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20 Megacities to Get Soot-Free Buses


Buses in Chinatown, Bangkok, Thailand, March 2017 (Photo by Khánh Hmoong)


Four of the world’s largest bus and engine manufacturers have pledged to make it easier for major cities to purchase buses equipped with low emissions technologies, so they can tackle climate change and toxic air pollution.


BYD, Cummins, Scania and Volvo Buses will ensure "soot-free" engine technology is available for purchase in 20 megacities beginning in 2018.


The manufacturers will each release through their websites a full product portfolio available in each city and will begin publicly reporting the number of soot-free buses sold in each year.


Black carbon, or soot, is a component of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) outdoor air pollution, which is linked to negative health effects and premature mortality.


Soot free is defined as any diesel engine with a diesel particulate filter, gas-powered engine, or a dedicated electric drive engine. Any engine that meets Euro VI norms first established in Europe or EPA 2010 norms first established in the United States can be identified as soot free.


Less than 20 percent of all buses sold globally meet the definition of soot free, with the vast majority powered by diesel fuel. Older generation diesel technology produces high levels of black carbon emissions, or soot, which are among the most dangerous pollutants for public health and a major contributor to climate change.


The cleanest buses today can reduce these emissions by more than 99 percent.


Reductions in climate impacts of soot-free buses are achievable with low-carbon fuels and engines that deliver the lowest lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions.


The Global Industry Partnership on Soot-Free Clean Bus Fleets is an initiative led by C40 Cities, the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), International Council on Clean Transportation, Centro Mario Molina Chile and UN Environment.


The commitment was announced at the CCAC's Clean Buses for Clean Air Workshop in Paris in September.


The 20 cities involved in the plan are: Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire; Accra, Ghana; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Bangkok, Thailand; Bogotá, Colombia; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Casablanca, Morocco; Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; Dhaka, Pakistan; Istanbul, Turkey; Jakarta, Indonesia; Johannesburg, South Africa; Lagos, Nigeria; Lima, Peru; Manila, Philippines; Mexico City, Mexico; Nairobi, Kenya; Santiago, Chile; Sao Paulo, Brazil and Sydney Australia.


"In Santiago, air pollution has been a prime challenge for the last three decades, and buses are the major source for particulate matter and NOx pollution in the city," said Santiago Governor Claudio Orrego.


Santiago was the first city in the country to commit to soot-free bus technology. But we can only succeed in creating cleaner air if we collaborate with the private sector to make this happen," said Orrego. "I’m confident with this commitment matched by the actions in our cities we will soon see the rapid end of high polluting buses on our streets."


Air pollution, much of it the by-product of emissions from vehicles, causes more than 4.2 million premature deaths each year, according to C40 Cities. The same emissions that poison the air also cause climate change.


C40’s research has shown that the world’s largest cities need to reach peak emissions by 2020, with a focus on their transport sectors, if there is any hope of delivering on the Paris Agreement and preventing catastrophic climate change.


Today, it is Asian nations that are leading the revolution in low and zero carbon vehicles at scale: 98 percent of global electric bus sales have been in China, and the Chinese city of Shenzhen expects to achieve a fully electric bus fleet of 17,000 vehicles by the end of this year.


I welcome the commitment of these bus manufacturers to respond to the desire of mayors to make cleaner, safer engine technologies available to millions of citizens in the global south," said C40 Executive Director Mark Watts. “This is yet another example of cities and the private sector working together to tackle the most urgent challenges that we face."


Air pollution is the leading environmental health risk today affecting millions of people, particularly those in our growing cities. This agreement between some of the world’s leading bus manufacturers and some of the biggest cities in the world is an example of forward thinking private and public cooperation," said Erik Solheim, executive director of UN Environment, formerly, the United Nations Environment Programme.


Investment in technology, products, and business models that benefit people and our environment isn’t just good for the planet," said Solheim, "it’s good for business."



Los Angeles Orders 100 New Electric Buses



America's second-largest bus system in the city of Los Angeles has placed an order for up to 100 New Flyer Xcelsior Charge all-electric buses.


L.A.'s new buses are New Flyer's latest design. They feature up to 600 kilowatt-hours worth of lithium-ion batteries, enough for a 230-mile range, says New Flyer.


The 60-foot buses are capable of seating up to 120 passengers, depending on configuration. New Flyer offers several variants of the Xcelsior Charge buses in shorter lengths and articulated configurations.


The new electric buses are less expensive to operate than fuel-powered buses. Electric buses don't have combustion engines, transmissions, or exhaust systems, which New Flyer estimates saves transit agencies around $10,000 annually per bus on maintenance and repair.


New Flyer rival Proterra estimates that a third of all new buses built will be electric within the next couple of years.



Plug-In Electric Bus Sales Grew 40 Percent Last Year



Orders for plug-in electric buses have boomed in the past 18 months, with a 40 percent increase in sales from 2016 to 2017, as the technology on offer from bus companies has improved in performance and in price, finds a new report from Navigant Research.


In the report Navigant examines the global market for medium and heavy duty electric drive buses, providing an analysis of key market and technology issues, policies, and manufacturer profiles.


In the electric drive bus market, costs of key components such as batteries, motors, and power electronics are going down dueto increasing volume. These improvements are helping plug-in hybrid and battery electric buses become more affordable for fleets, and sales are poised to grow across all geographic markets through 2027, finds Navigant.


Transit agencies are interested in battery electric buses, thanks to their potential for lower operating costs in addition to having zero emissions and reduced noise," says Lisa Jerram, principal research analyst with Navigant Research.


New orders for electric buses are growing rapidly, although the transition to battery electric buses will take many years, as agencies test the technology and bus manufacturers ramp up production," said Jerram.


Despite increasing sales of electric buses, "conventional engines," most with diesel fuel, will continue to be the powertrain of choice for buses in many markets during the next 10 years, according to the Navigant report.


The upfront cost for an electric drive bus continues to be an issue, so adoption tends to be focused in regions with government support.


In all regions except for China, hybrid buses are expected to continue to capture greater market share than plug-in buses in the near-term, due to the lower price premium, lack of infrastructure investment, and the wealth of real-world operational experience.


The report, "Market Data: Electric Drive Buses," analyzes the global market for medium and heavy duty electric drive buses with the following powertrains: gasoline hybrid, gasoline plug-in hybrid, diesel hybrid, diesel plug-in hybrid, battery electric, and hydrogen fuel cells.


The report provides an analysis of key market and technology issues, regional policies, and profiles of many vehicle manufacturers and component suppliers.


Looking out a little farther into the future, the global electric bus market is expected to experience a compound annual growth rate of 33.5 percent during the period 2017-2025, according to a new report by another research group, the Dublin-based Research and Markets.


This report views emerging economies as the places that will offer growth opportunities for the electric bus market during the forecast period.

China was among the earliest adopters of electric vehicles in the world, and now the country wants to increase the number of its electric vehicles, offering several subsidy plans.


India, another emerging market, has set a target to deploy over 10,000 electric buses in near term.


Finally, a third research group,, has also just issued its Electric Bus Market Global Industry report. This study focuses on global major leading companies with company profiles, sales, sales revenue, market share and contact information. The marketing, feasibility of new investment projects are assessed and overall research conclusions offered.



Clean and Quiet Rides to School



'Jouley,' the Friendly Electric School Bus




The Thomas Built Saf-T-Liner C2 Electric school bus, nicknamed Jouley,
2017 (Photo courtesy Daimler Trucks North America)


Thomas Built Buses, a North Carolina-based manufacturer of school buses and subsidiary of Daimler Trucks North America, debuted the Saf-T-Liner C2 Electric school bus, nicknamed Jouley, at The National Association for Pupil Transportation conference and trade show in Columbus, Ohio on November 4.


