Government's flagship energy efficiency schemes are found wanting in report by Committee on Climate Change
The coalitions flagship insulation programmes have failed to put the UK on the right track to meet its commitments on cutting greenhouse gases, a review by the statutory advisers on climate change has found.
The number of cavity wall insulations one of the most effective measures for cutting energy use has plunged by more than two-thirds owing to a change in government schemes to encourage insulation.
Buyers of fully electric, hybrid and fuel cell cars will not have to pay purchase tax from September to the end of 2017
China will exempt electric cars and other types of "new energy" vehicles from purchase tax, the government said, as it seeks to reduce pollution and conserve resources.
The State Council, or cabinet, said that buyers of new energy vehicles fully electric, hybrid and fuel cell cars would not have to pay the levy from September to the end of 2017, according to a statement.... Read More
Audi has drawn up blueprints for a range of high-performance electric cars to take on US firm Tesla Motors, according to sources at the German carmaker.
Consumers have largely shunned battery-powered vehicles because of their high price tags and limited driving range as well as the scarcity of charging stations. But many analysts predict sales will rise sharply by the end of the decade.... Read More
By Martin LaMonica 29 May 2014
Anyone who has taken a school bus is familiar with the crunching sound of an idling diesel engine—and the nasty exhaust they give off. Researchers at the University of Delaware argue that cleaner electric school buses can make financial sense for school districts if they provide services to grid operators.
In an economic analysis published in Applied Energy and announced yesterday, researchers found that switching over to a fleet of electric buses, each of which costs more than twice a diesel bus, could save a school $38 million over at typical 14-year lifespan. “It would be cheaper to operate these buses,” said Jeremy Firestone, director of the Center for Carbon-free Power Integration at the University of Delaware. “And kids don't need to be exposed to diesel fumes.”
The University of Delaware has an ongoing experiment that's at the leading edge of vehicle-to-grid technology. It has 15 electric Mini Cooper sedans that earn money by providing quick bursts of power—as short as a few seconds or as long as several minutes–to balance the local electric grid. The cars' batteries effectively act as a mini power plant, providing frequency regulation services that are normally provided by fossil fuel plants or very large stationary batteries.
Electric school buses could provide the same services and, in some ways, are better suited for the task than consumer-owned plug-in cars. Because electric buses are only used for short periods of time, their batteries are typically available for many hours of the day, which makes them more valuable to the local grid operator that would purchase frequency regulation services. Also, fleet owners are more likely to invest in the inverter and control hardware to create two-way connection to the grid.
The shorter range of an electric bus compared to a diesel bus is not going to be a problem for most urban and suburban school districts, said Firestone. Regenerative braking from frequent stops can aid battery range as well.
The analysis included the medical and climate benefits of using an electric bus. Even when they were not included, a vehicle-to-grid-capable electric bus could save a school district more than $5,700 per seat over its life, according to lead author Lance Noel.
Diesel exhaust, which contains benzene and soot, is classified as a probable human carcinogen by many government agencies, including the International Agency for Research on Cancer and the US Environmental Protection Agency. And children are particularly susceptible to the adverse respiratory effects from fine particular matter, according to the nonprofit Environment and Human Health. It's estimated that 0.3 percent of in-cabin air comes from the bus's exhaust, the University of Delaware paper notes.
Practically speaking, many school districts will be unwilling or unable to pay more for electric buses. In its test, the University of Delaware ran its analysis with a bus that costs $260,000, compared to $110,000 for an equivalent diesel.
Firestone speculated that parents could be motivated by the health benefits of an electric bus to press school districts to pay the higher upfront costs. Also, a third-party fleet operator could own the buses and earn money from the frequency regulation grid services. Third-party ownership of rooftop solar panels has helped fuel rapid growth of distributed solar in the U.S. States and the federal government could also provide financing for first-of-a-kind vehicle-to-grid projects, Firestone said.
Another variable in vehicle-to-grid technology is the local grid operator. The University of Delaware is earning money with its fleet of electric Mini Coopers with PJM, which is a large and progressive grid operator. PJM makes relatively large frequency regulation payments and pays more for fast-acting energy resources, such as batteries, which has helped enable a number of innovative applications. For example, the Philadelphia subway authority has been able to finance an energy storage system that captures energy from braking trains and provides balancing services to the local grid.
Firestone is hopeful that school districts will consider electric buses when they need to upgrade. “Once you have the first couple installed and people understand both the economic and health benefits, it's an idea that could catch on rather quickly,” he said.
For Entire Article Please See: Grid-connected Electric Buses Could Displace DieselsRead More
IEEE Spectrum June 11 2014
Google has gotten a lot of publicity lately for refining the performance of its fleet of automated vehicles on the streets surrounding its California campus. But University of Michigan researchers want total control of the variables cars will face as they're put through their paces. That's why they're building a fake city center complete with a four-lane highway, stoplights, intersections, roundabouts, road signs, a railroad crossing, and construction barrels. The test environment will eventually even include mechanical pedestrians designed to do the dumb things we humans do, like stepping out into traffic when we shouldn't or crossing in the middle of a block, all the better to determine just what level of complexity an automated car's systems can handle.
For Entire Article Please see: University of Michigan to Open Robocar Urban Test Track in the FallRead More
CEO Elon Musk unveils plans to give away the companys entire patent portfolio to clear a path for electric vehicles
Electric carmaker Tesla Motors is handing over the keys to its technology in an unusual effort to encourage other automakers to expand beyond gasoline-burning vehicles.
Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, promised on Thursday to give away the companys entire patent portfolio, as long as they promised not to engage courtroom battles over intellectual property.... Read More
You will have heard, I am sure, of the Google driverless car. In fact, if you're a regular reader you will be thoroughly familiar with the vehicle if only because this columnist seems to be always going on about it. The justification for this obsession is that the success of the autonomous vehicle project should serve as a wake-up call to anyone who is complacent about the superiority of humans to machines.
That said, there was something oddly reassuring about the original driverless cars. For one thing, they were regular Toyota and Lexus saloons equipped with $250,000 worth of computers, sensors, lasers and associated kit. Secondly, they had steering wheels, gear shifts, brake pedals, rear-view mirrors and all the other appurtenances of a standard-issue car. A human "driver" could always take control simply by touching the steering wheel. So, in a way, you could think of it as just a standard vehicle with an autopilot.... Read More
British utility firm Ecotricity claims US electric car maker is trying to take over its motorway sites
Tesla Motors, the luxury electric car maker, has been accused of bullying a UK green energy company and attempting to take over several of its charging stations at crucial sites on the UK motorway network.
The US company, owned by billionaire Elon Musk who was appointed as an electric vehicle tsar to the government by Nick Clegg last year, is planning to open the first part of its 'supercharger' network next month, to tie in with customer deliveries of the right-hand drive version of its latest car, the Model S which costs upwards of £50,000.... Read More