In all the hubbub about Germany’s new feed-in tariff (FIT) law, you may have missed an unusual announcement coming out of Germany. One of the “big four” utilities here, RWE, has committed 170€ million over three years for distributed solar, small wind, and CHP. With a goal of 1 GW solar for this year, they already have 200 MW in signed contracts. And this just a few
As hybrid cars are becoming more and more popular, most of the major car manufacturers are focusing on the development of pure electric vehicles (EVs). Up until recently, electric cars were impractically slow and short-ranged, but new technical developments allow them to better serve consumer needs. On August 2nd, the Renault-Nissan Alliance announced their new electric car called Leaf, which is due to be launched in 2010. Leaf has a range of 100 miles (160 km) and seats five adults. Tesla Motors will offer its Model S, also a five-seater, with a range of 300 miles starting in 2011.
The advantages of having lower operational costs and being more environmentally friendly are overshadowed by three major concerns; the range of the car, its price and the availability of charging stations. The range of an EV is related to technological developments in battery research and motor efficiency, and with further development in these areas the prices for EVs will drop significantly. Availability of charging stations, though, is an infrastructure issue which could be addressed when national targets are discussed.