Pipe: Europe

Verkehrsstudie: Das sind Deutschlands Stau-Fallen

Tue, 2014-03-04 05:16
35 Stunden haben deutsche Autofahrer laut einer Studie im vergangenen Jahr durchschnittlich im Stau gestanden. Stuttgart ist die demnach die Stau-Hauptstadt. Doch die mit Abstand schlimmste Strecke liegt in München.

Arval's fleet emissions fall by 23%

Tue, 2014-03-04 04:53
Arval UK has seen average emissions for its fleet of around 90,000 vehicles fall by 23% since 2008.

China's Geely acquires EV manufacturer

Tue, 2014-03-04 04:14
Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co has acquired British electric vehicle manufacturer Emerald Automotive.

Messe-Blog Auto-Salon Genf: Porsche enthüllt das Comeback-Mobil

Tue, 2014-03-04 02:48
Jahrelang tat der Autohersteller Porsche so, als müsse er in Sachen Motorsport nichts mehr beweisen. Es war ja auch kaum mehr Platz im Trophäen-Schrank: Dort stapelten sich unter anderem Pokale von drei Formel-1-Fahrer-Weltmeisterschaften (mit Porsche-Motoren), 14 Marken-Weltmeisterschaften und natürlich den 16 Triumphen in Le Mans. Die ganze Sammlung galt als ewig gültiger Beleg der Zuffenhausener Sportlichkeit. Aber jetzt will Porsche nachlegen.

Strengthening European Prosperity and Competitiveness

Mon, 2014-03-03 20:44

Messe-Blog Auto-Salon Genf: Mich und mein Mercedes

Mon, 2014-03-03 14:00
Mit der frischen Baureihe des Bestsellers C-Klasse und dem brandneuen Kompakt-SUV GLA zeigt Mercedes in Genf zwei für den Konzern wichtige Modelle. Aber ein Auto steht bei der traditionellen Vorabendveranstaltung des Salons nicht im Rampenlicht - stattdessen präsentiert der Hersteller die Internetseite

Messe-Blog Auto-Salon Genf: Da fliegt der Hut weg

Mon, 2014-03-03 11:37
Im Untergeschoss des Starling-Hotels in Genf herrscht Disco. An den Wänden prangen Graffiti, auf dem Boden sind bunte Sitzkissen verstreut und aus den Boxen dröhnt lässige Musik. Hier hat sich Opel mal wieder alle Mühe gegeben, den Kleinwagen Adam so zu inszenieren, dass er als cooles Lifestyle-Wägelchen wahrgenommen wird. Mit zwei neuen Modellvarianten soll das in Zukunft noch einfacher gelingen.

Skandal um "Gelben Engel": ADAC verliert Hunderttausende Mitglieder

Mon, 2014-03-03 10:47
Die Skandale des ADAC schlagen sich in den Mitgliederzahlen nieder. Seit Anfang des Jahres sind bereits 286.000 Menschen ausgetreten. Auf den Schreibtischen stapeln sich noch Zehntausende Kündigungsschreiben.

Messe-Blog Auto-Salon Genf: Angeber müssen draußen bleiben

Mon, 2014-03-03 09:01
Diskretion ist ein hohes Gut in der Schweiz, das zeigt sich sogar auf dem Auto-Salon in Genf. Der Salon ist das jährliche Frühjahrsgroßereignis einer Branche, in der Zurückhaltung eigentlich ein Fremdwort ist. Aber am Genfersee ist das anders: Hier gelten ein paar Regeln, die die Veranstaltung zu einer Ausnahmeerscheinung unter den Automessen macht.

David Greenwood appointed to JLR Professorial Chair at WMG

Mon, 2014-03-03 09:00

Jaguar Land Rover and Warwick Manufacturing Group, at the University of Warwick, have appointed Professor David Greenwood as the Jaguar Land Rover Professorial Chair in Advanced Propulsion Systems for the National Automotive Innovation Campus. Dave Greenwood has been closely associated with the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership for many years as Chair of the Innovation Working Group. 


Europe needs a better biofuels policy

Mon, 2014-03-03 06:04

Private sector biofuels investment has been killed off by the Renewable Energy Directive, and only a clear, stable policy offering certainty up until 2030 will revive it, argues Eric Sievers. 

Eric Sievers is the CEO of Ethanol Europe Renewables Ltd.

2012 teemed with absurd, and effective, allegations against ethanol.  2013 saw proof those claims were exaggerated by orders of magnitude.  Perhaps 2014 can promote intelligent dialogue, resulting in a biofuel policy that creates a million jobs, achieves massive GHG savings, enhances food security, empowers rural communities, plies few subsidies, and precludes land grabbing.

