Archive for February, 2011

Carbon Neutral Challenge!!

Friday, February 25th, 2011

“Knock knock.” 

“Who’s there?”

“Carbon Neutral Challenge, booya!”

Hello ecoShuttle Blog readers, I hope this blog finds you safe and well in this wintery bluster.  As you well know, ecoShuttle maintains an ongoing commitment to sustainability as well as a commitment to take you to some of the most delicious wineries in the Northwest, so it should come as no surprise that we have recently teamed up with the Carbon Neutral Challenge for Oregon Wineries.  I know what you’re thinking, “Mark, what the heck is the Carbon Neutral Challenge!?” (more…)

ECOtality Commences Blink Residential Charging Station Installations in Oregon

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011


PORTLAND, Ore.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–ECOtality, Inc. (NASDAQ: ECTY), a leader in clean electric transportation and storage technologies, today commenced the installation of the company’s flagship Blink™ Level 2 Residential Charging Stations in Oregon. As project manager of The EV Project, the largest rollout of electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure and EVs in U.S. history, the company will install Blink residential EV chargers in homes throughout EV Project regions nationwide to support the launch of more than 8,300 EVs. Today’s launch event outside of Portland marks the first step in the deployment of a rich charging infrastructure, as well as the culmination of nearly two years of EV Project planning.

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden states, “I believe that these new charging stations will help reinforce Oregon’s standing as a place where new ideas become game-changing new products.”

Today’s event comes on the heels of the first Blink installations in San Diego and Los Angeles, and lays the groundwork for the deployment and installation of Blink commercial charging stations, including the Blink Level 2 Pedestal Charger and Blink DC Fast Charger. In September 2010 ECOtality revealed potential locations for more than 1,100 publicly available chargers in Portland, Salem, Corvallis and Eugene and also announced plans to place stations in Medford, Ore., and Ashland, Ore., thus creating a framework of electric vehicle charging stations throughout the length of I-5.

“Electric vehicles are a central strategy for breaking America’s addiction to foreign oil, and I’m thrilled that Oregon is pioneering their deployment,” said U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley. “I’m working hard at the federal level to promote their strategy. I look forward to the day in the near future where I can drive all across Oregon in an electric vehicle.”

“The infrastructure that supports the expansion of electric vehicle use in Oregon continues to develop,” said Oregon State Representative Tobias Read and co-chair of the House Transportation and Economic Development Committee. “I will continue to advocate for policies that promote electric vehicles and help seize opportunities they present in Oregon. After all, electric cars may be quiet on the road but they will make a lot of noise in Oregon’s economic future.”

ECOtality also recently announced the start of mass manufacturing of the Company’s Blink Charging Stations at the Roush Manufacturing facility outside of Detroit. Blink Home Charging Stations are available now to EV drivers and are free of charge to EV Project participants. The smart Blink Home Charger allows for increased cost-savings through improved power management and boasts an intuitive set of features, including a 7-inch color touch-screen control panel, and a stylish, easily configurable design. The units can be installed inside or outdoors at commercial locations, with both hardwire and plug-in versions available. For more information, including product spec sheets, please visit

“The first installations of Blink home charging stations mark the start of a new age for EVs, and we are excited to continue to drive consumer EV adoption not only in Oregon but across the country,” said Jonathan Read, CEO of ECOtality. “Today we move from planning to implementation, and we thank our project partners in Oregon for their efforts in bringing charging stations to the places where Oregonians live, work, eat and play. This Blink charging station is the first of many, and we look forward to installing our smart Blink EV charging solutions as more EVs hit the road.”

As part of The EV Project, the largest rollout of EV infrastructure in history, ECOtality will monitor the energy usage and output of charging stations to determine a viable method for mass adoption of electric vehicles and empower the smart grid. Portland General Electric, a participant in The EV Project, is helping lead regional efforts in electric transportation.

