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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. 

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Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: NJ Town Battles Light Rail, London's New Bus Design, and DC Pilots 'Live Near Work' Program

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Top stories on TN:
Romney: We Have to Invest In Infrastructure: Video (Link)
Actual Debate Breaks Out At NY MTA Board Meeting (Link)
Maryland To Offer Preferential Funding For Smart Growth (Link)
FAA Unveils New Pilot Fatigue Rules (Link)
What it Takes to Keep San Francisco's BART Rolling (Link)
Your TN Transportation and Infrastructure Holiday Gift Guide: California Edition (Link)

Heatherwick Studio's new London bus design (photo by Iwan Baan)

WNYC's Kathleen Horan will explain the recent NYC taxi legislation on today's Brian Lehrer Show -- tune in at 10am. (Link)

Tenafly residents say 'not in our backyard' to NJ Transit plans to bring light rail to Bergen County. (NJ.com)

DC is piloting a program that incentivizes living near work. (WAMU)

Is DC's mayor slacking off on his commitment to building new bike lanes? (Washington Post)

Inductive charging for electric vehicles will get a trial run in Berlin. (GizMag)

Nissan gained some insight into the durability of its electric car, the Leaf, when about two dozen of them were destroyed in the tsunami that ravaged Japan in March -- their batteries were intact, and none caught fire.  (New York Times)

Check out a new design for London's famed double-decker bus. (Article in Dezeen; more pictures here.)

A new GPS device uses green routing to send drivers on the most fuel-efficient route. (FastCompany)

The rise in obesity in the U.S. means that the Coast Guard has had to reduce the passenger capacity of Washington State's ferry system, the nation's largest. (AP via New York Daily News)

New York's Bridge and Thruway authorities would be folded into the Department of Transportation if the state acts on preliminary suggestions from a government efficiency task force. (Albany Times Union)

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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

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Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: Minnesota's Transpo Cuts Lessened, NYC Losing Millions in Revenue to Fare-Beating Kids, and Zipcar Has Big Impact on Baltimore

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Cuts to Minnesota's transportation bill aren't as bad as originally projected. (Minnesota Public Radio)

Almost half of New York City's subway fare beaters are kids. (New York Daily News)

Seattle drivers might pay $100 more next year to register their cars, with most of that money earmarked for pedestrian, transit, bicycling and neighborhood-safety improvements. (Seattle Times)

Zipcar says it has reduced car ownership and increased public transit use in Baltimore. (Fast Company)

Carmageddon: a photo essay-poem, courtesy of Cute Overload.

How one hamster beat Carmageddon (photo by JDAC via Flickr)

Boston's bike share program -- Hubway-- could come to Cambridge this fall. (Boston Globe)

Wonder how Hubway is going to work? Alta Bicycle Share has a helpful video:

 

In some NYC neighborhoods, a clean street now means less alternate side parking. (WNYC)

Nissan is raising the price of the battery-powered Leaf and expanding sales to nine more states, mostly in the South. (Detroit Free Press)

 

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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.

 

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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)

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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.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: TXDOT Head Resigns, Atlanta Eyes Unified System, and Detroit's Pothole Plague

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Texas Department of Transportation executive director Amadeo Saenz has resigned, just weeks after a hand-picked panel of advisors urged his bosses to make leadership changes at the highest levels. (Dallas Morning News)

A foot of snow KO's NYC's bus system. (WNYC)

Will Atlanta's fractured mass transit system finally become unified? "Local leaders...have asked the Legislature to form a regional mass transit agency to serve as an umbrella over the metro area’s various systems." (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Detroit is suffering from a plague of potholes, exacerbated by the weather -- and the budget. Video of a bumpy ride below. (Detroit Free Press)

Ray LaHood blogs about vehicle-to-vehicle communication: "intelligent cars talk to each other wirelessly, warning drivers of potential dangers."

NJ Senator Robert Menendez supports the concept of extending the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail into Staten Island, but he wants to hear specifics of the plan before committing to full support. (The Jersey Journal)

NJ Gov Christie would rather fight the feds than repay ARC money. (WNYC)

A Bronx-based trucking company paid $450,000 in parking tickets last year; the owner won't participate in the NYC Delivery Solutions parking program. "That program is like paying off the Mafia," he said. "It's saying, 'Here, Mr. Bloomberg, here's some money so I won't clog up the courts.'" (NY Daily News)

The Arizona Republic looks at the future of federal transportation funding, and concludes that proposals such as Mesa's light-rail extension and Tempe's streetcar are vulnerable and could be delayed.

