New Bloomberg report on the use and deployment of Electric Buses makes interesting reading.
See the full report
Electric Buses in Cities– Driving Towards Cleaner Air and Lower CO2 at Bloomberg New Energy
Worth a read and lots of graphics to help paint the picture.
Few key points and charts below.
Air quality is a growing concern in many urban environments and has direct health impacts for residents. Tailpipe emissions from internal combustion engines are one of the major sources of harmful pollutants, such as nitrogen oxides and particulates. Diesel engines in particular have very high nitrogen oxide emissions and yet these make up the majority of the global bus fleet. As the world’s urban population continues to grow, identifying sustainable, cost effective transport options is becoming more critical. Electric vehicles – including electric buses – are one of the most promising ways of reducing harmful emissions and improving overall air quality in cities.
The global e-bus market is changing quickly as cities make increasingly ambitious fleet electrification commitments. In October 2017, 13 cities signed the C40 Fossil- Fuel-Free Streets Declaration, pledging to procure only zero-emission buses from 2025 onwards.
The cumulative number of e-buses in Europe reached just over 2,100 units in 2017. Pure electric buses made up the majority of the total at 1,560 units. The U.K. has the largest e-bus fleet in Europe in absolute terms, but the share of e-buses in the total municipal bus fleet in the country was still below 1% in 2017.
E-bus charging configurations
There are three main types of infrastructure for charging electric buses: plug-in systems, inductive charging and conductive pantograph (overhead) charging (Table 3). Traditional plug-in charging is the most common and the cheapest charging system in use with e-buses today. It offers a range of charging rates, from slow to rapid and it is provided by a range of companies, including Heliox, APT, Siemens and ABB.
E-bus lithium-ion battery market review
The demand for lithium-ion batteries from electric vehicles – both e-buses and passenger EVs – is increasing. However, battery manufacturing capacity is increasing much faster than demand, which puts pressure on battery prices. As a result battery prices have fallen by 79% since 2010. The sensitivity of battery cycle and calendar life, and the challenges around predicting future battery life make warranties critical to e-buses. Since e-buses have only come to prominence in the last five years the true performance of their batteries may not yet be fully understood.
One of our favorite journals, The Economist has an interesting and informative new video up: “Electric cars will come of age in 2018.” The Economist supports that view that the global tipping point for electric cars may well be 2018 based on information regular readers know well, but it’s great to see such communication in the mass media.
One key point is that the more affordable total cost of ownership is shifting from gasoline cars to more sublime electric cars. The head-to-head comparison shows the total cost of ownership of an EV to be cheaper in 2018, based on estimates from The Economist.
Additionally, we no longer see EVs as the funny or odd contraptions that turned off many people in the 1980s and 1990s. Tesla’s supreme appeal thanks to the performance and high tech of its cars have led the way into a new era, and its modernistic minimalism keeps attracting new buyers. Electric cars are truly cool in 2017 — hip as the miniskirt once was.
The Economist does, of course, bring up environmental concerns that routinely come up about electric transport — it can be powered by coal. However, it’s important to recognize that even driving electric on the dirtiest grid is cleaner than driving an average car. Most of us who drive electric for the environment do use solar-powered charging spots when we can. And in the midst of a grid shift to renewable energy, the overall electricity mix we drive on will get cleaner and cleaner. More and more charging infrastructure will rely on solar and wind.
The Economist suggests that there is a global shift of power in the works. Oil is going to become much less important. Instability across oil nations is going to increase as a result, however.
Electric car batteries are coming swiftly into focus. The batteries often rely on the mineral cobalt. Two-thirds of the world’s cobalt comes from one country, the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Economist continues that demand for cobalt has doubled over the past 5 years. It will triple by 2020. The Democratic Republic of Congo does not bring to mind safe politics and does bring to mind a certain amount of corruption and environmental degradation. Cobalt mining there is probably something many of us would emotionally prefer to not learn more about. Heartbreaking issues are in the underbelly of all too many consumer goods.
