Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Mini-Workshop Report

Saturday's mini-workshop, the first collaborative venture between Bucks County Renewables & the Green Jobs Academy of Bucks County Community College, went really well.  The class was completely sold out with 18 participants, and I talked to at least half of the attendees afterwards.  With big smiles they all told me they had a great time and learned a whole lot!   One gentleman had driven 4 hours (from Waynesboro PA) to take the class, and said it was well worth both the registration fee & the drive.   Some of the enthusiastic students were complete novices to the EV conversion process, some had already done a lot of background research, and one actually has a conversion underway already -- so that tells me we have done a good job of crafting a program that can meet the needs of a range of participants with different backgrounds.  Yay, us!

This new iteration of our mini-workshop was a true group effort.  Clorece Kulp & Ira Weissman of the Green Jobs Academy and Chris Gillespie of Bucks County Community College were incredibly helpful behind the scenes -- and out front on Saturday in Ira's case, as he introduced the class and walked us through all the college procedures we needed to follow.  BCR intern Adam Khorshin sacrificed a lot of sleep to work on the graphic images for our new "Conversion Considerations" slideshow, while Brandon Hollinger of BH Electrics generated the outline and some key slides in addition to providing the incredibly useful closing video of parts building up in the Miata engine bay -- along with lots of moral support & good cheer.

Brandon also brought some helpful show-and-tell items with him on Saturday, while Dan Monroe hauled along all the pieces of his conversion kit that are not already in his Saturn-in-progress.  In addition to bringing in the e-Vanagon with Intern Adam (who does graphics AND owns a truck & dolly -- be still my heart!) Saint Bill brought along his gorgeous EV go-kart  to display, so we had lots of EV gear & gizmos to share with the group.

With Brandon, Dan, and Bill all participating in the informational presentation and answering specific questions during the last part of class we were able to cover a lot of material, with a nice range of experiences represented: from DC to AC, lead-acid to lithium-ion, clutch-in or clutchless conversions, etc.  I am so grateful to all three of these guys for serving as the brain trust for this workshop, and I can't wait to do it again in the fall.  I was pretty thrilled with how it went this weekend, but I know it will be even better the 2nd time around!

I had a number of inquiries from folks on Saturday about the 6-day hands-on workshop July 25-30, and I have received at least 2 dozen email inquiries about it in the last couple of months (before any official promotion even took place!).  Registration will be opening shortly through Bucks County Community College and it looks like demand for the limited spaces will be high so if you are interested and haven't already emailed me to receive an announcement the instant registration officially opens, do it NOW and be in the first wave to hear.

Please note that Ken Ekegren will be putting on his 4th (!) hands-on conversion workshop out at North Central State College in Ohio this summer.   This is a 2-week workshop (July 25-August 5) so the pace is a little more leisurely.  Here are the details if that timing or location would suit you better:  2011 Conversion Workshop NC State.   ASE technicians & automotive technology teachers take note: the NC State workshop provides 20 hours of instructor training required for NATEF-certified programs.

Friday, March 25, 2011

EV News Roundup Week of 3/21: It is Spring Here, Folks

EV History, My Favorite Category

So I learned tonight that down in Philadelphia, which actually touches Bucks County, there were two early electric car-makers named Pedro Salom & Henry Morris who built their own EV.  This was back in 1894 and it was one of the first automobiles in the country.  Our original DIY boys built their car in two months.  It was basically a super-heavy box of batteries on spoked wheels weighing in at 4400 pounds (including sixteen hundred pounds of lead-acid fuel).   Also, it was named the Electrobat, which is probably the Best EV Name Ever.  

