January, 2007

How do you keep those Batteries Going?

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

One of the major issues with electric vehicles is keeping the battery pack healthy so it lasts a long time. The issue with having a long string of batteries is that when you charge them, not all batteries charge at the same rate. Without going in with your multi-meter and measuring the voltage on all the batteries individually, it's hard to keep track of which ones aren't as charged as the others.

2007 100

Investors Daily: Pull the Plug on Ethanol

Plugs and Cars

Investors Business Daily posted an editorial this week, Just Plain Fuelish , that just plain gets it. A smorgasbord of research alternatives and subsidized if politically profitable good intentions just won't cut it anymore. IBD is ready to choose. And they choose electricity, not ethanol. The State of the Union may have seen Sen. Grassley dancing in the aisles, but Investors rains on the ethanol parade.

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Ford Edge Follows

Plug In Partners

E arlier this month, the announcement of the GM Volt eclipsed another important announcement at the Detroit show. Ford is now getting the word out that the Ford Edge crossover platform gives the company "the ultimate in flexibility in researching advanced propulsion technology" and thus could easily use a small gasoline or downsized diesel engine in lieu of the fuel cell.

2007 100

Detroit Faces Skeptical Washington; Bush Long on Rhetoric

Plugs and Cars

The Detroit News story today, Big 3's call for U.S. aid gets cool reception , outlines the predicament faced by automakers and Washington. Many lawmakers are pressuring for action on fuel efficiency. The automakers came begging for research dollars and restraint on CAFE standards. As Michigan Democrats line up with the most Republicans to protect the Big 3 on CAFE standards, Bush has already disappointed Detroit on the money front: GM, Ford Motor Co.

2007 100

The Charger Arrives

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

Whew, the charger arrived last night. I'm glad it didn't get lost in shipping. I have to be careful sometimes because the UPS guy leaves stuff behind a post on my front porch and sometimes I don't look there when I get home. Although I haven't fired it up, the charger seems to be in one piece. The specs say that it draws 115V at 20 amps. I'll ask Zivan if I can tune down the required power so I can plug it into the 15A/115V outlet at work.

2007 100

A Jewish Electric Car?

Plugs and Cars

A report from IsraelNationalNews.com out of Davos reports on talks to build electric cars in Israel. At the just-ended World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Shimon Peres held informal talks about building an electric-car factory in Israel with representatives of Toyota and Renault. It's about time. If there's one country that ought to have long ago developed a domestic electric car industry it is Israel. No oil of its own should be reason enough.

2007 100

Tesla Powered Th!nks?

Plugs and Cars

Michael Kanellos over at CNetNews.com reports from the recent Clean-Tech Investor Summit that Tesla Motors will be selling its battery packs to other electric car companies. First in line appears to be Th!nk nk Global of Norway with its ready-for-manufacture Th!nk nk City. Martin Eberhard, CEO of Tesla Motors, said that Tesla has formed a group called Tesla Energy Now to sell battery packs to other companies. "A A certain unnamed Scandinavian electric car company has become a customer," he said.

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More Trending

The Reality of AltFuels Under Bush

Plugs and Cars

Maybe he means it this time. Perhaps the 7th SOTU mention will be the charm. But a story in today's NY Times, Energy Research on a Shoestring , suggests otherwise. President Jimmy Carter established the National Renewable Energy Laboratory at the edge of the Rockies, but its always been afterthought of America's energy policy.

2007 100

SOTU: Will Bush Plug Plug-ins?

Plugs and Cars

First hint from the NY Times says ethanol will be the big winner in Bush's State of the Union Address. Advocates of plug-in cars are hoping for a another good word and perhaps some funding for plug-in hybrids. We'll see. Springtime for Ethanol (registration required) In his State of the Union address, President Bush is expected to call for a huge increase in the amount of ethanol that refiners mix with gasoline, probably double the current goal of 7.5 billion gallons by 2012.

2007 100

Overflow Crowd in Lodi (!) for Electric Car Film

Plugs and Cars

Lodi News-Sentinel Reports Over 400 people turned out for a free viewing of Who Killed the Electric Car? in Lodi, CA last night. Lodi is not hippie or Hollywood. It's an agricultural town of less than 60,000 in reliably Republican San Joaquin County. The event was sponsored by the Lodi Municipal Electric utility, which leases five all electric RAV4 EVs from Toyota.

2007 100

More Delays

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

Over the past few weeks I've been trying to contact the folks at Electro Automotive to get the status of the EV 914 kit. They finally responded last night and apparently they're completely buried under the demand for EV conversion kits. Mike and Shari both have colds and the welder that creates the frames for the battery holders is quite backlogged. It looks like this is going to take some patience.

2007 100

Automaker Plug-in Hybrid PR Flurry

Plugs and Cars

In the wake of the Chevy Volt presentation by GM, my "plug-in hybrid" google alert has filled my inbox with reports from other automakers about their PHEV projects. The buzz about the Volt has generated automaker PR reactions. One big corporate "ME TOO!" Daimler/Chrysler has dusted off its long ago announced Sprinter PHEV. Nancy Goia of Ford got some ink for comments at the Automotive News World Congress in Detroit. Even Honda got in on the act. Next up, President Bush.

