Streams

 

Electric Vehicles

Transportation Nation

Has Tesla Motors Made It To the Big Time?

Friday, August 09, 2013

Electric car maker Tesla Motors is turning a profit. Sales of the Model S are up to 8.4 percent of the U.S. luxury car market, beating out offerings from Audi, BMW and Mercedes. So, is Tesla a real force in the auto world? 

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

Electric Vehicles Have Best Sales Month Ever in June

Thursday, July 25, 2013

WNYC

There are now more than 100,000 electric vehicles on U.S. roads. A new report from the boosters at the Electrification Coalition hails increasing -- if still small -- EV sales and lays out some optimistic projections. 

Read More

Comments [1]

Transportation Nation

NYC Mayor Wants 10,000 New Electric Vehicle Charging Spaces

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Rapid charging station - gives full charge in around 30 minutes

A rapid charging station that gives a full charge in around 30 minutes to electric vehicles.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to add 10,000 public parking spots for electric vehicles over the next seven years.

According to prepared remarks for his 12th and final State of the City address Thursday, the Mayor says:

“This year we’ll pilot curbside vehicle chargers that will allow drivers to fill up their battery in as little as 30 minutes. We’ll work with the City Council to amend the Building Code so that up to 20 percent of all new public parking spaces will be wired and ready for electric vehicles."

The proposal would require that a fifth of new parking spaces to be charging stations for electric vehicles.  Zoning laws in New York require the construction of new parking spaces along with new building construction, usually in the form of parking garages under or next to the building. According to the mayor's office, about 10,000 new parking spaces are added each year in this way.

The City currently has 100 public charging stations and 120 for the city's own fleet of EVs. Thirty more government stations would be added under this proposal.

Building public charging stations however is no easy task. As experience in other cities has shown, building codes, utility cooperation and construction permitting can all slow or impede installation of EV charging stations on public streets.

Private companies began installing public charging stations in New York City in 2010. According to a New York state initiative last year, there were about 400 charging stations set to be live by April 2013. San Francisco city government offered free charging in about 20 public garages at one point. Houston has built, or plans to build about 50 charging stations.

Under the mayor's NYC proposal the city would also initiate testing of curbside charging with two  chargers that can fill batteries in as little as 30 minutes, rather than the standard eight hours. One would be in Seward Park, a middle class apartment development and park on Manhattan's Lower East Side.

The second station will be just for electric taxis, located at the ConEdison Building. This year six all-electric Nissan Leaf taxis will join the more than 13,000 yellow cabs already on the road. The winning model for the Taxi of Tomorrow, also by Nissan, is designed to enable retrofitting run as an electric vehicle if testing shows that's workable and preferable.

The mayor is also expected to announce that the city will add 50 new battery electric cars to New York's municipal fleet, which already includes 458 plug-in electric cars, the third largest EV fleet in the country after the federal government and General Electric.

According to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles: as of December 2012, there are 2,069 electric vehicles registered in the five boroughs of New York CIty. The breakdown by county: 10 in Richmond (Staten Island); 80 in Queens; 753 in New York (Manhattan); 413 in Kings (Brooklyn) and 813 in the Bronx.

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

Electric Car Advocates Hope for a Quiet Revolution on Central Florida Streets

Monday, October 01, 2012

Electric cars lined up near Lake Eola, downtown Orlando (Photo by Matthew Peddie)

Electric vehicle charging stations are springing up all over Florida -- and a lot of them are concentrated around Orlando, which has more than 150 stations within a 70-mile radius. But uptake in central Florida has been ... slow.

The Orlando Utilities Commission, which has installed 78 charging stations around the city, estimates there are about 700 electric vehicles currently on the road in Orlando. That's a tiny percentage of the 915,960 cars and pickup trucks registered in Orange County, which encompasses most of the Orlando metropolitan area.

But alternative fuel advocates are hopeful the vehicles will eventually catch on in the Sunshine State. Florida's electric vehicle infrastructure is growing quickly, and the U.S. Department of Energy lists 319 public charging stations across the state, provided with funding from federal stimulus money.

