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Smart City San Diego and Mayor Jerry Sanders Unveil Completed Solar-to-EV Project at Balboa Park

This Tuesday Smart City San Diego and City of San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders unveiled the completed Smart City San Diego Solar-to-EV Project – a 90-kilowatt solar photovoltaic canopy that directly charges electric vehicles (EVs) in the San Diego Zoo parking lot.  Smart City San Diego is a collaboration that combines the resources of San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), City of San Diego, GE, UC San Diego and CleanTECH San Diego to drive projects forward that improve the region’s energy independence, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and assert San Diego as a clean energy leader.

“The Solar-to-EV project is a cornerstone in the City of San Diego’s ongoing efforts to usher in sustainable solutions for Balboa Park in anticipation of the Park’s 2015 Centennial Celebration,” said Mayor Jerry Sanders, City of San Diego. “This project will serve as a new energy infrastructure blueprint that can be replicated throughout the San Diego region and beyond.”

One of the first of its kind in the country, the Solar-to-EV Project harnesses energy from the sun to directly charge plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs), store solar power for future use and provide renewable energy to the electrical grid. The project incorporates 10 solar canopies producing 90 kilowatts (kW) of electricity – enough energy at peak capacity to power 59 homes – as well as five EV charging stations, with one station located in a nearby ADA-accessible parking space.  Using new battery technology, a 100-kW energy storage system is charged by the solar canopies and used to offset power demands on the grid to charge the vehicles.  When the battery is full, the excess solar energy that is generated is put onto the electric grid to improve reliability and benefit the surrounding community.  The solar canopies also provide shade to approximately 50 cars in the Zoo’s southeast parking area

“California has established the most aggressive greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals in the nation. With almost 40 percent of our state’s GHG emissions coming from transportation, clean vehicle alternatives will be critical to achieving these goals,” said Jim Avery, senior vice president of power supply for SDG&E.  “Under Mayor Sander’s leadership, the City of San Diego has consistently been ahead of the curve in determining how best to demonstrate new technology and provide necessary infrastructure to promote clean energy adoption.”

The clean energy produced by the Solar-to-EV project is equivalent to removing 189,216 pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year, or the same as planting 2,788 trees annually. For additional comparison, the greenhouse gas emissions savings from the electricity produced is equivalent to removing 21 cars from the road each year.  Furthermore, PEVs when driven on electricity offer zero tailpipe emissions and no emissions overall when the electricity is directly from solar power.

The project not only aims to encourage EV drivers to visit the Zoo and Balboa Park, but also provides displays onsite and online to educate visitors about the role that the system plays in driving sustainability forward. The system and its educational tools are part of the Zoo’s goals to encourage the application of sustainable design driven by science and the natural world.

“As part of our ongoing effort to be a conservation leader, San Diego Zoo is thrilled to host the Solar-to-EV project and help set the stage for the future,” said John Dunlap, director of the San Diego Zoo.  “By providing a sustainable energy mechanism at one of San Diego’s most well-known destinations, the Zoo is not only providing this vehicle charging option to our guests, but also raising awareness for new technologies for the millions of people we host from all over the world.”

The Solar-to-EV project is owned and managed by SDG&E’s Sustainable Communities Program, which promotes local solar installations and green building design and construction throughout the region. The charging stations are part of The EV Project and are owned by the program’s administrator.

About Smart City San Diego

Smart City San Diego is a collaboration combining the resources of the City of San Diego, San Diego Gas & Electric, GE, UC San Diego and CleanTECH San Diego. Together, these leading organizations from government, business, education and non-profit are maximizing synergies to drive existing energy programs forward, identify new opportunities, embrace additional collaborators and move the San Diego region beyond today’s boundaries of sustainability. Visit the Smart City San Diego website at



What will propel the drivers on the left coast in 2022?

My ten year vision for personal transportation in California is crystal clear.  It is definitely electricity or maybe algae biofuel or perhaps hydrogen or even natural gas or possibly what we are already doing only less so.  Recent reports confirm my long-held conviction that much of life is spent in the selective search for “facts” to support conclusions already embraced.  Here are some recently released resources you can utilize to rationalize your point of view.

Earlier this month saw the release of Electric Drive by ’25, How California Can Catalyze Mass Adoption of Electric Vehicles by 2025  The 28 page report was jointly conceived by the law schools at Berkeley and UCLA.  Greg Haddow of San Diego Gas & Electric was one of the panel members at the May 2012 Climate Change Workshop that informed this analysis.

The California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP) has released a new report called, A California Road Map: The Commercialization of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles.  In San Diego, Pearson Fuels is currently developing its hydrogen business model for existing or newly-built gasoline stations in California.

The Algae Biomass Summit is underway this week in Colorado.  Adding to the fun is a turbo-charged, 800cc diesel powered track motorcycle from Holland.  UC San Diego has provided a 50/50 blend of biodiesel derived from algae and cooking oil waste.  Sapphire Energy’s contribution is a 100% algae-derived Green Crude diesel fuel.  Below the Surface’s ‘Driving Innovation’ Team established the first official algae-fueled motorcycle speed record during The Texas Mile land speed event in March reaching 94.6 mph. 

Even faster than the pond scum powered bike is the new Tesla Model S which can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in under 4.4 seconds.  Yesterday Tesla Motors unveiled its highly anticipated Supercharger network. Constructed in secret, Tesla revealed the locations of the first six Supercharger stations, which will allow the Model S to travel long distances with ultra-fast charging throughout California, parts of Nevada and Arizona. The electricity used by the Supercharger comes from a solar carport system provided by SolarCityElon Musk, Tesla Motors co-founder and CEO is also the Chairman of SolarCity.  The use of the Supercharger stations will be free for Tesla Model S owners. 

UC San Diego has an established fleet of electric vehicles supported with the necessary charging infrastructure.  Yesterday they announced the installation of the first of 20 public EV charging stations on the campus in La Jolla.  Turnkey solar system provider Sullivan Solar Power is responsible for the installation.

Wildcat Discovery Technologies, a privately held San Diego company focused on battery materials development, said Wednesday it signed a multi-year joint development agreement to develop materials to improve rechargeable battery technology with Japan’s Ashai Kasei Corp., one of the world’s largest producers of advanced battery separators.  Wildcat maintains it can accelerate improvements in battery technology with its capabilities to design, develop and commercialize transformational advanced battery materials. The company claims its 32-person team of scientists and engineers uses proprietary high-throughput tools to develop and optimize materials.

