Category: Green Articles
Even though Toyota seems to be focusing on Hydrogen Fuel Cell vehicles as the transportation of the future, they are still working hard to develop their electrical technology, and they have quite a few developments up their sleeve. The automaker has two different powerful battery technologies in development that could both dramatically improve the performance capabilities of electric-driven vehicles, one of which is in the prototype stage already, solid-state batteries. Solid State Batteries Toyota is developing a technology known as solid state batteries and they have already produced a coin-sized prototype that manages an impressive level of energy density compared to current lithium-ion batteries. The battery manages an energy density of around 400 Watt-hours per liter, or 400 Wh/L. This is currently close to two times as dense as lithium batteries being used today, which could do great things for electronics in general outside of the automotive industry. On top of offering more energy storage capabilities, this battery can also put out a power stream about five times as powerful as lithium-ion batteries are capable of doing. That means more powerful motors can be driven using fewer batteries. This technology is expected to be released in 2020 and should be perfected enough to hit between 600 and 700 Wh/L by 2025. What Makes them Different Solid state batteries are known as such because they rely on a solid electrolyte in place of the liquid electrolyte that’s used in lithium ion batteries. Instead of nickel-metal hydride or a lithium ion, solid ceramic or a polymer is used instead. This packs more energy into a smaller area allowing for a greater storage capacity. What the Batteries Can Do With solid state batteries being at the current energy density of the prototype in development a family sedan would be able to drive for around 300 miles on a single charge. While this is quite a ways off from the 600 miles that many automakers are shooting for, this is still a huge step forward for the industry overall and something to get excited about. Lithium Air Batteries Toyota is also developing lithium air batteries, but they expect these to take about five to ten years longer to develop than solid state batteries. These batteries rely on a small cathode that interacts with oxygen and requires less materials overall. This makes it possible to squeeze even more energy into a tiny area and could allow up to 1,000 Wh/L of storage by 2030. These two advances represent major breakthroughs for the electronics industry and will make it possible to produce long-distance electric vehicles that are much more efficient than the ones we see today. It’s hard to say if they are simply hedging their bet on Hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles with this technology or if they plan to incorporate it into future vehicles to create something even more sophisticated for drivers to rely on.
Since the launch of the Porsche Macan critics and consumers have been going crazy for the pint-sized SUV. It offers a lot of the performance of a sports car, while offering a bit more room for comfortable riding. Now there’s word that Porsche is considering a Macan S E-Hybrid addition. That means in the future consumers could purchase a Macan SUV that’s equipped with an electric motor, that offers even more power and that plugs into a wall to improve efficiency while doing all this.
The Expected Power Train
Julian Baumann, the executive of sales and marketing at Porsche, has made it clear that they haven’t made up their mind on creating a plugin Macan yet. However, if they do choose to go that route, it’s expected that the vehicle will rely on the powertrain that the plug-in Cayenne, and the plug-in Panamera rely on. It would likely be equipped with a 3.0 liter V6 that’s tied to an electric motor offering around 416 HP of peak power. That would certainly pack a punch in the compact Macan and it’s an exciting prospect.
Porsche is Heading Toward More Plugins
Porsche already has three different plugin hybrids and it’s likely they will be heading toward more in the future. They have the 918 Spyder, the Cayenne and the Panamera S E-Hybrid. Each of these vehicles is quite popular and offers an impressive level of power for their efficiency levels. They appeal to Americans and if Porsche believes that future plugins will also appeal they’re likely to add them on over time.
About Porsche’s Intelligent Performance Philosophy
Porsche is all about improving their vehicles, but they want to do so intelligently. That is why they have their ‘Intelligent Performance Philosophy’. Essentially they shoot to make all performance improvements on their existing vehicles by using new and more advanced automotive technologies. You won’t see them upping the size of their engines much and decreasing fuel efficiency, because that isn’t their style.
This is why Porsche is likely to add the Porsche Macan S E-Hybrid Plugin. They want to offer even more high-performance versions of their vehicle, but they want to do it without hurting efficiency much.
If you think a plugin style Macan is as great of an idea as we do make sure that Porsche hears your voice. There are plenty of proponents for this type of SUV, and it could be the next new development coming to consumers from Porsche.
Toyota and Lexus are putting on the 2014 EMA Awards and by obtaining seats now you can make sure you’re there for the big night. Held in Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank California, this event takes time to honor stars and other media professionals putting together videos that make a difference to the environment.
