Recent news round-up

August 11, 2014 § Leave a comment

pangea_cometA practical approach to multi-passenger transport in the Philippines: COMET (City Managed Optimised Electric Transport), proposed as a replacement for the archaic, diesel-burning and pollution-spewing ‘jeepneys’ used in the region. An open-sided 18-seater, it’s developed and built by Pangea Motors of Vancouver, Washington, and will be marketed by Global Electric Transportation, reports AutoblogGreen.

  • A-ha, ‘peak petrol’: Navigant Research is predicting that global gasoline demand will start to decline from 2021. It’ll continue to rise until then, to 367.3 billion gallons a year, then drop, they say; however, rather than electric vehicles having much of an effect, “the most impactful fuel savings strategy is likely to come from fuel efficiency improvements in the conventional vehicle platform and the internal combustion engine (ICE)”, says analyst Scott Shepard, citing engine downsizing and lowering of vehicle weights as well as electrification. “The anticipated effects of climate change are driving international cooperation on mitigation efforts, including reducing oil consumption in the transportation sector,” he notes. “Markets for both vehicles and fuels have gradually begun to respond to these efforts, and alternative fuels ‑ including electricity, natural gas, and biodiesel ‑ are beginning to have an impact on global oil demand.” More in the report, Transportation Forecast: Global Fuel Consumption.
  • Uber: expanding into car-pooling territory, starting beta-testing of its new UberPool app to match up co-riders. More here. Oh yeah, and Lyft too, with its Lyft Line app now in trials in San Francisco. Note the NYT’s emphasis on its use by commuters – the Lyft lot see this as a viable way to get around on a routine, daily basis.
  • The Cenex/Technology Strategy Board-funded EV-Lite project has ended, with the resulting battery pack showing a 41% reduction in weight and a 63% reduction in the cost of non-cell components. Five patent applications have been made, including for a system to isolate cells in an accident. More here.
  • A useful tool for potential EV-buyers (in the US): ITS-Davis has developed a website called EV Explorer allowing a detailed comparison of EV vs ICE running costs, taking into account factors including charging power and journey frequency.
  • As someone who now (for much, if not all, of my time) works from home but who had a commute-from-hell for many years, I find this hard to believe: very few people actually want a zero-time commute, plenty like the separation between work and home, according to this piece and the research cited at Something worth considering when assessing urban transport – it’s not just about the transport modes themselves. (And some more from Citylab on incentives – namely, free parking – on commuting by car. Remember the role of the employer…). Some useful references.
  • Siemens is running a trial of overhead (“catenary”) charging for electric/PHEV trucks on a two-mile stretch of highway between the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. More, including diagrams, here.
  • Natural gas, rapidly turning into a ‘thing’ for the auto industry… Mercedes is to debut a CNG-fuelled 7.7-litre truck engine at the IAA in Hanover shortly. CO2 emissions down 22% on a comparable diesel, biogas-compatible. Detailed tech rundown at Green Car Congress.
  • Malvern, home of Morgan – and now ElectrAA, an EV club and enthusiasts’ group. Members’ cars include a prototype Morgan Plus E, an electro-converted Mazda RX-7, a Nissan eNV200 and of course, a requisite Tesla. (thanks, @CIRCaCity).



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