Google set out to discover the effects of technological breakthroughs, and in the process discovered that strong government policies are key to accelerating their penetration into the market. Radical new battery technology and solar panels are great, but regular consumers don’t pick them up unless they're nudged in the right direction. In other words, the internet’s most successful capitalists say that the free market is all well and good, but we really need government regulation.
Germany, Korea, China, and now India are all venues for U.S. carmaking giant General Motors’ new all-electric hotness, the Chevrolet Beat.
The New York Times obtained government documents that call natural gas companies' enthusiasm about shale gas and hydrofracking "irrational exuberance.” That exuberance has convinced some lawmakers, though. Nine of them are writing to President Obama to ask him to push for more gas drilling. In other technology-that’s-not-actually-going-to-save-us news, China's building a $1.5 billion clean coal plant, the first commercial clean coal plant of this size.
There may still be something tangible in your life gaining value: your used, fuel-efficient car.
Siemens just unveiled the world's first hybrid-electric aircraft, the DA36 E-Star. It uses an unique power train to do the seemingly impossible: take off and land on nothing but batteries.
As you already know if you’ve tried to chug your car up a hill on a really hot day, cranking the AC reduces fuel efficiency. In an electric car with a limited range to begin with, that's a big deal, and can mean shaving dozens of miles off the distance a vehicle can travel on a single charge.
The next popemobile will be a hybrid -- not just a hybrid between a pick-up truck and a dunking booth, like usual, but a gas/electric hybrid car that can go around 16 miles in all-electric mode.
Because Americans are big babies who would rather strangle their economy with energy shortages than drive a car that is even vaguely weird, the Department of Energy's EcoCar challenge asked a bunch of universities to build the most energy efficient car possible using a stock General Motors body and a bunch of fairly typical parts.
General Motors CEO Dan Akerson doesn't want tougher fuel efficiency standards. That's no surprise. Here's the surprise: What he wants instead is a $1-per-gallon gas tax increase. If given a choice between a gas surcharge and the increasing fuel efficiency standards that are set to phase in over the next 15 years or so, Akerson says, he'd choose the tax. The overall efficiency of cars on the road would still increase, because buyers would opt for more efficient and thus more cost-effective cars. But the tax would be a better deal for the auto industry. As it turns out, high …