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Fleet Roundup: Mazda, Audi, Renewable Energy Group, AeroVironment

Mazda Motorsports will supply racing versions of its SKYACTIV-D clean diesel engines (pictured) to customer teams competing in GRAND-AM’s GX Class for advanced/clean technologies, beginning with the 2013 season. The SKYACTIV-D reduces fuel consumption up to 20 percent, reduces internal engine friction by 20 percent and reduces weight by 10 percent compared to Mazda’s current production 2.2L MZR-CD diesel engine, the automaker said.

Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide has delivered the first pilot version of its Plug-In Hybrid Electric F-150 pickup truck to Florida Power & Light Company with Dow Kokam, the lithium-ion battery system supplier for the hybrid pickup. Quantum’s “F-Drive” parallel hybrid drive system powers the pickup—first 35 miles on a series-hybrid electric zero emission mode, followed by a parallel-hybrid drive mode that extends the range up to 600 miles, and yielding a 100+ mpg fuel efficiency depending on the drive cycle.

G&K Services has placed hybrid electric diesel step vans into service in its locations in Northern California. The pilot program will test hybrid electric trucks in its fleet of delivery vehicles. G&K obtained the vehicles in partnership with California’s Hybrid Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project.

Biodiesel producer Renewable Energy Group said it will establish a B100 wholesale terminal at its yet-to-be-completed biodiesel plant near Clovis, N.M, with product available in July. The company says the 15 million gallon per year biodiesel facility, called REG Clovis, is about 40 percent complete.

Audi has posted a video of Audi of America employees, or “e-pilots” testing the battery-electric A3 prototype. It’s part of the company’s e-tron electric vehicle pilot project, launched in February.

The Washington State Department of Transportation and EV-charging station maker AeroVironment have opened 10 new public charging stations in Washington, allowing EV drivers access to charging stations from Seattle to the Canadian border. Eight of the 10 feature AeroVironment’s DC fast chargers, which the company says deliver a full charge in less than 30 minutes; all locations include AeroVironment Level 2 chargers. The EV charging stations are part of the larger West Coast Electric Highway project, a transportation corridor from the Canadian to Mexican borders along I-5 that fully supports electric vehicles.


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