Green Fleet Roundup: BYD, GE, Virgin, SkyNRG, Alcoa
BYD will begin making electric buses (pictured) and large-scale batteries at two manufacturing facilities in Lancaster, Calif., the company says. These mark the first manufacturing facilities in the US for BYD Motors, a Los Angeles-based subsidiary of the Chinese firm BYD (short for Build Your Dreams) Company. Last month, the Long Beach Transit Authority awarded BYD a $12.1 contract to build 10 all-electric buses.
GE Capital’s Equipment Finance business has signed a three-year agreement to provide financing for commercial purchases of Global Electric Motorcars (GEM). Owned by Polaris Industries, GEM produces electric low-speed vehicles that are typically used by municipalities, hotels, resorts, and property and facility maintenance departments.
Virgin Australia, Brisbane Airport and sustainable jet fuel maker SkyNRG have announced a feasibility study into the creation of Australia’s first “bio-port” at Brisbane Airport. The three parties have agreed to enter a memorandum of understanding that will see them work together towards enabling aircraft to be fueled with sustainable bio-jet fuel at Brisbane Airport. The feasibility study, expected to take 12 months to complete, will involve researching the locally available feedstocks in Queensland, sustainable and cost-effective methods for transporting them and the most appropriate technology for converting them into biofuel.
Electric vehicle technology provider T3 Motion has entered in to a strategic manufacturing agreement with McDonald Technologies, a manufacturing services provider. Under the terms of the agreement, T3 Motion will collaborate with McDonald Technologies on the manufacturing of its current Patroller and Vision series EVs as well as the development of an advanced third-generation EV to be launched in Q4 2013.
Alcoa will invest $275 million over the next three years to expand and convert capacity at its rolling mill in Alcoa, Tenn., to support automotive producers’ plans to use more aluminum sheet to increase cars and light trucks’ fuel efficiency. The company says this is its second major North American expansion to meet the growing demand for light, durable and recyclable aluminum sheet for automotive production. Alcoa previously announced a $300 million expansion of its Davenport, Iowa plant, scheduled for completion by the end of this year. The Tennessee expansion is scheduled to begin this month and be completed by mid-2015. When finished, the plant will be a key supplier to both the packaging and automotive markets.
Modern Transportation has deployed freight service to the Owens Corning roofing plant in Savannah, Ga., using trucks powered by 12-liter natural gas-fueled engines. The high-volume, dedicated service established between Sanford, NC and Savannah is the first-ever built around commercial-order, production-built engines (Cummins Westport ISX12 G) fueled exclusively with liquefied natural gas, the company says.
Venchurs Vehicle Systems, a qualified vehicle modifier of CNG conversions for Ford Motor Company, says it will offer a new price point for the 6.2L F-250 and F-350 CNG conversions (bi-fuel and dedicated). The 23.5GGE system utilizes the new 3M tank, and will be priced at $8,350, which Venchurs says this is the industry leading price point.
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