Skip to content Skip to site navigation

Cities

Comments

Whole Watta Love

Small automakers roll out electric cars The climate is right for electric cars, and several automakers are rolling out new models. It's "an untapped market that is phenomenal," says the CEO of Zap, which introduced the three-wheel electric Xebra last month (yes, it comes zebra-striped). While low-speed, relatively low-price vehicles like Miles Automotive's ZX40 and the Tomberlin Group's E-Merge E-2 are hitting the road, it's the sports cars that are getting the most attention. The swanky Tesla Roadster is only the start: Wrightspeed Inc. is developing a $100,000 sports car that could go up to 120 mph and run for …

Read more: Cities

Comments

‘Cane Do Spirit

Hurricane researchers unite in call to curb coastal development The media has made much of the disagreement among hurricane researchers about the effects of global warming on storm strength. So much, in fact, that it's starting to annoy the hurricane researchers. Yesterday, 10 prominent experts in the field -- who have disagreed among themselves about the climate question -- released a statement saying that the media should pay more attention to the real problem, about which there is broad consensus: vulnerable coastal areas of the country are being overdeveloped. Death and financial ruin are sure to follow, they say, and …

Read more: Cities, Climate & Energy

Comments

Sprawl bribery is beating smart growth

The following is a guest essay from Joel S. Hirschhorn, author of Sprawl Kills: How Blandburbs Steal Your Time, Health and Money. He can be reached through sprawlkills.com. ----- When the small town of Warrenton in sprawl-rich northern Virginia received an offer of $22 million in cash from Centex Homes, one of the nation's largest developers and home builders, one reaction of concerned parties was, OK, sounds like an environmentally acceptable plan for nearly 300 new homes. But closer examination reveals a development plan that comes nowhere near meeting smart-growth values. It also illustrates the tactics of large sprawl developers …

Read more: Cities

Comments

Who Pimped the Electric Car?

Silicon Valley startup unveils sexy electric car As gas prices rise and vehicle emissions nudge the planet toward chaos, a Silicon Valley startup is hyping the electric Tesla Roadster -- which goes from 0 to 60 in four seconds, has a top speed of 135 miles per hour, and costs over $80,000 (built-in satellite navigation technology and iPod dock included). "Most electric cars were designed by and for people who fundamentally don't think we should drive," Tesla Motors CEO Martin Eberhard recently wrote on the company blog. "We at Tesla Motors love cars." Financed in part by big guns from …

Read more: Cities

Comments

New museum exhibit shows visitors how to build green

Sometimes it feels tough to get through a day without despoiling the planet. The products most of us use come through a wasteful global production chain; discarding old stuff is cheaper than repairing it; and our energy supply is inefficient and hard on the earth. Making matters worse, most of this excess centers around the heartwarming center of our existence, the home: U.S. households are responsible for about a quarter of the country's energy use. So what to do? A new exhibit at Washington, D.C.'s National Building Museum puts green living in the spotlight, providing inspiration for those who dare …

Read more: Cities

Comments

Plugs and Kisses

Toyota considering plug-in hybrids and flex-fuel vehicles for U.S. Toyota plans to develop a plug-in hybrid vehicle, the company announced this week. Rechargeable via any typical electrical outlet, a plug-in would be able to "travel greater distances without using its gas engine, ... conserve more oil, and slice smog and greenhouse gases to nearly imperceptible levels," said Jim Press, president of Toyota's North American subsidiary. The technology is far from ready, and the automaker has no timeline for offering the cars for sale, but hey -- we'll give it points for pressing forward with the R&D while other companies dawdle. …

Read more: Cities

Comments

Act Normal

Illinois mom blogs about her car-free month In some ways, Christine Gardner lives a normal life -- she's a mom, a writer, and, after all, she lives in Normal, Ill. But for July she's doing something decidedly out of the norm -- going car-free in a suburb without amenities right around the corner. Halfway through the month, she reports on bus adventures with toddlers, declares that it's possible to hand-tote an economy pack of diapers, and reflects on how cars are ruining community.

Read more: Cities

Comments

Unimpressive at Any Speed

Average fuel economy of U.S. vehicles no better than last year The average fuel economy of 2006 model-year vehicles in the U.S. is a guzzle-rific 21 miles per gallon, the U.S. EPA announced yesterday -- the same as in 2005. (And 1994. And 1982.) SUV fuel economy rose from 18.3 to 18.5 mpg from model year 2005 to 2006, a benefit canceled out by a passenger-car fuel-economy decline from 25 to 24.6 mpg. Honda had the highest average fuel-economy rating of automakers at 24.2 mpg; the American Big Three had some of the worst ratings, with General Motors at 20.5 …

Read more: Cities

Comments

Blake Mycoskie, founder of eco-friendly driving school, answers questions

Blake Mycoskie. What's your job title? I'm cofounder and chair of Drivers Ed Direct. How does your work relate to the environment? Photo: Drivers Ed Direct. We teach kids to drive in hybrids, which makes them more comfortable with the technology and educates them about environmental responsibility. We believe this makes them more likely to buy a hybrid vehicle and have a heightened awareness of environmental issues. Also, we have loaded our online course with numerous green tips and statistics. Here's an example: "The California Department of Transportation's annual litter cleanup costs run over $40 million. Some practical tips on …

Read more: Cities

Comments

An interview with smart-growth expert and author Anthony Flint

Few debates in the U.S. are more emotionally charged than the one over sprawl -- the exodus, since World War II, of America's middle class from cities to far-flung residential areas. Environmentalists, small farmers, and social-justice activists deplore sprawl for its unhealthy effects on land and communities. Suburbanites bristle at the attacks on their personal choices -- the desire for safety, good schools, and a piece of land. Anthony Flint. Into this contentious debate steps unusually cool-headed Anthony Flint, whose book This Land: The Battle Over Sprawl and the Future of America is a chronicle of the fledgling smart-growth movement …

Read more: Cities