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Opting for an At Home Charging Station for your Electric Vehicle

October 1st, 2011

How much would it cost you to run your clothes dryer (over night) for around six to eight hours? If you have it on the mandatory 220 volt line and you choose to use the energy during the evening hours it is likely that it would cost you no more than the price of an average gallon of gas – meaning between three and four and a half dollars. This is also what it would cost to give a fully electric car’s battery a full charge too, and the great thing is that you can actually get a charging station installed in your own home.

Whether you have a garage or just a basic driveway, you can now get a safe and efficient charging station installed at your home. There are some Federal tax credits available to those who make this choice; and the pump and cords would cost less than three thousand dollars for the entire job. This would give you the optimal method for owning and operating your electric car (EV) in the current era, but you wouldn’t have to worry for very long about where to get charges when far from home.

For instance, though many say that the production of the EVs has jumped far ahead of the actual infrastructure necessary for them, it is easy to look in any metropolitan or suburban area and find plans for the development of charging station locations. Consider a city like Austin, Texas which is already home to 103 public electrical charging station facilities or the ClipperCreek firm that has worked in the Sacramento, California area since 2009 and which has installed more than 3,000 charging stations since that time.

There are also groups like Coulomb Technologies of Campbell, California which has received $15 million in federal stimulus funding to develop 4,600 charging stations. This will be done through its ChargePoint network in nine different regions across the United States.

The ability to have an at home charging station and the massive expansion of public charging stations could not come at a better time. This is because the first wave of fully electric vehicles is due to arrive in the United States in late 2011 or early 2012. This is the Ford Focus, but it will not be the only vehicle of its kind on American roads for very long. With efficiency standards changing and the price of gas escalating, more and more people are happy to consider such options as totally electric cars.

News from the Electric Vehicle Market

October 1st, 2011

In late 2011 or early 2012 Ford’s first completely electric version of their famous “Electric Vehicle Market” will arrive in United States markets. This is a vehicle that is generating a lot of interest because it is quite likely to be among the first of the brands or models that is used in a broad manner by a huge portion of the population. This car is going to appear first in California and New York and then spread out across the country before being released in Europe. This is great news for those hoping to some day see the electric vehicle, or EV, market go totally main stream.

Naturally, the appearance of fleets of electric vehicles indicates that the country has the infrastructure ready to support them…right? Sadly, the United States is out of sync in terms of its capabilities for supporting electric vehicle usage and the appearance of actual electric cars or trucks.

Consider the most substantial factor for any electric vehicle – the energy supplies it requires. This is something that most often comes from a home-based charging station, but this is an issue that will have to change. Most of the vehicles will run from 50 to 120 miles on a single charge, but that is not adequate to the needs of most daily drivers. This has always been one of the reasons behind the wild popularity of the Tesla EVs with their 245 mile capacity on a single charge, but with a $100k price tag it is not likely that average drivers will be able to enjoy this, and so a better infrastructure of charging stations is essential.

In 2008, the City of Chicago began creating esthetically pleasing and totally functional solar charging stations that remain free of the public utility grids, but this is not the preferred approach. That is why so many news stories featured the inaugural use of a single Solar Charging Pole that began operating in Bethesda, MD in July of 2011. The pole utilizes a “tracking solar” array that relies on GPS guidance to keep it continually aligned with the sun. By doing this, it provides around 45% more energy than standard or “fixed” panels.

This is the sort of readily available support that most EV drivers will require and is what needs to begin appearing as the thousands of brand new and totally electric cars start to appear on American roads and highways.

A Solid Look at Compressed Natural Gas

September 22nd, 2011

The need for an alternative to gasoline and diesel has certainly been made clear over the past couple of decades.  Presidents and legislators alike have promised to funnel money into funds to help find alternative fuels, and car manufacturers are working tirelessly to create vehicle that do not require these fuels.  One proposed solution that is gaining a fair amount of popularity in the automotive world is compressed natural gas.  While this is still a fossil fuel that can emit greenhouse gases, it is considerably greener than its predecessors, does not increase carbon concentrations in the atmosphere, and can even be produced from landfills and wastewater.

It is already possible to convert vehicles to compressed natural gas, and surprisingly, many transit companies have already done so.  Many states even offer rebates and tax incentives to companies operating large fleets of vehicles who are willing to convert the fleets to use this newer, cleaner source of energy.  Arkansas, for example, just put $2.2 million into a fund that is available until December 2011 for companies looking to convert their fleets. The money is available to fleets belonging to public entities as well as any private fleet that operates ten or more vehicles, as long as at least four of them are converted.

Within the week since Arkansas made the announcement that they would be providing these monies, they have received numerous calls expressing interest.  Because the money is first come, first served, the state is hoping that many will take advantage of the program quickly.  Rebates will cover half of the cost of purchase, up to $25,000, provided the equipment installed is certified by the EPA and meets all of their requirements.

So, what is stopping companies throughout Arkansas from taking advantage of the money immediately?  The best guess is that it is likely logistics.  Finding the right place to have a conversion installed and finding a ready source of compressed natural gas that can be used as needed is not yet as easy as many public vehicles need it to be.  The move towards more eco-friendly vehicles is certainly picking up steam, but until there are reliable sources of alternative fuels or charging stations for electric cars, many motorists are still going to have to wonder how they will venture far from home without the need to drive significantly out of their way to refuel.  The good news, however, is that governments and alternative energy companies everywhere are working to address that even as we speak.

A Little Known Worldwide Phenomenon: Natural Gas Powers Cars

Unlike using solar energy to power cars, this is still very underground as far as green movements go. Yet, nonetheless, it’s making an impact worldwide; using compressed natural gas (CNG) to power cars is a green phenomenon. But how does it work? Can a fossil fuel really be green? These and other questions permeate the mystery behind natural gas as a fuel for cars.

What is natural gas?

Natural gas is a byproduct of oil drilling. It can be obtained from petroleum reservoirs as a multi-component gas. It consists of about 90% methane and 10% other gaseous hydrocarbons. It is refined and compressed into tanks or cylinders to be used in cars and other market uses. CNG is nothing new to commercial fleet operators. Honda has been selling the gas for over eighty years. UPS is a notable buyer.

How does it work?

Engines in natural gas cars are similar to conventional gasoline engines. They are, however, fitted with custom engine modifications or add-ons that allow it to run on natural gas. Engines can be built to run on natural gas or, in some cases, gasoline engines can be converted to utilize the gas. The engine works similarly to a gasoline engine. It uses pistons (spark plugs) to generate motion using fuel combustion. However, natural gas varies in its flammability, volume, and ignitability.

Natural gas is also stored in the car in a similar manner to conventional gas, usually in the rear of the car. The natural gas fuel tank contains cylinders which hold the gas under around 3,000 pounds of pressure to conserve space. The cylinders are protected from impact with metal buffers.

Advantages

  • Natural gas cars are considerably less expensive to run than gasoline-powered cars. On average, natural gas costs 30% less than gasoline. Furthermore, it is possible to refuel your car at home using your household natural gas line.
  • Natural gas, although it is a hydrocarbon, burns much cleaner than conventional gasoline. In fact, natural gas vehicles can reduce carbon monoxide emissions by 90%.
  • Safety is also a notable advantage for natural gas vehicles. They are considered safer because of the reinforced fuel tanks which makes them more resistant to leaks and punctures.

Disadvantages

  • One disadvantage for natural gas cars is smaller passenger space due to that large, reinforced fuel tank. And while they burn cleaner, natural gas cars have less fuel efficiency than gasoline cars.
  • Secondly, while it burns much cleaner, natural gas is a fossil fuel and a non-renewable resource.
  • Another issue, for now, with natural gas is the lack of fueling stations for fill-up. If you do not have natural gas running to your home, it is often not feasible to own a natural gas vehicle.

Nonetheless, natural gas is a readily available, domestic resource that could easily make a huge difference in greenhouse gas emissions. There are over 8 million natural gas cars in use worldwide. In 2006, Honda introduced the Civic GX, its first natural gas vehicle. Popular Science did a year-long study of the car, creating an excellent resource for information on natural gas cars and their day-to-day function.

