Monday, August 10, 2009

Tesla Motors attains profitability

Hi everyone; I'm back, after a long absence. Here's the latest from Tesla Motors -- as you know, my favorite car company.

From BusinessWire:

August 07, 2009 12:31 PM Eastern Daylight Time
Tesla Motors Attains Profitability Milestone

Electric Vehicle Manufacturer Achieves Record Deliveries in July and Will Significantly Expand in Europe This Quarter

SAN CARLOS, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Tesla Motors attained a significant milestone in July when it achieved overall corporate profitability with approximately $1 million of earnings on revenue of $20 million.

Tesla reached overall corporate profitability while continuing to develop the all-electric Model S sedan and opening regional sales and service centers. Profitability arose primarily from improved gross margin on the Roadster 2, the second iteration of Tesla’s award-winning sports car.

Tesla shipped a record 109 vehicles in July and enjoyed a surge in new Roadster purchases. In the third quarter, the privately held company will make significant deliveries to European customers while expanding its presence in several countries.

Read the rest of the article here:

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Bike parts vending machines - an idea whose time has come

Ever been riding through the city and gotten a blowout, or lost a brake shoe? Of course, we all have. Now a quick and easy solution may be on the horizon -- Trek Stop, a vending machine for bicycle parts and accessories that is being test-marketed in Madison, Wisconsin. In addition to tubes and other small parts, the machine sells maps, energy bars and other necessities for cyclists. The prototype is located in front of Machinery Row Bicycles, and if successful the machines could become available in other cities as well. Original article and a couple of photos are at Bicycle Design, a fine cycling blog. Another photo is here.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Car news & updates

1-liter Vokswagen due in 2010 -- 282 MPG!

Volkswagen plans to introduce the oft-rumored 1-liter automobile in limited numbers in 2010. The 1-liter name refers to the fuel economy -- 1 liter of gas per 100 kilometers, or about 282 miles per gallon.

The car's body is of carbon fiber construction, and has an extraordinarly wind-efficient design. The coefficient of drag is roughly 0.16 (ordinary automobiles come in at around 0.30). The car will be powered by a two-cylinder diesel engine, and will be capable of burning algae-biodiesel. Performance specifications are not yet available. (

Toyota Prius to have solar panels

Toyota will begin installing solar panels on high-end models of its popular Prius hybrid, beginning in 2009, when the car is scheduled to be redesigned. The solar panels will be used to power the air conditioning, and as an adjunct to the charging system. (

Friday, July 4, 2008

Biofuels responsible for rise in global food prices -- secret UK report

A secret British report by a respected economist at the World Bank claims that biofuels are the principle cause ot the global rise in food prices and food shortages. Feedstocks, mainly corn, have been diverted from the food supply to provide material for biofuels, contributing to a global rise in food prices of 75% in the period between 2002 and February of this year. In addition to corn, vegetable oil used in the production of biodiesel was cited as a factor. President George W. Bush has said that food shortages have been due to increased demand in India and China. The report was kept secret presumably to avoid embarrassing President Bush, as it would put him at odds with the World Bank.

The full story can be found here, at

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Tesla announces development of $60k sports sedan, $30k cars within four years

Tesla Motors, the makers of the high-end electric sports car known simply as the Tesla Roadster, have been raising capital to produce a moderately priced plug-in electric sports sedan, known as the Model S. An announcement was recently made that indicates the car will soon become a reality. The innovative vehicle will be roughly comparable in quality and features to the BMW 5 series. The original estimated price for the Model S was $100k, and it appears the actual price will be lower. Tesla's business plan has been to bring out its first vehicles at the top of the market, and then move toward more inexpensive vehicles as it develops a solid corporate footing. Factories will be located in the US, most likely Northern California or New Mexico. The press release, plus a little more information, can be found at AutoblogGreen. Not much more is available as yet (nothing on the Tesla website), but it certainly bears watching.

There is much to look forward to, it seems. In a separate announcement, Tesla's Product Architect Elon Musk said the company's focus is to be able to market a $30,000 plug-in electric vehicle within four years. Again, no information on specifics is available, but such a vehicle, when available, could have a "substantial impact on the automotive world." (Engadget)

Thanks to Treehugger, AutoblogGreen and Engadget

Brew your own ethanol -- for your car!

Here's an interesting item from Green Car Journal -- a $7000 home fermenter, the EFuel100 MicroFueler, that turns ordinary sugar into ethanol fuel! At 10-14 pounds of sugar per gallon of ethanol, there are many options for usable sugar -- corn, feedstocks such as switchgrass, cane or beet sugar, or even biomass waste, the stuff you might put in your compost pile. Plain table sugar is an excellent source, and the company even sells sugar, plus materials and additives to help beef up your supply. E-Fuel Corporation is expected to start shipping the units and adjunct products by the end of 2008. In addition to being a cleaner alternative to gasoline, a solution such as this would certainly help reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.

Read the full article here.

© 2008 Green Car Journal

Project Better Place

(Originally posted June 23, 2008)

Project Better Place has an interesting top-down model for getting people into electric vehicles, from the manufacture of cars, to a distributed network of charging stations and a subscription-based method for vehicle ownership. The company's website is worth a look, to see some creative thinking in action.

Honda's new entry

(Originally posted June 16, 2008)

Honda has announced the release of a hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicle, called the FCX Clarity. There are only 200 scheduled to be made in the initial production run, simply because the infrastructure required to refuel them will need to catch up. And they are expensive, at $600 per month on a three year lease. But with fuel economy the equivalent of 65 mpg, and the exhaust plain water vapor, the potential for replacing traditional fossil fuel vehicles seems extraordinary. See this article from the New York Times, or Google for more information.

GM restarts electric vehicle program!

(Originally posted May 29, 2008)

Awhile back I mentioned the movie Who Killed the Electric Car?, which chronicled the sad demise of GM's electric vehicle program, to the point where every single one of the experimental EV-1's was systematically repossessed from its owner and crushed or deactivated, effectively ending GM's brief foray into alternatively-fueled vehicles.

Last week, the cover story of Business Week magazine detailed how GM realizes that high gasoline prices are most likely here to stay, and that they are losing market share to companies like Toyota and Honda, whose alternatively-fueled vehicle businesses are thriving. The designers at GM are now frantically trying to make up for lost time by energetically pursuing development of new vehicles, including plug-in electrics and hybrids. It's an interesting mea culpa from what was once the largest company in the U.S., which is now suffering the same fate as the rest of the American auto industry, and it outlines the effort GM is putting into trying to not only catch up to the companies that have passed them in sales, but to once again become an innovator and an industry leader. The whole article can be viewed here. Recommended reading.

For those interested in the high-end electric vehicle market, check out the Tesla Roadster. No, I don't get a commission if you buy one!


Welcome to the new blog! In posting to one of my other blogs, The Natural World, I discovered that I had a disproportionate amount of material related to alternatively-fueled vehicles. To avoid turning that blog into a single-subject discourse I decided to create another, devoted solely to eco-friendly transportation. And so here we are! I'll begin by posting a couple of articles from my old blog just to get started before I run off and find some new material for you. I hope everyone enjoys this new venture; your comments are welcome.