Entries by John Addison

New Hands-Free Inductive Charging at Google

Google makes innovative use of electric vehicles and charging stations. For employees, Google took an early lead in converting Toyota Prii (yep that’s the official plural of Prius) to be plug-in hybrids. Then Google installed beautiful solar covered parking including charge stations so that electric cars can be charged with sunlight. At its headquarters, Google […]

Safer than Nuclear – Renewable Energy, Natural Gas, Energy Efficiency

“In 88 minutes, the sun provides 470 exajoules of energy, as much energy as humanity consumes in a year.” In Scientific American, Ramez Naam adds, “In 112 hours – less than five days – it provides 36 zettajoules of energy – as much energy as is contained in all proven reserves of oil, coal, and […]

Cracking the Carbon Code: The Key to Sustainable Profits in the New Economy

Book Review by John Addison Will oil prices rocket as unrest spreads from Egypt to Libya to Saudi Arabia? United States transportation is 95% fueled by gasoline, diesel and jet fuel refined from oil. We are vulnerable and in need of a roadmap to a low carbon economy. In his new book, Terry Tamminen shows […]

Oil Price Soars – Electric Car Sales Zoom

People dance in the streets of Cairo. A dictator has fallen. In recent weeks, a world dependent on oil has watched to see if a cascade of Mideast unrest would stop the flow of petroleum necessary for gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel.

Barron’s interviewed long-time oil analyst, Charles Maxwell, to gain insight into the future of petroleum. The article was titled “Whatever Happens in Egypt, Oil Will Hit $300 by 2020.” In the same time frame automotive lithium battery packs may fall from $1,000/kW to $250/kW creating an tipping point for electric cars.

Honda Fit Hybrid Challenges Toyota Prius Leadership

In January, the Honda Fit outsold the Prius in Japan. Prius had been the number one selling car in Japan for 20 months. Half of the Fits sold were the new Fit Hybrid, which delivers a stunning 71 miles per gallon (MPG). In 2012, both the Fit Hybrid and new Fit EV are expected to start selling in the U.S. The Honda Fit has been a popular small hatchback, with over 3.5 million sold globally. With five doors, seating for five, and flexible cargo space it is big enough for most, yet small enough to fit in those precious city parking spaces.

Cleantech and the Future of GM

GM Ventures is focused on investing in innovative and early stage companies. Jon Lauckner, President GM Ventures, has been busy since GM Ventures was established last June and he was promoted from head of GM global product planning. GM Ventures has invested in Bright Automotive, which has designed an advanced plug-in hybrid delivery van with much greater cargo space than Ford’s Transit Connect Electric. GM has invested in two advanced next generation biofuel corporations – Mascoma and Coskata. Given the success of the Amyris IPO, these investments could should a high return for GM.

Tesla Roadster Test Drive – Smooth and Stealth

It’s easy to slide behind the steering wheel of this Tesla Roadster because the top’s removed for this January day. I don’t mind. It’s 70 degrees here in Palm Springs, California. A perfect day for a test drive. Handling S-curves is smooth and effortless even though this sports car has no power steering. I go over a speed bump at 20 mph. No scraping sounds. No damage. These shocks are worthy of a race track.

New Ford Focus EcoMode for Better Miles per Gallon

New Ford Focus owners can learn a thing or two about driving skills that can maximize their miles per gallon – and they can have a little fun in the process. EcoMode is a handy software application aimed at helping coach customers in the art of eco-driving – and then rewards those that practice more fuel-efficient driving skills with in-car kudos displayed on the instrument cluster.

Ford Focus Electric takes on Nissan LEAF

Ford has officially announced the Ford Focus Electric, a new aerodynamic 5-door hatchback with an expected range of 100 miles per charge. This 5-seat car matches the specs that I published after my test drive of the Focus Electric in May 2010. First consumer deliveries of the all-new Focus Electric will start towards the end of this year. At that point Ford will have solid EV experience and probably have delivered thousands of Ford Transit Connect Electric Vans to delivery and service fleets.

BMW Megacity EV

The Megacity Vehicle will be designed from the wheels up to be a pure battery electric hatchback. It will be more aerodynamic than a MiniCooper, with four doors, and more room for 4 adults. BMW will follow Tesla’s success in extending the range of an electric car by using lighter materials. The Megacity will use an aluminum chassis and a carbon fiber outer skin to save up to 600 pounds. BMW’s innovative use of materials is the result of its joint venture with SGL Group, a leader in carbon materials.

