Energy Inventions News Stories
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Don't dismiss the Nano as a small, poor man's car that will cause a mere ripple on the world market. The Nano is a radical innovation, with the potential to revolutionize automobile manufacturing and distribution. The tiny Nano incorporates three innovations, which together make it huge. First, the Nano uses a modular design that enables a knowledgeable mechanic to assemble the car in a workshop. Thus, Tata can outsource assembly to independent workshops that can then assemble the car on buyers' orders. This innovation not only removes costly labor from the manufacturer's side but also allows for distributed entrepreneurship on the dealer's side. Second, the low cost of the Nano comes from a combination of its no-frills design and its use of numerous lighter components, from simple door handles and bulbs to the transmission and engine parts. The lighter vehicle enables a more energy-efficient engine that gets 67 miles to the gallon. Third, at just 122 inches long, the Nano is one of the shortest four-passenger cars on the market, yet it allows for ample interior space. These innovations have enabled Tata to introduce the Nano at a base price of $2,000. The low price has triggered worldwide interest in the car and a surge of orders, even in a struggling auto market. The Nano has the potential of flourishing despite the recession or softening its sting because of its extraordinary low price. It's a radical innovation precisely because it is a poor man's car.
Note: For a treasure trove of inspiring developments in new energy and automotive technologies, click here.
A U.S. Navy researcher announced today that her lab has produced significant new results that indicate cold fusion-like reactions. If the work by analytical chemist Pamela Mosier-Boss and her colleagues is confirmed, it could open the door to a cheap, near-limitless reservoir of energy. Devising a fusion-based source of energy on Earth has long been a clean-energy holy grail of physicists. A small group of scientists has [tried] to produce fusion reactions at low temperatures. If such experiments did produce fusion reactions, they would generate highly energetic neutrons as a byproduct. These are what Mosier-Boss says her San Diego-based group has found. If you have fusion going on, then you have to have neutrons, she said. But we do not know if fusion is actually occurring. It could be some other nuclear reaction. Todays announcement is based partly on research published by Mosier-Boss group last year in the journal Naturwissenschaften. The announcement may turn heads, given its stage at the American Chemical Societys big meeting and the fact that the organization promoted it to science journalists in advance. Its big, said Steven Krivit, founder of the New Energy Times publication, which has tracked cold fusion developments for two decades. What were talking about may be more than anybody actually expected, he said. Were talking about a new field of science thats a hybrid between chemistry and physics.
Note: For a powerful documentary showing a major cover-up around cold fusion, click here. Many highly esteemed scientists have repeatedly demonstrated the reality of cold fusion, only to have their research sometimes ruthlessly shut down. For many hopeful reports from reliable sources on the array of new energy developments currently underway, click here.
Thane Heins ... has invented a technology that he says will put out more energy than it consumes. His invention, he boldly claims, offers a way to make electric cars that can travel hundreds of kilometres from the energy in a small, inexpensive battery. The Star first profiled Heins and his controversial invention a year ago. In a nutshell, he had figured out a way to eliminate the electromagnetic friction that typically limits the performance of an electrical generator an effect known as Back EMF. Not only that, but he also learned how to redirect that magnetic energy so that, instead of causing resistance, it gave an electrical motor connected to the generator a significant boost. The result, as far as Heins was concerned, violated Lenzs law or whats often called the law of diminishing returns. For many, that equates to a perpetual motion machine, an impossible claim in the conventional field of physics. Within no time the story spread globally across the Internet, became chatter on blogs, and triggered a flood of email to this reporters inbox some praising Heins for his determination, others calling the Star irresponsible for giving credibility to his claim. The story, love it or hate it, was the second-most read article on TheStar.com in 2008. Much has happened over the past 12 months. Through his Ottawa-based company Potential Difference Inc., Heins has been in serious talks with a designer of small wind turbines in Montreal, a senior engineer from a large utility in Turkey, and a small manufacturer of electrical equipment in Toronto.
Note: Read how an esteemed MIT professor was baffled by this invention in the original Star article available here. For lots more on promising new energy inventions and technologies from major media sources, click here.