Jouley is the first generation of Thomas Built’s electric series production school bus.


In addition to the same vehicle performance, safety and comfort as the Saf-T-Liner C2, this new electric school bus has quiet operation and produces zero emissions and even exportable power, according to Thomas Built Buses. Students riding the school bus will be able to charge their computers and other devices directly from the bus.


Jouley is named after the joule unit of energy," said Caley Edgerly, president and CEO of Thomas Built Buses. “A joule is equivalent to the amount of energy that is dissipated as heat when an electric current of one ampere passes through a resistance of one ohm for one second. So, we are having fun with Jouley."


Thomas Built says its first-generation Saf-T-Liner C2 Electric bus comes equipped with the PowerDrive 7000ev powertrain from Efficient Drivetrains Inc. This powertrain provides 100-160 kWh of battery energy and a 100 mile range and an operating range, with up to 100 miles between charges. There's also an option for a higher range with additional battery packs.


Among its features is the PowerSuite vehicle control software and the PowerTracker telematics and diagnostics system that tracks bus locations and provides real-time monitoring of any potential issues.


Daimler Trucks North America is committed to developing sustainable mobility with an emphasis on battery electric vehicles," said Roger Nielsen, Daimler Trucks North America president and CEO.


DTNA is the industry’s leader in alternative energy propelled vehicles, including a broad line-up of compressed natural gas-powered trucks and buses, and our series of propane-powered school buses and medium-duty trucks," he said.


Thomas Built Buses is a member of the Daimler global truck group and draws upon Daimler’s worldwide resources for technology and innovations.


We are pleased to debut the first-generation Saf-T-Liner C2 Electric school bus," said Edgerly. “Continuous improvement and innovation are core to both Thomas Built Buses and Daimler, and we are excited to explore additional enhancements and features that can be leveraged with this new electric powertrain."


The Saf-T-Liner C2 Electric is scheduled to be in early production in 2019.




Old Blue Bird Flies New Electric School Bus



Also at the NAPT conference in Columbus, Ohio, 90-year-old Blue Bird Corporation unveiled its new Blue Bird Vision Electric Type C school bus.


Blue Bird is an independent designer and manufacturer of school buses, with more than 550,000 buses sold since its formation in 1927 and approximately 180,000 buses in operation today.


Blue Bird was awarded a $4.4 million Department of Energy grant in December 2016 to develop a Type C Vision electric school bus.


The electric powertrain is supplied by Adomani, with drivetrain and vehicle control software developed and produced by Adomani technology partner, Efficient Drivetrains, Inc.


Adomani provides complete zero-emission electric and hybrid vehicle solutions to school bus fleet operators.


The latest in the lineup of Blue Bird electric buses integrates the Adomani/EDI drivetrain and vehicle control software and telematics, delivering zero-emissions driving.


Blue Bird’s new Type C bus features a range of up to 100 miles, with a full charge time of under eight hours. This is achieved by utilizing a Type 2 charger and a battery capacity of 150 kWh.


The Type C school bus announcement follows a recent unveil of Blue Bird’s Type D All American Rear-Engine Electric school bus at the STN Expo in Reno, Nevada in July, powered by the same Adomani/EDI partnership.


Blue Bird displayed the Type D RE chassis at the event so that attendees could view the powertrain and battery components.


We are excited to reveal our latest alternative-fuel option for the school bus market in 2018," said Phil Horlock, president and CEO of Blue Bird Corporation.


We want to offer the broadest range of school bus products in the market and take pride in leading the industry in propane and gasoline-powered school buses. Electric-power is the next step on our journey, and our exclusive partnership with Adomani/EDI will bring both Type C and Type D electric buses to our customers next year," said Horlock.


The electric drivetrain technology used in Blue Bird’s Vision and All American RE Electric vehicles has been proven on the road in over 2.5 million miles of driving.


Blue Bird pioneered its first electric bus in 1994 for a Southern California demonstration project and has extensive on-road experience.


This experience enabled Blue Bird to secure a $4.4M Department of Energy grant earlier this year to develop a Vision Type C electric-powered bus, with full Vehicle to Grid (V2G) functionality.


The drivetrain has a proven track record of success in EV applications, and has performed extremely well in multiple testing scenarios," said Jim Reynolds, president and CEO of Adomani. “Add that to Blue Bird’s proven, safety-driven bus design, and you won’t find a better EV bus product out there."


Blue Bird hosted an “Electric Ride-and-Drive" event at the NAPT Convention, with over 100 school district representatives in attendance.


The ride and drive feedback has been outstanding," said Mark Terry, Blue Bird’s chief commercial officer. “Customers love the quiet ride and the proven drivetrain solution: many are already looking at placing orders as soon as the bus becomes available."


Blue Bird manufactures its school buses at two facilities in Fort Valley, Georgia. Its Micro Bird joint venture operates a manufacturing facility in Drummondville, Quebec, Canada.


The new Type C school bus will be available in 2018.



IC's chargE™ Electric Concept School Bus



On November 7, IC Bus unveiled the IC Electric Bus chargE™, its new electric CE Series concept school bus developed with its alliance partner, Volkswagen Truck & Bus.


The company debuted the chargE at the 2017 National Association for Pupil Transportation Annual Conference and Trade Show, and expects to launch its first unit as early as 2019.


IC Bus is an American bus manufacturer that produces yellow school buses and commercial-use shuttle buses primarily for the United States and Canada, with limited exports outside of North America.


The chargE was designed to give customers a zero-emissions school bus option while lowering the total cost of ownership and offering user-friendly options and features with diesel-like performance.


"Our electric school bus is another example of how IC Bus is driving the future of school bus transportation by providing a wide range of powertrain solutions, including electric propulsion, propane, gasoline and diesel," said Trish Reed, vice president and general manager, IC Bus.


The new chargE incorporates a common group electric drivetrain from Volkswagen Truck & Bus that is quiet, does not produce emissions, and can be built to address any school bus customer's specific requirements.


The range of the chargE can exceed 120 miles, while the powertrain can deliver up to 260 kw - about 349 peak horsepower.


"The chargE demonstrates how our alliance with Volkswagen Truck & Bus is allowing us to move even faster into electric powertrains and other advanced technologies, thanks to our ability to leverage both companies' technology investments and components," said Bill Kozek, senior vice president, Strategic Initiatives, Navistar.


Navistar International Corporation is a holding company whose subsidiaries and affiliates produce IC Bus® brand school and commercial buses, among other brands of buses.


At the inaugural North American Commercial Vehicle Show in Atlanta in September, Navistar and Volkswagen Truck & Bus Group announced plans to develop an electric-powered, medium-duty vehicle for Navistar's core U.S. and Canada market, which it expects to launch as early as 2019.


The chargE concept vehicle represents the second electric powertrain vehicle coming out of the alliance built with a common group electric drivetrain from Volkswagen Truck & Bus.


"We are embracing technology and innovation that make drivers safer and more satisfied, while providing the school bus industry with vehicles that are safe, reliable and efficient," said Reed. "IC Bus leads the school bus industry in uptime through a powerful combination of manufacturing excellent products and having the industry's strongest dealer network that keeps our customers' buses on the road."


Silicon Valley's First Electric Airport Bus Fleet



Proterra electric shuttle bus, 2016 (Photo by Caitlin Looby)


The San José City Council has approved the purchase of 10 Proterra Catalyst® E2 zero emissions battery electric transit buses and related charging infrastructure for use at the Norman Y. Mineta San José International Airport (SJC), Silicon Valley's airport.