Renewable Energy Almost Equals Nuclear Energy in USA

Nuclear electric power accounted for 11% of primary energy production and renewable energy accounted for 11% of primary energy production” during the first nine months of 2010. renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass/biofuels, geothermal, solar, water, and wind) accounted for 10.9% of domestic energy production and increased by 5.7% compared to the same period in 2009. Meanwhile, nuclear power accounted for 11.4% of domestic energy production but provided 0.5% less energy than a year earlier.

UK’s New Incentives for Electric Cars and Charging Network

London is saving EV and PHEV buyers over $10,000 with new grants, exemptions from congestion fees, and over 1,000 charging stations with a low cost annual subscription. Nine models of electric and ultra-low emission cars will be eligible for grants of up to £5,000, the government has announced. The grants will be available to motorists across the UK.

Lincoln and Lexus Compete for Premium Hybrid Car Leadership

This Lincoln MKZ Hybrid is delivering the most smooth and silent drive I’ve experienced. In stop-go LA traffic, I quietly move forward only using the two electric motors, with the gasoline engine off. When I accelerate around slow traffic the electric motors and gasoline engine blend power so smoothly that it would happen unnoticed unless you are doing a test drive. The Lincoln MKZ is the premium hybrid car with the best fuel economy on the road. No other luxury or premium car gets the Lincoln MKZ’s 41 highway, 36 city, and 39 mpg combined fuel efficiency.

Will your Utility be ready for your Networked EV?

Yes, your electric utility will be ready to charge your new electric car if you live in the right city. Your odds improve if you live in one of 18 cities, own a house that uses air conditioning, has a garage, and have new underground power lines. If you live in an apartment with no garage, especially in a non-priority city, then get ready to be a brave pioneer. My report from the GTM Research and Greentech Media’s Networked EV conference.

New Honda Fit EV likely to cost less than Nissan LEAF

The New Honda Fit EV will go on sale for U.S. customers in 2012. By using the lighter Honda Fit platform, already in volume manufacturing, Honda could price the Fit EV at $29,900, less than the Nissan LEAF with a minimum price of $32,780. This new battery-electric car will be popular with current drivers of hot compact hatchbacks such as the Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris, Ford Fiesta, Chevy Cruze, and Mini-Cooper.

Toyota Readies 3 Electric Cars for 2012 Dealer Sales

600 Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrids are now being driven daily in the U.S., Europe, and Japan. Commercial, government, and university fleets and individual drivers are putting this advanced Prius through its paces. Toyota is targeting 50,000 unit commercial sales in 2012 of this PHEV. Two new electric cars are also planned for 2012 dealer sales.

GE Buys 12,000 Chevrolet Volts

GE will purchase 25,000 electric vehicles by 2015 for its own fleet and through its Capital Fleet Services business – the largest-ever electric car commitment. GE will convert most of its 30,000 global fleet and will partner with fleet customers to deploy a total of 25,000 electric vehicles by 2015. GE will initially purchase 12,000 GM vehicles, beginning with the Chevrolet Volt in 2011, and will add other vehicles as manufacturers expand their electric vehicle portfolios.

Nissan LEAF with Baby Car Seats

Keo, at age 3 months, started his Nissan LEAF test ride with a yawn, gurgled his approval during the ride, then wisely left the car buying decision to his parents.  Grace and Susan Stanat brought their son along for the test drive. They arrived with Keo, baby seat, and stroller. Although three adults can squeeze into […]

Cleantech Success Formula = EE + ROI + 0 Capex

Venture capitalists, cleantech executives, and technology experts are optimistic about continued growth for cleantech. With the recession and a clear message from voters, projects requiring billions from taxpayers and/or large customer capital expenditure (capex) are out. Energy efficiency with large and fast ROI is growing rapidly. Distributed solar is outpacing large power plants including utility-scale solar. Smart grids with billions of nodes are the backbone for our future.

Lithium ETF Plays Growth of Electric Cars and Mobile Electronics

By John Addison (10/26/10) You may be reading this article thanks to the lithium battery in your notebook computer, smartphone, or other mobile device. Demand for lithium is forecasted to double in this decade thanks to a wide range of applications for this metal that is half the weight of water: materials, glass, pharmaceuticals, mobile […]