The Truth About Cars » Infrastructure http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 30 Jul 2015 13:00:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars » Infrastructure http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/infrastructure/ Michigan to Stay Ahead of Silicon Valley with “Mcity” for Autonomous & Connected Car R&D http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/michigan-tries-stay-ahead-silicon-valley-mcity-autonomous-connected-car-rd/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/michigan-tries-stay-ahead-silicon-valley-mcity-autonomous-connected-car-rd/#comments Wed, 22 Jul 2015 14:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1121737 The facility was mostly deserted by the time I got there deliberately late to avoid politicians’ speechifying. Between the very realistic — but empty — roadways with functional traffic lights, railway crossings, and even parking meters, on one hand, and the two city blocks of obviously faux buildings, theatrical scrims really, on the other, I […]

The post Michigan to Stay Ahead of Silicon Valley with “Mcity” for Autonomous & Connected Car R&D appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
IMG_0437

The facility was mostly deserted by the time I got there deliberately late to avoid politicians’ speechifying. Between the very realistic — but empty — roadways with functional traffic lights, railway crossings, and even parking meters, on one hand, and the two city blocks of obviously faux buildings, theatrical scrims really, on the other, I felt that at any second, things might switch to black and white and Rod Serling would step out from behind one of the backdrops.

I wasn’t in the Twilight Zone, though. I was on a gentle hillside on the north side of Ann Arbor.

While Serling’s landmark science fiction and fantasy show sometimes gave us a peek at what the future might look like, the 32 acre Mcity autonomous and connected vehicle research facility that opened yesterday on the University of Michigan’s north campus is definitely one of the places where the future of personal transportation will be made.

7/15/15               2015 UM Aerials -July                 MCity, North Campus, Munger Grad                            Residency,Campus construction.

At first glance, Mcity does look more like a movie set than a high tech R&D installation and the $10 million that it cost to build doesn’t seem like much to an industry where it costs a billion dollars to develop a new car, but the facility’s promise is such that almost 50 private sector companies are partners in the project.

IMG_0433

The fact that Mcity even exists is because of a unique partnership between the public and private sectors. The state of Michigan, via MDOT, put up $3 million, with UofM, a public university, also kicking in part of the construction costs. It looks like operational costs, at least for the next three years, will be covered by the private sector. Fifteen companies make up what is being called the Leadership Circle, which means they’ve each pledged $1 million to be paid out over three years. The Leadership Circle is a veritable who’s who of the industry including Ford, GM, Honda, Nissan, Toyota, Delphi, Denso, Bosch, Xerox, Verizon and Qualcomm. Another 32 firms have committed $150,000 each.

IMG_0428

The members of the Leadership Circle aren’t being completely altruistic. That level of contribution gives those companies access to all the research that will be performed at the facility, regardless of who is doing or sponsoring the work.

mtc_illust_with_callouts.final

That level of cooperation between car companies would not have been possible a generation or two ago, when the U.S. Dept. of Justice had automakers so worried about possible charges of collusion or violating anti-trust statutes that auto executives wouldn’t play golf with their counterparts for fear of an investigation. Of course, that level of cooperation will be necessary for the development of technical standards for vehicle to vehicle communication and other aspects of connected and autonomous driving.

IMG_0429

The interest of the auto industry in Mcity is obvious — they can use it to test their tech. The interest of the University of Michigan is also pretty obvious. UoM’s engineering school has long had a very close relationship to the auto industry and the school wants to stay on the cutting edge along with their corporate partners. Mcity is part of the university’s Transportation Research Institute. The state of Michigan’s interest is keeping itself the global center of the auto industry.

IMG_0424

With Elon Musk dissing “Detroit” at every opportunity (while staffing Tesla with engineers and designers with the domestic automakers on their resumes), tech behemoth Google testing a fleet of driverless cars, and even rumors of Apple getting into the car biz, there has been boasts from the West Coast and concerns from the rust belt that as computer technology becomes more and more important to how cars work Silicon Valley might displace Detroit as the center of innovation in the auto industry.

Mcity is the state of Michigan saying, “not so fast” to Silicon Valley. So far, it appears to be the only facility of its kind in the world.

The site is realistic down to the handicapped parking spaces and meters. So far no meter maids.

The site is realistic down to the handicapped parking spaces and meters. So far no meter maids.

The test environment (Mcity is adverse to calling it a mere “test track”) is supposed to replicate “the broad range of complexities vehicles encounter in urban and suburban environments.” There are about five miles of roadways including, intersections, traffic signs and signals, sidewalks, benches, simulated buildings (both fixed and moveable), street lights, and obstacles such as construction barriers, “pedestrians”, and railroad crossings. A variety of road surfaces are used including concrete, asphalt and brick paving as well as metal grid and gravel surfaces. There’s a 1,000 foot straight along with a variety of curves and ramps with different radii. There are two, three and four lane roads as well as bike lanes and a roundabout. What looks like a covered bridge is supposed to simulate tunnels and overpasses. One street is covered overhead with netting to reproduce the shade from a canopy of trees. There are parallel and angle parked cars as well as mechanized bicycles, fire hydrants and both fixed and variable lighting and traffic control devices.

IMG_0443

The Mcity facility is supported by the University of Michigan, the Michigan Dept. of Transportation, and about 50 corporate partners, including 15 “Leadership Circle” members that have each pledged $1 million.

While there are ramps and signs that look like they do on an interstate highway, there will be no high speed testing at the facility, despite the ‘road train’ of cars and trucks traveling in unison on a highway in Mcity’s animated promotional video. The top speed allowed at the facility is just 40 mph.

Mcity looks very modern and tidy. Everything follows the latest designs for roadways, etc. and I have to wonder how a car developed at Mcity might do in an urban area that’s a bit more vintage — like San Francisco or Rome. I wonder if Mcity has developed a protocol for dealing with New York City levels of litter.

Aerial photo and infographic courtesy of the University of Michigan. All other photos by the author.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

The post Michigan to Stay Ahead of Silicon Valley with “Mcity” for Autonomous & Connected Car R&D appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/michigan-tries-stay-ahead-silicon-valley-mcity-autonomous-connected-car-rd/feed/ 25
The Future of Roads May Be in Lego-type Construction http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/future-roads-may-lego-type-construction/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/future-roads-may-lego-type-construction/#comments Tue, 14 Jul 2015 20:00:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1115337 Dutch company VolkerWessels is proposing a new type of roadway construction that could make it easier to remove, replace or resurface streets in the near future, Gizmodo is reporting. The engineering firm is working with the City of Rotterdam to test its early concept. The streets are prefabricated and dropped into place. The roadways use a below-surface […]

The post The Future of Roads May Be in Lego-type Construction appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
1339000057362353185

Dutch company VolkerWessels is proposing a new type of roadway construction that could make it easier to remove, replace or resurface streets in the near future, Gizmodo is reporting.