GM’s Chevy Volt VS Tesla Motors

September 21st, 2011

Meet the Chevy Volt

If you were to walk up to a Chevy Volt in a regular parking lot you might not think of it as a car that could be powered entirely by electrical energy. This is because it has the looks and size of the more popular mass vehicles, and yet beats the hybrids to an amazingly high degree. In fact, some recent headlines explained that many of the new Chevy Volt buyers were people frequently trading in the other mass vehicles such as the Prius.

Most of the consumers questioned said that there were a lot of reasons to turn to the Chevy Volt, but the primary factors had to do with the unbelievable mileage equivalents they could enjoy with the EV (electric vehicle). For instance, the Prius will usually get around 44 mpg while most of the Chevy Volt owners can enjoy around 58 mpg, but this “mileage” must be translated to battery life, and also not exclude the fact that there are zero emissions coming from the car.

Let’s look at that battery life first. When considering the distance that a single full charge of a battery can provide, it is usually going to have to translate to the costs associated with the charging process. Unlike the pricing on gas, however, the owner of an EV such as the Volt is going to be able to rely upon the equipment that the manufacturer provides and which ensures the best charging process possible. For example, the device that charges the vehicle is going to run fault detection protocols to ensure that the outlet is going to deliver the properly grounded supplies into the device. Not many makers have this sort of option, and this is actually a problem that occurred with those who relied on household outlets for vehicles such as the Prius.

The programming equipment can also be triggered to take advantage of any off-peak rates available too. This can translate to a tremendous amount of financial savings because it could actually be said to reduce the “per gallon” price of fuel. For instance, if you use electrical charging during the lowest or “off peak” hours it would be the same thing as finding gasoline at a reduced price for a standard car.

The Volt is also a great communicator and can let the driver remain consistently aware of the level of battery left when using certain equipment or driving in a specific way. This is extremely useful because it prevents the owner from ending up without any energy to operate the car without gas.

NOW MEET TESLA MOTORS

Anyone interested in the green driving movement will be likely to have heard about Tesla Motors. This is going to be for a number of reasons, but primarily because it is a company producing sports cars that are entirely powered by electricity. Yes, sports cars. The Tesla Roadster is capable of 288 horsepower, reaching zero to fifty in less than six seconds, and has the lines and sleek looks of the world’s most glamorous sports cars too.

Among the other reasons that Tesla Motors has become such a well-known name is the fact that it was their car known as the Roadster that was selected for the Renew America Roadtrip in 2009. This was a cross country journey that few believed an electric car could manage. This was not without good reason when you consider that most electric vehicles can run for only a limited number of miles without a lengthy recharging process. The recharging equipment can be difficult to find, and has to be especially wired to accommodate the needs of the car.

Tesla Motors had already been thinking well into the future, however, and had designed a vehicle that can be plugged into the same wall outlets as a cell phone, lamp, or other standard electrical device. The charging process requires around four hours to complete and then the car can run for roughly 245 miles before the next recharging is required. Clearly, this was the sort of functionality that would easily get any vehicle across the country in a reasonable amount of time, but the Tesla Motors Roadster also did so without a single harmful emission.

The Tesla vehicles are known for their “zero tailpipe emissions” which means it is among the only electric cars that can deliver sports car performance without also dumping the same harmful chemicals into the air that most high-end vehicles are known for. Instead, the vehicle will “create” only the emissions connected directly to the generation of the electricity that is used to power or charge the batteries. This means that around 50% of standard emissions are reduced simply by relying on one of these electric cars.

The infrastructure necessary to support widespread EV usage is not yet available, but with a design like that in the Tesla Roadster there is really no need to worry about such things. The vehicles can recharge anywhere a standard 120v or 240v outlet is available and will go for more than two hundred miles without any problems.

Is ECOtality INC a Total Solution?

September 21st, 2011

If you are interested in alternative energies it is likely to be due to your desire to see the environment improved or saved from further harm or damage. This means that you think about the ways that you can reduce your carbon footprint, which in turn leads to questions about household and transportation energy consumption as well. As soon as people begin worrying about such issues they find that the problems can seem overwhelming, but this is why a company such as ECOtality, INC. is a wonderful surprise.

This group offers a seemingly total solution to the creation of earth-friendly energy that relies on everything from wind and water to solar and electric supplies. With a commitment to “developing and commercially advancing clean energy solutions and environmentally friendly products…” ECOtality, INC. has designed a set of initiatives that really tap into every area imaginable.

Consider that ECOtality, INC. has its ECOtality North America division that focuses on the creation of electric vehicles. These include everything from alternative-fuel, hybrid (HEV), plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and electric vehicles (EV) to the infrastructure necessary to support their widespread use. The company also announced plans to partner with car2go N.A. in July of 2011. This is an innovative urban program in which clients have access to a fleet of electric vehicles and can use them when necessary while never having to worry about maintenance or upkeep. This means that the group is now heavily involved in the designing and creation of EVs (electric vehicles) but that they also foster a “car sharing” program which ensures the largest number of users possible.

To support their electric car programs, ECOtality, INC. also has their Blink Network that is continually expanding the number of residential and commercial charge stations available for owners of electric vehicles as well. In late July of 2011, the group announced its partnership with the global furniture company known as IKEA, and indicated that they would feature at least two of the Blink EV charging stations at every store in operation, and there are many plans for a continually expanding network of stations as well.

Because there is not always time to conduct a complete battery the company has also created fast charging hear known as their Minit-Charger that provides super-fast charging with less heat and longer battery life.

The company also offers fuel cells, solar energy solutions, energy storage systems and equipment, and even helps with the creation of “turn key” programs for the adoption of electric transportation systems as well.

Tesla Motors to Lease EVs in Europe

September 17th, 2011

If you have been following the evolution of the electric car over the past few years, there is no doubt that you are familiar with Tesla Motors. Founded in 2003, the company strives to provide affordable EVs that make use of the best technologies in order to cut fossil fuel dependence and reduce carbon emissions.

While the vehicles have been available throughout Europe since their release, many have been reluctant to purchase the vehicles due to high price tags and a bit of range anxiety. In late July of 2011, however, Tesla Motors, in conjunction with Athlon Car Lease, announced an agreement that would make both the Tesla Roadster and the Tesla Roadster Sport available for lease in Europe. Furthermore, the companies already have plans to include the Tesla Model S in their lease agreement when the car is released in Europe near the end of 2012.

The Roadster is currently the only highway capable serially produced EV on the market that has a range of more than 300km, and the Roadster has much to offer. It is the first vehicle to be produced by Tesla, yet it can already boast greater acceleration than EVs costing nearly double the price as well as more than twice the range of EVs that are still in the production and planning stages. When the Model S hits the market, with even greater range and the ability to charge in only about 45 minutes, there is no doubt that it will change the EV market in Europe. While the Model S will carry a higher price tag, it will offer seating for five as well as a remarkable amount of cargo space, something that most entrants into the EV market so far have lacked.

The partnership between Tesla Motors and Athlon Car Lease simply makes sense. Athlon has been working to change the car leasing industry to help promote greater sustainability, which is also the key goal for the engineers behind Tesla Motors. This partnership has the capability to revolutionize Europe’s vehicle leasing market, and there are few who doubt that the partnership will have a positive and lingering effect. Athlon Car Lease is currently active in nine European countries, and since the cars will be first available for lease in populous areas where recharging stations are available, the long term effect when the benefits of EVs become apparent could indeed spread throughout a significant percentage of Europe.

ECOtality Inc’s EV Project Brings Major Incentives for EV Purchase to Tennesseans

September 17th, 2011

The EV Project is a joint project created by ECOtality, INC and partially funded by the US Department of Energy to help bring electric cars to the mainstream. The project is working hard to bring both electronic vehicles and EV charging stations to states around the country, and for residents in the state of Tennessee, which is a pilot market for the project, incentives are certainly very inviting for those interested in purchasing an EV. In total, the state is offering 2.5 million dollars worth of rebates for  people who purchase the new Nissan Leaf SL with DC Fast Charge capabilities.

The LEAF is one of the first EVs to become available to the mainstream public, and for consumers who sign up for the EV Project through the Nissan LEAF Customer Journey online and live in Tennessee, the benefits of ownership are great. In order to qualify, applicants must own their home and must have resided there for at least two years. Applicants will also have to agree to share their LEAF charging data. The purchase of a LEAF through this program will include a Blink Wall Mount charger in addition to free or substantially reduced installation. The rebate per participating purchase is $2,500, which is offered in addition to the $7,500 rebate provided by the Federal government.

