BMW, Ford, other automakers rev up carbon commitments

July 29, 2020 by  
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BMW, Ford, other automakers rev up carbon commitments Katie Fehrenbacher Wed, 07/29/2020 – 02:00 The world’s biggest automakers are ramping up their carbon commitments even as they struggle to build back in the wake of the pandemic.  This week, Germany’s BMW took the plunge and set a goal to reduce its carbon emissions per car by at least one-third by 2030. Like its peers, BMW plans to reach those targets through a combination of developing and selling electric vehicles (including newly announced electric versions of the 5 Series sedan and X1 compact SUV), combined with incorporating more sustainable materials, working with its supply chain vendors and adopting clean energy for facilities. Last month, Ford announced that the company would become carbon neutral by 2050, a striking commitment for an American automaker. Mary Wroten, director of sustainability at Ford, told GreenBiz that Ford is aiming for 2050 to align with the Paris Commitments and because “anything after 2050 is unacceptable climate change risk.” Several big European and Asian automakers already have started down this road. Volvo Cars — owned by China’s Geely Holding and not to be mistaken with Volvo Group — is pledging to become carbon neutral by 2040. By 2025, Volvo Cars plans to reduce the CO2 footprint of each car it makes by 40 percent.  We have an obligation to get electrification right.   Volkswagen, which has linked electric vehicles to its comeback following the emissions scandal, says it’ll be carbon neutral by 2050. “We have an obligation to get electrification right,” Volkswagen Group of America CEO Scott Keogh said in a release last year.  So what’s behind this carbon car company tipping point, even as automakers are expecting slower sales this year due to a global recession? Three macrotrends: Regulators in Europe and China are tightening emissions rules and driving automakers that sell into those markets to launch zero- and low-emissions vehicles. The U.S. at a federal level is lagging behind this movement, but states such as California have been acting much more aggressively to mandate emissions reductions targets for vehicles (such as the new Advanced Clean Truck rule). In general over the years, the auto industry has been slow to adopt zero-emission vehicle technologies. That has created an opening for upstart automakers such as Tesla, Rivian and Nikola Motors to emerge and gain customers from big auto. Rivian won a 100,000 electric delivery and freight truck deal with Amazon. Tesla is eligible to join the S&P 500 after four profitable quarters. Losing marketshare, and fear of losing marketshare, is a key driver of remaking the auto industry around sustainability.  Some automakers are using the struggles of the pandemic to lean into sustainability goals. “Build back better” is a refrain I’ve heard from a variety of transportation companies in recent weeks. In Europe, there’s a major push to fund clean transportation infrastructure, both EV chargers and hydrogen fueling, in stimulus packages.  What do you think? Are the automakers doing enough when it comes to carbon emissions? Love to hear your thoughts: katie@greenbiz.com . This article is adapted from GreenBiz’s weekly newsletter, Transport Weekly, running Tuesdays. Subscribe  here . Pull Quote We have an obligation to get electrification right. Topics Transportation & Mobility Automobiles Featured Column Driving Change Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off The BMW 7 series electric car at Bangkok Motor Show 2020.

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BMW, Ford, other automakers rev up carbon commitments

Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport incorporates natural fibers into body design

January 18, 2019 by  
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A race car made from flax and hemp? Count on Porsche to pull that off. The second generation Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport is built with the typical handling and speed capabilities you would expect, with one very different component—body parts derived from natural composite materials. A first in the racing world, Porsche has sourced natural fibers from agricultural byproducts such as flax and hemp fibers to create the doors and rear wing on the cars. With sustainability in mind, the Porsche company set out to find a substitute for standard carbon-fiber frames while ensuring similar performance, weight and control. But don’t think for a minute that a sustainable design can’t whip past the competition. In addition to decreasing the car’s carbon tireprint, the goal was to increase performance over the original design . The new 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport brings with it a 40 hp increase over the predecessor as well a redesigned driver’s cockpit that includes a welded-in safety cage, racing bucket seat and six-point harness. The 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport comes equipped with a 3.8-liter flat-six, 425 hp engine. Even with upgrades, the newer design is a lightweight at around 2,900 pounds. Related: Large scale 3D Printer capable of printing a motorcycle Two models are available. The “Trackday” is designed for amateur race drivers looking to hit the track with safety in mind and some aid from automatic systems like ABS, ESC and traction control assistance systems that ensure forgiving handling at the limit and can be deactivated. The “Trackday” costs just over $150,000. The “Competition” model targets professional circuit drivers with adjustable shock absorbers, a high-capacity safety fuel tank for less pit stops, an integrated air jack system to aid the pit crew and a quick-release racing steering wheel adopted from the 911 GT3 R that ensures a range of adjustment options for the individual needs of the drivers. The “Competition” model runs around $179,000. + Porsche Images via Porche

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Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport incorporates natural fibers into body design

Meet the driving force behind NASCAR Green, Catherine Kummer

January 14, 2019 by  
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The head of green Innovation and sustainability for the auto racing giant is directing traffic from the stars and the fans to the environment.

