Clean Transportation News (10 Stories)

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Catching up on a number of clean transportation stories we haven’t been able to cover, here are quick summaries of 10 recent stories. The first 6 concern EVs and hybrid-electric vehicles. The following 4 concern trains and transit.

Electric Vehicles & Hybrids

1. Tesla Model X Electric SUV to be Unveiled on February 9. Gigaom, interviewing Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk, found out that Tesla would be unveiling its all-electric SUV, the Model X, in less than one month.

2. Mitsubishi Selling and Servicing Electric Cars at All of Its UK Franchises. Mitsubishi recently announced that it was creating “the UK’s largest dealer network for electric cars,” according to Business Green. “[A]ll of its franchised dealers will become fully functioning Mitsubishi Electric Vehicle Centres from this month and by the end of March each will have two trained EV sales personnel as well as aftersales technicians.”

toyota prius camper

3. Toyota Prius Camper Unveiled. Yes, for real, a Toyota Prius camper (pictured above)! “There are little Prii, big Prii, plug-in Priiracing Prii, and now – just revealed at this weekend’s Tokyo Auto Salon – there are full-fledged, fully-equipped, and very Real Toyota Prius camper vans,” Jo Borras writes over at sister site Gas2.

“Starting with a new, 3rd-gen Prius, the conversion company adds a streamlined, fiber-reinforced plastic shell that expands the Prius’ interior into something that’s, well, livable! The ‘living area’ has room for a small coffee table with booth-type seating and underseat storage which can be converted to a queen-size bed (as shown, below), with an additional ‘permanent’ bed in the forward section (above the cockpit). At the rear of the shell, the Prius RV features a shower/bathroom stall, which seems big enough for (quick) standing showers.”

4. The Department of Energy (DOE) Has Released an “Energy 101” video on Electric Vehicles. Check it out here:

Obviously, the video is tackling range anxiety.

5. Sales of Hybrid Medium- & Heavy-Duty Trucks Projected to Nearly Double in 2012. From Pike Research:

“The global economic recession has taken a huge toll on medium duty (MD) and heavy duty (HD) truck sales in many regions. At the same time, the precipitous rise of oil prices has sent diesel fuel costs to near record highs in many countries. With the world economy improving, albeit slowly, overall truck purchases are expected to rise this year. Meanwhile, truck manufacturers have responded by expanding their offerings of alternative drivetrains to help reduce emissions and fuel usage by trucks. This should lead to a year of strong growth for hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery electric medium and heavy duty trucks. According to a new report from Pike Research, the worldwide market for hybrids and plug-ins will grow at 92% in 2012, with total sales surpassing 19,000.”

From 2011 to 2017, Pike Research is projecting a compound annual growth rate of 47.2%. Overall, it expects 100,746 sales of such trucks by the end of 2017.

6. Green Car Journal Announces 2012 Green Car Vision Award Finalists. Green Car Journal‘s 5 finalists (the winner will be announced on January 26 during The Washington Auto Show’s Public Policy Preview Day at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center):

  • the BMW i3, using an all-electric powertrain;
  • the Cadillac ELR extended-range vehicle, based on the Converj concept car;
  • Ford’s C-MAX Energi, a plug-in hybrid variant of its C-MAX multi-activity vehicle;
  • The Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-Cell, an advanced hydrogen fuel cell vehicle; and
  • Tesla’s Model S seven-passenger electric sedan, powered by the next-generation of Tesla’s powertrain technology.

Trains & Transit

1. Business Leaders Urge Approval of High-Speed Rail in UK. Over 100 business leaders have officially pushed the UK government to approve the proposed HS2 high-speed rail line between London and Northern England. “In letters to the Telegraph, the Financial Times, and the Guardian newspapers, signed by MPs, economists, trade union leaders, as well as chief executives, the group argues that the HS2 project would create jobs and boost growth,” Business Green reports.

2. APTA Reminds Us that Taking Transit Instead of Paying for Gas & Driving Saves the Average American $9,790/Year or $816/Month. “According to the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) January Transit Savings Report, individuals who ride public transportation instead of driving can save, on average, $816 dollars this month, and $9,790 annually,” APTA reports. “These savings are based on the cost of commuting by public transportation compared to the January 10, 2012 average national gas price ($3.34 per gallon- reported by AAA) and the national unreserved monthly parking rate.”

3. 20-Mile Light-Rail Line Finally to be Built on Oahu, Hawaii (after 40 Years of Controversy). “Barring a court intervention, construction is to begin in March on a 20-mile rail line that will be elevated 40 feet in the air, barreling over farmland, commercial districts and parts of downtown Honolulu, and stretching from here to Waikiki,” the New York Times reports. “The two-track line —a 30-foot-wide span, with 21 elevated stations — is designed to accommodate an increasing crush of commuters and tourists while encouraging new growth and development, particularly on this undeveloped part of the island. The Honolulu rail project, scheduled for completion in 2018, seems certain to change sharply the nature of much of the south side of the island, as well as downtown Honolulu.”

4. Illinois Gets $186-Million Boost from U.S. Dept of Transportation for High-Speed Rail. “The Great Lakes-Midwest economic region is the world’s fifth largest economy by Gross Domestic Product, and nearly 100 million people live within 500 miles of each other,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. “The Department of Transportation’s investment of more than $1 billion in the region’s high-speed rail service will reduce trip times and save travelers money, resulting in reduced congestion for the region and making the Midwest a better place to start a business and create jobs.”

More info on the route from the Federal Railroad Administration: “The project will extend construction of the corridor north to Joliet, allowing for 110-mph service along nearly 70 percent of the route.  Construction is already underway on the Chicago – St. Louis corridor, and work on the extension to Joliet will begin this spring. Once construction is complete, travelers can expect reductions of more than an hour in trip time, with improved on-time performance as well. Ridership has grown 137 percent over the last five years.  The state has plans to add more frequent trips, and further reduce trip times on this popular route in the future.”

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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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