This purchase marks Proterra's first airport electric bus deployment in the San Francisco Bay Area.


Scheduled to be placed in service in late 2018, the buses will be designed and built in California at Proterra's Los Angeles County manufacturing facility.


"The addition of this all-electric bus fleet reflects SJC's continued commitment to delivering a world-class passenger experience and advancing our community's collective sustainability goals," said San José Mayor Sam Liccardo.


"These electric buses can help us significantly reduce costs and greenhouse gas emissions, and represent a step towards our aspiration that an electric engine power every shuttle and bus on San Jose's streets," said the mayor.


With 12 million passengers annually, SJC currently provides on-site shuttle buses to transport passengers and luggage among the airport's short- and long-term parking lots, consolidated rental car garage and terminals, with a fleet of compressed natural gas (CNG) buses.


Funded in part by a $3.8 million zero-emissions vehicle grant from the Federal Aviation Administration, the new Proterra battery-electric buses will replace these older CNG buses, resulting in the elimination 3.1 million pounds of greenhouse gas tailpipe emissions over the lifetime of these vehicles.


Since the Proterra electric buses have no combustion engine, riders will enjoy a quieter, smoother, exhaust-free ride.


In addition to traveler benefits, the operational cost of electricity, at $.19/mile, is substantially lower than diesel, at $.84/mile.


Combining this with improved vehicle efficiency, at 21 miles per gallon equivalent, as compared with five mpg for their current CNG buses, and reduced vehicle maintenance costs, will result in an estimated savings of about $4 million during the 12-year lifetime of these 10 new Proterra buses.


"This purchase builds upon initiatives SJC has put in place to address the concerns and interests of the community and the environment," said SJC Director of Aviation John Aitken.


These include a 1 MW, 3.4-acre solar array powering the airport's rental car garage and a shift to airside electric service vehicles, reducing emissions from operations.


The new electric airport bus fleet is part of San José's Green Vision, adopted in October 2007. This plan aims to transform San José into a world center of clean technology innovation by promoting cutting-edge sustainable practices, and demonstrating that the goals of economic growth, environmental stewardship and fiscal responsibility are inextricably linked.


Smart Charging for Bus Depots



To charge e-bus fleets during the night and ensure zero emission transportation during the day, the Swiss company ABB showcased its new HVC-Overnight Charging products and smart charging functionality at Busworld 2017 in Kortrijk, Belgium.


From October 20-25 in Kortrijk, ABB displayed its latest solution for charging electric buses, incorporating smart charging features with a modular design, safe and reliable operation and remote service and data management.


After 12 years of research and development in EV charging solutions and experience from commercial products in the field since 2010, the HVC-Overnight Charger offers a compact, single power cabinet paired with up to three charge boxes.


This means that after the first vehicle has finished charging, the next will start charging automatically, maximizing vehicle availability and reducing the initial investment as well as operational costs.


Frank Mühlon, who heads ABB’s Global Business for Electric Vehicle Charging, said, “Policy makers across the globe are focusing on developing sustainable public transit solutions to tackle emissions in and around the most densely populated cities."


At ABB we have always been at the forefront of developing state-of-the-art and cost-efficient solutions that meet our customers’ needs and enable us all to look forward to a greener future. The launch of our HVC Overnight Charging products enabling a smart sequential charging is another significant step towards making this a reality.”


Designed with scalability in mind, the power cabinets of ABB’s HVC-Overnight Charger can be upgraded from 50kW to 100kW or 150kW at any time.


The chargers come with an extensive suite of connectivity features including remote monitoring, remote management, remote diagnostics, and remote software upgrades, enabling "high uptime and fast response to problems," the company said.


ABB also displayed at Busworld 2017 the HVC-Opportunity Charging range, which offers highpower automated charging for both single and double deck electric buses from any manufacturer in as little as three to six minutes by using a pantograph coming down from the infrastructure.


ABB provides charging solutions as part of its drive to promote sustainable mobility since 2010 and has sold more than 6,000 cloud connected DC fast-chargers around the world for passenger cars and commercial vehicles.



By Sunny Lewis

Environment News Service (ENS)

LAS VEGAS, Nevada, January 11, 2018 (ENS) - With cars that can read a driver's mind, and cars equipped with Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) technology, automakers from around the world are not waiting for this year's auto shows to roll out their latest high-tech advances. They're showcasing the technology behind their connected, electric vehicles at the first big show of 2018, the Consumer Electronics Show, now known as CES.


Nissan, Ford and Kia are among the automakers recognized for breakthrough technologies at CES in Las Vegas, the four-day exhibition, January 9-12, that attracted more than 184,000 industry professionals - at least 58,000 came from outside the United States.


CES aspires to jump-start the future of innovation, featuring technologies from more than 3,900 companies, including some 900 startups, more of them from the automotive world than ever before.


Table of Contents


Nissan 2018 LEAF Reads Drivers' Minds


The 2018 electric Nissan LEAF was named one of 30 "Best of Innovation" winners at this year's CES, an award presented annually by the Consumer Technology Association.


The 2018 LEAF won in the category of Vehicle Intelligence and Self-Driving Technology. Nissan is also a CES "Best of Innovation" honoree in the category Tech for a Better World.


Nissan's award-winning 2018 electric LEAF in Las Vegas, Nevada (Photo courtesy Nissan)


Judged by a panel of independent industrial designers, engineers and members of the trade media, the CES Innovation Award entries are selected for outstanding design and engineering in consumer electronics products across 28 categories. They are evaluated on their engineering, aesthetic and design qualities, intended use and user value, unique or novel features and how the design and innovation of the product compares to other products in the marketplace.


"This award recognizes products and technologies that benefit people and the planet, so it is fitting that the new LEAF has been honored," said Daniele Schillaci, Nissan's executive vice president for global marketing and sales, zero-emission vehicles and battery business.


"It is more than just a car," he said. "It is the icon of Nissan Intelligent Mobility, our vision to move people to a better world."


With technology that reads a driver's brain waves, Nissan is giving visitors to CES 2018 a glimpse of its vision for the future of mobility - more autonomy, more electrification and more connectivity.


Nissan's pioneering Brain-to-Vehicle (B2V) technology interprets signals from the driver's brain to assist with driving and to help the vehicle's autonomous and manual systems learn from the driver. Nissan says the technology offers shorter reaction times and systems that adapt to maximize driving pleasure.


"Nissan continues to democratize technology, bringing our most advanced systems to our highest volume models, rather than reserving them for our most expensive vehicles," said Michael Bunce, vice president, Product Planning, Nissan North America, Inc.


The 2018 LEAF combines electric driving with advanced technologies such as ProPILOT Assist, e-Pedal and enhanced connectivity.


ProPILOT Assist is the foundation for the autonomous vehicles of the future, helping drivers maintain lane control, navigate stop-and-go traffic, maintain a set vehicle speed and maintain a set distance to the vehicle ahead - all with simple two-button operation.



Ford Connects With Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X)



Ford President and CEO Jim Hackett took the CES stage for the opening keynote to share his ideas for creating "the living street" and promoted a human-centered path for smartening our cities.


"It’s not about cities getting smarter, it’s about humans having a better day," he said.


Ford introduced its new Transformation Mobility Cloud, an open platform designed to simplify the flow of data in support of transportation systems from vehicles and bicycles to mass transit.


Artist's rendition of how a Ford with C-V2X technology will connect with its surroundings.
(Image courtesy Ford Motor Company)


As the automotive industry prepares for advancements towards 5G - super-fast fifth generation mobile connectivity - Ford and California chipmaker Qualcomm Technologies plan to explore a next-generation telematics platform featuring Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) technology.