The most expensive component in an electric car is the battery, so why not put it to work making EVs not just environmentally but also financially appealing? That’s the idea behind V2G (Vehicle to Grid) technology.  The EV owner makes their battery available to the utility during a given period and, depending on supply and demand in the grid, the utility uses the car as a short time energy storage solution in order to help regulate the power frequency of the grid. The value of providing these regulation services is very high.  An article in Intelligent Utility magazine drew heavily on the explorative work being done by San Diego Gas & ElectricAlex Kim, director of customer innovations at SDG&E noted that “San Diego may have one of the highest densities of EVs in its region (more than 1,600) than any region in the country.  SDG&E also may be tops in distributed solar photovoltaic panels, with more than 18,000 grid-tied systems. In combination, those two resources support a V2G business model that would focus on localized benefits in addition to ancillary services for the wholesale market that serve an ISO or RTO.”  Xconomy is also on the V2G story with their article, Detroit Leading U.S. Development of New Vehicle-to-Grid Technology.   

The mix of what will fuel the cars of the future is uncertain.  What is absolutely certain is the unsustainability of a national car/truck infrastructure funded by the current fuel tax.  Even if electric vehicles fail to gain market share, the Federal mandate to increase fuel economy to 54.5 miles per gallon for cars and light-duty trucks is a road revenue killer.  An article in the Wall Street Journal last week warned, “Looking ahead, the Congressional Budget Office predicts new federal fuel-economy standards will reduce revenue by 21% in 2040 when they are fully phased in. To illustrate the effect of a 21% drop, the CBO estimates that if all cars on the road now met the stricter efficiency standards, it would mean a $57 billion cumulative reduction in revenue between now and 2022”.  This is another opportunity for Congress to act in the present rather than their usual ploy of punt and pray.


How California Can Benefit from the Historic New Federal Fuel Efficiency Standards

In 2011, President Obama announced a historic agreement with thirteen major automakers to increase fuel economy to 54.5 miles per gallon for cars and light-duty trucks by Model Year 2025.  This agreement was the result of more than five years of collaborative work between the auto industry, Congress, presidents representing both political parties, the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Transportation (DOT), and environmental leaders, and represents the first meaningful update to fuel efficiency standards in three decades.

Achieving the goals of this historic agreement – which is set to be finalized in August – will rely on innovative technologies and manufacturing, and California’s forward-thinking policies and innovative companies give our state a competitive advantage as the auto industry moves to meet these strong new standards.

On Tuesday August 28th, CleanTECH San Diego and the Pew Charitable Trusts will host a discussion on the critical role played by California in the development of the new federal standards, and how California’s business and policy leaders can help to ensure that California leads the way as the auto industry sets its sights on 54.5 MPG.

Speakers include:

  • Mary Nichols, Chairman, California Air Resources Board (CARB)
  • Mike Lewis, Principal, Pearson Fuels
  • Dave Grundstrom, Chairman & CEO, Marvin K. Brown Auto Center, Inc.
  • Major General Anthony Jackson- Commander, Marine Corps Installations West (invited)
  • Environmental Protection Agency (invited)

Tuesday August 28, 2012  4:00 – 6:30pm 

Energy Innovation Center
4760 Clairemont Mesa Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92117

4:00 – 4:30pm
Registration & Networking
4:30 – 6:30pm

This event is free.  Click here to register.


Smart City San Diego Collaborates to Deliver Results

With a focus on the San Diego region’s job growth, smarter technology development, solar energy storage integration and increased electric vehicle infrastructure and deployment, Smart City San Diego is delivering results. The collaborative is made up of City of San Diego, GE, UC San Diego, CleanTECH San Diego and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E).  It formed to leverage each entity’s strengths to create and implement initiatives to improve the region’s energy independence, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and assert San Diego as a clean energy leader.

“Over the past year, Smart City San Diego has been forward-thinking about creating opportunities for a more sustainable region,” said San Diego Mayor Sanders. “Moving into 2012, our collaborative will continue to build on those results and develop and launch even more initiatives to drive economic growth for our region.”

These results include:

Car2Go: The City of San Diego and SDG&E worked with Daimler’s Car2Go to make San Diego’s launch of its plug-in electric vehicle car sharing pilot a big success. The City continues to work with SDG&E to increase the number of public-access charging stations throughout the Car2Go targeted region. The team is working collectively to educate the community about the benefits of the pilot program and expects to increase public interest in electric vehicles and encourage the growth of the plug-in electric vehicle industry in San Diego. Data gained from Car2Go will provide information on where charging stations are most needed. Smart City San Diego also continues to work to streamline the permitting process for deploying charging stations.

Smart Appliances: SDG&E and GE are working together to test the communication links between GE’s smart appliances and SDG&E’s smart meters to ensure consumers are empowered with the best technologies to manage energy use and costs. GE’s Appliances business is supplying SDG&E with a smart dishwasher, washer and dryer along with a GE Nucleus energy manager and Programmable Control Thermostat to expedite the testing process. SDG&E’s team is currently testing the communication between these assets prior to consumer deployment.

Economic Development and Job Growth: CleanTECH San Diego – working with the City of San Diego, SDG&E, UC San Diego, Scripps Institution of Oceanography and its private sector member companies – is quantifying and categorizing regional clean tech companies that touch smart grid technology development. Categories include solar energy, energy storage, energy efficiency, clean transportation and other technology companies. CleanTECH San Diego has also created a baseline analysis of the direct and indirect economic impacts of the named clusters. This baseline analysis can help quantify year-over-year job growth and other economic impacts of the regional smart grid sector. This will be particularly helpful in measuring the economic impact of the over 180 solar companies and over 20 storage companies that call San Diego home.

Solar Integrated Energy Storage: UC San Diego and SDG&E have submitted a grant application to test, demonstrate and evaluate a variety of solar integrated energy storage projects over a 12 to 24 month period. If funded, this initiative will test multiple applications at multiple sites and provide analysis for the benefit of utilities, grid planners, regulators, solar inverter manufacturers, system integrators, business modelers, energy storage manufacturers and other early adopters. CleanTECH San Diego supports this initiative as part of efforts to advance the region as an Innovation Hub (IHub).  In August 2010, the California Governor’s Office of Economic Development designated the greater San Diego region as an IHub for solar energy storage.  The purpose of the IHub is to build on the region’s existing innovation infrastructure and strong culture of collaboration to accelerate the convergence of solar energy and energy storage.

Policy Leadership: In July 2010, Smart City San Diego hosted California Public Utilities Commissioner Mark Ferron for a day long briefing on San Diego’s smart grid initiatives.  The Commissioner met with industry representatives from the solar, energy efficiency, smart grid and technology sectors and toured UC San Diego’s world renowned microgrid.  The collaborative held a roundtable with the Commissioner to brief him on the vision and work of Smart City San Diego.

