Tesla has revealed the details of the upgrade of its Fremont, CA factory. One major change is the addition of a dedicated production space for the dual-motor P85D version of the Model S. Robots will be doing the battery installation on the Model S to save some time, and new export docks allow Tesla to get the cars out the door and on the way to their new owners more quickly. The new robots that move the cars around the factory have been named after X-Men characters, which makes our inner geeks smile. Check out the factory upgrade in the time-lapse video below and read more at Teslarati or at the Tesla Motors Blog.

A program in Beijing for privileged registrations for EVs hasn't had much success. Of the 1,424 lottery winners, only about 30 percent went on to register an electric car despite a two-month extension of the deadline to do so. Buyers are likely discouraged by the lack of charging infrastructure, which the city hopes to ameliorate with the addition of 1,000 new charging stations by the end of the year, and by requiring new and renovated developments to set aside parking specifically for EV charging. Read more at Green Car Reports.

The UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies suggests that laws designed to protect dealers and consumers are stymieing the adoption of EVs. Laws like the ones certain states have in place that block or otherwise restrict Tesla's direct-to-consumer business model are not helpful for companies that want to introduce new products to the market. They prevent companies from passing on savings to customers for whom they would likely make the difference in a purchasing decision. One possible solution would be to allow exemptions to certain selling restrictions for a certain number of vehicles sold. "This could give automakers the degree of control needed to work out kinks with early customers, develop scalable processes for supporting PEVs, and ensure that effective dealer performance standards are in place before handing the reins over to wholly independent retailers," according to UC Davis ITS. Read more at the UC Davis website.

Volkswagen says its environmental program, called "Think Blue. Factory," is meeting the automaker's own sustainability targets. The main purpose of the program is to move toward eco-friendlier carmaking at each of its plants worldwide. Volkswagen aims to reduce water and energy consumption, waste output and CO2 and solvent emissions by 25 percent, with 5,000 measures toward this goal to be put in place by 2018. In the last three years, Volkswagen has made production "17 percent more environmentally compatible," to use the marque's own words. Examples of measures already put in place have been reducing water usage for tightness tests at its Zwickau and Pamplona plants, and creating a process to filter cooling emulsion to save energy, water and lubricants at its Chemnitz engine plant. Learn more in the press release below.

Ford and SunPower's Drive Green For Life program aims to save customers money on solar power and, now, also raise funds for Sierra Club. Through the program, Ford EV and hybrid customers can get a $750 rebate on a SunPower residential solar system. For each rooftop system installed, SunPower will also donate $500 to environmental and conservation organization Sierra Club. Installing solar power allows drivers to charge their EVs and power their homes using clean energy, while the Drive Green For Life program also helps Sierra club continue its environmental advocacy, including its EV initiatives. Read more in the press release below.
Show full PR text
Volkswagen's "Think Blue. Factory." environmental program well on the way to success

• More than 2,700 environmental projects successfully completed at Volkswagen plants within three years
• Production already 17 percent more environmentally
• Annual experts' meeting in Wolfsburg

The Volkswagen brand's "Think Blue. Factory" environmental program remains on track for success. The objective is to reduce energy and water consumption as well as the share in waste, CO2 and solvent emissions at all Volkswagen plants throughout the world by 25 percent. In all, some 5,000 individual measures are to be taken by 2018. Volkswagen has already successfully implemented more than 2,700 projects and made its production processes 17 percent more environmentally compatible over the past three years. This was the interim assessment made by more than 250 environmental experts from 27 plants of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand, the Components business area and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles at today's "Think Blue. Factory." day in Wolfsburg.

"'Think Blue. Factory.ΚΌ is and remains the approach we have adopted to achieve the sustainability targets we have set ourselves for production and logistics at the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand by 2018. I am very pleased to see how effectively the methods and processes we have developed together are now being put into practice at our locations," said Thomas Ulbrich, Member of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand responsible for Production and Logistics.

"Our employees have breathed life into the 'Think Blue. Factory.' Program and implemented it with considerable commitment right from the outset. This explains the successes that we have already achieved," said Prof. Werner Neubauer, Member of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand responsible for Components.

"The Works Council sees itself in the role of a driver of this environmental program not only towards the Board of Management but also on site in factory halls and offices. For example, we have already trained about 250 works council members in this area. We are shouldering our responsibility and have given a clear commitment to the environmental goals of Volkswagen," said Works Council Coordinator Jürgen Hildebrandt.

Innovative ideas and successful measures to reduce resource use around the globe were presented. For example, water used to test the firefighting system at the Curitiba plant in Brazil is recycled as cooling water following the tests. The Zwickau and Pamplona plants have significantly reduced water consumption for vehicle tightness tests. In vehicle production, this is the stage that requires most water following the paintshop. The Chemnitz engine plant is saving water, energy and lubricants by filtering cooling emulsion after use in an innovative process.

