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On May 2nd, 2013 BYD announced plans to establish a production base in California, making it the first Chinese car manufacturer to take its production into the United States. While the Mojave Desert plant will produce an estimated 1,000 plug-in electric buses a year once it reaches full capacity over the course of the next two decades, short term estimates are considerably scaled back; targeting 50 vehicles in 2015 while the corresponding batteries are produced at another facility the company is set to start up nearby. Nonetheless this decision signals a new period of expansion in the Chinese automaker’s evolution as it places BYD at the heart of one of the world’s most active and innovative auto development regions, in California’s Silicon Valley. Furthermore, the move to US based production also means that the company’s buses will be eligible for incentive and subsidy programs designed to encourage purchase of domestically produced vehicles.

Source: China Daily article

The US automaker became the first car manufacturer to join a group of some 40 major U.S. based companies in calling for policymakers to address climate change by promoting clean energy, boosting efficiency, and limiting carbon emissions. The group is led by sustainable business advocacy group Ceres, in the form of its Business for Innovative Climate & Energy Policy unit.

In pledging their commitment to the pact, General Motor’s aims to become a change agent, calling on other automakers to join them in demanding government to enact more aggressive legislation Additionally, GM has also displayed its commitment to green technology through investments in fuel-efficient vehicle related research and production, imposing low-emissions restrictions in its production facilities, and investing up to $40 million in a Chevrolet sponsored Carbon Reduction Initiative supporting community-based carbon-reduction projects throughout the US.

Source: EV World article

Despite concerted efforts by the Finnish government, the country continues to trail far behind the leaders of the pack in Europe’s race towards electric vehicle adoption. In the face of increasingly demanding targets and a growing public consensus on the harmful impact which gas-fueled vehicles have on the environment, Finland’s total EV sales continue to be far too slow to build up to levels necessary to reach targeted carbon emission reductions. Currently the EVs amount to a total of 109 of Finland’s 2.6 million vehicles, while hybrids do make up a far greater portion at 6,114, these numbers still fall far short of the ratio which recent studies suggest is necessary to achieve the EU mandated emission targets for 2025 (95 g/km per vehicle).

Source: Report at Vihreä Lanka (in Finnish)

A new study, conducted by British energy & environmental consultancy Ricardo-AEA, concludes that reaching carbon goals, set by the EU for 2025, would require a significant increase in the sales of electric and hybrid vehicles throughout Europe.  The study determined that if sales of new vehicles, from now on, were to be divided equally between gas-fueled cars and hybrid vehicles, the carbon emission rate of all new vehicles would be lowered to an overall, per vehicle average of 70 g/km. This would exceed the EU’s set reduction target of a 95 g/km average. Furthermore, the study also concluded that the same goal could be reached with far fewer hybrid vehicles if electric vehicles made up a mere 7% of all new vehicle sales, thereby allowing traditional, gas-fueled vehicles to remain the conventional standard for the time being.

Researchers went on to investigate even more ambitious scenarios which would enable more notable reductions in emissions levels, these will be included in Ricardo-AEA’s forthcoming complete report.

Source: Reuters report

The EU’s recently announced Clean Power for Transport program is a significant show of support to aid European countries as they strive to meet the ambitious carbon reduction and electric vehicle adoption targets set for 2020 by the Union. The program’s €8 billion funding will primarily be used to build over half a million charging stations throughout Europe by 2020, with the remainder going towards the development of innovative and alternative fuels and the networks to support these.

Through this program, the EU hopes to respond to certain critics of the ambitious EV and carbon reduction targets set forth by organizations such as the EU. By establishing a vast network, spanning from continental Europe to Malta, will answer those critics, who have often argued that the central barrier to truly wide scale market adoption of EVs is the lack of a comprehensive charging network. Furthermore, the plan would also establish the Type 2 electric vehicle charging system as the Europe wide standard, yet another significant step in ridding the EV industry of some of the confusion and overly complex structure keeping people from investing in EVs.

Source: International Herald Tribune article

Read more: Frequently asked questions regarding the EU program

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