Map of EV charging stations (Image: US Department of Energy)

Orlando resident Mark Thomasen has been an advocate for electric vehicles in the city since 2008.  He worked for a company that installed many of the charging stations and now writes an EV blog. He says it's been a challenge to build up acceptance of electric vehicles in the area. "There's not as much of a green movement in central Florida, and in Florida versus say Washington, or Oregon or Colorado."

Motorists might also balk at the upfront price.  Chevrolet's plug-in electric-gasoline hybrid Volt sedan has a list price of $39,145, while Nissan's all-electric Leaf, has a base price of $35,000.  Even with the $7,500 federal tax rebate, the cars are comparatively expensive.

But Thomasen is confident EVs will catch on in Florida. He says they don't face some of  the challenges of hydrogen, such as how to generate and store the gas, as well as the need to dvelop a high capacity, durable and inexpensive fuel cell. And he says even if drivers aren't worried about the environmental cost of gasoline, EVs should appeal to people who don't want to rely on foreign oil.

Mark Thomasen (photo by Matthew Peddie)

"Over here, what matters to people is energy independence," he says. "People don't realize how much fuel we use and how little we have within our border. So by moving to an electric car and getting off of that, we go to a different fuel source."

And Thomasen says electric vehicles at least have the infrastructure to support them, unlike hydrogen fuel cars.

Seven years ago there was a big push to build a hydrogen fuel infrastructure in California and in Florida. In 2005,  Florida Governor Jeb Bush broke ground on the state's first hydrogen fueling station in Orlando.  “Florida is spurring investment in the development and use of pollution-free hydrogen technology,” said Gov. Bush.  The new station was to be part of a "hydrogen hub" in central Florida, and the first of a series of stations fueling a fleet of clean energy vehicles.

Gov. Bush breaks ground on Florida's 'Hydrogen Highway' (photo courtesty of State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory)

After Jeb Bush left office, Florida's new governor Charlie Crist grabbed the renewable fuel baton. He cut the ribbon on the station in May 2007, and touted it as a way to wean the nation off foreign oil. A fleet of minibuses operated by the Orange County convention center was adapted to run on hydrogen supplied by the station. Progress Energy, one of the partners in the project, opened a second refueling station near Oviedo as part of a nationwide demonstration project on fuel cell vehicles, led by the US Department of Energy. Eventually though, Florida's hydrogen highway evaporated. After two years and 3,200 fill-ups, the two hydrogen refueling stations shut down and the pilot program finished.

California's hydrogen efforts met similar results: the state now has a handful of  hydrogen fueling stations, but nowhere near the number former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger envisioned back in 2004.

James Fenton, who directs the Florida Solar Energy Center, a research facility at the University of Central Florida, says hydrogen still has a place in the future of alternative fuels in Florida. But he says it's more likely to be used in fuel cells in electric vehicles rather than powering internal combustion engines. "Eventually we'll get to the point when all the battery-powered electric cars will have fuel cell range extenders," says Fenton. "You'll have electric cars with batteries for short trips because the electron out of the wall is dirt cheap, then you'll electrolyze water somewhere else, fill your car with hydrogen and extend the range."

And while electric vehicles aren't yet a common sight on central Florida roads, Fenton says he's upbeat about their future because mile for mile, electricity out of the wall is cheaper than gasoline. But he says there are still some obstacles to hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

"We don't have a hydrogen infrastructure," says Fenton. "That's the kicker."

Electric Charging Station, Orlando City Hall (photo by Matthew Peddie)

 

 

 

 

 

Read More

Comments [2]

Transportation Nation

New York State to Add Hundreds of EV Charging Stations

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Chevy Volt (Photo: GM)

New York will more than double its electric vehicle charging capacity, installing 325  new stations across the state in high-traffic locations like supermarket parking lots, hotels, train and bus stations, apartment buildings, hospitals, and parking garages. The state has awarded $4.4 million to ten companies and municipalities to install the stations.

Currently the state has approximately 200 EV sites in that offer 400 electrified parking spaces.

In a press release, NY Governor Andrew Cuomo said the effort would encourage New Yorkers to make the switch from gas-powered cars -- and provide an economic boost to the state.

Preliminary locations in New York City include an MTA facility in Battery Park, the Port Authority Bus Terminal, and dozens of parking garages citywide. Each station will have approximately two to six chargers.

