Tag: electric vehicles (Page 1 of 2)

“Key” Pres. Obama’s Veto of KeyStone XL Pipeline- ECO Legacy

Today, in defense for our environment and for all of us people on the planet, President Obama has exercised his USA Presidential power to veto the Keystone XL Pipeline, an important step in the movement towards an  “ECO” Presidential Legacy, powered by us people.

It’s disturbing that, at a time when all hands need to be on deck for humanity to live in balance with our resources on this planet, the USA Congress has forced President Obama to exercise his presidential power now,  instead of doing their job to create public policy, and laws that help govern our society and builds a vital nation better structuring  and organizing our quality of life. This 3rd veto is no surprise, as President Obama declared in his State of the Union Address, to veto this bill and others, that were not truly in the best interest for us all.

Tar sands in Alberta Canada


At this point, most of us understand why the Keystone Pipeline is not the “Key”. The tar sands (or oil sands) toxicity benefits no one, and at this point sadly we all know the words to this song, “Profit over People and Planet,” which is the cornerstone, or key stone, behind many who prioritize this now in our world.  Tar sands confront public health, at a time when we already have too many challenges with clean air to breath globally.  Keystone XL usurps the citizens’ human rights as property owners of Nebraska, South Dakota and other states that the pipeline goes through.  It questions their freedom, forcing them to sacrifice their own home, and farm land— for what? To transport oil from Canada through the USA for Mexico, or China –when all these regions, including the USA, can get our own clean renewable energy from natural sources?  Sounds reasonable?  It risks the quality of our water, earth, air, and presents the risks of contamination.

Is this an evolution of the US Constitution? Why is it even being considered at this moment and how could this be the “key”?  Who would this benefit?  Well, others have spent a great deal of time breaking down the motivation, and who benefits.  It is all very simple—some call it “cash whipping” it serves individual Congress members, many who were each paid over $200,000 to vote “yes,” and this “wolf in the sheep’s clothing” good sounding “Citizen’s United Bill” that has polluted one of the best pieces of public policy ever written; the USA Constitution.  Thanks to Citizen’s United which allows corporations to have equal rights with citizens and finance, monstrosities, like Keystone XL, to become a possibility, instead of a crime.  Tar sands projects at this time on our planet need to be illegal because they threaten the public health, of our species and all on our planet. But it also argues important legal issues about freedom at such a time— discerning people’s state’s, national, and planet interests. This moment in time affords the opportunity to redefine our priorities, and with the class action cases against Keystone XL Pipeline being argued at a state level in court, this indeed may be an opportunity to define how the United States unite and if they are a UNITED States of America.

At this time on the planet, will we get beyond “EGO”— can’t we move towards “ECO”—  ecology and economy.  At a time when we all need not only more sources of alternative renewable energy deployed, but resiliency, and sustainability with flow of energy.  The grid is taxed with more demand often than it can supply.  We need to be passing legislature that indeed incentivizes renewable energy sources, distributed energy architecture, and teaming-up on microgrids.  We need policy to incentivize net zero buildings and creative renewable energy systems, and energy storage, at a large scale.  We need more electric vehicles on the road charging to renewable energy sources, with complementary energy storage systems.  We need to crack that large scale energy storage nut, and incentivize not a pipeline transporting energy from one country to another through our country, but onsite energy systems that are reliable, resilient, and onsite electricity generation locations, homegrown energy from our natural resources, stored for backup when needed.

Why are we not trying to put bills on the table to work through our own energy challenges?  Bipartisan bills that have a chance of getting passed with the intent being to benefit the public— after all, are not politicians supposed to be public servants? It is a sad use of power that is spent stalling for time, until the power can move in another direction.  It all is a strategic, historical power play that at the end will only demonstrate how all systems, including the political system, could better serve us people and our planet.  The Keystone XL Pipeline will prove to be the pipe dream of this time, dreamt from the fallible EGO of Trans Canada bought through and approved by Congress, but fortunately it gives all people the opportunity to see the light, and the possibility of ECO.