ECOtality, Inc is a company based in San Francisco, California. The company works in a variety of ways to help take consumers and businesses off of the fossil fuel based grid. They work with a variety of forms of alternative energy and with the EV Project, the company is striving to help increase the speed with which advanced electric technologies in vehicles are made available and accessible to the general public. The company strives to help do more than increase consumer interest in EVs, they are working hard through the EV project to also ensure that areas where the car is made available have access to sufficient charging stations.

Range anxiety, or a fear of running out of power away from a home charging station is cited as one of the main reasons why consumers are hesitant to purchase and use electric vehicles. ECOtality, Inc has chosen to tackle this issue head-on. The EV Project has been funded to add a total of 14,000 charging stations throughout the US, spanning a total of six states. While this may not yet make the technology widely accepted nationwide, success in pilot markets will certainly increase interest in and funding for EVs throughout the rest of the nation.

A Look at the Chevy Volt

September 17th, 2011

If you know a bit about electric vehicles (or EVs), you already understand that they are positioned to really “boom” in the United States in the coming years. In fact, a new wave of entirely electric cars is now entering the markets, and one of the most well-known is the Chevy Volt. It’s popularity has as much to do with the way that the manufacturer, General Motors, has promoted it as it does with the fact that the Chevy Volt is among the first of the mass market electric vehicles.

If you read about the different EVs, you might see that some boast of making electric vehicles affordable to the masses, but it is a model such as the Chevy Volt that will provide the familiar looks of the average sedan along with the benefits of a gas-free car.

This, however, is where vehicles such as the Chevy Volt might run into trouble because the cars do need fuel in the form of electricity. Unfortunately, though the markets are ready to receive EVs in a number of formats, the infrastructure necessary to feed the cars or EVs with the electricity that they need is not yet available. This is why there are so many options for home charging stations or for EVs that can be plugged directly into any wall outlet to get a full charge.

Okay, you might say, so what’s the problem? If there are cars that plug into outlets and home-based charging devices, why is there a big concern about public charging stations? It is because the average EV cannot go for hundreds of miles on a single charge in the ways that regular cars can go for hundreds of miles on a tank of gas. In fact, most EV owners have to plug their vehicles into charging stations whenever available.

So, the maker of the Volt vehicles used a very clever approach to finding an answer. They installed 26 solar charging stations (officially labeled as Green Zones) at the dealerships making the cars available. These solar charging stations are going to serve as pseudo-billboards advertising the presence of entirely electric cars, but will also demonstrate that the Volt is a vehicle that can actually be operated by a reliable solar panel array.

General Motors is demonstrating through the construction of Green Zones that ownership of one of their EVs is just part of the way that consumers can help improve the environment and come to rely on alternative energy sources.

Electric cars Electrify the Frankfurt Motor Show

September 13th, 2011

BMW i3 Concept

The IAA Frankfurt Motor Show, kicking off Thursday, will pit the latest electric cars equipped with the best environmental credentials and designs.

High-end brands including BMW, Audi and Volkswagen will showcase the next-generation cars at one of the largest motor shows in the world held biannually.

BMW will introduce its i3 concept car, a small and “affordable” electric car scheduled to go into production starting 2013. The all-electric city car is perhaps the most advanced take on the electric vehicle from BMW, a much more complete take than the Megacity concept car that preceded it.

To make its battery more efficient, it has filled the bottom half of the i3 with lightweight aluminum, with a Life passenger compartment on the top. It was designed to make the vehicle as light as possible which is important to raise the efficiency of lithium-ion batteries often criticized as too heavy, big, and expensive to commercialize.

Replacing gasoline with environmentally friendly power options has become obligatory with international push to meet stricter energy standards. The latest push in Korea came last week when the government announced up to 6 million won ($5,569) of fresh tax credits for buyers of electric cars starting next year.

The i3 will be capable of reaching 100 kph in 7.9 seconds. It has a single-speed transmission.

BMW said when i3 goes on sale in 2013, it will be priced at about $35,000 under current exchange rates. Continue reading “Electric cars Electrify the Frankfurt Motor Show” »

What do people like about the Mitsubishi i-MiEV?

September 13th, 2011

The summer of 2011 the Mitsubishi i-MiEV began appearing in auto shows and making its first impressions on the driving public. The media attention on the vehicle was more than above average because the details about the EV (electric vehicle) had intrigued so many different groups and individuals.

After all, the makers of the Mitsubishi i-MiEV claimed that it could go 62 miles on a single battery cycle and that it cost only one-third of the average gas powered vehicles to operate, but that this reduction could be increased by almost three-fold if the owner learned when their utility companies extended discounted pricing to EV owners. Continue reading “What do people like about the Mitsubishi i-MiEV?” »

Nissan Leaf and Household Power

September 9th, 2011

Nissan Leaf and Household Power

One of the biggest news stories to come from the world of EVs (electric vehicles) during 2011 was the announcement by Nissan that their Nissan Leaf could actually provide emergency energy supplies to a home during the event of a power outage or failure. They went on to explain that the Nissan Leaf (due to reach consumer markets in 2012) has the option for two-way energy flow. This means that the vehicle can accept energy into its batteries, but that a simple switch can re-direct that energy back into the charging station, and then back to the source. In that case, say the carmakers, the Nissan Leaf can operate a home should the power supplies be interrupted or fail.

They went on to indicate that the car could keep the average American home functioning for roughly 20 hours after the power loss. So, is it possible? That is something that will not be determined until the vehicles appear in the spring season of 2012. What people do know about the Nissan Leaf is that the car has a power control system rated at 6,000 watts with lithium-ion batteries capable of storing up to 24,000 kilowatts for up to two days at a time. Continue reading “Nissan Leaf and Household Power” »

The Race for the Fisker Karma - $200 million ‘pre-IPO’ financing

August 25th, 2011

We’ve all seen at least one movie, TV show, or commercial in which a man in a hybrid car drives up alongside some sort of “muscle” car. The joke is that the earth friendly and fuel efficient hybrid is no match for the monster machine that gobbles down fuel and pumps out impressive horsepower. Things are beginning to change in ways that might make those jokes less amusing or even understandable. For example, Fisker Automotive has the Fisker Karma available, and this is a vehicle that looks like something straight out of a James Bond film, and with a lot of the same impressive power!

It is easy to illustrate the truth of that statement by revealing that Fisker Automotive recently indicated that it pre-sold 3,000 Fisker Karma units in advance of the release of the vehicle, and that this means that no further units will be available until some time in 2012. Continue reading “The Race for the Fisker Karma - $200 million ‘pre-IPO’ financing” »

How the Electric Vehicle Industry Will Succeed?

August 23rd, 2011

How the Electric Vehicle Industry Will Succeed?

We know that energy supplies are limited and that there is a time in the near future when we have to accept reality and transition away from fossil fuel use. This is something that people understand and accept, but which many have not yet taken steps to make a reality. This is why there is still a limited infrastructure meant to support the use of the electric vehicle on a widespread basis.

For example, if you own an electric vehicle you may make a point of finding all of the charging stations available to you in your area or in the places where you travel frequently. If you don’t already own an electric vehicle, on the other hand, you may see a charging station as a novelty or as something very interesting, but not yet essential. Continue reading “How the Electric Vehicle Industry Will Succeed?” »

Compressed Natural Gas in the State of California

August 23rd, 2011

All across the nation, car manufacturers, governments, researchers, and consumers alike are looking for a better, cheaper, and more environmentally friendly alternative to the use of traditional high emitting fossil fuels in private and publicly owned vehicles.  While there have been a number of solutions offered, created, and marketed, however, none seem to be making it into the mainstream.  Many consumers worry about the availability of fuels or charging options, while for others, the cost effectiveness of a vehicle versus the availability of energy for it certainly play a role.  Compressed natural gas is an excellent alternative to fossil fuels, and California is working hard to make it accessible to the population.

