Volkswagen’s ‘E-Up!’ Electric Car.

Volkswagen 'E-Up!' Electric CarVolkswagen has been showing the electric ‘E-Up!’ at auto shows since 2009 and it’s now slated to be released in the US in 2014. We could say “it’s about time” or instead, we could assume that Volkswagen has used this time to perfect their new ‘E-Up!’ electric car. Here are some of its specs:

  • Range of 93 miles per full charge.
  • 80% charge in 30 minutes with quick charge option.
  • 80 hp engine hits 0-60 in 14 seconds (1970 VW bus’ish?)

I sure hope it’s the former and Volkswagen has worked out the issues with their electric vehicle. As a proud owner of a Volkswagen vehicle, I know how idiosyncratic they can be. Holding one leg out of the driver’s side window in an futile attempt to get the passenger side window to roll down is a problem. And completely ripping out the floor mounted gear shifter to get my VW out of park is also a very big problem – especially when it happens twice.

Good luck Volkswagen and we’ll see if the ‘E-Up!’ is a big hit. I do hope that the extra time VW took to release the ‘E-Up!’ was necessary to get it running error-free because if it fails, the entire electric vehicle market gets a black eye. [Wired]

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Nothing Says ‘Consumption’ Like A 1200 Sq. Ft. Luxury Garage With Flat Screen, Library Etc.

Maserati Dream Garage in Los Angeles.This dream garage recently one a design award. The garage was designed by Holger Schubert of archisis for a home in Los Angeles. Here’s a description (from Design Driven):

“The 1,200 square foot space provides a designated spot for the car and a large open area for a couch, a slide-away TV, a built-in book shelve in front of a large storage room, as well as a small kitchen, a bathroom and a library.

An area of 8′ x 12′ is made of sandblasted aluminum grating that is set flush into the concrete floors. It hides a 9′ long steel ramp, which the driver raises five inches by remote control to create a slope sufficient for the car to roll out and be started outdoors.”

In a nutshell – this garage is nicer than my house. Who needs this much to house their car? The only person I could think of was Cameron’s dad from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and you probably know already what Cameron thought of his father… [Design Driven via Neatorama]


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Henrik Fisker Pushed To Resign From Fisker Automotive.

Henrik Fisker of Fisker AutomotiveFirst Henrik Fisker stepped down as CEO of Fisker Automotive in 2012 and now he’s being pushed to resign from the company he co-founded. The double-suck for Henrik Fisker is that he’ll have no say on how the suffering electric car company bearing his name will be divvied up.

More from GigaOM.

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Non-Food ‘Cellulosic’ Ethanol Could Be Price Competitive With Gasoline By 2016.

Cellulosic ethanol production.According to research company Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), ethanol produced from non-food materials (inedible parts of plants, woods, and grasses) will be price competitive with corn-based ethanol and gasoline by 2016. It’s a second generation biofuel called cellulosic ethanol and for years, figuring out how to cost effectively produce ethanol from non-edible plants has been a challenge. From BNEF:

“The survey collected data and predictions on the production costs of 11 leading players in the cellulosic ethanol industry. All use a technique, commonly called enzymatic hydrolysis, to break down and convert the complex sugars in non-food crop matter, and a fermentation stage to turn the results into ethanol. The results showed that in 2012, the cost of cellulosic ethanol production was $0.94 per litre, around 40% higher than the $0.67 per litre cost of producing ethanol from corn, which dominates the US biofuel market and is competitive with US gasoline. By 2016, respondents thought the price of cellulosic ethanol would match that of corn-based ethanol.”

Why is the move to cellulosic biofuels so important? From BusinessGreen:

“Cellulosic biofuels are widely regarded as critical to the development of the biofuels industry, as they allow developers to produce fuels from waste material or fast-growing grasses removing the need for energy crops that have been blamed for eating into agricultural land and driving up food prices.”

Another benefit of cellulosic ethanol is that its production can reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by up to 85% over reformulated gasoline according to a study conducted by Michael Wang of the Argonne National Laboratory. Starch-based ethanol made from corn reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 18-29% over reformulated gasoline. [BusinessGreen and BNEF]

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What Would It Take To Power New York State On Only Wind, Water And Sunlight?

Wind, water and sunlight power.

“We must be ambitious if we want to promote energy independence and curb global warming,”
Study co-author Robert Howarth, Cornell University

Professor Mark Z. Jacobson, a senior fellow with the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and the Precourt Institute for Energy, led a study to calculate what it would take to power the State of New York by 2030 with only renewable energy generated from wind, water and sunlight. Currently, almost all of New York’s power comes from gas, oil and coal.

Based on power demand forecasts for all industries, here’s what Professor Jacobson and his team determined would be needed:

  • 4,020 onshore 5-megawatt wind turbines
  • 12,770 offshore 5-megawatt wind turbines
  • 387 100-megawatt concentrated solar plants
  • 828 50-megawatt photovoltaic power plants
  • 5 million 5-kilowatt residential rooftop photovoltaic systems
  • 500,000 100-kilowatt commercial/government rooftop photovoltaic systems
  • 36 100-megawatt geothermal plants
  • 1,910 0.75-megawatt wave devices
  • 2,600 1-megawatt tidal turbines
  • 7 1,300-megawatt hydroelectric power plants, of which most exist

Looks like a lot and it is but it’s an investment. If installed, renewable energy would be the fuel source for vehicles, home heating and all industries in the state – it would be powering everything. Check out the full article on the study and find out how the plan, if implemented, would save billions in pollution related healthcare costs and help mitigate the future costs of climate change. [EurekAlert via e360]

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Release Date For Tesla Model X Pushed Out One Year To Late 2014.

Tesla Motors - Model X 7-Passenger SUVWhen the Tesla Model X does finally come out, it’ll be the electric 7-passenger SUV/minivan that families have been waiting for. Unfortunately, it’s going to be one year later than expected which means I will not be able to afford it in 2014 instead of 2013. [Wired]

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