Tesla Motors will produce electric Rav4 crossover SUVs for Toyota Motor Co. beginning in 2012, the two companies announced Friday. Toyota announced in May that it planned to invest $50 million in Tesla Motors upon the completion of the electric car maker's initial public offering, which took place on June 29. A fleet of electric Rav4 prototypes will be delivered later this year, the two automakers said. The first prototype has already been built, the said, and is undergoing evaluation.
GE's Nucleus brings the promise of the smart grid into consumers’ homes. As utilities deploy smart meters, the Nucleus will collect and store a consumer’s household electricity use and cost data for up to three years and present it to consumers in real-time using simple, intuitive PC and smart phone applications, helping consumers monitor and control their energy use. Nucleus is the first product in GE’s Brillion™ suite of smart home energy management solutions that will help consumers control their energy use and costs. In addition to Nucleus, GE’s Brillion suite will include a programmable thermostat, in-home display, a smart phone application, and smart appliances for the entire home.
General Motors will guarantee the lithium-ion battery in the Chevrolet Volt for 100,000 miles of driving or eight years, whichever comes first, the automaker announced Wednesday. Popular hybrid car models currently on the market, including the Toyota Prius and the Ford Escape Hybrid, have similar warrantees on their battery packs. The Volt, however, uses a different battery chemistry. Also, since the car runs purely on electricity from the battery for up to 40 miles, the Volt's battery is subjected to greater work loads than one in a gas/electric hybrid. Production of the Volt is still on schedule to begin in November, a GM spokesman said Wednesday. GM plans to produce 10,000 Volts, which will be sold in seven U.S. states, through the end of 2011. Production will expand to 30,000 cars in 2012.
GE today introduced the GE WattStation, an easy-to use electric vehicle (EV) charger. Designed to help accelerate the adoption of plug-in electric vehicles, GE WattStation significantly decreases time needed for vehicle charging and, using smart grid technology, allows utility companies to manage the impact of electric vehicles on the local and regional grids. Steve Fludder, vice president of GE ecomagination, said, “Widespread electric vehicle adoption depends on having charging stations that integrate the need for quick charging with the personal need for easy functionality. GE WattStation will meet this challenge.” Combining functionality with consumer friendly form from renowned industrial designer Yves Behar, the GE WattStation on average decreases electric vehicle charging time from 12-18 hours to as little as four to eight hours compared to standard charging “level 1”, assuming a full-cycle charge for a 24 kWh battery. View Full News Release here
The Intersolar North America conference gets underway at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, California, Tuesday, running through Thursday July 15. The event will be focusing on solar photovoltaic and thermal technology and is one of the largest business to business solar events in North America. More than 570 U.S.-based and international exhibitors as well as 20,000 trade visitors are expected at the 130,000 square foot venue. AltEnergyMag.com sat down with InterSolar representative Dr. Eicke Weber who is one of the world's leading researchers in the field of renewable energy and energy efficiency. Read the full interview here.
The Dice House looks like part of a Monopoly set, but the design has real-world ambitions. The 30-by-30-by-30-foot concept home, designed by the British architecture firm Sybarite, improves on standard building tech to erase its carbon footprint. The centerpiece is a photovoltaic umbrella dome that collects roughly 90 percent of the house’s energy needs. Made of a common plastic, the pillowy dome traps heat like a greenhouse. That hot air warms water in a tank tucked under the roof, turning out a daily average of 80 bath-ready gallons, even on the darkest days of December. At the umbrella’s apex, a generator-equipped turbine produces electricity and, in chilly months, drives heat into the house. Photovoltaic cells studding the 484-square-foot dome floor create additional electricity. Generating an estimated average of 33 kilowatt-hours per day, the house can power itself and charge a Tesla Roadster.
PAYERNE, Switzerland – An experimental solar-powered plane completed its first 24-hour test flight successfully Thursday, proving that the aircraft can collect enough energy from the sun during the day to stay aloft all night. The test brings the Swiss-led project one step closer to its goal of circling the globe using only energy from the sun. Pilot Andre Borschberg eased the Solar Impulse out of the clear blue morning sky onto the runway at Payerne airfield about 30 miles (50 kilometers) southwest of the Swiss capital Bern at exactly 9 a.m. (0700 GMT; 3 a.m. EDT). Helpers rushed to stabilize the pioneering plane as it touched down, ensuring that its massive 207-foot (63-meter) wingspan didn't scrape the ground and topple the craft.