The engineering firm is working with the City of Rotterdam to test its early concept. The streets are prefabricated and dropped into place. The roadways use a below-surface tunnel to house infrastructure like water, cables and utilities.

The civil engineering firm is responsible for massive projects in the U.K. and Europe, so their idea isn’t completely out of left field. The company already produces a recyclable asphalt in Rotterdam.

VolkerWessels’ concept for roadway sections would be created out of plastic turned into aggregate for production. The company told The Guardian that it would like to produce fully recyclable roadways within three years.

“It’s still an idea on paper at the moment; the next stage is to build it and test it in a laboratory to make sure it’s safe in wet and slippery conditions and so on. We’re looking for partners who want to collaborate on a pilot — as well as manufacturers in the plastics industry, we’re thinking of the recycling sector, universities and other knowledge institutions,” said Rolf Mars, the director of VolkerWessels’ road division.

The company said asphalt attributes to more than 1.6 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions globally, which comprises about 2 percent of overall emissions.

The post The Future of Roads May Be in Lego-type Construction appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/future-roads-may-lego-type-construction/feed/ 26
Google Sends Self-Driving Lexus Hybrids to Test in Texas http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/google-sends-self-driving-lexus-hybrids-test-texas/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/google-sends-self-driving-lexus-hybrids-test-texas/#comments Tue, 07 Jul 2015 20:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1109377 Google’s autonomous cars have made it to the Lone Star state for testing, The Detroit News is reporting. A self-driving Lexus 450h prototype was recently dispatched to Austin, Texas for testing on that city’s streets. The cars are used to map roadways and signs for future autonomous vehicles to use. Google said the car has begun […]

The post Google Sends Self-Driving Lexus Hybrids to Test in Texas appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
google-self-driving-car

Google’s autonomous cars have made it to the Lone Star state for testing, The Detroit News is reporting.

A self-driving Lexus 450h prototype was recently dispatched to Austin, Texas for testing on that city’s streets. The cars are used to map roadways and signs for future autonomous vehicles to use. Google said the car has begun to drive itself after testing in Texas it will be sending another Lexus to Austin soon.

The search-engine giant likely selected the Texas capital because a free-range Lexus fit in very well with that city’s culture.

“We also want to learn how different communities perceive and interact with self-driving vehicles, and that can vary in different parts of the country,” an official with Google told The Detroit News.

Local officials praised the move by Google.

“Austin is special in part because we welcome new technologies that could help improve our daily lives, and we can easily see the potential self-driving cars have to reduce accident rates and congestion, and to provide mobility for people who can’t get around easily,” Mayor Steve Adler told The Detroit News.

Self-driving cars are forbidden to travel faster than 25 mph by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Google started testing its autonomous prototypes in California last month.

The post Google Sends Self-Driving Lexus Hybrids to Test in Texas appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/google-sends-self-driving-lexus-hybrids-test-texas/feed/ 16
Mass Transit In Greece Free This Week Due To Economic Crisis http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/mass-transit-in-greece-free-this-week-due-to-economic-crisis/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/mass-transit-in-greece-free-this-week-due-to-economic-crisis/#comments Mon, 29 Jun 2015 17:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1102009 Some transit authorities offer free service to encourage ridership. Greece is offering free service this week because no one has money. As a result of Greece’s banks shutting their doors and ATMs for the entire week in order to prevent potential bank runs at the expense of their customers — in turn the result of […]

The post Mass Transit In Greece Free This Week Due To Economic Crisis appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Electric Bus In Athens, Greece

Some transit authorities offer free service to encourage ridership. Greece is offering free service this week because no one has money.

As a result of Greece’s banks shutting their doors and ATMs for the entire week in order to prevent potential bank runs at the expense of their customers — in turn the result of the failing bailout of the nation’s economy — transportation minister Christos Spirtzis declared transit service in Athens would be free to all until next week, Business Insider says.

The move would affect only those in the greater Athens metro area, where 40 percent of the nation’s population call home; the next-largest city, Thessaloniki, can’t waive its fares because its system isn’t fully run by the Grecian government. Meanwhile, Greece stands to lose €4 million ($4.44 million USD) as a result of the declaration; typical fares are around €1.20 ($1.33).

(Photo credit: hans-johnson/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0)

The post Mass Transit In Greece Free This Week Due To Economic Crisis appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/mass-transit-in-greece-free-this-week-due-to-economic-crisis/feed/ 42
Hyundai Struggles Against Infrastructure Issues To Meet Global FCV Sales Target http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/hyundai-struggles-against-infrastructure-issues-to-meet-global-fcv-sales-target/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/hyundai-struggles-against-infrastructure-issues-to-meet-global-fcv-sales-target/#comments Wed, 17 Jun 2015 17:00:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1094721 Global sales of Hyundai’s Tucson Fuel Cell haven’t been able to match sales targets since the FCV’s launch in 2013, though not for a lack of trying. Hyundai says it shipped a total of 273 units of the Tucson Fuel Cell to showrooms in its home market and abroad since 2013, Yonhap News Agency reports, […]

The post Hyundai Struggles Against Infrastructure Issues To Meet Global FCV Sales Target appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
2015 Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell

Global sales of Hyundai’s Tucson Fuel Cell haven’t been able to match sales targets since the FCV’s launch in 2013, though not for a lack of trying.

Hyundai says it shipped a total of 273 units of the Tucson Fuel Cell to showrooms in its home market and abroad since 2013, Yonhap News Agency reports, 69 of which were delivered in 2015 thus far. The automaker planned to move 1,000 units by the end of 2015, a goal not likely to occur at this rate.

As for why, the problem comes down to infrastructure. Hyundai Auto Canada representative Chad Heard told TTAC the Canadian subsidiary leased two Tucson Fuel Cells thus far, and received its second shipment for allocation this month.

Heard explained there were more interested consumers than actual product, but doesn’t expect for sales to hit double-digits in 2015 due to infrastructure constraints, adding the company would be able to meet demand in Canada “if there was more access to hydrogen gas.” There is only one filling station available to Tucson Fuel Cell owners, located in Surrey, British Columbia, while the United States and South Korea fare little better with 10 and 11 stations, respectively.

