Portland Plans for Transit All Powered by Electricity

Author: Ken Belson

To drivers passing by on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, the structure rising above the parking lot is mostly unremarkable. But to the eco-elites who gathered in this green-leaning city in June for its unveiling, it represented a blueprint for the filling station of the future.

The roof of the 12-foot-tall steel canopy, built by EV4 Oregon, is covered with solar cells that generate power for a pair of ECOtality Blink Level 2 electric-vehicle chargers at the base. The facility is connected to the electrical grid, so any excess electricity from the solar cells can be sent to the local utility.

The canopy is more than just a sunny-day design: other installations will include an underground bank of batteries to store electricity for distribution after dark. As the electric vehicle population grows, more canopies can be added to create a covered parking lot.

“This is the future, my friends, and it will make a difference,” said Jeff Cogen, chairman of the Multnomah County Commission and one of several dignitaries to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “Hopefully, in 20 years, we can look back and say, ‘I remember when these were introduced.’ ”

Read the full article at http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/28/automobiles/portland-plans-for-transit-all-powered-by-electricity.html.


Plug-In Cars Pose Riddle for E.P.A.

Author: Nick Bunkley and Bill Vlasic

DETROIT — About two months before two new plug-in cars go on sale in the United States, the federal government is struggling with how to rate the fuel economy of mass-market plug-in vehicles.

How the Environmental Protection Agency rates the two cars, the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf, could have a big influence on consumers’ perceptions of vehicles that run on electricity. General Motors, which makes the Volt, and Nissan are anxiously awaiting the agency’s decision as they start production of the cars and complete marketing plans for rollouts in December.

Providing the customary city and highway miles-per-gallon information would make little sense for the Volt, which can drive 25 to 50 miles on battery power before its gas engine kicks on, and even less so for the Leaf, which is powered by only a rechargeable battery.

Cathy Milbourn, a spokeswoman for the E.P.A., declined to specify a date when the new ratings might be released, saying only that they would come “shortly.”

Read the full article at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/15/business/energy-environment/15auto.html?_r=2&hpw


In The News: Carmakers Look to Deepen Cooperation on Electric Cars

Author: Hendrik Sackmann

STUTTGART, GERMANY — The carmakers Daimler, Renault and Nissan are redoubling their efforts to produce electric cars as the race heats up for market share in a world of tighter emission rules.

Daimler’s research chief, Thomas Weber, said during an interview that the German company’s cooperation with Renault and Nissan “will be expanded to include all three partners as far as electric motors, batteries and powertrains are concerned.”

The move comes as carmakers and car parts suppliers are rushing to gain a foothold in the market for zero-emission vehicles as deadlines for lower emission levels near.

Toyota Motor said on Monday it would offer a plug-in version of its Prius model positioned to be the cheapest green car of its kind by 2012.The French company Renault, its Japanese partner Nissan, and Daimler signed a cooperation deal in April initially focusing on small cars, light commercial vehicles and engines.

Read the full article at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/15/business/global/15daimler.html?_r=2&hpw