Elon Musk is a man of vision. As CEO and CTO of SpaceX, founder of SolarCity and CEO and chief product architect of Tesla Motors, he has launched technology, exploration and transportation into the stratosphere. His latest plans for a massive TESLA factory that would revamp the global supply chain for lithium-ion batteries and then sharply reduce their cost, is equally ambitious, but he still does not have an official location for this Gigafactory.
California was not even on the radar, as rumor had it the Reno, Nevada area was the frontrunner to land this factory that promises to employ up to 6,500 people – in fact, excavation of a proposed site has already been completed. Arizona, New Mexico and Texas were also frontrunners in the event negotiations.
But suddenly California is making the charge to woo Tesla Motors. According to the Los Angeles Times, California lawmakers would exempt Tesla, Panasonic and other potential partners from some of the state’s environmental regulations in order to move the Gigafactory forward. Democrats and Republicans are working with Gov. Jerry Brown’s office to pass legislation that would reduce the factory’s cost by as much as 10 percent.
Key to the Gigafactory establishing roots in California would be a rollback of some of the regulations that comprise the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Revered by environmentalists as much as it is reviled by business groups, CEQA, signed into law by Gov. Ronald Reagan more than 40 years ago, has produced a massive body of environmental regulations that would overwhelm even the most seasoned environmental or business lawyer.
What do you think? Would you welcome a Tesla Factory in your State? Community? Let us know your thoughts.
Fast Company posted this article about the five greenest countries on earth, ranking the environmental friendliness of the world’s nations. Did you know that on our green businesses directory you can search for and add green businesses around the globe, as well as events. This article originally appeared on Fast Company’s website.
Want to live in a beautiful nation that protects your health? It turns out Switzerland is your best bet (the chocolate is also good).
Switzerland does a good job managing the environment and protecting human health. The United States does it middlingly well. And Somalia, Haiti, and Afghanistan–as you might expect–not so great. They are some of the worst performers in a new ranking of environmental performance.
The Environmental Performance Index (EPI) assesses countries for how well they protect people from environmental harm and how well they protect ecosystems from human encroachment. It crunches data for nine categories–from air quality to forest and marine health–using 20 indicators in all.
After Switzerland in top place comes Luxembourg, Australia, Singapore, and the Czech Republic. In sixth place, Germany is the first major economy, with the U.K. in 12th. Eighteen of the top 20 countries are in Europe, with Canada in 24th, Japan in 26th, and the U.S. in 33rd. Continue reading…
It makes sense that a company called General Electric would be bullish on cars with cords. But even by that standard the company is diving into the deep end, with what it says will be the biggest order ever placed for electric vehicles.
Of course, almost any order would be the biggest order, but CEO Jeffrey Immelt isn’t screwing around. Speaking in London yesterday, he said GE will order “tens of thousands” of electric vehicles in about a week, a move that is sure to jump-start the nascent EV market as automakers like Nissan and General Motors bring the cars to showrooms later this year.
The plan makes sense for several reasons.
First and foremost, General Electric builds the equipment that provides one-third of the world’s electricity, so of course it will do everything possible to promote the technology. GE is moving quickly into the EV space, building charging stations and working with A123 Systems to develop batteries. According to Bloomberg, Immelt says about half of the company’s sales force of 45,000 employees will drive electric vehicles. That will go a long way toward raising public awareness of the technology. And don’t forget that GE Capital has a vehicle-leasing division.
“GE has been one of the biggest players in this game and certainly has a lot to gain from the electric vehicle,” Brett Smith, a vehicle technology analyst at the Center for Automotive Research, told Bloomberg. “They’ve really truly tried to push this hard to get things going, and it seems to be a core corporate value.”
Immelt didn’t specify a timeline for when the purchases would be made, nor did he identify which manufacturer(s) would receive the order. Smith told Bloomberg an order of that size would be filled by several companies. But our money is on Renault-Nissan getting the bulk of it.
GE and Better Place recently announced a “technology and financing partnership” to develop public charging infrastructure and accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles, especially by corporate fleets. Better Place, a Silicon Valley startup founded by Shai Agassi, plans to roll out charging infrastructure and battery-swap stations in Israel and elsewhere — and Renault is its partner in that endeavor.
Better Place and Renault signed a deal last year to put 100,000 EVs on the road in Israel and Denmark by 2016. Better Place also has been using converted Nissan Rogues to show off its battery-swap technology in Tokyo.
It’s worth noting that GE’s partnership with Better Place includes a plan to develop a mechanism for financing batteries — beginning with a pilot program to finance 10,000 batteries in Israel and Denmark. Who’s currently building the only car with a swappable battery? You guessed it — Renault. That car, the Fluence Z.E., is being tested in Israel.