[Photo credit: Hyundai]

The post Hyundai Struggles Against Infrastructure Issues To Meet Global FCV Sales Target appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/hyundai-struggles-against-infrastructure-issues-to-meet-global-fcv-sales-target/feed/ 15
General Motors Repurposes Chevrolet Volt Batteries For Energy Storage http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/general-motors-repurposes-chevrolet-volt-batteries-for-energy-storage/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/general-motors-repurposes-chevrolet-volt-batteries-for-energy-storage/#comments Wed, 17 Jun 2015 15:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1094633 Having already recycled battery covers into animal habitats, General Motors is turning its efforts toward the Chevrolet Volt’s batteries themselves. General Motors battery life cycle boss Pablo Valencia says the packs used in the PHEV can still be of use in storage applications once its days providing energy to the vehicle draws to an end, […]

The post General Motors Repurposes Chevrolet Volt Batteries For Energy Storage appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
VoltBatteriesDataCenter01

Having already recycled battery covers into animal habitats, General Motors is turning its efforts toward the Chevrolet Volt’s batteries themselves.

General Motors battery life cycle boss Pablo Valencia says the packs used in the PHEV can still be of use in storage applications once its days providing energy to the vehicle draws to an end, “delivering waste reduction and economic benefits on an industrial scale” in repurposing.

To demonstrate this, five packs from the first-gen Volt are working in concert with a 74-kilowatt solar array and two wind turbines — each good for 2 kW — to generate power at GM’s Enterprise Data Center at the Milford Proving Ground in Milford, Mich. The packs can also provide emergency power for four hours in the event of a power outage, while the full setup can deliver up to 100 MWh of energy — the equivalent of the amount used by 12 average households — annually to the data center, with excess sent to the proving ground’s grid.

Though supply of Volt packs remains low for now, GM says it’s working with partners to “validate and test systems for other commercial and non-commercial uses.” Valencia adds the repurposing of packs for energy storage would be perfect for commercial use, providing “full functionality” from the packs while also reducing upfront costs in implementing the system.

[Photo credit: Chevrolet]

VoltBatteriesDataCenter03 VoltBatteriesDataCenter01 VoltBatteriesDataCenter02 VoltBatteriesAndRenewableResource

The post General Motors Repurposes Chevrolet Volt Batteries For Energy Storage appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/general-motors-repurposes-chevrolet-volt-batteries-for-energy-storage/feed/ 24
General Motors Announcing Entry Into Stationary Energy Storage Next Week http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/general-motors-announcing-entry-into-stationary-energy-storage-next-week/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/general-motors-announcing-entry-into-stationary-energy-storage-next-week/#comments Thu, 11 Jun 2015 14:00:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1090601 Forging a different path than rival Tesla, General Motors will announce its entry into the stationary energy storage market next Tuesday. While Tesla plans to bring energy storage to the home and office with its Powerwall system — consisting of new battery packs linked to solar power — GM will instead extend the economic life […]

The post General Motors Announcing Entry Into Stationary Energy Storage Next Week appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
2016 Chevrolet Volt battery

Forging a different path than rival Tesla, General Motors will announce its entry into the stationary energy storage market next Tuesday.

While Tesla plans to bring energy storage to the home and office with its Powerwall system — consisting of new battery packs linked to solar power — GM will instead extend the economic life of its EV and PHEV packs once they can no longer fulfill their service in automotive applications, Reuters reports.

As early as 2012, GM had the emerging storage market in mind when it paired with Swiss engineering group Advanced Auto Batteries to develop a stationary pack composed of five used Chevrolet Volt batteries. The resulting modular unit was good for two hours of power as needed by three to five average U.S. homes.

According to battery lifecycle management chief Pablo Valencia, the automaker’s development of a given pack includes secondary uses:

In many cases, when an EV battery has reached the end of its life in an automotive application, only 30 percent or less of its life has been used. This leaves a tremendous amount of life that can be applied to other applications like powering a structure before the battery is recycled.

The market back when Valencia made those comments delivered $200 million in total profit by the end of 2012. As more competitors jump into the game, however, research firm IHS CERA says end-of-year profits could climb as high as $19 billion by 2017.

GM’s announcement will be made during the second day of AAB’s AABC conference at the Marriott inside the Renaissance Center in Detroit.

[Photo credit: Chevrolet]

The post General Motors Announcing Entry Into Stationary Energy Storage Next Week appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/general-motors-announcing-entry-into-stationary-energy-storage-next-week/feed/ 9
Musk: No Interest In Tesla Battery Swap Facility From Consumers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/musk-no-interest-in-tesla-battery-swap-facility-from-consumers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/musk-no-interest-in-tesla-battery-swap-facility-from-consumers/#comments Wed, 10 Jun 2015 19:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1089113 How many Tesla owners have paid a visit to the automaker’s sole battery-swap station in the world? Not enough to keep the experiment going. During Tesla’s annual shareholders meeting Tuesday, CEO Elon Musk responded to a question regarding accessibility to the facility on the grounds of the automaker’s Supercharger station in Harris Ranch, Calif. between […]

The post Musk: No Interest In Tesla Battery Swap Facility From Consumers appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Tesla Model S Near The Manhattan Bridge

How many Tesla owners have paid a visit to the automaker’s sole battery-swap station in the world? Not enough to keep the experiment going.

During Tesla’s annual shareholders meeting Tuesday, CEO Elon Musk responded to a question regarding accessibility to the facility on the grounds of the automaker’s Supercharger station in Harris Ranch, Calif. between San Francisco and Los Angeles. The answer, Autoblog reports, may be a sign Musk won’t commit to another such facility ever again:

It’s just, people don’t care about pack swap. The Superchargers are fast enough that if you’re driving from LA to San Francisco, and you start a trip at 9 a.m., by the time you get to, say, noon, you want to stop, and you want to stretch your legs, hit the restroom, grab a bite to eat, grab a coffee, and be on your way, and by that time, the car is charged and ready to go, and it’s free. So, it’s like, why would you do the pack swap? It doesn’t make much sense.

The swap program was originally a pilot involving 200 invited owners in the area. Of those, Musk says only four or five went through the process, and only once. He adds the program was extended to all Tesla owners, but believes few will ever take up the offer.

In addition to its original intent, the swap facility also served as a California ZEV credit booster for the automaker. With the low turnout, however, Tesla won’t be gaining much in the way of those credits prior to 2018, when the scheme is set to change again.