In the world of higher education, summer is usually the off-season. But for some students, this summer was the culmination of years of hard work in a 2,400-mile solar car race from Plano, Texas to Calgary, Alberta. Fifteen teams of students drove photovoltaic-powered cars across the North American Solar Challenge finish line in Calgary Tuesday, led by the University of Michigan Solar Car Team and its vehicle, Continuum. Michigan's victory, which took about 51 hours and 42 minutes on the road, is its fifth NASC championship. The school also won the last NASC, in 2005. Jeff Ferman, the race manager for Michigan, talked about how rewarding it was to enter Calgary and be greeted by 40,000 people."The streets were lined with people," he said. "There were people on overpasses with tripods taking pictures." The Michigan team led almost the entire race from Texas, trailing only on the first day of driving when it had to stop to fix a minor electrical problem. But that 20-minute stop was the only time it had to pull over to make repairs, which team members said was one reason they did so well.
Note: If you do the math, this amazing solar powered car built by college students averaged 46.5 mph over a 2,400 mile course! Why didn't this make news headlines? Try doing a Google search on "Solar Challenge" (the annual solar car race). You will find that almost no major media cover this amazing event at all. The few who have (including this CNN article) usually fail to mention anything about the speeds attained by these cars. Why is the media not giving better coverage to these incredible breakthroughs? For a possible answer, click here.
The [Panasonic World Solar] Challenge is the world's premier long-distance race for solar-powered vehicles, with competitors traveling 3000 kms [1,800 miles] along the Stuart Highway from Darwin in the far north of Australia to Adelaide in the south in cars powered solely by sunlight. In the process they ... send out a strong environmental message, pushing forward the boundaries of green technology and promoting the benefits of solar power as an alternative energy source. "It's a great adventure," the race director Chris Selwood told CNN, "One that allows the bright young people of the globe to come up with creative solutions to the problem of sustainable transport, while at the same time drawing attention to the importance of lightening the environmental footprint of our personal transport needs." First run in 1987, the race was the brainchild of Danish adventurer and environmental campaigner Hans Thostrup, who in 1982 designed and built "Quiet Achiever," the world's first ever solar-powered car. The inaugural competition featured 23 teams, with the winning vehicle -- the General Motors-sponsored Sunraycer -- completing the distance at an average speed of 67 kilometers per hour (42 miles per hour). The average speed has shot up to 103 kph (64 mph) ... while the competition has expanded to incorporate several different classes of vehicle: the Challenge and Adventure Classes for exclusively solar cars, and the Greenfleet Technology Class for other types of environmentally friendly, low-emission vehicles.
Note: Cars running on nothing but solar power averaging more than 60 mph over 1,800 miles? Why isn't this front page news? For lots more from reliable, verifiable sources on promising new energy and auto designs, click here.
It might sound surprising, but all-electric vehicles are already on American roads. They just haven't quite made it to the highway yet. A growing cottage industry of Neighborhood Electric Vehicle [NEV] manufacturers is spurring the development of cars like the Zenn, which has reached a state of vehicular enlightenment so advanced it doesn't even need a tail pipe. "We saw this car in May of '06, and all of us were just freaking out: 'Finally, a car!'" said Steve Mayeda, sales manager at Seattle-based MC Electric Vehicles, which sells 30 percent of Zenn's U.S. inventory, in addition to electric vehicles made by Columbia, Canadian EV, E-Ride and Miles. "Zenn was the first neighborhood electric car that actually looked and felt and drove like a real car. Everything else before that was either a converted golf cart or a car that was built from the ground up." NEVs are silent, have no tailpipe emissions (or tailpipes, for that matter) and plug into electrical outlets like vacuum cleaners. They come in two varieties: Low-Speed Electric Vehicles, which have a top speed of about 25 miles per hour and are restricted to roads where the speed limit is 35 miles per hour or less; and Medium-Speed Electric Vehicles, which reach 35 mph and are allowed on roads with a posted speed of up to 45 mph. They're exempt from federal safety regulations that mandate impact-absorbing bumpers and airbags. But to be street legal, NEVs must have three-point seat belts, windshields with wipers, headlights, brake lights, rearview mirrors and turn signals.
Note: Note: For a fun, six-minute video demonstration of the Zenn, click here.
A revolutionary device that can harness energy from slow-moving rivers and ocean currents could provide enough power for the entire world, scientists claim. The technology can generate electricity in water flowing at a rate of less than one knot - about one mile an hour - meaning it could operate on most waterways and sea beds around the globe. Existing technologies which use water power, relying on the action of waves, tides or faster currents created by dams, are far more limited in where they can be used, and also cause greater obstructions when they are built in rivers or the sea. Turbines and water mills need an average current of five or six knots to operate efficiently, while most of the earth's currents are slower than three knots. The new device, which has been inspired by the way fish swim, consists of a system of cylinders positioned [horizontally] to the water flow and attached to springs. As water flows past, the cylinder creates vortices, which push and pull the cylinder up and down. The mechanical energy in the vibrations is then converted into electricity. The scientists behind the technology, which has been developed in research funded by the US government, say ... the technology would require up to 50 times less ocean acreage than wave power generation. The system, conceived by scientists at the University of Michigan, is called Vivace, or "vortex-induced vibrations for aquatic clean energy".
