Category Archives: Alternative transportation

TrueCar: 2015 To Be Record Year Sales-Wise

All data points to 2015 becoming a very successful passenger vehicle selling year.

TrueCar, Inc. revealed it expects a healthy U.S. auto industry in 2015 with sales of new cars and trucks rising at least 2.6 percent to 17 million units, the highest level since 2005.

“We see a convergence of favorable economic circumstances pushing auto demand up to pre-recession levels, including continued gains in the job market, the best consumer sentiment in eight years and low fuel prices,” said John Krafcik, president of TrueCar. “This year has been remarkable in terms of growth and revenue coming from big gains in pickup, utility and luxury vehicle sales. We think 2015 will be even better.”

Total market sales, including new and used, should rise 3.4 percent to 55.4 million units over about 54 million in 2014, continued TrueCar. This translates into $1.2 trillion of revenue based on average transaction prices, which is a 5.5 percent annual increase.

SEE ALSO: November 2014 Dashboard

New vehicle revenue, based on transaction prices, is projected to reach $553 billion next year, a 5 percent increase over the $526 billion generated from an estimated 16.5 million new vehicle sales in 2014, according to TrueCar.


The average transaction price (ATP) of new vehicles in 2015 is expected by TrueCar to rise 2.4 percent to a record $32,589, based on the company’s own data. The used vehicle ATP should increase 2.1 percent to $16,678 next year. Used vehicle volume will grow 3.8 percent to 38.4 million units, up from 37 million in 2014.

TrueCar added it believes luxury auto sales will lead growth with a 9.8 percent segment increase, which should rise to $116.7 billion in 2015 over $106.3 billion in 2014. Non-luxury utility vehicles are projected to rise 5 percent to $192.1 billion, and pickups should reach $95.7 billion, up 4.5 percent.

“Ford’s redesigned F-Series pickups, Mazda’s CX-3 crossover as well as the Mercedes GLA luxury crossover should be standout models in their respective segments next year,” Krafcik said. “Mass-market cars, pickups, utility vehicles and premium autos—the four `Super Segments’ TrueCar identified previously––will grow next year, though cars will cede market share as more consumers move to utilities and luxury.”

Unfortunately, TrueCar did not get into predictions about the size of electric vehicle and PHEV sales.

AddÉnergie Technologies To Provide Quick Chargers In Québec

New Electric Circuit installations of EV quick chargers in Québec will be sourced within the Canadian province.

AddÉnergie Technologies has won the tender call issued by Hydro-Québec to supply fast-charge stations on behalf of the partners of the Electric Circuit.

Based in the city of Québec, AddÉnergie Technologies will supply 400-volt charging stations to partners of the Electric Circuit over the first months of 2015.

Hydro-Québec said it will provide further details on the rate of deployment of these charging stations in coming weeks.

Bids were evaluated using a strict protocol comprising a number of criteria, including product robustness, bid price, user-friendliness and after-sales service, explained Hydro-Québec. All of the proposed charging stations went through rigorous climate testing at Hydro-Québec’s research institute this past November and December.

SEE ALSO: Québec-Vermont EV Charging Corridor Grows

“We are very pleased to work with AddÉnergie for the rollout of fast-charge stations in our network,” said Pierre-Luc Desgagné, Vice President – Public and Government Affairs at Hydro-Québec, on behalf of the founding partners of the Electric Circuit. “Their proposal set itself apart in terms of value for money and the robustness of their product. In addition, their customer service approach will be a major asset in the expansion of our public charging network.”

Earlier this month, the Electric Circuit announced the signing of a partnership agreement with the Société d’habitation et de développement de Montréal (SHDM) to install three public charging stations for electric vehicles at the Chaussegros-de-Léry complex. Occupants of this administrative complex as well as visitors to Old Montréal can now charge their vehicles in the building’s parking garage, whose entrance is at 330, Rue Champ-de-Mars.

“The SHDM is proud to contribute to electrifying urban transportation by taking part in this wave of positive change,” said Johanne Goulet, General Manager of the SHDM. “This investment is perfectly in line with the SHDM’s strategic commitments in terms of responsible real estate development. I would like to thank the Electric Circuit team who offered us the opportunity to make a sustainable change for Montréal!”

USDOT preparing to issue solicitation for Phase 1 of Connected Vehicle Pilot Deployment program

USDOT preparing to issue solicitation for Phase 1 of Connected Vehicle Pilot Deployment program

23 December 2014

The US Department of Transportation (USDOT) is preparing to issue (on or before 15 January 2015) a solicitation for a full and open competition to procure services for the Connected Vehicle (CV) Pilot Deployment program, Phase 1: Concept Development. Accordingly, USDOT has issued the synopsis notice (DTFH6115R00003) for Phase 1.

