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Archive for the ‘automobiles’ Category

Solar Roadways: Inching Closer To Saving Us

Posted by Phoenix Woman on October 26, 2010

The Solar Roadways people are inching ever closer to saving our keisters:

On Thursday, GE (GE) announced that Solar Roadways was the top community vote-getter in the company’s $200 million Ecomagination challenge. Although the winners won’t be formally announced until next month, Solar Roadways received the most votes among the community and was awarded a $50,000 prize.

[...]

As the electric car passes over the [solar-powered] road, it receives a charge from the road itself. One method for the power transfer involves induction, in which a magnet under the car would draw power as it travels over the road. Additionally, Brusaw’s prototype involves embedding LED lights into the road for navigation or safety signals.

The DoT’s impressed enough that it’s encouraged Solar Roadways to apply for a $750,000 grant on top of the $100,000 one the DoT gave them last year. They’re also urging the Brusaws to start with parking lots first, and to work with businesses such as McDonald’s and various big-box stores to retrofit their parking lots so people can charge their cars while they shop or eat.

Another thing that’s occurred to me: The big holdup here is developing a glass that can withstand 18-wheelers, frost heaves, and vandals. But that’s not insurmountable — and it’ll be a far easier nut to crack than fusion power’s proved to be. Plus, once that’s solved, whoever owns the patent on that super-glass is going to give Bill Gates a run for his money in the Richer-than-God department, as that glass will have potential uses far beyond solar roadways.

Posted in automobiles, energy, environment, Good Causes, Good Things, saving the earth, solar | 1 Comment »

Surprise! Even The Wall Street Journal Admits The Car Bailout Worked.

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 2, 2010

Courtesy of Blue Texan:

Remember when the right was calling Adolf Hussein Obamastalin’s rescue of the auto industry some sort of Communist plot? Remember all the “Government Motors” jokes?

Here’s what today’s WSJ has to say about all that.

The rescue of the auto industry is proving to be an unexpected success, and the president’s biggest economic policy achievement to date.

BT then follows up with a list of conservatives who should be eating crow but won’t.

Posted in automobiles, conservativism | 1 Comment »

Cash For Clunker Payments “Delayed”? Probably Not

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 25, 2009

Kossack Paradox13 explains:

Most companies I work with pay on a “net-30″ or even “net-60″ basis. One major corporation actually has a “net-90″ policy. That means they do not pay the bill until 90 days after they get it. The CARS program was put into place on July 31. It’s now August 25th. That means the longest a bill could possibly be outstanding is about three weeks. I guarantee the dealerships involved have “net-30″ payment policies for invoices, maybe more. In response to concerns raised by Congress, among others, the government has hired more people to process claims and is extending the deadline for rebate submission (the latter in response to problems with the website dealerships are to use to submit claims). All of this has been done within the first few weeks of the program. Most private companies would be proud to move so fast.

Rather than being an example of inefficiency and ineffectiveness, the CARS program has been a model of government action and solutions. Each issue that has been reported is a manifestation of a lesson learned, not a new and persistent problem.

Of course, most car dealers are Republicans, so they may have a wee bit of an ideological reason to push this meme, true or not.

Posted in automobiles | Comments Off

Debunking The ‘Bigger Is Better’ Myth

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 15, 2009

The real key to safety on the road is how you drive, not what you drive — and surprise, surprise: SUV drivers tend to drive more aggressively and stupidly than, say, persons in minivans.

Posted in automobiles | 3 Comments »

Wednesday Morning Good News Roundup

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 12, 2009

wind-cat-herding

– See what a couple of billion can bring? Cash for Clunkers, in addition to jump-starting the US auto industry and the industries that depend on it, is directly responsible for a big jump in the average fuel efficiency of cars on the road:

The average mileage for new vehicles rose from 21.4 miles per gallon in June to 22.1 mpg in July….

Study co-author Michael Sivak noted the improvement came even as gas prices fell and unemployment levels shrank somewhat. Normally, those factors lead to the purchase of more gas guzzlers. The higher mileage shows the effect of Cash for Clunkers, Sivak said, and he expects the jump to be even bigger when August figures come out. That’s because the trade-in rebate program only got going late in July.

Small manufacturers are starting to recover from the crash, and even to start hiring again. This is borne out by the renewed demand for taconite iron ore from the MinnTac mine in northern Minnesota, which will soon be running at pre-crash levels of activity.

Even during the economic meltdown, wind turbine installations are proceeding apace:

The U.S. wind energy industry installed 1,210 megawatts (MW) of new power generating capacity in the second quarter, bringing the total added this year to just over 4,000 MW – an amount larger than the 2,900 MW added in the first six months of 2008, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) found in its second quarter (Q2) market report.

During the second quarter, the U.S. wind energy industry completed a total of 1,210 MW in 10 states. These new installations nudge total U.S. wind power generating capacity to 29,440 MW, according to the report.

– Wind farms as tourist sites? You betcha. People come from hundreds of miles to see them.

Posted in automobiles, economy, energy, environment, when government is a good thing, wind power | Comments Off

How Cash For Clunkers Is Shaking Out So Far

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 5, 2009

Per Matt Hardigree of Jalopnik.com:

The Ten Most Traded-In Vehicles
1. Ford Explorer 4WD
2. Ford F-150 2WD
3. Jeep Grand Cherokee 4WD
4. Jeep Cherokee 4WD
5. Dodge Caravan/Grand Caravan 2WD
6. Chevrolet Blazer 4WD
7. Ford Explorer 2WD
8. Ford F-150 Pickup 4WD
9. Chevrolet C1500 Pickup 2WD
10. Ford Windstar FWD Van

The Ten Most Purchased Vehicles

1. Ford Focus
2. Toyota Corolla
3. Honda Civic
4. Toyota Prius
5. Toyota Camry
6. Ford Escape FWD
7. Hyundai Elantra
8. Dodge Caliber
9. Honda Fit
10. Chevrolet Cobalt

People are ditching the gas hogs for the smaller vehicles. I suspect that a lot of the urban-cowboy crowd got sick of trying to parallel-park the land barges.

