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JAN 18

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Atlantic City Offshore Wind Farm Could Start Construction in the Fall
Written by Megan Treacy on 18/01/12   

Offshore wind farm projects have finally been receiving approval in the U.S., but none have started construction yet.  A 25-MW project planned for off the coast of Atlantic City could step up and propecia w/o perscription break ground first if approval comes in March.

The developers of the project, Fisherman's Energy of Cape May, have announced that they're ready to start construction in the fall if approval is given from the New Jersey Board of only best offers soft levitra tablets Public Utilities.  The five-turbine wind farm will be capable of powering 10,000 homes and could be finished and feeding electricity to the grid by Labor Day 2013.

The Atlantic City project could be the first constructed of a series of wind farms planned as part of the East Coast wind corridor, stretching from Virginia to New York City and with major financial backers like Google and grants from the federal government.



JAN 18

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Introducing Coda, a New EV Manufacturer
Written by Philip Proefrock on 18/01/12   

One of the surprises at this year's NAIAS was the presence of several companies with exclusively electric vehicle lines. Tesla has been at the show regularly for the past few years, but this year also saw the presence of several electric vehicle (EV) companies on the main floor. One of these companies is Coda, a company that has just a single model at the present time (the website refers to "The Car", singular).

The Coda is largely manufactured in China. The company website says that, "Our chassis and body (glider) are manufactured at an existing facility we lease and operate in China... we ship the glider to California, where we install the cialis no rx required energy storage system, and complete vehicle assembly. The final inspection and quality assurance processes also take place in California." However, they also note that, "The majority of buy discount viagra the vehicle’s key electric drive components are manufactured in the United States."

Coda does not have particularly distinctive styling; it's a stealth EV in that sense, looking more like a generic compact car, rather than a distinctively recognizable car like a Volt or a Prius or a LEAF. The car is a 5-seater with a range of up to 150 miles. The battery is lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) with a capacity of 36 kWh. The base price for the Coda is $39,900.

It will be interesting to see if Coda is able to get a foothold in markets in the US or elsewhere.  Is this the beginning of something new, or just a blip in the turbulent automotive world?


JAN 17

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The State of Electric Vehicles in 2012
Written by Philip Proefrock on 17/01/12   

Electric vehicles have certainly slid from their peak of prominence at the 2010 NAIAS, but they hold a place in the overall automotive fleet that will only continue to grow. Whether or not they are going to replace the internal combustion engine is a separate debate that I don't propose to weigh in on here.

As I noted in my first article about this year's Detroit Auto Show, some kind of hybrid or EV seems to be a part of having a complete line for all the major car makers. More Priuses from Toyota, the VW E-Bugster concept, Ford's C-Max and hybrid and EV Fusion models, and other examples all add to the fleet of electric vehicles available.

In addition to the big manufacturers, there were three companies dedicated to electric drive vehicles that were on the main floor this year: Tesla, Coda, and VIA (more about these forthcoming). AMP Motors also had two vehicles on the lower level Ride & Drive track, and is exhibiting in the Concourse during the Public Show period.

While many small companies had a main floor presence with the 'Electric Avenue' that was part of the 2010 show, those three companies were there with freestanding displays, rather than just being part of a specialty side show. (By my count there are 37 nameplates on the main floor, so, by that measure, EVs are approaching 10 percent of the brands showing at NAIAS; it doesn't mean anywhere near that number of EVs are in the global fleet, but I think it does indicate that they are a growing presence in the market.)

Straight electric vehicles are still expensive to buy, and though those costs will come down, they are going to remain a barrier for many buyers. Extended-range electric vehicles offer short-range all-electric drive and plug-in economy along with range flexibility of a liquid-fueled vehicle. All-electric EVs have limitations, and aren't suitable for every driver, but neither tiny subcompacts nor monster SUVs meet every need, either. All vehicle choices include tradeoffs, and for some drivers' needs, all electric vehicles are a viable solution.

Cold weather, which has been a concern for EVs in general, seems to be starting to be addressed (after all, some EVs are going to be driven in parts of the US other than the Southwest). The newer Nissan LEAF will have seat warmers and steering wheel warmers, which will cut into the best price generic cialis overall driving range, but will make it more comfortable to drive on cold days.

Maintenance is another factor that many electric drive companies are starting to discuss. Electric motors need much less maintenance than ICE engines, and the reduced maintenance costs will be another factor that will more readily be figured into the consumer economics of total EV ownership cost.

Lastly, if you haven't seen them already, shortly before this year's NAIAS, there was a discussion about electric vehicles between Joel Johnson's You Are Not Alone. America Hates Electric Cars (Jalopnik) and Maggie Koerth-Baker's Hey, electric cars don't totally suck: A realistic sort-of rebuttal (BoingBoing). There are good points made in both articles, and those with a strong opinion on the subject may be interested in reading these two articles as well.

image: EcoGeek

links: Green Cars at NAIAS 2012
You Are Not Alone. America Hates Electric Cars
Hey, electric cars don't totally suck: A realistic sort-of rebuttal (BoingBoing)


JAN 17

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Military Bases in California Desert Could Generate 7 GW of Solar Power
Written by Megan Treacy on 17/01/12   

A study released by the Department of Defense found that four miltary bases located in the California desert could generate 7 GW of solar power, the equivalent of buy viagra low price seven nuclear power plants.

