Currently viewing the tag: "Electric Car"
  • The State growth management planners have officially drafted a report recommending Miami-Dade County commissioners to reject the most recent bids to move the Urban Development Boundary further west. The issue will now head back to county commissioners who will vote again based on the state’s recommendations.
  • We really did not see this going any other way, considering the state has repeatedly warned County Commissioners on the devastating consequences our area would face should the UDB be extended west. We hope that Sally Heyman stays true to her word and reverts to her original vote against the expansion and are perplexed that this issue will somehow only narrowly be defeated. When it comes to the UDB, much of the county commission does not vote in the best interest of constituents. We’ll keep you posted as to when the County will be meeting, but in the meantime e-mail your county commissioner
  • Miami-Dade County Commissioners gathered in Washington D.C. this week to meet with Federal Transit Administrator James Simpson to discuss the fate of the upcoming N/S and E/W metrorail extensions. The N/S extension was recently downgraded due to financial uncertainty within MDT. Simpson urged the county officials to work together and put an end to the racial bickering which has plagued much of the county’s projects since the 1970s.
    • We hope that the County administration comes back home with a clear understanding of what needs to be accomplished in order to see these projects come to fruition. MDT and the Commission should be ashamed that these critical projects were downgraded because of poor management however, given the poor management of previous projects and ridiculous cost overruns, this really shouldn’t surprise us. Transportation options shouldn’t become the center of a cultural war, on the contrary, transit should unite our neighborhoods and make county-wide mobility easier for all.
  • The city of Coral Gables is looking into creating plan that would provide free parking to the drivers of electric vehicles. The plan is being considered after a recommendation by the city’s economic development board altered Commissioner Ralph Cabrera’s initiative to provide more downtown bicycle parking. Meanwhile, some within the city were looking to expand the initiative to provide reduced parking fees for owners of hybrid vehicles.
    • We commend Commissioner Cabrera for introducing some greener initiatives and for the city’s support in making Coral Gables a bicycle friendly community. Free parking for electric vehicles may be ahead of its time, considering that few electric vehicles are available on the market today, but the city is headed in the right direction in providing the local infrastructure to even make this technology possible. The exclusion of hybrid vehicles from this proposition is recommended by Transit Miami due to the varied nature of hybrid vehicles (20 mpg Yukon Hybrid - 50 mpg Prius.) We believe the city needs to continue in the green direction by subsidizing only virtually zero emission projects (Bicycle, EV, Trolley, Pedestrian, etc.)

    Local:

    • Pedestrians don’t belong on 1-95…
    • Yet another person dies trying to bypass a Tri-Rail railroad crossing…
    • Buy local produce! It’s a key part of creating a sustainable society, a great way to keep money in the local economy, and an effective measure to reduce pollution (less overseas and transcontinental shipments…)
    • Get ready for strict water restrictions next year and pretty much every year after that. Anyone else think that perhaps the County should mandate the installation of water saving devices (such as technology which reuses sink greywater for toilet use) for all new construction?

    Elsewhere:

    • The return of Urban Parks. Finally!
    • After they created the largest bike sharing network (note the absence of the popular word scheme, its a network, not a ploy) in the world and reintroduced streetcars to their urban landscape; Parisians are now getting ready to embrace electric car sharing service
    • Collapse of the housing market signals the end of suburban sprawl? James Howard Kunstler thinks so
    • Bike Boxes, what a novel concept to show drivers they aren’t the only ones on the road. Dual bike lanes and Bike Boxes in NYC are even more progressive…

    The South Florida International Auto Show kicked off this past Friday. GM unveiled a Hybrid Cadillac Escalade with much fanfare and was showered with awards from Sobre Ruedas (including “Best Vehicle of the Year” for the 2008 Chevy Malibu, which has a hybrid option). We won’t trouble you with too many car details, but the important thing was the chance to have a few words with Troy Clarke, president of GM North America. He outlined the goal of GM’s hybrid strategy: to electrify the car (presumably with plug-in hybrids) in order to allow a distribution network to be put in place before another all-electric vehicle is released. Quite the turnaround from their previous electric car exploits.
    Since GM sponsored the winning vehicle of the DARPA Urban Challenge, we asked whether they would incorporate any technology from the race into future cars. Clarke said the point of sponsoring Carnegie Mellon was indeed to look at the technology. He then focused on connected vehicles that communicate with each other for safety and network to the driver’s home to deliver things like music. He steered away from the subject of communicating with infrastructure like the road itself and focused on cars communicating with cars. GM is a car manufacturer, not a road builder, so vehicle infrastructure integration may have to be pushed by someone else.

    Clarke also highlighted the current connectivity option that is supposed to become standard in all GM products: On-Star. With features like the Stolen Vehicle Slowdown, the system is already controlling many basic operations of the car. He touted the On-Star system as their current offering of a connected vehicle. Surprisingly, he made no mention of adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, or other active safety features available in luxury GM models. He did remind us that most such technology begins life in luxury cars and filters down to the others once it has been proven good on the market.

    It will be a long time before production vehicles achieve full automation. Until that time, On-Star and active safety systems are computerizing things and leaving in the human interaction ingredient. Looking at the theft slowdown feature, it seems like cars would be able to slowdown and stop at red lights if a few more controls were added; but stolen vehicles are only getting stopped at the command of an On-Star operator. That’s nothing more than remote control—the automation is yet to come. We have to have the computer before we have the artificial intelligence, so their progress with On-Star is at least a step in the right direction. Hopefully, just as with the hybrid strategy, they can get the network and the technology in place and then throw in full automation.

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    Concept Chevy Volt, originally uploaded by EOS Miami.

    The Chevy Volt concept Electric Car is finishing up its Miami tour today from 10am to 9pm: Dolphin Mall (Doral, 11401 NW 12th Street, in front of the Texas de Brazil restaurant)…

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