“The pen is mightier than the sword”
—Edward Bulwer-Lytton  1839

Watch out world— 2015 plans to be a year of action, as mentioned prior, with the climax being President Obama as one of the leaders towards powerful global policy that stands for our people and planet over profit in Paris at UNFCC’s COP21.  Think it’s impossible?  Well we’ve seen a draft of what is on the table for global “ECO” policy, and there are better possibilities, even surprising ones, and if we all continue to team-up for the good of our planet we will create a global movement, and this isn’t a pipe dream or pipe line for any agenda accept our future.

Political System of the United States with its checks and balances

Thankful that the Unites States Constitution triune structure of checks and balances exists, but  it is confronting that it’s limits are being tested, and begs to question why it isn’t functioning more as a trinity— especially at this moment in humanity’s story on our planet earth.

President Obama will likely wait until the ruling from Nebraska’s state supreme court to finalize the rejection of the pipeline outright, which is the final step to closure.  A Nebraska county judge issued a temporary injunction to stop TransCanada from using eminent domain to force landowners to sell their property rights for the pipeline. As a result, TransCanada agreed not to use eminent domain anywhere in Nebraska until the state’s Supreme Court finally settles the legal struggle over Keystone’s route across the state, which if we have anything to do with all of this, it will be a moot point anyway.

For President Obama’s ECO legacy it began with the ARRA with renewable energy options, then granting EPA the power to defend public health as a national security issue and enforce environmental clean air policy. Fast forward to September 2014, nearly half a million of us people rallied for action on climate change in NYC; we were there at the UN General Assembly when President Obama shared with a small group of leaders at an Open Government Forum, that he had just discussed a historic climate deal with China to cut greenhouse gas emissions and in November it came to pass; in December, more than one million comments were submitted in support of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan; in January, historical protections for the Arctic Refuge were announced; and now President Obama has vetoed Congress’s bill to force the approval of the Keystone pipeline, now it is time to reject Trans Canada’s plans for Keystone XL Pipeline outright will you please add your name to tell President Obama to just outright reject the Keystone XL Pipeline? Please sign here.

It is time to make sure; “We the People”–have an ECO legacy, a time to re-organize, and prioritize by bringing the temptation of this folly to public presenting the clarity of choices driven by EGO vs. ECO. Best left in the words of Sir Walter Scott’s poem, “Breathes there the Man” 


“LA Auto Show- Renewed” © World Team Now

By Suzanne Maxx and Albert Boulanger 

The 2012 LA Auto Show

The 2012 LA Auto Show’s new vehicles and the new Tesla all drive home the point that a car is more than a mode of transportation at this time in the history of the automobile.  It is evident that innovation counts, as well as efficiency.  One’s choice of vehicle (see our auto show album) requires not just a commitment to invest in a brand, but also requires consideration into the way a vehicle is powered (conventional or alternative fuel).  Now the actual intelligence of the vehicle itself, how it “calls home” and can network with you and other cars, with a variety of ways to customize it— all factors into the mix. There are 1,000 plus vehicles to navigate at the show, so Auto Shows by Cars.com mobile app (iPhone, Android) becomes a necessity. Click here to see our LA Auto Show Album with the Tesla Model S included.

“Eco” is clearly a priority this year; both “eco”nomy and “eco”ology are obviously considerations— “Green,” comes in a variety of shades, from most original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), like never before at this year’s first major North America show of the season.  Over three dozen alternative vehicles enforce this year’s trend.   Most importantly now there is the consideration of not just what kind of energy your vehicle uses, but also, where does your vehicle’s energy source come from, is it renewable?  Is the choice sustainable for your lifestyle and our future?  Here is a big-picture look but highly technical article dealing with the topic

It is not just the plethora of new vehicles powered by a variety of options that range from the choice of electric vehicles (EVs) to plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and hybrids (which have seen a recent sales increase of 63.5 percent in the USA). It is the sudden availability of these vehicles in a variety of brands and models, which is the most significant change.  EV and PHEV leaders like Nissan with their all-electric Leaf and Toyota with the RAV4 EV and Prius now share the space with Audi, BMW, Chevrolet, Coda, Fiat, Fisker, Mitsubishi, and Smart. More than 50 models of vehicles are making their World Debut, North America Debut or LA Auto Show Debut (click here to see all 3 categories of debuts) but these alternative entries: Fiat 500e, Ford’s batch of new variations with the C Max plus the Fusion, and Honda’s plug-in Accord, prove this is more than a growing trend.

