July 25, 2012 |
By Dave Alexander
Anyone who’s ever tried to hail a cab on a rainy evening in Manhattan at 6 p.m. knows that finding a taxicab can be a challenge, especially if you’re in unfamiliar territory.
Some new alternatives to hailing a cab in the street or standing in line at a taxi rank are becoming available in some cities. Uber is one such service that operates in some major North American cities, including Boston, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Toronto, as well as European cities such as London and Paris. Uber is not a transportation company as such, and does not own or operate any vehicles for hire; it contracts with existing car service companies, particularly those operating limousines and luxury vehicles, and connects them with customers looking for transport.
Uber has a website for those that can plan ahead, but it is really designed to be used via an iPhone or Android app. Those without a smartphone can use the service via text. The app uses the phone’s built-in GPS to identify the current location, and the nearest vehicle is dispatched for pick-up. A text is sent to the customer with details of the vehicle and driver along with an estimate of how long the wait will be. When the journey is complete, the cost is automatically billed to the customer’s credit card, including a tip.
Although the cost is typically higher than a traditional taxi, many people are willing to pay for the convenience and comfort. The limo hire companies enjoy the extra business, and Uber is developing data from its local experience to identify where are the best locations for vehicles to wait when they are not carrying passengers. Beginning with limos and luxury SUVs, Uber is now introducing hybrid vehicles in some markets to attract the more environmentally conscious traveller who also appreciates lower rates thanks to the better fuel economy of these vehicles.
The Politicians Object
Of course introducing a new service is rarely straightforward, and in some U.S. cities there has been some reaction from traditional taxi companies and local politicians. In some large cities, a taxi license is both expensive and valuable because it prevents unauthorised drivers competing for business and maintains standards for customers. Limo companies are typically licensed to operate on a fixed fare basis and are not allowed to charge by distance or time. The local success of Uber led to a proposal by the city council in Washington D.C. to legislate that the company must charge a minimum fare of 5 times the drop rate for taxicabs.
Uber, understandably, then decided not to introduce its new hybrid service in D.C. Faced with public and media outrage, the council amended the regulations to eliminate the 5X factor, but still requires that the time and distance rates are higher than those charged by conventional taxis. Local travellers are still upset that politicians are trying to pass laws to block new, more efficient services that compete with an incumbent industry that has a reputation of not being very customer-focused.
Another U.S. service is Taxi Magic, which says it works with 85 taxi fleets in 45 cities across the United States. A taxi can be booked via a smartphone app (or text or online) and a map shows the location of the vehicle assigned to pick you up. Payment can also be made through the app. The company is also launching another service similar to Uber’s. Called Sedan Magic, it is currently only operating in New York. Another competitor, Cabulous, has based its business on effective use of fleet telematics. It claims to be active on three continents.
It’s not just taxi services that are looking for new ways to attract business. The car OEMs are also developing new products, such as BMW’s joint venture with Sixt, DriveNow. Daimler is behind car2go, a city car-sharing service in North America and Europe, and has begun testing some new features in regions around its home city of Stuttgart. car2gether is a ride sharing service that connects people who are traveling in the same direction and can suggest that two individuals share the cost of renting from car2go. Daimler has launched a pilot project it calls “moovel” that aims to optimize travel by calculating the best way from A to B considering buses, trains, ride-sharing, and taxis. Volkswagen introduced its Quicar car sharing in Hannover in late 2011.
Car sharing has been around for many years, mostly with informal agreements between people who either live or work near each other. With the advent of telematics and smartphones, new businesses are starting up to help individuals rent out their vehicles that would otherwise not be used in the weekdays if they commute using public transport. RelayRides has been growing for the last 2 years and now offers its service to the owner of any GM vehicle equipped with the latest version of OnStar. But there is potential for vehicle manufacturers to use this type of service as a marketing tool.
The concepts of car sharing and alternative taxi services offer an opportunity for OEMs to showcase their vehicle technology. Whether via new in-house services, taxi companies, public car sharing, or traditional vehicle rental firms, allowing people to experience the benefits of new technology is a valuable part of the sales process. Taxi companies can benefit from reduced fuel cost, especially in the stop-start traffic typical in most cities. OEMs also have the opportunity to gather valuable service data as they introduce new powertrain features, and can also canvas drivers and passengers for feedback about what they like and dislike.Dave Alexander is a research analyst at Pike Research’s smart transportation practice.
