Thailand wants to be Solar Roof and Electric Vehicle Hub for ASEAN within 2025

Thailand has now set itself the goal of becoming the solar roof and electric vehicle hub of ASEAN over a 10-year time frame, according to the National Reform Council of Thailand (NRC).

The NRC’s urgent proposal enabling a “Non-barrier Solar Roof Installation Promotion” and ” Electric Vehicles Promotion” was sent to the cabinet earlier this year.

Now with the approval of cabinet, Thailand is pursuing its preferred role as a manufacturing center for its own domestic benefit. The Non-barrier Solar Roof Installation Scheme recommends that households and buildings install solar cell panels on their roofs to provide for their own power consumption, and for the sale of the excess power generated.

The scheme is expected to eliminate the government’s monopoly on electricity generation, to offer an opportunity to the private sector and to the people in general to be both power producers and consumers, while eradicating the present barriers, resulting from long standing government regulation of electricity production.

” This Scheme will change the history of electricity in Thailand and change a government monopoly on electricity. Electricity manufacturing will open freely, without government concessions and quotas. The first five year goal is to see solar panels installed in at least 100,000 households”

said Alongkorn Polabutr, NRC Committee and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Alternative Energy, Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Reform.

According to Jane Namchaisiri, the spokesman of the NRC on Energy Reform and Secretary-General of the Subcommittee on Alternative Energy, Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Reform, a solar roof will reduce the heat on the roof, meaning less demand on the building’s air-conditioners.

Electric Vehicles Promotion Scheme approved

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The scheme is expected to be incorporated in housing estates in the early stages of construction. Meanwhile, an “Electric Vehicles Promotion Scheme” has also won approval, and is aimed at promoting wide utilization of battery-driven electric vehicles (BEVs) in the future, including vehicle production by Thai manufacturers, research and development of vehicle components as well as promoting the financial support of the government and the private sector in manufacturing development.

It is intended that the initiative results in Thailand becoming the ASEAN BEV hub. According to Jane, there are currently 17 private companies producing electric vehicles; companies which are still facing budget and regulatory constraints that are expected to be voided with the introduction of the scheme. Moreover, a seminar on the

” Thai Future as a Non-barrier Solar Roof and the Electric Vehicle Hub of ASEAN”

is being held on 12th June at the Royal Thai Army Club to publicize the two schemes among the people, as well as to hear opinions from the public and all related sectors.

Toyota tests two electric vehicles in Dallas

Toyota held an event Monday at American Airlines Center for members of the press to test drive two electric vehicles, the Toyota i-Road and the Toyota Coms.

What these cars lack in size, they make up for in fun.

 

The i-Road concept, which looks like a mix between a Vespa and a Smart car (and Barbie’s dream car if you get it in pink), sits on three wheels and leans with you as you turn. It also comes in “Skittles” colors like lemon yellow and bright green.

The i-Road can only go 35 mph and, I was assured before I took the wheel, it’s incapable of tipping over.

 

 

 

The Coms looks more like a traditional electric vehicle, but it’s “ultra-compact.” It holds one driver and has some storage space in the back, perfect for your friendly neighborhood pizza deliverer.

The two cars are not for sale yet, but they are being used in a car-sharing program in France. Toyota allowed test drives in Japan earlier this year and plans to launch an open-road program there next month.

Toyota officials say the company hasn’t determined how they’ll be priced or even what category they fit into.

The overall goal, though, is to alleviate congestion in dense urban areas.

If you ever come across one of these cars on the road — they’re hard to miss — ask the driver if you can take it for a spin. You’ll feel like a kid at an amusement park.

 

 

OWLS MAY HOLD THE SECRET TO QUIETER WIND TURBINES AND JETS

Barn Owl (Tyto alba) flying

FROM A DISTANCE, wind turbines can seem sort of peaceful—a 21st century version of the windmill. Get up close, and it’s a different picture. When they get going, the tips of the blades (which can be more than 100 feet long) can move faster than winds in a category five hurricane.

That’s why wind turbines—to the dismay of renewable energy advocates—have been the target of noise and (hard to verify) health complaints. In some cases, the blades are intentionally slowed down, making them less effective at generating electricity.

Now, as they’ve done so many times before, researchers have turned to nature to try to find a solution to the noise problem.

A team at the University of Cambridge has published research based on the wings of large owls, masters at silent swooping—to the dismay of voles—at high speeds, undetected. The team discovered that the birds’ flight feathers, which create lift, have a downy covering, a flexible comb of bristles along the leading edge, and a porous fringe on the trailing edge.

