TOYOTA ANNOUNCES 2011 FLEET INCENTIVES

Toyota has announced a 2011 Fleet Incentive Program for all models, including hybrids.

For 2011, the manufacturer has doubled the fleet incentive amount for Camry Hybrid and, for the first time, a fleet incentive will be offered on the popular Prius hybrid model.

Model 2010 Fleet Incentive 2011 Fleet Incentive
Camry Hybrid $400 $800
Highlander Hybrid $800 $750
Prius $0 $300

For complete eligibility and program rules, please contact your ARI Customer Support Services Representative

CA HYBRID HOV LANE STICKERS TO EXPIRE THIS YEAR

One of the advantages of owning a hybrid or a zero emissions vehicle in California is having the opportunity to obtain a Clean Air Vehicle Sticker,which allows drivers to use the High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes with only a single occupant. Some of these stickers are set to expire on December 31, 2010.

There are two types of stickers: Yellow Clean Air Vehicle Stickers and White Clean Air Vehicle Stickers.

Yellow stickers were limited to the first 85,000 applicants of qualifying hybrid-electric vehicles. All 85,000 have been assigned and no additional stickers will be issued. Yellow stickers issued to date are set to expire on December 31, 2010. Pending legislation may extend the use of existing yellow stickers until July 1, 2011. Drivers should receive a notice from the California Department of Motor Vehicles if an extension is enacted.

White stickers are available to an unlimited number of qualifying Federal Inherently Low Emission Vehicles (ILEVs). Cars that meet these requirements are typically certified pure zero emission vehicles (100% battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell) and compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles. Assembly Bill 1500 extended the expiration of white stickers to January 1, 2015.

For more information about the Clean Air Vehicle Sticker program, please visit the California Department of Motor Vehicles website at: http://www.dmv.ca.gov/vr/decal.htm.

GM BACKS VOLT WITH STANDARD EIGHT-YEAR, 100,000-MILE BATTERY WARRANTY

The all-new Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle with extended range will come with a standard eight-year/100,000-mile warranty on its lithium-ion battery, GM announced.

The Volt’s comprehensive battery warranty covers all 161 battery components, in addition to the thermal management system, charging system and electric drive components. The warranty is transferable at no cost to other vehicle owners.

“The Chevrolet Volt’s batteries have exceeded our performance targets and are ready to hit the road,” said Micky Bly, GM executive director, global electrical systems. “Our customers are making a commitment to technology that will help reduce our dependence on petroleum. In turn, we are making a commitment to our customers to deliver the highest standards for value, safety, quality, performance and reliability for an unprecedented eight years/100,000 miles.”

The Volt has a range of about 340 miles and is powered with electricity at all times. For up to the first 40 miles, the Volt is powered solely by electricity stored in its 16-kWh lithium-ion battery, using no fuel and producing no emissions. When the Volt’s lithium-ion battery runs low, an engine/generator seamlessly operates to extend the driving range another 300 miles on a full tank of fuel.

In a recent press release, GM stated that the Volt remains on target for launch in November of this year.

A Chevrolet Volt battery at GM's Global Battery Systems Lab in Warren, MI

COMING SOON: NATION'S FIRST ELECTRIC HIGHWAY

Washington State’s transportation and commerce departments are teaming up to implement the nation’s first “electric highway,” an initial network of public access electric vehicle (EV) recharging stations. The infrastructure will enable electric vehicle drivers to travel the length of the state along the 276 miles of I-5 between Washington’s borders with Oregon and Canada.

The electric highway will support plug-in electric vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf, Ford Focus, and Chevy Volt (see related article), which will soon be rolling off the assembly lines.

“Washington State is a leader in creating green jobs, adopting new clean technologies and we are poised to do it again with electric vehicles,” said Washington Governor Chris Gregoire. “Providing the nation’s first true electrified highway (I-5) will benefit Washingtonians and show the rest of the country how we can use innovative partnerships to solve some of our most difficult challenges like climate change and our dependence on oil.”

As many as 300,000 electric vehicles are anticipated on Washington roads during in the next 10 years.

EPA REQUIRES 800 MILLION GALLONS OF BIODIESEL IN THE U.S. DOMESTIC MARKET

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a new regulation in place that will require domestic use of 800 million gallons of biodiesel, beginning in 2011. This is consistent with the renewable goals established in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which specifically requires a renewable component, such as biodiesel, to be blended with U.S. diesel fuel.

The EPA is responsible for developing and implementing regulations to ensure that transportation fuel sold in the United States contains a minimum volume of renewable fuel.

According to the EPA, biodiesel produced from waste greases, fats and agricultural oils reduces greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by as much as 86 percent compared to petroleum diesel

FORD USING SOY TO MAKE GREENER CAR PARTS

Ford Motor Company’s research and development team have engineered a patent-pending formula that utilizes soy oil in rubber car parts to make them more eco-friendly.

By replacing petroleum oil with renewable soy oil, Ford researchers more than doubled rubber’s elasticity and reduced its environmental impact.

Soy-based rubber parts such as radiator deflector shields, air baffles, cupholder inserts and floor mats are under consideration for future Ford vehicle programs. “Soy-based rubber has win-win potential as it provides superior stretchability and serves as a renewable resource that helps reduce carbon dioxide emissions from raw materials,” said Cynthia Flanigan, Ford technical leader in elastomeric polymers.

The scope of Ford’s recent rubber research included the use of soy fillers (flour, meal) as well as soy oils. The researchers found that soy fillers could provide an inexpensive and environmentally friendly partial replacement of carbon black, a petroleum-based material traditionally used to reinforce rubber.

Used together, soy oil and soy fillers could replace up to 26 percent of the petroleum-based content in automotive rubber applications