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Clean Transportation Roundup

Some more top clean transportation news from around the internet:

bmw electric cars

BMW, Siemens, Daimler, the Technische Universitaet Muenchen and many others are working together on joint research project called Visio.M to “develop concepts to produce electric cars that are efficient, safe, and inexpensive,” BMW reports. “Lead manager of the project is BMW AG. The project has a total volume of 10.8 million euros and is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF)…. The mobility concept deriving from these visionaries will be a vehicle with a power of 15 kilowatts and a maximum curb weight of 400 kg (without battery), meeting the requirements of the European regulatory category L7e.”

Windsor, Ontario has reportedly made a deal to purchase 10 electric buses from Chinese EV leader BYD.

The buses are 40-foot long and powered by BYD Iron-Phosphate batteries which, according to the company, “contain no heavy metals, toxic electrolytes or use caustic materials in their production […] This makes the BYD batteries the most environmentally friendly batteries available in the market.”

The city is also working on a plan to repurpose the batteries into fixed energy storage systems when they are retired from the road after 12-15 years (that’s a lot of miles on a bus…).

QHotels is reportedly rolling out electric car charging stations across its 20 hotels by the end of 2012.

Siemens seems to be looking at an interesting solution to polluting trucks. “Plans are being made to do a proof-of-concept test on Siemens’ eHighway of the Future along one of the filthiest sections of freeway in the Los Angeles basin,” Herman Trabisch of Greentech Media writes.

“Mini-hybrid buses” have debuted on the streets of Cincinnati.

The new 40-foot buses have an advanced thermal cooling system technology which provides benefits, including:

•           Fuel economy improvement up to 10%
•           Up to 10% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions
•           Reduction in maintenance costs
•           Increased safety through the elimination of hydraulic fluid leaks

The term “mini-hybrid” is used by the manufacturer, Engineered Machined Products (EMP), to refer to the advanced “electric” fan cooling system that replaces the hydraulically driven fan. EMP’s innovative technology provides benefits similar to that of a traditional hybrid, but with additional advantages, including:

  • A cost savings of about $240,000 per bus compared to a traditional hybrid
  • Efficiencies, which save Metro about $2,000 a year per bus in fuel savings and improved operational performance

Winners of NREL’s solar, hydrogen, and lithium ion fuel cell car races were recently announced. 104 teams from 23 Colorado schools competed in the competitions.

Ferrari’s set to launch its first ever hybrid electric car at the end of this year. The Guardian reports that “the price will probably exceed the €660,000 (£527,000) cost of the Enzo and will be the carmaker’s most powerful model – combining two electric motors with a 12-cylinder gas engine, allowing for a 40% cut in fuel use.”

IBM and Hertz on Demand, a global car-sharing club, have teamed up for a pilot program in Germany that aims “to advance electric vehicle (EV) mobility and user adoption through intelligent recharging solutions.”

Hertz on Demand has now also launched electric vehicles in London:

Porsche’s upcoming 918 Spyder Hybrid will have over 770 horsepower and get 78 mpg. Deliveries should start by the end of 2013.

TreeHugger’s Lloyd Alter was recently in Milan, apparently, and took a look at the city’s interesting shaft-drive bicycles in its bike-sharing program known as BikeMi. Another very interesting observation from Lloyd was this: “The bikes are evidently not used for recreation; on Sunday, every rack was full and I never saw one in use. However at 7:00 AM on Monday morning, the streets were full of people on yellow bikes going to work.” Surprising, given how popular Wroclaw’s bike-sharing program is on weekends.

POD Point, a London-based electric car charging company, “aims to have around 620 chargers nationwide freely available on a pay-as-you-go basis by the end of 2012, with a view to more than trebling the size of the network to 2,000 charge points by the end of the following year.” This is the UK’s first pay-as-you-go electric vehicle charging network.

Image Credits: BMW; BYD; Porsche; Lloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

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