City in Ontario Considers Smart Cars for Local Fleet
Local Ontario newspaper the Guelph Tribune reported last week that area officials are conducting tests to determine whether the city will replace the nineteen conventional vehicles in its municipal fleet with diesel-fueled, two-seat Smart cars manufactured by DaimlerChrysler. The newspaper noted that the Smart cars will be tested in various “work groups” that will report on the vehicle’s storage capacity, handling capabilities, and comfort. Additionally, the city will record the vehicles’ fuel and maintenance costs and compare this with the costs of operating the city’s existing fleet of gasoline-powered vehicles. According to the Tribune, the city’s conventional fleet vehicles consume 11.89 liters of gasoline per 100 kilometers, while the Smart cars consume 4.2 liters per 100 kilometers.
CTA Unveils Plan for Made-in-Canada Clean Air Act
The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA), a federation of Canada’s provincial trucking associations representing more than 4,500 trucking companies, recently unveiled a 14-point action plan for “drastically” reducing smog and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the freight transportation sector. According to CTA, the proposed measures, contained in a document titled “Trucking & a Made-in-Canada Clean Air Act,” would have the equivalent impact in terms of air quality and GHGs of removing more than 200,000 heavy trucks from Canadian roads. Among CTA’s recommendations is that the federal government provide tax incentives to trucking companies that adopt “smog-free” heavy-truck technology. The alliance also proposes measures to increase the installation of auxiliary power units to reduce truck idling, as well as suggests increasing the use of a new generation of single, wide-base tires, which boast “significant” fuel economy savings but are presently limited by restrictions on truck weights and dimensions standards developed in the 1980s. Additionally, CTA calls upon all ministers of transportation from across the country to endorse an alliance proposal to require the speed limiters on all trucks to be activated and set at no more than 105 kilometers per houra measure that Quebec recently included in its action plan on climate change and which is the subject of a study in Ontario and by Transport Canada. The alliance also urges governments to more clearly define which biodiesel blends are being considered for trucks, to run joint pilot programs to ensure that operational concerns associated with using biodiesel in the new smog-free trucks in Canadian conditions are addressed, and to introduce and enforce stringent biodiesel quality, manufacturing, and testing standards before considering a mandate for biodiesel use in commercial trucks. Lastly, CTA proposes that other freight modesrail, marine, and airbe subject to the same type of stringent fuel and engine emissions standards as trucks. Contact: CTA, Web site: www.cantruck.com
Nova To Supply Hybrid Buses to Quebec Cities
Montreal’s Gazette newspaper recently reported that Canada’s Nova Bus Corporation has signed a $300-million deal to deliver 731 low-floor hybrid diesel buses to several cities in Quebec. The Gazette noted that the contract is one of the most substantial ever for Nova, a subsidiary of Volvo AB. The deal, completed last week, is with Quebec’s Urban Transport Association. The association has chosen nine transit authorities throughout the province to receive the new version of Nova’s 40-foot LFS bus. Nova will deliver the new buses between 2008 and 2012, according to the Gazette.
Chang’an Motor To Offer New HEV Model by 2008
China Daily recently reported that Chinese automaker Chang’an Motor Corporation has informed the newspaper of plans to have 10 percent of its sales result from “own-brand” hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), which it plans to begin offering in 2008. The newspaper noted that the company plans a 250-million-yuan (approximately $31-million) investment in the technology. Chang’an is partners with Ford Motor Company and Suzuki Motors.
China Natural Gas Acquires Two CNG Filling Stations
China Natural Gas, Inc., recently announced the acquisition of two new compressed natural gas (CNG) filling stations from individual owners. “The addition of these two filling stations will boost our revenues in the third quarter of 2006,” said China Natural Gas Chairman and CEO Qinan Ji. China Natural Gas noted that it now has a total of nine CNG filling stations, which sell an average of about 20,000 cubic meters of natural gas daily. Contact: China Natural Gas, Web site: www.naturalgaschina.com
Shanghai Commences Testing of Hybrid Diesel Buses
Shanghai Daily recently reported the testing of a new diesel-electric bus that will be used by the Dazhong Transportation (Group) Company. The newspaper noted that another bus is to be introduced in the near future, with more to follow if the first two are successful. The paper also stated that government subsidies are expected for using hybrid buses. The alternative buses are more expensive, costing approximately 700,000 yuan (about $87,562), but use 30 percent less fuel and produce 70 percent less emissions, compared to those using only a diesel engine, the newspaper added.
