Chevy Volt

Quarterly Wrap-up

Cleantech 2013: smart meters, solar, and the current investment climate

In some cleantech sectors we’re nearing the end of painful times, but 2013 will still be a challenging year. VC funding remains tight, solar is seeing further consolidation, and the production tax credit for wind and power will likely expire. The thrust of investing will move toward companies serving unsubsidized markets where software plays a role in reducing power consumption. In many ways this is a return to plays for energy efficiency. And companies like Tesla, Opower, SolarCity, and Calxeda have the potential to show that there is still money to be made from business models built around saving energy.

Quarterly Wrap-up

Green IT Q4: solar, subsidies and the outlook for EVs

The fourth quarter also saw a first glimpse of how well the electric vehicle (EV) market is doing. So far it’s pretty tepid, with Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt sales figures coming in below expectations. Though the table is set for two big rollouts this year — Tesla’s luxury Model S sedan and the long-delayed Fisker Karma — EVs remain expensive, particularly for the mass-market EVs like the Leaf. It will be worth watching to see if the luxury sedans find a market with a wealthier audience.


Green IT 2012: looking for bright spots amid the clouds

As we look toward the next year, the cleantech sector faces many challenges, which we examine in detail in this 2012 outlook. Renewable energy generators encounter an increasingly difficult subsidy environment, and key cleantech innovations like electric vehicles face an uphill climb in terms of connecting with a larger market. The effort to build cleaner data centers continues. Meanwhile, low-power chips will get a shot at creating further energy savings at the server level. There remains, however, something of a silver lining, with companies like Nest poised to innovate in the home energy management space and Silver Spring Network’s potentially successful IPO offering a shot in the arm for the smart grid. Additional companies mentioned in this report include ARM, Calxeda, Getaround and Solyndra. For a full list of companies, and to read the full report, sign up for a free trial.

GM won’t meet its Chevy Volt 2011 sales goal

Whether you like the Chevy Volt or not, if you are a supporter of electric cars, you should be disheartened by the news that the Volt won’t meet its 2011 sales goal after all. Not hitting the goal will have a greater impact beyond GM.


Mobile apps: the next gateway to greater efficiency

Cleantech, meet mobile. The intersection between these two industries has grown over the past twelve months as companies increasingly look to use smartphones as a platform to enable their services. This trend will accelerate in the future as more and more companies realize that mobile phones and tablets can be a gateway to enabling their products and save them from the R&D costs involved in developing their own hardware dashboards. The companies that make mobile applications that seamlessly integrate and give users a feeling, both of control and of helping conserve resources, stand to dominate.

Electric car startup Coda to buy battery management tech

One of the big hurdles in engineering electric cars is to figure out how to effectively monitor and control the battery systems. For Coda, that means buying EnergyCS to beef up its battery management system development and expand into the grid energy storage market.

Fisker to use BMW engine for second electric car

Fisker Automotive, which finally began delivering its first plug-in electric hybrid car this summer, has begun promoting its second model in earnest as well. The company announced Thursday that its next car, dubbed “Project Nina,” will come with engines and other parts by BMW.

Why Obama’s electric vehicle goal will be hard to reach

We’ve heard of bullish forecasts for electric cars, but we also have seen reports about the coming of an oversupply of lithium-ion batteries. Managing the supply and demand can be tough for any industry, but it might be extra difficult for the new, electric car market.

Fallbrook Pulls IPO, Still Revving for China

The blockbuster IPO by Tesla Motors revved up the public profile of electric cars over the past year. But Fallbrook Technologies, which makes transmission systems for bikes and EVs, pulled its $50 million IPO plan because of “unfavorable market conditions.”

Google Links With DOE for Electric Car Charging Maps

The federal government, which is one of the biggest boosters of electric cars, announced two initiatives on Tuesday: a Google Map project featuring charging stations nationwide, and $5 million in funding for cities to come up with plans to popularize electric cars.

Tesla to Become the 4th American Automaker… Really?

Are we underestimating the electric car market? A bullish outlook from Morgan Stanley and President Obama’s energy speech apparently have raised that question, even though neither has made a good case for the answer to be “yes.”

DOE: How to Get to 1M Electric Cars by 2015

The U.S. Department of Energy issued a report Tuesday that outlines how President Obama will achieve his goal of seeing 1 million electric cars on the road by 2015. The answer: combine the stimulus funding, with fuel economy standards, and more incentives.

VIDEO: The Super Bowl Chevy Volt Ad!

In case you missed the Super Bowl game last night, GM debuted another Chevy Volt ad focused on historical innovations. Instead of the “more car than electric” tagline, GM went with a simpler approach, highlighting how important the Volt technology will be for transportation.

GM and LG Chem Turn to Argonne Lab for Battery Tech

GM and LG Chem are licensing a broad suite of patents from Argonne National Laboratory to develop lithium-ion battery cells and packs for next-generation electric cars. LG Chem will use the IP to make cells in Michigan starting next year.

