Tag Archive | "electric transportation"

Go Green With an Environmentally Friendly Motorcycle


Automobile manufacturers often tout the benefits of hybrid and electric vehicles when they talk about environmental friendliness

Electric MotorcyclesMotorcycles also deserve to be in that discussion, especially as the Motorcycle Industry Council reports that 27 million people have ridden motorcycles and 6.8 percent of the population owns at least one bike. Bikes have several factors that work in their favor, such as good fuel economy and lower base material costs. However, when you want to maximize the environmental friendliness of your vehicle, you have a few additional considerations to keep in mind:

Fuel-Efficient Engines

Look at the fuel economy before you choose a bike. Gas2.com recommends the Genuine Scooter Company Stellar with 140 MPG, and the stylish, handmade Royal Enfield line at 85 MPG for some of the most fuel efficient options on the market. Bikes cost significantly less than cars in most cases, and when you add in the fuel cost savings, your hour-long commute is suddenly far less frustrating.

Low RPM Engines

High-powered engines with that distinctive roar are attractive, but not if you’re going green. You want an engine that is powerful enough to navigate the terrain you’re working with, but there is no need for an engine powerful enough to get into impromptu street racing. The more powerful the engine is, the higher its fuel requirements.

Consider Buying Used

A motorcycle’s carbon footprint starts before it gets to your garage, when it’s in the manufacturing plant. A used bike doesn’t require any further impact on the environment to get it to market. Check out a used bike thoroughly before you purchase it, and pick up replacement parts from a reputable motorcycle parts store if anything needs to be repaired.

Adjust Your Riding Style

Aggressive riding requires more fuel, especially if you’re constantly accelerating and revving the engine. Keep a calmer riding style to maximize your fuel efficiency and lessen environmental impact. DMV.org offers plenty of helpful tips on motorcycle safety, including how to sit on your bike to ensure the smoothest ride.

Developing Technology

Electric motorcycles, much like electric cars, are emissions-free. Gas motorcycles can have high emissions since the smaller motor is less able to process emissions into safer forms before hitting the exhaust. Electric motorcycles also don’t require oil. Zero Motorcycles designs electric motorcycles that are lightweight, with long-lasting power trains and a powerful engine. The environmental friendliness increases further if you get electricity through a company that uses renewable energy resources for service.

Author: Karen Clemmens

Karen knows a few other female motorcyclists, but they are certainly in the minority. She loves to explore the mountains of the Southwest on her KTM.

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Chrysler sets sights on electric vehicles


Chrysler may revive electric vehicles program

American automaker Chrysler may soon join the ranks of companies working to develop and commercialize electric vehicles. In 2009, Italian automaker Fiat formed a strategic partnership with Chrysler in order to save the company from bankruptcy. Fiat quickly put Chrysler’s electric vehicle ambitious to rest, suggesting that the economics surrounding such vehicles were unfeasible. Fiat claimed that Chrysler would lose more than $10,000 for every electric vehicle sold. Now that the American automaker has found stable financial footing and its partnership with Fiat has become more turbulent, Chrysler may be looking to focus on electric vehicles once more.

Automaker looking for new engineers

Chrysler is currently looking to recruit new engineers to work on the development of battery management systems. These systems are used in electric vehicles to oversee the performance and manage the capabilities of lithium-ion batteries. The recruiting endeavor is part of Chrysler’s overarching electric vehicle program. In the past, the automaker had claimed that this program would produce a wide range of clean vehicles that would fall under many of its popular brands. The program was expected to produce all-electric vehicles as well as plug-in hybrids.

electric vehiclesElectric vehicles program to focus on batteries over fuel cells

Currently, Chrysler’s history and its efforts to acquire new engineers suggests that it will focus on battery electric vehicles rather than those powered by hydrogen fuel cells. Fuel cells have become quite popular in the auto industry but have not yet been embraced by all automakers. Many companies have expressed concerns regarding the high cost of these vehicles as well as their efficiency and safety. For these automakers, lithium-ion batteries remain the key to success in the field of clean transportation.

