A new solar energy project in the US state of California will be using the Sun to help extract crude oil. What will be the state’s largest solar plant, located near Bakersfield, Belridge Solar will generate steam to inject into the ground to help extract the oil. Solar power will create 850 megawatts (MW) of thermal energy to produce 12 million barrels of steam per year. Meanwhile a solar electric plant will produce 26.5 MW of electricity. The project expects to begin operation in 2020.

Toyota is building the worlds first megawatt-scale 100% renewable power and hydrogen generation station. The Tri-Gen facility at the Port of Long Beach, California will use bio-waste sourced from agricultural waste to generate water, electricity and hydrogen. When it comes online in 2020, the plant will generate approximately 2.35 megawatts of electricity and 1.2 tons of hydrogen per day. It will also supply hydrogen to all Toyota fuel cell vehicles moving through the Port.

Delphi Automotive is aiming to lower the cost of self-driving cars by more than 90% to around $5,000 by 2025. While current estimates for the cost of a self-driving hardware and software package range from $70,000 to $150,000, CEO Kevin Clark said “the cost will come down to about $5,000 by 2025 because of technology developments and economies of scale.” The largest cost reductions will come when automakers re-engineer their basic vehicle platforms specifically to accommodate electric motors, batteries and self-driving sensors. Future vehicle platforms that will have fewer components, but much more software, better communications capability and advanced safety systems. Clark also noted that self-driving vehicles will grow first in the commercial market, where there’s economic incentive” and where fleet operators “are in a better position to absorb higher costs” than traditional automakers.

General Motors says it plans a commercial launch of fleets of fully autonomous robo-taxis in multiple dense urban environments in the US in 2019. The ride service will compete with Uber, Waymo and similar ride-sharing services. GM noted that autonomous ride sharing vehicles could be quite profitable because the vehicle could be continuously used by multiple users over its lifespan.

Honda claims it will have electric car charging time down to 22 minutes by 2022. The Japanese automaker says it will launch a number of EVs that year capable of adding about 150 miles of range in 15 minutes. To do this ,it will offer new batteries capable of taking advantage of ultra-fast chargers that we’ll begin to see open up between now and when these new cars become available. Japan expects to have 350-kilowatt chargers in 2020, up from the 150 kW that Japan’s fastest chargers currently offer.

Among other companies claiming breakthroughs in charging is Fisker, which says its EV will be able to add 125 miles of range in just 9 minutes of charging. Daimler claims it can provide a full charge, worth 300 miles of range, in just five minutes. Tesla is planning “Megachargers” for its electric truck, which it says will provide 400 miles of range in 30 minutes.

Airbus, Rolls-Royce and Siemens are developing a hybrid electric engine for flight. Called the E-Fan X program, the three companies expect to be flying a demonstrator aircraft in 2020 after ground tests, provisionally on a BAe 146 aircraft. Airbus will be responsible for the control architecture of the hybrid-electric propulsion system and batteries, and its integration with flight controls. Rolls-Royce will be responsible for the turbo shaft engine and 2 megawatt (MW) generator, while Siemens will deliver the 2 MW electric motor.

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