Vid-Biz: Panasonic, Time Warner, UGC

Panasonic to Cut 15,000 Jobs, or 5 Percent of Its Workforce; facing tough times the consumer electronics giant will also close 27 manufacturing sites (12 percent of its worldwide production facilities). (The Wall Street Journal)

Time Warner Expanding Metered Broadband; details are few, but more cities to face the cable company’s stingy policies — better watch what you download. (GigaOM)

Nearly Half of U.S. Internet Users to View UGC Vids by 2013; this is up from 36 percent in 2008. (eMarketer)

NaviSite Hooks Up with EdgeCast Networks; partnership will yield a new portfolio of CDN-based services such as caching, electronic file delivery, streaming, API tools and support. (emailed release)

Italian Judge Suspends Decision in Google Video Case; Criminal Court of Milan pauses to consider procedural issues (it’s a common occurrence), proceedings to continue Feb. 18. (see our previous coverage) (The Privacy Advisor)

Commercials Make TV More Enjoyable? New NYU study finds that people who watched TV with commercial breaks included rated their experience higher. Huh? (The Live Feed)

Matt Smith Joins Inlet Technologies; Smith was previously with Yahoo and is now the senior director, systems architecture for the encoding company. (release (PDF)

Daimler, Enel to Launch Electric Car Network in Italy

Luxury automaker Daimler (s DAI) of Germany together with Italy’s largest electricity producer, Enel (s ENEL), plan to roll out more than 100 electric vehicles and 400 charging stations for testing in Rome, Milan and Pisa by 2010. Executives from the companies agreed last week that Daimler will supply and maintain electric Smart Fortwos and Enel will deploy infrastructure, including a system for drivers to locate available stations and a central control center. Kicking off on the heels of EV network deals in Hawaii, Japan and Germany, this latest “e-mobility Italy” project gives Silicon Valley yet another rival in the race to birth the era of Car 2.0.

While we doubt it caused Daimler’s “talks” with Better Place to fall through, Enel’s infrastructure plan could create a more direct path to reducing vehicle-related emissions than Shai Agassi’s fast-rising strategy, which involves creating the demand and storage capacity necessary for energy companies to start turning away from fossil fuels. The Daimler-Enel partnership eliminates the middleman.

Enel has built out its renewable energy capacity in recent years to take advantage of incentives from the Italian government, and it said last week that it will supply all of the charging stations with electricity verified by Europe’s Renewable Energy Certificate System, which awards credits for energy generated from clean sources such as solar, wind, and geothermal.

Daimler, which announced a partnership with German utility RWE for an EV network in Berlin last September, plans to launch similar projects throughout Europe and in the U,S.

Ireland Calls for 10% Electric Cars by 2020

The Bay Area mayors who set out last week to make their region a capital of electric vehicles have a new rival overseas. Ireland’s government today announced a goal to have 10 percent of all cars running on electricity by 2020.

Better Place Goes Down Under to Electrify Australia

Better Place announced this afternoon that it is heading Down Under to deploy its electric car infrastructure in Australia. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based startup is working with Australian utility AGL Energy to build an electric car charging grid powered by renewable energy. Macquarie Capital Group will finance the AUD$1 billion ($671 million) undertaking.

Renault to Electrify French Cars by 2011

Automaker Renault announced today it has teamed up with French utility EDF to build a huge electric vehicle infrastructure, starting in France, with the goal of making electric cars a viable and attractive option by 2011.

Renault Shows Off the Super-Efficient Z.E. Concept

Auto shows can be like fashion shows, where the designers bring out both their bread-and-butter designs, as well as things more fanciful. Debuting at the Paris Auto Show that starts this weekend, Renault’s Z.E. Concept car seems to be a little of both

Back to School for Web Workers

ScreenshotAlthough most of us on the web working front have been out of school for at least a few years, this is the time of year that it can pay off to pay attention to the student world. That’s because all of the big retailers are desperately trying to jump-start their fourth quarter sales with back-to-school promotions. Most of these aren’t really for web workers – I don’t know about you, but dropping a pile of money on the latest “must-have” college clothing doesn’t appeal to me – but there are a few out there that it’s worth knowing about.

When we’ve mentioned laptop bags in the past, RadTech has come up on our readers’ lists. Today only they’re having a 20% off sale on all laptop bags and sleeves, including ones with solar cells built in and the minimal NeoCase. They also sell the aluminum allow MacTruck heavy-duty case – worth a look if you’re hard on laptops.

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Agassi, Convince Pickens Electric Vehicles Are the Way

Tom Friedman’s column in this Sunday’s New York Times advocates a meeting of the minds between two of the green energy revolution’s most well-known entrepreneurial leaders: Shai Agassi and T. Boone Pickens. As Earth2Tech readers likely know through our endless coverage of these two innovators, Agassi is leading the electric vehicle infrastructure startup Project Better Place and Pickens is the former oil billionaire turned wind wildcatter who has launched his Pickens Plan to help get the United States off its oil addiction.

No doubt, as Agassi writes on his blog this weekend, the two would have more than enough to chew on over breakfast. Agassi says: “I never met him [Pickens], but I am now very intrigued by the thought of seeing what happens when the two of us get together and think.” So are we.

But while the two share the same goals of getting countries to become less reliant on foreign oil — Pickens focusing on the United States, and Agassi starting first with Israel and Denmark — we would suspect they would have a few major points of contention. Namely, Pickens’s call for natural gas vehicles to provide a third of the U.S. transportation is somewhat at odds with Agassi’s attempts to build the electrification of the world’s transportation. Though there is room for more than one form of alternative cleaner transportation, the massive investment needed to build out the natural gas infrastructure could draw investment away from efforts to encourage the proliferation of electric vehicles.

And since we think electric vehicles are a far better long term alternative transportation plan, here’s what we would want from a sit down between Agassi and Pickens: Agassi, can you convince Pickens that electric vehicles are a better plan? We laud Pickens’s work on the world’s largest wind farm and investment into clean-generated electricity. And I think we can all agree that kicking the foreign oil habit is the end game. But let’s build out an infrastructure that is already in place — the power grid — to drive our vehicles. Agassi would probably put it a lot more eloquently than that, and perhaps, with all his successes thus far, could really drive home the point.

Project Better Place Pitches British PM

Shai Agassi’s worldwide whirlwind tour pushing his Project Better Place electric car infrastructure startup shows no signs of stopping, now the Independent reports that the entrepreneur has even pitched his startup’s plan to British Primer Minister Gordon Brown. The PM is expected to ask auto manufacturers to make all new cars sold in the UK either electric or hybrid by 2020 when he attends the British International Motor Show this week. According to The Independent, Project Better Place’s tech is the most developed of several proposals the government is considering. Project Better Place declined to comment.

The UK market is larger than either Israel and Denmark, where Project Better Places has already inked deals. And Brown is serious about electrifying the British fleet. Speaking at the G-8 Summit at the start of July, Brown suggested a punitive tax to help reach his goal of getting the emissions of all cars below 100 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer by 2020. Such a tax would be very similar to the tax systems in Denmark and Israel that could make Project Better Place’s proposed electric cars financially attractive.
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