The EPA is currently finalizing new rules to limit truck emissions, and a group of manufacturers including Ford, Cummins, BorgWarner and Eaton has broken with the industry to support the upcoming “Phase 3” heavy duty emissions rules, while the rest of the industry, led by Volvo and Daimler, continues to lobby against them.
The group of four companies calls itself the Heavy Duty Leadership Group (HDLG), and is launching its effort today to throw its influence behind a strong EPA Phase 3 truck rule.
The new rules have been in the works for some time now and are set to be finalized soon. They would build on EPA’s Phase 1 and Phase 2 truck rules implemented in 2011 and 2016, and would strongly reduce emissions for heavy duty vehicles. The rules would start applying to vehicles in model year 2027, gradually becoming more stringent over time.
The HDLG is formed of “companies of the willing” who have committed to reducing emissions, and each of them has skin in the game in terms of decarbonization of transport – Ford and Cummins produce electric trucks and powertrains, Eaton will be one of the largest suppliers of electrical transformers, and BorgWarner is heavily invested in hydrogen delivery.
The group’s statement of principles covers 6 points:
- The HDLG Companies support EPA’s ongoing efforts to achieve further de-carbonization in the transportation sector through a sound, achievable HD Phase 3 GHG rule that starts in MY 2027. The HDLG companies do not support proposals to delay the start of EPA Phase 3 HD GHG until MY 2030 or later.
- Each of the HDLG Companies has made public commitments to reduce its carbon footprint by aggressively cutting GHG emissions with near-term milestones and long-term net zero goals. These corporate sustainability principles underpin our support for finalization of an EPA Phase 3 GHG rule with urgency and not later than March 31, 2024.
- EPA should make a commitment in the final rule to conduct periodic Technical Assessments of a wide range of factors directly related to the pace of adoption of Zero Emission Tailpipe HD technologies, including: battery technology advancement, availability, and affordability; critical mineral sourcing and cost; deployment of an extensive and available charging/fueling network, supporting electrical grid and fuel infrastructure, and other factors.
- Long-term technology-neutral regulations provide industry with the confidence to deploy capital and resources that will result in high-quality job growth and technology leadership, which are critical in the de-carbonization of the transportation sector. The HDLG companies trust EPA to consider proposing future revisions through new rulemaking, if triggered by any major changes to the factors evaluated in EPA’s Technical Assessments, but the HDLG Companies are opposed to proposals for a “hard-wired off ramp” triggered by an infrastructure development or similar metric.
- Multiple technology pathways exist and must be considered in a technology-neutral manner to achieve EPA’s performance-based HD Phase 3 GHG standards. These solutions include hybrid powertrains; advanced engine technologies; hydrogen combustion; and electric and hydrogen zero tailpipe emission propulsion systems. To ensure technology-neutral, performance-based, standards, EPA should make a regulatory commitment within the Phase 3 Final Rule to propose near-term technical amendments to streamline hybrid certification test procedures.
- Achieving the Administration’s ambitious GHG reductions in the HD sector will require a “Whole of Government “approach involving DOE, DOT, EPA, and other Federal, state, and local government agencies working with the private sector to ensure that IRA and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds are wisely invested across the U.S. economy to leverage a commercially viable HD infrastructure, which accelerates the adoption of zero-emission commercial vehicles.
Here, “off-ramp” refers to industry efforts to water down the Phase 3 rules with mandatory infrastructure checkpoints which, if not met, would invalidate the whole rule. The group opposes those off-ramps, and opposes delays in implementation of the rule.
To these companies, the most important point is regulatory certainty – after the previous administration was so committed to arbitrary & capricious rulemaking, leading to regulatory whiplash, this seems like something that the HDLG would like to avoid.
The phase 3 rule is otherwise being lobbied against by the Truck and Engine Manufacturers’ Association (EMA), a major lobbying group that represents truck manufacturers. The EMA wants to push the rule’s implementation back, and add “off-ramp” language allowing the rule to be scrapped if certain timelines are not met.
The group has quite an extensive member list, oddly including some manufacturers that have committed heavily to electric trucks, like Volvo, Daimler and GM (and even Cummins, who are a member of both HDLG and EMA).
Volvo Group North America and Daimler Truck North America seem to have taken particular interest in this rule, and are using the EMA to lobby against it. But despite lobbying against stronger rules, they still claim publicly to be fully committed to electric trucks. Quite the disconnect. Hmm.
One company that isn’t a member of the EMA, though, is Ford. Ford used to be a member, but broke with the group in 2022 after EMA lobbied against California’s low-NOx regulations.
Since then, EMA has made an agreement with California, signed on to by almost all of the companies mentioned in this article so far, to stop lobbying against clean air rules in exchange for some reasonable compromises. But soon after that agreement, other entities in the trucking industry took up the flag of opposition and are suing the state for the right to poison you and their employees.
