Jun 3, 2009 | 17
Since General Motors filed for bankruptcy on Monday, auto aficionados and green geeks alike have been speculating about the fate of the company's long-heralded electric car, the Chevy Volt.
"We don't know whether GM will be able to introduce the Volt or not," said William Holstein, author of Why GM Matters, in a Washington Post Q&A. "It would have been, and could still be, a real breakthrough vehicle." The car, previously scheduled for release in fall of 2010, would run on an electric battery and have a small gas engine to generate backup juice if needed.
May 1, 2009 | 17
Imagine all the folks on the waiting list for the Chevy Volt or a plug-in Toyota Prius plugged in their cars at once. The result? Blackout, as the world's largest machine (otherwise known as the electric grid) is overloaded.
What's needed is a device that can sense when there's sufficient capacity to juice up an electric car and when there's not—a so-called "smart charger" (which would, of course, be a key component of a "smart" grid).
And that's exactly what engineers at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash. have created. "If a million owners plug in their vehicles to recharge after work, it could cause a major strain on the grid," said PNNL engineer Michael Kintner-Meyer in a statement. "The Smart Charger Controller could prevent those peaks in demand from plug-in vehicles and enable our existing grid to be used more evenly."
Mar 25, 2009 | 16
Tesla Motors, the maker of the eye-catching, all-electric Roadster sports car, is set to pull away the tarp tomorrow on a street-ready prototype of its highly anticipated Model S sedan. The first look at the new ride will occur at the Hawthorne, Calif., headquarters of Space-X, a private space company also headed by Tesla Motors’ CEO Elon Musk that doubles as Tesla’s design studio.
After this sneak peek, though, it will still be a couple years before the Model S hits the road, pending funding from the Department of Energy. “When Tesla begins production in late 2011, the Model S will likely be the world's first mass-produced, highway-capable electric vehicle,” says company spokesperson Rachel Konrad.
Feb 5, 2009 | 18
The company that killed the electric car is ready to resuscitate it. General Motors (GM) this week laid out plans at the Washington (D.C.) Auto Show to prepare communities for the 2011 debut of its Chevy Volt and plug-in electric vehicles that other automakers are set to start building next year. So where are they likely to show up first? Washington, D.C., and San Francisco, GM says, noting that those cities not only have ready-made markets for its lithium ion battery-powered Volt but, also, have a history of welcoming new kinds of cars (like the Volt's predecessor, the EV-1).
See a Scientific American.com slide show featuring the Volt
Jan 14, 2009 | 15
DETROIT-- The North American International Auto Show held this week was positively electric in an economically dark world in which buyers shun gas guzzlers and manufacturers struggle to go green as well as convince consumers to fork over tight funds. There was less talk of biofuels and almost no talk of hydrogen than in previous years, with the emphasis instead on quick environmental fixes that can be implemented within five years—if not immediately.
There were three real classes of environmental innovation on display here: traditional hybrids, extended-range electric vehicles, and pure electric vehicles. Every step represents another leap away from the internal combustion engine, a goal that wasn't even a goal a mere three years ago.
Jan 12, 2009 | 5
Toyota Moving Beyond the Prius: Pure EV by 2012
Toyota showed off this concept electric vehicle, the FT-EV today at the Detroit Auto Show. And while it's an adorable little micro-car concept that might never see the light of day, they used the opportunity to promise a pure electric vehicle by 2012.
Interestingly, they aren't the only ones. Ford also promised a (very similar) BEV by 2012, with the same market (urban dwellers) in mind. Toyota hinted at a 100-mile range, the same as Fords promised BEV, but it looks as if Ford will be delivering the vehicle in a more traditional casing.
The FT-EV is based on Toyota's iQ, a peppy little three-seater for young urbanites in Japan. It's Toyota's answer to the Smart Car, and the FT-EV, of course, is Toyota's answer to the electric Smart Car. Though, the Smart EV should beat Toyota to the punch by at least a year.
Jan 5, 2009 | 9
Toyota won't just be adding solar panels to its popular Prius gas-electric hybrid car—like the solar electric conversion kit seen at left—it'll be powering a version of it exclusively via sunshine, according to The Nikkei, Japan's business newspaper. In fact, Toyota will be relying on the solar-electric car to "turn around its struggling business," which resulted in its first operating loss in more than 70 years, the Associated Press reports.
ScientificAmerican.com and other media outlets reported last summer that Toyota was planning to begin selling a Prius with some solar panels as early as May of this year. But the latest reports are that the Japanese automaker is seeking to build a totally solar-driven vehicle.
Dec 3, 2008 | 11
The alt-energy company Better Place, which has taken its vision of electric cars to Israel, Australia, Denmark and major California cities, is now coming to Hawaii.
The Aloha State and its utility provider yesterday endorsed a plan to build a network of battery-swap and recharging stations in Hawaii that would make the use of electric cars feasible, the New York Times reports. Projects of that kind are already in motion overseas and near Palo Alto, Calif., where Better Place is headquartered. It plans to start testing the program next year in Israel, where founder and CEO Shai Agassi is from, and to create a $1 billion recharging network in San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland by 2012.
Oct 23, 2008 | 11
The alternative-energy automobile company known as Better Place plans to bring the same electric car system already in the works for Israel and Denmark to Australia. After raising $1 billion in capital—a tall order in today’s cold economic climate—Better Place founder Shai Agassi, a former software executive, Australian bank Macquarie and partners plan to build by 2012 electric car charge garages and battery exchange stations throughout Australia—all powered by wind turbines and other renewable resources (when possible)—to service the vehicles.
Basically, Better Place is trying to make electric cars—specifically the Renault-Nissan eMegane under development that can drive around 100 miles on one charge with a top power of 91 horsepower—work like cellphones. Customers would pay by the minute, er, mile, to use cars (powered by batteries and electricity) that they owned or leased. Customers would purchase mileage plans in order to use Better Place’s recharging stations and battery swaps. A123 Systems, a battery company in Watertown, Mass., will be the most likely battery provider, according to Agassi.
Oct 16, 2008 | 1
Chrysler, Ford and GM are busy using up the $25-billion jump-start they received last month and their economic outlook is far from rosy. But it is the upstarts—in specific, electric car company Tesla Motors—facing the roughest road because they don't have the track record for access to cheap cash.
As the credit markets have seized up, Tesla has been forced to restructure and has entered a "critical phase" financially, according to a company blog post. Tesla will be abandoning Detroit and digging in at its new corporate HQ in San Jose as well as laying off an unspecified number of its 250 employees. Its primary financial backer, Elon Musk—whose SpaceX rocket finally took flight, successfully putting a payload into orbit—will also return to the helm of the company, shifting current CEO Ze'ev Drori to the board of directors. He had been in the job for a little less than a year.
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The Seeker desires a method for producing pseudoephedrine products in such a way that it will be extremely difficult for clandestine che
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The Geoffrey Beene Foundation Alzheimer’s Initiative (GBFAI) is launching the 2013 Geoffrey Beene Global NeuroDiscovery Challenge whose
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