Recent Posts:

Zap to Show Off Three-Wheeler, Electric Van Later This Month

Michael Kanellos: January 21, 2009, 2:25 PM
It's three-wheel electric car day. First, Aptera announces that the first pre-production versions of its 2e have rolled off the line. Now Zap says it will show off its Alias, its own three-wheeled car, at the National Automobile Dealer's Association staring January 24 in New Orleans. Zap will try to come out with a limited number of the cars later this year and try to price them at below $35,000. Zap, one must note, has been enmeshed in a number of controversies in the past two years. The company will also show off low-speed vans and delivery trucks. These vehicles -- which cost around $14,500 -- are designed to be used on college campuses, military bases and retirement...

The New Metric In Smart Grid: Ten Seconds

Michael Kanellos: January 21, 2009, 2:00 PM
Apartment dwellers are the bane of utilities. When someone moves out, the account has to be closed and the meter turned off. When a new tenant moves in, someone has to drive out with a truck and flip it on again. "You have to physically turn it on," said Brian Alford, director of public affairs at OG&E, a utility in Oklahoma. In a recent trial with 6,600 apartments in Oklahoma City with Silver Spring Networks, OG&E was able to cut down the on/off cycling to ten seconds. Basically, someone flips a switch in the central office. That sort of metric is the sort of thing that could drive smart grid technologies. Although utilities will have to buy new meters to enable remote...

First Aptera Three Wheeler Rolls Out the Door, Production Begins in October

Michael Kanellos: January 21, 2009, 1:26 PM
The first pre-production version of the 2e -- the three wheeled car designed by Aptera -- emerged from the factory today. Aptera also reiterated that it will try to start selling the car in October. Earlier, it had hoped to release the vehicle in 2008, but had to delay. The electric car will go 100 miles on a charge and get up to 90 miles an hour. It will also go from zero to 60 in 10 seconds. That's not going to beat a Tesla Roadster, or even my 2004 Nissan Sentra that I bought from the used car division from Hertz. But for an electric car, the 2e might be somewhat cheap: The lithium-ion battery car will cost between $25,000 and $45,000. If the company can keep it toward...

It’s Official: Toyota the World’s Biggest Car Maker

Michael Kanellos: January 21, 2009, 10:00 AM
Toyota surpassed General Motors as the world's largest car maker in 2008, the same year that GM celebrated its 100th anniversary. GM announced that it sold 8.35 million vehicles in 2008 today. Toyota sold 8.97 million, according to this here article in the New York Times. Although both saw a decline in sales, Toyota's decline was less. Toyota had overtaken G.M. on a quarterly basis, but this is the first time that GM had been knocked out of the top spot in yearly totals since 1931. Toyota's surge in recent years has been tied to energy efficient cars like the Prius. GM still outsells Toyota in the U.S. but Toyota gained worldwide, according to the article. Meanwhile, Fiat is...

PG&E to Invest in Big Solar Rooftop Project This Year?

Jeff St. John: January 21, 2009, 9:57 AM
Pacific Gas & Electric Co. plans for the first time to make an equity investment in a large-scale solar rooftop project similar to that being done by neighboring utility Southern California Edison. PG&E plans to start making equity investments in the next two quarters in renewable energy, primarily solar power, Peter Darbee, CEO and chairman of PG&E, said Wednesday at the Clean Tech Investor Summit in Palm Springs. That will include a large-scale solar rooftop project "in the neighborhood" of SCE's $875 million, 250-megawatt solar rooftop project now underway, Darbee said. He wouldn't provide additional details about it, or about how much money PG&E planned to aim at the...

Photosynthesis Drives Solar Fuel Cell

Matthew Weinberg: January 21, 2009, 8:45 AM
Combine carbon, marine sediment, seawater and light and you've got a simple way to generate electricity from sunlight. The proof-of-concept solar fuel cell is powered by graphite electrodes that are covered by microbe films and embedded in marine sediment. One type of microbe uses sunlight to turn carbon dioxide and water into glucose and oxygen. Another type of microbe converts the glucose and oxygen back into carbon dioxide and water, producing electricity in the process. The fuel-cell waste -- carbon dioxide and water -- is recycled as input for the photosynthesis step....