5 electric bus makers shifting into next gear

June 1, 2021 by  
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5 electric bus makers shifting into next gear Shaandiin Cedar Tue, 06/01/2021 – 00:05 Along with contributing to the brown smog above many large cities, the transportation sector is responsible for nearly one-quarter of global energy-related CO2 emissions, according to data from the United Nations. For city planners and transit agencies, delivering passenger transport options for ever-changing urban communities and minimizing tailpipe emissions means piecing together a multi-layered, complex puzzle of variables including infrastructure needs, regulatory compliance and trend forecasts. What’s the most logical route? In the U.S., battery-electric buses are projected to remain the lowest-carbon option in every part of the country, even on current electricity grids. However, just 0.5 percent of the total U.S. public transit bus market consisted of electric buses at the end of 2017 — a nascent market when compared to deployment rates of 12-14 percent in Europe and Asia. While e-buses are still priced at a premium compared with their diesel-powered counterparts, data shows electric buses can have a lower total cost of ownership and are competitive with diesel buses when comparing lifetime costs over 12 years, offering better efficiency and lower maintenance costs due to simplified drivetrains. What’s more, growth and innovation in the emerging heavy-duty electric bus sector has been significant over the past few years, although those advances are sometimes overshadowed by the limelight given to light-duty passenger vehicle providers such as Tesla.  So, who are the top e-bus leaders? Given that the 29-47 feet segment within the electric bus market is projected to be the largest driver over the next six years in terms of purchase volume, the focus of this piece will center on leading e-bus manufacturers that offer buses in this class. In alphabetical order, here are the e-bus innovators racing to deliver a portion of the 1.2 million e-buses expected to be on the road globally by 2025. There’s a lot of ground to cover in those four years: In 2017 there were a total of just 386,000 e-buses on the road globally. AB Volvo Transdev 7900 electric buses.  Courtesy of AB Volvo Close Authorship   In 2015, AB Volvo, based in Gothenburg, Sweden, was the first original equipment manufacturer (OEM) in the heavy-duty bus segment to completely halt production of diesel buses for its customers in the European market, a considerable shift given it’s the world’s largest diesel bus manufacturer. The Volvo 7900 Electric model touts a full rapid charge time of up to six minutes, battery storage configuration options, new pedestrian and cyclist-detection systems and a single charge range of 124 miles, give or take.  In late 2020, the company received what was at the time the largest single order for electric buses in Europe, a contract to deliver 157 electric articulated (think bendy) 7900 electric buses to its hometown of Gothenburg. AB Volvo boasts that the energy consumption for each bus, and others like it, is 80 percent lower than that of traditional 150-passenger diesel buses. Success for AB Volvo in Europe has been largely driven by regional emissions reduction goals. For Sweden, investment in electric buses is an important step to achieve the region’s aggressive climate goals — decreasing CO2 emissions from public transport by 90 percent by 2035. BYD K8M battery-electric BYD bus for Capital Area Transit System (CATS) in Baton Rouge, Louisiana Courtesy of BYD Close Authorship   As of 2020, nearly 98 percent of the world’s deployed electric buses were in China. In fact, the Asia Pacific region is projected to continue to house the largest electric bus market in the world for years to come, largely due to Chinese-based e-bus providers such as BYD. Over the past 10 years, BYD in Shenzeng, Guangdong, has grown into one of the largest, most established e-bus makers in the world. BYD has been the world’s largest electric vehicle manufacturer for the past three years, de-throning rival Chinese-based OEM Yutong, also highlighted in this article.  In the past five months, BYD has set significant sales records in key markets. It secured Europe’s largest single order of 246 buses to Dutch global public transport provider Keolis Nederland BV, and won the largest order for pure-electric buses outside of China to date — supplying 1,002 electric buses to Bogotá, Colombia. The 29.5-39-foot buses are to be assembled in Colombia, highlighting BYD’s practiced overseas “localization strategy” — forming important local economic development partnerships and jobs to drive sales. In the U.S., BYD America operates a bus and a battery plant in Lancaster, California. In that market, it competes head to head with U.S.-based OEM Proterra, which leads in orders and deliveries in the North American market. Leveraging regional incentives and regulatory guidelines plays a considerable role in success in the electric bus market. For example, after 2021, BYD America no longer will qualify for Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grants due to updates to the National Defense Authorization Act, which prohibits FTA funding from being used to purchase buses from suppliers from “nonmarket economies” such as China. As BYD America is ultimately a Chinese-owned company, this poses some significant hurdles for the company’s success in the U.S. because these grants were a valuable source of funding to get projects off the ground. Proterra  Proterra’s Greenville, South Carolina, facility. Courtesy of Proterra Close Authorship   While Asia Pacific accounts for the largest total share of the e-bus market, North America is expected to be the fastest-growing . Since 2004, Burlingame, California-based Proterra has sold more than 1,000 electric buses in the U.S. and Canada, making it the largest e-bus manufacturer in North America .  