Apr 04

Europe launches Green eMotion Initiative to prepare the way for electric vehicles

 

Showing just how serious it is about electric vehicle roll out, last Thursday the European Union began a four-year, cross-Europe collaboration to study, demonstrate and promote electromobility.

To be conducted by the European Commission, the executive body for the European Union, the Green eMotion Initiative is an ambitious €41.8 million ($59.1 million) project with many electric-vehicle enabling outcomes predicted.

Of the €41.8 million, €24.2 ($34.2 million) is to come from the EU which is still working to solidify unity across vast regions, in which 23 languages are spoken.


General Motors is not listed as a participant, but with the anticipated European launch of the Chevrolet Volt, it does stand to benefit.

Forty-two participants from across Europe will include industrial companies, utilities, automobile manufacturers, municipalities, universities and research institutions.

The project is intended to help bring to fruition the broad-reaching goals of Europe’s Transport 2050 initiative, which has mandated radical cuts to greenhouse gas emissions. By 2030, it calls for a 50-percent reduction of conventionally fueled cars in cities, and by 2050, it seeks to utterly phase them out.

”Transport is current 96-percent dependent on oil for its energy needs. This is totally unsustainable,” said Siim Kallas, vice president of the EC and commissioner responsible for transport, “The Transport 2050 Roadmap aims to break transport’s current oil dependency and allow mobility to grow. We can and we must do both. It can be win-win. But there are major challenges.”

The EC said Green eMotion will take place in selected European regions to develop best practices, exchange information, and share experience leading to new infrastructure.

“This is a project that tackles some of the practical problems and real bottlenecks for cities and companies who want to bring electric vehicles to the market,” Kallas said, “It is exactly the kind of initiative where European co-operation adds huge value. This is a very promising initiative for the future.”


Siim Kallas, vice president of the European Commission in charge of transport, shown here at the High Level Kickoff Event for the Green eMotion Initiative.

The project will actually involve not just autos, but buses, trucks, motorcycles and scooters.

As part of the European Green Cars initiative, Green eMotion will, compare twelve ongoing regional and national electromobility initiatives in eight different EU member states in order to identify the best from a variety of technological approaches. The several types of electric vehicles to be involved will assist in development of solutions for the grid, information technology, and urban mobility concepts.

“The local concepts applied to date, in which experience was accumulated in specific demonstration regions, will now be bundled in cross-European trials,” said Heike Barlag from Siemens, coordinator for the Green eMotion project. “By bundling individual activities in a major partner initiative we’re gaining momentum and transparency, and ensuring the coordinated development of electromobility.”

According to Better Place, one of the companies involved, “Special aspects in some of the demonstration regions include battery swapping and DC charging as well as smart grid integration, cross-border traffic, different payment systems and the testing of alternative business models.”

Out of this are expected to be developed “new high-value transportation services and innovative billing systems,” the EC said. Existing green mobility standards will be improved, and new ones will be developed.

“Green eMotion will demonstrate this interoperable electromobility framework in all participating regions,” the EC said, “and will thus provide the basis for its replication across Europe.”

Speaking on its area of expertise, Better Place said more than 10,000 charging stations will be involved. Nearly 1,000 are to be put in at Barcelona, Madrid and Malaga, about 400 in Rome and Pisa, roughly 3,600 in Berlin, and just around 100 in Strasbourg.


Early adopters are not known to follow the herd, and this is no exception. The soon-to-be-launched Opel Ampera is shown allowing locals the right of way.

In Ireland, about 3,500 charging stations are in the works, and 2,000 electric cars are expected there soon as well, Better Place said.

Another 2,000 charging stations are slated for Denmark, which generates 20 percent of its power by wind. Car importers there are also expected to bring in 2,000 electric cars this year.

Denmark is additionally embarking on an electric vehicle battery swapping project as part of Green eMotion.

“The batteries in electric cars and in battery switch stations serve as a distributed energy storage network allowing utilities to harness additional sources of renewable energy including wind,” Better Place said.

As the nation most-reliant on wind, Denmark is the likely test case creating standards that could later be used in other parts of Europe.