[Photo credit: Tesla/Facebook]

The post Musk: No Interest In Tesla Battery Swap Facility From Consumers appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/musk-no-interest-in-tesla-battery-swap-facility-from-consumers/feed/ 19
Oregon First In Nation To Implement Per-Mile Road Tax Program http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/oregon-first-in-nation-to-implement-per-mile-road-tax-program/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/oregon-first-in-nation-to-implement-per-mile-road-tax-program/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 18:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1072250 This July, Oregon will be the first to implement a program taxing motorists by miles driven instead of collecting at the pump. Up to 5,000 cars and light-duty commercial vehicles can volunteer for the program — dubbed OReGO — each of whom will then be charged 1.5 cents per mile, USA Today reports. The information […]

The post Oregon First In Nation To Implement Per-Mile Road Tax Program appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Oregon Welcome Sign Circa October 2010

This July, Oregon will be the first to implement a program taxing motorists by miles driven instead of collecting at the pump.

Up to 5,000 cars and light-duty commercial vehicles can volunteer for the program — dubbed OReGO — each of whom will then be charged 1.5 cents per mile, USA Today reports. The information will be tracked via a device provided by the Oregon Department of Transportation/Sanef, Verizon Telematics, or Azuga, depending on the circumstances and needs of each volunteer.

Those whose vehicles fuel up at the pump will receive a tax credit if fuel use exceeds miles driven, while EV owners will pay the road-use tax without receiving the fuel tax credit. OReGO has a quota in place for less-efficient vehicles, limiting acceptance to 1,500 volunteers whose vehicles get less than 17 mpg, and 1,500 for those with vehicles between 17 mpg and 22 mpg.

The ultimate goal of programs like ODOT’s OReGO is to make up in infrastructure maintenance and repair funding what is being lost by continuously low fuel taxes and improving fleet fuel economy. Gas taxes provide Oregon with under half of the state’s highway fund, the rest coming from the Highway Trust Fund.

The $8.4-million program has no expiration date at this time, with permanence left in the hands of the Oregon legislature. Concerns over privacy and an alleged favoring of conventional vehicles over EVs and hybrids regarding tax credits have come up, the former remedied through data protections such as offering devices without GPS, and record destruction after 30 days with limits on the data’s use for devices with GPS. Volunteers can also opt-out of the program at any time, and can receive refunds for miles driven on private property and outside Oregon.

OReGO’s first day of implementation is July 1.

[Photo credit: Oregon Department of Transportation/Flickr/CC BY 2.0]

The post Oregon First In Nation To Implement Per-Mile Road Tax Program appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/oregon-first-in-nation-to-implement-per-mile-road-tax-program/feed/ 73
California Hit By Rising Fuel Prices Due To Supply Issues http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/california-hit-by-rising-fuel-prices-due-to-supply-issues/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/california-hit-by-rising-fuel-prices-due-to-supply-issues/#comments Wed, 20 May 2015 18:00:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1071650 While most of the United States enjoys fuel prices under $3 per gallon, the West Coast can’t say the same, especially California. The average fuel price in the U.S. is currently $2.772/gal. per the AAA, Bloomberg reports, but a combination of factors have pushed California’s average to $3.809. The first involves a series of refinery […]

The post California Hit By Rising Fuel Prices Due To Supply Issues appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Chevron Fuel Prices In Oceanside, California Circa March 2011

While most of the United States enjoys fuel prices under $3 per gallon, the West Coast can’t say the same, especially California.

The average fuel price in the U.S. is currently $2.772/gal. per the AAA, Bloomberg reports, but a combination of factors have pushed California’s average to $3.809.

The first involves a series of refinery shutdowns up and down the West Coast, including an explosion at an Exxon refinery in Torrance, Calif., and a recent fire at a U.S. Oil and Refining facility in Tacoma, Wash. Other units are closed for repairs.

The second is the state’s pipeline network. The one-way system delivers gasoline to Arizona and Nevada, but is otherwise cut-off from other pipeline networks in the U.S. Thus, the only way for the state to receive its fuel supply when the chips are down — a supply specially made for the state’s own set of emission standards — is by tanker deliveries from Asia and Europe.

At present, Los Angeles motorists are feeling the most pain at the pump, paying nearly $4/gal. AAA spokesman Michael Green says prices in the city are rising faster “than anywhere else in the country,” and will remain at the top until late summer.

The regional volatility issues do offer a possible silver lining: The U.S. government is studying how sudden jumps in prices could affect the nation’s economy, and is considering whether to build a fuel reserve for the West Coast in case of major supply disruptions.

[Photo credit: Joe Wolf/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0]

The post California Hit By Rising Fuel Prices Due To Supply Issues appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/california-hit-by-rising-fuel-prices-due-to-supply-issues/feed/ 48
Phoenix Suburb Installing License Plate Readers To Thwart Rare Burglary Activity http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/phoenix-suburb-installing-license-plate-readers-to-thwart-rare-burglary-activity/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/phoenix-suburb-installing-license-plate-readers-to-thwart-rare-burglary-activity/#comments Thu, 14 May 2015 20:00:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1068658 Police in Paradise Valley, Arizona are planning to install 15 license plate readers to aid in thwarting burglaries in the Phoenix suburb. The LPRs are the result of an anonymous donation of $234,000 to Paradise Valley Police Department, with 11 of the devices set to be installed in fake cactus plants, Ars Technica reports. The […]

The post Phoenix Suburb Installing License Plate Readers To Thwart Rare Burglary Activity appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Paradise Valley Arizona Police

Police in Paradise Valley, Arizona are planning to install 15 license plate readers to aid in thwarting burglaries in the Phoenix suburb.

The LPRs are the result of an anonymous donation of $234,000 to Paradise Valley Police Department, with 11 of the devices set to be installed in fake cactus plants, Ars Technica reports. The goal is to continue to the decline in burglaries, falling from a peak of 195 in 2011, to a current low of 55 in 2014.

While privacy concerns are usually the norm surrounding LPRs, Paradise Valley residents are more concerned about aesthetics. Town manager Kevin Burke explains:

Everything in Paradise Valley is about the aesthetics. We’ll spend tens of thousands to cover up an electric box. We’ll spend hundreds of thousands to camouflage an electric substation. Our residents have spent hundreds of thousands or millions to bury overhead cables. Ugly posts are things that we do not want. But we do want people to know that these technologies are there. Probably we’ll end up putting a sign on it–half of the deterrent is knowing that people are there.

Regarding privacy, Burke says LPR data will be kept for six months, and will only be used to match plates with those on a hot list in case of criminal activity. However, parts of the datasets will be omitted from public view, while individual records won’t be released due to the city’s concerns about involvement in domestic disputes.

Further, the six-page LPR data policy lacks information on what safeguards, if any, are in place to prevent abuse of the data by officials, or how the data would be logged and audited. Burke says he’ll know if the LPRs are doing their job by clearance rates and reductions linked to burglaries.

