Latest Green News Wed, 27 Aug 2014 03:29:46 GMT FeedCreator 1.8.1 (obRSS 1.8.11) Latest Green News TOP GREEN NEWS at ECOSEEDs Global Green News Portal - The Information Leader in Tomorrows Economy, a FREE service featuring the latest green news and information on the worlds fastest growing economic sector - Green Technology Nepal, the Maldives, and Bhutan could lose around 2 percent G.D.P. due to climate change – A. ...
Nepal, the Maldives, and Bhutan could lose around 2 percent G.D.P. due to climate change – A.D.B. report
Bhutan is often mentioned as one of the world's climate change "hot spots". In 1994, floods nearly destroyed the Punakhadzong, when the two rivers surrounding the fortress swelled to over flowing.
Image from ADB

Nepal, the Maldives, and Bhutan could be looking at economic losses of around 2 percent of their annual gross domestic product by 2050 due to climate change, according to Asian Development Bank report.

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The recently released A.D.B. report, titled “Assessing the Costs of Climate Change and Adaptation in South Asia,” found that Nepal, the Maldives, and Bhutan could face economic losses due to climate change if mitigation and adaptation steps are not taken.

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In Nepal

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Without changes to current global behavior, Nepal could see economic losses equivalent to around 2.2 percent of their annual G.D.P. by 2050, which could rise to 9.9 percent by 2100.

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However, if mitigation and adaptation steps were to be taken, the damage could be limited to 2.4 percent of their G.D.P. by the end of the century.

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According to the report, Nepal’s agricultural sector will be affected by climate change the most which will result in reduce crop yields and causing food insecurity.

Melting snow, ice, and glaciers in Nepal could also cause sudden catastrophic flooding downstream, threatening both human settlements and existing hydropower systems.

“The population is extremely vulnerable, not only to the immediate threats of increasingly frequent glacial lake overflows, landslides, flash floods, and droughts, but also to longer-term climate change, which will ultimately reduce water availability and limit crop productivity,” said BinduLohani, A.D.B. vice-president for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development.

In the Maldives

The Maldives could face economic losses equivalent to over 2 percent of their annual G.D.P. by 2050, which could significantly rise to 12.6 percent by 2100 if business as usual continues.

If mitigation and adaptation steps are taken, losses could be limited to around 3.5 percent of G.D.P. by the end of the century.

Projections show that the Maldives could see a 1-meter rise in sea level due to climate change – this increase in sea level would result in submerging 66 percent of the archipelago’s total land area causing widespread damage and displacing communities.

Some of the effects of climate change stated in the report were warmer seas bleaching coral reefs and affecting tourism; higher risk of dengue; and changing rainfall patterns and dry spells puttingthe Maldives’ main source of water at risk.

“A potential ocean rise of up to 1 meter by 2100 will have devastating consequences for this island archipelago, where the highest natural point is only a little over 2 meters above sea level,” explained Mr. Lohani.

“At the same time, the Maldives stands to gain the most in South Asia if the global community takes the necessary steps to change resource use patterns and limit damage and impacts from climate change,” Mr. Lohani added.

In Bhutan

If business as usual continues, Bhutan could see an average economic loss equivalent to 1.4 percent of their G.D.P. by 2050, growing to 6.6 percent by 2100. If mitigation and adaptation steps are taken, damage could be limited to 1.7 percent by the end of the century.

The report shows that the country’s agricultural sector will be heavily affected; this would be due to reliance on favorable monsoon conditions and increase in temperatures that could reach as high as 4.5 degress Celsius.

Another issue that Bhutan could face are its 24 glacial lakes which could melt resulting in floods and landslides, as well as affecting settlements, farms, and the Bhutan’s hydropower sector.

“The country’s slope-dominated agricultural activities and heavy reliance on glacier-fed lakes for hydropower, tourism, and water could face immense challenges in the coming decades without global efforts to slow climate change,” warned Mr. Lohani.

Nepal, Maldives, and Bhutan are just three of the countries in the South Asian region which are part of the scope of A.D.B.’s report (see related story). – L. Polintan

Water “dirtying” the biofuel production process
Water “dirtying” the biofuel production process
Green gold
Derived from plants, bio-oil can be processed into gasoline, diesel or other typical petroleum products such as plastics.Photo from PNNL.