The OEMs’ and public’s awakening to realize that alternative vehicles can help achieve the goal of using our resources in a more sustainable way is a significant change.  Policy in the USA helped drive this change to alternative vehicles with, for example, the Nissan Leaf qualifying for a total of $10,000 in both state and federal rebates, in CA, click here to see your states’ laws and incentives including rebates in some states.   These rebates, plus the time savings from EV and PHEVs that now qualify (in CA) for the stickers that gain access to carpools lanes, are an immeasurable advantage too.  These changes prioritize stewardship of our planet— for future generations and make it possible for the public to affect our climate and future.

Even the OEMs that rely on the straight traditional internal combustion engines (ICE) which had difficulty making a change in the past are now motivated to be efficiently innovative by the USA’s new fuel efficiency standards.  Take Ford/Lincoln, for example, with a batch of new vehicles suddenly flooding the market— aiding the change of direction to achieve independence from foreign fossil fuel that threatens both national security and economics. We now finally see the internal combustion engine vehicles with alternative fuels trying to compete with the life cycle factoring cost of EVs, PHEVs, and Hybrids. There are a variety of modes of this transformation inspired by new fuel standards in the USA to use everything from  hybrid vehicles, EVs with range extenders (Volt and Fisker), to fuel-efficient EcoBoost ICE (Fords), plus many models that integrated a lighter weight design, like Land Rover’s Ranger Rover with a 39% improvement in weight, as their game-changer. There are also the “clean”-diesel vehicles, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, and more.

The Test Drive at the LA Auto Show is a “must”, to test out these vehicles, and if you haven’t made it there yet, you have until December 9th.   There are alternative vehicles from OEMs available to be driven. However to drive this year’s Motor Trend Car of the Year, the Tesla Model S, a refundable deposit of $5,000 is needed, plus coordination with the store to schedule the test drive.  The LA Auto Show has it all, except the Tesla. The test drive and the visit to the new Topanga Tesla store the day before the LA Auto Show’s “Media Days” helped to round out our perspective of the new leading vehicles.

Tesla at the Topanga Showroom

Tesla’s Model S is a vehicle that is an EV game-changer if in the long run the company can produce and deliver the vehicles within a reasonable rate of both time and cost, but with Elon Musk’s entrepreneurial skill all is possible and Tesla’s success seems to become evident. The economics and affordability will naturally evolve as will Tesla’s production capabilities, especially after partnering with Toyota.  Since the vehicles are so customizable with just about every aspect from color to the interior to the battery being a choice, it may take time to get ahead of the vehicle demand.  It deservedly won Motor Trend Car of the Year Award with its EV battery’s choice of range with up to 300 miles on a charge. Their free solar charging infrastructure being developed and strategically placed to go the distance with DC fast chargers helps inspire early adoption too.  But the actual vehicle itself is outside the EV box with 0 to 70 in 3.8 seconds and the handling is arguably incomparable to others including high-end internal combustion engine vehicles.  The Tesla’s custom design options, with a variety of choices, support individuals needs.  All aspects of the design including the batteries well-integrative placement give Tesla a first mover’s advantage. Smart to have an autonomous marketing strategy that leaves out the traditional approaches as this vehicle is redefining the “box” in all ways, including the marketing.  Tesla stores give the public the opportunity to view, and their vehicle sales are done on-line. This cuts out the middle man aspect of dealerships.  Ideally, close communication with an OEM may better support the owner’s interests, but this marketing model is a threat to many in the automotive industry as it pushes the boundaries to look closer at the law. (Tesla won the first round of challenge in MA.) It’s no wonder internal combustion engine OEM’s may find it hard to complete, but time will answer this inquiry.

Tesla has both the advantage and disadvantage of being new to the game of manufacturing but may end up changing the game.  An OEM’s history is becoming more significant though these times, however.  We have to applaud a company like Nissan that was able to preserve through significant events like Fukushima.  An OEM’s brand is much like our own personalities— varied, different, and mechanical history and how each come faces challenges counts.  One key element is the marketing strategy for public adoption. Most of the OEM’s new vehicles are described well in this press release on the LA Car Show media-only green advanced technology ride and drive event.  As the plurality of life exist for our differences, so too will drivers have varied vehicle preferences.

