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.
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
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.
Photo: University of Kansas EcoHawks