[Photo credit: Paradise Valley PD/Facebook]

The post Phoenix Suburb Installing License Plate Readers To Thwart Rare Burglary Activity appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/phoenix-suburb-installing-license-plate-readers-to-thwart-rare-burglary-activity/feed/ 31
AAA: Average Annual Driving Costs Fall 2 Percent In 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/aaa-average-annual-driving-costs-fall-2-percent-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/aaa-average-annual-driving-costs-fall-2-percent-2015/#comments Tue, 28 Apr 2015 19:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1055737 According to AAA’s 2015 Your Driving Costs study, annual driving costs costs fell 2 percent to an average of $8,698 in 2015. The annual study, which looks at the associated costs in owning and maintaining a typical sedan driven 15,000 miles a year, found that fuel costs fell nearly 14 percent to 11.2 cents per […]

The post AAA: Average Annual Driving Costs Fall 2 Percent In 2015 appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
AAA Your Driving Costs 2015 Infographic

According to AAA’s 2015 Your Driving Costs study, annual driving costs costs fell 2 percent to an average of $8,698 in 2015.

The annual study, which looks at the associated costs in owning and maintaining a typical sedan driven 15,000 miles a year, found that fuel costs fell nearly 14 percent to 11.2 cents per mile, while finance charges came down 21 percent to just $669 per year. The former is due to a combination of falling gas prices at the pump and improved fuel economy, the latter due to low finance rates amid rising sales and heavy dealer competition.

However, vehicle depreciation climbed 4.1 percent to $3,654 as new-car sales help push used and off-lease models back onto the lot. Insurance trickled up nearly 9 percent to $1,115/year for an average policy, mainly because of higher-cost modern features linked to safety, use of lightweight materials, and newer connected-vehicle systems.

Maintenance costs barely rose to just over 5 cents/mile in 2015 – though owners are behind on routine maintenance – while licensing, registration and taxes totaled $665 a year on average, thanks to slightly higher prices on the showroom floor. Tires held their ground as a result of the dynamics and competitiveness of the market, with costs rising to just 0.98 cents/mile.

Among the vehicle types factored into the annual average, owners of minivans and SUVs will continue to fare well at the pump and in financing their vehicles, as those vehicles average 0.625 cents and 0.708 cents per mile in 2015. Owners of large sedans face the highest average cost at 0.710 cents/mile, while midsize and small sedan owners pay 0.581 cents and 0.449 cents for every mile driven, respectively.

[Image credit: AAA]

The post AAA: Average Annual Driving Costs Fall 2 Percent In 2015 appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/aaa-average-annual-driving-costs-fall-2-percent-2015/feed/ 39
Tesla Unveiling Home, Business Battery Products April 30 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/tesla-unveiling-home-business-battery-products-april-30/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/tesla-unveiling-home-business-battery-products-april-30/#comments Wed, 22 Apr 2015 18:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1050849 Tesla wants more than to be in the garages of its customers as it plans to begin offering batteries for home and business energy-storage applications soon. The automaker stated in an email to investors and analysts Tuesday it would reveal its new battery products April 30, according to Bloomberg. Investor relations boss Jeffrey Evanson said the […]

The post Tesla Unveiling Home, Business Battery Products April 30 appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
2013 Tesla Model S Cargo areas

Tesla wants more than to be in the garages of its customers as it plans to begin offering batteries for home and business energy-storage applications soon.

The automaker stated in an email to investors and analysts Tuesday it would reveal its new battery products April 30, according to Bloomberg. Investor relations boss Jeffrey Evanson said the unveiling would explain “the advantages” of its home and business battery products and why current options aren’t as compelling as what Tesla has to offer.

Though scant details have come out about the batteries, Tesla’s plans aim to put the automaker as a leader in the emerging energy storage market. Many players in the market look to not just supplement, but ultimately surpass the traditional electric grid. The automaker and sister company SolarCity have already signed up companies like Wal-Mart and Cargill for their energy storage pilot program in California to help establish and accelerate said plans.

[Photo credit: Timothy Cain/The Truth About Cars]

The post Tesla Unveiling Home, Business Battery Products April 30 appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/tesla-unveiling-home-business-battery-products-april-30/feed/ 32
Japan Hydrogen Ambitions Fall Short Of March 2016 Target http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/japan-hydrogen-ambitions-fall-short-march-2016-target/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/japan-hydrogen-ambitions-fall-short-march-2016-target/#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 13:00:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1045250 Japan’s ambition to have 100 hydrogen fueling stations by next March may fall short of reality now that the deadline to apply for subsidies has passed. Reuters reports only 76 such stations were approved for subsidies by the government, which had set aside ¥21.4 billion ($178.4 billion USD) over three years for the sole purpose […]

The post Japan Hydrogen Ambitions Fall Short Of March 2016 Target appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Eneos Gas Station With Hydrogen Pumps

Japan’s ambition to have 100 hydrogen fueling stations by next March may fall short of reality now that the deadline to apply for subsidies has passed.

Reuters reports only 76 such stations were approved for subsidies by the government, which had set aside ¥21.4 billion ($178.4 billion USD) over three years for the sole purpose of helping would-be hydrogen-station operators build them; each station costs $5 million to build, with the government pitching in $2.5 million in aid.

Though a representative for the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry stated the government is considering increasing the amount given to encourage more infrastructure development, energy companies are asking for proof that building the stations are worth the investment in the first place. In turn, consumers may find the lack of said stations off-putting as far as considering an FCV like Toyota’s Mirai goes, while FCVs themselves need government incentives to attract said consumers.

The post Japan Hydrogen Ambitions Fall Short Of March 2016 Target appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/japan-hydrogen-ambitions-fall-short-march-2016-target/feed/ 8
ChargePoint Bringing Charging To Condos, Apartments With New Service http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/chargepoint-bringing-charging-condos-apartments-new-service/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/chargepoint-bringing-charging-condos-apartments-new-service/#comments Wed, 15 Apr 2015 12:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1044722 Live in a condo or an apartment and would drive a PHEV or an EV if only you could charge it? Charging-station producer ChargePoint might have the solution. The company’s Multifamily Home Service aims to bring charging stations to condominiums and apartment buildings that currently lack the facilities to charge a tenant’s electrified vehicle of […]

The post ChargePoint Bringing Charging To Condos, Apartments With New Service appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Live in a condo or an apartment and would drive a PHEV or an EV if only you could charge it? Charging-station producer ChargePoint might have the solution.