Proterra’s ZX5 Electric Transit Bus models boast some of the lowest operating costs and the largest range potential of buses of its kind — a whopping 329 miles on a single charge.  Like BYD, Proterra develops its battery packs in-house; in 2019, it launched a battery leasing program to minimize upfront costs and provide attractive financing options for transit buyers. The Biden administration’s plan to make all new American-built buses operate with zero emissions by 2030 is seen to be a huge asset to Proterra and other U.S. e-bus manufacturers, allowing for access to critical resources to electrify transportation and drive domestic sales.  In January, Proterra announced it will be publicly listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange after it completes a reverse merger with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), ArcLight Clean Transition Corp later this year. The new combined company is estimated to have a $1.6 billion valuation. VDL Groep VDL roof and infrastructure mounted pantograph for fast charging. Courtesy of VDL Close Authorship Started as a family business, VDL has grown into a notable heavy-duty electric transport provider in Europe, where one in five electric buses are VDL-made. Based in Eindhoven, Netherlands, the company has established manufacturing plants domestically and in Belgium. VDL’s largest fleet of 102 VDL Citeas electric buses will be operational in Oslo starting in January — largely driven by the Norwegian capital’s goal for public transport to be emissions-free by 2028.  In the race to innovate, VDL announced that it will unveil its new generation of all-electric VDL Citea buses in October. While specifications and range estimates are still unavailable, the company teased the models’ entirely new electric drivetrain, floor-mounted batteries that increase passenger safety and space, use of ultra-light materials and, after conducting research on the needs of drivers , the integration of new comfort and safety features for drivers who will work in post-pandemic conditions.  Dutch transport company Hermes has preordered 32 units of the next generation Citea buses, which will be in operation in the Netherlands starting in January. Yutong Yutong U12 all-electric bus showcased at Busworld 2019. Courtesy of Yutong Close Authorship With BYD, China’s Yutong has contributed significantly to the region’s domination of heavy-duty electric vehicle sales and manufacturing. In 2016, Yutong was the largest bus manufacturer in the world by sales volume, eclipsed in recent years by BYD.  However, it’s far too soon to make a call on a Chinese e-bus winner. In November, Yutong secured one of the largest orders for battery-electric buses — inking a deal with transport solutions provider Mowasalat for 741 e-buses to be deployed by 2022 in time for the FIFA World Cup in Qatar. Yutong’s foreign market strategy includes a strong focus on Europe and the Middle East, with a special focus on Nordic countries — regions that have ambitious or state-subsidized transit emission reduction commitments. In 2019, Yutong unveiled the Yutong U12, which represents its first take on integrating autonomous technology into its next-gen buses. While full autonomy is still expected to be years out from being fully deployed in the 29.5-46-foot bus segment, Yutong is showing significant investment in steps to make driverless buses a reality. In a live demonstration last year, the company showcased its 5G-enabled mobility solutions and “smart roads” infrastructure products. The demonstration showed buses given priority at intersections, improving pass-through rates from 47 percent to 79 percent and reducing the average waiting time for buses at red lights from 17 seconds to 2 seconds. Zero-emissions buses in 2040   As the pandemic recovery starts to take effect, transportation agencies such as Pittsburgh’s Port Authority are eager for passengers to return to public transit. While health safety still is a barrier to bus use, the battery-electric bus market is positioned to grow, driven by municipal emissions targets and tumbling battery prices. According to Bloomberg’s Electric Vehicle Outlook 2020, e-buses are expected to comprise over 67 percent of the global bus fleet by 2040; however, manufacturers still have to address new supply chain challenges including semiconductor shortages and supplier access to raw battery materials such as lithium-ion.  In places such as Toronto, fleet managers are intentionally sourcing e-bus fleets from multiple OEMs with the hopes of creating real-time performance comparisons to inform future purchases — priceless data for eager municipal transit operators looking to electrify their fleets and zero out tailpipe emissions.  Topics Transportation & Mobility Electric Vehicles Public Transit Electric Bus Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off

