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02 Sep 2021 | 02:25 PM

Ola Electric – India's Answer to the Climate Change Problem?

India's Ola Electric recently launched a new series of electric scooters, the S1 and the S1 Pro. Priced starting from INR 99,999 ($1,347), the S1 and S1 Pro are currently among the cheapest electric scooters in India. The Ola Electric scooters are expected to go up against rivals like TVS and Bajaj, two of the biggest two-wheeler companies in the world. The scooters were launched on 15th August, which is also India's Independence Day. Ola Electric is led by Bhavish Agarwal, who also owns Ola Cabs, the largest ride-sharing startup in India. Ola Electric, also called Ola Electric Mobility Private Limited, is jointly funded by venture capital giants Softbank Group and Tiger Global Management.  At the launch conference, Bhavish Agarwal, CEO of Ola Electric, said," By 2025, all two-wheelers sold in India should be electric, that's my mission." At a pre-event conference, he said he wanted India to become a global leader in EVs."   The Scooters  The Ola Electric scooters come in two states of tune. The basic S1, which starts from INR 99,999 ($1,347), is powered by a 2.98kWh Li-ion battery. The more expensive S1 Pro has a 3.97kWh battery. These batteries are the largest fitted to any Indian electric two-wheeler so far. In comparison, Hero Electric-backed Ather sells the 450X with a 2.9kWh battery. And those cost nearly INR 150,000 ($1,955). Despite having a larger battery, the S1 Pro costs INR 129,999 ($1,753). These prices are inclusive of the national EV policy subsidies (FAME-II). The S1 and S1 Pro will become even cheaper after state subsidies. In India's capital city, Delhi, the S1 would cost INR 85,000 ($1,145); and an even lower INR 79,000 ($1,065) in Gujarat. Ola Electric is also offering an EMI plan that starts from INR 2,999 ($40).   Subsidies  The state subsidies and financing plans alone make the S1 and S1 Pro among the most attractive two-wheelers in India's price-sensitive auto market right now. India has historically always been a price-sensitive market, which is why pricing a scooter below $1,000 is revolutionary — and that's before the government subsidies are dialled in. You see, India has something called the FAME - Faster Adoption for Electric Mobility policy, which has earmarked attractive benefits for all EV players. The FAME-II, which came into force in 2017, has accelerated EV adoption by supporting manufacturers, parts suppliers, and customers alike. One example is the registration fee waiver if you purchase an electric vehicle. Another is income tax exemption on auto loans used to buy an EV.    The Ola Hypercharger  But what about that sinking feeling, also called range anxiety? Well, Bhavish Aggarwal has a plan for that, too. Within months of the online launch in 2020, the scooter received over 100,000 bookings across 1,000 cities. The company recognized that a nationwide charging network would have to be set up for the electric scooter to succeed in India. And that's precisely what they're setting out to do. The company, based in Bengaluru, has been working for a long time on this.   While the scooters can be charged at home using a regular wall socket, the Ola Hypercharger Network has spread to over 400 Indian cities. With over 100,000 charging points in all, the charging network is such that it's within 75 km of most metro centres in India. The charging points have been set up near office complexes, residential areas, and most commercial centres. Ola scooter owners can locate the factory using the onboard navigation system or via a mobile app.   