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The Chevy VOLT – a sneak peek

Last night we attended the Chevy VOLT press event here in NYC,
and laid our hands and eyes on GM’s $1.2 million dollar prototype,
(“Please don’t slam the doors…”).


The vehicle looks sharp and rather sporty.  Not as dorky or funky as the Prius, but distinctive — in an intentionally more mainstream way.  Fact is, Chevy wants to sell a lot of these cars, and has designed them to utilize technology and materials that ultimately can be mass produced at an affordable price.  Market research has told GM that most folks, (80%), commute an average of 40 miles or less, each day.  This car is designed to run fully electric for that daily commute, meaning you don’t have to load any fossil fuel into that tank to get back and forth to work.  Your daily commute could cost you less than 85 cents a day in electricity, or save you up to $1,500 (depending on the price of a gallon), per year on gas.


The VOLT is being referred to as an E-REV, or Extended Range Electric Vehicle, meaning the gas engine under the hood is actually an electric power generator. And this baby runs electric all the time, as opposed to a hybrid, which switches to a conventional gasoline engine for acceleration and high-speed driving.  The car is aerodynamically designed to reduce drag wherever possible to increase fuel efficiency.  Longer trips will require the gas generator to assist in creating electric power.  But unlike hybrids that have a noticeable change in feel and performance when they switch over to the gas engine, the VOLT stays electric with the smooth acceleration only an electric car can provide.

Some stats: The battery area runs beneath the center console, making the VOLT a four-seater. The car goes zero to sixty in a rather mundane 9 seconds and has a top end of 100 mph.  The VOLT’s lithium ion battery will have a ten-year, or 150,000 mile warranty.


One consideration — you do need somewhere to plug this baby in.  It fully charges in just 3 hours with a 240 volt supply (think washing machine) and 6 hours at 120 volts.  Urban charging sites and infrastructure (if you don’t have a garage) should rapidly expand if these cars catch on.  Available to early adopters in sometime in 2010 for somewhere north of $30K – due in no small part to the limited initial production run.  a bunch of photos after the jump…

Related on altCon: Can the Chevy Volt save GM?


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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Yellow+Blue organic wine in green packaging

prnphotos076389_YELLOW_BLUE_TORRONT_1.jpgArgentinian organic wine grower, Yellow+Blue (equals ‘green’), just announced the retail release of its Torrentes variety of organic wines packaged in Tetra Pak sustainable packaging.  Wine is one of the few products wherein the packaging (bottle) often outweighs the product. The Tetra Pak containers reduce the products carbon footprint by creating 90% less packaging than traditional bottles, saving on fuel, storage and transportation.

Yellow+Blue previously introduced its Malbec line.

Haven’t tasted the vino yet (hint).

distributor list


(UPDATE: links were removed)

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Worn Again Virgin: Upcycled Accessories

Virgin Atlantic Airlines is striving to meet its goal in reducing the waste they send to landfills by 50% by the year 2012, turning their waste into unique, eco-accessories with the help of eco-fashion company Worn Again.  The two have teamed up to produce a new line of bags using old seat covers from refitted planes, bicycle tires, car seat belts, and scrap materials.  The new fall and winter collection, available since September 2008, features stylish handbags, shoulder bags, toiletry bags, and laptop bags, all hand made using old materials and products.  Who knew that trash could look so good?


My favorite is the Romero handbag, constructed with old car seat belts weaved together, bicycle inner tubes as handles, and lined with Virgin Atlantic seat covers (available in red and multi-colored scrap fabric).  The handbag is stylish enough for every day use, and elegant enough for a night out on the town.  But, at about 93 U.S. dollars apiece, the bag is a bit pricey, so save up for the splurge.
Be sure to check out the rest of the line, which ranges from about 39 to 100 U.S. dollars.  It is available for purchase online, or can be found at John Lewis stores, as well as Terra Plana stores around the world.  And, because the entire line is made from recycled products, no two bags are the same, so you’re guaranteed a truly unique bag.

(Update: links removed)

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a mixed bag of green news


  • How Parked Cars Could Power the Future – livescience (Update: links removed)
  • Hopefully this won’t be just another serving of Washington ‘pork’…‘Carbon Army’ Hopes to Grab Slice of New Deal Cash – reuters
  • These folks really just want to shoot wolves…Wyoming Proposes Changes in its Wolf Plan – myway (Update: links removed)
  • Australian Teens Charged in Attack on 75-Year-Old Blind Flamingo – breitbart (Update: links removed)
  • The usual suspect…Mystery of the Five-Legged Freaks – msnbc (Update: links removed)
  • (slideshow) Wildlife Photos of the Year – bbc (Update: links removed)
  • Who’s a thunk it?  Eddie Murphy Labeled a “Wasteful, Arrogant Celebrity” – ecorazzi
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