“We expect most of our customers to charge up their electric vehicles at home so today’s residential charging station installation marks a major milestone in putting in the necessary infrastructure to support our EV-driving customers,” said Joe Barra, Director of Business Model and Program Development at PGE. “We’d like to thank ECOtality, the state of Oregon, and all our partners who are collaborating to make EVs a reality for our customers.”

ECOtality, as project manager of The EV Project, will oversee the installation of commercial and residential charging stations in 18 cities and major metropolitan areas throughout six states and the District of Columbia. The project, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy through a federal stimulus grant of $114.8 million made possible by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), will provide an EV infrastructure to support the deployment of 8,300 EVs. The grants are matched by private investment, bringing the total value of the project to approximately $230 million.

About ECOtality, Inc.

ECOtality, Inc. (NASDAQ:ECTY), headquartered in San Francisco, California, is a leader in clean electric transportation and storage technologies. Through innovation, acquisitions, and strategic partnerships, ECOtality accelerates the market applicability of advanced electric technologies to replace carbon-based fuels. For more information about ECOtality, Inc., please visit

Forward-Looking Statements

This release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. All forward-looking statements are inherently uncertain as they are based on current expectations and assumptions concerning future events or future performance of the company. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which are only predictions and speak only as of the date hereof. In evaluating such statements, prospective investors should review carefully various risks and uncertainties identified in this release and matters set in the company’s SEC filings. These risks and uncertainties could cause the Company’s actual results to differ materially from those indicated in the forward-looking statements.

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available:



Media:ECOtality, Inc.Randall Grilli, 415-992-3000Director of Communicationsrgrilli@ecotality.comorInvestor Relations:Alliance Advisors for ECOtalityThomas Walsh,



The Life Aquatic

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

The idea of living in or on the ocean has always been a fascinating idea tome.  I think growing up in a landlocked state has always driven my interest in the life aquatic.   I recently heard an interview with oceanographer Dr. Robert Ballard on NPR’s Talk of the Nation Science Friday that piqued my interest. (more…)

San Francisco gas stations could be forced to sell biodiesel

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011





Panel looks to mandate biodiesel usage in San Francisco

The City is looking at reconvening a task force to require gas stations that sell diesel fuel to switch to selling biodiesel. (Examiner file photo)


Gas stations selling diesel fuel in San Francisco could be forced to sell biodiesel instead, if a proposal floated by a city commission gains traction.

The City’s Biodiesel Access Task Force has discussed imposing a mandate that would require every diesel retailer to replace their regular diesel with B5, a biodiesel blend comprising 5 percent biodiesel — fuel made from plant oils and grease — and 95 percent regular diesel fuel. Such fuel can be used by diesel engines without any special conversion.

The B5 mandate, which would require local biodiesel to be used, would be modeled after a similar program currently in effect in Oregon.

The task force, made up largely of local biodiesel advocates and industry executives — some of whom could benefit from such a mandate — discussed the proposal in December. That was the last meeting of the task force, which was scheduled to sunset that month. But Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi is drafting legislation to rename and revive the task force.

Task force member Ben Jordan said that if the task force is revived, pushing forward the proposed mandate would be one of its highest priorities.

“When we do reconvene, we’re interested in continuing to develop this idea,” Jordan said. “We have an example in Portland, and from what we understand it’s been a win-win-win for everybody.”

Jordan hopes that somewhere down the road, the proposed B5 requirement could be changed to mandate the use of B20 — a separate fuel blend containing 20 percent biodiesel.

The biodiesel task force was initially created in 2006 by legislation from Supervisor Jake McGoldrick with the goal of improving public access to the alternative energy. In 2007, Mayor Gavin Newsom announced that The City’s entire fleet had been converted to run on B20, but as of December, less than half the fleet ran on that fuel.

Mirkarimi said he doesn’t yet have an opinion about the proposed mandate. He said that’s a reason the task force should continue forward.

“The task force reached its natural sunset, but there’s more work that needs to be done,” he said.