The press release also noted that "transportation makes up about three-fourths of the state’s oil consumption, and nearly 40 percent of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions."

According to the administration, the charging stations must be installed by April 2013 -- although many will be in place by the end of this year.

The list of projects can be found below.

Access Technology Integration Inc. – Plans to install charging stations with innovative reservation and payment systems at seven locations around the Albany area, including St. Peter’s Hospital, Albany-Rensselaer Train Station, Times Union Center, universities, supermarkets, and other locations. NYSERDA funding: $244,000.

Beam Charging LLC – Company will install a total of 28 charging stations, each one in a separate public parking garage around Manhattan, for the purpose of gathering data to determine how well such charging stations are used. $400,000.

Car Charging Group Inc. – Plans to install charging stations at up to 15 high-traffic locations in New York City, directed toward apartment dwellers who do not have parking at home. Sites would go in parking garages that are used primarily for monthly parking. NYSERDA funding: $200,000.

City of Rochester – Plans to install 24 charging stations at seven highly-visible and busy locations around the city, including municipal parking garages, City Hall, the Port of Rochester and the Rochester Public Market. NYSERDA funding: $228,000.

Coulomb Technologies Inc. – Partnering with National Grid, Coulomb will deploy 81 dual charging stations with Coulomb’s ChargePoint software. The technology will demonstrate a web-based demand response program, a new low-cost installation method and a customized reservation system. NYSERDA funding: $1 million.

EV Connect Inc. – Plans to install EV charging stations at five Marriott hotels around New York State that make use of a unique reservation and payment system. Project would make it possible for overnight visitors to charge their vehicles while staying at a hotel. NYSERDA funding: $250,000.

Golub Corp. (Price Chopper Supermarkets) - Plans to install 12 charging stations at four locations, each equipped with a weather canopy and lighting to make them visible. This is the first phase of an intended statewide rollout. NYSERDA funding: $325,000.

New York Port Authority – Plans to install seven experimental charging stations for fleet vehicles and public use that practice demand-response (aligning charging times with times of low power demands, reducing charging cost and impact during peak demand to the grid). NYSERDA funding: $720,000.

New York Power Authority – Plans to install 124 charging stations at train and bus stations, airports and municipal parking lots. Three sites would be powered in part through on-site solar power. NYSERDA funding: $989,000.

Plugin Stations Online – Plans to install charging stations at three apartment complexes in Albany, Rochester and Buffalo, as well as one at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy. NYSERDA funding: $64,000.

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

Houston's Electric Car Drivers Have a New Place to Power Up

Thursday, March 08, 2012

The eVgo Freedom Station at Memorial City Mall in Houston. (Photo courtesy of eVgo via Flickr)

Jimmy Sauers was the first person in Texas to take delivery of a Nissan Leaf electric vehicle. "Both my wife and I are engineers," he said, "and so we were very meticulous about doing cost-benefit analysis." Sauers uses his Leaf to drive from his home in Seabrook to his job in downtown Houston. That's about a 75-mile round trip. He charges his vehicle at home and on the road.  So how much money have they saved? "In 13 months, based on the miles I've driven," he said, "it's been about $3,000 dollars."

Sauers was one of the electric car drivers on hand for the unveiling of a new charging station at Memorial City Mall, just off I-10 in west Houston. The charging station is operated by the eVgo company, a subsidiary of NRG Energy.  Electric car drivers can use the station as much as they want for a monthly fee.  They can add about 50 miles of range in a 15-minute charge. Laura Spanjian, the sustainability director for the City of Houston, said the new station will be a huge benefit to drivers along the I-10 corridor. "It will give them the confidence," she said, "that if they do need a little more electricity to power their car, they can quickly get off the freeway."

Spanjian said the city is encouraging the use of electric vehicles by teaming up with private partners to install charging stations around the city.  She's hoping drivers will see hundreds of new stations by the end of the year. "There's been statistics out there that say that by 2020, fifteen percent of the cars on the road will be electric."

The city of Houston is also adding to its fleet of electric vehicles.  Spanjian said the city will soon have about 40 electric cars, one of the largest alternative fleets in the country.

To listen to this story, visit KUHF.

