Sustainable fleets are at an inflection point

August 12, 2020 by  
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Sustainable fleets are at an inflection point Katie Fehrenbacher Wed, 08/12/2020 – 00:15 Companies and cities are increasingly adopting lower-carbon fleets — including trucks and buses that run off electricity, renewable diesel and renewable natural gas — according to a new report from the research team at Gladstein, Neandross and Associates (GNA).  It’s still early days for many of these markets, and sustainability goals remain one of the top drivers for fleets to buy these vehicles. But the metrics that fleet managers care about —  total cost of ownership  — are becoming more competitive for these lower-carbon vehicles, the GNA report found. I read the analysis, which also covers diesel efficiency, natural gas and propane, and picked out these points that I thought were particularly interesting: Renewable diesel is winning fans:  Fleet managers report satisfaction with the performance of renewable diesel, which can be dropped into diesel trucks and buses and can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 65 percent. The amount of renewable diesel used in California tripled between 2015 to 2019 to 620 million gallons. However, fleet managers say the market is constrained by supply outside of California and Oregon. Diesel still dominates:  GNA predicts diesel vehicles will continue to dominate fleets for at least a decade, especially in heavy-duty applications such as long-haul trucking. Thus efficiency tools — such as aerodynamic packages, anti-idling and driver education — are still important. Natural gas trucks are big but slowing:  There are already 53,000 registered natural gas vehicles in the U.S., and 85 percent are used for heavy-duty applications such as garbage collection, transit and utility trucks. But natural gas trucks only reduce greenhouse gas emissions compared to diesel trucks by 11 percent, and regulators such as the California Air Resources Board have pushed the state’s fleets to adopt zero-emission vehicle options, such as electric. Renewable natural gas is growing fast:  Renewable natural gas (RNG) can lower greenhouse gas emissions from fleets compared to diesel by between 60 and 300 percent depending on the source (yes, that’s carbon negative). Between 2015 and 2018, the consumption of renewable natural gas by natural gas fleets grew by 475 percent, and in 2019 in California, 80 percent of the natural gas used for transportation was renewable. But RNG constraints are real:  Because the costs are high to capture and process renewable natural gas, the market essentially has been created by California’s low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS). States that want to create a similar market need to create their own LCFS. Don’t overlook propane:  Propane is being used to power school buses that carry 1.2 million students in the U.S., although propane only reduces greenhouse gas emissions over diesel by 20 percent. The industry has been developing renewable propane, which is really only available in California. Electric trucks are moving forward:  Thanks to big commitments by companies such as Amazon, FedEx and PepsiCo, U.S. deliveries and deployment of electric trucks are supposed to double between 2021 and 2022. Today, more than 20 automakers produce over 90 electric truck and bus models. But EV infrastructure challenges remain: Early market challenges include expensive upfront costs for vehicles, complicated and a lack of charging infrastructure and limited range. Fleets also can face both higher or lower costs of electricity in comparison to diesel, so most need to work with partners and use smart charging tools to make sure they’re charging during low cost times of day. I’ll be highlighting zero- and low-carbon fleets during our upcoming VERGE 20 (virtual) conference , which will run the entire last week in October (Oct. 26-30). This article is adapted from GreenBiz’s weekly newsletter, Transport Weekly, running Tuesdays. Subscribe here . Topics Transportation & Mobility Clean Fleets Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off A UPS compressed natural gas fueling station fills up a UPS natural gas-powered truck. Courtesy of UPS Close Authorship

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Sustainable fleets are at an inflection point

