Friday, December 31, 2010

Top 10 Green Business Resolutions for 2011

The New Year is the perfect time to resolve to lessen our impact on the earth by making changes in our personal and professional lives. Incorporating sustainable principles into your business gives you a competitive advantage over traditional competition. Formal green resolutions are also a great way to improve a companies’ green capabilities and business propositions. An enduring commitment to environmental principles is an increasingly popular form of strategic philanthropy.

According to Small Business Consulting, here is a summary of their clients top ten green business resolutions for 2011.

1. Energy efficiency efforts including LED lighting, energy efficient office equipment and efficient power use (eg: unplug electronic equipment, turn off the lights and lower the thermostat).

2. Reuse or recycle as much as possible including waste materials, office furniture, computers, DVD players, televisions, compact fluorescent light bulbs and cell phones.

3. Use less resources of all kinds and avoid single-use products altogether.

4. Reduce car usage amongst employees by organizing carpools, or encouraging walking, cycling or use of public transport. When motorized transportation is necessary, use electric vehicles.

5. Go paperless by filing documents electronically, communicating digitally and eliminating printing.

6. Work from home and save money, time, and carbon emissions by not having to commute.

7. Join or support sustainable business groups.

8. Rainwater capture for property irrigation and/or use in toilets.

9. Reduce company packaging.

10. Green company supply chain.

The Green Market resolves to continue to improve and expand our efforts to help businesses see the value of environmental responsibility.


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Best Sustainable Wines

An estimated 3.6 billion bottles of wine are sold in the US every year and there are an increasing number of sustainable wines for the discerning consumer to choose from. Sustainable wines use organic grapes that do not contain chemical pesticides or synthetic fertilizers. These wines also have much lower levels of sulfites compared to many traditional wines. Sulfites (also known Sulfur dioxide or SO2) are a naturally occurring by-product of fermentation, and they are also added to wine after fermentation to prevent the growth of bacteria. Conventional wines may contain sulfite levels up to 350 parts per million (ppm). Wines made with organic grapes cannot exceed 100 ppm of sulfites or .01% (or less) sulfites. Here are a diverse selection of sustainable wines from Greenwala.

CalNaturale's award-winning wines are made with Paso Robles grapes that have been farmed organically. They also come in lightweight, unbreakable and completely re-closeable and recyclable Tetra Pak packaging. Tetra Pak flexible packaging has half the carbon footprint of wines in glass bottles. CalNaturale wine currently comes in Cabernet and Chardonnay varieties, in two sizes, 500 ML and 1 liter cartons. They retail for $6.99 and $12.99, respectively. You can find a list of places to purchase here.

Girasole Vineyards "Hybrid Red" is a 100% vegan blend made with certified organic Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot grapes from Mendocino County. This wine does not use corks, because the bottle comes fully equipped with a screw top closure. Grapes grown at family-owned Girasole Vineyards are hand picked and void of pesticides. Hybrid Red costs $13 per bottle.

Parducci Winery produces an excellent wine known as "Sustainable Red," it has spicy, berry fruit flavors. The mission of Parducci Winery is to become America's Greenest Winery. They make their wines from locally farmed grapes, they recycle 100% of winery waste water and employ sustainable farming practices. All of their power needs are supplied by renewable sources of energy. They also use earth-friendly packaging. Parducci has received the Governor's Environmental and Economic Leadership Award in 2007 and 2009 for their environmentally sound practices and for holding the title as the nation's first carbon neutral winery. "Sustainable Red," retails for $10.99

CADE Winery's Savignon Blanc has aromas of spearmint, kiwi and gooseberry with flavors of lemon, lime, fig and guava. CADE is California's first winery estate to be awarded the coveted LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certification for the entire property. In addition to their grape growing and winemaking process, CADE utilizes solar power, organic farming methods and other green practices. If you're in their area, the winery offers tastings by appointment for $20. CADE Winery's Savignon Blanc costs $26

Brut Rosé bubbly from Domaine Carneros vineyard, is the first and only sparkling winery in the United States with all estate vineyards certified organic and vegan. This means, no animal products or byproducts are used in the refining process. Instead, Domaine Carneros uses a clay-based product with no animal additives. Other varieties include Brut and Blanc de Blancs. Prices range from $26-$36.

