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    Drew Dowdell

    ... lets users know how many chargers are available...

    Google has released an update for the Google Maps Navigation app when searching for Electric Vehicle charging locations. Now when a user searches for a charging location, the app will show how many ports are currently in use out of the total in real time. This way, the driver no longer needs to physically check the location to see if charging is available without a wait.  It will also give information like charge port type, charge speed, and ratings from other drivers. 
    The feature works with ChargeMaster, EVgo, SemaConnect, and Chargepoint."  At the moment, Tesla Supercharging is not yet compatible with the feature.  Searching is available on Android, iOS, Desktop, and Android Auto. Availability in Android Auto means that drivers of cars equipped with Android Auto now have real time charging information available directly on their car's infotainment system. 
    The feature is available now on the latest version of the apps. 


    Greenlots, will become a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell plc.

    Royal Dutch Shell us a global oil / gas producing company and yet even they see that the future will be about servicing the needs of energy by more than one traditional source as they have expanded in the last few years with solar, wind, natural gas, bio-fuel, hydrogen effectively covering various energy fronts. Shell then took this a step further last year when they bought NewMotion Charging with operates for profit 30,000 plus charging points across Netherlands, Germany, France and the U.K.
    This deal becomes the foundation for Shell's continued expansion of offering electric mobility charging solutions at their North America stations using Greenlots technology team. Together Shell will offer best in class software and services that enable large-scale deployment of Smart Charging Infrastructure and integrate efficiently with advanced energy resources like solar, wind and power storage.
    With the NewMotion purchase, Shell started with adding recharging service at their stations across the U.K. with expansion through out the rest of 2018 and into 2019 in their four original markets with expansion in Europe.

    Royal Dutch Shell has again expanded their recharging service by purchasing Greenlots one of the leading private for profit companies based in Los Angela's California. Shell and Greenlots sees a seismic shift in how people and goods are transported. To Quote Brett Hauser, CEO of Greenlots, "sees Electrification enabling a more connected, autonomous and personalized experience of auto mobility. Greenlots technology, backed by the resources, scale and reach  of Shell will accelerate this transition of future mobility ecosystem that is safer, cleaner and more accessible."
    Shell will be spending between $1-2 billion a year adding Recharging stations across North America as electricity recharging becomes a significant part of its business co-existing along side other forms of fuel from CNG, LNG, Hydrogen and traditional gas / diesel. Shell chargers will start off as basic DC/AC level 3 charging options but will be changed as faster versions come on the market such as the 800V fast chargers the auto industry is looking at using for new electric vehicles that are coming to market. 
    Greenlots currently has charging in 13 countries around the world making Shell one of the leading recharging as a service vendors now. Shell now becomes a major vendor in selling recharging equipment for retail business, apartment / condo's, homes, cities, Utilities, workplaces, mass transit lots, etc.

    Greenlots currently has 350 DC fast chargers located across the U.S. on major freeway systems at public rest areas currently focused on the core East Coast and the Pacific Electric Highway, I5 which runs from Vancouver B.C. south to Baja California.
    Greenlots is a major player with having signed an agreement with Electrify America the Volkswagen-subsidiary that is spending billions to install chargers all across the U.S. which will be credit card / debit card accessible for recharging by any EV.
    Shell has not stated what their gas station Rechargers will look like here in North America. BMW and Kia are customers that when you purchase an EV from these auto vendors, the charger you can buy for your home will be a Greenlots charger.


    Drew Dowdell

    As long as you are willing to sell some of your battery's juice back to the grid.

    According to Reuters, Nissan is working with two partners E.ON and EDF to develop technology and services to allow power stored in electric vehicles to be sold back to the grid at peak times.  The technology is called vehicle-to-grid (V2G).
    In ideal situations, users charge their vehicles during off-peak energy prices and sell the energy back to the grid during times of high usage. By buying low and selling high, this would allow EV drivers to potentially have net zero charging costs. There is a benefit to energy grid operators also, it will allow the energy grid operators to smooth overall energy distribution, with the net effect of helping to stabilize the energy network. 
    Nissan and Mitsubishi are working with French utility EDF and a V2G technology company called Nuvve to build a large scale V2G charging network in Europe for electric vehicles made by those two companies. Italy's Enel power utility is working on a similar pilot project in Denmark, Netherlands, Rome, and Genoa.  Honda is planning on including V2G capability when it launches its first electric vehicle in Europe. 
    One setback for the technology is that the German auto manufacturers who will be making the largest number of EVs and PHEVs for Europe over the next years have not yet signed on to the project. Further, complicating matters is the lack of a charging standard both among EV manufacturers but also in V2G technology.  
    A large part of the adoption of the V2G technology will come down to changing consumer habits, something consumers can be slow to do. 

    William Maley

    This will make EVs even a tougher sale

    One key selling point automakers have been using to move electric vehicles is the federal tax credit of up to $7,500. But a new tax cut bill being proposed by House Republicans could eliminate that credit.
    The bill announced today includes a provision of eliminating the credit after the 2017 tax year if the bill goes into law.
    The credits are important as it helps level the playing field between internal combustion engines and EVs. Currently, the credit will begin to phase out once an auto manufacturer once it sells 200,000 EVs or plug-in hybrids. Bloomberg reports that Tesla would be the first automaker to reach the limit, followed by GM and Nissan. If that tax credit is eliminated, automakers worry they would experience a plunge in sales.
    “The credits matter a lot. In states without EV mandates or incentives, you’ll see sales crater,” said Eric Noble, president of the CarLab.
    Bloomberg cites the example of Georgia which cut its $5,000 electric vehicle tax credit back in 2015. Sales tumbled from 1,400 to just fewer than 100.
    Automakers are spending a lot of money and time in lobbying to make sure the credit is renewed partly due to new mandates being placed by California and a number of other states saying a certain percentage of new cars sold have to EVs.
    "The potential elimination of the federal electric vehicle tax credit will impact the choices of prospective buyers and make the electric vehicle mandate in 10 states — about a third of the market — even more difficult to meet," said Gloria Bergquist, a spokeswoman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a trade group representing various automakers such as GM and Toyota.
    Source: Bloomberg, Reuters


    Proterra Buses set new world record for longest mileage run on a single charge! 


