Credit Suisse analysts are bullish on Tesla. The group gives the electric car company's stock an "outperform" rating with a target price of $325. For its continued success, Credit Suisse cites the vehicles' superior technology, in turn offering more torque, roominess and reliability. Says analyst Dan Galves said of Tesla's competition with ICEs, "If Tesla can get to cost-parity with Internal Combustion vehicles and still offer $1,400 to $2,500 per year fuel savings to the consumer, it won't be a fair fight." Read more at Yahoo Finance or at Business Insider.

In other Tesla news, Tesla Model S owners will be able to unlock and start their car using an iPhone. The Tesla app is adding this functionality soon, perhaps with the update to iOS 8. It's not yet clear how this function will work, but it's one more innovative convenience feature that Model S owners can enjoy. That means drivers will have less to carry in their pockets or purses when they go for a drive. Read more at 9 to 5 Mac.

CarCharging Group has remotely lowered the amperage on some of its residential users' Blink charging stations to 24 amps. This will slow down the charging time for affected customers with 6.6-kilowatt charging by about 15 percent. The company cited safety reasons for the move, with concerns about overheating. The amperage reduction is temporary, until CarCharging is able to provide replacement parts for the chargers. Some are concerned about the delayed action, as well as the fact that the reduction was handled without owner permission. Read more at Plugin Cars.

Ford is halting test drives and sales of certain C-Max hybrid and Focus models due to a safety concern. Cars made during a single week this month at a Michigan factory may not have enough ball bearings in the steering gear assembly, which could lead to loss of control. None of the affected cars have been sold, Ford says, and about 50 units are currently at dealerships. Just over 600 will need to be recalled. Dealerships have been notified of the problem. Read more at Reuters and the The Detroit News.

A new EPA report shows that urban air in the US is becoming less toxic since the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. The report shows a 66-percent reduction in benzene, almost 60 percent reduction in mercury from man-made sources, 84 percent less lead and more. "This report gives everyone fighting for clean air a lot to be proud of," said EPA administrator Gina McCarthy, "because for more than 40 years we have been protecting Americans - preventing illness and improving our quality of life by cutting air pollution - all while the economy has more than tripled." The EPA expects 80 percent more reductions in airborne toxins from cars by 2030 thanks to cleaner vehicles. Read more in the press release, below.

Volkswagen's Chatanooga Assembly Plant has received the EPA's Region 4 Rain Catcher award. The LEED certified facility was honored for its stormwater management infrastructure and practices, such as collecting it for use in its cooling tower and toilets. Read more in the press release, below. {C}
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EPA Report Shows Progress in Reducing Urban Air Toxics Across the United States

WASHINGTON - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the Second Integrated Urban Air Toxics Report to Congress - the final of two reports required under the Clean Air Act (CAA) to inform Congress of progress in reducing public health risks from urban air toxics.

"This report gives everyone fighting for clean air a lot to be proud of because for more than 40 years we have been protecting Americans – preventing illness and improving our quality of life by cutting air pollution - all while the economy has more than tripled," said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. "But we know our work is not done yet. At the core of EPA's mission is the pursuit of environmental justice - striving for clean air, water and healthy land for every American; and we are committed to reducing remaining pollution, especially in low-income neighborhoods."

Using national emissions and air quality data, the Urban Air Toxics Report shows the substantial progress that has been made to reduce air toxics across the country since the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990.

- A 66 percent reduction in benzene;
- A nearly 60 percent reduction in mercury from man-made sources like coal-fired power plants;
- An 84 percent decrease of lead in outdoor air, which slows brain development in children;
- The removal of an estimated 1.5 million tons per year of air toxics like arsenic, benzene, lead and nickel from stationary sources and another 1.5 million tons per year (about 50 percent) of air toxics from mobile sources. This is significant because air toxics (also referred to as hazardous air pollutants or HAPs) are known or suspected of causing cancer and can damage the immune, respiratory, neurological, reproductive and developmental systems;
- And, approximately 3 million tons per year of criteria pollutants, like particulate amtter and sulfur dioxide, have been reduced from cars and trucks as co-benefits of air toxics reductions.