“By the end of this year, Danish drivers will enjoy virtually unlimited range when they can swap out a depleted electric car battery for a fully charged one via a network of battery switch stations,” Better Place said, “Danish consumers can expect to save 10-20 percent on total cost of ownership on the purchase of an electric car and mobility services than what they currently spend on petrol or diesel-based cars and fuel.”

The partners in the Green eMotion Initiative are the industrial companies Alstom, Better Place, Bosch, IBM, SAP and Siemens, the utilities Danish Energy Association, EDF, Endesa, Enel, ESB, Eurelectric, Iberdrola, RWE and PPC, the automobile manufacturers BMW, Daimler, Micro-Vett, Nissan and Renault, the municipalities Barcelona, Berlin, Bornholm, Copenhagen, Cork, Dublin (represented by the energy agency of Codema), Malaga, Malmo and Rome, the universities and research institutions Cartif, Cidaut, CTL, DTU, ECN, Imperial, IREC, RSE, TCD and Tecnalia, and the technology institutions DTI, fka and TÜV NORD.

Sources:
European Commission
Better Place

This entry was posted on Monday, April 4th, 2011 at 5:55 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 32


  1. 1
    nasaman

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    Apr 4th, 2011 (6:05 am)

    I heartily applaud the European organizers and participants of this brilliant and bold initiative! On the other hand, it breaks my heart that there is so much opposition to “green initiatives” of almost any kind in America! Even one of the leading proponents of clean air and renewable fuel at the federal level —the embattled Environmental Protection Agency— is at this moment threatened to be either shut down completely or so underfunded as to be rendered essentially ineffective!!!

    The last photo above of a goat herd surrounding a stranded Opel Ampera really made me laugh out loud at first; but then when I realized what it could very well mean to America —to either “LEAD, FOLLOW OR GET OUT OF THE WAY”— I honestly felt like crying!!!

    /A superb and very timely topic, Jeff!


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    Apr 4th, 2011 (6:21 am)

    nasaman,

    nasaman: I heartily applaud the European organizers and participants of this brilliant and bold initiative! On the other hand, it breaks my heart that there is so much opposition to “green initiatives” of almost any kind in America! Even one of the leading proponents of clean air and renewable fuel at the federal level —the embattled Environmental Protection Agency— is at this moment threatened to be either shut down completely or so underfunded as to be rendered essentially ineffective.This photo made me laugh out loud at first; but then when I saw what it could mean to America —”LEAD, FOLLOW OR GET OUT OF THE WAY”— I felt almost like crying!!!

    It would seem in this instance American democracy is designed to allow everyone (who can afford it) to complain so much, nothing gets done. I’m ready for the flaming!


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    Shock Me

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    Apr 4th, 2011 (6:45 am)

    Xiao,

    Not flaming or anything but there are the needs of several stakeholders to address. Speed in decision-making is a feature of dictatorships. When the case for this choice can be made with enough of the populace, the speed of the response I think will shock you.

    In the mean time, the engineers must remain diligent in pursuit of savings and increased battery performance in electric and extended range electric vehicles. This issue will be decided not by politics but by operating costs and the performance envelope of the vehicle.


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    Eco_Turbo

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    Apr 4th, 2011 (7:04 am)

    I’d like to see America’s initiative called “Transport 2020″, 2050 is too far away. Forget the silly high speed rail projects and there should be plenty of money available. Automated highways are a better use of the rail money. They could start with just maintaining high speed and separation. Maybe a little inductive charge while you’re on there.


  5. 5
    Jeff Cobb

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    Apr 4th, 2011 (9:10 am)

    nasaman,

    Thank you. Glad you like it. It jumped out as newsworthy to me when I saw it.


  6. 6
    Mark Z

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    Apr 4th, 2011 (10:11 am)

    More public charging stations or better range will help drivers stay off fuel. Tesla will build their 300 mile range Model S orders first, all 160 and 320 range mile orders move to the end of the line! With enough range, charge station and battery switching needs will be decreased, but at a $20,000 added cost to the Model S customer who upgrades from 160 to 300.

    For the majority of EV drivers, more charging stations will be needed throughout the world. This will be mandatory at work, shopping and entertainment locations. When reservations at ChargePoint stations reach maximum capacity, battery switching will be a necessity to handle the demand during peak travel times. Having an E-REV will be a luxury compared with fighting for charge station or battery switching availability.


