Harley-Davidson Introduces Their Version of an Electric Vehicle

harley-04-660x495

For a company that is known for rumbling V-twin engines down an open road, the idea of an electric Harley may seem absurd. But times are changing and even Harley-Davidson knows this means thinking outside of the box.

This week, Harley-Davidson is taking a few dozen of their new electric motorcycles, called LiveWires, on tour. Starting in New York and continuing through the U.S. and Europe, the company is inviting people in each city to check out the bike and give feedback.

“Any business has always got to look ahead to see where customers are interested in going, and see where society might be going,” says Mark-Hans Richer, Chief Marketing Officer for Harley-Davidson.

Because the motorcycle is electric, therefore has no engine, the LiveWire makes a futuristic sound that resembles the high pitch zoom of an airliner taking to the air.

But don’t let this fool you, the LiveWire offers 74 horsepower, 52 foot-pounds of torque and a top speed of 92 mph. With the ability to hit 60 mph in under 4 seconds, its got more torque and power than Harley’s Iron 883.

The bike uses a lithium-ion battery with a range of 53 miles and takes about 3.5 hours to fully charge.

“It is great to see industry icons, like Harley-Davidson, stepping into the forefront of green technologies that is marketable to a new generation of bikers, as well as existing, Harley enthusiast. With a sleek and stylish look, along with power, it is sure to attract a younger, urban buyer to the brand,” said Thomas Hsaio, President of SuperGreen Solutions of the Mid-Atlantic Charlotte office.

Businesses and Investors Make Changes Due to Climate Change

On Tuesday, SuperGreen Solutions’ Mid-Atlantic Charlotte Office was invited to join in a private call in which Dan Utech, Special Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change, and Steve Dreyer, Managing Director for the U.S. Utilities and Infrastructure Ratings Services, spoke about the changes businesses and investors are making as a result of climate change and severe weather.

The discussion started with an overview of how many industries are feeling the impact and stress of climate change. Recently, utility authorities have been feeling stress in California due to the droughts and the insurance industry have had many casualties due to severe weather, such as Hurricane Andrew in Florida.  Many are starting to make decisions as liabilities and planning long term changes through strategic planning.

Recently, Obama has proposed several regulation including the Oceans Protection Proposal, which would create the world’s largest marine preserve, and Obama’s Power Plant regulation, that would cut the nation’s power plant greenhouse-gas emissions by 30% from 2005 levels.

“Climate impacts are being felt in a varieties of ways. We are looking for a variety of ways to protect our nation and businesses from these climate changes,” said Utech.

Utech and Dreyer also spoke about Green Bonds, which has proved to be popular within Europe’s industrial industry, but are not widely used in the U.S. yet. The Administration expects this to change, especially in the U.S.’s power and auto industry, as green technologies and regulations increase.

Green Bonds were created in 2008 as a response to increase investor demand to engage and fund environmental- friendly projects, such as clean water, renewable energy, and energy efficiency.  It raises industry engagement by providing transparency by regular reporting on new processes and technology that allows investors to understand the challenges and thus diversify risks.

“We like the fact that the Administration is thinking outside of the box with ideas, such as Green Bonds, said Thomas Hsaio, President of SuperGreen Solutions of the Mid-Atlantic Charlotte office. “Similar programs here in the U.S., such as PACE Programing, has proven to be very successful at helping private companies and citizens invest in green technologies. Here at SuperGreen Solutions, we hope to engage more commercial neighbors to invest in energy-efficient solutions and technology.”

The Truth behind Obama’s New Power Plant Regulation

Auto-Blog-Header

Just over a week has passed since Obama proposed new EPA regulations that will cut greenhouse gas emissions at power plants by 30% by 2030.

During this week, critics have argued that manufacturers will shift their production overseas, causing overwhelming job loss. Supporters, on the other hand, argue that this is a necessary response to climate change, along with our health and wellness.

To find which claims are correct, you have to look at 3 things:

  1. how much manufacturing actually spends on electricity
  2. how much rates will rise, and
  3. how much manufacturers are already losing because of severe weather

SuperGreen Solutions had the chance to review a Special Report created by Business Forward that compared the effects of severe weather and the EPA’s proposed energy standards on the Auto industry, the nation’s largest and most important manufacturing industry.

The results of the study were startling in 2 ways:

  1. The potential cost of higher electricity rates is small (adding $7 to produce a $30,000 car), while the cost of weather-related shutdowns is huge ($1,250,000 per hour).
  2. The American manufacturing supply chains are interdependent. Although their interdependent supply chain is capably of supporting a large, specialized, global, and fast production, it also makes them very susceptible to severe weather. Climate change will disrupt ports, highways, rails, etc all over the world, which in result affects us.