The Ola Futurefactory   The biggest story, however, is the gigantic manufacturing facility Ola Electric. It's called the Future factory, and it's in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Costing a whopping $330 million, the 43-acre plant has over 2 million square feet of working space staffed by 3,000 robots. Once it ramps up to total production, the Future Factory will have ten production lines capable of creating one scooter every two seconds. In all, the factory will crank out 10 million scooters every year by 2022 — or 15% of all-electric two-wheelers made globally by 2022.   The CEO says  In an interview, Aggarwal said,  " We are building the world’s largest two-wheeler factory which will have 15 per cent of the world’s two-wheeler production with the production of 10m scooters or one scooter every 10 seconds. This scale is the only way we can bring the electric revolution here fast and make electric two-wheelers accessible to everybody. With our Future Factory, we will also usher in a new modern era of Industry 4.0. The past paradigms of manufacturing were built in China, but the future of manufacturing will be written here in India.  Almost 80 per cent of the vehicles sold in India are two-wheelers. We sell around 20 million two-wheelers a year and yet only 12% of our population owns a two-wheeler. As we develop as a nation, we need to ensure many more people get access to a two-wheeler. But we can’t make them gasoline two-wheelers. We need to ensure they are electric two-wheelers.”  He continued to say, " Our goal at Ola has been to build products which are both sustainable and also revolutionary compared to what exists in the market. We have designed the scooter that has the best design, performance and technology. Quite simply, it’s the best scooter ever built – the Ola S1 – and it will change what you ever expect from a vehicle."  Why it's big? Indians bought 238,000 electric vehicles in 2021, according to a report by the Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles (SMEV). While the demand for electric cars was higher, electric scooters and three-wheelers were lower than last year — but that's because electric two-wheelers no longer need to be registered in India. But this is a small drop in the ocean compared to the 24-million-strong fleet of gasoline and diesel-powered passenger vehicles sold every year in India. In stark comparison, 9,87,828 conventionally-powered two-wheelers were sold in June 2021 alone.   India needs electric vehicles — and it required them five years ago. Indian cities count among the most polluted cities in the world. The country is the world's third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, the world's highest consumer of coal, and will see some of the highest rises in sea levels, according to the Sixth Assessment Report released by the Intergovernmental Report for Climate Change. But, because it's also the second most populated country and among the world's top five largest auto markets, the demand potential for EVs is also astronomical. This logically would mean that India has an influential role to play in balancing global carbon levels.   A 100% EV adoption in the EU and North America will do us good, but nowhere near as much as an India riding on a 100% EV adoption drive.  Disclaimer: This information represents the personal views and opinions of the author(s). It does not represent the views and opinions of UN GCNI, UNGC, SOCIOLADDER FOUNDATION, THE SUSTAINEVERSE PLATFORM, or any other third party including sponsors, strategic partners, or other users of SUSTAINEVSERSE. While UN GCNI and SOCIOLADDER  strive to make the information on the SUSTAINEVERSE Platform as timely and accurate as possible, they make no claims, promises, or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the contents. Any views or opinions expressed are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, community, organization,  company or individual. 

