Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Next EV launch – Chevy Spark

Another new EV has been officially launched and is scheduled to show up at showrooms in California and Oregon next summer: the Chevy SparkEV.

Now the Spark is no Tesla – and I haven’t seen any reviews yet – but the launch of a new moderately priced EV by General Motors is surely a good sign for the future.

Good News: The Spark is equipped for fast charging, so the battery can get an 80% charge in 20 minutes at specially-equipped charging stations.

Bad News: The Spark has the new SAE Combo fast charging connection, so there are now officially two different, distinct, incompatible fast charging systems in the U.S.

I really don’t know how we got into a VHS vs. Betamax situation, which seems to me like an unnecessary, self-inflicted handicap at this stage of EV development, but I hope we can figure out a way to work through it.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Ewing NJ Town Center plan gets some press

It was good to see the developing Town Center redevelopment plan for Ewing, New Jersey get a good story in the Trenton Times.  This is a real cutting-edge project that will tie together a relocated commuter rail station, a relocated airport terminal, and potential new rapid transit links at a new high-quality, mixed-use Town Center in a brownfield redevelopment zone in an inner-ring suburb at the heart of the Northeast Mega-region.  Hard to top that!

(I am involved in a related project – more about that at a later time.)

This story broke at about the same time that the Trenton-Ewing-Princeton triangle was ranked 4th in the Top 50 Mid-Sized Cities list for jobs and economic development by Area Development magazine (see story in TheAtlantic Cities).

 A lot of exciting possibilities ahead!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

It’s Global Warming! (Sandy’s Silver Lining?)

Bloomberg Businessweek’s cover put it bluntly: “It’s GlobalWarming, Stupid!”  So the silver lining of Hurricane (or post-tropical whatever) Sandy may be that increased attention will be paid to (1) the real and urgent dangers of climate change and (2) the overall substandard status of America’s infrastructure, including transportation.

I had suggested a while back that we might be only a few more natural disasters away from the public demanding that transportation planners come up with solutions to these threats.  I think Sandy put us a step closer.

Bloomberg Businessweek’s assessment, by the way, was right on target.

On the response to climate change: “In truth, what’s lacking in America’s approach to climate change is not the resources to act but the political will to do so.”

On infrastructure: “The U.S. has allowed transportation and other infrastructure to grow obsolete and deteriorate, which poses a threat not just to public safety but also to the nation’s economic health.”

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Tesla Model S is Motor Trend Car of the Year!

Elon Musk and his Tesla electric cars continue to make big-time news, now winning the coveted Motor Trend car of the year award.
Two things are important here:  First, as MT’s subhead on their story said, this is “Proof Positive that America Can Still Make (Great) Things”.  Second, the magazine’s reporting underscores that electric vehicles can be powerful, fast, exciting, well-handling, fun-to-drive cars.  There is nothing wimpy in this technology.
Now, as I said in my earlier comments on the Tesla, most of us may not be able to afford this gem, but it is heartening that this state-of-the-art, climate-friendly, 21st century technology is being built and delivered right now in this country.