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[1THING] Blog: Archive for July, 2012

[ A Look at Electric Cars from Chevy and Tesla ]

In March we took you on a video test drive of the all-electric Nissan Leaf (see below). Today we explore a few other electric models.

With estimated electric car sales in the United States set to jump from less than 20,000 in 2011 to 40,000–60,000 in 2012 (with some optimistic predictions going as high as 100,000), you might say the electric car has arrived for good. I guess time will tell.

Up to now, the history of the electric car has played out in fits and starts. Debuting at the turn of the 20th century and rivaling gas- and steam-powered engines, the electric car fizzled out by the 1920s, elbowed out by advances in the internal combustion engine (namely electric starters) and newly discovered oil in Texas. It had a brief resurgence in the mid-1990s with GM’s EV1. The development of the hybrid electric — epitomized by Toyota’s popular Prius (who knew Sen. Lamar Alexander drives one?), which arrived on the world market in 2000 — likely paved the way for today’s resurgence of electric propulsion on U.S. roadways.

While electric cars have still yet to become competitive with their gasoline-powered counterparts, that could change. As innovative materials become more roundly adopted, battery technology improves (lowering their costs), and charging infrastructure expands, the range of electric vehicles will improve, as will their ease of use, and their prices will come down. Meantime, as more and more models are being rolled out, we decided it was time to take a close look at a few more and report on them. Check it out above. (And directly below is our Leaf video, in case you missed it.)

Learn More

The EV Project – the largest deployment of electric vehicles and charge infrastructure in history

Five Real-World Facts About Electric Cars – from Rocky Mountain Institute

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[ Nigeria’s Rocky Effort to Wean Itself From Subsidized Fuel ]

Nigeria faces an uphill battle in removing fuel subsidies that kept gasoline  cheap, but critically hampered the country’s development.

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[ As Squeeze Tightens on Iran, Fuel Prices—for Now—Reflect Calm ]

Iran faces mounting pressure over its nuclear program at a time of bountiful oil supply and weak demand. But how long can low gas prices last?

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[ Formula One Legend Murray Sets Course for Energy-Efficient Car Design ]

Gordon Murray designed some of the fastest, sleekest race cars in history. He’s now tackling a greater challenge: crafting lightweight, efficient autos for the masses.

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[ One Year After Fukushima, Japan Faces Shortages of Energy, Trust ]

By summer, no nuclear plants will be operating in Japan, where mistrust reverberates one year after the world’s second-worst nuclear accident, at Fukushima Daiichi.

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[ Solar Energy Brings Food, Water, and Light to West Africa ]

For two arid villages in Benin, starvation seemed a greater problem than the lack of electricity. Solar drip irrigation tackled both issues at once.

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[ Nuclear Restart Generates Power, Protest in Japan ]

Japan’s restart of one of its nuclear power plants rouses an unusual display of public discontent, but the energy-short nation faces no easy choices in the wake of Fukushima.

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[ Natural Gas a Weak Weapon Against Climate Change, New Study Asserts ]

A new study argues that replacing all the world’s coal power plants with natural gas would do little to slow global warming this century.

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[ Sizing Up Wind Energy: Bigger Means Greener, Study Says ]

Larger wind turbines have a smaller carbon footprint, a European study finds. But practical limitations and local rules could place a ceiling on size.

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[ Coal Power Loses Its Luster in India as Costs Rise ]

India’s coal-fired power expansion plans are faltering, not over environmental concerns but due to new high costs. Some 50 projects face default.

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