By Adreesh Ghoshal  
Good Health and Well-being
Affordable and Clean Energy
Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
Climate Action
 
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18 Aug 2021 | 10:24 AM

Bentley's Unifying Spur

Things are changing in the automotive world, and this time we look at one of the oldest carmakers in history — Bentley.    In the first six months of 2021, Bentley saw a $211 million profit, the highest-ever in a single year. The pent-up demand and the addition of plug-in hybrid variants of the successful Bentayga SUV and Flying Spur sedan are vital factors.   The British carmaker recently unveiled a new set of sustainability initiatives called  Beyond100. As part of the strategy, the aristocratic automaker is looking at becoming carbon neutral by 2030.  The Beyond100 strategy has the following objectives:     Two plug-in hybrid models by 2021, followed by the release of a plug-in option for every model by 2023   Launching the first-ever electric vehicle in 2025, also the world's first luxury car to be carbon-neutral over its entire lifetime    By 2026, Bentley will be producing only plug-in hybrid vehicles and battery electric vehicles.   Reduce the environmental impact of the Crewe factory by 75% by 2025 – which includes going plastic-neutral, too   To become end-to-end carbon-neutral by 2030, going on to become climate-positive with all operations at Crewe.   From 2030 onwards, every car will be a battery-electric vehicle     But those are the external goals. Internally, the company is betting heavily on internal engagement, corporate diversity, and inclusivity —very much part of the 17 SDGs outlined by the United Nations.    And that's where the Bentley Unifying Spur Art Car comes in.     Once considered a symbol of the hippie movement, the art car may be the newest medium in the sustainability movement.   Why? Well, take a look at the Bentley Unifying Spur. It's a Bentley Flying Spur that's received an out-of-the-world, although meaningful, paint job.    The Designer   Designer Rich Morris, who paints and sculpts in his spare time, created the Unifying spur using the nine colours of the Progress flag. His design joins the words "Love is Love" through a single, unbroken line that traces facial expressions, dancing figures, and shapes – representing the unifying power of humanity, regardless of race, creed, or sexuality. The Unifying Spur will be revealed to colleagues at Bentley's Crewe factory before embarking upon a program of external activities in the coming months.     The Thought   The overarching thought behind the Unifying Spur is inclusivity. Volkswagen, the company that owns Bentley, has started changing the way employees are hired, trained, and promoted. Instead of diversity dominating the hiring phase, it will become a part of every employee engagement program at VW. New developmental programs have been planned to include employees from all backgrounds and walks of life.     The Beyond100 program has several objectives. The most important one is corporate diversity and inclusivity. Dr Astrid Fontaine, Bentley'sMember of the Board for People, Digitalization and IT, explains: "We know that diversity drives success, by bringing a greater range of experience, creativity, as well as inclusion, allows co-operation to play in business strategy, innovation and decision-making. We also want our business to reflect our global customer,r base and most of all, to ensure that we all work in an environment where everyone feels safe to bring their true self to work and valued for who they are and what they can do. That is why diversity and inclusion are profoundly important to us and as part of our Beyond100 program, we have thus set ourselves the challenge to become the most diverse luxury car manufacturer. For us, this means ensuring there are colleagues from all walks of life in our management structure. This goes hand in hand with our ethos that a rich and inclusive culture, where everyone is supported to achieve their full potential, is what will help to drive our business forward for the next one hundred years. Through the revelation of the Unifying Spur, the internal activities that it will support – and the external engagements we are planning for it in 2021 - we aim to celebrate the individual talents and idiosyncrasies that make us all unique as – whilst at the same time as highlighting the key themes that unite and bring us together."   The Future   On the business front, Bentley has announced a 100% electric and hybrid product portfolio by 2030. The hybrid powerplants in the Bentayga and the Flying Spur are just the tip of the iceberg. The interiors feature sustainable materials like open-pore Koa veneer facias that use 90% less lacquer paint compared to high-gloss veneers. The tweed used in the cabin is made from wool, instead of synthetic fibres used before. Also on offer are sustainably sourced stone veneer panels made from sedimentary clay, wine fabric – a vegan alternative to leather; recycled nylon and wool textiles; ocean waste yarn fabric, and wood harvested from discarded Venetian gondola poles.    Bentley was once considered the pinnacle of British innovation. Some of the world's best cars, ships, and heavy machinery sport a Bentley logo, and it's only fitting for the hallowed British carmaker to lead the charge of the battery revolution.  Disclaimer: This information represents the personal views and opinions of the author(s). It does not represent the views and opinions of UN GCNI, UNGC, SOCIOLADDER FOUNDATION, THE SUSTAINEVERSE PLATFORM, or any other third party including sponsors, strategic partners, or other users of SUSTAINEVSERSE. While UN GCNI and SOCIOLADDER  strive to make the information on the SUSTAINEVERSE Platform as timely and accurate as possible, they make no claims, promises, or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the contents. Any views or opinions expressed are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, community, organization,  company or individual. 

By Adreesh Ghoshal  
Decent Work and Economic Growth
Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
Reduced Inequality
Responsible Consumption and Production
Climate Action
 
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04 Aug 2021 | 12:44 PM

Kincardine’s Floating Wind Farm – The Future?

