Midweek matters

July 14, 2010 § Leave a comment

The US President is out and about in Michigan today to mark the start of construction of a $303million battery-making factory. Barack Obama and his staff are promoting the outcomes of the Recovery Act and stimulus packages to encourage greener vehicle development; White House representatives are also visiting facilities including the GM battery-making plant in Brownstown, Maryland and a battery company in North Carolina (Detroit News).

  • Enter the big guns: small start-ups jumped first into the market with their electric vehicle recharging points, but now General Electric has launched its own charging post. Its 240-volt WattStation (pictured) can charge a typical 24kWhr battery in four to eight hours, can be networked in a grid and can incorporate card-reading technology for payments. It goes on sale to local authorities and commercial concerns early next year; a smaller domestic version will be unveiled later this year.
  • Japanese beer-maker Asahi Breweries has developed a bioethanol production process which increases yield by 50%. In partnership with its local National Agricultural Research Centre, Asahi has grown higher-biomass sugar cane which also yields 30% more sugar. More fuel, more beer.
  • There’s going to be a Smart scooter: an all-electric two-wheeler, to be unveiled at the Paris Motor Show in September, reports Autocar. All part of the Mercedes brand’s philosophy of providing a range of clean city commuting solutions, is the story.
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