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Meet the driving force behind NASCAR Green, Catherine Kummer

How to implement the TCFD recommendations: a step-by-step guide

January 14, 2019 by  
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The Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) analyzed over 1,700 companies’ reporting — here are some best practices.

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How to implement the TCFD recommendations: a step-by-step guide

Nissan may soon offer a new subcompact electric car

October 21, 2016 by  
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Nissan ‘s electric car, the Leaf, has been around since the auto-manufacturer launched their 2011 model in December 2010. While there have been hints of a second generation Leaf , comments by Nissan Europe’s Electric Vehicle Director suggest the company may be working on a subcompact electric car instead. Electric Vehicle Director Gareth Dunsmore told Auto Express, “We’ve investing $5.4 billion in electric cars such as the Leaf, so we need to ensure we’re satisfying as many types of customer as possible. In Europe , that could mean looking towards B-segment hatches and SUVs or crossovers.” Thanks to an alliance with French automobile manufacturer Renault , the company has sold over 350,000 fully electric vehicles to date, including 200,000 Leafs. Renault’s ZOE, the best-selling B-segment electric car in Europe, is a five-door hatchback, and Auto Express said a Nissan subcompact electric car may be the ZOE’s “sister car” and even draw on its battery technology and platform. A Nissan subcompact car could be manufactured at the same facility as the ZOE in France, which would enable the facility to produce nearer to capacity. Related: GM’s European Brand Opel Will Be Next Automaker To Release a Subcompact EV However, a subcompact electric car might not be sold in the large American market – at least not initially. Green Car Reports said the market might respond better to an electric crossover. Dunsmore said, “The first people who bought EVs were the proud early adopters. The second people were the fleets. And the third people were families, who wanted affordability and practicality. The Leaf is well placed to deliver to those customers, and will continue to do so. If we look towards crossovers or the B-segment for the next car, those could make perfect sense.” Nissan Corporate Vice President Roel de Vries seemed to back up Dunsmore’s statement when he said, “…we are looking at where we can add more electric cars. The next step would be in another volume sector, which probably isn’t sports cars.” Via Green Car Reports and Auto Express Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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Intriguing ION2 installation in Seattle responds to the movement of passersby

October 21, 2016 by  
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The 98 acrylic panels of the five-foot-wide by seven-foot-tall ION2 prototype is controlled by a micro-servo motor that rotates each individual panel in response to external input and pre-programmed patterns. A Microsoft Kinect and a panel of 98 buttons create the two inputs to the system by picking up activity outside the storefront. A Grasshopper definition sends angle data to the servos through microprocessors that is then translated in the rotation of the acrylic panels. Related: Kinetic “Cloud Seeding” pavilion creates shade with 30,000 tiny balls made of recycled plastic bottles “The installations we build are like sketches, allowing us to physically manifest an idea and begin to see where our attention should be focused,” said Scott Crawford, LMN Tech Studio founding member. “Tech Studio plays a similar role for the office, exploring other directions of what could be next for building systems as well as the tools within our design process.” + LMN Architects

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Intriguing ION2 installation in Seattle responds to the movement of passersby

Martin Roth makes indoor lawns by growing real grass on aging Persian rugs

October 21, 2016 by  
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Now based in New York, Roth tends to his installations like a careful gardener, watering the grass seeds regularly until tiny grass roots take hold of the tough fibers of the rugs, which are often arranged in a patchwork covering an entire room. Over the course of the exhibit, the grass grows taller and the patches spread wider, covering more of the rugs as time wears on. Eventually, at the end of the exhibit run, the grass dies, practically consuming the rug’s fibers in the process. This is precisely what will happen at the Riptide show in London. Related: Living grass walls completely cover the interior of London’s Dilston Grove gallery Roth also works with other forms of plant life and animals in unusual ways. Many of his installations involve releasing animals into environments where you might not expect them (such as the 50 crickets he let loose in an industrial building) or back into the wild, as he did with six ducklings he rescued and cared for in his studio in 2010. In 2012, he turned an art gallery in Austria into a shallow aquarium by flooding the space and introducing several fish. There, at least, stepping stones were installed so visitors could still keep their feet dry, if they walked carefully enough. + Martin Roth Via Colossal Images via Martin Roth and Korean Cultural Center UK

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Martin Roth makes indoor lawns by growing real grass on aging Persian rugs