This year, Volkswagen also honored employees who had demonstrated special commitment in connection with the program. The award-winners are Jörg Kessler from the Hanover plant, Peter Solárik from Bratislava (Slovakia), and Peter Splitt, Udo Guenther and Karsten Folchmann from the Salzgitter plant. Awards for saving water at the plant level went to the Pamplona (Spain), Curitiba (Brazil), Zwickau and Chemnitz plants.

Ford and SunPower Welcome Sierra Club as Newest Partner of National Drive Green for Life Program

Sierra Club Receives $500 Donation for Each Residential SunPower Solar System Installed Through the Program

SAN JOSE, Calif., Nov. 19, 2014 – TheSierra Club is joining Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) and SunPower's (NASDAQ: SPWR) Drive Green for Life program to help more Americans move toward emissions-free driving.

Drive Green for Life offers Ford customers who own electrified plug-in vehicles, including Focus Electric, C-MAX Energi Plug-In Hybrid and Fusion Energi Plug-In Hybrid, a $750 rebate on a SunPower residential solar system to generate clean, solar energy for the home and for electric vehicle charging. Also eligible are the C-MAX Hybrid and Fusion Hybrid. As Drive Green for Life's newest partner, the Sierra Club will receive a $500 donation from SunPower for each rooftop solar system installed through the program.

"As an electric vehicle owner with solar panels on my home, I can personally attest to the incredible freedom and financial savings that come from being able to power our family's car while lessening our carbon footprint," said Jesse Simons, Sierra Club Chief of Staff. "At the Sierra Club, we want to bring clean energy prosperity to all Americans, and our new collaboration with Ford and SunPower on Drive Green for Life will help many more individuals benefit from a switch to clean, healthy solutions."

In 2011, the Sierra Club launched its electric vehicle initiative advocating ways to reduce oil use and greenhouse gas emissions. The Sierra Club also conducts public education to promote electric vehicles, including through the annual National Drive Electric Week and its interactive online EV Guide. Through the Drive Green for Life program, electric vehicles that are charged with SunPower systems become forms of mobility with reduced emissions. Participation in the program will help accomplish the Sierra Club's goal of rapid, wide-scale deployment of renewable energy technologies in lieu of fossil fuel-powered electricity. Donations from Drive Green for Life will help support the Sierra Club's programs, such as its advocacy for clean energy solutions, including federal and state programs and policies to get more drivers into plug-in electric vehicles.

New owners or lessees of Ford electrified vehicles will be given information about the Drive Green for Life program by Ford dealers. A SunPower dealer will work with interested customers to design a solar power system for their home and discuss flexible financing options. Each Drive Green for Life customer will receive their rebate and a donation will be made to the Sierra Club once the solar system is installed.

"SunPower is pleased to welcome the Sierra Club, with its rich history of environmental advocacy and conservation successes, to the Drive Green for Life program," said Erin Nelson, SunPower executive vice president and chief marketing officer. "Drive Green for Life continues to help Ford electric vehicle customers generate reliable solar energy from their rooftop with SunPower systems, for use at home and on the road."

SunPower and Ford launched the Drive Green for Life program in 2011 and it is currently open to homeowners in all 50 states. Ford plug-in electric vehicles are available at certified dealerships across the country, and SunPower solar panels can be installed by more than 400 solar installers nationwide.

"Our plug-in customers have taken a big step towards sustainability by driving on electricity and now we are offering them the ability to go further by powering their homes and vehicles with clean, renewable energy," said Mike Tinskey, global director, Vehicle Electrification and Infrastructure for Ford. "We are thrilled to be working with SunPower and the Sierra Club on this forward-thinking program."

For more information on Drive Green for Life and the benefits of powering electric vehicles with solar energy, visit www.sunpower.com/drivegreen.

About SunPower Corp.

SunPower Corp. (NASDAQ: SPWR) designs, manufactures and delivers the highest efficiency, highest reliability solar panels and systems available today. Residential, business, government and utility customers rely on the company's quarter century of experience and guaranteed performance to provide maximum return on investment throughout the life of the solar system. Headquartered in San Jose, Calif., SunPower has offices in North America, Europe, Australia, Africa and Asia. For more information, visit www.sunpower.com.

About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Michigan, manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 189,000 employees and 65 plants worldwide, the company's automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford and its products worldwide, please visit www.corporate.ford.com.

About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America's largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 2.4 million members and supporters nationwide. In addition to creating opportunities for people of all ages, levels and locations to have meaningful outdoor experiences, the Sierra Club works to safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and litigation. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.

Share This Photo X