earth friendly

Volt production frozen amid patchy EV sales

Volt production frozen amid patchy EV sales

General Motors has frozen Chevrolet Volt production as demand fails to keep up with current supply, though the company insists the electric-powered car hasn't been derailed by recent safety concerns. The Hamtramck, Michigan factory responsible for constructing the Volt will be offline from March 19 to April 23, GM confirmed to the WSJ, with around 1,300 workers unemployed for that five week period. Despite aggressive marketing and government subsidies for earth-friendly vehicles, the Volt missed its 2011 sales goals.

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Tesla Model X takes $40m in advanced sales

Tesla Model X takes $40m in advanced sales

Tesla has already clocked up over $40m-worth in sales of its new Model X SUV, breaking a record for the company in only 24 hours and also seeing a significant uptick in reservations of its new electric-powered sedan. Announced on Thursday last week, the Model X - which features distinctive "falcon-wing" rear doors and an all-electric powerplant - went up for pre-order the following day, with paid reservations exceeding $40m the company has confirmed.

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Fisker funding frozen: Project Nina delayed

Fisker funding frozen: Project Nina delayed

Luxury eco car company Fisker has been forced to freeze work on its second vehicle, Project Nina, as well as make a total of 66 redundancies as government loans dry up. Fisker, which began delivering Karma plug-ins back in July 2011, faced renewed US government attention with its launch schedule delays, GigaOm reports, with the Department of Energy suspending a $528.7m loan agreed in 2009 back in May 2011.

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Chevrolet Volt cleared of fire defect suspicions

Chevrolet Volt cleared of fire defect suspicions

Chevrolet's electric-powered Volt has been cleared by US federal safety investigators, with the plug-in car deemed to present no more significant fire risk than its gasoline-powered counterparts, and leaving Chevvy with the unenviable task of re-marketing the vehicle. "No discernible defect trend exists" the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said of the Volt, going on to highlight General Motors' improvements to the structure of the car and the battery cooling systems. The investigation - perhaps uncomfortably public for GM - will educate new NHTSA guidelines on dealing with electric car safety.

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Costa Concordia satellite photos show extent of salvage challenge

Costa Concordia satellite photos show extent of salvage challenge

Satellite imagery of stricken cruise ship Costa Concordia has been released, showing the $570m vessel languishing on its side off the Tuscan coast as rescue and salvage attempts continue. The shot, from DigitalGlobe, was taken on January 17, though the Italian coastguard has apparently paused its rescue work after the ship subsequently shifted, the BBC reports. "Instruments indicated the ship had moved" a spokesperson said. "We are in the process of evaluating if it has found a new resting point to allow us to resume. For the moment, we cannot even go near it"

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Energy net-zero Eco-home is iPad and Kinect controlled

Energy net-zero Eco-home is iPad and Kinect controlled

A net-zero energy house concept could actually feed power into the grid using a bank of solar panels and innovative exterior insulation cladding, without sacrificing either style or geek-appeal. CHIP - or Compact Hyper-Insulated Prototype - is the handiwork of students from the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) and California Institute of Technology (Caltech), wrapping a thick thermal envelop around a house controlled by an iPad and a Kinect sensor bar.

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Apple first tech company to join Fair Labor Association

Apple first tech company to join Fair Labor Association

Apple has become the first technology company to join the Fair Labor Association as a Participating Company, obligating the Cupertino firm to open its chain of suppliers to regular investigation by the FLA's auditors. The membership was announced as part of Apple's annual responsibility report, which also included a breakdown of the top 95-percent of the company's suppliers; never a firm to shirk from hyperbole, Apple commented that "it's a level of transparency and independent oversight that is unmatched in our industry."

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Apple details supply chain in annual responsibility report

Apple details supply chain in annual responsibility report

Apple's supply chain is one of the more closely guarded secrets in the tech world; even simply confirming you have the Cupertino company in your order book has been enough to see some companies lose contracts. However Apple itself has spilled the beans on the rolodex it flips through when it needs a new iPhone screen or iPad radio, detailing the firms [pdf link] which together account for 97-percent of procurement expenditures for materials, manufacturing and assembly of products worldwide.

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Toyota shows NS4 hybrid concept for tomorrow, Prius c for today

Toyota shows NS4 hybrid concept for tomorrow, Prius c for today

Toyota has unveiled its latest hybrid, the Prius c, a compact version of the existing eco-friendly car, though we have to say it's the company's NS4 plug-in hybrid that has us more excited. The Toyota NS4 is the company's vision of a mid-sized sedan for the 2015 market, with streamlined lines and next-gen  Hybrid Synergy Drive plug-in powerplants, along with the usual lashings of high-tech dashboard gadgetry and safety features.

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Acura NSX Concept channels Honda heritage with hybrid power

Acura NSX Concept channels Honda heritage with hybrid power

The much-loved Honda NSX has been reborn as the Acura NSX Concept, a Sport Hybrid all-wheel-drive tease of a new sports car Acura says we can expect on the market in around three years time. Pairing a mid-mounted V6 engine and two electric motors in a lightweight shell, the Acura NSX Concept uses a new bilateral torque adjustable control system that can instantly generate negative or positive torque to the front wheels while cornering.

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