Wall Street Journal: Apple Speeds Up Electric-Car Work

Apple Inc. is accelerating efforts to build an electric car, designating it internally as a “committed project” and setting a target ship date for 2019, according to people familiar with the matter.

The go-ahead came after the company spent more than a year investigating the feasibility of an Apple-branded car, including meetings with two groups of government officials in California. Leaders of the project, code-named Titan, have been given permission to triple the 600-person team, the people familiar with the matter said.

EV Obsession: 1 Million EVs Have Been Sold Worldwide To Date

More than 1 million all-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids have been sold worldwide to date, according to the most recent figures. Considering that the 500,000 threshold was just passed last July, that means that growth has really been picking up as of late -- with a bit over 200,000 in sales between July-December 2014, and with around 300,000 of sales in just the last 9 months or so.

Of these estimated 1,004,000 EVs sold worldwide to date, an estimated 62% are pure EVs and 38% are PHEVs. The vast majority of these sales have occurred since late 2010, when the Chevrolet Volt and the Nissan Leaf launched.

Bloomberg: China Is Hoarding the World's Oil

Even after China’s slowing economy dragged crude to a six-year low, oil’s second-biggest consumer remains the main safeguard against a further price meltdown. While China’s surprise currency devaluation helped trigger Brent crude’s slump to about $42 a barrel last month, the nation’s stockpiling of oil can staunch further losses.

In the first seven months of the year, China purchased about half a million barrels of crude in excess of its daily needs, the most for the period since 2012, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. As the country gathers bargain barrels for its strategic petroleum reserve, the demand is cushioning an oversupplied market from a further crash, according to Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy.

Arizona Republic: Arizona Corporation Commission Members Hit With New Bias Complaints

New allegations of bias were leveled at three members of the Arizona Corporation Commission in legal papers filed Thursday on behalf of two former commissioners.

The complaints were filed by former Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman, an attorney representing former commissioners Bill Mundell and Renz Jennings and Sunrun Inc., a residential solar-panel leasing company.

They seek to disqualify the three elected regulators from considering a proposed rate increase on new solar customers because the regulators aren’t seen as impartial.

Guardian: From Oregon to Johannesburg, Micro-Hydro Offers Solution to Drought-Hit Cities

To tackle the high demand water and energy place on one another, micro-hydropower is emerging as a technology with potential. In January, Portland, Oregon became the first city to harness electricity from its water pipes and sell it to the electricity grid.

The city is using a technology developed by Lucid Energy, which says it will generate 1,100 MWh of electricity a year -- the equivalent of powering 150 homes -- from four turbines installed along a 50-foot section of Portland’s water pipes.

The mayor of Johannesburg, Mpho Parks Tau, likewise intends to use Lucid’s technology to help his city cope with the country’s worst electricity crisis since 2008.