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Audi is Germany’s most sustainable company

August 21, 2014 in Electric Vehicles, EV News, Research

The Audi A3 Sportback e-tron is the first plug-in hybrid from Audi.  Photo courtesy of Audi Fuel consumption figures Audi A3 Sportback e-tron: Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 1.5  Fuel consumption when solely using the combustion engine in l/100 km: 4.5 Combined CO2-emissions in g/km: 35  CO2-emissions when solely using the combustion engine: 104

The Audi A3 Sportback e-tron is the first plug-in hybrid from Audi.
Photo courtesy of Audi
Fuel consumption figures Audi A3 Sportback e-tron:
Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 1.5
Fuel consumption when solely using the combustion engine in l/100 km: 4.5 Combined CO2-emissions in g/km: 35
CO2-emissions when solely using the combustion engine: 104

German consumers have voted AUDI AG as the most sustainable company: In Facit Research’s ranking Sustainability Image Score 2014 (SIS), Audi took first place ahead of BMW and Hipp. “Sustainability is strategically anchored with us as a yardstick for all products and processes,” stated Dr. Peter F. Tropschuh, Head of Corporate Responsibility at AUDI AG. “This top ranking confirms to us that with the measures we are taking, we are on the right track to shape individual mobility in a responsible manner and to make our company fit for the future.”

The Sustainability Image Score is calculated with the use of various indicators from the fields of ecological, economic and social sustainability. Audi leads the ranking in all three dimensions: It took first place in the ecology category for investment in technologies that conserve resources and protect the environment and also for its green production plants. In the area of social sustainability, Audi gained the best marks as a popular employer and as a company that creates and protects jobs; consumers also appreciate the broad support and promotion provided for young employees and Audi’s social involvement in the countries where it has production facilities. In the area of economics, Audi scored well with its fair play vis à vis competitors and suppliers, as well as with its particularly conscientious approach towards customer data.

The study has been conducted annually since 2011 and polls each consumer on two different companies. This year, a representative sample of more than 8,000 consumers evaluated 104 companies in 16 industries.

Also in the renowned Oekom Research Rating 2014, Audi was recognized for its above-average commitment with “Corporate Responsibility Prime Status.”

This article is a repost, credit: Audi.

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High-speed electric train Lastochka makes first trip beyond Urals (Russian Railways)

August 20, 2014 in Electric Vehicles, EV News, Trains

On Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 the Desiro RUS type regional train was sent off on its first trip with passengers on board. The train – named "Lastochka" (Little Swallow) in Russia – departed from Moscow Station in St. Petersburg and traveled via Chudovo to Veliky Novgorod. In future, the train will offer a daily service on this route as well as on the St Petersburg–Chudovo–Bologoye route during the winter timetable. - Siemens Photo copyright: RZD

On Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 the Desiro RUS type regional train was sent off on its first trip with passengers on board. The train – named “Lastochka” (Little Swallow) in Russia – departed from Moscow Station in St. Petersburg and traveled via Chudovo to Veliky Novgorod. In future, the train will offer a daily service on this route as well as on the St Petersburg–Chudovo–Bologoye route during the winter timetable. – Siemens
Photo copyright: RZD

A demonstration journey of the high-speed Lastochka train has been conducted between Barnaul – Novosibirsk – Barnaul at West-Siberian Railways. The main purpose of the journey, which was timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Novonikolayevsk – Barnaul railway line, was to assess the technical ability to run a similar electric train on a main line on a continuous basis.

The event was marked by ceremonies held on 18 August 2014 in Barnaul and Novosibirsk and was attended by Anatoly Reger, Head of West-Siberian Railways, Alexander Karlin, Acting Governor of Altai Territory, Vladimir Gorodetsky, Acting Governor of Novosibirsk Region, Mayor of Novosibirsk.

“The fact that today the Lastochka is completing a journey on Western-Siberian Railways testifies to our commitment to further developing infrastructure and improving technologies. The major advantages of this electric train are speed and safety, advantages which allow us to compete successfully with other modes of transport and meet the needs of all categories of passengers. It is very gratifying that on Russia’s railways a train is now running using two types of power: AC and DC. That is especially important for our main line,” said Anatoly Reger.

The demonstration trip was also attended by more than 300 passengers who received free tickets at suburban ticket offices. Travel time between Barnaul and Novosibirsk was 3 hours 20 minutes including stops.

This was the Lastochka’s first trip electric beyond the Urals.

According to Alexander Karlin, the Lastochka meets all modern requirements with regard to both comfort levels and accessibility for passengers with disabilities.

“This is a significant step forward. Cutting-edge equipment and technology have been used in the train to improve passenger comfort,” said Vladimir Gorodetsky.