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    Loboc

     

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    Apr 4th, 2011 (10:48 am)

    It’d be interesting to see how many miles the typical EU driver goes between charges. All these charging stations may be unnecessary except as an electrification (ie political) gesture.

    We will see with early adopters how much these stations are actually used. I’m thinking that charging away from work or home would be unused most of the time except as a novelty. Especially at level I or II.

    That said, experience with an iPhone will train you to charge every chance you get!


  8. 8
    George S. Bower

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    Apr 4th, 2011 (11:07 am)

    I too love that photo w/ the goats. Note how the lady and man are both wearing white, including white shoes for the guy and white goats (and coats) to match the Ampera. Also the lead photo is one of my all time fav’s.

    Just curious Nasaman. Did you get your Volt yet?? Mine is unfortunately on hold for a while longer. But I have the solar all installed so it’s a given at some point.


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    Steverino

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    Apr 4th, 2011 (11:39 am)

    European and China continue to make progress and set stretch goals for solar, electric vehicles, etc. Meanwhile, here in the US energy research programs aimed at advanced battery technology (among many, many other worthy projects) are on the chopping block. Energy security rarely comes up in political discussions other than as it relates to more drilling for oil. At the same time we as a country are going to spend $1 Trillion on a single plane, the F35. That’s more than the GNP of Australia. That shocked me. http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/03/the-f-35-a-weapon-that-costs-more-than-australia/72454/

    Cars like the Volt are an opportunity to lead the world, but I fear our “leaders” are looking in the rear view mirror instead of into the future.


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    MichaelH

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    Apr 4th, 2011 (11:47 am)

    George S. Bower: Note how the lady and man are both wearing white, including white shoes for the guy and white goats (and coats) to match the Ampera.

    There have been several posed shots with the Ampera that have the models in all white. Remember the family of four with their luggage? Even the luggage was all white. It must be a European thing.


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    LauraM

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    Apr 4th, 2011 (11:51 am)

    nasaman: I heartily applaud the European organizers and participants of this brilliant and bold initiative! On the other hand, it breaks my heart that there is so much opposition to “green initiatives” of almost any kind in America! Even one of the leading proponents of clean air and renewable fuel at the federal level —the embattled Environmental Protection Agency— is at this moment threatened to be either shut down completely or so underfunded as to be rendered essentially ineffective!!!

    The last photo above of a goat herd surrounding a stranded Opel Ampera really made me laugh out loud at first; but then when I realized what it could very well mean to America —to either “LEAD, FOLLOW OR GET OUT OF THE WAY”— I honestly felt like crying!!!

    /A superb and very timely topic, Jeff!

    I couldn’t agree more. The EU is doing everything it can, while we flounder with a non-functional government.

    It’s tragic. And not just for us. Aside from patriotism, the fact remains that if you want to change the world, you’re much better off starting with the United States. Our resource consumption, emissions per capita, etc. mean we are the low hanging fruit. An electric car infrastructure would make much more of difference here than in Europe where they have a functional public transporation system. And they drive a lot fewer miles.

    And, at least in my experience, we are the model for developing nations. Not Europe. An American lifestyle is what people in third world countries aspire to. Our use of electric cars would mean they’re much more likely to be adopted in China and India, IMHO.


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    LauraM

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    Apr 4th, 2011 (12:09 pm)

    xiaowei1: It would seem in this instance American democracy is designed to allow everyone (who can afford it) to complain so much, nothing gets done. I’m ready for the flaming!

    Democracy is not the problem. All the EU countries are democracies. Although they do have fewer checks and balances. And they seem to suffer from a lot less not in my backyardism.

    But the biggest problem here, IMHO, is that the US government has become completely dysfunctional. It didn’t used to be. There’s always been corruption. But different parties had meaningful differences on legitimate aspects of public policy. And the voters understood the issues. Now, it’s all propaganda, and money, and special interests. Politicians spend more time on fund raising, and getting elected than actually governing. Gerrymandering renders more districts safe, but at the same time skews power away from the center, which makes compromise all but impossible.