Two US electric vehicle charging companies are merging to create the nation's largest public charging network with more than 1,000 locations.
Car Charging Group Inc. (OTCBB:CCGI), which has a strong municipal foothold in locations such as Chicago, plans to acquire 350Green, which is allied with Simon Property Group, the largest US real estate investment trust.
The merger will expand CarCharging's reach in one of the fastest growing US electric vehicle markets, California. It will also solidify its foothold at shopping malls: CarCharging will have contracts with almost every major US mall operator thanks to 350Green's relationship with Simon Property.
Both companies offer turnkey installation and management services for commercial and municipal organizations deploying public charging infrastructure. And Car Charging Group has filed two patents which could "dematerialize" the charging process.
Terms haven't been disclosed, and the transaction is subject to regulatory review. Once approved, the deal will close in 30-75 days.
"Adding 600 EV charging stations in 20 markets to CarCharging's network will create the most robust network in the nation," says Mariana Gerzanych, CEO of 350Green. "This partnership will be highly advantageous to the EV charging industry and will contribute significantly to the overall growth of the market."
CarCharging’s customers include the nation's parking garage operators including Central Parking and Ace Parking; drug store chain Walgreens (also a 350Green customer); Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection; City of Miami Beach, City of West Palm Beach, and the City of Norwalk, Connecticut. These organizations manage or own more than 6.4 million parking spaces.
350Green has projects with several hundred chargers underway in Chicago, the State of Pennsylvania, and the San Francisco Bay Area.
The biggest worldwide player in electric vehicles is Coulomb Technologies, which supports more than 6,900 locations. Other leaders are Better Place, ECOtality Inc. (NASDAQ: ECTY) and NRG Energy (NYSE: NRG).
GE also seeks to be a major contender with WattStation, which has been installed in several thousand locations worldwide. In early July, GE forged an exclusive relationship with PayPal to make it simple for drivers to charge up via mobile phones.
Here is CarCharging's website:
Photo by Portland General Electric/flickr/Creative Commons
Reprinted with permission from SustainableBusiness.com
by Mackinnon Lawrence
An airport may not seem like the most obvious platform to deploy sweeping smart energy upgrades. Globally, airports represent only a fraction of the building infrastructure worldwide – accounting for around 1 percent of commercial square footage globally, according to Pike Research’s Global Building Stock Database report.
Integrated with sustainability measures, though, airports have the potential to champion energy efficiency and smart energy efforts worldwide while also boosting their host cities economically. With large footprints and plenty of open space around runways, there are a number of low-hanging fruit opportunities that have yet to be exploited.
Take Berlin, which is counting on its new Berlin Brandenburg Airport Willy Brandt (BER) to give the city a major economic push while at the same time making it a vital transport hub. The airport will incorporate sophisticated recycled heat and power systems to reduce operating costs, and draw on Brandenburg’s leadership in renewable energy innovation. The new airport “is a crucial stage in Berlin’s return to becoming a global city,” Burkhard Kieker, CEO of the tourism organization visitBerlin, told CNBC.
Meanwhile New Songdo, in South Korea, provides a glimpse of the continued integration of smart cities and airports. The project is squarely focused on streamlining economic activity between South Korea and lucrative markets in Japan, China, and further afield. As an incentive to New Songdo’s developers, the Korean government has agreed to construct a 7-mile, 6-lane bridge from New Songdo City directly to Incheon International Airport and provide all utilities. Incheon, for its part, aims to be carbon neutral by 2013 and plans to build a new eco-friendly passenger terminal that will source power from solar panel and wind turbine installations.
While airports may be viewed as platforms for smart energy integration, it’s the potential for highly visible demonstration projects that is particularly exciting. Three key aspects of airports make them ideal platforms for integrating smart energy technologies:
Smart City Meets the Aerotropolis
In his book, Aerotropolis, John D. Kasarda explains, “Airports will shape business location and urban development in the 21st century as much as highways did in the 20th century, railroads in the 19th and seaports in the 18th.” This is significant because airports have become an unavoidable exchange point along the supply chain for the global exchange of goods and services. According to Kasarda, one-third of all products consumed are shipped by air. He estimates that passenger and cargo service will double or triple over the next 20 years. Airports have become hubs of economic activity unto themselves, as evidenced by the integration of high-end retail as well as artistic and recreational attractions.