Auto Show – Less Green in 2014

January 15, 2014 by  
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As we’ve done for the past several years, EcoGeek went to this year’s North American International Auto Show (the Detroit Auto Show) to see what is new in clean and green transportation. However, this year’s displays continue to move away from a focus on environmental awareness as a major selling point. This has seemed to be the trend over the past few years . In retrospect, it seems that the peak of the green focus was probably the 2009 Detroit Show . Green isn’t gone entirely. MPG is still a factor that is touted at some brands, but it seems to matter no more than other numbers like horsepower or cargo volume that manufacturers use to compete with one another. Electric drive continues to work its way into more and more cars (with mild hybridization becoming more common). But cars are not green-focused the way they were a few years ago. The fact that Ford has five different hybrid and electric drive vehicles would have been a big story just a couple years ago, but now it is just part of a major automaker having a complete line. Where once they seemed like an outsider, Tesla seems to have developed into a mainstream member of the club. For this year’s display, Tesla had two of their Model S coupes and display panels about interior finish choices; the Roadster was not in sight. The only non-traditional manufacturer on the display floor this year was VIA trucks, which had vehicles in three different places. Michelin (who has always been a major sponsor of the Detroit Show) and a couple other parts suppliers also had space on the main floor, but not to the extent as during the depths of the economic decline. The common theme across much of the show this year was the engine-on-a-stick. It’s not that it hasn’t been done before, but it seemed to be much more prevalent. Lots of “here’s what the engine looks like,” and usually nothing, or very little, in the way of explanatory text to accompany it. Overall, the show did seem to be moving back toward a more car-centric focus on the basic stuff that the core car-people really love. With that in mind, it’s not at all surprising that the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray was named Car of the Year. The driving course on the lower level is gone this year, as well. When it was introduced a few years ago, there were literally dozens of different vehicles, primarily electrics and hybrids, that could be driven, to introduce the public to the experience of driving a vehicle with something other than a gasoline engine. Over the past few years, this became less and less of a feature, and is now completely omitted from the show. Although green cars have largely become a sideline, rather than the focus of the Auto Show, the fact that they have become a part of most manufacturers’ lines should be taken as a sign of progress. There certainly were some interesting new vehicles at this year’s show, and we will take a more detailed look at some of these.

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Auto Show – Less Green in 2014

Auto Show – Less Green in 2014

January 15, 2014 by  
Filed under Eco, Eco Tech, Green

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As we’ve done for the past several years, EcoGeek went to this year’s North American International Auto Show (the Detroit Auto Show) to see what is new in clean and green transportation. However, this year’s displays continue to move away from a focus on environmental awareness as a major selling point. This has seemed to be the trend over the past few years . In retrospect, it seems that the peak of the green focus was probably the 2009 Detroit Show . Green isn’t gone entirely. MPG is still a factor that is touted at some brands, but it seems to matter no more than other numbers like horsepower or cargo volume that manufacturers use to compete with one another. Electric drive continues to work its way into more and more cars (with mild hybridization becoming more common). But cars are not green-focused the way they were a few years ago. The fact that Ford has five different hybrid and electric drive vehicles would have been a big story just a couple years ago, but now it is just part of a major automaker having a complete line. Where once they seemed like an outsider, Tesla seems to have developed into a mainstream member of the club. For this year’s display, Tesla had two of their Model S coupes and display panels about interior finish choices; the Roadster was not in sight. The only non-traditional manufacturer on the display floor this year was VIA trucks, which had vehicles in three different places. Michelin (who has always been a major sponsor of the Detroit Show) and a couple other parts suppliers also had space on the main floor, but not to the extent as during the depths of the economic decline. The common theme across much of the show this year was the engine-on-a-stick. It’s not that it hasn’t been done before, but it seemed to be much more prevalent. Lots of “here’s what the engine looks like,” and usually nothing, or very little, in the way of explanatory text to accompany it. Overall, the show did seem to be moving back toward a more car-centric focus on the basic stuff that the core car-people really love. With that in mind, it’s not at all surprising that the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray was named Car of the Year. The driving course on the lower level is gone this year, as well. When it was introduced a few years ago, there were literally dozens of different vehicles, primarily electrics and hybrids, that could be driven, to introduce the public to the experience of driving a vehicle with something other than a gasoline engine. Over the past few years, this became less and less of a feature, and is now completely omitted from the show. Although green cars have largely become a sideline, rather than the focus of the Auto Show, the fact that they have become a part of most manufacturers’ lines should be taken as a sign of progress. There certainly were some interesting new vehicles at this year’s show, and we will take a more detailed look at some of these.

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Auto Show – Less Green in 2014

What Ford can (and can’t) do about climate change

October 31, 2012 by  
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Ford is a sustainability leader in the auto industry — but it can only do so much about climate change.

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What Ford can (and can’t) do about climate change

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