Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

German car giants face EU emissions probe

Posted: September 18, 2018 by oldbrew in Emissions, Legal, News, Travel
Tags:


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.

(more…)

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.

(more…)

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.

(more…)

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?

(more…)

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.

(more…)


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).

(more…)

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.

(more…)


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.

(more…)

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.

(more…)

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.

(more…)

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.

(more…)


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.

(more…)

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.

(more…)

Electric car charging station [credit: Wikipedia]


Somebody has to pay for all this, and if the firm behind it goes bust who picks up the financial reins to keep the project going?

Plans were unveiled today to build a world-first 2GW network of grid-scale batteries and rapid electric vehicle (EV) charging stations across the UK, reports PEI.

Pivot Power is behind the £1.6bn programme, which will provide infrastructure to support the rapid adoption of EVs and underpin clean air policies, while introducing valuable flexibility into the energy system to accommodate the demands of mass EV charging and higher levels of intermittent renewable generation.

(more…)

Credit: carsdirect.com


One of the sub-headings to this BBC News story is ‘Push and go faster’. That really would be a fuel saver if it worked 😉

The government’s ambition to clean up motor vehicles by 2040 is not ambitious enough, a leading energy expert says.

Professor Jim Watson, head of the prestigious UK Energy Research Centre, said the target should be at least five years earlier, as in Scotland.

(more…)

Can CNG trucks go the distance?

Posted: May 3, 2018 by oldbrew in Emissions, innovation, News, Travel
Tags: ,

CNG truck [image credit: Waitrose]


The idea here is that high pressure carbon-fibre fuel tanks should help to demolish the ‘range anxiety’ of truck operators who need to cover big distances daily, by giving a range of upto 500 miles. America already has some, but these are the first in Europe. Lifetime costs should be lower than regular trucks, but the report doesn’t say where the ‘renewable biomethane‘ fuel is coming from.

Delivery trucking is a dirty business, but the companies that rely on it are working to clean things up – and compressed natural gas is emerging as a useful alternative to our reliance on diesel power.

In the UK, Scania has created a fleet of biomethane fueled trucks for Waitrose, which is looking to reap the rewards with lower running costs and less emissions, reports New Atlas.

(more…)


The VW emissions scandal sent the reputation and sales of the diesel car generally into a nosedive, but one German firm has new ideas that aim to reverse its fading fortunes.

Robert Bosch GmbH said its engineers have developed a new diesel-exhaust system that cuts emissions significantly below legal limits taking effect in 2020, reports TechXplore.

Bosch is positioning the diesel technology as a solution to the NOx problem.

In turn, anyone who says there is no future in diesel will find no solace in the words of Bosch Chief Executive Volkmar Denner: “There’s a future for diesel. Soon, emissions will no longer be an issue.”

(more…)


The original technology was demonstrated in an Atlantic crossing that took place in 1926, but Norsepower says it has created various new improvements for which several patents have been granted.

Last year (reports New Atlas) we detailed how Norsepower had rediscovered an engineering innovation, which sees large cylinders installed atop big ships to harness wind for propulsion.

Now a passenger ship has been treated to the Rotor Sail Solution and has set sail on wind-assisted trips between Finland and Sweden.

The M/S Viking Grace – which has 880 cabins and can accommodate 2,800 passengers and around 500 cars – went into service in 2013, when it was reported to be the first ship of its size to be fueled by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).

(more…)

Sweden installs section of electrified road

Posted: April 13, 2018 by oldbrew in innovation, News, Travel
Tags:

Slot cars [image credit: Thomas Mielke @ Wikipedia]


Forget solar panels on the road surface – this is a different idea. Power is picked up by vehicles on the move, similar to slot cars. The report says: ‘They have also taken measures to ensure the rail is functional during inclement weather.’ Trialling in Sweden should put that to the test.

A team making up the eRoadArlanda project has announced that they have electrified a section of road near Stockholm, which will be tested by a battery-powered test truck.

The team is part of an initiative set up by the Swedish government’s Transport Administration to meet its goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, reports TechXplore.

The Swedish government has been funding projects aimed at developing a fossil-free road transport system for many years. In this new effort, the focus was on implementing a road technology that could be used by currently available vehicles. The result is what some have called a human-sized slot car system.

(more…)

Hydrogen-powered Toyota Mirai [image credit: Nikkei Asian Review]


Climate targets are invoked to justify the cost and effort. Hydrogen cars are far more expensive than fuel-burners.

Zero emission vehicles to be used by taxi firms and police, says the DoT announcement.

Police cars and taxis will be among nearly 200 new hydrogen powered vehicles switching to zero emission miles, thanks to a multi-million pound government boost.

The zero emission vehicles are part of a project that has won £8.8 million in funding from the Department for Transport to improve access to hydrogen refuelling stations up and down the country and increase the number of hydrogen cars on our roads from this summer.

(more…)