Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Subsidised plug-in cars driven on fuel

Posted: November 10, 2018 by oldbrew in Critique, government, Subsidies, Travel
Tags: ,

Credit: dieselstation.com


Company car drivers don’t have time to wait for recharges when working, even if they could find an available charging point, and usually they aren’t personally paying for the fuel anyway. Farcical waste of subsidies, but at least the batteries won’t be worn out when these vehicles hit the second-hand market.

Plug-in hybrids bought for fleets with subsidies may never have been charged, research for BBC shows.

Tens of thousands of plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) bought with generous government grants may be burning as much fuel as combustion-engine cars.

​Data compiled for the BBC suggests that such vehicles in corporate fleets averaged just 40 miles per gallon (mpg), when they could have done 130.

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Fiat 500X hybrid


Tinkering with electric and hybrid vehicle technology is one thing, but getting today’s buyers to willingly pay for it is another, as shown by weak sales despite the already widespread use of hefty subsidies.

Pan-European efforts under the ECOCHAMPS project have led to the development of five hybrid vehicles boasting reduced CO2 emissions, higher efficiency and powertrains with reduced weight and volume, says the European Commission’s CORDIS News.

The current focus on electric vehicles as the cornerstone of future urban mobility shouldn’t make us forget that their hybrid counterparts have a future too – and that this future is now. With electric vehicle range and a lack of charging infrastructure still being a problem, hybrid vehicles are likely to become the preferred solution for travelling beyond city limits, but on one condition: the development of easy to integrate, cost-efficient hybrid powertrain technology.

The ECOCHAMPS (European COmpetitiveness in Commercial Hybrid and AutoMotive PowertrainS) project was created with this requirement in mind. Since May 2015, the 25-strong consortium – which includes light- and heavy-duty vehicle manufacturers FIAT, Renault, Daimler, Iveco, MAN and DAF Trucks – has been working on solutions to improve powertrain efficiency by up to 20 %, reduce powertrain weight and volume by up to 20 % and, broadly speaking, make hybrid vehicles more cost-effective.

The results of the project, which include a modular system and standardisation framework for hybrid electric drivetrain components and auxiliaries for commercial vehicles (available on the project website), a set of electric components for hybrid powertrains, and optimised drivelines, have been demonstrated in two light-duty and three commercial vehicles at TRL 7. These vehicles are a FIAT 500X, a Renault Megane, a medium-duty commercial truck, a city bus and a heavy tractor.

Guus Arts, coordinator of the project on behalf of DAF Trucks, discusses its outcomes and importance for the future of mobility in Europe.

Continued here.


Political control of the market for personal transport looms ever larger. The known shortcomings of electric cars (range, cost, recharging time and facilities, etc.) and the potentially massive loss of fuel tax revenue are not mentioned.

The government’s 2040 deadline for shifting to electric-powered cars criticised as ‘unambitious’, BBC News reports.

A ban on sales of new petrol and diesel cars should be brought forward by eight years to 2032, MPs have said.

The government’s current plans to ensure all new cars are “effectively zero emission” by 2040 were “vague and unambitious”, a report by Parliament’s business select committee said.

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The war on the harmless trace gas carbon dioxide is in full swing at the EU. The diesel scandal, which was about nitrogen oxides, seems strangely to have been used as an excuse to press for a more punishing policy towards CO2. But they appear to ignore the fact that even if electric car sales go up, this mainly transfers the supposed problem to fuel-burning power stations.

The European Parliament wants to cut CO2 emissions from new cars and vans by 40 percent by 2030 and will try to convince the European Union’s 28 nations to back the idea despite objections from the powerful car industry, reports Phys.org.

The proposed cut agreed on by the legislators Wednesday was a compromise between environmentalists who wanted tougher commitments and those who wanted to avoid too much damage to the auto industry.

The EU nations will discuss the measures further this month. Car producers in the EU are warning that tough cuts would cost manufacturing jobs.

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How long does an introductory incentive period for EVs have to go on for? The hefty subsidies have to come out of finite state budgets.

PA Pundits - International

By Nicolas Loris and David Grogan ~

Earlier this year, Congress passed an irresponsible budget bill that included handouts for electric vehicle owners and alternative fuels.

Eager to frivolously waste more taxpayer dollars, some legislators are now pushing to extend the electric vehicle tax credit and lift the cap on the number of vehicles that qualify for the credit by each manufacturer.