There are even sustainable wines without alcohol, Heavenly Red, is a natural, vegan, alcohol free wine made with red grapes and exotic spices.

Organic Vinters has a selection some of the best certified organic wines from around the world. Their wines are made from 100% certified organic grapes, grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides, and all but one are vegan. Their offerings include Pircas Negras Torrontes and Nuevo Mundo Reserva Cabernet/Malbec.

MyWinesDirect.com is offering 10 percent off all of their wines, simply use the coupon code GREEN when checking out.

Whether Red, white or bubbly, eco-friendly wines are delicious and affordable.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Best Green and Sustainable Business Twitter Feeds

Twitter is one of the leading social media platforms, it is also a great way to follow a wide array of green feeds. Here are some of the best Twitter feeds for sustainable business and green news.

: A comprehensive sustainable business resource containing a wide range of articles and information.

: This Twitter feed includes environmental information and resources for companies and business professionals to go green and reduce their impact on the environment.

: A feed that explores green business, sustainability, low carbon and energy business industry news updates.

: This sustainable business feed contains green business news, green jobs, green investing and networking information.

: A directory for businesses with visibility into their sustainable and green practices. This feed explores what individual businesses, organizations and employers are doing to be green and sustainable.

: Feed concerning sustainable business designed to educate business leaders about sustainability.

ReutersGreenBusiness: This is a Twitter feed that keeps readers current with all the newest trends and ideas related to eco-friendly business practices.

Steve Momorella: A green business news feed that is focused on stories regarding alternative energy.

TheDailyGreen.com: This Twitter feed about eco-friendly products is dedicated to helping consumers to make green buying decisions.

Earth2Tech: Tweets revolve mainly around the cleantech industry and the people and businesses that keep it propelling ever forward.

Green Energy News: All the latest developments within the renewable energy industry. renewable energy. This group addresses sources of clean, reliable and safe sources of energy.

usgbc: The official Twitter feed of The United States Green Building Council. It contains a wealth of information on green building and compliance with specific green standards.

U.S. EPA: America’s official environmental agency feed, this federal government agency's tweet concern their role in protecting human health and the environment.

ecomagination: GE’s green Twitter feed contains the latest news on the company's sustainable initiatives.

SmartPlanet: Sponsored by IBM, the SmartPlanet Twitter feed covers general green news stories focusing on the technical and scientific.

Sierra Club: This wildlife protection charity has been active for over one hundred years, this feed discusses both environmental headlines and their own activities.

World Wildlife Fund: One of world's largest and most well-respected conservation organizations, the World Wildlife Fund keeps its Twitter followers updated regularly on its causes and research.

Nature Conservancy: This Twitter feed addresses a range of conservation issues and other concerns that directly impact upon nature.

National Wildlife: On this feed, National Wildlife Federation members tweet about the organization’s conservation efforts in addition to relevant articles on current events.

NatureNews: This is a nature focused feed, it is a scientific journal that offers daily links to some excellent green and conservation articles.

Ecological Society: This feed updates readers on the latest research and headlines concerning the health and safety of planet Earth.

Greenpeace: The official Twitter feed of this organization covers the latest stories and issues of planetary health of the planetary health including the earths ecosystems and wildlife.

GreenChange: This feed is intended for environmental activists, their content promotes “peace, justice [and] democracy” alongside eco-friendly initiatives.

WiserEarth: Peggy Duvette’s tweets are for social media enthusiasts who come together in the interest of saving the planet.

ENN News: This feed tweets headlines and links to its green news stories including sustainability and political issues.

Digg Environment: Environmental stories from Digg’s user-generated news aggregator. It includes everything from nature to green tech.

Green Meme: This feed is a green news aggregator that compiles headlines from all over the internet.

