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The 20 worst traffic cities in North America goes far beyond Los Angeles

Saturday, July 14th, 2012

Thanks to the modern technology that allows cars to drive using signals bouncing off satellites, we now know more than ever before just how much time we waste in traffic. A new study by the TomTom navigation service says the average driver in America’s largest cities spends 20 percent more time traveling during the rush hour than off-peak — and that aside from the never ending snarl of Los Angeles, several cities on both coasts are seeing their driving time, and heart rates, on the rise.

By measuring the travel times of thousands of drives covering millions of miles in 26 U.S. and Canadian cities, TomTom says it was able to gauge not just how much time drivers in any given city spend in rush hour, but how that flow changes between different times and different days. The results show that the differences among the worst cities aren’t as great as you might think; Los Angeles drivers lose an average of 40 minutes for every hour they spend on the road at peak travel, but in Seattle it’s a still-stressful 35 minutes.

The TomTom North American Congestion Index

2012 Ranking 2011 Ranking % delay from congestion
1. Los Angeles 1 33%
2. Vancouver 2 30%
3. Miami 5 26%
4. Seattle 12 25%
5. Tampa 6 25%
6. San Francisco 9 25%
7. Washington, D.C. 4 24%
8. Houston 18 23%
9. Toronto 3 22%
10. Ottawa, Canada 15 22%
11. Atlanta 11 21%
12. Montreal 7 20%
13. San Diego 17 19%
14. Chicago 19 19%
15. New York 10 17%
16. Calgary, Canada 13 17%
17. Philadelphia 16 17%
18. Dallas-Fort Worth 20 16%
19. Boston 14 16%
20. Baltimore 25 15%

TomTom’s numbers do put some manageable figures to the purgatory of Los Angeles traffic. The average City of Angels resident with a 30-minute commute loses 92 hours a year — nearly four days — to traffic congestion. No city in North America suffers a worse backup in evening commutes, or sees its side roads slow down more under the burden.

Other cities are not that far behind. TomTom’s study also covered Canada, and found that despite smaller populations, its cities were just as traffic-choked, with Vancouver worse than any U.S. city outside Los Angeles. The next four cities on the ranking — Miami, Seattle, Tampa and San Francisco — all suffer similar amounts of delay at rush hour. Only Tampa was not also among the cities with the worst increase in congestion, with Seattle gaining four percentage points of delay time from 2011 to 2012.

The least-congested city in TomTom’s list? Minneapolis, where an hour in a peak commute will add an average of 16 minutes in delays, and where traffic moves at a relatively speedy average of 40 mph. Even with that relative brisk pace, Twin Cities commuters still spend a total of two days a year stuck in traffic. No wonder automakers think people might check Facebook and Twitter from behind the wheel. With that much time to waste, what else can they do?

By Justin Hyde | Motoramic – link

The Third Stone Corporation, Develops Alternative Fuel Locator App - Free Download Now Available

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

EVCARCO, INC.’s Software Company, The Third Stone Corporation, Develops Alternative Fuel Locator App & is Now Available for Free Download at Apple Store: -Just What the Industry Has Needed-

EVCARCO, Inc. (OTCBB:EVCA) (OTCQB:EVCA) announced on June 15, 2012, Third Stone Software submitted the EVCA ‘Alternative Fuel Locator (AFL) App to the Apple App Store and is now available for free.

TheAFL 1.2 is available for download now here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/alternative-fuel-locator/id535948972?mt=8&ls=1

The app is free of charge and is exactly what the Alternative Fuel industry needs.  The AFL provides station information and routes for the following alternative fuel vehicle types:  Electric Vehicles, Compressed Natural Gas, Biodiesel, LNG, E85, LP and Hydrogen.

The data was obtained from the Department of Energy report

(http://energy.gov/) and will be updated at the App level to ensure users have the latest information.  The next revision will provide more functionality and trip planning capabilities to reduce ‘vehicle range anxiety’.

Gary Easterwood, President and CEO of EVCARCO, remarked, “We think this AFL App will be a game changer.  Can you imagine needing to drive in your electric vehicle with a range of 100 miles from Dallas to Houston, not knowing where charging stations are located along the highway!  The AFL App release is ‘the opening page’ in a new chapter for EVCARCO.  We have begun mapping a new strategy for EVCA that will leverage the synergies and strengths of EVCA and The Third Stone Corporation and explore new opportunities for growth and profitability.  We will keep the investment community informed by sharing our new vision – the future of EVCARCO.  In the coming weeks, we will share our plan via press releases and webinars.”

EVCARCO, Inc. Signs an Agreement to Purchase The Third Stone Corporation, a Software Development Company

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

FORT WORTH, TX - EVCARCO, Inc. (OTC.BB: EVCA) (EVCA.OB), a Future Driven® Automotive Retail Group announced today that on May 8, 2012, it entered into a Share Exchange Agreement, for the acquisition of The Third Stone Corporation (TSC).

EVCARCO will acquire all of the common and preferred shares of TSC in exchange for 1,664,752,000 shares of its common stock and 1,000,000 shares of Class B Convertible preferred stock. The acquisition should be completed by May 25, 2012.

Mack Sanders, CEO of EVCARCO, stated, “We saw great potential in the products TSC is currently developing and decided to take advantage of the opportunity to acquire the company. We hope that the acquisition of TSC will not only diversify our business and add value to our shareholders, but also enable us to develop applications for the alternative fuel automotive market.”

Gary Easterwood, CEO of TSC, said, “We are a technology company seeking long term relationships with companies that share our passion. With EVCARCO, we feel confident our goals will interlock and technology will continue to drive us both to achieve shareholder value.”

For more information on EVCARCO, Inc., please view: www.evcarco.com. Shareholder inquiries should be directed to (972) 571-1624.

EVCARCO, Inc. is a Future Driven® Automotive Retail Group focused on deploying a coast-to-coast network of environmentally friendly franchised dealerships, vehicles, technologies and sustainable solutions. EVCARCO is bringing to market the most advanced clean technologies available in plug-in electric, alternative fuel, and pre-owned hybrid vehicles from multiple manufacturers.

For additional information on The Third Stone Corporation, please view: www.thirdstonecorp.com.

The Third Stone Corporation is a forward thinking software provider dedicated to improving and enhancing lives through innovation. The company is currently producing applications targeted at consumers who use technology to boost their daily productivity. Utilizing proprietary technology coupled with the latest available development tools and processes, The Third Stone Corporation is on the leading edge of new ideas and has the technical expertise to quickly convert those ideas to marketable applications. TSC has a diverse development portfolio of applications and services targeting sport, social media, finance, and home automation sectors.

Forward-Looking Statement
This release contains forward-looking statements that reflect EVCARCO, Inc. plans and expectations. In this press release and related comments by Company management, words like “expect,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” “forecast,” “objective,” “plan,” “goal” and similar expressions are used to identify forward-looking statements, representing management’s current judgment and expectations about possible future events. Management believes these forward-looking statements and the judgments upon which they are based to be reasonable, but they are not guarantees of future performance and involve numerous known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the Company’s actual results, performance, achievements or financial position to be materially different from any future results, performance, achievements or financial position expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements.

Contact:

Investor Relations
Jack Eversull
The Eversull Group, Inc.
972-571-1624
214-469-2361 fax

Coda Automotive All New Pure Electric Sedan

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

The US auto industry was rocked by its worst downturn in more than a generation as two automakers, General Motors and Chrysler, seeked to restructure their operations through bankruptcy, while a third producer, the Ford Motor Company, slipped by and avoided a similar fate. Never before in the history of building cars in the US has the domestic market been battered so badly.

Small Manufacturers Get Noticed

While the major manufacturers seek to reposition themselves for the decade ahead, several smaller builders of electric cars are now getting started. Tesla Automotive built its beautiful Roadster and hopes to have a sedan on the market within the next year or two. Fisker Automotive rolled out is Karma sports sedan when production started just a few months ago.

Another manufacturer who is in the process of getting into the game is Coda Automotive. Based in Santa Monica, California, the company is developing a five passenger sedan that they hope to have on sale for the California market in Fall 2010, possibly beating the Chevy Volt to market which is set to appear around November 2010.

May Beat The Chevy Volt To Market

Unlike many pure electric models, the Coda sedan will be aimed to the average consumer and be much more affordable. With federal tax credits and possibly state credits the final price for a fully equipped Coda sedan should be even more attractable.

The Coda model is expected to have a range of 90-120 miles and be rechargeable in as few as two hours time to give drivers 40 miles of commuting range. That latter figure is noteworthy because the Chevy Volt, which will include a supplemental gas engine, is expected to travel some 40 miles on pure electric power before the gas engine kicks in. The Coda’s lithium-ion batteries will be sourced from China, though the company has promised to line up a US battery supplier down the line.

Well Equipped, Not Stripped

Coda says that factory-standard equipment will include a telematics package, navigation with turn-by-turn directions, a “green screen” that monitors driving efficiency, roadside assistance with an emergency button, a Bluetooth system with an embedded microphone, AM/FM/XM radio with Sirius satellite capability, iPod dock, MP3/USB connectivity, security system, aluminum wheels, and power windows, doors and mirrors. Safety equipment includes anti-lock brakes with electronic stability control and advanced airbags with an occupant detection system. The vehicle is backed by a three-year/36,000 mile warranty.

Hybrid Diesel Cars From Volkswagen and Peugeot

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Article by Dean Forster

Living green, save the planet and Earth Day. These are all phrases that we have become familiar with over the past couple of years. A few more words that you may have heard that just started to evolve might include hybrid diesel, Peugeot, electric cars, and Volkswagen. Why are these words so prominent in today’s society? It is because gas prices are on the rise and so is air pollution. We are striving to find vehicles that offer the best gas mileage as well as the healthiest choice for our earth. So, what exactly is a hybrid diesel? Hybrid diesel is a vehicle that is eco-friendly and will soon be in the top spot of the green-car market. A hybrid diesel is a mix between diesel fuel and electric to power the vehicle.

You can find many vehicles that offer this type of power. Trains, towing trucks, and everyday drivers are offering hybrid diesel. Some manufactures that produce these vehicles are Volkswagen followed by Peugeot. Peugeot is the number one manufacturer of mopeds and scooters in Europe today. If you just need to travel a short distance to get to your destination you might want to consider a moped. Peugeot is also attempting to produce a hybrid diesel car that can get up to 82 mpg. How would you like to drive one of those cars? Volkswagen has been known for many years to produce vehicles that have high fuel mileage.

