Even with increasing numbers of hybrid models on the market, 47 in the US, market share for hybrids is falling and is now at a minuscule 3%. It may be that hybrids won’t ever be more than niche vehicles.
I am the original owner of a 2001 Toyota Prius. It’s been a great car and I’ll drive it until the wheels fall off. The electric motor battery needed replacement at 105,000 miles and was just out of warranty so it cost $2,700. Other than that, there’s been nothing but routine maintenance.
Technological improvements in gas, diesel, plug-in hybrids, and EVs have eroded the MGP advantage of hybrids, which probably accounts for the decline in sales. Everyone else has caught up with hybrids. 45 MPG isn’t that big a deal now.
Hybrid cars have always been seen as “transitional” vehicles, and I’m certainly not ready to say the market has already moved past them. But now that there are more options in the diesel, EV, and compact market that appeal to MPG fanatics, the glossy sheen of hybrid cars may be finally wearing off.
Public transportation is a great idea. Sometimes though, you may live a few miles from the stop. Why drive a car when you can drive an iRoad? This is the niche Toyota wants to fill.
The iRoad is similiar to a motorcycle, offers protection from the elements, and has an electric engine. Plus it could be shared, like in bike sharing programs now. It’s being tested in Toyota City in Japan and soon in France.
Walmart, love them or hate them, is a leader in energy efficiency and reducing waste. They do this because it saves money. Their new WAVE truck (Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience) weighs two tons less than comparable semis, has superb aerodynamics, and a turbine engine. They want to double big rig MPG to 10, saving potentially $25,000 per year per truck. They have 6,500 big rigs in their fleet so the potential savings is $162,5000 a year (plus a whole lot less pollutants in the air.)
The Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience, or WAVE, concept truck is the latest in our fleet efficiency program. The one-of-a-kind prototype offers a whole package of firsts. The tractor has very advanced aerodynamics and is powered by a prototype advanced turbine-powered, range-extending series hybrid powertrain. The trailer is made almost exclusively with carbon fiber, saving around 4,000 pounds which can then be used to carry more freight.
Smart changes in the aerodynamics of semi-trucks results in doubling their mileage. An Airflow Truck with a 65,000 lb. load averaged 13.6 from Connecticut to California, way up from the average 6 mph average. The truck has an aerodynamic nose, covered wheels, LCD readouts, hybrid air conditioning, and video cameras instead of mirrors. Replacing the mirrors with cameras alone resulted in a huge gain in MPG. Perhaps one day, all new vehicles will have cameras not mirrors. Think of the gas that could be saved.
Most truckers get a flat rate for a haul and pay for fuel themselves. Trucks like this are money in their pocket. Diesel currently averages $3.33 a gallon nationwide. A 3,000 mile cross country trip would use 220 gallons at 13.6 mpg vs. 500 gallons at 6 mpg – a savings of $932.
NanoLight funded their project on Kickstarter and blew the doors off. They wanted $20,000 and raised $273,00! Nanoleaf LED light bulbs are now shipping. Mine is in my office lamp now, replacing a CFL, and produces a pleasing light.
When we announced the NanoLight to the world on Kickstarter, we called it the world’s most energy efficient light bulb. As far as we knew, this light bulb was more efficient than anything we have seen anywhere on the market, by a good margin too. However, we thought for sure someone would at least attempt to challenge that claim and point out something that is more efficient, something in existence that we have overlooked. Well, it has been almost 2 months and the NanoLight has made news stories around the globe, but no one has challenged it’s efficiency yet. It looks like the NanoLight really is the most energy efficient light bulb out there.
Lifx allow you to dim, turn on or off any light in the house, change the color of the lights with a smartphone from anywhere. It’s also highly energy-efficient
LIFX is the smartest light bulb you’ve ever experienced. It’s a WIFI enabled, energy efficient, multi-colored bulb that you control with your iPhone or Android. LIFX gives you unprecedented control of your lights, reduces your energy costs, lasts up to 25 years and delivers an amazing range of experiences we think you’ll love.
Grayhawk Homes in Georgia accomplishes the seeming impossible. Affordable, highly energy efficient homes built for little more than the cost of regular homes. The added cost for efficiency is a mere $300 per home and their homes use half the power of traditional houses.
Their Energy Star certified homes include features such as high-performance windows, efficient climate control systems, higher R-value insulation, energy efficient lighting and appliances. Solar Board insulation is a radiant barrier product that is used to reduce the heat gain and help the overall energy efficiency of building envelopes.
Green Tech Gazette explains the technology and design involved in creating net-zero energy office buildings.
Net-zero energy consumption is a growing trend that allows office buildings to generate as much energy as they use. [They] are made possible through a combination of innovative building design, cutting edge technology, and energy-efficient appliances.
Much of the energy comes from solar, PV for power and solar thermal for hot water and radiant heating. Geothermal heating and cooling can also be used. A few office buildings have specially designed wind turbines on top. However solar is obviously better suited for big buildings.
Forbes profiles the biggest ever net-zero office building.
The 13-story, 415,000 square foot La Jolla building – to be completed in 2014 – will be carbon neutral by combining highly efficient end-use technologies with on-site Bloom Energy fuel cells utilizing directed biogas.
The biggest challenge was not technical, but institutional. In particular, Hines noted that they underestimated the complexity involved in working through the California state subsidies, with the local utility rules, and dealing with issues related to biogas supply for the fuel cells.
Imagine that. A large office building that is mostly off the grid. May the trend continue.