October 18th is the date and the event is set to begin at 5PM in the Steven J. Ross theater. It starts with a reception, moves into a silent auction. After the auction the award ceremony begins at 6:30PM. When the awards are finished the night moves on to the luxurious gala dinner, put on by some of the area’s most talented chefs.
Throughout the night there will be live entertainment and plenty of chance for enjoyment while connecting with environmental proponents. The event’s a cocktail affair so make sure to dress up and get ready for some fun.
Each year the Environmental Media Awards honors a select group of people and 2014 will be no different. It’s set to honor James Cameron, Jerry Weintraub, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Daniel Abasi , Joel Bach.
Members of the Pristine Seats Project, the Executive Producers of “Years of Living Dangerously” and the Fox Fall Eco-Casino Party are all being honored as well.
How to RSVP
If you’d like to be part of the 25th Environmental Media Awards RSVP here. Seats cost $500 a piece, but there are sponsor packages as well if you would like to give back more. Hurry and get your tickets now before the event fills up completely, and know that your money goes to a good cause.
How LAcarGUY is Involved?
Not only is Mike Sullivan a chairmember of the board at the Environmental Media Association and LAcarGUY a sponsor of the EMA’s, but the two organizations have come together to create a sustainable edible garden at Helen Bernstein High School. This lush garden setup is designed to provide fresh food and encourage children to learn more about gardening, sustainable living and healthy eating all at the same time.
Volkswagen is Helping to Improve Biking Conditions for People around the US By Supporting PeopleForBikes
Volkswagen supports bike riders and is helping to make the United States a more enjoyable place to bike by continuing their partnership with PeopleForBikes for at least two more years. Since they began working with the organization in 2012 they helped improve conditions for close to 5 million bike riders. They traveled around to a total of 165 different bike and lifestyle events and played a role in improving them and making a true impact on the biking community.
Their efforts have nearly doubled the number of protected bike lanes in the United States, while engaging more than 800,000 Americans about the benefits of biking and how to improve conditions for everyone.
The Ride on Chicago
The Ride on Chicago is a 5-day bike ride event started in 2011 by Tim Johnson with support from Volkswagen. The event is a fundraiser for PeopleForBikes and in 2013 it managed to exceed its fundraising goal by generating more than 100,000 for the organization. Tim Johnson has traveled more than 2,000 miles since beginning to work with this event, and it has singlehandedly generated hundreds of thousands of dollars for PeopleForBikes.
Bicycling conditions in the United States aren’t the greatest and take a backseat to driving conditions even though this type of transportation is good for the environment. PeopleForBikes strives to improve biking for everyone. They work to expand bicycling lanes, improve laws for bikers and just educate people about the benefits of this mode of transportation.
Giving to PeopleForBikes
PeopleForBikes president Tim Blumenthal stated that “VW’s exceptional support of PeopleForBikes is important to the future of bicycling,” and with the major impact that they’ve made on the movement there’s no wonder. On top of sponsoring events and supporting the organization, Volkswagen has given PeopleForBikes four different vehicles now two of which are Jetta Sportwagens that travel to events at either end of the country. They also offer cobranded gear for cyclists on their DriverGear website to help support the cause.
Whether you’re a fan of bicyclists or you think that biking lanes are a waste of space, it’s clear that Volkswagen supports improved biking conditions and that they see a benefit in it to the country. With continued efforts from VW everyone should notice an improvement in biking conditions around the country, and maybe one day people will start travelling by bike more extensively than they do today. Sure automobiles will remain the fastest and most convenient way to get around, but bikes are a great supplemental mode of transportation, and they cut down on fuel expenses while helping to improve the environment at the same time.
In 2013 LAcarGUY and Grades of Green through the Trash-Free Lunch Challenge and beckoned students from 16 different schools to try to reduce their waste while furthering education efforts. Since that challenge the winning school, Riviera Elementary, has been putting the prize money to good use making their school even more environmentally friendly. They also went on to have a contest of their own, which resulted in a very cool mural made from a unique material, that should be recycled far more often than it is. [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Aw1Q99_lcc?start=2367&w=420&h=315]
About the Trash-Free Lunch Challenge In a partnership with Grades of Green, LAcarGUY started the Trash-Free Lunch Challenge to help reduce waste and teach students about eco-friendly habits. The contest was successful in educating students how to reduce their waste, reuse what they can, recycle everything else and finally to recover energy from unusable products. It also drastically reduced lunchtime waste, (by as much as 70% in some schools).
