[To learn more about electric vehicle efforts in Washington and other states visit WSDOT's West Coast Green Highway website. Learn more about our projects,and partners. And find a wealth of resources to learn even more.]
Motavalli sees 2011 as "a year of modest gains, incremental change, and adjustment to a whole new automotive marketplace." His predictions, along with some of his comments (but it's really worth it to read his entire article):
1. Mainstream EVs will sell out. This sounds great, but it’s not necessarily all that significant....The key measure, though, is what happens in year two, when the early adopters will have their cars. Year two is the measure of mainstream acceptance.
2. Range anxiety will be an issue, but less of one than people think. But if people find they can live within the battery EV’s 100-mile range, then the need for a public infrastructure (charging stations at stores, workplaces and shopping malls) will seem less urgent.
3. Tesla will make EV history with extended range. Tesla Motors has been able, fairly consistently, to get more range out of a lithium-ion battery pack than any other company. The Roadster, admittedly a very light car, has 220 miles of range when most other EVs are stuck at 100 miles. The 300-mile-range EV is a total game changer, erasing range anxiety and eliminating a major difference between electric and internal-combustion cars. Battery chemistry is a big challenge, so any company that can break the 300-mile barrier will have a huge advantage.
4. Charging stations will start, well, charging. Many of the early public charging stations are giving electricity away free. That’s both because they don’t have the sophisticated interactive Internet-enabled billing networks in place, and because they don’t know what to charge.
5. Big-box stores will get into the EV business. Extensive talks are underway to get the big electronics and hardware chains involved in selling electric car components and, in some cases, the cars themselves. Best Buy, for instance, has its Geek Squad primed to start installing the EV chargers it plans to sell soon. And EV charging in the parking lots is a foregone conclusion at this point.
6. The independents will struggle. Several battery EVs — including the Wheego LiFe and the Coda sedan — will hit the market without the safety net of brand recognition, dealer networks and advertising budgets. The Coda, already delayed into the second half of 2011, will initially be marketed only in California. I’d be more dubious of that strategy if [it] hadn’t already used it to sell 300 EVs in Oklahoma. Yes, Oklahoma, where no other carmaker seemed to notice the state’s lucrative electric-car tax break.
Jim Motavalli is the author of Forward Drive: The Race to Build Clean Cars for the Future, among other books. He has been covering the environmental side of the auto industry for more than a decade, and writes regularly on those topics for the New York Times.
Posted On 1/04/2011 10:00:00 AM by Larry Ehl | 0 comments
Here are the key trends predicted by Goodwill, but you really should read his story for a short description of the importance of each trend.
Slow Growth (of global trade)
Comprehensive Safety Analysis in 2011 (federal govt. activities)
Shippers will adapt supply chains to take advantage of Multi Modal Options
More Retailers will embrace Amazon.com’s Two Day Flat Rate Shipping Program
More Free Trade Deals are Coming
Increased Demand for Large Container Vessels
Truck Freight Rates will Rise
Vessel Freight Rates will be Flat
Better Days Ahead for LTL Carriers
Shippers will Focus on Leverage and Competence
Posted On 1/04/2011 09:00:00 AM by Larry Ehl | 0 comments
Two of the trends cover electric vehicles. Other rockin' trends were USDOT's TIGER grants, China's high speed rail advances, commercial space travel, cars that drive themselves, and electric airplanes.
Posted On 1/04/2011 08:00:00 AM by Larry Ehl | 0 comments
Thomas E. Mann, senior fellow at the centrist Brookings Institution, predicts that "Congress will be more an arena for staging disagreements and arguments leading up to the 2012 elections than for enacting new law."
Of course the pressing issue is the FY 2011 budget. Federal agencies are funded through March 4th. House Republicans are expected to refashion the House's version of the appropriations bill to reduce spending in most areas.
The FY 2011 appropriations bill isn't the only spending issue. Congress also needs to decide whether to raise the debt ceiling next spring, and Republican freshmen have already vowed to vote "no." The FY 2012 spending bill will also be contentious.
Liberal advocacy groups backed the calls for a filibuster overhaul, but whether Republicans — who have used the filibuster profusely to slow down bills in the past two years — will agree to change the rules is another matter altogether.
Though it is unlikely to get through the Senate, the House is expected to vote for some sort of repeal and replace measure regarding the new health care overhaul.
The Environmental Protection Agency plans to roll out carbon pollution limits next year, a move that lawmakers in both parties oppose. Many on Capitol Hill want congressional action instead, but reaching a compromise won't be easy.
Unemployment insurance has been extended through next fall, but Democrats may push for spending bills aimed at stimulating the economy. Republicans are likely to advocate for tax cuts, not additional spending, to accomplish the same task.
The Senate took a last-minute vote on the DREAM Act before adjourning, failing the pass the measure that would give some immigrants a path to legalization.
While immigration activists say it's unlikely that anything will happen on the issue through 2012, we can't rule out legislators reigniting the debate to court the Latino vote.
"Top issues for the next Congress," Congress.org
Posted On 1/03/2011 10:58:00 AM by Larry Ehl | 0 comments
|Sec. LaHood at Seattle's Mercer Street |
TIGER project groundbreak
Still, it's an impressive list.
Posted On 12/29/2010 02:00:00 PM by Larry Ehl |
Here's the first one, click on the link to see the rest.
The United States Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) introduced a new safety initiative known as the Compliance Safety Accountability 2010 and it has been the talk of the trucking industry throughout 2010. The goal of the program is to achieve a reduction in large truck and bus crashes, injuries and fatalities, while maximizing the resources of FMCSA and its State partners. The implementation of CSA2010 brings three major changes.
