Posted by Dale Buss on November 25, 2013 01:47 PM
Hyundai continues to be practically unsurpassed at doing interesting things in the US car market. The latest is its vow to debut for retail customers a fuel-cell version of its Tucson SUV by next spring.
Interestingly, such a showing would leapfrog the plans of both Toyota and Honda to introduce a retail fuel-cell vehicle in the United States. And while the fuel-cell Tucson will be extremely limited as a Hyundai sales opportunity for at least the first few years, the move does indicate that Hyundai wants to go hard and establish an unassailable foothold in fuel-cell technology as Toyota did over a decade ago with Prius to gain early dominance of the hybrid segment.
"Today, right here, the hydrogen fuel cell is making a shift from a research project to a real consumer choice," John Krafcik, CEO of Hyundai Motor America, said at the unveiling of the fuel-cell Tucscon at the Los Angeles Auto Show, according to Automotive News.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 22, 2013 12:43 PM
Walgreens opened the first net zero energy retail store in Evanston, Ill., yesterday, harnessing power from two wind turbines, nearly 850 solar panels and a geothermal system burrowed 550 feet into the ground. The store will produce energy equal to or greater than it consumes from the power grid—the definition of net zero.
"Currently, we have facilities that utilize wind turbines, solar installations and geothermal technologies,” said Mark Wagner, Walgreens president of operations and community management. “This is the first time we are bringing all three of these technologies and many more together in one place. Our purpose as a company is to help people get, stay and live well, and that includes making our planet more livable by conserving resources and reducing pollution."
Engineering estimates put this store’s energy usage at 200,000 kilowatt hours per year, while generating 220,000 kilowatt hours per year, versus the average Chicago Walgreens store’s energy footprint of 425,000 kilowatt-hours.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 15, 2013 02:59 PM
Coca-Cola and Ford have come up with a unique approach to advance recyclable packaging: using Coke's PlantBottle technology to make car seat cushions, seat backs, head restraints, door-panel inserts and headliners in a new concept vehicle for the Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid.
Scheduled to be unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show later this month, the car will demonstrate the first use of PlantBottle technology, which utilizes plant-based materials, beyond consumer packaging and is the first step in what the two brands say is a joint commitment to develop innovative new products from renewable content.
"It's important to realize that PET resin is part of the broader polyester family, so this is clearly the most significant partnership we have so far as we look at the broader impact of the potential for the PlantBottle," Scott Vitters, GM of the PlantBottle packaging platform for Coke, told brandchannel.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on August 6, 2013 01:54 PM
While Walmart's right hand is parrying "living-wage" proponents over its plan to pull out of its efforts to open stores in Washington, D.C., the company's left hand is feeding a favorite progressive cause: green-ness.
Walmart has joined Twentieth Century Fox in an integrated campaign to promote "green" CPG products such as Burt's Bees, Brita water-filtering systems and Green Works wipes along with the studio's home-video launch of Epic, an environmentally themed kids' movie that was released in theaters in May and has grossed $245 million worldwide.
In what is believed to be Walmart's biggest push for a home-video title ever, beginning today the chain is promoting availability of the digital version of the toon. Walmart already introduced its "Epic Green Warriors" marketing campaign at 2,800 stores to help boost pre-orders for the animated film and DVD and Blu-ray versions of Epic when it becomes available on August 20. The whole effort will run through October 1.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on August 6, 2013 12:43 PM
The number of Chevy Volts sold last month was fewer than the average number of Chevrolet Silverado pickups sold—in a single day. That factoid from a Wall Street Journal story is basically all you need to know to understand why General Motors just cut the sticker price of its Volt plug-in hybrid by $5,000, or about 13 percent, down to $35,000.
So anemic have been sales of the technologically revolutionary Volt—and of all-battery-powered electric vehicles—in the US market that Volt's price cut was only the latest gambit in what has become an all-out price war in the electrified-vehicle segment. Chevy was already selling 2012 models of Volt recently for promotional discounts of up to $5,000—and even of $4,000 on 2013 models—so the official price reduction really is only bowing to de facto lower prices in the car market anyway.
The Silverado remains GM's highest-profit vehicle, and the fact that a new version of the truck has just debuted this spring means margins are way up there—and so are sales. Meanwhile, Volt is no doubt GM's biggest money-losing vehicle. CEO Dan Akerson pledged to cut as much as $10,000 out of the cost of manufacturing Volt by next year, but that will only reduce the huge subsidies effectively paid on each sale of the vehicle by GM and the US taxpayer, in the form of federal tax credits of as much as $7,500 on each unit, with state tax credits to boot.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on July 4, 2013 01:28 PM
Volkswagen finished last of the global automakers that occupied five of the top seven spots in Interbrand's recently released Best Global Green Brands 2013 report. That was a pretty good showing, but the German giant seems determined to hoist itself even higher in terms of the effectiveness of its sustainability efforts—and regard for them—around the globe.
In fact, according to Automotive News, Volkswagen is determined to "become the world's greenest automaker" as well as, by 2018, its highest-selling. "VW has set ambitious targets for CO2 reduction and more efficient energy use."
The impetus for this strategic priority, of course, is coming from the top, from Germany, where sustainability initiatives have been grouped into a global initiative called "Think Blue." (The nod to VW's iconic "Think Small" ad tagline uses blue instead of the green typically associated with eco-efforts because, VW executives explain, mostly what you see of Earth from space is... blue.)
What's more, its corporate executives are committed to expanding the Think Blue campaign across all VW-owned brands, which is still making inroads in the US.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on June 12, 2013 01:51 PM
No industry is in the environmental spotlight like autos. It transformed the globe and remains the most impactful on the planet and on humanity.
That's why it's especially encouraging to see car companies stepping up around the world to the sustainability challenge, certainly in how they're approaching the environmental impact of their vehicles but also in a myriad other ways including engineering and design, manufacturing practices, future-product planning and even marketing.
In fact, auto makers hold four of the top five spots in Interbrand's Best Global Green Brands 2013 report: No. 1 Toyota, No. 2 Ford, No. 3 Honda, and No. 5 Nissan.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on May 3, 2013 10:22 AM
Bill Ford Jr. long has been the environmental visionary for Ford Motor Co. and, arguably, one of the "greenest" minds in the global auto business. So it's no surprise that he has emerged as a leading figure in the rising interest in self-driving automobiles and in the debate over what role they might have in the urban-transportation networks of the future.
As much as Ford's scion and executive chairman already has led the company to a forward position in many areas of sustainability—green manufacturing operations, some of the first mainstream hybrids, a fuel-economic product line— Ford Jr. now must help the company and the industry adapt to an era in which everyone seems really eager to take driving functions away from fallible humans and give them to computers in a modern car that, as Ford put it, "is really becoming a rolling group of sensors."
Interested parties range from Ford and other auto makers, to governments, to digital giants such as Google. "The car as we know it, and how it's used in people's lives, is going to change really dramatically and it's going to change fast," Ford said at the annual Milken Global Conference in Los Angeles this week (watch his session below).Continue reading...