Thursday, January 28, 2010

The 2010 Washington Auto Show: Let a hundred (green) flowers bloom!

The main take-away The Solar and Wind Expo representatives got from attending the 2010 Washington (D.C.) Auto Show this week was how big, diverse – and exciting – the green vehicle world is getting. (Perhaps this is what it was like 100 years ago, when there was everything from gas to electric to steam vehicles at the start of the automotive age.)

The majority of the green vehicles at the show are clustered along what was called the “Advanced Technology Superhighway”, while some other renewable energy vehicles are sprinkled throughout other areas of the show.

The first thing we noticed is that everyone’s getting into the act, from Ford, Chevy, Nissan and Honda, to BMW and Fiat. A bevy of small car companies devoted solely to electrics (such as Wheego, Think, and Columbia) to automotive suppliers such as Magna Powertrain (which is making the powertrain for the all-electric Ford Focus, among other things) also have good representation.

The next item of note is the sheer variety of electric and other green vehicles and the many ways they can be used. Small, two-passenger full electric cars (Wheego Whip Life, Think City, Mini-E), 4- or 5-passenger full electrics (Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf, BMW Active-E), fully electric vans (Boulder) and utility vehicles (Columbia), plug-in hybrids (including Bright Automotive’s van) and non-plug-in hybrids, fuel-cell vehicles (Honda), and a system for running a vehicle only on waste (Novozyme).

Another very interesting and innovative aspect of the show is the idea that green automotive technology can be applied to other forms of renewable energy. For example, Think’s Richard Canny suggested using batteries that are no longer strong enough to power electric vehicles but still have some life left to store energy from small solar or wind installations. And Magna’s John Zalewski said their gearboxes could be used in wind turbines or as a component of solar arrays. This kind of cross-fertilization of alternative energies represents an exciting, outside-the-box example of how different forms of renewable energy could complement each other as well as extend the life of supposedly used-up components.

Now that we’ve seen the exciting and varied display of green vehicles at an industry event as important as the Washington Auto Show, we think it’s even more fitting we’re including electric vehicles in The Solar and Wind Expo. Come and see our lineup in May.

Make green a reality!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Electric vehicles inevitable at this point, declares Green Car Summit participant

“Electric cars are inevitable at this point,” declared Jason Wolf, vice president of Better Place, at a Green Car Summit held on Capitol Hill today in Washington, D.C. Once the technology is available, the price is affordable and consumers are ready for electric vehicles (EV’s), “you have a winner,” said Wolf. “The only question is how long it will take.” Better Place is an international provider of electric vehicle networks and services.

The third annual Green Car Summit was sponsored by Green Car Journal and the 2010 Washington Auto Show. The summit was held in conjunction with the Auto Show, which will feature a large area devoted to green cars.

There was considerable disagreement among the panelists over how fast we’ll be able to move to electric vehicles. While Scott Becker, senior vice president of Nissan North America, said just 10% of U.S. cars would be battery-electric by 2020 and Nancy Gioia, director of global electrification at Ford Motor Co. estimated that 10% to 25% would be partly or all electric, Wolf boldly predicted that 40-50% of new vehicles will be electric by then.

When challenged about the reality of this scenario, Wolf pointed out that if just 10% of new vehicles were electric by 2020, there would be about 1 billion new conventionally powered cars, which would drive up the price of oil and gas much higher by 2020. This would help make EV’s that much more affordable.

