Emissions

SEC Defends Defends Diesel Emissions Cheating Case Against VW

Back in March, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed charges against VW and its former CEO, Martin Winterkorn, for defrauding U.S. investors by raising billions of dollars through the corporate bond and fixed income markets while making a series of knowingly deceptive claims about the environmental impact of the company’s so-called “clean diesel” vehicle offerings. Now, the government body is under fire from judges who are questioning the timing of the case against VW. “My basic question is what took you so long,” said US District Judge Charles Breyer, when he questioned the SEC’s “lateness” in suing VW more than two years after the German automaker settled the US Justice Department’s criminal probe. He added that he was &#...

Ford Transit Hybrid Van a Practical Solution for Cleaner Cities

It’s an oft-repeated phrase, but it’s true: commercial vehicles are the worst polluters in urban cities, and do the most harm to the greatest number of people per vehicle of just about anything else. Most of those commercial trucks– be they city buses or garbage trucks or Amazon delivery vans– are diesel powered, and diesel is, you know, bad. You already know that, but did you also know that there was a solution available today? Like, right now? It’s true, according to the results of a year-long trial in London suggesting that today’s plug-in hybrid electric commercial vehicles like the Ford Transit represent the most practical, readily available option for businesses trying to meet their clean-air targets. The stop-and-go driving habits of light and med...

VW Says “Carbon Neutral” is the Only Way Forward

In the aftermath of VW’s multi-billion dollar diesel emissions cheating scandal that saw several executives face criminal charges and jail time, VW has been trying to reinvent itself as a clean, electric carmaker. It’s been making big moves, too. In addition to developing an entire family of VW and Audi electrics, it’s put big money aside to secure its battery supplies until at least 2023. Even with all that, the company still seems to have a credibility issue– and, as such, it’s released an official statement about its stance on global warming. Really. VW’s screed reads almost like a kid’s “What I Did on My Summer Vacation” theme, and VW’s execs really, really, really want you to know that they spent their summer vacation learnin...

Nissan Launches Electric Ice Cream Truck … for Kids!

It’s the first day of summer, and nothing says summer quite like the sound of the ice cream truck pulling up to a park full of kids. As fun and wholesome as that image may be, however, having kids hang out around the potentially harmful emissions of those old-school ice cream trucks could aggravate issues like asthma– and that’s a big problem. Enter: Nissan, who just showed off an electric Nissan NV200 van that’s been specially converted– into a zero emissions ice cream truck! “This project is a perfect demonstration of Nissan’s Intelligent Mobility strategy,” explains Kalyana Sivagnanam, managing director of Nissan Motor Ltd., Great Britain. She says that the Japanese company is, “applying more than a decade of EV experience and progress in batter...

French Gov’t Votes to Uphold 2040 Fossil Fuel Ban

The French government this week moved to turn their stated goal of making the country carbon-neutral by 2050 into law, in a move that will uphold a planned ban on the sale of fossil fuel-powered cars after 2040. “We have target for carbon neutrality by 2050, and we need a credible trajectory towards that, which includes a ban on the sale of vehicles that consume fossil fuels by 2040,” French Transport Minister, Elizabeth Borne, said on Tuesday. She believes the move will help the French auto industry switch to electric or hydrogen-electric vehicles. “Since the start of Emmanuel Macron’s term, our target is the climate plan that Nicolas Hulot announced in the summer of 2017. We will now inscribe this target into law.” The new “electric mobility law”...

Maersk Sets Net Zero Emissions Target for 2050

Member nations of the UN body charged with regulating ocean shipping announced, earlier this year, a new strategy to curb the industry’s massive impact on climate change. The UN asked for major shippers to commit to cutting their harmful carbon emissions 50% by the year 2050, by which time most of the ships currently in service will be scrapped. The Danish shipping giant, Maersk, is doing them one better: Maersk has committed to being fully carbon-neutral by 2050. The result of Maersk’s commitment could be huge, considering that shipping is traditionally responsible for about 800 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year. That’s according to Dan Rutherford, the marine and aviation program director of the International Council on Clean Transportation. “If you...