Iconic88: This news aggregator pieces together stories from across the web and offers a diverse selection of perspectives.

Yahoo! Green: Tweets about the latest news stories on climate, nature and sustainability.

Guardian Environment: The Guardian’s latest headlines on environmental news and views from around the world.

Green: This feed is from the green section of the New York Times.

The Climate Desk: A wide array of journalists address new findings and trends regarding climate change.

HuffPost Green: This Twitter feed includes environmental news and lifestyle. It is updated throughout the day.

PlanetGreen.com: Advice about living an environmentally-friendly lifestyle as well as timely news on the latest relevant issues.

sustainablog: This microblog is dedicated to news, views and research regarding how to live a sustainable lifestyle.

quippd Environment: Read links and retweets to the latest news on green lifestyles, politics, sciences and more.

TreeHugger.com: The official Twitter feed of TreeHugger.com. The site has a diverse array of reader friendly green content and discussions on environmental topics.

Grist.com: Unique environmental reporting, providing visitors with discussions in addition to news stories.

Green Forum: This feed is intended for discussions on the latest news and views from around the green community.

ecosalon: A feed that includes a green forum for discussing the latest news and events regarding green initiatives.

Preston: A design-oriented site for sustainable homes, natural materials, and green technology. This feed facilitates conversations and alerts readers regarding new blog posts on serious environmental topics.

Wendy Koch: USA TODAY reporter Wendy Koch moderates the Green House community, which follows green living, environmental issues, green home building and sustainable communities. Koch tweets the latest environmental headlines and major green news stories.

Steffany Boldrini: This feed contains informative videos review all the newest green products on the market in order to help consumers know what to buy and what to avoid.

Terrence Murray: Tweets about viable, green energy sources.

Karl Burkart: This Twitter feed discusses environmental and technology news.

Hank Green: A Twitter feed for gadget junkies that marries technology and the environment.


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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Most Important Green Business Stories of 2010

On December 21, Bloomberg Business published Harvard Review's most important stories affecting the greening of business in 2010. Here is a rough summary of the review.

US Politicians Fail to Pass Climate Legislation

The US Senate's failure to pass climate change legislation impedes global efforts to address climate change and undermines the competitiveness of American companies. The Republicans midterm election victory in the House of Representatives have definitively killed any hope of US climate legislation for at least two years. While the American legislature dithers, governments in the rest of the world are helping businesses to make the transition to a low carbon economy.

China

China has assumed a leadership role in renewable energy. China is now the world's largest solar producer and they now control almost half of the $45 billion global market for wind turbines. While China's support for its renewables companies may violate the WTO accord, there can be no doubt that China is investing massively in the low carbon economy through technology and innovation driven development that focuses on energy saving, environmental protection, and the low-carbon economy.

Declining Resource Availability

Climate change is impacting on countries around the world and this is directly effecting the availability of resources. Russia had the worst drought in 1,000 years and Pakistan was inundated by flooding. These weather events directly affect resource availability. The drought in Russia destroyed 40% of its wheat crop, pulling 1/6 of the world's trade in the crop off the global market, driving up wheat prices. The floods in Pakistan helped double the price of cotton. There is also evidence that rare earth metals, so vital to green technologies, may soon be in short supply.

The Growth of Electric Vehicles

A number of electric vehicles are now available in America and around the world. The Nissan LEAF and the Chevrolet Volt are amongst a plethora of electric vehicles that entered into the marketplace in 2010. An increasing number of companies are greening their fleets. This year GE announced that it would purchase 25,000 Electric vehicles including the Chevy Volt.

The Growth of Renewable Energy

The market for renewables is growing fast, in countries like Portugal almost half (45%) of the countries electricity comes from renewables. HSBC says the market for clean tech and climate change solutions will top $2.2 trillion by 2020.

The Growth of Sustainable Supply Chains

Despite the recession, there were numerous green supply chain announcements in 2010. These announcements include Wal-Mart which said it would eliminate 20 million metric tons of GHG emissions from its supply chain. We also saw major supply chain announcements from companies like IBM, Pepsi, Tropicana, P&G, and Kaiser Permanente.

