Baker electric car (early 1900s)


China has a low cost magnetic train or mag-lev posted truthdive. Maglev (derived from magnetic levitation), is a system of transportation that uses magnetic levitation to suspend, guide and propel vehicles from magnets rather than using mechanical methods. China’s three-carriage train is designed to run at a maximum speed of 100 kilometers per hour and carry 600 passengers. Its manufacturing cost is about 75% of a conventional light-rail train and it has zero greenhouse gas emissions. The city of Beijing is building a maglev route, the Daitai line, which will start at an IT center in Haidian district and end in the capital’s western outskirts. You can read more about How Maglev Trains Work at HowStuffWorks.

Aberdeen, Scotland wants to introduce hydrogen buses. The city has agreed to support the Strategic European Hydrogen Transport Projects in hopes it will stimulate hydrogen technology projects and high-level investment in the Aberdeen area and allow it to reach its aspiration of becoming a world-leading hydrogen city. The project will bring 12 hydrogen buses and a hydrogen refueling station to the city. The city is hoping  this will lure hydrogen research facilities and future hydrogen infrastructure including automobiles.

CleanBiz Asia says that Asia is the largest market for electric motorcycles and China is the top country. Last year Asia bought nearly 17 million e-motorcycles against only 300,000 for the rest of the world.  Pike Research says that China is a well established market with a large number of small manufacturers. (See Pike Report on Electric Motorcycles and Scooters)

The Globe and Mail writes about the future of diesel, gasoline and electric cars in North America after visiting the Detroit Auto Show. As gasoline engines with turbocharging and direct fuel injection become more and more efficient, the payback period for a more expensive hybrid grows longer. All the major US auto manufacturers are saying they can deliver “hybrid” fuel economy without the hybrid price tag. Leading auto makers from the US, Asia and Europe are introducing diesel engines into North America this year believing that the continent is finally ready for them. In 2011 diesels comprised 3% of the U.S. automotive market while all battery-electric, plug-in and conventional hybrid models combined totaled only 2%. As for electrics, their future rests on battery innovation.  Four years ago they cost $12,000.  If the price can be reduced to about $1500, EVs might have a chance to meet the US government target of 1 million vehicles by 2020.

Fleet Owner says that global hybrid truck sales will double this year. Pike Research thinks that 19,000 hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery electric medium and heavy duty trucks will be sold if the global economy picks up as fleet owners seek lower fuel costs. Pike expects hybrid truck sales to reach 100,746 by 2017. (See Pike Research Hybrid Medium and Heavy Duty Trucks) autobloggreen also covered this story here.

There could be 100,000 electric cars sold in the US this year says CleanTechBlog.  This would be over 5 times 2011 sales of 18,000.  Referring to a Gartner research report, the post notes that the 100,000 figure would be less than 1% of the expected total US car sales of over 13 million. Gartner sees 5 to 8% of all vehicles being battery-powered by 2020 and 20 to 30% by 2030.

MarketWatch thinks the future of hybrid cars in the US is promising. “The future of hybrids is likely a bright one as the technology is well adapted to smaller vehicles. With both the battery technology and combustion engine technology improving, the idea of a mostly hybrid fleet of passenger cars is becoming a likely reality. It is not difficult to conceive that a significant minority or small majority of cars and small SUVs sold could be hybrids by the end of this decade… Given that 90% of people’s drives occur within 30 miles of home, hybrids are making more sense with each improvement in battery technology.”

Truckinginfo looks at what the future large truck engine will look like. The post concludes that it will look much like it is for the next 20 years or so – an internal combustion engine with pistons, valves, crankshaft and other familiar parts, an inline 4 or 6, or a V-6 or V-8. The more commercially oriented the truck, the more likely its engine is an inline or “straight” design. It’s easy to make and simple to maintain and all kinds of advanced fuel, air and electronics systems can be applied to it. As with cars, large electric trucks suffer from “range anxiety” and only advanced battery technology can over come this. For smaller trucks, however, electric can work.  Forbes tells us about An Electric Hybrid Truck Designed For Utility Fleets That Can Power Your Home.