Water is well known as a cleansing agent but – when it comes to biofuel production – too much water is dirtying up the process.

Researchers from the United States Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have found that water helps form an impurity which slows down key chemical reaction in the biofuel process.

The study examined the conversion of biomass into bio-oil for transportation fuel. The researchers used computer simulations to explore what happens to a byproduct known as phenol during the biofuel process.

To make biofuels, plant matter is rapidly heated up in a process called pyrolysis. Catalysts are then added to the mix to finish the process and convert the biomass into fuel.

Phenol is produced as a byproduct in this process. While phenol itself is not much of a problem in fuels, combined with certain catalysts some molecules of phenol are transformed into more problematic molecules called ketones.

Ketones molecules tend to link up and form long chains that gunk up the catalysts and interfere with the catalysts ability to trigger important chemical reactions, slowing the biofuel production process.

The P.N.N.L. researchers were looking to prevent the phenol to ketone conversion and found that it’s not the catalysts in the mix but the water.

It’s the water that turns phenol into ketones and blocks the reactions that leads to biofuels. The results apply not only to water but to related liquids in bio-oil such as alcohols and certain acids.

The team found that the presence of water – of which there is plenty in both the biofuel process and the biomass used in the process – dramatically upped the speed with which phenol became ketone.

"I was surprised at the role liquid plays in the reactivity of the metal catalyst," said P.N.N.L.'s Yeohoon Yoon, a co-author on the study. "We know a lot about these reactions in the gas phase, but almost nothing in the liquid. The principles we've learned can be applied to other catalyst-driven reactions. They will make working in the complex system of real catalysts making real biofuels easier."

The next step would be for Mr. Yoon and his team to collaborate with P.N.N.L. colleagues at the Bioproducts, Sciences & Engineering Laboratory to use this knowledge to improve the pyrolysis process in biofuel production.

This work was supported by the Department of Energy Offices of Science and Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. - EcoSeed Staff

Solar with a view – transparent solar material developed at M.S.U.
Solar with a view – transparent solar material developed at M.S.U.
A transparent luminescent solar concentrator waveguide is shown with colorful traditional luminescent solar concentrators in the background. The new LSC can create solar energy but is not visible on windows or other clear surfaces. Photo by G.L. Kohuth.

A new transparent solar concentrator developed at Michigan State University is offering building owners the opportunity to enjoy solar power with a view.

The transparent luminescent solar concentrator can be placed on any clear surface, such as the windows of buildings or even cellphone displays, to allow the creation of solar energy.

While the production of energy from solar cells placed around luminescent plastic-like materials is not new, previous efforts have yielded poor results. Either energy production was inefficient or the materials needed were highly colored.

“No one wants to sit behind colored glass,” noted Richard Lunt of M.S.U.’s college of engineering and an assistant professor of chemical engineering and materials science.

“It makes for a very colorful environment, like working in a disco. We take an approach where we actually make the luminescent active layer itself transparent,” explained Mr. Lunt.

Their solar harvesting system uses small organic molecules developed by Mr. Lunt and his team to absorb specific nonvisible wavelengths of sunlight.

“We can tune these materials to pick up just the ultraviolet and the near infrared wavelengths that then ‘glow’ at another wavelength in the infrared,” said Mr. Lunt.

The “glowing” infrared light is then guided to the edge of the plastic where it is converted to electricity by thin strips of photovoltaic solar cells.

The material does not absorb or emit light in the visible spectrum, allowing it to remain looking transparent to the human eye.

Currently, the team is able to achieve solar conversion efficiency close to 1 percent. Further work is needed to increase efficiency of beyond 5 percent. Currently, the best colored luminescent solar concentrators have efficiencies of around 7 percent.

While the technology still needs some work, the researchers believe that it has the potential to be scaled to commercial or industrial applications with an affordable cost.

One of the biggest advantages of this new material is its flexibility, it will be easy to deploy to gather and create solar energy in a non-intrusive way.

“It can be used on tall buildings with lots of windows or any kind of mobile device that demands high aesthetic quality like a phone or e-reader. Ultimately we want to make solar harvesting surfaces that you do not even know are there,” said Mr. Lunt.