Consumers Might Not Want Electric Cars All That Much

New flash: Consumers aren’t so quick to embrace electric cars. After creating a flurry of news reports and test drive videos to get the word out, the carmakers, media and the government haven’t convinced the masses that alternative-fuel cars are the more environmental-friendly choice.

GM, ABB Seek Chevy Volt Battery Afterlife in Grid

The green car battery recycling bandwagon just got a bit more crowded. General Motors and Swiss grid giant ABB announced that the two companies will jointly research ways to reuse old batteries from GM’s Chevy Volt hybrid for storing power on the grid.

GM Leans on OnStar, Looks to Social Networks

General Motors’ OnStar subsidiary is going in for a giant swing at boosting the automaker’s image as an innovator. GM announced that it is “relaunching” the OnStar brand is now putting the system center stage in a massive new marketing push.

GM IPO: 12 Green Things to Know from the S-1

General Motors’ long-awaited S-1 filing spotlights work on the Chevy Volt, OnStar communication system and Google partnership as evidence of GM’s commitment to next-generation technologies. Here’s 12 things to know from the S-1 related to greener vehicles and Car 2.0:.

GM Files for IPO: Good-bye, "Government Motors"?

General Motors filed today for an IPO in which the government will begin to shrink its stake in the company. GM’s filing spotlights its work on the Chevy Volt and Google deal as signs of commitment to launching competitive new technologies.

What GM & Tesla's IPOs Say About Innovation & Expectations

Tesla’s IPO was all about expectations and innovations from a Silicon Valley startup that fancies itself a technology developer on the scale of Apple or Google. GM’s IPO will be about overcoming its recently-tumultous and century-old past, and about delivering as a manufacturing company.

ALTe: Former Tesla Team Eyes Old Company Cars

ALTe, a startup founded by former Tesla Motors executives and managers, takes the goal of converting vehicle fleets to run on electricity literally. The company aims to take used models and give them new guts to run as extended range electric vehicles.

How to Get First in Line for GM's $41K Chevy Volt

GM announced today that the plug-in Chevy Volt will have a base price of $41,000, before federal and state incentives, and an aggressive lease offer that’s competitive with Nissan’s upcoming electric LEAF. Here’s the scoop on what the ordering process will entail.

Honda Plug-ins in the Pipeline for 2012

Honda Motor Co. plans to start selling a pair of plug-in vehicles in 2012, including a “mid-size to larger” plug-in hybrid and an all-electric model, the automaker’s president Tkanobu Ito said on Tuesday.

GM Unveils 8-Year Chevy Volt Battery Warranty

General Motors pulled back the curtain today on the warranty for the most expensive piece of its upcoming Chevy Volt: the lithium-ion battery. GM said today it will guarantee the battery for eight years or 100,000 miles, a fair stretch longer than the standard.

Consumer Reports Won’t Recommend the iPhone

Consumer Reports has tested the alleged reception problem on the new iPhone 4 and has confirmed it is indeed a function of the design of the phone’s antenna. The organization is refusing to recommend the iPhone 4 to consumers due to the severity of the problem.

Tesla IPO: What's an Electric Car Maker Worth?

How much is an electric car maker worth? Some of the world’s largest automakers have invested significant sums into plug-in vehicle development efforts, but Tesla’s IPO gives us the first real glimpse of how the market values an electric vehicle business.

Not Just for the Volt: Ford, GM Get Google Maps

Ford and General Motors plan to let drivers send Google Maps directions to their in-vehicle communication systems, Sync and OnStar. The automakers announced the services separately today, as Internet rivalries spill over into the landscape of connected and electric cars.

Why Google's Android Could Rule Connected Cars

In linking with Google Android for a Chevy Volt mobile application, GM has taken an important step to adapt its OnStar service to the specific needs of electric vehicle drivers. Android could eventually take on a much larger role in connected vehicles.

Former Chevy Volt Frontman Bob Lutz on GM's Missteps

Bob Lutz — the GM executive who for years denied climate change, made his name with muscle cars and eventually came to champion the Chevy Volt — said GM’s struggles stemmed partly from B-school syndrome: focusing more on making money than great cars.

GM Links With Google’s Android to Manage the Chevy Volt

Google and GM plan to connect the automaker’s in-vehicle communications system with phones running on Google’s Android operating system, GM announced Tuesday. It all starts with a beefed up app for the Chevy Volt that will use Google tech for location-based services.

GM: First Profit in 3 Years, Chevy Volt in the Wings

General Motors has stepped back from the financial brink, reporting its first quarterly profit Monday since 2007. These earnings suggest progress toward the turnaround GM mapped out in financial viability plans last year, which played up a role for the Chevy Volt.


