Tag: transportation

A Match Made in Environmental Heaven

October 8, 2012 lacarguy Audi, Audi LEED Certified Tags: , , , , , , , 1 Comment

Sometimes two companies working together just makes sense.  They think alike and have the same value set.  So it is with Audi and LAcarGUY.  And one result is your new LEED-rated Pacific Audi dealership…coming in November!

Thinking environmentally, or sustainably, can direct your energies to a number of important issues:  from water conservation to recycling, from energy conservation to where a product goes at the end of its life.  One of the best life-changing, and easy-to-read books for someone interested in learning more about the “lifecycle” of products is Cradle to Cradle; it focuses especially on how to change the entire concept of waste (of water, of energy, etc.), not at the END of a process, but in the initial design stages.  It’s an eye-opening read.

This leads us also to our topic today.  The new “Audi Terminal” design is the basis for our new dealership, and it was created by a team of architects and engineers in Germany (where Audi is based) to be an “ecologically intelligent, advanced construction method”.

The three pillars of sustainability are:  ecology, economy and social responsibility.  Audi loves to focus on the environment, especially through minimum ecological footprint and maximum efficiency…not a bad way to go!  Their employees also behind these ideas, often doing things on their own time to walk the walk.  Some examples:

  • On Audi’s most important transportation route, they use green electricity in the transport of freight—not only saving CO2, but creating a demand for renewable energy within their country. They’ve even won an award for this!
  • As part of their process chain, “packaging software” actually calculates optimal loading density for components, avoiding unnecessary transport due to waste of space (wouldn’t this have been helpful to us all when we had our friends help us move with multiple car trips?).
  • Some of Audi’s employees also raise bees, clean lakes, protect birds, clean and restore plots of derelict pieces of land back to nature for enjoyment, and so forth.  See the pages marked Passion in Audi’s current issue of their environment magazine called “Encounter”.

So, of course, this fits so well with LAcarGUY, which is always focused—with owner Mike Sullivan leading the way—on community and environmental causes. LAcarGUY has programs like:

  • Battery Recycling:  Interstate Battery handles the disposal of lead-acid batteries, which is strictly regulated by federal and state legislation, in an environmentally friendly way.  They return spent batteries to EPA-approved smelters where the lead and plastic are recycled to make new batteries and products.
  • Tire Recycling:  Lakin Tire reuses tire materials in exciting new ways that benefit society, such as rubberized asphalt for roads and safe playground surfaces for children.
  • Used Oil Recycling:  Once Asbury Environmental Services picks up the oil, it’s taken to a refinery where the oil is removed by going through clarifying columns.  Oil is treated for re-use as oil for ships (marine diesel fuel) and asphalt flux (blended into paving grade asphalt)!
  • The “Driving Green” incentive program that donates to Heal the Bay, EMA, and Global Green.
  • Explaining on their site really easily and clearly all the green car technologies!

You can keep up with our ongoing green initiatives HERE.

So when the chance came to team up with Audi on their new Terminal design…we were right there!  Having our own local team of architects, GC and many others…we’ve been working toward meshing their design with the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED building system, and we’re pretty excited to be just about there.

We’ve even, just recently, gotten solar energy approved to add to our building!

So this is what we mean when we say “a match made in environmental heaven”.  The manufacturer (Audi) already is thinking—from design stages to delivery—how to make their system more environmentally conscious (especially because they are a car company).  And then they team with a distributor like LAcarGUY who thinks like we do, and how everything we do affects the community they we part of.

Fisker Karma Meets Fuel Economy Standards For 2025

September 25, 2012 lacarguy Fisker Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

Fisker Automotive, the leading manufacturer of luxury Electric Vehicles with extended-range (EVer™), today announced that the company’s flagship Karma sedan already surpasses its 2025 fuel economy target under Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards – recently finalized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

“It’s a testament to the disruptive power of technology that a premium luxury sedan like the 2012 Fisker Karma beats its fuel economy target for 2025 – today,” said Fisker CEO Tony Posawatz. “We applaud NHTSA and the Environmental Protection Agency for their efforts to increase fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. With the Karma, we have brought to market the technology that these regulations are designed to encourage, and we’re pointing the way for the rest of the industry.”

