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Posts tagged: Electric vehicles

Spokane’s Tango featured on cover of TechBriefs magazine

Spokane's best-known, homegrown electric car, the Tango, is the featured photo on the cover of TechBriefs magazine's October issue.

Developed by Rick Woodbury of Commuter Cars Corp., the Tango is a two-seat electric car that has wowed green consumers worldwide. Woodbury has sold Tangos to actor George Clooney, and to Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page.

The article at TechBriefs focuses on how design is driven by consumer demand, and how design software plays a key part in developing sustainable vehicles.

The Tango's design was enhanced by Dassault Systems, a Concord, Mass., company that has developed CAD tools under the brand name of SolidWorks Sustainability.

If you care to see Clooney next to the Tango that he bought back several years ago, here's the link.

So how good is the Chevie Volt? MSNBC’s Alan Boyle lays out some answers

General Motors is banking on electric vehicles. Its all new Chevrolet Volt is being rolled out for initial tests and trial runs, and the American consumer is starting to pay attention. The Volt will make its official debut later this year. In 2011 the Nissan Leaf will also go on sale.

Former Spokesman-Review features editor Alan Boyle, now the science guy at, just finished an 800-mile road trip with colleague Jim Seida.  Their account suggests the Volt is good but not particularly special.

As Seida and Boyle noted, the Volt uses a gasoline engine along with its electric motor. Their tests involved two long days, which Alan also noted is not generally the main form of travel GM says Volt customers will engage in.

Mileage varied, depending on how much travel the car was making. Here’s Alan’s Q-and-A answer to the mileage issue:

If you consider just the battery-powered driving we did on the first day, our mileage was a pretty darn good 80-plus miles per gallon equivalent. Technically, it was 32.9 gasoline-free miles driven with less than $1.50 worth of electricity. That’s the kind of performance a commuter might expect from the Volt. If you consider the total long-haul mileage, the figure comes down to about 40 miles per gallon. Sure, other cars can do better than that, but that’s not really the point.


ZAP acquires technology developed at PNNL

A CalifornPHEV Smart Charger by PNNL - Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.ia electric car company called ZAP has licensed a battery-charger controller developed by the folks at the Pacific Northwest National Lab in the Tri-Cities.

ZAP has made trucks and electric vehicles for customers in more than 70 countries.

It announced it will use the controller (or time scheduler) to determine the best time for charging up an electric vehicle’s lithium-ion batteries.

The controller technology allows electric car owners to recharge their rides at times of lowest cost and least stress on the grid.

The ZAP deal is a non-exclusive arrangement, a press release noted.

 ”ZAP believes the patented smart car charging technology is an important feature to ensure the environmental viability of electric cars,” said ZAP Founder and Director of Business Development, Gary Starr.


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John Stucke John Stucke is a deputy city editor who helps build local news coverage and writes about health care, bankruptcy and rural affairs.

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Alison Boggs (@alisonboggs) Online Producer Alison Boggs posts and manages content on and its social networking accounts.

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Scott Maben Scott Maben is a Deputy City Editor who covers North Idaho news and higher education.

Addy Hatch is the city editor, and formerly was business editor.

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