The Kincardine floating offshore wind farm is in the process of receiving its finishing touches. First envisioned in 2017, the 50MW offshore wind project consists of six wind turbines that could generate up to 218 GWh (Giga-Watt-Hours) of energy per year – more than what some small countries generate. The Kincardine floating wind farm is being developed in Aberdeen Bay, approximately 9 miles off the southeast coast of Kincardineshire, at water depths ranging between 200 and 240 feet. Spread over 42 square miles, the project site lies within the western half of the OWNE1 offshore wind development area of Scotland. The first turbine in the Kincardine project was installed in 2018 and uses the Vestas V-series wind turbines. The first one was a smaller 2MW unit, while the five that followed were much more powerful, rated at 9.5 Megawatts each. The 50MW project has been developed by Spain’s Cobra group, while the cabling is being carried out by connector tech company First Subsea. Project Details Installing a wind turbine on land is difficult, but getting one mounted atop a floating platform and then tugging it all the way over a distance of 524 nautical miles in choppy seas is something we can’t even begin to process. The size and complexity of the project are further complicated by the pandemic restrictions, which meant all the teams were operating on reduced staff. The turbines were towed to the site by a towing vessel, to a specially designed platform called a WindFloat, developed primarily to weather the rough currents off the coast of Scotland. Instead of using just one solid beam, the new platform has three submerged, hollow, interconnected locking arms. The arms have an automatic ballast system that fills up any or all the arms with water depending on the size and strength of the waves hitting the platform. The platforms are built tough — designed to last for at least 25 years.  While fixed wind turbines sit at a depth of 45 – 60 feet in depth, the Kincardine turbines’ semi-submersible supports allow them to be anchored at depths of up to 250 feet. Then, there are the Vista V174 turbines themselves. With a 774-foot rotor diameter, each 35-ton turbine blade sweeps an area of 470,845 square feet and will have the capacity to power 9,000 households.  In all, the Kincardine project is expected to power 55,000 homes. The turbines were developed in collaboration with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. In February, Vestas announced the launch of an even larger type of wind turbine — the V236-15.0MW. The 15MW turbines trump GE’s Halide-X 14 MW units, making the Vestas windmills the largest in the world. According to reports, the 236 series has already started receiving a lot of commercial interest. Turbine specs  Rated power - 9,500/9,600kW Cut-in or minimum wind speed - 3m/s Cut-out or maximum wind speed, 25m/s Wind class - IEC IB or IBT adapted to offshore conditions Standard operating temperature range - from -15°C* to +25°C* with a de-rating interval from +25°C to +35°C Higher ambient temperature variant available,  Sound Output - Maximum - 112.9dB(A) Rotor diameter - 174m Swept area - 470,845 square feet Frequency - 50/60 Hz Converter - full scale Gearbox type - medium speed The Location Sailing the North Sea is considered a feat equivalent to climbing Mount Everest because of the perennially choppy seas and the sudden weather changes. But did you know that the North Sea also has a shallow sea bed that massively speeds up the installation of offshore assets? The Kincardine project, located 9 miles off the port of Aberdeen— technically wind turbine heaven because of this. It’s a busy shipping lane, so maintenance and repairs will be cheaper. Plus, the strong winds ensure an efficient energy supply. And the low temperature improves conductivity, reducing undersea cable fatigue. Many countries in the world have longer coasts and better wind conditions, but the seafloor is too deep. Installing wind turbines close to the shore has another set of challenges — a shifting floor, just to name one. Wind turbines weigh hundreds of tons and need firm support for smooth operation. To make that happen, builders install the foundation on consistent sea beds, and these are only found beyond 20 miles from the sea coast. The Kincaide wind farm has floating, semi-submersible supports that keep the installed equipment firmly anchored to the seafloor, no matter how weak or inconsistent the floor is. And that’s also why it’s located only 9 miles from the port of Aberdeen. The Future Now, let’s talk money. The global floating wind power market size was $0.67 billion in 2019 and is projected to reach $59.24 billion by 2027, exhibiting a CAGR of 82.2% during the forecast period. The world leader in offshore wind energy is Japan. The country is looking to produce up to 10 Gigawatts in 2030, which should increase to 30-45 GW in 2040. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency’s (IRENA) projections, global offshore wind and ocean energy installed capacity will reach 228 GW and 10 GW respectively by 2030. Wind energy is one of the cheapest forms of energy and this is a proven fact. While land-based wind farms have their own set of advantages, they also use up space that could be used for other purposes. It’s essentially a fixed installation with a less-than-average capacity to grow. Floating wind farms on the other hand are movable, linkable with larger wind farms, and offer relatively low running expenses compared to their land-based cousins. Since some of the world’s largest, most energy-hungry cities are located on the coastline, off-shore wind farms show huge promise. Disclaimer: This information represents the personal views and opinions of the author(s). It does not represent the views and opinions of UN GCNI, UNGC, SOCIOLADDER FOUNDATION, THE SUSTAINEVERSE PLATFORM, or any other third party including sponsors, strategic partners, or other users of SUSTAINEVSERSE. While UN GCNI and SOCIOLADDER  strive to make the information on the SUSTAINEVERSE Platform as timely and accurate as possible, they make no claims, promises, or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the contents. Any views or opinions expressed are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, community, organization,  company or individual. 

