SINGAPORE, September 18 -- Oil prices slipped on Wednesday, extending losses from the previous session after Saudi Arabia’s energy minister said the kingdom will restore lost oil production by the end of the month.
But investors remained cautious about Middle East tension after the United States said it believes the attacks that crippled Saudi Arabian oil facilities last weekend originated in southwestern Iran. Iran has denied involvement in the strikes. Brent crude oil futures fell 15 cents, or 0.2 per cent, to US$64.40 a barrel by 0253 GMT, after tumbling 6.5 per cent the previous session. The contract soared as much as 19.5 per cent on Monday to US$71.95 per barrel, the biggest jump in history after a series of drone attacks on Saudi’s key oil facilities disrupted production. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures declined 35 cents, or 0.6 per cent, to US$58.99 a barrel, after sinking by 5.7 per cent on Tuesday. “The risk of further escalation of conflict in the Middle East remains over the energy market and wild swings will likely resume when we see tit-for-tat responses from a Saudi-US led coordinated effort,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA in New York. “The situation with the oil market will remain tense, but the initial fears of a sustained disruption with world oil supplies have been alleviated in the very short-term.” Saudi Arabia sought to reassure markets after the attack on Saturday halved its oil output, saying on Tuesday that full production would be restored by month’s end. Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said on Tuesday that average oil production in September and October would be 9.89 million barrels per day and that the world’s top oil exporter would ensure full oil supply commitments to its customers this month. Saudi Aramco has informed some Asian refiners that it will supply full allocated volumes of crude oil in October, albeit with some changes.
BERLIN, September 4 -- After a plethora of teases and an almost daily barrage of videos and image of the vehicle, the final production version of the all-electric Porsche Taycan has been revealed.
The first pure EV from the German automaker comes in two variants (Turbo and Turbo S) and starts at $150,000 (or $153,000 if you put a deposit down for the launch edition) and will start being delivered by the end of the year. The Taycan (Pronounced Tai Khan) started as the concept Mission E four years ago at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Since then, Porsche has been doling out a steady stream of information, teaser images and videos of the vehicle's prowess. The Turbo S version of the four-door sports sedan has an impressive 750 horsepower while in launch control and 774 pounds of torque from two motors situated in the front and back. Those powerplants along with a 93.4 kWh battery pack can propel the turbo s variant from zero to 60 in as little as 2.6 seconds putting it nearly on par with the Tesla Model S P100D. The Turbo trim level will hit 60 in 3.0 seconds. This is the first vehicle in the company's E-Performance lineup with the Taycan Cross Turismo coming in by the end of next year and all-electric Macan's landing in the automaker's SUV lineup.
In addition to a new design and powerplant, the Taycan is also home to the new Porsche infotainment system that trims distraction and introduces a new voice assistant feature. With "Hey Porsche," drivers will be able to control many aspects of the cars secondary controls like media, climate and navigation. While we wait patiently for EPA range numbers, the more generous European WLTP gives the vehicle a 412 KM range (256 miles). So expect a range probably around 225 to 230 miles once the final testing has been completed. What we do know is that the Taycan can be charged from five to 80 percent in 22.5 minutes via a charger that outputs 270 kW. for super-quick stops, it'll add 60 miles in about 5 minutes. So if you're in a hurry -- and frankly if you bought a Porsche, you probably are -- if you can find a powerful enough station you can be back on the road pretty quickly. So it's fast, looks amazing and it's filled with more tech than any Porsche that came before. With over 20,000 preorders already on the books, the automaker is off to a good start with its new venture. "Only by always changing has Porsche remained Porsche," said Detler Von Platen, member of the executive board sales and marketing at the unveiling event. But with a six billion euro investment allotted to its electrification plans, it's going to take all three of those things and the Porsche-buying public to buy into this new world to make financial sense.
STUTTGART, August 24 -- Elon Musk has talked about making an electric Tesla Van for a while, Volkswagen has teased the return of its iconic bus as an EV.
But Mercedes-Benz beat everybody to the punch in this critical segment with the 2020 Mercedes-Benz EQV—an electric van that seats up to eight and runs a claimed range of over 200 miles. At least in Europe. Mercedes-Benz showed off a “concept” version of the EQV previously, but it was rather obviously very close to production-ready. That’s backed up now that we have the real deal just in time for this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show next month.
