Friday, August 29, 2008

More Hi-Res Spy Photos of Chevy Volt

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Click images for Hi Resolution

Thursday, August 28, 2008

It's Official: Chevy Volt Spy Shots Are Up!

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First ever shots of production Chevy Volt. Click images for Hi Rez versions...

Editor's Note: From the first shot below, you can clearly see the light coming through the sunroof and rear deck lid of the hatchback.

These shots were captured during filming of the next Transformers movie on Hollywood just yesterday. This is the first ever glimpse of the production Volt design in full.

[source: Transformers Blog]

Boone Pickens vs. NBC. Network Refuses to Run Ad Critical of Iran!

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T. Boone Pickens has issued an email call to his army of "Pickens Plan" volunteers to get the word out about NBC's refusal to run his latest ad. The 15 second spot, which highlights Iran's rampant rush to convert their automobiles to run on natural gas (in order to free up oil that they can sell for $120 a barrel to the US and rest of the world), has apparently been shunned by the powers that be at NBC. No other network has refused the ad however.

We brought you the story of Iran's subsidized CNG car conversion program back in July and we believe that the NBC/Iran controversy will only serve to increase the awareness of this issue.

The ad appears below. Go Boone!


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Rendered Production Volt Full Front Revealed...

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We've used a bit of Photoshop magic to take the recent front corner reveals of the production Chevy Volt to give you a better impression of what the full front will look like once it's finally revealed. Here's a sneak photos for larger versions.

[original pre-rendered images source: ABC News & GM]

Sunday, August 17, 2008

"Photoshopped" Wide angle interior Photo of Chevy Volt

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We've stitched together the steering column and center console screencaps taken from the recent ABC News video featuring teaser shots of the clay model of he production Chevy Volt. This view gives a heretofore unseen perspective of the expansive Volt cockpit. (Click the image for larger pic) More to come...

(Editors: you may freely use this rendered image, provided is referenced)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

GM Video on Redesigned Production Volt and Before/After Visuals

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Above: Chevy Volt designer Bob Boniface reveals before and after design elements on the final production version of the car.

Below: We've taken screen grabs from the video to discuss the before and after design elements.

Click the images below for Larger Format:

Above: Here we see the more rounded front design of the production Volt as discussed in the video by Volt designer Bob Boniface.

Above: The original design for the side mirror mount.

Above: The final design for the side mirror mount results in a more aerodynamic shape. Nice!

Above: side by side comparison of the rear quarter design. On the left we see the concept and on the right, the final production design. Of particular note is the "vertical fin" shape that now defines the rear corner of the car. This design provides a "trip device" to quickly detach the airflow from the vehicle to avoid having an "air pooling" effect in the car's wake. Notice that the concept Volt elements have been kept largely intact. We still see the transparent rear deck lid (it even looks to be more prominent) and the rear brake lights have been made larger.

This shot shows the shape of the rear spoiler before. Notice the flat shape in the inset graphic.

Above: This photo shows the slight upward slant at the rear edge of the spoiler. This small design change resulted in 1/2 mile more range!

Below: Actual images revealed in a recent ABC News segment show the final design elements as reflected in the graphic depictions above:

Thursday, August 14, 2008

GM releases teaser photos of GM Volt final production design

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Sunday, August 3, 2008

Great Britain Team to Wear Masks at Olympics - More to follow?

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As we near the opening ceremonies for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, more and more attention will be focused on China's poor air quality with photos of athletes sporting air masks to combat the acrid air. We remember the incident with US triathlete Matt Reed's asthma attack during trials last year.

Despite a brief relief from overcast smog laden skies this week (thunderstorms forced air currents to clear portions of the Beijing skyline), the industrial tinged smog is returning in force just in time for Friday's opening ceremonies.

Already, the Chinese government has banned over 45% of all cars from the road, and stopped production in 200 smog belching factories.

As we begin to see nightly photos out of Beijing showing athletes adorned with smog masks, the national and international conversation on air quality and the energy crisis will reach a critical mass.

We predict that the 2008 Olympics - and the spotlight it shines on the forces impacting air quality, particularly on petro-powered cars and smoke belching coal-fired powerplants - will long be remembered as one of the seminal events of the end of the first decade of the new millennium in which the world finally began stridently to wean itself of petroleum as a primary energy source. This will be driven by the following forces currently creating what former Intel chairman Andy Grove calls a "Strategic Inflection Point"...

  • The availablity of cheaper, safer, lighter and more reliable lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries mass produced from Chinese factories and exported (at the China price) all over the planet.

  • The electrification of the automobile led by cars like the 2010 Chevy Volt, the Saturn Vue plug-in hybrid and potential tax credits of up to $2500 for retrofits of existing vehicles to run on electricity (at ~2 cents per mile)

  • The continued competition for remaining petroleum reserves by industrialized nations along with the rabid consumption of the Chinese and (to a somewhat lesser extent) Indian populaces.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Chevy Volt Final Design Revealed?

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UK automotive site "" has released what appears to be the a very realistic rendering (based on what we know thus far, including the front and rear corner reveals on Planet Green's "Focus Earth" aired on Saturday Aug 2) of the super secretive final Chevy Volt production car design...

What do you think? Is this what you expect the Volt to look like once its revealed to the public? Join the discussion in PetroZero forums to weigh in on the latest Volt rendering.

Senate “Gang of Ten” Forges Compromise Energy Bill ...

