Wednesday, October 21st, 2009
The IEC forum meets in Israel to standardize electric car charging stations so electric car owners can fuel up and road trip around the world.
So you bought a new electric car and think you can go on a road trip with it from the UK to Spain, then over to France, Eastern Europe and Turkey? Well, think again because it won’t be even as easy a trying to drive a right-hand drive car from the UK in Europe or America.
In fact, it could be downright difficult as not only the electric current may be different, the “codes” for recharging a car battery and the charging infrastructures may vary from country to country – even those who all claim to have a “standardized” 220 Volt 50 cycle electric current network.
Tuesday, October 20th, 2009
American cars with turbochargers are currently few and far between, but that may soon be changing. While a significant and sustained increase in the price of fuel would greatly boost demand for turbochargers, auto manufacturers’ need to comply with carbon emissions and fuel economy targets will be the primary drivers of the domestic turbocharger market. When compared with cars with similar horsepower, those with turbocharged smaller engines can reduce emissions by 20 to 40 percent, and can increase fuel economy by 15 to 20 percent.
As is often the case, the U.S. lags Europe in adoption of this technology, partly because it has primarily been used with diesel engines. Turbochargers are now used in about half of all European cars. By comparison, U.S. penetration is at just five percent.
Tuesday, October 20th, 2009
A U.S. company and its Chinese partner will test electric buses using ultracapacitors that would be chargeable at stops every few miles. The latest ultracapacitors store only 5 percent of the energy that lithium-ion batteries can hold, making them impractical for passenger vehicles. But proponents say the fact that buses have to stop frequently — and at predictable locations — make them a more logical use of the technology.
Virginia-based Sinautec Automobile Technologies and Shanghai Aowei Technology Development Company, a partnership that has run 17 similar runs outside Shanghai for the last three years, will test the technology this week at American University in Washington, D.C.
Unlike traditional trolleys that stay connected to electric lines throughout their route, there is a collector on top of the Sinautec vehicle that would connect to a re-charging line at bus stops every two or three miles. Within three minutes, banks of ultracapacitors located beneath the seats of the bus would re-charge.
Monday, October 19th, 2009
A major new regulatory requirement, starting January 1, 2010, will affect most large industrial and utility combustion sources in the US.
Fossil fuel and industrial greenhouse gas (GHG) suppliers, motor vehicle and engine manufacturers, and facilities that emit 25,000 metric tons or more of CO2 equivalent per year will be required to report GHG emissions data to EPA annually. This threshold is equivalent to about the annual GHG emissions from 4,600 passenger vehicles.
Monday, October 12th, 2009
A recent Jewish Telegraphic Agency article by Dina Kraft on clean technology takes a good look at a number of projects by Israeli clean tech industries and Israel’s military branches in the realm of renewable and alternative energy.
“Beating swords into green plowshares in Israel,” the article talks about solar energy energy companies such as Bright Source Energy, which is involved in building solar energy plants in California’s Mojave Desert and other locations; and Rotem, which utilizes technologies developed in Israel’s aeronautical defense industry.
Friday, October 2nd, 2009
Some heavyweights who know a thing or two about transportation are having a pointed online debate about whether or not electric vehicles should receive support from the federal government.
Terry Tamminen, who was Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency under Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, threw down the gauntlet last month in an editorial in which he stated that “it’s time to dump the battery-powered car in the same policy landfill as corn-based ethanol.”
Wednesday, September 30th, 2009
Sustainability advocates long ago adopted the mantra “buy local” to limit the carbon footprint of the goods purchased. Distributed energy that’s closer to the end user through smaller solar and wind power, is having an impact on the energy sector. The next industry to become more geography-centric in purchasing will be transportation.
The automotive and petroleum industries in the United States are also relatively centralized as well. While the largest companies have U.S. central offices, the supply strings are often pulled from far away places. But as electric vehicles and biofuels ramp up, their influence with local consumers and partners will become more significant.
Tuesday, September 29th, 2009
In Cape Town, South Africa, as well as in many U.S. cities, wealthy suburban dwellers choke roads driving into the city, eschewing the public transit that shuttles blue collar workers. The addition of bus and rail lines in the city’s center in anticipation of hosting the 2010 World Cup has city leaders increasing efforts to get people out of their cars and on to public transit.
In Cape Town, most white collar workers drive themselves to work, fearing crime on trains and on the 20-seat shared taxis that shuttle one-third of inner city commuters. Business leaders from the Cape Town Partnership, along with the University of Michigan and Ford, are working with the city’s largest employers to get more of the 400,000 daily commuters moving by alternative modes of transportation by establishing mobility hubs.
Monday, September 28th, 2009
Converting hybrid vehicles — particularly the Prius and Ford Escape — into plug-in hybrids has become a profitable niche industry for a few specialty companies. But the net impact of this new mini-industry has been much greater by influencing consumer and industry opinions.
Promoting the technical feasibility of PHEVs has been a significant factor in the auto manufacturers’ decision to develop the dozens of plug-in and all-electric vehicles now scheduled for delivery in the next five years.
But the earliest and strongest voice promoting PHEVs isn’t happy with that limited success. Felix Kramer, the founder of CalCars.org, says that getting to a million electrified vehicles by 2015 won’t do nearly enough to address climate change and energy independence, and now he’s setting his sights on electrifying internal combustion engine vehicles. He’s clearly on to something.
Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009
The arrival of electric vehicles onto a grid that is expanding its use of renewable power use provides many challenges for networking, communications, and resources management. Seasoned IT firms, viewing EVs as an integral part of the larger smart grid opportunity, are lining up to provide solutions that will enable renewable power and vehicles to help instead of hinder grid performance.
As referenced in my new research report for GigaOM IT and Networking Issues for the Electric Vehicle Market (subscription required), having companies like Cisco, IBM, GE and AT&T playing significant roles make sense because of their experience. Many of the challenges are strikingly similar to those faced when the Internet became a mainstream vehicle for business and commerce.