Ford was also one of the companies which, along with BMW, Honda, and VW, announced support for California’s emissions regulations in 2019, while the republican-led EPA unsuccessfully tried to force dirty air on the state.
Meanwhile, Cummins recently got in big trouble with both the federal government and California, with a $2 billion penalty for violating emissions regulations with its diesel engines, echoing shades of the famed “dieselgate” scandal which VW and many other auto companies were involved in.
The HDLG doesn’t intend to stop with just these four companies though, and the group welcomes other companies to commit to its statement of principles and join their commitment to a path to decarbonizing the transportation sector.
The one part of this “statement of principles” I worry about is point 5, which mentions “technology neutral” regulations that include “advanced engine technologies” (as if those even exist) and “hydrogen combustion” and other various watering-down of the goals of zero emission trucking. This sort of language has been used by industry many times in order to slow progress, so it’s a little troubling to see it here.
Hydrogen combustion, in particular, is troubling as it is currently counted as zero emissions by the EPA, but it really is not zero emission at all. Virtually all hydrogen produced today comes from fossil fuels (so-called “blue” hydrogen), not from cleaner sources like electrolysis of water (“green” hydrogen, aka, the better kind).
HDLG thinks it can be used to reduce emissions in the short-term while hydrogen infrastructure is built up to service future fuel cell vehicles. This could be a fair point, if we think hydrogen will ever become a viable transportation fuel (for consumer vehicles, likely not, but for heavy duty vehicles, it might find a useful niche).
However, the Union of Concerned scientists calls hydrogen combustion a “dead end” and a “bridge to nowhere,” and says the EPA must close the hydrogen combustion “loophole” and leave it out of the HD phase 3 rules.
That said, regarding the “technology neutral” language, EPA’s recent car rules were also written in a technology-neutral manner, and in that case, I consider this a real strength of those particular rules. Instead of proscribing a particular path to get to emissions reductions, the EPA rules center emissions reductions as the matter of first importance, and allow companies to use whatever methods they can to get to the stated goals. If you can somehow make a gas car 4x more efficient, then so be it – it’s just that, well, you can’t, so you’re probably going to end up going electric anyway, which we all know is where things are going so why is everyone trying to fight it anyway.
But keeping things technology neutral does still open up other clever options, like electric trailers, which can be done to immediately reduce a fleet’s emissions without having to modify any engine components whatsoever. Solutions like that may not be the end-all of zero emission trucking, but can help us fill the gap on the way to a zero emissions future.
So while I’m still a bit wary of the “technology neutral” language, and particularly the mention of “advanced engine technologies” and hydrogen combustion, I’m willing to take this move as an overall positive, since it can be rare to see industry supporting regulations, and here we have an example of some big players throwing their weight behind better emissions rules. So that’s nice to see.
Now, if only Volvo and Daimler could embrace the new rule instead of lobbying against them, and act like the zero-emission leaders they claim to be publicly, we could start making some progress on this “regulatory certainty” that companies are supposed to be so fond of.
Italy is putting a big hybrid floating solar–floating wind farm in the sea
A 540-megawatt (MW) hybrid floating solar–floating wind farm is going to be developed off Italy’s southern coast, in the Ionian Sea.
Dutch-Norwegian offshore solar company SolarDuck, Italian investment fund Arrow Capital, and Italian developer New Developments are jointly developing the Corigliano project, which will be in the Gulf of Taranto off the Calabrian coast of Corigliano-Rossano:
SolarDuck is a spin-off of Damen Shipyards, a major shipbuilder in the Netherlands. It’s tapped into that knowledge to design elevated solar platforms made of offshore-grade aluminum that sit 10 feet (3 meters) off the water to withstand rough waters. The elevation also reduces salt deposits on the solar panels. (Floating solar farms on lakes and ponds tend to sit directly on the water.)
The triangular floating platforms are modular, so they can be connected to form large plants. Plus, the platforms have slip-resistant walkways and fences for access and maintenance.
The hybrid floating solar–floating wind farm will feature 420 MW of offshore wind and 120 MW of floating solar. It will have 28 floating wind turbines, but SolarDuck’s announcement doesn’t indicate who is developing them. We’ve reached out to SolarDuck for details and will update when we hear back.
The Corigliano hybrid floating project is expected to come online in 2028.
SolarDuck is running an up to three-year 5 MW pilot with multinational energy company RWE in the North Sea, 7.5 miles (12 km) from The Hague’s Dutch coast. In December, it secured €15 million in funding, and it’s going to install Japan’s first offshore floating wind farm.