The idea of an aerotropolis shares many parallels with the Smart City concept, which Pike Research has discussed in past reports and in its recent Sustainable Megacity webinar. Multi-dimensional in form and function, smart cities aim to integrate clean technology into a cohesive ecosystem, improving the lives of residents while facilitating sustainable, economic growth. Similarly, the aerotropolis is a complex ecosystem of technology, infrastructure, and functionality requiring 24/7 power and thermal conditioning. Any disruption in power can lead to significant economic loss for airlines and for the businesses that reside onsite, and in the worst case frustrate international aid efforts in the event of a significant natural disaster. These attributes make airports attractive targets for distributed generation projects.
One of the unique characteristics of airports is that they are closed systems. This reduces the administrative complexity of integrating innovative solutions (less stakeholders to satisfy than a large city, for example), while also skirting many of the infrastructure challenges associated with clean technology deployments in the broader market.
As my colleague, Anissa Dehamna, explains in her recent blog on port policies, “Although vehicles (trains, trucks, ships) carry goods away from ports, the fleets and activities at a port itself remain within a fixed area. This makes them ideal for alternative fuel fleets because infrastructure can be installed at a few key sites in a port and then entire fleets can be fueled.” The same is true for airports. Refueling of ground fleets, for example – baggage carts, fuel trucks, and tow tractors – is made easier by the fact that such vehicles operate around a hub where refueling can take place around the clock.
Concentration of Demand
Like ports, concentration of demand for things like fuel at airports overcomes many obstacles preventing the widespread scale-up of clean technology solutions like biofuels. With biomass (feedstock) resources unevenly distributed, aggregation and processing can be prohibitively expensive. For this reason, municipal solid waste (MSW) has been targeted by a number of companies as a potentially low-cost feedstock for biofuels. Through advanced gasification pathways, these companies are aiming to produce jet fuel for commercial aviation partners in a growing number of projects worldwide, such as at London’s Heathrow and other sites internationally.
By 2015, fast-growing China is aiming to build 70 new airports and expand 100 of its current ones. Growth in the Middle East, and to a lesser extent, Europe, will allow for sustainability and clean technology to be increasingly integrated into these facilities. Whether greenfield builds, retrofits, or expansions of existing airports, smart airports have the potential to be showcase projects that can raise the profile of their host cities and accelerate the deployment of clean technologies.Mackinnon Lawrence is an analyst at Pike Research with a focus on advanced biofuels and bioenergy.
by Lisa Jerram
In spite of many efforts to declare fuel cell cars dead, top automakers are moving ahead with plans to produce commercial fuel cell vehicles (FCVs). That was one of the key messages from the World Hydrogen Energy Conference, held last month in Toronto.
Granted, it’s not surprising that a group of people willing to spend time and money to get together and talk about hydrogen are, in fact, bullish on hydrogen. But from the automakers’ media panel, where representatives from Daimler, Toyota and Honda sat for a long Q&A with the press, and from the hydrogen plenary and a panel on hydrogen market demand that I participated in, it’s clear that companies are still committed to this effort even though there are real hurdles in the way.
The automakers once again stated their commitment to releasing commercial FCVs roughly in the 2015 timeframe. Some are more specific than others. Honda’s Steve Ellis said the Japanese maker has not announced a hard date, but the company is working on a full model change from its current offering, the FCX Clarity. Daimler reiterated that it will have a next generation FCV on the road in the 2014/2015 timeframe, and Toyota gave 2015 as its target.
Even though they have been talking up this timeframe for a couple of years, to be honest, I was half expecting the manufacturers to start walking back their dates, since enthusiasm for FCVs in some parts of the world has waned. But they did not. What has been pushed back is the timeframe for large-scale uptake, which OEMs are now saying likely won’t happen until close to 2020.
