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SOTU: President Obama promises tougher truck mpg standards, more renewable energy

01/30/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Biodiesel, Emerging Technologies, Ethanol, MPG, Solar, Legislation and Policy, Natural Gas, USA

State of Union speech President Obama

The green car rhetoric of President Obama's State Of The Union speech last night was much, much softer than it was three years ago. That was when he spoke about a million electric vehicles on the road by 2015. It was even less vociferous than last year, when Obama said we could take money given to oil and gas companies and put it into an "Energy Security Trust." So, what is the state of the green car union for 2014? In a word: renewable. In two more words: natural gas.

"The debate is settled. Climate change is a fact" - President Obama

President Obama said that, "America is closer to energy independence than we've been in decades," thanks to both natural gas (which is a good thing, "if extracted safely") and an ever-growing amount of solar energy. He said that another American home or business "goes solar" every four minutes and he called on Congress to "help by putting people to work building fueling stations that shift more cars and trucks from foreign oil to American natural gas." On the regulatory side, Obama said he would work "in the coming months" to set a new fuel economy standard for trucks. This means heavy trucks like semis, as light-duty trucks are already covered in the 54.5 miles per gallon CAFE standard for 2025 agreed to in 2011. The President did not mention biofuels or plug-in vehicles in his speech. He did acknowledge new General Motors CEO Mary Barra, who was a guest of the First Lady.

As is usual with a State of the Union speech, details were scarce, so we'll have to see how this all plays out in the coming months. One thing that did come across loud and clear, though, was that Obama does not want to discuss the matter with global warming deniers. "The debate is settled," he said, "Climate change is a fact. And when our children's children look us in the eye and ask if we did all we could to leave them a safer, more stable world, with new sources of energy, I want us to be able to say 'Yes, we did.'"

You can find the full transcript of the SOTU speech here or watch it here. We have reactions from some groups in the green car sector available below.

Continue reading SOTU: President Obama promises tougher truck mpg standards, more renewable energy

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Via Trucks will offer solar-power tonneau for 10 extra miles of EV range

11/21/2013   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: EV/Plug-in, Hybrid, Solar, GM, AutoblogGreen Exclusive

Bob Lutz with the Via Trucks solar tonneau

Via Motors knows a thing or two about standing on the shoulders of others. The plug-in hybrid utility vehicle company's entire business plan is to take big General Motors vehicles and convert them to something with a plug, with the support of Bob Lutz (pictured, with the VTrux, a converted Chevrolet Silverado). Here at the Los Angeles Auto Show, the company isn't on the press release schedule until tomorrow, but the brand new solar tonneau cover is just sitting out on the convention center floor. So we went to take a look.

The industrial grade solar panels will take a "fair amount" of abuse.

Jeffrey Esfeld, Via's director of national fleet sales and business development, told AutoblogGreen that the the idea is to use all the real estate available over the truck bed to increase the vehicle's efficiency. The industrial grade solar panels will take a "fair amount" of abuse, Esfeld said. The new solar tonneau will be available in two versions, 800- and 400-watts, that will both help power the car's battery or, if used at a work site, any power tools running off of the truck's outboard power outlet. If you park the truck in the sun all day, the solar panels can add up to six (in the 400-watt model) and ten (800) miles of range to the battery pack. That's why the company's slogan is "an electric truck that doesn't need a plug."

Via will not be announcing the price tomorrow, but since the truck and tonneau will be available in March, we don't expect we will have to wait too long. The truck is supposed to start at $79,000.

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Man spends retirement savings to speak with Obama about EVs

06/01/2013   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: EV/Plug-in, Green Culture, Solar

paul scott tells GM don't crush the EV1

To show their plug-in passion, some people spend upwards of $30,000 on an electric car. Others - well, one, that we know of - will spend that much just to tell the leader of the free world how cool EVs are, in 180 seconds or less.

That man is our friend Paul Scott, who's no stranger to EV advocacy. A co-founder of Plug In America and currently a Nissan Leaf salesman, Scott has been involved with electric vehicles since the EV1 days that were documented in the film Who Killed The Electric Car (pictured). He announced today, independent of his job and association with PIA, that he will spend $32,400 to attend a fund raiser for President Barack Obama in Santa Monica next week. That pile of money - which is "a large percentage" of his retirement savings - will get him two-to-three minutes of the President's attention, Scott said.