Yahoo tells us how a simple driving trick can double our fuel economy.

The Pasadena Star-News talks about the early days of electric cars including the Baker Electric pictured above.

Charging stations will increase significantly worldwide over the next decade predicts Global Energy Watch. Admitting that there is a chicken and egg problem between electric car sales and the development of charging infrastructure, the writers believe that government support of electric car manufacture will push sales and lead to substantial infrastructure growth.  While not a barrier to electric car sales on a continental basis, the site notes that there are different charging standards in North America/Asia-Pacific than Europe and this will effect economies of scale in manufacturing EVs.  The global market for electric vehicle charging stations is marked by the presence of major vendors such as Better Place, Coulomb Technologies, Aerovironment, Elektromotive, Aker Wade and Eaton Corporation. The North American market is dominated by Coulomb Technologies, while Pod Point is a major player in the UK. Better Place has marked its presence in Australia, and the electric vehicle charging station market in Japan has the auto manufacturer as its major player.

ABC News says that electric car battery car swapping could mean the end of oil. The article is about the company Better Place which has “switch stations” which can replace an electric car battery in the time it takes to fill a gasoline or petrol tank. Better Place has already started building a network in Australia and last week opened its network in Israel. For the car, Better Place partnered with French automaker Renault to create the Fluence which has a range of 100 miles. Drivers of the Fluence don’t own the battery, they just pay for the energy they use. The batteries are expected to perform for over 8 years and 2,000 recharges. If each charge gets 100 miles, the battery is projected to last 200,000 miles. The company also has local “charge spots” at homes, offices, parking lots and malls. When swiped, a personal ID card tells the system who you are and how much charge you need. You plug a cable into the car, wait a few hours, and drive away fully charged. You can learn more at the Better Place website. The next countries on the list for swapping stations are Japan, Denmark, China, plus the American state of Hawaii and the city of San Francisco.

The Auto Channel let us know that Apps are now available to help Americans find alternative refueling locations. The fuels include ethanol, biodiesel, natural gas and electric charging stations.

The Midwest Energy News discusses driving plug-in cars in winter climates which can take their toll on battery life. Green Car Reports also gives winter driving tips for EVs.

The DailyCamera writes about the American city of Boulder, Colorado which has five times the national average in hybrid vehicles driving its streets.

The Columbia Daily Tribune tells about the frustrations some people are having at the car rental agency as they are given EVs to drive for the frsit time.

MeercuryNews reveals that car sharing networks are flourishing in the San Francisco, California area. There are several Bay Area “peer-to-peer” car-sharing services where car owners rent their personal vehicles directly to other drivers. Car owners have found the services a relatively hassle-free way to make extra money, while renters say they offer a convenient alternative to traditional car-rental companies. The typical renter is someone who doesn’t own a car but needs one for a specific purpose, eg. to pick something up at a store.  However, there are also visitors from abroad who need a car for two months to travel the US. The system includes GPS tracking, so owners know where their vehicles are at all times.

Beijing has China’s largest EV charging station says cri. Gaoantun charging station, located in the eastern Beijing district of Chaoyang, has been installed with more than 10 types of EV charging or battery swapping machines. The station can charge any car sold in the country. It can charge up to 8 vehicles simultaneously and it takes only four to six minutes to swap an EV battery. Currently the city has completed 12 charging and battery swapping stations and 274 charging posts.  By 2015 Beijing hopes to have 6 large-scale concentrated charging stations, 250 charging and battery swapping stations, and 210 charging posts.

Other places getting EV charging stations this week included Sanford, Florida; Sonoma County, California; St. Louis, Missouri; Kalamazoo Michigan; Rock Island, Illinois; Larne, Northern Ireland; and Harwich, England.












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