    Previous Page Next Page All-electric zero-emission that can finally replace all petro powered buses in North America was unveiled at the Annual APTA (American Public Transit Association) meeting in Los Angeles. Proterra which is known to have launched the first fleet of alternative fuel buses has pushed American engineering with over $130 million in private equity funding to produce a true replacement for all diesel / alternative fuel buses. The Catalyst E2 bus series hit the new milestone at the Michelin's Laurens proving grounds. A 600+ mile passenger free track run translates into 350 miles of continuous real world driving according to Proterra's CEO Ryan Popple. 
    Proterra states that bus fleets said they could fully replace fossil fuel buses if they had buses that could cover routes for a single day up to 350 miles fully loaded with people. Proterra achieved this challenge by using carbon fiber and increasing energy density in the buses battery pack. Proterra battery packs come in choices of 440 KWh to 660 KWh size. The base model bus with a 440 KWh battery pack is what was used to set their new world record for electric distance in a bus. These battery packs are 6x more than the recently announced Tesla S/X P100D. These batteries can handle sustained quick charging plus they can also use the industry standard J1772 CCS plug-in chargers.
    The first 34 buses are scheduled to be delivered to Foothill Transit Authority in Los Angeles County this fall. Reno, Nevada and 11 other cities including Seattle, Washington will follow in 2017 with taking delivery of these pure long distance electric buses. Proterra expects to deliver over 300 buses in 2017.
    Safety first was more than just a slogan at Proterra, with this guiding principle, the Catalyst bus was engineered from the beginning as the battery packs are located outside the passenger compartment. The are liquid temperature controlled and incorporated with both active and passive safety features. They are also ruggedized with reinforced enclosures and a safety barrier between the batteries and the passenger compartment. The buses are also build with Mobileye crash avoidance technology and using plenty of impact absorbing carbon fiber materials.
    Proterra's main competitor is Chinese based BYD with production facilities in California who also aims to deliver EV buses. However, BYD buses will only have a range of 160 to 200 miles compared to Proterra's. California has help fund both Proterra and BYD development, with the requirement that the engineering and production of the buses be done in California. 
    The recent Volkswagen emissions scandal is cited as a reason cities are no longer wanting diesel buses. They also point out that the public is asking for much cleaner transit solutions.
    Proterra states that customers want a environmentally friendly bus, that does not smell, has much reduced noise pollution, and makes for a more comfortable trip. Their $740,000 buses depending on configuration was a hit at APTA with many transit authorities asking for more information especially on the east coast which has lagged behind moving to cleaner alternative energy buses and runs some of the oldest bus fleets in the country. An example of how quiet these buses are, the Proterra Catalyst is only 57 dB lower than normal conversation at 60 dB much less a diesel bus 72 dB, Formula 1 Racecar 115 dB, and a Jet plane taking off at 140 dB.
    Per Proterra own web site, efficiency is the goal and with that you have proof in the cost to run an EV bus as follows:
    Proterra Catalyst - 21.4 MPGe @ average of 19 cents per mile CNG - 3.27 MPG at 74 cents per mile Diesel - 3.86 MPG at 84 cents per mile Hybrid - 4.58 MPG at 63 cents per mile. Quoting Mass Transit Mag who was at the APTA meeting:
    Compelled by a total cost of ownership significantly lower than fossil fuel-based alternatives, transit agencies across the U.S. agree that diesel’s dominance is waning, giving way to the economic and environmental benefits of battery-electric mass transportation:
    J. Barry Barker, executive director, Transit Authority of River City: “TARC now has largest deployment of Proterra battery-electric buses east of the Mississippi. Providing both environmental benefits and cost savings, these buses are a symbol of Louisville’s sustainability efforts. We are proud of these positive impacts and to call Proterra a partner, as they pass this key milestone in their journey as the foremost transport innovator in the world.” Doran Barnes, executive director at Foothill Transit: “We just surpassed one million miles of revenue service with our battery-electric Proterra fleet, and we’re looking forward to many more miles to come. Since our first EV bus procurement with Proterra in 2010, we knew that zero-emission buses were the future of mass transit. Now, with the new Catalyst E2, this vision is a reality.  We’re excited by the possibilities of an all-electric future.” Jonathan Church, administrator at Worcester Regional Transit Authority (WRTA): “More and more, we’re witnessing our neighbor agencies consider all-electric buses, as they see how well our Proterra buses have weathered some of the ugliest Northeast snow storms. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Proterra as their technology continues to expand within North America.” We have previously covered early versions of Proterra EV buses. These early buses achieved 23 miles per charge and have become popular with inner city routes are being outclassed by this new generation of EV Bus. Proterra states their EV buses to date have logged over 2.5 million miles of trouble free use on city streets, reducing fuel use by 540,000 gallons of diesel and reducing emissions by 10 million pounds of carbon not released into the planet atmosphere. 