 

Read More

Comments [1]

Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: Sales of Hybrids and EVs Slower Than Expected; Public Sector Workers on Strike in U.K.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Top stories on TN:

In Its First Season, Boston Bike Share Exceeds Projections; Will Expand Next Spring (Link)

A Federal Grant Encourages Denser Development in San Francisco (Link)

New York DOT / Uses Haiku with Graphics / to Tame City Streets (Link)

VIDEO: Secrets of Grand Central Terminal (Link)

Striking public sector workers in the U.K. (photo by NASUWT Union via Flickr)

House leaders could hold a press conference Friday on their drilling-for-infrastructure proposal and unveil legislative text on Monday. (Politico/Morning Transportation)

Analysts see hope at American Airlines. (The Takeaway)

And: is bankruptcy 'business as usual' for domestic airlines? (NPR)

Sales of hybrid cars and electric vehicles haven't met automakers initial projections. (Marketplace)

The Port Authority won't be using new toll revenues to fund the WTC redevelopment after all. (The Star-Ledger, Record)

Public sector workers are staging a huge strike in the United Kingdom, affecting transportation in Northern Ireland and cancelling some flights in London. (BBC)

The funding plan for California's high-speed rail project is faulty, according to a new report released. (Los Angeles Times)

A recovering U.S. auto industry should add more than 150,000 new jobs by 2015, and most of them will be located in Michigan. (Changing Gears)

Four snowstorms and a hurricane kept more drivers off of the NJ Turnpike and Garden State Parkway, leading to $47 million drop in projected revenue. (Bloomberg News via NJ.com)

DC's Metro will unveil some new escalators today. (Washington Post) (Note: read TN's previous coverage of DC's broken Metro escalators here.)

Check out a map of the 643 transit projects nationwide. (Reconnecting America; h/t Politico MT)

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

Electric Trucks to Be Built in the Bronx

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

(Photo: Smith Electric Vehicles)

(New York, NY -- Jenna Flanagan, WNYC) An electric truck maker is opening up a factory in the Bronx — saying it wants to be near a market for zero-emission delivery vehicles.

Smith Electric Vehicles says it will begin producing a delivery truck called the Newton in a building near Hunts Point beginning next year.

Smith EVs president and CEO Bryan Hansel said the company chose the location because the Newton is already used in New York, and he expects that to spread. “The initial trucks that are in New York are with people like Frito Lay, delivering potato chips, Coke-a-Cola,” he said.

Hansel said the $6 million worth of tax credits and other city and state incentives also lured the Saint Louis, Missouri-based company to set up shop in the Bronx. Officials said the trucks cost one-third to one-half the amount of conventional diesel trucks to operate and won't pollute the city's air. And they're easy for drivers to power up.

“In the morning, when they come, you unplug it, it's fully charged. You go do your day's work. That night you come back, plug it back in and it charges overnight,” Hansel said. “So we're only tapping into the grid and trying to take electricity when it’s at the lowest demand, overnight.”

The factory is expected to employ more than 100 people.

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: Occupy Oakland Shuts Down Port, A Look At East Side Access, and Moscow's Subway: Best In the World?

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Top stories on TN:

High-speed rail naysayer Rick Scott says California's program is a "boondoggle." (Link)

Although an agreement should happen soon, almost 1,000 Long Island Bus employees could be laid off. (Link)

Obama takes 30 minutes to pitch the transportation jobs bill in DC. (Link)

Protestors at the Port of Oakland (photo by Cherie Chavez via Flickr)

Occupy Oakland demonstrations shut down the port. (Marketplace)

The Department of Defense will pay $270 million to ease traffic congestion created by the recently implemented Base Realignment and Closure. (WAMU)

The full City Council will vote on whether to send a plan to implement residential parking permits in NYC to Albany for consideration. (New York Times)

Moscow's state-owned subway system is efficient, attractive and profitable. (Atlantic Cities)

A Chicago suburb is ending its red light camera program. (WBEZ)

Is DC's Metro intrinsically child-unfriendly, or is it the riders? (Washington Post, with a hat tip to GGW)

A look at New York's East Side Access project, which will bring the LIRR to Grand Central Terminal. (DNA Info)

Biking: it's good for you. (NPR)

What if electric cars could charge without plugs? (Good)

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

Houston Expands Electric Vehicle Fleet; Adds Public Charging Stations

Friday, September 09, 2011

Houston mayor Annise Parker (photo courtesy of KUHF)

The City of Houston and its partners have launched a comprehensive, city-wide electric vehicle program -- which not only adds EVs to the city fleet, but will install 50 public charging stations around the city.