Note: For lots more on new energy technology developments, click here.
AFS Trinity Power Corporation today announced it pulled its 150 MPG plug-in hybrid SUV prototypes out of the LA Auto Show but will independently exhibit and demonstrate the super fuel-efficient vehicles on their own elsewhere in downtown LA during the show. The company's decision followed actions by the LA Auto Show to muzzle AFS Trinity from highlighting the 150 miles per gallon fuel economy of its XH150 prototype vehicles. "The suppression by the automakers of information about technologies such as this raises serious questions about the judgment, vision, intentions and capabilities of the leadership of these companies," said Edward W. Furia, Chairman and CEO of AFS Trinity. "Such conduct by the automakers, who are currently seeking tens of billions of taxpayer dollars, ostensibly to develop fuel efficient vehicle technologies, is evidence they are reluctant to embrace solutions they didn't invent." First shown at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit in January, 2008, two XH150 prototypes have toured the country for the last ten months and received positive reactions from the American public, national media, public officials, governors, ... members of Congress as well as automotive fleet managers and engineers in Austin, Salt Lake City, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Seattle, Livermore and Sacramento. Furia explained that, when AFS Trinity sought exhibition space on the main floor of the LA Auto Show, the only space that show management offered was the Kentia Hall basement.
Note: The LA Auto Show is "owned" by the Greater Los Angeles New Car Dealers Association, which, in turn, is closely associated with the major auto makers in Detroit. For lots more exciting developments in automotive and new energy technologies from reliable, verifiable sources, click here.
Ask nearly any physicist if its possible for a hydrogen atom to enter a lower energy state than the ground, or resting, state they hold in nature, and youre likely to get an unequivocal no. But a tiny company in New Jersey called Blacklight Power has been disputing that assumption for over a decade, and of late, making gad-fly claims that its founder says will overturn the accepted scientific order. Blacklights claims have a special significance: If theyre true, theres a source of cheap, clean energy that can be easily tapped anywhere in the world. Blacklight is now saying that it has physical proof of its energy generator, verified by an independent university lab. Its hydrino theory isnt put forth by a single crackpot; instead, the company employs a good handful of high-level scientists who would presumably rebel if the idea was totally false. It has also taken over $60 million in venture funding. Despite a hearty rejection by the scientific mainstream, and being ignored for years on end, its founder, Randell Mills, has plugged on. Now an engineering team at Rowan University ...has come forward with results from its own tests of the Blacklight process. Tests conducted in sealed chambers, and measured with a device called a calorimeter, show a heat reaction from a substance provided by Blacklight far beyond anything anticipated. Weve been able to regularly reproduce these results and we believe any research lab could do the same, Peter Jansson, the faculty member heading the experiments, [said].
BlackLight Power, the company that has pulled in $60 million for its seemingly physics-defying fuel cell, is back with an announcement about an independent validation of its technology. A team of engineers, headed by Dr. Peter Jansson at Rowan University, have tested BlackLights prototypes and found that the devices perform as BlackLight claims, ambiguously concluding that there is a novel reaction of some type causing the large exotherm which is consistently produced. To translate: Theres definitely lots of energy being produced. Theyre just not sure why. BlackLight says its technology can push an electron closer to the nucleus by way of a catalytic reaction, resulting in a huge amount of clean energy. The company describes the reaction as somewhere between a nuclear and a chemical reaction, but without any of the messy fallout. The team at Rowan tested BlackLights 1,000- and 50,000-watt reactors over three months and were able to replicate BlackLights energy claims, saying that the energy produced cannot be explained by other known sources like combustion or nuclear energy. The company says a complete verification of the whole process will likely happen within a year. BlackLight tells us it is now in the process of licensing its technology to power producers. The company says it has enough capital to get through commercialization and plans to have its reactors in a power plant in the next two years.