    Ryan Popple, CEO of Proterra says, "The question is no longer who will be an early adopter of this technology, but rather who will be the last to commit to a future of clean efficient and sustainable mobility." Proterra believes they have broken down the final barrier to widespread market adoption of EV buses. Proterra, leaving Diesel in the past! 
    Source: Proterra Press Release
    Press Release on Page 2
    September 12th, 2016
    Highest-performing bus on the road can serve toughest bus routes on a single charge
    Los Angeles, Calif. – APTA 2016 – September 12, 2016 – Today at the American Public Transit Association (APTA) Annual Meeting, Proterra, the leading innovator in heavy-duty electric transportation, unveiled the newest addition to its fleet of zero-emission vehicles: the Catalyst E2 series, named for its unprecedented Efficient Energy (E2) storage capacity of 440 – 660 kWh.  Last month, an E2 series vehicle achieved a new milestone at Michelin’s Laurens Proving Grounds where it logged more than 600 miles on a single charge under test conditions. Its nominal range of 194 – 350 miles means the Catalyst E2 series is capable of serving the full daily mileage needs of nearly every U.S. mass transit route on a single charge and offers the transit industry the first direct replacement for fossil-fueled transit vehicles.  The high-mileage Catalyst E2 series joins the existing Catalyst FC and XR series vehicles, designed for circulator and intermediate-mileage routes, respectively.
    The Future of Transit Arrives: Proterra Customers Across the U.S. Praise Electrified Transport
    Compelled by a total cost of ownership significantly lower than fossil fuel-based alternatives, transit agencies across the U.S. agree that diesel’s dominance is waning, giving way to the economic and environmental benefits of battery-electric mass transportation:
    Barry Barker, Executive Director, Transit Authority of River City: “TARC now has largest deployment of Proterra battery-electric buses east of the Mississippi. Providing both environmental benefits and cost savings, these buses are a symbol of Louisville’s sustainability efforts. We are proud of these positive impacts and to call Proterra a partner, as they pass this key milestone in their journey as the foremost transport innovator in the world.”
    Doran Barnes, Executive Director at Foothill Transit: “We just surpassed one million miles of revenue service with our battery-electric Proterra fleet, and we’re looking forward to many more miles to come. Since our first EV bus procurement with Proterra in 2010, we knew that zero-emission buses were the future of mass transit. Now, with the new Catalyst E2, this vision is a reality.  We’re excited by the possibilities of an all-electric future.”
    Jonathan Church, Administrator at Worcester Regional Transit Authority (WRTA): “More and more, we’re witnessing our neighbor agencies consider all-electric buses, as they see how well our Proterra buses have weathered some of the ugliest Northeast snow storms. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Proterra as their technology continues to expand within North America.”
    2.6 Million Miles and Counting
    With annual sales already 220% higher than 2015, Proterra is experiencing a breakthrough year in the mass transit sector and expects the debut of the Catalyst E2 series to only further magnify this success. Doubling production in 2017 to serve unprecedented customer demand, Proterra will have both of its manufacturing lines in full operation in Greenville, S.C. and the City of Industry, Calif. To date, Proterra buses across the United States have completed over 2.5 million miles of revenue service, displacing 540,000 gallons of diesel, and eliminating over 10 million pounds of carbon emissions.
    “Proterra’s primary goal has always been to create a purpose-built, high-performance electric vehicle that can serve every single transit route in the United States. Today, with the unveiling of the Catalyst E2 Series, that goal has been achieved,” said Ryan Popple, CEO of Proterra. “The question is no longer who will be an early adopter of this technology, but rather who will be the last to commit to a future of clean, efficient, and sustainable mobility. With the Catalyst E2 offering a no-compromise replacement for all fossil fuel buses, battery-electric vehicles have now broken down the final barrier to widespread market adoption.”
    About Proterra:
    Proterra is a leader in the design and manufacture of zero-emission vehicles that enable bus fleet operators to eliminate the dependency on fossil fuels and to significantly reduce operating costs while delivering clean, quiet transportation to the community. Proterra has sold more than 312 vehicles to 35 different municipal, university, and commercial transit agencies throughout North America. Proterra’s configurable EV platform, battery and charging options make its buses well suited for a wide range of transit and campus routes. With unmatched durability and energy efficiency based on rigorous U.S. certification testing, Proterra products are proudly designed, engineered and manufactured in America, with offices in Silicon Valley, South Carolina, and Los Angeles. For more information, visit: http://www.proterra.com and follow us on Twitter @Proterra_Inc.
    Proterra Media Contact:
    Previous Page Next Page


    Does it make sense to convert a traditional gas powered auto to an EV?

    G. David Felt
    Staff Writer Alternative Energy - www.CheersandGears.com
    Tesla has set the auto world on fire with their sedan and now their Tesla X CUV. While most of us cannot afford a $100,000 dollar plus auto, what about our older auto's? Does it make sense to convert a traditional gas powered auto to an EV? Should I wait till a lower priced EV arrives like the Chevy Bolt?
    Many states have come out strong in their support for CNG home and business fueling equipment such as Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, and Texas. Other states have come out strong pushing to having people go electric and add electric chargers to your home such as Washington and Oregon. One large state pushing CNG, Electric and Hydrogen, is California. The average conversion on a petrol powered auto to CNG tends to run $10K to $15K depending on the size of the CNG tank and then you have fueling equipment if you want to fuel from home that runs from $5K to $10K depending on size. This means an average person converting an auto to CNG is looking at $15K to $25K price and can be even more if you buy a new CNG auto.
    You have many choices in the EV field such as the Nissan Leaf, Chevy Spark EV, Fiat 500 EV and a few others that all run in the 60 to 80 mile range of electric auto's. The upcoming Chevy Bolt is a 200 mile range EV which many feel will make an impact on autos sales. These are the EV's that are all in the $25K to $35K range depending on federal subsidies.
    So with thinking about the current EV's on the market and what is coming, does it make sense to convert an existing auto to electric? What is the cost of conversion and what are my options as I hear about AC versus DC driven autos? What should I have at my home to charge the auto? This is what I took as I thought about my own auto's I own and realizing that a big 6'6" 280lb man who drives full size SUV's, GMC Suburban and Escalade, finds it hard to find a greener solution in the full size SUV arena. As such, I choose to research what it would cost to convert my 1994 GMC SLE Suburban which has a modified 402 V8 500HP, 551lbs of Torque engine that requires Premium fuel or CNG to drive.
    In researching this I found that there are many pros and cons of AC versus DC motors. AC or alternating current electric motors and DC or Direct current electric motors are both able to achieve the job of moving an auto but are engineered a bit differently. DC current will not work with an AC motor nor will a AC current work with a DC motor.
    AC motors are divided into single phase and three phase motors. Single phase AC is what you typically find in a home, triple phase is commonly found in factory or commercial space, but can also be installed at a home. Today OEM auto makers are mostly using AC motors.
    DC motors also find themselves split into three types, brush motors, brushless motors and stepper motors. Brushed DC motors as found on Golf carts and many other small electric driven carts are easy to build and cost effective but their large drawback is that the carbon brushes used to transfer electrical current wear over time and eventually end in motor failure. Stepper motors are a brushless DC motor most commonly found in robotics/ automation. Not something you would use in an auto. The DC brushless motor eliminates brushes, is more costly to build and requires a complicated electronics system to operate but has long life and is usually what you find in EV's either converted or OEM built for the auto industry.
    So now that we know what the difference is between AC and DC motors, what are the advantages and disadvantages of these motors?
    Advantages of DC (Direct Current) motors are as follows:
    1) Provide excellent speed control for acceleration and deceleration.
    2) Easy to understand and design.
    3) Inexpensive drive design.
    Disadvantages of DC motors are as follows:
    1) High maintenance
    2) Vulnerable to dust which decreases performance
    Advantages of AC (Alternating Current) motors are as follows:
    1) Low cost due to simple design of the motor.
    2) Generally smaller form factor.
    3) Reliable operation, due to low maintenance, very rugged.
    Disadvantages of AC motors are as follows:
    1) Low speed challenges
    2) Back EMF (electromotive force) issues. This is where current in the loop of the motor that slows down the motor and has to be overcome.
    With all the advantages and disadvantages there are some situations that still demand a DC motor or a high performance AC motor. For long life and performance cooling is a requirement. This requires a premium efficient or energy efficient motor with proper air or liquid cooling.
    So knowing what I have in my suburban and wanting to keep it as true as possible as an auto that has its heaters, AC and the rest of the electronics ended up leaving me with the following parts list.
    EV Conversion Part List and Cost as supplied by www.electriccarpartscompany.com.
    This is a parts list with cost not including shipping or installation.
    2 - Warp11 72-156v 453amp DC Motors will cost $5810.00
    1 - Dual Motor Siamese adapter for Warp11 motors will cost $599.00
    1-Air Conditioner Compressor will cost $864.00
    1-Electric Power Steering Pump kit will cost $985.00
    2-1000amp Zilla Motor controller will cost $3717.00
    1-PB2 Pot Box Throttle will cost $99.00
    1-Motor Adapter Plate and Spacer Ring will cost $450.00
    1-Interconnecting Hub will cost $365.00
    1-55amp DC-DC converter will cost $124.00
    1-500A Fuse will cost $65.00
    1-Fuse Holder will cost $65.00
    1-12v 500amp contactor will cost $72.00
    1-Inertia Switch will cost $57.00
    1-Amp/Voltage meter with 500amp shunt will cost $108.00
    1-QET 2000 watt 144v model P charger will cost $603.00
    1 - 250V, 10-30A Locking Plugs, sockets, inlets & Bezel - $105.00
    1-Orion BMS configured for 48 cells will cost $1131.00
    Part Cost $15,219 which gives me an EV motor solution of 1000lbs of torque with near identical HP.
    90 mile battery pack
    48 -180Ah Calb CA180FI cells with bus bars, bolts and washers will cost $11,448.00
    200 mile battery pack
    48 - 400Ah LiFePo4 Lithium Prismatic cells with bus bars, bolts and washers will cost $28,032.00
    90 Mile Solution
    Installation cost approximately $20,000.00
    Part Cost approximately $15,219.00
    90 mile battery pack $11,448.00
    Total Cost $46,667.00
    200 Mile Solution
    Installation cost approximately $20,000.00
    Part Cost approximately $15,219.00
    200 mile battery pack $28,032.00
    Total Cost $63,032.00
    With an overview of AC versus DC motors and having researched the installation, parts and battery pack, I have two options, a $47K 90 mile option or a $63K 200 mile option. Knowing that a new Suburban can run from $40K to $75K dollars, which makes sense? Buy a new petrol suburban or rebuild my existing Suburban to be EV?
    I think this really comes down to a personal choice as you have to decide if your old auto is worth more to refit as an EV or stay with petrol and drive a new one. Personally, I am leaning towards the EV conversion as my 94 GMC SLE Suburban is in mint condition, paid for and the cost of conversion would give me a 30Amp quick charging solution that long term would end up paying for itself I believe.
    In the end if you are interested in converting your auto to electric, you have a number of choices. The following web sites offer a complete catalog of parts for those that want to engineer the complete solution. They also offer Conversion kits that cover many popular cars and trucks. Which is right for you, can only be decided by your own choice of what you want to accomplish.
    The final alternative is a new Hybrid Suburban offered by VIA Motors. Pure electric for 40 miles, then gas kicks in to balance and you end up with a 24mpg suburban but at a starting price of $79,000.
    Via motors web site is here:
    TopSpeed review is here:
    News on Via here:

    Drew Dowdell

    One step closer to hydrogen powered cars.

    We have all heard the pluses and minuses of using of using corn to create automotive fuel, but what if using corn as a basis for fuel was the right idea and the issue was that we went about it the wrong way?
    At Virginia Tech, a team of researchers have discovered a new way to to make hydrogen fuel from the parts of the corn plant not used for food; the stalks, cobs, and husks. By using these waste parts the researchers have removed one of the large objections to corn fuel; using food as a fuel source.
    Hydrogen fuel from plant sources is not new. However the Virginia Tech team has found a different method that breaks down two most common plant sugars, xylose and glycose, simultaneously. By working on both sugars simultaneously, the process releases hydrogen 10 times faster than than existing photo based hydrogen production systems. Most current hydrogen production facilities use natural gas, a fossil fuel, as a source.
    The process uses a mixture of waste bio-mass combined with a solution of enzymes that convert plant sugar into hydrogen and carbon dioxide. The enzymes were created using genetically engineered bacteria.
    How much will it cost? That the researchers cannot answer yet. However, with the increased reaction speed and increased production volume, they predict that a production facility be no larger than a gas station, thus reducing capital costs. This also means that production could be widely distributed, reducing the need to transport the fuel. According to the U.S. Dept. of Energy, there are only 13 publicly available hydrogen fueling stations in the entire U.S.
    By addressing the issues of production rate, distribution, and fuel source, these new methods could be the solution to a primary problem facing hydrogen cars.
    The selection of hydrogen powered cars is fairly limited, with just Honda, Hyundai, Toyota, and Mercedes-Benz producing vehicles in very limited numbers.
    Related: Toyota's Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle has a Name and Price
    Source: Phys.org


    Be for or against EV autos one cannot help but acknowledge that they are here to stay. Yet where is the best place to drive them? Electric Highway West Coast Style!

    By G. David Felt
    Be for or against EV autos one cannot help but acknowledge that they are here to stay. California has long been one to push the industry in one direction or another. With change often came some interesting observations such as Tesla who has been funded and helped by government grants and yet for being in a state that pushed auto companies to build EV autos they lack a solid growing infrastructure for the Electric Highway in comparison to other states.
    Electric Highway Map Washington & Oregon
    Electric Highway Map California
    While Tesla has done wonders for pushing their own charging stations, what about support for non-Tesla EVs? This is where a quick study of the Electric Highway Map shows that Oregon and Washington State has surpassed California for making much of the state and the major highway usable for electric road trips. The map shows an easy to understand network of charge points for going on an EV road trip.
    I-5 is essentially the backbone of the EV highway on the west coast with the map showing the various supported state and federal highways with charging locations and type. California, while focused on San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego loves to show off that they have an electric system, much of it is still in a planned stage leaving really only Tesla with a solution of getting around long distance.
    The focus of the West Coast Green Highway project which is funded by Federal, state, city and business dollars is to give “Range Confidence” to those that choose to purchase an EV auto. This project is an extension of the Federal’s current and long-running EV Project which was funded in August 2009 and covers 9 states with chargers installed in Major cities and Metropolitan areas. The Chevrolet Volt and Nissan LEAF are partners in this long running project. Owners of these autos could apply and those that qualify could get a free residential charger at no cost. As of March 11 2013, the EV Project had met it currently funded goal for residential charging units and is no longer accepting applications. EV Drivers can still sign up and join in the monitoring project of the public charging units to help better understand the use, need, and type of chargers.