Nissan Shift_ Campaign at the LA Auto Show

Nissan indeed has led the EV “SHIFT”.  The launch of Nissan’s Leaf in 2010 gave it the advantage of the first mover, is the leading innovator of the EV with the Leaf as the top-selling EV in the world. The Nissan Leaf is not only affordable and a fun, clean drive— it is a great car.  Take it from me and others who have driven the Leaf over time, and love the vehicle, or check out their impeccable engineering and innovative design with a safety record nothing short of amazing. There have been absolutely no recalls ever in any years of the manufacturing Nissan’s Leaf. The Leaf gets media instead for prestigious awards, like the World Car of the Year.

2012 Leaf Charging

2012 Leaf Charging

The only challenge with the 2012 Leaf is the battery’s range, which is improved in the 2013 model. This range issue is not really a problem for the average person who drives less than 100 miles a day.  If Nissan were to swap out their batteries overtime for longer range batteries as they are developed, there would be no stopping the widespread success of the Leaf.

Nissan’s High Cross Concept Auto

At the LA Auto, the buzz was around Nissan’s High Cross Concept  (photos courtesy of Nissan here) which may fill the niche of integrating a hybrid model for either one of their famous lines like the Pathfinder— perhaps lighter weight— with an impeccable design. Nissan doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel with new models as their old ones, like the Pathfinder, transcend time and who knows this may even be where the cross over technology comes to market as a PHEV.  This brand’s concept vehicles often come into form, as this company is a grounded pacesetter, so it is exciting to see the battery life being tackled for a longer range of sustainable EV driving.  I still have memories of being Monaco in the early ’90s where I interviewed key designers and asked about their plans of an EV.  At that time, they said in Japanese that it would be at least a decade away, but they were working on it then.  Obviously, Nissan took it’s time to make sure the safety issues and the many problems that occur with a new car were addressed prior to the game-changing launch of their EV.

In the foreground is the Ford C Max Hybrid along with Suzanne Maxx

Ford/Lincoln: We have to applaud the ambitious efforts of Ford with their intent to blitz the market with eight new vehicles offering more than 40pmg, by the end of the year— plus their bold efforts to give the customer the choice of the kind of energy to use to power their vehicle.  The choices go beyond choosing between a hybrid version an EV or and PHEV, to various engine size and EcoBoost /Duratec internal combustion engine choices.  I’m driving the C Max right now and am impressed by its handling, mileage, and design.  The Ford’s C Max was nominated for the Green Car of the Year, but unfortunately, the judges were still most impressed with the Fusion’s five versions were both its wining attribute branded by the choice of engine‘s power, and yet that became a potential weakness. David Mondragon Ford’s general marketing manager explained like this, “From EcoBoost to hybrid and plug-in hybrid offerings, the new Fusion is delivering the best-in-class fuel economy wrapped in one dynamic package”.  The Ford Fusion won Green Car Journal’s Car of the Year 2013 at the LA Auto Show.  This week Ford has issued a recall of the Fusions with the 1.6 liter EcoBoost engine, as well as the Escape. Perhaps this was due in part to the diversion of focus on so many power plant choices, but surely they will persist. The Fusion’s unique use of steel helps ensure safety as it is the first vehicle to use this steel technology. The C Max series seems to have legs in the hybrid, PHEV and its all-electric C Max Energi EV— perhaps this is the winning line.

Toyota: The Rav4 EV was the first crossover “Recreational Active Vehicle” with 4-wheel drive in the USA. Actor Ed Begley is a good example of one the many owners of the original millennium-vintage Rav4 who have had their vehicles almost maintenance free (windshield wipers and tires still count) for more than a decade, and still rave about the vehicle. Now the new RAV4 EV, a groundbreaking electric vehicle at 76 MPGe that is the result of a collaboration with Tesla Motors, the Prius Plug-in, a next-generation hybrid that allows all-electric driving at speeds up to 60 mph and advanced safety technology including a Pre-Collision System; and the FCHV-adv, a fuel cell hybrid concept vehicle demonstrating breakthrough hydrogen cell technology that can take a vehicle over 500 miles on a single fill-up, but the challenge with hydrogen fuel cell remains the large amount of energy it takes to make the fuel cell.