The world's first commercial power plant converting the energy of sea waves into electricity [has] started working off Portugal's coast ... in a project that should be expanded nearly 10-fold over the next few years. Three articulated steel "sea-snakes" moored to the seabed three miles off Portugal's northern coast, each about the length of a nuclear submarine, generate a total of 2.25 megawatts, enough to supply 1,500 households with electricity. "It's logged into the national grid, which makes it the world's first commercial wave power project," said Anthony Kennaway, a spokesman for Babcock and Brown investment firm which runs the Agucadoura project in northern Portugal. "We hope that in 15 years wave power will be where wind is now, that is extremely competitive. Portugal could be for wave power what Denmark was for wind," Kennaway said. Renewable energy, including water dams, accounts for 40 percent of power consumption in Portugal. Some experts say wave energy could meet up to 20 percent of the country's needs in the future. A total of 25 semi-submerged "sea-snakes" should be installed in the next few years, boosting the ... capacity to 21 MW, Kennaway said. The machines, each 140 meters (yards) long and 3.5 meters in diameter, are positioned head-on towards the waves so that its sections move with the waves. Each joint ... contains a hydraulic pump, which pumps high-pressure liquid through motors that in their turn drive power generators. The energy is then transmitted to a substation on shore via subsea cables.
Note: For lots more on new energy inventions from reliable sources, click here.
In the garage of his house, Frank Sanns spends nights tinkering with one of his prized possessions: a working nuclear-fusion reactor. Mr. Sanns, 51 years old, is part of a small subculture of gearheads, amateur physicists and science-fiction fans who are trying to build fusion reactors in their basements, backyards and home laboratories. Mr. Sanns ... believes he's on track to make fusion a viable power source. "I'm a dreamer," he says. Many of these hobbyists call themselves "fusioneers," and have formed a loosely knit community that numbers more than 100 world-wide. Getting into their elite "Neutron Club" requires building a tabletop reactor that successfully fuses hydrogen isotopes and glows like a miniature star. Only 42 have qualified; some have T-shirts that read "Fusion -- been there...done that." Called fusors and based on a 1960s design first developed by Philo T. Farnsworth, an inventor of television, the reactors are typically small steel spheres with wires and tubes sticking out and a glass window for looking inside. But they won't be powering homes anytime soon -- for now, fusors use far more energy than they produce. But the allure is strong. A fusion power plant would likely be fueled by deuterium and tritium, both isotopes of hydrogen that are in plentiful supply. Fusion advocates say reactors would be relatively clean, generating virtually no air pollution and little long-lived radioactive waste. Today's nuclear power plants, in contrast, are fission-based, meaning they split atoms and create a highly radioactive waste that can take millennia to decompose.
Note: How strange that this article seems to accept table-top nuclear fusion as a fact, when mainstream science supposedly debunked this possibility two decades ago. For lots more on infinite energy posibilities, click here.
MIT researchers say they have discovered a way to use solar energy cheaply even after the sun goes down, which could make it a mainstream source of power within the next decade. Solar energy has been expensive and inefficient to use after dark, said Daniel Nocera, 51, the Henry Dreyfus professor of energy and professor of chemistry at MIT. But in an article published in the July 31 issue of the journal Science, Nocera and other Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers say they have found a simple, inexpensive process for storing solar energy. "How the heck are you going to build an economy or a business only if the sun is shining?" said Nocera, the senior author. "What you really need to do is when the sun is shining, figure out how to store some of that energy so you can unleash it when the sun isn't shining." Nocera and the other researchers based their work on a compound made from cobalt and phosphate, both readily available. When the sun is out, electricity from solar panels can be fed to the compound in water, causing the water to split into hydrogen and oxygen. The elements create a chemical fuel that can be recombined to create energy later, when the sun is not shining. The discovery breaks "the connection between energy and fossil fuels because my energy is coming from water," said Nocera, "unleashing the solar energy, not in real time, but when you want to." The researchers said the findings open the door for large-scale use of solar energy around the clock - not right away but within 10 years.
Note: For a treasure trove of reports on new energy inventions with great potential, click here.