Automaker may find stiff competition in clean transportation

Chrysler has yet to reveal any specific details about its future with electric vehicles. The automaker has noted that it has been a strong supporter of clean transportation for several years, but it has yet to take a significant step toward commercializing battery-powered vehicles over the past five years. Other automakers, such as General Motors, Ford, and Nissan have established a strong lead in this sector in that time.

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Electric vehicles pick up momentum in the US


Electric vehicles are becoming more common in the US

Electric vehicles are still considered somewhat rare around the world, but they are becoming much more common in the U.S. A new report from the Electric Drive Transportation Association, a clean transportation trade group, shows that the sales of electric vehicles in the U.S. tripled in 2012. Moreover, the sale of electric vehicles has been growing at a fast pace over the past three years, partly due to the falling costs associated with these vehicles and the various financial incentives that have been instituted to promote their adoption.

Data shows that EV owners drive less

Based on the findings of the EV Project, an initiative run by Ecotality Inc., electric vehicles in the U.S. are gaining significant momentum. The project is meant to collect information concerning drivers of electric vehicles in order to provide insight into what consumers prefer and how they behave when it comes to the matter of clean transportation. According to the EV Project, owners of electric vehicles tend to drive less frequently, favoring their vehicles for short trips rather than long commutes. The limited range of most electric vehicles also encourages consumers to use these vehicles for short trips.

Electric VehiclesEV owners tend to be more affluent

Data from the EV Project suggests that those purchasing electric vehicles are somewhat more affluent than those opting for more traditional vehicles. Electric vehicles are typically more expensive than their conventional counterparts due to the technology and materials they use. While this can make the vehicles unattractive to many consumers, the data suggests that the costs associated with electric vehicles have not been enough to slow their adoption by a significant margin.

Financial incentives help promote adoption of electric vehicles

In the U.S., many states offer financial incentives that are meant to encourage the purchase of new electric vehicles. These incentives can greatly offset the initial cost of a new vehicle, making them more available to a wider range of consumers. As these incentives become more popular, more consumers are expected to purchase electric vehicles, especially if the auto industry continues to focus on producing these vehicles for the foreseeable future.

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Electric vehicles to benefit from new research efforts


Batteries and electric vehicles subject of new research initiative from the Department of Energy

Batteries have long held a place within the renewable energy sector. Lithium-ion batteries, in particular, have been praised as effective storage systems for clean energy and they have also become an integral part of clean transportation. Today, these batteries are being used in electric vehicles, which are becoming more popular around the world. As the demand for electric vehicles grows, however, the need for more efficient storage technologies is also growing.

Cloteam wins DOE contract

Cloteam, a startup technology firm, has been awarded a $3.5 million contract from the U.S. Department of Energy. Per the contract, the company will work to develop new energy storage technologies for electric vehicles. Cloteam is one of 22 other companies that have won funding from the Department of Energy for such purposes. Many of these companies are working to develop new battery technologies to improve the performance of electric vehicles.

Electric Vehicles ResearchNew battery management systems may make electric vehicles more efficient

Cloteam will focus on developing a new battery packing system that is compatible with various forms of batteries. This system will be responsible for managing the performance of the batteries with which it is associated. Cloteam believes that conventional battery technology is sufficient enough to meet the needs of modern electric vehicles, but better management systems are required to make electric vehicles a viable replacement for their traditional counterparts.

Cloteam to focus on efficiency

Efficiency will be one of Cloteam’s top priorities. Electric vehicles are often criticized for their lackluster efficiency and this has made them relatively unpopular with some consumers and businesses. The Department of Energy also considers efficiency to be a major issue and has been working to make electric vehicles more efficient in recent years. Cloteam may be able to help solve some efficiency problems with its battery management technologies, but time will tell whether this will be the case.