On August 28, NHTSA and EPA finalized fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards for model years 2017 through 2025. The rule sets an average fuel economy target for an automaker’s entire fleet of new vehicles, based on the footprint of each individual model in the fleet. For a vehicle of the Karma’s size, the fuel economy target for 2025 is 45.6 MPG. Current NHTSA methodology – notably different than the EPA label – assumes the Karma will drive half its miles on gasoline and half on electricity and takes into account the energy consumption of both, giving the Karma an equivalent fuel economy of 47.3 MPG.

“The Karma is way ahead of the curve, and we are pleased that these fuel economy standards demonstrate that,” said Henrik Fisker, Executive Chairman. “Regulations must make assumptions about how a car is driven on average, but the appeal of the Karma is that the driver can decide when to drive on electricity and when to drive on gas. The car’s performance in the real world is what matters most – and customer feedback so far suggests Karma owners are outperforming the assumptions behind the regulations.

On a recent conference call, Karma owners were asked to report their fuel economy. The results were impressive: the group of over 30 respondents averaged 150 MPG. One customer reported achieving 57 MPG for the previous 5,500 miles of driving, which included weekend trips of over 300 miles, while another averaged over 100 MPG with 5,000 miles on the odometer. One owner reported consuming only 20 gallons of gasoline over the last 3,500 miles – for an average of 175 MPG – and many others reported average fuel economies of well over 200 MPG.

“This is just a small sample of Karma owners, but they demonstrate what we’ve said all along – the Karma’s fuel economy performance depends on how you use it,” said Henrik Fisker. “The Karma’s technology puts the freedom in drivers’ hands. We’re thrilled to see from these early reports that Karma customers are relying predominantly on the electric range – plugging in at home and maximizing their zero emission driving – but not compromising on their driving habits.”

Smog Pollution in LA Dropped 98 Percent in Last 50 Years

August 31, 2012 lacarguy HybridCars.com Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

by Zach McDonald – HybridCars.com

Anyone who doubts the impact that cleaner vehicles can have on air quality would be wise to take heed of Los Angeles, where a new report from the University of Colorado’s Institute for Environmental Sciences has found pollution from smog-causing chemicals to be down 98 percent since 1960, thanks in part to the emergence of cleaner cars and trucks.

The transformation began in the late 1940s, when Los Angeles established the first air pollution control program in the nation’s history to combat a growing smog problem of unknown origins. After studying the issue, the Los Angeles County Air Pollution Control Program concluded that much of problem stemmed from the growing presence of automobiles in the area, and set out to find ways to make those cars and trucks cleaner.

Over the coming decades, those findings would lead to an array of clean air regulations, as well as technological developments ranging from the catalytic converter to the re-emergence of the electric vehicle. Modern plug-in cars like the Toyota RAV4 EV can in large part be credited to regulations passed by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), whose legacy can be traced back to LA’s early efforts to combat smog.

Remarkably enough, LA’s success in curbing smog pollutants has come in the face of drastically increased overall fuel usage. As the county’s population and overall vehicle miles have skyrocketed since the 1960s, so too has the gasoline and diesel required to fuel the expansion. Nevertheless, by passing controls to make the fuels themselves cleaner as well as the engines that burn them, regulators have found ways to improve air quality even as fuel usage has almost tripled over that period.

For Los Angeles, despite the tremendous progress that has been made over the last half century, the battle to curb emissions is nearly as dire today as it was 50 years ago. The city’s air quality still ranks among the lowest of any major urban area in the country, with automobile transportation remaining just critical a part of life in LA as it’s ever been.

The challenge ahead lies in improving the overall efficiency of new vehicles in California. Overall fuel economy in the United States has risen by less than 5 miles per gallon since 1960, which is something CARB has been fighting hard to change. The growing popularity of hybrids like the Toyota Prius will be instrumental in improving air quality over the coming decades, and advocates hope that the next generation of plug-ins will follow in their footsteps.