Solar Decathlon 2013 Finalist: The City of San Diego and UC San Diego worked with the Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon Committee to make San Diego one of two finalists for the location of the 2013 Solar Decathlon. The event promotes the outreach, education, and economic benefits of energy security, renewable energy and energy efficiency.  If early projections bear out, attendance at the event has the potential to be larger than the San Diego Convention Center’s highest attended conference and create a positive economic impact for the region.

Economic Development and Job Growth: GE worked with CleanTech San Diego and SDG&E to host a GE Sourcing Supplier Diversity event for the first time in San Diego.  Over 50 diverse local suppliers participated in one-on-one sessions with GE buyers to learn how best to work with GE and be considered for future projects.

“GE is proud to bring our grid modernization technology and expertise to Smart City San Diego,” said Mark Hura, global smart grid commercial Leader for GE’s Digital Energy business.  ”An efficient, reliable and sustainable electric infrastructure is essential to powering economic growth and supporting business, industry and the dynamic lifestyles of a skilled workforce.  We applaud all the successes over the past year and look forward to many more to come.”

Formed in January 2011, Smart City San Diego was charged with bringing together leading organizations from government, business, education and non-profit to maximize synergies to drive sustainability programs forward, identify new opportunities, embrace additional collaborators, and move the San Diego region beyond today’s boundaries of sustainability.  This model will be able to be duplicated in other regions.

The collaborative leverages its strengths and resources as a partnership to develop and implement local initiatives that will empower consumers, improve environmental quality, drive economic growth, and reduce the San Diego region’s reliance on oil.  The collaborative is working toward a more consumer-focused, environmentally conscious energy future by addressing San Diegan’s 21st century energy needs.

Click here for the Smart City San Diego website


VIDEO: The UC San Diego microgrid; a living laboratory

A microgrid is a localized grouping of electricity generation, energy storage, and loads that normally operate connected to a traditional centralized grid.  The microgrid at University of California, San Diego (UCSD) is one of the best examples of an electricity network that provides local control yet is interconnected with the larger electricity grid.

Recently the Rocky Mountain Institute visited UCSD to study and document the microgrid that controls and integrates electricity supply and demand on the campus.  One result of their visit was a six minute video that spotlights the groundbreaking work being done on the La Jolla campus

At UCSD, the microgrid provides the ability to manage 42 megawatts of generating capacity, including a central cogeneration plant, an array of solar photovoltaic installations and a fuel cell that operates on natural gas reclaimed from a landfill site. The central microgrid control allows operators to manage the diverse portfolio of energy generation and storage resources on the campus to minimize costs. In addition, the campus can “island” from the larger grid to maintain power supply in an emergency, as in the case of the power blackout that struck parts of Southern California, Arizona and Mexico in September 2011.

The microgrid at UCSD provides a living laboratory to experiment with integration and management of local resources and to optimize the use of these resources in interaction with market signals from the larger grid.

Click here to watch the video.

Articles of Interest
Solar forecasting and microgrids
Understanding the Role of Buildings
UC San Diego is a campus-wide living laboratory for sustainable energy


Three early-stage cleantech companies present at CleanTECH San Diego SCRUB

On Thursday I participated in the latest CleanTECH San Diego SCRUB session.  SCRUB is an opportunity for early stage cleantech companies to present their business plans to a panel of CleanTECH San Diego members.  Three local emerging cleantech ventures made their case to twenty-one CleanTECH San Diego members representing a mix of venture capitalists, engineers, marketing specialists, intellectual property attorneys as well as local leaders from industry, research and government.  The objective of SCRUB is to provide feedback and assistance to take each company to the next stage. 

This quarter’s SCRUB showcased three distinctly different cleantech businesses.  TransPower seeks to become a leading supplier of power generation, energy storage and power control technologies. Principal product areas include an advanced electric propulsion system for heavy-duty vehicles and a modular energy storage system for use with EV technology.  Interra Energy’s core process revolves around using waste biomass to create biochar through pyrolysis for use within sustainable agriculture practices, which can create waste biomass and thus a sustainable loop. NuLEDs aims to be a leader in LED lighting and control for commercial environments. Their primary product is a networked digital controller technology that can provide flexible dimming and tailoring of specific colors, correlated color temperatures (CCT) and color rendering index (CRI).

In the past nine quarterly SCRUB sessions CleanTECH San Diego has provided advice, introductions and critical evaluations to 32 future cleantech stars.  If you have a cleantech enterprise that would benefit from a good SCRUB you should forward your business summary to Jason Anderson at  

CleanTECH San Diego SCRUB Graduates 2008-2012
(Click on name to link to website)


Interra Energy

NuLEDs, Inc.

MultiSpark LLC.

TourEngine Inc.

Lightwave Photonics LLC.

Home Town Farms

Butler Sun Solutions

350 Green

WaterSmart Software   

Shrink Nanotechnologies  

Eco ReBox   


Marine Power Partners 

OnRamp Wireless

New Leaf Biofuel 

TransPacificEnergy, Inc. 

Balboa Pacific 


Malama Composites

Pyron Solar

Kai BioEnergy

Community Fuels

ISE Corporation


Sustainable Green Technologies

California Wind Systems

ECOR (Noble Environmental Technologies)  

Strategic Enzyme Applications  


This quarter’s SCRUB was hosted by CleanTECH San Diego member, Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps LLP


California and San Diego are Leading the Shift to Electric Vehicles from R&D to Early Adoption

As California is poised to adopt a new round of car standards designed to cut emissions and expand the market for electric vehicles (EV), a new report provides insight into California’s emerging leadership role in this fast-growing economic sector.  New data reveals that California took in $467 million in global EV venture capital (VC) investment (69 percent of total dollars) in the first half of 2011 and, along with Michigan, is the top patent holder for new EV technology in the United States.  Powering Innovation: California is Leading the Shift to Electric Vehicles from R&D to Early Adoption, from the nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization Next 10, tracks key indicators to assess opportunities and obstacles for California in the EV sector.

Click here for the 32 page report and here for the Key Findings.

San Diego’s contribution to the growth of EV was featured in the report.  (Page 22) “The San Diego Region more than tripled its EV workforce between 2004 and 2010.  The largest contributions to growth have been Motor Vehicle Components, composing 52 percent of the region’s EV employment in 2010, and Advanced Batteries with 42 percent of regional EV employment.”  (Page 22) “The San Diego Region boasts the highest employment concentrations in both Advanced Battery and Motor Vehicle Components.”  (Page 24) “In Research and Development, San Diego represents 60 percent of EV related employment statewide, equal to roughly 150 jobs of the more than 280 EV jobs in the region.”

