Nissan Leaf owners in the UK love their car, and aren't looking back at their fossil-fueled past. According to a survey by Nissan, 93 percent use the EV as their main family vehicle. 89 percent report saving money driving, 64 percent prefer it to driving a conventionally powered car and 95 percent would recommend the car to a friend. Most said they wouldn't go back to a gas or diesel car. One owner even gave up his Aston Martin for a second Leaf so he and his wife wouldn't argue over who got to drive the EV to work each day. That's love. Read more at Next Green Car and at Hybrid Cars.
Renault has outlined its future sustainable mobility plans, including two pieces of technology going into production cars soon. Renault will put a smaller, more efficient electric motor into production, as well as a three-cylinder dual-fuel gasoline/liquid petroleum gas engine. The HYDIVU prototype will help Renault research mild hybrid technology for light commercial vehicles. The VELUD project will look into making the last mile of urban deliveries more sustainable. Renault is also testing a two-cylinder, two-stroke diesel engine for small vehicle platforms. Read more in the press release below.
Tesla's China president has resigned. Veronica Wu had been in charge of the company's operations in China for the past nine months, and with her leaving the company, Tom Zhu will step into the role. Jochen Siebert of Shanghai-based JSC Automotive Consulting says that, "Tesla counts on China as one of their main drivers of growth after California, and it might have been more difficult than they thought." Tesla states it is still "confident in the Chinese market," where it has sold the Model S since April. Read more at Bloomberg.
- Comprehensive Honda "Green Dealer" Guide capitalizes on learnings from the company's Environmental Leadership Program; download the Guide at greendealer.honda.com
- 45 U.S. Honda and Acura dealers have reduced their energy consumption by 10% or more, including seven that have cut energy use by at least 50%
- In January, a Honda dealer became the nation's first to achieve "Electric Grid Neutral" status
- A 10% reduction in energy use by America's 17,000+ new car dealerships would eliminate nearly 800,000 tons of CO2 annually, or the equivalent carbon footprint of the electricity needed to power approximately 96,000 homes for a year
To help auto dealers adopt more environmentally responsible business practices while also reducing costs, Honda is publicly releasing the Honda "Green Dealer" Guide. This comprehensive, 93-page energy efficiency roadmap was developed specifically for dealerships and similar commercial buildings with high energy loads. The company is encouraging auto dealers – across all brands – to download the Guide and reduce their environmental footprint.
The Honda "Green Dealer" Guide synthesizes the company's experience over the past three years helping its U.S. dealers reduce their energy consumption through its Environmental Leadership Program. So far, the program has helped 45 Honda and Acura dealers collectively reduce their annual CO2 emissions by approximately 5,000 tons, the equivalent annual footprint of the electricity needed to power more than 600 U.S. homes.i In addition, dealers have cut their cumulative annual operating costs by more than $800,000. If all 17,000 automotive dealerships across the country were to reduce their electricity consumption by just 10%, nearly 800,000 tons of CO2 emissions would be eliminated annually.ii
"In researching existing green building programs, we found there was nothing ideally suited to the unique operational needs of auto dealerships, especially existing dealer facilities. We decided to create a roadmap that any dealer can use to improve energy efficiency, reduce emissions and cut overhead costs," said Steven Center, Vice President of American Honda's Environmental Business Development Office. "The bottom line is that green business is good business, and this guide gives dealers the tools they need to become more efficient and profitable at the same time."
Dealerships have unique energy use characteristics that differ from other commercial or industrial energy users. Abundant parking lot and interior lighting, an auto service and repair operation, and an on-site car wash are all common features that can contribute to high energy and water demand. Approximately 46% of the average dealer's energy use can be attributed to interior and exterior lighting, while 43% comes from building heating and cooling.iii
After finding that existing green building programs did not specifically focus on measurably reducing energy and water consumption without disrupting operations, Honda began developing and testing its own program, which includes a path to achieving zero net energy use. Highest impact improvement areas include installing high-efficiency lighting systems and motion sensors that turn lights off when they're not needed, optimizing programmable thermostats, replacing older air-conditioning and heating systems with newer, more energy-efficient equipment, and installing low-flow water fixtures. Adding solar panels is another great way to significantly offset energy usage.
The Honda and Acura Environmental Leadership Programs
Independently owned and operated Honda and Acura dealers who participate in the company's Environmental Leadership Program follow the four-step plan outlined in the Guide. Step one involves tracking of electricity, natural gas and water consumption data to identify trends. Next, a professional engineer supervises the dealership's environmental assessment and provides improvement recommendations with a simple payback. Recommendations can be implemented on-site in as little as one day, or over a period of months if larger capital investment projects are required. Finally, post-implementation performance tracking verifies that the desired energy savings have been achieved.
