beyond oil

Seattle Expected To Be Key Market For Electric Cars

After years of hype, it looks like the mass-produced, all-electric car is really on its way. Puget Sound is poised to become one of the key markets for the initial wave of electric cars, in part because of plans to begin building next year a network of more than 2,000 charging stations throughout the region. Funded by part of a $100 million federal Department of Energy (DOE) economic-stimulus grant, the charging stations are to the electric car what the cellphone-tower network was to the cellphone. Just as the phones needed towers to make them functional, the network of charging stations will make it practical to own a car that does not use gas. By December 2010, drivers in our area should be able to buy mass-produced, plug-in electrics that create no emissions and run for pennies a mile. "It's going to blow people's doors off how fast this transition is going to happen," predicted U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, who took a spin around the Microsoft campus Friday in an all-electric Ford Focus. As part of the DOE grant, the Puget Sound area has been promised 1,000 Nissan LEAF all-electric cars, which will be sold here beginning in December 2010. But that's only the start. Because of the charging network, the Seattle area will be one of the major markets for other brands of electric cars, said Steve Marshall, a senior fellow at Discovery Institute's Cascadia Center, a Seattle-based transportation think tank. Ford, for example, plans to bring an electric commercial van to the area in 2010, one that will run for about 3 cents a mile and is designed for small-business owners and package-delivery fleets. The electric Focus will hit the market in 2011, as will the Chevy Volt, a car that can drive the first 40 miles on electricity before a gasoline-powered engine kicks in, driving a generator that provides electric power beyond 40 miles. Inslee predicts that within a decade, a significant portion of the American car fleet will be made up of electric cars, and "we're trying to make Washington the epicenter of this revolution," he said. The car companies know it. "Washington is a lot more aggressive and more hep on this than any part of the country," said David Berdish, manager of sustainable business development for Ford Motor Co. Meeting at Microsoft On Friday, state and federal officials and business leaders gathered at the Microsoft campus for a Cascadia-sponsored conference called "Beyond Oil." They talked about building sustainable communities and ensuring the electrical grid could handle the power draw if thousands of people all tried to recharge their cars at the same time. Outside, a half-dozen Tesla roadsters — all-electric sports cars that cost about $100,000 — were lined up in the parking area. But it was the somewhat homely Ford Focus, which arrived on a flatbed truck after an overnight trip from San Francisco, that attracted the buzz, in part because it's price is expected to be within the reach of the average family when it comes to market in 2011. The Seattle area is expected to be a leader in electric cars for a couple of reasons. (More) Read More ›

Electric Car Industry Pulls In For Quick Charge At Microsoft

This is the transcript of an interview about Discovery Institute’s Cascadia Center Beyond Oil Conference: Co-anchor Dennis Bounds: “The electric car industry pulled in for a quick charge at Microsoft’s Redmond campus today.” Co-anchor Jean Enerson: “And as KING 5’s environmental specialist Gary Chittim shows us, some of the nation’s biggest companies are ready to plug in to this technology.” Read More ›

Seattle Getting 2,500 Electric Car Charging Stations

This article, published by Seattle PI, discusses a conference put on by the Cascadia Center of Discovery Institute: So it was with great enthusiasm on Oct. 23 that 300 people attended a conference hosted by the Discovery Institute’s Cascadia Center entitled: “Beyond Oil: The Sustainable Communities Initiative and Clean Cities Conference.” The rest of the article can be found here.

Ready To Try Public-Private Partnerships Yet?

When California recently resolved its mammoth budget deficit, it also moved to ease restrictions on transportation public-private partnerships, a politically controversial idea that over the long run could help control costs to taxpayers of improving overloaded roads, rails, and freight facilities. P3s, as the arrangements are called, draw from among construction, engineering, highway management, and infrastructure investment firms (often funded partly Read More ›

Shai Agassi “Beyond Oil” Video

Technologist Shai Agassi wowed some 500 participants at the recent “Beyond Oil” conference at Microsoft’s Conference Center, organized by the Cascadia Center of Discovery Institute. Not only are the ideas compelling, so too is the business plan and the apparent fact that Agassi seems to have a whole nation committed as a pilot project. Anyone with an interest in energy Read More ›

Only Intervention Of Electric Car Can Break Oil Addiction

This article, published by the Tacoma News Tribune, mentions the Cascadia Center, Bruce Agnew, and Steve Marshall of Discovery Institute: PHEVs are a particular enthusiasm of the Cascadia Center, whose leaders, Bruce Agnew and Steve Marshall, believe that PHEVs are the best short-term answer to our dependence on for eign oil and the need to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. The rest Read More ›

Oil-free Snohomish County? It’s No Longer A Pipe Dream

This November voters will decide on an $18 billion Sound Transit measure and a new president. At the local level, we will decide whether to raise taxes to expand transit. At the federal level, we will choose a president who promises a new energy policy. Both votes will be influenced by high gas prices, which are driven by our increasing Read More ›