Corporate Waste Reduction

Many corporations are working hard on waste reduction. GM announced that 62 of its plants now send zero waste to landfill, and UK retailer Marks & Spencer reached a 92% diversion rate on the way to its zero goals. Sony set a goal of zero environmental impact across its operations by 2050.

Sustainable Corporate Goals

Many large corporations are setting aggressive targets. Panasonic said it wanted its GHG emissions to peak by 2018 and it would greatly increase sales of eco-products. Unilever has announced that it would double sales by 2020 while halving its environmental impact the company has also announced other big goals.

The Greening of Small Business

Small companies are also seeing the value of going green. The fact that California's Bowman Design only has 10 employees and just 2,000 square feet of office space in Southern California has not prevented it from reducing the companies GHG emissions by 65% and saving $9,000 savings annually.


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Monday, December 27, 2010

Best Green Automotive Innovations of 2010

The electric and hybrid vehicle market has seen tremendous growth in 2010. According to SBI Energy, over 30 percent of the hybrids being offered in the US have 2010 as their first model year. Here are some of the best green automotive innovations of 2010.

Roads that Charge Electric Cars

A system that charges cars as they drive, also solves the problem of range anxiety. Electric cars are much better for the environment than the combustion engine, but toxic, heavy, and expensive batteries are a major weakness.

Some innovative applications of old ideas are being reborn to power twenty first century vehicles. Streetcars used to derive their power from overhead cables, the next generation of electric vehicle may be powered by the road they drive on.

The world's first commercially available wireless induction charging system was launched in London in 2010. The company is planning to electrify parts of England’s M25 motorway by using magnetic induction. Magnetic induction is a principle that was first discovered in the 1800s. The HaloIPT system will charge electric vehicles via Inductive Power Transfer (IPT). Consumers can purchase a 2 piece system including a power source with charging pad and a pickup pad with controller switch. In this system EVs simply need to be parked or driven over a charging pad and the battery begins charging automatically.

Toyota’s Eco-plastic

Toyota’s Eco-plastic is a simple technology that eliminates the need for petroleum in the manufacturing of plastics. Toyota's eco-plastics are made from the oils derived from non-food-grade plants. When compared with a car finished with petroleum-based plastics, the eco-plastic cut CO2 emissions by 20%. The use of plant-derived plastics (without downgrading the quality and durability) has the potential to have a massive environmental impact, both in the near term and in the future. Toyota's eco-plastics can be found in Toyota Prius and Lexus HS 250h.

GM's HFC Replacement

In July, GM announced what is known as an HFO, a climate-friendly refrigerant to replace HFCs, the super greenhouse gas currently used in auto air conditioning. This technological breakthrough represents a major step forward in the war against climate change because it can replace a significant source of climate change causing emissions.

Mass Production of Greener Cars

Mass production is benefiting the growth of electric and hybrid vehicles. In 2010, GM introduced the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan has launched the Leaf. The fact that these cars are being mass produced may enable them to benefit from economies of scale which reduces the cost of production and makes them competitive with combustion engine powered cars.

New Automotive Business Models

New partnerships and new business models are making it possible for greener cars to penetrate the combustion engine dominated automotive marketplace. These new business models are powering new startups and new partnerships that are enhancing the competitive positioning of greener vehicles.


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Friday, December 24, 2010

Seasons Greetings from The Green Market

To everyone that works on behalf of the environment, thanks for all you do to help make this world a greener place. To the business owners and entrepreneurs who have invested time and money in environmental concerns, thank you for showing leadership that will not only enhance your bottom line, but will help to make this world more sustainable. Above all thank you for giving to future generations.

In the spirit of the holiday we want to thank the thousands of people who made 2010 such a fantastic year for The Green Market. We also want to thank you for contributing to the growth of The Green Market and we look forward to your ongoing support.

The ending of one year and the beginning of another is a natural time to take stock of all that was accomplished in the past 12 months. It is also a time to hope for the New Year. Looking back during this holiday season, we've come to realize that this past year has been nothing short of amazing. We can hardly believe how much has happened in 2010.