Honda and Acura dealers who have verifiably reduced their energy and water consumption while adopting other sustainable practices earn an Environmental Leadership Award – silver for a 10% reduction in energy use, gold for 30% reduction and platinum for a 50% reduction. To date, seven Honda and Acura dealerships have received platinum awards, while 11 have received gold and 27 have received silver awards. More than 280 Honda and Acura automobile and Honda powersports dealers are currently enrolled in the program.
In January 2014, Rossi Honda of Vineland, NJ, became the nation's first dealership to achieve "Electric Grid Neutral" status by producing as much as or more energy from renewable energy sources than it consumed from its local electric utility over a one-year period.iv
Expanding the Honda "Green Dealer" Program
Honda is encouraging auto dealers across all brands, as well as other commercial businesses, to download the Honda "Green Dealer" Guide on a new website. Interested consumers can also locate Honda and Acura dealerships that have received Silver, Gold, or Platinum Environmental Leadership Awards.
The Honda and Acura Environmental Leadership Programs and the Honda "Green Dealer" Guide are the products of American Honda's Environmental Business Development Office (EBDO). Honda established EBDO in 2011 to reduce the environmental impact of Honda's operations and create achievable pathways to enable a low carbon lifestyle for Honda customers. Among other projects, EBDO established Honda Smart Home U.S., a transportation-integrated zero net energy residence in California, and Honda's partnership with SolarCity. Honda utilized the professional engineering services of Altura Associates, Inc. to complete dealership environmental assessments and to help design the Honda and Acura Environmental Leadership Programs.
Honda and the Environment
Based on its vision of "Blue Skies for our Children," Honda is working to advance technologies that address society's environmental and energy concerns through a diverse lineup of products and technologies, including more fuel-efficient gasoline engines, natural gas, hybrids, plug-in hybrids, battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and fuel- cell vehicles (FCVs).
Today, Honda is targeting a 30-percent reduction in CO2 emissions from its U.S. automobile product lineup by 2020, compared to 2000 levels. In pursuit of its vision for a zero-carbon future, the company is advancing electromotive technologies in many forms, and is slated to introduce an advanced fuel-cell vehicle in 2016.
In keeping with its commitment to produce vehicles with the lowest CO2 emissions at plants with the smallest environmental footprint, the company is broadly addressing emissions, energy, water use and waste in all phases of its products life cycles. In the manufacturing realm, this includes a 95 percent reduction in waste sent to landfills in North America. Honda is working to extend its "green factory" and "green purchasing" initiatives to its more than 650 parts suppliers in North America.
Honda is also demonstrating its vision for zero-carbon mobility and living with the creation of the Honda Smart Home US, in Davis, California, which was opened in early 2014 and is capable of producing more energy on-site from renewable sources than it consumes annually, including enough energy to power a Honda Fit EV for daily commuting.
iHonda calculation based on data from the US EPA and DOE
iiHonda calculation based on data from the US EPA and DOE
iiiBased on Honda research
ivBased on Honda research
RENAULT LIFTS THE LID ON FUTURE MOBILITY IDEAS
- New Renault compact electric motor to improve EV efficiency
- Small petrol/LPG turbo engine to lower fuel bills by 25 per cent
- Innovations for urban deliveries and electrification
- 'HYDIVU' prototype: Mild-Diesel Hybrid for LCVs
- 'POWERFUL' prototype: two-stroke, two-cylinder super-charged and turbo-charged diesel engine
- 'VELUD' prototype: Twizy-based electric urban delivery solution
- Renault's innovations 'think tank' reveals what is coming in the next few years
- Production starts within 12 months for some innovations
All were unveiled at an Innovations@Renault event in Paris, where the company's Co-operative Innovations Laboratory (LCI) – a think tank that unites engineers, designers and customer survey specialists – gave a behind-the-scenes peek into how Renault powertrains and propulsion systems might evolve in the next few years.
Renault has developed a new, more efficient and more compact electric motor and a new turbocharged petrol engine adapted for use with LPG (liquified petroleum gas), both of which are scheduled for introduction next year. Looking further ahead, Renault and its partners are looking at a mild hybrid diesel prototype (HYDIVU project), a diminutive two-stroke diesel engine (POWERFUL project) and a small electric delivery vehicle based on the Twizy (VELUD project) as the basis for clean, low-cost urban mobility.
