Going Green-Ford’s Scion Developing Green Cars-William C. Ford, Jr

William C. Ford, Jr., is a rare man, indeed.  The 51 year old grandson of Henry Ford, who founded the company with his Model-A, has been taking Going Green seriously for some time now.  Though he and his company have also been hit hard by the economic times, Ford is the only one of the big 3 U.S. auto manufacturers which is NOT asking Congress for any money right now.  This would seem to confirm that this scion of the Ford legacy is indeed a man prone to looking to the future.

William Ford, Jr. has been meeting directly with President-Elect Obama since August (long before he was elected) and working on Green transportation solutions.  This alone speaks volumes about the purity of his intent.  Mr. Ford would like to see the United States free of foreign oil, but points out that we must also develop our own battery solutions, so that we don’t become dependent upon Asian countries for the batteries instead.

President-Elect Obama’s Governor Jennifer Granholm (D, MI) a member of the president-elect’s economic advisory team, speaks well of Mr. Ford, saying  that he “has tremendous credibility with respect to the serious issues related to renewable energy and energy security for this nation.” Indeed, while remaining solvent, Ford has managed to put out the first hybrid SUVs, and will be making a new engine design available within the year, offering a 20% savings in fuel efficiency.  But Ford is ready to go a step further, to step back from the “Ford Tough” trucks that have been their mainstay and focus on the company’s smaller fuel-efficient vehicles.

While Toyota may have developed the Scion line of automobiles, it seems the scion we want to watch is the Ford.   Alternate-Power.org tips its hat to Ford Motor Corporation for their continuing dedication to a Greener, energy-independent United States of America.

Best mpg cars – 100 MPG Blast From The Past

Watching this video earlier today, I found a comedic blast from the past. The vehicle? The Peel P50, a 1962 one-seater 49cc 4.2 horsepower 3-wheel car, sans reverse, that gets 100 mpg. Yep. In 1963, a vehicle was made that sports a headlamp, windshield wipers and gets 100 miles per gallon. The top speed of 40 mph may be achieved depending, as the commentator notes, “on what you’ve had for breakfast.” When the entire vehicle weighs in at 130 pounds, weight is a factor.

While the video is quite a bit of fun, it also points something out: Even if we were to get 100 mpg, we’d still be stenching things up with fossil fuels. Improve the engine all you like, and it’s still bellowing out smoke. Give it a reverse gear and higher performance engine, so it gets 60 mpg and goes 70 mph, you’ve still got the same basic problem.

What if a similar vehicle were made with an electric motor? Well yes, it’d still be a scary little box to be driving around in, considering that it makes a Yugo into a full-sized sedan, but the smoke goes away, the noise goes away, top speed is improved, and a reverse would probably be inherent. So even if our comedic blast from the past doesn’t quite set the world on fire, it still shows us some valuable information as we navigate our way through to truly Green technologies.

Electric powered cars – Hawaii backs electric cars

A couple of days ago, Hawaii’s government and the Hawaiian Electric Company endorsed pursuing electric vehicles and the technologies and infrastructure that would make it happen. Amongst important features named were that the batteries be swappable, and that their recharging be Intelligent. Behind this concept is Shai Agassi, previously a Silicon Valley computer code exec who seems to know how to get things done.

The intrastructure plan is to team up tens of thousands of recharging stations via the Internet, creating a network that will make plug-in electric cars a real-world solution. Hawaii is not alone in saluting the plan. Agassi has gathered an ever-growing list of approvals, from national governments to regional planning groups and, of course, a major automobile manufacturer who hopes to step in and provide the cars. Other endorsing nations include Australia, Denmark, and Israel. Renault-Nissan is on board to develop a plug-in vehicle with a range of more than 100 miles, and to begin offering them before January 1, 2011. They are preparing to perform testing in 2009, and begin widespread commercial sales of the cars in 2012.

So far, Agassi’s contacts have saluted to the tune of 1.2 billion dollars in private international financing. It would seem he has his eye on the long-term profits as well. “I believe the new asset class is batteries,” he said. “When you have a driver in a car using a battery, nobody is going to cut their subscription and stop driving.” While that may not be the altruistic message we’d hoped for, it shows that he has the business savvy to make this project financially enticing to investors who might otherwise shy away from such an endeavor. He calculates that even if gas prices continue to drop, the electric cars and his recharging network will continue to be competitive in island economies, and become affordable for the mainland as well, as the project takes off.

Agassi is entirely correct about electric cars being ideal for island environments. People don’t often drive more than 100 miles, costs of fuel and vehicles are high, and people don’t drive very fast even when they can. Meanwhile, Hawaiian Electric Company is wisely seeing this as an opportunity to develop renewable energy sources that they could then connect to the electric grid to provide the necessary power for Agassi’s company, Better Place, and their recharging network.

Agassi seems to be everywhere with this vision. Earlier this year, mayors within the Bay Area cities, including San Francisco, gave their nod to Better Place’s concept of creating an electric recharging network with half a million recharging stations as soon as 2012. Better Place expects that charging network to cost about a billion dollars.

