Back to Fall 2010,
Thought in Action at the Erb Institute
Shai Agassi, CEO and founder of Better Place, a global provider of electric vehicle networks and services, seeks to create a world that no longer relies on oil for transportation. Learn more about Better Place’s efforts to create a market-based transportation infrastructure to support electric vehicles in the new case study “Better Place: Charging into the Future?” available from the William Davidson Institute. The Erb Institute Associate Director Andrew Hoffman and Arie Jongejan, Erb ’10, advised the U-M students who wrote the case study.
General Motors Senior Product Engineer Alex Keros, Erb ‘07, played a major role in the recent unveiling of GM’s new hydrogen-powered car in Hawaii. The car can go 100 miles an hour and travel 200 miles on four gallons of hydrogen. The car is extremely quiet and makes only a small swoosh noise when it starts, Keros reports. Water vapor is its only exhaust.
READ MORE: GM’s hydrogen cars headed for Hawaii
Tina Bosch and Arthur Peterson, both Erb ’11, interned at The Ford Motor Company this summer. Bosch focused on supply chain sustainability research and strategy development for raw materials, including conflict minerals and water. She also worked on greenhouse gas emissions. Peterson worked on developing strategies for Ford’s water and raw materials use and management and on other projects supporting Ford’s sustainability work, including reporting initiatives, recycled materials content goals and human rights. The interns also spent time driving electric cars, including the battery-electric Focus that President Obama tested in Holland, Mich., this summer.
Lisa Ingmarsson, Christina Bosch, Jamie Mikkelsen and Arthur Peterson, all Erb ’11, worked with The Ford Motor Company on supply chain sustainability for their master’s project. John Sullivan, a research scientist at the U-M Transportation Research Institute and head of the Office of Sustainability Systems, advised the students on the project titled “Carbon Mapping in the Automotive Supply Chain.” Students assessed the development of carbon-related policies in the U.S., China, Brazil and Europe to understand the potential impact of those policies. They also mapped the carbon intensity in the automotive supply chain and researched opportunities for supplier engagement.
In another master’s project in which Ford was the client, students studied “New Mobility: Providing Solutions to Social and Environmental Problems in Urban Slums of Developing Regions.” Jennifer McLaughlin and Emily Plews, both Erb ’10, worked on the project. The Erb Institute Associate Director Thomas Gladwin was their adviser. Building on previous SNRE master’s projects, the team identified “New Mobility” as a potential set of solutions to many of the social and environmental problems related to mobility and accessibility within urban slum regions of the world. New Mobility systems are highly integrated, environmentally sound, and socially equitable systems of moving people and goods.
SMART (Sustainable Mobility and Accessibility Research and Transformation) continues to expand its scope with the addition of new integrated mobility projects in Honolulu, Los Angeles, Mystic, Conn.; Lisbon, Portugal; and Warsaw, Poland, under the leadership of The Erb Institute Associate Director Thomas Gladwin.
SMART recently published a white paper on integrated mobility that is a practical primer for implementing sustainable door-to-door transportation systems in communities and regions.
The U-M, Michigan State University and Wayne State University also have organized a new consortium called Transforming Transportation: Economies & Communities to find ways to transform the regional, state, national and, ultimately, global transportation industries. The goal is to promote multidisciplinary, multi-institutional research that supports industry, community and government policymaking and planning.
These and other projects will be featured at SMART’s annual summit April 4-7 in Dearborn, Mich.
SMART, launched in 2007, is jointly affiliated with the U-M Transportation Research Institute and the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. It focuses on sustainable transportation and accessibility in city regions of the world. The Erb Institute is one of SMART’s academic partners.
John DeCicco, an Erb-affiliated senior lecturer in SNRE, is working with faculty and researchers to strengthen U-M’s research capacity for addressing the “car-climate” challenge. Through his research in the area of sustainable mobility, he seeks to further public understanding of transportation systems and greenhouse gas emissions.
DeCicco says it is possible to triple fuel economy in gasoline-powered cars by 2035 with the help of smart electronic technology. The most cost-effective answer is steady progress in advanced combustion engines and hybrid drives, according to DeCicco.