There is much for consumers to appreciate about compressed natural gas.  It is odorless and non-corrosive, weighs less than air, does not increase carbon concentrations in the atmosphere, and is considerably greener than traditional fuels.  But what many are quick to note is that, unlike oil, over 99% of our natural gas comes from North America.  While greatly increasing our consumption of the substance will change this, research indicates that the percentage of compressed natural gas imported from countries outside North America would still be far lower than our current rate of oil import. Continue reading “Compressed Natural Gas in the State of California” »

The Chevy Volt Has Inspired GM to Give It a Sibling

August 22nd, 2011

The Chevy Volt Has Inspired GM (NYSE: GM) to Give It a Sibling

The Chevy Volt is one of the latest in the extended range electric car offerings on the market.  Created by General Motors and met with surprising demand and success, the Chevy Volt has helped to bring EVs into the public spotlight.  Along with other entrants in the EV race, such as the Nissan Leaf and the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, the Chevy Volt allows daily commuters to make most or all of their travel on battery use alone without the need to also consume gas.

Considering that the average charge uses only about $1.50 worth of electricity and generates far fewer emissions, the car certainly has a fan base, especially in the green movement.  On August 12, 2011, General Motors made a surprising announcement by telling the press that they have given the green light to another EV- this one to be produced by Cadillac. Continue reading “The Chevy Volt Has Inspired GM to Give It a Sibling” »

Hertz and Enterprise Both Now Renting the Nissan Leaf

August 22nd, 2011

Hertz (NYSE: HTZ ) and Enterprise Both Now Renting the Nissan Leaf

Electric vehicles are generating quite the buzz this year, with the Nissan (OTC: NSANY.pk) Leaf and other popular models finally rolling off the lines and into the hands of anxious consumers.  By the end of the year, there will be a surprising number of EVs available on the market, and in many states, it is also possible to rent these vehicles.  Enterprise, the popular auto rental chain, currently rents both the Chevy Volt and the Nissan Leaf in 6 states across the US, and Hertz has just announced that it, too, will soon be offering electric vehicles for use as rentals, although initially only in San Francisco.

The introduction of EVs through rental car companies is one that offers a number of prospective benefits.  Consumers seem to be a bit skeptical about purchasing the cars, wondering if the decreased range and the rarity of charging stations means that they are likely to end up stranded somewhere with no way to get home or charge their vehicles, and the rental option actually provides them with a chance to experience the cars for themselves.  Customers will find that the Nissan Leaf has a range of about 100 miles before it needs a charge, which should be sufficient for a day’s activities for most.  Many of the hotels offering the cars as part of their packages will also provide charging stations onsite so that renters can charge the vehicles overnight. Continue reading “Hertz and Enterprise Both Now Renting the Nissan Leaf” »

Massachusetts Moving Ahead with Electric Car Charging Stations

August 22nd, 2011

Electric vehicles are certainly gaining a lot of attention in recent years, but with little access to charging stations outside of home, few consumers have really made the transition.  Car manufacturers and environmentalists alike are trying to lobby governments to help make the vehicles a more viable alternative to traditional fuel based vehicles, but progress on the matter has been slow.  It is worth noting, however, that many states are certainly starting to make progress.  The Mall of America has now installed a charging station, as have many businesses in California.  And now it seems that Massachusetts is making a very active effort to increase opportunities for people who purchase these vehicles.

The commissioner of Massachusetts’ Department of Energy Resources has made it clear that he believes electric cars are a critical part of reducing emissions on the state and that he recognizes the reluctance of consumers to purchase the vehicles when there are few to no convenient places to recharge them.  In recognizing this, he has worked to garner funding to build a statewide infrastructure of charging stations that includes a grand total of 142 electric vehicle recharging facilities statewide. Continue reading “Massachusetts Moving Ahead with Electric Car Charging Stations” »

Delays in Ford (NYSE: F) Electric Vehicles

August 22nd, 2011

With the economy in shambles and so many people on unemployment benefits, it would not seem reasonable or viable that anyone is all that concerned if a car is delayed for release to the consumer markets. For instance, when news spread that Ford electric vehicles would delay the release of the Focus model, it became a major news story. Because the story was false, it lingered, but it does illustrate something about Ford electric vehicles, and that is that they are going to be in sharp demand.

After all, if millions of people are struggling financially and yet still concerned about the availability of one of the Ford electric vehicles it shows that they understand the tremendous financial savings possible through ownership of such a car. The Focus is due to be released in New York and California by the end of 2011 and then in 19 other stats during the early part of 2012, and it is anticipated that all of the consumer “buzz” indicates high sales. Continue reading “Delays in Ford (NYSE: F) Electric Vehicles” »

New Fuel Standards Could Greatly Benefit ECOtality, INC

August 21st, 2011

When President Barack Obama stated in July of 2011 that his goal by the year 2025 was to have minimum fuel economy standards for vehicles around 54.5 miles per gallon, motorists everywhere took note.  With most cars achieving around half this, the number would certainly be promising.  But the only way to really achieve this is to make furthering improvements to current hybrid and electric vehicles.  While there are some newer EVs coming onto the market, a lack of charging stations coupled with range anxiety leaves many fearful to purchase them.  As leaders in the EV project, these new standards and the likely push towards more EVs certainly help benefit companies like ECOtality, Inc.

ECOtality, Inc is a company devoted to helping to pull America off of the traditional fossil fuel burning grid in a number of ways.  One way they are doing this is by starting and partially funding the EV Project.  With help from the US Department of Energy, which is funding half of the EV Project, the goal is to help put numerous electric vehicle charging stations into place in six different states.  Many of these stations are already in place, and in total, ECOtality, Inc intends to install a total of 14,000 electric charging stations.  This would certainly help to greatly reduce range anxiety, and with areas such as the Phoenix greater metropolitan area being outfitted with some 920 stations, competition, especially in the early days of EVs, is not going to be a significant problem. Continue reading “New Fuel Standards Could Greatly Benefit ECOtality, INC” »

Austin Looks to Curb Range Anxiety with More EV Charging Stations

August 21st, 2011

“Range anxiety”.  It’s an unfamiliar term to many, but for those who have purchased electric vehicles or who have sat down to weigh the pros and cons, it is certainly a familiar concept.  Most electric vehicles are designed to go at most 100-200 miles on a single charge, and for those who travel frequently, get stuck in traffic, or have limited opportunities to recharge, the fear of losing charge away from home can make people reluctant to travel.

This same fear has led many to stray away from electronic vehicles, opting instead to wait until more charging stations are created.  For some time, it appeared as though it would be a standoff- no stations would be built until enough cars had been sold to prove them worthwhile, but no cars would be purchased until there were enough charging stations for consumers to be comfortable leaving home.

Continue reading “Austin Looks to Curb Range Anxiety with More EV Charging Stations” »

As First Release Approaches, Consumers Await the Nissan Leaf

August 20th, 2011

As winter of 2011 rapidly approaches, consumers, environmentalists, and car manufacturers alike will be waiting with bated breath as the newest models of electric vehicles finally hit the road.  Most of these vehicles, however, are actually at least partially powered by gas.  The 2011 Nissan Leaf, on the other hand, is one of the few cars hitting the market that will be all-electric and therefore completely zero emissions.  The first production of 20,000 vehicles has long been sold out, so people looking to purchase the Leaf will have to wait until the next run.  Many consumers have already seen delivery of their first run vehicles, however, and so far, the response has been quite positive.

The Nissan Leaf is certainly something unique in today’s car market.  The average operating cost is surprisingly low, and the vehicle only costs about $2.75 or so to charge based on average electricity prices.  The vehicle can travel up to 100 miles on a single charge, which puts it at around 1/3 the running cost of your average hybrid vehicle.  The car can be charged using traditional 220V home outlets, but it is also possible (and recommended) for owners to purchase quick charging stations. Continue reading “As First Release Approaches, Consumers Await the Nissan Leaf” »

Cadillac’s Ciel V6 Convertible is paired lithium-ion battery

August 20th, 2011

Cadillac’s quest to compete with German luxury makes first took it smaller. With the unveiling of the Ciel convertible concept, the brand is thinking big again.

Cadillac revealed the Ciel hybrid Thursday night at Pebble Beach, ahead of Sunday’s Concours d’Elegance car show. If General Motors decides to build it, the Ciel could be the largest car in Cadillac’s confirmed future lineup.