Using direct communication mode, C-V2X is designed to allow vehicles to directly communicate with other vehicles, pedestrian devices, and roadside infrastructure, such as traffic signs and construction zones, without the involvement of a cellular network, or cellular network subscription, facilitating the development and delivery of smart, connected transportation throughout the world.


"This relationship with Ford is part of a leading effort in the automotive industry in accelerating the adoption of Cellular-V2X into production vehicles and provide for enhanced safety, driver assistance and support for autonomous driving," said Nakul Duggal, vice president of product management, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. "Connectivity is the cornerstone for innovation in vehicles."


Samsung Designs 5G Digital Cockpit


At CES 2018, Samsung and Harman demonstrated high speed connectivity in a future mobility concept vehicle powered by the Samsung Networks 5G infrastructure.


Since Samsung acquired the connected car and audio-visual expert company Harman last March, a Samsung-Harman team has gathered to boost their competitiveness in the next generation connected car business by applying Samsung’s components, products and services to automotive products.


The new Samsung-Harman Digital Cockpit is based on 5G technology. (Photo courtesy Samsung)


Wonsik Lee, senior vice president, R&D Strategy Group of Samsung Electronics’ Automotive Electronics Business, and Dr. Mike Peters, president of the Connected Car Division, Harman, are excited about the connective possibilities of the new Digital Cockpit platform demonstrated at CES 2018.


The Digital Cockpit platform combines 5G technology and an Internet of Things (IoT) platform to provide what the company calls "an intelligent and seamless connected car experience." Three displays and three knobs can be customized for driver and passenger tastes.


The system can make driving safer. The Mirror Replacement Vision System provides a front/back high definition camera and display system instead of physical side and rear-view mirrors. It gives a three-split-view for key moments such as changing lanes or parking. It can detect moving objects and sound an alarm if things get too close.


The Digital Cockpit includes a gesture sensor in the back seat so that passengers can use motions to control music or the radio. Samsung’s Bixby voice assistant is on duty. And, you can check inside your fridge to see if you have enough milk before you get home, and adjust your thermostat or start your washing machine from within the vehicle.


Peters said, "Consumer demand is dictating that the car become an extension of the connected lifestyle rather than being a product of a siloed industry. This means in-car technology needs to replicate the smartphones and smart audio experiences people enjoy at home or the office."


"In order to expand Samsung’s AI and IoT platform from home appliances and mobile phones to other 'things' including automobiles, we developed the Digital Cockpit by infusing Samsung’s mobile, IT and display technologies with Harman’s automotive technologies," said Lee at CES.


For instance, their forward-facing camera features lane-departure warning, adaptive cruise control, collision warning and pedestrian warning algorithms.


Peters pointed out, "The automotive technology market is also a crowded one, and with the excitement of autonomy on the horizon, there’s even more clutter to cut through. We’re no longer just in competition with other automotive suppliers, but are part of a future of mobility revolution, along with suppliers, OEMs, tech companies and even rideshare startups fighting for a piece of the pie."


Looking into the future, Lee said, "It is expected that cars will become more than just a means of transportation in the future. Cars will gradually evolve to be our living and working space. If lesser burden is put on drivers with the advent of autonomous driving technology, users will be able to enjoy more value while on the go."


Peters agrees. "That’s true," he said. "Autonomous vehicles will create a paradigm shift in how people operate cars and many drivers will transition into passengers. 5G technology and AI will play a pivotal role in this evolution to ensure autonomous vehicles have the situational awareness needed to navigate a wide variety of environments safely."


Kia Showcases 5G Vegas-Seoul Connection


The Korean automaker Kia offered interactive exhibits that let visitors experience Kia’s autonomous drive technologies through a Virtual Reality simulator, while experiencing a Vehicle to Everything (V2X) diorama demonstrating how cars could connect with other vehicles and the urban environment.


Kia announced the company will introduce 16 new advanced powertrain vehicles by 2025, including a range of new hybrids, plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles, as well as a new fuel-cell electric vehicle in 2020.


At CES, Kia is debuting the Niro EV Concept, powered by a next-generation electric vehicle powertrain with a real-time connection established between Las Vegas and Seoul, Korea.


The 5G connection enables users to stream content into the car, linked to the exhibit’s infotainment system.


Dr. Woong-chul Yang, vice chairman and head of Kia's R&D Center, said, "Boundless for all is Kia’s future vision – where everyone has the opportunity to enjoy the infinite value that future mobility will bring. This is Kia’s manifesto for its role as a mass mobility provider in the future."


Kia plans to commercialize Level 4 autonomous driving technology, with Smart City autonomous vehicle testing due to begin in 2021.


By 2025, Dr. Yang says Kia will adopt connected car technologies across every vehicle segment, and aims to make every single model a connected car by 2030.


Daimler Makes Big Splash With Tiny Auto


Daimler closed down part of the Las Vegas Strip January 10 to showcase its Smart Vision EQ car - a tiny autonomous car with a big presence at the CES.


The Smart Vision EQ debuted last fall at the Frankfurt Motor Show. After a stop in Tokyo, the only prototype made its U.S. debut at CES. It has no steering wheel or pedals and represents what Daimler now imagines a completely self-sustaining automobile will be like in 2030.


Photographers capture images of Daimler's Smart Vision EQ on the Las Vegas Strip during CES 2018.
(Photo courtesy Daimler AG)


The autonomous concept vehicle can pick up its passengers directly from their chosen location. Freed from the task of driving, the passengers can just relax.


New individualization options help users to recognize their vehicle by a sign on the Black Panel Grille at the front and large projection surfaces on the sides.


"The smart vision EQ fortwo is our vision of future urban mobility; it is the most radical car-sharing concept car of all: fully autonomous, with maximum communication capabilities, friendly, comprehensively personalizable and, of course, electric," says smart CEO Annette Winkler.


For Daimler brand Mercedes-Benz, Las Vegas was the final stop of the "Intelligent World Drive," with which the German automaker tested automated drive functions on all five continents in a test vehicle based on a new S-Class model, which has been automated for test purposes. It faced a variety of complex traffic situations, gathering valuable experience on the road to autonomous driving.


On the last stages of the drive, in California and Nevada, the Mercedes-Benz test vehicle collected U.S.-specific information for the development of its driver assistance systems. The automated test drives in the greater Los Angeles area, and then to CES in Vegas, focused on the assessment of driving behavior in dense city traffic and on highways.


The Intelligent World Drive took the test car to five continents in five months.


Progress must not stop at national borders," said Renata Jungo Brüngger, member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Integrity and Legal Affairs.


"Legislation must keep pace with technological development, otherwise it will not be possible for important innovations in automated and autonomous driving to hit the road. Legal certainty is essential for the acceptance of autonomous driving in society. So we quickly need further international harmonization of the legal framework," said Brüngger.


The Mercedes-Benz stand at CES offered the world premiere of the intuitive and intelligent multimedia system MBUX - Mercedes-Benz User Experience. This system can learn, can be individualized and can adapt to suit the user.


MBUX is used in the entire new compact car generation from Mercedes-Benz and will enter series production in spring 2018 in the new A-Class hatchback for select markets outside the United States, and the 2019 A-Class Sedan that launches in late 2018 in the United States.


"With the new MBUX generation, we are transporting our user interface design into the digital world," said Gorden Wagener, chief design officer at the Mercedes-Benz parent company, Daimler AG. "We are thus transferring intelligent technology into an emotional overall experience."


Continental's 3D Touch Surface Display Proves a Winner


The world’s first touchscreen with a 3D surface, by the German automotive manufacturing company Continental AG, took home a CES award for innovation.