Even if you do purchase a Peugeot or Volkswagen, you still need to do your part in maintaining your vehicle. Routine oil changes are a must. You want to check the oil every time you fill up at the pump to make sure your not burning any oil. Check the air filters to make sure that the filters are not clogged with dirt and other debris. A clogged air filter will cause less air to enter the engine with will prevent your engine from running properly. You will also want to rotate the tires when needed and check the PSI in each tire every time you fill up the fuel. If you are able to get 82 mpg you might want to check the tires when your tank is half full as well as when you fill up. Why is this so important? If your tires are low on pressure then the car has to work over time to spin the tires. This causes more fuel to be burned up. Check the fluids in your car whenever you are filling your car with fuel, also.

You can also increase your gas mileage on your hybrid diesel by the way you drive. Driving with extreme road rage can reduce your gas mileage as well as put you in danger. Aggressive driving puts extra pressure on the engine which causes your engine to work extra hard and burn more fuel. Driving the speed limit and using cruise control can help you get the most mpg. Avoid braking fast and flooring the accelerator pedal. Try to do every transaction as smoothly as possible. When you are driving you will want to put your vehicle in overdrive or in the highest gear possible if you have a manual transmission. Just drive your car the way it was meant to be driven and you will have the results that are promised to you.

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EcoTek Lighting Creates Brilliant LED Light Boxes for Fisker Automotive

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Article by Dawna Lee Heising

EcoTek Lighting, a division of Expotrans, Inc., has developed energy efficient, ultra-bright outdoor LED light boxes for award-winning, premium green auto manufacturer Fisker Automotive, Inc. at two company locations. The high-powered direct backlit outdoor LED light boxes were installed at Fisker Automotive corporate headquarters in Irvine, CA and at the Fisker Automotive engineering facility in Pontiac, MI. EcoTek Lighting manufactured two outdoor LED light boxes for each building, which included custom routed aluminum face plates and translucent vinyl graphics adhered to digitally routed acrylic sheets. Each Fisker Automotive building now features two brilliant outdoor LED light boxes: one light box with a 30″ diameter and the other light box with a 24″ diameter.

The translucent graphics and acrylic sheets of the Fisker Automotive outdoor light boxes are illuminated by EcoTek Lighting’s LED Backlit Array technology. The rugged, durable light boxes are designed and engineered to provide more than 12 years of maintenance-free illumination. The installation of the backlit LED outdoor light boxes in the diverse climates of Irvine, CA and Pontiac, MI was an acknowledgement of the fail-proof adaptability of LED lighting to wide temperature ranges.

EcoTek Lighting’s light boxes with Direct Backlit LED Array technology offer:* Energy efficient LED illumination* Highest levels of luminosity for easy viewing* Even illumination across graphics display area* Corrosion-resistant extruded aluminum construction* Architectural powder-coated surfaces with five year warranty on finishes* Compliance with Federal energy efficiency and Green manufacturing standards

The Fisker Automotive outdoor LED light boxes contain LED panels that last from 50,000 to 100,000 hours and provide 55% greater energy efficiency than fluorescent lamps. The high performance outdoor backlit LED light boxes feature grids of LEDs across the entire surface area to provide six times the brightness of traditional edgelit light boxes. All EcoTek Lighting LED light boxes meet Federal standards for energy efficiency, including UL, CUL and CE listings and European RoHS Standards, and contribute points to LEED-certification. They are fully recyclable at end-of-life, and contain no heavy metals or other hazardous components.

Fisker Automotive, Inc. is a green American premium sports car company based in Irvine, CA. The company mission is to create a range of beautiful environmentally friendly cars that make environmental sense without compromise. The Fisker Karma Sunset PHEV hardtop convertible coupe was recently named the 2009 Production Preview Concept of the Year at the North American Concept Vehicle of the Year Awards, which were held at the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn, Michigan. The North American Concept Vehicle of the Year Awards recognize those vehicles most likely to shape the future of the automobile industry.

Said Russell Datz, director of public relations for Fisker Automotive, “EcoTek is helping Fisker green its operations beyond its cars. Now we can display our name around the clock and still be environmentally responsible.”

“We are honored to partner with such a dynamic and environmentally-focused company as Fisker Automotive to develop Eco-friendly products to help save the environment and reduce the Carbon footprint of our communities,” said Rick Farrell, president of EcoTek Lighting.

About Fisker Automotive, Inc.Fisker Automotive, founded in 2007 by Fisker Coachbuild, LLC and Quantum Technologies (QTWW), is a privately owned American car company producing premium green automobiles, with Henrik Fisker as CEO. Global headquarters are located in Irvine, Calif. The company is backed by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Palo Alto Investors and the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA). More information is available at http://www.fiskerautomotive.com

About EcoTek LightingEcoTek Lighting, a division of Expotrans, Inc., is the leading provider of high performance light boxes, menu boards, poster frames and custom illuminated displays in the industry. Since 1984, we have set the standard for exceptional design, R&D, engineering, manufacturing and customer service. EcoTek Lighting was created with the mission of saving energy and producing Eco-friendly products. EcoTek Lighting received a 2009 Harvey Mudd College Green Engineering Certificate of Merit for energy efficiency at the TechAmerica High-Tech Innovation Awards.

Toyota Raises Sales Forecast

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Article by Brian

Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM) raised its 2012 sales forecast for the U.S. due to improving consumer confidence, rising gasoline prices and strong pent-up demand on the back of aging vehicles on road (average age of a vehicle on U.S. roads is 10.8 years).

The Japanese automaker expects to boost sales by 15% to 1.89 million vehicles in the U.S. during the year. The company believes rising gasoline prices would raise the demand for its fuel-efficient lineups.

Toyota’s sales guidance is perfectly in line with the overall trend in the automotive industry. Last month, light vehicle sales in the U.S. grew 10% to seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 14.4 million units from the prior year, reflecting a fast recovery in the industry. According to Edmunds.com, this marks the best monthly sales in the U.S. since August 2007.

Toyota’s sales escalated 15.4% to 203,282 vehicles driven by impressive sales of Camry and the Prius hybrid that offset lower sales of Lexus luxury lineup. Sales of Camry surged 35.3% to 42,567 units while sales of Prius leapt 54.3% to 28,711 units.

Recently, Ford Motor Co. (NYSE:F) also raised its sales forecast for the year citing the same factors of growth. The company anticipates sales between 14.5 million and 15.0 million units in the U.S., which is higher than 13.5 million-14.5 million units projected earlier in the year.

Currently, Toyota is the No.3 automaker in the U.S. following Ford and General Motors Company (NYSE:GM). In the first quarter of the year, Toyota’s market share was 14.1% while GM and Ford held market shares of 17.5% and 15.5%, respectively.

The Zacks #2 Rank (Buy) company posted an 8.3% fall in profit to ¥101.7 billion (.6 billion) in the third quarter of fiscal year ended December 31, 2011 from ¥110.9 billion in the same quarter of the prior fiscal year. On a per share basis, profits were ¥25.81 (67 cents) versus ¥29.86 in the third quarter of fiscal 2011, exceeding the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 27 cents. However, revenues in the quarter grew 4% to ¥4.9 trillion (6.3 billion).

The continuous decline in profits was attributable to disruptions in supply of parts caused by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan on March 11, 2011 as well as floods in Thailand in the second half of 2011, and also due to the continued appreciation of yen against dollar.

However, Toyota upgraded its financial guidance for fiscal 2012 based on cost reduction measures and continued recovery in production. The company expects revenues of ¥18.3 trillion and net profit of ¥200.0 billion for the year, up from the prior forecast of ¥18.2 trillion and ¥180 billion, respectively.

Balqon Corporation China EV Growth

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Article by Jennifer Obodoa

Balqon Corporation (OTCBB: BLQN) developer and manufacturer of zero-emissions heavy-duty electric vehicles, lithium battery energy storage products and electric drive systems, similar to companies like Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) and A123 Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: AONE), is well positioned to capitalize on China’s growth in electric vehicles.

China’s EV Market Could be the World’s Largest

China has a large problem with pollution. Approximately one third of 113 cities surveyed by the Environmental Protection Ministry failed to meet national air standards last year. According to the World Bank, 16 of the world’s 20 cities with the worst air pollution were located in China. In fact, only 1% of China’s city dwellers breath air considered safe by EU standards!

China’s electric vehicle market represents a solution to this problem. Last March, the country adopted its 12th Five Year Plan that called for a number of measures to promote EVs. The country will setup five businesses to produce batteries and electric motors within a few years and implement the supporting infrastructure for EVs throughout its major cities.

Pike Research believes that China will lead EV sales in the Asia Pacific by 2015. While Japan is currently the largest EV producer, expected to grow at 10% between 2010 and 2015, China is rapidly closing the gap with a CAGR of around 40% over the same period. And many analysts believe it’s only a matter of time before it becomes the world’s largest EV market.

Balqon Capitalizes on Chinese EV Demand

Balqon is a leading provider of electric vehicle technologies to China from the United States. In early 2011, the company received a .9 million order for 300 electric drive systems from Winston Global Energy. The order created 150 jobs in Los Angeles, CA and will be used to power a fleet of 15-40 passenger buses in Chinese municipalities.

Balqon CEO Balwinder Samra elaborated on this agreement in a Fox Business News interview:

The move could pave the way for many more orders in China, particularly with its agreement with Winston Global Energy. Winston Global Energy is a Chinese green energy company founded by Winston Chung, a leading lithium battery innovator and fuel cell research philanthropist based in China.

Car Rental Leader Hertz Puts Teradata in the Drivers Seat

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Article by RealWire

Teradata to improve database analytics, business insight, scale up as data volumes grow

The Hertz Corporation (NYSE:HTZ), the largest worldwide airport general use car rental brand, and Teradata (NYSE: TDC), the world’s leading analytic data solutions company, announced today that Hertz has selected a Teradata Active Enterprise Data Warehouse environment to provide a new, powerful and accelerated foundation for business critical reporting and decision making on integrated data.

The new analytic environment will enable real time access to fresh information, and smooth system scalability as requirements for data visibility rise.

“As our business continues to grow, we realized the need to upgrade our data warehousing systems to meet our internal requirements,” commented Joseph Eckroth, Hertz Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer. “We’re confident that the Teradata system’s performance in handling complex queries and providing us with real time access to fresh information will be beneficial in enabling us to quickly retrieve the most relevant information, while giving us the scalability we’ll need as our business grows.”

The world’s leading car rental brand selected the new Teradata 6650 and a Teradata Data Warehouse Appliance used for a data analytics test system. Hertz is also implementing Teradata products for backup and recovery, the logical data model for travel companies, which encompasses five Teradata products: Decision Experts, Profiler, Professional Services, Advanced Analytics Support and Managed Services.

Over the course of the next 30 months, Hertz plans on developing an analytical and operational global data warehouse in order to support customer relations, fleet operations, corporate analytics, and pricing/yield management.