Production-ready power units
New, compact electric motor
The new, compact electric motor – designed and made entirely by Renault – delivers similar performance to those in use today but is around 10 per cent smaller. It is a synchronous unit with a wound rotor and delivers 65 kW (88hp) and 220 Nm of torque. It was designed by Renault's motor engineers in France and manufactured in Renault's Cléon plant.
Renault has switched from macro-module stacking to fully integrated modules, assembled closely so that no external power supply cables are necessary. The junction box and integrated Chameleon charger (as fitted to ZOE) are contained within a single Power Electronic Controller, which is 25 per cent smaller than existing systems.
The motor is now air-cooled, simplifying the system with only the Power Electronic Controller continuing to be cooled by water. Improved electronic management reduces charging times using the 3kW and 11kW flexi-cable, while a redesigned inverter improves efficiency and reducing power consumption.
Dual-fuel petrol/LPG engine
Renault's new dual-fuel petrol/LPG engine promises 25 per cent lower fuel bills and 10 per cent lower CO2 emissions than a comparable petrol-only power unit. It is a three-cylinder engine featuring a turbocharger, engine Stop&Start, brake energy recovery and an eco-mode, and it complies with EU6 emissions regulations. These modern technologies realise a fuel consumption reduction of 20 per cent compared to a previous-generation LPG engine. The technical challenge was to achieve the right balance between turbo boost and LPG pressure while allowing maximum use in LPG mode with no input from the driver. The entire powertrain is fitted at the factory complete with its LPG kit.
'HYDIVU' – Mild-Hybrid diesel
The 'HYDIVU' (Hybrid Diesel for LCVs) research prototype aims to reduce fuel consumption and therefore running costs for high-mileage business users. It is based on the Master van powered by Renault's ENERGY dCi 165 Twin Turbo diesel engine, and has been engineered in conjunction with a number of European partners.
It integrates a 48-volt (10-12 kW) starter motor and alternator-type electric motor mounted on the gearbox to deliver additional torque and reduce the load on the combustion engine. Its positioning, as close as possible to the wheel, promotes greater efficiency by allowing maximum recovery of energy during deceleration and braking. This 'free energy' is stored in the 48-volt battery to be used as extra torque on demand.
The power unit also features what Renault calls 'Downspeeding' – longer gear ratios which reduce engine revolutions when cruising to lower fuel consumption – while the twin turbos with variable geometry have been specially adapted to this concept. Significant levels of torque are available from just 1,000 rpm, and driveability is consistent across the entire rev band. Internal friction has been reduced through innovations like the steel pistons, and fuel injection pressure has been raised by 25 per cent to 2,500 bar to reduce emissions.
These three technologies result in a fuel consumption reduction of up to 10 percent over long distances.
'POWERFUL' – two-stroke, two-cylinder super-charged and turbo-charged diesel engine
Two-stroke diesel engines are commonplace in large container ships. Their thermal efficiency is around 50 per cent while four-stroke diesels struggle to reach 35 per cent. The difficulty, until now, has been in adapting two-stroke technology for an engine small enough for automotive use, which Renault is aiming to solve with its 'POWERFUL' (POWERtrain for Future Light-duty vehicles) project.
The two-cylinder engine is only half the size of Renault's 1.5-litre dCi diesel, weighs 40 kg less, ideally suited for small vehicle platforms. This 730cc unit is both super-charged and turbo-charged and produces between 35kW and 50kW (48hp-68hp) with 112-145Nm of torque from 1,500rpm.
Initial tests are encouraging, although the performance needs to be improved before Renault could consider introducing it. The engine is being developed with 18 industrial, scientific and academic partners in France, Spain and the Czech Republic, with investment from the European Union.
'VELUD' (Electric Vehicle for Sustainable Urban Logistics) project
With urban deliveries in mind, Renault has produced its 'VELUD' (Electric Vehicle for Sustainable Urban Logistics) project, based on the Twizy, in conjunction with a number of academic and civic partners. It is intended as a 'final miles' solution to take cargo loaded into a small trailer from pre-defined zones to their final delivery point using intelligent fleet management.
All these projects are the work of LCI, a group within Renault which has been given the freedom to step outside the framework of conventional product programmes and come up with completely original mobility solutions. The Twizy, Renault's NEXT TWO autonomous connected vehicle prototype and EOLAB are just some of the solutions already created by LCI.