With the Tesla truck announcement comming this week the EV world will ratch up another notch.
The UK Government has announced a ban on all new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2040.
Yes our team from theDepartment for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, and the Department for Transport have jointly announced that from 2040 the UK will end the sale of all new conventional petrol and diesel cars and vans. This is another component of the plan to tackle air pollution due to the environmental risk from rising levels of nitrogen dioxide.
This is one part of the programme to deliver clean air – next year the Government will publish a comprehensive Clean Air Strategy which will address other sources of air pollution.
Air quality in the UK has been improving significantly in recent decades, with reductions in emissions of all of the key pollutants, and NO2 levels down by half in the last 15 years.
Despite this, an analysis of over 1,800 of Britain’s major roads show that a small number of these – 81 or 4% – are due to breach legal pollution limits for NO2, with 33 of these outside of London.
To accelerate action local areas will be asked to produce initial plans within eight months and final plans by the end of next year.
The Government will help towns and cities by providing £255 million to implement their plans, in addition to the £2.7 billion we are already investing.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said:
We are taking bold action and want nearly every car and van on UK roads to be zero emission by 2050 which is why we’ve committed to investing more than £600m in the development, manufacture and use of ultra-low emission vehicles by 2020.
Read the full report at Gov.uk site.
London needed only seven days to exceed EC pollution limits for all of 2016. By the end of the week, levels of NO2 (Nitrogen dioxide) had already exceeded the limit of 200 milligrams per cubic meter more than 18 times in Putney High Street since, as much as EU regulations will allow for an entire 12 months. Damning a whole city for a single site’s breach might seem extreme, but the pollution spike was most likely repeated elsewhere, too.
Oxford Street, London’s main shopping street, is notorious for having the highest recorded levels of NO2 anywhere in the world. It has probably exceeded its annual limit already as well—in 2015 this took just four days—but measuring equipment has malfunctioned, so this year at least it’s been spared a headline. In fact, 181 square miles of Greater London currently exceeds yearly NO2 limits according to a Policy Exchange new report, leaving London at an NO2 pollution level similar to that of Beijing or Shanghai. These huge overages might come as a shock for a city that has shown some leadership in pioneering congestion charging, adopting bikeshare fairly early, and in fact adopting strict air quality controls as early as the 1950s. What on earth is going on?
The recent Policy Exchange report has answers—some predictable, some unexpected. First off, it’s fair to note that London has made headway in cutting some emissions. The city’s particulate matter pollution has dropped below EU safe levels, and sulfur dioxide levels have plummeted. With NO2, however, there’s been little or no progress. Culprit No. 1 is the huge uptick in the number of diesel-fuelled vehicles on UK roads. As the report notes, in 1994 they made up just seven percent of the entire UK fleet. Today, they represent 36 percent of that fleet. See chart below.
Ironically, environmental concerns have in part caused this spike. Included in a lower car-tax band, diesel vehicles have been favored by the UK government due to their lower CO2 emissions and greater fuel efficiency. This favoritism unfortunately overlooked their considerably higher NO2 and PM emissions. Diesel cars have also lagged behind gas-run cars in emission improvements and, the report states, performed worse on the roads than they have in tests:
The tests are currently performed in laboratory conditions, and it has been argued that they do not adequately represent real world driving conditions—particularly urban driving conditions. The test cycle is “unrealistic and undemanding”, with cars able to accelerate slowly under relatively low engine loads, and therefore fails to represent real-world driving. Ask VW for clarification.
The pollution such vehicles create can be clearly linked to London’s high NO2 levels, 45 percent of which come from vehicles. Gas combustion (separated into domestic and non-domestic categories), non-road mobile machinery, industry, rail, and aviation also play a role, but none of these sectors’ pollution portions exceed 13 percent of the total. If London is going to clean up its air, it’s going to have to push for a root-and-branch low-emissions overhaul of its vehicle fleet.