Riviera Elementary Efforts for a More Sustainable School After Allison Cohen, a parent of one of the children at Riviera Elementary, noticed just how much waste the school was producing at lunch time every day, she knew that something had to be done. She quickly formed “the Green Team” an organization of more than 35 different students to try and improve the health and sustainability of the school. Thanks to the Green Team as well as the prize money from the Trash-Free Lunch Challenge Riviera Elementary was able to pay to switch from Styrofoam trays to a compostable alternative at lunch time. They also setup permanent sorting stations for recyclables around the school collecting everything from typical recyclables, to compost, liquids and even unopened food. The simple sorting station was able to lower landfill trash from 12 bags a day down to two. Just these two actions should help Riviera remove a high amount of waste from their community and they set a good example for the rest of the community, and other schools to follow along with.
A Creative Reminder to Recycle The school also held a contest to see what classroom could collect the most bottle caps. By the end of the contest the school amassed more than 400 lbs. of material that would have ended up in a landfill. All of this was put to use to construct a mural to the school and to make a statement about recycling. Lexi Rampolla, a 5th grader at Riviera, came up with the design of the mural and students and adults came together to put the project together using paint, plywood, and hardware donated by a local Lowes. The finished product serves as an impressive reminder to avoid waste whenever possible. The mural was unveiled at a school-wide assembly and is now being displayed at the school to inspire students, staff members and visitors to be environmentally conscious, and should do so for years to come.
About Grades of Green Grades of Green is a non-profit focused on environmental education. Their mission is to teach students from kindergarten up through 12th grade about the importance of reducing waste and reusing materials whenever possible. Not only do they sponsor or put together competitions such as the Trash-Free Lunch Challenge, but they also take their time to educate children whenever they can. Their work is helping to build more environmentally-conscious citizens and a brighter future for our country.
Happy New Year everyone! Did any of you see what we saw during the holiday season? Our first thought was that somebody had started a bike delivery service. Taking a closer look at the decked out bike, we noticed the UPS logo on the side. It finally dawned on us that UPS hired seasonal bike helpers!
Apparently, UPS had some bean counters crunch numbers and find out that by replacing a certain number of trucks with bikes in the more temperate winter climates, they could save a boatload of money over the holiday season. In some districts, up to $36,000.
The company typically delivers nearly 15.8 million packages a day. During one five-day stretch of the pre-Christmas peak last year, that jumped to more than 20 million a day. Of course, each UPS bike delivery system (typically a $350 mountain bike pulling a custom trailer) can haul only 15 to 20 packages a trip – a mere fraction of what a truck can deliver. Nonetheless, the company estimates that for every three bikes deployed during peak season on the West Coast, it will save around 17 gallons of fuel a day and about $38,000 in vehicle maintenance costs.
According to Norman Black, a company spokesman, the bikes simply make sense at this time of year (holiday). “It clearly has environmental benefits and we’re excited by those, but it works in part because you’ve got heavy volume going into residential neighborhoods.” Nearly 75% of UPS’s daily non-peak volume involves business to business packages.
Saving fuel, money and the environment with a bike. Genius.
Did you know that from Thanksgiving to New Year’s day, household waste increases by more than 25 percent and this extra trash – mostly food, shopping bags, product packaging and wrapping paper – adds up to an additional 1 million tons of waste a week that is sent to U.S. landfills.
So what can we do to help reduce waste and make this holiday season a little greener. Our team here at LAcarGUY have put together a list that we hope you will find useful.
- Not all gifts have to be store-bought. Read up on Tips for Sustainable Giving.
- Source locally made gifts. Many gifts in today’s marketplace come from halfway around the world, and the impact of transportation contributes significantly to greenhouse emissions and global warming.
- Choose gifts made from recycled resources. Here are some gift ideas made from recycled materials.
- ‘Re-gifting’ is OK. There’s much discussion these days about the etiquette behind the trend to ‘re-gift’, that is, to pass on a gift you received but do not need. What’s to discuss? Re-gifting makes perfect sense. If you receive something you really don’t need, look for ways you can reuse this gift by passing it on to someone who can use it. Of course, re-gifting needs to be done with care so as not to offend the original giver, but keeping a gift you don’t need is wasteful.
- Connect with nature – start a family nature hike tradition. A peaceful walk will be valued and remembered
- Deck the halls with LED lights this year. Sparkly, energy-saving LEDs – super-efficient lights that use a lot less energy than incandescents – are abundant on store shelves this season
- Skip paper and plastic products. This is the season where it’s easy to bring out your family china, silverware, and cloth napkins – even for breakfast. Try doing it, and you may never go back to using paper or plastic products to eat off of again.