Top Transportation Nation stories we're following:

Congestion pricing is percolating around NYC...again. (link)

The head of the NTSB says that when it comes to safety, we can pay now or pay later. But we will pay. (link)

Houston says howdy to the Nissan Leaf. (link)

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Transportation Nation

First Nissan Leaf in Texas Lands in Houston

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Christie Sauers with daughters Annabel and Allie

(Houston -- Wendy Siegle, KUHF News) Nissan's 100% battery powered Leaf has already been delivered to patient customers in California, Arizona, Tennessee, Oregon, and Washington. Now the first mass-produced all-electric vehicle (EV) has arrived in the Lone Star State. Some may have speculated that the state's first EV would end up in Austin, Texas's most liberal city--but they would have been wrong.

The first Nissan Leaf to come to Texas has landed in the hands of a suburban family in Houston - the oil capital of America. The Sauers family picked up their new ride at a dealership in Clear Lake. But with Nissan confirming that production of the car is moving slower than anticipated, the Sauers will likely be the only ones driving the Leaf around here for a while.

Hear the the story--and watch the unveiling-- over at KUHF News.

Jimmy Sauers and his wife Christie are the happy owners of Texas's first Leaf. The Sauers have three little girls and live in Seabrook, southeast of Houston.  “Last time I bought a car, it wasn’t quite like this,” said Sauers with a laugh.

It wasn't your typical auto purchase experience. The family had to wait through speeches and a lot of camera flashes before they were free to drive their shiny blue car home. In ideal conditions the Leaf can go up 130 miles or so on a single charge. The fact that the Leaf has zero tail-pipe emissions was a major part of their decision to sign up for the car.

“We’re a Christian family we believe God gave us this earth to be good stewards of it," said Sauers as he sat comfortably behind the wheel of his new commuter car. "And so anytime we can use our resources more efficiently – whether it’s our natural resources or whether it’s our personal finances, or our time, or our energy – we believe that we should use everything as efficiently as possible.”

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Transportation Nation

Volt Wins Car of the Year in Detroit, Electric Focus Debuts in Las Vegas

Monday, January 10, 2011

(Photo: GM)

(Alex Goldmark, Transportation Nation) The hybrid-electric Chevy Volt beat out its all-electric rival, the Nissan Leaf, and the other finalist the Hyundai Sonata to win 2011 North American Car of the Year at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

The Chevy Volt has been racking up honors—it earned "car of the year" awards from Motor Trend, Automobile Magazine and the Detroit Free Press—despite barely being on the market. Chevrolet has sold just 326 Volts since cars began shipping to dealers last month, though reported demand remains high.

Truck of the year honors went to the Ford Explorer, the third consecutive win for Ford in that category.  To be eligible for the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards a vehicle must be all new, or "substantially changed" from the previous model. A jury of 49 veteran automotive journalists selects the winners.

Interest in electric vehicles even spread to Las Vegas where Ford took center stage at the Consumer Electronics Show to unveil their competitor to the Leaf and Volt: the new all-electric Ford Focus, available later this year, Ford says.

The Electric Focus is more like the Nissan Leaf than the Volt: it would be zero emissions (while driving that is, unless the the charging station is solar powered), all battery powered and charge through 240 volt charging stations in about three to four hours, according the the company. They wouldn't say how many miles it will get per charge, a key statistic in determining its functionality for potential drivers, but the top speed will be a swift 84 mph.

The Nissan Leaf by, comparison, gets an official 73 miles per charge according to the Environmental Protection Agency with a fuel efficiency of 99 miles per gallon equivalency.

Possibly the best news for EVs included in the Ford announcements are

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Transportation Nation

Hertz Offers All-Electric Rental Cars

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Nissan Leaf

(Alex Goldmark, Transportation Nation) The fledgling electric vehicle market got a little boost yesterday, when Hertz Connect began renting all-electric cars.

The rental car giant is starting small, with just five Smart Electric Drives in New York City. "That's all we could get our hands on right now," says Rich Broome, a Hertz Senior Vice President. But he says, the company is committed to ramping up to 1,000 electric vehicles nationally—including plug-in hybrids—by the end of 2011. Other cities slated to get the rental EVs are Washington, D.C., San Fransisco and select college campuses.