Daniel Kammen, PhD, of UC Berkeley’s Energy & Resources Group, projects that there will be the usual difficulties inherent in any new transportation system, but that it has “a lot of promising features,” that could make it attractive to fleet owners and ecologically-minded customers.

Of course, the program works best when teamed up with renewable sources of energy, such as solar farms and wind turbines. We appreciate Mr. Agassi’s efforts in getting Hawaii and the rest of the world going Green!

Hybrid Cars-Top Hybrid Vehicles List

lexus-hybird.jpgHybrid cars are vehicles that run on an interesting combination of the traditional gas engine and an electric motor. This combination increases power and improves gas mileage simply by creating a combined system for propulsion. Both Toyota and Honda are serious players in the hybrid vehicle industry, but nearly every other carmaker is now entering into the race by developing a hybrid vehicle model. Based on great performance and improved gas mileage, here are some of the best hybrid vehicles on the market right now.

2008 Lexus LS 600h – The 2008 Lexus LS 600h is an extremely classy car, but with all of the great technology that you could ever want both inside the cabin and under the vehicle’s hood. The hybrid system utilized by this vehicle allows it to set the standard above all other luxury class vehicle competitors with a better pedigree environmentally, and the driving performance exhibited by this vehicle is simply very good. The 2008 Lexus LS 600h is just now becoming available, but it is already gaining a serious amount of attention.

2007 Lexus GS 450h – The 2007 Lexus GS 450h is a four-door sedan with more horsepower than you would find in a normal sports sedan. This stunning hybrid vehicle has a high list of technical features and a great hybrid engine, making it the perfect package comprised of performance, technology and comfort.


2007 Toyota Camry Hybrid – The 2007 Toyota Camry Hybrid is fast becoming a front-runner in the new hybrid sedan generation. This vehicle is eco-friendly, user-friendly and extremely easy on the pocket book at only around $26,000.


2007 Honda Civic Hybrid – Honda has a great reputation for its practical economy vehicles, which is quite apparent in its 2007 Civic Hybrid, which is designed to be light on fuel, and built well with a plethora of interior options. This vehicle makes a great commuter sedan, and is a fine way to get to work and to be friendly to the environment at the same time.


2006 Honda Accord Hybrid – The 2006 Honda Accord Hybrid is a stylish and comfortable car that is an absolute pleasure to drive. However, the wisdom of buying one may be in question considering this vehicle’s limited audio capabilities, lower gas mileage capabilities and apparently much higher price tag. Luckily there are plenty of other Hybrid cars on the market today, and you are not limited to a single or limited choice for hybrid vehicles.


2005 Toyota Prius – The 2005 Toyota Prius is best known for its sophisticated power system and the fact that it can deliver comfort and excellent gas mileage. The Toyota Prius is a hybrid vehicle with CVT. Although many new hybrid vehicles have been released in recent years, the Toyota Prius is clearly still one of the best hybrid vehicles on the market today.


Green Vehicles Cost More — Fact or Fantasy?

A comment recently left to an article in a national publication states:

“I love the fantasy of creating a green economy. Very few people can afford green. Green cars cost a lot more than the regular variety. Very few are sold. And the payback for the extra cost is years, years. …” — marrtyy, manhattan”

Marrtyy, allow me to retort. HOGwash! The sad part is that people still believe this sort of ridiculous rhetoric. Nearly entirely absent of fact, “marrtyy ” in Manhattan would like to derail the entire “green economy” (as he calls it). Reality: Green need not cost any more. In fact, the opposite is true, when it comes to cars. They start at under $10k, run an average of $25-30k, and can be as high as well over $100k (Tesla). Custom conversions of existing cars can be pricey, but that’s still not mandatory, and less expensive conversions are possible.

Now let’s look at the up-side. Even with cheaper gas, the cost per mile to drive an electric vehicle is just a fraction of a gasoline or diesel car. If you’re paying 2 cents a mile for your electric car, that adds up VERY quickly, when stacked against 6 cents per mile — and 6 cents a mile is for a car getting 30 mpg, with gas at $1.60 a gallon. When it goes back up again, (and you can bet it will) the gap will be even greater. Driving 20,000 miles a year, that difference alone saves you a couple car payments every year. Then there’s the oil changes you don’t need, the cleaner air you enjoy, the money NOT being sent out of the country or handed over to Big Oil, that can be spent in your own neighborhood and here in the States. Sorry to burst your ignorance bubble, “marrtyy”, but electric cars make a lot of sense, and don’t cost more. In fact, they cost less, and that’s before Green is even factored in!

It’s going to be important that we who recognize the importance of this transition are armed with the facts, so that negative ignorance like that presented as fact by “marrtyy” isn’t seen as credible. Going Green doesn’t have to cost more, up-front or in the long run. It’s also important that Green companies not gouge and make his doom and gloom illusion come true.