Of particular value in the report are the observations on Page 26 which summarize the realities of EV, “Why Electric Vehicles?  Benefits and challenges to powering innovation.”

You can drill down to the company level of the transportation technology sector in the San Diego region via the cleantech cluster database on CleanTECH San Diego’s website.  Click here.


Grid research by MIT is a “must read” for San Diego

The Future of the Electric Grid was published this week by the MIT Energy Initiative.  The 268 page report aims to provide a comprehensive, objective portrait of the U.S. electric grid and the challenges and opportunities it is likely to face over the next two decades.  It also highlights a number of areas in which policy changes, focused research and demonstration, and the collection and sharing of important data can facilitate meeting the challenges and seizing the opportunities that the grid will face.  The report shows that with new policies, the electric grid in the United States could handle the expected influx of electric cars and wind and solar generation.

Much of the report relates directly to developments in the San Diego region.  Chapter 5 is about The Impact of Distributed Generation and Electric Vehicles.  Chapter 8: Utility Regulation touches on the current challenge in San Diego to have a rate structure for distributed generation which is equitable for all parties.

(From page 182 of the report), “The distortions caused by these implicit subsidies rise with the penetration of distributed generation and with energy conservation more generally.  Consider, for example, proposed “zero net energy” buildings: if network costs continue to be recovered on a per-kWh basis, these customers could in theory receive all the benefits of being connected to the grid, drawing and injecting power on demand, while paying little or nothing toward the cost of the system or the option to use the network.”  Of course, the opposite side of the issue is also compelling.

Click here for the complete report and here for the abstract.

The multidisciplinary effort of the MIT Energy Initiative to generate The Future of the Electric Grid included economists, engineers and, of course, graduate students from MIT and from without.  Click here for an excellent video of the introductory presentation by the study c-chairs of the report. 

The last two sections of the report include a useful Glossary plus a list of Acronyms and Abbreviations.


Aptera Motors pulls the EV plug

Today Carlsbad-based Aptera Motors ended their quest to manufacture an innovative electric vehicle.  Here is the news from Paul Wilbur, Aptera’s CEO.

After years of focused effort to bring our products to the market, Aptera Motors is closing its doors, effective today. This is a difficult time for everyone connected with our company because we have never been closer to realizing our vision. Unfortunately, though, we are out of resources.

It is especially disappointing since we were so close…

Aptera executives had been engaged in exhaustive due diligence with the Department of Energy (DOE) pertaining to an ATVM (Advance Technology Vehicle Manufacturing) loan. Our business plan was examined from top to bottom by internal agency representatives, independent consultants and experts in academia. They did an amazing job of vetting us and they tested every possible weakness in our plan. And after nearly two years of discussions, we had recently received a Conditional Commitment Letter for a $150 million loan.

The ATVM loan would have provided funding for the development and commercialization of a five-passenger, midsized sedan (similar to a Toyota Camry) that would be base priced at less than $30,000 and deliver more than a 190 mile per gallon equivalent. The concept of this vehicle had been in place since the very beginning of Aptera, and we had been wholly focused on its development for the last year. The last remaining hurdle was finding new funds to match the DOE loan.

We were so optimistic that the company would move forward that we were in discussions to reactivate a mothballed automotive plant in Moraine, Ohio. In the past months we had engaged with the labor union that operated that facility to discuss the hiring of 1,400 new job opportunities. These jobs would have reactivated talented workers who had been dismissed when the facility was closed.

During the same time, we continued development of our patent-pending composite manufacturing system that enables energy efficient vehicle production by drastically reducing vehicle weight (by as much as 30%) while tripling its strength. This same patent pending system allowed us to finish the surface of our composites without manual finishing and without the high capital cost of a typical automotive paint shop. In all, the process would save nearly $750-million versus a typical volume auto assembly plant start-up.

We were well on the way to satisfying the vision of efficiency on which the company was founded and we are confident that with time and capital we could still achieve our goal. The Aptera formula: aerodynamics plus light weight design (through composites) delivered efficiency of 206 EPA miles per gallon in tests at Argonne National Labs. That wasn’t a simulation; it was real measured performance. Despite that promise of efficiency, this challenged market – specifically large private investors – did not have an appetite to lead an investment for the perceived low volume return of our three-wheeled vehicle. So we reprioritized our product plan to four-door sedans, which also cost us time.

We remain confident, even as this chapter closes, that Aptera has contributed tech new technologies to build a future for more efficient driving. Through the dedicated staff at Aptera, our board and suppliers we have touched this future. All that remains is for someone to grab it. We still believe it will happen.

Paul Wilbur
President and CEO
Aptera Motors


More wireless EV charging news from Qualcomm

On Thursday Qualcomm Incorporated announced the first Wireless Electric Vehicle Charging (WEVC) trial for London in what is a UK and industry-leading initiative.  Qualcomm is collaborating with the UK Government, as well as the Mayor of London’s office and Transport for London (TfL) to deliver the trial.  Earlier in the week Qualcomm announced it had acquired substantially all of the technology and other assets of HaloIPT, a leading provider of wireless charging technology for electric road vehicles.  See my post of November 8th.

The pre-commercial trial is expected to start in early 2012 and will involve as many as 50 electric vehicles (EVs).  The trial will use Qualcomm wireless inductive power transfer technology that enables high-efficiency power transfer across a large air gap.  It is very easy to use: the driver simply parks the vehicle in the usual way and the system automatically aligns for power transfer, making parking easier and charging hassle free.

The trial, which will be based partially in Tech City, the East London cluster receiving the strong support of the Prime Minister, is planned to leverage the Tech City entrepreneurial community and encourage companies to innovate around services and applications, in order to enhance the smart EV experience.

Prime Minister David Cameron said, “This wireless charging technology is a giant leap forward for the electric car industry and I am delighted that London businesses will be among the first to benefit from the trial.”

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said, “In my quest to deliver cleaner air for the capital, I want London to be the electric car epicenter of Europe. Encouraging a massive uptake in electric driving is key to this vision of becoming a zero-emission city.”

“Qualcomm is very pleased to be participating in the London WEVC pre-commercial trial, which builds on the existing trials of electric vehicles sponsored by the Technology Strategy Board and the Office for Low Emission Vehicles in the UK,” said Andrew Gilbert, executive vice president of European Innovation Development at Qualcomm. “Wireless charging eradicates the EV plug-in cable and makes charging of electric vehicles simple and easy for drivers.”

Addison Lee, the UK’s largest minicab company, and Chargemaster plc, the leading European operator of advanced EV charging infrastructure, have also agreed to participate in the WEVC London trial.

