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Climate Progress test drives a new clean car

By Joe Romm

"Climate Progress test drives a new clean car"

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The reason I haven’t blogged much today is that I was asked to test drive an innovative clean car — and I had to fly to another state (and back).

I can’t give any more details at this point since I was acting in my former mundane role as someone who supposedly knows something about alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs), rather than my current exciting role as a serious journalist blogger. Also, an exclusive was given to someone from the MSM traditional media.

I will give a full report after the car is introduced at the Detroit auto show in January, since I think it represents a potential major step forward in AFVs.

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6 Responses to Climate Progress test drives a new clean car

  1. Ben says:

    I haven’t actually finished your book yet, but I am wondering why you never promote cycling and walking as solutions to global warming?

    I’ll finish the book this weekend probably.

  2. Joe says:

    I don’t see how cycling and walking can address the transportation needs/desires of most people. More mass transit and smart growth could certainly help. Still need an oil-free, low carbon fuel.

  3. Ben says:

    Perhaps they can’t fully address the needs and desires of most people, but surely they can be relied on more than they are now. I am sure that you are aware of the high proportion of automobile trips taken that are under 2 miles. This is an ideal distance for cycling, but a very wasteful use of a car.

    In terms of smart growth I certainly agree with you. In Copenhagen 1/3 of trips are done on transit and 1/3 are done on bicycle.

    Also don’t forget that the global population is more urban than rural now, and in an urban setting a bicycle is often a more logical choice for a trip than a car.

    I realize you’ve probably heard all these arguments before, but I’d like to hear your take on them, as I am really enjoying your book.

  4. Hal Levin says:

    Roughly 70% of all workers in the United States travel to work in single occupancy motor vehicles. It seems to me that this is one of the lowest hanging pieces of fruit on the tree of opportunity. Perhaps the only lower one is the wastefulness of energy use in buildings. For example, while California has been a model for stabilizing total energy consumption for the past 30 years in spite of its population growth, there is still only something on the order of 12% market penetration of compact fluorescent lamps in the residential market. The reason frequently given when I raise this point is ‘color rendition.’ This may have been the case at some point in the past, but a wide range of color rendition is available in CFLs now. Go to a good lighting specialty store where they display the range of CFLs available and you will be able to see this. When an investment of $2.50 to $5.00 results in a lamp lifetime saving of $40 to $50, it is hard to explain. Potential electrical energy saving — huge! Now for the really big one — passive solar. Why do we restrict the minimum size and amount of opening area of windows and yet let people put windows on any side of a building regarding of compass orientation? Passive solar is the invisible low-hanging fruit. Use overhangs and properly oriented and sized windows and you can save half the heating costs for a house in most North American climates, far more in sunnier, warmer locations like nearly the entire west coast and southwest. Get a clue! Heating is nearly half of residential energy use, therefore, nearly 1/3 of building energy use and nearly 15% of all U.S. energy use.

    Let’s pick the biggest, lowest hanging fruit first — no new technology is required. Anybody out there know how to do this?

  5. John Mashey says:

    Ben:many support walking and cycling as much as possible. Around here (SF Bay Area) we have bike lanes all over the place and there are strong efforts to redirect growth nearer public transport, and to do infill building into walkable areas. Our own little town’s Climate Protection Task Force encourages biking & walking as much as we can, and there is a great deal of recreational bicycling (several of the favorite cycling routes go through it), and we have hiking trails everywhere.

    A nice writeup (even Southern Cal says so):
    http://www.transcoalition.org/c/bikeped/bike_facts.pdf

    BUT STILL:
    a) some short trips need to haul more than a bicycle can

    b) some short trips by bike in rainy/snowy weather are not so nice

    c) some trips are otherwise difficult for bikes. A friend does a 20-mile cycle commute from Portola Valley to Sunnyvale, and I applaud him, but that route goes through some areas with fast-moving traffic that I sure wouldn’t want to do. [I.e., rural roads are nice, slow-moving city roads are OK, but some intermediates are scary.]

    Even in a hyper bike-sensitive area, cyclists get killed around here.

    d) and a lot of gas gets used on longer trips, i.e.:
    proportion of trips is NOT equal to proportion of gas

    and of course
    e) A lot of gas/diesel gets used by real trucks.

    Electric vehicles help cover a), b), and c), and PHEV/FF seem appropriate for d) and e),
    although longer-distance travel still seems to need fuel of some sort, especially for big trucks [although electric drivetrains & PHEV can help with stop/start overhead and idling wastage.]

    It was NAUGHTY of Joe to give us a teaser and then not tell us more…

  6. Earl Killian says:

    Ben, California is trying how to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2020. There are hundreds of ideas being considered. One is what the technocrats call reducing vehicle miles traveled (VMT). There are suggestions to look at land use policies, smart growth, along with improved transit, pedestrian, and bicycling infrastructure, and other techniques to get people to use their cars less. Whether this will work is unknown. It is a good thing to try; it is hard to depend upon it as the answer though.