By Adreesh Ghoshal  
Affordable and Clean Energy
Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
Responsible Consumption and Production
Climate Action
 
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04 Aug 2021 | 12:27 PM

Amtrak signs $3.4-bn deal with Siemens Mobility

The United States’ premier railroad operator, Amtrak, has purchased 73 multi-powered Siemens Venture trains in a landmark $3.4-bn dollar deal recently. This is the largest contract won by Siemens Mobility in its history of operation in the U.S. Amtrak is looking to massively expand its network over the next 15 years – and that’s where hybrid and dual-mode locomotives like the Siemens Venture come in.   The 73 dual-mode and hybrid trains belong to the all-new Venture series and will operate across the Northeast Corridor and across various state-supported routes, including Maine, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington. Amtrak expects the new trains to add up to 1.5 million new riders annually.  The largest rail carrier in the U.S. is also looking to buy another 140 such train sets if the Venture series is deemed profitable. Amtrak’s plans Amtrak stated in a release that Federal finance and state-supported corridors could see a resurgence of rail transport, and that high-speed railroad networks will finally be a reality. Apart from being safer and more comfortable than road transport, high-speed rail has fewer emissions. Amtrak’s expansion metrics estimate a reduction of up to 55% in greenhouse gas emissions compared to driving.  Studies have also shown that train travel is 46% more efficient than driving, and 34% more than flying. The expansion plan will have a definite impact. The net economic benefit of this investment from operations is expected to reach $8 billion annually by 2035, with an additional $195 billion in economic activity generated by capital investment during 2021-2035. Over 26,000 ongoing permanent jobs, plus 616,000 person-years of temporary jobs supported by capital spending during 2021- 2035, will be created. The Siemens Venture The Venture deal includes a mix of electric, diesel-electric, and diesel-lithium-titanate battery-powered hybrid motive power units along with the cars, spares, and after-sales maintenance. The first of its kind Venture Hybrid battery train will begin testing in 2025. The trains for the Northeast Corridor and State Supported routes will be delivered from 2024 through 2030.  The trains’ bidirectional design will reduce turn-around times, while the dual-power system will reduce dependency on catenary lines and eliminate the need for an engine change on non-electrified routes. The multi-power systems, including hybrid battery operation, will provide a substantial environmental benefit through reduced emissions compared to the existing fleet. The Venture train sets are rated for 125 mph. The new trains have an on-board monitoring system that ties in with Siemens’ Mobility’s servers – increasing reliability and reducing failure detection times. The ACS-64 Siemens’ other famous locomotive in the U.S. market is the ACS-64 electric locomotive. The ACS-64 is an electric locomotive operated by Amtrak. The 70-strong fleet of ACS-64s uses state-of-the-art technologies like lightweight traction motors, unibody construction, and regenerative braking. Here’s the exciting part – the ACS64 feeds energy back into the grid while braking. According to Amtrak, this is expected to save over $300 million during a 20-year life cycle and with that comes reduced greenhouse gas emissions. The Plant The trains will be manufactured at Siemens Mobility’s facility in Sacramento, California, and will comply with the Federal Railroad Administration Buy America Standards. This year, the unit celebrated its 30th anniversary and currently employs more than 2,100 people. It is one of the largest plants of its kind on the continent, and one of the most sustainable, using a 2.1 MWp (Megawatt Peak) solar panel installation. The plant has a 60,000 square-foot floor area and is the home of all repair and maintenance operations. The German industrial giant is also offering a 20-year maintenance program along with the contract. White House Support President Joe Biden is a huge Amtrak fan and supporter. The Congress has already released $200 million for Amtrak’s expansion. Based on other transportation bills currently being debated, Amtrak is expected to gain more backing for its future corridor plans. It’s crucial because several Amtrak rail cars are more than 50 years old and in desperate need of replacement. The Venture series – based on the Brightline trains already in service in the U.S., has more room and passenger amenities, too. This will improve passenger response and brighten prospects for high-speed rail mobility. Rail is among the most energy-efficient modes of transport for freight and passengers - while the rail sector carries 8% of the world’s passengers and 7% of global freight transport, it represents only 2% of total transport energy demand. Couple the energy efficiency with the potential to generate power, and you have a winning combination here. Disclaimer: This information represents the personal views and opinions of the author(s). It does not represent the views and opinions of UN GCNI, UNGC, SOCIOLADDER FOUNDATION, THE SUSTAINEVERSE PLATFORM, or any other third party including sponsors, strategic partners, or other users of SUSTAINEVSERSE. While UN GCNI and SOCIOLADDER  strive to make the information on the SUSTAINEVERSE Platform as timely and accurate as possible, they make no claims, promises, or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the contents. Any views or opinions expressed are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, community, organization,  company or individual. 