The company won the CES 2018 Best of Innovation Award in the "In-Vehicle Audio/Video" for this state-of-the-art design and breakthrough technology.


The innovative 3D touch surface display can be operated intuitively, increasing safety. The 3D elements allow finger guidance that users can physically feel.


"Our latest display solution combines three elements: design, safety and user experience. The 3D surface not only allows for exciting design, but it also ensures that drivers can operate the various functions without having to take their eyes off the road," said Dr. Frank Rabe, head of the Instrumentation & Driver HMI business unit at Continental.


"The CES Innovation Awards honor technologies for the very highest standards of design and engineering prowess," said Rabe, "so we are absolutely delighted to have received this award."




By Sunny Lewis

Environment News Service (ENS)


Horizon 2020 (ou H2020) est le programme-cadre de l'Union Européenne en faveur de la recherche et l'innovation, pour la période 2014 - 2020. Doté d'un budget global de 80 milliards d'euros, il se décline en trois priorités complémentaires : excellence scientifique, primauté industrielle et défis de société.


Les « transports intelligents, verts et intégrés » font partie des défis prioritaires identifiés par l’Union européenne et bénéficient à ce titre d’une enveloppe de près de 7 milliards d’euros.


Compétitivité et durabilité


Ce programme spécifique cible « un système de transport européen économe en ressources, respectueux de l'environnement, sûr et continu au bénéfice des particuliers, de l'économie et de la société ».


photo D.R


Au 30 septembre 2017, tous secteurs confondus, H2020 avait enregistré la participation de près de 80 000 acteurs, publics comme privés. 16 178 projets ont été retenus et 14 765 contrats signés.


Outre la qualité de l’innovation, l’obtention des aides, après appel à projets, est conditionnée, à un certain nombre de conditions fixées par l’UE.


Parmi les critères d’évaluation, la contribution à la compétitivité, l'emploi et la croissance avec des impacts sociaux est attendue.


ll s’agit en définitive de proposer une solution qui réponde au défi posé.


Voie aérienne, route, rail, logistique, systèmes de transports intelligents (ITS) et infrastructure, développement des véhicules « verts » et exploration de concepts de transports innovants… le champ est large.


Justement, l’approche se veut holistique. Elle
doit répondre aux exigences des politiques concernées, rapprocher compétitivité et durabilité, mettre l'accent sur les défis sociétaux auxquels peuvent contribuer notamment les solutions intelligentes.


Des enjeux très concrets


Les objectifs de H2020 visent clairement l’amélioration substantielle de la mobilité des biens et des personnes en Europe, le développement de nouveaux concepts de transport de fret et de logistiques, mais encore la réduction des taux d'accidentalité, des morts et des blessés par l’amélioration de la sécurité sur les routes (28 000 morts/an dans l'UE).


Aux ambitions de répondre aux enjeux environnementaux et sociétaux auxquels l'Union européenne doit faire face, s’ajoute la volonté de dynamiser la compétitivité des industries européennes du secteur.


L’Europe peut devenir le continent qui invente l’avenir et ainsi attirer capitaux et talents du monde entier. C’est une occasion à ne pas laisser passer, » préviennent Alain Trannoy Directeur d’études à l’EHESS, directeur de l’Ecole d’économie d’Aix-Marseille et Vincent Aussilloux, Chef du département Économie-Finances de France Stratégie.


Pour l’UE, les enjeux sont en effet très concrets. Favoriser l’innovation peut tout d’abord permettre de préserver et accroître les parts de marchés et les emplois dans le contexte d’une sévère concurrence internationale. L’Inde ne vient elle pas d’annoncer que tous les véhicules neufs vendus sur son territoire seront électriques d’ici à 2030?


En Chine, les industriels d’origine étrangère, et notamment les Européens, dominent le marché sur les modèles à moteur thermique mais ce sont les constructeurs chinois qui sont leaders sur le véhicule électrique. On estime que ces derniers représenteront, en 2018, 20 % des ventes de la production automobile du pays.


Ce sont aussi la Corée, le Japon et la Chine qui détiennent les plus fortes capacités de production en matière de batteries et les meilleures technologies. Enfin ce sont des entreprises américaines qui inventent le modèle automobile de demain, autonome et électrique, grâce aux investissements massifs dans des technologies nouvelles réalisés par Tesla, Google, Uber etc. « Il est inutile de se voiler la face, à ce rythme l’Europe est en passe de rater la révolution du secteur automobile, après avoir raté la révolution numérique, » considèrent Alain Trannoy et Vincent Aussilloux.


Les objectifs politiques du “défi transports”


Pour autant les enjeux vont bien au delà des retombées économiques à court terme.


D’une part le programme peut donner l’impulsion pour le développement de la prochaine génération de moyens de transports afin de garantir les parts de marché dans le futur. D’autre part il va dans le sens de la lutte contre le changement climatique et de la dépendance au pétrole puisqu’il peut permettre de réaliser des économies d'énergie, diminuer les émissions polluantes et améliorer la qualité de l'air (30% du CO2 émis provient du transport).


Enfin combattre la saturation des réseaux de transports pour développer le transfert modal peut à la fois profiter à la fluidité du trafic, au climat… mais également à la fois aux usagers et citoyens européens, réunis dans l’espérance d’une meilleure qualité de vie et d’une sérieuse prise en considération de leur santé.


En effet la pollution de l'air pourrait provoquer 6 à 9 millions de décès prématurés d'ici 2060 et coûter 1% du PIB mondial, soit quelque 2.600 milliards de dollars par an, prévient l'Organisation pour la coopération et le développement économiques (OCDE) dans un rapport sur les conséquences économiques de la pollution de l'air publié l’an dernier.


Ce qui est certain c’est que l’Europe a des atouts à faire valoir et les projets de coordination et d'actions de soutien peuvent être extrêmement efficaces, tel ce cas pilote pour accélérer le captage, le transport et le stockage du carbone en Europe (CCS). Appelé Gateway, il « démontre comment transporter le CO2 émis en Europe vers un lieu de stockage central en mer du Nord de façon simple, sûre et rentable», déclare Marie Bysveen, coordinatrice du projet financé par l'UE.




Rotterdam Nucleus fournira ainsi les bases d'une infrastructure pour le transport d'importants volumes de CO2 depuis l'Europe continentale vers des sites de stockage situés dans des zones néerlandaises et britanniques de la mer du Nord. Cette technologie permet d'éviter que de grandes quantités de dioxyde de carbone (CO2), émises par les combustibles fossiles, ne pénètrent dans l'atmosphère.


« Il pourrait s'agir d'une étape fondamentale vers le déploiement du CCS en Europe», souligne Madame Bysveen.


Pour atteindre les objectifs climatiques à long terme d'une réduction de 80 à 95 % des émissions de CO2 par rapport aux années 1990, le CSS serait une solution d'atténuation essentielle dans les secteurs industriel et énergétique.


Réduire les coûts d'exploitation à tout prix !


Soutenu également par l’UE, I-Fusion est un projet de véhicule à alimentation intelligente qui permet d’analyser la qualité des carburants en temps réel et de transmettre les données jusqu’à l’ordinateur chargé du contrôle du moteur. Ces informations lui permettront d’optimiser son fonctionnement et donc d’en limiter les coûts.


« Le capteur fonctionne comme un scanner infrarouge qui identifie chaque 20 secondes la structure moléculaire du carburant, son ADN », indique Alain Lunati, président de la société SPH3.



Le capteur optique a été pensé et conçu par la société aixoise SPH3
spécialisée dans la recherche de solutions éco-innovantes (Photo Philippe Maillé)


Les industriels européens en profiteront-ils pour se mobiliser davantage en faveur du moteur diesel et plus largement du moteur thermique ?