2007 100

Vote for the Volt

Plugs and Cars

GM wants to know if you think they should make the Volt. As of today, it's Yes: 106,000; No: 1800. Vote for the Volt. It can't hurt. UPDATE: FWIW Sun 6pm. Yes: 156,000 UPDATE: Tuesday 1am: Yes 200,000 UPDATE: Tues 6pm: Yes 214,000 UPDATE: Friday 12:30 am Yes 265,000 UPDATE: Saturday 5:45 pm Yes 287,000

2007 100

Grist Writer Gets the URGE2 Electrify

Plugs and Cars

David Roberts is a staff writer at Grist , an online enviro magazine. He's written a piece in TomPaine.com that deserves attention. As Roberts' posits, 2007 holds out tremendous promise, the stars are aligned. Everyone is paying attention to green. But enviros are all over the map. They have no consensus message. Everything from light bulbs to organic food, to flex-fuel cars to a carbon freeze tax—no, make that a cap-and-trade program—clamors for attention.

2007 100

NPR Science Friday on the Chevy Volt

Plugs and Cars

NPR's Science Friday with Ira Flatow spent half an hour on the Volt. Bill Moore of EVWorld.com , Paul Scott of Plug In America. Enthusiasm and scepticism. Well worth the listen. link].

2007 100

Tortillas and Ethanol

Plugs and Cars

Corn and petroleum course through our veins. As Michael Pollan convincingly argues in The Omnivore's Dilemma , what we eat has become almost as corn-based as our driving is petroleum-based. And without cheap oil, corn would not have become Big Corn, the big agricultural combines (principally ADM and Cargill). Now corn is making a play for a chunk of the transportation market once surrendered to Big Oil.

2007 100

Huh?

Plugs and Cars

Associated Press report in The State of Columbia, South Carolina "The Volt overcomes range, noise and power issues that plagued previous electric cars." Noise issues?

2007 100

Out of the Closet? Is the Saab BioPower a Plug-in Hybrid?

Plugs and Cars

In Stockholm and LA it was just the BioPower 100, a 100% ethanol fueled hybrid. A premature press release identified it as a plug-in, but that was withdrawn and the plug was not to be found. It had, perhaps, been glued shut. Now that the Volt has premiered in Detroit to huzzahs and widespread press, this Saab , yet another GM concept hybrid, has been unveiled, again. Although Plenty magazine identifies it as a plug-in, nothing in the press material I found confirms this.

2007 100

GM Volts Ahead

Plug In Partners

W e had heard rumors that GM would show something special at the Detroit Auto Show , and the rumors were true. Here is part of the story from the Flint Journal Detroit shocker: GM unveils plug-in hybrid - and plans to build it The Flint Journal Sunday, January 07, 2007 By Todd Seibttseibt DETROIT - General Motors unveils a shocking concept car today: the Chevrolet VOLT. The VOLT moves GM toward a car driven solely by electrical components - yes, an electric car.

2007 100

Chevy Volt: Can't We All Just Get Along?

Plugs and Cars

What a difference a week or two can make. Chris Paine, director of "Who Killed the Electric Car?," is attending the Detroit Auto Show. And he's not the pariah-in-residence. He's all charged up about the Chevy Volt. So is Detroit. Just two weeks ago Free Press auto critic Mark Phelan was twisting Mr. Paine's words to justify GM killing the EV1. Now Phelan , GM, Paine and Chelsea Sexton, Plug In America's Executive Director, all seem to be on the same page.

2007 100

Chevy Volt & Ford Airstream: The Plug-in that Could Be & the Plug-in that Couldn't Possibly

Plugs and Cars

Amidst the well-deserved hoopla about GM's plug-in serial hybrid Chevy Volt , Ford is touting its own equally ugly plug-in hybrid concept car. GM's vehicle is eminently buildable today, as it relies on two energy sources that are available: grid electricity and gasoline. Ford makes no pretense of its intention not to produce its car. In place of a small gasoline generator, it relies on a hydrogen fuel cell to generate the electricity once the grid-charged Lithium batteries are depleted.

2007 100

It's Got a Name: Chevrolet "Volt" Plug-in Hybrid

Plugs and Cars

With an Auto Show overview article dated tomorrow, Sunday, Jan 7, the New York Times becomes the first publication to name the much-anticipated GM plug-in hybrid vehicle. General Motors will unveil an electric concept car, the Chevrolet Volt, which has created the most buzz in advance of the show. says the Volt, a plug-in hybrid, could deliver the equivalent of 150 miles a gallon.

2007 100

Toward a Plug-in Hybrid Saturn Vue

Plugs and Cars

GM today announced two contracts to "design and test lithium-ion batteries" for use in the Saturn Vue Plug-in Hybrid announced last month at the LA Auto Show. Johnson Controls/SAFT, the huge battery company at which President Bush first publicly announced his support for plug-in hybrids, received one contract. A partnership of Cobasys (Chevron/ECD) and A123 got the second.

2007 100

Toyota President's New Year's Letter

Plugs and Cars

Toyota released (and EVworld.com reprints ) President Watanabe's New Year's letter to employees. He mentions continued focus on hybrid technologies, including "research and development for plug-in hybrids" and the introduction in Brazil of a "flexible fuel vehicle (FFV) that can run on 100 percent bioethanol fuel." Not a word about hydrogen or fuel cells.

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