By Adreesh Ghoshal  
Decent Work and Economic Growth
Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
Responsible Consumption and Production
Partnerships to achieve the Goal
 
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04 Aug 2021 | 12:12 PM

Averda Joins The Terra Carta Initiatives

Averda, one of the oldest waste management firms in the Middle East, is the latest member of the Terra Carta Initiative founded by the Prince of Wales. The Terra Carta initiative is a ten-point action plan that defines the path any sustainability venture should follow. The program includes collective engagement, industry-specific round-tables, and dedicated investment drives; the program aims to attract green stakeholders. As the newest player in the team, Dubai-based Averda has pledged allegiance with all Terra Carta's action articles. Averda, founded in 1965, is one of the first private enterprises with an intent to make sustainability a good business goal. It's present in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar, Morocco, the Republic of Congo, South Africa, India, and the United Kingdom. Averda employs 14,000 people and is known for its efficacy. Averda believes in a circular economy — an ecosystem where everything produced can be regenerated. Consumers can buy into any ladder of the value chain. Unlike the 'take-make-waste model, a circular model ensures that we return to Mother Nature everything we use. HRH The Prince of Wales said: "The more companies that sign up to the Terra Carta, the greater its capability will be to drive the change we so desperately need. I can only encourage more people to join this urgent call to arms." Malek Sukkar, CEO of Averda, said: "We are proud to join HRH The Prince of Wales' Terra Carta charter - every day must be Earth Day. We share the Prince's belief that the private sector must drive the global change towards a sustainable future, and we look forward to expanding our contributions. Our effort to constantly innovate the way we do business — including recycling and energy efficiency initiatives and converting waste into energy- is the first impactful step within this important commitment. Being part of such a prestigious coalition of the willing makes us optimistic for the future that we can create together." Disclaimer: This information represents the personal views and opinions of the author(s). It does not represent the views and opinions of UN GCNI, UNGC, SOCIOLADDER FOUNDATION, THE SUSTAINEVERSE PLATFORM, or any other third party including sponsors, strategic partners, or other users of SUSTAINEVSERSE. While UN GCNI and SOCIOLADDER  strive to make the information on the SUSTAINEVERSE Platform as timely and accurate as possible, they make no claims, promises, or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the contents. Any views or opinions expressed are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, community, organization,  company or individual. 

By Adreesh Ghoshal  
Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
Sustainable Cities and Communities
Responsible Consumption and Production
 
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