USDOT will conduct the CV Pilot Deployment program will be conducted under three phases: Phase 1: Concept Development Phase; Phase 2: Design/Build/Test; and Phase 3: Maintain and Operate. USDOT intends to enter into contracts for performance of Phase 1 only. Only awardees of Phase 1 Contracts will be eligible for Phase 2 and 3 Cooperative Agreements. The anticipated period of performance for the Phase 1 contracts is no more than 12 months.


The connected vehicle research program is a multi-modal initiative to enable safe, interoperable networked wireless communications among vehicles, the infrastructure, and travelers’ personal communications devices. Connected vehicle research is being sponsored by the USDOT and others to leverage the potentially transformative capabilities of wireless technology to make surface transportation safer, smarter, and greener.

A considerable body of research work is now in hand to support pilot deployments, including systems engineering documentation and prototyping for more than two dozen connected vehicle applications. Concurrent federal research efforts have developed critical cross-cutting technologies and other enabling capabilities required to integrate and deploy applications.

For example, in 2012-2013, the connected vehicle research program conducted the Safety Pilot Model Deployment in Ann Arbor, Michigan to assess the potential of V2V (and other) safety applications to reduce crashes and improve roadway system safety. (Earlier post.)

Building on this body of connected vehicle research work, the Connected Vehicle Pilot Deployment Program is looking for operational deployments of connected vehicle applications that synergistically capture and utilize new forms of connected vehicle and mobile device data to improve multimodal surface transportation system performance and enable enhanced performance-based systems management.

Improved performance should relate to one or more of the following:

  • improved safety, mobility, or public agency efficiency; or
  • reduced environmental impact.

Connected vehicle applications support improved decision-making by both system users (travelers) and system managers. The intent is to deploy site-tailored collections of applications that address specific local needs while laying a foundation for additional local/regional deployment, and to provide transferable lessons learned for other prospective deployers across the nation.

… pilot deployments are expected to become part of a permanent connected vehicle capability that is fully integrated into routine operational practice in the pilot site – and create a foundation for expanded and enhanced deployments. The CV Pilots program seeks institutional and financial models that enable long-term sustainment of successful elements of pilot deployments without dedicated federal funding.

The overall objective of the Phase 1 is to set the stage for a connected vehicle pilot deployment that has an observable measurable near-term impact, deployed on-time and within budget. More specific objectives of Phase 1 are to develop fully an innovative and synergistic connected vehicle pilot deployment concept; to build partnerships among stakeholders; and to prepare a comprehensive pilot deployment plan that reduces technical, institutional and financial risk.

Nesscap completes US$1M convertible note financing

Nesscap completes US$1M convertible note financing

23 December 2014

Ultracapacitor company Nesscap Energy Inc. has completed a non-brokered private placement of a US $1,000,000 Convertible Note with I2BF Energy. The proceeds will be used for working capital.


The offering constituted the second tranche of the bridge financing previously announced on 8 April 2014. The Note has a maturity date of 1 April 2015; the conversion price is CAD 0.10 per common share; the interest rate is 10% per year.

The note is also unsecured and ranks equally with other unsecured creditors of Nesscap. Nesscap can prepay the outstanding principal and interest on the Note, in whole or in part, at any time without premium or penalty.

Nesscap products are available in both cells and modules and are used to enhance the performance of modern applications ranging from portable electronic devices to high-performance windmills and green cars. Nesscap products range from 3 farads to 6,200 farads with industry-recognized alternative organic electrolytes. Customers of the Company include transportation, power, and consumer markets.

Mexico proposes new heavy-duty vehicle emission standards aligned with Euro VI and EPA 2010

Mexico proposes new heavy-duty vehicle emission standards aligned with Euro VI and EPA 2010

23 December 2014

Mexico’s Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) has proposed new heavy-duty vehicle emissions standards, aligned with current standards in place in the rest of North America and in the European Union. The current limit values in Mexico are equivalent to Euro IV or EPA 2004 standards.

The proposed modification of NOM-044-SEMARNAT-20061, published on 17 December in the Diario Oficial de la Federación, establishes maximum permissible emissions limits of total hydrocarbons, non-methane hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and particles from the tailpipe of new motors that use diesel fuel and that are used in new vehicles with a gross vehicle weight greater than 3,857 kilograms (8,500 lbs), as well as new complete vehicles with gross vehicle weight greater than 3,857 kilograms that are equipped with these motors.