Finding a Niche in the Electric Vehicle Market

Automakers from Detroit to China to Silicon Valley have plug-in vehicles slated for commercial launch between 2010 and 2012. A lively ecosystem of technology developers, equipment makers and would-be service providers for these vehicles has started to emerge in preparation for an influx of electric cars. But while various types of grid-connected vehicles often get grouped into one potentially juicy opportunity for innovators, one of the keys to success in this space may be understanding the specific needs and opportunities associated with smaller niches in the market for electric mobility.

Spreadsheet Data Entry — iPad 1, Tablet PC Zip

I worked for many years as a consultant, and spent more frustrating time in Excel spreadsheets on a Tablet PC than I care to remember. With Numbers it looks like Apple has beaten Microsoft at its own game, and on the first try with the iPad.

Google Mobile, But Not the Web, Storms the BlackBerry

Google’s Mobile App lands on the BlackBerry Storm and Storm2 today. The voice query supports three languages and searches the web, contacts and emails. But even with apps like these, the BlackBerry platform isn’t really driving the mobile web.

Daily Sprout

Obama Heading to Copenhagen: The White House announced today that President Obama will attend the UN climate talks next month in Copenhagen…

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Time for Contingent Climate Commitments: Should the Obama administration get out ahead of Congress, pledging to set greenhouse gas emission reduction targets…

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New Life for Cadillac Converj?: General Motors’ plans for the Cadillac Converj, a concept for a luxury vehicle using the Voltec drive…

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Missteps in GM’s 230 Campaign: General Motors’ buzzy 230 MPG marketing campaign for the Chevy Volt “was flawed because it was ill-timed,…

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GM to Invest $43M to Build Battery Plant: General Motors said today it will invest $43 million to build a lithium-ion battery…

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GM Seeks Cool Factor for Small Cars: General Motors (s GM) designers have begun to sharpen their focus on more fuel efficient,…

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Shaq Backs Micro Refinery Maker: NBA star Shaquille O’Neal has invested in GreenHouse, maker of portable refinery systems for making fuel at…

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Immelt and Doerr on the Other Crisis: In an editorial today, venture capitalist John Doerr and General Electric (s GE) CEO Jeff…

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The New Saudi Arabia: To replace the tired stock phrase, “the Saudi Arabia of renewable energy,” readers suggest: “the El Dorado of…

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DOE Wants to Be Your Facebook Friend: “The Obama administration really, really doesn’t want the fight over health care to steal attention…

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Uncle Sam vs. Venture Capital Want to get funding from the federal government? Keep in mind that its objectives are different from…


Electric Cars Need Software, Not Just Hardware

In our current period of heightened government influence over the U.S. auto industry — when collapsed sales have helped to awaken Detroit to the imperative of innovation — and in the next several years, as plug-in cars become available on the mass market, there’s an opportunity for companies to focus more on the software that goes into those vehicles, battery packs and charging stations, or to build up this kind of business as part of a larger venture. As a model that’s more directly tied to Silicon Valley’s history and expertise, selling and licensing such software may end up being among the better bets for the next wave of innovators and investors vying for a piece of the nascent green car market.

Daily Sprout

Oh Lutz: Reducing fuel consumption by mandating more fuel-efficient cars “is like attacking obesity by ordering everybody to wear size small clothing,”…

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Lutz on Musk on Letterman: Former GM (s GM) Vice Chairman and Chevy Volt frontman Bob Lutz is scheduled to go on…

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NEA Clears $2B With Latest Fund: New Enterprise Associates, which has backed Bloom Energy, Gridpoint and Serious Materials, has just added another…

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Where’s the Beef, GM?: General Motors outlined a revised viability plan today, including plans to keep development of the Chevy Volt on…

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Nissan Expands Arizona EV Plans: Nissan has promised to supply more than “a couple hundred” highway-legal electric vehicles to the Phoenix area,…

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REC Halves Solar Cell Output: Renewable Energy Corp. plans to cut solar cell and module production in the second quarter by nearly…

With Latitude, Google Fires Another Shot at Mobile Operators

Earlier today, Google unveiled Latitude, a nifty little application for your smartphone (as long as it’s not an iPhone) that lets your friends locate you, and you them, on a map. But Latitude is actually the result of a much bigger battle between Google and the mobile operators, of which location-based services are but one small part.

WiMAX Deployment Needs Pico-Sized Help

When it comes to WiMAX, towers might not be the only deployment option, according to Richard Keith, who leads Motorola’s wireless broadband and strategy. Keith expects that carrier-owned microcells and picocells placed on buildings will be part of WiMAX networks in addition to towers.

Feds Accelerate CAFE

Just in time for Earth Day, the Department of Transportation said it couldn’t wait until 2020 for the increase in the national…

Yahoo Snags TellMe Execs

Updated: The ink on the Microsoft-TellMe Networks deal isn’t even dry, and we are already seeing some key executives leaving the company.…

MSN Desktop Search

OK, I decided to wait until I had a chance to play with it for a day before posting about MSN Desktop…

08/17/2004 Blog Gems

Umair points to an interesting list of Urban Games John Gruber defends Apple’s digital music strategy. As always he is right on…