- Recycle your Christmas Tree. If you’re still inclined to get a cut tree, there are several recycling options available. Leftover trees can be used for mulch, erosion, habitat creation and more. Check out treecycling search to find a recycling option near you.
What are some of the steps you take to help reduce the environmental impact of the holidays? Share your tips…
The compact Lexus CT 200h is the latest Lexus to incorporate the company’s trademark “spindle grille” into its front-end design. Like other Lexus vehicles, the CT’s styling benefits from the aggressive maw, giving the car an added dose of character and aggression.
Scheduled to be unveiled at the Guangzho Motor Show in China, Lexus states the car will also receive a revised rear-end design and new alloy wheels.
Currently the CT is a hybrid only affair, affording the compact hatchback with impressive gas-mileage; however, Mark Templin, Lexus International executive vice president, recently told Motoring Australia that he hoped in the future Lexus might add a second powertrain option to the CT to target “people who want fast cars.”
Lexus recently revealed that it will show a compact SUV concept called the LF-NX with a new turbocharged four-cylinder at the Tokyo Motor Show. This engine is expected to eventually replace the IS250’s V6 engine, but will it also find its way under the hood of the updated Lexus CT? We’ll find out when the car debuts on November 21. Be sure to continue to follow LAcarGUY News for the latest Lexus news.
Image credit: Lexus
by Zach McDonald | HybridCars.com
When the 2014 the Prius Plug-in goes on sale next month, one major change about the vehicle will likely be very pleasing to consumers: its price. Base MSRP for the 2014 Prius Plug-in will be lowered to $29,990 (before state and federal incentives,) with pricing for the feature-loaded Advanced model cut to $34,905. The price decreases total $2,000 and $4,500 respectively.
The car is also eligible for a federal tax credit of $2,500 and a California state rebate of $1,500, meaning that drivers in the Golden State will be able to bring one home for as little as $25,990. Other than the change in price, the 2014 edition of the car will be identical to the 2013, and there will be no stripping down of amenities to accomplish the reduction.
Toyota’s decision to cut prices for the Prius Plug-in comes late in a year when nearly every producer of a mass-market electric vehicle has moved to make their cars more affordable in an effort to win customers. But for Toyota, the discount doesn’t seem to stem from low sales numbers. The Prius Plug-in—which is currently only available in 15 states—ranks third among plug-in vehicles in sales so far this year, behind only the Nissan LEAF and Chevy Volt.
The breakdown of the top-selling plug-in cars for September 2013 reveals that each of the pack leaders offer something different to buyers: the LEAF is an affordable limited-range EV; the Volt is a slightly pricier extended range PHEV; the Prius Plug-in is a shorter range PHEV with high MPGe and superior fuel efficiency in hybrid mode; and the Tesla Model S is an expensive electric sedan with a range at least double that of any other EV. Each car occupies its own place in the market, but Toyota is hoping that this newest price cut puts the Plug-in Prius on radar for more customers.
The 2014 Toyota Corolla has been elevated to “green heights.” The Green Car Journal has named the eleventh-generation sedan a finalist for the 2014 Green Car of the Year award and one of its top 5 Green Cars for 2014. The Corolla also earned the magazine’s ‘Green Car Product of Excellence’ distinction. The other 2014 model finalists include the Audi A6 TDI, BMW 328d, Honda Accord, and Mazda3. All five are also honored as Green Car Journal’s “Top 5 Green Cars for 2014″ and earn the magazine’s “Green Car Product of Excellence” honors.
Finalists are selected for their achievements in raising the bar in environmental performance. Availability to the mass market is a factor to ensure honored models have the potential to make a real difference in environmental impact, and finalists must be available for sale by January 1st of the award year.
”The Corolla has been the world’s most popular name plate with over 40 million sold since 1966. The Corolla’s environmental sensitivity has evolved with the market. The new 11th generation of Corolla, and the new LE Eco model in particular, offer increased levels of capability and fuel economy,” said Bob Carter, Senior Vice President, Automotive Operations, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.
Green Car of the Year® jurors include auto enthusiast and Tonight Show host Jay Leno, plus leaders of the nation’s major environmental organizations including Jean-Michel Cousteau, president of Ocean Futures Society; Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council; Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club; and Matt Petersen, board member of Global Green USA. Green Car Journal editors round out the 2014 Green Car of the Year® jury.
The Green Car of the Year will be announced during media days at the L.A. Auto Show, Nov. 20-21, 2013.