Written by R.E. Lord   

Nissan Leaf ChargingCar dealerships will begin installing electric vehicle chargers this week in anticipation of the Nissan Leaf’s much-anticipated December roll-out.

Dealerships in Arizona, California, Oregon, Tennessee and Washington will put in more than 40 240V chargers by the end of the week, Nissan announced. Each dealership will have four charging docks, two for “operation support” and two for customer use.

By January more than 150 dealerships in the five launch markets will have chargers, the company says.

Read more: Test-Market Dealerships Prepare for Nissan Leaf Roll-Out
Written by R.E. Lord   

German Electric Car

In Germany an all-electric (converted) Audi A2 recently traveled 375 miles on a single charge of its impressive battery pack.  The trip took place from Munich to Berlin while averaging about 55 mph and with the heat on.

The Audi was converted to all-electric by DBM Energy, running on its state-of-the art battery pack.  The company, headed by 27-year-old Mirko Hannemann,  has developed the battery with what they call the KOLIBRI AlphaPolymer Technology. According to Hannemann, the battery is able to operate with 97 percent efficiency and is easily charged with nearly any power source. More impressively, the company claims that if charged with a high-voltage system, the battery can reach a full charge in 6 minutes.

Read more: German Electric Audi Drives 375 Miles on a Single Charge
Written by R.E. Lord   

Nissan LeafDoes the Nissan LEAF live up to its claim of 100 miles per charge (MPC)?

We've been hearing for over a year now that the new, all-electric Nissan LEAF will be capable of attaining a range of 100 miles for every full charge of its battery back. The skeptics claimed this range was unlikely or only obtainable with strict, hypermiling while driving.

Now that the car is set to be unleashed to the public and several "real" folks have had a chance to drive the car for an extended period of time, it seems that the claims of 100 MPC are actually quite realistic.

Read more: The Nissan LEAF and Driving Range

Written by R.E. Lord   

Tessera Solar Dish October has been a big month for solar energy projects on public lands.

Six projects, all of them in California and Nevada, have been approved this month by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. On Monday, Salazar permitted Solar Millennium to build a 7,000-acre, 1,000 megawatt solar power plant near Blythe, Calif. The project is expected to create more than 1,000 jobs during construction and some 221 permanent jobs when it becomes fully operational.

Last week the secretary gave the Calico Solar Project the go-ahead to start ramping up on 4,604 acres of BLM land in the Mojave Desert, about 37 miles east of Barstow.

Read more: Largest Solar Project Heading to California
Written by Tim Hull   

EPA Fuel StandardsThe EPA proposed new fuel standards aimed at reducing emissions and fuel consumption of semis, heavy-duty pickup trucks, tractors, and vocational vehicles by 10 to 20 percent by 2018.

If approved, the standards could reduce greenhouse emissions by about 250 million metric tons, and save 500 million barrels of oil and about $41 billion in net benefits over the lives vehicles produced within the program’s first five years, according to the EPA and the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

“It is estimated an operator of a semi truck could pay for the technology upgrades in under a year, and save as much as $74,000 over the truck’s useful life,” the agencies claim. “Vehicles with lower annual miles would typically experience longer payback periods, up to four or five years, but would still reap cost-savings.”

Read more: Feds Propose Fuel Standards for Heavy-Duty Trucks, Tractors and Vocational Vehicles

Written by R.E. Lord   

Goodyear Suntech SolarIt’s fitting that the world’s largest producer of solar panels opened its first U.S manufacturing plant in a region known for generations as the “Valley of the Sun.”

Suntech Power Holdings Co. flipped the switch this month at its new plant in Goodyear, Ariz., a suburb of Phoenix, where the sun shines hard and bright about 350 days out of the average year.

According to Suntech, a global leader in the production of silicon solar modules founded in 2001 by solar scientist Dr. Zhengrong Shi, the 117,000-square-foot Goodyear plant will initially produce Suntech's 280W Vd-series modules, which are used for commercial and utility-scale electricity generation.

Read more: Suntech Building Solar Panels in Arizona
Written by R.E. Lord   

Biomass Crop Assistance Program

The Obama Administration reiterated its support for the biofuel industry this week when Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) will continue.

The subsidy program pays farmers to establish perennial crops that can be used as feedstock for biofuels, in some cases providing up to 75 percent of the costs for up to five years (15 years for woody crops). Heretofore a pilot program, the BCAP is now the law of the land, and is “accepting project area proposals,” according to the USDA.
The program also provides matching payments to farmers, ranchers and other rural Americans who transport biomass to facilities that convert it into power and biofuels.

Read more: Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) to Continue Support for Biofuels
Written by R.E. Lord   

Electric Ford FocusFord executive Sue Cischke laid out the company's near-term plans for the all-electric Ford Focus, noting that most of the initial production will rollout in 2012 rather than 2011.

"We had always said 2011," said Cischke to reporters in Washington, "which we'll still do, but I think you'll see more of the concentrated volume in 2012. Right now, we're getting ready to provide a little bit slower entry."

Read more: Ford Hopes for a Gradual Rollout of the Electric Ford Focus
Written by R.E. Lord   

Ecotality Charging Stations

Behold the Sun Corridor: a projected megalopolis with some 10 million residents, car-choked freeways, and acre upon acre of single-family homes spread across the desert from Phoenix to Tucson to the U.S.-Mexico border, each with the air conditioning on full blast for five months out of the year. Planners and politicians have projected such a reality for decades, and it’s good bet that it will come true in the next 20 years of so.

Read more: ECOtality to Build a Rich EV Infrastructure in the Valley of the Sun
Written by R.E. Lord   

Solar Charging Station Envision Solar unveiled their CleanCharge solar charging stations in conjunction with GM's "Volt Unplugged" tour.  Each charging station's solar panels sit on a "solar tree" and, over the course of a sunny, six hour day, will provide enough electricity to fully charge a Chevy Volt.

The solar panels are designed to provide the most effective use of the sun's energy by tracking it across the sky throughout the day, providing the most efficient use of the solar panels capabilities. The company projects that by tracking the sun the efficiency is increased anywhere from 20-25%. Additionally, the panels provide shade to keep the electric vehicle and its batteries cool while charging.

Read more: Solar Powered Charging Stations from Envision Solar

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