In 2014, 79 percent of electric vehicle tax credits went to households making over $100,000. (Photo: nrqemi/Getty Images)

Doing so would reward special interests and only benefit the wealthiest Americans. Congress should instead eliminate the subsidies for electric vehicles.

Promoted as a way to wean Americans off their alleged addiction to oil, both federal and state governments have generous handouts for electric vehicles. Consumers can use up to $7,500 of other peoples’ money to buy an electric vehicle.

Add in-state and local incentives and that number can easily top…

View original post 668 more words


Another case of ‘do as we say, not as we do’ as UN globe-trotting by fuel-powered machines takes precedence over its claims that there’s a serious problem with man-made carbon dioxide emissions. Not so serious that they can’t ignore it whenever it suits them to do so, which seems to be most of the time judging by this report.

The head of the UN body that leads on sustainability and green issues has been criticised for extensive and expensive air travel, reports BBC News.

A draft internal audit, obtained by the Guardian and seen by the BBC, says that Erik Solheim’s actions risked the reputation of UN Environment.

The report says he incurred costs of $488,518 (£373,557) while travelling for 529 out of 668 days.

There was “no oversight or accountability” to monitor this travel.

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Solar panel road [image credit: Wattway]


For several obvious reasons cited below, the conclusion should be that solar panels on road surfaces perform extremely poorly and are essentially an irrelevant waste of money. If the money has to be spent, putting the same amount of panels somewhere more suitable would be an easy improvement to make.
H/T Phys.org

Four years ago a viral campaign wooed the world with a promise of fighting climate change and jump-starting the economy by replacing tarmac on the world’s roads with solar panels, says Dylan Ryan at The Conversation.

The bold idea has undergone some road testing since then. The first results from preliminary studies have recently come out, and they’re a bit underwhelming.

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German car giants face EU emissions probe

Posted: September 18, 2018 by oldbrew in Emissions, Legal, News, Travel
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Note this is not about the original issue of diesel ‘defeat’ devices. Another report at AFP says ‘Daimler and VW are widely reported to be putting themselves forward as whistle-blowers in the case, in order to win leniency with the EU authorities.’ Sounds like a guilty plea.

German carmakers BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen are to face an EU inquiry for allegedly conspiring to restrict diesel emissions treatment systems, BBC News reports.

The European Commission said it was investigating whether they agreed to limit the development of systems to reduce harmful emissions. It said that if proven, this could mean that consumers had been denied the chance to buy less polluting cars.

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Image credit: Spaceflight now


Light as a power source is only a theory so far, but could have interesting implications if it can be shown to work. Or it could go nowhere…

Spacecraft and satellites could in future be launched into space without the need for fuel, thanks to a revolutionary new theory, says EurekAlert.

Dr Mike McCulloch, from the University of Plymouth, first put forward the idea of quantised inertia (QI) – through which he believes light can be converted into thrust – in 2007.

He has now received $1.3million from the United States Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for a four-year study which aims to make the concept a reality.

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Soon your utility will help select your next car

Posted: September 10, 2018 by oldbrew in Energy, innovation, Travel
Tags:


That’s the plan anyway, as utilities want to recommend electric cars to their customers so as to sell more electricity and make more money. But there’s much more to it than that. Enter the ‘trusted energy advisor’.

For a long time utilities have been seeking better ways to engage with their customers, says PEI.

Jeff Hamel, director of energy and housing partnerships at Google, says that the Nest smart thermostat – which is part of the hardware product line that Google provides – is a good example of a simple way that utilities are partnering with their customers.

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Chinese electric car [image credit: scmp.com]


The author paints a bleak picture: ‘Hundreds of new car models chasing only five percent of the market is a recipe for financial debacle.’ High prices don’t help either.
H/T Heartland Freedom Pub / Washington Times

Tesla reported second quarter results earlier this month. Despite losing $718 million during the quarter, Tesla shares rose 16 percent on renewed promises of profitability.

Driven by government incentives and mandates, world automakers have announced big electric car introduction plans. But will any electric car firm be able to make money, asks Steve Goreham?

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Credit: greencarcongress.com


That’s the claim, but hydrogen still needs an energy source for its manufacture, so any sustainability depends on what that source is. And looking a bit closer, the report says: “If the extracted hydrogen gas is ultimately used as fuel, for example in a fuel cell of a car, the hydrogen reacts back to water with oxygen gas from the atmosphere.” So what happens when a hydrogen powered fuel cell vehicle trails water from its ‘exhaust’ on to a road in sub-zero temperatures? An icy, or more icy, surface seems likely to be the undesirable result.

