Recharge Wrap-up: EPA's shrewd CAFE negotiation tactics, Stanford builds aluminum battery

Ballard Powers World's First Hydrogen Tram

A new book claims the EPA was bluffing when it asked automakers to raise fuel economy of trucks and SUVs by five percent per year. The EPA's Margo Oge says in her new book, Driving the Future: Combating Climate Change with Cleaner, Smarter Cars, that the agency didn't "think it's realistic that Chevy could improve the fuel economy on, say, a Silverado pickup by 5 percent year on year starting in 2017." Still, asking for the higher standards allowed for "wiggle room" with the automakers when they inevitably pushed back against any new CAFE standards. In the end, the groups agreed on a 3.5 percent increase for light trucks between 2017 and 2021. Read more at The Detroit News or at Green Car Reports.

Stanford scientists have developed an aluminum-ion battery that offers many advantages over the current field of energy storage materials. The battery charges quickly, doesn't degrade in as short a time and is safer and cheaper than the alkaline and lithium-ion batteries in use today. It uses an aluminum anode and graphite cathode, with an ionic liquid electrolyte. The battery is flexible, and "won't catch fire, even if you drill through it," says Professor Hongjie Dai. The goal now is to improve the cathode material to increase the voltage, which is currently about half that of a lithium battery. See the video above, and read more at Green Car Congress and from Stanford University.

The world's first hydrogen-powered tram has successfully completed a demonstration run. Built by rolling stock manufacturer CSR Qingdao Sifang Company and powered by Ballard's FCvelocity fuel cell module, the fixed rail electric tram gave rides at an event in China. "Clean urban transportation is a high priority in China and this zero-emission prototype fuel cell tram is an important step in demonstrating one solution," says Ballard President and CEO Randy MacEwen. The city of Foshan, China is a tram customer of CSR Sifang, and city officials were on hand at the demonstration. Read more in the press release from Ballard below.
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Ballard Customer Demonstrates World's First Hydrogen Fuel Cell Tram

VANCOUVER, Canada and QINGDAO, China, April 7, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Ballard Power Systems (NASDAQ: BLDP; TSX: BLD) today announced that the world's first hydrogen fuel cell powered fixed rail electric tram was successfully demonstrated at a ceremonial event held in March at the head office, production and testing facility of CSR Qingdao Sifang Company (CSR Sifang), a Chinese rolling stock manufacturer based in Qingdao, Shandong province.

"This is an exciting demonstration of our world leading fuel cell power modules in a new application," said Randy MacEwen, Ballard's President and CEO. "Clean urban transportation is a high priority in China and this zero-emission prototype fuel cell tram is an important step in demonstrating one solution."

The event was attended by senior officials of the City of Foshan, a tram customer of CSR Sifang, and invited guests took a ride on the prototype fuel cell powered tram. Ballard's FCvelocity® fuel cell module is integrated into the low floor tram design.

Mr. MacEwen added, "We are proud to partner with CSR Sifang, which has a rich history of innovation in Chinese rail transit. In just a few short months since signing a Memorandum of Understanding and receiving CSR Sifang's initial purchase order, we were able to enjoy a clean, quiet and smooth tram experience at this ground-breaking event."

Established more than 100-years ago, in 1900, CSR Sifang has a yearly production capacity of 200 high-speed electric multiple units (EMUs), 1,000 mass transit vehicles and 300 high-grade passenger cars. Additional testing of the fuel cell-powered tram is being completed at CSR Sifang's facility in Qingdao.

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