Category

PHEVs

MIT Tech Review: “The Wait Will Be Worth It” For Plug-in Hybrids

It will still be a few years – at least – before plug-in hybrid electric vehicles with much lighter, more reliable and less costly battery packs come to market, at truly consumer-friendly prices and in large numbers. Why should we care if and when that happens? Because: It gets very problematic very fast when we get much our current fuel for passenger vehicles, bus transit, air travel, surface freight, and operation of construction equipment from foreign regimes hostile to our nation and our very way of life; regimes which not coincidentally may also happen to fund terrorism directed at us. Then there are gas prices, now creeping back toward three dollars a gallon – not good. Add in the effects Read More ›


Buzz Keeps Building For Electric Vehicles And Plug-in Hybrids

A lot has happened since the Redmond, Wash. “Beyond Oil: Transforming Transportation” conference earlier this month on electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, which was sponsored by Cascadia Center, Microsoft, Idaho National Laboratory (INL), WSDOT, USDOT and Pemco Insurance. For starters, Time Magazine’s environmental correspondent Bryan Walsh, who attended both days of the event and interviewed key sources there, has published an important article titled, “Is America Ready To Drive Electric?” Walsh writes: If plug-ins suddenly became popular, before the grid had a chance to get smarter, it could lead to a real power predicament…A…solution: tap into the enormous extra capacity of the grid during off-peak times, like between midnight and dawn…To do that, however, we need to persuade plug-in Read More ›


Cascadia Center’s “Beyond Oil” Conference: A Wrap-Up

A crowd of 500 key influencers from the private sector, government, academia and the media filled Microsoft’s large meeting facility in Redmond for the Sept. 4-5 conference organized by Discovery Institute’s Cascadia Center, “Beyond Oil: Transforming Transportation.” Gripping presentations by former CIA Director James Woolsey, electric car systems entrepreneur Shai Agassi of Better Place (pictured, left), and Microsoft’s sustainability guru Rob Bernard – plus groundbreaking vehicles on display, dozens of other great speakers and several high-level technical workshops – built a heady buzz and energized networking. Among the take-aways: U.S. national security is badly compromised by our dependence on foreign oil – we need to develop an even greater sense of urgency around breaking the habit. Electricity and the second-generation Read More ›


Hurray For Transit, But It’s No Silver Bullet

With U.S. gas prices blowing through the roof, transit ridership is growing along with enthusiasm for green vehicles that will run on electricity and liquid fuels, a.k.a. plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, or PHEVs. Cascadia Center has championed expanded transit for Central Puget Sound through proposals for an Eastside commuter rail line adjoining a walking and biking path, and regional passenger-only ferry service. We will continue to do so. We also back more and better bus service across the region, employer-provided transit such as Microsoft’s outstanding “Connector” service, car and van-pooling, and telecommuting. We see variable-priced highway lanes as essential to capping peak-hour solo drives, and also highlight improved roadway and vehicle technologies to ease congestion and pollution. But all that Read More ›


What’s The Goal, Green Vehicles Or Gas Guzzler Subsidies?

Similar to some other automakers, the vehicles currently on offer from Dodge-Chrysler-Jeep include quite a few, such as SUVs, minivans and pickup trucks, that aren’t really tooled for the motoring future that’s already unfolding. That’s a future with high gas prices that will be staying high, sharply slowing sales of gas-guzzling pick-ups and SUVs, and consumers ready to buy plug-in hybrid electric vehicles by the boatloads if automakers can deliver them with reliable lithium ion batteries and at prices of, say, $30,000 or less. That price point is apparently the aim for GM’s Chevy Volt, a PHEV to watch. So with gas now pushing past $4 a gallon, what does Dodge-Chrysler-Jeep do? Accent their plans for future-facing vehicles? No. They Read More ›


Paul Roberts On The Promise Of Plug-in Hybrids

The May/June 2008 issue of Mother Jones is all about “The Future Of Energy,” and one must-read article is “The Seven Myths Of Energy Independence,” by Paul Roberts, author of “The End Of Oil.” Roberts argues that energy security is a far more achievable and strategic goal for the United States than energy independence, and the goal should be “massive increases in energy efficiency,” particularly in the transportation sector. With that in mind, he details some of the reasons why plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) hold such great promise. ….saving energy is almost always cheaper than making it: There is far more oil to be “found” in Detroit by designing more fuel-efficient cars than could ever be pumped out of Read More ›


Plug-in Electric Vehicles Get A Charge

The U.S. transportation sector contributes more than any other to manmade greenhouse gas emissions which threaten the planet’s environment, while our nation’s dependence on foreign oil means – as former CIA Director James Woolsey so astutely puts it – that we are funding both sides of the war on terrorism. Some say the answer is to “get people out of their cars,” and certainly, the more who can be enticed to use public transit or telecommute, the better. I’m a regular Seattle bus rider, and telecommuter, myself. But cars are an uttter necessity for the majority of daily commuters, and indispensable for much discretionary personal transportation. That’s just not going to change. So, we can rail against cars and trucks. Read More ›


Domestic Demand Strains Global Oil Market

It seems the global oil market isn’t immune to at least one law of nature: The apex predator has the most voracious appetite. The New York Times reports that the very oil-exporting countries that are experiencing remarkable domestic economic growth because of the global demand for oil may soon become victims of their own success. Experts say … several of the world’s most important suppliers may need to start importing oil within a decade to power all the new cars, houses and businesses they are buying and creating with their oil wealth. … The report [by Canada-based CIBC World Markets] said “soaring internal rates of oil consumption” in Russia, in Mexico and in member states of the Organization of the Read More ›


Gas Tax Revenue Drop Will Continue, And Hasten Tolling

The Seattle Times has a story this morning about new projections of a Washington state gas tax revenue shortfall of $1.5 billion, and the added impetus this gives to tolling as means of funding crucial transportation projects. The story says the expectation of state forecasters is for continued high gas prices and constrained demand, and that although the revenue shortfall is relatively small now, it is a real problem in the long term. But that is only half of it. As we learned at our technology conference at Microsoft this year, the Prius is the fastest selling model for Toyota in the Northwest. On deck for Toyota, GM, Ford and other manufacturers are plug-in electric hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) which use Read More ›


Greening The Highway From Baja To B.C.

Our Cascadia Center held a leadership forum Weds. Sept. 19 titled “Greening The Highway from Baja to B.C.,” emphasizing the need for a unified West Coast effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions and congestion in the I-5 corridor through increased use of alternative fuels; diesel emission reduction programs; and on-board and in-roadway technology to save truckers and motorists time and fuel. Here’s our discussion brief on the initiative, and here’s a related radio story (and transcript) featuring Cascadia’s director Bruce Agnew. From the discussion brief: An important opportunity is emerging for a concerted West Coast strategy to unify alternative fuel infrastructure and green vehicle development, diesel fuel emission reduction, and intelligent transportation system technologies. Together these could yield substantial environmental Read More ›