This is Jonathan Koomey’s third essay in a series of four this week that highlights, and excerpts from, his upcoming book, “Cold Cash, Cool Climate,” which discusses how entrepreneurs and investors can profit from tackling climate change, one of this century’s greatest challenges.
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As Toyota’s Prius problems continue, other models across the spectrum of green cars will also get bruised. Given the Prius’ status as the poster child for hybrids, consumers may extrapolate its troubles out to other cars.
Microsoft Visio (s msft) still reigns as the standard tool in diagramming for business, project management and technical communications. While you don’t have to be an artist to use Visio productively, in my experience a lot of users still very intimidated by this application.
Like most of the product in the Office suite, Microsoft Visio 2010 beta has been overhauled, making it easier to use and offering better options for creating and managing Visio diagrams, while also integrating real-time data into your drawings. Read More about 3 Microsoft Visio 2010 Beta Productivity Enhancements
Diesels and hybrid-electric cars have often been posed as competitors racing to capture the green-automotive market. Diesels are more popular in Europe, while hybrids are more popular in the United States. Both have their advantages and disadvantages: diesels can get impressive fuel economy without complicated drivetrains (providing a cost advantage over hybrids today), while plug-in hybrids bundled with a renewable energy-powered grid can be even cleaner.
But now, it looks like these competitors are coming together. Volvo Car Corp. announced Friday that it plans to bring a diesel plug-in hybrid to the market by 2012. The news comes after Peugeot earlier this month unveiled a diesel PHEV minicar that it plans to bring to the market next year, and BMW also showed off a sporty diesel PHEV concept car at the Frankfurt auto show. While companies have been tinkering with the concept for some time, it looks like diesel PHEVs are finally starting to gain some traction.
Read More about Crossing Diesels with Plug-In Hybrids: Good or Bad Idea?
The Problem With MPGs: The folks behind the Automotive X Prize lay the smack down on General Motors’ 230 MPG claim for the Chevy Volt, and make the case for their MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent) method of calculating the fuel efficiency of plug-in vehicles. — Autotmotive X Prize Blog via AutoblogGreen
Move Over, Prius: Toyota reportedly plans to introduce a new medium-sized hybrid sedan called the SAI, priced somewhere between the Prius and the Lexus HS 250h, this year. — Green Car Congress
Tug o’ War Over Clean Energy Bank: “One of the most excellent pieces of the climate bill now awaiting defenestration at the hands Senate Blue Dogs is its creation of a Clean Energy Bank that would help finance nascent clean energy projects…Naturally, conservatives are now coming out in opposition to the bank.” — Grist
Lockheed on the Grid: “Global defense contractor Lockheed Martin is teaming with Black & Veatch, a major construction and consulting company, to offer utilities a suite of products they can use to improve their smart grid implementations.” — VentureBeat’s GreenBeat
China’s EV Power Play: In a profile of electric car startup Coda Automotive, Bryan Walsh argues, “If automakers in the U.S. and elsewhere aren’t worried about losing the race for the next great technology to the Chinese, they should be.” Time
Car-sharing networks like Zipcar — the largest in the U.S. — often earn environmental points for helping to reduce the number of vehicles on the road. And as we’ve written on GigaOM Pro (subscription only) and on Earth2Tech, these services — hooked up to communications networks and often used by eco-minded and urban consumers — may offer a prime testing ground for early generations of plug-in vehicles. Already, many car-sharing networks have hybrids in their fleets (it makes sense, given that the companies and nonprofits running the networks generally pay for fuel). But not all networks are created equal when it comes to deploying ultra-efficient, hybrid and plug-in models. We’ve put together a cheat sheet showing how they compare on green cars, price and scale.
Read More about CHEAT SHEET: How Green Are City Car-Sharing Networks?
The Verizon MiFi may be handling all my mobile data connections, but that’s because I’m not roaming globally. I’m stuck in North America with my MiFi and business travelers need more than that. That’s why Verizon (s vz) is releasing the ZTE AD3700 global modem, which works on both Verizon’s domestic EVDO network and also on HSPA networks abroad. The USB modem launches today for $80 with a rebate.
General Motors (s gm) CEO Fritz Henderson promised earlier this week that the new GM, fresh out of bankruptcy, will have more direct communications with customers, dealers, suppliers and employees. The lingering consumer perception “that GM makes lower-quality cars,” according to the White House auto task force, combined with the very fresh perception that the automaker might not be around to make good on warranties, has created an image that’s in need of a serious makeover. And today we’re seeing one of the first efforts: The company has just launched a social network called Chevrolet VoltAge, which is meant to foster “conversation and dialogue about the Chevy Volt and electric vehicles.”
GM isn’t exactly leading the charge here — startup Tesla Motors has built up an active community in its online forums for electric car fans and Roadster owners. Toyota (s tm), meanwhile, is pitching the third-generation Prius on existing social networks, including Facebook and Twitter, and pushing consumer-generated content (submitted via Facebook and Twitter) on gas station TVs. And while it’s better to open up communication late in the game than never, GM has a ways to go if it wants to build a community like the ones that have formed around the Prius and Tesla. The site hasn’t been up and running long enough to give us a sense of the interaction that will take place there, but at this point, it’s heavy on slick promos, and light on real transparency and engaging discussion.
Read More about Chevy VoltAge: GM Joins the Social Media Bandwagon for Green Cars
10:30 a.m.: The Michael Jackson funeral has begun. Watching CNN.com Live feed with Facebook integration. Facebook reports 6,000 status updates/minute, on a more global scale than what they saw with live Obama Inauguration coverage. CNN doesn’t have audio from the Staples Center, switching to MSNBC.
10:35: MSNBC has Twitter integration — automatically tags posts “#MJ #MSNBC.” Updates are coming in too fast to read. Chris reports seeing a pre-roll on MSNBC as well as Hulu.
10:39: Checked back with CNN, it’s way behind the other feeds. Also the “friends” filter isn’t that effective for me since many of mine are not watching. There should be some sort of semantic filter to bring in friend updates that are actually relevant.
10:43: Here’s a screenshot of my overloaded desktop where you can get an idea of how the different feeds look:
10:45: Man, CNN is not handling all the traffic it’s getting. Keeps stopping up.