When planning a cruise, make sure to set sail with an environmentally friendly cruise ship. Since the ships are like floating cities, make sure the cruise you take is not damaging the water that it floats in.
Electric car supporters and companies have responded to a slap down by the Washington Post editorial board last week, which accused the Obama Administration of wasting money to help launch electric vehicles, such as GM’s Volt and Nissan’s Leaf.
Climate action is so far off the agenda in Washington it may as well be floating on an island of melting sea ice. With dozens of lawmakers expressing doubts about whether climate change is real or is some zany idea cooked up by 10,000 scientists, issues like cap-and-trade have been iced. Even environmentalists now speak about amorphous “pollution” instead of those off-putting greenhouse gases.
Thankfully, though, clean energy, electric cars and high-speed rail – the nuts-and-bolts improvements that could help America build muscle in manufacturing and technology sectors, salvage its remaining natural spaces and reduce “pollution” (wink, wink) — remain firmly on the table.
At least that’s where the president has placed them.
In what may have been his most pointedly green national speech, President Barak Obama called out ambitious, explicit green energy goals in last night’s State of the Union Address. Obama wants a transformed America to be:
The first nation to put 1 million electric cars on the ground
Could Nissan’s marketers have planned this any better?
Just as the carmaker is in the midst of a national tour of the Leaf, its much ballyhooed new electric plug-in, competitor Toyota finds itself in a tailspin over mysterious sudden acceleration events that now affect even its energy-efficient darling, the Prius.
The Prius, the nation’s best-selling and highest mileage hybrid car, looked to have a fruitful future, until this week, when it was implicated along with other Toyota brands in a safety scandal that grows larger with every news cycle.
The Leaf is not a hybrid, but part of the new generation of all-electric, plug-in vehicles (EVs) that will go head to head with hybrids already on the road. Due in showrooms this coming fall/winter, the Leaf is riding the leading edge of this new technology. It will offer excellent mileage as well as zero carbon tailpipe emissions (the car will still have an energy footprint related to its electricity use, which could be clean or fossil fuel energy, depending on where it is charged).
Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced today that the Department of Energy has made a $1.4 billion loan to Nissan North America that will pay for the modification of the automaker’s Smyrna, Tenn., manufacturing plant to produce the new all-electric Nissan LEAF.
In addition to producing the zero-emission EV at the existing plant, a newly built plant will make the lithium-ion battery packs to power the next-generation car.
By Wayne Freedman
FREMONT, CA (KGO) — In Fremont on Wednesday night, workers at a startup celebrated a new deal with Nissan. Their company is just a short distance from the New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc., or NUMMI, plant owned by Toyota. The small startup hopes to play a big role in the car business. In a time and a place where manufacturing feels as if it’s disappearing, here is a reason for hope. >> Read the full story
Nissan has opened a chat room to discuss it’s newly unveiled all-electric vehicle (EV), the Leaf, with potential customers.
The car company’s also publishing more pictures of the family sedan, due out in 2010 and revealed this past weekend in Japan.
Many of the questions, predictably, center on the infrastructure to support electric vehicles. For instance, how does an apartment-dweller recharge the thing? There’s not a great answer for that, just yet; apartment building owners will have to get on board and provide parking lot charging stations. Nissan replies that urbanites might find some help at public facilities.
Nissan and the Pima Association of Governments, which represents the Tucson region, are forming a partnership to advance a zero-emission, electric vehicle (EV) charging network, the Renault-Nissan Alliance announced today.
ECOtality Inc. of Scottsdale, Ariz., a clean electric transportation and storage technologies company, also will participate in the partnership by working to facilitate the process of helping make the Tucson metro area EV-ready. Nissan has said it will introduce ZEVs in the United States in 2010 and will mass market ZEVs globally two years later.
Don’t be fooled. Gasoline prices won’t be bumping around $2 a gallon for long. Driving a car with good fuel economy still makes sense. Higher mpg means lower operating costs for the household budget and fewer greenhouse gas emissions.
Happily, car shoppers today have a myriad of options among fuel frugal 2009 cars. You can find something getting 30 mpg or better on the highway at nearly every dealer lot. In some cases, you’ll have to settle for a trim line with a smaller engine and manual transmission to hit the 30 mpg mark.
Jennifer Drukker expected people would stare at her new car. What she didn’t expect was this: “I was at the first stop light after I’d driven off with the car. It was literally the first time I came to a stop after driving off with the car,” she recalls. “The driver of the car next to me rolls down the windows and starts shouting questions.”
If it seems an extreme response to a Chevrolet Equinox, a fairly mainstream SUV, consider that the paint job includes the word “fuel cell” on the sides.
Fuel cell vehicles that turn abundant hydrogen into electricity are one promising alternative to gasoline-burning, toxic-fume-spewing internal-combustion engines. Widespread availability of such cars – which emit water vapor instead of greenhouse gases and stuff that’s flat out unhealthy – is years in the future.
But for Jennifer Drukker, Jamie Lee Curtis (yes, that one) and a handful of other drivers, the future is now.
Pushed by the dwindling prospects for fossil fuels, the auto industry is undergoing changes not seen since the days of Henry Ford. Today’s innovators aren’t just looking to gear up production, they’re trying to dial back energy use, and that’s produced a bumper crop of wild and wacky (and some not so wacky) concept cars.
It would cost less to manufacture (and buy), less to maintain, less to fuel and there would be no emissions. The makers of this car, Air Car Factories, are either on drugs or they’ve seized the Holy Grail. Their car would run on compressed air collected by see-saw devices on the road. Each car would be refueled through regenerative driving. The Barcelona-based company expects to begin with electric models, until testing is completed on the Air Car. A green dream? We hope it’s a reality.
That’s right. This is a car designed by a shoe maker. It doesn’t much look like a shoe. More like…nothing you’ve seen before. The car is intended to be “athletic.” No joke. “An athlete training to drive the Nike ONE uses a physical resistance simulator, that mimics the vehicle’s controls, along with the digital simulation within GT4 to train their muscles and mind for specific tracks and competition scenarios,” explains Phil Frank, lead designer, who said his team was inspired by the principals of Nike founder Bill Bowerman. The long term plan is that any movement by the driver would be converted into electricity through nanotechnology using a “Spark Suit.” Frank calls it “the ultimate in convergent technologies.” We agree.
Nissan Motor Company took the occasion of its financial-results stock exchange reporting (nearly $7 billion in profits from $90+ billion revenues in fiscal 2007) Tuesday in Tokyo to make an announcement of interest to those of us who don’t own stock. In 2010, the company plans to release an all-electric car in the United States and Japan, which should make it the first major auto company to do so.