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

Episode 225: Lyft’s electrifying declaration, please open the windows

June 19, 2020 by  
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Episode 225: Lyft’s electrifying declaration, please open the windows Heather Clancy Fri, 06/19/2020 – 02:30 Week in Review Stories discussed this week (4:27). To make offices safe during COVID-19, buildings need a breath of fresh air Unilever unveils climate and nature fund worth more than $1 billion How Perdue, Smithfield and Silver Fern Farms are reducing packaging waste The unmasking of Corporate America Features Moving from analysis to action on circular food (29:10) Emma Chow, project lead on the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Food initiative, chats about the role menus play in counteracting food waste and sharing practical steps for addressing the “brittleness” of the existing food system. ESG and the earnings call (39:40) Most companies don’t directly address environmental, social and governance concerns on their quarterly earnings calls. That needs to change. Tensie Whelan, director of the NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business, offers tips for how companies can buck that trend most effectively.  Lyft drives toward electric vehicles (49:30) Ride-hailing service Lyft has committed to electrifying all of its cars by 2030. GreenBiz Senior Writer Katie Fehrenbacher has the scoop. *Music in this episode by Lee Rosevere:  “4th Avenue Walkup,” “Arcade Montage,” “I’m Going for a Coffee,”  “Here’s the Thing” and “As I Was Saying” Happy 20th anniversary , GreenBiz.com! Virtual conversations Mark your calendar for these upcoming GreenBiz webcasts. Can’t join live? All of these events also will be available on demand. Supply chains and circularity. Join us at 1 p.m. EDT June 23 for a discussion of how companies such as Interface are getting suppliers to buy into circular models for manufacturing, distribution and beyond.  Fleet of clean fleet . Real-life lessons for trucking’s future. Sign up for the conversation at 1 p.m. EDT July 2. In conversation with former Unilever CEO Paul Polman . One of the most influential voices in sustainability joins Executive Editor Joel Makower at 1 p.m. EDT July 16 for a one-on-one conversation about redesigning business and commerce in the post-pandemic era to better address sustainability and social challenges. Resources galore State of the Profession. Our sixth report examining the evolving role of corporate sustainability leaders. Download it here . The State of Green Business 2020. Our 13th annual analysis of key metrics and trends published here . Do we have a newsletter for you! We produce six weekly newsletters: GreenBuzz by Executive Editor Joel Makower (Monday); Transport Weekly by Senior Writer and Analyst Katie Fehrenbacher (Tuesday); VERGE Weekly by Executive Director Shana Rappaport and Editorial Director Heather Clancy (Wednesday); Energy Weekly by Senior Energy Analyst Sarah Golden (Thursday); Food Weekly by Carbon and Food Analyst Jim Giles (Thursday); and Circular Weekly by Director and Senior Analyst Lauren Phipps (Friday). You must subscribe to each newsletter in order to receive it. Please visit this page to choose which you want to receive. The GreenBiz Intelligence Panel is the survey body we poll regularly throughout the year on key trends and developments in sustainability. To become part of the panel, click here . Enrolling is free and should take two minutes. Stay connected To make sure you don’t miss the newest episodes of GreenBiz 350, subscribe on iTunes . Have a question or suggestion for a future segment? E-mail us at 350@greenbiz.com . Contributors Joel Makower Katie Fehrenbacher Deonna Anderson Topics Podcast Transportation & Mobility Food & Agriculture Circular Economy Electric Vehicles Supply Chain Collective Insight GreenBiz 350 Podcast Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 56:15 Sponsored Article Off GreenBiz Close Authorship

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Episode 225: Lyft’s electrifying declaration, please open the windows