The new Active Data Warehouse will provide an optimal environment for deep data integration and more timely and powerful analytics. The data infrastructure deployment will involve consolidating data from an assortment of data marts across the organization into one integrated, centralized data warehouse.

“Specifically, Hertz was looking for ways to accelerate complex query processing, cut through the complexity of information management and move to a much more pro-active, effective analytical environment,” said Tony Palladino, Teradata Industry Vice President. “Teradata was able to provide Hertz with the complete package of query performance, user concurrency, rich functionality, and relevant experience.”

The power and scalability of Teradata platforms support businesses of every size whose increasingly complex business demands are driven by robust growth requirements and the emerging need for pervasive business intelligence.

About Hertz Hertz is the largest worldwide airport general use car rental brand operating from more than 8,500 locations in 146 countries worldwide. Hertz is the number one airport car rental brand in the U.S. and at 83 major airports in Europe, operating both corporate and licensee locations in cities and airports in North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. For more information please visit the Hertz website.

About TeradataTeradata Corporation (NYSE: TDC) is the world’s leading analytic data solutions company focused on integrated data warehousing, big data analytics, and business applications. Teradata’s innovative products and services deliver integration and insight to empower organizations to achieve competitive advantage. Visit teradata.com for details.

Energy Storage and the Future of Energy

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Article by Jack

One of the main criticisms of wind and solar power is their nature as intermittent sources of energy. If the wind stops blowing on the plains of North Dakota, or clouds cover the desert in California, blackouts could occur across the country if these renewable energies were primary sources of power.

So the challenge for investors is finding who will supply the technology to smooth out those peaks and valleys. Some new technologies are now emerging that have the potential to play a big role in the future of renewables.

Battery storageA123 Systems (Nasdaq: AONE ) and Ener1 (Nasdaq: HEV ) have been testing battery storage in locations around the world with some success. Ener1 has a million deal with the Russian Federal Grid Company, and A123 Systems is on its second deal with AES Energy Gener in Chile for a total of 32 MW.

Inverter manufacturer Satcon Technology (Nasdaq: SATC ) has even talked about adding battery storage to their inverters to kill two birds with one stone.

The problem for battery storage is scale. Batteries may be able to charge quickly and release energy quickly, but right now they can’t store mass amounts of energy for the grid — something renewable power needs.

Pumped hydroStore energy by pumping water uphill and release energy by capturing the energy of it running downhill. Simple, cost effective — and so far, our best answer to energy storage. There are 21 GW of pumped hydro in the U.S. and 38 GW in Europe, but this isn’t a solution for all problems. Wind-heavy areas like North Dakota and offshore aren’t exactly conducive to this, nor are deserts where solar power is most effective.

Compressed air storageMaybe the more immediate answer is compressed air storage. Think of this as a huge compressed air tank that is filled during off-peak hours and released as needed to provide electricity. There are two sites online in Alabama and Germany, with Pacific Gas and Electric (NYSE: PCG ) and New York State Electric and Gas looking to get in the game.

The PG&E site in Kern County is 300 MW so the potential size of compressed air energy storage is much larger than battery storage right now.

Bottom lineEnergy storage roadblock that may decide how quickly renewable energy becomes adopted on a wider scale. With GW of projects in the works at solar leaders First Solar (Nasdaq: FSLR ) and SunPower (Nasdaq: SPWRA ) , the next challenge may be out of their hands. Southern California can only handle so much solar power before the lights start flickering when a cloud passes overhead. Energy storage is the key to make sure that doesn’t happen.

There are no sure-fire solutions, but batteries are sure to play a role in smoothing out energy supply. It may not be on a GW scale, but even on a much smaller scale, A123 and Ener1 are working to play a role in making the grid both cleaner and smarter.

SAAB - Going Extinct, Does it Really Matter to Any of Us?

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Article by Carmour Tan

Ever heard of the brand SAAB? I suppose you have. Ever seen the actual car recently? I suppose you haven’t. Neither have I. But what we do know of Saab is that GM owns the brand and due to the recent global economic crisis, GM needs to unload its under-performing brands from its stable and like its other Swedish counterpart Volvo, which is currently owned by Ford, Saab needs to be sold off to someone who is actually crazy enough to take control of it. Now why do I say crazy in this context?

Ever seen a Saab recently? Yes, I asked that question above and you’d note that you have not unless there’s one sitting in your garage and you’re the owner of that Saab. And that would be the only Saab in a 20km radius. This is the reason why I’m saying that the person who wishes to take over this company and brand is foolish or plain crazy. No one actually buys Saabs. Of course, we’re on a planet of about 6billion people or so (give or take a few billion) so somehow, Saab may have found a white knight in the form of Spyker, another Scandinavian car manufacturer which builds really outrageous cars for the obscenely rich and not so famous (as I still don’t know anyone or read about anyone who bought them). Talks on the sale and purchase have been going on and the conclusion is that it’s down to the price. It’s obvious if you want to take over an ailing company, you’d want it dirt cheap and without debts. Even the crazy entrepreneurs from Spyker would want to bargain until the cows come home. But for all you know, it’s a lost cause already and Saab is on the verge of extinction.

But enough on whether the deal is successful or not; the bottom-line is that Saab is a struggling brand that’ll go under if the deal with Spyker does not go through and it will be picked apart like that British manufacturer Rover and its engineering, blueprints, chassis designs will be sold to some Chinese company and rebranded as such. Imagine this; Rover is dead, from the ashes rose ROEWE. Close, but still no cigar. So imagine Saab as SAABE or BAAB.Or even SAAC (hey, isn’t that already a Chinese manufacturer?).

So you may now ask why Saab on the verge of going under? It has heritage, it built decent cars once but why isn’t anyone buying them, especially here in South East Asia? Simple; It has no brand awareness whatsoever. No one wants to buy an unknown car. Look at the uphill battle cars like Skoda, Seat, or Chery face. Some of these brands may be built like a tank, or even have the build quality of a croissant. But the reason why these cars are not selling is that they have no brand awareness. I can bet you that most of you don’t have a friend or a relative who owns a Saab or any of the cars mentioned above. In my 37 years of living, I’ve only met one person whose dad drove a Saab 900, and that was 15 years ago.

For their marketing plan and brand awareness, Saab wants us to equate its aviation and fighter plane heritage to their cars. But in all honesty, even if we bothered looking at fighter planes we’d all want F14 Tomcats and F22 Raptors instead of Saab Viggens. See? The same problem happens when it comes to their fighter planes. We all want something else rather than a Saab. I’ve never met anyone that was looking for an executive level car tell me that he recently went to a Saab showroom in Kuala Lumpur to look at the cars there. All I’ve met say that they’re looking for a Mercedes, BMW, Audi or even Lexus. I’ve never known anyone that even suggested looking at Saabs.

Saabs are quirky. They used to have their ignition keys beside the handbrakes. So that when you hop in the car, you place your hand near the handbrake, insert the key into a slot beside the handbrake, start the car and reach a few centimeters to drop the handbrake then reach for the gear stick right in front of the brake. Extremely logical, but do we honestly care for small details like that when we’re so used to finding a keyhole close to the steering wheel? If you look closely at the underneath of a Saab you’d see that it has another mud flap somewhere in the middle of the car in between the front and rear tires. Somehow this little thing works by keeping mud off the sides of the car. This company has thought of nearly everything. Except dashboard design. They think that their dashboard relates to the cockpit controls of a Saab Viggen. For Gods sake they’re wrong. A fighter plane’s cockpit is not the final word on ergonomics. It’s messy. Like having Swedish meatballs thrown together with jam and brown sauce. All these little things supposedly give Saab its character. It’s nice, but we all know that if we wanted Swedish, we’d go for a Volvo. At least it has an IKEA style sense of design. If we wanted quirky and character, we’d go Italian, go for an Alfa Romeo, as stylish as an Italian Suit yet with slightly sartorial or slightly silly touches that we’d love, and temperamental to boot.

Would I miss Saab if it went the way of the dodo? I don’t think so as I’ve never actually wanted one in the first place. It was the same as when MG Rover kicked the bucket - I couldn’t care less that it happened. However if Ferrari went bust and stopped making cars, I’d cry and wear black for a month or so.

And what does Saab give us that we can’t get from any other car? I still don’t know. If you do know, you must be a Saab owner and therefore you’re biased. If you’re a Saab owner and you’re feeling angry at this article, you shouldn’t. You should treat this as an early warning and sell your car as quickly as possible and buy something that isn’t a Saab before it is worth lower than the value of scrap. And don’t get any ideas that your Saab will be a collector’s item one day. If it isn’t a Ferrari or a Bugatti, it may be better if you actually sell it and save yourself the pain and suffering in the long run.

Author is an expert on articles concerning cars. He is also a regular car blog and car forum contributor.

VW Grille: A Legacy of Greatness

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

Article by Miranda Restelle

Quality has never been stressed by German automobile manufacturer VW. Taking its roots from the progressive principles of the Nazi regime, VW has produced various lines of vehicles that embodied the high-standard and supremacy of old Germany. Today, in its quest for being the best, VW has endured the test of time and has become the fourth largest automobile manufacturer of passenger cars and Europe’s largest auto-maker. VW is responsible for the sale and service of Audi, Bentley and Lamborghini. Known throughout the entire world for its blue VW logo, the company redefined innovation and efficiency in every vehicle that they have released in the market.

German ingenuity has become a standard in auto making. During World War II, the company started out as a mass production company for the German people. The fuhrer Adolf Hitler commissioned Austrian automotive engineer Ferdinand Porsche to make some changes to his 1931 original design of the VW Type 1, more commonly known as the Beetle. The most patriotic leader wanted a vehicle to suit the needs of the common working man. Keeping this demand in mind, the eager Porsche modified the Beetle with better fuel efficiency, reliability, ease of use and economically efficient repairs and parts. With these changes, VW became the vehicle of choice for the German people and eventually catapulted the company into global automobile leadership.

VW today has become a household name for innovation and efficiency, constantly producing cars that are sleek and unique in the aspect of aesthetics while boasting of economically sensible automobile performance. Patterned after the same principles that made the VW Beetle a global standard, VW has released a remarkable line of automobiles. Among the greats are the VW Golf, California, Polo, Caddy, Rabbit, GTI, Passat sedans and wagons. These brands are the VW global bestsellers mainly because of the valuable efficiency and performance they feature. They can be modified and enhanced with the use of VW parts to suit the need of the consumers.

One of the many accessories that can supplement the automobile is the VW grille. Aside from being a remarkable aesthetic add-on, the VW grille significantly provides an effective optimization of the vehicle’s engine performance. This is enhancement is accomplished by the VW grille as it assists the radiator in cooling the engine. Cool outside air is systematically absorbed by the vehicle by the use of the VW grille. This prevents the engine to break down to due to excessive temperature as the radiator is cooled down by the outside air that is circulated inside the hood. VW grilles are made out of high-durable plastic or metal. This ensures the the grilles withstand the atrocious heat.