We’ve come along way in the last 12 months and couldn't have done it without your support. We are pleased with the many issues we have addressed this year and we're excited about the important issues we will cover in 2011. We have big plans for 2011 and we look forward to sharing it all with you.

We are truly grateful for your encouragement and support.

Wishing you a Happy Holiday and a Prosperous New Year

Warm regards,
Richard Matthews

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Green Gifts for the Holidays

With each passing year, green gifts are getting more popular. People are changing the types of gifts that they are shopping for. This year in particular, studies are showing that as people become more concerned about the environment, they are more interested in eco-friendly gifts.

Green gifts are trendy as people want to be apart of the growing green movement. People buy eco-friendly products because they want to communicate their consideration for the planet through their choice of gifts.

Green gifts need not be more expensive than the other standard manufactured products and they can often cost much less. Some eco-gifts actually save the recipient money.

Businesses are giving eco-friendly promotional gifts during this holiday season as it provides them with the perfect opportunity to establish their brand as one that is eco-friendly. These eco-friendly promotional items are varied, but the message they send resonates widely. Such a message can have a very positive effect on the perception of a company's brand.

A wide variety of eco-gifts are now available, here are eight online portals that specialize in green presents.

WWF

The WWF Adoption Certificates are gifts that help protect animals and conserve habitats. Adoption certificates are available for a wide range of animals including the near extinct or critically endangered Tiger, Sea Turtle, Amur Leopard, Emerald Hummingbird, Przewalski's Horse, Darwin's Fox, White-cheeked Gibbon, Sumatran Rhino, Gorilla, and Mekong Dolphin. Other endangered animals that can be adopted include the Polar Bear. Adoption helps to protect that animal, in the polar bear's case, adoption helps to preserve the rich biodiversity of the Arctic.

NRDC

If you are interested in shopping that is good for the environment, look no further than NRDC's Green Gift collection. It contains more than 40 extraordinary and affordable holiday gifts starting at just $15. Gifts include, Clean Energy Boost help stop the construction of dirty coal-burning power plants in honor of your gift recipient. Leader of the Pack or Den Defender which helps to save America's endangered wolves or polar bear cubs. Queen Bee helps ensure the survival of honeybees. Whale Protector helps to save marine mammals. This gift will make them part of NRDC's efforts to end the inhumane killing of whales for profit. For just $15, Revive a Rainforest plants a tree in a rejuvenated rainforest in Costa Rica.

The Nature Conservancy

The Nature Conservancy has a range of green gifts including, Adopt a Coral Reef, protects the underwater habitat. Consumers can choose from amazing locations like the Bahamas, Papua New Guinea, Palau or the Dominican Republic.

For just $50, consumers can adopt an Acre of rainforest in Costa Rica. Located in remote southwestern Costa Rica, the Osa Peninsula is home to the most significant populations of jaguars, puma, tapirs and scarlet macaws.

Another gift works on the safety and security of broad-tail hummingbirds and other species along their migratory paths. For just $1 per tree, you can also help plant 1 billion trees in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest.

Trees for the Future

Trees are the perfect gift because they replenish the soil, increase crop production, keep groundwater clean and help provide sustainable jobs. Trees are a gift that keeps on giving, they help decrease poverty and improve the environment in the countries where they are planted, while also helping reduce greenhouse gases that affect us all.

Trees for the Future, is offering Tree Planting Certificates which allows donors to have 500 to 5,000 trees planted in honor of a friend, family, or loved one. For as little as $20, donors can have a personalized certificate sent directly to the recipient. Tree Planting Certificates are available in three easy options: $50 plants a “Grove” of 500 trees, $100 plants a “Forest” of 1,000 trees, and $500 plants a “Village” of 5,000 trees. Donors can give other amounts at a rate of 10 cents per tree. For as little as $20, recipients are sent an e-certificate and for gifts $50 and over, donors can send a print certificate. Donors can choose to have trees planted in such countries as Haiti, Ethiopia, Nicaragua or Brazil.