“No other bird has this sort of intricate wing structure,” says Professor Nigel Peake of Cambridge’s Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics. Most noise from wings (or fan blades) occurs at the trailing edge, where the air is the most turbulent. An owl’s wing smooths and quiets the air, allowing the birds to hunt more effectively.

So the Cambridge team, working with folks at Virginia Tech, Lehigh and Florida Atlantic Universities, made a prototype material of 3D-printed plastic to mimic the owls’ natural feature. Fitted on full-sized wind turbine blades and tested in a wind tunnel, it reduced noise generation by 10 decibels (a significant amount since noise is measured logarithmically), without significantly affecting aerodynamics.

Of course, just because we’ve figured out how owls fly doesn’t mean we can replicate their tricks today. Testing the coating on a functioning wind turbine is the next step, with the researchers expecting that an average-sized wind farm could generate as much as several additional megawatts worth of electricity without any appreciable increase in noise.

Down the line, the researchers believe this solution could be applied to airplanes. Noise is a serious issue in aviation, as the authorities, plane makers, and airports seek ways tominimize the unpleasant side effect of a vital industry. So the jet of the future may not be able to spin its head around, but it could fly like an owl.

WACKY THREE-WHEELERS GET MORE OLD-SCHOOL BY GOING ELECTRIC

YOU COULD BE forgiven for looking at Morgan’s three-wheelers and thinking you were looking at an exhibit of classic cars, or had been zapped back into the early 20th century. That’s part of Morgan’s charm. The eccentric British automaker loves retro and hates four wheels, and now it’s doubling down on the old school with a new three-wheeler that tosses the gas-powered V-twin in favor of an all-electric power plant.

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See, a hundred years ago electric cars were as common as their gas-burning counterparts, popular because they were cleaner, quieter and easier to operate. In the ’10s and ’20s, engine technology began to advance, the electric starter replaced the hand crank, and battery power was left behind. Now, electrics are back in vogue, and the technology is nearing a point where it can seriously compete with dino-juice.

Morgan is debuting its EV3 concept at the Goodwood Festival of Speed later this month. It’s the company’s second electric vehicle, after the (manually-shifted!) Plus E conceptit built back in 2012, but never brought to market.

The EV3 is based on the standard Morgan 3-wheeler the company has been selling since 2011, with this prototype expected to go into development toward the end of next year.

The internal combustion engine has been ditched in favor of a 60-horsepower rear-mounted electric motor. Morgan estimates a range of about 150 miles, a figure that beats most of the full electrics on the market today. That may actually be achievable since the EV3 is said to weigh in at just under 1,000 pounds—less than the internal combustion unit on which it’s based.

Three-wheeled cars are unstable and impractical by nature, but their sheer ridiculousness also makes them a certain kind of awesome. That’s why some car companies keep building the things, particularly Morgan, the oddballiest of all the oddball British car makes.

Perhaps the only way it could make its three-wheeler more awesomely unusual is to make it electric.

MAKING TRUCKS MORE EFFICIENT ISN’T ACTUALLY HARD TO DO

Walmart’s WAVE concept truck is made of carbon fiber and uses a turbine-powered battery-electric hybrid drivetrain. It’s all about showcasing new ways of making trucking more fuel efficient.

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IN THE PAST six years, the Obama Administration has made a major effort to reduce the negative impact of the ways we get around on the planet, requiring major fuel economy improvements for passenger cars and trains, with planes soon to follow. Now, it’s trucks’ turn to slim down.

Last week, the EPA and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced new proposed fuel economy standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles—everything from the biggest pickup trucks to UPS vehicles to the semis that rule the right lane—aimed at significantly improving fuel economy in the next decade.

The current standards for these vehicles were introduced in 2011, and take effect this year, requiring a 20 percent reduction in fuel consumption. The newly introduced “phase two” rules apply to semi-trucks, large pickup trucks, vans, and buses built between 2021 and 2027. They’ll have to cut another 24 percent, based on the 2018 numbers.

That gives truck manufacturers six years to make major fuel economy improvements. That’s not as hard as it sounds. “They are easily achievable,” says Noël Perry, an economist who specializes in transportation and logistics. And we already know how to get there.

We Need These Changes

Transportation is responsible for 28 percent of the nation’s carbon emissions, second only to power plants at 31 percent. By nearly any measure, trucks play an outsized role in contributing greenhouse gas. They comprise just 4.3 percent of vehicles in the US, drive 9.3 percent of all miles driven each year, yet consume more than 25 percent of the fuel burned annually.

