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Electric Commercial Vehicles

Alan Searchwell, The Oil Drum
Electric trucks do more than what most people think they are capable of doing. In this post, I will talk about both electric trucks and other commercial electric vehicles.

Back in July 2008, someone challenged me in Drumbeat to point out some really heavy duty electric vehicles that can move say, a fully loaded 40 foot container. I fired off a reply featuring lots of links to electric or hybrid trucks and delivery vans. Both in that comment and in this post, I rely heavily on for the research, since it is a blog almost exlusively dedicated to “green” transportation issues.

One of the trucks in the July 19, 2008 comment was a really heavy duty electric truck in use at the port of Los Angeles.
(9 April 2009)

Bad economy holds highway deaths to 1960s levels

Ken Thomas, Associated Press
Less money in the pockets of Americans means fewer highway deaths. As the economy slid deeper into recession and gas prices reached $4 a gallon last year, the number of people killed in auto accidents hit its lowest level in five decades.

In addition to fewer miles logged by drivers worried about expenses, experts also cited record-high seat-belt use, tighter enforcement of drunken driving laws and the work of advocacy groups that encourage safer driving habits.
(6 April 2009)

Shippers Taking It Slow in Bad Times

John W. Miller, Wall Street Journal
As Volume Drops, Moeller-Maersk Scales Back on Fuel, Napkins and Canal Passages

ABOARD THE EUGEN MAERSK, IN THE NORTH SEA — On an early afternoon last month, the Eugen Maersk has left Rotterdam, the Netherlands, on the tail end of a journey from Shanghai. But the giant freighter is cruising at 10 knots, well shy of her 26-knot top speed.

At about half speed, fuel consumption drops to 100-150 tons of fuel a day from 350 tons, saving as much as $5,000 an hour. “The strategy now is to slow steam as much as possible,” said Christian Hagart, the Eugen’s chief officer.

That strategy is a key element in plans by AP Moeller-Maersk AS to cut $1 billion in costs this year, scaling back on everything from fuel to paper napkins. Analysts say the cuts should keep the whole company out of the red in 2009, since Maersk’s container unit is expected to lose between $1 billion and $2 billion.

Maersk’s moves come as shipping companies are struggling to survive the worst collapse of global trade since World War II.
(8 April 2009)

Health risks of shipping pollution have been ‘underestimated’

John Vidal, Guardian
One giant container ship can emit almost the same amount of cancer and asthma-causing chemicals as 50m cars [that’s 50 million cars], study finds

Britain and other European governments have been accused of underestimating the health risks from shipping pollution following research which shows that one giant container ship can emit almost the same amount of cancer and asthma-causing chemicals as 50m cars.

Confidential data from maritime industry insiders based on engine size and the quality of fuel typically used by ships and cars shows that just 15 of the world’s biggest ships may now emit as much pollution as all the world’s 760m cars. Low-grade ship bunker fuel (or fuel oil) has up to 2,000 times the sulphur content of diesel fuel used in US and European automobiles.

Pressure is mounting on the UN’s International Maritime Organisation and the EU to tighten laws governing ship emissions following the decision by the US government last week to impose a strict 230-mile buffer zone along the entire US coast, a move that is expected to be followed by Canada.
(9 April 2009)

China auto sales ‘surpassed US in Jan’

China Daily
China may have surpassed the United States to become the world’s largest auto market based on monthly sales in January, according to analysts and forecasts.

General Motors, the leading US automaker, estimates that China sold about 790,000 vehicles last month.

While car sales in China have slowed lately, they haven’t plummeted like in the US, where January sales tumbled 37 percent from a year ago to 656,976 vehicles – a 26-year low.

“This is the first time in history that China has passed the United States in monthly sales,” Mike DiGiovanni, General Motors’ executive director of global markets and industry analysis, said in a conference call late Tuesday.
(6 February 2009)