The company’s Multifamily Home Service aims to bring charging stations to condominiums and apartment buildings that currently lack the facilities to charge a tenant’s electrified vehicle of choice. Property owners would foot the bill for installation of ChargePoint’s Level 2 charging station, as well as set the price for charging. In turn, the company will bill the tenants who subscribe a one-time activation fee and a monthly subscription fee; the tenant can also pay the property owner for charging via their ChargePoint account.

Finally, as the subscription service would last as long as the tenant resides in the building on a month-to-month basis, the service can be deactivated once the tenant moves out or replaces their electrified ride for one that doesn’t require a plug, and can be reactivated when a new tenant with a plug-in vehicle moves into the building.

As for how much it would cost to wire a parking stall for the service, or how much owners could charge for electricity, ChargePoint did not explain at this time.

The post ChargePoint Bringing Charging To Condos, Apartments With New Service appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/chargepoint-bringing-charging-condos-apartments-new-service/feed/ 17
Virginia Tech Transforms Corn Stover Into Hydrogen http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/virginia-tech-transforms-corn-stover-hydrogen/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/virginia-tech-transforms-corn-stover-hydrogen/#comments Tue, 14 Apr 2015 12:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1043722 Just as corn kernels have found their way into gas tanks, corn stover could soon end up in fuel cells. A team of Virginia Tech researchers used previous research by Professor Percival Zhang and his team into xylose to turn corn stover — husks, stalks and cobs — into hydrogen through a genetic algorithm model […]

The post Virginia Tech Transforms Corn Stover Into Hydrogen appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Corn Harvesting

Just as corn kernels have found their way into gas tanks, corn stover could soon end up in fuel cells.

A team of Virginia Tech researchers used previous research by Professor Percival Zhang and his team into xylose to turn corn stover — husks, stalks and cobs — into hydrogen through a genetic algorithm model to increase both enzymatic generation and breakdown rates by a factor of 10 and three, respectively.

The result is a reduction in both time, capital costs and facility size as far as hydrogen production goes. Lead author Joe Rollin — a former student of Zhang’s, who is also a co-founder with Rollin on a biofuel startup — says the new process can be carried out in a facility the size of a standard gas station, lowering one of the hurdles for widespread hydrogen production and distribution:

We believe this exciting technology has the potential to enable the widespread use of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles around the world and displace fossil fuels.

The project was partially funded by Shell’s GameChanger initiative, as well as the National Science Foundation’s Small Business Technology Transfer program, and was carried out by Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

The post Virginia Tech Transforms Corn Stover Into Hydrogen appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/virginia-tech-transforms-corn-stover-hydrogen/feed/ 13
Tesla Remedying Sales, Range Anxiety Woes In China http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/tesla-remedying-sales-range-anxiety-woes-china/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/tesla-remedying-sales-range-anxiety-woes-china/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 12:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1032577 Tesla hasn’t had the best time in China as of late, a situation the automaker is looking to remedy as quickly as possible. Bloomberg reports Tesla’s Q4 2014 sales were “unexpectedly weak,” according to CEO Elon Musk. Musk went on to place the blame on the Chinese market sales force, who he deemed not only […]

The post Tesla Remedying Sales, Range Anxiety Woes In China appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
tesla-china-charger-620x350

Tesla hasn’t had the best time in China as of late, a situation the automaker is looking to remedy as quickly as possible.

Bloomberg reports Tesla’s Q4 2014 sales were “unexpectedly weak,” according to CEO Elon Musk. Musk went on to place the blame on the Chinese market sales force, who he deemed not only inept, but discouraged would-be owners by warning of the difficulties of charging electric vehicles in China. Speculators who ordered — but never purchased — vehicles, range anxiety among consumers, and Tesla’s misreading of the market also contributed to the automaker’s woes in the market.

Since then, Tesla has made some strides into rectifying the situation. In one example, new “executive rear seats” — a $2,000 option wrapped in leather and equipped with two zone heaters — were made available as a result of learning that rich Chinese customers prefer to be chauffeured over taking the wheel themselves. The option arrived as quick as it had due to the automaker’s direct-sales model, according to China sales training chief Dan Hsu.

Other actions meant to bolster Tesla’s standing in the market include: lobbying cities to order vehicles, then adding them to programs meant to bring consumers into EVs and PHEVs, side-stepping the lottery/auction process prevalent in China; providing and installing home-charging systems in consumer’s homes for free; introducing more “destination chargers” alongside its Supercharger network — over 1,000 are online so far; and mobile charging connectors for the times when an owner needs to charge no matter where they are.

The post Tesla Remedying Sales, Range Anxiety Woes In China appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/tesla-remedying-sales-range-anxiety-woes-china/feed/ 9
Vincent Bollore Bringing ‘Superior’ EV Tech, Car-Sharing Service To US Market http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/vincent-bollore-bringing-superior-ev-tech-car-sharing-service-us-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/vincent-bollore-bringing-superior-ev-tech-car-sharing-service-us-market/#comments Thu, 19 Mar 2015 14:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1025009 EV consumers in France and beyond needn’t wait months for a Tesla Model S, thanks to Vincent Bollore’s Autolib service and Bluecar EVs. Bloomberg reports the Bollore Group founder and chairman created Autolib to put EV fans behind the wheel of one of his Pininfarina-designed Bluecars for the equivalent of 20 cents per minute. Though […]

The post Vincent Bollore Bringing ‘Superior’ EV Tech, Car-Sharing Service To US Market appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Vincent Bollore with his Bluecars in Paris

EV consumers in France and beyond needn’t wait months for a Tesla Model S, thanks to Vincent Bollore’s Autolib service and Bluecar EVs.

Bloomberg reports the Bollore Group founder and chairman created Autolib to put EV fans behind the wheel of one of his Pininfarina-designed Bluecars for the equivalent of 20 cents per minute. Though the cars aren’t as premium as a Model S, Bollore says it’s the electrical systems powering the Bluecar that matter, proclaiming them to be “far superior” to Tesla’s efforts.

The technology involves lithium metal polymer batteries, developed by Bollore’s Blue Solutions. The batteries, which don’t need liquid electrolytes to store power, are not only lighter in weight than lithium-ion packs, but can be charged up to 3,000 times, and are stable at temps up to 338 F. No one else has gone for the technology thus far, however; Bollore invested €3 billion ($3.2 billion) over three years to develop the EVs and the battery technology now in use by his ventures.

Meanwhile, the billionaire has plans to bring Autolib and Bluecars to the United States, opening the first branch in Indianapolis this June, with Los Angeles a possible second U.S. candidate down the road. Bollore hopes to have 500 cars and 200 stations throughout the city — chosen for its strong car culture and varying weather conditions — by the end of this year.

