I ride this new e-bike past thousands strolling along the San Francisco Bay. Travelers ferry to Tiburon, Sausalito, and Alcatraz. Large catamarans race the wind as they prepare for the America’s Cup. The Golden Gate Bridge majestically displays our gateway to Asia. I am test riding a new Specialized Turbo electric-assist bicycle. For the first time, when I leave bicycle paths and merge into traffic I can maintain the same speed as the cars.
Vehicle congestion in the 10 large cities in the U.S. is costing drivers and the economy money and increasing greenhouse gas emissions. It doesn’t look much better in medium size cities and predictions are it won’t get any better as the economy improves. In Top 10 most congested cities it is likely that plug-in vehicles will get special privileges and access to reduce CO2 while other vehicles are charged.
Public transportation ridership reached a rate of 10.8 billion rides per year according to a report released today by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). Transit is valuable for everyone who uses it to commute to, from, and within cities. Public transportation enables millions to go to college without cars and then continue to live car free.
One million people around the world are members of a carsharing program offered by Zipcar, Enterprise, Hertz, some innovative regional service, and even programs that let one person make money sharing with others in the community. Electric car owners can use car rental and car share to get hybrid cars that can take them beyond EV range, when they need SUV cargo space, and when they need AWD for snow and storms. For gasoline car owners, car share programs allow drivers to try an electric car for a few hours.
The United States is reducing its dependency on oil as we now consuming 18.3 million barrels a day, down from our peak of 21 million barrels a few years ago. Record use of public transit is a major. According to a report released today by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), Americans took 10.4 billion trips on public transportation in 2011, the second highest annual ridership since 1957.
San Francisco has about 1,500 taxis, double its fleet of 15 years ago. The total gasoline used each year by those 1,500 taxis is about half the total used by the 750, in years past. San Francisco taxi operators are saving millions by with a fleet that is 92 percent hybrid or fueled with CNG.
San Francisco may be the nation’s first region with 10,000 electric cars. It could happen in 2012 for the region with 7 million people and 5.3 million vehicles. Electric utility PG&E reports that they are now charging 1,800 Nissan LEAFs and 250 Chevrolet Volt residential owners. Add to these numbers a growing number of electric car fleets that include Google, Bay Area Air Quality Management District, and the U.S. Navy; 4,000 freeway-speed electric vehicles in the SF Bay Area are forecast by the end of this year.
In his new book, Cracking the Carbon Code, Terry Tamminen shows us how a sustainable future is being created. He gives us an inside look based on his strategic meetings with President Obama, governors of red and blue states, and even the formation of the next five year plan for China. Tamminen removes the mystery of Cracking the Carbon Code in one fascinating story after another as we follow the actions of corporate, government, and NGO leaders from California to China and from the United States to the UK.
We want to believe in magic but unfortunately, there is no one magical solution. Save Gas, Save the Planet captures over 120 different ways that people are making a difference by riding clean, riding together, and riding less. As you read Save Gas, Save the Planet, you will discover a number of ways to burn less fuel without needing a new car. When, and if, you are ready for a new car, you will make a better choice.
This excerpt from the book Save Gas, Save the Planet highlights the future of Transportation 2.0. During the next 20 years we will witness a major shift from vehicles that are mostly mechanical to vehicles that are primarily electronic. People share tips and stories about how they save by riding smart, riding less, riding together, and riding clean.
During the 2012 Olympics in London, as visitors sail from Heathrow Airport in electric PRT, and look out the window at electric buses, they will see thousands of electric cars. London is saving EV and PHEV buyers over $10,000 with new grants, exemptions from congestion fees, and over 1,000 charging stations useable with a low cost annual subscription. Nine models of electric and ultra-low emission cars will be eligible for grants of up to £5,000, the government has announced.
Hertz is beginning to offer electric cars to members of Connect by Hertz, the car sharing service that competes with Zipcar. Starting next week, Connect by Hertz will be offering the Smart ED to New York City members. Hertz is starting with the Smart ED, but will expand next year to include battery-electric and plug-in hybrid offerings from Nissan, Chevrolet, Toyota, and other cars in more cities.
Coulomb Technologies Smart-Charging for Ford Family of Electric Vehicles accelerates plug-in charging in nine U.S. cities. Ford is promoting smart charging as it now takes orders for the Ford Transit Connect, next year for the 2011 Ford Focus EV, and in 2012 the Ford Plug-in Hybrid. Ford is partnering with Coulomb Technologies to provide nearly 5,000 free wall-mounted charging stations for some of the automaker’s first electric car and electric delivery van customers.
Car Sharing has exploded in popularity in the U.S. with college students, one-car households, and with fleets. Until now, the car had to be returned to where it was picked-up. A new service – car2go – allows people in Austin, Texas to pick-up a car in one place and leave it in another, paying by the minute. The drop-offs are within a defined area. During a 6 month pilot in Austin, 3,000 early members enjoyed the convenience of going from the Capitol to city center or university, saving time, money, and parking hassles. The pilot fleet is 200 Smart fortwo vehicles located throughout the greater downtown Austin area, accessible on-demand.
A growing number of communities, regions, and nations are planning to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. A climate action plan for electric cars, smart growth and better transportation can help make their future more secure and less impacted by potential draughts, water scarcity, food scarcity, and other effects of a climate crisis. This scenario shows how the San Francisco Bay Area can reduce on-road transportation emissions 80 percent by 2050, while delivering better transportation and livable communities.