This week at TreeHugger: Ecodrive, a Canadian supplier of electric vehicles, will be releasing the world's first electric motorcycles and scooters powered by Polymer Lithium-Ion batteries. In further two-wheeled news, the bicycle came out on top as the world's most energy-efficient vehicle. We're nearly buried under a deluge of electronics recycling news: Dell and California unleash new plans designed to keep your junk out of the world's collective trunk. Lastly, we discover electroCeramescent lighting technology: like LEDs, but better?
Ecodrive, a large Canadian supplier of electric vehicles, will be releasing the world's first commercially available electric motorcycles and scooters powered by Polymer Lithium-Ion (PLI) batteries. The company says the polymer technology will overcome many of the shortcomings associated with other types of rechargeable batteries. Sounds great! Oh, wait. The top speed is 20 mph?!? Judging by the picture, chicks dig 'em, but we aren't sure that'll be enough.
Speaking of two-wheeled transportation, thanks to the WorldWatch Institute, we now know the truth: the bicycle is the world's most energy-efficient (in calories) form of transportation. Comparing energy used per passenger-mile (calories), they found that a bicycle needed only 35 calories, whereas a car expended a whopping 1,860. Bus and trains fell about midway between, and walking still took 3 times as many calories as riding a bike the same distance. They also looked at a measurement called: "Persons per hour that one meter-width-equivalent right-of-way can carry". In this case the train scored tops with 4,000 persons, but "autos in mixed traffic" still managed the worst rating with only 170 people. Bikes did pretty well, relative to cars, achieving 1,500 persons per hour. The stats also inferred that cycling contributes to a nation's health; they found that only 1% of urban travel in the US was by bicycle, a country with 30.6% of adults considered obese. This contrasted with the Netherlands where 28% of urban travel was via a bike, and only 10% were obese. Damn you, video games!
There was a small avalanche of consumer electronics recycling news this week. First, Dell announced a new plan where owners can now arrange for free-pickup of any Dell-branded product, anytime — no new purchase required. Just enter the asset tag into their website, print their pre-paid air bill, follow the instructions to pack it up, schedule the collection of your junk, and watch it ride off into the sunset; perfect for the lazy recycling enthusiast. Second, California continues to bust out legislation to keep junk from going where it doesn't belong. This time, it's mandatory cellphone recycling, and it's also easy on the consumer end. Recycling will be free; you can visit the "Keep California Beautiful" website to get a postage paid box that'll send your old phone to a responsible resting place from the comfort of your own home. Combined with the news that people all over the world are willing to spend more on a "green" PC means that the machines may not win, after all.
Lastly, we come upon a new company that stands to take the LED technology we love so dearly to another level. Firefly Lighting Innovations is a brand new company that utilizes electroCeramescent technology, also known as "light emitting ceramic device" or LECD. Calling it "the latest breakthrough in solid state lighting technology," LECD boasts many of the same traits as our favored LEDs: very durable, virtually maintenance free and consume extremely low levels of energy; LECD products also do not generate heat, keeping them cool to the touch and the fire danger low. The company's first product to the consumer market is the Firefly Light Tray which creates a soft, non-obtrusive glow and consumes extremely low levels of energy, costing only pennies a year to operate. The light tray can be customized with any company or organization's logo for advertising, branding, public relations and other awareness campaigns. With an operating cost of just two pennies per year, how could anyone want a TreeHugger-Gizmodo-branded light? We smell cross promotion....
TreeHugger's EcoModo column appears every Tuesday on Gizmodo.