The four-seat Ciel has a 3.6-liter direct-injection V6 engine paired with a lithium-ion battery. Its doors are French-style, opening in opposite directions without a B-pillar to show off the interior’s Italian olive wood, machined aluminum and hand-tipped leather.

“Large, expressive luxury is innate to Cadillac, and the Ciel recalls that heritage, while suggesting where the brand can go in the future,” said Clay Dean, Cadillac’s global design director, in a statement. Continue reading “Cadillac’s Ciel V6 Convertible is paired lithium-ion battery” »

Mahindra & Mahindra Passes Tata Motors

August 20th, 2011

Will Indian automaker Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. shake up the U.S. truck market with its new midsize pickup called the Appalachian sporting a 2.2L four-cylinder diesel engine producing around 150 horsepower and 300 pound feet of torque.

Mahindra’s entry into the U.S. market revealed that the truck was introduced as a 30 to 35 miles per gallon and cost in the mid-$20,000 range. The truck has six-speed automatic that’s controlled via a floor-mounted shifter or paddle shifters(!), have a class-leading payload of 2,600 lbs. and feature a 60,000-mile, four year bumper-to-bumper warranty.

If that’s not enough to strike fear in domestic and import truck makers alike, Mahindra has also revealed plans to sell a diesel hybrid version of its pickup. If it happens, the diesel hybrid Appalachian will be, as far as we know, the only diesel hybrid on sale in the U.S. market and achieve fuel economy figures even higher than its diesel-only counterpart. Imagine a midsize pickup in the low-$30,000 price range capable of 40+ mpg. Continue reading “Mahindra & Mahindra Passes Tata Motors” »

DiCaprio spends $100,000 on his SEXY Fisker Karma

August 19th, 2011

Leonardo DiCaprio Buys Fisker Karma

Leonardo DiCaprio had to spend a lot of green to get his new green-friendly car, a $100,000 hybrid Fisker Karma. His new wheels are quite a step up from his Toyota Prius.

His Karma has a hybrid engine that competes with normal sports cars, going from 0-60 miles per hour in under 6 seconds and reaching a top speed of 125 miles per hour.

The Karma’s accessories include: keyless entry, bucket seats and diamond dust in the paint. The eco-car can also use the energy captured by the solar glass roof to assist the lithium-ion batteries that power the dual electric motors. The Karma gets an economical 100 miles per gallon.

(Photo by FilmMagic)

The Karma also features two driving modes, Stealth Mode for efficient electric driving and Sport Mode to access the car’s full power. Former Vice President Al Gore and former U.S. Secretary Of State General Colin Powell are said to be in the market for one.

Apart from his fame as an actor, DiCaprio has become known for being one of the most vocal environmentalists. He recently told Live magazine: “This is not about me. And it’s not about one group of people telling any other group of people how to live. I don’t think it’s fair to tell people to install solar panels, buy (low-watt) light bulbs or drive a hybrid – that’s not a reality for most people.”

“It is about something much, much bigger. It’s about getting the governments of the world to implement environmental policy. We are the most powerful country in the world and we haven’t made a tiptoe towards renewable technologies. We should be the ones paving the way, the ones other countries look up to. It makes me extremely sad.”

SOURCE: By Michael Allen

Can a Solar EV Charging Station Work?

August 19th, 2011

GE EV Solor Charging Station - Carport

You may know that you can have a charging station installed in your home in order to provide your electric vehicle with its “fuel” requirements. You may also know that hundreds of millions of dollars are being spent to rapidly expand the number of public charging station facilities available to those with hybrid and EVs (electric vehicles) as well. Did you also realize that there are solar charging station facilities at work too?

As long ago as 2009, the city of Chicago was not only thinking ahead of things by laying the foundation for a charging station infrastructure for the fleets of hybrid and electric cars that were bound to appear on the city’s streets, but they were also savvy enough to opt for solar powered charging stations too. What is even more interesting about this decision was that they didn’t just use a basic structure but had their installation designed to look like “trees”. The city created their Solar Plug-in Stations in the shape of trees that have solar panels as their canopies. These can power up to two cars at one time and were the creation of Carbon Day Automotive, which operates as part of the ChargePoint Network.

Honda's Solar Charing Station

This system truly operates off of the grid and give the drivers of the electric vehicles the

peace of mind knowing how clean the energy that they are using truly is, but there are also some solar charging station options that work in a similar manner but without the disconnect from the grid. For instance, in Bethesda, Maryland the first solar tracking station was opened in 2011. This is a pole system that uses two panels that track the trajectory of the sun thanks to GPS gear. This gives the pole around 45% more energy than any of the fixed panel systems, but this energy actually goes into the public grid rather than to the vehicles. Continue reading “Can a Solar EV Charging Station Work?” »

A Look at Tesla Motors

August 19th, 2011

Tesla Motors Imagine driving a sports car that offered you more than three times the efficiency that an internal combustion powered vehicle does. That is what buyers of the cars from Tesla Motors can expect. The “brain child” of a group of Silicon Valley innovators, Tesla Motors was founded in 2003 with a commitment to using technology to make affordable electric cars a reality.

What they offer is the famous Roadster that is a battery-powered fully electric vehicle capable of some impressive performance statistics. For instance, the Tesla Motors drive train allows the vehicle to produce up to 900 amps of current and give out around 288 horsepower as it spins upwards of 14k per minute.

Naturally, a “beast” of a motor is not the only benefit available from Tesla Motors, and each of their Roadsters is packed with a huge array of additional options and features too. For example, the battery pack in the Tesla vehicles is the result of major engineering efforts and uses the modern Lithium-ion battery to ensure the largest energy storing capacity. This is what enables the Roadster to take a charge from any outlet (120 volt or 240 volt) and to then drive around 245 miles without a recharge necessary. The average charging process takes only four hours as well and can use any outlet in the world. Continue reading “A Look at Tesla Motors” »

Plugless Power Showcases Wireless Charging System

August 17th, 2011

Evatran’s Plugless Power wireless/proximity charging system grows up by evolving into the form of a new circular sensor that is far removed from the boring, rectangle design which folks caught a glimpse of at the Plug-In Conference. The change is not just cosmetic, ending up as round simply because customers preferred something that looked like that, but rather, the insides have been improved as well. The Plugless Power system is now hovering at efficiency levels of 90% to 91%, which is at least 10% more in total compared to last year’s overall efficiency of 80%.

You will, of course, need to upgrade your plug-in car to make it compatible with this new charge receiver. Drivers will just need to be close enough to the sending unit in order to juice up the vehicle sans cables, and the sensitivity of the disc is such that it can be a half-radius off and still continue to do its job with aplomb. Continue reading “Plugless Power Showcases Wireless Charging System” »

Virginia Alternate Fuel Vehicle Bill Signing

August 17th, 2011

In a bold and sort of unexpected move, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell has signed an executive order calling for widespread use of natural gas, electric or other alternative-fueled vehicles throughout the Commonwealth.

The Virginia Office of Fleet Management Services, which oversees approximately 4,000 passenger-type vehicles used by some 175 state agencies and institutions, will be tasked with replacing much of its fleet with alternative-fuel vehicles.

Effective immediately, Virginia is to, “pursue all practicable and cost-effective options to promote the use of alternative fuel vehicles.” Increased use of alternative fuel vehicles holds, according to Governor McDonnel, the potential to, “reduce our dependence on foreign oil, support the expansion of private-sector businesses and create new jobs here in the Commonwealth.”

Governor McDonnell says the state’s “all fuel approach” provides the Commonwealth with the best opportunity to meet its goals. Hit the jump to check out Virginia’s approved list of alt-fuel vehicles.

BMW GIVE MORE DETAILS OF NEW ELECTRIC BRAND

August 17th, 2011

BMW Electric Car Project

BMW has unveiled concepts of electric and hybrid vehicles that will go into production and be marketed under its new i sub-brand. The new i3 city car goes on sale in 2013 and the i8 sports car due is in 2014. BMW plans to introduce additional i models down the road as part of a major push to meet stricter fuel economy and emissions standards around the globe.