The new standards would require new heavy-duty diesel vehicles sold after 1 January 2018 to meet emissions standards equivalent to those in the United States (EPA 2010) and European Union (Euro VI). The proposal to align fully with the prevailing US and European standards in 2018 will require new vehicles to be equipped with diesel particulate filters (DPFs), advanced NOx aftertreatment, full on-board diagnostic (OBD) systems, and failsafes which ensure correct operation of emissions control systems.

Heavy-duty diesel emissions standards in the US, European Union, and Mexico. Source: ICCT. Click to enlarge.

Formal publication opened a 60-day public comment period; following this period, a vote by COMARNAT, the national regulatory committee of SEMARNAT, will be required to finalize the standard.

SEMARNAT is the sole agency responsible for emissions standards for new vehicles in Mexico and has shared responsibility with the Ministry of Energy (SENER) for fuel quality standards.

Final adoption of the standard will virtually eliminate fine particle and black carbon emissions from new diesel trucks. With it, Mexico joins a very short list of countries (US, Canada, Japan, European Union, and South Korea) with best-in-class, filter-based standards for heavy-duty vehicles, according to the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT).

The cost-benefit analysis for the proposal, done in part using the ICCT Roadmap Model Health Module, found that in the year 2037 the new standards will prevent 6,800 premature deaths from exposure to PM2.5 emissions in urban areas.

Avoided emissions in that year will total 24,000 tons of PM2.5, 17,000 tons of black carbon, and 410,000 tons of NOx. The climate benefits of these emissions reductions will amount to the equivalent of 54 million tons of CO2 (using a 20-year global warming potential).

Net cumulative economic benefits to Mexico of the standard over the period 2018 to 2037 add up to US$123 billion. These figures do not take into account the savings in fuel consumption expected from new and more efficient engines. The new standards will also confer significant additional but as yet unquantified health benefits, including reductions in asthma, bronchitis, stroke, heart attack and other cardio and pulmonary disorders.

Not only will the standards have very important direct climate and health benefits (99% reduction in black carbon emissions from new vehicles, 98% reduction in PM emissions, and a 95% reduction in NOx), they will also enable development of additional policy measures to reduce conventional pollutants and GHG emissions from new and in-use heavy-duty trucks.

This proposal is the culmination of years of hard work, and the dedicated staff at SEMARNAT that made this happen are to be commended. The heavy-duty vehicle manufacturers also played a very positive and collaborative role in the process. It is a tremendous victory for public health, especially in cities. And the climate benefits of the reductions in black carbon emissions are also a great step forward.

Drew Kodjak, executive director of the ICCT, noted that Mexico is one of the founders of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (CCAC).


  • ICCT Policy Update: Mexico Heavy-Duty Vehicle Emissions Standards

UK launches $39M competition for advanced biofuels demonstration plants; targeting min. 60% GHG reduction vs. fossil fuels

UK launches $39M competition for advanced biofuels demonstration plants; targeting min. 60% GHG reduction vs. fossil fuels

23 December 2014

The Department for Transport (DfT) recently launched a £25-million (US$39-million) competition to support the development of a domestic biofuels industry in the UK. The competition will provide capital funding for three demonstration-scale advanced biofuel plants. The projects will be selected through a competitive process, with funding provided over a three-year period, beginning in 2015.


The fuel produced by the chosen technology must show a minimum of 60% greenhouse gas emissions reductions compared with fossil fuels. Advanced biofuels are made from waste materials such as agricultural residues like straw, using complex processing techniques. They can produce a wide range of transport fuels for roads and aviation.

This £25 million in funding will be made available over 3 years. The competition will be run in 2 stages with a detailed expression of interest stage for potential bidders open until 13 February 2015, followed by full proposals in June 2015. The competition expects plants backed by this funding to be operational by December 2018 and produce at least 1 million liters (264,000 gallons US) of biofuel a year.

The funding which was first announced last year, would be underpinned by significant private sector investment enabling the construction of three demonstration biofuels plants, the first of their kind in the UK.

Ricardo-AEA and E4tech have been selected as the Department for Transport’s delivery partners to run the competition.

OriginOil launches Hong Kong subsidiary to initiate its China commercial venture

OriginOil launches Hong Kong subsidiary to initiate its China commercial venture

23 December 2014

OriginOil Inc., developer of Electro Water Separation (EWS)—a high-speed, chemical-free process to clean up large quantities of water—will launch a subsidiary in Hong Kong and grant it a master license for the People’s Republic of China. In turn, the subsidiary is expected to license regional joint ventures for frack and waste water treatment. A research and a manufacturing center are also planned.