Qualcomm is not the only high tech giant with a wireless plug-in connection.  In March Google announced a trial of a Plugless Power charging station for vehicles at its Mountain View, CA headquarters.


Qualcomm acquires wireless electric vehicle charging technology

Qualcomm Incorporated today announced that it has acquired substantially all of the technology and other assets of HaloIPT, a leading provider of wireless charging technology for electric road vehicles.  All members of the HaloIPT team have joined Qualcomm’s European Innovation Development group based in the UK. 

“Qualcomm has been investing in wireless power for a number of years and the HaloIPT acquisition will further strengthen our technology and patent portfolio,” said Andrew Gilbert, executive vice president of European Innovation Development for Qualcomm. “Building on 20 years of development and innovation in wireless power at The University of Auckland and its commercialization company Auckland UniServices Ltd, the HaloIPT team, in a relatively short period of the time, had established itself as a leading developer in wireless electric road vehicle charging — with HaloIPT winning industry acclamation and awards.”

“We are immensely proud of what has been achieved by our team at HaloIPT over the past 18 months,” said John Miles, Executive Chairman of HaloIPT and a Director at Arup.  ”In that short space of time, we have brought world-class university research to the attention of the global automotive industry and, through really innovative design, demonstrated the potential for wireless charging in front of several of the world’s leading OEMs.  That has been a terrific achievement.”

In addition to the HaloIPT transaction, Qualcomm and Auckland UniServices, the commercialization company of the University of Auckland, have committed to a long-term research and development arrangement to promote continued innovation in the field of wireless charging for electric road vehicles by way of inductive power transfer.

“UniServices is proud to see the development of technology for the wireless charging of electric vehicles become an important area for Qualcomm,” said Peter Lee, chief executive officer, UniServices.  ”We believe Qualcomm is well positioned to make available this technology to third parties for the wireless charging of electric road vehicles, and the relationship will provide opportunities for continued research and development of this technology.”

Bruce Bigelow’s article in XconomyQualcomm Buys HaloIPT (and Patents) for Wireless Charging Technology


Test drive the Nissan Leaf at SnowJam 2011

What do electric vehicles have to do with winter sports?  Beats me.  But while all of the Shaun White want-to-be’s are checking out snowboards at SnowJam 2011 you can take a run in the new all-electric Nissan Leaf

The ‘drive electric tour’ will provide the opportunity to learn all about the Nissan LEAF.  You will be guided through several display areas, have the opportunity to talk with LEAF experts, and explore the many innovations from Nissan including:

· The Nissan LEAF battery system and charging details
· The “sexy science” of the Nissan LEAF and how it compares to other vehicles
· Staying in-touch with your LEAF through your phone or computer
· Fuel efficiency and costs
· Environmental impact
· Meet Nissan LEAF’s helpful accessories
· 100 miles is more than enough!

But the best part of the ‘drive electric tour’ is that you can drive the car for yourself!  You will be able to drive the (more…)


Special San Diego Screening: Revenge of the Electric Car

In Revenge of the Electric Car, director Chris Paine (Who Killed the Electric Car?) takes his film crew behind the closed doors of Nissan, GM, and the Silicon Valley start-up Tesla Motors to chronicle the story of the global resurgence of electric cars.  A special screening of the documentary will be held November 11th at 6:00pm at the Landmark, Ken Cinema, 4061 Adams Avenue, San Diego.

Joel Pointon, Electric Transportation Manager of San Diego Gas & Electric, David Almeida, Coordinator for the Caifornia PEV Rebate Program (CCSE), and Greg Newhouse, Chairperson of the local Clean Cities Coalition for San Diego, will appear in person to introduce the film and for Q&A after the 6:00pm show.

Cast: Tim Robbins, Bob Lutz, Carlos Ghosn, Elon Musk, Greg “Gadget” Abbott, Danny DeVito, Jon Favreau, Anthony Kiedis, Stephen Colbert, Talulah Riley.   Run time 90 minutes

Click for a hot trailer of Revenge of the Electric Car

Link to Landmark Ken Cinema



FREE RIDE: The first all-electric carsharing program in North American

car2go (Electric Car Share Program in San Diego) is opening up memberships today for free (usually $35).  Sign up now and also receive 30 minutes of free drive time with the promotional code PLUGIN.  Click for offer.

car2go is a groundbreaking mobility program redefining transportation in urban areas. German auto giant Daimler has selected San Diego to launch the first all-electric carsharing program in North American. 

car2go provides a fleet of free-floating, self-service Smart fortwo cars distributed all over the city.  The operating area ranges as far north as Pacific Beach and west to I-15.  You may roam up to 200 miles from San Diego, but your usage must begin and end anywhere within the operating area.  The car2go all-electric vehicles can be accessed “on-demand” or reserved for up to 24 hours in advance.  For on-demand access, members simply swipe their membership card against the vehicle’s windshield.

Unlike traditional carsharing programs, car2go allows its members to use the vehicle for as long as they like, without committing to a specific return time or location. They can have one-way rentals and finish the trip in any authorized parking space within the car2go operating area.  Attractive “by-the-minute” rates include costs for insurance, parking and maintenance.  Click here to complete details.  And here for a 3 minute training  video.  And here for a video of the Smart fortwo zippin’ around San Diego.

San Diego was selected to be the base for the first North American car-sharing fleet of 300 all-electrics for a variety of reasons.  As early-adapters San Diegans have made our region #1 in the U.S. for EVs with hundreds of Nissan Leafs and Chevy Volts humming around town.  Charging stations are sprouting in anticipation of thousands of new users. 

You will have to wait until November 18th to pilot one of these two-person-mobiles.  You can starting thinking now about all the ways car2go will change the way you roll.  As a member a 10 minute trip from Little Italy to Petco Park will cost $3.50 plus tax.   You finish the trip by parking in any legal parking space on the street or in specially designated car2go areas.  The transaction is done.  You do not feed the parking meter (a special deal with the city) and you don’t fork over $20 to ACE Parking.  Of course if you are rolling with your posse a two-seater is going to limit your entourage.

If you are considering purchasing a smart car you can kick the tires at smart center San Diego at 4750 Kearny Mesa Road.  It’s like the cute little brother of Mercedes-Benz of San Diego at the same address.  Don’t kick the tires too hard.


Achates Power Opposed-Piston Engine Sets New Benchmark for Fuel Efficiency

The frequent references to San Diego as a global leader in cleantech are usually illustrated by regional activities in solar, wind, water, smart grid, biofuels and energy efficiency.  A perusal of the CleanTECH San Diego company database also reveals a mini-Mo Town of 38 ventures in the Transport Technology category.  Achates Power is in the pole position.