No one on Mayor Ed Lee’s staff is working on such a citywide B5 mandate, his spokeswoman Christine Falvey said.

“We are open to looking into ideas that would help the city reduce its carbon emissions, but our first priority is to make sure our own city fleet is compliant,” Falvey said in an e-mail.

Because the idea is still in its infancy, gas station manager Johnny Wong said he had not yet heard about it, and didn’t have a formed opinion. His station, Precise Chevron on 19th Avenue, receives its fuel from Chevron corporation.

“For now I’m just a skeptic,” he said. “I guess it depends on the price we can get for biodiesel. If the price of that kind of fuel is too much it means we would have to charge more, and it might drive customers away.”

 Is new fuel clogging Muni bus air filters?

 Shortly after Muni converted all its diesel buses to biodiesel, it began having problems with air filters getting gummed up.

Correlation is not causation, cautioned Muni spokesman Paul Rose, but he said the agency is now investigating whether the biodiesel could be responsible for the problems.

The problem began in 2007, around the same time that Mayor Gavin Newsom issued an edict requiring the entire city fleet to be converted to the biodiesel blend B20.

The problem has persisted since then, causing some Muni mechanics and engineers to wonder whether their buses may not be taking to the fuel change. In the meantime, because of infrastructure and tank problems, less than half of the fleet is running on the B20 fuel.

Neither the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission nor the San Francisco Department of Public Works have experienced any problems with the biodiesel, representatives of those agencies said.

“Besides the occasional smell of fries from our vehicles, we have not really experienced any problems with using biodiesel,” SFPUC spokesman Tyrone Jue said.

What is biodiesel?

The fuel is an alternate to petroleum diesel that can be used in compression-ignition engines. It is made from plant oils and grease. While some vehicles can run on 100 percent biodiesel, various biodiesel blends are much more common:

  • B5: A blend of 5 percent biodiesel and 95 percent standard diesel. Such fuel can be used by diesel engines without any special conversion.
  • B20: A blend of 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent standard diesel. Though suitable for some types of diesel engines, in 2007, The City started stepping toward converting its entire bus fleet to run on this fuel. Mechanical complications ensued around the same time, though direct cause hasn’t been proven. Today, less than half of Muni’s fleet is running on B20.

Read more at the San Francisco Examiner:

Oregon’s B5 mandate triggered

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

The Oregon agriculture department’s measurement standards division issued notice yesterday that its in-state biodiesel production threshold of 15 MMgy was recently met, triggering Oregon’s B5 mandate.

By Ron Kotrba | February 02, 2011

The Oregon agriculture department’s measurement standards division issued notice yesterday that its in-state biodiesel production threshold of 15 MMgy was recently met, triggering Oregon’s B5 mandate. Come April 1, all diesel fuel sold in the state must contain a minimum of 5 percent biodiesel. Diesel fuels used in locomotives, marine engines and home heating applications are exempt from the mandate.

The notice mentioned that delivery documentation must identify the specific biodiesel blend in the fuel. No new labeling at the pumps is required with a B5 blend, since the diesel fuel spec, ASTM D975, allows up to 5 percent biodiesel without notice.

Daniel  Shafer, principal manager of Beaver Biodiesel LLC, a small-scale biodiesel plant in Albany, Ore., tells me he thinks the mandate is a statement about Oregon’s commitment to renewable energy, adding, “Beaver Biodiesel is glad to be part of Oregon’s competitive advantage in developing a renewable energy economy.”

Beaver Biodiesel can produce nearly 1 MMgy of biodiesel a year using waste vegetable oil as its primary feedstock.

Tackling Climate Change Begins with US

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

Over the last 20 years, the west coast has cultivated an image of itself as a vigilant steward of the environment and has some of the most progressive environmental state legislation in the country to back it up.  Anyone living in Portland is well aware of how keen Portlanders are about making sure this planet is inhabitable in the years to come, but what about the rest of the country? (more…)

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