Here are a few other highlights from the summit:
· Another major point of contention is how fast manufacturers are able to develop batteries that can hold enough power for a long enough time without taking too much time to recharge, and then manufacture them in large quantities. George Lopez, executive director of The Solar and Wind Expo, commented during Q&A that the recharging problem could be solved by being able to swap out the used batteries with fresh ones, as is done, for example, with forklifts and cell phones.
· Stefan Jacoby, CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, pointed out that his and other companies are taking significant steps to make gas and diesel-powered cars much more fuel-efficient. For example, the Green Car Journal’s “2010 Green Car of the Year” is the Audi A3 TDI, a clean diesel manufactured by VW.
· One good way to make electric cars more affordable would be to convert the $7,500 federal tax credit to a rebate that consumers would get instantly, said Kevin Czinzer, president and CEO of CODA Automotive, an electric car manufacturer.
· Some EV manufacturers, including Nissan and CODA, plan to feature “one-stop-shopping,” in which dealers would take care of all their customers’ EV-related needs, including setting up recharging stations in their homes.
Electric vehicles will be featured at The Solar and Wind Expo, along with solar, wind and geothermal power, through an EV display area and Electric Vehicle Loop.

make green a reality!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Expo partnering with public TV station raffle off solar/green home

The Solar and Wind Expo is excited that it’s going to partner with Maryland Public Television to help sell tickets for and publicize MPT’s “Green Home Raffle.”

In this cool contest, a $1.9 million solar, near-zero-energy home between Baltimore and Washington is the Grand Prize in a raffle to help keep “TV worth watching” in the community. First Prize is a 2010 Honda Insight hybrid vehicle. Tickets go on sale for just $100 each online starting tomorrow, Friday, Jan. 22, at

Selfridge Custom Builders constructed the one-of-a-kind luxury dwelling located in Clarksville, in Howard County. Its features include LEED-certified "green" construction, a 70% reduction in energy costs over its lifetime, a solar photovoltaic system capable of providing a lifetime of free electricity for the homeowner, a solar hot water system and a whole-house air purification system for healthier indoor air quality.

Maryland Public Television has chosen to use The Solar and Wind Expo, to take place May 7-9 at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium, as a major location in which to sell tickets for its Green Home Raffle just a month before the contest ends.

In addition, MPT will launch an advertising campaign prior the show to bring folks interested in the raffle to attend. All proceeds from the raffle will benefit the station’s outreach initiatives, local programming and education efforts.

Besides partnering with us on its raffle, The Solar and Wind Expo is very pleased that MPT is both a media sponsor and exhibitor for our event.

Make green a reality!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Plug In America VP, electric vehicle champion Paul Scott to speak at Solar and Wind Expo

The Solar and Wind Expo is excited to announce that Paul Scott, vice president of Plug In America and a long-time electric vehicle driver and renewable energy advocate, will be speaking at the event, to be held May 7-9 at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium. We’re awaiting details on what Scott plans to speak about (on the main stage at noon on Sunday, May 8), but will post another entry with that information as soon as we have it available.

Scott, who also serves as president of the Electric Vehicle Association of Southern California, actually earns his living in another exciting renewable energy sector: He works for SolarCity, California's largest residential solar installer.

Plug In America ( is a coalition of current and former EV drivers and advocates for clean air and energy independence. It promotes battery electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles to drive today, reducing our nation's dependence on petroleum and improving our global environment.

We’re delighted that Paul Scott and Plug In America will be part of The Solar and Wind Expo.

make green a reality!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Renewable energy included in push for strong, state-wide energy plan for Maryland

Sustainability advocates in Maryland are pushing for a measure that would require the state's Public Service Commission to consider the state's climate and clean energy policies in its long-term comprehensive energy plans, and when assessing applications for individual energy projects. The proposal was among the topics for discussion at an "Earth Forum of Howard County" held yesterday in Columbia, Md., that was packed with more than 100 people.

A comprehensive energy analysis and planning process would put energy efficiency and renewable energy on a level playing field with fossil fuel power plants and new transmission lines to coal country, says the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, one of the advocacy groups pushing for the measure ( Perhaps most importantly, a comprehensive energy plan for the state would help it shift to energy options more consistent with state environmental policies, says CCAN. The Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act, passed in 2009, calls for a 25% cut in Maryland's carbon emissions by 2020 -- one of the toughest benchmarks in the U.S.