Since 2004 Achates Power has been working to develop a fundamentally better internal combustion engine. Today the company announced its latest results, which include a 20 percent fuel efficiency gain when compared to one of the world’s best medium-duty clean diesel engines.  Also announced was an overall calibration that meets the stringent U.S. EPA 2010 emissions standards.  Bruce Bigelow of Xconomy describes their recent achievements in his article, Achates Power Cites “Huge” Improvement in Diesel Fuel Savings, Emissions”. 

Achates Power has raised over $50 million to rev-up their efforts to build the internal combustion engine equivalent of Doctor Dolittle’s pushmi-pullyu.  The opportunity is worthy of their effort.  They note that in the U.S. under 5% of all vehicles consume over 26% of all road transportation fuel.  Therefore, a more fuel efficient solution will provide a huge payoff for fleet operators and anyone with lungs.

Take a video virtual tour of Achates Power and its San Diego-based headquarters, which houses more than 50 engineers and scientists.


The shocking capabilities of clean tech vehicles

By Guest Author Alan Parker

As the world’s oil supplies dry up and the price of gasoline and diesel continue to skyrocket, the need for practical, clean, alternative fuel sources for motor vehicles becomes increasingly imperative.  Fortunately, green energy devotees have been performing some amazing feats of ingenuity, drawing attention to the efficiency and practicality of numerous forms of sustainable energy.  Specially designed vehicles have been proven capable of things from setting speed records to traversing entire continents without using petroleum-based fuels.  These feats demonstrate that alternative energy can be effectively employed in order to rid the world of its dependence on petroleum for transportation while preserving the environment by reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

Breaking Speed Records
As the popularity of cars like the Chevrolet Volt and the Toyota Prius increases, the idea of using electricity to run vehicles is rapidly becoming accepted in our everyday lives. Unfortunately, most so-called electric cars are only hybrid vehicles, which means that they still require internal fuel combustion for some of their power.  A group of students at Brigham Young University set out to create a car that was not only fully electric, but also dispelled the stereotypes of electric cars being slow and underpowered.  They called their car Electric Blue, and it had a top speed of 175 miles per hour when it was tested at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. This was fast enough to set a world land speed record for a car of its class.  Hopefully, this project’s success will aid in the production of electric cars that are faster and more powerful, and therefore more appealing to the public.

Crossing a Continent by Wind
In order to show the effectiveness of wind as an energy source, a German team crosses the Australian continent in a car powered by the wind.  Each night, they would set up a portable wind turbine to recharge the car’s battery, which gave it sufficient energy for the next day.  If the wind was strong enough, a kite attached to the car would propel it down the road and save batter power.  The trip 3,000 mile trip was completed in only 18 days, giving engineers hope that wind could become a practical source of energy for transportation in the future.

Crossing a Continent by Biofuel
Powered only by biofuel, the first ever land based trans-Antarctic expedition was recently finished at the end of 2010.  Funded by clean energy advocate Winston Wong, the so-called Bio-inspired Ice Vehicle (BIV) is the first bio-fueled vehicle to complete such a task. Not only was it designed to demonstrate the power of alternative energy, but it was engineered to withstand the extreme conditions that Antarctica is famous for while transporting a research team safely across a continent.

People Power
While this may immediately bring to mind something out of the Flintstones, the HumanCar, as it is simply known, harnesses the power of quick rowing motions by the driver and passengers to charge its battery.  The HumanCar is capable of reaching speeds over 60 miles per hour. While it’s currently only made for short-distance commuter travel, newer versions are being designed to allow long-distance journeys, as well.  Besides its clean power source, the HumanCar has other (more…)


Jet biofuel innovation to ignite the biofuels sector

The road to affordable alternative fuel for your car may be at 36,000 feet.  Aviation fuel from non-petroleum feed-stocks will be the first big win for alternative transportation fuel.  This success will bring a wealth of tech experience, concept proofs and scale which will jump start the introduction of new fuels for ground and water transportation.  Here are the five top reasons why jet fuel will be biofuels’ first big win.

Motivated buyers with concentrated demand

Of the more than ¾ billion vehicles on this planet the vast majority are owned by individuals or small businesses.  Most share my annoyance with the ever elevating price at the pump, but my annual expenditure for fuel is a small portion of my total budget.  In contrast, jet fuel is consumed by a limited number of commercial carriers and militaries.  Their fuel costs are a significant portion of their operating budgets. 

In the last decade over 25 airlines have ceased operation strangled by an ever tightening fuel hose.  For the survivors the risk of fuel price increase is greater than the opportunity to increase revenue.  Passenger-carrying flights with jet biofuel from a variety of non-petroleum feed-stocks have been flown by Continental, Quantas, United, Iberia, Air New Zealand, British Airways, Northwest, KLM, Japan Air Lines and a host of others.  American Airlines signed with 14 other carriers to purchase alternative fuels.  This week Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Atlantic announced the development of a world-first low carbon aviation fuel with just half the carbon footprint of the standard fossil fuel alternative.  The technology from New Zealand-based LanzaTech represents a breakthrough in aviation fuel technology that will see waste gases from industrial steel production being captured, fermented and chemically converted using Swedish Biofuels technology for use as a jet fuel. The revolutionary fuel production process recycles waste gases that would otherwise be burnt into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide.  Boeing is supporting the effort.  A $3.5 million Series A funding was led by billionaire Vinod Khosla.  In June an award from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) was made to LanzaTech to perform research focusing on novel, low cost routes for the production of jet fuel (JP-8) from carbon monoxide (CO) rich sources.   Click here for Branson’s video presentation.  And here for the release

Concentrated distribution infrastructure 

Ground transportation is characterized by over 300,000 filing stations world-wide.  There are only 1700 airports (excluding military) of which about half are international.  Access to just 500 of the top airports represents a significant portion of jet fuel consumption. 

No competing innovations for foreseeable future

Boeing does not have an electric plane on the drawing board.  There is no Airbus Leaf or Volt.  No CNG, nuclear, solar or long-life batteries.  Biofuels are the drop-in alternatives to the dead dinosaur derivative. 

The scale is doable and significant

Boeing says the world’s airlines burn 60 billion gallons of petroleum based jet fuels each year.  If alternative fuels were to capture 15% or 20% of this market the industry would achieve a scale which would spill over onto other fuel markets. 

An effective military trumps a dysfunctional government

Twenty years ago it would have been difficult to foresee a future in which treehuggers would be obstructionists to alternative energy projects and career militarists would be the driving force for prioritizing our society’s clean energy goals.  A Congress which cannot pass a budget and an administration which cannot articulate a national energy policy are impotent to nurture innovation.  Fortunately the military is responsive and undeterred by the dearth of leadership from our elected officials.