5 years later (1899-1900) the intrepid pair of Salom & Morris could be found in New York City running a whole bunch of Electrobat 2.0's in an all-electric taxi fleet (!). Furthermore, they were resolving their time-to-recharge problem with a battery-swapping scheme highly reminiscent of Shai Agassi's contemporary Project Better Place.  Shortly afterwards our heroes got tangled up wtih robber barons and the editor of the automotive trade magazine Horseless Age (who hated hated hated electric cars), and subsequently disappeared from history.  Except of course from EV history, which is my favorite kind and interests folks like the clearly intelligent and apparently fabulously handsome Alexis Madrigal, a senior editor at the Atlantic.  The Atlantic is a REAL MAGAZINE my friends and a very classy one!  There is something for everyone to love in this article if you love derbies, mighty mechanical feats involving hydraulic pistons and swappable battery packs weighing 1,300 lbs, plus words like 'autoelectrophobe' (be still my heart).  Maybe I love those things enough for all of us, come to think of it.  

Pure EV News

Ahahahahah it was a normal cute little Geo Metro but now it is crazy aerodynamic! Read all about this $3,000 conversion -- done by a guy who has some experience, having converted some 45 vehicles.

YES!  News from the folks at Carnegie Mellon who are working to harness robotics in the service of EV conversions -- their 2002 Honda Civic production prototype is complete and they are taking orders from folks who want their gas cars converted to quiet, efficient, and peaceful electric operation.  Go CREATE Lab, go.  

Nissan Leaf review plus interview with Chris Paine from Men's Journal, hey that is another actual magazine, this is EV News in Magazines week I guess!

EV & Hybrid Business News

From the New York Times via TorqueNews, which I suspect added the deadpan conclusion: "$8,000 seems like an awful lot of money for a car that has already garnered a reputation for catching fire."

From Autobloggreen -- when gas prices soar, used car buyers go crazy for fuel-efficient cars.

Post-Quake-Specific Business News

Charging Stations

On the Technological Horizon

Science Daily reports from the lab on batteries with a "three-dimensional nanostructure" process that achieves both high capacity and large current.  Over at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign they apparently have these clever little bicontinuous electrodes charging and discharging 10 to 100 times faster than equivalent bulk electrodes.  

Elon Musk is wondering, reports GreenBeat.  

Not Just EV's But Other Solutions to Our Transportation Problems

In Other Alternative Fuel & Renewable Energy News

We at Bucks County Renewables do not think much of genetic engineering as a solution to our transportation problems or any others.  

It Could Be Electric, and Look How Cute It Is

I am a big admirer of Buckminster Fuller and also, apparently, of cars that look like catfish and can hold eleven people.  Despite its super-cool name which sounds almost electric, this is not an EV.  I nearly omitted it from the blog on account of Relevancy Rules, but then I had to let it back in because who can resist a car that looks at you with such sad eyes begging not to be excluded?  Not me, Dymaxion.  This interesting post is from METROPOLISMAG.COM (that is how they spell it) and my gosh it is the website of another actual magazine, go figure!  And here I thought paper publishing was dead, but as you know spring is a time of renewal ... 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Mini-Workshop This Sat; E-Vanagon, Miata, & Electric Colt Updates

We are very busy on the BCR team making last-minute preparations for the 3/26 Mini-Workshop at the Green Jobs Academy, which totally SOLD OUT -- we will have to hold our next one on the Bucks campus itself most likely.  It has been so great working with the folks from the GJA that I have already signed on put on another mini-workshop with them in the fall, so look for another opportunity around the next equinox!  Dates to come soon.

The e-Vanagon is ready to roll out for demonstrations on Saturday.  And I hear she has heat!  Can't wait to see the improvements Saint Bill has put on her over the winter.  Bill and Adam will partner together to tow the e-Van to Bristol, and we're finishing up a new visual guide giving a detailed overview of the EV conversion process, so I know these four hours on Saturday are going to be chockfull of valuable information.  Bring your lunches, everybody, there is no food to be had onsite.

I've received a few emails asking if we've bought the Miata for conversion at the July workshop yet.   I have been meaning to post this update for a while: look, we got a little red convertible for Valentine's Day (well the day before)! It's a 1990 in terrific shape -- only problem a slipping clutch, which will be removed anyway as part of the ICE-to-EV transformation.