LAcarGUY Helps Zipcar Program Expand in Hollywood

December 24, 2010 lacarguy Hybrid Vehicles, LAcarGUY Sustainability, Toyota of Hollywood Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

Vehicles Can be Rented for Up to Four Days

The Zipcar program uses Toyota Priuses that were purchased from Toyota of Hollywood. (photo by Edwin Folven)

People who don’t have cars in the Hollywood area have a new option for getting around through an expansion of the Zipcar program, which provides vehicles that can be rented by the hour, day or longer.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and City Council President Eric Garcetti, 13th District, joined representatives of Zipcar on Dec. 16 to announce the expansion of the program, which had previously only been available in Los Angeles at universities such as USC, UCLA and Loyola Marymount. Zipcar uses Toyota Priuses, Mazdas and Scions that will be parked at five locations near Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards. People can sign up for the Zipcar program via the Internet, and make arrangements to use the vehicles for up to four days. The start-up cost is $25 for registration, plus a $50 yearly fee. Zipcar completes a driver’s license check, and within three to seven days, issues a card to users. The Zipcars can then be reserved for a particular time and at a particular location. Users in Hollywood must be 21 years old and have a valid driver’s license. The rates are $8 per hour, with a daily rate of $66. Weekends cost a little more, with hourly and daily rates at $9 and $72, respectively. The fee covers gasoline and insurance. Once a reservation is made, the user’s card is activated electronically and they can use it to open the pre-rented vehicle, which has a key inside.

Garcetti said the Zipcar program is another component of the city’s push to get people to use alternative forms of transportation, and added that he hopes the program will expand even further into other parts of the city.

“A little over one year ago, we kicked off the pilot program and brought Zipcars to college campuses. [Hollywood] has become a highly walkable neighborhood, with lots of public transportation opportunities,” Garcetti said. “Now, Hollywood is again at the center of showing people what is possible. Living in Los Angeles without a car, who would have thought?”

While the Zipcar program is useful for residents, it is also viewed as a valuable asset for business travelers or tourists visiting the Hollywood area. Ten of the Zipcars will be located in Hollywood, with two vehicles parked curbside at five separate locations. They include Vine Street between Sunset Boulevard and Selma Avenue, and near the intersections of Hollywood Boulevard and Western Avenue, Wilcox Avenue and Sunset Boulevard, Highland Avenue and Yucca Street, and Hollywood Boulevard and Ivar Avenue. Zipcar worked with Garcetti’s office to determine the best locations for the vehicles where there is heavy foot traffic and nearby links to public transportation. The Los Angeles Department of Transportation is working with Zipcar to ensure the curbside locations are clear and accessible. Users can chose between a hybrid or gasoline-powered vehicle. The Toyota Priuses and Scions used by the program were purchased from Toyota of Hollywood, further boosting the program’s impact on the local economy.

Villaraigosa also hailed the Zipcar program for its benefits to the environment and its potential for reducing traffic congestion. Officials estimate that the Zipcar program can take 15 vehicles off the road each day. With the addition of the new Zipcars in Hollywood and the others located at universities, there are currently 75 of the vehicles located in Los Angeles.

“Imagine if we had thousands of these?” Villaraigosa said. “We could have a major impact on the environment and on our roads. It’s an innovative approach to transportation, one that will clean and green our city.”

Representatives of Zipcar estimate that the vehicles can save people up to $500 per month depending on how often the vehicles are used. The savings result from not having to buy gasoline or insurance. Users are asked to leave at least a quarter-tank of gas in the vehicle for the next user, and there is a Zipcar credit card for gasoline in each vehicle if necessary. Zipcar uses the honor system with the gas card, but safety measures are in place to prevent abuse, according to Coleen McCormick, a spokesperson for the company. The credit card is attached to the car by a pull-cord so it will only reach a pump that is nearby, and the user is required to enter their Zipcar identification number and the mileage of the vehicle at the pump. Zipcar allows the user to purchase gasoline for approximately 180 miles in driving, and the pump will not be activated if the correct information is not used. If someone does not leave a quarter-tank of gas for the next user, they are charged $20. An additional $50 fee is charged if the vehicle is returned late, and Zipcar can charge up to $150 if the vehicle needs extensive cleaning. Zipcar also offers free 24-hour roadside assistance.

“We applaud the City of Los Angeles and its commitment to embracing innovative transportation options,” said Dan Grossman regional vice president for the West Coast for Zipcar. “Zipcar wants to be a star in Hollywood. As we looked to expand our vehicle locations in Los Angeles to meet our growing Zipcar base, Hollywood was the logical location.”

While the Zipcar program is relatively new in Los Angeles, the program is already well established in 28 major cities and states including New York City, Chicago, Washington D.C., San Francisco and Boston. Representatives of Zipcar said they next hope to expand the program to downtown Los Angeles.

For information, visit www.zipcar.com.

Thanks to Park LaBrea News and Edwin Folven