 

“It is truly devastating to our local, and world, economy when large manufacturers such as auto plants has to shut down due to severe weather caused from global warming,” said Thomas Hsiao, President of SuperGreen Solutions of the Mid-Atlantic Charlotte office added. “These strains on our economy are felt by the local plant employees as well as the end consumer purchasing a product that understandably has to cover all of it’s manufacturing costs.  For nineteen years, SuperGreen Solutions has been tackling this issue from both sides; our goal is to reduce our customer’s carbon foot print while also helping them put together a sound plan to mitigate catastrophic power failures.”

Luckily, automobile manufacturers are already taking steps to reduce their carbon emissions. Their movement may just be the influence needed for other U.S. plants to start making more energy efficient investments.

SuperGreen Solutions and Allsafe Win Minister’s Sustainability Award!

photo 2

Pictured: Clare and Maxinne Cochrane


SuperGreen Solutions and Allsafe Energy Efficiency Products proved that they have a winning concept and a winning team, last Friday at the Minister’s Sustainability Awards Gala in Brisbane, Australia.

The team was awarded the Queensland Government Ministerial Award for Leadership in Sustainability and for growing sustainable business internationally.  These awards celebrate the integral role that industries, businesses, schools, and community groups can play in improving environmental outcomes, making savings on their bottom line, and improving the future of their community.

An unexpected response of 120 nominations were received, recognizing the importance of innovation in developing a sustainable future for Queensland, along with all of Australia. SuperGreen Solutions and Allsafe competed against International giants, including Kannuff, large utility companies, several City Council projects, and many ingenious and innovative Australian businesses.

Thomas Hsiao, President of SuperGreen Solutions Charlotte Mid-Atlantic Region, added, “We here at SuperGreen Solutions strive to be advocates of sustainability and energy efficiency across the world. Locally, we are proud of all the accomplishments and leadership the Townsville, Australia office has shown in their community.”

Obama Demands Power Plants Reduce Emissions by 30%

Unknown

On Monday, SuperGreen Solutions of the Charlotte Mid-Atlantic Region attended a private discussion with John Podesta, Counselor to the President. The discussion surrounded, President Barack Obama’s strongest proposal against climate change to date — proposing new EPA regulations. On Monday, an Environmental Protection Agency announced a plan that would cut carbon emissions from power plants by 30%.

Some Republicans are claiming 800,000 jobs could be lost and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that the new regulations will cost the economy $50 billion a year. But, the EPA is painting a very different picture.

“The net benefits are way greater than the risks,” stated Podesta. “And we have a moral obligation to leave our children in a world that is not poisoned.”

This proposal is not just about climate change. It is also to help public health and welfare. Right now, power plants account for 40% of carbon emissions. By cutting those emissions by just 30%, the agency will reduce 2,700 to 6,600 premature deaths and 140,000 to 150,000 asthma attacks in children.

“As president, and as a parent, I refuse to condemn our children to a planet that is beyond fixing,” stated Obama at the Children’s National Medical Center on Saturday.

The EPA is estimating that the proposal will cost about $8.8 billion annually in 2030, but will lead to climate and many health benefits, which is worth $55 billion to $93 billion per year. In addition, the average electricity bill in the U.S. will be reduced by 8%, along with making the nation more energy independent.

Thomas Hsiao, President of the SuperGreen Solutions in the Charlotte Mid-Atlantic Region, added “We were happy to hear Mr. Podesta and the White House’s support of the EPA and DOE’s proposal to put over site on the energy sector’s carbon output. This will ultimately reduce our dependence on our aging coal fire power plants and reduce possible environmental hazards and accidents. We look forward to working closely with local energy partners such as Duke Energy to reduce the carbon output by 30%.”

Never will be have to choose between a healthy economy and a healthy environment. Thousands of American workers will be needed for construction, transmission, and much more, in order to make a cleaner world a reality. It is no longer true that energy efficiency solutions, such as solar panels and wind turbines are 4x as expensive as coal. The Administration is giving states maximum flexibility, which means maximum cost efficiency in order to meet these standards. Just to name a few options, states have the option of making power plants more efficient, reducing the frequency at which coal- fired power plants supply power to the grid, or invest in renewable, low-carbon sources of energy, depending on the best solution for each individual state.

Tesla Plans to have a $35,000 EV Model on the Market in 2017

The inside of the Tesla factory in Fremont, CA.

The sound of robots humming fills the air at the Tesla factory in Fremont, CA.