Daimler’s Christian Mohrdieck said his company plans to get the price of the fuel cell drivetrains down to around that of a diesel hybrid, through volume production and some materials cost reduction. Here I think he is talking about platinum, and it would behoove the platinum industry to think about making that happen. I don’t think Mohrdieck was including the cost of hydrogen tanks in this estimate, in which case you have to bump up the FCV price further. Hitting a competitive price point is still a concern for OEMs, from what I see.
It’s clear that hydrogen infrastructure is still a thorny issue. The three OEM representatives at the conference were unanimous that they should not have to foot the bill for infrastructure buildout. Even though Daimler has partnered with Linde to build 20 stations in Germany, Mohrdieck referred to this a “triggering” signal of the company’s intent to produce cars that can use hydrogen fuel. Toyota also noted that it’s partnering with energy and gas companies in Japan to build stations, which will be placed in the same regions where Priuses are popular.
From my conversations with hydrogen companies, it is clear that they’re enthusiastic about the potential market from fuel cells. While they’ve been involved in building infrastructure, especially in terms of materials handling but also with early passenger cars and buses, the fact remains that distributed vehicle fuelling is not their traditional business. Eventually retail gas station operators must step in if the FCV market is to become viable. This is happening in Germany, where Total Germany is part of a new initiative to build 50 stations by 2015.
No one doubts the major obstacles ahead. But the OEMs are spending a lot, in terms of money and reputation, to forge ahead with fuel cell cars.Lisa Jerram is an analyst at Pike Research with a focus on fuel cells and emerging transportation technologies.
by Christopher DeMorro
When Barack Obama first entered office, he came out swinging in favor of electric cars, promising a million electrified vehicles on the road by 2015. The likelihood of that actually happening is the same as Democrats and Republicans coming together to solve…anything. With electric cars entering a lukewarm (at best) market, President Obama is shifting gears with renewed interest and support in hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
Well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. In fact, it was two of President Obama aides, one of whom, Heather Zical, noted that hydrogen fuel cells represent an “opportunity” for improving fuel economy. Hydrogen fuel cells were favored by Bush, but Energy Secretary Stephen Chu slashed funding for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles under Obama, funnelling that money towards electric cars.
Unfortunately, EV’s haven’t really panned out, with cars like the Chevy Volt becoming heavily politicized. In January, Obama outlined an “all-of-the-above” energy plan, and in recent days hydrogen fuel cells have been the hot topic. At my recent visit to the Forward with Ford conference, hydrogen fuel cells were mentioned as a very real possibility for fueling future vehicles. In our recent review of the Honda Fit EV’s, the engineers responsible for Honda’s EV also felt that hydrogen was the future.
Obviously, hydrogen fuel cells still face the same issues as battery-electric vehicles, including an under-developed infrastructure and crazy-high costs. Still, Honda, Mercedes, and GM have all pledged to put hydrogen fuel cell vehicles on the road, and hydrogen is even getting some love on the race track.. Could a renewed push by the Obama administration make hydrogen a more viable option for automakers?
Reprinted with permission from Gas 2.0
by Christopher DeMorro
The annual Goodwood Festival of Speed is a celebration of all things automotive. Put on by the awesome Lord March since 1993, Goodwood attracts gearheads from across the globe who want a chance to race up the famous hill climb. This year featured a record number of alt-fuel vehicles, among them a Nissan Leaf, which set a new record for reverse driving up the hill.
Unlike traditional cars, which use multi-gear transmissions to put power to the road, the Nissan Leaf has a single-speed reduction gear. There is therefore no “shifting” in the Leaf, nor is there a reverse gear; the electric motor merely reverses directions. This means that the Leaf can go as fast in reverse as it can in drive, up to a top speed of about 90 mph. By removing the rev limiter and placing Terry Grant behind the wheel, the Leaf was able to shoot up the Goodwood hill climb in a time of 2:03 minutes. That is the fastest any car has ever gone up Goodwood in reverse.
