December, 2007

Financial Times on Th!nk

Plugs and Cars

Financial Times Deutschland has a report on Th!nk nk Global. Putting a little flesh on the bones of previous reporting. 10,000 Think City electric cars in 2009. Parts manufacturing in Thailand and Turkey. As previous reported, plan is to sell the car (€25,000) and lease the battery. Zebra batteries first. Online marketing and sales. Think says it has battery supply contracts with three companies, and is moving into production.

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Snatching the Transmission Back

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

Well, I'm back to square one again on the tranny. Rennsport Systems kept my transmission for over two months and didn't work on it. I asked the good folks over at 914world.com about the situation and most people suggested that I was waiting far too long and paying far too much for what I was doing. Two folks highly recommended I go out to the Rennsport shop without calling ahead of time and just take the transmission back, just to be sure they didn't start working on it as I drove over.

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Super Charge It

Plug In Partners

T his has been a good week for new advanced battery announcements. Here is a big story from the Japanese electronic giant Toshiba: " Toshiba have stunned the world with their announcement of what's pretty much the holy grail in Lithium battery technology – the Super Charge ion Battery , which recharges up to 90% of its energy in just five minutes , and has a lifespan of over 10 years.

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Subaru to Begin EV Sales in Japan in 2009

Plugs and Cars

Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI) has issued a press release, according to Green Car Congress , announcing that 2009 rather than 2010 will see the sales of the first 100 electric Subarus in Japan. FHI's President Ikuo Mori foresees the price down below $20,00 by 2012 for this subcompact, as production ramps up for the Lithium battery packs.

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Electric Smart Car ForTwo Delivered by Mercedes

Plugs and Cars

Mercedes-Benz has delivered the first of 100 electric Smart ForTwos to fleet customers in the UK. Coventry City Council will be using the electric Smart in its fleet. Smart Car of America has the most complete report, straight from Daimler, with most of the relevant stats. The energy storage is a sodium nickel chloride battery. Same battery the first new Th!nk nk City cars are said to be using. Only stat missing in the report is the size of the battery pack.

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Popular Mechanics Takes Aptera for a Drive

Plugs and Cars

This wingless Jetsonian vehicle has seemed to me to be too much design, too much gadgetry, too much website, and not enough practical, buildable car. I thought I could smell the vapor. Well, Popular Mechanics asked and the Aptera folks let them in. The magazine's Ben Stewart took the all electric car (3 wheeler) for a 20 mile spin in Carlsbad CA. And he came back impressed. There's video , lots of stills and most of the basic stats you'd want to know. And plans for a serial plug-in hybrid.

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Electric Car Salute to Al Gore in Oslo

Plugs and Cars

Electric cars, including many Th!nk nk City cars and at least one RAV4 EV, turned out in large numbers to salute Al Gore, lining Oslo streets as he drove (in a gasser) to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. click on the photo below to see more photos thanks to ElBil Norge , click on the video image to see Youtube video.) Electric car advocates know that nothing can take a bigger bite out of greenhouse gas emissions than switching from internal combustion to electric drive.

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EPA Says No: Dems Get Rolled Again

Plugs and Cars

It took less than 12 hours. The Democrats got rolled again. Bush started the day signing the energy bill that Nancy Pelosi called "earth-shattering change in terms of energy policy" and Sierra Club's Carl Pope said "is a clean break with the failed energy policies of the past and puts us on the path toward a cleaner, greener energy future."

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Everybody Happy: Bush to Sign Do-little Energy Bill

Plugs and Cars

The opening line of the Detroit News story says all you need to know: The House approved a stripped-down energy bill Tuesday and sent it to President George Bush, who is expected to sign the legislation. The headline is a 35mpg CAFE standard for cars produced 13 years from now. Big whoop. The best stuff in the bill is energy efficiency standards, including phasing out the incandescent light bulb.

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Senate Strives for Palatable Energy Bill; Plug-in Credits In

Plugs and Cars

The Detroit News is reporting on the efforts in the Senate to craft a viable energy bill. As presently consitituted, the Senate bill drops the requirement of electricity generators to achieve 15% renewable sources, but includes higher CAFE standards and major provisions for plug-ins, including conversions. The bill also increases to just more than $1 billion consumer tax credits for buying a plug-in hybrid, with a $5,000 per-vehicle maximum.