It's called Houston Drives Electric, a city program that implements clean and economic driving alternatives.  The HEB Buffalo Market in southwest Houston is now home to the Freedom Station, the city's first public electric vehicle charging station.

Arun Banskota is the head of NRG Electric Vehicle Services, one of the partners in this effort. He said each Freedom Station offers room for two cars to charge simultaneously. "What is very important is the one on the left is only one of two DC chargers, rapid chargers in the nation today," he said. "You plug in your car, walk inside HEB for 15 minutes, you get a 50 mile boost of range. It's a very rapid charger."

Mayor Annise Parker --who spent 20 years in the oil and  gas industry -- was on hand. "The City of Houston recently purchased two Nissan Leafs, which are displayed here today," she said. "These are the first all-electric municipal fleet vehicles in Texas. Another 23 electric vehicles will be added to the city's fleet by the year end, joining the 15 plug-in hybrids we already have in our fleet." Houston is expanding its fleet of electric city vehicles, buying 30 cars with the help of the federal government.

A Houston EV (photo courtesy of KUHF)

Luke Metzger is the director of Environment Texas, a citizen-based environmental advocacy organization that works to shift to clean energy. "Houston's worldwide known for being the oil capital of the world, so to make a big commitment to electric vehicles is very impressive," he said. "Not just through words, but through financial investments. Buying electric cars for the city fleet, installing the charging stations, and bringing the utilities to the table and making this a major priority for the city I think is really impressive."

All told Houston, working with its partner ECOtality, will install 28 additional public charging stations at city libraries and parks. Another partner, GRIDbot, will handle the installation of an additional 28 municipal charging stations in the parking garage underneath Tranquility Park, for the  fleet of city vehicles.

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

Nissan's Leaf Can Now Power Your House

Friday, August 05, 2011

(Photo: Nissan)

Nissan unveiled a new charging system for its all-electric Leaf this week. The difference with this charger is that the car can power the house, not just the other way around. That's a big step forward in realizing the full potential of electric vehicles.

One of the long-promised benefits of widespread adoption of electric cars is that they could make our electric grid more efficient by acting as storage capacity for excess energy. For the most part, power grids are designed to meet peak demand, which is during the day. There is usually excess capacity at night.

Cars plugged in at night could fill their batteries to the brim. Those batteries could then deliver some of that power back to the grid during the day, easing the strain on power generation facilities and reducing the overall demand. That's called vehicle-to-grid technology. If it ever works en masse, it would also make the system more adaptable to fluctuating demand, and greener.

The Nissan Leaf's lithium-ion battery can store 24kwh, enough to power the average Japanese home for 2 days, according to the company.

So called grid-integrated electric cars have been around for years, but we haven't yet seen the newest generation of EVs like the Leaf and Chevy Volt roll out and promote the technology. This Leaf charger was unveiled at Nissan's Kan-kan-kyo demonstration house outside company headquarters in Yokohama, Japan. The company touted the technology as "part of its comprehensive efforts toward the realization of a zero-emission society."

Nissan is still working out how to integrate the charger with existing commercial grid systems. According to the University of Delaware a grid-integrated electric vehicle could earn between $1,000 and $5,000 a year for its owner as a power storage device for electric utilities.

Via PSFK

Read More

Comments [2]

Transportation Nation

Nissan Leaf Sales Jump

Friday, June 17, 2011

Nissan Leaf

(Alex Goldmark, Transportation Nation) We started watching electric vehicle sales to see how many people would be willing to give up gas for the untested plug-in powered cars. As it turned out, automakers have struggled to get enough EVs on the road to meet market demand or even stock dealerships. That may be  be changing this month for the Nissan Leaf, at least according to statements from Nissan's CEO Carlos Ghosn.