Imagine being able to convert water into a boundless source of cheap energy. That's what BlackLight Power, a 25-employee firm in Cranbury, N.J., says it can do. The only problem: Most scientists say that company's technology violates the basic laws of physics. Such skepticism doesn't daunt Dr. Randell Mills, a Harvard-trained physician and founder of BlackLight, who recently claimed that he has created a working fuel cell using the world's most pervasive element: the hydrogen found in water. Mills says he has a market-ready product: a fuel cell that produces a chemical reaction to alter hydrogen atoms. The fuel cell releases heat that turns water into steam, which drives electric turbines. The working models in his lab generate 50 kilowatts of electricity - enough to power six or seven houses. But these, Mills says, can be scaled [up] to drive a large, electric power plant. The inventor claims this electricity will cost less than 2 cents per kilowatt-hour, which compares to a national average of 8.9 cents. Mills developed the patented cocktail that enables the reaction - a solid fuel made of hydrogen and a sodium hydride catalyst - only a year ago. (He recently posted instructions on the company's Web site, blacklightpower.com). Now that the device is ready for commercialization, he says, BlackLight is negotiating with several utilities and architecture and engineering firms. The business, Mills says, has attracted $60 million in funding from wealthy individuals, investment firms ... and it is no longer seeking money. BlackLight's board of directors reads like a Who's Who of finance and energy leaders.
Note: For two New York Times articles showing the viability of this amazing technology, click here and here. And for the latest on this exciting technology, click here. For many other exciting major media news articles on new energy inventions, click here.
The Tesla Roadster, which recently entered production, is probably the best known electric car in America. The company's president has called it "the only production electric car for sale in the United States." There are several other electric car companies that would differ with him on that point, but those other vehicles are either limited to speeds below 25 miles per hour or have fewer than four wheels, making their status as "cars" somewhat debatable. With a full set of wheels and a claimed top speed of 125 mph, there's no question this two-seat convertible is a real car. Tesla also boasts an amazing 220-mile range on a full charge as measured in EPA fuel economy tests. Meanwhile, the charging time claimed by Tesla is less than half that of other electric vehicles, thanks to advanced lithium-ion batteries -- which do account for much of the car's high cost. But even gasoline-powered two-seat soft-tops are luxury toys, not daily drivers. Tesla promises it is working hard on a more moderately priced four-door model for driving's other half. The GEM car, from Chrysler's Global Electric Motorcars division, is more typical of what's available to today's average consumer. It's a small, lightweight vehicle that can go up to 25 mph. It can go just a little faster on a downhill grade, but the electric motor automatically steps in to slow it down. The 25 mph top speed is a matter of law, not engineering. "Low Speed Vehicles" (LSVs) like the GEM don't have to meet the same safety requirements as faster cars. But 25 mph is still adequate for many daily commutes and around-the-town errands.
Note: For many exciting reports on new automotive and energy developments, click here.
What we drive in the future may not be designed in Detroit, or Tokyo or Stuttgart, but on the college campuses of North America. Teams of students from 17 colleges and universities in the United States and Canada have spent the last three years taking apart models of a Chevrolet Equinox, and re-designing and re-fitting the crossover SUV to get better fuel efficiency than the engineers and designers at General Motors have been able to achieve. It's called Challenge X. So what did these college teams come up with? They came up with bio-diesel, ethanol, hydrogen, hybrid electric, plug-in electric - with most of the teams using two of these energy sources together. The team from Penn State created an Equinox that runs on three fuels: bio-diesel, hydrogen and electric hybrid power. "The way it's designed, it's always burning hydrogen and bio-diesel together, and the hybrid motor turns on and off," explained Nate Simmons. The team from San Diego State created a bio-diesel electric hybrid, and transformed the transmission from automatic to manual for even better gas mileage. They were able to boost the EPA rating for the conventional Equinox from a rating of 23 miles per gallon highway up into the low 30s. "We set out to produce the most powerful vehicle in the competition," said faculty advisor James Burns. This year's winner was Mississippi State University, for its bio-diesel hybrid electric design. The MSU vehicle is powered by a 1.9-liter GM direct injection turbo-diesel engine, fueled by bio-diesel (B20). It won for achieving a whopping 38 percent increase in fuel economy over the production-model Equinox.
Shai Agassi, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, pledges that he can beat the spiraling cost of gasoline with the world's first mass-produced electric car. In January, Israel's government endorsed the Palo Alto businessman's ambitious joint venture between his startup company - Project Better Place - and Renault-Nissan. Agassi says he raised $200 million to get the $500 million dollar project, which will include a network of charging and battery-exchange stations by 2010, off the ground. Project Better Place also has signed an agreement with Denmark to begin a similar operation by 2011. In Denmark, a pioneer in developing wind power, batteries are expected to be recharged using wind-powered turbines. Agassi is banking on his electric-powered sedan revolutionizing life on the roads, cleaning up the environment and reducing dependence on oil. The cars are expected to have a range of up to 140 miles per charge and a top speed of 68 mph - the speed limit in Israel. Last month, he invited reporters to test-drive a prototype that looks a lot like the Renault Megane, a four-door sedan. The car is noticeably quiet and has no exhaust pipe, an electric socket in place of a gas cap and a dashboard gauge that measures the charge of the vehicle's 450-pound lithium-ion battery. In the United States, Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle has said she is interested in her state becoming the first to embrace the electric-car network. Mayor Gavin Newsom also has reportedly expressed interest in making San Francisco the first U.S. metropolis to place electric cars on city roads.