Inhabitat

The Inhabitat Team's, Green Holiday Gift Guide has eco-conscious and ethical presents for everyone. Their eco-friendly, ethical and handcrafted gifts support charitable causes and generally make the world a better place. Gifts include items like the Potus Pot a cute made out of a recycled incandescent bulb, Philips’ 60-watt AmbientLED bulbs, have a lifespan of up to 15-years, and use just 20% of the energy of a conventional 60-watt bulb, Bambu Bamboo Bowls. made from eco-friendly and fast-growing bamboo.

Greenwala

Greenwala calls itself the one stop shop for all your holiday shopping, decorating and food needs. They provide a Last Minute Green Gifts. Their Holiday Shopping Guide includes Top Alternative Green Gifts For The Holidays, Top 10 Lists For Those Last Minute Green Gift Ideas, Gadgets To Help Green Your Holidays ,Holiday Green Gift Guide: Stockings, Digital Media Makes Great Green Gifts, Natural Holiday Gifts for Pets by PETCO.


Green Irene

In the Green Irene Digital Catalog you will find green gifts like Blue Line Power Cost Monitor, Activeion Ionator HOM, Green Irene Enzymatic Clean Starter Kit, Green Irene Soy Candle, Tealights, Eco-Friendly Modeling Dough, Children's Glue, Children's Soy Crayons, Children's Markers, Children's Paint, SodaStream Peguin Soda Maker and Composters.

The Giving Effect

Rather then build up in land fills, or go unused, The Giving Effect helps donors to recycle unwanted gifts. more than 1,000 cause-based organizations registered hoping to connect with new donors this holiday season. Organizations registered on The Giving Effect include The American Cancer Society Discovery Shop, in Napa, California, Baltimore Theatre Project in Maryland, and Pibbles & More Animal Rescue in Queens, New York.

The Giving Effect uses social media to help donors discover and connect with organizations. The goal is to create a national movement to get food, gently-used items, and more to people in need. Donors use The Giving Effect to connect with charities that need pretty much everything you can spare, from clothes, food, books and shoes, to cleaning supplies, cars, fencing and lumber. Each donation on their site becomes a living story that can be shared on Facebook or Twitter to spread the holiday spirit and encourage others to do the same.

To donate simply browse the site by needs, location, and categories to find causes you’d like to connect with. Then, complete a simple form to arrange a pickup, drop off, or shipment. Tax receipts are issued via email when the items are received.

All of these gifts can be purchased online, reducing the need to travel and thus reducing emissions. This holiday season more than ever, people's concerns are being channeled into useful gifts that benefit the environment and all who inhabit it. These creative new approaches to giving are helping to make this world a better place.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Growing Demand for Greener Vehicles

Demand for electric and hybrid cars has risen dramatically in recent years. The steady growth in this market is driven by a wave of new technologies, shifts in global competition and changes in public policy.

We have come to expect green vehicle development from nations like Japan, South Korea, China, Germany and France, but even lesser automotive powers are responding to this growing international demand. Public opinion is getting behind greener vehicles.

Governments and private enterprise are responding to this growing demand. Consistent with public policy initiatives all around the world, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is joining the chorus of countries that see electric and hybrid vehicles as a fundamental part of the move to a low carbon economy. Russian car maker YAROVIT Motors and financial company Onexim Group are making an electric hybrid vehicle called the E-Mobile (or Yo).

Demand for greener vehicles is growing almost everywhere. Even in America, where the public has been brainwashed by Republicans and corporations that are beholden to the old energy economy, acceptance of the new environmental and economic realities is growing. According to a 2010 survey from Ernst & Young, nearly 30 million Americans would consider buying a hybrid or fully electric vehicle. The commercial transportation industry is also getting serious about greener vehicles.