The stock Leaf is proving an incredibly effect car for motorsports despite (or because of?) its electric powertrain. From Pikes Peak to the race track or autocross course, a few modifications go a long way with the Leaf. Now if only Nissan would make it rear-wheel drive…
Reprinted with permission from Gas 2.0
by Scott Shepard
Though many startup companies in the electric vehicle (EV) industry have either struggled to survive produce a profit, or insure investors of their products’ worth (or all three), one company has consistently bucked the trend of disappointing news: Tesla Motors. In 2008, the company first began selling its first-generation all electric Tesla Roadster and since then has placed more than 2,000 of the high end EVs worldwide. The Roadster is largely credited for restarting the EV revolution, and since its debut, no other manufacturer has been able to replicate a model with similar electric range and style.
The company struggled to make its first deliveries, but has largely overcome its early production troubles. By all accounts, it is not just surviving; it’s thriving. Recent news items include preorders of next year’s Model X all-electric crossover, netting the company more than $40 million overnight. In other company news, Tesla will begin repaying $465 million to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in December and has decided to begin deliveries of its more than 10,000 reserved Model S sedans one month earlier than previously forecasted.
Amid this good news, don’t forget that Tesla has never made a profit and by some current estimates, its 2Q 2012 will be its most unprofitable quarter since it went public in 2010. However, starting a car company from scratch requires an enormous investment, and Tesla is not anticipated to earn a profit until 2Q 2013.
Having an estimated date for profitability is more than quite a few upstart EV makers and their upstart suppliers can boast. No doubt, the promise of profitability is making Tesla attractive to investors. Bursting Tesla’s balloon a bit, John Petersen, in a guest post on Greentech Media, describes the company’s growing popularity in the last 2 years as part of a “hype cycle,” in which interest in a company grows before an event and recedes afterwards. For Tesla, the Model S may be that event.
Or, it may not be for two important reasons: 1) Tesla is the darling first child of the EV revolution and 2) the company continues to push the EV envelope. People like the underdog, and despite being the first child, Tesla has kept the underdog image as the big auto makers, GM, Nissan, and Toyota, have crept into the company’s EV space. The Model S may also be considered the company’s equivalent of Apple’s iPhone 4s, and the Model X (due out in 2013) would be the iPhone 5; meaning the hype is not going away with the Model S.
Tesla’s Model S deliveries begin on June 22. As is customary with Tesla, a great deal of publicity has surrounded the event and the company has even put a ticker on its website, counting down the seconds to the moment that CEO Elon Musk will hand deliver the keys to the first owners. The magnitude of this fanfare and its fan following is not uncommon among new PEVs, but it isn’t the end of the Tesla hype machine. Let’s hope the Model S delivers on all its grand expectations, but let’s also be mindful that this is only one of potentially many new models to be delivered by the darling first child.
Photo by randychiu/flickr/Creative CommonsScott Shepard is a research associate for Pike Research with a focus on smart transportation and the smart grid.
by Scott Shepard
For the past two years, electric vehicles (EVs) have been prominent subjects of automotive news pages, with OEMs introducing new models almost monthly. The latest announcement is the Toyota Rav4 EV, which is scheduled to hit California dealers late this summer. The Rav4 really exemplifies most of the EV announcements because it, like many of the EVs, will first be available in California and it will be sold in limited numbers.
This type of vehicle has been called the “compliance” EV; its main purpose is not to capitalize on the demand for EVs but rather to comply with California’s Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) program, in which 10 other states participate. Other compliance EVs are the Chevrolet Spark EV, the Honda Fit EV, and the Ford Focus Electric. Vehicles designed specifically for compliance should not be that surprising since the first major OEM-produced ZEV, the GM EV1, was a “compliance” vehicle for the 1996 version of the California ZEV program. Since the ZEV program has proven a major influence on the EV industry, we should examine it in greater detail to better understand and anticipate the strategy behind the way OEMs are introducing their plug-ins.
The ZEV program, which is run under the greater Advanced Clean Cars (ACC) program adopted by the California Air Resource Board (CARB), is a mandate requiring OEMs to deliver a minimum percentage of Partial ZEVs and full ZEVs to California annually. Partial ZEVs (PZEVs) are Plug-in Hybrids, Hybrids, and low emissions conventional vehicles. The program specifically targets large (60,000+ CA sales/annually) and intermediate (4,500-60,000 CA sales/annually) volume OEMs. Any OEM with less than 4,500 is not regulated, but can still participate in trading credits; Tesla, Phoenix, and Zip Car do this. (Although Zip Car is not an OEM, it participates through various allowances and exceptions within the program rules.)
