August 2nd, 2009
For those of you who follow our blog, you know we’re big fans of what the folks at Aptera are up to. Aptera is building an all-electric, three-wheeled car that has a small fraction as much aerodynamic drag as a Prius. The Aptera 2e goes 100-120 miles with a top speed of 85-90mph, and boasts normal car safety features and impressive crash test results. And it looks like a super cool Jetson mobile, which makes it especially exciting.
Now the folks at Aptera are starting to reveal what the inside of their space-age auto will look like. You can see a sample below and here is what Aptera has to say about their design developments:
“The first major issue was space. We tested men and women of every age and stature and found, in many cases, we were not offering enough room in the cabin. With that information, we enhanced the cabin using our Aptera formula — safety, then aerodynamics, then lightweight. The new interior cabin is now roughly 10% larger by every measure.
“The new 2 series also now has headroom and legroom comparable to, if not better than, the Mini and Chevy Volt. We widened the area at the hips to provide more space than the Smart EV and the Nissan Cube. Then to top it off, we increased our cargo capacity by more than 24 cubic feet, which is nearly two times the space available in the Honda Accord.”
Alright, let’s get that thing into market and start driving it! We’re ready!
You can learn more about Aptera here. Images courtesy of Aptera.
Popularity: 10% [?]
July 15th, 2009
Written by Andrew Williams, courtesy of Gas2.0, originally published on July 10, 2009
US-based car-share giant Zipcar Inc. has launched its first ever Electric Vehicle Pod, featuring an all-electric Citroen C1 and a Plug-In Toyota Prius. The vehicles, among the most efficient and technologically advanced on the road today, can be hired by the hour for a fraction of the cost of owning one.
The company figures that EVs are ideally suited for early, large-scale use in Zipcar’s car sharing platform since the average Zipcar trip lasts just under four hours and less than 25 miles, well within the range of a typical EV. (more…)
Popularity: 7% [?]
June 29th, 2009
The heat of summer is upon us, and that means folks are cranking up the AC, making an extra batch of ice, and generally burning energy 24-7. But we need all need to continue to try to conserve as much energy as possible to save resources and slow the march of global warming. And we get to save money at the same time– nice one!
Here are the eight easy things we can all do at home to cut our energy consumption.
1. Keep your home at an eco-conscious temperature. 78 degrees is plenty cool in the house. Turn down the AC and get a programmable thermostat so you’re only cooling the house when you really need to.
2. Work with the sun to keep your house cool. Close all shutters and blinds during the day to keep the sun out– then open windows at night to cool the house and feel the breeze (if you have any!).
3. Let the air dry your dishes and clothes. The dryer and dish washer use a lot of energy– and the air does the drying job just as well. Plus your clothes will last longer. See some great clothes-drying racks here.
4. Take shorter showers and do not take baths. Hot water heating is one of the major uses of energy in any home. Showers are the way to go– and keep ’em short. Baths use much more water and heat than do baths (unless you’re taking 30 minute showers!). You can also look into solar hot water.
5. Ditch the beer fridge. It’s amazing how many homes have two refrigerators. Please do not use more than one fridge. And if you have an old model, get a newer Energy Star model.
6. Use ceiling fans rather than AC. They are much more energy-efficient and you can get very reasonably priced Energy Star models.
7. Get solar screens for your windows. These screens cut 75% of the heat coming through your windows, but don’t impact your visibility. They are really great energy savers. See solar screens here.
8. Spend one night each week in candlelight. It’s romantic, fun and inspires new conversation. If you’ve got kids, how about turning off the TV one night and playing a board game by candlelight? Clue would be particularly spooky!
Popularity: 8% [?]
June 19th, 2009
So as far as I can tell there are now THREE great reasons why this is the time to get rid of your old hunk o’ junk and upgrade to a cleaner, greener car.
1) It is the right thing to do for the environment. Remember your car is one of the biggest ways you personally contribute to global warming.
2) There are ridiculous deals on cars right now. Dealers are suffering and you can negotiate with abandon.
3) Congress has just passed the “Cash for Clunkers” legislation that will allow consumers to get up to $4,500 for turning in an inefficient vehicle and buying a new, more efficient one.
So hop to it people!
The new bill would even allow consumers to buy a wide range of vehicles — including large pickup trucks — with the government money when they scrap an older, less-efficient model. The cars that are offered for trade-in must get 18 MPG or less, be built in 1984 or later, and be in operating condition. The new car purchased must be at least 22 MPG for a car, 18 MPG for a light truck or 15 MPG for a heavy-duty truck. To learn more about the requirements for the new cars click here.
The proposed program would subsidize the purchase of 600,000 to one million vehicles,
Popularity: 6% [?]
June 12th, 2009
Green-collar workers — who include everyone from energy-efficiency consultants to wastewater plant operators — constitute a tiny but fast-growing segment of the U.S. economy, according to a study published today by the Pew Charitable Trusts.
The “clean-energy economy” grew 9.1 percent between 1998 and 2007 to 777,000 jobs. While that is just half a percent of all U.S. jobs, the clean-energy economy is poised to grow significantly with financial support from the public and private sectors, the Pew report concludes.
“The nation’s clean-energy economy is poised for explosive growth,” said Lori Grange, the Pew Center on the States’ interim deputy director. “The trends include surging venture capital investment … a critical growth rate in clean-energy generation, energy efficiency and environmentally friendly products.”
About 80 percent of venture capital investments in 2008 were in the clean energy and energy efficiency sector, broadly known as “cleantech.” And while cleantech slumped with overall venture capital in the first quarter of 2009, the sector outperformed telecommunications, media and other sectors, according to an analysis of Thompson Reuters data by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association.
“[Cleantech] is faring better than the rest of the venture capital sectors — that’s driven by the sense that the government policy thinking has changed radically with the new administration,” said David Prend, a NVCA director and managing general partner at the venture capital firm RockPort Capital Partners.
Indeed, the Pew report cites the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which President Obama signed in February, as a significant force driving the clean-energy economy. The stimulus includes nearly $85 billion in direct spending and tax incentives for energy- and transportation-related programs.
The report finds that job growth in the clean-energy economy outperformed total job growth in 38 states and the District of Columbia between 1998 and 2007, the most recent year for which data are available. The total number of jobs grew 3.7 percent during that period, which included the dot-com boom and bust and the beginning of the current recession.
Popularity: 5% [?]