London has a plan to do just that, at least in its most polluted sections, and albeit quite far into the future. In September 2020, London’s congestion-charge zone will also become an Ultra Low Emissions Zone where high-emissions vehicles will have to pay a charge to enter. The scheme is expected to cut central London’s NOx (the combined term for the pollutants nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide) and PM levels by half. If London’s current pollution problem seems bleak, its pall should lighten considerably in the future.
Within this proposed zone, however, the pollution picture is a little more complex than in the city as a whole. At 48 percent of the total, NO2 emissions from vehicles here are even higher than elsewhere, but there’s also another major player in the pollution problem: Non-domestic gas combustion now contributes a hardly inconsiderable 33 percent of Central London’s NO2 emissions.
This is a pollution source that is only likely to grow—Policy Exchange estimates that it will create 48 percent of Central London’s NOx pollution by 2025. This is because the frequency of localized gas burning is likely to grow. Currently the UK is promoting decentralized power generation, including combined heat and power plants, as a more efficient way of delivery energy. This is essentially a good thing, but when it comes to emissions it seems that not all forms of decentralized generation are equal. The Greater London Authority’s rules, for example, still allow emissions of up to 300mg per kilowatt hour for gas CHP turbines, a considerably higher level than those typical of current heat only condensing boilers.
If gas CHP is rolled out across London in the future without stricter controls on their emissions, they could gobble up much of the reduction gained from better vehicle emission control. If there’s something to be learned from the UK’s past promotion of diesel, it’s that if you don’t look at all sides of a potential environmental improvement, you risk shooting yourself in the foot.
It seem that the VW Group will not offer compensation to European customers who bought a diesel car with “cheat” software, taking a different tack from in the U.S. where the automaker will provide a goodwill package worth $1,000 to affected owners.
National Plug in day was a large event in some part of the world – especially the US.
It was pretty much ignored in th UK. While in California Governor Jerry Brown marked National Plug-In Day by signing six bills to promote electric cars.
The new laws created by these bills will enact or extend a variety of programs that promote the use of electric cars and alternative-fuel vehicles.
Assembly Bill 8 (AB 8) will provide $2 billion in funding for several green initiatives.
Those include the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program, a “Cash For Clunkers”-style program that incentives scrapping the dirtiest cars, and $20 million in funding for 100 hydrogen fueling stations.
Senate Bill 359 (SB 359) will fund four programs that encourage the purchase of cleaner vehicles.
That bill includes: $20 million for the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project, $10 million for the Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project, $10 million for the Heavy-Duty Vehicle Air Quality Loan Program, and $8 million for the Enhanced Fleet Modernization Program.
Two bills will extend High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane access for low-emission and zero-emission vehicles until 2019.
Bills AB 266 and SB 286 extend the white HOV lane sticker program for battery electric cars and the green sticker program for plug-in hybrids, respectively.
Also helping to make plug-in drivers’ lives easier is SB 454, which establishes the Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Open Access Act.
The Act calls for the creation of an open system for electric car charging payments, where drivers could simply drive up to a charging station and pay with a credit card–regardless of which charging station company they have an account with.
The final bill was also related to electric-car charging.
AB 1092 requires the California Building Standards Commission and the Department of Housing and Community Development to develop standards for charging infrastructure in multi-family housing and non-residential developments.
Taken together, the package of legislation keeps California among the front-runners in states working to promote electric cars and zero-emission vehicles. Come on UK we need these type of incentives to kick-start our EV industry.
Rick Woodbury CEO of Commuter Cars shared with us a report that is currently being distributed to members of the EC.
The report details the growing congestion in Cities around the globe and especially in Europe. The Tango car from Commuter Cars of Spokane Washington fits two to a lane providing a unique solution to adding more cars on the roads, without building more roads. As Commuter Cars points out roads are expensive to construct and maintain. By making them more efficient the users reap the benefits.
Read more in the report:
Some of the very first car ran on fuel derived from peanuts.
Since then the vast majority of our fuel has been derived from nasty petrochemicals.