Reducing toxics is a top priority for EPA, and even with this progress, we continue to improve our understanding of them, so we can effectively reduce remaining risks, particularly in overburdened communities. EPA's Plan EJ 2014, is making sure environmental justice is addressed in programs and policies across the agency. EPA is working closely with state, local and tribal agencies to promote area-wide and regional strategies to address air toxics and support a number of community-based programs that help communities understand, prioritize and reduce exposures to toxic pollutants in their local environment. For example, in Indianapolis, we are working with partners on the ground through an EPA grant for the "Building Lead Safe Communities" Project in the Martindale-Brightwood and Nearwest neighborhoods. We're addressing the risk of toxic lead exposure in children through outreach efforts and compiling block level soil lead data, identifying hotspots utilizing air sampling and developing synergistic local solutions.

Additionally, recent EPA actions will further address toxic pollution in communities. Since 2005, EPA has taken steps to address air emissions from stationary sources that include major reductions from boilers, power plants, and Portland cement facilities. For example, the 2011 Mercury and Air Toxics Standards will prevent about 90 percent of the mercury in coal burned in power plants from being emitted to the air. The 2007 Mobile Source Air Toxics rule is projected to reduce toxics emitted from highway vehicles and nonroad equipment, which are known or suspected to cause cancer or other serious health and environmental effects, by 330,000 tons in 2030, including 61,000 tons of benzene, and VOC emissions (precursors to ozone and PM2.5) by over one million tons. We expect reductions in air toxics from cars and trucks to grow to 80 percent by the year 2030 as we get newer, cleaner vehicles on the road. The proposed updates to emission standards for petroleum refineries would reduce emissions from the 150 petroleum refineries across the U.S., many of which are located near communities. It would also reduce emissions of chemicals such as benzene, toluene and xylene by 5,600 tons per year. These efforts, along with the implementation and adoption of new and existing national rules for stationary and mobile sources of pollution, will improve public health for all Americans by providing further reductions in air toxics.

More information on the report:

Volkswagen Group of America Chattanooga Tennessee Assembly Plant awarded a First Annual EPA Region 4 Rain Catcher Award

ATLANTA – Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded the Volkswagen Group of America with the regional 2014 EPA Rain Catcher Award in the Commercial Category for the Chattanooga, Tennessee Assembly Plant. The award was given at an award ceremony during the Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4/International Erosion Control Association Municipal Wet Weather Stormwater Conference, in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The Volkswagen Group's Chattanooga facility is the world's first LEED Platinum Certified Automotive Facility. The facility has voluntarily set aside at least 20% of the property as open space and implemented a host of practices aimed to protect stormwater. These practices include the use of bioswales in the facility parking lots and the construction of 3.3 miles of stream and 2.8 miles of greenspace. The site collects stormwater from its roof for use in its cooling tower and toilets. The site also has two distinct wetlands that are critical to the survival of several wildlife species such as the Red Headed Woodpecker and the Rusty Blackbird.

The EPA Region 4 Rain Catcher Award recognizes excellence in the implementation of stormwater green infrastructure practices. Green infrastructure uses natural systems and/or engineered systems designed to mimic natural processes to more effectively manage urban stormwater and reduce receiving water impacts. EPA and its partner organizations have promoted the use of green infrastructure for many years as part of a comprehensive approach to achieving healthier waters. Green infrastructure reduces the volume of stormwater discharges by managing rainwater close to where it falls and removes many of the pollutants present in runoff, making it an effective strategy for addressing wet weather pollution and improving water quality.

For more information regarding the Region 4 Rain Catcher Awards or the Water Protection Division, visit our site at

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And on Twitter: @EPASoutheast

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