It is good to know that there are parts and accessories that VW provides to consumers as many of them increasingly look for the ways to improve the performance of their beloved VW cars. What is more better to know is that these parts, the VW grille for one, are manufactured under the supervision of one of the world’s best.

Miranda Restelle is a freelance writer and car enthusiast. She believes that women should see the beauty and style in cars, as they see the beauty and style in fashion.

BYD Green Dream - Electric Car World

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

Article by Robinner

He has the flexibility to adopt a “semi-automatic pay rise”, made in the battery market dominance. Since then, he was duty-bound to battle auto industry, done in full swing. However, he was not satisfied , but also ventured into new energy sources. He is Wang, chairman of BYD. The company is the largest supplier of lithium-ion battery and is considered the world leader in new energy vehicles manufacturer.

Wind and water

15 years ago, Wang battery technology experts in the field began to get involved as the battery industry, with Japanese companies producing automated production line compared to the standard battery, BYD is just a small company just starting out, there is no strong financial support, you want to the battery is not easy to do. Prior to this, this threshold has been prohibitive for many companies.

However, Wang has taken a unique “human + fixture = robot” model, the flexibility to take a “semi-automatic adding artificial” growth line. This independent research and product development path, but also for the early start BYD significant cost savings and to secure a lot of valuable time.

In 1997, the business only two years sales of BYD Ni-Cd batteries, which amounts to 150 million, moved up to fourth in the world. Nickel-cadmium batteries in the field of a foothold, the Wang followed seize a second chance, began the development of the battery market with core technology products NiMH batteries and lithium batteries. Benefit from quality, cost and efficiency advantages, BYD in 2000 and 2002, Motorola and Nokia has become the first lithium-ion battery supplier in China.

If only the footsteps of Wang to stay in the battery industry, he was talking about new energy Kingdom only castle in the air, it will not be “Warren” Buffett their companies on him.

This is a bold move with Wang closely related. Dominant in the throne firmly secured after the global battery industry, Wang began a new adventure to get into the automotive industry.

The reason bent into the automotive industry, Wang interpretation is not unexpected: “BYD was in nickel batteries, lithium batteries, has been ranked first in the world, in the battery industry to be very difficult to achieve further breakthroughs; and it is in China’s auto market rapid development, huge market demand, development of electric vehicles is to solve the problem of resource constraints and environmental pollution, a good program. ”

But then the repairer failures have been, and no one would dare believe that a business can be better to do car batteries, Wang-made car was facing many challenges.

Speak louder than words. Wang’s choice for BYD Auto sales growth every year more than 100%, as the car industry, “Shenzhen speed.” August 31, 2009, BYD released mid-year performance: F3 sold 120,000, an increase of 78%, if coupled with F3R, domestic single car sales ranked first.

Throw away the gearbox gallop

“The future does not need transmission car!” Wang was stunned. In his eyes, car sooner or later the world of electric cars, electric cars are no gearbox. And to achieve this goal, Wang and did not let the outside world so long.

In 2008, BYD, the world’s first production hybrid vehicle F3DM officially listed. The investment in R & D personnel and more than 500 one billion yuan out of the hybrid electric vehicle research and development can be like cell phones, charging outlet in the home, breaking the electric vehicle charging station to be charged in the professional bottleneck, and power alone driver, the maximum speed of 150 km, full of oil and electricity reached after the maximum mileage of 500 km.

As the world’s first dual-mode electric vehicle, using a self-developed iron BYD BYD battery technology F3DM, broke through the home charging and charging station charging energy of two complementary approaches of technical problems, but also represents the current development of electric vehicles the highest level.

This has important significance is that BYD electric vehicle technology from the fundamental subversion of the traditional powertrain fuel vehicles, but also to make Chinese manufacturers dominated the car market with the giants on the same starting line.

“BYD listed F3DM to become the world’s new energy vehicles, one of the leading market,” Asia Pacific automotive research JDPower Meisong Lin, general manager of China research, once commented.

BYD advantages in the new energy and even affect the urban development in Shenzhen. When he was party secretary of Shenzhen, BYD Liu Pu in the investigation and study, after driving BYD F3DM had a smile as this “Shenzhen-made” new energy vehicles start with the “ad”: “to accelerate fast, low noise, very smooth and at an affordable price. “and BYD to meet new energy vehicles, energy storage power station and the long-term low-cost solar power development strategy, tailored to the Shenzhen Municipal Government said that its system to support a set of policy measures and docking.

In addition to domestic implementation, Wang also plans to let his pride - “Green Core” to the world. Wang says that BYD plans in the domestic market F3DM dual-mode hybrid electric vehicles and pure electric vehicles in 2011, when e6 put to the European market. “For the Chinese cars, the most important thing is the first successful entry into the European market. BYD on the use of new energy vehicles as a stepping stone to open the European market confidence.” Wang confidence.

And this toshiba pa3820u-1brs battery, toshiba pa3821u-1brs battery attitude can not do without the support of the data. A set of internal data from BYD, e6 once fully charged can travel 300 km, power 75 kW, the maximum speed of 140 km, the price is about 30 million yuan (12 million in Shenzhen will receive subsidies), power consumption per hundred kilometers 21.5 degrees. In contrast, dual-mode technology to master two other companies - General Motors and Toyota are selling electric cars, a charge can only travel 25 kilometers.

Look to “future village”

This year, BYD, and Daimler signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly develop electric vehicles in China. The two sides plan to set up a joint-venture technology center in China, using the best BYD battery and drive technology, Daimler’s security and structure technology, jointly developed an electric car for the Chinese market. Will undoubtedly accelerate the BYD new energy to the world the pace car.

In the new field of energy, BYD made for the benefit of mankind “three green dream”, in addition to electric cars, as well as energy storage power plants, and solar power. This practice of Wang’s commitment. Wang said, “BYD is not only to do ‘first’ business, but also responsible business should do dell studio xps 1645 battery, dell studio xps 1647 battery.” BYD concern not only in the sense of responsibility and actively participate in disaster relief to save crisis, donate resources to teach science and social stability, support cultural, sports and other public welfare undertakings of social responsibility, but also manifested in BYD through a unique low-carbon technologies to solve problems caused by oil pollution and economic problems of the global environment to contribute to the benefit of mankind.

After the introduction of electric vehicles, Wang has begun to reach extended to solar energy, BYD is working to develop energy storage power station. Wang once said: “The electric car is actually a small energy storage power station, is kilowatt, but also can expand to MW.” BYD is now in R & D is such a large energy storage power station.

Meanwhile, Wang also wants to use their own solar and wind battery storage. BYD factory in Shenzhen, there are two small villas, villa all the electricity used in all from the yard of a few solar panels and a few windmills, villa wind and energy storage system will have stored in the battery for normal use. Allegedly, this small courtyard named Wang as “the next village”, perhaps this is his dream of the future society should look like.

From electric cars, solar , Wang and BYD “green dream” people unconsciously influence the world.

Charging your new Nissan LEAF

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Henry Ford’s gasoline-powered cars wouldn’t have become the standard transportation of the 20th century without gas stations. And electric vehicles won’t become the next-generation car unless there are charging stations.

That’s why the introduction of electric vehicles on the West Coast coincides with a planned charging network stretching from British Columbia to Baja California.

Charging stations now can be seen in some Intel parking lots and at Portland General Electric’s headquarters. Soon they will be found in more places, including the homes of electric vehicle owners.

Local governments, businesses and the auto industry are betting that electric cars will amount to 20 percent of new vehicles sold in Oregon within the decade, and they’re working together to make sure there are plenty of places to charge.

Gary Graunke owns two electric cars he built himself: one from a Honda Insight and another from a Toyota Prius. Both were hybrid cars using gas engines and electricity, until Graunke converted them to all- electric vehicles. He has two 240-volt outlets in his garage where he charges them with enough electricity to get him to his job at Intel.

He also ordered Nissan’s electric Leaf, introduced last month in Oregon. Graunke, 61, is co-chairman of the Oregon Electric Vehicle Association and has been thinking about electric cars since the 1960s, when he heard some General Motors engineers say fuel-cell cars were just around the corner.

Car manufacturers know they could count on true believers like Graunke who are passionate about electric cars. What they need are people like Jared and Charlotte Townsley of Tigard, who aren’t mechanical geeks that spend time taking cars apart and putting them together.

They pre-ordered a Leaf back in July, and figure they’ll need a 240-volt outlet in their garage to charge the new car.

Three levels of chargingSoon there will be an estimated 1,200 public car-charging facilities in Oregon, with more than half of those in the Portland area. Hundreds more will be installed in garages of electric car owners.

A regular 110-volt garage outlet will suffice, but it can put a strain on a home’s electrical system. Known as Level 1 charging, a 110-volt outlet takes eight to 14 hours to charge an electric car.

Level 2 chargers require 240-volt outlets, and can provide a full charge in 4 to 6 hours. Level 3 chargers, requiring 480 volts of power, can recharge a car battery to 80 percent capacity in a half-hour or less.

The cost to install a charging outlet in a home garage could range from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars, says Art James, innovative partnerships project director at the Oregon Department of Transportation. The upper-end figure is a worst-case scenario such as when a 1920s house with an original fuse box requires a new service panel.

Nissan Leaf buyers participating in a special electric vehicle partnership program get their Level 2 home-charging unit for free, James notes.

Outside the home, some public and corporate charging stations will offer recharging at no cost.

Companies are offering it as a benefit for patrons, James says. Lincoln City has installed several.

http://www.electroleaf.net

Plug-in Range Anxiety No More? - Charging Station Trends in the United States

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

Plug-in Range Anxiety No More - Charging Station Trends in the United States

Though some of the most accessible and first fully electric cars just now arrived in the United States, the turn to hybrid vehicles has created the need for a system of charging station access. If you don’t know a lot about electric vehicles, or EVs, it helps to know that they have what is known as a “range”. This is a figure that indicates the number of miles that the EV can operate in between full charges. Hybrid vehicles also have their electric capabilities or ranges too, and this is the reason behind the need for charging station access around the country.

What is so interesting is that it is retail stores that are really moving things forward by opting to install EV charging stations for consumers to use as they do their shopping or errands. The average charging station is going to be able to supply power to electric cars, plug-in hybrids and EV bikes that require batteries, but they will vary in terms of fees or prices.

For example, the world-famous Mall of America in Minnesota has a charging station system that asks for a few dollars per hour in order to charge the batteries while other stations ask for nothing in return. The owners of the fee-less stations usually understand that a customer is not going to be in their store or shop long enough to take the full charge and they believe that this is simply a service to clients and the environment.