Back home, Autolib has 3,000 Bluecars and 900 stations in service, with around 70,000 customers paying a €120 ($130 USD) annual fee to drive the EVs; 500 more cars and 200 more stations are expected to come online in 2015.

The post Vincent Bollore Bringing ‘Superior’ EV Tech, Car-Sharing Service To US Market appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/vincent-bollore-bringing-superior-ev-tech-car-sharing-service-us-market/feed/ 17
Gov. Scott Walker’s Changing Ethanol Stance Sign Of Greater Issue For GOP Hopeful http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/gov-scott-walkers-changing-ethanol-stance-sign-greater-issue-gop-hopeful/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/gov-scott-walkers-changing-ethanol-stance-sign-greater-issue-gop-hopeful/#comments Wed, 18 Mar 2015 12:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1024265 Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s flip-flop on the issue of ethanol may be just the tip of an iceberg that could affect his chances for the 2016 GOP hopeful. Autoblog reports several memos linked to the still-unofficial campaigns of the other GOP presidential candidates have noted Walker’s shifts on positions on issues like ethanol, immigration et al. […]

The post Gov. Scott Walker’s Changing Ethanol Stance Sign Of Greater Issue For GOP Hopeful appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s flip-flop on the issue of ethanol may be just the tip of an iceberg that could affect his chances for the 2016 GOP hopeful.

Autoblog reports several memos linked to the still-unofficial campaigns of the other GOP presidential candidates have noted Walker’s shifts on positions on issues like ethanol, immigration et al. The broad pattern of flip-flopping, as well as his status as an unknown among his state’s voters, means he’ll have a hard go at convincing Republicans that he is their candidate for President of the United States.

On the issue of ethanol, he once denounced the mandate of adding the corn-based variant into gasoline in his 2006 gubernatorial campaign, citing the harm such mandates would impose on “Wisconsin’s working families.” While his team says he still supports that stance, Walker was among those at the 2015 Iowa Ag Summit in Des Moines, Iowa to support the federal renewable fuel standard that allows corn ethanol to be added into gasoline.

The post Gov. Scott Walker’s Changing Ethanol Stance Sign Of Greater Issue For GOP Hopeful appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/gov-scott-walkers-changing-ethanol-stance-sign-greater-issue-gop-hopeful/feed/ 60
Feinstein-Toomey Bill Seeks To Push Other Biofuels Over Corn Ethanol http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/feinstein-toomey-bill-seeks-push-biofuels-corn-ethanol/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/feinstein-toomey-bill-seeks-push-biofuels-corn-ethanol/#comments Mon, 09 Mar 2015 12:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1017954 With one attempt shot down thus far, two U.S. senators are issuing a standalone bill to reduce the use of corn-based ethanol at the pump. According to Hemmings Daily, the Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act of 2015 introduced by Dianne Feinstein of California and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania would call for a modification of the […]

The post Feinstein-Toomey Bill Seeks To Push Other Biofuels Over Corn Ethanol appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
E10 + 100 Percent Gasoline at the Pump

With one attempt shot down thus far, two U.S. senators are issuing a standalone bill to reduce the use of corn-based ethanol at the pump.

According to Hemmings Daily, the Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act of 2015 introduced by Dianne Feinstein of California and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania would call for a modification of the Renewable Fuel Standard that would push other biofuels, such as biodiesel and cellulosic ethanol, over corn-based ethanol. Feinstein explains:

Our infrastructure has a ceiling for the amount of corn ethanol that can be used, and we’re rapidly approaching it. Companies are physically unable to blend more corn ethanol into gasoline without causing problems for many gas stations and older automobiles.

The Feinstein/Toomey bill joins four others seeking similar action, including three in Pennsylvania, Oregon and Hawaii that would seek to eliminate the mandate of E10 sales altogether.

Meanwhile, ethanol supporters like the Renewable Fuel Association, the National Corn Growers Association and the Advanced Ethanol Council oppose the bill as an assault on the RFS, and call upon the Environmental Protection Agency to increase ethanol use further, despite the EPA’s acknowledgment regarding the limits to blending ethanol with gasoline.

The post Feinstein-Toomey Bill Seeks To Push Other Biofuels Over Corn Ethanol appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/feinstein-toomey-bill-seeks-push-biofuels-corn-ethanol/feed/ 25
Schockmel: CLEPA Members Ready For Autonomous Opportunities http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/schockmel-clepa-members-ready-autonomous-opportunities/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/schockmel-clepa-members-ready-autonomous-opportunities/#comments Fri, 06 Mar 2015 14:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1016706 Amid the glitz and glamour of the 2015 Geneva Auto Show, European auto supplier group CLEPA proclaimed its members would have a part to play in the autonomous game. According to Just-Auto, group CEO Paul Schockmel said that the move toward autonomous driving was gaining steam, and that suppliers would be a huge part of […]

The post Schockmel: CLEPA Members Ready For Autonomous Opportunities appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Volvo-Autonomous-Drive

Amid the glitz and glamour of the 2015 Geneva Auto Show, European auto supplier group CLEPA proclaimed its members would have a part to play in the autonomous game.

According to Just-Auto, group CEO Paul Schockmel said that the move toward autonomous driving was gaining steam, and that suppliers would be a huge part of the movement:

This is the story which is not only changing cars, but the entire automotive industry and [is] a societal change. I am very much focussing on this because I feel for our members, we have to follow this very strongly and we see huge business opportunities. There will also be challenges with new players coming in – I see this in a positive way because there are opportunities.

Already, Volvo is experimenting with autonomous technology through a plan to introduce 100 vehicles so-equipped to its home city of Gothenburg, Sweden in 2017. Meanwhile, the United Kingdom government approved measures to allow driverless testing on public roads, providing funding for tests in Greenwich, Bristol, Milton Keynes and Coventry. The government also is developing certification standards for autonomous vehicles.

The post Schockmel: CLEPA Members Ready For Autonomous Opportunities appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/schockmel-clepa-members-ready-autonomous-opportunities/feed/ 7
Report: Autonomous Vehicles Radically Altering Landscape In Coming Decades http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/report-autonomous-vehicles-radically-altering-landscape-coming-decades/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/report-autonomous-vehicles-radically-altering-landscape-coming-decades/#comments Fri, 06 Mar 2015 13:00:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1016682 Seven years from now, commercial and industrial autonomous vehicles could set a path toward a a future where the cityscape and beyond are radically changed. According to Detroit Free Press, a report by consulting firm McKinsey titled “Autonomous Driving — 10 Ways in Which Autonomous Vehicles Could Reshape Our Lives” forecasts as much, with the […]

The post Report: Autonomous Vehicles Radically Altering Landscape In Coming Decades appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Lexus Autonomous Car

Seven years from now, commercial and industrial autonomous vehicles could set a path toward a a future where the cityscape and beyond are radically changed.