The guests at the event noted that a long tradition of partnerships between the railways and regional administrations had always been the basis for the region’s economic development and agreed to make every effort to bring the Lastochka into continuous service as quickly as possible.

Altai Territory and Novosibirsk Region are two of the few regions to have fulfilled their commitments to subsidise commuter services on time.

At past events, regional leaders unanimously noted that the long tradition of partnership with Russian Railways has always been and remains the basis for the economic development of the subjects of the Russian Federation.

Map courtesy of CIA

Map courtesy of CIA

This article is a repost (8-19-14), credit: Russian Railways.

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August Transit Savings Report Shows Individuals Save $10,064 a year

August 20, 2014 in Electric Vehicles, EV Mass Transit, EV News, Politics, San Francisco

By American Public Transportation Association

Image courtesy of SFMTA

Image courtesy of SFMTA

Washington, D.C.  As students begin to head back to school and the rest of us head back to work after the summer vacation season, it is time to get back to work on saving money for next year’s big summer trip. This month shows that living with one less car and taking public transportation can help you save a little faster. The average annual savings for public transit riders was $10,064, according to the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) August Transit Savings Report. Individuals who ride public transportation instead of driving can also save, on average, more than $839 this month.

These savings are based on the cost of commuting by public transportation compared to the cost of owning and driving a vehicle which includes the August 14, 2014 average national gas price ($3.47 per gallon- reported by AAA), and the national unreserved monthly parking rate numbers.

APTA releases this monthly Transit Savings Report to examine how an individual in a two-person household can save money by taking public transportation and living with one less car.

The national average for a monthly unreserved parking space in a downtown business district is $166.26, according to the 2012 Colliers International Parking Rate Study, which is the most recent report available. Over the course of a year, parking costs for a vehicle can amount to an average of $1,995.

The top 20 cities with the highest public transit ridership are ranked in order of their transit savings based on the purchase of a monthly public transit pass. The savings also factor in local gas prices for August 14, 2014 and the local monthly unreserved parking rate.*

 City  Monthly  Annual
1 New York  $1,247 $14,963
2 San Francisco  $1,102 $13,220
3 Boston  $1,087 $13,045
4 Philadelphia  $1,002 $12,023
5 Seattle  $998 $11,974
6 Chicago  $992 $11,910
7 Honolulu  $981 $11,774
8 Los Angeles  $939 $11,271
9 Portland  $897 $10,763
10 San Diego  $892 $10,703
11 Denver $878 $10,530
12 Minneapolis  $877 $10,528
13 Baltimore $861 $10,334
14 Washington, DC $843 $10,121
15 Pittsburgh $827  $9,925
16 Cleveland $823  $9,874
17 Miami $791  $9,495
18 Atlanta $791  $9,493
19 Las Vegas $781  $9,377
20 Dallas $777  $9,322

*Based on gasoline prices as reported by AAA on 8/14/14
Methodology

APTA calculates the average cost of taking public transit by determining the cost of the average monthly transit pass of local public transit agencies across the country. This information is based on the annual APTA fare collection survey and is weighted based on ridership (unlinked passenger trips). The assumption is that a person making a switch to public transportation would likely purchase an unlimited pass on the local public transit agency, typically available on a monthly basis.

APTA then compares the average monthly transit fare to the average cost of driving. The cost of driving is calculated using the 2013 AAA average cost of driving formula. That formula is based on variable and fixed costs. The variable costs include the cost of gas, maintenance and tires. The fixed costs include insurance, license registration, depreciation and finance charges. The comparison also uses the average mileage of a mid-size auto at 23.1 miles per gallon and the price for self-serve regular unleaded gasoline as recorded by AAA on August 14, 2014 at $3.47 per gallon. The analysis also assumes that a person will drive an average of 15,000 miles per year. The savings is based on the assumption that a person in a two-person household lives with one less car.

In determining the cost of parking, APTA uses the data from the 2012 Colliers International Parking Rate Study for monthly unreserved parking rates for the United States which is the most recent report available.

To calculate your individual savings, with or without car ownership, go to www.publictransportation.org.

This article is a repost (8-14-14), credit: APTA.

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Interior Auctions 80,000 Acres Offshore Maryland for Wind Energy Development

August 20, 2014 in Environment, EV News, Politics, Wind

Advances President’s Climate Action Plan

Graphic courtesy of BOEM

Graphic courtesy of BOEM

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As part of President Obama’s comprehensive Climate Action Plan to create American jobs, develop domestic clean energy resources and cut carbon pollution, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) today (8-19-14) held the nation’s third competitive lease sale for renewable energy in federal waters, which offered nearly 80,000 acres offshore Maryland for potential wind energy development.