The rear-wheel drive electric i3 Concept has a 170-hp electric motor over the rear axle. It achieves 0-100 km/h (62 mph) in just under eight seconds and has an electronically governed 150 km/h (93 mph).

The four-seat car has front-hinged front doors and rear-hinged rear doors. The upper-body is made of carbon fiber and the drive system module that holds the battery package, electronics and motor is made of light-weight aluminum. The i3 Concept is a zero-emissions vehicle, which is claimed to have a range of 130-160km (80-100 miles) on a full charge. BMW said the car has been developed for use in an urban environment.

The i8 Concept plug-in hybrid uses a modified electric drive system from the i3 Concept that is fitted over the front axle, as well as a three-cylinder combustion engine with 220bhp.

BMW claims that this packaging gives the car an optimal 50/50 weight distribution. Continue reading “BMW GIVE MORE DETAILS OF NEW ELECTRIC BRAND” »

1.2MWh Lithium Ion Battery Energy Storage System Project In Canada

August 17th, 2011

Electrovaya to Provide 1.2MWh Lithium Ion Battery Energy Storage System (BESS)Under the Federal Government Clean Energy Fund for Demonstration Purposes in Ontario

Electrovaya Inc. today announced that it has signed a contract to provide a lithium ion Battery Energy Storage System (“BESS”) of approximately 1.2MWh for demonstration purposes in support of renewable energy generation in Ontario.

This program is a part of an Electrovaya led $7.6 million project supported by the Government of Canada’s Clean Energy Fund (CEF) to investigate the potential use of battery energy storage systems in clean energy project, such as wind and solar farms. Partners in the project include Natural Resources, Canada, Hydro One and others. Electrovaya is the prime contractor and system designer and will provide the full energy storage system.

“By investing $3.36 million in the Electrovaya electricity storage project, our Government is demonstrating its commitment to position Canada at the forefront of clean energy technology,” said the Honourable Joe Oliver, Minister of Natural Resources. “This innovative project supports high quality jobs for Ontario and encourages new technologies to help protect our environment for future generations.”

“We are pleased to team up with Electrovaya to explore how Battery Energy Storage Systems can work with our grid and benefit our customers,” said Rick Stevens, Vice President, Asset Management, Hydro One Networks Inc. “We are proud to work with an Ontario company to take a leadership role in the further development of the advanced distribution system.” Continue reading “1.2MWh Lithium Ion Battery Energy Storage System Project In Canada” »

A Look at Current Federal Credits for Electric Vehicles

August 17th, 2011

A Look at Current Federal Credits for Electric VehiclesU.S. President Obama Support of Electric Cars

In 2009, the federal government began offering credits for people who purchased hybrid and electric vehicles.  Sales of the vehicles increased significantly, but the credits, which were offered on a first come, first served basis, ran out rather quickly in most states.  Pushing harder to get consumers to use electric vehicles is certainly a priority, however, and because of this 2010 brought us another wave of tax credits for the purchase of EVs.  These credits are still firmly in place, and the phase-out period has not yet begun, which means that purchasers will still qualify for the entire $7,500 credit. Continue reading “A Look at Current Federal Credits for Electric Vehicles” »

A Close Look at ECOtality INC

August 17th, 2011

A Close Look at ECOtality INC Nasdaq: ECTY

Have you heard of ECOtality, INC? With the interesting headlines about the company it would be surprising if you were unaware of them, but you may not actually know them as ECOtality, INC at all. Instead, you might have heard about them as one of their “solutions” or partnerships.

For example, in July 2011 it was announced that the company had recently partnered with the famous car2go N.A. firm that offers networks for those interested in car sharing. Their partnership with ECOtality, INC created an incredibly impressive union that would establish the first 100% electric car sharing fleet along with the infrastructure necessary to support it.

ECOtality Charging Station Blink

What does that mean? It means that the two firms bring together two key names in clean electric transportation and storage technologies. The partnership will use roughly 300 of the “smart fortwo” electric cars along with the charging stations and gear that are part of every “Blink” charging station installed by ECOtality, INC.

The test market for this partnership is San Diego, California and the goal is to demonstrate that a fleet of shared electric cars can easily and successfully meet the demands of commuters and regular drivers. This is because the traffic conditions that the fleet of vehicles will experience will range from standard highway commuting trips to longer drives by those running errands or making lengthier journeys.

Of course, you may know the company from the Blink charging stations that appear in thousands of homes and businesses, including every IKEA store in the country. The two groups came together in 2011 and decided that at least two charging stations should be available for hybrid and EV drivers who frequent this global chain store. They have already installed the gear to support the growing hybrid and EV driving market.

The company also is known for their fast charging gear that is meant for use by airport ground equipment, marine and transit vehicles, and traditional electric cars among other on-road electric vehicles. Consider what a viable solution this would become when someone wakes in the morning or arrives at work and realizes that they have forgotten to charge the vehicle. Because a four hour wait is not feasible, the firm designed their “Minit-Charger” that is capable of doing a full charge at four to six times faster speeds than the traditional approach.

ECOtality is really striving to provide comprehensive solutions, and create clean energy solutions that everyone can use.

New public CNG fueling station opens in Oklahoma

August 13th, 2011

Chesapeake Energy Corp. and the OnCue Express convenience store chain announced Wednesday they have teamed up to bring six compressed natural gas fueling stations to Oklahoma this winter.

CNG stations will be opened Jan. 12 to 18 at Chesapeake’s field offices in Weatherford, Waynoka, Lindsay, Arkoma and Wilburton.

The sixth station will be opened later in El Reno. Continue reading “New public CNG fueling station opens in Oklahoma” »

World’s first hydrogen fuel station to open later this month in Fountain Valley.

August 13th, 2011

As General Motors, Toyota, Mercedes-Benz and other major automobile manufacturers prepare to bring hydrogen cars to market by 2015, the availability and sustainability of the hydrogen fuel to power them remains an issue.

Later this month, what is believed to be the world’s first sewage-powered hydrogen fuel station will open in Fountain Valley, offering a renewable-energy solution to one piece of the sustainability puzzle.

“This is a paradigm shift,” said Scott Samuelsen, director of the UC Irvine National Fuel Research Center that engineered the system. “This is the epitome of sustainability, where we’re taking an endless stream of human waste and transforming it to transportation fuel.”

The new station is powered with a 300-kilowatt fuel cell capable of producing 120 kilograms of hydrogen gas, and fueling as many as 30 cars, per day, Samuelsen said. Designed as a three-year demonstration project and funded in part by the U.S. Department of Energy, the station will be accessible to drivers of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles who have arranged for access through the vehicle manufacturer. Continue reading “World’s first hydrogen fuel station to open later this month in Fountain Valley.” »

Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market added 25 compressed natural gas vehicles

August 13th, 2011

Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market has added 25 compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles to its distribution fleet in an effort to reduce emissions.

The new natural gas vehicles produce 20% to 30% less emissions than comparable diesel vehicles and are part of the company’s larger environmental efforts.

The vehicles were made available through a $38.7 million Ryder/San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG) project that is part of a joint public/private partnership between the U.S. Department of Energy, the California Energy Commission, the Southern California Association of Governments Clean Cities Coalition, and Ryder. Continue reading “Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market added 25 compressed natural gas vehicles” »

Coulomb Technologies reveals two latest additions of ChargePoint networked charging station

August 10th, 2011

EV Charging StationShowcased during the Plug-in 2011 Conference, Coulomb Technologies has revealed two of its latest additions to its ChargePoint networked charging station lineup. Both chargers - dual-port Level 2 models based on Coulomb’s CT2020 - provide two 7.2-kilowatt ports and have been specifically designed for the North American market. With the CT2025, charging is delivered via two standard SAE J1772 connectors attached to self-retracting cords. The CT2021 (pictured) makes due without the winds-itself-up cord.

The CT2020 family of dual charging stations includes two products, the CT2021 and CT2025. Both products provide two 7.2 kW (208/240 V @ 30 A) Level II charging ports and are designed for the North American marketplace. With the CT2025, charging is delivered via two standard SAE J1772™ connectors attached to self-retracting cords.