Ghosn told reporters today that he expects "1,500 Leafs to be delivered in June." Nissan had averaged 113 vehicles per month in the first four months of the year. He said, 1,142 Leafs sold in May. Still a far cry from the roughly 20,000 people WHO reserved a Leaf in 2010 according to AutoNews.  But the company is now accepting new reservations.

The Chevy Volt has met similar issues of excess demand. They told Transportation Nation in May that they had sold a total of 1,547 Volts in the first four months of 2011.

Via AutoblogGreen.

 

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: The US DOT Puts Two More Bus Companies Out of Business -- Two Cities, Two Different Views of Electric Bikes

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Yarn-bombed bike rack on Manhattan's Upper West Side (photo by Kate Hinds)

The proliferation of electric bikes on NYC streets has led to tickets -- and confusion (New York Times). Meanwhile, Las Vegas's transportation commission is purchasing them (Las Vegas Sun).

The US Department of Transportation put two bus companies out of business this weekend. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Meanwhile, eight times since October, U.S. bus-safety regulators gave extensions allowing operators to stay on the road after finding problems serious enough to shut them down. (Bloomberg via San Francisco Chronicle)

As New Jersey emerges from the financial downturn, access to transit is driving the office market recovery. (Wall Street Journal)

Can electric vehicles create a sustainable job market -- and would the cars sell as well without a tax subsidy? (NPR)

Sales of full-size pickup trucks have stalled; GM plans to trim production accordingly. (Detroit Free Press)

New York City wants to put cameras on some street sweepers to catch alternate side parking violations. (New York Times)

A New Jersey Assembly panel plans to examine Governor Christie's decision to pull the state from a multistate pact to reduce greenhouse gases. (AP via NJ.com)

In New York, new East River ferry service begins today. (MyFoxNY.com)

Some members of Manhattan's Community Board 8 are not loving the Central Park Conservancy's plan to put in cross-park bike paths. (West Side Spirit)

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: NJ Gov Christie No Friend to Commuters, and Hydrofracking Leads to Attorney Boom

Monday, May 16, 2011

NJ Governor Christie's approach to transportation has led to higher tolls and more expensive transit.  (NY Times)

Automakers are trying to convince the Chinese to drive electric vehicles -- not an easy sell. "In addition to general suspicions of new technology and logistics of where to plug the cars in, there is also a huge problem with Chinese government oversight and regulation." (NPR)

NY's MTA is testing out buses which apparently have low ceilings and cramped legroom. (NY Post)

The U.S. natural gas boom is paving the way for another kind of all-American boom: litigation. (Marketplace)

The NY Times has a photo essay about old subway cars used as reefs -- a practice which is ending.  (Can't help but note that WNYC had this story a year ago, almost to the day. )

Ray LaHood returned to his alma mater to deliver the commencement address; video below. (FastLane)

According to a Detroit Free Press editorial, transportation in Grand Rapids is one of the reasons why that city is in better shape than Detroit.

British author Robert Penn already owned six bicycles -- but none of them was the perfect one. NPR interviewed him about his quest to build the perfect bike.

Follow Transportation Nation on Twitter.

In case you  missed it on Transportation Nation:

-- DC's DOT is losing key staff, and the mayor has yet to appoint a head (link)

-- Boston says 1/3 of transit riders are using transit apps (link)

-- the AAA says 630 bicyclists were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2009 (link)

-- does driving make you fat? Could be. (link)


Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

SF Will Charge Your Electric Car, for Free Until 2013

Monday, May 09, 2011

(San Francisco–Casey Miner, KALW News) San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee announced today that the city plans to encourage electric vehicle ownership – and calm "range anxiety" – by installing free charging stations in 19 city-owned garages and several other locations around the city, ranging from SFO airport to neighborhood branch libraries. The juice will flow freely until 2013, when the city will likely begin to price it. Full press release from the Mayor's office below.

Follow Transportation Nation on Twitter.

