Thursday, August 28, 2008

Ford Tests Improve Gas Mileage 24% with EcoDriving

Recently, Ford and a group called Pro Formance decided to take on ecodriving in the form of a 4-day long seminar with 48 different drivers taking part. Using the ecodriving tips taught by Pro Formance, the participants increased their fuel economy between 6-50%, with and average increase of 24%.

Ford Tips are:
1. Slow down and watch speed – Drive 55 miles per hour instead of 65 to save fuel.

2. Accelerate and brake smoothly

3. No idling

4. Check your tires

5. Be kind to your vehicle

6. Travel light

7. Minimize use of heater and air conditioning

8. Close windows at high speeds

9. Choose the right oil

10. Consolidate trips

Via ecomodder.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

IKEA to Carry Solar Panels and More

Eponymous big-box colossus IKEA has shown some great green developments lately, from flat-pack bike trailers to eco-friendly lines of housewares. Now the patent purveyor of all things flat-pack has announced plans to invest $77 million into its GreenTech energy fund with the goal of eventually producing solar panels, efficiency meters, and energy efficient lighting. Granted its massive distribution network, IKEA’s uptake of green tech could pose a monumental shift in the accessibility and affordability of these technologies.

Read more from inhabitat.

Google Invests $10M+ in Geothermal Energy

Geothermal energy has finally hit the big time., the philanthropic arm of Google, announced today that it is investing $10.25 million in an energy technology called Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS). The funding will also go towards geothermal resource mapping, information tools, and a geothermal energy policy agenda.

And it looks like Google made a wise investment choice. According to an MIT report on EGS, only 2% of the heat beneath the continental US between 3 and 10 kilometers (depths we can reach with current technology) is more than 2,500 the annual energy use of the United States.

Via CleanTechnica.

The US -- a World Leader in Wind Power Generation... Kinda

According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the capacity the US has for generating wind power is expected to increase 45% in 2008. America’s currently installed capacity stands at 19,549MW, up a total of 2,726MW from the end of 2007. Thanks to this number, AWEA is announcing that America is now the US world leader in wind electricity generation.

However this is an announcement based on stats that AWEA is hoping the rest of the world won’t look at too hard.

According to AWEA’s second quarter 2008 market report, they bill the US as the new world leader in the generation of wind power electricity. Looking at Germany’s capacity, for example, sees them with a total of 23,000MW, but never using that full capacity. Apparently the winds in America are stronger, and thus max out the US capacity.

But one important little factoid has been left out of this announcement, allowing the AWEA to make a perfectly legitimate statement, but based in marketing reality.

The US may have a capacity of 19,549MW, expected to grow another 4774MW by the end of this year, but it also has a population of 304.8 million people living on a total area of 9.8 million square kilometers of land. Germany, on the other hand, has only a population of 82 million and a total area of 357,000 square kilometers.

Via CleanTecnica

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Tesla Founder Martin Eberhard's first impressions in the Roadster

There has been a lot of speculation about how ousted former Tesla Motors CEO Martin Eberhard would feel about the car that became the Roadster in his absence. Well, the speculation is over - his beautiful, custom-painted Roadster saw over 1000 miles of driving in the past few weeks and he wrote a very long blog post about his adventures. The highs (and lows) are as follows:


1. The Roadster can take trips "that would have been completely out of the question for any prior production EV." He means in both distance and terrain - the Roadster handles hills and turns as well as any traditional fuel car on the road as well.
2. He comfortably took the car 125 miles on one charge and would feel comfortable going another 30 - this is with no pampering at all.
3. We need "a new list of expressions" to describe what "full throttle" feels like in the Roadster. He was extremely complimentary of the performance, " I have never driven anything like the Roadster that makes such awesome power so accessible."
4. Once the soft top is in place (he thinks it will take only 1 minute once he's used to it), it feels snug and tight.
5. The Roadster qualifies for "Clean Air Stickers" to enable free bridge crossings (at least in the Bay Area.) Not exactly the biggest concern for someone in a $100k car, but still...

CONS (he didn't pull any punches):

1. "The potholes in SF demonstrated a bit of harshness in the rear suspension – the right sort of pothole causes a very loud clunk that shakes the frame of the car." That said, he also commented that he would definitely not want to make the ride any softer.
2. Visibility is a bit of a challenge - the rear view mirror takes up so much of the windshield that it creates a legitimate blind spot.
3. It's lacking minor ammenities...for example, there is no place to stash change for parking. Small example, but he meant it as representative of minor design failures.
4. Apparently, the "JVC radio-CD player-nav system-vegematic thingy" SUCKS, "The thing runs some Microsoft operating system (really!), and it behaves just like you might expect. Or more like a Mac-righteous Apple fan might expect it to behave." Changing stations is hard, the driving directions are bad, etc.

Read more via greenhome.