Energychallenge’s Weblog

Israeli Shai Agassi May Have the Right Approach for Electric Cars

T. Boone Pickens Should Take a Close Look at This Solution for Powering Cars

Israeli company Better Place has an innovative solution for electric cars that holds great promise for countries around the world. Israel has plans to be totally off of gasoline powered cars by 2020. Don’t be surprised if they achieve this goal before then. Better Place’s goal is to put in place zero emissions electric cars. In countries like Israel, where there is an abundance of sun, solar power will generate the electricity. In other countries, where the sun is less available, the electricity can be generated by other energy sources including some solar power, wind power, nuclear power, natural gas, clean coal, geothermal power, hydro-electric power and other possible sources.

If Shai Agassi’s plan works, it will truly take the world to a “Better Place”. Here are some of the details of his plan (from Better Place’s web site):

Founded in October 2007 on $200 million of venture capital, Better Place, in its first six months, announced cooperative agreements with Israel and Denmark to transform their transportation infrastructure from oil-based to renewable energy and significantly reduce harmful emissions.

Better Place’s model means consumers subscribe to transportation as a service, much like they do today with mobile phones. Auto companies make the electric cars that plug in to the Better Place electric recharge network of charging stations and battery swap stations. Energy companies provide the network’s power through growing renewable energy projects. And Better Place provides the batteries to make owning an electric car affordable and convenient.


T. Boone Pickens’ Energy Plan

Is the Pickens Energy Plan “Energy Nirvana”, or is it Another “Here We Go Again” Plan?

If you have been watching television lately, you have probably seen an advertisement by T. Boone Pickens about his energy plan. T. Boone Pickens is a Texas multi-millionaire. He made his fortune in the oil and gas (natural gas) business. His web site has a summary of his advertisement: “America is in a hole and it’s getting deeper every day. We import 70 percent of our oil at a cost of $700 billion a year – four times the annual cost of the Iraq war. I’ve been an oil man all my life, but this is one emergency we can’t drill our way out of. But if we create a new renewable energy network, we can break our addiction to foreign oil. On January 20, 2009, a new President gets sworn in. If we’re organized, we can convince Congress to make major changes toward cleaner, cheaper and domestic energy resources. To get this done, I need your help. Check out the plan. If you think it’s worth fighting for, please join our effort, and encourage everyone you know to do the same.”

Pickens presents his energy plan in more detail on his web site and at The Pickens Plan. His message is simple, powerful and generally makes sense. The U.S. needs to quickly move toward energy independence, we need leadership and a plan to make it happen, and the energy plan must include a balanced energy portfolio that includes hydrocarbon, nuclear and renewable energy sources. The energy plan must also move us quickly toward significantly reducing carbon emissions. Pickens is helping to raise awareness and support for the need for a national energy plan and he should be thanked for doing so.

Japan’s Toray, Nissan and Honda Plan to Commercialize Carbon Fiber Cars

Posted in Energy Solutions,Environmental Solutions by Howard Deutsch on July 24, 2008

Carbon Fiber Cars May Have a Major Impact on Reducing Carbon Dioxide Emissions and its Impact on Global Warming

On July 23, 2008 Thomson Financial News reported that Japan’s largest synthetic resin maker, Toray Industries Inc., together with Nissan Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co. will jointly develop a new carbon fiber material for use in auto bodies, with the goal of developing mass-market carbon fiber cars.

The goal is to establish mass production technology for the new carbon fiber material by the mid-2010s. By replacing most of the steel used in cars, they aim to develop vehicles up to 40 percent lighter than their steel counterparts, it said.

Carbon fiber is about one-quarter the weight of iron, but is 10 times as strong. Today, steel accounts for three-quarters of the average car weight of around 3,000 pounds.

By replacing most of the steel used in key parts with carbon fiber, the weight can be reduced by up to 40 percent to approximately 1,800 pounds, helping improve fuel efficiency and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 30 percent, or 0.7 ton, per car a year.

There was no mention of how much the new carbon fiber material will impact the cost of each new car, or how the cost of repairing carbon fiber cars, as a result of accidents, will be impacted.

If this innovative initiative is successful and the carbon fiber material can be used by other automobile manufacturers as well on a mass market basis, the impact on lowering oil consumption and global warming will be very significant.

Al Gore’s Energy Challenge

Former Vice President Al Gore challenged the United States to shift its entire electricity sector to carbon-free wind, solar and geothermal power within 10 years, and use that power to fuel a new fleet of electric vehicles.

The debate is now on. Is Al Gore’s Challenge realistic? Can the U.S. become energy independent within 10 years, and can we do it with alternative energy solutions rather than continued reliance on oil, coal and natural gas? Should we drill for more oil within the U.S. and off-shore?

Whether Gore’s proposed energy challenge is doable or not, it will hopefully spark debate and action in Washington, and start to mobilize the country to achieve energy independence while addressing Global Warming in a meaningful way. John McCain and Barack Obama responded positively to Al Gore’s energy challenge, however their energy plans clearly are not aligned with achieving Gore’s challenge.

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Air Car From India

Posted in Energy Solutions,Environmental Solutions by Howard Deutsch on July 6, 2008

If successful, air powered cars will reduce oil consumption worldwide

Compressed air” powered cars may reach the U.S. in a few years. Their rollout is planned in India later this year. Once the car’s safety, quality and reliability are proven, air powered cars may become an attractive alternative, especially for local driving and short trips.

The Compressed Air Car, developed by Motor Development International (MDI) Founder Guy Negre. The Air Car will be starting production soon, by India’s TATA Motors.

The $12,700 CityCAT, one of the planned Air Car models, reaches 68 mph, goes for a range of 125 miles. It will take only a few minutes for the CityCAT to refuel at gas stations equipped with custom air compressor units. MDI says it should cost only around $2 to fill the car up with 340 liters of air!

6-seater taxi should be available in India in 2008:

Read more about ‘Compressed Air Cars’ –