    Changing direction is always difficult. And, as a developed economy, it would be more difficult for us than it is for China even if we shared the same type of government. But our government’s total dysfunction has rendered it impossible.


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    Apr 4th, 2011 (12:11 pm)

    Let’s see … the hightest MPG car in the world up until last year was the Pruis… the Americans more than double that in one year with the Chevy Volt and version two upgrade on the way shortly….. now … tell me .. who has the more effective Green initiative?
    And we did that in a very UNFAIR GLOBAL MARKETPLACE… our largest competitor puts a $20,000 tariff on all our vehicles plus keeps all other products out with huge tariffs and we still blow there doors off.

    Don’t tell me how bad Americans are!


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    Noel Park

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    Apr 4th, 2011 (12:15 pm)

    nasaman: when I realized what it could very well mean to America —to either “LEAD, FOLLOW OR GET OUT OF THE WAY”— I honestly felt like crying!!!

    #1

    True that. +1

    nasaman: /A superb and very timely topic, Jeff!

    Amen to that. The article shows a really significant amount of effort. Thank you for it. Well done!


  15. 15
    Noel Park

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    Apr 4th, 2011 (12:19 pm)

    Steverino: At the same time we as a country are going to spend $1 Trillion on a single plane, the F35.

    Sickening.

    I bet the Taliban Air Force is trembling in terror. We may have gotten the Soviet Union to spend itself into oblivion over the Cold War, but now we are doing it to ourselves. One word – Rome. Wait for it.


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    Rashiid Amul

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    Apr 4th, 2011 (12:21 pm)

    That third picture, the same thing happened to me when I was driving in Scotland.
    It was spectacular. Minus the Ampera, of course. Circa 1992 for me.


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    LauraM

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    Apr 4th, 2011 (12:41 pm)

    pjkPA: Let’s see … the hightest MPG car in the world up until last year was the Pruis… the Americans more than double that in one year with the Chevy Volt and version two upgrade on the way shortly….. now … tell me .. who has the more effective Green initiative?
    And we did that in a very UNFAIR GLOBAL MARKETPLACE… our largest competitor puts a $20,000 tariff on all our vehicles plus keeps all other products out with huge tariffs and we still blow there doors off.

    Don’t tell me how bad Americans are!

    No one’s saying that Americans are bad. Or incapable. Just that our government is completely dysfunctional, and is making short sighted, easy decisions. There is a difference.


  18. 18
    nasaman

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    Apr 4th, 2011 (12:42 pm)

    LauraM: Democracy is not the problem. All the EU countries are democracies. Although they do have fewer checks and balances. And they seem to suffer from a lot less not in my backyardism.

    But the biggest problem here, IMHO, is that the US government has become completely dysfunctional. It didn’t used to be. There’s always been corruption. But different parties had meaningful differences on legitimate aspects of public policy. And the voters understood the issues. Now, it’s all propaganda, and money, and special interests. Politicians spend more time on fund raising, and getting elected than actually governing. Gerrymandering renders more districts safe, but at the same time skews power away from the center, which makes compromise all but impossible.

    pjkPA: Let’s see … the hightest MPG car in the world up until last year was the Pruis… the Americans more than double that in one year with the Chevy Volt and version two upgrade on the way shortly….. now … tell me .. who has the more effective Green initiative? And we did that in a very UNFAIR GLOBAL MARKETPLACE… our largest competitor puts a $20,000 tariff on all our vehicles plus keeps all other products out with huge tariffs and we still blow there doors off.

    Don’t tell me how bad Americans are!

    No, Americans aren’t bad. But many of our government leaders and the media seem to be going bad! By coincidence, I’ve just received Consumer Report’s “Green product watch: best new green cars 4/11″. CR lists 88 “green” vehicles in 9 categories and predictably declares Prius the overall winner. Tesla, Leaf & Volt aren’t listed or even mentioned and CR offers no explanation why they aren’t!!! (See http://www.greenerchoices.org/products.cfm?product=0411gpw&pcat=autos&EXTKEY=NG0S01104 )

    —I AM GENUINELY OUTRAGED!!!! HAS CR BECOME THE “TEA PARTY” OF PUBLISHERS???