Industry experts feel that the days of free charging station access are numbered simply because the shift to hybrid and fully electric vehicles is inevitable. With changing efficiency standards being required by the United States government (capped at more than 50 MPG by 2025) it is going to be impossible for most manufacturers to avoid the use of battery systems. This means that increasing demands for charging stations will begin to arise very quickly, and the option for free charges will disappear just as quickly.

For now, there are literally hundreds of stations popping up all over the country. The most unique of them was unveiled in Bethesda, MD in 2011. This is a totally green station that uses solar panels, GPS tracking of the sun, and clean supplies to provide drivers with free charges. The owner is a real estate developer who decided to his “bit” for the environment by making the green solar charging station available in a heavy commuting region.

OUT OF SIGHT OUT OF MIND – PLUGGING IN A THING OF THE PAST

If you’re looking for the Future of EV Charging here it is:

PLUGLESS POWER by Evatran

As we move forward with the improvements of charging and charging station and you’re looking for the future of EV charging here it is; Plugless Power solutions, manufactured by Evatran. Evatran has been working on just the solution that all most all EV’res say “charging made easy”. Plugless Power has made plugging in – the thing of the past with their “No Cords Attached” philosophy, its changing we way people think about driving a plug-in electric cars and plug-in hybrids.

If you’re a strong believer in electric vehicles or plug-in vehicles; take a look at their product. It’s truly a game changer in the way you charge you next car. http://www.pluglesspower.com/

EVCARCO’s Corporate Development Update Regarding its Future Driven® Brand

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

Fort Worth, Texas – EVCARCO Inc. (OTCBB:EVCA) (OTCQB:EVCA), a Future Driven® Automotive Retail Group today announced updates to the shareholders and investment community on recent corporate developments, future plans, growth strategies, capital needs and changes to its share structure.

The Company has been working diligently to cultivate several, potentially valuable joint partnerships, identify new markets with products that provide carbon reduction technologies, sales channels, and sources of revenue.

As the Company moves forward, it continues to operate from its Micro-New Car Dealership in Ft.Worth, Texas that has generated cumulative gross revenues of $2,208,948.00, as of the last reported period of September 30, 2011. These revenues represent sales of new electric cars, EV charging stations, and pre-owned vehicles. The Company also continues to expose and market its Master Franchise and Single Locations Franchises opportunities of the Future Driven® Dealership Franchise.

On February 22, 2012, the Company announced that it signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with HFX Laboratories, Inc. regarding the market development, testing and licensing of the HFX4 Hydrogen Hybrid Combustion/Fuel Enhancement Systems. The Company is currently conducting tests of the HFX4 Hybrid System. The system produces hydrogen for use as a catalyst in the vehicle’s combustion system. The hydrogen catalyst is introduced into the vehicle’s air intake to completely utilize the fuel in the combustion process. The goal is to find in EVCA’s Due Diligence, results of 20% to 35% improvement in MPG and a reduction in emissions in the range of 60%, depending on engine efficiency.

Mack Sanders, CEO of EVCARCO, stated, “We have continued to work on expanding and growing acceptance of environmentally friendly vehicles. With recent increases in gasoline and diesel, we expect more consumers will feel the pain at the pump and embrace our products.”

Effective November 30, 2011, the Company amended its Articles of Incorporation to increase authorized capital. The increase was necessary in order to accommodate conversion of debt taken on over the same year. As of the date of this release, significant portion of the convertible notes payable has been paid off.

For more information on EVCARCO, Inc., please view: www.evcarco.com.  Shareholder inquiries should be directed to (972) 571-1624.

EVCARCO Inc. is a Future Driven® Automotive Retail Group focused on deploying a coast-to-coast network of environmentally friendly franchised dealerships, vehicles, technologies and sustainable solutions. EVCARCO is bringing to market the most advanced clean technologies available in plug-in electric, alternative fuel, and pre-owned hybrid vehicles from multiple manufacturers.

Forward-Looking Statement

This release contains forward-looking statements that reflect EVCARCO Inc. plans and expectations. In this press release and related comments by Company management, words like “expect,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” “forecast,” “objective,” “plan,” “goal” and similar expressions are used to identify forward-looking statements, representing management’s current judgment and expectations about possible future events. Management believes these forward-looking statements and the judgments upon which they are based to be reasonable, but they are not guarantees of future performance and involve numerous known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the Company’s actual results, performance, achievements or financial position to be materially different from any future results, performance, achievements or financial position expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements.

Investor Relations Contact:

Jack Eversull

The Eversull Group, Inc.

972-571-1624

214-469-2361 fax

[email protected]

Consumer Reports Gives Fisker Karma the Media Electric Chair

Friday, March 9th, 2012

The Fisker Karma cost them $107,850. It is super sleek, high-tech — and now they say it’s broken.

Consumer Reports (CR) have owned their car for just a few days; it has less than 200 miles on its odometer. While doing speedometer calibration runs on their test track (a procedure they do for every test car before putting it in service by driving the car at a constant 65 mph between two measured points), the dashboard flashed a message and sounded a “bing“ showing a major fault. CR technician got the car off the track and put it into Park to go through the owner’s manual to interpret the warning. At that point, the transmission went into Neutral and wouldn’t engage any gear through its electronic shifter except Park and Neutral.
Consumer Reports let the car sit for about an hour and restarted it. They could now engage Drive and the same error message disappeared. After moving it only a few feet the error message reappeared and when they tried to engage Reverse the transmission went straight to Park and again no motion gear could be engaged. After calling the dealer, which is about 100 miles away, they promptly sent a flatbed tow truck to haul away the disabled Fisker.

Consumer Reports buy about 80 cars a year and this is the first time in memory that they said they had a car that is undriveable before it has finished our check-in process.

Building an all-new car company from the ground up is a monumental challenge, especially for a car with innovative drivetrain technology like the Karma. Designing, engineering, certification, manufacturing, and distributing an all-new car pose giant hurtles for a start-up company.

Consumer Reports encountered other problems with a Karma press car that visited the track for a few hours, and we have heard of problems at press events. In addition, we see that some owners are experiencing a variety of issues, as evidenced by forums such as FiskerBuzz.com.

When they get the car back, they’ll film a First Drive video with our more traditional initial impressions. But so far, “Fisker ownership is proving to be a bumpy ride.”

SEE ARTICLE ON YAHOO

Gun Racking Chevy Volt Owner Response to Newt Gingrich Presidential Campaign

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

Aspiring zookeeper and frequent Tiffany’s shopper Newt Gingrich made some fresh waves in his wavy presidential campaign last week in Georgia, claiming the Obama administration wanted to force smaller vehicles and electric cars like the Chevrolet Volt on Americans, saying: “You can’t put a gun rack in a Volt.” One Chevrolet Volt owner took that as a challenge.

In the video below, the Volt owner - also apparently from Georgia — says he made the video to respond to the cheap shots by Gingrich made against the Volt, noting it’s made and designed in the United States, unlike nearly every other hybrid or electric vehicle on American roads. All we’ll add is that while GM says it didn’t design the Volt to be a “political punching bag” and might not be the first choice for a hunting trip, it did shoot battery packs to ensure they wouldn’t blow up if bullets passed through. (They don’t.)

Score one for engineering over politics.Gun Racking Chevy Volt Owner


A123 Electric Vehicle Battery Maker About to See Company Turnaround?

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

A123 Systems Inc., (AONE) Electric Vehicle Battery Maker About to See Company Turnaround?

Electric vehicles have been out of testing labs and on the market, at least in limited quantities, for a few years now.  There are not a large number of these vehicles on the roads just yet, but slowly they are starting to become more of a presence.  One of the biggest reasons why the vehicles have not gained more popularity is simply that they are harder to manage.  While a traditional vehicle can go around 300 miles before refueling at one of the many available gas stations, electric vehicles can traditionally go about 100-200 miles before needing to be charged using a proper power source.  But a recent deal with A123, a maker of batteries for electronic vehicles, indicates that things may soon be changing.

A123 has inked a deal with Detroit’s GM to supply batteries for vehicles that are intended to be announced later on.  While little is known about the deal or the vehicles that the batteries will be used for, speculation indicates that the company will be providing GM with thousands of batteries.  The batteries are expected to be engineered and produced by the end of 2012, with vehicle production to begin shortly thereafter.  In the time following this announcement, it has also been noted that the remainder of the year is expected to bring more announcements from A123, including deals with BMW as well as another major North American car manufacturer.

So, what does all of this mean for the electrical vehicle market?  Well, it seems that this, too, is open to speculation.  Are GM and BMW working on new electric vehicles?  It will be some time before those announcements are made, but indicators are certainly pointing in that direction.  With numerous major car companies producing electric vehicles, the race may finally be on for car companies to produce an EV that can go farther and longer without the need to recharge.  The recent announcement regarding solar panels with the new EV from Ford certainly shows that makers are working hard to improve EV lifespan between charges.

Electric vehicles are still in their infancy.  The technology is available, but improvements will likely need to continue before the general public is willing to make these vehicles the primary choice.  But with announcements like these indicating that major manufacturers are likely putting more work and research into creating better electric vehicles, the dawning of a new era in personal vehicles might not be as far away as you think.

Yahoo Finance: A123 Systems, Inc., (AONE)

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A123 Headlines

  • A123 SYSTEMS, INC. Files SEC form 8-K, Change in Directors or Principal OfficersEDGAR Online(Tue, Feb 14)
  • You’re Not the Only One Buying Hereat Motley Fool(Tue, Feb 14)
  • Fisker pins hopes on Karma as it seeks more cashat Reuters(Tue, Feb 14)
  • Batteries to Compete With Gas Peaker Plants by 2016, A123 Saysat Bloomberg(Tue, Feb 14)
  • Electric Vehicles May Be Worth Another Lookat Motley Fool(Mon, Feb 13)
  • [video] Fisker Automotive Under Fireat CNBC(Mon, Feb 13)
  • Why A123 Systems Is A Buy And Offers 700% Upside Potential Over The Next 3 Yearsat Seeking Alpha(Mon, Feb 13)
  • Toyota, Alcatel-Lucent, A123 are market moversAP(Fri, Feb 10)
  • A123 Advances on Deal to Supply Battery-Storage Systems in U.K.at Bloomberg(Fri, Feb 10)
  • DOE Loan Curse: First Solar Latest To Face Funding Delayat Forbes(Fri, Feb

Business Summary

A123 Systems, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, engages in the design, development, manufacture, and sale of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries and battery systems worldwide. The company’s battery products are based on its proprietary Nanophosphate technology for application development in the transportation, electric grid services, and commercial markets. In addition, it provides research and development services to government agencies and commercial customers. A123 Systems sell its batteries and battery systems directly to end-user customers, as well as through reseller and distributor channels. The company was founded in 2001 and is headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts.