The move is  good news for EVs, even if it isn't totally new. The first generation of electric cars, like the original electric Toyota Rav4, were available for rent at major rental car companies in the late 1990s before carmakers backtracked on production of the vehicles.  Zipcar currently offers plug-in Toyota Priuses as part of a pilot program in partnership with the city of San Fransisco. Zipcar tells Transportation Nation they've been renting alternative-fuel vehicles and hybrids since 2003, and they "welcome Hertz to the space." Zipcar does not offer an all-electric vehicle currently for rent to its members.

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Transportation Nation

Tennessee Cracker Barrel Restaurants to Become EV Charging Stations

Friday, December 03, 2010

(Alex Goldmark, Transportation Nation) 24 Cracker Barrel restaurants in Tennessee will get electric vehicle charging stations, the company said in a press release.

Gas2.org reports that 12 locations will get Blink DC Charging Stations—capable of getting a plug in hybrid to 80 percent charge in 20 minutes. That's faster than it will take to finish your fried chicken liver. The other restaurants will receive a slower Level 2 charging system.

"These locations are centered on the Tennessee Triangle, a 425 mile stretch of highway connecting Knoxville, Nashville, and Chattanooga. Installations start next spring, and while costs haven’t been discussed, I doubt they are just giving this service away. "

GOOD points out that Tennessee is part of the EV Project, a public private partnership sponsored by the Department of Energy to promote and build EV infrastructure in six states.

Why start this chain store roll out in Tennessee you might ask? Well, just 11 minutes away from the Smyrna, Tenn. Cracker Barrel you find the Nissan manufacturing plant building electric Leaf cars for one.  The Cracker Barrels are pretty well distributed around major highway arteries. And if you have to stop to charge up your locally built leaf, why not do it where you can pick up some country cooking?

Texas, also in the EV Project partnership, recently got some good news on this front as well with the announcement of a privately funded initiative by NRG Energy in Houston. Why not a fast food home cooking restaurant?

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Copenhagen To Open Bike Superhighways, and the Return of the Roosevelt Island Tram

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

More on the FTA demanding repayment of $271 million in ARC Tunnel money from New Jersey Transit in the Wall Street Journal.

Construction company Schiavone, which has worked on the subway stations at Times Square and South Ferry, admitted that it defrauded government programs and evaded federal minority hiring requirements. (New York Times)

Copenhagen to open bike "superhighways," which will hopefully alleviate the "two-wheeler traffic jams (which) are especially regular on the main Noerrebrogade thoroughfare used by around 36,000 cyclists a day." (Grist)

Lufthansa says it will begin using biofuel on a daily flight beginning next year. (Alt Transport)

RadioBoston looks at a new interactive map that shows all of Boston's reported bike crashes.

London Underground employees take part in another 24-hour strike--and say that walkouts could escalate in 2011. (BBC)

In Pakistan, trucks aren't just vehicles--they're art. (World Vision via WBEZ)

Some cities are testing a new network-based approach to parking. "Streetline...mounts low-cost sensors in parking spaces, retrofits existing meters and ties them into a mesh wireless network to draw a real-time picture of the spaces available, the cars needing tickets and how much to charge for parking." (Wired)  One of those places is Roosevelt Island, which may also begin its own bike share program. (DNA Info)

Speaking of all things R.I., the Roosevelt Island tram returns to service today. Just to be on the safe side, pack some lunch and forego drinking liquids 12 hours before boarding.

The Nissan Leaf wins the 2011 European Car of the Year designation. Take that, Chevy Volt! (USA Today)

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Transportation Nation

Senators Now Crossing the Aisle for Electric Car

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

(Washington, DC - Todd Zwillich, Transportation Nation) Lawmakers are hoping for a chance to give the electric car a jolt in the Senate’s upcoming energy bill.

A bipartisan group of senators are pushing a new round of incentives and cash designed to speed development of long-range batteries and plug-in stations that could finally start to push the US transportation fleet away from fossil fuels.

No one expects it to happen quickly. Most lawmakers and experts expect it will take decades before a significant proportion of Americans are driving plug-in hybrids or electric cars.

The Promoting Electric Vehicles Act of 2010 throws $1.5 billion in research and development grants to high-tech battery firms.

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