General Electric and Nissan also are working together to develop so-called “smart charging.”
What’s more, Renault-Nissan is, at this point, the only company that looks like it could have the capacity to fill GE’s order. Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn has made it clear he believes electrics are the future, and he is positioning the two automakers to lead the market.
Renault has at least three EVs in the works, and Ghosn has said it will have the capacity to build 200,000 EVs annually by 2015. Nissan’s Leaf arrives at the end of this year and will be followed by an electric Infiniti in 2013. Nissan says it has the capacity to build 50,000 Leafs worldwide next year and will increase that to 500,000 worldwide by the end of 2013.
This is all speculation, and there’s nothing to suggest GE won’t be buying some Chevrolet Volts or Ford Transit Connect Electric delivery vans or perhaps even some Codas or Teslas. But it looks like there are going to be a lot of electric Nissans and Renaults in GE parking lots before long.
And no matter how it works out, it’ll be an interesting play to watch.
Photo: Renault. The Renault Fluence Z.E. rolls in Paris.
The 2nd annual green startup competition recognizes twenty-five of the most innovative eco-startups. This year’s winner will receive BBMG’s $25,000 Brand Innovation Charette, and a $1,000 shopping spree at Office Depot.
OG25 Innovative Green Startup finalists will be showcased at this year’s Opportunity Green conference, September 23rd – 24th at Los Angeles Center Studios.
Mobile voting will be provided by MobileGive, whose innovative texting solutions are being utilized again this year.
Starting today, you can take part in history by placing your order for the 2011 Chevrolet Volt. This moment is the culmination of several years of around-the-clock, steadfast work and I know I speak for the entire Volt team when I say we couldn’t be more excited!
For those of you looking to be among the first to own a Volt, simply locate and contact a participating Chevrolet dealer in Volt launch markets at GetMyVolt.com. Once your order is placed, a Volt customer advisor will contact you to answer questions and keep you updated on the progress of your order.
We’ve also pulled together a team of Volt advisors who, beginning today, will be available at 1-888-VOLT4YOU (1-888-865-8496) to answer general questions. The Volt will initially be available to customers in California, New York, Washington, D.C., Texas, Michigan Connecticut and New Jersey, but will be available nationwide in about 12-18 months from start of production this winter.
As far as the price, the Volt’s official MSRP is $41,000 – or $33,500 (including DFC) after the $7,500 U.S. Federal income tax credit. We are so confident in the resale value of the Volt, we will also offer a lease program with monthly payments as low as $350 (based on a 36-month term lease and $2,500 down), which also includes a lease-to-buy option.
Why are we so confident?
The Volt is an electric vehicle that gives you the freedom to drive wherever you want, whenever you want. With the Volt’s extended-range capability, you can drive electrically up to 340 miles on a full battery and tank of gas, with up to the first 40 miles powered by electricity from the grid. Plus, the Volt is an electric vehicle for all climates and seasons, comfortable in the freezing temperatures of the Northeast to the scorching temperatures of the deserts out West – we know, we’ve tested the Volt extensively in these conditions.
Plus, the Volt comes standard with an unprecedented battery warranty – eight years or 100,000 miles on all 161 battery components, the thermal management system, charging system and electric drive components. It will also be the first Chevrolet vehicle to offer, at no additional cost, five years of OnStar Directions and Connections service, which includes automatic crash response, stolen vehicle assistance and connected navigation.
And speaking of OnStar, the Volt gives you an unprecedented level of connectivity with the Chevrolet Connect mobile app by OnStar. This Volt mobile and web-based app will allow you to set the charge time, start your Volt, track mileage, unlock the doors and much more from your smart phone and even your home computer.
In fact, the personalized and connected ownership experience is just getting into full swing when you take delivery of your Volt because we’re creating a website designed specifically for Volt owners to collect diagnostic information as well as track and share your vehicle’s performance.
I could go on and on all day about all the benefits and premium features the Volt has to offer, such as screen-based navigation, an energy-efficient Bose premium sound system, Bluetooth for phone with phone book access and more, but then I would be keeping you from locating your dealer and placing your order. You can find more info at GetMyVolt.com.
It’s been a remarkable journey, and we’re confident you’ll be delighted with the outcome when you receive your Volt. The future is electric – we hope you’ll join us for the ride.
And make sure to join me here on Voltage later today for a video webchat from the show floor of Plug-In 2010 where Volt vehicle line director Tony Posawatz and I will answer your questions live at 4 p.m. EDT/1 p.m. PDT.