Green Cars

Cleantech

The facts on Fisker: The media’s latest faux scandal

Having exhausted the Solyndra faux scandal, the media is now trying to gin up another one, casting suspicion on a Department of Energy loan to Fisker Automotive for the production of electric cars. The facts, needless to say, do not support the hype.

Electric vehicles improve fuel economy even if people don’t buy them

The first version of a radical new technology always gets off to a slow start -- remember what they said about the first iPhone? -- and so it is with the all-electric Nissan Leaf and plug-in hybrid Chevy Volt. Yet both vehicles are having an unexpected effect on their makers' bottom line. By getting people into the showroom, they’re helping to move other fuel efficient vehicles.

Critical List: Climate change is happening (no, really!); the gas industry has some weird ideas

A Berkeley scientist who was once critical of climate science did an independent study that confirmed that climate change is happening and that common claims from skeptics are totally spurious. Skeptics are still skeptical. Three-quarters of Americans think that the government should push harder on developing clean energy. Shocker: The government also invested in electric cars and some of them were not perfect, i.e., THIS IS THE NEXT SOLYNDRA. Natural gas companies don't understand why the EPA would want to make rules about fracking wastewater disposal: "We'll do it in a responsible way! Well, at least, we do now, after the New York Times revealed that we've just been dumping it into a river! But we'll do better! Honest!"

Northeastern states build giant electric vehicle network

A consortium of northeastern states stretching from New Hampshire down to Maryland is working together to construct an electric vehicle network. EV infrastructure is only just starting to build up, so it's great that states are coordinating on it, rather than each building their own system and creating a hodgepodge of nonsense that no sensible person could actually use.

Coming in 2013: Electric DeLorean!

The DeLorean Motor Company (not the original one but a reboot) will be coming out with an all-electric version of the iconic gull-wing auto in 2013 -- two years early for the events of Back to the Future II. Dear god, we'd better get cracking on those self-lacing shoes!

Can luxury car brands market green vehicles?

Luxury car brands have a problem. They want to be green, honest! But luxury, according to The New York Times, means "bigger, stronger, faster." None of those adjectives translate into "fuel economy." They're trying, though! Aston Martin, for instance, turned a tiny Toyota smart car into the fancy Cygnet, which has 1.3 liter engine. Mercedes is working on smaller cars, some with hybrid or electric engines. Lexus has a "compact luxury hybrid hatchback" (whatever that is).

Charge your EV in 10 minutes flat

Pretty much no one wants to wait around for their theoretical EV to charge, which is one reason why people aren't buying them in droves yet. But in the near future, charging won't take more than 10 minutes, thanks to Nissan. Along with a Japanese university, the car company developed an EV charger that takes a fraction of the time of current chargers without compromising battery life. Right now, charging an EV generally takes about eight hours, or 48 times as long as this new charger will need.

Disadvantaged teens build 160 MPG hybrid car

West Philadelphia High School has a dropout rate of more than 50 percent, and 85 percent of students are low-income. But instead of making trouble in their neighborhood, getting in one little fight, or even shooting some B-ball outside of the school, a team of 15 dedicated West Philly students built a badass hybrid car that gets 160 miles to the gallon. Then they entered it in a contest where it beat the pants off cars built by fancy Ivy League engineers.

Critical List: Invasive species jump the border; Gulf sheen not BP’s fault

While U.S. border monitors were busy looking for terrorists in cargo containers, a slew of invasive species slipped unnoticed into the country. Whatever that sheen in the Gulf is, it's not BP's fault, okay?? If carbon is a risk (and it is!), the market should adjust for that, valuing companies with high "exposure to climate change" less than those that are climate-resilient. But since markets don't seem to ever do what they should in theory, that hasn't happened yet.

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