The sexiest looking EV was the Fisker Karma at 2012 LA Auto Show

Fisker’s advantage is it is the sexiest looking EV with a range extender on the market, replete with a solar roof and every part chosen with kid gloves.  It is a vehicle available now selling to a sports luxury market.  It is the first luxury EV, featuring an electric motor delivering 959 ft. lbs. of torque paired with a range-extending four-cylinder engine/generator. The surprising advantage of the Fisker is that the range extender on board generator has enough capacity to be able to help power your home if there is an electrical outage and potentially sustain an energy source with either the fuel or electric component. The Fisker Karma was listed among the “Green Design 100” of 2009 by Time magazine. Also, Time listed the Karma among the “The 50 Best Inventions” of 2011. In November 2011 the Fisker Karma won Automobile Magazine’s 2012 Design of the Year Award. In December 2011, Karma was chosen as “Luxury Car of The Year” by Top Gear Magazine, and “Car of The Year”

Suzanne Maxx at the Chevy Volt display

Chevy Volt is the affordable version of a Fisker with the same advantages except for the high-end angle— this is a move to be a competitor of the plug-in Prius, and fortunately in 2013 they changed their start button’s design will no longer pose a risk to be put in service mode while driving and also elimination of the redundant  front console buttons. The Chevy Spark EV is powered by a nanophosphate lithium-ion battery pack and an 85kW electric motor.  This will be GM’s first EV since their controversial leading EV1 was recalled.

Lincoln MKZ Hybrid

Porshe’s PHEV & Lincoln’s MKZ Hybrid kings of the sports & premium luxury traditional OEMs go Hybrid and PHEV respectively by this year’s end.

BMWi8 Spyder concept car

BMWi8 Spyder (photo here) (a concept car making its North America debut) planned for 2015 is a topless plug-in hybrid with a three-cylinder turbo diesel engine with fuel economy expected to be around 70mpg.

Some vehicles seem to just be for the fun, like BMW’s X1 compact cross over that partnered with  K-2  for the Powder Ride—this SUV is only available in winter months, this deal includes new skis, a ski luggage box, and the snowboard design on the vehicle.

What is also in consideration of the big picture are resources used not just in each vehicle itself, but also the choice of the way each vehicle integrates and combines onsite power sources, and where/how the energy the vehicle uses is actually sourced.

EVs, PHEVs, and Hybrids truly are only are clean as the way their energy is sourced and stored and (all the way through their life cycle— cradle to cradle) from a whole systems perspective of usage— that depends on the car being grid-tied, or independent.  Generally, electricity bought through the electrical grid from a utility is subject to a carbon footprint game of roulette— depending on one’s location in the USA, you or the utility’s choices of purchasing power. It would be most ideal if a large portion of the USA got their energy from solar power, but unfortunately, energy generation is often still sourced by coal— it is truly a case-by-case situation depending on the region. Click here to determine how clean your EV is now based on your state’s generation mix.  Ideally, each owner of an EV or PHEV would generate their own onsite power from a renewable energy source, on or nearby one’s home, office or any location in route, or by a destination. As a reference, in the article Vehicle Electrification: Status and Issues, the V2G model (refer to the article’s Fig 7) of vehicle to grid can make your EV more than just a battery, needing a power source to charge. With the smart grid and various applications, one would have the choice to arbitrage energy by buying energy at off-peak demand and selling energy from one’s battery to be put back into the grid at peak demand.

Besides the Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) for communities, in California, there is also the Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) — that gives power to the people by allowing communities and other entities to unite and choose the source of their energy production.  The CCA can supply their own energy from renewable sources, and set their own pay rates for the public.

EV chargers sourced from wind energy are starting to take hold in the USA after years of success in countries such as Denmark where the country spent 100 million on EV infrastructure including charge points and battery swap stations supplied by wind power.  The first wind EV charger installation in the USA was in Chicago, in 2010.  But the partnerships with OEMs for wind installations has yet to take force, unlike the solar partnerships.

Solar Carports and EVs synergize

Teaming up is more than the way to achieve energy efficiency, as it allows for the magic of synergy, evidenced by OEM’s that are team up with solar manufacturers.  Both Nissan and Ford have teamed up with solar giant SunPowerNissan’s program is geared to public education with how a Sun Power residential system can reduce CO2 while controlling the cost of driving the Leaf with an on-line video tutorial and free home assessment.  Ford’s “Drive Green for Life” program offers high efficiency 2.5 kW solar roof systems to owners of the Focus EV, but also works for the C-Max Energi and Fusion Energi PHEV.

