Environment Forum

from Summit Notebook:

How Leo DiCaprio started a car company

Henrik Fisker, the storied car designer who has shaped Aston Martins, Fords and BMWs, told the Reuters Autos Summit this week that he now wants a starring role in the green revolution.

But he also wants to make the world safe for sports cars for generations to come.

"Being a car enthusiast and loving cars, to be quite honest, I could not imagine a life without a beautiful, fast sports car," Fisker said. "I needed to do something to make sure that I could drive one of those nice cars, my children could drive one of those beautiful, fast cars."

So what was Fisker's inspiration? What was the epiphany when he realized that the world was ready for the upcoming Fisker Karma, a $90,000 plug-in hybrid with 50 miles of all-electric fun?

Leonardo DiCaprio...in a Prius.

"A couple of years ago it started, by people who were maybe a little ahead of their time. You saw some movie starts like Leonardo DiCaprio buying a Prius.

SolarCity envisions California “solar corridor” for green drivers

Electric cars can be smooth, quiet and environmentally friendly. But they still need fuel.

Many have asked — and invested according to their answer — whether that fuel will come from batteries, utility grids, curb-side charging stations or some other technology.

Drivers in California have a new option, if they drive a Tesla electric vehicle. And it’s extra environmentally friendly.

from Entrepreneurial:

What the Tesla founders’ feud can teach entrepreneurs

Tesla Motors Inc. CEO Elon Musk

High-powered electric-car startup Tesla Motors has hit a speed bump with the filing of a lawsuit by former CEO and founder Martin Eberhard.

The libel suit, filed on May 26 in San Mateo County, Calif. Superior Court, alleges current CEO Elon Musk falsely portrayed himself as the founder of the company and orchestrated Eberhard's ouster as original CEO in 2007. In the lengthy 22-page document, Eberhard accuses Musk and Tesla of, among other things, libel, slander, breach of contract, negligence and failure to pay wages. The suit doesn't even refer to Musk as a co-founder, but simply as one of "various investors," who joined the Tesla board in April 2004.

Eberhard's suit claims that from the moment he came on board, Musk "began a campaign to appropriate control of Tesla Motors and Eberhard's legacy as the company's founder and visionary." The suit further alleges that Musk "began a pattern and practice of defaming and disparaging Eberhard in various widely distributed media outlets," a few of which included The New York Times, Newsweek, USA Today and NPR.

Tesla unveils its latest electric ride

Tesla Motors unveiled the Model S, its newest all-electric car, at a media event outside Los Angeles on Thursday afternoon. Billed as the first mass market highway-ready electric vehicle, the Model S can seat five adults and two children and can go for up to 300 miles on one charge. And, it costs a lot less than Tesla’s Roadster sports car, starting just shy of $50,000 (including a government tax credit). Check out our full story about the Model S unveiling here.

At the event, executives drove the prototype vehicle around the parking lot and into the surrounding neighborhood to show it off. We shot video of some of that, and here it is (forgive us for the guy walking into our shot!). Let us know what you think. Would you buy this car?

South African Bloggers Herald SA’s First Electric Car

Kenyan blogger Juliana Rotich is the editor of Green Global Voices, which monitors citizen media in the developing world, and is a regular contributor to this page. ThomsonReuters is not responsible for the content – the views are the author’s alone.  

South African bloggers were among the first to report on South Africa’s first electric car. On the blog Urbansprout, Glen was among the first people to post pictures of the car and detail on the Optimal Energy, the company that made the car, as well as the designer, design specifications and expected availability dates.

Battery range has previously been the biggest limiting factor with electric cars, but that looks set to change. The Joule will sport two lithium ion battery packs that will ensure the car has a range of 400km. The recharge time will be approximately 7 hours so it can be charged over night. Regenerative braking, where the battery is charged by the energy generated in braking, will add to the car’s range.

Tesla hoping slow and steady will win the electric car race

tesla.jpgMore than 1,200 people have put in orders for their own Tesla Roadster, the all-electric sports car with an eye-popping price tag of $100,000. 

So far, only 27 have been delivered to customers.

Tesla disclosed this latest number in a press release on Tuesday, surprising those of us who remember the company’s chairman, Elon Musk, receiving his car in April.

That’s because for several months, the electric car maker only started production on three or four vehicles a week, according to spokeswoman Rachel Konrad.