A late-2009 report from Pike Research forecast that hybrid fleet sales would increase from 300,000 in 2009 to nearly 4 million hybrid vehicles by 2015. "Manufacturers are beginning to turn their attention beyond light duty vehicles to the efficiency opportunities for hybrid drive in heavy trucks," Clint Wheelock, a managing director at Pike, said in the report. "For example, in North America nearly 10 percent of buses sold in 2015 will be hybrids."

A new study by California-based J.D. Power and Associates indicates that battery-based vehicles are likely to capture 7.3 percent of the global automotive market. However, J.D. Power researchers say that several factors could radically increase that number. These factors include battery cost reductions, increases in petroleum prices and new government mandates.

In a speech at the Fortune Brainstorm Green 2010 conference, Ford Motor Co. Chairman William Ford outlined some of the key forces influencing the demand for green cars in the US.
Federal subsidies are critical because, as Ford explained, it is "really important that we are competitive as a nation in this really critical technology." Removing subsidies would be a mistake because "that's not what other countries are doing."

China's funding of green automotive tech makes China a competitive threat. "They all have plans to come over, and we would be absolutely crazy" to underestimate China's affect on the US auto market, Ford said.

To make it easier to adapt to changing demand, Ford is developing common platforms using existing car models.

Due to increasing global urbanization automotive companies may consider alternatives to traditional ownership and leasing arrangements and provide "mobility as service," such as car sharing programs.

However, there are limits to the number of battery powered electric vehicles that can be manufactured. Lithium is a key ingredient in advanced batteries. The future demand for lithium is expected to outpace supply. Companies like BYD are already looking for new sources of lithium. According to a European Commission study of raw materials for high technology goods, if drivers continue opting for battery powered electric cars, by 2050 the supply will not be able to keep up with the demand.

To achieve real market penetration greener vehicles must appeal to consumers through features, functionality and price. Creative innovation in both business models and technology, will drive demand in the greener car market.


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GM Breakthrough Reduces Emissions
Toyota and Tesla Making Electric Sedan
Toyota's Greener Vehicles
Honda's CR-Z and Second Generation Hybrids
Honda's Greener Vehicles
GM's Greener Vehicles
Ford's Greener Vehicles
Korean (Hyundai & Kia) Greener Cars
Nissan's Greener Vehicles
Jaguar XJ: A Greener Luxury Car
E-Range: World's First Fully Electric 4x4
The FIAT 500 is Coming to America
The Winners of the UK's What Car? Green Awards 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Value of Electric Vehicle Subsidies

Electric Vehicle (EV) subsidies are short term means of accelerating the introduction of low emission vehicles so that they can benefit from economies of scale. Direct subsidies or EV tax credits can be phased out when the technology is a bit more mature and volume production is lowering prices.

According to a poll by Ernst & Young, thirty-four percent of US respondents said they would be willing to subsidize charging stations for hybrid and electric cars.

Governments around the world are subsidizing EV development. In Ireland, the Government wants to see 10% of vehicles running on electric power by 2020. To support the increase in EVs, the Green Party minister for Energy, has announced a scheme to deploy 1,500 electrical recharging stations.

In a bid make Britain "the European capital for electric cars," the then UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown pledged £100 million in government money to support greener cars including electric and hybrid vehicles. In July 2010, the UK also announced it would subsidize buyers up to 25% or £5000 for EVs starting in January 2011.

As of June 2009, consumers in Japan who purchased an electric vehicle can receive subsidies for as much as one third of the car's cost. EVs and hybrids, are also exempt from taxes for three years in Japan.

Critics tend to exaggerate the cost of EV subsidies without considering the advantages. It is absurd that the oil, coal, and gas industries that are responsible for global warming get vastly more public funds than zero emission electric cars.

Although it makes sense to clean up the power grid, even when charged with electricity that partly comes from coal plants, EVs are still cleaner than internal combustion engine cars.

Subsidies for electric vehicles are needed, says auto industry analyst George Magliano, of IHS Global Insight. Acceptance of electric cars "will not occur without some sort of incentives, unless the price of the technology changes," he says. "People who are buying them today are basically people that want to make a statement. And without the push from the government, this is a difficult sell."

