Thursday, August 6th, 2009
The Obama administration is hoping that $1.5 billion will finally be enough to make the U.S. a player in the global manufacturing of advanced batteries, which until now has been dominated by Asia.
Since most of the hybrids sold to date have been from Japanese manufacturers (with Toyota and Honda leading the way), it’s no surprise that the batteries that power their electric drive trains are also mostly from Japan. However, Ford has been purchasing batteries for its Escape Hybrid from Sanyo, and GM is buying batteries from Korean company LG Chem for the upcoming Chevrolet Volt. GM had been buying batteries for its hybrids from troubled U.S.-based Cobasys, which was just acquired by Japan’s Samsung.
Thursday, August 6th, 2009
This post is dedicated to my hometown, Hazleton Pennsylvania
This corridor hits close to home for your humble correspondent as I, Alexander John Lennartz, am a born and raised Pennsylvanian…who did not step foot on a passenger train in the state until age 25 when I moved to the greater Philadelphia area.
In my part of the country there is no passenger rail. A fact of life for the good people of Northeast Pennsylvania is that you cannot live without a car. This was, is and for the foreseeable future will be to only mean of transportation over mid to long distances. Pennsylvania’s proud locomotive heritage has fallen to the point that many in the state regard trains in the historical sense, no longer are a form of modern transportation. The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania in Lancaster Country is a testament to when rails crisscrossed the Keystone State and help build and power America, moving goods and people quickly and efficiently.
Wednesday, August 5th, 2009
By all accounts the cash for clunkers incentive program has exceeded all expectations in both volume of sales, as well as answering skeptics by getting fuel inefficient vehicles off the road.
The new vehicles being purchased average nearly 10 mpg higher, saving nearly 4 million barrels of oil per year and eliminating the production of tons of greenhouse gases.
More importantly, the program and its surrounding attention seems to have driven consumers towards hybrids and fuel efficient vehicles even more than a 50 cent spike in the price of gasoline. According to Brian Benstock, the VP and GM of Paragon Honda and Acura, the program is also introducing new customers to imports. Benstock said the program has reversed the ratio of domestic/import trade-ins at his dealership. Previously about 70 percent of his customers were trading one import (mostly Hondas) for another. Now it’s the opposite: 70 percent of people walking in the door are swapping American made autos for Hondas.
Friday, July 31st, 2009
The cash for clunkers program is already proving too good to be true. The $1 billion in funds allocated for the program is almost gone after less than a week, and now congress is scrambling to get an additional $2 billion to extend the program.
With sales up at Ford and at dealerships, the program can be viewed as an unabashed success for the auto industry. And the environment is also winning, as the vehicles being purchased are estimated to be 69 percent more fuel efficient than the vehicles being dumped, according to the website CashForClunkersInformation.org.
Wednesday, July 29th, 2009
While San Francisco and Portland are each publicly claiming they’ll have the best electric vehicle networks in place in their cities, San Jose may be have made the most progress.
The city of San Jose has installed 7 charging stations so far, including spots at City Hall and a public parking garage. At the charging locations vehicle owners don’t pay for the power; instead they are charged based on the time in the parking spot. To simplify payment, EV owners get a keychain fob that’s connected to their credit card.
Nanci Klein, the manager of corporate outreach for the city, says vehicle chargers are being added to light poles in “key neighborhoods.” The city will take advantage of its control of the right of way on light poles (which will be upgraded as they are repaired) and in parking garage to create a network that will incentivize residents to purchase plug-in and battery-electric vehicles. San Jose’s redevelopment agency, as well as the Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration, have contributed funding to the project.
Wednesday, July 29th, 2009
As media sponsor of the 5th Germany California Solar Day that took place in San Francisco last month, CleanTechies is pleased to announce another exciting green tech event organized by the German American Chamber of Commerce:
Mobility 2030: Transportation Technologies & Lifestyles of the Future
Monday, July 27th, 2009
The Southeast Corridor will traverse the South on its way to link up to the Northeast Corridor in Washington D.C., but since the proposed line in these states (Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia) is so underwhelming and mediocre (110 mph top speed and no electrification of the line) the politics of high speed rail in this region is much more interesting and will be subject to analysis.
Here the focus will be on two major Southern politicians and their views on the Southeast Corridor and all high speed rail projects. The two men in question are Virginia House Republican Eric Cantor and South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford. These men will be spotlighted because of the recent discrepancy between their words and actions. Republicans like Cantor and Sanford have been the hatchet men of passenger rail for nearly 60 years. If politicians like them are to end their resistance to high speed rail, the American people would have the viable option of fast, convenient and comfortable trains.
Tuesday, July 21st, 2009
As a former resident of Florida (1999-2002…Go Seminoles) your author can assure you, the state is in need of high speed rail. The vast state makes travel times by car irritatingly long. The most extreme example is the drive from Pensacola to Key West. Distance of that journey is 828 miles, clocking in at over 13 hours. From anywhere in the panhandle to south Florida is an all day affair behind the wheel.
Drivers along the highways (especially 10) are under the close eye of the Highway Patrol and must keep the pace under 75 miles per hour for hours and hours and hours. Out of all the HSR corridors, Florida should have the most urgent need for speed. A 220 mph train would be the optimal mode of transit from Tallahassee all the way down to Miami. The length of that journey (480 miles) gives passenger rail a time advantage over cars and planes. Any trip less than 500 miles gives trains the upper hand concerning travel times.
Monday, July 13th, 2009
It’s good to have friends in high places. The Windy City is privileged to have the support of the man holding the highest office in the land, President Obama, to back a hub-and spoke high speed transit network with Chicago as its epicenter. The wheel sprawls in all directions, covering most of the major cities of the Midwest.
Obama is not the only proponent of the high speed rail in the Midwest. Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle is firmly behind the proposal. His conviction comes from a fact-finding mission to Spain he undertook this past winter. The Governor traveled on the Spanish high speed rail, the AVE (Alta Velocidad Española), and came back a believer of the system.
Governor Doyle was not only impressed by the comfort and speed of his journey, he saw the potential for jobs to be created in the manufacturing, maintenance and operation of an American high speed rail network running through his state into Chicago and beyond.
Friday, July 10th, 2009
Large, low-emission buses being introduced in developing cities from Mexico City to Ahmedabad, India are reducing congestion on crowded roadways and cutting pollution and carbon dioxide emissions, all at a much lower cost than constructing subways.
In Bogota, Colombia, city leaders took control of two to four center lanes of major boulevards for the TransMilenio rapid transit system. Small walls isolate the “tracks” of the bus lines from other traffic, and passengers are able to board the long, segmented buses from the center platforms of modern stations.