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IEA launches ambitious plan for electric vehicles


Electric Vehicles

Electric vehicles becoming a powerful weapon in the fight against climate change

The attention surrounding electric vehicles has been swelling as they begin to be considered a strong weapon against the potential effects of climate change. Transportation is considered one of the most significant contributors to climate change due to the massive amount of emissions that are produced by travel, commercial and otherwise. In order for electric vehicles to have a significant impact on climate change, the number of these vehicles on the world’s roadways must increase by 7 million every year through the end of the decade.

IEW targets 20 million electric vehicles by 2020

The International Energy Agency (IEA), an energy organization comprised of 28 member states, has set an ambitious goal for itself in regards to clean transportation. The organization aims to see more than 20 million electric vehicles on the roads of the world by 2020, believing that this will help mitigate the effects climate change may have. Though the goal may seem lofty, the IEA claims that it is well within reach as long as the world’s governments continue showing support for electric vehicles.

Steep increase requires jump in sales

The IEA has released a new report concerning its endeavor. According to the report, in order for 20 million electric vehicles to hit the roads worldwide, global sales must grow by 80% every year through the end of the decade. This would require a massive increase in the rate at which electric vehicles are being introduced to the commercial market. This may be difficult due to the costs associated with the development of these vehicles. Lithium-ion batteries are not inexpensive and the cost of these energy systems often translates into the overall cost of the vehicle.

Clean transportation already has strong backing

The IEA notes that current sales growth shows promise for the organization’s plan. While sales must reach higher levels, they are already showing strong progress in this regard and are expected to continue growing in popularity among consumers are governments increase their support behind clean transportation. There are several challenges that remain for the IEA, of course, but the organization currently has a high level support from its member states.

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Grant program for electric vehicles extended in British Columbia


British Columbia Supports Electric Vehicles

Province aims to continue support of electric vehicles

The Canadian province of British Columbia has become a strong supporter of clean transportation in recent years. The province has set up for itself ambitious emissions reduction goals that it plans to meet without trouble. Clean transportation is to play a significant role in this endeavor, as conventional vehicles contribute heavily to the emissions problem that the province has targeted. The province currently offers a financial incentive to encourage residents to purchase electric vehicles, such as those equipped with hydrogen fuel cells. This incentive is to be extended past its initial March 31 expiration date.

Grant program offers financial incentive to help boost clean transportation

The Clean Energy Vehicles for British Columbia was first established in 2011 with an aim to promote battery electrics, plug-in hybrids, and vehicles that use hydrogen fuel cells. The grant boasts of approximately $6.8 million in capital, of which $4.7 million remains untouched. The program has had trouble dolling out money due to the relatively low popularity of electric vehicles. Battery electrics and plug-in hybrids have yet to win the favor of consumers, many of whom are likely to be awaiting the commercial launch of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

Rebates have trouble finding consumer interest

The program was originally scheduled to come to a close at the end of March this year, but the provincial government has determined that the grant program should continue for the sake of British Columbia’s continuous environmental efforts. The program offers a $5,000 rebate for all forms of electric vehicles, a sum that makes several types of electric vehicles much more attractive from a financial perspective. The problem, however, is  that this money is provided in the form of a rebate, which means t hat consumers must first have $5,000 to spend before they can get that money back.

Program helps more electric vehicles find their way to British Columbia’s roads

While some consider the rebate approach as less than ideal, the program has helped boost the number of electric vehicles on the roads of British Columbia. In regards to hydrogen fuel and clean transportation, hydrogen-powered vehicles are not expected to see commercialization until sometime in 2017, if not sooner. Currently, Honda and Hyundai are the only two automakers that are offering hydrogen-powered vehicles to consumers, with the former’s market reach largely limited to California.

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Methanol fuel cells may see a future in electric vehicles


Electric Vehicles - Methanol Fuel Cell

Oorja aims to bring methanol fuel cells to clean transportation

Oorja Protonics, a developer of methanol fuel cells, has announced its partnership with the U.S. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Through a Memorandum of Understanding with the laboratory, Oorja will help develop a manufacturing process that could make methanol fuel cells more popular in the field of transportation. Currently, much of the auto industry is enthralled by the prospects of hydrogen fuel cells, but methane may be an adequate alternative to hydrogen in many cases, especially where clean transportation is involved.

