Kleiner Perkins hints at plug-in car launch this week and they have said it “it is not an electric vehicle” and then said “do not think batteries”. My guess? It IS an electric car but it doesn’t use batteries. I mean what other kind of propulsion system would the car run on? It’s really annoying but modern vernacular confuses automotive propulsion with energy storage with regularity. For instance, a “hydrogen fuel cell” car IS an electric car … it just uses H2 as is energy storage and a fuel cell to convert it to electricity.
My guess is that this car in fact does use a fuel cell technology — possibly hydrogen fuel cell — and the real breakthrough is that they’ve come up with a more efficient way of using on-board electrolysis to make hydrogen gas (or whatever gas the fuel cell consumes). If that is true and the economics of this storage system compete with battery technology that could have a huge impact on the automotive field.
Between 350 and 400 horsepower, 0-60 in 4 seconds flat, and a top speed of 171mph. This isn’t your father’s electric car!
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Found this very cool resource on the Guardian website (the Guardian is a major newspaper in the UK):
Some of the results might surprise you. For one, China has now overtaken the US in largest emitter. Second, the US is actually already reducing emissions unlike the Europe.
From John Green on ecogeek:
We’re also getting a glimpse into how President Elect Obama (!!!!!!) really thinks we’re going to address the global environmental crisis. Newsweek reports that Obama was caught by a live mic saying about the debates, "I often find myself trapped by the questions and thinking to myself, ‘You know, this is a stupid question, but let me … answer it.’ So when Brian Williams is asking me about what’s a personal thing that you’ve done [that's green], and I say, you know, ‘Well, I planted a bunch of trees.’ And he says, ‘I’m talking about personal.’ What I’m thinking in my head is, ‘Well, the truth is, Brian, we can’t solve global warming because I f—ing changed light bulbs in my house. It’s because of something collective’."
You tell ‘em Obama!
PBS has made available a two hour special (broken into digestible segments of less than 15 minutes each) on Global Warming. I have only watched one segment so far but it appears to be a high quality production and high value content. Take a look:
Heat | PBS Frontline
For many people the biggest obstacle in getting started with Solar is the up-front cost. This week Berkeley , California agreed to start a program whereby all up-front costs were paid for by the town (~ $22k) and residents then paid back the loan at roughly $180/month most of which should be recouped in energy savings.
Apparently many other towns are keeping an eye on this program. If it works it will almost surely catch on.
NYTimes | Berkeley Approves City-Backed Loans for Solar Panels
Looking for a reason to feel gloomy? Want a reason to feel like the planet is spiraling out of control? Well fellow citizens, I present to you the Life After Peak Oil website. LAPO presents us rationale on how every part of our economy, lifestyle, and quality of life is doomed to fall over in the coming twenty years. Happy days.
Al Gore was the comeback kid when he hit the streets with his Oscar winning “An Inconvenient Truth” movie and world-wide speaking tour. No longer was he the loser who let Bush Jr ruin the US’s worldwide reputation, instead he was a prophet, an academic, and eventually a Nobel prize winner who confidently was helping the world to see the scale of the environmental problem. You go Gore! Many smaller men would have folded and retreated to obscurity but not you.
Now, however, it appears that our recently immortalised Gore has gone back to the well for some inspiration and now is claiming that the world (or at least the US) can be have completely carbon-free electricity within 10 years. Really Mr Gore? Can you pass me the crack pipe please? I need to blow my mind again.
Don’t get me wrong, I admire the enthusiasm. And let’s face it, that kind of statement would make perfect sense after a late night six pack and an audience of left wing environmentalists … “Yeah, totally right dude; it’s only cuz the ‘speculators’ and ‘major-oil’ hate the world that everyone doesn’t already see this … you’re a fucking oracle man.” For the record, I am a left-leaning centrist, and my quotation is probably a bit unfair but still ten years? Well let’s see. I’m willing to give it go but I will need another hit from that crack pipe before I really buy 10 years (my guess is 25).
AP: Gore says carbon-free electricity in 10 years doable
What if a car were faster, bigger, more fuel efficient, and cost less (notice I didn’t add sexy). Sound too good to be true? Well that’s what preliminary estimates are looking like from the Prius camp for their new 2009 edition. If this pans out to be true — and let’s not delude ourselves, it might not be — it would appear to be a strong signal that the internal combustion engine (ICE) is going to die sooner than most people think. When the Prius opened up the hybrid market nearly 10 years ago it did so because electrics were “good enough” to be price competitive for upper-middle class families. Now that the market has been established the much higher potential of electric engines to find new efficiencies as compared to the ICE marketplace means that this proven market will get more and more attractive. When this economic reality hits it will trigger more aggressive competition from manufacturers (leading to even more accelerated innovation and more competitive pricing) and at the same time drive up customer demand.
While it has been easy to see that this transition should take place for several years, the realisation of it is still of a huge import. If the Prius really does introduce this car — where all changes are moving to the positive — expect to see a lot of Prius’s sold in 2009. For me, I’ll wait until they make it look sexier. Fuck the planet. Just kidding (about the planet, not the car).
For more info on the car, read this article: Exposed: 2009 Toyota Prius.