Recent Posts:

Bloomors: Bloom Energy Rumors

Eric Wesoff: May 30, 2009, 5:13 PM

After more than seven years and more than $200 million of VC funding, Bloom Energy remains steadfastly non-communicative about its technology, product and business plan. The company ostensibly builds 5-kilowatt SOFCs (Solid Oxide Fuel Cells) or “Bloom Boxes” that can power a residence or business. The fuel cells are powered by methanol or ethanol which, when I last checked, was still a hydrocarbon product, albeit producing less emissions than, for example, a diesel generator.

It is said to be venture firm KPCB’s first greentech investment.

Every few weeks I receive a semi-credible tidbit about the company, which, in an attempt at journalistic integrity, I try to verify with the...

It’s Spray On Insulation for Engines From Ford

Michael Kanellos: May 29, 2009, 3:02 PM

James Baughman won the Inventor of the Year Award from the Intellectual Property Owners Education Foundation for the plasma transferred arc for spraying a thermal coating into aluminum engine blocks.

Aluminum engine blocks weigh substantially less than a standard engine, which improves gas mileage. Weight is effectively the third clean fuel in automotive, akin to batteries and biofuels. Bright Automotive and Aptera, for example, are adopting new materials to replace steel for various components in their cars. (Expect a bunch of material science startups and companies like Dow Chemical to tout materials for this market over the next few years.)

The spray eliminates a heavy cast-iron...

Kleiner Makes Another Green Car Investment: Who Is It?

Jeff St. John: May 28, 2009, 10:43 PM

Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers is investing in an unnamed electric or hybrid vehicle company that is aiming to produce cars at "the other end of the spectrum" from high-end hybrid vehicle startup Fisker Automotive.

Kleiner partner Trae Vassallo dropped the news Thursday at the Opportunities in Grid-Connected Mobility conference in San Francisco, but didn't provide much in the way of details.

"It's a car company," she said.

One thing's for sure, she said – the company won't be aiming at the luxury market, as is Fisker, which Kleiner has backed (see Fisker Raises $85M).

While Vassallo said that Fisker's high-end approach is one way to push electric vehicle innovation into the...

The Myth of Electric Vehicle Subsidies

Fredrik Wass: May 28, 2009, 9:51 PM

Niche vehicles and utility fleets could be the tipping point for electric vehicles sales. But it won’t take subsidies, according to automakers.

“Why should we believe any of you? Who’s real and who’s not?” were the opening questions from Sherry Boschert to representatives from Ford, Zap, Phoenix Motorcars, Smith Electric Vehicles and Bright Automotive. They were all a part of a panel discussion on where they’re at when it comes to putting electric vehicles on the road, and making them competitive at the Opportunities in Grid-connected Mobility conference in San Francisco.

Boschert is a board member of Plug In America and the author of “Plug-in Hybrids, the cars that will recharge...

Valence Seeks DOE Stimulus Grant for Texas Battery Factory

Jeff St. John: May 28, 2009, 2:17 PM

Valence Technology (NSDQ: LVNC) on Thursday joined the ranks of battery makers seeking federal stimulus funding for a new factory in Texas.

The Austin, Texas-based maker of lithium iron magnesium phosphate batteries said it hopes to secure $225 million over three years from the Department of Energy's Electric Drive Vehicle Battery and Component Manufacturing Initiative.

Valence hopes to raise the remaining $359 million for the project through state and local taxes and other incentives. The factory could build about 660,000 battery packs per year with a storage capacity of more than a million kilowatt hours, and could be open as early as mid-2012, the company said.

Get in line. There's...

Energy Efficient Computer Maker SiCortex Shuts Its Doors

Michael Kanellos: May 28, 2009, 12:42 PM

SiCortex, which wanted to sell energy efficient high performance computers to scientists, financial modelers and other big time users, has called it quits, according to HPC Wire. Most of the employees have been laid off and the company is trying to figure out how to sell its assets. More from HPC:

"According to the source, the course of action was initiated when one of the five venture capital firms behind SiCortex pulled out because of a lack of available funds. The other four then followed suit. The five firms that had funded SiCortex were Chevron Technology Ventures, Flagship Ventures, JK&B Capital, Polaris Venture Partners, and Prism VentureWorks. They had previously provided...

Here Comes the Electric Rental Car

Michael Kanellos: May 27, 2009, 8:04 PM

Nissan has struck again. The company has signed a deal with Europcar that will lead to electric rental cars by 2010.

Under the deal, Europcar will offer electric vehicles in France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Portugal, the U.K., Australia and New Zealand.  

Nissan is going to first market its all-electric to commercial businesses and consumers in the U.S. and Japan staring in late 2010. It has already signed deals in various places in those countries for charging stations. The car is expected to cost between $22,000 and $33,000 before the $7,500 federal tax credit, which is very cheap for an electric car. The plan is to mass market the car to the rest of the world by 2012. The rental...