Company aims to improve manufacturing process

Oorja will focus much of its attention on membrane electrode assembly; assembled stacks of proton exchange membranes or other exchange membranes, catalysts, and flat plate electrodes that are used in most conventional fuel cell systems. The goal is to achieve higher levels of  material performance compared to conventional assemblies. To accomplish this, Oorja is expected to address issues concerning the fuel cell manufacturing process, hoping to find breakthroughs that will lead to less expensive methanol fuel cells as well as expediting their entry into the global market.

Electric vehicles could benefit from methanol fuel cells

This initiative has a particular focus on clean transportation. Electric vehicles are becoming more popular, but many people still have reservations concerning their performance and efficiency. Electric vehicles are often criticized as having poor operational range, but Oorja may be able to put those concerns to rest with its methanol fuel cells. The company anticipates that its methanol fuel cells will serve well as range extenders for electric vehicles. With guaranteed longevity, electric vehicles are likely to see faster adoption in several markets.

Research may see progress through partnership with Oorja

Researchers from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory are expected to benefit from a partnership with Oorja. The company has extensive experience in the fuel cell market, providing researchers with valuable information concerning the wants and needs of the market in its current state. The company’s experience with fuel cells is also expected to contribute heavily to research into the technology and how to improve these energy systems.

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Tesla scores major victory with electric vehicles


Tesla electric vehicles reach monumental milestone

Tesla Motors, a manufacturer of electric vehicles, has been seeing major progress in the transportation market over the past year, despite some challenges. Late last year, Tesla was caught in a controversy involving a review of one of its electric vehicles, in which the reviewer suggested that the vehicle itself was faulty and could not perform as well as conventional vehicles. The vehicle in question, however, was equipped with equipment that tracked the performance of the vehicle, which served to debunk the notions of the reviewer. This controversy attracted a great deal of attention to Tesla, which seems to have had a positive impact on sales.

Tesla announced first profitable quarter

Tesla has announced that the sales of its Model S have surpassed its expectations, setting the stage for the automaker’s very first profitable quarter. According to Tesla, the first quarter of this year will be the first profitable quarter in the country’s history, largely thanks to the attention that electric vehicles have been receiving in the U.S. and elsewhere.  Consumers appear to be intensely interested in electric vehicles even though many hold concerns regarding the cost and efficiently of these vehicles. This interest appears to be enough to spur sales.

Model S to include 60kWh battery pack and Supercharger technology

The automaker has also announced that it will not continue making small battery packs for its Model S. These 40 kilowatt-hour battery packs were initially offered as an option for the Model S, designed for those that would not be driving frequently or long distances. Tesla sold only 40 of these battery packs to consumers, not enough to justify their continued production. Instead, all those that have ordered the Model S will receive the 60 kilowatt-hour battery pack at no additional cost. Tesla is also including its Supercharger technology with all Model S vehicles in order to make them more alluring to consumers.

Electric Vehicles - Tesla Model S

Electric vehicles continue to gather interest from consumers

Tesla focuses exclusively on electric vehicles. In the past, the automaker had established a reputation for making some of the most expensive electric vehicles in the world. Now, however, Tesla is working to establish a more approachable persona to a wider range of consumers. This approach seems to be working, as more consumers are purchasing Tesla vehicles than ever before.

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Motorcyclectric: The Future of Electric Motorcycles


Future of Electric Motorcycles

Electric cars have been rising in popularity as people take action to protect the environment, but what about electric motorcycles? Various companies in the motorcycle business are developing new technologies and designs to usher in a new age of motorcycles powered by electricity. Together with the nascent sport of electric-bike racing and innovative enclosed bikes, electric motorcycles are garnering more acclaim with each zero-emission mile.

