately 1.5 million ton per year. The project will be designed to stimulate new commercial carbon capture projects in Norway, Europe and more globally across the world.

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