New York Times: FBI Arrests Volkswagen Executive on Conspiracy Charges in Emissions Scandal

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has arrested a Volkswagen executive who faces charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States, two people with knowledge of the arrest said on Sunday, marking an escalation of the criminal investigation into the automaker’s diesel emissions cheating scandal.

Oliver Schmidt, who led Volkswagen’s regulatory compliance office in the United States from 2014 to March 2015, was arrested on Saturday by investigators in Florida and is expected to be arraigned on Monday in Detroit, said the two people, a law enforcement official and someone familiar with the case.

After a study by West Virginia University first raised questions over Volkswagen’s diesel motors in early 2014, Mr. Schmidt played a central role in trying to convince regulators that excess emissions were caused by technical problems rather than by deliberate cheating. Much of the data presented to regulators was fabricated, officials of the California Air Resources Board have said.

USA Today: VW Reboots Microbus as Self-Driving Vehicle

Volkswagen has rebooted its old microbus yet again, this time as a long-range electric vehicle. The concept vehicle was being shown Sunday ahead of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. It's yet to be seen if it will be produced.

The Volkswagen I.D. Buzz concept -- yes, that's the name -- has a range up to 270 miles per charge, which would put in it the heart of Tesla's capability and about 30 miles better than General Motor's new Chevrolet Bolt, which just went on sale.

VW also says its concept would be the first "multi-purpose vehicle," er, minivan, to be fully capable of driving itself.

Venture Beat: How Blockchain Is Impacting Clean Energy

Several startups are developing projects that integrate blockchain and solar energy. Their ideas range from developing alt-coins for trading and incentivizing power production to using smart contracts for administering energy transactions.

SolarCoin is an eco-minded cryptocurrency that aims to incentivize solar power production. The coin was launched in 2014 and hopes to drive the generation of 97,500 terawatt-hours' worth of solar power over 40 years. It originally used a proof-of-work system for verification but has since switched over to a proof-of-stake-time system because it is more environmentally friendly. Anyone can mine the coins, from individuals to solar farms. For every 1 MWh of electricity generated (and verified by a third party), the producer receives one SolarCoin. Solar farms wanting to earn extra income by generating SolarCoins for the power they produce don’t have to pay anything to participate, and SolarCoin does not take any of the power; it merely provides the coins as an incentive to produce clean energy.

Digital Journal: Israel Will Soon Have the World's Tallest Solar Power Tower

Construction of the world's tallest solar power tower is underway in Israel's sun-drenched Negev desert. The 820-foot (250 meters) tower will stand in the middle of a 121-megawatt concentrated solar complex, slated to begin operations by the end of 2017.

The Ashalim Solar Thermal Power Station is being built and will be operated by Megalim Solar Power Ltd. General Electric is responsible for the engineering behind the project, while BrightSource is providing the advanced solar field technology.

Independent: Mass Adoption of Electric Cars Will Make Diesel Extinct in the U.K., Experts Predict

Diesel technology is set to be a thing of the past, U.K. car industry executives believe.

The plan is to invest in the technology needed for battery electric vehicles over the next five years, according to 93% of executives surveyed, while 62% felt that diesel is losing its importance for manufacturers.

Figures from KPMG's annual global automotive executive survey also show that 90% of executives expect battery electric vehicles to dominate the marketplace by 2025.