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Doroni unveils production-intent H1-X eVTOL, offering personal air travel up to 120 mph [Video]
Young urban air mobility (UAM) developer Doroni Aerospace is stepping out of the shadows and into the eVTOL startup with the official reveal of its flagship aircraft – the H1-X. The two-seat eVTOL was showcased during a livestream event today and is damn close to being market-ready, touting some impressive specs.
Doroni Aerospace was founded in 2016 by Doron Merdinger – a lifelong entrepreneur with 25 years of design, manufacturing, and firm management expertise.
To bring his dreams of sustainable aviation transportation to life, Merdinger assembled a team of engineers and technicians working together to democratize flight in a growing eVTOL segment.
The result of those efforts is the HX-1, Doroni’s flagship “flying car,” better known as an electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing (eVTOL) vehicle. After years of development behind the scenes, which we at Electrek have kept close tabs on, Doroni has finally revealed the H1-X to the public, which looks pretty cool. Have a look for yourself.
Doroni hard launches with production-intent eVTOL
The eVTOL startup shared many details of the H1-X earlier today during a livestream event you can view below. While Doroni’s flagship aircraft is an eVTOL through and through, its design and use vary from several of its competitors in development.
For instance, Doroni designed the H1-X as a two-seat personal aircraft rather than the larger cabins designed for air taxi services many other companies are working on. The H1-X also features a unique tandem wing configuration, with propellers built in (less risk of decapitation!)
The company says this design feature enhances the eVTOL’s lift and efficiency compared to traditional designs, and its wing fences can better manage airflow. The ducted fans are also quieter, even when the eVTOL’s eight electric motors are revving. Doroni’s CEO spoke during the eVTOL launch event:
The H1-X is not just a vehicle; it’s a leap toward a future where freedom of movement and sustainability coexist. Our dedication to innovation, safety, and the environment is embodied in every aspect of the H1-X, marking a new chapter in transportation.
Doroni shared that the H1-X weighs 1,850 pounds, can haul a payload capacity of 500 pounds, and can fly for 40 minutes on a single charge. What’s most interesting is that the incoming eVTOL can reach a top speed of 120 mph! Hopefully, Doroni will aid in training and certifying its future owners because that’s a lot of speed for the average person.
Representatives for Doroni Aerospace told Electrek that the first several examples of the H1-X eVTOLs are currently being built and will be used for extensive test flights at the end of the year. That being said, we were told the aircraft you see below is the go-to-market product, although there may be some minor tweaks before scaled production.
The H1-X has already received FAA certification for flightworthiness in the US and is expected to enter mass production in 2026. Each eVTOL is expected to cost between $300,000 and $400,000. You can learn more from the replay of the entire reveal event below:
Fisker is talking to Nissan for a lifeline and electric pickup partnership
Nissan has been revealed as the potential savior of Fisker. The Japanese automaker is reportedly talking with Fisker to invest in the company and partner on electric pickup trucks.
Earlier today, we reported on Fisker’s disastrous fourth-quarter results showing that the electric vehicle startup lost $400 million in 2023 and it now has less than $400 million of cash on hands.
The automaker had to admit that it wouldn’t be able to continue operations past next year without a big cash injection.
It did reveal that it was talking to a “large automaker” about an investment that could save the company.
Now, Reuters reported that the automaker in question is Nissan:
Nissan is in advanced talks to invest in electric vehicle maker Fisker (FSR.N), in a deal that could provide the Japanese automaker with access to an electric pickup truck while giving the struggling startup a financial lifeline, according to two people familiar with the negotiations.
The deal would reportedly involve Nissan investing $400 million in Fisker. It would also involve Nissan building the Alaska pickup truck unveiled by Fisker last year at one of its US plants.
On top of it, Nissan could use the Alaska platform to build its own electric pickup truck.
Neither Nissan nor Fisker commented on the report.
Fisker’s stock dropped by more than 50% today after the release of its earnings, but the stock recovered a bit after the report that Nissan is considering investing.
The stock currently trades at a valuation of $295 million.
I’m not sure what to think about it. I’ve never been a big fan of Fisker, and I’ve warned people about investing in the company before.
If the report is true, I don’t know what Nissan sees in this. If they are behind on developing electric pickup trucks, it might be worth it for them, but I think that any significant investment would be a takeover the company.
It is now worth less than $300 million and that might be an attractive investment as a company that had $200 million in revenue last quarter in the growing EV market, but the looks are deceiving.
As I’ve highlighted before, Fisker was desperate in its previous fundraising efforts and took big convertible notes, which now add up to $1.2 billion, according to its last SEC filing.
Currently, there’s just no way Fisker can manage to pay that back and therefore, they will convert to stock and drastically dilute it for current shareholders.
So I don’t see a good outcome here other than Nissan picking the whole company up for cheap and accelerating its EV programs with it.
What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.
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