The time for electric trucks and buses is now

June 10, 2020 by  
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The time for electric trucks and buses is now Katie Fehrenbacher Wed, 06/10/2020 – 01:30 Despite the pandemic, sales of electric trucks and buses are expected to surge in the United States and Canada over the next couple of years. And perhaps, surprising to many, they’ll soar even within this year (the year that can best be described as WTF).  That’s according to new data released recently by the clean-transportation-focused nonprofit CALSTART. The organization expects there to be 169 zero-emission commercial vehicles available for purchase, or soon to be available, in North America by the end of 2020; that’s a 78 percent increase from the number of zero-emission commercial vehicles available at the end of 2019. What’s more, between 2019 and 2023, the amount of zero-emission commercial vehicle models is expected to double, to 195.  Why does this matter? Because diesel-powered trucks and buses are responsible for a disproportionate amount of transportation-related carbon emissions and are also a source of air pollution, much of it in disadvantaged communities, who live closer to industrial areas or freeways. In addition, commercial vehicles are offering a bright spot for automakers that are seeing slumping sales of passenger vehicles in the wake of COVID-19.  If data and analyst predictions make your eyes glaze over, you can look at the trend another way. Companies are increasingly making zero-emission truck and bus announcements. Every day when I skim Twitter or my inbox, I see more. Here are just a few from the past couple of weeks: General Motors is making an electric van to rival Tesla. Rivian is on track with its Amazon electric delivery vans. Nikola Motors will start accepting reservations June 29 for its electric pickup truck the Badger. Ford is making an electric transit van. CALSTART says that the surge is coming from a combination of market demand, policies and economics as EV battery costs continue to drop. Big companies such as Amazon , IKEA , UPS and FedEx are making big purchases (or working with partners to make purchases). But cities across the United States are also buying EVs, including electric transit buses, garbage trucks and pickup trucks. Substantial growth in the number of commercial EV models available is particularly important for the market because model availability has long been a major hurdle. The large automakers have been pretty slow to offer a variety of models, citing a lack of demand from customers. It’s a pretty standard chicken-and-egg scenario that happens in a nascent market. But as a result, much of the early commercial EV models on the market have come from startups such as Rivian , Nikola , Chanje and Arrival . The bigger automakers are entering the market and playing catch-up.  COVID-19 also has shone a spotlight on the need for a resilient and dynamic transportation supply chain, as shippers across the country have relied heavily on trucks and truck drivers to meet unusual spikes and valleys in demand. The trucking industry, like all operators of commercial vehicles, will need to become cleaner, too, as customer demand, policies and economics evolve. This article is adapted from GreenBiz’s weekly newsletter, Transport Weekly, running Tuesdays. Subscribe here . Topics Transportation & Mobility Electric Vehicles Electric Trucks Electric Bus Clean Fleets 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 Nikola Badger pickup truck.

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The time for electric trucks and buses is now

The time for electric trucks and buses is now

June 10, 2020 by  
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The time for electric trucks and buses is now Katie Fehrenbacher Wed, 06/10/2020 – 01:30 Despite the pandemic, sales of electric trucks and buses are expected to surge in the United States and Canada over the next couple of years. And perhaps, surprising to many, they’ll soar even within this year (the year that can best be described as WTF).  That’s according to new data released recently by the clean-transportation-focused nonprofit CALSTART. The organization expects there to be 169 zero-emission commercial vehicles available for purchase, or soon to be available, in North America by the end of 2020; that’s a 78 percent increase from the number of zero-emission commercial vehicles available at the end of 2019. What’s more, between 2019 and 2023, the amount of zero-emission commercial vehicle models is expected to double, to 195.  Why does this matter? Because diesel-powered trucks and buses are responsible for a disproportionate amount of transportation-related carbon emissions and are also a source of air pollution, much of it in disadvantaged communities, who live closer to industrial areas or freeways. In addition, commercial vehicles are offering a bright spot for automakers that are seeing slumping sales of passenger vehicles in the wake of COVID-19.  If data and analyst predictions make your eyes glaze over, you can look at the trend another way. Companies are increasingly making zero-emission truck and bus announcements. Every day when I skim Twitter or my inbox, I see more. Here are just a few from the past couple of weeks: General Motors is making an electric van to rival Tesla. Rivian is on track with its Amazon electric delivery vans. Nikola Motors will start accepting reservations June 29 for its electric pickup truck the Badger. Ford is making an electric transit van. CALSTART says that the surge is coming from a combination of market demand, policies and economics as EV battery costs continue to drop. Big companies such as Amazon , IKEA , UPS and FedEx are making big purchases (or working with partners to make purchases). But cities across the United States are also buying EVs, including electric transit buses, garbage trucks and pickup trucks. Substantial growth in the number of commercial EV models available is particularly important for the market because model availability has long been a major hurdle. The large automakers have been pretty slow to offer a variety of models, citing a lack of demand from customers. It’s a pretty standard chicken-and-egg scenario that happens in a nascent market. But as a result, much of the early commercial EV models on the market have come from startups such as Rivian , Nikola , Chanje and Arrival . The bigger automakers are entering the market and playing catch-up.  COVID-19 also has shone a spotlight on the need for a resilient and dynamic transportation supply chain, as shippers across the country have relied heavily on trucks and truck drivers to meet unusual spikes and valleys in demand. The trucking industry, like all operators of commercial vehicles, will need to become cleaner, too, as customer demand, policies and economics evolve. This article is adapted from GreenBiz’s weekly newsletter, Transport Weekly, running Tuesdays. Subscribe here . Topics Transportation & Mobility Electric Vehicles Electric Trucks Electric Bus Clean Fleets 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 Nikola Badger pickup truck.