Aside from Mr. Lunt, the M.S.U. research team included Yimu Zhao, a doctoral student in chemical engineering and materials science; Benjamin Levine, assistant professor of chemistry; and Garrett Meek, doctoral student in chemistry. – EcoSeed Staff

Nature's Herbicides: How to kill weeds without poisons
Nature's Herbicides: How to kill weeds without poisons

By Sarah Smith

No matter how much time and care you put into your lawn and garden, you're going to have to deal with weeds at some point. Because they're often tougher and more proliferative than even the hardiest desirable plants, it's important to get control over them before they can overwhelm you. Although there are many potent herbicides designed to make this easier, they're terrible for the environment. Furthermore, weeds can quickly develop an immunity to them, rendering future applications useless. Fortunately, there are a number of methods that kill weeds naturally without compromising the environment or causing plants to develop a resistance.

Corn Gluten Meal

Corn gluten meal is a completely natural product derived from corn and available in most home improvement stores and gardening centers. It works as a pre-emergent herbicide and keeps weed sprouts from developing normal, healthy roots. For this reason, it is best used in garden maintenance as a preventative measure early in the growing season, because it doesn't work once the seedlings are already established.


Depending on what weeds you're dealing with, sometimes nothing works as well as good old-fashioned pulling. A weeding fork is a gardener's best friend for most weeds. However, special caution is needed for weeds with taproots such as dandelions, hemlock, thistle and oxalis. If the root breaks off beneath the soil, it's likely to grow back. Before you pull these, wet the soil to make them come out more easily. Unfortunately, pulling is impractical if you have a field of weeds.

Black Plastic

If you have garden beds that are riddled with weeds by the thousands, there's still something you can do about it. Simply purchase a roll of black plastic, like the kind used for paint drop-cloths. Cut it to the dimensions of your beds and cover it with a few inches of mulch. The weeds underneath will not only be deprived of light but also cooked to death by the heat buildup. If left in place, it will also prevent new weeds from growing. Just be sure to leave ample uncovered space around the bases of your good plants, or they may suffer the same fate. Replace the plastic at the beginning of each year during your garden maintenance routine.

Eat Them

Few people realize that the weeds that interfere with their vegetable gardening are actually vegetables themselves. Nearly all of the much-hated weeds are delicious and nutrient-rich food sources. These include plantago, dandelion, pigweed, lamb's quarters, chicory, purslane, clover, dockweed and mallow. Instead of cursing them, consider serving them up with dinner.


If you've ever gotten road salt on your grass from springtime snow melt, then you know how effective it is at killing plants. Fortunately, you can apply this principle to those weeds invading your garden as long as there are no desired plants too close by, or on those cracks in your driveway or sidewalk. Simply mix a little rock salt with water and pour it over the offending weeds. They should die in a few days. Vinegar has also been known to work.

Weeds are an inevitable part of maintaining a lawn or garden, and if you allow them to flourish, they only become harder to control. If you want to get rid of them, don't reach for the poison. Try some of the tips above and you'll be surprised at safely and effectively you can control the problem.

This post comes from Urban Outsource, a gardening services business in Sydney committed to fighting the green fight. Check out their blog for regular updates on how to do housekeeping and gardening the green way.

Electric Vehicles: Significant strides for technology and the environment
Electric Vehicles: Significant strides for technology andthe environment

By Charlie Brown

Cars that do not use gasoline but rather draw power from the electric grid are referred to as plug-in cars. There are those that purely run on the electrically recharged batteries while some still utilize small amounts of gasoline for engine activity, referred to as plug-in hybrids (these are not to be confused with conventional hybrids that have become increasingly common in the market today).

The increased popularity of both hybrid plug-in and plug-in vehicles reduces greenhouse gases emission rates thereby helping to curb global warming as well as air pollution.

Cheaper and sustainable for the long term

That is not all, reducing reliance on oil is a wise move for the future, particularly since it grows more and more expensive. On average, the plug-in hybrid can get up to 100+miles to a gallon of gas, while fully electric ones do not consume any gas.

When operating on electricity, there are no tailpipe emissions from the vehicles, and if combined with energy generated from renewable sources such as wind and solar energy, the strides made towards reduction of pollutants and greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are significant.