Large volume OEMs like GM, Nissan, Ford, and Toyota must follow the most stringent ZEV requirements, supplying at a minimum 7.6 percent of their 2012 requirement (12 percent ZEVs) through actual ZEV credits. That works out to just under 1 percent of actual fleet sales. Intermediate volume OEMs like BMW, Kia, Volkswagen, and Volvo can fulfill their entire requirement through PZEVs. For 2012 through 2014, ZEVs must make up 12 percent of OEMs deliveries; from 2015 through 2017 they must make-up 14 percent; and after 2018, they must comprise 16 percent.
The program is administered using credits to determine the total value of OEM efforts that comply with the program. So, pure ZEV deliveries accrue more credits for their makers than the more basic PZEVs do. In this system one credit is equal to the base level ZEV. A delivery of the most basic PZEV to California earns its manufacturer 0.2 credits, no further credits are bestowed on the manufacturer once the vehicle has been placed into production. Neighborhood electric vehicles (NEV), and Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) vehicles also receive credits.
Credit values for each model vary as there are many additions, multipliers, and classifications awarded vehicles for a wide range of characteristics, including the use of advanced components, use in a public transportation system, and an all-electric range. For example, a ZEV with an all-electric range of 300+ miles and fast refueling capabilities (hydrogen) can earn over 7 credits. If an OEM accrues extra credits it can save or trade the credits with other OEMs. The financial penalty for not meeting the requirement is $5,000 per ZEV (or credit); there is no defined price for the credit, so we can assume the traded value for a credit does not exceed $5,000. In 2011 there were four total trades, the biggest being a trade of just under 23 credits from Tesla to Honda.
Basic ZEV Credit Ratings
2012-2014 All electric Range
- Type 0 1 Default Case
- Type 1 2 50-75 mi range
- Type 1.5 2.5 75-100 mi range
- Type 2 3 100+ mi range
- Type 3 4 100+ FR/200+ mi range
- Type 4 5 200+ mi range FR
- Type 5 7 300+ mi range FR
FR = Fast Refueling
Determining the credit amount for each specific technical advancement in emissions reductions technologies is one of the most important pieces of this program. It is especially important for smaller OEMs like Tesla, Phoenix, and Zip Car, which are not regulated under the scheme, but can still profit from it by trading credits they accrue with OEMs that cannot comply on their own. So, specific credit ratings bestowed on specific fuels or technologies can influence the direction of technological development within the industry.
An example of this influence is the new set of standards adopted in January 2012 for the years 2015 through 2025. The new standards introduce the BEVx credit, which is used for full electric vehicles with small back up engines to extend the EV ranges in low charge situations. Also within the new standards are requirements placed on fuel suppliers (BP, Chevron, Tesoro, etc.) to deliver cleaner fuels as part of ARB’s Clean Fuels Outlet (CFO) program. These regulations focus particularly on hydrogen; CARB forecasts having 50 commercial stations in operation by 2025.
Many of the OEM-announced EV introductions are “compliance” vehicles and may never enter markets outside of California, but that fact should not discount the tremendous impact the ZEV program has had on the greater auto industry. As of January 2012, 2.16 million PZEVs and ZEVs have been produced for California. Based on the increased standards CARB introduced in January, CARB forecasts that by 2025, just under 250,000 ZEVs and PHEVs will be produced for the California market annually, or 15.4 percent of California’s new vehicles. While credit for the EV revolution cannot rest entirely on the ZEV program, it deserves recognition for advancing fuel efficient technologies and helping reduce the prohibitive cost of EVs so that someday, people in other states can own a similar vehicle.Scott Shepard is a research associate for Pike Research with a focus on smart transportation and the smart grid.
What a terrific idea!
California's zero emissions vehicle (ZEV) law requires automakers to sell an increasing number of zero emission vehicles in the state - and those that can't meet their targets can buy "credits" from automakers who can.
Automakers that can't meet their targets or don't buy enough credits face thousands of dollars in fines for each missed credit. The state can also ban the automaker from selling cars there.
That sets up a nice incentive for producing ZEVs - an additional revenue stream.
