Archive for June, 2010

Tesla goes public and investors respond

In a clear sign that people are getting behind electric vehicles, an IPO for a proven, but tiny electric car company is taking Wall Street by storm.

Tesla Motors, which to date has produced a snazzy roadster and practical sedan that are both entirely powered by an electric motor, went public this week and the investors responded. In an opening reminiscent of Google’s 2004 IPO, Tesla’s stock price surged 18 percent in the first two days of trading, with shares starting at $17 but trading for $23.89 at day’s end.

From the Washington Post:

The Tesla stock offering “is a good sign that people believe electric vehicles have potential,” said Robbie Diamond, president of the Electrification Coalition.

A sign of the future? We certainly hope so. When investors put their attention (money) on alternative fuels, we all reap the dividends.


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Ford goes green in the seats with soy

Ford's Soy Foam Seat

Ford has decided to explore the world of sustainability by introducing seat foam made of soy in the 2011 edition of the Ford Explorer. The bio-based polyurethane foam bio foam seats not only reduce the use of non-green materials in the vehicle, but Ford says fuel economy will improve by up to 25 percent in the new model.

This news should also make American soy farmers happy. According to Ford, American farmers export more than 50 percent of the soybeans grown in the U.S.

Here’s the press release from Ford.

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2010 GEMs – Pick from six electric models

For by Alan Gell, automotive journalist for

This column is about a very unusual car. It is called the GEM, which stands for Global Electric Motorcars. This company was actually founded in Michigan back in 1992. The guys were former engineers with General Motors, but sold the company, which now is part of Chrysler.

The 2010 GEM continues the innovation that has been underway at Global Electric Motorcars since 1992.

The 2010 GEM continues the innovation that has been underway at Global Electric Motorcars since 1992.

My wife Judy and I have both driven the GEM and it handles well and is fun to drive.

GEM made its first vehicle in 1998 which was an all-electric, 48 volt, two passenger model that could go almost 20 mph. It is almost like an enclosed golf cart. In that same year – 1998 – the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration designated a new classification of motor vehicles called the NEV – Neighborhood Electric Vehicles. These are low-speed cars generally driven at resorts, malls, large building complexes, colleges, shuttle services, and similar places. However, they are allowed to be driven on public roads IF they meet certain safety standards.

These safety standards include having three point safety belts, headlights, windshield wipers, and safety windshield glass. Since most golf carts do not include all of these, they are not considered street legal, but GEM cars come equipped with all of this. The down side – is that the term “street legal” only applies to public roads posted at a speed of 35 mph or less.

GEM cars today usually achieve a speed of 25 mph and have a range of about 30 miles on a single charge. Like a golf cart, they plug into a standard 110 electric outlet and take about six hours to fully recharge. The GEM cars are 100% electric and have zero (0) tailpipe emissions.

GEM cars come in six different models, ranging from a small two seater to a larger pickup-style version. They are very capable with payloads ranging upwards to 1500 pounds. There are a lot of options and accessories available as well.

The good news is that they are very economical to operate. It costs approximately two cents a mile based on current electrical costs. The base model begins at just $8392 and the higher end models are slightly higher than $10,000.

I have taken several test drives in GEM cars and I like them. They are not designed for long trips and over-the-road driving. But for short-distance transportation over low-speed roads, they are great. They are capable and convenient and ideal for many everyday situations.

Check out the GEM cars yourself by contacting a Chrysler dealership or checking on the internet at

Editor’s note: For a look at how NEVs like the GEM cars, as well as other vehicles rated MSEVs (Medium Speed Electric Vehicles), could potentially travel from coast-to-coast see

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