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Naturally cooled funicular offers spectacular views of the French Alps

June 8, 2020 by  
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In 2019, French design agency Atelier 360 gave the iconic Les Arcs – Bourg Saint Maurice funicular a dramatic makeover by developing two new funicular cars with wide panoramic windows to frame spectacular views of the French Alps. As with its predecessor, the newly completed funicular traverses 800 meters of vertical distance in a 7-minute climb to connect the village of Bourg Saint Maurice to the Arcs 1600 resort, an area near Mont Blanc renowned for skiing and mid-century architecture by French modernist architect Charlotte Perriand. The interior of the funicular was also designed to take advantage of natural ventilation to avoid installation of an electric air conditioning system. Originally built in 1989, the Les Arcs – Bourg Saint Maurice funicular was renovated and relaunched in 2019 in commemoration of the Les Arcs ski resort’s 50th anniversary. The refreshed funicular comprises two trains, each capable of accommodating 270 passengers, with all-new equipment manufactured entirely in France. The funicular allows visitors — approximately 600,000 people are estimated to use the transport system annually — to reach slopes at 1,600 meters above sea level. The design and construction process took about a year to complete; Atelier 360 collaborated with the Poma / Sigma teams for the interior design. Related: Canada’s newest funicular makes one of North America’s largest urban parklands more accessible “The new version imagined by Atelier 360 is not just a simple transport tool that should offer a large capacity, it is a real immersion experience in the landscape that we discover at as the ascent,” the designers explained. “The original funicular did not offer a view of the outside landscape because of its massive structure, the opaque roof and the ends reserved for the conductors prevented this. Today the roof of the vehicle is fully glazed and an intermediate relief creates a new panorama of the mountains.” The trains have been specially designed to optimize views of the breathtaking scenery from both ends. A system of operable windows and air vents, also located at the end of the trains, promote natural cooling . + Atelier 360 Photography by sylvain THIOLLIER via Atelier 360

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Naturally cooled funicular offers spectacular views of the French Alps

Is it scooter company Lime’s moment to shine?

