earth friendly

Better Place folds as battery-switching EV plan can’t go the distance

Better Place folds as battery-switching EV plan can’t go the distance

Ambitious plans to make electric cars as quick to refuel as their gas counterparts, by setting up a huge network of swap-out battery stations, have ended in liquidation, as Better Place folds up after chewing through $850m in investment. "After a year's commercial operation," the company said on Sunday, "it was clear to us that ... wider public take up would not be sufficient and that the support from car producers was not forthcoming." Better Place's most recent funding chase proved a tougher sell than earlier rounds, and there's no longer sufficient cash to keep things operational.

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Google buys Makani Power for X-team eco ambitions

Google buys Makani Power for X-team eco ambitions

Google has acquired an innovative wind power generator company, Makani Power, bringing the team into the same Google X "moonshot" lab responsible for Glass and Google's self-driving cars. Makani Power, which Google had already been partly funding as part of the Google.org "Renewable Energy cheaper than Coal" (RE<C) initiative, puts its generator turbines not on the ground, but on fixed-wing aircraft tethered to the ground but sent up to soar in stronger, more consistent airflow at high-altitude or above deeper water.

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Chevy Spark adds Fast Charge and route re-mapping to avoid range anxiety

Chevy Spark adds Fast Charge and route re-mapping to avoid range anxiety

Chevrolet's Spark could slip under the all-important $20k barrier, assuming government eco-car subsidies work in your favor, with the EV priced up ahead of its showroom arrival in mid-June. The sticker price of the battery-powered Chevy will be $27,495, the company has confirmed, but it hopes a brace of tax credits, incentives, and a new lease option will see the car hit Tesla Model S style popularity, rather than moldering like a Nissan Leaf.

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Range Rover Hybrids due late-2013 (but the US misses out)

Range Rover Hybrids due late-2013 (but the US misses out)

Range Rover's hybrid versions of its two big SUVs will make their public debut in September, though neither of the diesel-hybrid cars will be headed to US forecourts. Range Rover expects to show off the duo - the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport - in hybrid form at the Frankfurt Motor Show, chief programme engineer for RRS Stuart Frith told Car Sales Australia, with sales kicking off in Europe by the end of the year.

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Eco-friendly is conservative turn-off research suggests

Eco-friendly is conservative turn-off research suggests

The political controversy around climate change is so divisive, conservatives are statistically less likely to buy light bulbs marked environmentally friendly compared to functionally-identical but differently branded alternatives, surprise new research suggests. Described as showing "the negative consequences of environmental messaging" according to lead study author Dena Gromet of the University of Pennsylvania, the research indicates a "good for the environment" sticker might not be the marketing gold some companies and retailers believe it to be.

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Toyota ME.WE concept clads EV in chunky plastic

Toyota ME.WE concept clads EV in chunky plastic

Toyota has revealed a new EV concept that prioritizes flexibility, eco-concern, and easy damage repair, the ME.WE, cladding a simple aluminum sub-frame with easily interchanged polypropylene body panels. The electric car concept, designed in association with French firm Jean-Marie Massaud, can flip instantly between two- or four-wheel drive, thanks to an individual motor in each wheel, while the doors, bonnet, bumpers, wings, and other components can be switched out to suit different use-cases or to swiftly repair damage.

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Six electric taxis hit the streets of New York

Six electric taxis hit the streets of New York

Nissan and New York have conspired together to bring 6 new electric taxis to the city today. The Nissan Leaf is the model for these taxis and it's repainted to look right for the job. Nissan and New York worked together to launch these new electric taxis today in celebration of Earth Day. These taxis will test out the waters of New York to see if electric cars are equipped to take on the taxi world.

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Audi takes lead in LED headlight fuel efficiency drive

Audi takes lead in LED headlight fuel efficiency drive

Audi has become the first car manufacturer to have its LED headlights validated as contributing to fuel-economy, with the bulb alternatives shaving off over a gram of CO2 emissions per mile. The LED lights - which Audi uses on five models in its range, from the cheapest A3, through to the R8 coupe - were run through the EU Commission's dynamometer and found to trim CO2 output by 1.61g/mile, as well as using less power than halogen lights.

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Tesla cuts cheapest Model S as buyers opt for range instead

Tesla cuts cheapest Model S as buyers opt for range instead

Tesla has scrapped plans for a small battery version of its Model S all-electric car, claiming tiny driver interest makes the 40 kWh variant uneconomical for production. Only 4-percent of Model S buyers opted for the cheaper Model S, which started at $52,400, Tesla said in a statement today, along with the revelation that stronger than expected deliveries means the firm will make a full profit in Q1 2013. Those who went for the cheapest Model S rung will still get a car, though, borrowing the 60 kWh power pack from the $62,400 version, albeit with a software cap on range.

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