1. The motor vehicle record or driver abstract is being changed.
2. Individual drivers are being audited and each will be given a personal safety rating.
3. An updated safety rating for each driver and trucking company is issued every 30 days.
The personal safety rating will determine whether or not the driver is considered eligible to continue driving, requires some sort of “intervention,” or is deemed “unfit” to continue operating a commercial vehicle. Similarly motor carriers are facing increased scrutiny under CSA 2010 and will experience harsh fines, corrective action plans and even risk having their entire fleets placed out of service due to violations. It is expected that ten percent of the U.S. driver force or 300,000 drivers will exit the industry due to CSA 2010.
Rob Abbott, VP of Safety Policy at ATA, predicts that as many as 25% of the nation's motor carriers will be getting warning letters from FMCSA starting in December. If carriers do only one thing to prepare for CSA 2010, it is learning as much as they can about all aspects of CSA’s new scoring system."
Posted On 12/16/2010 10:00:00 AM by Larry Ehl |
As Streetsblog Capitol Hill notes there are similarities between the two lists. Both want increased funding for maintenance of the existing transportation network, passenger rail, and freight mobility (though EDF is more focused on "cleaner" freight). EDF's list is also little more transit oriented, though AASHTO does support increased funding for transit.
EDF also weighs in with these two wishes:
"Pay-as-you-drive insurance: Let's incentivize reduced VMT and get PAYD in every state, so drivers can opt for an insurance policy that best reflects their lifestyle.
Smart pricing: In 2010 we'd like to see broader adoption of smart parking policies, such as parking cash-out. We also look forward to the release of and San Francisco's pricing study examining the benefits of applying cordon pricing, that's proven successful in Europe, to reduce pollution and improve transportation."
Other Top Ten stories are embedded in this post.
Posted On 1/26/2010 05:00:00 AM by Larry Ehl | 0 comments
WSDOT SR 519 project)
Posted On 1/06/2010 10:00:00 AM by Larry Ehl | 0 comments
1. Obama Unveils High-Speed Railway Plan (runaway winner)
2. Solar-Powered Plane Takes Maiden Flight
3. China Unveils the World’s Fastest High Speed Train
4. Sun-Powered Japanese Racecar Wins World Solar Challenge
5. Steam-Powered Supercar Shatters World Land Speed Record
6. High-Speed Javelin Trains Arrive in the UK
Wow. Nothing about plug-in electric vehicles? How about the EV project -$100 million to provide 4,700 zero-emission electric vehicles and 11,210 charging systems? And all the cities that are in the midst of installing charging stations, including Seattle and Portland, and even Shenzen?
Or the US-China Electric Vehicles Initiative, "one of seven measures to strengthen cooperation between the United States and China on clean energy."
Or how about the Obama/LaHood/Oberstar push for Livability and Sustainability in the next transportation bill? That was mildly seismic in transportation circles. Sure, so far there's only a smallish $280 million grant program for urban circulators and streetcars, but the question now isn't IF Livability and Sustainability will be in the next bill, it's "what will it look like."
Or the $374 million in federal earmarks for advanced energy and vehicle programs?
Or DOE's recent announcement of a $122m investment in Energy Innovation Hubs?
Couldn't they have just done the traditional top ten and added something about transportation electrification? I may have to work up my own list.
Photo: Rep. Jay Inslee gets ready to test drive the first all-electric Ford Focus in the Northwest, at Cascadia Center's Beyond Oil conference.
Posted On 12/31/2009 07:00:00 AM by Larry Ehl | 1 comments
#1: Hurricane Katrina ("In a flash, a major U.S. city was brought to its knees," levees were breached,"highways were flooded, bridges collapsed, and highrises were decimated")
#2: ARRA transportation funding
#4: Terror in transportation (9/11, Madrid & London Tube bombings)
#6: Minnesota I-35W bridge collapse
#7: Bicyling growth in US cities ("The era of the bicycle is here")
Posted On 12/30/2009 03:00:00 PM by Larry Ehl | 0 comments
Congressional Quarterly / Congress.org answers your plea (these are notable, not their favorites):
- Bush tax cuts, June 2001. A sweeping change to the nation’s tax code.
- Afghanistan and Iraq war resolutions, Sep. 2001 and Oct. 2002. Both resolutions essentially granted the president the authority to use military force in both Iraq and Afghanistan, replacing the more formal declaration of war.
- PATRIOT Act, October 2001 (and revised/renewed in 2005 and 2006). Although it passed Congress by wide margins in the days after Sept. 11, the Patriot Act has since become one of the most hotly contested pieces of legislation in recent history.
- No Child Left Behind, January 2002. One of President Bush’s signature domestic initiatives, [and strongly supported by Sen. Ted Kennedy] NCLB represented a major step toward more federal involvement in education, an area that has typically been handled at the local and state level.
- Homeland Security Act, November 2002. The largest reorganization of the federal government’s structure since right after World War II.
- Partial-Birth Abortion Ban, November 2003. Congress passed similar laws in December 1995 and October 1997, but both were vetoed by President Clinton.
- Medicare Overhaul, December 2003. The largest overhaul in the program’s history, acknowledging the increased role that prescription drugs have come to play in the health care system.
- Terry Schiavo ('Palm Sunday Compromise'), March 2005. One of the most unusual legislative actions ever taken by Congress, the unprecedented private bill allowed the Schiavo legal case to be moved from state court to federal court, allowing her parents one more legal avenue to keep her alive.
- TARP, October 2008. Unprecedented government intervention creating a huge Treasury fund to bail out Wall Street bankers and big insurance companies.
- ARRA, February 2009. A $787 billion investment designed to jump-start the nation’s economy, put Americans to work and save existing jobs.
Posted On 12/29/2009 11:00:00 AM by Larry Ehl | 0 comments