Other ChargePoint Networked CT2020 family of charging stations features include:

Utility Light: The CT2025 product features an energy-efficient, photosensor activated

25W LED light (equivalent to 75W incandescent) providing drivers with the visibility they need to start and stop charging sessions in areas with poor lighting conditions Continue reading “Coulomb Technologies reveals two latest additions of ChargePoint networked charging station” »

Energy Independence Car Exhibition Showcased Alternative Energy Vehicles

August 10th, 2011

The Freedom Riders For Energy Independence car exhibition showcased alternative energy vehicles for all types of purposes. A local activist group rolled out the first time event in Utica in the hopes of opening local eyes to greener wheels.
Richard Morris who founded that group Green Local 175 said, “We want to show people that it’s not just the future, it’s the here and now. There are a lot of options. There’s natural gas, there’s hybrids, there’s electric vehicles. There’s diesel vehicles. So the list goes on.”
Business vehicles were a particular focus. National Grid showed off a new crew truck fueled solely by natural gas, and even school bus outfits are forging ahead with new innovations, well on their way to reducing their carbon footprint, not too mention operations costs.
Jeremy Johnston of New York Bus Sales explained, “It runs on propane, strictly propane. It’s not one of those engines that Continue reading “Energy Independence Car Exhibition Showcased Alternative Energy Vehicles” »

N.H.T.S.A. Look at the Most Dangerous Cities for Driving

August 9th, 2011

There are many ways one could gauge the danger of driving in a particular city, but this list uses the cities with the greatest number of vehicular deaths as a barometer of the danger level. U.S. cities with a population of 150,000 or more were up for consideration, using the most recent motor vehicle crash data available from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System and General Estimates System. Continue reading “N.H.T.S.A. Look at the Most Dangerous Cities for Driving” »

Plug-In EVerywhere Program - Austin, Texas gets 103 public EV charging stations!

August 8th, 2011

Austin, Texas

A network of 103 plug-in charging stations for electric vehicles has been completed in Austin Texas, under the watch of city utility Austin Energy.

The Plug-In EVerywhere network successfully fulfills Austin’s commitment to the ChargePoint America program, a federally-funded nationwide build-out of electric vehicle charging facilities on which Austin was one of only nine metropolitan regions in the country to participate.

The locations of the Level 2 (220/240 volts) charging stations in Austin are diverse, including restaurants, hotels, medical facilities, educational institutions, retail stores, public facilities such as libraries and recreation centers and at other public, private and non-profit partners.

The locations also are geographically distributed throughout all parts of Austin, said Austin Energy, which believes around 36,000 electric vehicles will be on the city’s streets within the next nine years. Continue reading “Plug-In EVerywhere Program - Austin, Texas gets 103 public EV charging stations!” »

Tesla Motors Expands Outside the U.S. Market for Growth and Sales

August 6th, 2011

Companies based in Germany, France, Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands, can now lease the Tesla Roadster, the Roadster Sport, and soon the new Telsa Model S sedan.

Tesla Motors, the Silicon Valley manufacturer of the electric vehicles, has reached an agreement with Athlon Car Lease, an international provider of car leasing options based in Europe, to provide the Tesla car models to companies and non-profits leasing vehicles.

Both the Tesla Roadster and the Roadster Sport are available now for lease in Europe’s most populus countries. The Tesla Model S sedan, that seats five adults and has extra cargo space, is expected to be available in late 2012 when it is introduced in Europe. Tesla has delivered 1,650 roadsters to 30 countries worldwide. The electric car manufacturer is said to be the only company producing highway-capable cars with a range greater than 300 km. Continue reading “Tesla Motors Expands Outside the U.S. Market for Growth and Sales” »

Tesla to partner with Toytoa to build the all electric RAV4 in Ontario

August 6th, 2011

Toyota Motors is expected to start building electric models of its RAV4 sport utility vehicle in Woodstock, Ontario, in partnership with Tesla Motors, according to the Toronto Star on Thursday.

Palo Alto-based Tesla Motors Inc Latest from The Business Journals Tesla, Toyota to build electric Rav4 in Canada. (NASDAQ:TSLA) is known for manufacturing the all-electric Roadster sports car. The company reportedly “built the prototype electric RAV4 at its own facility in Menlo Park,” according Clean Break.

The Star reported: “The two governments are contributing about $141 million to Toyota for a series of upgrades at plants in Cambridge and Woodstock worth a total of $545 million under the name Project Green Light. Toyota will allocate some of the government money to drive the RAV4 venture but has not revealed the amount or overall cost of that specific electric program.”

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said in the company’s second quarter earnings call that there could be an “order of magnitude larger deal” with Toyota underway, without providing additional other details.

Fisker Karma Closer to Final Release

August 4th, 2011

The Fisker Karma is heading our way after a long and painstaking development. The plug-in hybrid sports/luxury car will see its first examples delivered to high-profile celebrities and political figures, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Al Gore, and Colin Powell.

So far a total of 3,000 cars are ordered. At present five cars a week are being built at the Valmet production plant in Finland, with production set to rise to 300 cars a week from November. This means the Karma is sold out until sometime in early 2012. According to Henrik Fisker the orders are split 50/50 between early-adopter hybrid/electric enthusiasts and wealthy buyers that just like having the next new thing.

Secondly, they believe that a new gearbox it is developing for electric motors can help deliver “Veyron levels of performance” for extended-range electric vehicles. A multi-speed gearbox could significantly improve acceleration and performance of cars. In the end it all depends on the reliability of the setup.

The first drive tests are starting. Fisker Santa Monica recently held an exclusive test drive event for future customers. Professional drive Kyle Shields goes into detail below about what makes the Karma so unique.
Fisker Karma Test Drive

TOP GEAR UNPLUGGED? Was Top Gear deceiving its viewers about the Nissan Leaf?

August 4th, 2011

Nissan Leaf Being Pushed

BBC motoring show Top Gear has been accused of purposefully sabotaging the performance of Nissan’s Leaf electric car, in an attempt to make the earth-friendly auto look less reliable in a TV segment. While in the road test, outspoken host Jeremy Clarkson was shown running out of power in the Leaf, miles away from a recharging point, Nissan says that subsequent review of the data the car collects indicates that the test was begun with the batteries at just 40-percent and that Top Gear intentionally drove in circles to further reduce that charge.

Nissan VP Andy Palmer accused Top Gear of deceiving its viewers, pointing out that the telemetrics in the Leaf had wirelessly updated the car company on the production crew’s actions. They, he suggested, were part of a system of safeguards in place to prevent owners of the car from experiencing flat batteries midway through a journey, something the TV show had failed to highlight.

Clarkson, unsurprisingly, remains defiant, arguing that rather than setting out to review the Leaf, the footage was meant to highlight the remaining issues in recharging electric cars. “The piece was about the difficulties of recharging the electric car” he wrote in his column in The Sunday Times this weekend. “At no point did we mislead the viewers. Top Gear’s job is to say to everybody, ‘Just a minute, do not believe (electric cars) can be run as simply as you have been told. Charging them up is a pain in the arse’.”

Nissan claims the Leaf can travel between 47 and 105 miles on a single charge, depending on driving style and road conditions. The company encourages competitive eco-friendliness, using a system called CARWINGS that allows drivers to compare their frugality with other owners.

Pictures rarely tell the whole story, as is the case here. Top Gear has confirmed that the crew intentionally drained the battery to inject suspense into the mission of finding a public charge spot.

[If] the car was fully charged overnight, we are confident that the presenters will have enjoyed driving it today.

Coulomb Technologies looks at 5,000 stations charging of electric vehicles in the U.S.

