The motor vehicle is at the cusp of being transformed by two threads of technology advancement. One is electrification, replacing gasoline and other liquid fuels with the direct use of electrons, enabling cars to plug in for some or all of their power. The other is intelligence, relieving humans of the error-prone task of driving through the connectivity, sensing and increasing automation, leading to vehicles that will one day drive themselves.
Officials from the U.S. Department of Energy, China’s Ministry of Science and Technology, faculty and students from the University of Michigan- led Clean Energy Research Center- Clean Vehicle Consortium (CERC-CVC) and industry partners met in Ann Arbor on August 11th and 12th to review progress on the initiative's joint clean vehicle energy research projects.
Transportation is one of several major sectors that contribute to climate change. Globally, the sector's 25% share of man-made carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions is similar to its share of energy consumption. Because liquid fuels are so well suited for powering cars, trucks, boats and aircraft, transportation is uniquely reliant on oil, which is the natural resource most well suited for producing liquid fuels.
The University of Michigan Energy Institute, in conjunction with the Michigan Institute for Teaching and Research in Economics (MITRE), is planning a fall 2014 conference on economics and policy research on energy use in the transportation sector. The conference objective is to bring together scholars at the frontier of transportation and energy economics research with practitioners from industry and government to exchange ideas and research findings. We invite interested researchers to submit papers for presentation at the conference.
Carrie Morton, a member of the Energy Institute team since 2011, is leaving the Institute to join the University’s new Mobility Transformation Center (MTC) as Managing Director. The MTC is a public/private R&D partnership formed to develop the foundations of a commercially viable ecosystem of connected and automated vehicles that will dramatically improve transportation safety, sustainability, and accessibility. The Energy Institute is a partner supporter of the MTC.
Fuel economy must improve 57 percent in order for light-duty vehicles to match the current energy efficiency of commercial airline flights, says a University of Michigan researcher.
Michael Sivak, a research professor at the U-M Transportation Research Institute, examined recent trends in the amount of energy needed to transport a person a given distance in a light-duty vehicle (cars, SUVs, pickups and vans) or on a scheduled airline flight. His analysis measured BTU per person mile from 1970 to 2010.