The U.S. military consumes more energy than any other consumer in our country.  About 84% goes for aviation fuel.   Dollars wasted on rising fuel costs are at the expense of other critical needs.  The threat of supply interruptions increases with our growing dependence on oil shipped from half a world away.  The military’s response is clear and unequivocal.  Clean energy is a matter of national security.  All services branches are moving forward on plans with specific goals and time targets.  Click here to read the commitment of four retired top ranking officers to our military’s clean energy objectives. 

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus has directed the Navy and Marine Corps to generate half of their energy needs from renewable sources, including biofuels, by 2020.  San Diego’s rapidly growing cluster of biofuel companies and research institutions is an integral part of the response to the opportunity.  General Atomics and SAIC have been awarded contracts by DARPA to develop the technical capability and affordable production of military JP-8 surrogate fuel from algae feed-stocks.  Sapphire Energy, Synthetic Genomics, S.G. Biofuels and other San Diego-based biofuels companies are all a part of this important transformation of our energy driven economy. 

Biofuels Digest provides additional insight on the role of aviation biofuels, Quick Win: aviation biofuels offers breakout for clean energy.

To learn more about the local burgeoning biofuels cluster go to the San Diego Center for Algae Biotechnology (SD-CAB).  SD-CAB along with UCSD, SDSU, CleanTECH San Diego, and BioCOM collaborated to launch Educating and Developing Workers for the Green Economy (EDGE) focused on educating a next-generation workforce in green technology.




Shine the spotlight on nine San Diego cleantech companies

Since 1987, the CONNECT Most Innovative New Product (MIP) Awards have been San Diego’s “Oscars” for local technology innovation.  The 2011 finalists in the Clean Technology category include Genomatica for Process for High-Volume Chemicals from Renewable Feedstocks, Noble Environmental Technologies Corporation for ECOR and Wildcat Discovery Technologies for 5V Cathode (CM1) and Electrolyte (EM1).  Winners will be announced on Friday, December 9th before an audience of more than 800 of San Diego’s top executives, entrepreneurs, VCs and academics.  Click here to register for the MIP exhibition and awards luncheon. 

San Diego’s 18th Annual TechAmerica High Tech Awards finalists in the Clean Technology category include EcoATM, Hadronex, Juice Technologies and Sapphire EnergyClick here to register for the October 28th event. 

The regional cleantech cluster in San Diego continues to receive national recognition.  On Wednesday the Global Cleantech Cluster Association announced the semifinalists for the 2011 Later Stage Award competition.  This best-of-the-best recognition includes four San Diego cleantech companies, Genomatica, PowerGenix, Achates Power and EcoATM.  In another forum Sapphire Energy was honored as a “Game Changer of the Year 2011” in Clean Technology by Grow-California for their impact on California’s green industry.


German based-Voith Turbo opens hybrid power-train development center in Poway

Voith Turbo announced that it has opened a hybrid power-train development center in Poway, CA.  The facility will further develop Voith Turbo’s innovative hybrid diesel/electric power-train drive systems for transit buses.

The office, warehouse and testing facilities cover more than 5,000 square feet.  Expanding on Voith Turbo’s stellar commitment to environmental sustainability, the building features a large solar panel installation that provides electricity for most day-to-day facility operations.

“We are extremely excited to open a U.S.-based Hybrid Power-Train Development Center,” said Rob Wiss, Vice President of Voith Turbo’s U.S. Road Division.  ”The center will allow us to further develop hybrid bus technologies and cater to the specific needs of our customers who want to expand their use of this emerging technology.  Above all, we are making an important contribution to the U.S. economy by expanding the use of clean-energy technology in transportation fleets across the country.”

By embedding the engineering component in the development center, Voith Turbo will be able to offer expanded technical service and better serve customers’ needs and requirements.  Currently, much of the (more…)


#1 Electric vehicle city San Diego to celebrate National Plug-In Day

National Plug-In Day, on Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011, is a nationwide observance drawing global attention to the environmental, economic and other benefits of plug-in electric vehicles through simultaneous events staged in at least twenty major cities.  In San Diego you can celebrateNational Plug-In Day at CCSE‘sTailgate without Tailpipes” party.  Picnic lunch will be provided for all.  Join CCSE and ECOtality to get the latest information on the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP) funding and the latest news on the EV Project’s charging stations in the region.  Following lunch there will be presentations with an open discussion and time for questions.

Come to the workshop and learn more about:

  • Expected timing for the release of $15 million in FY 2011-2012 CVRP funding and how this affects rebate applicants currently on the CVRP Wait List
  • Status update from ECOtality’s San Diego Area Manager on EV Project charger installations in the region  (more…)

Best Green Car Guide for 2011 plus UPS goes electric

The modern cyber society does not lack information.  What is rare is information which is pertinent, accurate, timely and well organized.  These attributes describe the 2011 Green Car Guide produced by the Automobile Club of Southern California (AAA).  Their recently released 89 page report evaluates 62 vehicles including hybrids, battery electric vehicles, PZEVs, CNG-powered vehicles, clean diesels, and vehicles leading in fuel economy.  The guide lists vehicle specifications, test scores, data and observations in one-page summaries.  Also included is an Appendix which helps us chew through the smorgasbord of acronyms which seem to be critically important to all things cleantech.  (PZEV is shorthand for Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle).

The 2011 Green Car Guide scores each vehicle in 13 categories.  In addition to “Green” touchstones like EPA Emissions and Fuel Economy there are also categories to address the human needs for Luggage Capacity and Interior Size.  There is an entire page of information for each of the 62 vehicles.  The clarity and organization facilitates apple-to-apple comparisons.  Click here for the PDF.

The report covers the roles played by personal transportation vehicles (cars, light trucks, SUVs, and vans) in both smog formation and greenhouse gas production.  Outside of the scope of the report is the carbon footprint of the production of cars and their eventual end-of-usage disposal. 

The doomsayers always underestimate the role of innovation which is mankind’s response to the daunting challenges of life.  The 2011 Green Car Guide puts our capacity for the progress into perspective.  “New cars emit on average about 97% fewer emissions than those from the 1960s. For example, a new car in 1965 emitted 228 pounds of volatile organic compounds (VOC) per year. A new car today emits less than 2 pounds of VOC per year (both based on 15,000 miles per year).”  Now I don’t feel so hopeless. 

In addition to the rapid evolution of personal transportation, there is also significant progress at the commercial end of the spectrum. On Thursday United Parcel Service announced they are buying 100 all-electric delivery vehicles from Electric Vehicles International for deployment throughout California.  The 100 electric delivery vehicles will replace older generation diesel vehicles in the largest single deployment of zero tailpipe emission delivery vehicles in the state.