Tesla Motors is putting in a Fast Charging system with Solar City’s-built carports in strategic location across the country. It is said just a half-hour at one of these chargers will provide 3 hours of driving at 60 mph.

BMW and Real Goods offer ActiveE owners that live in the states of CA, NJ, NY, MA, and CT with the option to charge their EVs at home with a solar system discounted at 35% and this includes a turnkey system from design to install.

Chevy is creating “Green Zones” for Volt and other emergent EVs like the Spark, at dealerships where up to twelve vehicles will be able to charge from Sunlogics’ panels, the surplus energy will be used for the dealership.

Then there are Solar providers working to help the public adoption of renewable energy with demonstration projects. Solar-panel manufacturer SolarWorld partnered with CALSTART to supply a solar carport paired with EV charging stations at its U.S. headquarters. CALSTART is a member of the Plug-in Electric Vehicle Collaborative, a group of auto manufacturers, suppliers and government agencies working to facilitate deployment of electric vehicle charging stations in the U.S.

Green is the color nature paints with, and it represents natural growth, it also happens to be the color of USA’s currency.  2012 saw more green car choices, as we saw at the 2012 LA Auto Show,  2013 promises to usher in a new wave of cars but now with more teaming-up to supply the missing links in the energy delivery chain to truly begin to earn the moniker Green and earnestly reduce the carbon footprint for transportation. The LA Auto Show and the automobile industry are seeing remarkable changes and growth with different priorities- a reflection of what is true for our country and our planet at this time.

CA Innovation Leads with EVs, Renewable Energy Policy and Law

By Suzanne Maxx 

Up the coast at the Informational Hearing on Renewable Energy at California State University, Channel Islands (CSU-CI) and down at The City of Santa Monica’s annual AltCar Expo, the opportunities to test drive numerous EVs were abundant— read more from a young WTN intern’s perspective here.

These events and others set the stage for some much-needed support, policy, and action from the Nation’s leading state of clean energy. Together these events contribute to the public education and adoption that is now needed for renewable energy sources, energy storage, electric vehicles and charging infrastructure for the public.

Senator Fran Pavley and Senator Lou Correa at the Special Hearing for Energy Security

California is the largest clean energy economy in the nation. Sustainable energy and security transcend partisanship and State Senator Fran Pavley, who chairs the Select Committee on the Environment, the Economy, and Climate and Senator Lou Correa, who chairs the Committee on Veteran Affairs, mingled with some of the key stakeholders of renewable energy projects outside on CSU-CI’s campus where we were among the many alternative vehicles; including hybrids, hydrogen fuel cells, and electric vehicles (EVs)  such as;  Nissan’s Leaf, Chevy’s Volt, Mitsubishi’s iMi-EV, BMW’s Active E and more that were available to test drive prior to the Informational Hearing titled “Energy Security: California, Business and Military Partnerships”. Video of the hearing is here.

Tesla’s Model X SUV

A significant contribution of much-needed jobs has been created by innovative automotive electric vehicle manufacturers that established their headquarters and manufacturing plants in the State of California such as;  Tesla (who alone brought in more than 1500 new jobs), Coda and Fisker.  So significant of an impact that, just yesterday, the California Energy Commission (CEC) agreed to grant Tesla 10 million dollars  so they will be able to hire an additional 500-700 workers and manufacture not just a sports vehicle or the sedan (Model S), but also this SUV (Model X) with all of their vehicles touting a 250 mile battery range. Tesla committed to providing $50.2 million for the project and adding the jobs to qualify for the grant that’s funded by vehicle registration and smog fees. Tesla’s Gen 3 vehicle which is expected to sell for around $30,000, will help meet the company’s goals to provide electric vehicles to the masses by making it not just “eco”-logically friendly but also “eco”-nomically friendly. This may be one of the game changers needed for EVs (besides improved battery technology and charging infrastructure) that will also affect the big picture of air quality and public health— benefiting not just some people, but potentially us all.

