Two Companies Innovate Electric Buses in the United States

by Nadja Redmond

Transit vehicles are mostly powered by unrenewable power sources, such as gasoline, compressed natural gas (CNG), or diesel, with batteries only encompassing 1% of the market. Bus manufacturer Proterra claims that its Electric transit buses are cheaper than the alternative diesel and CNG options. It’s CEO, Ryan Popple, is making predictions that, in the next 10 years, electric transit buses powered by renewable energy will dominate the market. Specifically, he predicts that the majority of bus sales will be electric by 2025, and all new bus sales to transit agencies will be electric by 2030. [https://electrek.co/2017/02/13/electric-buses-proterra-ceo/]. King Country Metro Transit signed a deal for 73 buses with the company for use in and around the Seattle area. These buses can travel 23 miles between charges, with charges taking 10 minutes or less.  Continue reading

Two Companies Innovate Electric Buses in the United States

by Nadja Redmond

Transit vehicles are mostly powered by unrenewable power sources, such as gasoline, compressed natural gas (CNG), or diesel, with batteries only encompassing 1% of the market. Bus manufacturer Proterra claims that its Electric transit buses are cheaper than the alternative diesel and CNG options. It’s CEO, Ryan Popple, is making predictions that, in the next 10 years, electric transit buses powered by renewable energy will dominate the market. Specifically, he predicts that the majority of bus sales will be electric by 2025, and all new bus sales to transit agencies will be electric by 2030. [https://electrek.co/2017/02/13/electric-buses-proterra-ceo/]. King Country Metro Transit signed a deal for 73 buses with the company for use in and around the Seattle area. These buses can travel 23 miles between charges, with charges taking 10 minutes or less. Continue reading

Comparison of Carbon Footprints of Electric and Gasoline Vehicles

by Bradley Newton

Authors Yuksel, Tamayao, Hendrickson, Azevedo, and Michalek (2016) have conducted a study concerning the carbon footprints of electric and gasoline vehicles. They cite several past studies looking at a similar topic, but point out that none of those studies accounted for grid emissions (pollution created by generated electricity), people’s driving patterns, and how diverse temperatures are in different regions. It is also pointed out that past studies used vehicles of differing battery life spans, which can make comparisons harder. The factors that the authors of the study look at for their comparisons are: availability of electricity for Plug-in electric vehicles, temperatures of studied regions, vehicle miles traveled, and driving conditions (meaning whether it is city or highway driving). The vehicles they used were a mix of conventional, hybrid electric, plug-in electric, and battery-electric vehicles. They were driven to the end of their life-cycle (complete depletion of gas tank or battery) and had their respective CO2 emissions measured. Continue reading

2017 Brings More Tesla Superchargers and New Usage Regulations

by Bianca Rodriguez

Tesla Superchargers are currently the best and fastest charging option for long-distance travelers driving one of Tesla’s all-electric vehicles. A Supercharger takes a mere 30 minutes to replenish batteries from 10% to 80% charge, enough time to take a restroom break or grab a coffee during a long trip; or 75 minutes to reach a full 100% charge, enough time for a meal at a nearby restaurant. A battery charged at 80% will provide about 170 miles of driving range, which should be enough to reach the next Supercharger along some of the more popular routes. Even so, Tesla is continuing to increase the number of Supercharger locations around the world to fill the need of an increasing population of Tesla drivers. This is especially necessary due to the new Tesla Model 3, which is expected to be available after 2018. Starting at $35,000, the Model 3 is Tesla’s most affordable car and will most likely increase the number of Tesla drivers as more people will be able to afford these high-tech full electric vehicles. Continue reading

Comparison of Carbon Footprints of Electric and Gasoline Vehicles

by Bradley Newton

Authors Yuksel, Tamayao, Hendrickson, Azevedo, and Michalek (2016) have conducted a study concerning the carbon footprints of electric and gasoline vehicles. They cite several past studies looking at a similar topic, but point out that none of those studies accounted for grid emissions (pollution created by generated electricity), people’s driving patterns, and how diverse temperatures are in different regions. It is also pointed out that past studies used vehicles of differing battery life spans, which can make comparisons harder. The factors that the authors of the study look at for their comparisons are: availability of electricity for Plug-in electric vehicles, temperatures of studied regions, vehicle miles traveled, and driving conditions (meaning whether it is city or highway driving). The vehicles they used were a mix of conventional, hybrid electric, plug-in electric, and battery-electric vehicles. They were driven to the end of their life-cycle (complete depletion of gas tank or battery) and had their respective CO2 emissions measured. The authors decided that the driving conditions of an area would be based off its urbanization level, VMT (Vehicle Miles Traveled) would be obtained from the National Household Travel Survey from its respective state, and they assigned marginal grid emission factors (amount of electricity available) for each North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) to the counties that lie within their encompassed area. Continue reading