    Unfortunately, Consumer Reports isn’t alone. Many other members of the US media have become increasingly “tea partyish”, presumably because it sells magazines, improves Nielsen ratings or increases “hits”. And thus advertising revenue.

    So it’s not the deadlocked government alone —as a society, we’ve become excessively polarized by extremist attitudes!


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    LauraM

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    Apr 4th, 2011 (12:47 pm)

    Noel Park: Sickening.

    I bet the Taliban Air Force is trembling in terror. We may have gotten the Soviet Union to spend itself into oblivion over the Cold War, but now we are doing it to ourselves. One word – Rome. Wait for it.

    Like I said, path dependency. We’ve always spent a lot of money on that kind of defense. And with a dysfunctional government, it’s almost impossible to stop. No matter how much sense it makes.

    When I think of all the other useful things that could be done with all that money, it makes me sick. But hey, at least it’s manufacturing jobs that they can’t outsource!


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    Noel Park

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    Apr 4th, 2011 (1:48 pm)

    LauraM: But hey, at least it’s manufacturing jobs that they can’t outsource!

    #19

    Yeah, but not very many per millions of dollars spent. The most expensive jobs program in the history of the planet IMHO. For that kind of money you could do some serious infrastructure projects, and they create a multiple number of jobs per unit cost relative to these “high tech” weapons system projects. And they can’t be outsourced either.

    +1 for the sentiment. Thanks


  21. 21
    Noel Park

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    Apr 4th, 2011 (1:54 pm)

    On the bright side, my Volt did 60.2 miles AER on a charge of the battery yesterday. Aided, as always, by a net elevation loss of about 700 feet in the first 10 miles, but pretty good anyway IMHO. About 1/2 – 1/2 city/freeway driving with a climb and descent of at least 500 feet up and down Topanga Canyon thrown in for good measure.


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    WopOnTour

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    Apr 4th, 2011 (2:14 pm)

    Noel Park: On the bright side, my Volt did 60.2 miles AER on a charge of the battery yesterday. Aided, as always, by a net elevation loss of about 700 feet in the first 10 miles, but pretty good anyway IMHO. About 1/2 – 1/2 city/freeway driving with a climb and descent of at least 500 feet up and down Topanga Canyon thrown in for good measure.

    LOVE IT!
    Did you get a photo of your “This Charge” usage screen by any chance Noel?
    If so please post it in the 40+ miles AER brag wall on the forums!
    Regards
    WopOnTour


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    LauraM

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    Apr 4th, 2011 (2:17 pm)

    nasaman: No, Americans aren’t bad. But many of our government leaders and the media seem to be going bad! By coincidence, I’ve just received Consumer Report’s “Green product watch: best new green cars 4/11″. CR lists 88 “green” vehicles in 9 categories and predictably declares Prius the overall winner. Tesla, Leaf & Volt aren’t listed or even mentioned and CR offers no explanation why they aren’t!!! (See http://www.greenerchoices.org/products.cfm?product=0411gpw&pcat=autos&EXTKEY=NG0S01104 )

    —I AM GENUINELY OUTRAGED!!!! HAS CR BECOME THE “TEA PARTY” OF PUBLISHERS???

    Unfortunately, Consumer Reports isn’t alone. Many other members of the US media have become increasingly “tea partyish”, presumably because it sells magazines, improves Nielsen ratings or increases “hits”. And thus advertising revenue.

    So it’s not the deadlocked government alone —as a society, we’ve become excessively polarized by extremist attitudes!

    Agreed, again. Our media has become more and more polarized. It’s impossible to find a good, reliable source of news. The New York Times is not the paper it used to be. And Fox news/wall street journal is so unapologetically far right, they’d brand Nixon a communist. What ever happened to objective journalism?

    And given this lack, how can people stay middle of the road? It divides us as a country. And there’s rarely any acknowledged agreement, even though I suspect that when it comes down to it, most Americans would agree on more than we think. But it’s not in the media’s interest for us to think that. And that absolutely affects congress. And it makes it harder for them to compromise.

    That said, I don’t think that consumer reports is biased. At least, not against electric cars. They did discuss them in the alternative fuel article. But they do tend to be rather conservative. And I think they’re just hesitant to give electric cars pride of place given that they’re so new. If I remember correctly, they didn’t gush about HDTVs or the iphone either.


