Current Climate: Electric Vehicle Sales Keep Going Up

This week’s Current Climate, which every Saturday brings you the latest news about the business of sustainability. Sign up to get it in your inbox every week.

If it feels like you’re seeing more and more electric cars on the road, you’re not wrong. According to a report from the Energy Information Administration, electric cars comprised nearly 7% of all light-duty vehicle sales in the second quarter of 2023. Hybrid sales are also up, and combined those two classes of care accounted for 16% of total light-duty sales in that quarter. That’s about three times what those sales were just 5 years ago.

“A large portion of the sales increase was due to new manufacturer offerings across different market segments, although existing models also accounted for some of the increase in sales,” the report reads. “Manufacturers reduced the number of non-hybrid internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle models from 318 to 297 between 2021 and 2Q23, and they increased the number of battery-electric models from 34 to 55.”

The Big Read

This Company Is Turning Waste Into Clean Hydrogen. And Electricity. And Water

Power system manufacturer FuelCell Energy and carmaker Toyota have deployed the world’s first “tri-gen” system that turns methane-rich waste gas into electricity, clean hydrogen and water that the auto giant will use at its Southern California port facility for the next 20 years.

Read more here.

Discoveries And Innovations

June, July and August was Earth’s hottest three-month period ever, according to the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service, pushing world leaders to sound the alarm on worsening climate conditions across the globe.

Procurement platform company Anza has developed a software optimization engine that aims to help companies better evaluate their options for solar and energy storage procurement.

The Big Transportation Story

Forget Robotaxis. Upstart Gatik Sees Middle-Mile Deliveries As The Path To Profitable AVs

Self-driving vehicles were supposed to revolutionize transportation. But robotaxi fleets in San Francisco are being blamed for snarling intersections and creating headaches for emergency vehicles. Promising robot truck startups are either dialing back plans or failing outright. Then there’s Gatik. Its business is tailored to fixed-route deliveries from warehouses to stores and post offices, a $250 billion market. And it aims to be profitable in three years or less.

Read more here.

Sustainability Deals Of The Week

Batteries: Diesel engine giant Cummins, automaker Daimler and truck maker Paccar plan to invest up to $3 billion to open the biggest venture in North America making battery cells tailored to commercial vehicles.

Mining: Ivanhoe Mines has been boosting capacity of its copper and nickel mines in order to meet surging demand from electric vehicle makers and renewable energy producers.

Energy Efficiency: Arbor, which aims to help homeowners improve energy efficiency, announced it had raised a $9 million seed round led by First Round Capital.

Carbon Capture: Direct Air Capture startup Spiritus, which says it can capture and sequester carbon dioxide for less than $100 per ton, announced it raised $11 million in a funding round. Khosla Ventures was the lead on the deal.

Hydrogen: The Energy Department is providing $20 million to help develop better ways to drill for geological hydrogen that could someday power everything from cars to container ships.

Low-Light Energy: Ambient Photonics, which is developing technology to harvest energy from low-light levels for devices, announced it raised a $30 million series A2 round led by Fine Structure Ventures.

What Else We’re Reading This Week

At African climate summit, faith leaders join demands for climate justice (Religion News)

Tesla will install up to 20,000 versatile EV chargers at Hilton locations (The Verge)

Our climate change debates are out of date (Noahpinion)

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