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: New York Looks At Taxi Refusals and Parking Rules; Boston's Bike Share Program Launches in July

Thursday, April 28, 2011

(photo by Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

New York's City Council members hold a hearing on taxi refusals -- and share some stories of their own. (WNYC)

Speaking of the City Council: it may pass legislation today that reduces alternate side parking rules. (Wall Street Journal)

Denver won't be seeing a FasTracks sales tax increase on the ballot this November because its transit agency has concluded it likely wouldn't pass. The transit expansion project -- which includes six new train lines -- is at least $2 billion short of what is needed to complete the project by the end of this decade.  (Denver Post)

Boston is moving forward on its bike share program; a contract has been signed and "Hubway" will launch in July. (Alt Transport)

Chrysler says it will take out bank loans and sell debt later this quarter to repay $6.6 billion in bailout loans from the U.S. and Canadian governments. (Detroit Free Press)

China is offering incentives for companies to produce electric vehicles in that country -- you just have to hand over your tech secrets first. (Marketplace)

You know about the royal wedding; now the Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee is throwing an "R-Oil Wedding" which "celebrat(es) the sacred and lasting union between the Republican Party and Big Oil." The invitation also takes the opportunity to photoshop John Boehner's head onto what looks like a Medieval gown. (Politico)

What should Oakland do with the spaces under elevated freeways? A city council member is seeking ideas. (Oakland Local)

Follow Transportation Nation on Twitter.

In case you missed it on Transportation Nation:

– a new report found that almost half of NYC's parking placards are used improperly or are outright fakes (link)

– the Twin Cities' Central Corridor got a formal promise for federal funding (link)

– NYC cabbies say they don't want to go to outer boroughs because it costs them more (link)

-- New York's MTA voted to end its contract to provide Long Island Bus (link)

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: The Political Implications of Volatile Gas Prices, The New Suburban Growth, and Why Cabbies Don't Want to Leave Manhattan

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

More on the political implications of volatile gas prices--as well as oil company subsidies--from the Wall Street JournalThe Takeaway talks about what -- if anything -- Congress can do to lower them.

Cabbies say the reason they often refuse to take passengers to New York's outer boroughs is because of their bottom line. (WNYC)

USA Today looks at suburbanization, and says most of the growth is happening on opposite ends of the suburban expanse: in older communities closest to the city and in the newer ones that are the farthest out.

The first crash test evaluations of the Chevy Volt and the Nissan Leaf earned the cars high safety ratings from the IIHS; AP video below.

Speaking of EVs: an unmodified Nissan Leaf is entering a steep hill climb race. (Inhabitat)

An audit found that Los Angeles is losing up to $15 million in revenue because the city barely captures half of the parking fines owed to it. (Los Angeles Times)

North Dakota became the 31st state to ban texting while driving. (Grand Forks Herald)

Utah lawmakers have scheduled a vote on whether to overturn the governor's veto of a bill that dedicates a portion of the state sales tax to transportation. (Daily Herald)

NYC DOT puts a digital speed detector at an intersection in Staten Island because "two out of every three cars were exceeding the speed limit," according to commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. (Staten Island Advance)

Transparency watch: NY's MTA has a board meeting this morning at 9:30am; you can watch it here.

Despite moving forward on creating their own electric vehicles, the head of BMW says he doesn't think EVs are right for more than 10% of the population. (Fast Company)

Follow Transportation Nation on Twitter.

In case you missed it on Transportation Nation:

--The NYPD ticketed cyclists for not riding in a bike lane (link)

--BART wants rider input on new seat design (link)

--TN's Andrea Bernstein will be at the NYC Transit Museum tonight to talk about the past -- and future -- of Penn Station (link)

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

Chevy: Early Data, Volt Drivers Go More Than 1,000 Miles Per Fill-Up

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Steve Wojtanek in the driveway next to his Chevrolet Volt in Boca Raton, Florida. Wojtanek says he averages 122 miles per gallon, and visits the gas station about once a month. (Photo: Chevrolet News)

(Alex Goldmark, Transportation Nation) Chevy announced today that the company's tracking of early Volt owners shows they consistently go more than 1,000 miles between gas fill-ups.

Chevy also released testimonials of drivers who were especially fuel efficient in their driving habits. “On April 11, I had to buy gas for the first time since filling up on Jan. 9,said Volt owner Gary Davis of Greenville, S.C. “In my Volt I’ve driven 4,600 miles on 8.4 gallons of gas. That’s an impressive 547 mpg that I am achieving with my Volt.”

