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Clean Transport News Roundup (Autopilot, Kandi, Ukraine Police, Range Extender, Quadrofoil…)

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Does the Senate Commerce Committee need to stick its nose in Musk’s business? What will Ukraine police officers soon be driving? Chinese Kandi, anyone? Will the jetski market embrace a personal electric hydrofoil? Why makes Model X drivers see red? Why will CAFE fines double for violators? Will Samsung get into bed with BYD? We’ve got all this, and more, in today’s clean transport news roundup.

[CleanTechnica isn’t the only Important Media site to cover clean transport news, and if you’re looking for more stories on electric mobility, bicycles, and other related issues, we’ve got them at sites such as Bikocity, Gas2, and EV Obsession.]

US Senate deactivates its own autopilot to investigate Tesla Autopilot:

Not content with the fact that the two government agencies charged with maintaining road safety, the National Highway Transportation Safely Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board, have both opened investigations into the fatal accident that killed Joshua Brown in May, the Senate Commerce Committee, chaired by Senator John Thune, Republican of South Dakota, has sent a letter to Elon Musk asking him to appear and explain to the distinguished members of that body why Autopilot is not dangerous.

Chinese EV market is like a kid in a Kandi shop:

One of the best-selling brands of 2015, Kandi hasn’t broken down registrations by model, but most of them should belong to the K11 Panda city car, with the slightly larger K17 Cyclone also taking a significant part of the 4,670 units pie. At this point, Kandi and BAIC seem to be the only automakers able to reach similar production levels as BYD.

National Highway Transportation Safety Administration supersizes CAFE fines:

Starting next month, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration says it will more than double the fines it assesses against automakers who do not meet their annual corporate average fuel economy standards. Industry sources say the companies have been blindsided by the announcement.

A red rain is gonna fall… on Model X windshields:

The upper portion of the enormous Tesla Model X windshield seems to get a noticeably red-tint to it when exposed to rain, going by a recent discussion on the Tesla Motors Club forum. What’s the cause?

Get foiled. Quadrofoiled, that is:

Meet the Quadrofoil, a new kind of personal watercraft powered by a battery and an electric outboard motor. It has a range of 60 miles, thanks to the remarkable efficiency of the four hydrofoils that lift the vessel out of the water, reducing resistance. The manufacture says you don’t drive the Quadrofoil, you fly it. Its total weight of just 220 lbs makes it easy for one person to transport, launch, and recover.

Fatal injection?

Direct gas injection has a downside as well. It increases the amount of particulates that exit through the tailpipe into the atmosphere. Particulates are what form the black smoke often associated with diesel engines. A team of air quality researchers at Carnegie Mellon University headed by Naomi Zimmerman have studied the relationship between increased fuel economy and increased emissions of particulates. “The answer is that it’s really complicated and it’s not certain.

Ukrainian police go all Outlander for PHEVs:

Ukraine’s Minister of Internal Affairs, Arsen Avakov, took to Twitter recently to announce his government has ordered 651 Outlander plug in hybrid vehicles. The decision to go with the Outlander PHEV is in line with the Ukrainian pledge to help combat global warming in accordance with the international agreements reached at the COP21 summit in Paris last December.

Musk’s Autopilot tweetstorm:

Under pressure to calm fears about its Autopilot system, Elon Musk and Tesla have been working overtime with Bosch Global, which supplies the radar unit used by Tesla, and MobilEye, which supplies the cameras and some software for the system. On Sunday, Musk hinted that significant improvements to Autopilot may be possible via over the air software updates without the need to add new hardware.

Autopilot kerfuffle is much ado about nothing?

Naughton makes his case this way. “In the US, about 33,000 people are killed in automobile accidents every year. That’s 90 a day on average. So on 7 May, about 89 other people as well as Joshua Brown were killed in car crashes. But we heard nothing about those 89 personal and family tragedies: the only death that most people in the US heard about was Mr Brown’s.”

Is it almost the age of Aquarius range extender for Peugeot?

The Aquarius engine is a single cylinder design with no valves. The piston shuttles back and forth inside the cylinder, generating power from electromagnetic coils with each stroke. The company says its engine is more than twice as efficient as a typical internal combustion engine. That claim is accurate, according to simulations by German engineering firm FEV.

Honda aims to Accord a green future with its new hybrid:

The 2017 Accord Hybrid will lead the way into Honda’s future, which will soon include multiple versions of the all new Clarity. That car, due in showrooms next year, will offer a hydrogen fuel cell version as well as plug-in hybrid and all electric models. Honda has more plug-in hybrids planned for the near future as well.

Samsung sees BYD as a PYT:

The investment in BYD will allow Samsung, which is the the world’s largest maker of phones and memory chips, to expand its involvement in the development of computer systems for electric and connected automobiles. The government of China is strongly encouraging the manufacture and sale of electric cars. Since China is now the world’s largest automotive market with sales exceeding 20,000,000 vehicles a year, every major manufacturer and supplier is anxious to not be left out.

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Derek lives in southwestern New Mexico and digs bicycles, simple living, fungi, organic gardening, sustainable lifestyle design, bouldering, and permaculture. He loves fresh roasted chiles, peanut butter on everything, and buckets of coffee.


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