Monthly Archives: April 2016
The future of luxury cars isn’t all about flashy vehicles that drive themselves — at least that’s what Mercedes and Maybach want the super-rich to believe.
The Daimler-owned company unveiled a new electric-car concept, the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6, on Aug. 19. The “6” actually represents how many meters long this car is, just shy of 20 feet — which is a pretty standard size for speedboats, if not sports cars. Mercedes showed off the concept in a bright shade of red, but if it repainted the Vision in black, it probably would not look out of place in a mid-1990s Batman feature.
CNBC: After Solar Impulse Flight, Solar Power Getting Its Day in the Sun
By helping to propel an airplane around the world recently, solar power took what some would consider a quantum leap into the future — one that includes less use of fossil fuels.
The flight of Solar Impulse 2, which this week completed a 25,000-mile journey across Europe, Asia and North America, captured the public’s imagination and raised a tantalizing question that has long been the source of mere speculation. If the sun can play a role in aerial circumnavigation, can it live up to its billing as a large-scale energy source?
The answer, according to some, appears to be yes.
PV-Tech: Mixed Views Over Australian Energy Strategy Plans
The Council of Australian Governments Energy Council has met to discuss Australia’s energy future, prompting mixed reactions from the industry.
The Energy Network’s Association welcomed the council’s decision to expedite the assessment of a new interconnector between New South Wales and South Australia, which could strengthen the energy system.
The last month saw the country embroiled in a fierce debate of South Australia’s electricity price hikes, with many blaming renewables and others citing an interconnector being down for maintenance and gas prices as the key factors.
InsideClimate News: The Steel Magnate Helping Trump Assail Pollution Regulations
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has been trying to appeal to voters in the Rust Belt by claiming that environmental regulations and one-sided trade deals are the primary culprits in the decline of U.S. manufacturing jobs. And he has chosen an economic adviser who’s been preaching that narrative for years, even as his business was booming.
As the chief executive of America’s biggest steelmaker for 13 years, Dan DiMicco repeatedly went to battle against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. His company, Nucor, fought the EPA in court over its moves to curb greenhouse gases, and it was assessed one of the EPA’s largest penalties ever against a steel company for clean air violations. Nucor also funded climate change denial efforts. DiMicco has argued that U.S. efforts to control carbon emissions would further strengthen China’s unfair hand in winning business — and jobs.
Back Channel: Self-Driving Cars Will Improve Our Cities — If They Don’t Ruin Them
It took 50 years to transition from the horse to the car. Surely few could have imagined the impact the car would have as it tore through cities, countries, and economies worldwide. Today, average Americans spend almost two of their eight hours at work paying off their car, which they need to get to that job. Last year in the U.S., more than 38,000 people died and 4.4 million were seriously injured due to motorized transport. Farther afield, in Singapore, 12 percent of the island nation’s scarce land is devoted to car infrastructure. In Delhi, 2.2 million children have irreversible lung damage because of poor air quality.
Incredibly, we might actually get a chance at a do-over — of our cities, our fossil-fuel dependence, and the social contract with labor — thanks to the impending advent of autonomous cars. Yes, their arrival is inevitable, but how they will impact us is yet to be determined.
Senior executives at Volkswagen AG, including its former chief executive, covered up evidence that the German automaker had cheated on U.S. diesel emissions tests for years, three U.S. states charged on Tuesday in civil lawsuits against the company.
New York, Massachusetts and Maryland filed separate, nearly identical lawsuits in state courts, accusing the world’s No. 2 automaker of violating their environmental laws. The lawsuits, which could lead to state fines of hundreds of millions of dollars or more, complicate VW’s efforts to move past the “Dieselgate” scandal that has hurt its business and reputation, and already cost it billions of dollars.
Automotive News: Audi Plans Electric Car Push to Put Heat on Tesla
Audi will aim for electric cars to account for a quarter of its sales by 2025 as part of a strategic overhaul following the emissions scandal at parent Volkswagen Group, company sources said, in a move that could step up the challenge to Tesla Motors.
Audi, which has been slow to embrace battery-powered vehicles, will now invest about a third of its research and development budget into electric cars, digital services, and autonomous driving, two company sources told Reuters.
ClimateWire: Republican Platform Rejects Paris Climate Agreement
The platform approved by a voice vote yesterday evening doesn’t explicitly question the science behind climate change. But it calls for reduced funding for renewable energy and international adaptation programs, and it seeks an end to the global agreement reached in Paris late last year to cut greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.
The 66-page document also rejects the idea of an economy-wide carbon price, drawing a sharp contrast with drafts of the Democratic platform, which endorses that policy.
“We oppose any carbon tax,” the GOP platform says. “It would increase energy prices across the board, hitting hardest at the families who are already struggling to pay their bills in the Democrats’ no-growth economy.”
Ecogeneration: LG Chem Expands Residential Storage Series
Korean industrial giant LG Chem has expanded its range of lithium-ion residential batteries in the Australian market with new low-voltage and high-voltage variants.
The new Resu low-voltage (48-volt) models can generate between 3.3 kWh and 9.8 kWh and between 7 kWh and 9.8 kWh in the high-voltage (400-volt) variation.
The high-voltage models provide a variety of inverters to convert solar DC into AC. The move into high-voltage systems is driven by the trend of developing new inverters in high-voltage areas across LG Chem’s partners, the company said.