By the end of February enough snow had melted that we were also able to get the Electric Colt That Started It All down to Saint Bill's for some love. First, however, there was some surface cleaning to be done! When I blushingly confessed to Brandon that we actually own a car cover for the Colt (said item was being carefully stored in the basement while organic gunk & grunge was accumulating on the hood of the car it was supposed to be protecting) he was quite stern with me, and made me promise to take better care of the red hot little electric Miata we will be building this summer.

YESSIR I said, because I feel very bad about not having protected our poor Colt from the elements.  Good thing there is not a Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Electric Cars for me to be reported to.  Now I am reformed!  And the great news is,  Saint Bill has been playing with the Colt and the motor does spin. He's gonna take it over to school and pile more batteries into it in order to investigate further.  Yippee, the Colt may ride again!

Why the white lines framing my photos in this post, Blogger?  Ah the perpetual mysteries of your interface ... they do keep the magic in our relationship.

Friday, March 18, 2011

EV News Roundup Week of 3/14, with an uneven smattering of commentary

EV Flashbacks, My Favorite Category

Ford Introduces Electric Car at Geneva Auto Show- In 1967  color scheme: lavender and white, i do plan to dress as the featured getting-out-of-car model for Halloween this year please remind me

Warren Buffett Mentioned on e-Vanagon, first time ever

Buffett's Bet on BYD May Backfire  Normally I do not feature downer articles here on this blog, but it turns out Warren Buffett, who is very famous, totally agreed with me all along about how cool Build Your Dream's hybrid plug-in name is.  This article inexplicably does not focus on our deep soul connection.
Yes Yes Yes

World premiere of "Revenge of the Electric Car" announced‏  Yay this is happening the same day as the EV Parade in Times Square, looks like Earth Day in NYC is gonna be really memorable folks, maybe after this EV's=normal, like the Macintosh became after 1984, I'm just sayin'
Tesla Motors Reveals More Details on Model S Pricing  We at Bucks County Renewables love Tesla's business plans in general so maybe this is a genius idea?

Get Your (Electric) Motor Hummin’ Anthemic call to arms from ecopolitology

Rising Gas Prices Don't Concern Electric Car Drivers because we are smug!  Warning: this LA Times is very mainstream and chants all the mantras

EV's are for Democrats & Republicans (thank you Doug Stansfield from whom I totally stole that line)


Cool in the 21st Century 

If the gull-wing Mercedes AMG SLS E Cell really comes in that color, I want one

because Germans are cool

Germans are even cooler than you imagined, but hey treehugger, "dearth" means scarcity, not overabundance

Also, it is an EV for gymnasts and insane people, and I quote: "steering with the spine-shaped joint is very different from holding a steering wheel or handle bar. You have to use your whole body to tilt and bend the vehicle."  I am going to admit that I would like to see all advertising for this item in the future featuring models of both genders with Much Less Protective Clothing

Because Japan is also totally cool and poised to rebuilt in an exciting, sustainable, 21st century style with hopefully not as much potential for nuclear devastation involved thank you very much ladies and gentlemen we at Bucks County Renewables are for clean energy and we do mean featuring largely nontoxic residue, we don't like radioactive goo and we hope you agree

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

This Just In - EV Parade in NYC 4/22/11

I don't usually link to videos, but this is one is awesome -- beautifully shot & filled with info & the inspiring sight of EV's from all over Europe, brought together in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius by Danish artist Jacob Fuglsang Mikkelsen.  Great interviews plus an art project, and a drag race at the end!  So get this: Jacob Fuglsang Mikkelsen is coming to the US to stage an EV parade & showcase in Times Square for Earth Day next month!  Oh boy WHAT IS NOT TO LOVE ABOUT THIS FOLKS?  Read the email from Jacob himself, below ...

From: jacob dot fuglsang at gmail dot com
Date: March 14, 2011 12:29:57 PM EDT
Subject: Electric Vehicle Parade and showcase on Times Square


In collaboration with Earth Day New York, we are producing an event on April 22nd where we will have electric cars drive through the streets of New York City, ending with a showcase on Times Square.

