The New York Times (4/2, A16, Navarro) reported, “A state law took effect on Friday requiring electronics manufacturers to make it free and convenient for New York residents to recycle their old or broken computers, television sets and gadgets.” Implementation of this law, designed in part “to make it simpler for consumers to prepare for 2015, when it will be illegal to throw electronics into the regular trash,” could take some time, officials say. “Environmental advocates and New York City officials say that manufacturers have gotten off to a slow start educating the public and posting information on their Web sites about how consumers should proceed.”

Automakers Seek To Balance Performance, Efficiency

Reuters (4/5) reports automakers are trying to balance performance goals with fuel economy as they design the next generation of pickup trucks, which will have to meet higher efficiency standards. One primary avenue to achieving these efficiency and performance goals is using better, but more expensive, materials in the vehicle’s construction. Battery technology is another means of meeting the corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards, but similarly creates additional costs in the vehicle’s production. The article explores some of the methods specific automakers are exploring to reach the new efficiency goals.

EVs Expected To Become Increasingly Important. McClatchy (4/5, Hall, Schoof) reports, “Interest in electric vehicles has ebbed and flowed with the price of oil over the last three decades, but something new is clearly afoot.” Evidence for that is the production of the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf as well as the establishing of related battery plants in the US. “The Energy Department estimates that there’ll be enough manufacturing capacity for 50,000 electric vehicle batteries by the end of 2011 and 500,000 by the end of 2014.” Eric Isaacs of the Argonne National Laboratory “said that China had no cost advantage in battery manufacturing.” It also notes the development of charging stations being made in the US with the support of federal stimulus funds.

Navistar Working On Engine Design To Reduce NOx Output. The New York Times (4/5, B1, Zeller, Mayersohn) reports, “From 2010 onward, all new truck engines must achieve tough, near-zero limits for NOx, a chief ingredient of smog. Virtually every truck maker besides Navistar chose to use an add-on system” that has been approved by the EPA, while Navistar chose “to invest hundreds of millions of dollars to refine an engine that produces minimal NOx in the first place,” as well as in lawsuits alleging the add-on systems fail to meet standards. It’s new engine “could be the simplest, most elegant solution to the vexing engineering problem of how to reduce smog created by diesel truck exhaust.” So far Navistar’s effort has resulted in its engines losing market share to “20.2 percent this year, down from 28.5 percent in 2009.”

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