August 2nd, 2011

looks like Australia and Poland is just the beginning: Coulomb Technologies is looking to roll out nearly 5,000 stations charging of electric vehicles in the U.S., with

EV Charging Station

immediate effect. If one of these cherry-red push pins as indicated in your area, you often see at the station appeared in the local business quickly, and if you want to buy Chevy Volt Tesla-powered Smart or two Ford EV, you can even qualify for a free station installed at home. Partially paid for by the ,000,000 grant to the Department of Energy, the program ChargePoint America does not always provide free electricity to go with him that free in ChargePoint has a double meaning, after all but re happy in the future with zero emissions at the end on a roll. PR after the break.View the full text of PR
Coulomb technologies to create infrastructure in nine Electric Vehicle regions, offering a no cost home and public charging stations as part of a ,000,000 Project
Program Coulomb ChargePoint America Expands Network Infrastructure EV largest in the world: instant Installation of Nine U.S. Regions
Campbell, Calif., June 2, 2010 Coulomb Technologies today announced that the house and the public seems ChargePoint ® network charging stations for electric cars in the United States. ChargePoint program America will provide almost 5,000 charging stations for participants in nine regions in the United States: Austin, Texas, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, Orlando, Florida, Sacramento, California, San Jose / San Francisco Bay area, Redmond, Wash., and Washington and strategic partnerships with three leading brands of cars, including Ford, Chevrolet and U.S. intelligence. Coulomb is the largest fixed network base station, charging around the world, more than 700 units shipped to over 130 clients in 2009. ChargePoint install charging stations for electric cars will begin immediately.
,000,000 ChargePoint America program is made possible by ,000,000 grants financed by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act initiatives managed by the Transport Department of Electrical Energy. ChargePoint charging stations are now available for installation in all nine regional designated metropolitan areas in the United States. More than 1,000 new public charging stations will be installed by December 2010, adding to the existing network ChargePoint. Other stations will be installed in September 2011. Continue reading “Coulomb Technologies looks at 5,000 stations charging of electric vehicles in the U.S.” »

Charging Station:

August 2nd, 2011

EVCARCO at KSC NASA

When you buy an electric vehicle (EV), buying and installing a charging station will now be part of the process. All approved chargers by the various manufacturers will be compliant with SAE J1772 standards for electric vehicles and electrical connectors.

Once you buy an electric vehicle, you are going to need to install a charging station in your home. Customers who want to arrange for their own installation will have to sign a waiver.

The Chevy Volt will come standard with a 110 volt charger which will allow you to charge directly from your home wall outlet.

The 2 new electric vehicles have significant differences in the size of their battery packs. Chevrolet considers the Volt to be a hybrid vehicle which can be plugged in. GM describes the car as an extended range EV (electric vehicle) with a smaller battery. Nissan considers the LEAF to be strictly an electric car. It has a much larger battery, 2-3 times the size of the Chevy Volt. Although the Volt has a 16kw battery, rarely be used to full capacity. In order to increase the battery life, the LEAF will need to use over 80% of its 24kw. The LEAF will need to be charged into a standard 110 v outlet for an entire day to become fully charged. Installation of a rapid home charger will cost about ,200.

Unless a surprisingly large number of the initial buyers of the Volt and the LEAF, opt for professional installation of the rapid 240 v charger, demand is expected to be fairly low until 2012. Continue reading “Charging Station:” »

Big Investments in green technology - Fisker Karma

August 1st, 2011

Big investments are being made in green technology, which could spell hefty returns for the automobile industry and its backers as the first batch of the much-anticipated

Fisker Karma

2012 Fisker Karma rolls off the line.

Electric vehicles, especially the plug-in hybrid like Fisker Automotive’s Karma and General Motors’ Chevrolet Volt, are gaining popularity amid high fuel prices. Ford Motor Company unveiled its Focus Electric earlier this year.

The question is whether the niche market can grow long-term with the U.S. economy continuing to sputter and the high cost of purchasing the vehicles.

For now, the automakers have reason to be pleased with the response to the technology.

Some 3,000 people are already in line to buy one of Fisker’s $100,000 luxury plug-in hybrids.

The Karma is similar to the Volt, which switches to gas once the battery is depleted, a characteristic that, for some consumers, makes it a more palatable choice than the electric-only Nissan Leaf.

In fact, the Karma’s extended range is one reason Ray Lane, managing partner at investment firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, wanted to back Fisker. Lane received his Karma last Tuesday. Continue reading “Big Investments in green technology - Fisker Karma” »

14,000 EV Charging Station promised before the end of 2011

July 28th, 2011

The Electric Vehicle Project is a $230 million program half funded by the U.S. Federal Stimulus Package and under the direction of ECOTALITY (NASDAQ: ECTY), has snared another retail partner as it looks to expand the roughly 1,200 charging stations currently in place to the 14,000 units promised before the end of 2011.

IKEA announced it will join the likes of Macy’s (NYSE: M), BP (NYSE: BP), Best Buy (NYSE: BBY) and Sears (NASDAQ: SHLD) in hosting EV charging stations at select locations as part of the infrastructure program rolling out in specified regions of the United States.

At least 10 stores in Arizona, California, Oregon and Washington are being considered to host the EV chargers. Participating stores must agree to maintain the installations and report data use and those selected will get charging stations equipped to power at least two vehicles. Continue reading “14,000 EV Charging Station promised before the end of 2011” »

EV Revolution Has Begun - Walgreen Pledges to Host 800 E.V. Chargers by End of 2011

July 24th, 2011

Walgreen (NYSE: WAG) describes itself as the nation’s largest drugstore chain, and the company has another superlative to promote. On Thursday, it vowed to become the country’s biggest host for public electric vehicle charging stations by the end of the year. In total, stores will have about 800 EV charging points.

“Our stores are located along major commuting corridors, so we saw this as a great way to serve the environment,” said Menno Enters, director of energy and sustainability at Walgreen, in a telephone interview. “We got a great customer response from the first stations we hosted, so for us this is a great fit. A national rollout seemed like the right thing to do.”

Walgreen said that its providers already had installed or were in the process of installing chargers at 60 stores in Houston, the Dallas-Fort Worth area and Chicago.

The retailer has signed on partners including 350Green, a charging-infrastructure provider, to perform the installations. The introduction will begin with the New York metropolitan area, particularly the outer boroughs, according to Tim Mason, the president and co-founder of 350Green. The company will account for 425 of the nationwide total. Continue reading “EV Revolution Has Begun - Walgreen Pledges to Host 800 E.V. Chargers by End of 2011” »

Massachusetts new EV charging station, 142 new stations

July 23rd, 2011

Masha Traber would prefer to use her electric scooter to tool around the Lexington area for work during the summer, but because of its short range and lack of charging stations, she often has to resort to using her car for longer trips.

So she was the ideal audience for an event state officials held yesterday on Lexington’s Battle Green to debut the new electric vehicle charging stations to be installed around the state, including three in her town.

“I’m totally excited about the new stations because they will expand my ability to ride to Cambridge,’’ Traber said.

Massachusetts officials hope the new charging outlets, 142 stations in 25 communities statewide, will not only make driving more convenient for existing electric-vehicle owners, but will compel other consumers to help the environment by buying them, too.

Most of the stations will be in common commuter or traveler spots - downtown parking areas or garages, MBTA lots, schools, businesses, or shopping malls - and will be owned and operated by municipalities on public land, and by property owners on private land, who will set rates for recharging.

The charging stations are chest-high boxes that can be placed in front of a parking space. The new Chevrolet Volt takes four to five hours to fully charge at these stations and has a 40-mile range.

Many of the stations will be part of ChargePoint Network, run by California-based station maker Coulomb Technologies Inc. and partially funded by the Department of Energy. Continue reading “Massachusetts new EV charging station, 142 new stations” »

Michigans A123 lithium-ion battery coating plant visit from U.S. Energy Secretary Chu

July 20th, 2011

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu visited Michigan on Monday to support the state’s development of electric car batteries and the growth of clean-energy jobs. A123 Systems, which makes lithium-ion batteries for the transportation, electric grid and commercial markets, received a $249 million grant to open its Livonia and Romulus electric vehicle battery plants.

After touring A123 Systems’ new lithium-ion battery coating plant in Romulus, Chu spoke of the growing demand for fuel-efficient vehicles and said the United States needs to create — not import — the necessary technologies. He said the Obama administration is supporting the development of electric vehicle batteries and components through the Recovery Act, which has provided about $2 billion in grants to advanced battery manufacturing.

“A123′s success is a great example of how we are working with industries to create jobs, strengthen our manufacturing industry and help our auto companies to keep in the global market,” Chu said.

The plants are capable of producing batteries for about 20,000 to 30,000 vehicles a year. The company hopes to create about 15 percent of the world’s lithium-ion batteries used for transportation by 2015, said Jason Forcier, vice president of its Automotive Solutions Group. Continue reading “Michigans A123 lithium-ion battery coating plant visit from U.S. Energy Secretary Chu” »

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