Confidence soared among the crew of an experimental solar-powered aircraft on Wednesday as it cruised above Switzerland in a historic bid to fly around the clock and prove the value of solar energy. The Swiss pilot's take-off run took barely 90 meters, testimony to the light weight and giant airliner-size wingspan of the single seater craft , which relies totally on 12,000 solar cells and nearly half a tonne of batteries.
After outracing the competition over the course of a week and 1,100 miles, the University of Michigan has captured top honors at the American Solar Challenge 2010 . U-M's Solar Car Team cruised to victory in 28 hours, 14 minutes, and 44 seconds, crossing the finish line in Naperville, Illinois on Saturday with a time more than two hours better than that of the second place squad from the University of Minnesota. This was University of Michigan’s sixth North American title, having won the first race in 1990 in Sunrunner and third in a row.
Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego, Canadian Solar Inc and HelioPower announced a new 116kW roof-mount photovoltaic (PV) solar electric system at the Ronald McDonald House of San Diego at 2929 Children’s Way in San Diego. This is the first Ronald McDonald House in California to use solar energy to help power the House that supports families with seriously ill children in local hospitals. Ronald McDonald House of San Diego will serve more than 20,000 families this year alone, and the solar electric installation will help offset the electrical needs of the families with clean energy. This month, the House celebrates the one-year anniversary of its 47-bedroom House for overnight guests and its Family Care Center, which serves as a day-time refuge for anyone with a child in a San Diego hospital.
Yuliya Chernova from the Wall Street Journal has an interesting article on why Tesla Motor's succeeded with yesterdays IPO while thin-film solar panel maker Solyndra Inc pulled its IPO just two weeks earlier.
America will need to build 527 biorefineries at a cost of $168 billion to meet the 2022 target of the Renewable Fuels Standard. That is according to the US Department of Agriculture, which said yesterday that it expects the biofuels market to react to the need for more renewable fuels infrastructure. It is expecting the cost of new advanced biofuels plants to be equivalent to $8 per gallon, although as more and more plants are built the costs would come down. And, in a new USDA report on the road ahead under the Renewable Fuels Standard, other costs to be met include at least $12 billion for fuel distribution infrastructure.
Rhone Resch, President and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), released the following statement today after announcing an industry-wide goal of installing 10 gigawatts of solar capacity annually by 2015. Resch made the announcement during a presentation at the 35th IEEE Photovoltaics Specialist Conference in Honolulu, Hawaii: “Over the last few months, we have seen disaster after disaster caused by the fossil fuel industries and Americans are calling for a new direction for our energy future. And in communities across America, people are asking for an energy source that is clean, reliable, safe and creates economic opportunity. That energy source is solar.” Read the Full Release here.
The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), announced today that it expects the European wind energy sector to create over 250,000 new jobs in Europe in the next decade. "The European Wind Energy Association expects strong growth in wind energy employment in Europe over the coming years to 280,000 by 2015 and 450,000 by 2020. That's on average, 450 new European wind energy jobs per week over the next decade" said Christian Kjaer, Chief executive of the European Wind Energy Association. Three key areas - offshore wind, electricity grids, and the training and education of more engineers and technical staff - were identified as critical to creating those new jobs. "Only if we continue to install large amounts of renewable energy in the EU and support pilot projects of new technologies, will European renewable energy companies be able to compete", said Rasmussen, "Offshore wind has the largest growth potential and needs to receive stronger public support from and within the European Union".
Students from Mississippi State University placed first in the 2010 EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge finals in San Diego, Calif. after designing and building an exceptional biodiesel extended-range electric vehicle (EREV). Virginia Tech earned second place with an ethanol EREV design and Penn State came in third place building a biodiesel EREV vehicle. Mississippi State University competed against 15 other universities to win first place in Year Two Finals of the three-year competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and General Motors (GM). The competition challenges university engineering students from across North America to re-engineer a GM-donated vehicle to minimize the vehicle's fuel consumption and emissions, while maintaining its utility, safety and performance. Read about how the contest works here.
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