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Fleet Roundup: Fuel Standards, TVA, Mazda, Chevy, Nissan, McCain’s ‘Joke’

Here’s a round-up of the latest environmental fleet news.

California has pushed back the launch date for its new fuel economy and greenhouse gas (GHG) standards from March to the autumn. Both California and federal U.S. standards will now debut by September 1, 2011. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have promised to coordinate their efforts.

The standards will apply to 2017-2025 cars and light duty trucks. Stanley Young, a spokesman for the California Air Resources Board, told USA Today that some scientific and engineering studies are not yet done, and “we wanted to be sure that data was available.”

DOT and EPA set fuel economy and GHG standards for 2012-2016 light duty cars and trucks in April 2010. These vehicles must meet a combined average emissions level of 250 grams of carbon dioxide per mile in model year 2016. Last fall, California accepted those federal standards as meeting the state requirements it adopted in 2004.

Today the Electric Power Research Institute and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) are unveiling a prototype for a car charging station that uses solar power and batteries.  Rooftop solar panels will generate up to 12 kW and will feed the grid when not in direct use. The pilot was announced last summer.

The institute and the TVA hope to install 125 parking stalls, mainly in Knoxville, Nashville and Chattanooga, and mostly by the end of 2011.

Mazda is the latest company to enter the electric vehicle (EV) market and says it hopes to have EVs available to lease in Japan in spring 2012. The vehicle is based on Mazda’s Demio subcompact, also known as the Mazda2 (pictured), and is expected to have a 124-mile driving range. It will mainly be leased to corporate and government customers.

GM will begin selling its plug-in hybrid Chevy Volt in China by the end of the year. China, where the model will be called the Wolanda, will be the Volt’s first market outside of the U.S.  Unnamed sources say Chevy plans to double 2012 Volt production to 120,000. Earlier this month General Motors Co. chief executive officer Dan Akerson said the company may this year increase Volt output to 25,000 from an original plan of 10,000.

Meanwhile Nissan said today it would add overtime and holidays at one if its Japanese factories to bring production of its Leaf electric car up to full speed. The company had closed reservations after taking orders for 6,000 Leafs in Japan and 20,000 in the U.S.

Finally, two days after the EPA raised the proportion of ethanol permitted for cars built in 2001 or later, Arizona senator and former presidential candidate John McCain branded ethanol “a joke”. McCain told CBS’s “Face the Nation” that programs promoting the fuel are a waste of money. “We have to go after the sacred cows and then we have to go after entitlements,” he said.

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3 thoughts on “Fleet Roundup: Fuel Standards, TVA, Mazda, Chevy, Nissan, McCain’s ‘Joke’

  1. If it isn’t a joke, it’s a scam. The higher the percentage of ethanol used, the lower the HP and MPG, and the higher the wear and tear on engines. It also raises the price of corn and pork.

  2. Battery electric cars like the Volt with generator back-up are the solution, although Diesel may be a better back-up fuel for the generator than gas.

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