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From Trash to Treasure

If there was a Society page for transportation, the Automotive Society Page editors would have flocked to the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles on Monday for a gathering of the “who’s who” in the advanced vehicle technology space. The occasion was the celebration of CALSTART’s 20th Anniversary. Mark Vaughn of AutoWeek was there and provided a nice summary of CALSTART’s wide-ranging impacts on the clean transportation sector. 

Who was part of the who’s who? Senator Fran Pavley (author of the legislation that made California the first state in the US to reduce auto related GHG emissions); Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard; Michael Peevey, head of the California Public Utilities Commission;  leaders from Edison International, BAE Systems, Sempra Utilities, FedEx Express, UPS, Bosch Diesel Systems, Eaton, Hino Trucks, PG&E, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, General Motors, Westport Innovations, U.S. Hybrid and the American Lung Association, among many others. One of the very best videos ever made (a work worthy of hyperbole) was also premiered at the event, and for a concise and inspiring 5 minute telling of the CALSTART story, all you have to do is click here

The event didn’t need frosting on the cake but it happened anyway in the form of a drawing all attendees were entered into. Joe Dalum of Odyne won the fold-n-go Dahon bike. The big winner, though, was Michael Strapazon with General Motors who won 24-hour use of the award-winning Tesla S. Hopefully he’s got a good imagination for how to use it for 24-hours straight (isn’t it incumbent upon him to try?). Business Insider has one idea for Michael in this video from Road & Truck which shows just how to demonstrate burnouts like a muscle car. The Model S can go 0 to 60 in 4.4 seconds. And now for a clunky segue…in other good news of an award-winning type, Protean Electric’s in-wheel electric drive has been named one of the ten most promising technologies for 2013 by Car and Driver Magazine.

The American Public Transportation Association is touting seven consecutive quarters of increases in bus ridership. This year alone has seen another bump of 2.6% over last year. Bus passengers in New York City will be riding fancy in the new year as the Transit Authority has ordered 74 compressed natural gas (CNG) buses from New Flyer, to be delivered by year-end. Here’s an added bonus for folks in the natural gas engine business. The California Energy Commission (CEC) recently issued a program opportunity notice (PON) to accelerate R&D of advanced natural gas engine concepts for application in class 3-7 vehicles. PON-12-504 makes available $3 million and requires a 20% non-state match. The due date is January 8, 2013.

In some corners of the European Union, clever people are grappling with how to have themselves a frugal little Christmas. Kauna, Lithuania wins the prize in my book both for spectacular public art and resourcefulness. By using 40,000 discarded plastic bottles and repurposing them in the form of a 40-foot Christmas tree, the city spent practically nothing on the decoration. (Make sure to take a peek) By contrast, it costs tens of thousands of dollars to decorate the New York City Rockefeller Center tree. Here’s to treasures from trash.

CALSTART Celebrates 20 Years of Clean Transportation, AutoWeek

20th Anniversary Video, CALSTART

Dahon Bikes

Tesla Model S Can Do Burnouts like a Muscle Car, Business Insider

Protean’s In-Wheel Electric Drive Named in Top 10 Most Promising Technologies, Green Fleet Magazine

Public Transit Use is Up Again, Grist

New Flyer CNG Buses to NYC, Fleets & Fuels

Advanced NG Engine R&D CEC Funding, California Energy Commission

40-Foot Christmas Tree Made of Plastic Bottles, Grist

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