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Green Fleet Briefing: Hertz, Marriot, Linc Group, Lightweighting, New Camry Hybrid

Car rental firm Hertz has launched an electric vehicle car-sharing program at the San Francisco Marriot Waterfront. The Hertz On Demand venture is open to the hotel guests and the wider public and is the first electric vehicle car sharing program in downtown San Francisco.

The Linc Group has installed electric vehicle charging stations in Southern California. The stations were commissioned by regional air pollution control agency the South Coast Air Quality Management District. They are free to use and can be located using an iPhone application.

The automotive industry is gearing up for a major shift to lighter materials as governments in Europe, the U.S. and Japan introduce tighter restrictions on carbon emissions, according to a report by consultants Frost & Sullivan. Prevalent Substitution Trends within Materials and Chemicals in Automotive Lightweighting finds that the market for such products was $38 billion in 2010, and predicts this will reach $95.34 billion in 2017.

Lighter materials, improved aerodynamics and a new hybrid powertrain mean that the new 2012 Camry Hybrid LE, launched this week by Toyota, yields a more than 30 percent boost in fuel economy compared to the previous model. The 2012 model has an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 43 mpg city, 39 mpg highway and 41 mpg combined, Toyota says.

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