YourEnergyBlog examines the impact of E15 on your car’s engine. Already having mandated 10% ethanol mixed into gasoline (E10), the US Environmental Protection Agency has now mandated an increase to E15, a 15% ethanol mixture.  This latest decision has raised significant opposition from auto (and other) engine manufacturers as well as consumers in general who are concerned the higher mixture will damage engines. Now we learn the Coordinating Research Council released a report this week with evidence to affirm that long-term E15 fuel use could significantly damage standard fueling systems for millions of American vehicles produced in the last 10 years.

American Petroleum Institute (API) director Bob Greco elaborates, “increasing ethanol content from standard 10% blend to 15% can cause problems including fuel system component swelling, erratic fuel level indicators, faulty check engine lights and failure of other parts that can lead to breakdowns.”

As expected this new report has reignited the battle over the automotive safety of E15 fuel. Engine manufacturers and the petroleum industry are considering bringing the matter to the US Supreme Court to stop the use of E15.

Green Car Reports gives tips on how to increase your EV driving range in winter.

The chart below shows Electric Cars are Very Different Shades of Green Around the World.  Those countries where the electric grid is heavily dependent on coal are going to have electric vehicles with very high green house gas emissions compared with those countries which generate electricity from cleaner sources such as hydro-power or geothermal. This conclusion follows from the study Shades of Green: Electric Cars’ Carbon Emissions Around the Globe by Shrink That Footprint. See also The Green Optimistic Electric Vehicles’ Impact on Environment Depending on Location: Study.

 

 Photo: PRWeb

 

The Financial Post suggests automakers are about to give up on battery electric vehicles and move on to hydrogen.

Recent moves by Japan’s two largest automakers suggest that the electric car, after more than 100 years of development and several brief revivals, still is not ready for prime time – and may never be. In the meantime, the attention of automotive executives in Asia, Europe and North America is beginning to swing toward an unusual but promising new alternate power source: hydrogen.

The article argues that consumers are not flocking to EVs for the same reason they abandoned them 100 years ago. high cost, short driving range and lack of a sufficient number of charging stations. Both Nissan and Toyota are beginning to seriously investigate hydrogen (or fuel cell) vehicles as a better idea. Executives at these firms believe battery electric vehicles (sometimes referred to as “pure” electric vehicles) are not a viable replacement for the internal combustion engine and the industry will have to rethink its future.  Combined, Toyota and Nissan have already invested $15 billion in EV technology so to abandon this approach would be quite an admission of failure.  For now, Nissan will follow GM and build EV hybrids that combine electricity with gasoline or diesel. At the same time these Japanese companies have entered into new alliances to develop hydrogen-powered fuel cell cars, Toyota with BMW and, in a deal announced last week, Nissan with Daimler AG and Ford Motor Co.  In a related post see mydigitalfc Infrastructure remains roadblock in acceptability of electric vehicles in India.

We have a couple of test drives of Australia’s newest EV, the Holden Volt.  See GM Inside News GMI Drives: 2013 Holden Volt and Southern Drive Holden Volt sparks interest – Test drive review. This vehicle is Australia’s version of the North American Chevy Volt.

The International Herald Tribune writes about Europe’s Big Bet on EVs and Hybrids.  In an effort to significantly increase the number of battery electric vehicles and hybrids on European roads the 27 member European Union has decided to build half  a million charging stations by 2020. The plan will also mandate the “Type 2” plug as the standard recharging system in Europe for EVs. Currently, competing systems dominate in neighboring member states. Such infrastructure incompatibility makes it difficult to drive an electric car from Paris to Berlin as car plugs are incompatible with charging stations.

”We can finally stop the chicken and the egg discussion on whether infrastructure needs to be there before the large scale roll out of electric vehicles. With our proposed binding targets for charging points using a common plug, electric vehicles are set to hit the road in Europe,” said  the European commissioner for climate action Connie Hedegaard,

The plan also includes setting common standards for developing hydrogen, biofuel and natural gas transportation networks. Currently, plug-in EVs make up a fraction of Europe’s estimated 250 million cars. In 2011, for example, only 1,858 pure electric vehicles were bought in Germany, 1,796 in France, 1,547 in Norway and 1,170 in Britain.  See also Green Car Reports Europe Bets Big On Electric Cars, Plans 500K Charging Stations By 2020 and Environment News Service Europe Sets Common Standard for Electric Vehicle Charging.

Japanese auto manufacturer Nissan plans to add at least 500 quick-charging stations in the  US over the next 18 months reports Green Car Congress. This would triple the current electric vehicle quick-charging infrastructure in the US. Most electric vehicle drivers now rely on home charging. Having additional charging options can significantly increase their rate of EV driving. Nissan says:

We envision a quick-charging network that links communities and neighborhoods where people live, work, shop and socialize. Having a robust charging infrastructure helps build range confidence, which boosts interest in and use of electric vehicles. By improving the charging infrastructure, Nissan furthers its commitment to bringing electric vehicles to markets throughout the United States.

Environmental Leader says Google, Ford, and General Electric are among 13 companies that have joined with the US Energy Department to try to increase the number of US employers offering electric vehicle charging at their workplaces. The other companies willing to build employee charging stations are 3M, Chrysler Group, Duke Energy, Eli Lilly and Company, General Motors, San Diego Gas & Electric, Siemens, Tesla and Verizon. The Energy Department wants to make battery EVs as affordable and convenient for the American family as gasoline-powered vehicles within the next 10 years.

 

 

 

 

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