These electric vehicles will have a 90-mile range and displace an estimated 126,000 gallons of fuel a year that would have been burned running diesel Vehicles.  Electric Vehicles International called the purchase the largest deployment of zero-emission delivery vehicles in California and one of the largest single deployments of commercial all-electric vehicles in the world.  Click here for the full report.

The National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium has an excellent glossary on their website.  It is a work in progress.  Click here.



Last week to nominate for the CONNECT Most Innovative New Product (MIP) Awards

Since 1987, the CONNECT Most Innovative New Product (MIP) Awards have been San Diego’s “Oscars” for local technology innovation.  CONNECT is now accepting nominations for the 24th MIP Awards. Nominate your new product for an opportunity to compete in San Diego’s most prestigious competition honoring technology and life science innovation.  Of the 100+ companies that vie to be the Most Innovative New Product of the year, 24 make it through the rigorous judging process and only eight walk up to the podium to receive this prestigious honor. The MIP categories are:

Action and Sport Technologies
Aerospace and Security Technologies
Clean Technology
Communications and IT
Hardware and General Technology
Life Sciences – Diagnostics and Research Tools
Life Sciences – Medical Products

To be considered for the 2011 MIP Awards, the product must have been developed in San Diego and introduced between March 2010 and September 2011 and never been nominated for this award before.  The product must have generated revenue from sales.

For scores of San Diego innovators the CONNECT MIP Awards have opened doors to investors, venture partners and customers.  If you are a San Diego innovator the products which you have recently introduced may qualify for the 2011 MIP Awards.  Click here to submit your nomination.  The nomination deadline is September 2nd.

Winners will be announced on Friday, December 9th before an audience of more than 800 of San Diego’s top executives, entrepreneurs, VCs and academics.  Click here to register for the MIP exhibition and awards luncheon. 

The Clean Technology winner in 2010 was Multispark, LLC for PowerSTAR Performance Spark Plug. 


SDG&E to hold workshop on multi-unit EV charging stations

The surge in the installation of infrastructure for electric vehicles continues to grow in San Diego.  Charging stations are being installed in a variety of locations including those where multiple units are required.  To facilitate the process San Diego Gas & Electric is having monthly Multi-unit Vehicle Charging Workshops.  The next one is Tuesday August 23rd.  Here is their invitation:

Join us on August 23rd, from 9:30 AM to 11 AM (refreshments/registration at 9:15 AM) for this program at our brand new Energy Innovation Center (EIC) at 4760 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard.  This will be one of the first public programs to be held at EIC (prior to the official opening), so it gives you the opportunity to learn about the topic and you’ll also get a preview of our brand new EIC.

UCLA’s Luskin Center will be our special guests at this month’s workshop.  As always we invite residents, HOAs, property managers and contractors to share their experiences during the 2nd half of our program devoted to Q&A. We will also discuss the recently approved SB 209 in this session, signed by Governor Brown in July that relates to Multi-unit Dwellings.

Here is the link to the actual bill language:

Click here to link to SDG&E’s Electric Transportation website.


Experience the Nissan LEAF on the cheap

Nissan LEAF electric vehicle (EV) rentals are now available to Enterprise Rent-A-Car customers in San Diego at the 7993 Balboa Avenue rental location as part of the nation’s largest EV rental roll-out by Enterprise. There is no refueling cost for returning a vehicle with less than a full charge. 

“The Blink charging station installed by ECOtality at the San Diego Enterprise rental office allows consumers the opportunity to test drive electric vehicles and experience EV operation in an area with ample charging locations,” said Andy Hoskinson, San Diego Area Manager for ECOtality North America.  ECOtality is currently installing approximately 1,000 publicly available Blink charging stations throughout the San Diego region as part of The EV Project. 

A one day rental with no charging cost is a no brainer for anyone thinking about buying a Nissan LEAF.  One day is ample time to try out the LEAF in the traffic and terrain in which you do much of your driving.  You can call the local Enterprise location on Balboa Avenue at 858-560-9050.  They’ll even come pick you up.

If you are too frugal to spring for an electric rental you can wait for the Nissan LEAF drive electric tour which is tentatively scheduled for San Diego on November 11th to 13th.  Click here to add your e-mail to be notified.  The multi-city tour has already begun.  Washington DC is the next stop this Friday.

Another free opportunity is offered by the contractors in the San Diego County Chapter, NECA and their workers in IBEW Local Union 569 who have adopted a community-friendly way to promote their skills in installing and maintaining electrical vehicle supply equipment (EVSE): Electric vehicle drivers are invited to charge their rides any time, at no cost whatsoever with their brand-new solar-powered electric vehicle power station.

The charger is located at the San Diego Electrical Training Center, which is jointly supported by the NECA chapter and the IBEW local. The 32,000 sq. ft. facility in Clairemont Mesa is powered by a rooftop solar array built and maintained by union electricians and trainees. The charging station ties into the buildings electrical supply, so both are running on solar power.  I assume that means DC power from solar to EV without any conversion to AC. 

Big national brand stores are jumping on the EV bandwagon.  IKEA, Walgreens, Macys, Cracker Barrel, Best Buy, Fred Meyer and others are installing charging stations for customer use.  These are in addition to those cropping up at hotels and on university and corporate campuses.  Lowe’s also confirmed this month that it will stock chargers for individuals to install at home. 


“Biodiesel and Flex Fuel for Fleets – Just the Facts” Workshop

On Thursday, August 11th, award-winning author and filmmaker Josh Tickell will join leading biofuels producers and retailers at “Biodiesel and Flex Fuel for Fleets – Just the Facts” – an interactive workshop for regional businesses to address common misconceptions about domestic biofuels.  During the workshop, hosted by Propel Fuels, New Leaf Biodiesel, CleanTECH San Diego, the San Diego Regional Clean Fuel Coalition, the California Center for Sustainable Energy, and Pearson Fuels, Tickell and other speakers will discuss the performance benefits, cost advantages, incentives and availability of renewable fuels in Southern California with fleet managers, fuel distributors and other decision makers.   


Josh Tickell, Award-Winning Filmmaker of FUEL and FREEDOM
Jake Millan, Fleet Sales Manager, Propel Fuels

Brendan Reed, Environmental Resource Manager, City of Chula Vista
Lisa McGhee, San Diego Airport Parking


A free, interactive workshop for fleet managers, fuel distributors and other decision makers interested in learning about the performance benefits, cost advantages, incentives and availability of renewable fuels in Southern California.


Thursday, August 11th, 2011,
Media Availability: 3:00 p.m.
Workshop: 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.


Pearson Fuels
4067 El Cajon Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92105