Nissan has credits to sell because it sells the electric Leaf there, and Tesla Motors has sold some $13 million worth of credits to Honda and at least one other automaker, reports Bloomberg Businessweek.
The more advanced the vehicle, the more credits it gets. A Tesla, for example, gets 7 credits because of its long range and fast-charging. The Leaf and Ford Focus get 3 credits - they have less range and only standard charging times.
Although the price of the deals are private, one credit tends to sell for $5,000 to $10,000 each, says Bloomberg Businessweek.
Tesla, for example, can make $35,000 or more in selling credits for each $70,000 car it sells.
In January, California passed its latest update to the standards, with a goal of getting 1.4 million ZEV and hybrid vehicles on the roads by 2025.
2 percent of vehicles must be ZEVs for automakers that sell over 60,000 vehicles in the state from 2012-2014 and that percentage rises to 15 percent by 2025.
In 2018, the rules will also apply to automakers that sell over 20,000 vehicles in the state.
Unlike the new federal rules, which omit mandated reductions in smog-forming greenhouse gases from vehicles, California now requires a 50 percent reduction from current levels, rising to 75 percent by 2025.
And in a bold move, they require large oil companies to chip in for the infrastructure to support those clean cars.
14 other states have adopted California's smog emissions rules and 10 states have adopted its ZEV mandates, including NY, Massachusetts and Connecticut.
California's Air Resources Board says: "Mobile sources account for well over half of the emissions which contribute to ozone and particulate matter and nearly 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in California. To meet California's health based air quality standards and greenhouse gas emission reduction goals, the cars we drive and the fuel we use must be transformed away from petroleum."
In related news, Europe plans to tighten emissions on cars sold there by about a third by 2020.
The average emissons across vehicles sold for each manufacturer would drop from today's limit of 140 grams of carbon per kilometer to 95 grams of carbon per kilometre travelled. They are already required to drop to 130 grams by 2015.
The European Commission has even stricter emissions limits in mind for 2025 and 2030, which could only be met if hybrid and electric vehicles become mainstream. That would provide longer term certainty for the industry to invest and innovate, they say. The plan is expected to be approved next year.
Photo by Ricardo Diaz/flickr/Creative Commons
Reprinted with permission from SustainableBusiness.com
by Christopher DeMorro
While there are those who fight the notion that any fuel other than oil is a foolish notion, those who know better are working to embrace alternative fuels on every level. The world of motorsports is developing some truly unique and wonderful technologies that run cleaner and more efficiently, and manufacturers are actively seeking out racing series to demonstrate these advances. The famed Grand-Am series is the latest motorsports competition to embrace alternatives with the new GX class, which will debut in 2013.
The GX class will run at the same races alongside the Daytona Prototype and and Grand Touring classes and will host a number of alternative fuel technologies. The series will debut in 2013, which gives Grand-Am officials a chance to hash out rules that will allow technologies that will likely include alt-fuels like ethanol, flywheel hybrids, and small, turbocharged engines. Mazda has already announced that it will enter a clean diesel engine into the GX class next year; who will step up to challenge them?
Sounds a lot like what the American Le Mans Series has been doing for years. I don’t say that to diminish the Grand-Am announcement, as I am always happy to see more motorsports competitions adopting alternative fuels. But rather than announcing an all-new class, which apparently came at the behest of auto manufacturers themselves, why not just switch fuels altogether?
Grand-Am road racers currently run Sunoco 260 GTX, an unleaded racing fuel that allows for compression ratios of around 12:1. Engines tuned to use E85 ethanol can run compression ratios of 14:1 or higher, which any racer will tell you is great for making more powah. A switch from racing fuel to ethanol would also help promote an American-grown fuel, rather than supporting a company which gets a vast majority of its oil from places like Nigeria, a place where oil spills on a scale of Deepwater Horizon happen almost annually. Whatever your misgivings about ethanol, there are now ways to produce it without reducing edible food crops, and Grand-Am should take advantage of its performance properties to green their sport.
But the GX class is a good start, and I am excited that an organization as well known and as popular as the Grand-Am series is hopping on the alt-fuels bandwagon with organizations like IndyCar and NASCAR racing.
Reprinted with permission from Gas 2.0