Editor Blogs

December 2017
China Extends Electric Vehicle Tax Rebate

An electric vehicle from SAIC Motor Corporation.

Thank goodness our latest tax bill kept the renewable energy incentives – China is making a huge play for this increasingly mainstream market (in their own country, anyway). The People’s Republic extended a tax rebate for “new-energy vehicles” through the end of 2020. China extended the 10% rebate (up to $9,800) – previously set to expire at the end of 2017 – on electric, plug-in petrol-electric hybrid, and fuel-cell powered vehicles. Why such generosity? For one, a numb
It has been rumoured for a long time, but Apple has finally confirmed that it does throttle the performance of older phones after software updates, but the reasons given very much concern power engineering – Apple uses power management technology to reduce the power draw from older batteries. In a statement to
The World's First 100% Solar-Powered Train
The world’s first truly solar-powered train is ready to serve a small line in Australia. The Byron Bay Railroad Company restored a vintage 1949 NSW train and retrofitted it with solar panels and an on-board battery bank. BBRC has designed their new creation to be 100% solar-powered -- all systems including t
Final Version of Tax Bill Preserves Renewable Energy Incentives
In a sign of green energy’s growing clout, the final Republican tax bill preserves most of the wind and solar incentives. We’d previously reported that the House bill dramatically slashed renewable energy incentives including tax credits for residential solar, the wind developer Production Tax Credit, and the $7,500 electric vehicle tax credit. But after reconciling t
UPS Places Large Order for Tesla's Electric Big Rig
Tesla may have upstaged its electric big rig announcement with their sexy, new Roadster, but UPS doesn’t care. While the international delivery service plans to convert two-thirds of its NYC fleet to electric – via Unique Electric Solutions – they’ve also placed a large order with Tesla. United Parcel Service ordered 125 Tesla electric semi-trucks, which is apparently the largest such order.
Porsche Hybrid Puts Huge Strain on Battery Suppliers
You wouldn’t expect such high demand for a luxury sports vehicle north of $100K, but if the Tesla Roadster can make waves, why not Porsche’s Panamera Hybrid? Apparently, battery suppliers can’t keep up with demand for the German automaker’s bid for wealthy environmentalists. “At present we are able to meet cust
The market for energy scavenged from the environment is buoyant at the moment due to the demand for self powered sensor clusters for Internet of Things applications. Sensors are being placed in areas where it would be hard to connect to the mains or replace batteries, so drawing energy from the environment is th
A Breakthrough in Electric Vehicle Range
We’ve talked a lot about electric vehicles and “range anxiety” (see here, here, and here), but we might finally have a cure – researchers at the University of Waterloo may have tripled the range of EVs. According to the University release, scientists used negative electrodes made of lithium metal, which cou
Tax Bill Could Dramatically Slash Renewable Energy Incentives

The U.S. House of Representatives

For better or worse, the pending Senate and House Bills will have a monumental impact on renewable energy. The House version proposes more draconian cuts, but even the Senate edition – which largely protects renewable energy – could trim clean energy investments. The controversial legislation proposes
One week on and having had some time to reflect, I’m still blown away with what I saw at SPS IPC Drives in Nuremberg and how those innovations will carry over, not just in manufacturing, but in the real world too. Last week I mostly talked about the size and scale of the exhibition, this week I’d like to talk
Researchers Convert Beer Into Viable Biofuel
Chemists at the University of Bristol have demonstrated a viable new butanol mixture using common, everyday beer. The team managed to convert the ethanol in America’s favorite adult beverage into usable biofuel. Traditionally, ethanol doesn’t make a good biofuel because of the former’s low energy density.
Volkswagon to Launch All-Electric Ride-Sharing Service

The Volkswagen I.D. Buzz concept

Volkwagen wants to remove 1 million cars from the roads by 2025. Their new all-electric, six-seat minibuses will headline an international ride-pooling service that aims to dramatically cut down urban congestion and pollution. Back in July, we reported that Volkswagen’s famous hippie bus was going all-electric – the
Australia Just Switched on The World's Largest Battery Array
It’s the size of an American football field, can power 30,000 homes, and owes its existence to a high-stakes wager between two billionaires. It’s the world’s largest battery array, and the government of South Australia just switched it on. Earlier this week, we told you that Tesla’s Elon Musk had built a 100MW bat