renewable energy focus tells us the UK has its first hydrogen powered ferry. Operating in Bristol Harbour, the Hydrogenesis is licensed to carry up to 12 passengers per journey. The idea behind the vessel is to show the viability of zero-emission fuel cell technologies in marine transport operations. The steel-hulled ferry is powered by four fuel cells that provide up to 12 kW of steady-state continuous power at 48 volts.
From Gas2 we learn why General Motors and Toyota are pushing hydrogen vehicles. The reason comes down to declining costs. A recent report by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) finds that the auto companies are finding cheaper ways of producing hydrogen which is bringing down the costs of proto-type vehicles from well over $1 million per car to less than $100,000. Daniel Sperling, director of the Institute for Transportation Studies at the University of California at Davis and a member of California’s Air Resources Board, says: “Most people in the auto industry think that, once in large-scale production, cost won’t be a barrier.”
Driverless cars was a popular topic this week. Admiral tells us driverless cars are being tested in the UK while treehugger wants to know how driverless cars will impact the future design of cities. Venture Beat says the self-driving car can’t come too soon. See also The New York Times, Driving Sideways.
DesignNews advises we should get ready for Stop-Start automobile technology. The auto industry’s biggest change over the next 10 years will be the transition to the start-stop micro-hybrid — a conventional gasoline vehicle that uses an enhanced gear-based starter to enable the engine to shut down for short stops. Some 30 million vehicles worldwide could be using this technology within the next five years. Automotive engineers hope the technology will cut fuel consumption by 5% and CO2 emissions by 3%.
Fuel-Efficient Cars offers a guide to electric vehicle acronyms. Here you can learn about HEVs. BEVs, PHEVs, NEVs and E-REVs.
According to InsideEVs, the US accounts for a large share of the world’s plug-in hybrids and pure electric vehicles. This country has purchased nearly 70% of all the plug-in hybrid vehicles sold globally and about one-quarter of all electric battery vehicles. Only Japan has more pure EVs that the US.
Due to their high cost and lack of EV infrastructure, plugincars says sales of electric vehicles in India is not very promising. The site says a primary reason for the poor sales has been the lack of incentives provided by the Indian and state governments.
While the government’s National Electric Mobility Mission Plan 2020 promises support for PEVs and charging infrastructure, the government has had a pattern of giving and taking away incentives within the same year, which has made auto manufacturers wary of entering the market.
TheGreenCar wants to know why Europeans are not buying more hybrids. The hybrid car markets is expected account for 7.3% of the global car market by 2020, according to JD Power Associates. Yet hybrid cars are not nearly as popular in Europe as they are in the US. The reason appears to be the popularity of the diesel car in Europe.
By focusing on CO2 emissions only, efforts to tackle climate change are encouraging car buyers to buy the usually cheaper diesel option which still enables them to benefit from ‘green car’ tax perks such as lower company car tax or exemption to VED, because of their low CO2 emission ratings
The US and Europe have created a center for smart grids and plug-in vehicles. Fuel-Efficient Cars informs us the US Department of Energy and the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre have created a new facility designed to develop and harmonize interoperability between EVs and the electric charging infrastructure. The EV-Smart Grid Interoperability Center near the US city of Chicago works with the two other facilities in Ispra, Italy and The Netherlands, to create global standards and develop technology from the source of the energy all the way down the line to the residential user. “Interoperability” means the electrification of vehicles (such as in hybrids, plug in hybrids, and battery-powered cars), can be managed by the electric power grid without any inconvenience to the end user. The goal is to harmonize competing EV charging standards from Japan, the US and Europe so that all EVs will be able to work in any country in the world. See also grist, EV market threatened by spat over charger standard and Digital Trends, Just plug in that EV anywhere?
Digital Trends lets us know what’s next for the electric car. The post takes us through wireless or inductive charging of EVs, lithiium-air batteries, and alternatives to batteries like supercapacitors and ultracapcitors. In a related article, energybiz provides its insight into The Future of Electric Vehicles.