Electric Cars Just Got Cooler

Wondering how to make a positive impact on our environment? Driving or ride-sharing in an electric car or bus are easy answers. With every mile driven, we displace harmful tailpipe emissions that impair the health of humans and the planet.


All-electric vehicles (EV) just get cooler by the day. They may soon be the fastest vehicles on the planet. While the non-electric Hennessey Venom F5 holds that distinction (top speeds over 270 mph), the all-electric Tesla Model S screams from 0 to 60 mph in just 2.5 seconds as the world’s fastest production car. And the fun isn’t about to end anytime soon with companies like Rimac Automobili building the supercars of the future, or Porsche gunning for Tesla with its upcoming super-cool Mission E.

Joining the rEVolution

If renting, leasing, or buying one of these beauties is not in the offing, the bevy of practical EVs keeps growing as well, including the more affordable options such as the Chevrolet Bolt EV, Tesla Model 3, and Nissan Leaf.

If you’re in the market to purchase, it’s best to consider the total cost of ownership when comparing electric and other vehicles. Kelley Blue Book’s 5-Year Cost to Own tool is a great way to help you home-in on a vehicle. With government incentives totaling up to $10,000 in states such as California, EVs have begun to be a good economic choice. The key factor that will drive down EV prices over time is the cost of battery output.

EV Prices Will Fall

“Since the first electric vehicle (EV) prototype was built in 1828, the central challenge has been making good on a lightweight, durable battery with adequate range,” according to Project Drawdown. “In its absence, internal combustion engines have dominated the automotive landscape since the 1920s, and the atmosphere has paid the price.”

According to the 2016 annual report from EV Box, a leading electric charging hardware and software provider, “EV battery prices will drop faster. WardsAuto reports that battery prices are already falling faster than expected, and could go below the magic mark of $100/kWh by 2030… Once battery prices fall below $100 per kWh, US electric-car sales alone can grow by 1 million all-electric vehicles a year, with plugin hybrids responsible for another 1 million sales. The EV market share then, would explode from about 1% today to over 10% in just a decade.”

Under normal conditions, we should expect government incentives to continue until this mass EV adoption occurs. Pollution and climate change are driving these policies and represent a dramatic departure from past energy policies, considering countries like Germany, China, and India plan to make the switch to electric and hybrid vehicles from gasoline and diesel — some declaring an altogether imminent end to gas and diesel cars.

EV Market Will Grow

According to the International Energy Agency in its Global EV Outlook 2017, the global electric car stock surpassed 2 million vehicles in 2016 after crossing the 1 million threshold in 2015 (Figure 1). See chart below for the rapid growth of Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) and Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs).


But Wait: EVs Still Have a Long Way to Go

Understanding that globally there are over 1.2 billion vehicles on the road, and about 72 million passenger cars produced each year, it will take decades before EVs fully penetrate the market. As noted by Green Car Congress, and with a less optimistic view, by 2035 “just 2.5 percent of those [vehicles are projected to] be battery electric, plug-in hybrid, or fuel-cell vehicles — the rest will run on gasoline or diesel fuel.”

Making up 14% of global greenhouse gases (GHG), transportation is a good place to focus climate-change mitigation efforts. However, faster adoption of EVs are necessary to make a collective impact on our planet’s carbon footprint. Fortunately, some cities like Palo Alto, California, know the realities and inertia of the automotive industry and are working hard to set an example for other communities with “moonshot” carbon-neutral goals, including fully electrifying their fleet of vehicles.

Thankfully as well, some automobile manufacturers are also setting examples, inspired perhaps by… the new competitive advantages of leaving behind the internal combustion engine (vis-a-vis Tesla), and a future of foreboding government regulations to shake up the status quo. Volvo announced that after 2019, every car it produces will have an electric engine, Mercedes-Benz, announced that it will be electrifying its entire vehicle lineup by 2022, and Volkswagen said it will ‘Electrify’ all 300 of its cars and SUVs by 2030.

As trend-setting as Tesla may be in igniting the wave of coolness that now favors electric cars, the onus is squarely on them now to deliver. Automating the production of the Tesla Model 3 for the mass market is among the biggest challenge being faced with the thousands of pre-order-deliveries slipping a month or more. But with favorable EV regulations, growing infrastructure, funding and tax incentives, environmental benefits, and the coolness factor all going Tesla’s way, don’t doubt for a minute that purchasers will get their cars. It’s just a matter of time. And for cool and the climate, it’s safe to say that most people are willing to wait.

