A reduction of tax incentives on company cars in Holland is expected to put the brakes on plug-in hybrid sales. Cars are taxed at an average of 25 percent, with plug-in hybrids taxed at just seven or 14 percent, depending on emissions. Taxes on PHEV company cars will increase to 14 and 21 percent. With company car leases making up a third of vehicle sales in 2014, the uptake on PHEVs "will likely go back to regular volumes," according to Volvo's Christiaan Krouwel. It could be a boon for battery electric cars, as their tax rate will remain at four percent for company cars. Read more at Automotive News Europe.

Ford is testing cylinder deactivation in its 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine. On-road prototype testing has shown improvements in fuel economy of as much as six percent. Ford engineers developed a system using a new dual mass flywheel, pendulum absorber, and tuned clutch disc to allow cylinder deactivation under a wider range of speed and engine loads with less NVH. "The highest priority in the development of new combustion engines for automotive applications is the ongoing reduction of fuel consumption," says Ford's Andreas Schamel, presenting Ford's findings to the Vienna Motor Symposium. Read more at Green Car Congress or in the press release from Ford.

Atieva is building an EV with the help of numerous former Tesla employees. The Silicon Valley-based startup was founded in 2007 by a former Tesla vice president, and its roster includes 12 other former Tesla employees. Already well funded, Atieva is now looking to fill its ranks with more talent, with 32 engineering positions, two recruiter positions and other job openings posted at its website. As for the EV it is working on, Atieva says it is "redefining what a car can be, by building an iconic new vehicle from the ground up." Read more at Charged EVs.

Testing shows that Joule ethanol, made from recycled CO2, meets standards for use in the US and Europe. In partnership with Audi, Joule has been working toward making its recycled CO2 fuels ready for commercialization. "We are pleased to achieve another critical step towards our planned near-term delivery of fuel-grade ethanol from recycled CO2," says Joule President and CEO Serge Tchuruk. "Using waste CO2 as a feedstock, our technology has the two-fold advantage of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and producing cost-competitive, drop-in fuels." Joule will use these test results to get government approval for the use of its ethanol in highway fuel. Read more in the press release below.

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JOULE'S CO2-RECYCLED ETHANOL MEETS U.S. AND EUROPEAN SPECIFICATIONS

• Test results will be used to obtain government approvals
• Recycled CO2 fuel technology reduces greenhouse emissions and is cost-competitive
• Audi and Joule partnered in 2011 to develop CO2-neutral fuel

May 11, 2015 | HERNDON, Virginia -- Joule, the pioneer of liquid fuels from recycled CO2, today announced the successful results from third-party testing of its ethanol fuel, setting the stage to obtain certification for commercial use. Initiated by Audi, Joule's strategic partner in the automotive space, the test results confirm that Joule's ethanol meets the following standards in the U.S. and Europe, respectively:

• American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) D4806 – Denatured fuel ethanol for blending with gasolines for use as automotive spark-ignition engine fuel
• German Institute for Standardization (DIN) EN 15376 – Ethanol as a blending component for petrol

Joule has initiated efforts to use these results to obtain the government approvals needed for commercialization of its ethanol fuel.

"We are pleased to achieve another critical step towards our planned near-term delivery of fuel-grade ethanol from recycled CO2," said Serge Tchuruk, President and CEO of Joule. "Using waste CO2 as a feedstock, our technology has the two-fold advantage of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and producing cost-competitive, drop-in fuels. This means we have a unique opportunity to offer a solution to CO2 emitters and to fuel users, directly supporting a low carbon economy."

"Audi and Joule share a commitment to making carbon-neutral mobility a reality," said Reiner Mangold, Head of sustainable product development, AUDI AG. "The successful testing of ethanol produced from CO2 is another encouraging indication of this technology's progress. We are proud to work with Joule to ultimately sustain global transportation without emitting more CO2 than is consumed."

Joule and Audi formed a partnership in 2011 to accelerate the development and commercialization of CO2-neutral fuels. These efforts include fuel testing and validation, lifecycle analysis and support for Joule's production facility in Hobbs, New Mexico, where demonstration-scale production of ethanol is underway. Audi is also supporting Joule's hydrocarbon product, which was previously tested and shown to meet ASTM specifications in diesel blends of up to 50 percent. This product will follow ethanol to market.

Joule's CO2-derived ethanol will address a global biofuels market of approximately 1.9 million barrels consumed per day. It is chemically identical to fuel-grade ethanol on the market today, yet it differs in the way it is produced. Unlike processes requiring the fermentation of sugars from corn, cellulose or other biomass materials, Joule uses engineered catalysts to recycle industrial CO2 emissions directly into ethanol, avoiding the use of crops, arable land and fresh water. At full-scale commercialization, Joule ultimately targets productivity of up to 25,000 gallons of ethanol per acre annually.

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