May 20, 2020 by  
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Is it scooter company Lime’s moment to shine? Katie Fehrenbacher Wed, 05/20/2020 – 02:20 If you look at the headlines about the shared scooter industry — with service shut-downs and cratering valuations — you easily could predict the long-hyped sector’s demise. But what if now is the moment for scooters to really shine and deliver the unique transportation value that the new world needs? At least for a company that remains standing.  For Andrew Savage, Lime’s head of sustainability and impact, the time for scooters has arrived, in a similar way that online meeting platform Zoom, food delivery services and connected biking company Peloton are exploding during the shelter-in-place order. “I believe that post-pandemic, it will be micromobility’s moment,” said Savage in an interview.  If you haven’t been following the roller coaster ride of Lime lately, here’s a recap. The company, along with some of its peers, shut down most services when the pandemic hit, laid off some employees, ended up raising a $170 million round led by Uber and in the process also acquired Uber’s shared bike service Jump. Plus, the funding forced it to reportedly lose 80 percent of its valuation.  But in recent weeks Lime has started to open up services, as more of an essential operation, in Paris, Tel Aviv, Berlin, Copenhagen, Warsaw, Oklahoma City, Austin, Columbus, Washington, D.C. and other cities. It appears that riders in these cities are turning to scooters as a major transportation service. Lime has seen median trip times double in Oklahoma City and Columbus since reopening, indicating that riders are using scooters for full commutes instead of just first mile and last mile.  Now more than ever, people are demanding open-air, single-occupancy transportation. Part of the shift obviously comes from consumer need and preference. “Now more than ever, people are demanding open-air, single-occupancy transportation,” Savage noted. It also has to do with distrust in the safety of public transportation, which has seen spikes in operators falling ill to COVID-19 in places such as New York. Another part of the transformation has to do with policy. Some cities such as Paris are working hard to make sure that a post-pandemic world isn’t overrun with single occupancy vehicle driving . Paris is building 404 miles of lanes for micromobility, including bikes and scooters, and last week Lime relaunched its 2,000-scooter service as the city has started to ease its lockdown. The scooter companies are being forced to adapt to the new world in order to survive. “We spent the first two years as an industry as disruptors of the status quo. What we’ve seen during the pandemic is scooters are being established as more of an essential service,” Savage said.  City leaders and transportation planners have long called for scooter companies and cities to align more closely to offer riders better service. It looks as if a crisis might be able to make that a reality.  Of course, this can only be a big moment for scooters if the operators make it through the hard times. For Lime, the pandemic shut-down came at a particularly inopportune time for the company. “We were on the doorstep of being the first micromobility company to reach profitability and be cash-flow positive,” Savage said.  Post-pandemic, Lime might be a smaller company with a lower valuation, but it has the opportunity to grow its position as the dominant micromobility provider. It has the Jump bikes, a new round of funding, a deeper partnership with Uber and the most widespread reach. Savage said: “I think we’re in the best position to take advantage of the moment.” What do you think? Will scooters surge like Zoom? Funny, I always thought Uber and Lyft eventually would dominate the scooter market.  This article is adapted from GreenBiz’s weekly newsletter, Transport Weekly, running Tuesdays. Subscribe here . Pull Quote Now more than ever, people are demanding open-air, single-occupancy transportation. Topics Transportation & Mobility COVID-19 E-scooters Public Transit 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 A lime scooter in San Diego in April. Shutterstock Simone Hogan Close Authorship

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Is it scooter company Lime’s moment to shine?

Why ‘climate tech’ is the new cleantech

February 5, 2020 by  
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This article is adapted from GreenBiz’s weekly newsletter, Transport Weekly, running Tuesdays. Subscribe here. I have the sad claim to fame of being one of the journalists most associated with the bubble and bust of Silicon Valley’s tortured love affair with cleantech. It perhaps wasn’t the most advantageous career move, but it was an interesting ride to follow, and I’m betting the ride ain’t over yet.

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Biodiversity and business: 4 things you need to know for 2020

February 5, 2020 by  
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Companies need biodiversity. Most are just recognizing that.

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Biodiversity and business: 4 things you need to know for 2020

After Cyber Monday, here comes a new spotlight on e-commerce shipping

December 4, 2019 by  
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This article is adapted from GreenBiz’s newsletter, Transport Weekly, running Tuesdays. Subscribe here.How many Amazon packages were rapidly shipped to your home this week thanks to Black Friday and Cyber Monday?For many of us, plenty. And those big cardboard boxes with tiny items inside are just one of the more visceral problems associated with the rapid rise of on-demand online shopping. 

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After Cyber Monday, here comes a new spotlight on e-commerce shipping

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