Faut-il chercher sans cesse à optimiser une technique ancienne ou investir massivement dans les technologies de demain ?

Deux grandes tendances traversent actuellement le secteur automobile, si on excepte l’émergence du véhicule autonome dont il sera question ensuite: la mobilité durable (sustainable mobility) et la nouvelle expérience de vie à bord (smart life on board). Leur potentiel de croissance est estimé de 60 à 65 milliards d’euros d’ici à 2025.


Le véhicule autonome comme relais de croissance


L’appel à projets 2018-2020 d’Horizon 2020 (voir encadré) cible en particulier un meilleur déploiement des véhicules connectés et automatisés. Les bénéfices attendus devront se mesurer par le degré d’acceptabilité de la société, mais encore par les impacts socio-économiques et environnementaux.


Plus précisément, le programme ART (Automated Road transport) couvre l’étude de la fiabilité et la sécurité de flottes de véhicules en zone urbaine, hautement automatisés et partagés, des services intelligents et des concepts de gestion de flotte innovants. Les objectifs sont d’accroître la sécurité, l’efficacité et le confort de l’utilisateur ainsi que « l’habitabilité » des villes.


L’autre sujet phare est appelé « mobilité pour la croissance » et a pour ambition d’allier compétitivité et bien être des citoyens, dans un contexte de réduction des émissions de carbone et de sécurité. Par exemple, doivent être mis en œuvre des moyens de transport plus performants et utilisant des technologies de pointe, favorisant une plus grande accessibilité, ainsi qu’une mobilité plus silencieuse et plus sûre.


Enfin le thème « véhicules verts » d’H 2020 pour la même période vise un transport propre et une société décarbonée. Les appels à projets sont ciblés sur les aspects critiques de l’introduction massive des véhicules électriques, ce dont personne ne doute même si elle tarde à se réaliser.


La progression des véhicules électriques en France



Or la demande croissante en voitures électriques va de pair avec le développement de moteurs et de transmissions électriques efficaces et silencieux.


Ainsi une équipe de scientifiques roumains, là encore financée par l'UE dans le cadre d’H 2020, a utilisé une approche multi-physique pour simuler les moteurs synchrones à aimants permanents (PSMS) et les moteurs à réluctance commutée (SRM) au niveau du composant.


Les travaux du projet ont couvert l'ensemble du processus de modélisation, depuis le développement initial jusqu'à la conception détaillée des composants, en prenant en compte tous les aspects importants tels les performances et la gestion énergétique, la sécurité, l'autonomie, le confort et le bruit.


Bien sûr l’innovation ne vaut que si la demande existe. Est ce que le marché des véhicules électriques se résume encore à l'insoluble équation entre le manque d’infrastructures, le manque de voitures développées par les constructeurs et le manque d’incitation des gouvernements? Pas si sûr.


L'Agence internationale de l'énergie (AIE ) salue en effet la progression du marché des véhicules électriques et surtout les projets en la matière, notamment le programme prévoyant en France 7 millions de bornes de recharge en 2030.


Est-ce vraiment réaliste ? A ce jour, environ 15 000 bornes de recharge ont été déployées dans l’espace public par les collectivités et les acteurs privés (Auchan, EDF, Ikea, Nissan…). A cette infrastructure s’ajouteront, d’ici à 2019, près de 20 000 nouvelles bornes financées via le Programme des Investissements d’Avenir (PIA). Le parc français de véhicules électriques et hybrides rechargeables est estimé aujourd’hui à 100 000 unités.


Photo D.R


Sur ce sujet, Laurent Michel, directeur général de l'énergie et du climat au ministère du Développement durable, souligne la grande inertie d'un secteur qui implique de transformer aussi bien un système que des parcs de véhicules. Il en appelle à Bruxelles pour édicter des standards pour les véhicules légers mais aussi pour les poids-lourds qui sillonnent l'Europe de part en part.


Vers quel avenir roulons-nous ?


Pour Paul Simons, directeur exécutif adjoint de l'AIE, le double enjeu consiste pour le pays à transformer, dans le même temps, son système énergétique et l'organisation de son marché. C’est ici que se trouve exactement le talon d’Achille de l’Europe : les intérêts des différents pays de l’UE ne convergent pas forcément.


Ainsi Alain Trannoy et Vincent Aussilloux soulignent pour conclure que l’Europe doit offrir toutes les qualités d’un marché unique et permettre de « rentabiliser sur un ensemble de grande dimension des investissements lourds » afin de bénéficier d’économies d’échelle.

« Même sans la décision du président Trump, bâtir le marché unique de l’énergie pour et, ainsi, réaliser la transition prévue par l’Accord de Paris au plus bas coût possible, est dans l’intérêt des consommateurs européens».

Alors saurons-nous relever le défi d’une primauté globale pour l'industrie européenne des transports, comme l’UE la réclame de ses voeux?


C’est le moment d’accélérer. Si les tendances se poursuivent au rythme actuel, le nombre de passagers devrait augmenter de moitié en Europe d’ici à 2050, échéance des travaux de prospective sur les transports menés par la France et l’Union européenne. Quant au transport de marchandises, on estime qu’il devrait croître de quelque 80 %.


Le saviez-vous?


Les axes majeurs de l’appel à projets 2018-2020


Le chantier H 2020 pour 2018-2020 a été présenté à Paris, le 10 novembre dernier, par Bastien Pincanon de l’UPEM (Université Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée) et référent national Transport.


Ce programme de travail prend en compte les besoins des citoyens, entreprises et marchés européens, le développement durable au niveau international et la lutte contre le changement climatique (COP21 et objectifs fixés par l’ONU), ainsi que l’évaluation à mi-parcours d’Horizon 2020 avec une importance accrue accordée aux activités d’innovation et de démonstration.


photo D.R




4 domaines clés ont été définis:


  1. Construire un avenir avec faibles émissions de carbone et procédés résistants aux phénomènes climatiques,
  2. Numériser et transformer l’industrie et les services,
  3. Relier les avantages économiques et environnementaux dans une économie circulaire
  4. Renforcer l’efficacité en matière de sécurité.



Par Didier Rougeyron, journaliste

Ecomobility Trending in Small Island States


Soldiers of the Kansas National Guard work to clear Road 123 in Arecibo, Puerto Rico in support of recovery efforts after Hurricane
Maria, November 29, 2017 (Photo by Sgt. Alexis Vélez / Kansas National Guard)


The world's 50 Small Island Developing States, or SIDS, are among the most vulnerable places on Earth. Surrounded by oceans, they share sustainable development challenges, such as small but growing populations, limited resources, remoteness, susceptibility to natural disasters, vulnerability to external shocks, excessive dependence on international trade, and fragile environments.


Climate change is forecast to increase their exposure to hurricanes, storm surges, extreme winds, and flooding. SIDS in the Caribbean, Pacific, Africa and Indian Ocean are particularly vulnerable. Their growth and development has been held back by high communication, energy and transportation costs.


Now, these small countries are joining forces to substitute renewable transport fuels for diesel and build back from disasters to strengthen their resilience.


"Islands are leading innovative solutions for the necessity of our people’s and countries' survival. Strong partnerships are critical to making these solutions a reality. I call on you to join our Global Island Partnership to work together to build resilient and sustainable island communities," said Tommy E. Remengesau Jr., president of Palau and leader of the Global Island Partnership.


The United Nations' annual climate summit was this year hosted by the small and remote Pacific island state of Fiji, although it was held in Bonn, Germany, the location of the Secretariat of the UN Convention on Climate Change, a more easily accessed location than Fiji for delegations from the nearly 191 nations who attended.