Drive an EV and Spread the Word

Whether it’s the Tesla Model 3, Chevy Bolt, Nissan Leaf, or a supercar of the future, you can make an impact on the environment and your surroundings by driving or ride-sharing in an EV. You can get involved today by learning more about electric vehicles and considering to join an EV association like the Electric Auto Association or ROEV Association. You can also make suggestions to your civic leaders that EV fleets and infrastructure make sense for your community and future. And by all means, spread the word about the benefits of EVs, and together we can promote more rapid adoption. Yes, EVs just got cooler, and are a fun actionable step we can take towards a cooler climate.


If you’re new to Sustainability X, welcome! We will present solutions to the climate change crisis over the coming weeks and months, and how you can get involved. Please join our movement and follow us by clicking the “FOLLOW” link in the footer below!


Manage a Fleet?

Do you manage a fleet and are considering electrifying or converting it to alternative fuels?  Consider contacting carbonBLU. Their consultants specialize in developing and implementing sustainable fleet strategies, empowering you with the knowledge and tools you need to succeed.

Are you interested in managing the energy consumption of a fleet or evaluating the performance of a fleet conversion? Consider contacting GreenTraks. Review a recent GreenTraks presentation and case studies for a fleet conversion of over 100 heavy-duty refuse trucks from diesel to liquefied natural gas (LNG) and renewable natural gas (RNG), performed by the City of Sacramento.



All of the Above


If you’re like me, every time you go inside a music store you want to play all the guitars. Even when I couldn’t play a chord, I still wanted to play them all!

When contemplating what we can do in the face of dramatic climate changes, there are numerous paths we individuals can take. In fact, knowing the seemingly impossible task of turning our Titanic of a civilization around with each of its depleting systems, and yet seeing the options before us and the headway of change already begun, leaves me feeling more energized and optimistic than ever. Seeing the beast before us, we can slay it! True, we are in an allegory of David and Goliath, but you know who wins that battle.

On the ground, other battles are being waged. Hurricane Irma has devastated the Caribbean and is beginning to unleash her fury on the U.S. as Floridians have evacuated in mass. All this while the full scope of tragedy has only recently taken shape with Hurricane Harvey leaving Houston literally submerged, with at least 70 fatalities and estimates of over $150 billion in damage. If there is any consolation, and there is not much, it’s that while old-school energy production was shut down or shuttered for days or weeks, renewable energy like wind kept on producing, albeit with some issues and under treacherous circumstances.

These storms make the clear case that a focus on resiliency is key. Resiliency is our ability to adapt and bounce back when things don’t go as planned, and it begs for an “all of the above” energy strategy. By diversifying our energy supply while ultimately relying less and less on fossil fuels, provides us with the greatest security in cases of severe weather and other cataclysmic events such as war, earthquakes, and the like.

Where each of us can make a difference, is in a similar “all of the above” strategy when it comes to the many solutions available to sequester and reduce heat-trapping emissions. Individually, we just need to choose one or more areas where we feel the most passionate or where we can make the greatest impact. Then collectively and working in parallel, we can solve the climate crisis. The obvious benefit is in restoring the world’s environmental balance, and leaving a hopeful future for our children.

If you love cars, why not join the zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) revolution in your area? Or if you’re a foodie, why not incorporate more plant-rich meals in your diet and learn about the plethora of ways to improve food supply and the reduction of waste? If you’re a mom or care about the health and welfare of women and girls, why not get involved in education programs that lay foundations for girls in underdeveloped areas to live happy fulfilled lives? The list of solutions truly goes on and on, and it’s all about finding the area where you can get involved.

In a world that is changing all around us like never before, creating a foreboding sense of uncertainty and anxiety, this list of Solutions from Project Drawdown is an exciting, provocative, and important remedy and resource that should inspire you and others to be part of the global warming solution. So why not consider today the area where you will make your biggest contributions?

Mother and daughter: Boys & Girls Village, Connecticut

If you’re new to Sustainability X, welcome! We will present solutions to the climate change crisis over the coming weeks and months, and how you can get involved. Please join our movement and follow us by clicking the “FOLLOW” link in the footer below!


Hurricanes and Hand Grenades

Hurricane-Harvey-839057514.0Photo of Hurricane Harvey by NOAA via Getty Images, August 25,2017

You don’t have to be too close to the eye of the storm to experience the wrath of a hurricane. Hurricane Harvey made landfall yesterday as the first category 4 hurricane to hit the United States since 2004, and continues to wreak havoc on the Great State. If you have family or friends living in Texas as I do, we can only hope they prepared or evacuated.