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    Merlin

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    Apr 4th, 2011 (5:29 pm)

    Nasaman,

    Look, I agree with a lot of what you say (not just today – I’ve been a regular for 3 years). Same goes for LauraM. I’m something of a centrist Libertarian Tea-Party type. BUT, I am also FOR technology and things that drive America FORWARD. I support the Volt, NASA (I’ve worked there twice – JSC), and other scientific programs. I think spending on programs like that are good investments for the government and the American people. I think you’d completely agree that return on investment for NASA via forward growth in new technology fields (American business and positive GDP) is significant and under-reported. Where I start to look more critically at goverment spending is in greyer areas where it is debatable what good is being done. I.e. Does it encourage people to sit on their butt if they get paid to do it? Does it make sense to spend millions per day bombing Lybia? We can talk about Iraq and Somalia and some other military deployments where the outcome isn’t based on personal defense. The point is there are lots of places where we could probably save some money.

    What I disagree with today, Nasaman is the broadbrush and analogy about CR being the Tea-Party of publishers. I don’t get that analogy. Personally I think there are some extremists in the Tea Party, just as there are some extremists populating just about every corner of the political spectrum. I identify with the Tea party in ways that many Americans do — in that they want fiscal policy to make sense, they want government to not spend beyond their means. And of course the analogy to the Tea Party itself is the identification that the original Tea Party had something to do with leaders in govermnent not listening to the constituency (taxation without representation). Now the imagery of the tea party is about the government spending more than they have in their budget and the corruption that LauraM talks about (lobbyists, campaigning). I think there’s plenty of common ground in there to not think those views are extreme. So, again — I don’t get the analogy or the usage of terms like “tea partyish”. Please refrain from the poor political phrasing and just say what you mean — that CR are a bunch of idiots with a bias.

    Laura M, the political opinion news agencies run both ways. I completely agree that objective journalism is hard to find (probably because its not very sensational), but there is arguably a balance. While Fox and WSJ might seem far right to you, a host of other media outlets are far left. And I guess that’s okay. We at least still have a choice about who we listen to or watch.

    As someone who is fiscally conservative I get to have arguments with my friends about what the Volt is and isn’t. How it was conceived before the Obama era. How it represents high American ideals that even conservatives can support. There is plenty of spinning going on all over the place. Adding to the commotion only dirties the water. Let’s talk about ideas and facts. Distortions on the left and the right only serve to distract from the common good. We can agree on that, right? I guess I’m playing Tag’s part today.


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    pat

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    Apr 4th, 2011 (6:22 pm)

    US is lagging behind in green revolution. Many want to destroy the EPA and other agencies which help protect the consumers such FDA but the new Tea Party folks are crazy enough to eliminate these agencies in the name of buisness profits. As a result many new jobs pay 8-10 $ an hour ..Just try living on that …
    Prepare yourself for pain & sufferings ..especially those unemployed, under-employed & new generation coming into the unemployment market .. Welcome to the world of pain & suffering at the hands of GOP .. But we deserve it too we elected them …Best wishes


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    Apr 4th, 2011 (6:36 pm)

    Merlin,

    I’m on my mobile phone, so I can’t quote. But I agree with you that most newspapers haves liberal bias. And fox is,IMHO, far right. There’s nothing in the middle anymore. No connection even tries for objectivity anymore That’s the problem. You may have a media outlet to listen to, but I don’t.

    As far as Libya, I’m not happy we’re there either. If it were up to me, we’d leave Iraq & Afghanistan tomorrow. That would save quite a bit of money.

    Also, I’m no fan of runaway spending. There are lots of programs that should be cut, IMHO. But they always seem to start withthe ones that I think are the ones they need to keep. Oureconomic seed corn.


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    Apr 4th, 2011 (8:42 pm)

    LauraM: There are lots of programs that should be cut, IMHO. But they always seem to start withthe ones that I think are the ones they need to keep.

    They, or we?