It is free to participate for non-commercial vehicles and will create a great statement on Earth Day to New Yorkers and the world, that the Electric vehicles are here to stay!

If you are interested in participating, please get back to me so I can tell you more.  If you know any fellow electric car enthusiasts, please spread the good word!

To see more about our project, please see the following video from the Vilnius version:

Looking forward to hear from you.

All the best / Med venlig hilsen

Jacob Fuglsang Mikkelsen

The CO2 E - Race Project
c/o The Danish Cultural Institute
Vartov, Farvergade 27 L, 2. sal
DK-1463 København K

+45 60 85 16 75

Sunday, March 13, 2011

EV News Roundup Week of 3/7

Courtesy of the EEVC mailing list, compiled by news maven Dan Monroe, with ornamentation by me, Jenny Isaacs:

News Flashes - present & past

Le Temps Retrouvé (that is Proust, ladies and gentlemen):  I recently found this on my hard-drive while doing a little digital spring-cleaning:  

Bucks County Renewables appears in the Morning Call, 2/26/07 PDF

A nifty trip back in time, and check out what the price of gas was just four years ago!  Ha ha!  For the record once again, we at Bucks County Renewables are in favor of paying the true costs of what we utilize, if we have to use silly money at all. 

EV News

With Renegade, UPenn students create electric drag racing awesomeness  Hey Autobloggreen, you spelled renegade "renagade" twice in this article, plus in the headline and URL.  I guess we are just going to go back to the times when you could spell anything anyway you wanted to?  Maybe we were better off before we came up with the concept of the spelling mistake.   Anyway, cool project here and close to home!

Zero Motorcycles Introduces Removable Battery Model  Reuters notes this clever solution for the urban rider with no garage -- charge the battery inside.

Team Catavolt takes aim at land speed record with 200 mph hopes  More motorcycle news from Autobloggreen!  Electric motorcycles go really fast everybody!

Grrrr!   this is a good-looking car in Bucks County Renewables' opinion and I am sure some of you will agree with me!

Hybrid News

Saab Unveils the Sexy 47 MPG PhoeniX AWD Hybrid "aeromotional" hee hee!  Michael Graham Richard of Treehugger, why so gloomy?   Does not make me purr when I look at it like the Nissan Esflow, but à chacun son goût

Business & Forecasts

Nissan Leaf soon to be every third vehicle rolling off Oppama line [w/video]  Linda Swyderski of Four Magic Acres Farm in Coventry, PA separately supplied this link to a timely report on earthquake effects on Japanese automotive industry.  Linda made the groovy videos on the EV-ent website at last year's show in Macungie hey everybody don't forget to put April 30, 2011 on your calendar and come out and see all those great EV's plus meet some awesome people

Dow Kokam fast start program to train students for advanced lithium battery manufacturing jobs  Green technology creates jobs in Michigan -- 320 to start with and hundreds more to come! The Midland Battery Park manufacturing facility reported on here by is on track for completion in 2012.  The 400,000-square-foot facility will have a capacity of 600 million watt hours, or the equivalent to 30,000 fully electric vehicles with a 20 kWh battery system.  This is what I call ramping up production and training, let's do some of that right here in PA and wherever YOU live too!

Technology - Batteries & Charging

Michael Lefenfeld's Offbeat Power Play from The Bloomberg Report, on SIGNa corporation's sodium silicide chemistry for hydrogen-fuel cells

EV's Are Not the Only Solution to Our Transportation Needs
If there's one thing we should learn from the last century, it's that old-fashioned don't-put-all-your-eggs-in-one-basket moral.  We at Bucks County Renewables actually oversee an unruly flock of chickens so we know whereof we speak.  

Nutmobile Travels to Green Spaces Planter's goes eco with its biodiesel green display vehicle, which is very silly-looking but no doubt educational.  Eat organic peanuts, everyone.

