The San Francisco Chronicle tells us to get ready for self-driving cars.

Next-Gen Tranportation News provides some insight into the future of hydrogen for transportation on stationary applications. A study by LUX Research found compression, storage and distribution present the primary bottlenecks in hydrogen infrastructure cost reduction. “Adoption of fuel-cell-powered passenger vehicles hinges on the cost of the fuel cell and hydrogen storage, and is strongly dependent on oil prices going forward.” As a result the dream of a hydrogen economy remains far off with its global value reaching only $3 billion by 2030.  You can access the Lux report here.

Green Car Congress says we can expect the internal combustion engine to be around for some time. A KPMG survey finds global automotive executives believe that internal combustion engines (ICE) will remain the dominant powertrain for transportation for the next 5 to 10 years.

In the 12 months since the last KPMG automotive survey, the optimism over electric cars has dampened considerably among automakers from TRIAD [Japan, Western Europe and North America] countries, the majority of whom now acknowledge that it will be well over 6 years before electric vehicles overtake ICE as the cleanest, most efficient technology. The trend is similar among respondents from the BRICs [Brazil, Russia, India and China]: in 2012 half believed ICE had up to 5 years left as the leader, yet this year they acknowledge it could be another 6 to 10 years before e-cars become more efficient.

These results show an increasing realization that the electric vehicle is not quite the savior many had hoped for. Although e-technology is still high on the agenda, respondents from the mature regions now place a greater faith in optimizing ICE technologies. Even in the BRICs, ICE downsizing has become a big deal.

This theme was picked up by The Green Car Why Ford’s survey on green cars points to more efficient petrol and diesel engines, The Christian Science Monitor in Gas engines thrive despite rise of hybrids, electric cars, Green Car Reports For Greener Cars, Don’t Count The Gasoline Engine Out Yet, and MIDWEST ENERGY NEWS As electric future unfolds, gasoline remains king.

Car Sharing Has Become Big Business according to AOL Auto. Many large auto companies are into car sharing including car rental firms AVIS and Hertz and auto manufactures BMW and Mercedes-Benz. In addition there is international car-sharing firm Car2Go and local car-sharing programs like AutoLib in Paris and CarPingo in New York City. Unlike conventional rentals, sharing can be for as little as 15 minutes, for a quick errand, or as long as a week, and prices include gas and insurance. Unlike conventional rentals, users pick up and drop off a vehicle wherever it is convenient, from an on-street spot located by computer, tablet or smartphone. Members also have a special code to open and start a vehicle, lock it, and refuel it.

In previous weeks Earth’s Energy noted how some governments are looking at changing the way they collect fees to pay for roads and highways now that electric cars are not paying gasoline/petrol taxes at the pump. As the number of electric cars on the road increase and internal combustion engines become more miserly in their petrol consumption, there will be less revenue for governments to pay for road upkeep. The US state of Washington is starting the ball rolling next month by charging batterey EV owners a $100 fee when they register their cars each year in order to make up for lost revenue on gas tax. The neighouring state of Oregon is considering a similar move although has not decide to charge an annual fee or a per mile tax on all vehicles. There were more posts on this idea this week. The Norwalk Citizen says the US state of Connecticut is now exploring this issue, including the idea of imposing road tolls. The state of Texas is looking at imposing a special fee on EVs. Money Morning believes a Pay-Per-Mile Tax Will Make Every Road a Toll Road. See also News10 New tax hikes eyed for roads, transit.

Gas2 goes back in time to tell us about an EV from Detroit Electric 105 years ago that had an 80 mile range. The Telegraph, instead, looks to the future of electric cars as they benefit from motor vehicle racing. Formula E begins in 2014 and this is expected to bring new technology for every day drivers.

From the National Legal and Policy Center we learn that the US will spend $7.5 billion on EV subsidies over the next few years. This number comes from a report by the US Congressional Budget Office which concluded the expenditures will bring little or no benefit to the country. The number does not include subsidies for home chargers, battery development, or state and local subsidies such as spending on infrastructure.

 

 

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