A recent Euractiv article revisits historic stakeholder ILUC battle lines.  Let's leave that history and its platitudes behind.  In their place, we need a zero ILUC biofuel policy incentivizing the best of all biofuels and promoting action that leaps ahead of the dead-end notion of ILUC factors.

That policy is self-evident if stakeholders would start talking in plain un-politicized language.  Stakeholders on all sides want the same things: investment in good biofuels, high GHG savings, rural jobs, poverty alleviation, and global food security.  Instead, the current debate is obsessed with "caps", "ILUC factors", "food vs. fuel", and "multiple counting" rather than substantive outcomes.  These loaded phrases, without exception, preclude sensible policy.  Debates migrate to fantasy scenarios; "multiple counting" waves its wand to transform shale oil into a renewable.

"ILUC" and "ILUC models" do not point in the same direction.  ILUC factors are the biofuel equivalent of taxing every European in 2014 on the income that the 1% might earn in 2020.  Such an approach could yield sufficient income for the treasury, but would be fundamentally unacceptable on every other level, even if the underlying projections weren't wrong.

Yet, with ILUC factors, the underlying model projections are wrong.  The 2011 IFPRI model yields the ILUC factors contained in the Commission's 2012 RED amendments.  This 2011 model predicts average 2013 UK GHG biofuel savings of 35% and near zero with ILUC.  The UK official results? 70% and near 40% with ILUC.

Does anyone want policy based on models that so quickly and spectacularly contradict reality?

The answer is not to search for a better model.

Fortunately, the science of ILUC acknowledges that biofuels made from crops that would not otherwise be grown have zero ILUC.  Such non-ILUC crops can come from above-trend yield increases, multicropping, or degraded/abandoned lands.  These crops answer the EU's need to halt agriculture's decline and save rural communities.  Between 1993-2023, the EU will abandon 25,000,000 hectares of arable land.  Likewise, over 30 years Hungarian maize yields remained static, while in Austria, Brazil and the U.S., yields doubled or tripled, a result due only to the lack of Eastern European agricultural investment.

Not only would non-ILUC biofuels ensure both RED and FQD success; they would increase global food security.  Only half non-ILUC feedstock can be processed into fuel; the other half becomes high-protein antibiotic-free GMO-free animal feed.  This feed replaces protein meals from the Americas that are high-ILUC, GMO, laced with antibiotics, and widely used in West European meat production.

A cap on crop-based biofuels, then, is an absurd way to address ILUC when non-ILUC feedstock is the only practicable way to ensure full carbon accounting and promote global food security.

Not only do food security, ILUC and conventional biofuels have synergies that expose current policy proposals as medieval and misguided, but those synergies are reinforced by a calm review of other exaggerated claims about biofuels.

For instance, 2008-13 saw claims that 6,000,000 African hectares were land grabbed for EU biofuel.  That area equates to 5 billion liters of biofuel (30% of the whole EU market) not the statistical 0% market share that is reality. Indeed, new Commission and independent reports show large-scale African biofuels land grabbing to be less than 1% of the scale alleged.  Nevertheless, land grabbing risks merit serious attention and can be solved within a non-ILUC biofuels policy.  Sustainability requirements should be supplemented to require that "biofuel feedstock shall not be produced on land that was the primary source of sustenance for a local population in 2008."

Without belaboring the evidence, subsidy attacks have also been off by at least an order of magnitude.  Water attacks were off by five orders of magnitude.

But one particular error on the scale of two orders of magnitude is critical to policy success.  Many stakeholders have uncritically assumed that tens of billions are annually invested in EU biofuels thanks to the RED.  Yet, private biofuels investment in the EU is dead, and the RED killed it.

Biofuels investments are capital intensive; they require long-term stability.  Even before 2012, Commission zeal to change rules and formulas several times a year reduced biofuels investment activity from tens of billions to around €100 million annually.

Indeed, a total of two large biofuel investments were entirely launched and completed post-RED.  All others were launched prior to RED passage.  Those two projects, one cellulosic and one conventional ethanol, produce 0.02% of EU transport sector energy.  At this pace, the RED will inspire 0.05% of EU transport sector investments by 2020, not the 5% planned.

Accordingly, the largest irony of EU biofuel battles is their real-world irrelevance.  Today's RED debates are an exercise only in addressing certain egos; they will result in no investment, no matter which caps or feedstock lists prevail.  Only a policy that will have stability and clarity from 2014/5 all the way through to 2030 will result in investments.