    Click to Enlarge
    Map via WestCoastGreenHighway.com

    The layout of charging stations show that most are 20 to 30 miles apart with some being 50 to 60 miles apart which would require one to carefully and efficiently plan their driving. The one item that this map does not show is topography. The Pacific Northwest is a mountainous area that is also home to strong winds of which both can and do affect range of these autos.
    Fortunately many will find that the West Coast Green Highway site covers all of North America with alternative Fueling station locators. The Electric Highway is a part of a broader effort by the Department of Transportation for Washington, Oregon, and California to expand the use of Natural Gas, Biodiesel, Ethanol, and Hydrogen options along the 1,350 miles of I-5 from the US border with Canada to the US border with Mexico.
    In a drive for those that wish to help reduce greenhouse gas, clean up the air we breathe and give mother earth a break, the West Coast Green Highway project is a solid step in the right direction supporting many alternative transportation fueling options.


    The week of June 23rd Harley Davidson will introduce its first electric bike. This will shock people for what is considered by some to be the rocket ship on a silent hum from a company known for its loud exhaust.

    G. David Felt
    Alternative Fuels & Propulsion writer

    Harley Davidson E Bike!


    The Experience Tour!

    The week of June 23rd Harley Davidson will introduce its first electric bike. A company known for its big loud touring bikes and iconic brand plans to become a leader worldwide in developing technology and standards for electric vehicles.
    At an invitation only event in New York, Harley will show off its handmade demonstration models. The company will then take the bikes on a 30-city tour to allow people to test drive the bikes and provide feedback. This tour will allow Harley to refine the bike so its engineers can plan to bring it to market over the next few years.
    Risky is an understatement since no market exists for full size electric bikes. The market is almost exclusively driven by scooters and low powered bikes in Asian countries like China. Yet these investments by a well-know icon could very well create demand. Regardless of immediate demand, the long term potential for Harley should be a win no matter what.
    The LiveWire bike is expected to sell on performance more than environmental awareness or what is called the green factor. The sporty bike can go from 0 to 60 in approximately 4 seconds with no need to shift gears. Like a jet airplane taking off, the engine is silent except for the meshing of gears which emits a hum.
    The lead engineer Jeff Richlen states, “People get on thinking Golf Cart and get off thinking Rocket Ship.”
    Hurdles for the company are the current battery pack lasts about 130 miles and takes up to 1hr to recharge. Hitting the highway will likely frustrate riders for road trips due to the short range and long recharge time.
    Harley does see this as an outstanding suburban and city commuter bike. With sales of more than 260,000 motorcycles last year, the potential for EV bikes cannot be ignored.

    By G. David Felt
    Staff Writer Alternative Energy - CheersandGears.com
    Friday, December 21, 2012
    BRC Fuelmaker / CugoGas announced two new Phill Home CNG Fueling models and American Made Fast Fill CNG Stations. BRC Fuelmaker/CugoGas looks to jump start the market for CNG (Natural Gas) powered cars and Home Fueling appliances by introducing two lower priced models of their Phill Product line as well as introduce Local Manufactured Fast Fill Stations in a Container that will drive down the cost of building a Fast Fill natural gas public fueling station.
    Press Release on Page 2
    At the Dec 10th Las Vegas distributors meeting, BRC Fuelmaker rolled out to attendees two new models of Phill their Entry level time fill CNG solution. The Phill allows refueling of a CNG powered vehicle at home or business enabling owners to take advantage of historically low natural gas prices. Compressed Natural Gas vehicles are offered for sale by GM, Honda, Ford, Chrysler, Dodge, and Toyota with additional models able to be converted by EPA certified conversion shops.
    Current version of the Phill Standard sells for around $5000 plus installation for a well-built CSA certified natural gas fueling appliance. This is the only current certified unit in North America for home fueling. The new Phill Basic should sell for around $4640 and the Phill Smart around $4600 and available starting Jan 2nd 2013.

    The Standard Phill comes with earthquake mounting bracket, fueling hose, complete dry pump system with air cooling and has built in leak detectors, built in self-regenerative dryer for the incoming gas supply. All total a complete self-enclosed system for drying, pumping and self-checking for a safe home fueling solution, able to be mounted and used in enclosed garages or outside.
    New additions:
    Phill Basic: This unit is identical to the Phill Standard except that it does not have the regenerative dryer. For states that actually deliver to the home a dry natural gas supply you can have an inside or outside fueling appliance with no dryer.
    Phill Smart: This unit is identical to the Phill Standard except for having no dryer and no internal leak detectors/sensors. This is an outside only unit.
    Government requirement is that the gas supply does not have more than 4 - 7 lbs. of water per million cubic feet of natural gas. For all states this is a standard that gas supply companies are to follow as directed by the government which allows one to fuel without the need for a dryer. Yet in some states you have private natural gas supplies with high water content so a dryer is still required.
    CuboGas announces production of North American made Fast Fill CNG Solutions.

    CuboGas will start production of their container fast fill CNG solution stations in North America starting in Jan 2013. To quote their management team, BRC Fuelmaker / CuboGas see’s North America as their largest growth market and will be investing for the long term in fast fill and time fill CNG solutions while creating American Jobs.
    With average cost of a fast fill station running from 1 to 3 million dollars and being in ground piece meal solutions, CuboGas looks to simplify building Fast Fill stations by offering container enclosed solutions. This allows one to have a cement pad with Electricity and gas at the pad. Bring in the CuboGas container solution of their choice and bolt it to the pad, run the stainless steel lines to the islands with the dispensers and have a Fast Fill station in no time. No ground contamination, minimal extensive build out leading to faster startup for these fast fill solutions.
    North America is expected to have a rapid growth of both Home\business time fill CNG fueling as well as public Fast Fill CNG solutions as America moves to kick the Oil habit.


    With Charging stations showing up all over the west coast and especially in the Greater Seattle area, A questions came to mind. Tax Payer supplied charging stations, Are we getting our money's worth? This editorial hopes to expand on that question and show people what the current status is and point a light on it for you to decide if this is a smart spending of tight tax dollars.

    G. David Felt
    Staff Writer Alternative Energy - CheersandGears.com
    Wednesday, November 07, 2012
    Tax Payer supplied Charging stations.
    Are we getting our money’s worth?
    Recently, a newly expanded Park and Ride by my house went live with charging outlets for 20 cars having been installed at the Mountlake Terrace park-and-ride lot at 236th Street SW and I-5. A dedication "plug-in" ceremony was held Saturday a few weeks ago even though completion of the place happened back in May.
    Each of the 10 stations is equipped with two outlets. One is a 120-volt, "level 1" outlet that charges a car from empty to full in 16 to 30 hours, depending on the type of vehicle. The other is a 240-volt, level 2 charger than can juice up a car in eight to 15 hours per the community transit press release.