According to Detroit Free Press, a report by consulting firm McKinsey titled “Autonomous Driving — 10 Ways in Which Autonomous Vehicles Could Reshape Our Lives” forecasts as much, with the outcome being that most vehicles on the road within the next few decades will be autonomous. Automotive practice chief Hans-Werner Kaas explains:

Autonomous vehicles will have a gradual step-by-step adoption. First, there will be pay-per-usage models. These vehicles will be alternatives to cars. They will make mobility available in smaller incremental units.

Meanwhile, autonomous technology is already present in the industrial sector, such as Australian mining company Rio Tinto’s fleet of 53 autonomous dump trucks at one of its iron ore mines in western Australia. Kaas says vehicles like those trucks “are defined environments where you have defined routes,” leading to greater control overall.

The report goes on to state that body shops would have less work due to fewer fender-benders between autonomous vehicles, while service techs would need extensive training to maintain the array of systems used by the vehicles; insurance companies would have to adapt as well.

Finally, more parking spaces would be in need of repurposing: by 2050, up to 5.7 billion square meters would be converted into something else as a result of how autonomous vehicles handle such things. The report adds that the shift to near-autonomy would take two decades to accomplish.

The post Report: Autonomous Vehicles Radically Altering Landscape In Coming Decades appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/report-autonomous-vehicles-radically-altering-landscape-coming-decades/feed/ 20
Chicago’s Yellow Light Intervals Generating More Fines http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/chicagos-yellow-light-intervals-generating-fines/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/chicagos-yellow-light-intervals-generating-fines/#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 11:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1009266 Ever notice how the traffic lights in Chicago switch from yellow to red quicker than in other cities? That’s because the city changed the formula. FiveThirtyEight reports the formula — yellow change time = 1 + (1.47 * Approach Speed) / (2 * Deceleration Rate) — was altered to increase the chances of a driver […]

The post Chicago’s Yellow Light Intervals Generating More Fines appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Chicago vs Recommended Yellow Light Time

Ever notice how the traffic lights in Chicago switch from yellow to red quicker than in other cities? That’s because the city changed the formula.

FiveThirtyEight reports the formula — yellow change time = 1 + (1.47 * Approach Speed) / (2 * Deceleration Rate) — was altered to increase the chances of a driver running a red, an act that would then be caught by the city’s red-light cameras, thus leading to a fine for the driver.

The formula used in Chicago is the one prescribed by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, which sets the deceleration rate at 11.2 feet/second over the standard formula’s 10 feet/second. The city also calculates yellow intervals by the posted speed limit, instead of the Federal Highway Association’s 85th percentile speed of real drivers, with the option to add 5 mph to the speed-limit yellow interval, as well.

The yellow interval — and its tie to the red-light cameras — have been a factor in Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s fight for another term in office, which has since entered the runoff phase after his campaign failed to gain an outright majority Tuesday. Emanuel’s support for the cameras runs in opposition of the city’s residents, 66 percent of whom believe the technology isn’t helping traffic safety in the least.

The post Chicago’s Yellow Light Intervals Generating More Fines appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/chicagos-yellow-light-intervals-generating-fines/feed/ 44
MIT: Vehicle-To-Vehicle Communication A Breakthrough Technology http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/mit-vehicle-to-vehicle-communication-breakthrough-technology/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/mit-vehicle-to-vehicle-communication-breakthrough-technology/#comments Fri, 20 Feb 2015 15:00:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1004570 In the next year or so, vehicle-to-vehicle communication will be seen as a breakthrough technology, per the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Edmunds reports V2V made a list of ten breakthrough technologies compiled by MIT Technology Review, joining the likes of Apple Pay and nano-architecture as tech that will have “the broadest impact on commerce, medicine […]

The post MIT: Vehicle-To-Vehicle Communication A Breakthrough Technology appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
V2V

In the next year or so, vehicle-to-vehicle communication will be seen as a breakthrough technology, per the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Edmunds reports V2V made a list of ten breakthrough technologies compiled by MIT Technology Review, joining the likes of Apple Pay and nano-architecture as tech that will have “the broadest impact on commerce, medicine and society.” The publication cites General Motors as one of the key players in promoting V2V, and mentions the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s efforts to bring the technology online by 2017 at the earliest.

That said, MIT cautions that the first vehicles to have V2V — such as the 2017 Cadillac CTS — won’t have too many vehicles to talk to about location, speed, brake status et al, and that it could take up to a decade before V2V is as common as the cold. Audi, Ford and Toyota are among some of the other manufacturers looking into V2V.

The post MIT: Vehicle-To-Vehicle Communication A Breakthrough Technology appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/mit-vehicle-to-vehicle-communication-breakthrough-technology/feed/ 22
Nissan: EV Charging Infrastructure Surpasses Fuel Stations In Japan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/nissan-ev-charging-infrastructure-surpasses-fuel-stations-japan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/nissan-ev-charging-infrastructure-surpasses-fuel-stations-japan/#comments Wed, 18 Feb 2015 14:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1003682 Driving around Japan in your EV of choice? Range anxiety likely won’t be an issue, as the nation has more charging points than gas stations. Per The Japan Times, Nissan discovered the number of such points — including fast and home chargers — now total 40,000. In contrast, there are only 34,000 fuel stations for […]

The post Nissan: EV Charging Infrastructure Surpasses Fuel Stations In Japan appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
EV Charger In Japan

Driving around Japan in your EV of choice? Range anxiety likely won’t be an issue, as the nation has more charging points than gas stations.

Per The Japan Times, Nissan discovered the number of such points — including fast and home chargers — now total 40,000. In contrast, there are only 34,000 fuel stations for those in who prefer Rocket Bunnys and Rauh-Welts over Leafs and i3s. The differing figures show how quickly those points have sprung up, especially when it took decades for the oil industry to work its magic in Japan.

However, many of the 40,000 points are in the home, and therefore, not currently accessible to the motoring public. A possible remedy could come in the form of the emerging sharing economy — Airbnb, Car2Go, Uber et al — where homeowners would share their charging point with others for a small fee.

The post Nissan: EV Charging Infrastructure Surpasses Fuel Stations In Japan appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/nissan-ev-charging-infrastructure-surpasses-fuel-stations-japan/feed/ 20