Posted in automobiles, Good Causes, Good Things | 3 Comments »

The Most Important Stimulus Money?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 29, 2009

There’s a very good case to be made for the stimulus dough the Department of Energy is about to dish out:

One of the hottest cleantech funding programs created as part of the stimulus package is close to producing some of its first winners. When we spoke with the Department of Energy back in May about the $2.4 billion in grants for advanced battery manufacturing for plug-in vehicles, we learned that the agency planned to notify awardees sometime in July — as in by the end of this week — and dole out the grants by September. While DOE Deputy Secretary Jen Stutsman told us at the time that delays were a possibility, depending on the number and completeness of applications, she confirmed with us this week that the agency “will be making all of the announcements soon.”

More than 100 companies have lined up for the so-called Electric Drive Battery and Component Manufacturing Initiative’s $2.4 billion, which is set to be divided into just 32 to 35 or so grants in seven different categories. The bulk of the money — $1.2 billion — will go toward manufacturing facilities for battery cells and packs, with grants of $100 million to $150 million supporting seven to eight projects.

This is the big bottleneck for realistic (and affordable) electric cars with a range beyond that of a typical daily commute.  Furthermore, improved battery storage is a way to take some strain off the grid.

Posted in automobiles, economy, energy, environment, industry, infrastructure, sustainability | Comments Off

Friday Morning News Roundup

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 20, 2009

cat-herding.jpg

Lawrence Wilkerson, who served under Colin Powell at the State Department before Powell was purged for not being pro-PNAC enough:

Many detainees locked up at Guantanamo were innocent men swept up by U.S. forces unable to distinguish enemies from noncombatants, a former Bush administration official said Thursday. “There are still innocent people there,” Lawrence B. Wilkerson, a Republican who was chief of staff to then-Secretary of State Colin Powell, told The Associated Press. “Some have been there six or seven years.”

He stepped forward because he was sickened by Dick Cheney’s trashing Obama earlier this week. But of course, this was ignored in favor of AIG.

– Speaking of which, Nate Silver has a good piece that cuts through the noise and screeching on the subject.

– President Obama sez ‘hi!’ to hybrids. Specifically, the next generation of plug-in hybrids, especially the SUVs.

The First Lady is growing an organic garden near where her daughters play:

Twenty-three fifth graders from Bancroft Elementary School in Washington will help her dig up the soil for the 1,100-square-foot plot in a spot visible to passers-by on E Street. (It’s just below the Obama girls’ swing set.) Students from the school, which has had a garden since 2001, will also help plant, harvest and cook the vegetables, berries and herbs.

[...]

The Clintons grew some vegetables in pots on the roof of the White House. But the Obamas’ garden will have 55 varieties of vegetables — from a wish list of the kitchen staff — grown from organic seedlings started at the executive mansion’s greenhouses.

The Obamas will feed their love of Mexican food with cilantro, tomatilloes and hot peppers. Lettuces will include red romaine, green oak leaf, butterhead, red leaf and galactic. There will be spinach, chard, collards and black kale. For desserts, there will be a patch of berries. And herbs will include some more unusual varieties, like anise hyssop and Thai basil. A White House carpenter who is a beekeeper will tend two hives for honey.

Total cost for the seeds, mulch, etc., is $200.

The plots will be in raised beds fertilized with White House compost, crab meal from the Chesapeake Bay, lime and green sand. Ladybugs and praying mantises will help control harmful bugs.

Cristeta Comerford, the White House’s executive chef, is eager to plan menus around the garden, and Bill Yosses, the pastry chef, is looking forward to berry season.

Sam Kass, an assistant White House chef who prepared healthful meals for the Obama family in Chicago and is an advocate of local food, will oversee the garden. The White House grounds crew and kitchen staff will do most of the work, but other White House staff members have volunteered.

Now that’s gardening we can believe in!

Posted in automobiles, bailout, banking, big money, Dick Cheney, economy, energy, environment, food, gardening, Iraq war, terrorism, torture | 3 Comments »

New Material Repairs Itself When Exposed To UV Light

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 15, 2009

Light could heal materials from Science News on Vimeo.

Ultraviolet light is generally inimical to lots of things, causing them to break down faster — which is a problem if these things need to be out of doors.

So when I saw this Science News article (by way of SOTT) about a material derived from chitosan, the key constituent in lobster and insect exoskeletons, that repairs cracks or tears in itself (or the material — such as polyurethane — in which it is embedded) when exposed to UV light, I immediately thought of how useful it would be in, say, outdoor photovoltaic cell applications such as traditional solar panels or even true Solar Roadways.

Posted in automobiles, economy, energy, environment, Good Things, infrastructure, solar, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Here Comes The Electric Car

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 13, 2009

The Norwegian company TH!NK is planning to start producing electric cars in the US as soon as next year:

The company is currently in discussions with eight states, including Michigan, hoping to host the facility, which will initially employ about 300 workers with a starting capacity of 16,000 cars per year. The technical center will provide jobs for another 70 engineers and electric drive specialists. Plans ultimately call for up to 900 employees and a capacity of 60,000 electric vehicles per year.

TH!NK uses lithium batteries from two American companies: EnerDel in Indiana and A123 in Massachusetts.

It will be interesting to see which car hits US roads first: The TH!NK city or the Chevy Volt.

Posted in automobiles, economy, energy, environment | Comments Off

 
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