And truly advanced biofuels must be included.  They need, and the only thing that will work is, a gradually increasing separate no-nonsense EU-wide mandate.


Source West selects Siemens EV rapid charging technology

Mon, 2014-03-03 04:13
One of the largest Electric Vehicle projects funded by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles has been awarded to Siemens UK.

iOS-Update CarPlay: Apple integriert das iPhone ins Auto

Mon, 2014-03-03 03:07
Apple will mit dem Projekt CarPlay die Nutzung des iPhones im Auto vereinfachen. Durch ein Update seines Betriebssystems iOS wird die Benutzeroberfläche des Handys auf dem Bordcomputer angezeigt. Drei Fahrzeughersteller wollen das System bald einführen.

Pressure grows on Commission to publish criteria on endocrine disruptors

Mon, 2014-03-03 02:52

The French parliament’s committee on European affairs has published a report on the European strategy on endocrine-disrupting chemicals which calls on the EU to react urgently to the matter.

The report states that public health is being challenged by the damaging affects posed by endocrine disruptors, leading to extra financial costs in the future for the health sector if appropriate policy action is not being taken.

The EU needs to publish both a new, comprehensive strategy on endocrine disruptors to boost public action as well as rapidly adopt a single definition on endocrine disruptors based on the hazards and not "on the notion of potency as has been put forward by industry," the committee said.

Known examples of endocrine-disrupting chemicals include phthalates (a plastic-softener), brominated flame retardants (often used in household textile or furniture) and metals like lead and mercury.

Some endocrine-disrupting chemicals occur naturally, while synthetic varieties can be found in pesticides, electronics, personal care products and cosmetics. They can also be found as additives or contaminants in food.

The European Commission had planned to publish a definition of endocrine disruptors in December 2013, but the definition has been delayed as Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik has said he wants the Commission to make an impact analysis first.

The delay in publishing criteria from the Commission's side, led the Swedish environment minister Lena Ek on Wednesday (26 February) to threaten to sue the Commission for breaching a bargaining agreement.

"If this is not done within two months, it's so serious from an environment and health point of view that we will follow up by suing the Commission," Ek said.

Génon Jensen, executive director at the NGO Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), also called on the Commission to deliver on its promise and publish a strategy on endocrine disruptors as soon as possible.

"Postponing its publication until the new Commission would indicate to European citizens that bureaucratic procedures are more important than their health and the prevention of chronic diseases," Jensen said. 

"To reduce unnecessary health problems and healthcare costs, we need swift progress on endocrine-disrupting chemicals policy so as to start reducing people’s daily exposures to chemicals linked to chronic disease,” she added.


Divided EU grapples with energy and climate goals

Mon, 2014-03-03 02:23

The EU’s energy and environment ministers will today (3 March) begin two days of talks under the shadow of divisions on greenhouse gas cuts, renewable energy targets and efficiency objectives.

While Germany says it will push for a binding energy savings goal and stronger renewable targets, Poland wants a commitment to an emissions cut made optional and final decisions postponed until next year.

The Council discussions on energy plans for 2030 had been intended to pave the way to an agreement at an EU leaders’ summit on 20-21 March.

Draft guidelines for that meeting seen by EurActiv, call for a roadmap leading to “an early agreement on an ambitious EU position on emissions reductions up to 2030.”  

This was framed in the context of a UN climate summit in September 2014, and the global climate change conference of parties (COP) due to take place in Paris in December 2015.

But Poland is blocking a consensus on a planned 40% cut in CO2 emissions, and says that a May 2013 agreement impels a final decision on objectives to be postponed until 2015.

Diplomatic sources have even floated a notion that the EU’s planned 40% cut in CO2 emissions could be made binding at the EU level alone, leaving member states free to pursue divergent energy policies. This is unlikely to gather a groundswell of support.

The UK, for example, supports an offer of a 50% reduction in Europe’s CO2 emissions being made at the Paris COP, albeit with the extra 10% cut being met with carbon offsets.

London also wants a decision on energy goals taken as quickly as possible, ideally before a June summit of EU leaders, and would prefer to see the EU’s Fuel Quality Directive which regulates transport energies ranging from biofuels to tar sands, amended rather than scrapped

But it will be less sympathetic to proposals from Germany, which wants a planned 27% goal for renewable energies in the EU’s energy mix toted up to an “optimal” 30%, and made binding on member states. 

Efficiency targets

More dramatically, Berlin will push for a binding energy efficiency target, in a challenge to the established orthodoxy in Brussels that such measures should wait until after a review of lagging progress towards the non-binding goal set for 2020.