On the Energy Economy & Politics

Cutting Fuel Taxes Will Exacerbate Oil Crisis A British take, from Treehugger.

Raising gas tax could diminish possibility of an oil-driven recession This piece from Autobloggreen focuses on the US, and also indicates there is movement afoot to cap gas prices at $5.  Interesting ...

Would You Pay a Voluntary Gas Tax?  Whoa, Treehugger informs us there's a group already organizing to do just that! 

In Wider-Ranging Alternative Energy News


Automobile Poverty - Part 1  Interesting data, comments worth reading as well from The Original Green, blog of the New Urban Guild in Miami.   New to me, looks like a quality source. 

Automobile Poverty - Part 2  An even more interesting take on the issue in a second post; the first examined the financial costs of owning a vehicle, this one looks at time costs, which in our culture seldom come under scrutiny, perhaps because so many people do not own their own time, but are forced to rent it out ...

The World's Oil Addiction is Colonel Gaddafi's Best Friend  Also from Treehugger's Michael Graham Richard, this is a great rabble-rousing essay and I am going to steal some of his points and try to be more fervent and radical myself in the future.  Be sure to read the caption on the photo.  Sorry I called you gloomy before, dude. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

This Week I Had A Lot of Fun AND Got EV Presents!

Back in the fall of 2006 when I was first founding Bucks County Renewables, I went down to the Philadelphia Free Library to attend an (also free) conference on "How to Start Your Own Nonprofit."  This past Saturday, I returned to the very same auditorium I was sitting in four and a half years ago.  This time, I was standing on the stage with a clicker in my hand, giving a slideshow on the History and Advantages of Electric Vehicles. THAT WAS VERY COOL FOLKS!

My talk kicked off a whole morning devoted to discussion of electric vehicle conversion, batteries and chargers at the Nikola Tesla Society/American Society of Inventors Green Technology Conference.   At the end of it Jeff Maday, who put a lot of work into organizing a wonderfully smooth conference (thanks again, Jeff!) presented me with this membership plaque.  The membership expires on December 21, 2012, and if I get transpersonalized on that date I will count being recognized for service to the legacy of Nikola Tesla as one of my sweet human-life achievements, that's for sure.

Here is a cool thing that was posted at the conference, click on the photo to read the text it's pretty awesome, and so is this cartoon I found while looking for the text online.  Signe Wilkerson is a Quaker and the 1991 Dodge Colt that Started it All (click on "the consumer's guide to the electric car" movie if you don't know what I'm talking about) was owned and driven by a Quaker couple, so cartoons about energy independence are obviously pretty directly related to EV's.  On this blog, anyway.

Then just yesterday I rendezvoused with Brandon Hollinger and our intern Adam Khorshid at the Green Jobs Academy and they got to unpack the batteries!  So we finally unwrapped our Christmas present from Elite Power Solutions and LOOK EVERYBODY OUR  NEW, USED LITHIUM-ION BATTERIES ARE TEAL AND PURPLE!   Adam is majoring in industrial design at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and his senior internship project will be helping to create a user-friendly Mazda Miata Conversion Manual -- a very exciting project for all of us. 
Brandon was shocked to discover that I do not know anything about how to measure battery voltage :-(  I guess this is a pretty notable skill-lack in someone who runs EV workshops, maybe I will learn at the March 26 seminar.   So Brandon and Adam checked up on and fondled the batteries, while I met with Chris Gillespie of Bucks County Community College.  Final pricing for the 6-day hands-on workshop, which we want to keep as affordable as possible, should be forthcoming soon and then registration can open! 

