Welcome to our latest review of news from across the transportation world.
Every month, we’ll share interesting links, thoughts and more about the transformation of transportation.
The Wall Street Journal recently published an essay titled “How Electric, Self-Driving Cars and Ride-Hailing will Transform the Car Industry.” It notes that the marketing disruption has already begun, with Toyota rebranding itself as a “mobility company,” and Volkswagen billing itself as a “software-driven mobility provider.”
Our vote for the saddest factoid from the essay? “Nuro, a Silicon Valley start-up, has received permission in California to dispatch self-driving delivery vehicles and this month began to test autonomous delivery for pizza in Houston.” Imagine a car driving itself around, smelling like pepperoni pizza, without a driver to enjoy it. Progress has its drawbacks.
Space travel is not so far, far away
Virgin Galactic recently unveiled the VSS Imagine, the first entry in the company’s new SpaceShip III class to join its fleet of prospective commercial spacecraft. Virgin Galactic’s ultimate goal is 400 space flights per year from each of its spaceports, with a rumored ticket price of $400,000. Start saving, space travelers.
Tax credit for E-Bikes?
Several members of Congress have proposed the Electric Bicycle Incentive Kickstart for the Environment (E-BIKE) Act. The bill includes a 30 percent tax credit in the U.S. for the purchase of an electric bicycle. The incentive would be capped at $1,500, and apply to bikes priced below $8,000.
Commercial trucking study says … charge!
Researchers from the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and UCLA recently published a new study that makes the case for prioritizing public policy to help move long-haul trucking from diesel to electric. According to the researchers, “future reductions in battery costs – taken together with a more aerodynamic design and monetized benefits of reduced pollution – would result in a 50% per mile lower total cost of ownership compared to a diesel long-haul truck by 2030.”
It’s a good thing the Freightliner eCascadia® is available to help truck buyers capitalize on these savings. (Yes, we know that’s a shameless client plug. But the truck is sooooo cool!)
Georgia lab collects data from roadways
The Ray, a Georgia-based lab that pursues transportation innovation, is working with 3M and Panasonic to collect data from roadways. This article from GCN looks at how on an 18-mile stretch of I-85 in southwest Georgia uses solar-powered road sensors as part of a push toward net-zero highways. The Ray’s website says it’s “improving the safety, ecology and beauty of highways” on this stretch of road, with a goal of “Zero Deaths. Zero Waste. Zero Carbon. Zero Impact.”
German airlines’ new sales pitch: Take the train!
According to Business Traveller, the German aviation industry is encouraging domestic travelers to use trains rather than planes in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. France has embarked on a similar effort. For domestic travel, would you rather travel via train if it didn’t mean a lengthier trip?
EV drivers get some help in South Carolina
South Carolina has added electric vehicle charging stations at three of its state parks. The best part? They’re FREE to use.
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