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    Apr 4th, 2011 (10:18 pm)

    I am a fiscal conservative. How else could I afford a Volt? But cutting advanced battery research or the EPA while keeping oil company subsidies (billions) in place is not only short-sighted it’s just crazy. That’s not fiscal conservatism. That’s simply a kickback to the oil companies for political donations. It’s much easier to bash the $7500 tax credit incentive meant to bootstrap the Volt and wean us off oil as “anti-free market”. Ever notice that those same politicians don’t use the free-market argument when they hand out golden subsidies to the oil producers, or Trillion dollar contacts for relics of the cold war? Too bad the F35 doesn’t need to be powered by cheap advanced batteries that could also be used in cars. Congress would rubber stamp hundreds of billions without an eye blink.


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    Apr 4th, 2011 (10:48 pm)

    Eco_Turbo: They, or we?

    They as in they are government programs, and I don’t work for the government. We, I suppose, in the sense that the programs in question are supposed to benefit me. I’m American if that’s what you’re asking. I was born here. My parents were born here. And my grandparents. (Well on my mother’s side anyway.) And I’ve never lived anywhere else…


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    Apr 4th, 2011 (11:11 pm)

    Steverino: I am a fiscal conservative. How else could I afford a Volt? But cutting advanced battery research or the EPA while keeping oil company subsidies (billions) in place is not only short-sighted it’s just crazy. That’s not fiscal conservatism. That’s simply a kickback to the oil companies for political donations. It’s much easier to bash the $7500 tax credit incentive meant to bootstrap the Volt and wean us off oil as “anti-free market”. Ever notice that those same politicians don’t use the free-market argument when they hand out golden subsidies to the oil producers, or Trillion dollar contacts for relics of the cold war? Too bad the F35 doesn’t need to be powered by cheap advanced batteries that could also be used in cars. Congress would rubber stamp hundreds of billions without an eye blink.

    Exactly. For the record, I’ve always considered myself a fiscal conservative. Personally, and politically. Unfortunately, while every politician runs on cutting the deficit (never mind the debt at this point) no one seems to carry through.

    If it were up to me, we’d cut corn subsidies, and oil subsidies. I’d cut defense spending in half. (Which, as far as I can tell, would be pretty easily done without compromising national security.) And fire a LOT of unnecessary government employees. I’d also raise the minimum age for social security. And I’d make medicare a lot more efficient.

    But cutting science spending, or funding for alternative energy is beyond counterproductive. These programs will decrease costs in the long run. They are investments rather than consumption.

    As far as fox news–I don’t watch fox, but I do read the wall street journal. And I’m sorry, but requiring transparency does not translate into a “nanny state.” Neither does preventing fraud. You need a certain amount of regulation for the economy to function. The country and the economy is too large to expect every consumer to get to know every producer personally well enough to know what they are buying.


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    Apr 5th, 2011 (12:44 am)

    From Consumer Reports to Oil Subsidies to Drilling in the Gulf to a million other issues, there is much to debate. Frankly, if you spend too much time on all of it (and I often do), you end up looking for the Xanax.

    While some here have tried to poke sticks in my direction with respect to disposable income, it really is a matter of proportion. Ultimately, the only control we have over the world of green (or energy independence or whatever) is what we do ourselves. Insulate your attic. Buy an LED light bulb. Install solar water heating. Whatever. Instead of constantly thinking about what the rate of return is, do it for the humanitarian/global reason. My fun dollars are nearly non existent. My purchases these days are about the greater good- and I try not to think about what other people are NOT doing. When I do this, I find great opportunity to talk about these things to other people- spreading a POSITIVE message. Every time I get to talk about how ‘cool’ cooking with the induction cooktop is (pun intended), having an air conditioner that [cools 3000 sq ft and] uses about as much electricity as a microwave oven, not having to drink chlorinated city water, not having to keep smelly gasoline yard tools around, not burning myself on an incandescent bulb…etc, my happy meter goes up.

    So Don’t Worry. Be Happy. There is only so much we can do to get our neighbors to change, but we can change our own world starting today.


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    Apr 9th, 2011 (8:21 am)

    Europe have not done anything close to Chevy Volt. All European manufacturers playing with concept and halo prototypes and so called “test fleets”. Lyle had one BMW test electric automobile. It was just for marketing purposes. Any ordinary fellow could remake his BMW into electric at his garage like it Lyle’s.

    No real developments on European charger standard. Everything just fuss. US real leader.