“We feel that the best way to save energy is not to use it at all,” a diplomat told EurActiv. “There is also a strong field of green building industry that we need to support. That’s why we need an ambitious binding efficiency target to send the right signals to market and industry.”

This will be resolutely opposed by countries such as the UK, which argues that existing structural EU funds such as Horizon 2020 are sufficient to incentivise continent-wide energy savings.

Eastern European countries too may balk at the suggestion, seeing it as a cost to industry, rather than an opportunity. The gaze of one aspirant regional leader, Poland, remains squarely fixed on a horse trade over ‘burden-sharing’, or the degree of energy transition they must make relative to other EU states.

This will fit into debate on a looser governance structure for implementing energy and climate policy, with Warsaw arguing that its coal-dependent circumstances make clean energy a costly proposition.

Energy costs

Energy costs will also be discussed by the ministers, with a focus on the disconnect between wholesale and retail prices, as well as the disproportionate effect of taxies and levies.

“Prices, and especially costs, have continued to rise overall for both households and industry despite falling or stable consumption,” a draft Council communication seen by EurActiv says. “This rise in prices is driven mainly by increases in network costs and taxes/levies and wide differences between member states’ policies on these costs and levies.”

A convergence and fall in wholesale electricity prices “has not been transposed into a reduction of the retail prices,” the paper notes.

It proposes debate on subjects including:

  • Completion of the internal market by 2014
  • Further development of energy infrastructure
  • Cost-effective application of taxes and levies
  • Encouraging households and industry to improve their energy efficiency
  • Protecting vulnerable consumers though social policy measures
  • Diversifying energy supplies and routes
  • Ensuring consumer choice of the most advantageous energy supplier

Industrial competitiveness and a recent EU communication on industrial renaissance may well loom large, as Europe's energy intensive industries take an increasingly vocal line in climate debate.

Industrial renaissance

Speaking in Brussels last week, Dr Brigitta Huckestein, a senior manager for the German chemicals giant BASF said that any EU 2030 climate and energy targets should “depend on what the public is willing to pay for climate action.”

“I do not believe that people are aware of this – that it will cost their money if politicians are going for such a high goal,” she told journalists.

In the end, a timeline to agreement may be the most that ministers can agree this week, leaving Europe’s clean energy industries kicking their heels.

A letter from the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC) to the EU’s heads of state, seen by EurActiv, notes that the EU’s own impact assessment accompanying the 2030 proposal indicated that a 30% renewables target for 2030 would create 568,000 more jobs and save €260 billion in fossil fuel imports.

“Agreeing on mutually reinforcing targets for GHG emissions reductions, energy efficiency and renewables will enable the development of a European climate-friendly energy mix through dedicated and reliable policies,” says the letter by Rainer Hinrichs-Rahlwes, EREC’s president. “It is now up to you to choose either a growth or a no-growth strategy.”


Spike-Reifen-Prototyp: Die Nagel-Probe

Sun, 2014-03-02 04:01
Grip auf Knopfdruck - so stellt sich der finnische Reifenhersteller Nokian die Winterreifen-Zukunft vor. Möglich machen soll das ein Pneu, in dessen Profil Spikes ausfahrbare eingelassen sind. Klingt nach James-Bond-Gimmick, soll aber tatsächlich funktionieren.

Buch zur Art-Car-Geschichte: Kunstrasen

Sat, 2014-03-01 03:28
Kunst und Motorsport - keine unbedingt naheliegende Kombination. Umso überraschender war der Erfolg einer Idee von Hobby-Rennfahrer Hervé Poulain: Der brachte 1975 einen kunstvoll bemalten BMW nach Le Mans und schuf damit die Art-Car-Serie. Jetzt erscheint das erste Buch zu diesem Projekt.

Autogramm Hyundai Grand Santa Fe: Mach mal lang

Fri, 2014-02-28 10:20
Reisen statt Rasen: 23 Zentimeter mehr Länge bietet der neue Hyundai Santa Fe, außerdem zwei weitere Sitze. Doch bemerkenswert ist nicht nur das Raum-, sondern vor allem das Fahrgefühl. 

Zerbrechliche Felgen: KBA warnt vor weiteren brüchigen Rädern

Fri, 2014-02-28 07:34
Weil er brüchige Autofelgen verkauft hat, ist der Räderhersteller Reifen Go! in die Schlagzeilen geraten. Im Januar warnte das Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt erstmals vor den Risiken - nun kam heraus, dass noch mehr Felgen-Modelle betroffen sind.