Solar, wind and geothermal energy -- the main focuses of The Solar and Wind Expo, along with electric vehicles -- should be key to helping Maryland cut its greenhouse gases at least 25% by 2020, and much more in future years. The more we can rely on low- or no-emission renewable sources, along with energy efficiency, to provide for our energy needs, the less we'll have to depend on fossil fuels such as coal and oil, which are finite, pollute our air and water and contribute to climate change -- and, of course, will get more and more expensive as they're depleted.

make green a reality!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

A few words from the Director

Happy New Year! The new year brings with it a renewed commitment by the The Solar and Wind Expo to continue our mission to be a critical and integral part of the push for the American energy industry toward sustainability. Commitments from firms such as yours will finally make it possible for America to gain true independence from volatile markets that ignore the environment and the end user’s financial situation and economic status.

By bringing manufacturers, suppliers, financiers, installers and architects together with consumers at an affordable and easily accessible event under one roof, The Solar and Wind Expo will facilitate the access of all of these groups to one another and catalyze the consumer to take the most immediate and direct route to energy independence.

The Solar and Wind Expo is promoting the goal of “renewable energy now” at what is poised to be one of the most exciting times in our history. Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the consumer has been at the mercy of volatile energy markets, and this volatility has never been as pronounced as it is now. We know that as oil supplies dwindle, transportation and all other related costs will climb. The only way to combat this trend is to continuously infuse renewable energy into our system and promote its financial and eco-friendly advantages both locally and globally until it becomes the prevailing source of energy.

Now truly is the time to “make green a reality.” We must all work together towards this goal in 2010 and emerge as the industry leaders.

George Lopez
Executive Director
The Solar and Wind Expo

"make green a reality"

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Solar-electric three-wheeler to be unveiled at Expo before starting cross-country journey

A pioneering three-wheeled, solar-electric motorcycle will be officially unveiled at The Solar and Wind Expo in Timonium in May before beginning a 6,000-mile cross-country trek. The Extreme Bug-E will be powered solely by an electric motor, with a solar trailer in tow to extend the vehicle’s range.

Charlie Garlow, a lawyer/advisor for the Environmental Protection Agency and a long-time sustainability advocate, will start driving the Extreme Bug-E in Washington, D.C., in June and end up in California. Garlow, who will be traveling with his puppy, T. Rex, will stop along the way to demonstrate the virtues of solar power and of driving electric.

"As gas prices continue to rise, remember that the average cost of electricity in America is the equivalent of 75 cents per gallon - cheap at twice the price, compared to gasoline,” said Garlow. “We need to kick our addiction to oil, and we need to get more of our electricity from clean renewables like solar and wind,” added Garlow, who was recently recognized as a “Solar Hero” by the American Solar Energy Society. The Extreme Bug-E will be accompanied by a plug-in hybrid Toyota Prius driven by Jerry Asher, U.S. Army-Retired.

"Electric drive vehicles are the wave of the future," added Asher. "They mean using American energy, electricity, not foreign oil, to power our country's vehicles, and solar energy can be used to provide that electricity, as well as other energy – heat and hot water among them – for our homes and buildings."

The Solar and Wind Expo, the first consumer show in Maryland devoted to renewable energy, will take place at the State Fairgrounds on Mother’s Day Weekend, May 7-9. With a mission to 'make green a reality', The Solar and Wind Expo will help catapult the renewable energy industry into mainstream consumer thinking to cut energy costs, create new jobs and reduce our carbon footprint. In addition to exhibits by more than 100 solar, wind and other renewable energy manufacturers and suppliers, The Expo will feature an Electric Car Loop highlighting a number of electric-powered vehicles that will be on display at the Expo.

“We are delighted that Charlie Garlow has chosen to unveil his exciting, ground-breaking vehicle at The Solar and Wind Expo before beginning his historic journey,” said George Lopez, the show’s executive director. “Renewable energy is here and it’s real, and Garlow’s trek will help show how feasible and exciting it can be.”

For more information on the Expo, go to To find out more about the Extreme Bug-E and its upcoming cross-country trek, go to