The provisional winner of today’s lease sale is US Wind Inc. When fully built, this wind energy area could generate enough energy to power about 300,000 homes.

“Today’s results are a major achievement and reflect industry confidence as we strengthen our nation’s foothold in this new energy frontier,” said Secretary Sally Jewell. “I want to thank Governor Martin O’Malley, his team and members of BOEM’s Maryland Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force for all of their hard work and leadership leading up to today’s successful auction. The collaboration and thoughtful planning that went into this lease sale will serve as a model as we continue up and down the coast in our efforts to ensure wind energy is developed in the right way and in the right places.”

BOEM auctioned the Maryland Wind Energy Area as two leases, referred to as the North Lease Area (32,737 acres) and the South Lease Area (46,970 acres). US Wind Inc. submitted the provisionally winning bid for both lease areas. For a map of the lease areas, click here.

Today’s announcement builds on Interior’s work to stand up a sustainable offshore wind program for the Atlantic Coast. Prior to today’s auction, BOEM has awarded five commercial wind energy leases off the Atlantic coast: two noncompetitively issued leases (one for the proposed Cape Wind project in Nantucket Sound offshore Massachusetts and one offshore Delaware); and three competitively-issued leases (two offshore Rhode Island-Massachusetts and another offshore Virginia). The competitive lease sales generated over $5 million in winning bids for more than 277,500 acres in federal waters. BOEM is expected to hold additional competitive auctions for Wind Energy Areas offshore Massachusetts and New Jersey in the coming year.

Efforts to spur responsible development of offshore wind energy are part of a series of Obama Administration actions to increase renewable energy both offshore and onshore by improving coordination with state, local and federal partners. The Maryland Renewable Energy Task Force has been a leading agent in intergovernmental collaboration for wind energy development offshore Maryland.

Since 2009, Interior has approved 52 wind, solar and geothermal utility-scale projects on public or tribal lands, including associated transmission corridors and infrastructure to connect to established power grids. When built, these projects could provide about 14,000 megawatts – enough energy to power nearly 4.8 million homes and support more than 20,000 construction and operations jobs.

As part of the President’s comprehensive Climate Action Plan, he has challenged Interior to re-double efforts on its renewable energy program by approving an additional 10,000 megawatts of renewable energy production, for a total of 20,000 megawatts on public lands and waters by 2020.

At the same time, under the Administration’s all-of-the-above energy strategy, domestic oil and gas production has grown each year President Obama has been in office, with domestic oil production currently higher than at any time in two decades; natural gas production at its highest level ever; and renewable electricity generation from wind, solar and geothermal sources having doubled. Combined with recent declines in oil consumption, net oil imports in 2012 fell to the lowest level in 20 years.

Today’s wind energy lease sale resulted in a provisionally winning bid of $8,701,098. The auction lasted 1 day, consisting of 19 rounds before determining the provisional winner. In addition to US Wind Inc., the following companies participated in the auction: Green Sail Energy LLC and SCS Maryland Energy LLC.

“We’re pleased to see such strong commercial interest in today’s auction,” said BOEM Acting Director Cruickshank. “We will continue to work closely with the Task Force members and the public on any future wind energy projects proposed for these leases by US Wind Inc.”

The Maryland Wind Energy Area is located, at its closest point, about 10 nautical miles offshore Ocean City, Md., and has the potential to support between 850 and 1450 megawatts of commercial wind generation, according to Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

The Attorney General, in consultation with the Federal Trade Commission, will have 30 days in which to complete an antitrust review of the auction. BOEM will then send unsigned copies of the lease form to the winning bidder, who will have 10 days to sign and return the leases, file required financial assurance and pay the balance of the winning bid.

Each lease will have a preliminary term of one year, during which the lessee will submit a Site Assessment Plan to BOEM for approval. A Site Assessment Plan describes the activities (installation of meteorological towers and buoys) a lessee plans to perform for the assessment of the wind resources and ocean conditions of its commercial lease area.

If a Site Assessment Plan is approved, the lessee will then have up to 4½ years in which to submit a Construction and Operations Plan (COP) to BOEM for approval. This plan provides detailed information for the construction and operation of a wind energy project on the lease. After BOEM receives a COP from a lessee, BOEM will conduct an environmental review of that proposed project. Public input will be an important part of BOEM’s review process.

If the COP is approved, the lessee will have an operations term of 25 years.

For more information on what’s going on offshore Maryland, visit BOEM’s website by clicking here.

This article is a repost (8-19-14), credit: DOI.

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The Government (Norway) Pension Fund Global returned 3.3 percent, or 192 billion kroner, in the second quarter of 2014.