Electric Motorcycles

MotoCzysz, a renown electric-motorcycle company, is looking to create a motorcycle that will set a new speed record, according to SlashGear.com. Should MotoCzysz achieve that goal, the future of the electric motorcycle industry looks promising. The company has teamed up with NVIDIA to take advantage of its Maximus technology.

Japanese motorcycle company, Kawasaki, is also looking into electric motorcycle production. The company is rushing to patent its Kawasaki parts and aspects of electric motorcycles in preparation for when the market takes off, according to VisorDown.com. Kawasaki’s motorcycle layout entails airbox-encased batteries, front air intake and an air vent under the seat for heat expulsion.

Last year, five students of the University of Life Sciences in Norway created the Roskva electric motorcycle. It has the advantages of eco-friendly electricity combined with a riding experience, according to EarthTechling.com. It’s said to charge within 10 minutes and reach 60 mph in under four seconds—factors that may sway traditionalists to consider going electric.

eGrandPrix

Electric motorcycles shine at various races dedicated to showing how clean emission vehicles blow away the gas-guzzling competition. The TTXGP, the progenitor of electric motorcycle racing, are teaming up with the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM), the governing body of motorcycle racing, to introduce e-bike racing to the masses, according to Wired.com. Along with the eGrandPrix, the coalition plans to further electric-powered motorcycle racing events to life the novel sport’s profile.

Best of Both Worlds

The future of the electric motorcycle may look something like the C-1, a two-wheeled “Tron”-like vehicle developed by Lit Motors. The prototype resembles a motorcycle spliced with the amenities of an enclosed car. The C-1′s controls mirror your standard vehicle with a steering wheel and foot pedals. Under-floor gyroscopes prevent the vehicle from tipping—even upon collision with another car, according to the New York Times. “Most people drive alone,” Daniel Kim, chief executive of Lit Motors stated during an interview. He thought he could get the same efficiency of a bicycle and motorcycle, but all the amenities of a car. The C-1 can achieve 120 miles per hour at top speed and can travel 200 miles when fully charged.

A similar motorcycle/car hybrid recently debuted at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show. The Toyota i-Road, an electric vehicle—sort of like a reverse tricycle—was designed as a flexible and cost-effective urban mode of transport, according to Popular Science. The concept vehicle features “Active Lean” technology, a self-leaning system that automatically achieves balance when turning a corner or traversing rugged surfaces. Less impressive than the C-1, the i-Road can travel 31 miles on one charge and hit a maximum speed of 28 miles per hour.

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Electric vehicles in the US to get a boost from Nissan


electric vehicles

Nissan takes aim at US electric vehicles infrastructure

Nissan recently made alternative energy news headlines in its partnership with Daimler and Ford concerning the future of hydrogen-powered vehicles. The automaker is not solely devoted to the development of hydrogen fuel cells, however, and retains a strong focus on electric vehicles, like its acclaimed Leaf. Electric vehicles have been growing in popularity around the world, and especially in the U.S., where the federal government is bent on an initiative to put 1 million new electric vehicles on the nation’s roads. In order for such an ambitious endeavor to be successful, however, a proper infrastructure must first be established.

Automaker to triple number of fast charging stations in the US

Nissan has embarked on an ambitious campaign to triple the number of its fast charging stations that are available to the public throughout the U.S. These stations are designed to charge electric vehicles at a very rapid rate, cutting down on the long periods of time drivers have to wait for their electric vehicles to be fully charged. Nissan believes that there is a bright future ahead for electric vehicles and the automaker is eager to play a role in hastening that future’s actualization.

Demand for electric vehicles is on the rise

Over the next 18 months, Nissan will be opening at least 500 new fast charging stations throughout the U.S. Nissan notes that the falling cost of electric vehicles, which is due in part to more efficient and less expensive technologies, is causing demand for these vehicles to spike. Without a proper infrastructure in place, however, these vehicles will likely find only moderate success in the country. If consumers have access to a comprehensive and high speed infrastructure, they are more likely to show interest in electric vehicles.