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Menahem Anderman: Enough Already

Plugs and Cars

Menahem Anderman, PhD, is Mister Battery Consultant. CARB, DOE, Congress all seem to turn to him to analyze the state of battery technology. His reports always suggest batteries won't quite cut it for freeway-capable cars. His report at CARB in 2003 seemed to suggest the electric cars then on the road couldn't be functioning as well as they were. Drivers of electric cars were stunned at his low opinion of the state of battery technology.

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EV1 Stirs Emotions Decade Later

Plugs and Cars

An emotional Alexandra Paul, actress who appeared in Who Killed the Electric Car? , is interviewed by Matt Kelley of Next Gear in front of an EV1 that made an appearance at RenewableLa put on by by Energy Efficiency Solar. I gather GM really did destroy the molds and sever relationships with suppliers, but it is so clear that if they simply re-released the EV1 today it would still be a show stopper. Who thinks that GM couldn't sell 5-10,000 EV1s for between $50,000 and $75,000?

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German Battery, German Electric Car?

Plugs and Cars

An Agence France Presse report has produced a small flurry of articles this past week, here and here , for example, that has a German company developing Lithium batteries that would be suitable for electric cars. Li-tec is said to be working in cooperation with Bosch and Volkswagen, which has heightened interest. One can only hope, despite scant evidence, that the fierce grip of internal combustion on the German automakers might loosen.

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Slate's EV Acid Test: Are electric cars greener?

Plugs and Cars

Every electric car advocate is asked the same question every day: Are EVs really cleaner, greener, better for the environment? The long tailpipe, and all that. Slate, the online magazine, has an enviro Q&A column, The Green Lantern , that asks the question today. Driving one still has an environmental cost, mostly associated with the use of Santa's most feared stocking-stuffer: 49.7 percent of our nation's electricity is generated by the burning of coal.

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Th!nk City: Electric Civic for the 21st century?

Plugs and Cars

Business 2.0's s Green Wombat blogger Todd Woody has written up an optimistic report on the Th!nk nk City titled A Honda Civic for the age of global warming. As I mentioned a week or so ago, the first new Th!nk nk City electric car has rolled off its Norwegian assemblyline. Everything in the piece agrees with our previous understanding - Zebra batteries for now, EnerDel and A123 Lithium in the future; battery leasing in Norway; US release a number of years away at best.

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French CO2 Feebate Plan Good News for Electric Cars

Plugs and Cars

The French government's Ministry of Ecology has instituted a CO2 based "feebate" scheme. Low emission vehicles will receive a rebate, high emission cars will be assessed a fee. Mid level emitters, representing about 45% of the cars currently sold, will be unaffected. As reported on the Green Car Congress website , electric vehicles would receive 5 times the rebate available to the best currently conceivable ICE vehicle.

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EVS23: It's the Plug, Stupid

Plugs and Cars

John Voelker has posted from EVS23 for IEEE's Spectrum, and he ain't writing about fuel cells. Except to point out that Honda's FCV rep actually got hissed as he dissed lithium batteries. The same lithium batteries without which Honda's much heralded Clarity who chug along like a quiet 1960s era VW bug. The FCX Clarity will be leased for $600 a month, starting next summer, to selected customers in Southern California.

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IEEE Tech Talk: Times They are a'Changin'

Plugs and Cars

IEEE Tech Talk's John Voelker's report is titled EVS-23: A Surge of Energy for Electric Cars. It is a first comment on the palpable difference being experienced at this year's Electric Vehicle Symposium (EVS23), the electric drive industry trade show. An astounding 450 people attended Sunday's plug-in hybrid workshop. A member of congress, for the first time, spoke from the floor about promoting electric vehicles through federal legislation. Five major automakers have expensive displays.

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A123 & LG Chem Battery Packs for Chevy Volt Unveiled at EVS23

Plugs and Cars

GM-Volt.com is reporting on battery announcements at EVS23. Both A123 and LG Chem/Compact Power have delivered packs to GM for testing in the Volt. GM has announced plans for real world testing in vehicles in spring 2008, and with these batteries in hand, they appear to be meeting their announced timetable

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Entourage Star Breaks Parking Law in BMW Hydrogen 7

Plugs and Cars

It's a shame the video on TMZ.com doesn't include the reporter's voiceover, because the narration I heard when the story aired on TV caught the reality of hydrogen hype better than most serious enviro journalism. Automakers using movie stars to greenwash was its essence. The story, as reported on TMZ.com: He's all for saving the environment, but Jeremy Piven also likes to break the law!

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