August 20, 2014 in EV News, Oil, Politics

Heidrun Photo courtesy of Statoil

Heidrun
Photo courtesy of Statoil

Equity investments returned 4.0 percent, and fixed-income investments 2.0 percent. The return on these investments was 0.1 percentage point lower than the return on the benchmark indices. Investments in real estate returned 3.0 percent.

“Equity markets rose in the second quarter, and emerging markets performed best,” says Yngve Slyngstad, CEO of Norges Bank Investment Management, the fund’s manager. “Considerable liquidity flowed into the markets, which pushed asset prices up. We noted reduced volatility in the markets, but we have to be prepared for fluctuations in the fund’s value going forward”.

The krone weakened against many of the main currencies during the quarter, which increased the fund’s value by 132 billion kroner, and new capital of 44 billion kroner was transferred to the fund from the government.

The fund had a market value of 5,478 billion kroner on 30 June, of which 61.3 percent was invested in equities, 37.6 percent in fixed income and 1.2 percent in real estate.

This article is a repost, credit: Norges Bank Investment Management.

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Terra Motors starts electric motorcycle sales in Iran with Jahanro Industrial Co., Ltd.

August 19, 2014 in Electric Motorcycle, Electric Scooter, Electric Vehicles, EV News, Oil, Politics, Pollution

Electric scooter (motorcycle) A4000i Image courtesy of Terra Motors

Electric scooter (motorcycle) A4000i
Image courtesy of Terra Motors

Tokyo, Terra Motors Corporation, Japan’s leading innovator of electric two and three-wheelers, started sales of “A4000i” and following new products in Tehran, Iran, with Jahanro Industrial Co, exclusively for next five years.

Toru Tokushige, CEO of Terra Motors said, “Jahanro Industrial Co. started from just a small motorcycle shop. But now it successfully became a distributor of Kawasaki, Bajaj, and TVS, with 1,000 employees and 200 dealers in Iran. We believe that this partnership will lead to great expansion of the electric motorcycle market in Iran.”

The demands for electric motorcycles are increasing against government regulation of Tehran.

“Tehran makes it into the 10 Most Air-Polluted Cities in the World,” said Alireza R. Bana, CEO of Jahanro Industrial Co. “For the strategic plan to reduce air pollution, Deputy-Director of Transport & Traffic intends to ban all types of fuel-burning motorcycles from entering restricted areas of Tehran. And only electric motorcycles will be licensed to enter that area.” In addition, the situations below push the spreads of electric motorcycles in Iran:

Cuts in tariffs on electric motorcycles

Against the background of environmental problems, the electric motorcycle that doesn’t discharge any exhaust gas receives preferential treatment concerning customs duty. It is 59% to gas motorcycle, and 4% to the electric motorcycle. The purchase of electric motorcycles receives a big benefit from customs duty.

Reduction of Subsidies from 2010

In Iran, the government has decided to reduce gasoline subsidies since 2010. Petrol prices in Iran have leapt by up to 75%, after state subsidies were cut. Although fuel costs in Iran is still among the cheapest in the world, but the price hikes will be unwelcome for a quarter of the adult population who is jobless or under-employed. Electric motorcycle will be the solution for the users of motorcycles.

Solutions to air pollution

About 800,000-sets of gas motorcycles are sold each year in Iran, and the 90% of them are Chinese-made motorcycles that emit carbon dioxide with high concentration. We can reduce this problem by spreading electric motorcycles.

Generally speaking, the demands for electric motorcycles seem to be small in oilproducing countries. But in fact, there are large demands for electric motorcycles in Middle Eastern countries, because of the environmental and economic conditions.

Terra Motors will continue to expand business all over the world to achieve our vision: “Leading innovations with Electric Vehicles in creating clean & sustainable society.”

This article is a repost, credit: Terra Motors.

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Testing Electric Propulsion (NASA)

August 19, 2014 in Electric Plane, Electric Vehicles, EV News, Research

Greased Lighning (GL10) project 10 engine electric prototype remote control plane. Photo taken 8/14/14 by David C. Bowman Courtesy of NASA

Greased Lighning (GL10) project 10 engine electric prototype remote control plane. Photo taken 8/14/14 by David C. Bowman
Courtesy of NASA

On Aug. 19, National Aviation Day, a lot of people are reflecting on how far aviation has come in the last century. Could this be the future – a plane with many electric motors that can hover like a helicopter and fly like a plane, and that could revolutionize air travel?

Engineers at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., are studying the concept with models such as the unmanned aerial system GL-10 Greased Lightning. The GL-10, which has a 10-foot wingspan, recently flew successfully while tethered. Free-flight tests are planned in the fall of 2014.

This research has helped lead to NASA Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate efforts to better understand the potential of electric propulsion across all types, sizes and missions for aviation.

This article is a repost, credit: NASA.