Topic

electric vehicles

Let technology take the wheel for safer, less-congested roads

Writing in the Seattle Times, Discovery Institute board member Brian Mistele, and Tom Alberg of Madrona Venture Group explain the mission of the Cascadia Center’s ACES Northwest Network. They explain that Pacific Northwest is in prime position to embrace the ACES approach to transportation at a broad regional level and be a leader for the nation in our approach to these life and culture changing vehicles. Read More ›

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 ›

Northwest Is Poised To Lead In Developing Electric Car Transition

Cars that run on electricity have made it to prime time. The new Jay Leno Show featured an all-electric Ford Focus in a challenge race. Drew Barrymore drove the battery-powered Ford around a track next to the NBC studio setting the pace for others to come. For most viewers, this was the first time they saw an all-electric car in action. And instead of a tiny, underpowered car, they saw a normal-looking, five-passenger car speed through turns. Leno has, in effect, made a public-service announcement: Cars that run on electricity are real and will help the economy, national security and the environment. The Northwest is also getting ready to take a prime-time role in helping to accelerate and integrate this technology. Environmental and business leaders will gather next month in Redmond to think through the infrastructure needs to support it. Last year the U.S. economy went into a tailspin, in part because we were spending over a billion dollars a day to buy foreign oil. Although the recession slashed oil prices, they are creeping back up. In August, the U.S. spent more than $25 billion to buy foreign oil. In his first week in office, President Obama said, "America's dependence on oil is one of the most serious threats that our nation has faced. It bankrolls dictators, pays for nuclear proliferation, and funds both sides of our struggle against terrorism." Replacing oil with electricity in transportation may be the best solution reasonably at hand. Read More ›

In Search Of A National Transportation Plan

This article, published by Reporter Newspapers, quotes Steve Marshall of Discovery Institute: … “One of the failures of the current system is that it doesn’t link transportation policy to energy security and climate change,” said Steve Marshall from the Cascadia Center for Regional Development. “97 percent of our transportation is fueled by oil. People literally do not have a choice. Read More ›

Rep. Eddy’s HB 1481 To Expand Electric Vehicle Infrastructure

Washington State Rep. Deb Eddy (D-48th) sponsored HB 1481, which passed the legislature in the recently-completed session and has been signed into law. The bill contains numerous provisions to help accelerate the development of electric vehicle infrastructure and the use of electric vehicles in Washington state. This "Green Highways" bill's passage in Washington comes as the Seattle and Portland regions and the entire West Coast are stepping up their commitment to planning for electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and a "smart grid" electrical system that can optimally schedule vehicle charging loads, and add capacity for storage of renewable energy to power green vehicles and much more. Here is HB 1481, as passed by the state legislature. Some highlights follow, here. Read More ›

We Have The Tools To Cut Oil Dependence, It’s Assembly That’s Required

A remarkable group of transportation experts, environmentalists, utility executives, national security experts, political leaders, public officials and interested citizens gathered at Microsoft’s campus this month to attend a two-day conference on why and how to move beyond oil in transportation. There was a strong bipartisan consensus that we must act decisively to reduce oil dependence for the sake of the Read More ›