The senators asked the panel on Building an Energy Secure Economy; Creating Jobs, which included Diarmuid O’Connell Tesla’s VP of Business Development, Dave Barthmuss of GM, and others, what they can to do for the OEM’s to forward the EV movement and public adoption.  All agreed the popular carpool sticker now given to EVs, which saves time, has incentivized many— but the challenge was still public education, which seemed to be the common thread all discussed, and public perception. From the panelists’ point of view, the biggest challenge now is many people don’t know the vehicles are out there, that the infrastructure is ramping up with public and private charging stations plus simple things like the fact that you can charge your vehicle to any household outlet with the cord that comes with your car.  People tend not to know about the total $7,500 in rebates, nor do they consider the freedom from the cost of maintenance of the lifetime of the vehicle— compared to a standard fossil fuel combustion engine. However they do seem to understand that value of not paying for gas, and some people care about the implications for our next generation and energy security from independence on foreign oil.

During the public comment, and also privately with the senators, I was able to ask, “What about taking the rebate off of the sticker price at the dealership to lower the cost immediately?”  I also was able to inquire into DC fast charging plus some of the other renewable energy policy questions regarding wind and tidal energy that World Team Now supports. Fran Pavely is renowned for really listening to and interacting well with her public constituency and for that we are pleased.

Yesterday CEC decision to invest $20 million which will also contribute towards 5,000 charging stations, and more for local governments’ planning for EVs, and  projects like The Bay Area’s “eTaxi” Program using Better Place’s model to swap out batteries in all-electric taxi cabs, while funding  “switch” stations in key places (like the airports) to ultimately achieve unlimited range. The all-electric motorcycle, “Zero” is also a beneficiary of the CECs’ support as they moved their manufacturing plant from Asia to California.   Progress was made not just for EVs but also for energy storage, statewide charging infrastructure and other renewable energy projects in general, for more read the CEC’s press release here.

The Informational Hearing provided more than the panel’s two agendas.   National security and renewable energy had a boost with the public who seemed to be pleasantly surprised to hear more about the active stand the military now takes to demonstrate and deploy renewable energy and environmentally sustainable actions— such as the installation of LED street lights on the 3 local military bases and in Ventura County (VC).  It was encouraging to learn veterans are leaving the military with trained skills and technical expertise in the installation of renewable energy systems such as solar.  We were overwhelmed by the depth of military adoption of renewable energy in VC bases with projects ranging from wind to concentrated solar energy, along with energy storage technology.  Renewable energy plays a powerful role in the game of security, with both offensive and defensive operations in the military.

Senator Pavley was able to share the morning’s news— the bill, SB1409, she wrote which was passed by all parties unanimously in the Senate, and was signed by Governor Jerry Brown on September 27th, 2012, and became The Energy Security Coordination Act of 2013.

This bill supports the state and the federal military to work together on renewable energy research, development, and planning, not only for efficiency but also for security.  It supports the work of the Department of Defense (DOD) with VC and helps to ensure the permanence of the military bases and thus the jobs in the local economy.  Coverage of the military’s local renewable energy initiatives, plus the panel discussion on the “DOD’s Clean Energy Achievements in CA,” will be continued in an upcoming blog post.

  • Senator Fran Pavley and Senator Lou Correa at the Special Hearing for Energy Security
  • Senator Fran Pavley
  • Suzanne Maxx and State Senator Fran Pavley
  • Mitsubishi
  • Senator Lou Correa
  • Senator Lou Correa test driving BMW's Active E



My First AltCar Expo, 2012

By Nicholas Zarchen,  a Senior at Santa Monica High School, and the Photo & Media Editor for the Samohi school paper, and an Intern at World Team Now.

For my first event since joining our non-profit organization, World Team Now (WTN) as an intern, I made my way through the herds of people trying to make an impact on our earth, one car at a time. As a part of the next generation, walking through Santa Monica Civic Center’s electric and eco-friendly car exposition formally titled; AltCar Expo2012, I realized that these cars are key components of the needed journey towards a more ecological future. As I went to each company’s displays, and listened to each brands’ talk, the magnitude and impact of these cars dawned upon me. I was mesmerized with the lingo and the incredible power and progression of the multitude of cars powered by alternate fuels. But in all honesty, I was impressed by the innovation, the inventions of what seemed to be new technology.  After consulting with Suzanne Maxx, Founder of WTN, I learned from their team’s article in the IEEE, Vehicle Electrification Status and Issues that electric vehicles were not exactly new at all.  My fellow peers who made an appearance from my high school’s Team Marine, and the many adults and children who attended the exposition began to catch on– as I did, in hopes of educating ourselves on how we can reduce our ecological footprint.