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5 electric bus makers shifting into next gear

Diversity, equity and inclusion: Incremental reform or systemic change?

March 23, 2021 by  
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Diversity, equity and inclusion: Incremental reform or systemic change? Terry F. Yosie Tue, 03/23/2021 – 01:11 Unresolved debates about the past frame choices about who owns the future. America has arrived, once again, at another momentous inflection point to try and resolve some of the most contentious issues the nation has faced and largely failed to resolve — the narrative of American history and culture, the persistence of systemic racism, and continuing debates over women’s empowerment, personal freedom and sexual orientation. The ability to reconcile these significant challenges into a workable and equitable societal consensus will require many additional decades, but many institutions and individuals are implementing partial solutions. Among the most prominent are initiatives to advance diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs. Diversity is expressed through a variety of identities such as age, race, religion, sexual orientation and disability. Equity aims to provide everyone with access to opportunities and recognizes that advantages and barriers exist, while making commitments to address this imbalance. Inclusion results in individuals (and groups) with different identities feeling respected, accepted and valued. For many organizations, a direct DEI connection to their mission has not been made by leadership whose inattentiveness or nonreceptivity cascades downwards into the culture. In recent years, DEI has emerged as a distinctive field in governance and public policy that provides a key set of performance measures for economic and social progress. While originally separate from environmental sustainability, they now share common values to applying human capital towards resolving society’s most vexing inter-generational challenges, including access to health care, educational opportunities, and protection from toxic exposures and climate change. Evaluating DEI practices and performance Author Pamela Newkirk, in her comprehensive analysis “Diversity, Inc.,” has identified a core set of best practices within and beyond the workplace. They include: expanding recruitment through international outreach; identifying and removing hiring and promotion barriers; strengthening professional development opportunities; providing fair and equitable compensation; building an inclusive climate and culture; and applying business practices and accountability. Many companies already have grasped the significance of integrating DEI within their business strategies, governance, employee relations, operations, customer relations and engagement with external stakeholders. The range of their programs and initiatives vary considerably, a reflection of their market sectors but also of variable leadership commitments and inconsistent performance metrics. Leaders (as measured by Forbes and other surveys) currently include BlackRock, Duke University, HP, L’Oreal, Novartis, SAP and a variety of banking and healthcare companies. Even more striking than examples of corporate DEI leadership is information from lagging and failing companies and business sectors. The Wall Street Journal reviewed more than 160 annual reports filed by S&P companies for 2020. Only a third provided diversity disclosures. More specifically, GE reported that approximately 76 percent of its U.S. workforce was white as was 81 percent of its leadership. PwC declared that 60 percent of its employees were white. Sectors that are particular DEI laggards include academia, environmental organizations, fashion, journalism, museums, professional football and technology companies. Why has so little progress been achieved despite decades of implementing civil rights legislation, philanthropic activities, and more than $20 billion spent each year on DEI programs, conferences, consultants, surveys and training sessions? For many organizations, a direct DEI connection to their mission has not been made by leadership whose inattentiveness or nonreceptivity cascades downwards into the culture. Workforce composition may be insufficiently diverse to respond to DEI dynamics, thus limiting bottom-up pressures upon management (in contrast to much stronger employee engagement in environmental sustainability). Across many institutions, the motivation for maintaining even modest DEI activities stems from a desire to avoid legal risk from potential discrimination cases, or to communicate that “we care” about the issue. Beyond the issue of leaders and laggards remains the question of whether DEI, as presently designed and implemented, significantly advances racial and social justice. Dennis Kennedy, founder and CEO of the National Diversity Council, argues that the current focus of many DEI initiatives is unlikely to yield comprehensive commitments to social justice. His argument is that: DEI as presently constituted does not sufficiently explore the roots and explanations of systemic and institutional racism; bias training, diversity consulting and other initiatives were purposely implemented to avoid legal risk and public scrutiny and not to achieve social change; and DEI was introduced within public, private and non-profit institutions that provided limited authority, resources and power to effectuate change. Expanding