This week at TreeHugger: We take a look at a TreeHugger-friendly way to haul your laptop around. Is a Harley still a hog with an electric motor? We investigate. Not to be outdone when it comes to alternative transportation, Google.org (the philanthropic arm of the "don't be evil" company) announced they'd be working on developing a plug-in hybrid engine that runs on both ethanol and gasoline. Lastly, take a look at this commercial for solar power, and be reminded why it's a good thing that the sun's energy doesn't do this every day.
Even though spontaneous laptop battery combustion seems a bit of a crapshoot these days, you should still to take care of the thing. One of the better solutions we've seen is TREAD's case made from recycled tires. While it isn't perfect (if you can't stand the smell of rubber, it isn't for you), there's a lot to like. The workmanship is top-notch, the design doesn't let on that it's made from old tires, and the heavy-duty materials help insure that it'll be toting your laptop in safety until the battery goes off like a Roman candle, at least. An added bonus, as a result of the materials, is that it's essentially "waterproof" (it made it through a trip under the faucet, though "splashproof" may be more appropriate). The PC version was reviewed, though TREAD's designs will keep many a gadget safe, including Macbooks and not one, not two, but three different versions of the iPod.
When most people think "Harley," it usually isn't followed by "TreeHugger"...until now. Harley has joined the parade of design innovations which allow modern TreeHuggers to love their toys and gadgets without trashing our fragile planet. Carl Vogel, the man behind the electric chopper, has replaced the gas engine in his hog with ten car batteries. With five speeds and 78 horsepower, the bike can do 70 - 75 mph, according to its inventor. By 2007, he aims to be producing the electric versions; the bikes can also be set up with a biodiesel-fueled side car generator which can recharge the batteries on the go.
Never one to be left out, Google's philanthropic efforts at Google.org announced that they're sick and tired of waiting for other automakers to come up with a plug-in hybrid that runs on both gasoline and ethanol, so they're going to do it themselves. Google.org has its fingers in many pies; it includes the work of the Google Foundation, some of Google's own projects using Google talent, technology and other resources, as well as partnerships and contributions to for-profit and non-profit entities. Unlike the purely non-profit Foundation, Google.org is for-profit, meaning they can partner with venture capitalists, spark start-ups, and even do a little political lobbying.
Lastly, sit back, relax and enjoy watching what the world might look like if the sun's energy was converted into batteries and other traditional energy-storing devices for a day. Here's a hint: 970 trillion killowatt-hours falls from the sky every day, and that's a lot of damn AA's. Maybe there is something to this solar power thing....
TreeHugger's EcoModo column appears every Tuesday on Gizmodo.