I got my share of ecological education and realized that there were various alternate ways of powering cars, like electric, hydrogen fuel cell, and bio fuels.  I discovered there were new policies being put in place, and saw the fruits of incredible efforts of activists, non-profit organizations like World Team Now, governments, corporations and scientists alike. I was inspired by the intelligent and inventive students and experts and was thoroughly impressed and shocked by the numerous new ways ideas presented targeted lowering fossil fuel use.

In addition to me being in the next generation, I am also shopping around for my first car before hitting college next year. Going into the exposition I had an open mind, yet I had apprehensions towards electric cars.  However, after learning about these awesome new vehicles, I have taken the ecological impact into much greater consideration. Logistically, all the cars on display made an impression on me, for all were better than the current condition of cars polluting our air while we pay at the gas pump. Each company had their own take and was utilizing a different energy source, if not using two or more, like the hybrid electric. I was shocked by the vast number of cars and was pleasantly surprised by each one’s efficiency. Yet, the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt impressed me immensely. Not only did the mileage and the workings of the car stun me, the cars are beautiful, stylish, and functional. The Leaf has an estimated 92-106 MPGe and has a sleek body, while the Volt has an estimated 98 MPGe and has a bold design. Despite my quest for the right car, the fact that these two cars are leading the way in the fight against fossil fuels, gives me hope that there will be more to come.  The list of new vehicles WTN published has grown, and it’s exciting to learn that most manufactures will have an alternative car by 2014.

Coming from the perspective of a younger mind, I hope that that the next generation realizes the impact of these new sources and these new cars.  I am thankful that World Team Now helps us better understand the change happening, and I’m happy to volunteer. This AltCar Exposition is just a beacon in the movement for the transition towards total alternative fuel dependency and I hope the switch is flipped for many people in the future. I am so excited to see how these cars progress and how the movement shapes out; there is no doubt in my mind, that they are the future, my future.

Time for the “Charge,” The City of Malibu’s Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

The world is starting to wake up to transformation.  Renewable energy is up front and center.   The U.N. Security Council lead by Germany issued a declaration to world governments declaring Climate Change a real threat to our collective national security and calling leaders to be accountable to protect their citizens.  The severity of Fukushima, and other global catastrophes are accumulating.   We are all challenged to focus on positive action while being wide awake to the consequences of the choices humanity has set up to live within for the most important game we play, life.  How do we each live an, exemplary, existence during these times?

World Team Now succeeded to team up The City of Malibu, with Clipper Creek, for three new and upgraded electric vehicle (EV) chargers! This local effort hopes to be an example for the world as our city’s government is taking action for change, and one of the first to be recipients of the grant from the California Energy Commission. WTN’s journey with the Malibu Chargers is the beginning for the World Team pilot project.  To read the World Team Now’s press release click here. The charger installation will happen this week, along with a ribbon cutting ceremony of July 29th at 11:00 at the Civic Center in Malibu, so please join us.  To read the City of Malibu’s press release click here.

WTN plans to have some of the latest electric vehicles in Malibu courtesy of Hertz, which is bringing some of their EVs: the Tesla, Leaf and Smart for 2.  Some local celebrities will be there to drive and share their own vehicles.  World Team Now’s founder Suzanne Maxx will be driving the all-electric Nissan Leaf from the leading environmentally aware rental company, Hertz.   The goal is to raise public awareness with this installation and local event to inspire more electric vehicles to be purchased or just simply driven and support the accessibility of EV charging.  WTN encourages the EV chargers to get their energy from renewable energy resources, such as solar energy that ties to the grid for commoditization renewable energy sources.

World Team Now’s charging initiative is happening at time when the EV wave is breaking.  Check out these current EV events: Plug-In 2011 July 18-21, 2011, Raleigh, North Carolina that just happened and the IEEE Power & Energy Society 2011 General Meeting July 24-28, Detroit, Michigan whose theme this year is “The Electrification of Transportation & the Grid of the Future” and is happening now! Want more on EVs? Click on the following words: for our article, paper, newsletter, or blog.  Want to know about some new EVs? Click here.  To being electric, and charged with consciousness and action!

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