Adam, Brandon, and I then went to Lehigh Valley Green Drinks for post-meeting processing, drinks and dinner.  Green Drinks is a global phenomenon but not every chapter is lucky enough to have their meetings in a local-friendly, very green microbrewery like the Allentown Brewworks which you should check out even if you cannot nake it to Green Drinks on 2nd Wednesdays.  In February I heard the very cool founder and co-owner of the Brewworks, Rich Fegley,  present on his committed, persistent efforts to make the restaurant business sustainable.  We at Bucks County Renewables believe that more Bucks Countians (like the folks from Doylestown and Point Pleasant I talked to last night, yay them!) should travel up to Allentown to taste the great premise-brewed beer and sample the increasingly locally-supplied menu.  Fill out your comment card and let them know how you like your meal (Rich loves that). Of course plugging Green Drinks is related to EV's because I am going to be talking there in June and let us not forget there are $1 flagship beers from 5:30 - 6:30 because that is important.   This is very good beer, folks.

As we were saying goodbye Brandon gave me this bumpersticker that he designed, which made me jump up and down on the sidewalk and scream with happiness.  Best slogan ever!

I don't think Brandon knows that in its pre-electric days my Vanagon sported this sticker:

Brandon also gave Bucks County Renewables and the Green Jobs Academy another kind of present on Wednesday, because our workshops were mentioned in this terrific profile of him on the front page of the Philadelphia Inquirer's business section.  Aaarrrghh there is a typo in the online headline, excuse me Inquirer editors?  You should take "electifying" out of your spellchecker!  But I thought the article was great.  Scott Sturgis was super-professional and fun to talk to and I hope he will come back around and write some more about all the amazing stuff that is going on right now.  

EV News Round-up got nudged back because So Much Is Happening but I'll catch up and post this weekend!

Friday, March 4, 2011

EV News Roundup Week of 2/28 (Which Marched On Rather Fast, Is It Really Thursday?)

Pure EV News

Hey, this sounds like a good idea: bringing together local government representatives, regional transportation authorities, EV manufacturers and utilities to hear about needed infrastructure, available incentives and green jobs.   All the information communities need to plan and build an electric vehicle program.  

Yes, folks, we do need a regional initiative like this one put on by these forward-thinking folks in the San Bernardino Valley.  Mike Parker, the California teacher who came to the East Coast in 2007 for the first EV conversion workshop, worked on a similar project with the Air Quality Management District over in the San Joaquin Valley (wherever that is in relation to the San Bernadino one) all the way back in 1994. 

My favorite quote, from the sensible mayor of Riverside, CA: "It's expected that most vehicle charging will take place at residences and many EV drivers will get where they are going by charging only at home."

Some lip service to the need for public charging stations as well but yay, Ron Loveridge has got the right mantra! 

Also from EV World, the Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory has released an online collection of case studies of electric vehicle deployment in four major US cities.  This effort is spearheaded by the Clean Cities Coalition, which is quite active in our region with the Philly office headed up by Tony Bandiero and the Rockaway, New Jersey one by Chuck Feinberg, last seen in this column inviting north Jersey EV drivers up to

World's First Zero Emissions Race Crosses the Finish Line
This race was actually a global circumnavigation, the Environmental News Service inexplicably left that detail out of the headline, plus they went around the world in 80 (running) days which is just cute.  

EV Business News & Technology

Bill Kirkpatrick, our course teacher and a fellow Vanagon fan, was the first person to send this link earlier in the week and a couple of other folks have to.  I have to say I rolled my eyes at the looks of this and I dislike it even more than the Eurovan, which I loathed when it appeared in 1991.  I can tolerate every generation of the Volkswagen from Microbus to Vanagon (though I am not especially fond of the breadloaf era) but I hate the nose.

bonus link triggered by above article:  This is my dream electric bus  In 2006 I corresponded quite a bit with Keith Price, the public relations manager for product and technology at Volkswagen USA whose baby this project was.  He was great.  I wonder where that bus is now. I really hope I get to drive it someday, that would totally bust the Tesla out of top EV Test Drive place!  I wanted a microbus when I got my first Vanagon but my mechanic begged me not to get one, which was a good deal for him as it turned out: a steady stream of expensive Vanagon repairs ensued.  