Key Statistics

EV Innovation: One inventor wants to boost EVs Range with a towable turbine

Sunday, February 5th, 2012

San Francisco’s P Youthful Museum is really a modernist copper-and-glass statement that challenges the attention and mind to consider past the quotidian. Exactly the same could be stated for that funky vehicle and it is oddball trailer parked just next door in the middle of Golden Gate Park. Should you thought the all-electric Nissan Leaf would be a walk into the near future, Phil Sadow would love you to consider again.

“What you are searching at is really a gas-powered Capstone turbine engine that spins at 100,000 revoltions per minute, but only has one moving part and may help electric vehicle proprietors circumvent the possible lack of quick-charging stations,” Sadow states, starting right into a flurry of scientific jargon that’s the San Francisco Bay Area engineer’s natural language.

When Nissan revealed its Leaf EV this past year, the wedge-like machine lifted the spirits associated with a driver disgruntled through the Who Wiped out The Electrical Vehicle? era. None much more than Sadow, who was raised criss-crossing the nation because of his father’s job using the electric golf buggy giant, E-Z-Go.

“You can tell I acquired the EV bug early, around age 7,” Sadow states.Skip forward couple ofseveral decades, which kid has become an electric engineering whiz that has become consumed with creating this version from the electric vehicle live.

“Transpire is always to make EV’s successful, because it is factoronly factor that’s likely to save us,” statesaccording to him. “The west is dependant on cars, so that is not vanishing. However when oil becomes scarce, our economy will most likely tank given our addiction to foreign oil. I simply hope what we are doing is not not enough past too far.Inch

Sadow is a component of the growing number of savvy fanatics who’re wanting to enhance whatever alternative-fuel automobiles auto producers can produce. In lots of ways, this smart number of renegades aren’t unlike the garage-based computer nerds who, in the past from the PC, compromised around to be able to find more effective methods of the machines to operate.

Hacker, however, is really a term which make Sadow wrinkle his nose. “We’re making appropriately designed items,” he states. “We are not hacking things together.”

Although Sadow themself drives a heavily modified Prius — run by a 6.5 kilowatt-hour battery power and monitoring system of their own devising — he understood that Leaf proprietors would benefit most out of his brainstorms. His first thought had related to japan EV’s 120-volt energy cord, which could re-charge the Leaf in around 20 hrs, “that is just way too lengthy to become practical.”

Joining track of fellow EV enthusiast Mark Dutko, EVSE Upgrade was created. The internet company sells re-designed Leaf energy cords for $240, which may be blocked into 240-volt connections — what most houses have for any washer/dryer or spa — therefore reducing re-charge occasions close to seven hrs. Another $25 buys a fast-220, a forked adapter that enables the Leaf to charge off two separate 110-volt shops.

Dutko will not release sales figures, but he states EVSE Upgrade has put connects to the hands close to 15 % from the nation’s 7,000 Leaf proprietors. Nissan hasn’t endorsed Sadow’s invention, something he finds vexing.

“It’s certainly simple for individuals to panic,Inch he states, referencing the fires some Chevrolet Volt proprietors faced consequently of this plug-in hybrid’s energy cord issues. “However I think overall there’s an excessive amount of untrue stories available.”

Sadow states he’s heard no reviews of incidents from his clients. That’s given him the impetus to further upgrade the Leaf. Next is really a $150 tweak towards the car’s climate controls. In the as-shipped condition, the Leaf’s heater — a substantial energy drain, because it does not come with an car engine producing spare warmth — can’t be turn off using the press of the mouse, much the means by a regular vehicle the energy-drawing AC could be shut lower with one touch.

“Using what we are developing, the Leaf owner can very simply turn off the heat tank,Inch states Sadow. “What we should find is the fact that with many EV proprietors, an obsession evolves around mileage. People wish to go so far as they are able to off electric power charge, and do not want almost anything to get when it comes to that mission.”

Sadow happily announces he has not put gas in the Prius since last March.

Such obsession is part associated with a new technological boom, states Andy Frank, the plug-in hybrid pioneer whose transmission system improvements produced as they was in the College of California-Davis happen to be licensed to a different firm he’s managing, Efficient Drivetrains, Corporation.

“Should you look in time, the beginning associated with a new technologies have found people tinkering, in the Model T on up,” states Frank. “I performed with hot rods like a kid. Exactly the same is happening with plug-inches and hybrid cars. It’s a part of American culture.”

Frank salutes leaders for example Sadow, but, like a passionate Volt owner, thinks that plug-in hybrid cars possess the best possibility of beginning a genuine automotive revolution due largely towards the vexing problem of re-charging EVs, whose range typically tops out around 100 miles.

“For brief drives out and about, my Volt runs only on electric,” states Frank. “But when I were an EV owner and needed to move from Davis to Bay Area and back, I’d need to rent a vehicle.”

That kind of talk will get Sadow’s motor running. Actually, he was partially driven to action by EV owners’ frustration over both how gradually electric re-charging stations are now being folded out by the prices - $6,000 or even more - of in-home re-charging models.

“I needed a means for individuals to recharge without resorting to city assessments and major electrical rewiring projects,” he states.

What quickly adopted suit was the Leaf’s upgraded plug, its enhanced Air conditioning system, and — perhaps his most impressive if up to now not scaleable invention — a transportable electrical powerplant that will get towed behind the Leaf.

It’s this contraption which has Golden Gate Park drivers slowing down and bike riders preventing.

“Uh, what’s that factor?” asks a biker because he pulls a set of buds from his ears.

Sadow does not have to be requested two times within minutes, he’s off and running having a science-heavy explanation of methods he fabricated a tow-hitch to drag a micro-turbine given by gas you can use to charge the vehicle from zero to 80 % in about half an hour (the final 20 % takes another 40 minutes), or utilized on-the-go therefore stretching the plethora of the EV as lengthy because the gas lasts.

“This can be a evidence of concept, and we are still tinkering,” states Sadow, explaining the way the somewhat bulky package may ultimately be sleek right into a sleek tow-able oblong. He stays he mind within the turbine’s exhaust and sucks inside a lungful of air. “It’s cleaner than most air you breathe,” he states.

The price of Sadow’s portable generator continues to be within the prohibitive category, around $30,000. But he’s going to bring that lower, in addition to expand the scope of the potential marketplace for the invention. He’d particularly prefer to interest traditional gasoline stations covering the country’s interstates. “Not just could they assist EV proprietors fill, however they could likely get free heating for his or her garages” because of towards the extreme warmth produced through the turbine, states Sadow.

Not sometime ago, Sadow reached demonstrate his invention in a gathering of EV fans for Hidetoshi Kadota, Nissan’s chief vehicle engineer for that Leaf. Sadow reviews that although impressed, Kadota felt such improvements would only attract “techies, but that is not really a fair description of who Leaf proprietors are,” states Sadow. “Should you continue any EV discussions groups (online), you’ll find yourself speaking to everybody from doctors to mechanics, Dems and Republicans. We are just individuals who want to get rid of the earth, and believe that cars make the perfect starting point.Inch

Sadow shrugs. “I possibly could make much more money talking to than I actually do with EVSE, however i am going to help begin to see the EV grow,” he states. He then confesses for an odd dream to have an entrepreneur.

“Eventually, we’ll get beyond these habits that we have produced over decades, of seeing a service station to fill on oil therefore we can drive these noisy, smelly gadgets,” he states. “When on that day comes and you will find a lot more EVs on the highway in addition to easy methods to recharge them, I’m going to be happily bankrupt.”

EV Industry News: Choosing Fisker Automotive for Green Cruising

Monday, January 30th, 2012

Choosing Fisker Automotive for Green Cruising

EVCARCO takes a look inside the world of hybrid vehicles to look at an unexpected turn towards the seriously sexy with the release of the Fisker Karma in 2011. Not a fully electric car, it nonetheless has a lot to offer to the environmentally friendly driver. It also has a tremendous amount to offer to those interested in sports cars too. Difficult to describe in terms of design and appearance, the fact that this new offering from Fisker Automotive sold out until 2012 demonstrates the universal appeal of the car.

Basically, the Fisker Karma is powered by batteries that can give it around 50 miles per charge. When the batteries are low or depleted a simple flick of a steering wheel-mounted paddle kicks in the 2 liter turbocharged engine (four cylinders) that will power the car on lengthier trips even as it is also recharging the batteries. It takes around five hours to fully charge the batteries, and to run the vehicle in its Stealth mode.

Fisker Automotive decided to mount the electric motors in the rear of the car and to give them enough power to supply the driver of the Fisker Karma with a stunning 260 horsepower. When these are active (in the Sport mode) the car can go from zero to sixty in less than six seconds and can reach speeds of 125 mph. This is unprecedented in the world of hybrids and EVs (electric vehicles) and accounts for the diverse number of buyers who managed to acquire all 3,000 units available.

Fisker Automotive also opted to outfit the interior of the Fisker Karma with technologies and luxuries too. Drivers are seated on leather upholstery, touch suede or wood to engage all of the different functions, and even see a large central touch screen that will interact beautifully with any driver’s command.

What all of this means is that the Fisker Karma is taking the world of hybrids and EVs to an all-new level. Some industry experts worry that the release of this model is too early in terms of viability. These concerns are due entirely to the difficulties with “away from home” charging in many parts of the world. There are some places in which public charging stations are readily available, but in a location such as the United States the infrastructure is not yet “up to speed” and may impact the delight that should be experienced by all who are driving these amazingly impressive and eco-friendly cars.

EV Industry: Charing Station Trends in the United States

Friday, January 27th, 2012

Charging Station Trends in the United States

Though some of the most accessible and first fully electric cars have began to arrive in the United States in late 2011, the turn to hybrid plug-in and all electric vehicles has created the need for a system of charging station access. If you don’t know a lot about electric vehicles, or EVs, it helps to know that they have what is known as a “range”. This is a figure that indicates the number of miles that the EV can operate in between full charges. Hybrid plug-ins vehicles also have their electric capabilities or ranges too, and this is the reason behind the need for charging station access around the country.

What is so interesting is that it is retail stores that are really moving things forward by opting to install stations for consumers to use as they do their shopping or errands. The average charging station is going to be able to supply power to cars, scooters, and bikes that require batteries, but they will vary in terms of fees or prices.

For example, the world-famous Mall of America in Minnesota has a charging station system that asks for three dollars per hour in order to charge the batteries while other stations ask for nothing in return. The owners of the fee-less stations usually understand that a customer is not going to be in their store or shop long enough to take the full charge and they believe that this is simply a service to clients and the environment.