the boundaries Through the political process, the marketplace and social dynamics, several factors have converged to motivate greater awareness and scope of DEI activities going forward. They include activities of: Government. At the national level, the Biden administration has expanded the scope of DEI initiatives: The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced on February 24 that it will review public companies’ disclosure requirements on race and gender diversity and strengthen guidance on boardroom diversity. The acting chair noted that the results of the SEC’s voluntary program for companies to submit diversity self-assessments were “disappointing.” This follows an August 2020 SEC mandate that requires companies to begin disclosing information about their “human capital resources” that includes employee turnover rates and training programs. Companies already privately report diversity data to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and are under increasing pressure to make such information public. The White House has announced that disadvantaged communities will receive 40 percent of overall benefits from public investments in clean energy and infrastructure. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is seeking added funding for environmental justice initiatives to reduce the high exposure to unsafe drinking water supplies, toxic air pollution and hazardous waste from industrial facilities to low income communities and indigenous peoples. Investor community. Some trading houses and institutional investors are advocating that companies provide better information on workforce diversity, and they’re beginning to include such data in their assessments and rankings. Prominent examples include: On December 1, Nasdaq filed a proposal with the SEC to implement new rules that would require all listed companies to publicly disclose consistent, transparent data that measure board gender and racial diversity. It would require companies to have two diverse directors (including a female or one who self-identifies as LGBTQ+), or explain why this rule is not attainable. On December 20, BlackRock, the world’s largest asset management firm, announced that, beginning in 2021, it will seek expanded ethnic and gender diversity data for company boards and workforces. BlackRock stated that it will vote against company directors that fail to adequately respond to this expectation. State Street Global Advisors and Goldman Sachs also announced diversity measures for their clients. Talent recruitment and retention. Millennials and Generation Z employees and job seekers are increasingly utilizing Glassdoor (a leading social media platform about jobs and companies) and LinkedIn to evaluate current and prospective employers on their DEI performance. In September 2020, a Glassdoor survey reported that 76 percent of employees and those looking for jobs said a diverse workforce was important to their evaluation of companies and employment offers. Nearly half of Black and Hispanic workers and job seekers said they had quit a company after witnessing or experiencing discrimination at the work place. The bigger questions By 2045, white Americans are projected to comprise less than 50 percent of the population, and the labor force will become more diverse and older than at any other time in the nation’s history. These anticipated facts alone have intensified the “fear of losing advantage” for an already existing movement of hard core white nationalists and others sympathetic to their cause. In its present form, DEI represents a set of modest efforts for legal and institutional reforms but nothing close to a mass movement capable of resolving the widening crevices of American society and politics. Some major unresolved challenges for DEI proponents and all citizens and civil society institutions include: Will leaders across the spectrum of American institutions collaborate with the commitment, urgency and scale necessary to preserve the American democratic experiment in the coming decades? Do companies operating in America believe that a dysfunctional democracy and growing societal disharmony can provide clear and consistent rules necessary for their economic success? Can they become engines of egalitarianism and more equitable social mobility rather than of inequality? xCan public policy develop remedies to systemic racism that have historically impeded access to educational opportunity, environmental protection, health care, unbiased law enforcement, living wages and resource allocations for lower-income populations? Can white Americans be reassured that their constitutional freedoms will be preserved even as their relative size and influence diminishes in a growing multiracial, multigender society? Absent an ability to act with confidence and sustained urgency to achieve demonstrable progress in the next few decades, America will become increasingly bewildered about its own purpose and values. It will begin to hear, once again, the “fire bell in the night” that awakened and terrorized Thomas Jefferson early in the 19th century as he feared for the preservation of the Union. Pull Quote For many organizations, a direct DEI connection to their mission has not been made by leadership whose inattentiveness or nonreceptivity cascades downwards into the culture. Topics Leadership Diversity and Inclusion Featured Column Values Proposition Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Shutterstock