The press release only talks about the public charging network services in Europe, so it may be unlikely we’ll be getting this electron-powered van Stateside, but you never know. That said, the EQV has a 90 kWh battery pack centrally mounted under the floor of the van, offering a claimed preliminary range estimate of 405 km, or roughly 250 miles on a single charge. The van is driven by a single motor on the front axle with an output of 150 kw, or 204 horsepower, and 362 nm of torque, or just about 267 lb-ft. On a 110 kw public DC rapid charger, the Mercedes claims the EQV can charge from 10 to 80 percent of its battery capacity in around 45 minutes. On an AC charger, like a standard public parking charger or using the Mercedes-Benz Wallbox Home 11 kW charger that can be installed in your house, the battery should charge in less than 10 hours. The EQV picks up a little bit of the exterior design language of the EQC crossover, and inside it gets some rose gold accent touches and adaptable seating with optional bench seats, which means you can shove up to eight people in this thing. The EQV is nice and acceptable because it’s just an electric version of the regular Mercedes-Benz van, so it’s very practical. EVs do not all need to be fancy! Just zoom around town without contributing to localized pollution! And now it can. In Europe.
LONDON, August 24 -- The world’s first solar farm to power a railway line directly is due to plug into the track near Aldershot, paving the way for solar-powered trains.
From Friday, about 100 solar panels at the trackside site will supply renewable electricity to power the signalling and lights on Network Rail’s Wessex route. The 30kW pilot scheme could pave the way for a larger project capable of directly powering the trains that use this route from next year. The solar breakthrough comes as Network Rail plans to spend billions of pounds electrifying rail lines to avoid running trains on diesel. This could help reduce air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and costs. Solar panels are already used to power the operations of train stations, including Blackfriars in central London. But the Aldershot project is the first time a solar array will bypass the electricity grid to plug directly into a railway’s “traction” system.
Network Rail hopes to use the scheme, developed by the charity 10:10 Climate Action and Imperial College London, to solar-charge its rail lines across the country. Stuart Kistruck, a director for Network Rail’s Wessex route, said: “We have ambitions to roll this technology out further across the network should this demonstrator project prove successful, so we can deliver a greener, better railway for our passengers and the wider public.” The research team behind the project, called Riding Sunbeams, estimates that solar could power 20% of the Merseyrail network in Liverpool, as well as 15% of commuter routes in Kent, Sussex and Wessex. There is also scope for solar trams in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Nottingham, London and Manchester, according to the team. The researchers began work on the plans over two years ago to discover whether bypassing the electricity grid could make solar power a more efficient energy source for trains. Innovate UK awarded the project funding from the Department of Transport after it proved that connecting solar power directly to rail, tube and tram networks could help meet a significant share of their electricity needs.
TOKYO, August 23 -- Toyota Motor Corp. said Friday some 90 percent of around 3,700 vehicles and mobility devices it will provide to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics will be electrified, as it seeks to showcase its advanced low-emission technology at the world event.
Of the total, 1,350 units will be either electric or fuel-cell vehicles that produce no carbon dioxide when running, while the rest will be hybrids and plug-in hybrids powered by electric-gasoline engines, Toyota, a sponsor of the Summer Games, said. With the lineup to be used to transport athletes, officials and spectators to and within venues, Toyota said it can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by over 50 percent compared with when the entire fleet was made up of conventional gasoline and diesel models. The official fleet will include more than a dozen box-shaped autonomous electric vehicles, 500 Mirai, the world's first mass-produced fuel-cell car, 200 cart-like EVs specially designed for the games that can be used by people with impairments, and 300 standing-type mobility devices for use by security and medical staff, Toyota said. Fuel-cell vehicles are powered by electricity generation through a chemical reaction of hydrogen and oxygen, a green system that Toyota has long been focusing on as a promising future technology.
NEW YORK, August 23 -- The Green New Deal proposed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (Demecrate) today excludes nuclear energy from the proposed mix.
If it were ever actually attempted nationally, it would increase greenhouse gas emissions — just as a similar effort did in Vermont. The written statement distributed by the office of Ocasio-Cortez says "the plan is to transition off of nuclear." Vermont is home to Ocasio-Cortez allies, and Green New Deal advocates, Senator Bernie Sanders and climate activist Bill McKibben. Both insist the world can be powered on renewables alone. But consider what’s actually happened in their own state. In 2005, Vermont legislators promised to reduce emissions 25% below 1990 levels by 2012, and 50% below 1990 levels by 2028, through the use of renewables and energy efficiency only. What’s happened since? Vermont’s emissions rose 16.3%. That’s more than twice as much as national emissions rose during the same period.