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It appears that congress is finally showing some signs of life (as usual, they are the late to the party). Here's the skinny on the new bi-partisan energy proposal you are about to hear a lot of buzz about. Initial read is quite positive. Particular interest is a $7500 tax credit for vehicles using alternative propulsion as well as $2500 to help retrofit existing automobiles (this is significant)


  • $7.5 billion for R&D focused on the major technological barriers to alternative fuel vehicles, such as advanced batteries
  • $7.5 billion to help U.S. automakers and parts makers re-tool and re-equip to become the world leader in making alternative fuel vehicles
  • Consumer tax credits of up to $7,500 per vehicle to incentivize Americans to purchase advanced alternative fuel vehicles (those that run primarily on non-petroleum fuels) and up to $2,500 to retrofit existing vehicles with advanced alternative fuel engines.

Enhancing Conservation
  • Extending renewable energy, carbon mitigation and energy conservation and efficiency tax incentives, including the production tax credit, through 2012 to create greater certainty and spur greater investment
  • New consumer tax credits of up to $2,500 to purchase highly fuel efficient vehicles, to help Americans reduce their annual gas costs and reduce oil imports
  • Extending and expanding the $2,500 tax credit for hybrid electric vehicles
  • $500 million for R&D into new materials and other innovations to improve vehicle fuel efficiency
  • $2.5 billion in R&D on next generation biofuels and infrastructure
  • Tax incentives for the installation of alternative fueling stations, pipelines and other infrastructure
  • Expanding transmission capacity for power from renewable sources
  • New dedicated funding for the weatherization assistance program.

  • Provides grants and loan guarantees for the development of coal-to-liquid fuel plants with carbon capture capability. Plants must have lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions below those of the petroleum fuels they are replacing
  • Supports nuclear energy by increasing staff at the NRC, providing workforce training, accelerating depreciation for nuclear plants, and supporting R&D on spent fuel recycling to reduce nuclear waste

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) helped draft and signed on to a bipartisan energy proposal that enables our nation become more energy independent.

The proposal, New Energy Reform Act of 2008 from the group dubbed the 'Gang of 10', contains provisions on offshore drilling, spent nuclear fuel recycling, promotes new technologies and conservation, and requires the oil companies to pay fair market prices for oil leases and drilling rights.

"There is no greater problem facing average American's and small business today than high fuel costs and our nation's dependency on foreign oil, "said Graham. "Our proposal is not perfect, but it is a bipartisan start on the road to a comprehensive energy strategy leading our nation to independence from foreign oil. It will create new jobs from new technologies good for American wallets and our environment. I am proud to be part of this bipartisan effort to address this serious problem."

Among the major provisions of the legislation:

· Increased Off-Shore Drilling

The ban on offshore drilling in large parts of the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic will be lifted. States would have to consent to drilling at least 50 miles off their shores.

· Recycling of Spent Nuclear Fuel

The recycling of spent nuclear fuel would reduce by 90 percent the waste to be placed in long-term storage at the proposed repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Spent fuel rods would be recycled and reused as fuel in commercial nuclear power plants and would help reenergize our nuclear power industry.

· Strong Conservation and Energy Independence Measures

The proposal takes strong steps in promoting new technologies that will reduce the amount of foreign oil we consume. It expands existing incentives to purchase hybrid vehicles, facilitates the development of next-generation batteries, and includes hydrogen infrastructure tax credit to help bring this promising technology to market.

· Requires Oil Companies to Pay Fair Market Value

The proposal repeals tax breaks and incentives for oil companies. Oil companies will also be required to pay royalty payments due on existing leases where royalties were not previously charged. The inability to collect royalty payments was a result of poor drafting of leases during the Clinton Administration. The revenue would be invested in alternative fuels.

"Offshore drilling, with the consent of the states, is an integral part of any energy independence plan," said Graham. "There is no doubt we need more domestic exploration. Every barrel of oil we can find in America will be one less we have to compete with China and India for or be subject to OPEC price setting. The more domestic energy we can locate and utilize the better.

"Since the 1970s, our country has had an irrational view of nuclear power," said Graham. "This view is best demonstrated by our nation's refusal to allow recycling of spent fuel rods. For decades the French, Japanese and British have all been recycling spent fuel. Surely this is an instance were we can be as bold as the French.

"Our proposal also commits billions for research, development, and purchases of alternative fuel vehicles," said Graham. "We call for an 'Apollo Project' like effort to support the goal of transitioning 85 percent of American new motor vehicles to non-petroleum-based fuels within the next 20 years."

"Quite frankly, this particular tax incentive was never asked for by the oil companies," said Graham. "It is irrational to be allocating around $1 billion per year in tax dollars to assist in production at a time when oil is $124 per barrel and companies are recording record profits. The proposal also seeks royalty payments due on existing leases where royalties were not previously charged. The inability to collect royalties was a result of poor drafting of the leases during the Clinton Administration and could result in billions in payments being collected over the next 10 years. These revenues will be invested in alternative fuel technology.

"It is clear to the American people their Congress is broken. I appreciate the efforts of my colleagues to try to jumpstart serious discussions on how to solve America's energy crisis," said Graham. "It is my hope that this group will provide some reassurance to the American people that we still can work together and find common ground on the important problems facing every American family and business. I hope that over the congressional recess support will build for this common-sense, balanced approach to making our nation more energy independent."

The members of the 'Gang of 10' include Senators Kent Conrad (D-North Dakota), Saxby Chambliss (R-Georgia), John Thune (R-South Dakota), Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia), Bob Corker (R-Tennessee), Blanche Lincoln (D-Arkansas), Mary Landrieu (D-Louisiana), Mark Pryor (D-Arkansas), and Ben Nelson (D-Nebraska).

[source: Associated Press]