With more typical driving conditions the Volt has still performed impressively on fuel and energy efficiency. Motor Trend tested the vehicle and got 127.6 miles per gallon. Those numbers don't factor in the cost of electricity for charging the battery, something the owner does have to pay for along with gas. Car and Driver computed a 74 miles per gallon equivalence when factoring in the electricity usage during its test of the Volt.

The Volt has a battery with a range of 20-50 miles, after that, a gas powered engine-generator kicks in allowing for longer trips. The typical urban car trip is less than 40 miles. Chevy tells Transportation Nation, they have sold 1,527 Volts through March 2011.

Chevy is releasing these testimonials come as fuel-efficient cars are in the spotlight at the NY Auto Show this week—where the Volt was named the World Green Car today—and following reports of a pair of electric cars catching fire while charging in Connecticut. Right now though, it appears the Volt involved was likely the victim, not the culprit of the two car blaze.

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: EV Sales Boost US Economy, NJ Highways "Deficient," and Amtrak Sets Ridership Record

Friday, April 08, 2011

Chevy Volt (Photo: GM)

Are sales of electric vehicles behind the growth in the US economy? (The Takeaway)

Toyota and Nissan restart production (Marketplace).

The nuclear disaster in Japan could undermine support for nuclear power here in the US -- and build support for natural gas. (NPR)

A new report says half of New Jersey's highways are deficient. (AP via the Star-Ledger)

More on New York's parking placards in the NY Daily News and NY Times.

Can smartphones -- with commuting apps -- get people out of cars and onto public transit? (Wired)

Amtrak says it's on track for record ridership. (The Hill)

Will a new stadium for the Atlanta Falcons spur economic development -- or acres of empty parking lots? (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

The Los Angeles Metro launched what it says is the nation's first major public transit agency's Spanish language blog (The Source). Called El Pasajero, the blog formally launches today.

Top Transportation Nation stories we're following: NY Gov. Cuomo tightens parking placard rules; Caltrain isn't slashing service...yet; traffic light timing is adjusted in Central Park's loop; Dulles's Metrorail link answers the question 'over or under?,' and: how much high-speed rail will $2.4 billion buy?

Follow Transportation Nation on Twitter.

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

Renewable Power Comes To Texas Electric Car Owners

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Richey Cook with his EV home charger

(Houston--Wendy Siegle, KUHF News) Austin-based power company Green Mountain Energy unveiled Texas's first pollution-free electricity package today for owners of electric vehicles (EVs), and Houston resident Richey Cook became the first to sign up for the package.

Cook says he liked the idea of driving a car that's not only tail-pipe emissions free, but downstream emissions-free as well. It’ll be a couple weeks before his Nissan Leaf gets delivered to his home. But when it arrives, he’ll be ready. Cook will be the first in Texas to drive a mass-produced electric car powered by wind-generated electricity. He’ll be charging his car with his home charger, which was just installed in his garage. The electricity will be produced by wind farms right here in Texas, which generates more wind power than any other state.

Cook says one of the reasons he’s making the switch to electric is to save money. “I was paying about $250 dollars a month in gas on my four-cylinder Mazda. And that’s gone up over $300 dollars," says Cook. He boasts that his EV will cost him around $45 dollars a month -- "and that’s using 11 cents a kilowatt which is the national average for electricity.”

Cook will be getting the electricity for his car through Green Mountain Energy. The power company has just launched a home electricity service specifically for EV owners. Green Mountain Energy’s Helen Brauner says when Cook charges his battery at home, the electricity won’t be coming from a fossil-fuel burning power plant, but from a renewable source. If you’re going to buy an electric vehicle, and if you charge it with just traditional electricity, then your electric vehicle is still essentially polluting," she says, "because the generation of that electricity is the largest source of industrial air pollution in the United States.”

NRG Energy, the parent company of Green Mountain, is rolling out charging infrastructure for electric vehicles around Houston this year. NRG plans to install 25 chargers by Labor Day, which will be available for public use. But unlike Cook’s home charger, the electricity for the public charging stations won’t necessarily come from a renewable energy source.

Listen to the story over at KUHF News.

Follow Transportation Nation on Twitter.

Read More

Comment