    This is the most charging stations installed in any one location so far in Snohomish or King Counties. The new stations in Mountlake Terrace are the first to be installed at a park-and-ride lot in the county, according to websites that show station locations.
    Mountlake Terrace applied for and received a $55,000 federal grant for the stations. The city paid for installation, which she estimated at a few thousand dollars. The ChargePoint brand stations are made by Coulomb Technologies of Campbell, Calif. The project was done with the blessing of Community Transit, which leases the site from the state for the park-and-ride lot. Commuters with electric vehicles can now park, plug in and let their cars charge up all day while they're gone.
    The service costs 85 cents per hour with a maximum of $4 per session. The charging stations take credit cards. The charger shuts off automatically when the car's battery is full. The state also is planning to install a network of stations this year along I-5 from Oregon to Canada and along U.S. 2, called the "Electric Highway." Most of these will include level 3, DC "fast chargers" that can power a car from empty to full in 30 minutes. Washington state has choosen fast chargers for the freeway systems from AeroVironment, Inc. This allows most EV’s to charge in less than 30 minutes but for older cars or to top off a battery, you will have the level 2 chargers from AeroVironment also. Plans are for users to be able to use personal credit cards or sign up for the AeroVirontment Network . The AV network is a fob based system to use for charging. During the install period, AeroVironment is allowing free charging till the complete highway system is in place.
    You have both the Community Transit blog and the City MountLake Terrace (PDF) talking up this event.
    This big question to be asked is was this really needed or necessary?
    In this picture you can see that 10 of the white signs are actually visible and these are to be used by plug in cars, but they seem to sit empty all the time. To the left where you see a couple cars parked the signs and the charging stations are actually covered in black plastic bags so the parking can be used by the general public as there is never enough parking for traditional gas powered cars.

    So we have 20 spots built for Electric only auto’s and 10 of them are actually covered up allowing traditional auto’s to park there with the other 10 being vacant and not being used at all. One can see this in the picture below also that the signs are covered in black plastic.
    In submitting a request to Mountlake Terrace, I got no response and in calling to the office no one was willing to talk about the electrical parking spots and the lack of use by these spots on top of the actual cost. The generalized comments have been it only cost a couple thousand to install the units, but one has to challenge that considering the unionized nature of Electrical work done in Washington State.
    It is interesting that depending on the model you have a cost of $490 to $39,900 per model depending on what model is chosen and then the installation cost. Yet some systems have no cost listed as the company wants to only do custom quotes. A fairly complete list of charging systems with some prices can be seen here.
    A recent story on the installation of charging stations on Stevens pass, Highway 2 in Washington State here says that they have chosen a vendor for the 8 to 10 DC fast chargers that came within the $1 million budget. Also stated in the next paragraph is that this is part of a $250 million electric highway.
    The Seattle PI had the following story on their web site that states the Seattle area is getting 2500 charging stations as part of the $230 million dollar Electric Highway. Altogether, 15,000 charging stations will be installed in 4 states (Washington, California, Arizona and Tennessee and the District of Columbia) This equals out to a cost of $15,333 per charging station for the electric highway and is in addition to the charging stations installed by Cities at park and ride lots.
    Tonia Buell, from the Washington department of transportation in an email response has stated that Washington already has 12 DC fast charging locations on the state’s electric highway program in addition to the public schools and private business who are installing hundreds of Level 2 (medium speed) chargers through the EV project. In asking if the state is funding any of these charging stations, the response was no this is primarily funded through the US Department of Energy, Electric Auto supply companies, private businesses and citizens contributing to the EV investment.
    The Washington DOT has posted on their web site about 8 to 10 fast chargers from a DOE $1.5 million grant and they talk about the EV Highway but do not mention the rest of the costs.
    Depending on which story and quote you go with, we either have $15,333 dollar charging stations or $16,666 charging stations. The cost of the charging stations plus which level you can use for your EV auto, Level 1, 2 or 3 gives you a 10 to 30 minute fast charge time or up to 8 hrs or longer.
    So you travel 80 miles if you truly can get this on a Nissan Leaf and then wait up to 30 min to charge and then travel another 80 miles. This alone means to travel the 174 miles from Seattle Washington to Portland Oregon you will need 3 stops for charging, 1 ½ hrs. plus your almost 3hrs of travel time. So you have a 4 -5hr trip from Seattle to Portland versus a 2 ½ hrs. trip in a petrol or CNG auto.
    Washington state DOT is using the story published by Motor Trend as a positive support and proof that you should ease your range anxiety.
    Yet even in this story, the amount of time spent charging along the so called EV Highway still also shows how much extra time it will take to travel a modest 250 miles. Even with the Flyer that is being provided to anyone who asks about the EV highway, it seems to beg more questions than answers.
    In regards to maintenance, the electric charging companies have a vested interest in these systems paying back and are responsible for maintenance to the units so as to not have a cost to anyone but those using them according the WSDOT. Yet what happens to a person when one of these systems is offline due to a need of maintenance and with no real answer being supplied on what is the life expectancy? Hours spent on a 120V charge will not cut it on a road trip.
    So in going back to our original question, Are we getting our money’s worth? Is the tax payer money really being well spent by investing in this technology at this time and what about the required Maintenance?
    Looking at the global picture we will eventually get to a need for this kind of charging, but society as a whole is nowhere near ready for using luxury golf cart type autos on the main roads for long road trips. The amount of vacant sitting parking spots dedicated to such a small amount of auto’s seems to show excessive waste in tax payers’ money when other needs should come first.
    It would seem that jumping on this technology which has been pushed by a very wealthy, well connected group of individuals is spending hard working tax payer’s money for a solution that is not needed at this time. Most people can charge their cars at home, drive to the park-N-ride lot and get back home without having to pay to charge up.
    So the question still begs to be asked; Is the tax payer getting their money's worth for the Electric highway?


    There are increasing signs the electric car strategy is doomed while natural gas vehicles are rapidly gaining traction. Let's take a closer look at this important issue. Which companies will thrive and which companies will be left by the wayside?