Two things are for certain, human-related activities have contributed to warmer seas and sea level rise, which in the first case contributes to more intense storms and hurricanes, and in the second, higher sea levels increase the volume of water in storm surges. So while hurricanes are not known to be caused by global warming, their impacts are known to become worse from it.

But how will global warming impact you personally?  “Americans overwhelmingly believe that global warming is happening, and that carbon emissions should be scaled back. But fewer are sure that the changes will harm them personally. New data released by the Yale Program on Climate Communication gives the most detailed view yet of public opinion on global warming.”


The above chart shows that more than half of people in Texas believe global warming will impact them in their lives; but I wonder now, in the wake of this horrible storm if that percentage has gone up. Sending our thoughts and prayers to all those people living through Hurricane Harvey tonight. To support disaster relief efforts, please visit the American Red Cross.

If you’re new to Sustainability X, welcome!  We will present solutions to the climate change crisis over the coming weeks and months, and how you can get involved. Please join our movement and follow us by clicking the link below!

Project Drawdown


Today’s solar eclipse provides a stellar example of how we humans are connected with the universe and our environment, and demonstrates how fortunate we are to have accumulated such cosmic knowledge and awesome predictive power. Scientists can tell us precisely when the moon will begin and end blocking the sun and exactly where it will happen. As science’s predictive power relates to climate change, well, if you are still wondering, the jury is also out.

The good news is that in spite of the doom and gloom predictions, there are both significant market movements towards a clean energy future and pathways we humans can take to stabilize the warming atmosphere.

In layman’s terms the problem is that heat-trapping gases produced by human activities have accumulated in the thin atmosphere that has previously contained enough heat-trapping gases to keep our planet warm as it glides through frigid space. Once released, much of the heat-trapping gases stay present for decades. So the challenge is not just capping our current release of these gases, but in removing the gases that have been released decades ago.

Where do we begin thinking of actions we can take to help solve our climate change crisis? Certainly, the advice we receive about everyday steps we can take are valuable, such as recycling, taking shorter showers, eating less meat, etc., but compared with the seemingly overwhelming problem (human-related activities release over 1,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent [CO2e] every second), these steps may leave you feeling a bit hopeless. And in fact, if we took only these steps, we would just be kidding ourselves and not addressing the problem at hand: removing CO2e from the atmosphere.

Fortunately, there is a better way, and a working group with many researchers and headed by Paul Hawken has determined significant focus and solution areas. The initiative (and book) is called Project Drawdown. “Drawdown maps, measures, models, and describes the 100 most substantive solutions to global warming. For each solution, we describe its history, the carbon impact it provides, the relative cost and savings, the path to adoption, and how it works. The goal of the research that informs Drawdown is to determine if we can reverse the buildup of atmospheric carbon within thirty years. All solutions modeled are already in place, well understood, analyzed based on peer-reviewed science, and are expanding around the world.”

You will hear much more from me about Project Drawdown, specifically as our site delves into many of the solution areas. Here they are listed in order of their potential capability to draw down and reduce CO2e from the atmosphere.



The Awakening

Unless you were sleeping, the world has been divided into people who are part of the climate change solution and everyone else. More bluntly, you are either part of that solution or part of the global warming problem. It wasn’t always like that; that is, most of us were very content living in our own worlds with an ignorance is bliss perspective. We didn’t know what we didn’t know, so we went about being good global citizens by being, first of all, good human beings. We would help and not hurt others, take care of our families and communities, and we lived with the values our parents and faiths instilled in us.

But one day recently we awoke to a new reality. It likely may have started like a hazy vague notion that something in our world was not quite right – out of balance. That feeling turned into a dull ache or an intermittent uncomfortable or painful feeling upon hearing an unsettling story or news afflicting our friends, family, and the environment: a farmer enmeshed in persistent drought, a friend engulfed in the floodwaters of a hurricane, a cousin concerned about the rapid decline of the honeybee, and your child heartbroken about the portent extinction of the polar bear.

That feeling wouldn’t go away. It only grew larger and larger into a sort-of hopeless realization that our way of life has been put in jeopardy caused by forces seemingly out of our control. This crisis felt like it snuck up on us because it seems so incomprehensible, its scale beyond our human capacity to measure. Since our individual responses seem so inconsequential, so ineffective, we just chose to ignore the chatter, the now false debate occurring over climate change. The truth is that, unfortunately, global warming has been a known phenomena, and human induced causes have been occurring since the Industrial Age.

The question now is, after you’ve taken that deep breath, become aware of the crisis before us, and truly realized its severity: are you part of the solution or are you part of the problem?