Now Silicon Valley startup Solazyme [NSDQ:SZYM] is testing diesel fuel derived from refining renewable oils–produced by specialized algae–in two Volkswagen turbo diesel models.
Since July 2012, then a VW Passat TDI and a Jetta TDI have covered about 20,000 miles together running exclusively on algae-derived diesel fuel.
The results of the year-long test, a joint effort of Volkswagen and Solazyme, will be issued later this year.
VW engineers and Solazyme will pay particular attention to the TDI injectors, high-pressure pumps, sensors, and hoses, to ensure they are aging and wearing no differently than those in conventionally fueled TDI cars.
Meets all diesel standards
Over the last several years, a huge amount of R&D funds have gone into the field of sustainable and renewable fuels derived from plants and other carbohydrates–including the increasingly controversial production of corn-based ethanol.
Conceptually, Solazyme’s process is simple. It uses industrial-scale fermentation processes to grow algae that turn carbohydrate feed stocks into oils, made of custom carbon chains that vary with the end use.
Dan Philips, Solazyme’s director of fuels, points out that the company’s Soladiesel fuel derived from these oils meets all ASTM standards for modern ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel, in particular the D975 specification.
Hence, the algae-derived diesel should run properly in any current diesel car. That sets it apart from some other fuels lumped in the broad and ill-defined category of biodiesel, including after-market conversions of older diesels that run on recycled cooking grease.
Algae and biofuel
The testing of the two Volkswagen TDI diesels is part of an effort to show automakers that renewable diesel that meets all relevant diesel-fuel specifications is safe to run in new vehicles.
The Soladiesel fuel is now sold in about 1,200 locations globally.
Diesel drivers like it
Solazyme recently conducted a 30-day market test of a B20 Soladiesel fuel–which blends 20 percent of its algae-derived diesel with 80 percent conventional diesel–
That test, at four Propel Clean Fuel Points fueling stations in the San Francisco Bay Area, showed that 70 percent of buyers said they would buy an algae-derived diesel fuel more often.
Four in 10 drivers buying the fuel said they would even pay a premium for renewable diesel fuel. The four Propel stations offering the fuel had sales during one-third higher than non-participating stations during that month-long trial.
Independent testing of the B20 blend by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) showed reductions of 10 percent in total hydrocarbon emissions, 20 percent for carbon monoxides, and fully 30 percent fewer tailpipe particulates.
Separately, Life Cycle Associates indicates that 100-percent Soladiesel reduces greenhouse gases by 85 to 93 percent compared to diesel derived from conventional petroleum.
From sugars to fuels
The Soladiesel B20 fuel can be used in most new US diesel vehicles, including the 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel that will arrive at Chevy dealers later this year.
Solazyme defines its mission as transforming “a range of low-cost plant-based sugars into high-value oils,” using custom algae that end their life with about 85 percent of their body weight as oils.
The company is focusing on three markets: fuels and chemicals, nutrition, and skin and personal care.
Its Soladiesel fuel has also been tested by the Maersk shipping company and the U.S. Navy in ships, and its Solajet for aircraft by both the U.S. Air Force and United Airlines.
A Solazyme plant is now running in Peoria, Ilinois; two others in Clinton, Iowa, and Sao Paolo, Brazil, will come online early and late this year, respectively.
Solazyme’s Philips spoke on Tuesday at “Silicon Valley Reinvents the Automobile,” a presentation of the Western Automotive Journalists association and SAE International.
Peugeot launch diesel hybrid car as 3008 HYbrid4. This is an interesting vehicle from Peugeot cars: They claim it is the world’s first Full Diesel Hyrid. Volvo may have a word to say about that. However it does offer quite a list of features: Calling this a cross over car allows them to offer 4-wheel drive. The combination of Diesel and electric gives 200 bhp and yet can drive a couple of miles below 35 mph of the battery pack for zero emissions.
Diesel car magazine also like it and have voted it ‘Best Eco car of 2012’.