New Report Assesses London Congestion Charge Program
In February 2003, congestion charging began as a way to improve London’s transportation network. According to the recently released 4th Annual Monitoring Report, the network has improved, with congestion levels in the zone 22 percent less in 2005 than in 2002, before the scheme’s introduction. The city has seen other benefits as well. The report notes that in 2005, there was 21 percent less traffic entering the zone as compared to February 2003. Carbon, nitrogen oxide, and particulate matter emissions are down 16, 13, and 15 percent, respectively. Additionally cycling has increased by 43 percent and excess waiting time for buses has decreased by 46 percent. The 122 million pounds (approximately $225.6 million) raised during FY 05-06 will be invested back into London’s transportation system. Contact: Transport for London, Web site: tfl.gov.uk
British Bus Company Tests Hybrid Diesel Shuttles
Local British paper the Manchester Evening News recently reported that U.K. bus operator First is considering the use of hybrid diesel powertrains in the minibuses currently providing free shuttle service from city railway stations to area businesses and shopping districts. According to the newspaper, First has commenced testing of the powertrains in its Manchester shuttles, with company officials also studying the results of a two-day field test of Wright Electrocity diesel hybrid buses. First’s Greater Manchester engineering director Colin Stafford said the company has been pleased so far with the buses’ performance and that it is looking to provide feedback to the region’s Passenger Transport Authority in the near future.
Smart To Test Market New Electric ‘fortwo’ in U.K.
DaimlerChrysler subsidiary Smart recently announced plans to begin test marketing a new all-electric version of its two-seater “fortwo” vehicle in the U.K. The electric vehicle (EV) will be made available on a lease arrangement to selected British corporate customers, with deliveries commencing in November. Smart noted that the new EV will be capable of traveling up to 72 miles per charge at speeds of up to 70 miles per hour. The drivetrain for the Smart EV is produced in the U.K. by technology partner Zytek Group. “A market trial of the Smart EV is a significant step for the Mercedes Car Group as it is an important part of our commitment to sustainable mobility,” said Mercedes Car Group managing director Dermot Kelly. “We expect to deliver up to 200 units in this market trial phase and will work with corporate partners, to find suitable applications for the EV, and with green energy suppliers to deliver zero emissions from well to wheel.” Contact: Smart, Web site: www.smart.com/uk; Zytek, Web site: www.zytekgroup.co.uk
EEA Launches Internet Tool To Track Ozone Levels across Europe
The European Environment Agency (EEA) recently introduced Ozone Web, an online tool that allows users to monitor and track ground-level ozone incidents across Europe. Information from more than 500 air quality monitoring systems is used to update Ozone Web every hour. Air quality levels are displayed by clicking on a map of Europe or by entering a place name. “As a joint European project, Ozone Web reflects the international character of air pollution,” said EEA executive director Jacqueline McGlade. “It is produced in one place but may have an impact in another many hundreds of kilometers away.” According to EEA, up to 30 percent of Europe’s urban population is exposed to ozone concentrations above the threshold levels set by the EU, and ozone pollution is responsible for as many as 20,000 deaths in Europe each year. Contact: Ozone Web, Web site: www.eea.europa.eu/maps/ozone
German Magazine Reports of Possible 2008 Mercedes Hybrid Launch
Reuters recently reported that Mercedes expects to debut a “mild” hybrid car in 2008. The news service said Thomas Weber, DaimlerChrysler’s research chief, informed German magazine Wirtschaftswoche of the luxury brand’s plans. According to Reuters, the magazine noted that Mercedes plans to use hybrid technology in its S-class model line.
NZBCSD Urges Cleaner Cars for New Zealand
As the result of a recent report’s findings that air pollution from vehicles is causing people in New Zealand to die prematurely, the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development (NZBCSD) has called on the government to tighten emission standards. The report, authored by the Auckland Regional Public Health Service, finds that 970 people over the age of 30 are dying prematurely because of airborne fuel particles. The government is considering a proposal from the NZBCSD offering cash incentives of up to $3,000 for those who buy fuel-efficient, low-emission vehicles as well as for better emission standards, said the council’s chief executive Peter Neilson. The council is recommending adoption of the Euro IV standards by 2008. Because 95 percent of New Zealand’s cars come from Japan, which adopted this standard in 2000, price impact will be minimal, the council said. Contact: Peter Neilson, NZBCSD, phone: 021-395-891, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org