Category Archives: Hybrids

Here’s A Helpful EV Cheat Sheet For Car Buyers

Ford media event

Sightline Daily has a good compilation on some of the current electric vehicle models. As Sightline mentions, it’s really a case of satisfying particular needs. The Chevy Volt and Prius jump out if you’re using the range metric, though I’d guess Toyota likely wins out with hard core greenies because of Chevy’s combustible engine backup.  In urban markets, range anxiety isn’t as much of a factor — most drivers aren’t tailoring their tendencies around long commutes anyway. It’s also interesting to see charge times decreasing so rapidly. There seems to be major advancements happening every few quarters now,  with A123’s being the latest.

Crowdsourcing EV Information To Combat Range Anxiety

This is a sign of things to come as everyone has access to these kinds of smartphone apps. The data is available, it’s just a matter of open APIs and aggregating the right sources. Take that range anxiety!

"Japanese automaker has partnered with CarStations to offer a new app for i drivers that will provide charging station information."

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Car-Pooling Is Down, But Innovation Should Be Up

Car Sharing

 

If you read some of the accounts depicted in this NYT story, it certainly doesn’t paint the best picture for hitching a ride with your neighbor. Not to mention the statistics are pretty bleak.

"Today, advocates point to the increase in social networking tools that would make it easier to identify potential ride-sharing mates — yet the national car-pooling rate continues to fall, and today it is below 12 percent of all drivers."

But I think you’ll see the tide turn as more of us are telecommuting and gas prices continue to escalate.  Perhaps one of the bi-products of car-pooling will be coming up with newer ways to share the transportation burden.

One example could be centralized car-charging (Blink chargers, left) stations dispersed throughout neighborhoods. Homeowners become part of a local and highly-connected network that facilitates the best traits of collaborative consumption.

It’s the best of both worlds. Economically, neighbors share the financial responsibility of charging and maintenance, while also gaining exposure to more sustainable ways of transportation, like electric vehicles (EVs).

Image by Jason Rodriguez via Flickr

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IT Spending On Electric Vehicles (EVs) To Reach Almost $400 Million By 2015

ZENN Electric // Clean Technology Conference 2009

Image by George Dearing via Flickr

It’s not all doom and gloom for IT budgets, you just have to look outside traditional areas. Pike Research thinks electric vehicles will be one of the sparks that ignites information technology spending over the next few years. Their figures seem very plausible, especially when including utilities and charging infrastructure.
 

“Pike Research’s recent report Electric Vehicle Information Technology Systems projects that investments in EV IT (spanning utilities, automakers, and charging equipment, and everything in between) in the U.S. will reach $371.9 million in 2015.”

 
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Japanese Town Testing Solar-to-Electric Cars -But So Are The EcoHawks

Taking cars completely off the grid is tough. But a couple of recent developments paint a pretty positive picture of where things might be headed. CNET reports that several companies in Japan have teamed up for some grid-free EV charging.

Mazda, Think Global, EnerDel, and Itochu are testing charging units that power things up by storing the sun’s energy.

Solar panels attached to stationary grid-storage units designed by EnerDel will also have rapid-charging stations for the all-electric cars. The stationary storage units, gleaning and storing electricity from solar panels, will supply almost entirely solar-generated electricity for the cars.
 
 
And not to be undone, some University of Kansas students, sustainably known as the EcoHawks, had some of its efforts highlighted in Wired recently.  Sounds like the EcoHawks need to sync up with some U.S. carmakers.
 
The group of green engineers call themselves the EcoHawks and envision a future filled with plug-in hybrids just like the one theirs. But they know the best energy is renewable energy, so the EcoHawks accepted the challenge of taking their car off the grid. That explains the six monocrystalline solar cells on the roof of their workshop (shown above). The panels charge a battery bank the car plugs into when it needs a charge.
 

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Photo: University of Kansas EcoHawks

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Austin’s Willingness To Car Share Signals Other Opportunities

Gas Pump | Half Way Between Austin and Houston

Image by George Dearing via Flickr

We just had a conversation yesterday with one of our friends about car sharing after seeing some related  news that Hertz will rent Nissan Leafs next year. She brought up a good point that perhaps this type of  widespread visibility for electric vehicles (EVs) could spur more car sharing options.

I do think there’s a clear tie in. Once folks can easily avoid the pump, it’s natural to start thinking about how to scale that across other parts of your life. The example that Paula used was the cost of maintaining a vehicle for students. By the time you figure in gas and parking, it adds up quick.

As Paula said, “why not  have a fleet of ‘shares’  between the big cities and start with some of the major campuses.”

That would that make sense for what’s known as the Texas Triangle – Houston, Austin and Dallas. It might not be far away.

This morning I noticed Austin was highlighted in a May series on FastCompany showcasing various smart cities across the country. What’s notable is the clip from the piece highlighting the enthusiastic uptake for Car2Go’s sharing program. That’s a great indicator for things to come. And don’t worry, Paula’s already sent an email to Car2Go.

[Update: To both ZipCar and Car2Go now.]

"The program lets city workers tap a free network of 200 smart cars and designated parking spaces for work errands — and pay by the minute to check a car out for personal use. In the first four months, demand was triple original estimates, and more than 1,000 employees climbed into the (shared) driver’s seat."

 

 

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Top Markets For People Leasing or Buying Hybrids

Reserved for Hybrid Vehicles

Image by reinvented via Flickr

I wasn’t too surprised to see the Bay Area capture the top spot, and it was good to see Austin sneak in at number six.

But I can only attribute the Florida factor to boomers with a renewed sense of environmental consciousness. Wishful thinking?

1 San Francisco/ Oakland/ San Jose

2 Washington, D.C.

3 West Palm Beach/ Ft. Pierce, Fla.

4 Seattle/ Tacoma

5 Buffalo, N.Y.

6 Austin, Texas

7 Fort Myers/ Naples, Fla.

8 Boston

9 Wilkes Barre-Scranton, Pa.

10 Jacksonville, Fla.

[Source: Scarborough Research]

via mediapost.com

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