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3 Automakers Get Loans to Build More Efficient Cars

By Kendra Marr
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Three automakers will receive nearly $8 billion in federal loans to boost production of fuel-efficient vehicles in the United States.

This first tranche of a $25 billion program will help Ford, Nissan and Tesla Motors offset the costs of retooling factories and creating advanced-technology vehicles to meet the government’s new fuel standards. The U.S. auto industry has been awaiting this dispersal ever since Congress authorized the program in 2007. But the money wasn’t appropriated until last year, and the Energy Department has been reviewing hundreds of applications.

“Transforming the American automobile industry will not be easy, but we know it can be done,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu, addressing a crowd yesterday at Ford’s Research and Innovation Center in Dearborn, Mich.

[etc. – lists specifics currently being made available to Tesla, Ford, Nissan.]




Tesla electric car comes to London

Tesla Roadster

Tesla RoadsterThe first UK dealership selling the Tesla Roadster electric car has opened in Kensington, West London.

[ . . . ]

The Tesla Roadster electric car will cost you a cool £87,000, but you can reach 60mph in four seconds. If that isn’t fast enough you could plump for the Sport mode, it’ll do 60 mph in 3.5 seconds but at £100,000 that’s a lot of cash for an extra 0.5 seconds.

The first orders will be delivered to British buyers in the next few weeks but a right-hand drive version will not be available until early 2010. Tesla says it expects to sell between 50 and 100 cars during its first 12 months in the the UK.

[ etc. ]

Out now | From £87,000 | Tesla (via Londonist)



Search Local Mole for a comprehensive business directory list

from website page above – I’m guessing it is for UK business listings


Aston Martin to launch the Cygnet eco city car

Aston Martin Cygnet The Aston MArtin Cygnet is about to become the Smart car’s altogether smarter rival. Aston Martin is planning to launch the Cygnet, its take on the city car, in early 2010.

The diminutive driving machine is actually a Toyota iQ, only with a major makeover by Aston Martin. It’ll be an economical run-around slipped into a suit of high-end Aston approved refinements.


Aston badge or not, the Cygnet is, however, unlikely to be vying with the DBS as James Bond’s car of choice. Even the Euro NCAP five-star crash safety rating, economical fuel consumption, low-emission engine and full leather interior are unlikely to persuade him.

Out early 2010 | £20,000 | Aston Martin (via T3)



Maryland Science Center has electric cars for rent

Rental electric cars

Mike Siegel and his daughter, Rosalie, look over one of 10 all-electric Maya 300 cars at the Maryland Science Center. The Altcar program is the city’ first electric car share and rental program. They can go 60 to 120 miles between household current charges. (Baltimore Sun photo by Barbara Haddock Taylor / June 23, 2009)

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  • Electric cars will be available to rent or share in Baltimore through a program announced Tuesday at the Maryland Science Center. The car, a Maya 300, has a lithium-ion battery and was manufactured by Canadian firm Electrovaya Inc., according to the announcement. The Maya 300, with a top speed of 35 mph, boasts zero emissions and 120 miles per charge, said Sankar Das Gupta, chairman and chief executive of Electrovaya, based in Mississauga, Ontario. The cars can be charged with a standard household electric outlet.

    The Maryland Science Center will be offering free test drives of the electric car, with center admission, through July. Starting in August, 10 cars will be available for the car-sharing program, Van Reiner, president and chief executive of the Maryland Science Center, said.

    Two types of membership will be offered through the Altcar car-sharing program. One involves a monthly fee, with discounted hourly rates and bonuses, while the other type charges only hourly rates, according to Reiner. There will be rental kiosks outside and inside the science center.


    From other Baltimore sources


    Toyota, Honda Hybrids Narrow Drop in Japan Car Sales (Update1)

    By Makiko Kitamura

    July 1 (Bloomberg) — Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co., Japan’s two largest carmakers, slowed the decline in domestic auto sales last month as their new hybrid models and government incentives boosted demand.


    The pace of decline in auto sales slowed last month from 29 percent in April and 19 percent in May, as government subsidies and tax cuts helped boost sales of Toyota’s new Prius and Honda’s Insight gasoline-electric hybrid cars. Monthly sales may flip to a year-on-year increase as early as August, according to auto consulting company CSM Worldwide.

    [ . . . ]

    Toyota on June 25 said it has booked 200,000 domestic orders for the third-generation Prius, introduced in May. It was Japan’s best-selling standard car that month, surpassing Honda’s Insight.

    Under a government program started June 19, consumers can apply for a 250,000 yen ($2,600) subsidy if they scrap a car more than 13 years old to buy a new one and 100,000 yen for a new car purchase without scrapping an old one.

    Car dealers have distributed 260,000 applications for the subsidies, Takeshi Fushimi, director of the Japan Automobile Dealers Association, told reporters today. The subsidies are available retroactively for purchases from April 10.

    The government expects the incentives to lead to the sale of an additional 690,000 vehicles this fiscal year. Electric, hybrid, natural gas, and some diesel vehicles also qualify for an exemption from the country’s weight and purchase taxes.

    [ etc. ]

    To contact the reporter on this story: Makiko Kitamura in Tokyo at mkitamura1@bloomberg.net.

    Last Updated: July 1, 2009 04:29 EDT



    Hillsboro to build electric car charging stations

    Portland Business Journal

    The city of Hillsboro will become the next Oregon city to build electric vehicle charging stations.

    Campbell, Calif.-based Coulomb Technologies Inc. on Wednesday said Hillsboro will deploy 16 of the company’s ChargePoint networked charging stations at the city’s downtown intermodal transit facility to be built this year.

    Hillsboro will be the first Oregon city to use Coulomb’s technology.

    Portland General Electric Co. earlier this year began deploying a network of charging stations throughout the Portland metro area using technology developed by Portland-based Shorepower Technologies Inc.


    With Coloumb charging stations, consumers can subscribe to the company’s ChargePointSM Network and receive a ChargePoint Smart Card that allows them to charge their car at any charging station worldwide. They can then receive a text message or e-mail once their vehicle is done charging and monitor their charging remotely.



    Oil falls $1 on U.S. gasoline inventory build



    Future for plug-in cars linked to electric utilities

    Tue Jun 30, 2009 9:10pm EDT

    By Bernie Woodall

    LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Under pressure to deliver sharply higher fuel economy in coming years, U.S. automakers are deepening ties with electric utilities as rechargeable cars move from the drawing board and head toward the dealership.

    [ . . . ]

    Such plug-in and pure electric vehicles are projected to play a key role in allowing automakers to meet an aggressive U.S. fuel-economy target for 35 miles to the gallon for passenger cars by 2016.

    The million plug-ins that the Obama administration wants on the road before those standards take effect could also serve as a reserve source of power to an overstretched electric grid, particularly if owners plug in at night.

    Those battery-powered cars are also a potentially new source of electricity demand, and U.S. automakers and utilities are using existing alliances to test new marketing ideas for the technology.

    [ etc. ]

    Ford plans to introduce a battery-powered commercial van in 2010, a battery-powered small car the following year and a plug-in hybrid to challenge General Motors Corp’s highly touted Volt starting in 2012.

    Those plans put utilities and battery companies “at the center of the universe” for automakers, Mulally said.

    Ford, the first of the U.S. automakers to roll out a hybrid, has made a renewed commitment to the technology a centerpiece of its turnaround plans.