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Diversity, equity and inclusion: Incremental reform or systemic change?

Tesla Shares Hit All Time High as the Electric Car Company Heads to the Nasdaq 100

July 12, 2013 by  
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The Tesla Motors success story keeps getting better – this week shares of the electric car maker reached an all-time high after it was revealed that Tesla will soon be added to the Nasdaq 100 index. Tesla’s shares have risen since news broke that it recorded a $11.2 million first quarter profit earlier this year. Read the rest of Tesla Shares Hit All Time High as the Electric Car Company Heads to the Nasdaq 100 Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: automotive , electric car , elon musk , green car , green transportation , nasdaq , tesla , Tesla electric car , Tesla Model X , tesla model-s        

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Tesla Shares Hit All Time High as the Electric Car Company Heads to the Nasdaq 100

Ricardo Bofill Transforms Cement Factory Ruins Into Castle-Like Architecture Headquarters

July 12, 2013 by  
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Read the rest of Ricardo Bofill Transforms Cement Factory Ruins Into Castle-Like Architecture Headquarters Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Architecture , Barcelona , Cement Factory , Green Building , green design , green renovation , repurposed architecture , repurposed factory , Ricardo Bofill , sustainable design        

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Ricardo Bofill Transforms Cement Factory Ruins Into Castle-Like Architecture Headquarters

Zipcar IPO Raises $174.3 Million to Fuel Expansion

April 15, 2011 by  
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Photo: jm3 , Flickr, CC From $18 to $27 in a Day Zipcar , the North-American car-sharing company, has just raised $174.3 million by selling shares in the company in an initial public offering (IPO) on the NASDAQ (ticker symbol: ZIP).

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Zipcar IPO Raises $174.3 Million to Fuel Expansion

Clinton Initiative Spurs Pledges for Efficiency, Sustainability

September 24, 2010 by  
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The final days of the Clinton Global Initiative brought more developments in the realm of business and environmental stewardship from Cisco, Duke, Ceres and the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute.

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Clinton Initiative Spurs Pledges for Efficiency, Sustainability

Online Hub Offers CSR Ratings for 5K Companies

September 24, 2010 by  
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 CSRHUB has updated its online corporate social responsibility rating tool, which provides ratings for more than 5,000 companies based on a broad range of data.

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Online Hub Offers CSR Ratings for 5K Companies

NASDAQ Launches Indexes to Track Green Economy

September 24, 2010 by  
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The company, which owns the NASDAQ and bills itself as the world’s largest exchange company, unveiled the first four in a family of indexes tracking companies operating in sectors such as energy efficiency, renewable energy, and healthy living.

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The Dairy Industry and the 2 Percent Solution

September 24, 2010 by  
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What’s the carbon footprint of a glass of milk? It’s more than a mere trivia question.

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The Dairy Industry and the 2 Percent Solution

U.K. Grocery Sector Makes Progress Hitting Waste Targets

September 24, 2010 by  
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U.K. supermarkets and grocery brands have prevented the creation of 1.2 million tonnes of food and packaging waste during the first five years of the Courtauld Commitment.

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