"Our own expectation is the costs will come down as we go through what engineers [call] 'generations of learning," Mike Robinson, GM's vice president for environment says. "We'll go through that on the battery technology; the motor technology; it will help drive costs down. And if the customer doesn't see value at the end of this, we won't be successful."

Subsidies will help to reduce the price of EVs so that they can penetrate the market and achieve economies of scales. This will also help fund research and development for technological breakthroughs.


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2010 Automotive X Prize and Incentives to Innovate Greener Cars

The X prize competition illustrates how incentives can drive innovation. A car that gets 100.3 MPG and weighs less than 1,000 pounds won the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE award. What is most surprising is the fact that it is not an electric car, but one that is powered by an internal combustion engine. The winning team used a non-electric engine because the current generation of batteries are heavy and costly.

The winning vehicle is known as the Very Light Car #98, it is made of low-cost, recyclable materials, and could potentially go on sale for $20,000. It won the $5 million prize in the “mainstream” category, which required cars to seat four people, run on four wheels and have a driving range of at least 200 miles. However, the Very Light Car car is not emissions free and isn’t equipped with air bags or other standard safety features.

Two battery-powered cars each won $2.5 million in prize money. Li-ion Motors Corp.'s Wave II, delivers 187 MPG and won in the “alternative side-by-side” category. This category included two-seaters where the driver and passenger sit side by side.

A car known as the E-Tracer 79 delivers 205.3 MPG and won in the “alternative tandem class.” In this category two people sit one behind the other. The E-Tracer weighs only 830 pounds and had the best efficiency numbers of all the cars participating in the X Prize competition. It has innovative low mass hub-mounted suspension for its aerodynamically flared four wheels.

Another green car competition is known as Project Eve, it is a Canadian initiative aimed at furthering the production of EV’s and EV components in Canada. A four-passenger car known as the Kestrel was created to compete in Project Eve. One of the car's more interesting innovations includes the use of composite materials that are very light weight yet very strong and safe. More specifically it uses hemp which is a bio-composite material that is low cost, impact resistant, and sustainable.

Meaningful automotive innovations were unleashed by the X prize and Project Eve. It is remarkable how much innovation has been fostered with small incentives, think of how much could be achieved with a stronger network of government incentives.


Related Posts
Growing Demand for Greener Vehicles
The Value of Electric Vehicle Subsidies
GM Funding New EV Company
BMW Investing in EVs
Mercedes-Benz Hybrids and Electric Cars
The Chevrolet Volt Versus the Nissan Leaf
Volt Wins Green Car of the Year
Competition in the 2011 Greener Car Market
Competition in the Green Vehicle Market
EPA's New Mileage Estimates for the Volt and the Leaf
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America's New Car Ratings: Consumer Concerns and Marketing
US Government's New Car Ratings
Improving Battery Technology Key to Greener Cars
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Greening Vehicle Fleets
Germany and the Global Competition for EV Supremacy
Volkswagen's Dirty Automotive Brands
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Electric Vehicles Combat Global Warming
Electric Vehicles Combat Smog
Electric Vehicle Bill Passes Energy Committee
Governments and the Growth of EVs
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Greener Commercial Transport Vehicles
Electric Vehicles Will Drive Demand for Lithium
Electric Vehicle Battery Technology Obstacles and Solutions
American Electric Vehicle Strategy
Beneficiaries of Chinese Government Investment in Electric Vehicles
Chinese Government Investment in Electric Vehicles
Beneficiaries of US Government Investment in Electric Vehicles
Government Investment Fuels Greener Vehicles
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Toyota's Greener Vehicles
Honda's CR-Z and Second Generation Hybrids
Honda's Greener Vehicles
GM's Greener Vehicles
Ford's Greener Vehicles
Korean (Hyundai & Kia) Greener Cars
Nissan's Greener Vehicles
Jaguar XJ: A Greener Luxury Car
E-Range: World's First Fully Electric 4x4
The FIAT 500 is Coming to America
The Winners of the UK's What Car? Green Awards 2010