Nissan shows strong support for clean transportation

Nissan has emerged as one of the primary advocates for clean transportation. The company has long been involved in the production of electric vehicles, but has been increasing its involvement in alternative energy and its uses in transportation over the past two years. This is partly due to the strict emissions regulations that are being adopted by some of the automaker’s favored markets.

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AeroVironment announces new charging station for electric vehicles


AeroVironment announces new charging station for electric vehicles

AeroVironment makes charging stations portable

Though much of the auto industry’s attention is being consumed by hydrogen fuel cells, electric vehicles that run on batteries are still growing in popularity amongst consumers. This growing popularity is leading to increasing demand for electric vehicle charging stations, a demand that AeroVironment, a leading manufacturer of unmanned aircraft systems, is happy to oblige. The company, though specializing in technology for aircraft, has announced the development of a new, portable electric vehicle charging station made specifically for private use.

New charging station an expansion on existing product line

The new, portable charging station is called the EVSE-RS Plug-In, and is actually an expansion of the company’s EVSE-RS charging stations that are made for homes. These home chargers have proven somewhat popular with electric vehicle owners as they provide these drivers with a guaranteed place to charge their vehicles. The portable variant will be able to plug into any 240-volt outlet and will be able to charge a vehicle using the electricity that it draws from there.

System comes at a relatively high price

AeroVironment notes that the portable charging station is easy to install and does not need to be hardwired into a home’s energy structure. The station can be moved easily as it is self contained. The device is equipped with several safety features to mitigate the potential for disaster. Those interested in a portable charger for their electric vehicles will have to pay approximately $1,000 for this station, but this is not necessarily the most unattractive aspect of the system.

Electric vehicles still take hours to charge

As with other electric vehicle charging stations, the portable one from AeroVironment needs a few hours to charge a vehicle’s lithium-ion battery. Given that most electric vehicles have a limited range, this could be a problem for people that rely on their electric vehicle for work or errands. Unlike traditional vehicles that can be refueled in a matter of minutes, an electric vehicle must be left to charge for several hours, lest the drivers is willing to risk running out of electrical power during their travels.

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Electric vehicles posed for major expansion in near future


Electric Vehicles charging station

Electric vehicles will see exponential growth, according to Pike Research

A new study from Pike Research indicates that the number of charging stations for electric vehicles is set to grow exponentially around the world. The supply of equipment for electric vehicles is also expected to grow significantly over the next few years as electric vehicles become more popular with consumers looking to save money on fuel. The study notes that the U.S., China, Canada, Germany, France, Japan, and the United Kingdom are all “breakout” markets for electric vehicles and supplies. As such, these countries will play a pivotal role in the expansion of electric transportation.

11.4 million charging stations worldwide by 2020

According to the study, the number of electric charging stations around the world is expected to reach 11.4 million by 2020. This is largely due to the numerous government programs that countries have in place to help support the establishment of an infrastructure for electric vehicles. Pike Research notes that these programs have created strong incentives for energy companies and automakers to invest in the development of this infrastructure. More charging stations means that it will be easier for drivers of electric vehicles to keep their cars charged, thus alleviating some of the concerns these drivers have had in the past.

Electric vehicle supply equipment to see a boost

The availability of equipment for electric vehicles is also expected to see a boost within the coming years. Electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) refers to charging stations and technologies that are used on private property either at homes or businesses. As electric vehicles become more popular, the demand for these technologies is increasing, mainly for the sake of convenience. Pike Research expects the number of active EVSE’s throughout the world will go from 200,000 in 2012 to more than 2.4 million in 2020.

Electric vehicles may be able to compete against hydrogen transportation

Electric vehicles are becoming a seriously attractive product to many consumers and Pike Research believes that the vehicles and their associated technologies will continue to grow in importance and availability. Pike Research expects that electric vehicles will still hold a strong presence in the worldwide market after hydrogen transportation has taken root. Attention must still be paid to infrastructure, however, if this is to become a reality.

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