Industry experts feel that the days of free charging station access are numbered simply because the shift to hybrid and fully electric vehicles is inevitable. With changing efficiency standards being required by the United States government (capped at more than 50 MPG by 2025) it is going to be impossible for most manufacturers to avoid the use of battery systems. This means that increasing demands for charging stations will begin to arise very quickly, and the option for free charges will disappear just as quickly.

For now, there are literally hundreds of stations popping up all over the country. The most unique of them was unveiled in Bethesda, MD in 2011. This is a totally green station that uses solar panels, GPS tracking of the sun, and clean supplies to provide drivers with free charges. The owner is a real estate developer who decided to his “bit” for the environment by making the green solar charging station available in a heavy commuting region.

EV NEWS: National Highway Transportation Safety Administration confirms safety of Chevy Volt and other electric vehicles

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

EVCARCO continues to be carefully following NHTSA’s investigation into the safety issues on the GM [GM  24.86  -0.14  (-0.56%)   ] Volt’s battery power because the first reviews of the fire incident were released last year. Just like any report, it appears the allegation received much more coverage compared to resolution. Therefore we desired to make certain we did our part to obtain the discharge of the NHTSA’s stamp of approval to our fans.

On January 20th, 2012 the NHTSA cleared the Volt

“The NHTSA issued a statement essentially saying, ‘case closed.’ Typically, when the NHTSA closes an investigation, there is no public statement. Not this time. This time, the NHTSA issued a very public release, explaining it closed the Volt case, finding no safety defect. Then the federal government went a step further. In its release, the NHTSA said the Chevy Volt and other electric vehicles pose no greater risk of catching on fire than gasoline-powered cars. It was a very public and strong statement about the safety of electric vehicles.”

Read more from CNBC here

You can also read the full statement from the NHTSA here

Even though the opening of this investigation generated national news coverage along with a slew of online press stories, it seems the “case closed” statement isn’t reaching exactly the same audience. We’re encouraged that Chevrolet Volt sales, together with Nissan Leaf sales, continue to increase each month they are available. Some interesting sales statistics are available here showing that sales of electric vehicles continue to increase despite this (now closed) NHTSA case. You’ll find that in their first year of availability both the Nissan  Leaf and the Chevrolet Volt (individually) outsold the Toyota Prius in its first year of availability here. The Volt and Leaf each sold between 7,500 and 9,000 vehicles in 2011, almost double that of 2000 sales of the Toyota Prius (~5,000). This bodes effectively for the continued adoption of the electric vehicle, as also does the information found here, showing that Nissan has officially hit its goal of selling 10,000 Leafs in the states (less than 20 days after its target date of December 31, 2011).

With the NHTSA case closed, having a vote of confidence in electric vehicle safety, and with the promising 2011 EV sales figures, we believe the EV market is going to have an exciting 2012.

Improvements in Electric Vehicle Systems

What do you need to run electric vehicles (EVs)? Obviously you require a good battery system inside of the car or light truck, but you also need a place where “fuel” or energy can be supplied. Currently there are a few ways that this is done. For instance, in some locations there are curbside stations that allow users to plug their fully electric or hybrid vehicles in for a charge. There are also some innovative solutions in the form of battery swapping stations (which is currently being tested in Israel), and then there are solar powered poles that allow electric vehicles (EVs) to be plugged in while the driver runs errands or goes to work.

It is the latter that is of such interest to many people in the world. For example, in mid-2011 a real estate developer in the Washington D.C. metro area spoke with his children about the need for solar charging stations for the many hybrids that fill the streets of the region. The three teenagers challenged their father to begin developing the “greenest” stations possible for those with electric vehicles (EVs), and together they came up with a very unique plan.

They designed and installed the first Solar Power Pole. This is a device that uses solar panels mounted to a very sturdy utility pole. The panels are equipped with “tracking” gear that enables them to turn with the sun and to accumulate energy all day long. Thus, they are of tremendous use to commuters who need to give their electric vehicles (EVs) a charge, but who do not want to drive well out of their way in order to obtain a resource making energy available.

The concept was actually implemented by the ATR Corporation (Advanced Technology and Research) and is capable of generating an impressive 1410 watts of electricity. This makes it around 45% more efficient than standard “fixed” solar arrays. The tracking is done through a built in GPS system that follows the trajectory of the sun and maximizes the production from the pole.

It is interesting to note that these poles work in the same way that all net-metering systems do in standard households. They generate totally green energy that is then fed into the public supply. The pole itself is fed with constant electricity by the actual grid, but the use of the supplies is offset completely by the creation of the green energy that is sent into the public grid. This makes the system neutral, and gives drivers the ability to use only the most earth friendly energy possible.

Sears to offer the Evatran Plugless Power Wireless Electric Car Charger

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

Sears to offer EV customers the Evatran Plugless Power Wireless Electric Car Charger!

2012 Electric Cars Unplugged

If the idea of inserting a plug to your vehicle every time you need to charge up is a pain, here’s promising news: Sears has connected with Evatran to sell the wireless

Evatran's Plugless Power

charging systems for residential and commercial use. The Evatran system, known as Plugless Power, means that you could simply drive to your office or home garage and jump from the vehicle without needing to worry that you simply didn’t remember to hook it up.  This of course might not be among life’s large problems but getting a vehicle that will not go is worse than getting an iPad that is not juiced up, so you shouldn’t be too quick to laugh about this.

Installation will be handled by Sears Home Services that has been setting up home appliances and electronics for many years.

“Sears is very excited to announce this agreement with Evatran to support the installation and servicing of these stations. We look forward to being one of the leaders in this growing industry,” said Stu Reed, SVP and President, Home Services at Sears Holdings.

The companies say the benefits of the Sears-Evatran agreement includes:

  • Simplified Purchasing: Evatran will offer Plugless Power systems with optional basic or standard home installation wrapped into the purchase price of the equipment; this full price may be included in the vehicle purchase or lease at the time of sale.
  • Pre-Installation Site Visits: Site visits, as necessary to quote non-standard and commercial installations, will be completed in advance of installations.
  • Timely Installation: Sears will receive automatic notification of a customer’s installation request; Sears will contact the customer within one business day of equipment purchase to schedule home installation.
  • Convenient Additional Services: Sears will offer ongoing service and maintenance to Plugless Power owners.

Sears installation network technicians will be trained and certified on the wireless charging systems and will work with Evatran to structure a comprehensive launch plan for aftermarket systems throughout 2012, the companies said.

Product offerings will initially focus on Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf models but Sears and Evatran said they will quickly expand to include additional electric vehicles. Installation will be offered with the sale of each Plugless Power system and priced based on the customer’s home and current electrical service. Sears will also offer commercial installation for electric vehicle fleet owners and managers.

Aftermarket systems will be available for installation starting in 2012 for Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt models. A specific geographic rollout plan will be announced next year with final installation pricing for basic and standard home installations.

Tesla Motors TSLA recently Adds Fresh Faces to Management Team

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

EV Manufacturer Tesla Motors recently Adds Fresh Faces to Management Team!

Tesla Motors Inc, (NasdaqGS: TSLA) is a company that is making a big name for itself in the electric vehicle market.  The company was founded by a group of Silicon Valley engineers back in 2003 and since that time, the company has been working hard to create efficient, stylish electric vehicles that consumers will want to drive.  The company strives to reduce dependence on petroleum while also working to decrease the cost of EVs, and with each new model, the company is coming closer to achieving these goals.  Of course, no company can achieve greatness and perfection without talented and motivated experts to help facilitate the process, and in August 2011, Tesla announced the addition of four new members of their management team

These new members represent top talents from the tech, travel, and manufacturing industries.  The first addition is Greg Reichow, who has been appointed as the lead for powertrain

Greg Reichow

manufacturing operations for the company.  Reichow is expected to help make existing lines more efficient while also helping to increase innovation on future projects and designs.

Peter Carlsson

Peter Carlsson is another newcomer to Tesla Motors.  Carlsson comes from NXP semiconductors, where he actually helped to build a successful global purchasing organization.  His expertise will help him to lead supply chain and purchases for Tesla so that he can help ensure greater quality and timeliness while also helping to boost the company’s overall cost efficiency in a number of ways.

Ravi Simhambhafta has been hired on to help Tesla Motors streamline their information and technology platform so that they can not only provide greater efficiency within, but so that they can work to improve the customer experience as well.  Ravi was a founder and CIO at Virgin America and

Ravi Simhambhafta joins TSLA

Ravi Simhambhafta

helped to build both the website and the IT platform for the award winning airline.

Last is John Hillegass, whose experience includes work with the likes of HP, Intel, Pixar, and more.  Hillegass has overseen the creation and development of new stores for a variety of his clients, and his 25 years of experience will help Tesla design and build successful retail stores across the country.

In all, these individuals represent four very experienced additions to Tesla’s team.  But if we have learned anything about Tesla Motors since their creation, it is that the company works not as a group of individuals, but as a team that truly works together on all fronts.  Tesla has already experienced great success in the EV market, and these new managers will certainly help to increase the company’s success in the future.

More info on Tesla Motors Officers/Directors check Yahoo finance: http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=TSLA&ql=1

Or Tesla’s Website: http://www.teslamotors.com/

OTHER EV INDUSTRY COMPANIES TO WATCH:
Nissan Motor Co - Nissan Leaf:  http://www.nissanusa.com/leaf-electric-car/index#/leaf-electric-car/index

Mitsubishi - i-MiEV: http://www.mitsubishi-motors.com/special/ev/

Fisker Automotive - Fisker Karma: http://www.fiskerautomotive.com/en-us

Ford - Ford Electric: http://www.ford.com/technology/electric/

GM - Chevrolet Volt (hybrid): http://www.chevrolet.com/volt-electric-car/

Toyota EV & Hybrids: http://www.toyota.com/concept-vehicles/rav4ev.html

The Chevy Volt Promised Greater Efficiency than Hybrids - Did it happen?

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

Electric vehicles are gaining rapidly in popularity, and with the end of 2011 bringing us a large number of EVs, there is little wonder why so many states and cities are working hard to install electric charging stations in public areas.  EVs are expected to sell fairly well in big cities, especially among two car families looking for a vehicle to be used primarily for city driving and commuting.  The Chevy Volt is one of the newest entrants in the EV game, and the car is promising big benefits over traditional hybrid vehicles.

One thing to understand about the Chevy Volt is that while the car does consume gas, it does not power the car.  Instead, the car has a range of about 35 miles that it can run on battery alone when fully charged.  After this initial period is up, the car’s generator kicks on to keep it powered.  This generator is the part of the car that is fueled by gas.  This certainly helps lower emissions, but it also serves to greatly increase overall gas mileage.  For consumers driving less than 35 miles per day, it is possible to go significant periods of time without ever consuming any of the gas in the car.

