Saturday, July 13, 2013

I Heart Tesla

I landed in Portland, OR, for work related market research and discovered the Washington Square Mall in Tigard, OR, had a Tesla retail store. They are certainly popular and not new, but new to me since they haven't arrived in Ohio (closest is Chicago). I can honestly say I felt like a kid in a candy store.

Two beautiful cars (Model S, 60 to 85 kwh battery option, ~$68,000 to $72,000 after the $7,500 federal tax credit, with a 265 to 300 mile full range all electric). Now I've seen them before, studied their technology, followed their company every single day, but having the opportunity to touch the wheel and play with the buttons was so fun! 

I can honestly have a healthy debate when it comes to EV technology, dependence on foreign oil, power plants needing "clean coal"; however, I did learn three surprising facts:

1) Reservation fees have now decreased by 50%. Before your fee to reserve the car for production was $5,000 and expect a waiting period of 12-months. Now, it is only $2,500 and you only have to wait 5-8 weeks for your model to arrive to your home/work. (Note: Nissan has a $99 reservation fee for the LEAF). Tesla is still expensive for the average consumer; but that is not their target audience...yet.

2) The next generation of models will be both a sedan and a crossover. I knew about this potential buzz, but the difficulty has been on the technology side of offering a smaller battery while still providing a 200-mile charge. This is why the previous models are not for everyone. The early adopters have the cash to purchase high end tech toys. As the technology glitches are fixed, then those learnings are applied to more everyday products (such as heating elements, battery life, battery swaps, self-driving elements and more).

3) Hyerloop is the super bullet train on the horizon. Our thirst for more speed, innovation, and efficiency will not end. We see this year after year with the X Prize Foundation, SpaceX, and Boeing. Each continue to strive for advancements. More specifically, the Hyerloop concept (Elon Musk wants to adopt) is derived from using the banking tube technology. The proposal is to build a train that allows us to travel from LA to NY in one hour using the tube technology of how documents are sent by banks and hospitals. 

We have an exciting future ahead of us. One that just keeps on expanding...


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Gandering Near the London Array

As the Americans often say, "bigger is better"; however, I like the conservative, quiet nature of the British who legally can claim they have the largest offshore wind farm. It is 12 miles (20 kilometers) located in the Thames Estuary of the UK. It is really massive! Phase 1 included 175 wind turbines which outputted 630 MW of capacity, which is enough to power 1 million residential properties. Additionally, many probably do not realize that was functional back in October 2012, but now the gears and blades are fully operational for 2013. As the U.S. celebrates the 4th of July weekend (America's birthday), the UK formally inaugurated the London Array on July 4th, 2013! Note: Ownership is 50% DONG Energy, 30% UK Renewables and 20% Masdar. Turbines supplied by Siemens Wind Power (Source: Wikipedia)

Friday, January 25, 2013

Dream School

Solar panels and school yard chickens is at the heart of a net positive learning campus. This isn't necessarily a new trend, but a modern day concept we will start to see unfold in 2013 and beyond. For example, in Seattle the Bulitt Center will open on Earth Day, and will claim to be the greenest office on our planet by meeting the requirements of the Living Building Challenge. A net-zero energy public school will open up in New York City in 2014. Lastly, in the southwest side of Chicago, the Academy for Global Citizenship (AGC) is building a net positive campus.

One by one these learning centers and buildings are transforming our lifestyles, working environments, and commuting routes. It is not uncommon to see edible gardens, zero waste cafeterias, composting, sorting hubs and more. We have become such waste producers and that is gratifying to see change agents in our community working to foster true urban agriculture and collaboration. For once, we start to see kids actually wanting to go to school (and not staying home to avoid the bullies) and adults actually looking forward to their work day.

Just watch this student explain the life cycle of a peach. This is great, green learning at the ultimate Dream School.