Reuters says that the oil industry does not fear the electric car. The oil industry does not expect plug-in EVs to outnumber fossil fuel cars in our lifetime. In the past two months BP and Exxon have released data which points to electric cars making up only 4 or 5% of all cars globally in 20 to 30 years. Yet some governments are targeting as much as a 60% market penetration by EVs over that period. The oil industry forecasts do not take into account major innovation breakthroughs in battery technology that could make plug-in EVs more range competitive with fossil fuel vehicles.  Royal Dutch Shell, it should be noted, does see a rosier future for plug-in electric vehicles and predicts they will account for up to 40% of the global car fleet but not until 2050. BP expects the efficiency of diesel and gasoline internal combustion engines to double by 2030, with a third of vehicles on the road being hybrids. This trend will be driven by more stringent fuel economy standards in the U.S., CO2 reduction legislation in Europe and an end to oil subsidies in developing countries.

Hoosier Ag Today notes that American auto manufacturers are not embracing flex fuel vehicles this year. GM says that lack of an ethanol infrastructure is the problem, “Until we have ethanol fuel available across the country, it is still going to be a limited space” said a GM official at the Chicago Auto Show last week. The ethanol industry has complained that auto makers are not doing enough to inform consumers about their fuel choices. Ethanol supporters says it costs auto makers very little to make a vehicle a flex fuel vehicle.  GM disputes that and says there is a significant investment needed to make a car capable of using higher blends of ethanol. Flex fuel vehicles are very popular in Brazil where in 2010 there were 70 flex vehicles available from 11 auto makers.

We learn from Eco-Business that the Mitsubishi i electric car has won the greenest car in America award for 2012.  It edged out Honda Civic’s compressed natural gas vehicle. The i averages 112 miles per gallon according to the US Environmental Protection Agency.  In Canada this is 2.1 litres per 100 kilometres.  For a road test of the Mitsubishi i go here.

For $3600 you can have a six day course on how to drive an electric and hybrid vehicle says the Sanford Herald. The cost includes lodging and meals but not airfare.  Students from around the world are paying the fee to attend the course at the Automotive Career Development Center (ACDC) in Sanford, South Carolina. For more information on the company and its training seminars, visit the ACDC Website at www.fixhybrid.com

OILPRICE asks: Are Electric Delivery Trucks the Future of Trucking? A new study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology shows that a fleet of electric trucks can be more cost effective than the standard diesel fleet. Electric trucks can cost 9 to 12% less to operate than trucks powered by diesel engines, when used to make deliveries on an everyday basis in big cities. As battery costs continue to drop, the cost advantage will only increase. See also the MIT site here.

Hertz is the first rental car company to trial wireless EV recharging says The Sacramento Bee. Hertz will be using the Plugless Power system supplied by Evatran.  This system uses inductive power transfer to wirelessly charge EVs. Installation of the system at Hertz’s corporate headquarters in New Jersey will be completed in this month.

Reuters has a story about ABB’s efforts to bring EV recharging stations to countries around the world.  The current global EV recharging infrastructure business is about $50-$100 million but ABB expects this to rise to $1 billion in five years. Recently the company was awarded a 6 million euro deal to build a 200 fast-charging network throughout Estonia. ABB produces chargers that use both direct current (DC) and alternating current (AC). Because DC can carry heavier loads, a battery can be recharged in 15-30 minutes, compared to the six to eight hours it takes with a lower-voltage AC unit.

Renewable Energy Magazine draws our attention to EV charging infrastructure company, Carbon Day Automotive, which has published a map of real-time publicly available EV charging stations across the US. New locations are added daily. Each circle represents the number of charging stations in that area that can be individually located. By clicking on these clusters, users can then zoom in to find specific places to charge, real-time availability of the stations, and how to get there. green motor tells us of a similar service that lists the vast majority of the UK’s charging points and as many as 16,000 worldwide. PlugSurfing is striving to indicate which chargers are currently vacant, in-use, or out of order.

TheGreenCar says that northeast England is trialling the first pay-as-you-go EV charging system in the UK. Although run by Charge Your Car, the charging stations can be used by anyone through an automated text system. The trial runs until April.  Drivers can identify the Pay as you Go charging stations on the charging point map located on the website www.chargeyourcar.org.uk

The city of Tainan, Taiwan will have 201 EV charging stations by the end of 2013 according to Taiwan Today.

The Detroit News reports that US retailers are installing large numbers of charging stations even though EV sales are slow.  Drugstore chain Walgreen Co. is installing chargers at about 800 stores nationwide. Macy’s is installing chargers at some department stores in San Diego. Kohl’s Corp. is undertaking equipping 33 stores nationwide with charging stations, and Best Buy said it will test them at 12 locations. In the past three months, IKEA has placed five at California stores, one in Portland, Ore., and one in Seattle. Additional charging stations will be added to its stores in East Palo Alto, Calif., and Tempe, Ariz. At the start of this year there were 5,084 public chargers across the US with over a quarter in California, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The tepid state of the US economy has been a driving force behind retailers adding EV charging stations as they try to get a competitive advantage over their rivals.

New EV charging stations opened or are planned for Tucson, Arizona; Hendersonville, North Carolina; Research Triangle Park, North Carolina; Rancho Cucamonga, California; Boynton Beach, Florida; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Richmond, British Columbia.

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