The new standards would save us $170 billion at the pump, the EPA says, and cut CO2 emissions by one billion metric tons. That’s nearly the equivalent of all the greenhouse gas emissions US residences generate in a year. But trucking is a $700 billion industry that moves between two-thirds and three-fourths of the nation’s freight from Point A to Point B.

“They’re incredibly important to the economy, so we’re not getting rid of them anytime soon,” says Adie Tomer, an associate fellow at the Brookings Institution.

The good news is the trucking industry is what Tomer calls a targeted group—there aren’t many players to work with, and everyone shares similar interests. You have the manufacturers and the fleet operators, so you don’t have to convince a vast swath of the population that these changes are for the better. “Targeting them really can help get the biggest bang for your buck right now,” Tomer says.

Even better, the big truck makers—folks like Daimler, Volvo, and Mack—are already working on this stuff. That’s because there’s a direct relationship between how much fuel you burn and how much money you make. Not only are they OK with proposals, they’re already exceeding the requirements proposed by the feds. (Which begs the question, should the standards be more aggressive? But we’ll leave that alone for now.)

The Easy Fixes

One of the easiest ways to improve efficiency is to make the trucks more aerodynamic. Out on the highway, where trucks spend most of their time, most of the fuel a truck burns is going toward overcoming wind resistance.

“We don’t need exotic technology to do this,” Perry says.

Today’s vehicles are far slicker than those of the past, with things like side skirts and the ATDynamics’ “Trailertail,” which fits to the back of a trailer to improve stability and cut wind resistance. There’s room for improvement: rounder edges, lower noses, smaller gaps to smooth the airflow, particularly between the tractor and trailer. Perry says one “laughably easy” change would be replacing those huge mirrors with tiny cameras—which would have the added benefit of providing a better view to the rear and sides. The technology exists; it’s a matter of getting the feds to approve it.

upload-482x319New tires help, too. Rolling resistance is another drag on efficiency. That’s why companies like Michelin favor using a wide tire in place of two narrower ones, as is common today. Michelin says its X One wide single tire can cut fuel use by 10 percent through reduced resistance and weight.

 

Truck manufacturers can keep working on engines, too. The technology is mature, Perry says, but given the time before the new standards kick in, making them more efficient “is well within their limits.” Regenerative braking could recapture energy otherwise lost as heat during braking and feed it to the battery—which powers stuff like the climate control and radio—should be more common. Smarter automatic transmissions can make even crummy drivers as efficient as the very best.

Down the Road

Those changes alone should be enough to meet the 24 percent improvement mark, Perry says, but there’s another big idea out there, one that’s already become mainstream in passenger cars: alternative new powertrains.

A battery-electric rig isn’t feasible yet, nor are hydrogen fuel cells. The costs and range issues simply don’t work in long-haul applications. But hybrid technology is already coming to medium-duty vehicles that haul things in urban areas. Delivery vehicles are a natural for electric power, because they tend to follow fixed routes, return to a common location (making charging and snap), and the torque provided by an electric motor is great for stop-and-go traffic. Market research company Navigate says global sales of fully and partially electric commercial vehicles will rise from less than 16,000 in 2014 to nearly 160,000 in 2023.

“Hydraulic hybrid” trucks recapture energy from braking and store it in a high-pressure accumulator, which can run the vehicle with the engine off, saving fuel. This technology is becoming more common, with UPS as an especially big fan. More traditional hybrids are also in the works, but not common yet.

Hydrogen fuel cells could eliminate the need for burning diesel on the highway, but the issues that have so far made them a non-starter for passenger cars still apply: Hydrogen fuel is hard to find and transport, and its production can itself yield greenhouse gases. Those problems need to be solved before that’s a viable solution.

Beyond the Truck

There are ways to reduce the impact of the trucking industry that go beyond EPA standards for individual vehicles.

One is to make the things bigger, and use fewer of them, which would also help alleviate the growing driver shortage. A 2009 study by consulting group Informa Economics found increasing the truck weight limit from 80,000 to nearly 100,000 pounds could cut US long haul trips by nearly 20 percent, saving 221 million gallons of diesel, even though each individual truck would be heavier and less efficient. We could also go the way of the Aussies and allow road trains, with one tractor pulling multiple trailers, up to a total weight of more than 250,000 pounds.