The department studied nine different bases located in California and Nevada to uncover the solar energy potential and found that even though 96 percent of the land on those bases was unsuitable for solar development, there still existed enough suitable land on four California bases to generate more than 30 times the electricity used by those bases.  That 7-GW potential also equals about 25 percent of the renewable energy that the state is requiring utilities to use by 2015.

The department is looking to make distributed installations of solar, wind, geothermal and usefull link viagra samples in canada other renewable energy sources in order to bring down cost and also to make the bases more self-sufficient, hopefully allowing them to run operations for weeks or months if any interruptions occurred in power from the grid.

The four military bases that will likely see solar power development based on this study are Edwards Air Force Base, Fort Irwin, China Lake and Twentynine Palms.

via DoD


JAN 17

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Sprint Will Require Green Phones
Written by Philip Proefrock on 17/01/12   

Cell phones are a big source of e-waste, accounting for millions of phones that are discarded annually. Some steps have been taken to try to make some cell phones greener, but it's been small measures so far. However, wireless network provider Sprint is now planning to require all of the cell phones for the network to have green certification.

The standard for mobile phones, developed by UL Environment along with cell phone manufacturers and other industry members, is known as UL ISR 110 (PDF). It is a third-party testing standard that evaluates phones in the categories of Materials Use, Energy Use, Health and Environment, End of Life Management, Packaging, Manufacturing and Operations, and Innovation.

The Samsung Replenish is the first handset to achieve certification under this standard. The Replenish is largely recyclable, as well as having recycled content for many of its components. Sprint hopes to have 70 percent of its handsets meet the certification by the ned of selling levitra online next year.

via: GreenBiz


JAN 17

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Bubbles Could Make Cargo Ships More Efficient
Written by Philip Proefrock on 17/01/12   

Cargo ships could start traveling through clouds of bubbles as a means for increasing their efficiency. Air lubrication consists of injecting air into the water underneath a ship to reduce the friction, which should allow the ship to travel faster while using less fuel.

Naval engineers are looking at the tradeoffs between the energy needed to blow air bubbles underneath ships and the benefits in increased efficiency this would provide. At present, they believe this could lead to increased fuel efficiency of 5 to 20 percent for freighters.

This technology is likely to make its first appearance on freighters on the Great Lakes, rather than on ocean-going cargo vessels. "Great Lakes ships tend to have large, flat bottoms – an ideal shape for the technology because air stays underneath the ship instead of bubbling to the surface." However, if it brings efficiency improvements, it can be expected that air lubrication will be adapted to new ocean freighters.

image: via Wikimedia Commons

via: Midwest Energy News


JAN 13

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Secretary Chu Predicts Steep Decline in EV Battery Prices
Written by Megan Treacy on 13/01/12   

At a speech this week in Detroit, Energy Secretary Dr. Steven Chu made some very hopeful predictions about the electric car industry, namely that the cost of electric car batteries would drop by 70 percent by 2015 compared to 2008 prices.

Secretary Chu said that we were on track to see the cost of a battery for a plug-in hybrid EV with a 40-mile range drop to $3,600 by 2015 compared to $12,000 in 2008.  By 2020, he said we would see that cost drop to $1,500, an 87.5 percent drop from 2008 prices.

What industry experts have been saying all along seems to be finally coming true.  As manufacturing has ramped up and technology has advanced, the cost of EV batteries, the most expensive part of the vehicles, has dropped.  Soon enough we'll hit a major turning point where EVs are less expensive to buy and fast viagra own than conventional cars.

Secretary Chu also sees breakthroughs coming in batteries other than the current standard lithium-ion such as lithium-air, lithium-sulfur and different metal-air versions.  The DOE is opening a new research lab later this year called the Energy Innovation Hub which will bring together scientists, engineers and experts on the business side of things to develop more advanced, quicker charging and longer lasting batteries that cost less.  The lab will focus on developments that would bring about large leaps in performance that could be prototyped this decade, not on small incremental improvements.

via DOE


JAN 12

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U.K. Approves New High Speed Rail Line
Written by Megan Treacy on 12/01/12   

The U.K. is now even closer to having a high speed rail line that connects the farthest corners of levitra now online the English countryside. The first phase of the High Speed Two line, which will link London and Birmingham, has been approved.

The new Y-shaped rail network will ultimately connect Leeds, Manchester, London, Birmingham and a port that uses the Channel Tunnel to cross over to mainland Europe. The network will also include a direct route to Heathrow Airport and link to existing rail lines.

