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Green Fleets Briefing: Ikea, Waste Management, Exxon and NYC

Swedish furniture giant Ikea has announced a partnership with Ecotality Inc to host Blink electric vehicle charging stations at select Ikea stores at 10 stores across Arizona, California, Oregon, and Washington. Some charging stations could be operational by fall 2011.

Americans are resisting a move to more fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles largely because of confusion over the differences between types of cars, according to a new survey by Johnson Controls. Forty-five percent of those surveyed said there are too few options when it comes to hybrid vehicles, while 39 percent of those surveyed had no idea what the differences are between types of fuel-efficient vehicles such as start-stop vehicles and hybrids.

Under current electric vehicle tariffs, recharging EVs always works out cheaper than refueling their conventional gasoline-powered equivalents, research by Northeast Group has found. In the most likely electric vehicle charging scenarios, costs were approximately one-tenth to half the costs of fueling a conventional vehicle.

But simply “plugging in” one million electric cars could add $750 million in annual wholesale energy costs unless “smart charging” is adopted, according to a joint study conducted by PJM and Better Place. Conversely, smart charging one million electric cars via a central network operator can cut in half the increase in wholesale energy costs, while reducing driving costs by one-fifth, the research says.

LG Chem Power has come out on top in a ranking of electric vehicle power packs. The company was rated best Li-ion battery-maker in the ranking by Lux Research.

Virginia governor Bob McDonnell has signed into law two pieces of legislation that promote the use of alternative fuel vehicles in the commonwealth. The legislation will begin transitioning state vehicles to run on alternative fuels.

Mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg has announced the addition of 70 new electric vehicles to the city’s fleet. The new vehicles include 50 new “extended range” hybrid Chevrolet Volts, ten fully electric Ford Transit Connect cargo vans, and ten new fully electric Navi-star “E-star” utility trucks.

The city of Beijing has put 1,060 electric sanitation trucks into service. These electric-only, commercial-duty trucks will conduct tasks such as transporting garbage, sweeping streets and scooping up roadkill.

Waste Management has added a 1,000th natural gas truck to its fleet, making it the largest owner and operator of clean-running, heavy duty refuse trucks in North America.

San Diego is to host North America’s first 100 percent electric car sharing program. Daimler subsidiary Car2go will operate the scheme in the Californian city.

Michigan-based Consumers Energy have announced the availability of ten plug-in electric vehicle charging stations located statewide.

Exxon Mobil Corp. will offer biodiesel in four Texas terminals by the end of the summer. The fuel will be up to five percent biodiesel and will be offered at terminals in Pasadena, Irving, Tyler and North Houston.

Smart USA is to launch an advertising campaign aimed at improving flagging sales of its micro cars (pictured), Autoweek has reported. The company was recently acquired by Mercedes Benz, and the German parent company is said to be keen on getting sales back on track.

DTE Energy has received a $5.4 million federal grant through the Clean Energy Coalition to fund the conversion of more than 170 gasoline-powered fleet vehicles to run on compressed natural gas.

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