Then there’s platooning: Have one truck lead the way, with others in a line copying its every move, separated by as little as 25 feet. Like a Tour de France cyclist team, each truck in line benefits from a big drop in wind resistance. A line of five trucks could net six percent fuel savings, according to Daimler. Platooning does require vehicle-to-vehicle communication and some level of autonomous driving, but the technological solutions aren’t far from reality.

Those big changes are a ways away, if they ever happen, but the incremental steps that are making trucks more efficient are already doing a lot of good. And that’s important.

“Improving gas mileage for these trucks are going to drive down our oil imports even further,” President Obama said last year. “That reduces carbon pollution even more, cuts down on businesses’ fuel costs, which should pay off in lower prices for consumers. So it’s not just a win-win, it’s a win-win-win. You’ve got three wins.”

 

China registers three-fold increase in EV production

Electric vehicle manufacturers in China produced thrice as many units in May as they did in the same period the previous year.

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Shanghaidaily.com, citing a ministry of industry and information technology release issued on Wednesday, has reported that the production of pure electric passenger cars rose 300 percent to 9,922. Also, the number of hybrid vehicles produced rose four-fold to 4,923.

In the first five months of this year Chinese automakers have rolled out 53,600 new energy vehicles, which is about thrice the production in the same period last year.

The Chinese government has been pursuing various measures to reduce pollution and has been promoting new energy vehicles in a big way.

In March, the Chinese ministry of transport set target of 300,000 new energy commercial vehicles by 2020. The target also included 200,000 new energy buses and 100,000 new energy taxis and delivery vehicles.

Also, earlier this year, the ministry of commerce announced that China was to continue building charging facilities in cities and allow tax exemptions and subsidies on vehicle purchases.

In May China had announced new tax exemptions for electric vehicles as part of the country’s efforts to combat pollution.

The country has announced that new-energy cars including pure electric commercial cars, plug-in hybrid vehicles and fuel-cell commercial cars, will be exempted from vehicle taxes.

The proposal was to make way for halving vehicle tax for users of energy-saving cars and ships.

China has witnessed a three-fold increase in the production of new energy vehicles year on year to 25,400 in the first quarter of 2015. Various measures taken by the Chinese government to promote and support such vehicles supported the growth.

Green vehicles take root with cash incentives

The government’s efforts to drive sales of green vehicles through direct cash incentives appear to have paid off.

47759571NEW DELHI: The government’s efforts to drive sales of green vehicles through direct cash incentives appear to have paid off. Sales more than doubled in April and May, according to industry estimates, after the government started providing cash incentives of 29,000 for bikes and 1.38 lakh for cars.

More than 2,500 electric two-wheelers were sold during the two months, up from about 1,000 in the year-ago period, providing a lease of life to a struggling industry. “There has been an uptick in demand and we have noticed positive customer sentiment in certain markets,” said Ayush Lohia, CEO at Lohia Auto Industries, a prominent two-wheeler manufacturer. “There is a definite improvement in inquiries and we expect the demand to translate into incremental sales in coming months as the incentive policy gets popularised.”

Although India is the largest two-wheeler market for petrol engines, with an annual production of 18 million units, electric two-wheeler segment had been languishing for years with sales of just a few hundred units a month.

This changed with the notification of FAME India – Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric vehicles in India – as part of the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan to promote eco-friendly vehicles. The policy, for which the government has earmarked 795 crore in the first two financial years, covers other vehicles including three-wheelers, buses and light commercial vehicles as well.

The incentive scheme helped home-grown electric carmaker Mahindra Reva, which has the world’s largest production capacity in the segment, to double its monthly sales in the past few months. The company has been able to sell around 200 units of the E20, the new version of the erstwhile Reva electric car.

READ ALSO: FAME-India scheme launched to offer sops on hybrid, e-vehicles

“We are committed to a greener environment and we will constantly work towards educating and encouraging the use of electric vehicles in India,” said Praveen Shan, president and chief executive (automotive) at Mahindra & Mahindra.

“In the first go our monthly sales doubled to 80-100 units per month and once the charging infrastructure and government scheme gets popularised, we are expecting electric cars to get their rightful place in the Indian market,” he added.
The government adopted FAME policy to promote faster switch to electric, hybrid and other green vehicles in order to reduce India’s dependence on largely imported fossil fuels and improve environment by reducing vehicular pollution.

The National Electric Mobility Mission Plan target is to have at least seven million e-vehicles on Indian roads by 2020. The Centre plans to reduce VAT and road tax to the minimum on green vehicles with active participation of state governments.

