Remember Fisker Automotive? We figured we had heard the last of them after the bankrupt electric vehicle company was purchased in February by Wanxiang Group, a Chinese vehicle component manufacturing company that also bought Fisker supplier A123 Systems’ battery business out of bankruptcy. Not so. In an article titled “Is This Man Going to Be China’s Elon Musk?” billionaire and Wanxiang Founder Lu Guanqiu told Bloomberg that he will “burn as much cash as it takes to succeed.”
“I’ll put every cent that Wanxiang earns into making electric vehicles,” Lu said.
That approach seems to have worked for Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk. This week Tesla announced that the company is expanding its European operations, creating a European network of superchargers – “from Norway to Spain” – beginning with British motorways between Dover, London, Bristol, Manchester, and Birmingham. Tesla plans to have a complete supercharger route from northern to southern Europe in place by the end of 2014.
Not only that, but Bloomberg reported that Tesla Motors has edged out Toyota as California’s top auto employer. Toyota, which has based its U.S. operations in the Golden State since 1950, employs 5,000 Californians, while Tesla just announced that its workforce cracked 6,000. Moreover, Toyota recently announced that it would be moving many of those jobs to Texas when the company relocates over the next few years. That will make Tesla the undisputed California king of carmakers!
In other advanced vehicle news out of California, the first Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell crossover vehicles arrived in the U.S. this week. Rollout of the hydrogen-powered vehicle will begin in Southern California. According to Hyundai, the Tucson Fuel Cell is the “first mass-produced fuel cell vehicle for the U.S. market.” The leasing deal includes free maintenance and hydrogen refueling.
California can’t have all the advanced vehicle fun, though. Indianapolis has unveiled a first-of-its-kind program for encouraging adoption of electric vehicles: an electric car sharing program. The car share system, called “blueindy” and launched with a goal of 125 EVs in 25 city locations by the end of this year, is designed to cater to people planning short-term trips.
Finally – and back to California, we’re afraid – the state’s utility scale solar installations set a new record this week, with more than 4,500 megawatts pumped into the grid on Monday from big solar. As KCET points out, the actual amount of electricity being generated from solar energy was likely higher, when you count distributed sources: “CaISO measures only those large energy generators that are hooked up to the grid without a consumer’s electric meter in between them. That means that none of the residential or commercial rooftop solar in the state counts toward that 4,566-megawatt total.”
Utility-scale solar and advanced vehicles are just two of the 40 technologies identified in AEE’s new report on technologies that reduce greenhouse gases while providing economic benefits. Download the report by clicking the button below.