The research group led by Leiden chemist Marc Koper has discovered a catalyst that minimizes the production of chlorine gas during salt water electrolysis, reports Phys.org.

The invention can enable the direct production of hydrogen from seawater.

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With electric vehicles mostly failing to impress buyers, and diesel sales taking a nosedive, European car makers are running short of options to get anywhere near the arbitrary emissions targets imposed on them. Battering a successful industry that so many people depend on for transport and employment seems a strange, not to say crazy, policy in a competitive world.

New analysis by IHS Markit suggests that automakers failing to meet 2021 fleet CO2 emissions compliance for passenger vehicles sold in the European Union (EU) could be fined more than €14 billion (US$16 billion) in 2021, reports Green Car Congress.

Legislators in the European Union (EU) are imposing a new passenger car fleet CO2 emissions target of 95 g/km, to be phased in during 2020, with 100% application in 2021 on Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP).

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Image credit: auto.ndtv.com


US Government efforts to bulldoze Americans into buying more electric cars seem to be over.

Driven by Green ideology, the Obama Administration set unrealistic fuel standards (a.k.a. “CAFE” rules) for cars sold in America, says CFACT.

Yesterday, the Trump Administration announced it is putting a freeze on their implementation before any serious damage is done.

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This appears to be based around the same technology as used in car insurance tracking devices. In effect every road would potentially be a toll road, with variable charges according to whatever factors are applied.

In the current issue of Nature, economists Peter Cramton, Axel Ockenfels (both University of Cologne) and R. Richard Geddes (Cornell University) propose having drivers pay a dynamic fee for the use of roads, reports Green Car Congress.

This would contribute to avoiding traffic jams and protecting the environment, the researchers argue.

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Nairobi traffic


It’s debatable whether air quality was top class in many African cities before the arrival of these old diesels, but they aren’t doing much to improve it.

As emission regulations become stronger for new vehicles in industrialized countries, cars as old as 25 years no longer able to meet emission standards are being exported to Africa.

Air quality is suffering as a result, reports DW.com.

Any child playing at the Uhuru garden — a recreation park in the middle of the Kenyan capital Nairobi — is oblivious to the health dangers in the air around him or her. But that air is laden with toxic pollutants, which have become a leading cause of respiratory disease in Kenyan cities.

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Baidu’s self-driving mini bus on show in Shanghai.


The march of the robots gets wheels.

One of China’s biggest technology companies has declared it has begun mass production of a self-driving bus, reports BBC News.

Baidu made the announcement after building its 100th Apolong vehicle at its factory in the country’s south-eastern Fujian province.

It said the vehicles would initially be put to commercial use within Chinese cities but added it was also targeting foreign markets.

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Bank station on the Central Line


This has little or nothing to do with the weather. Ingenious engineers needed to find ways to take some of the heat off London’s perspiring Central Line travellers.

The London Underground is hot. But nowhere is hotter than the Central line, which is routinely so hot that it exceeds the EU limit at which it is legal to transport cows, sheep and pigs, says Wired UK.
. . .
Cooling the Central line in particular presents an almost impossible puzzle for TfL [Transport for London] to solve.

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Climate miserablists wail, but public demand and commercial reality have taken priority. The skies over west London are set to become even busier. Air travel is expanding worldwide and protesters can’t change that, but the location is still controversial for some.

MPs have backed controversial plans to build a third runway at London’s Heathrow airport, reports BBC News.

The government won a key vote in the Commons by 415 votes to 119 – a majority of 296.

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Thumbs down for Paris e_car scheme [image credit: businessinsider.com]


Another ‘green’ fantasy bites the dust in the face of old-fashioned economic realities. Once again, without massive subsidies of public money the numbers just didn’t add up. Calling a taxi seems to have won the day. Now it’s see-you-in-court time as recriminations kick off.

The city of Paris is pulling the plug on an electric car-sharing system once hailed as the future of urban transport, with officials voting to cancel the contract in the face of mounting losses, as Phys.org reports.

The more than 4,000 silver Autolib hatchbacks had become a fixture on the streets of the French capital, with docking stations for the electric vehicles found every few blocks.

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