The spurt in demand also took the world’s largest carmaker Toyota by surprise. It sold more than 280 units of its Camry hybrid sedan in the first 50 days of the year, compared to 720 units sold in the entire 2014.

Two Big Cities Book New-Energy Cars

Company running car-hire apps is offering electric cars and hybrids in Beijing and Shanghai, executive says

1435144581001144_480_320(Beijing) – People in Beijing and Shanghai can now book new-energy vehicles on the popular Didi and Kuaidi mobile applications, an executive at the company running the apps says.

The price of riding in electric cars made by Beijing Automotive Industry Group Co. Ltd. (BAIC Group) and hybrids made by SAIC Motor Corp. Ltd. will be the same as that for a regular vehicle, the executive said.

The Didi-Kuaidi firm will have around 10,000 new-energy vehicles on the roads in 20 cities in the second half of the year, the executive said.

Didi-Kuaidi offers rides in vehicles belonging to auto rental companies and the drivers come from temporary labor agencies.

The Didi-Kuaidi firm and BAIC Group said on June 4 that they had agreed to cooperate. The deal will see Didi-Kuaidi introduce new-energy cars on its apps and provide the carmaker the data on charging times and frequency.

Xu Heyi, chairman of BAIC Group, said the cooperation was an important step in the carmaker’s exploration of business related to the Internet.

The executive at Didi-Kuaidi said one advantage of offering new-energy vehicles is that local governments place fewer restrictions on when they can be use. Both the capital and Shanghai have laws in place to limit the number of cars on their roads, but those rules do not apply to new-energy cars. New-energy cars are also cheaper to maintain than regular cars, the executive said.

Yidao Yongche, another car-hire app company that cooperates with car rental companies and temporary labor agencies, started offering new-energy cars in May. Rides in those cars are nearly half the price of taking a regular car. A vice president of Yidao Yongche said the lower prices were offered in an attempt to attract young and low-income passengers.

A driver who has worked with Yidao Yongche said the long periods required to recharge new-energy cars and a lack of recharging facilities are problems he faces every day. A car had to be recharged in the middle of the day, he said, and that took more than two hours.

The central government has promoted the building of charging facilities across the country, but only big cities had enough of the equipment, a source familiar with the matter said.

The Didi-Kuaidi executive said his company will help drivers find recharging facilities.

The companies offering the Didi and Kuaidi apps said in February they will merge, but it is unclear what the name of the new company is. They still operate out of separate offices.

China’s Guangzhou Auto to invest $322 mn in electric car factory

Chinese carmakers are rushing to market with new energy vehicles – electric cars, hybrids and fuel cell vehicles – to meet fuel economy standards that grow increasingly strict each year to 2020, part of the government’s effort to tackle pollution that chokes many major urban areas.

47651766GUANGZHOU: Guangzhou Automobile Group Motor plans to invest 2 billion yuan ($322 million) in a factory in China that will exclusively build green “new energy” vehicles, a senior executive said on Friday.

Chinese carmakers are rushing to market with new energy vehicles – electric cars, hybrids and fuel cell vehicles – to meet fuel economy standards that grow increasingly strict each year to 2020, part of the government’s effort to tackle pollution that chokes many major urban areas.

Guangzhou’s new factory will have an annual production capacity of 100,000 vehicles and is slated for completion in 2018, although that timetable may be accelerated depending on sales of new energy models, Vice General Manager Liang Weibiao said in an interview on Friday.

The company, a subsidiary of Guangzhou Automobile Group , produces own-brand cars. Liang, who oversees sales and several other departments, declined to say where the factory will be located.

“Many places ardently want us to build there. There are some that, in order to get us to build locally, make known that they are now thinking of buying a large quantity of our products,” he said.

Guangzhou Automobile Group Motor aims to sell 3,000 new energy vehicles this year and targets 10,000 in 2016, producing only as much as there is demand for, Liang said.

It currently sells hybrid and range-extended electric versions of its GA5 sedan, with a hybrid version of the GS4 SUV set to hit the market next year, he added.

Both domestic and global automakers are continuing to plough money into factories in China, the world’s largest car market, despite the biggest economic slowdown in a quarter of a century crimping sales growth.

Guangzhou Automobile Group Motor head Wu Song told Reuters in April that it separately plans to build two factories in 2016 and 2018, each with a capacity of 200,000 units.

Chinese auto sales contracted year-on-year for the second consecutive month in May, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) said on Wednesday. CAAM said in March that sales growth this year could be slower than the 6.9 percent growth in 2014.