Fiji knows what it means to deal with natural disasters. In February 2016, Tropical Cyclone Winston, the Southern Hemisphere’s strongest tropical storm on record, blasted across Fiji, claiming 36 lives and destroying buildings, roads and bridges throughout the country.


All reports indicate the scale of destruction is beyond anything experienced before in Fiji,” said Ambassador Peter Thomson, Fiji’s permanent representative to the United Nations.


This year, Hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated small island states in the Caribbean and the U.S. Caribbean territory of Puerto Rico.


Nearly all small islands states are totally dependent on fossil fuels for their transportation fuel. In small and isolated systems, small diesel units are preferred. But diesel has two drawbacks: high generation costs and high levels of pollution.


Although today most drivers in small island states fuel their cars and trucks with diesel, they contribute a miniscule amount of the total greenhouse gas pollution that drives climate change.


Yet many of these small island states are determined to lead the warming world out of dependence on fossil fuels and towards transport resilience.


Nissan began selling the all-electric LEAF in Puerto Rico in 2014, although with much of its power knocked out by Hurricane Maria in September, LEAF owners can't charge their batteries yet.


As of October 2015, Honda has been testing solar-powered charging stations for electric cars in the Marshall Islands, a island nation of 53,000 people. With support from the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Honda and the Marshall Islands government are conducting a pilot test program using the charging stations and a small fleet of Honda Fit EV electric cars.


Results will determine whether more widespread installation of charging infrastructure throughout the Marshall Islands would be worthwhile.


Strategic Partners: Coastal Cities and Small Island States


Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI) and the Global Islands Partnership (GLISPA) debuted a new partnership at the COP23 climate negotiations in Bonn, Germany in November.


The partnership, Front-Line Cities and Islands, is a coalition of coastal cities and islands on the front lines of climate change, that are working to build resilience through coastal city-to-island partnerships.


At the heart of the initiative are coastal city-to-island partnerships that will pave the way for new and innovative planning and funding mechanisms that advance resilience, clean transport and energy, sustainable tourism and post-disaster recovery.


Among the first pairings is between Lautoka, Fiji and Bonn, Germany, host city of COP23. They will work together to address the vulnerabilities of islands, cities and their inhabitants.


Although they contribute to less than one percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, small island states have few defenses in the face of climate change.


They face inundation from sea level rise, increased frequency and intensity of storms, heavy rainfall, strong winds, flooding and coastal inundation that damage roads and bridges, cutting off travel on the islands, sometimes for months.


Rapid urbanization in island towns can exacerbate impacts on fragile coastal and ocean ecosystems.


Front-Lines Cities and Islands will work to address these threats.


“Islands are preparing for and anticipating shocks and stresses, but more can and should be done. They are on the front lines of climate change and resilience building on these islands is critical,” said Gino Van Begin, secretary general of ICLEI.

Front-Line Cities and Islands is a step in the right direction, forging strategic partnership between cities and islands facing common climate-related risks and hazards.”


Front-Line Cities and Islands is supported by many regional and international agencies, including the COP23 Presidency. It is also championed by mayors and leaders of islands from Nadi and Suva in Fiji, the city of Cozumel in Mexico, Honiara in the Solomon Islands, Castries in Saint Lucia, Vacoas Phoenix in Mauritius, Palau and many others.


Palau itself is strengthening the resilience of marine ecosystems, Hawaii was an early mover on climate and sustainability and Cozumel, Mexico has shown leadership on sustainable, smart development.


Mayor Perla Tun Pech of Cozumel said, "We are here to unite our voices and thereby generate co-responsibility and commitment with the inhabitants of the world."


Resilient Transport Vital to Curb SIDS Disaster Losses


Students riding in the back of a truck along the road in Honiara, Solomon Islands. The Second Road Improvement Project
will replace or upgrade about 30 water crossings, reconstruct about 20 kilometers of roads, and relocate some roads
for climate change adaptation across three provinces in the Solomon Islands. (Photo courtesy Asian Development Bank)




The transport sector can play a central role in reducing the vulnerability of SIDS finds a new report issued November 15 by the World Bank.


The report, entitled "Climate and Disaster-Resilient Transport in Small Island Developing States: A Call for Action," finds that damage to roads and bridges constitutes a major share of disaster losses in SIDS, resulting in huge fiscal strains for their small economies.


Transport often represents a large share of public assets in small islands. In Dominica, for instance, transport assets are valued at 82 percent of GDP. In Fiji, one-third of the total government budget is spent on the transport sector.


Transport is critical to the economy and for the provision of services to remote communities,” said Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, Fiji's minister for economy. “Our transport infrastructure is already affected by climate change. There is an urgent need to develop tailored and climate smart solutions to improve the resilience of this sector. This report makes a valuable contribution by highlighting innovative solutions focused on small island developing states.”


According to the report, disaster vulnerability and costs in SIDS can be reduced by investments in transport asset management that factor in climate change and disaster risks.


This includes placement of transport infrastructure away from high risk locations, physical protection against hazards, application of innovative materials and construction designs, infrastructure maintenance, and deployment of early warning systems, among others.


The effects of hurricanes Irma and Maria on the Caribbean are a stark reminder of how natural disasters can set vulnerable small countries back by decades,” said Franz Drees-Gross, World Bank director for transport and digital development.


As climate change increases the frequency and intensity of extreme weather, small island developing states face the urgent need to adapt. Resilient transport systems should be a priority in that effort, due to the large recovery costs and the critical role they play in all aspects of their economies.”


In addition to the direct costs of physical damage, limited economic diversification and low capacity to cope, aggravated by impaired transport systems, result in critical losses to residents' income and well-being.


Lack of transport can compound human and economic losses, and greatly delay restoration of critical services such as access to schools and hospitals.


World Bank researchers find that the adoption of a transport resilience package could reduce losses. In Tonga, for example, the report finds such a package could reduce well-being losses by as much as 25 percent.


SIDS will need better access to financial instruments, the report notes. The Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), managed by the World Bank, provides risk finance and transfer facilities, but the report finds these efforts need to be strengthened and complemented by additional financial resources to enhance the resilience of transport systems.


What makes resilient transport especially critical for SIDS are the large recovery costs, the dependency on infrastructure for which there is no redundancy, and the major role transport systems play in their economies.


Transport often represents a large share of public assets in small islands, for example in Dominica transport assets are valued at 82 percent of GDP, and in Fiji, one-third of the total government budget is spent on the transport sector.


The good news is that it is possible to reduce disaster vulnerability and costs in SIDS. Resilient transport policies alone could decrease the impact of natural disasters on population well-being by 13 to 25 percent in small island countries.


To achieve this, it points to a new strategic approach to investments in transport asset management, which factor in climate change and disaster risks, such as placement of transport infrastructure away from high risk locations, physical protection against hazards, application of innovative materials and construction designs, infrastructure maintenance, and deployment of early warning systems.


Using many real case studies from across the globe, and with key contributions from numerous SIDS, the report lays out a path forward for replicating best practices and deploying resilient transport infrastructure in SIDS.


As Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, Minister of Economy of Fiji, commented during the launch, “Small Island Developing States bear the brunt of climate change, in some cases threatening their very existence. The report is a valuable contribution to help countries such as Fiji respond to this ever more urgent challenge, adopting solutions tailored to our special circumstances, and mobilizing the needed international adaptation finance.”


Download the full report at:


Southeast Asia Cool on EVs, Warm on Biofuels



Fruits of the oil palm tree yield a combustible biofuel that can power vehicles. January 20, 2017
West Kalimantan, a province in the Indonesian part of the island of Borneo.
(Photo courtesy Center for International Forestry Research, CIFOR)



The latest Southeast Asia Energy Outlook from the International Energy Agency (IEA) provides detailed energy projections and analysis to 2040 for a region that is increasingly influential in global trends and that has growing engagement with the International Energy Agency.