The EWS process has three stages:

  1. Electro-Coagulation: contaminated water enters the first stage, which is a proprietary electro-coagulation process. In this stage, mild electrical impulses are applied in long tubes, causing the organic contaminants to coagulate.

  2. Electro-Oxidation: oxidizing agents are created that disinfect bacteria, oxidizes soluble ions and breaks molecular chain of dissolved organics.

  3. Electro-Flotation: the clumped-up material travels into a second stage where low power electrical pulses generate a cloud of micro-bubbles that gently lifts the concentrate to the surface for harvesting. The harvested concentrate can be made up of chemical waste, valuable petroleum, or useful algae feedstock.

A proprietary solid-state process control unit (PCU) controls the entire process, and customizes the power requirements of each application. The PCU is evolving auto-adaptive features that reduce operator intervention and standardize the operating parameters. The system will feature secure communication with OriginOil cloud servers for authentication, remote operation, diagnostics, and software updates.

EWS is effective for use in water-intensive industries such as oil gas, algae, and organic waste.

Since we began actively marketing our technology at Singapore Water Week this year, we have seen major interest in petroleum and waste cleanup applications throughout East Asia and especially in China. Our testing has shown that we can clean up frack water effectively in the north of China, and also process factory waste effectively in Nanjing and other manufacturing centers.

One potential relationship is with JiangSu NJU Environmental Technology Co., Ltd., an spinoff of Nanjing University which claims more than 30 model facilities in Nanjing Chemical Plant and 10 provinces and cities.

We are quite impressed by the results and demonstration we have seen so far and we believe OriginOil’s EWS technology can be instrumental in solving a variety of industrial wastewater issues that as you know China has decided to address. We hope that with EWS, our group can play a leading role in environmental solutions engineering.

The new subsidiary will benefit from OriginOil’s business development in China, consisting of potential waste treatment projects which process more than 60,000 m3 (15,000,000 gallons) per day in the aggregate.

Google announces first fully functional build of self-driving prototype

« OriginOil launches Hong Kong subsidiary to initiate its China commercial venture


| Orbital suing Daimler and Bosch for alleged patent infringement on direct injection technology »

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Google announces first fully functional build of self-driving prototype

23 December 2014

In a post on Google+, Google engineers announced that they have assembled a fully functional prototype for fully autonomous driving; the vehicle unveiled earlier this year was an “early mockup”.


Since then, we’ve been working on different prototypes-of-prototypes, each designed to test different systems of a self-driving car—for example, the typical “car” parts like steering and braking, as well as the “self-driving” parts like the computer and sensors. We’ve now put all those systems together in this fully functional vehicle—our first complete prototype for fully autonomous driving.

The prototype is headed for Google’s test track; engineers are targeting road-testing in Northern California in 2015.

December 23, 2014 in Brief | Permalink

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Well done google.
(It is the little «toy» like car).
I wonder how long it will take them to get it up to 30, 35, 40 mph [ I assume it is capable of this mechanically ].

Interesting article in theoatmeal

«Google self-driving cars are timid».
and so on…

Worth a look.

The trick will be to increase the level of assertiveness so it is not a pain to be stuck behind on the of them without killing (or badly frightening) anyone.

Interesting times ahead.

I like the idea of self driving cars, except if they drive too slow due to programmed lack of confidence.

These cars will be considered until the first time one is brought to a halt by a mob that the car refuses to run over or hit, and the occupants pulled out and killed.

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Hyperloop Team Grows To Over 100 Members

High Speed Rail

Published on December 23rd, 2014
by Christopher DeMorro



When Elon Musk isn’t busy running Tesla Motors, Solar City, and SpaceX, he is dreaming up crazy sci-fi ideas like the Hyperloop, which could zip people from New York to L.A. in minutes, not hours. But while Elon Musk is too busy to invest any time or resources into the Hyperloop, a team of 100 scientists and engineers have come together to make the Hyperloop a reality.

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, Inc. has just signed on its 100th person to an incredibly talented team of researchers from Boeing, Harvard, and even NASA who will sink their free time into furthering this transportation project. The Hyperloop aims to make high-speed rail redundant with an 800 MPH vacuum tube system that could zip people between San Francisco and L.A. in just 30 minutes, and turning a profit selling tickets at just $20 a pop.