After years of research into the viability and technology behind electric cars, there exists technology to build both fully and hybrid electric vehicles en masse, and populations in many places are slowly warming up to the idea of a gas-free vehicle.

In addition to less to no gas consumption, electric and hybrid electric vehicles are superior over vehicles running on gasoline in that maintenance needs and costs are also greatly reduced and there is no need for oil changes.

Significant role in prevention of further environmental damage

Indeed, electric cars will play a pivotal role in weaning the country, and the world at large off over-reliance on oil, which has seen us plunge into economic crises when the supply dwindled and prices shot up.

Many automobile manufacturing companies have warmed up to the idea of non-gasoline vehicles, and are now partnering with green energy companies to find ways to incorporate the technology into more and more vehicles being manufactured now. This is the time to move the electric car technology into the fast lane.

There are raised concerns that electric cars would do no good if the means of producing the electricity to run them remain unsustainable. Essentially, that would simply shift the site of mission to another location – where the electricity production takes place.

However, it is worth noting that electric cars usually get charge at night, when the demand for power is significantly reduced and therefore renewable energy sources, which are still being cultivated for the larger scale, are enough to run the process.

Only going up from here

In the future, we can hope that there are further advances with regards to production of electricity through renewable energy sources, as well as extra efficiency in electric cars to make further contributions towards freeing the environment of greenhousegases and air pollutants escalating global warming.

Charlie Brown is a writer having great knowledge about Technology and Environment.  Recently, we write some articles on Cheapautoinsurance also. For more information on cheapautoinsurance covers and other motor insurance concerns talk to us today by clicking the link.

South Asian countries face economic losses due to climate change – A.D.B. report
South Asian countries face economic losses due to climate change – A.D.B. report
Crossing a river in Bangladesh. Photo found here by ADB

Various countries in the South Asian region are looking at significant losses due to climate change, according to a new report by the Asian Development Bank.

According to the report, Assessing the Costs of Climate Change and Adaptation in South Asia, six countries – Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka – are projected to see an average economic loss of around 2 percent of their collective gross domestic product by 2050.

The report warns that this figure could sharply rise to around 9 percent by the year 2100 if the world continues on its current fossil fuel-intensive path.

The costs of adapting to climate change in South Asia would currently be at $73 billion, or an average of 0.86 percent of its G.D.P., yearly between now and 2100 to adapt to the negative impacts. However, the cost of adapting to climate change will depend on how the global community tackles the issue.

In Bangladesh

If business as usual continues, Bangladesh could see an annual economic cost equivalent to 2 percent of its G.D.P., growing to 9.4 by 2100. These losses could be reduced to 2 percent by 2100 if mitigation actions were to be successfully taken.

The country could see its agricultural sector affected by extreme floods, cyclones, droughts, heat stress, and shorter growing seasons that could affect the country’s yields of various agricultural products.

Bangladesh’s coastal zone could also see storm surges and a possible sea level rise, affecting homes and sustenance of the country’s population.

“Vast crop losses, disappearing arable land, displaced communities, poisoned groundwater – this is not a horror tale but a very real possibility in future unless destructive global resource use patterns are changed,” said BinduLohani, A.D.B. vice-president for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development.

“This expected rise in frequency and severity of extreme climate events calls for wide-ranging action including stepped up safety net programs for the poor who are most at risk,” Mr. Lohani said.

In India

Business as usual could mean an economic loss of 1.8 percent of annual G.D.P. by 2050 for India, growing to 8.7 percent by 2100. If mitigation and adaptation steps were taken, damage could be kept under 2 percent by the end of the century.

The country’s agricultural sector is projected to be economically critical, with the report noting changes in rainfall patterns. India’s coastline could also face serious consequences from sea level rise.

“Agriculture provides employment and livelihood opportunities to most of India’s rural population and changes in temperature and rainfall, and an increase in floods and droughts linked to climate change, would have a devastating impact on people’s food security, incomes, and lives,” noted Mr. Lohani.

In Sri Lanka

Without changes to current global behavior could lead to G.D.P. economic losses of around 1.2 percent for Sri Lanka, widening to 6.5 percent by 2100. However, losses could be limited to around 1.4 percent by the end of the century if mitigation and adaptations steps were to be taken.