When you account for the U.S.’s far faster growth in population, Vermont’s per capita emissions rose 5% while U.S. per capita emissions declined by 17%. Did Vermont fail to do energy efficiency, which the Green New Deal and green groups like Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) claim is the most important way to reduce emissions? Nope. In 2018, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy ranked Vermont among the top five states for aggressive action on energy efficiency — for the fifth year in a row.
GUAYAQUIL, August 22 -- Looking after the environment is paying off in Ecuador, at least for public transport users in the business hub of Guayaquil.
A new scheme aimed at combatting garbage and pollution allows people to exchange recyclable plastic bottles for money to buy bus tickets. The port city, in Ecuador's south-west, is the second-most populous city in the country with 2.7 million inhabitants, but it generates the most waste. Passengers who use the city's bus transit system, Metrovia, are now queueing at a newly installed machine, waiting to unload their plastic bottles for two cents each, which they can spend on public transport. "Imagine: Two cents (a bottle), for 15 bottles you get 30 cents, that's already a Metrovia ticket," said bus passenger Cristian Cardenas. It is proving more profitable than selling the bottles to a recycling centre, Washington Bravo told AFP. The 76-year-old pensioner lives outside Guayaquil, a US$9 (S$12.45) taxi ride into town. He makes the walk once a week, collecting plastic bottles from garbage cans and the streets along his way. Guayaquil produces 4,200 tonnes of waste a day, only 14 per cent of which is recyclable. "The city is full of corruption and dirty. Before it wasn't like this, it was cleaner," he said.
NEW YORK, August 18 -- Greta Thunberg’s sailing ship for the climate, Malizia II, must return to Europe after it has reached New York.
For this, four new professional sailors fly to the US. Their mission is to release the crew of two skippers on board and sail the boat back. Altogether, six sailors must take at least one trip each by plane. Amid invited to the UN Climate Summit in New York in September, Greta Thunberg refused to go by plane and wanted a carbon dioxide neutral way of travel. Fortunately for her, the Malizia II team came to her assistance, offering to sail Greta and her father across the Atlantic. As a return, the boat became the nine o’clock news all over the world when Greta set off from Plymouth a couple of days ago.
Multiple times more emissions
But going by sailing boat, might not be such a clever idea after all if the objective is to spare the climate. It turns out that Greta Thunberg’s trip adds many times more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere than if she and her father just bought two airline tickets. Her sail results in multiple flights across the Atlantic since all the sailors must take one flight each. When Malizza II reaches New York, skipper Boris Hermann and Pierre Casiraghi must rest and after the boat has been on service, a new team of professional sailors will take over. A team of four will fly to New York to receive the boat there and then sail back to Europe. The operating crew will fly back to Europe.
Media hype expected
In addition to this, there will be hundreds or maybe thousands European news channels, newspapers, reporters and photographers awaiting Greta to visit the summit in New York. It is still unclear if media representatives will choose to do the risky sail over the stormy Atlantic themselves or travel by plane, which takes approximately 8 hours. But the climate trip is still successful from a PR perspective and Malizia II is now famous worldwide. Millions follow her windy tour on the stormy Atlantic via live updates.
WASHINGTON, August 17 -- The US Federal Court in the District of Columbia has issued an arrest warrant for Iranian oil tanker, the Grace 1, the US Department of Justice announced in a statement.
"A seizure warrant and forfeiture complaint were unsealed today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia alleging that Oil Tanker "Grace 1," all petroleum aboard it and $995,000.00 are subject to forfeiture based on violations of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), bank fraud statute, and money laundering statute, as well as separately the terrorism forfeiture statute," the statement reads. "The documents allege a scheme to unlawfully access the U.S. financial system to support illicit shipments to Syria from Iran by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a designated foreign terrorist organization," according to the statement from the US Department of Justice. "The scheme involves multiple parties affiliated with the IRGC and furthered by the deceptive voyages of the Grace 1. A network of front companies allegedly laundered millions of dollars in support of such shipments."
On July 4, Gibraltar’s authorities detained the Grace 1 oil tanker flying the Panamanian flag on suspicion of carrying oil to Syria in breach of EU sanctions. The operation involved British marines. According to Gibraltar’s authorities, there were 28 crew members onboard the vessel, including nationals of India, Pakistan and Ukraine. In response, the Iranian Foreign Ministry summoned the British ambassador to Tehran. Spain’s Acting Foreign Minister Josep Borrell said that the oil tanker had been detained at the United States’ request.