    G. David Felt
    Staff Writer Alternative Energy - CheersandGears.com
    November 6th, 2012
    There are multiple reasons for why American needs a true step to the next generation of fuel for the transportation industry and this article does a fair job of reviewing Electric, Hybrid and NGV or CNG auto's.
    Read the full story here:
    It is an interesting comparison piece that does mention the Volt out of context with it's proper place in Auto History but still a worthwhile read.
    Sounds Off on what your thoughts are on this?


    Alternative Energy, what is the logical next step for America Part III?

    Join me as I write about the various forms of alternative energy and how I see them stacking up in today’s market place.

    Hydro, Geothermal and Wind

    G. David Felt
    Staff Writer Alternative Energy - CheersandGears.com
    September 25, 2012

    Alternative Energy, what is the logical next step for America Part III?
    Join me as I write about the various forms of alternative energy and how I see them stacking up in today’s market place.
    Hydro, Geothermal and Wind
    While excellent in being renewable energy for use by homes and businesses, Hydro, Geothermal and Wind lack the ability to drive an auto by itself. When combined with alternative forms of creating energy, these three renewable forms of energy can truly make a difference.
    Hydropower, water powered cars or hydrogen/oxygen powered cars using 100% water as fuel is real. Splitting water by electrolysis and creating hydrogen/oxygen gas or Hydroxy gas, the molecules are bonded together positively in a ortho hydrogen state. Due to the power of this gas, you do not store it so it must be made as you drive. The special alternator generates amps to run the special stainless steel cell that allows this gas to be created and used to run the engine. One can research Stan Meyer’s Water Powered Dun Buggy to see what this technology is capable of. Yet with all the potential possible, either we have a true conspiracy from the oil companies with this technology being killed off or a solid scam. You decide!
    Now you have the alternative Hydrogen powered cars that rely on tanks, a hydrogen stations and what most engineers call the PEM (polymer exchange membrane) fuel cell. The PEM fuel cells have the advantage of being light and small. They consist of two electrodes ( a negatively charged anode and a positively charged cathode), a catalyst and a membrane. Hydrogen is forced into the fuel cell at the anode in the form of H2 molecules, each of which contains two hydrogen atoms. A catalyst at the anode breaks the molecules into hydrogen ions (the protons) and a flow of electricity (the electrons). The ions pass through the membrane, but the electricity has to go around. While it's doing so, it can be harnessed to do work. Just as hydrogen is forced into the fuel cell at the anode, oxygen is forced in at the cathode. The protons and electrons reunite at the cathode and join with the oxygen to form water, most of which become the fuel cell's exhaust. Fuel cells are designed to be flat and thin, mainly so they can be stacked. The more fuel cells in the stack, the greater the voltage of the electricity that the stack produces.
    Fuel cells have two major advantages over fossil fuels. First, they don't deplete the world's finite supply of oil, which helps us preserve the existing supplies and they could also reduce our dependency on foreign oil. Second, the only byproduct from a fuel cell's operation is heat and water, which means fuel cells don't produce pollution. This is vitally important in a time when carbon emissions from cars are believed to be promoting global warming.
    Perhaps a more important question is how the hydrogen itself will be produced. Given that hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, constituting roughly 90 percent of the atoms in existence, you'd think that this wouldn't be a problem. Well, think again. Hydrogen is also the lightest element in the universe and any uncontained hydrogen on the surface of the Earth will immediately float off into outer space. What hydrogen remains on this planet is bound with other elements in molecular form, most commonly in water (H2O) molecules. And there happens to be a lot of H2O on the surface of the Earth.
    But how do we separate the hydrogen molecules in the water from the oxygen molecules? And if we don't use water as a hydrogen source, where else can we get hydrogen?
    The simplest way of getting hydrogen from water is the one that Sir William Grove knew about more than 150 years ago: electrolysis. If you pass an electric current through water, the H2O molecules break down. Similar to fuel cell operation, this process uses an anode and a cathode, usually made from inert metals. When an electric current is applied to the water, hydrogen forms at the cathode, and oxygen forms at the anode. Although this process is slow, it can be done on a large scale.
    An alternative source for hydrogen is natural gas, which consists of naturally occurring hydrocarbons. A process called steam reformation can be used to separate the hydrogen in the gas from the carbon. At present, this is the most common method of industrial-scale production of hydrogen and would likely be the first method used to produce the hydrogen for fuel-cell vehicles. Unfortunately, this process uses fossil fuels -- the natural gas -- so if the point of building cars that run on hydrogen is to avoid depleting fossil fuel reserves, natural gas would be the worst possible source of this fuel yet with North America having the largest reserves in the world we have a 150-200 year step to the eventual holy grail of renewable energy with almost none if not truly no carbon footprint of green house gas.
    Some experts have suggested that it might be possible to build miniature hydrogen plants that will fit in the average person's garage, so it won't even be necessary to drive to the local fueling station to fill up the car's hydrogen tank. The most extreme form of this idea has been the suggestion that electrolysis could be performed inside the car itself, which would make possible the astounding idea of a car that runs on water! However, the power for the electrolysis has to come from some sort of battery, so a water-powered car would need to be periodically recharged.
    Your three biggest challenges to a Hydro car is cost of developing the hydrogen technology. Platinum is the most widely used catalyst in fuel cells leaving one with a 100K fuel cell cost. Storage is a thorny problem. Hydrogen is a gas that likes to spread out so compression into a reasonable size while dealing with expansion issues from warm days means that your tank would vent out and in a couple days you would have no fuel to run the car if it was sitting for days, this on top of the explosion factor due to being highly flammable. One only needs to remember the Hindenburg. Fortunately, hydrogen fires are not as hot as gas fires and less likely to start a secondary fire. Third challenge, Hydrogen is it really nonpolluting? A fuel cell only produces heat and water as exhaust but the process to create the hydrogen in not necessarily clean. Electrolysis uses electricity and that electricity will often come from plants that burn coal, a highly polluting source. And when hydrogen is extracted from natural gas, it produces carbon emissions, which is exactly what we're trying to avoid by using hydrogen in the first place.
    Think back to your grade school science class about using the heat lying deep beneath the Earth’s surface. As we look to alternative ways to reduce our dependence on Fossil Fuels, it is not uncommon that every potential energy source is being considered as a replacement. How can geothermal power your car?
    Geothermal energy resources include an array of earth-sourced energy, including heat found below shallow ground, hot water and rock found a few miles deeper, and even the extremely high-temperature molten rock known as magma, lying deep beneath the surface of the Earth, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
    Although it has garnered more attention of late, heat from the Earth, or geothermal energy, has been warming water that then seeps into underground reservoirs since the beginning of time. With temperatures reaching extremely high levels, from 225 to 600 degrees F, these reservoirs form a usable source of energy that can then be used to produce electricity. In fact, the U.S. has used geothermal energy from reservoirs such as these to generate electricity at power plants for the past 50 years. As research continues on how to extract and use this renewable energy, expect geothermal energy to continue to become more competitive on a cost basis with fossil fuels. As supplies of fossil fuels dwindle, geothermal technology will already be in place to shoulder the energy needs.
    Currently, three types of electric generating plants have been developed to utilize geothermal energy. Used since 1960 as a replacement fuel for coal and other fossil fuels to generate electricity, technologies relying on geothermal energy have been developed primarily in three ways to power electric generation plants. One of these is known as dry steam. In this technology, steam from underground wells is used to turn a turbine that then activates a generator to produce electricity. However, due to a lack of underground steam resources, the only dry steam plant generation in the U.S. is at The Geysers in California. In binary cycle technology, heat from reservoirs of temperatures between 225 and about 350 degrees F is used to boil a working fluid that is then vaporized in a heat exchanger and used to power a generator. Water from this process can be injected back into the ground to begin the process again. But the most common kind of geothermal-powered electric plant is the flash steam plant that makes use of water from reservoirs of high temperatures, brought up through wells where it boils into steam and is then used to power a generator. Leftover water and steam can be returned to the reservoir for reuse.
    Geothermal resources are geographically favored. Although geothermal heat pumps can be used throughout the country, electric generating plants and direct-use systems are limited in the western states because geothermal resources are geographically concentrated in the western U.S. Part of the reason for the geographical limitations are that drilling technology is current limited to development of geothermal resources from shallow water or steam-filled reservoirs, which again, are found primarily in the west.
    So while this has enormous potential for clean power generation to power electrical cars, we have multiple limitations at this time for being a favorable source of fuel. One is the charge time for electric cars; two the distance an electric car can travel and three is the current state of development of geothermal power. For these reasons this is not a replaceable form of fuel for petrol.
    The idea of a wind-powered car is nothing new. Back in the 1960s, Douglas Aircraft engineer Andrew Bauer allegedly created a working prototype of a "directly downwind faster than the wind," or DDWFTTW, vehicle. However, no official records exist exploring whether it was faster than the wind.
    Today you have an engineer Richard Jenkins who dreams of creating a vehicle that can use air to power a auto and in the process set his own land speed record. You can find much on the Greenbird built by Richard yet while the autos are propelled and driven by wind. There is still the large scale production of such a car and the need for constant wind to make them a reality.
    The issue of cars powered by wind electricity is less one of supply and demand, and more one of sociological and cultural shifts in habits and thinking. Going from miles per gallon to kilowatt hours per mile means more than plunking a battery where the gas tank used to be. It's about changing driving habits, travel habits and even our concept of working and commuting. But when (and if) these cultural traditions are changed, wind power would still come up short on supply. Sure, it could generate the necessary power, but only if there were enough wind farms and only if there were enough ways to distribute the power -- if and if and if. But the wind is a fickle beast, despite modern forecasting techniques. Wind is seasonal, wind is dependent on storms and wind is variable and changeable -- much more so than human behavior.
    The best bet on wind is where wind is a constant, so that wind generators can create the electricity that can go into charging auto’s this can have a very small carbon foot print and yet we still end up with the shortages of an electric auto.
    What we need to be asking ourselves and demanding for US independence is as follows:
    What is the logical next step to remove our dependence on Oil from other countries while allowing us to move to the next better fuel for auto’s?


