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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

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.

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

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.

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” »

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” »

A Look at Tesla Motors

Friday, August 19th, 2011

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

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

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

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

Saturday, August 13th, 2011

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

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

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

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

Coulomb Technologies reveals two latest additions of ChargePoint networked charging station

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

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

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

Other ChargePoint Networked CT2020 family of charging stations features include:

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

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

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