Sri Lanka could be looking at a temperature rise by as much as 3 degrees Celsius by 2100, with rice crops being affected by droughts. Rainfall in the country will also be affected.

“A significant number of Sri Lankans are still dependent of sources of income that depend on rainfall such as agriculture, livestock production, and inland fisheries. Any increase in extreme storms, droughts and changing rainfall patterns could play havoc with their food security and livelihoods, including in the country’s vitally important coastal regions,” explained Mr. Lohani. – L. Polintan

South Asian countries face economic losses due to climate change – A.D.B. report ]]>
Used car batteries: Out of the landfills, into perovskite-based solar panels
Used car batteries: Out of the landfills, into perovskite-based solar panels
One lead battery could produce enough solar panels to power 30 homes. Illustration: Christine Daniloff/MIT

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a way to improve solar panels using recycled materials from discarded car batteries.

Professors Angela M. Belcher and Paula T. Hammod led a team that developed high-performing solar cells using a compound called perovskite and recycled lead from old car batteries.

Perovskite is considered a promising solar material, with one drawback: perovskite-based solar cells need lead. As lead and its production can result in toxic residues, its use is considered a drawback – making the technology less “green.”

However, the M.I.T. team successfully created organolead halide perovskite solar cells using recycled led from old car batteries. Because they divert toxic material from landfills and reuse it, the solar cells produced are greener than their predecessors.

“Once the battery technology evolves, over 200 million lead-acid batteries will potentially be retired in the United States, and that could cause a lot of environmental issues,” noted Ms. Belcher.

Around 90 percent of the lead recovered from recycling old batteries is used to produce new batteries but over time, the market for lead-acid batteries is likely to decline, leaving a large stockpile of lead with no obvious applications.

The team is proposing that this lead be used to produce solar panels instead to provide clean and renewable power.

According to the team, the lead from a single car battery could produce enough solar panels to provide power for 30 households. Production is also relatively simple, with the added advantage of being a low-temperature process. These factors will make the large-scale manufacture of these perovskite solar cells simple and cheap.

There is also limited risk for lead contamination of the environment as the lead-containing layer in the solar panel will be fully encapsulated by other materials. When the panel itself is eventually retired, the lead can be recycled yet again into new solar panels.

Perovskite-based photovoltaic cells can achieve power-conversion efficiencies of more than 19 percent, close to that of many commercial silicon-based solar cells.

Aside from Professors Belcher and Hammond, the research team also included graduate students Po-Yen Chen and Matthew Klug, and postdoc Xiangnan Dang. They were supported by Italian energy company Eni through the M.I.T. Energy Initiative. – EcoSeed Staff

Eco-friendly ways to decorate your home
Eco-friendly ways to decorate your home

By Ruth Barton

When it comes to renovating a room or giving the whole house a makeover there are some steps you can take to ensure that it doesn’t have as big an impact on the environment as it could. Whether you choose to move forward with all these steps or just a few, you will reduce your carbon footprint and have a greener and more environmentally friendly place to live.

Firstly, think hard about whether you actually need to redecorate. There are so many ways you can spruce up a room without repainting or papering the walls. Here are just a few:

Rearrange the furniture.

This is as straightforward as it sounds; simply moving things around can make the space feel like a whole new room. Mixing things up and swapping locations of furniture can often make a lot more sense as well. Often when people move, they place their furniture with not much thought as they could, as they just want to get the unpacking out of the way.

Decorate those walls.

If your walls are looking a little tired or bare, why not jazz them up with some photos, art or wall stickers. By creating new focal point that draws the eye, it will help your room to appear as good as new with minimal effort.

Upcycle your furniture.

The same furnishings can grow a bit boring day in and day out. If you’re thinking of replacing, think about upcycling them instead. This alternative is not only cheaper but also more green as nothing is replacing it. No new trees need to be felled and nothing will have to be transported, transported or manufactured making reusing a lot more environmentally friendly.

There are some great upcycling ideas on Pinterest, or if you’re not feeling too creative, a simple lick of paint on a table or cupboard could make a world of difference.  If you want something completely new, consider taking a trip to a thrift store and investing in something used but still great.

If an entire makeover is really what the room requires, then here are some things to bear in mind to ensure you do it the green way.