The trains on the line will run at speeds up to 250 miles per hour, making the free levitra sample trip from Birmingham to London in just 49 minutes compared to the 84 minutes it takes today. Other popular routes will be cut in half as well. The government expects 9 million car commutes and we choice buy branded levitra 4.5 million plane commutes to be replaced by train commutes every year when the rail line is completed.

The first phase will start construction soon and could be running by 2026. The second phase, which will reach Manchester and Leeds, could start construction as soon as 2014 and be running by 2033.

via BBC


JAN 10

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Austin Energy Turns On Largest Solar Project in Texas
Written by Megan Treacy on 10/01/12   

A 30 MW solar farm in Webberville, Texas began generating power on December 20, 2011.  The project is the biggest in the state, the largest solar project of any utility in the country and one of the largest in the country overall.

The 380-acre Webberville Solar Project contains 127,000 PV panels that track the sun to maximize electricity output.  The project has a 25-year power purchase agreement with Austin Energy, the country's leading utility for renewable energy. This new solar farm will put the utility well on its way to getting 35 percent of its portfolio from renewable sources by 2020.

The project is expected to generate 1.4 billion kWh over the first 25 years and prevent the release of 1.6 billion pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere in that same time frame.

via Austin Energy

Green Cars at NAIAS 2012
Written by Philip Proefrock on 10/01/12   

Two years ago, automakers were scrambling to out-green each other and to emphasize their green halo, and the show's main floor included an 'Electric Avenue' with all manner of unusual vehicles (most of which have not returned). But the age of the bamboo thumb drive has already passed. As we noted last year, hybrids and electric drive vehicles now just seem to be an expected part of the mix in a manufacturer's line. Along with this, relatively simple features like auto-start/stop are becoming more prevalent in more models.

A couple of new companies on this year's show floor were particularly interesting. These include Coda, a company that is selling electric drive cars. They seem to have just a single model, but the company looks like a more complete contender than BYD, another Chinese manufacturer that has been at show the past couple of years, was not present at this year's show. (The Coda body and cialis order canada battery are manufactured in China, but final assembly takes place in the US.)

VIA Motors is another newcomer to the main floor. Like AMP Motors, VIA is modifying existing vehicles (in this case GM pickups, SUVs and vans) to convert them into extended-range electric vehicles. With the improved efficiency and all electric drive, VIA states their vehicles get "over 100 mpg in typical daily driving."

Some of the other green entries appearing at this year's show include:

Honda - although the Civic Natural Gas is this year's Green Car of the Year, it seems to be a sideshow to the rest of the Honda display.

Ford - the Focus is being built in a variety of configurations, with gasoline, hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrain versions all available. The Ford C-MAX is a multi-activity vehicle (MAV) that will be Ford's "first dedicated hybrid vehicle line."

Chevrolet - the Volt is there, but not with a big display, and Eco options for the Malibu and Cruze are also sharing the green attention. Small cars are also a part of the Chevrolet program, but with more of viagra in india an emphasis on appealing to young buyers than on efficiency.

Volkswagen - unveiled the Jetta hybrid with a combined fuel economy of 45 mpg. It's a mild hybrid with only very limited electric drive range, but gives VW another high mileage option to diesel. Also, the E-Bugster EV.

Toyota - the Prius c was unveiled as the smallest member of the Prius series with an under $20k price tag. Other Prius models include the third-generation base Prius, the larger Prius v, and the plug-in Prius.

Nissan - after not appearing at last year's show, Nissan had a presence this year that included the cheap discount viagra LEAF, which was also available on the Ride & Drive track.

Tesla - the Model S sedan was on display, along with a bare frame showing the battery platform.

previously: Connected Cars a Theme for NAIAS 2012

images: EcoGeek


JAN 10

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Connected Cars a Theme for NAIAS 2012
Written by Philip Proefrock on 10/01/12   

Both the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit and the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas are underway this week. I went to the auto show (largely because it's closer), but a lot of this year's emphasis seems to be on the integration of cars with cloud computing.

Green cars are present, but they aren't the focus they have been in previous years. In their floor displays, Chevrolet's Volt, Nissan's Leaf, and the Toyota Priuses (among others) are just another part of the lineup, without a lot of special attention. The Honda Civic Natural Gas car, which won the Green Car of the Year, sits off to the side of the Honda display like a tacked on afterthought.  Everyone may still have EVs and hybrids, but it seems that they're an expected part of a complete line, and don't need to be emphasized as in previous years.

Several manufacturers presentations focused on making the car a connected platform, emphasizing smart features like navigation and integration with social media. Ford's 'Cloud' presentation is a 12-seat ride that raises up above the show floor into a 360 degree panorama presentation about the connectedness of their systems.

More broadly, this starts to present the car as a service rather than just a product; the connectivity the car offers instead of a thing that one has. One of Ford's displays around the 'Cloud' exhibit graphically shows the percentage of automobile owners in several world cities. If automakers are starting to see this as a trend, there could be something more revolutionary going on, and even more overlap between NAIAS and CES may be forthcoming in the coming years.


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