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Green Fleet Roundup: EV Chargers from ABB and Fuji, US Hybrid Market, Apps for Vehicles

ABB has launched its Terra SmartConnect 20kW DC fast charger (pictured) with delivery in North and South America in the second quarter. Initial shipments will support the CHAdeMO fast-charging standard, with SAE / Combined Charging System units available later this year. The charger is designed for commercial and office areas. It will fully replenish an electric car in 120 minutes, and take the battery of currently available EVs from 30 percent to 80 percent in less than half an hour, the company said.

Fuji Electric Corp. of America announced the beginning of production of its UL-Certified DC Quick Chargers for Electric Vehicles, with March seeing the first production units shipping out of Milpitas, Calif. The manufacturer’s fourth-generation 25kW DC fast charger is built to the CHAdeMO specification and allows EV owners to charge their vehicles in under an hour.

Nissan North America reported its best-ever sales month for the Nissan LEAF. March sales totaled 2,236 deliveries, a month-over-month increase of 286.2 percent. March was also the first full month of deliveries from the assembly plant in Smyrna, Tenn. The Nissan line had its overall best sales month in its history, the manufacturer said. GM reports that Chevy sold 1,478 Volts last month, down 35.4 percent from March 2012 when the manufacturer sold 2,289 of its plug-in hybrid vehicles.

Overall, hybrids now command a 4 percent share of the US auto market after staying relatively stagnant at a less than 3 percent market share. This number could double by 2020. Hybrid sales were up 32 percent in the first two months of 2013 compared with the same period last year. In California, which is the largest US auto market, the Toyota Prius beat the gasoline-powered Honda Civic as the state’s bestselling vehicle in 2012, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The Energy Department announced winners of its Apps for Vehicles Challenge. The competition asked app developers and entrepreneurs to demonstrate how open vehicles data can be used to improve vehicle safety, fuel efficiency and comfort. The department awarded the diagnostics and analytics app Dash the judges’ prize, and MyCarma, a personalized fuel economy app, the popular choice prize. The Green Button Gamer won the safety innovation award, and Fuel Economy Coach received the fuel efficiency innovation award.

Eaton has launched a new family of UltraShift PLUS transmissions designed for Navistar to maximize fuel efficiency in linehaul applications. The two companies will co-release the products. The new 16-speed direct drive automated mechanical transmissions are designed with a 17 percent step between gears to optimize time in a diesel engine’s most efficient RPM zone and help reduce fuel consumption. The new UltraShift PLUS LSE (Linehaul Small-Step Efficiency) will be released initially with Navistar’s MaxxForce 13L SCR engines on the International branded vehicles and followed shortly thereafter with Cummins ISX15 engines. Fleet testing reported fuel economy improvements from 2 to 4 percent, the companies say.

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