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When Ford's re-tooled Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne starts building the Focus Electric next year, a chunk of the electrical energy used in the plant will be provided by one of the largest solar arrays in Michigan. Detroit Edison, Xtreme Power and the state of Michigan are partnering with Ford to install a 500-kilowatt solar array along with a 750-kilowatt battery system with 2 megawatt-hours of capacity. The solar power system will be used to power production of the Focus and Focus Electric a


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What if you took the solar panel idea and applied it on a scale of epic proportions? Just imagine wrapping the entire 6,800-mile circumference of the moon with solar panels to harness the sun's power and then beamed all that collected energy back to Earth via microwave or laser technology to power the world. Sounds far-fetched, doesn't it? Sure, but the Shimizu Corporation, a Japanese construction firm, still hopes to one day make this dreamy idea a reality.


Most everyone in the plug-in vehicle movement knows about Paul and Zan Scott. Leaders of Plug In America, they have been tireless advocates for electric drive vehicles (especially for pairing them with solar panels) for years. But yesterday they shared a bit about why they work so tirelessly to push for EVs.


The move to electric-powered vehicles is still in its fledgling stages, but there are plenty of signs that the next few years will finally start ushering in battery-powered transportation for the masses. But there's one class of vehicle that has almost always been powered by batteries: R/C cars. Slap in a couple of 9-volt batteries and a slew of AA cells, and kids of all ages get to pretend they're Ken Block in the backyard until mom says it's time to clean up for supper.


The only green typically associated with NASCAR is the cubic dollars spent every year by fans on tickets and merchandise and what the automakers spend to support their teams. On the technology side, this is a series that still uses carburetors and only recently switched to unleaded gas. However, NASCAR has decided to take a tentative step into the future.


While the argument about whether a Hummer H2 is actually more environmentally friendly than a Toyota Prius has long since been debunked (even if it keeps popping up its ugly head), it does raise a valid point. A major part of the environmental impact of transportation devices like cars and trucks comes during the manufacturing and disposal phases of their existences. Evaluating environmental impact requires total lifecycle analysis of the product, something that Toyota has done for the new 2010


Why no solar powered electric cars?


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Want to know more about the solar moonroof option that's available on the latest third-generation Toyota Prius for 2010? Read on. According to Tech-On from Nikkei newspaper in Japan, the actual polycrystalline Si cells used by the automaker are supplied by Kyocera and are arranged in six columns and six rows.


Seat Brisa and Duna concepts - Click above for a high-res image gallery


Solar technology, while promising, doesn't quite seem ready to power our vehicles. Large solar installations that constantly collect the sun's rays and store them for later use may be an excellent option to power electric vehicles, but even the best photovoltaic cells in the world are not yet efficient enough to generate enough electricity to provide for any meaningful range, at least for the kind of vehicle that most people would want to drive.


Looks like green might replace red as the most popular color at Ferrari. The supercar manufacturer just added a whole roof-full of photovoltaics atop its Engine Mechanical Machining facility in Maranello. Those solar panels should cut Ferrari's outside power needs, reducing the amount of energy the company draws from the grid by about 210,000 kWh a year and could result in a 25-30% reduction in CO2 emissions.


Don't get too excited yet, but reports are coming out of Japan that say Toyota is developing a solar-powered car. First of all an electric car that draws electricity solely from the sun is still quite a few years off. The first stage is a car that gets some power directly from vehicle mounted solar cells with the bulk coming from being plugged into a solar array at home. This is really not much different than some Tesla Roadster owners like Martin Eberhard and Elon Musk are doing today, some wit

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