Scott, 60, has written his thoughts down to prepare for the encounter. They read, in part:

What I want Obama to hear is that for over a decade, I've been driving a zero-emission electric car powered by sunlight - it runs on solar electricity generated by the solar panels I purchased over 10 years ago. This is, in fact, the reason I can afford to speak to the President. ... I recently calculated how much I've saved by paying a small utility bill, only, for these basic needs since 2002: roughly $16,000. ... It begs the question: what would our planet and political process look like if millions of Americans stopped giving hundreds of billions to polluting industries and spent their savings instead on locally-generated, renewable electricity and local goods and services.

Scott's complete article is available below.

Of course, Obama is already a plug-in vehicle supporter. In 2008, then-candidate Obama called for a million plug-ins on US roads by 2015. That goal doesn't look like it will come to pass, but it shows that Obama understands the value of EVs, despite getting $884,000 from the oil and gas industry during his 2008 presidential campaign, according to Open Secrets. We'll see how Scott's $32,400 stacks up.

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Man spends life savings to speak with Obama about EVs

06/01/2013   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: EV/Plug-in, Green Culture, Solar

paul scott tells GM don't crush the EV1

To show their plug-in passion, some people spend upwards of $30,000 on an electric car. Others - well, one, that we know of - will spend that much just to tell the leader of the free world how cool EVs are, in 180 seconds or less.

That man is our friend Paul Scott, who's no stranger to EV advocacy. A co-founder of Plug In America and currently a Nissan Leaf salesman, Scott has been involved with electric vehicles since the EV1 days that were documented in the film Who Killed The Electric Car (pictured). He announced today, independent of his job and association with PIA, that he will spend $32,400 to attend a fund raiser for President Barack Obama in Santa Monica next week. That pile of money - which is "a large percentage" of his retirement savings - will get him two-to-three minutes of the President's attention, Scott said.

Scott, 60, has written his thoughts down to prepare for the encounter. They read, in part:

What I want Obama to hear is that for over a decade, I've been driving a zero-emission electric car powered by sunlight - it runs on solar electricity generated by the solar panels I purchased over 10 years ago. This is, in fact, the reason I can afford to speak to the President. ... I recently calculated how much I've saved by paying a small utility bill, only, for these basic needs since 2002: roughly $16,000. ... It begs the question: what would our planet and political process look like if millions of Americans stopped giving hundreds of billions to polluting industries and spent their savings instead on locally-generated, renewable electricity and local goods and services.

Scott's complete article is available below.

Of course, Obama is already a plug-in vehicle supporter. In 2008, then-candidate Obama called for a million plug-ins on US roads by 2015. That goal doesn't look like it will come to pass, but it shows that Obama understands the value of EVs, despite getting $884,000 from the oil and gas industry during his 2008 presidential campaign, according to Open Secrets. We'll see how Scott's $32,400 stacks up.

Continue reading Man spends life savings to speak with Obama about EVs

Read more..

1967 Toyota 2000GT Solar Electric Vehicle

01/17/2013   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: EV/Plug-in, Solar, Toyota, Detroit Auto Show

1967 toyota 2000gt solar electric car detroit 2013

Q may have packed James Bond's cars with plenty of killer tech (get it?), but the 1967 Toyota 2000GT you see above has got it's own bad boy secrets. Well, if bad boys like zero-emission electric vehicles.

Weighing just 1,460 kilograms (3,218 pounds), this modified 2000GT is all-electric under the skin - and on the skin in some areas. A high-performance solar panel embedded into the hood and a transmission solar panel sits in place of the rear glass. These feed energy into to a 345-volt, 40-kWh lithium-ion battery which, in turn, powers a 120-kW electric motor. Together in the stylish 2000GT, this powertrain is good for a top speed of over 200 kilometers an hour (124 miles per hour).

The car is on display at the Detroit Auto Show this week, but we fist caught wind of it a year ago when a video popped up showing the work of Japan's Crazy Car Project. Since then, some powertrain components have been upgraded (it used to have a 35-kWh battery). You can see the original video of the car in action here.

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