Note: For reports of many exciting breakthroughs in energy development and automotive design, click here.
Ten years ago I could never have imagined Id be doing this, says Greg Pal, 33, a former software executive. I mean, this is essentially agriculture, right? But ... this is the one hot area everyone wants to get into. He means bugs. To be more precise: the genetic alteration of bugs very, very small ones so that when they feed on agricultural waste such as woodchips or wheat straw, they do something extraordinary. They excrete crude oil. Unbelievably, this is not science fiction. Mr Pal holds up a small beaker of bug excretion that could, theoretically, be poured into the tank of the giant Lexus SUV next to us. Not that Mr Pal is willing to risk it just yet. He gives it a month before the first vehicle is filled up on what he calls renewable petroleum. After that, he grins, its a brave new world. Mr Pal is a senior director of LS9, one of several companies in or near Silicon Valley that have ... embarked ... on an extraordinary race to make $140-a-barrel oil (70) from Saudi Arabia obsolete. All of us here everyone in this company and in this industry, are aware of the urgency, Mr Pal says. What is most remarkable about what they are doing is that instead of trying to reengineer the global economy as is required, for example, for the use of hydrogen fuel they are trying to make a product that is interchangeable with oil. The company claims that this Oil 2.0 will not only be renewable but also carbon negative meaning that the carbon it emits will be less than that sucked from the atmosphere by the raw materials from which it is made.
Note: For a treasure trove of exciting reports on new energy inventions, click here.
Tired of petrol prices rising daily at the pump? A Japanese company has invented an electric-powered, and environmentally friendly, car that it says runs solely on water. Genepax unveiled the car in the western city of Osaka, saying that a liter (2.1 pints) of any kind of water -- rain, river or sea -- was all you needed to get the engine going for about an hour at a speed of 80 km (50 miles). "The car will continue to run as long as you have a bottle of water to top up from time to time," Genepax CEO Kiyoshi Hirasawa told local broadcaster TV Tokyo. "It does not require you to build up an infrastructure to recharge your batteries, which is usually the case for most electric cars," he added. Once the water is poured into the tank at the back of the car, the a generator breaks it down and uses it to create electrical power, TV Tokyo said. Whether the car makes it into showrooms remains to be seen. Genepax said it had just applied for a patent and is hoping to collaborate with Japanese auto manufacturers in the future. Most big automakers, meanwhile, are working on fuel-cell cars that run on hydrogen and emit -- not consume -- water.
Note: To watch a Reuters video clip on this amazing car, click here.
Norwegian automaker Think Global said Monday it planned to sell low-priced electric cars to the masses and will introduce its first models in the U.S. by the end of next year. The battery-powered Think City will be able to travel up to 110 miles on a single charge, with a top speed of about 65 mph, the company said. It will be priced below $25,000. Oslo-based Think said venture capital firms RockPort Capital Partners and Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers had made investments to fund its entry into the U.S. under the auspices of Think North America. "This is not a toy," said Wilber James, RockPort managing partner. "This is a serious car that we expect to sell." Although technology for electric cars has been advancing -- and consumer interest has been rising amid growing concern over gasoline prices and greenhouse gases -- few vehicles have come to market. Last month, San Carlos, Calif.-based Tesla Motors began production of its Roadster, an electric vehicle that costs $100,000. The Think City "is a mass-market vehicle," said Kleiner managing partner Ray Lane, dismissing comparisons to the Roadster. Tesla's car is being produced in relatively small numbers, with roughly 300 expected by the end of this year. "Our desire is to be selling 30-40-50,000 of these cars in a couple of years." Think Chief Executive Jan-Olaf Willums said the company would bring test vehicles to the U.S. in the coming months. The Think City runs on sodium batteries, but future versions could use lithium ion batteries, Willums said. The Think City, a two-seater that can be fitted with two additional seats for children, has a mostly plastic exterior and is 95% recyclable. Willums said a convertible was in development. "Women want to buy it immediately," he said.
Note: For many exciting reports on new auto and energy developments from major media sources, click here.
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