Can Startups Weather Entry of GE, Siemens and Toyota into Electric Car Charging Market?
Good rundown of the burgeoning electric charger business from a blog called Earth & Industry, though I wish it were more focused on trumpeting the amazing number of small and medium businesses that have sprung up in the charger market over the last 5 years  instead of on gloomily predicting their inevitable assimilation by the corporate Borg.   

It's a solar-powered boat.  Well, I guess it is an EV.

It's an electric, self-balancing unicycle, so I um I guess it is an EV too.

The delightfully named Build Your Dream plug-in hybrid has a 30-mile all-electric range and could be in the US market by the end of next year -- a reviewer for the New York Times test-drove one in LA last week.   By the way, it's a Chinese auto company (check out those surprising stats on world automotive production).   I am old enough to remember when the first Japanese cars began to appear on US roads in increasing numbers and transformed the automotive market, folks, so watch this trend.  

There is a somewhat amusing debate in the Autobloggreen comments section about whether the Motor Trend writer complaining here has a right to a toasty pre-heated car, or is a wuss who should get over it and appreciate the heated seats.   

Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid missing EV button
Wait, it doesn't have the EV button?  Yeesh, we have been waiting for this since 2006, Toyota: the first-generation Highlander Hybrid I drive has the useless dummy button (mocking every North American driver with the visual reminder that in Japan, you can tell your engine not to bother to turn on at all 'cause you're only moving your car around in a parking lot and only need batteries).  Some people simply did not tolerate EV button lack and hacked their own and then put up websites showing other people how to do it.  I like those kinds of people. 

Ha ha, this is a different kind of hybrid -- wind and a motor!  The vehicle is wind-assisted (it's kind of like a sailcar) and also uses wind to charge the batteries overnight using an onboard wind turbine!   Reported on Treehugger. 

Treehugger, you are so good at finding really cool tech, what is with the really bland headlines though?   Completely awesome pix here of a super-futuristic-looking, silent and non-polluting underwater viewing vehicle.  This could open up reef tourism to people who can't snorkel or scuba-dive.  Nice.  Coral reefs are really cool, everybody!   Especially this amazing hyberbolic crochet coral reef I saw in December.   If you get to see this exhibit before it leaves the Smithsonian on April 24, I am sure you will agree that coral reefs are really cool and also somehow related to EV's. 

Renewable energy policy news

New Jersey: Morris County Goes Solar
Solar panels have been installed in 16 government buildings & schools in Morris County, and Energy Boom explains how in January 2010 the county issued low-interest US government bonds to finance the initiative.   One year later, the installations are fully online and generating 3.1 megawatts of clean, renewable energy at a 35% savings over local utility rates.   That's a great model for rapid change.

Colorado Republicans Kill ‘No-Brainer’ Renewable Energy Study
Change is coming slower in some places; Ecopolitology reports Colorado state legislators recently blocked an energy bill that would have cost taxpayers nothing.  It would have authorized a fully-funded study of the impact, costs & benefits of a feed-in tariff, which requires utilities to pay a fixed, above-market rate to any party that puts electricity generated by renewable sources onto the grid.  The article notes that use of a similar incentive "was single-handedly responsible for making Germany the world's leader in installed solar photovoltaic capacity."

Guess who thought, nah, we should not even investigate, at no cost, whether such an incentivization program would be good for Colorado's economy, considering its abundant supply of wind, solar, and biogas and potential for widely distributed small to medium energy development?  That would be the utility companies.  For some reason, they hated the idea.

UN: Economic Growth and Sustainability Critically Linked
Also from ecopolitology.  Let's take the Morris County story global, and make fun of Colorado behind its back until it makes it to the party too.   

Renewable energy technology on the (event) horizon

Okay, I am somewhat of a sucker for astrophysics (because it is about outer space and down deep I dig spaceships much more than cars).  Maybe Dan already knew that when he included this link in the weekly EEVC news email.  But this is as far out (literally, far out because neutron stars are very far away) as I have yet stretched the exploration of possible new technologies for renewable energy sources in this column.