Musk estimated that such a project would only cost between $6 billion and $10 billion, far cheaper than the estimated $68 billion the California High Speed Rail project is set to cost taxpayers. It would also be a lot faster and less intrusive than the traditional high-speed trains, with small capsules sending a few passengers at a time rather than massive locomotives hauling ass through alfalfa fields.

The Hyperloop team released a new batch of concept and idea documents to show the forward progress of the project, which it hopes to pay for using JumpStartFund, a crowdsourcing platform “…that allows entrepreneurs to build communities of experienced professionals around their projects.”But will the Hyperloop displace the long-awaited high speed rail project, or is this one of those sci-fi visions that’s just too far ahead of its time?


Next, use your Solar Report to get the best quote!

Tags: Elon Musk, high speed rail, hyperloop, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, LA, San Francisco

About the Author

Christopher DeMorro A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, Chris can be found wrenching or writing- or esle, he’s running, because he’s one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.

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Orbital suing Daimler and Bosch for alleged patent infringement on direct injection technology

Orbital suing Daimler and Bosch for alleged patent infringement on direct injection technology

23 December 2014

Australia-based specialized engine and vehicle systems company Orbital Corporation has filed court documents in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia alleging the infringement of Orbital patents on direct injection technology by Daimler AG, Mercedes-Benz USA LLC, Mercedes-Benz US International, Inc. (Mercedes), Robert Bosch GMGH and Robert Bosch LLC (Bosch). (3:14-cv-00808-REP Orbital Australia Pty Ltd et al. v. Daimler AG et al.)

Specific patents covered by the complaint are United States Patents Nº 6,923,387 (the “387 patent”) («injector patent»); Nº 5,655,365 (the “365 patent”); and Nº 5,606,951 (the “951 patent”) (“control patents”),under 35 U.S.C.§271.


The court filing calls for a jury trial and advises that Orbital seeks a judgement that Mercedes and Bosch have infringed Orbital patents along with the awarding of compensatory damages (“royalty and lost-profit based damage”) and permanent injunctive relief preventing Mercedes and Bosch from using the patented inventions, or a compulsory licence fee if the Court determines that injunctive relief is not appropriate.

Background. Orbital began developing and using centrally-mounted, spray-guided direct fuel injection systems in the early 1980s. Orbital used direct injectors in 2-stroke engines. In 1995, according to Orbital, Mercedes expressed interest in Orbital’s technology and began evaluating the Orbital Combustion Process (OCP) on a 4-stroke Mercedes engine.

The OCP uses air-assisted, low-pressure direct fuel injection rather than high-pressure injection to atomize the fuel charge. With OCP, fuel is first metered into an injector pre-chamber via a conventional automotive port injector (MPI), and then delivered into the combustion chamber with the assistance of air at pressure. (Earlier post.)

Thereafter, according to the documents Orbital filed, it and Mercedes
established a working relationship focused on applying the OCP technology to a dedicated 4-stroke engine system to improve fuel efficiency and emissions.

By 1995, Orbital had filed the 365 patent (“Method ofOperating an Internal Combustion Engine”) and 951 patent (“Engine Air Supply Systems”). In 1997, Orbital and Siemens (later Continental) formed the the Synerject LLC joint venture to provide OEMs in the marine, motorcycle and recreation industries with gasoline Engine Management Systems (EMS) and fuel system components.

In 1997-98, Orbital incorporated the OCP into a Mercedes engine for testing. One of the main technical issues with direct injection systems is the effect of carbon deposits that build upon the injector as a result of fuel combustion; the carbon deposits negatively affect the spray pattern of the spray guided direct injectors.

From 1999-2002, Orbital improved deposit control in its fuel injector nozzles. This became the subject of the 387 (“Deposit Control In Fuel Injector Nozzles”) patent, filed in 2000. Orbital said it subsequently presented the patented technology for deposit control in fuel injector nozzles to Mercedes in great technical detail. In 2002, Orbital delivered a demonstrator vehicle—which incorporated the patented injector features—to Mercedes. Shortly thereafter, Orbital said, Mercedes notified Orbital that it would not be proceeding with the Orbital project.

In the court filing, Orbital charges that since then, Mercedes has released and sold numerous versions of vehicles in the US that include engines with a centrally-mounted, spray-guided direct injection system using Bosch injectors that infringe the claimed features of the 387 patent and the methods and systems of the 365 and 951 patents.

Orbital offered Bosch a license for use of several of its injector patents in 2011, including the 387 patent, which Bosch declined. Orbital is charging that Bosch has infringed one or more claims of the patents.