A New Battery Takes Off in a Race to Electric Cars…….

More on A123 Systems from The New York Times via Digg:

A123Systems, a start-up in Watertown, Mass., says it has created a powerful, safe, long-lived battery. If the cell fulfills the ambitions of its maker, that softer sound will be the future of automobiles.

The plan is to produce a battery for plug-in hybrids which will allow these cars to reach 155 miles per gallon.

read more | digg story

Green Car Congress…….

fuel gauge

The Green Car Congress documents a wide and rich swath of technological research and achievement in the world-wide movement toward sustainable mobility.

I’m astounded by the amount and quality of the news which the Green Car Congress provides.   It is a perfect mix of wonky tech articles and the most recent developments in public policy.

So, if you are interested in the latest news on battery technology or are wondering about biofuels, this is the place to start

lithium-ion Batteries…….

"If you build it, he will come." -The Voice from Field of Dreams

A123 battery

Finally, a lithium-ion battery that is almost ready, but plenty willing and able to meet the demands of a plug-in hybrid.

Hats off to A123 Systems, which has developed a lithium-ion battery with a nanostructured iron phosphate­-­based electrode. 

The A123 battery is powerful, can withstand extreme temperatures, and most importantly, if punctured, will release a small amount of steam–rather than bursting into flame like its cobalt-oxide based predecessors.

To learn more, click here.

More on GM’s Electric Car…….

"This country has far more problems than it deserves and far more solutions than it applies. " -Ralph Nader

crushed EV1's

Hybrid Cars.com has an interesting article entitled Freedom, Electric Cars, and Range which takes a second look at the future of GM’s electric car. 

It seems all of the bad publicity generated by the movie "Who Killed the Electric Car?" has forced GM to reevaluate its rush to destroy the electric car.

Learn more here.

Hybrid Vehicles…….

“We know the technology already exists to allow American families to drive any car they want and still save hundreds of dollars a year just by getting better gas mileage. It’s time we ask for more from our cars and the companies that make them." -Senator Maria Cantwell

hybrid center

I have a serious case of Prius envy.  While saving for the big purchase, I fulfill my need for hybrid generated speed by visiting a few great websites.

The first site is hybridcenter.org which is a project put together by the Union of Concerned Scientists.  This is a great place to start if you are intrigued by hybrid technology but don’t know a lot about it.  Hybrid Center does a good job of explaining the technology and helping the consumer find a hybrid vehicle to fit their needs.

For my daily news fix, I like to visit hybridcars.com.  This site has a number of high profile bloggers who follow the hybrid market closely and write about up-to-the-minute developments.

Of course, if I want to go hybrid car crazy, I visit greencar.com which has pictures and articles on just about every vehicle which uses an alternative fuel source.

Happy car hunting!  Don’t forget to honk when you see a black Prius zip past on some Seattle side street.

The Wind-Powered Hydrogen Prius…….

Check out this hydrogen powered hybrid Prius whose fuel is produced through electrolysis by a wind turbine. This results in a truly carbon-neutral car, and combats one of the obstacles to the much-hyped hydrogen economy, the fact that today most hydrogen is produced by burning fossil fuels.

read more | digg story

Who Killed the Electric Car…….

"Our leaders are sick of all the solid information that has been dumped on humanity by honest research and excellent scholarship and investigative reporting.  They want to put us back on the snake-oil standard." –Kurt Vonnegut, RS #1007:8/24/06

Ronald McDonald's Hummer

On September 22, 2005, the Washington Post reported William Clay Ford Jr., chairman and chief executive of Ford Motor Company, announced that his company would increase production of hybrid vehicles "tenfold to 250,000 cars and trucks per year by 2010."  The article goes on to quote Ford who said,  "He made the decision out of concern for the environment and out of a desire to counter ‘a multi-dimensional energy crisis that afflicts this nation.’ He said that even though the decision posed a challenge because Ford’s vehicles are big and heavy and use a lot of fuel, the automaker had to ‘get on with it.’ " 

A little over nine months later, on June 30, 2006, Ford Motor Company took it all back.  Accountability, it seems, is only for suckers.  Instead, Ford decided it was easier and more profitable -at least for the very short term– to invest in some corporate green-washing. Open any magazine or watch just a minute or two of television and you will be assaulted with the media blitz touting the miracle of flex fuels, the snake-oil of our times. 

Corporate arrogance and contempt for the consumer is nothing new.  The trouble starts when the meticulously created corporate image clashes with its brutal behavior in the market place.  It may come as a surprise to corporate America, but people don’t like to be lied to.  Sony found this out when it unleashed the infamous root-kit concealed on audio CD’s released by its music label.  Essentially a corporately created virus but billed as anti-piracy software, this malicious bit of code embedded itself in the operating system of any computer a consumer was foolish enough to play the CD on.  This back door allowed Sony to spy on customers and left the operating system vulnerable to other outside attacks including zombie takeover attempts.  Yeah, "Welcome to the World of Sony."

And then there are the mind boggling PR blunders.  Why would McDonald’s ever think it was a good idea to risk its upbeat corporate identity by linking itself to a wounded GM and promote the polarizing Hummer with its Happy Meals?  Better yet, GM promoted its controversial Tahoe with a build your own ad contest on the web.  Any guesses how that turned out?  Here are my two favorite consumer created ads: The Ultimate Padded Cell and Enjoy the Longer Summers.

So, who did kill the electric car?  Go see the movie and find out.  (Here is a little hint.)

UPDATE: Tell Ford to Stand by Its Hybrid Commitment here.