Big Goals for Small Islands: Hawaiian Legislation Promotes Renewable Energy in Transportation

by Siena Hacker

For such a small chain of islands, the state of Hawaii has the biggest renewable energy target in the United States. Hawaii introduced legislation that would fine utilities that are not completely powered by renewable energy by 2045. Now, as reported in a January 2017 New York Times piece by the Associated Press, the state is going a step farther by introducing legislation promoting a complete reliance on renewables for the transportation sector. [http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2017/01/19/us/ap-us-renewable-energy-transportation.html] With Hawaiians already owning an estimated one million cars – not to mention all of the cars for sale in dealerships – it would be imprudent for the state to mandate a shift to renewable fuels for the transportation sector. Hawaii is instead attempting to encourage the transition by increasing the number of required charging stations. The reasoning holds that as electric cars become cheaper and the infrastructure supporting them increases, investing in an electric car will become the practical choice. Continue reading

Elon Musk Shares Tesla Model 3 Details in Twitter Rampage

by Woodson Powell

Ever since the Tesla Model 3 event on March 31, Elon Musk has posted several snippets of information on Twitter about the Model 3 on a daily basis [http://cleantechnica.com/2016/04/04/elon-musk-shares-tesla-model-3-details-twitter-rampage/]. On April 4, he hosted a full question and answer session on Twitter detailing many more facts than in previous posts. The session discussed all-wheel drive, launch details, interior, exterior, plus other options as well as expanded into general Tesla news including factories, service centers, and supercharging. Continue reading

UPS Delivers More While Using Less : It’s a Rolling Laboratory

by Tashi Mitra

UPS, the global leader in express parcel delivery companies, is faced with the challenge of delivering millions of parcels all over the world, everyday, while trying to consume less energy. How does UPS meet this challenge?

UPS achieves this by focusing on:

  1. Alternative fuels and advanced technologies
  2. Fuel supply
  3. Fleet – both ground and air

UPS has created a Rolling Laboratory, which has implemented this program in nine countries, across 5088 vehicles and saved usage of 60 million gallons of conventional fuel since 2000. The Rolling Laboratory has traveled 505 million miles since 2000 and plans to travel 1 billion miles by 2017. Alternative fuels of CNG, Hybrid – Electric and hydraulic are used in suburban operating situations (range   100 miles average), Electric and ethanol are used in City Centers (range less than 60 miles), Propane is used for rural vehicles (range 100 + miles) and LNG/CNG/Biomethane used for long hauls (range 400 – 600 miles average). Continue reading

Plunging Oil Prices and Their Effect on the Electric Vehicle Industry

by Jason Xu

In an invterview with CNN, CEO of Tesla Motors, Elon Musk, acknowledged that the electric vehicle industry will be hurt by falling oil prices, saying that “it just makes economic sense.” However, Musk showed little concern toward his own company Tesla Motors. He explained that even though the entire industry will be hurt by plunging oil prices, Tesla’s Model S and Model X will still be competitive in the market, because they are hugely differentiated, unlike other cheaper electric vehicle in the market. Musk also talked about Model 3, Tesla’s affordable electric vehicle aiming to hit the market in 2017. Continue reading

The Auto Industry and Climate Change in the US

by Abigail Schantz

The history of the automobile industry, in many respects, illustrates the progression of society’s perception and response to climate change. Caetano C.R. Penna and Frank W. Geels compare the progression of climate change from 1979 to 2012 using the Dialectic Issue LifeCycle (DILC) model in Climate change and the slow reorientation of the American car industry (1979–2012): An application and extension of the Dialectic Issue LifeCycle (DILC) model. The DILC classifies the progression of an issue into five major stages. In the first stage, the problem emerges, generally due to activist groups, and the affected industry rejects the issue and downplays its importance. During this stage, there is little progression in changing technologies. In the second stage, public concern begins to increase as activists generate social movements. Public agendas address the issue and policymakers create committees to study it, although this action is mainly symbolic. In the third stage, rising public concern spurs political debates, leading to formal hearings and investigations. The industry argues for voluntary implementation of solutions and attempts to show that the costs and technical complexity of rapid change make radical solutions impossible. Meanwhile, firms in the industry often take defensive measures, privately exploring solutions in laboratories. In the fourth stage, policies begin to be implemented through legislation. Suppliers and others that support the industry begin to develop technology while the industry itself actively argues against the new policies. At the same time, industry firms begin to invest in alternative technologies and embrace them more publicly in order to maintain the company image. This often leads to an innovation race. Finally, in the fifth phase, a new market emerges due to changes in mainstream consumer preferences and/or because regulators impose taxes or incentives, or other legislation causes a shift in economic conditions. To bolster the public image of the company, most address the problem in the company’s beliefs and mission. Continue reading