Volkswagen Ramps Up its E-mobility Program

Volkswagen is spending more than $40 billion to get past its dieselgate scandal. Slick electric products like the Volkswagen ID Buzz (read: new-age Microbus) are going to be the customer-facing side of those dollars, of course– but it doesn’t end there. VW plans to make its electric ID line available to more people than ever. “The ID. will prove to be a milestone in terms of technological development,” says Christian Senger, Head of the Volkswagen E-Mobility product line. “It will be the first fully interconnected electric vehicle that is 100 percent suitable for day-to-day use, and millions of people will be able to afford it.” So, yeah– anyway, here’s a massive press release from VW that touts the company’s new MEB vehicle platform and gets into all th...

Volvo’s Ghent Factory Gets a Solar Upgrade

Volvo has made a number of commitments to reducing improving the Earth. Sometimes that means donating profits to help clean up the ocean, while other times that means reducing its own carbon footprint. This story is one of those latter cases, as Volvo announces the installation of 15,000 solar panels at its SPA platform car factory in Ghent, Belgium. The Belgian factory also uses wind power to supply around 11% of its power consumption, and in 2016 the factory introduced a heating system that reduced carbon emissions by 40%, saving 15,000 tons of CO2 per year. Ghent follows the company’s Skövde engine plant in Sweden– which was the first climate-neutral facility in Volvo’s global manufacturing network. You can check out the original press release, below, then let us know ...

CNG Trucks are Hauling Without Emissions

Almost a half trillion dollars worth of goods are imported in the US through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach every year. Almost all the containers that arrive at those ports are hauled relatively short distances to freight distribution facilities located inland by special purpose drayage trucks designed specifically for such short-haul work. At those freight terminals, the containers are hooked up to the long distance tractors that will deliver them to every part of America. With so much cargo coming in, tens of thousands of trips between the ports and the terminals take place all day every day. With rare exceptions, all those drayage trucks are equipped with diesel engines that spew out tremendous quantities of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur oxide emissions, making th...

Mazda Denies Emissions Cheat Allegations

When news broke that Mazda might have been caught cheating on emissions tests, the press moved quickly to report it. I didn’t, because I didn’t believe Mazda had it in them. Today, Mazda released more details about the “suspect” tests and their testing methods that seems to effectively refute those cheating allegations recently leveled at Mazda (and, it should be said, Suzuki). The official Mazda statement is included, below. Before you read that, however, consider the culture of Mazda. Mazda is the company that drilled holes into seats, pedals, and bulkheads to reduce weight in the 90s. They’re the company that brought back the roadster. They’re also the company that forged ahead with the Wankel, and made it a workable, emissions friendly passing thing....

Borg Uses Exhaust Heat to Improve Emissions, MPG

Exhaust gas re-circulation (EGR) is nothing new in automotive circles. Neither is the concept of trying to turn exhaust gas energy and heat into usable power. What is new, however, is using what would otherwise be waste heat to specifically heat up an engine at cold start– and that’s pretty exciting. “Until a cold engine reaches its optimal operating temperature, it is much less fuel efficient and generates higher emissions,” explains Joe Fadool, President and General Manager of BorgWarner’s Emissions & Thermal Systems department. The company’s new Exhaust Heat Recovery System (EHRS) will get internal combustion engines up to temperature faster than ever before, and help to reduce the NOx and diesel particulate matter (PM) emissions that have caused ...

Mazda Skactiv-X Gets Gold at Edison Awards for Innovation

Mazda may be alone in their belief that the internal combustion engine has plenty of life left, but their Syactiv-X HCCI engine definitely seems like the real deal. To recap: Mazda believes their tech will both increase horsepower and improve fuel economy and vehicle emissions without the added weight and cost of a battery and charging system. It seems to work- well enough, at least, to earn the company Gold at the Edison Awards for Innovation earlier this month! “We are humbled that Edison Awards steering committee and industry leaders selected Mazda’s Skyactiv-X engine for a gold award,” said Masashi Otsuka, VP of R&D and design, Mazda North American Operations. “Mazda’s goal is to create a sustainable path forward, introducing cars and technologies that enrich people’s lives as wel...

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