    The holy grail of the auto industry would be to have all autos have a body of solar panels that can create and store the energy and then use it to power the auto and all internal devices.

    G. David Felt
    Staff Writer Alternative Energy - CheersandGears.com
    August 22, 2012

    Alternative Energy, what is the logical next step for America Part II?

    Join me as I write about the various forms of alternative energy and how I see them stacking up in today’s market place.

    Green Fuel Solar

    The holy grail of the auto industry would be to have all autos have a body of solar panels that can create and store the energy and then use it to power the auto and all internal devices.
    The first solar car race was in 1983 a trek from Perth to Sydney Australia. In the 1987 race the GM Sunray car completed the 3010km trip with an average speed of 67kmh setting in motion a research and development race among solar teams.
    All this auto technology from one of the earliest forms of energy conversion. A step backwards to give you a little history lesson on Solar. The development of solar cell technology begins with the 1839 research of French physicist Antoine-César Becquerel. The first genuine solar cell was built around 1883 by Charles Fritts, who used junctions formed by coating selenium with an extremely thin layer of gold. Early solar cells had energy conversion efficiencies of less than one percent. In 1941, the silicon solar cell was invented by Russell Ohl. Three American researchers, Gerald Pearson, Calvin Fuller and Daryl Chapin, designed a silicon solar cell capable of a six percent energy conversion efficiency with direct sunlight in 1954. The first public service trial of the Bell Solar Battery began with a telephone carrier system (Americus, Georgia) on October 4 1955.
    Benefits of Solar are the ability to convert light into power which ends in an almost true zero emission. Creation of any product always has some form of greenhouse gas so no product is truly Zero Emissions. Yet with this said, lets list out the benefits of solar power:
    Minimal impact on the environment
    Requires little energy to run after initial build of the solar car.
    Reduces the need for petrol.
    One of the cheapest forms of power after initial investment to the end user.

    Draw backs to Solar Energy:
    Requires ultra-light auto’s, will not pass government crash test for safety.
    Expense, solar panels are still very expensive.
    Light, most places do not have 8hrs a day of pure sunlight.
    Efficiency of current panel technology. Unreliable power source. Unable to drive them at night.
    Damage risk, the ability to handle impacts from flying objects.

    While the potential for Solar is great and R&D is needed to get the most out of this source, it is far from prime time for use by the Auto Industry in anything other than novelty applications like a solar panel sun roof to drive the AC system when the car is parked to control internal temp.
    There are companies today that are making solar roof panels for autos as a way to help increase MPG in hybrid cars. An example is you can purchase a Solar Roof for the Prius that costs from $2000 to $4000 dollars per car depending on what you want to accomplish and in some cases the cost is even higher. http://www.solarelec...alvehicles.com/ The ROI or Return on Investment makes many at this time doubt it is worth it. If Self-sustainable solar transportation is to become a reality there will need to have major break throughs in both storage and efficiency of capturing the energy of the sun. For the US to reduce air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and move to a long term energy dependence solution, investments must be made in alternative energy solutions today.

    GM is pushing forward to at least use Solar in big ways to support their business. http://generalmotors...ward-solar-goal

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