Make sure your paint is eco-friendly. Conventional paints contain formaldehyde, heavy metals and chemicals known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs are emitted while paintingand for up to five years after brushes have dried. These compounds are harmful to the environment, as they react with the oxygen and form ‘bad’ ozone in the presence of sunlight.

Prolonged or high exposure to paint and paint fumes are known to cause headaches, trigger allergies and asthma and irritate eyes and airways. In fact, who have regular exposure to paint are likely to have a 20-40% increased risk of lung cancer.

Eco friendly paints are now widely available at similar prices to regular paints but are better for your own health and the environment’s. So if you’re thinking of repainting, the choose this.


Make sure that the paper you choose for your home is free from chemicals, recycled if possible and is applied using eco-friendly paste. Look out for papers with water based paints and prints on cotton based fabric rather than PVC.

If you can, consider creating a feature wall so that minimal paper needs to be used in the room as you’re covering one wall instead of four.

Remember, every little positive thing that you do for the environment will help.

Ruth Barton is a professional writer who is passionate about environmental issues. She is constantly looking for ways to reduce her carbon footprint.

Trina Solar to supply solar power plant in Jiangsu with 82 MW-worth of modules
Trina Solar to supply solar power plant in Jiangsu with 82 MW-worth of modules
Trina Solar supplies PV power plant developer with 82 MW of their anti-Potential Induced Degradation modules.

Photovoltaic modules manufacturer Trina Solar Limited has inked an agreement to supply 82 megawatts-worth of modules to a solar power plant in the province of Jiangsu in China.

Under the signed agreement, Trina Solar will be supplying 82 MW worth of its anti-Potential Induced Degradation modules to PV power plant developer Tianganghu Photovoltaic Generation CO., Ltd. for a solar power plant that will be located in Jiangsu Province.

Specifically, Trina Solar will be supplying the solar power plant with 320,000 TSM-PC05A modules with power outputs of 245 watt-peak, 250 Wp, and 255 Wp. Module shipments are slated to be completed by the end of 2014.

“We are very proud to have secured this contract and to supply our advanced anti-P.I.D. modules to this unique project, which is one of the first few large-scale power plants designed to an 85 degree Celsius/85 percent relative humidity anti-P.I.D. standard, said Zhiguo Zhu, president of the Module Business Unit of Trina Solar.

“This once again showcases our ability to produce the very best solar products and to continue to meet our customer’s evolving needs. Trina Solar remains deeply committed to product innovation and we continue to integrate R&D successes into our solar products. Our focus remains on enhancing product performance, reducing costs and delivering both commercial and financing benefits to our customers,” he added.

Just this June, Trina Solar has also provided 23 MW-worth of modules to a rooftop solar project in the province of Shandong (see related story). – EcoSeed Staff

Asia Pacific region to see more P.E.V.s by 2018 – Navigant Research
Asia Pacific region to see more P.E.V.s by 2018 – Navigant Research

The Asia Pacific region will surpass North America as the largest market for plug-in electric vehicles by 2018, finds a report from Navigant Research.

“P.E.V.s are becoming more available and more price-competitive, both geographically and in vehicle segments outside of small and luxury car classes,” said Scott Shepard, research analyst with Navigant Research. “That is expanding the universe of potential P.E.V. buyers beyond the narrow demographics of early adopters to a wider market that is similar to that for hybrid electric vehicles.”

While P.E.V.s are now readily available in the U.S., Canada and in Western Europe, they have yet to become readily accessible in the Asia Pacific. But the Navigant Research study sees that changing soon.

All in all, the report believes that sales of P.E.V.s in North America, Western Europe and the Asia Pacific will grow from 352,000 annually in 2014 to 1.8 million by 2023.

P.E.V.s are better suited towards urban driving as vehicle range requirements are shorter in urban communities.

The report forecasts that the largest urban markets for P.E.V.s will be Tokyo, Los Angeles, and Paris with P.E.V. sales in 2023 of 49,000, 39,000 and 25,000, respectively.

The report, Electric Vehicle Geographic Forecasts, provides an examination of the market opportunity for P.E.V.s in North America as well as select cities in Europe and the Asia Pacific. It has been updated to align with actual sales data from 2013. – EcoSeed Staff