By 2017, Tesla plans to build an electric car that is affordable to the every day person. The company’s plan is a $35,000 “third-generation” electric sedan with a 200-mile-plus range.

In addition, Tesla has adopted an aggressive business plan, hoping to be shipping 500,000 cars a year by 2020. This is more than 10 times its current output and they plan to do all this without federal subsidies that have helped make its vehicles more affordable so far.

How does Tesla plan on doing all this? The answer: Build a Gigafactory. In the next few weeks, the company will start building a massive, all-in-one battery factory in the American West.  The factory will be capable of producing more lithium-ion batteries each year than were produced in the whole world in 2013. Through manufacturing efficiencies and obtaining bulk discounts on raw materials, such as nickel and cobalt, Tesla believes it can bring down the cost of its batteries by more than 30%, making a $35,000 third-generation sedan economically possible.

Tesla will still assemble the actual cars at their current factory in Fremont, which was bought in 2010 for $42 million from General Motors following their bankruptcy. In contrast, the Gigafactory will be built from scratch for an estimated $5 billion.

For a company that only sold 200,000 in 2013, this plan may seem crazy, but if Tesla pulls this off it will secure its place among the world’s big car companies, while helping to push electric cars into the mainstream.

Thomas Hsiao, President of SuperGreen Solutions Charlotte Mid-Atlantic Region, added, “We are very excited to hear that Tesla has come up with innovative ideas in order to make their electric cars more affordable to the everyday person. It is important for everyone to take action in becoming more sustainable and with companies, such as Tesla, making their products more economically feasible, we hope to see more people in our local communities and throughout the U.S. do their part in going green.”

U.S. Spends $600 Billion in Energy Costs Each Year

On May 23rd, SuperGreen Solutions of the Charlotte Mid-Atlantic Region attended a private meeting held by the U.S. Department of Energy reviewing over the Better Buildings Challenge, the program’s successes, and how other businesses and institutions can replicate successful models.

Launched by President Obama in 2011, the Better Buildings Challenge was created with the goal to improve the efficiency of commercial, institutional, and multifamily buildings by 20% or more over the next 10 years.

The U.S. spends $600 billion each year to power homes, industrial plants and buildings. These energy costs can be reduced by 20% or more through a number of energy efficiency measures and approaches.  After 10 years, this could result in a savings of more than $80 billion per year in energy costs, along with increasing building quality, savings, and job growth.

Now, 3 years after the Better Building Challenge was announced, the U.S. Department of Energy is able work with market leaders to develop innovative, replicable solutions, and make energy efficiency investment easier through better information, a skilled clean energy workforce, and improved federal initiatives. “We want business owners to get the most out of this program,” says Maria Vargas, Director of the Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge.

Thomas Hsiao, President of the SuperGreen Solutions of the Charlotte Mid-Atlantic Region, added, “We truly appreciate the DOE taking time to keep us updated on the progress of the Better Buildings Challenge. With companies, such as Wal-mart having such a large number of square footage across the U.S. joining the challenge, this brings our collected efforts to a whole new level. Here at SuperGreen Solutions, we hope to engage more of our commercial neighbors in this worthy cause.”

 

Solar Powered Military Suits on the Horizon

MC10_Conformal Solar

Flexible solar energy harvesters integrated into U.S. soldier’s backpacks, helmets, and jackets could soon be powering electronic devices in the field.

The U.S. Army and a start-up company called MC10 has signed a contract to convert its solar cell technology into functional battery chargers for military use. The goal of the project is to show a 25-50% increase in battery life of soldier’s power packs, freeing them from carrying heavy loads.

The company specializes in re-engineering stiff, brittle electronics into sleek, soft, stretchy versions. MC10 has already built flexible electronics that embed in the skin, much like a tattoo, in order to monitor data from the brain, muscles, and heart and monitor stress and fatigue.

“As you look out 25 years, I’m not sure we know or will even recognize the things that will come out,” Lovell said. “But I think a lot of the new science — the quantum computing, lower power devices and advanced sensors –they are going to continue to change the game.”

“Although it may take some time for these innovative ideas to reach our men and women on the front line, this is a great step forward in making our service men and women more efficient,” added Thomas Hsiao, president SuperGreen Solutions of the Charlotte Mid-Atlantic Region. “Here in Charlotte, we have seen tremendous technical innovations spurred on by competitions, such as the Power Up Challenge at Chamber of Commerce. We hope to see more innovative energy efficiency ideas coming out of our own backyard.”

Whether new technology is embedded in the skin or in clothing, it is now clear that this technology will be developed and will be used.  You many even see similar products to this solar cell technology available to the rest of us on the horizon.