As to whether or not the car is more efficient than a traditional hybrid vehicle, the answer is an absolute yes for people who will be doing less than 35 miles of driving per day.  The cars will generally offer better performance even on longer drives, but if you plan to use your vehicle for frequent long distance trips, you will certainly experience a significant reduction in fuel efficiency.  The Chevy Volt is designed for the average city dweller and short distance driver and makes an ideal second car.

One thing that should be noted about the Chevy Volt is that the car has been given an EPA estimated fuel rating of over 90MPG.  This takes into account the daily driving habits of the average user, however, which is someone taking the vehicle to and from work and on daily errands.  The Chevy Volt certainly offers greater fuel economy than hybrid and traditional vehicles, as well as lower long term maintenance costs.  When coupled with the $7,500 Federal rebate currently being offered on the vehicle, it is certainly something that city dwellers, daily commuters, and two car households would be well advised to consider.

So whats better, Nissan’s Leaf all electric car or GM’s Chevy Volt EV/Hybrid?

Interesting Approaches to Electric Vehicle (EV’s)

Monday, December 12th, 2011

Over the years we have all been able to monitor the ways that electric vehicles (EV’s) have increased in popularity and capability. Though early models were simply equipped with large arrays of batteries, today we can find a huge number of improvements and options. For this brief discussion on the most recent evolutions in electric vehicles (EV’s) we’ll consider Israel’s use of Better Place cars, solar powered electrical powering poles and stations, and the release of the fully electric Focus in the United States.

We’ll begin this look at interesting approaches to the use of electric vehicles (EV’s) with a review of the innovative system about to be launched in Israel. The Better Place vehicles come with a promise of around 20 percent savings in annual automotive expenses for their owners, but they do this through a series of unique concepts. The first is that the system uses a monthly membership plan similar to most cell phone plans. This locks the costs of operating the Renault Fluence Z.E.s into a fixed range and requires only that the driver “swap” batteries at the appropriate stations when necessary. The company also has a nice package deal that will actually decrease total costs by 35% by including three years of use of the car, all of the battery swaps needed, all service fees, and around 25km in mileage per year. The company indicates that it isn’t just making electric vehicles (EV’s) possible, but also affordable – which is something that is a major challenge in the industry.

Another great challenge with EVs is the fact that they need to have access to charging stations, but there are not a lot of them available at the current time. This is being changed in many ways including the recent “launch” of the first solar “tracking” pole station in the state of Maryland. Originally the concept created by children of the real estate developer who installed the device, the idea was to mount solar panels that track or follow the sun to a special utility pole. This pole would then serve a few cars at a time. The very first was installed in Bethesda, MD in August of 2011.

Of course this sort of concept is going to come in very handy as the first full fleets of electric vehicles begin rolling out across the U.S. In 2012, the states of California and New York will be the first recipients of fully electric Ford Focus vehicles. These are cars that will require the presence of such things as charging poles, and fortunately the timing is almost perfect!

EV NEWS: California and New York Poised for First Ford Focus EV Release

Saturday, December 10th, 2011

California and New York Poised for First Ford Focus EV Release

When Ford Motor Company announced that the Ford Focus would soon be available as a fully electric car, eco-minded consumers everywhere sat up and took notice. As Ford unveiled more and more details about their electric cars, order numbers went up rapidly. While Ford quickly shut down rumors that the release of the vehicle would be delayed, it was recently announced that most markets would not see the vehicle until spring of 2012, when production of the vehicles would increase. 19 target markets will receive their vehicles in early 2012, but for California and New York, the wait is considerably shorter.

Ford has long promised that the initial delivery of its all-electric Focus EV would come at the end of 2011, and for consumers in the California and New York markets, which the company has long been focused on, this will certainly be the case. evcarco, evcaThe vehicles are set to be delivered by year’s end, where lucky consumers will be able to be the first in the world to get to drive and report on these exciting electric vehicles. Release of the EVs in these two areas makes sense not only because of higher populations and more media coverage, but because both have worked exceptionally hard on the installation of charging stations throughout the states- something that will be necessary to combat the range anxiety that many owners of electric cars feel when driving far from home.

Because the average electric car can drive around 100 miles without needing a charge, many consumers are worried that vehicles like the Ford Focus EV will leave them stranded away from home and away from the ability to charge. In areas like San Francisco, however, this has been combated by the installation of numerous charging stations throughout the Bay area, including many rapid charging stations.

evcarco, evca

For many, access to these stations within close proximity to work means the ability to receive a full charge during the work day and to be able to charge the vehicle again at home if needed. But with the average commute equaling far less

than 100 miles, most consumers will be pleased to learn that the Ford Focus EV should stand up to daily driving needs without any anxieties needed. While cross country trips will take a great deal of planning, most Americans will find that EVs are perfectly designed to offer more efficient and economical commutes with less environmental impact and far less financial cost.

EVCARCO’s Early Review of the Fisker Karma

Sunday, December 4th, 2011

EVCARCO’s Early Review of the Fisker Karma

Putting out a review of the Fisker Karma is hard. It has only been out for a very short time now, the price tag is well over $100k, and most importantly, there are very, very few of them in the United States. Silicon Valley Venture Capitalist Ray Lane was lucky enough to be one of the first in the nation to get his hands on the car, and already he has set a lofty goal- to use the car daily for a full year without ever consuming a drop of gas. A big project? Absolutely. An impossible feat? Not for the Karma.

One thing we learned about the Karma fairly quickly was that the car can go a fairly impressive 50 miles daily without needing to use any gas at all. After this, the owner needs to simply switch the car to sport mode to engage the 2.0 liter engine that will charge the battery while providing another 250 miles of driving range. For those who stay under 50 miles per day, far less than the average commute, this certainly indicates that it really is possible to never need gasoline. Considering that many corporations around the globe are installing recharging stations, even those with slightly longer commutes may be able to recharge during work in order to avoid using gas in their vehicles at all.

Depending on your driving style, the Fisker Karma can range from 100 to unlimited miles per gallon. The only real complaint that users so far seem to have with the car is that the engine can get slightly loud whenever the vehicle is making use of the gas engine. To that end, however, Fisker plans to have each car retrofitted with a quieter exhaust by the end of 2011.

In terms of design, the Karma both looks and feels like a luxury vehicle. Showing off the skills possessed by Fisker, the companies CEO and a former Aston Martin designer, the exterior of the Karma is exceptionally sleek. The interior of the car is quite luxurious as well, offering recycled wood as well as the option for leather or an animal free interior. Add in a touch screen infotainment system, tons of leg and head room, and plenty of other options, and you have a car that is as fun to drive as it is eco-friendly. The Fisker Karma is truly a luxury electric vehicle with something big to prove to a market that seems hesitant to trust EVs.

Other news:

Electric-Car-Hating Top Gear Names Fisker Karma Luxury Car Of The Year‎

Top Gear Crowns 2012 Fisker Karma ‘Car of the Year’‎ PluginCars.com

Anaheim’s hybrid Fisker Karma in action

FISKER KARMA LANDS DOUBLE HONORS AT 2011 BBC TOP GEAR AWARDS …‎ CisionWire (press release)

Fisker Still Promises 15000 Cars Next Year

Advance Looks at Tesla Motors Model S Create Great Anticipation

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Advance Looks at Tesla Motors (TSLA - News) Model S Create Great Anticipation

(NasdaqGS: TSLA ) http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=TSLA&ql=1

Tesla Motors (TSLA - News) has not been in the EV game for long.  While the company has been in business since 2003, its first model, the Roadster, didn’t hit the streets until 2008.  The company isn’t to blame, of course, as technologies needed time to come into existence, and a nervous public needed time to adjust to the notion of a car that could only travel a certain distance.  The Roadster was soon followed by the Model S, which offered an equally sleek look but a considerably smaller price tag.  The Roadster is no longer being produced, but with the sneak peeks Tesla has offered for the new Model S EV, the company has something even better in store.

The Model S EV has a number of features that are going to put it in a class of its own the moment it hits the market.  For starters, we have learned that the car will have an ultra light lithium-ion battery pack and a liquid cooled motor that will provide higher speeds and more power over a longer period of time.  But these are not the facts that have garnered the attention of most who have heard about the new model.  Instead, the company has offered two facts that it believes will sway public opinion away from cars such as the Nissan Leaf and in favor of Tesla’s Model S EV instead.

The first spec on this list is the mile range on the Model S EV.  While EVs such as the leaf have a 100 mile range, the Model S EV is intended to have a range of 300 miles.  For all of the skeptics out there battling with range anxiety, this is a vehicular valium to quell those fears.  But there is one more feature to the Model S EV that makes it one that needs to be considered- the new model will be capable of recharging in 45 minutes.

While this may mean little to those who charge overnight, people who have long held fears that cross country vacations would be nightmarish with EVs will find that they can charge their cars at recharging stations in the amount of time it will take to enjoy a nice meal and stretch the legs.  With charging stations cropping up all over the country these days, the fact of the matter is that the newest version of the Tesla Motors Model S EV may just be the car that makes EVs a viable option for almost anyone.

Other News:

  1. Will Auto Stocks Take You Miles?


    Motley Fool - Stanley Ross - 2 hours ago

    Silicon Valley start-up Tesla Motors (Nasdaq: TSLA ) could also be a long-term winner. It focuses on technologically advanced battery-powered electric cars.

    Shares of Thor Industries Underperformed its Peers in the ‎ Financial News Network Online
    all 5 news articles »

  2. Bullish Moving Average Cross by Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA)


    Financial News Network Online - Mallory Stone - 2 days ago

    Today, shares of Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) have crossed bullishly above their 10-day moving average of $32.84 on a volume of 304K shares.
  3. Tesla Puts Model S Technology on Display


    MarketWatch (press release) - Nov 23, 2011

    PALO ALTO, CA, Nov 23, 2011 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) — Tesla Motors /quotes/zigman/118681/quotes/nls/tsla TSLA -1.93% is showing off the advanced technology
  4. Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA): Today’s Featured Automotive Winner


    TheStreet.com - Nov 16, 2011

    By TheStreet Wire 11/16/11 - 05:03 PM EST Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA) pushed the Automotive industry higher today making it today’s featured automotive winner.

    Buyers Accumulate Shares of Tesla Motors Inc, Up 2.6%‎ Financial News Network Online

News from the Electric Vehicle Market

Saturday, 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

Thursday, 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

Wednesday, 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?

Wednesday, 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

Saturday, 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

Saturday, 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

Saturday, 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

Tuesday, 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?

Tuesday, 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

Friday, 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

Thursday, 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?

Tuesday, 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

Tuesday, 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

Monday, 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

Monday, 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

Monday, 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

Monday, 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

Sunday, 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

Sunday, 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

Saturday, 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” »

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