Daily Sprout

EEStor: Will It or Won’t it?: There are some indications that startup EEStor is making progress toward its goal of selling an energy storage device “capable of propelling a reasonably-sized automobile down a freeway for a couple hundred miles before needing a recharge,” and plenty of reasons to be skeptical. Will EEStor’s technology revolutionize motor transportation? Will it even work? — The Oil Drum

Mazda to Use Toyota’s Hybrid Tech?: Mazda’s Tribute SUV hybrid (available only in California) uses hybrid technology from Ford. But “now that Ford has a much smaller percentage stake in the automaker…the Hiroshima-based automaker is rumored to be looking for potential partners,” and Toyota is at the top of the list. — AutoblogGreen

Rate Protections in the Climate Bill: Two paragraphs tucked into the climate bill just days before it passed the House give large manufacturers what consumer groups see as a safeguard against higher electric bills. Now there’s a fight in the Senate to get the same protection extended to residential customers.Greenwire via NYT

Mercedes Plans for Tesla-esque Sports Car: Daimler AG’s (s DAI) Mercedes-Benz today confirmed plans to create an electric car based on the $250,000 SLS AMG for a 2015 launch. — Worldcarfans via Business Insider’s Green Sheet

Buzz Aldrin on Mars Missions: The second man to walk on the moon, Buzz Aldrin, wants “human outposts on Mars” to serve as labs for studying climate change. Too bad humans’ role as the “primary cause of recent, rapid terrestrial climate change” takes the meat out of his argument. — Climate Progress

Daily Sprout

Sunset for Solar?: Solar companies and investors who planned for silicon that was scarce and high-priced must adjust their business models for a glut that looms larger than most anyone expected. First Solar (s FSLR) and other low-cost panel makers now face growing pressure on margins. — Barrons
Mazda to Skip Hybrid Tech: Mazda’s R&D chief has confirmed rumors that the company does not have the resources to commercialize its own hybrid technology, and said the resulting technology gap is a threat for the automaker. — Technology Review
Not Enough for Canada, Either: Like the Obama administration’s auto task force, Canada’s government has concluded that the plans set out by General Motors (s GM) and Chrysler’s Canadian branches do not go far enough to make them viable. — Reuters
Tighter Ship Emissions Standards On the Way: The U.S. EPA plans to impose stricter emissions standards for large ships operating within 230 miles of the nation’s coastline, starting in 2015. — Associated Press
Return of the Staffer: Career staffers at federal agencies have been able to revive proposals for environmental regulations that languished under the previous administration with the tiniest of changes. — Washington Post

Mazda to Crash the Electric Car Party?

Mazda is supposedly jumping into the green car game, with plans to build a range-extended electric vehicle that will debut in 2010, according to a report from Autocar via Wired. So if two’s company and three’s a crowd, GM, with its Chevy Volt, and Toyota, with its next-gen Prius, are probably feeling like their party’s about to be crashed.

We say the more the merrier, as we all benefit from this kind of competition. But some of the details of this report are puzzling, notably that: “Autocar quotes unnamed ‘senior sources’ saying Mazda is testing an electric car that uses a Wankel rotary engine to charge the battery.” Wankels, although small and powerful, are pretty darned inefficient. They aren’t the cleanest-running engines, either, so using them in a hybrid — range-extended or other-wise — doesn’t make all that much sense.
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The Daily Sprout

Tesla Grabs Mazda Design Director: Franz von Holzhausen, former Director of Design for Mazda North America, has joined Tesla Motors as Chief Designer. This is the third auto industry vet Tesla has snapped up recently. The startup got a new EVP of Vehicle Engineering from Chrysler and just this week hired a new CFO from FordPress Release.

Nissan Shows Off Electric Car: Nissan unveiled a prototype electric vehicle as well as a new hybrid prototype, both sporting the auto maker’s lithium-ion battery pack. Nissan says it’s on track for a 2010 production debut of its electric vehicle – Press Release.

DOE Supports CCTO’s Green Building Competition: The National Renewable Energy Laboratory will support the California Clean Tech Open’s green building competition which will award $50,000 to the winning business plan. This is part of the DOE’s larger green building campaign, including the new National Laboratory Collaborative on Building Technologies – MarketWatch.

Super-lattice Could Yield Super Fuel Cells: Researchers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Spain’s Universidad Complutense de Madrid and Universidad Politécnica de Madrid say they have developed a “super-lattice” that can allow solid-oxide fuel cells to operate at much lower temperatures and lower costs than existing fuel cells – ScienceDaily.

The New Republic Parses Paris’s Energy Plan: Noting the absurdity that more voters might listen to Paris Hilton discuss energy policy than to either candidate, The New Republic delves into the the faux campaign ad from the celebutante to analyze her proposed energy policy – The New Republic.

Installing Vista on a Fujitsu P1610

P1610 013No, I haven’t tried installing Vista on Miyagi, my Fujitsu P1610, because it’s just too darn functional for me with Windows XP 2005 Tablet Edition running on it.  I was pretty sure there would be a number of drivers that haven’t been released for Vista yet and I would have an incomplete setup.  Don’t get me wrong, that 80 GB hard drive is just screaming out for a Vista partition and I’m sure I’ll have a go at it before too long, but meanwhile I have been following the Vista adventures of Jimmy Leung on his blog.  Jimmy has been blogging about what works and doesn’t on the P1610, and he’s recently posted his reasons for returning to Windows XP.  Surprisingly the brick wall Jimmy ran into with Vista is not even P1610 specific, although it’s a big problem, at least for Jimmy and me.  BTW, Jimmy points out that the BIOS update that appeared on the Fujitsu support site recently is an older version than the one he’s already running.

WIDGETS: MeeboMe in Action

Seth Sternberg, CEO of Meebo, is on stage right now talking about MeeboMe, his company’s embeddable IM widget (stats: 900,000+ unique URLS, 9 million unique visitors to unique widgets, 54,000+ unique widgets seen). He was just demoing the product on the MeeboMe MySpace profile, showing how he could see who was visiting the page at the same time as him and start a one-on-one chat with any of them.

Then someone logged in from the audience to ask “why can’t you see other people’s messages on this page?” Good question — I was wondering the same thing! “It’s not necessarily group chat,” explained Sternberg. “Even though there may be 10 people on the page, you’re having a private conversation.” Cool example of widgets in action.