The 10 countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) represent one of the most dynamic parts of the global energy system, and their energy demand has grown by 60 percent over the past 15 years.


There are many encouraging signs, says the International Energy Agency report. Countries across the region have made major efforts in recent years to upgrade policy frameworks, reform fossil-fuel consumption subsidies, increase regional co-operation and encourage greater investment in the region’s considerable renewable energy potential.


But much more remains to be done.


Electricity is the main source of growth in final energy use and accounts for the largest share of the increase in final consumption, the report predicts. Two-thirds of the increase in Southeast Asia’s electricity demand comes from the residential and services sectors, largely due to a rising urban middle class.


Industrial electricity demand more than doubles by 2040, pushed higher by the lighter industrial branches that are a mainstay of the region’s economic activity.


"One area where electrification makes less progress is the transport sector," the report states. "In the absence, for the moment, of supportive policies, electric mobility does not gain much of a foothold in our projections."


Instead, energy use in the transport sector remains dominated by oil products, with policy efforts to diversify the mix focusing on biofuels.


Biofuels can bring energy security and environmental benefits, although that would require that palm oil production is managed sustainably, an important policy issue for the main producer countries, Indonesia and Malaysia.


A July report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) says Southeast Asia has considerable resources to produce liquid biofuels sustainably, using biomass feedstocks that would not cause carbon dioxide emissions or interfere with food supply.


Fulfilling the region’s biofuel potential would depend on increased residue collection from food crops and forest products, intensified cultivation of farmland, and reducing waste and losses in the food chain.


With conversion to advanced liquid biofuels, sustainable biomass feedstock could potentially cover two-fifths of the region’s projected needs for transport fuel if less were diverted to residential heating and cooking. An assessment by the bioenergy team at IRENA, predicts that advanced biofuels could provide as much as 7.3 exajoules of primary energy a year in Southeast Asia by 2050, or half of the region’s total primary bioenergy potential.


The practice of using palm oil for biodiesel is common among oil palm smallholders, who produce biodiesel to fuel transportation in their local area.


But cultivation of oil palm for biofuel is controversial because it occurs in some of the world’s most biodiverse areas. If peatland and forest are cleared to grow oil palm, not only can biodiversity in the area be harmed but a large amount of carbon stored in the forest vegetation and peat soil is released back into the atmosphere, negating the benefits of the reduced greenhouse gas emissions from burning the biofuel.


Download the IEA Southeast Asia Energy Outlook at:


Fiji Switching From Diesel to LPG


Liquid petroleum gas (LPG) is a flammable mixture of propane and butane used as fuel in heating appliances, cooking equipment and vehicles. Autogas is the common name for LPG when it is used as a vehicle fuel.


The first LPG powered car was driven in Fiji in the mid-70s. The conversion of a Mazda Ute from petrol to LPG was carried out by Harvie Probert, who today serves as general manager of Fiji Chemicals Ltd and Tonga Gas Ltd. The first distribution for auto gas was in Walu Bay with Mobil. The adoption of LPG was slow in the early days.


It was not until the 21st century that LPG as a motor fuel took off in Fiji. Fiji Gas worked with taxi drivers to convince them that it is in their best interest to use a clean fuel. The company worked with the government to encourage the use of clean fuels in Fiji by making LPG powered cars duty free.


In 2006 the change in duty was made and since then the use of LPG has grown enormously. Fiji Gas has more than 20 auto gas outlets across thte island of Viti Levu. They opened their first outlet in Vanua Levu earlier this year and have plans to grow the number of auto gas outlets in the future.


At the turn of the century there were fewer than 100 LPG motor vehicles in Fiji. Now there are about 2,500. This growth has in LPG has come at the same time that the environment has become increasingly important to Fiji and the world.


Many people who consider LPG as an alternative to petrol do so because they believe that the combustion of propane results in lower CO2 emissions. But the jury is still out on this matter.


In fact, two recent studies found conflicting results in terms of the production of hydrocarbons from the burning of LPG.


The first study found a significant increase of CO2 emissions compared to petrol, and the other showed a slight increase at a low engine load but a considerable decrease at a high engine load.


There is no worse image for a tourist destination than to see a tourist in a taxi with filthy smoke issuing from the tailpipe. With auto gas that is a sight that no one will ever see.


LPG burns cleaner than petrol and therefore emissions of particulates are very low. LPG is non-toxic, non-corrosive and free of tetra-ethyl lead and additives.


Getting Practical: A Better Pavement Technology



Geo cell formwork for low-volume roads in Tuvalu and Kiribati 2017
(Photo by Oliver Whalley courtesy The World Bank)


Coral atolls in the Pacific islands are adopting innovative methods and materials to promote coastal protection and reduce vulnerability to sea level rise and storm surges due to climate change and tropical cyclones.


Tuvalu and Kiribati, supported by the World Bank, have been experimenting with a different type of pavement, using geo cells, for the construction of low-volume roads, and the technology has proven to be ideally suited to these remote island states.


Geo cell pavements can be constructed with local labor and portable equipment, using a high-density polyethylene (HPDE) formwork that is light and easy to transport.


Geo cell pavements use flexible plastic webbing made of high-density polyethylene into which concrete is poured, creating interlocking shapes that efficiently transfer traffic loads.


The result is a flexible sheet of concrete blocks which transfer wheel loads to the underlying soil. Each individual block is supported by surrounding blocks, spreading the load to the underlying subgrade.


While thin cracks form between the blocks, these don’t allow water pass through. The road surface can be set on compacted subgrade without laying down aggregate base and subbase layers, a key factor which contributes to cost savings compared with traditional pavements.


Constructing a geo cell pavement is simpler than laying a bituminous pavement, and it can be done using either labor or equipment based methods.


Oliver George Whalley, a project engineer with the World Bank, wrote in a February 2016 issue of "Connections" a weekly from the World Bank Group’s Transport & Information and Communication Technology Global Practice, "Developing countries need affordable options for extending paved road networks into rural areas. A versatile new construction method using low-cost concrete poured into flexible plastic webbing offers a promising alternative."


Geo cell pavements were developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1975 for erosion control, soil stabilization, and channel protection. Filling the cells with concrete and using them for pavement is a more recent development, brought to fruition with the help of research at the University of Pretoria, South Africa.


Geo cell pavements cost less to build and maintain than concrete, asphalt, or chip seal pavements, wrote Whalley.


Geo cells have recently been used in a World Bank project on the Pacific island of Kiribati, where 4.4 miles of pothole-ridden, unsealed feeder roads were upgraded with geo cell pavement.


The cost of supplying road construction materials to the remote coral atoll from Fiji, some 1,200 miles away, presented obstacles to traditional construction methods. Geo cell pavements offered the opportunity to save 28 percent of the cost of chip seal surfacing and 47 percent of the cost of asphalt.


The contractor noted long lead times for getting the geo cell formwork and reported difficulty achieving a sufficiently fluid concrete mix. But the challenges were resolved, and the new pavements have enhanced the accessibility of the communities they serve.


The success in Kiribati prompted the neighboring Pacific island nation of Tuvalu to employ geo cells in its new road project.


Whalley wrote, "The new pavement technology has been used in Africa, the Middle East, Australia, and the Pacific, offering an affordable way to improve accessibility for poorer remote areas. Geo cell pavements that link rural traders and farmers to market centers could become an important tool in the effort to eliminate extreme poverty."


By Sunny Lewis – Environment News Service