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Verde Laguna: Pondering new breed of 'clean' energy vehicles

December 02, 2010|By Gustavo Grad

Perhaps no technology will transform society in the coming years as much as that related to personal transportation, since transportation is one of the most pervasive factors playing a negative role on the atmosphere.

How to provide choices and flexibility to mobility needs is a question many have for a long time. A sign of our times is that peak-oil and economic uncertainty has plunged the automobile industry into a state of flux, and that soon the internal combustion engine will be obsolete, the question is: What's next?

The Los Angeles Auto Show and many recent publications celebrated in the last months an apparent race in the industry for the clean car of the future, with the release by GM of the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan with the Leaf model.

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Something not to be missed after the Thanksgiving weekend, when "more than 2 million California families hit the road, spending about $54 million to fuel up their trips" as reported by the L.A. Times. Drivers could save $30 million if they drove a clean fuel car, according to a report from Environmental California. People are waiting anxiously for the release of new models such as the Ford Focus next year, and the Toyota RAV4, the Honda Fit EV, and the Teslar models rolling out on 2012.

The concerns many potential buyers have these days are: if a web of charging stations will be available in Southern California; and how much are they are getting for their buck, meaning how much money they will save on fuel cost per year buying these cars.

Among other things, many wonder what the label that rates miles per gallon is going to say. The current fuel economy label required all new passenger cars to contain information related to city/highway fuel economy values in miles per gallon, and an estimated fuel cost to operate the vehicle per year. This sticker design helped consumers over the last 30 years to choose more efficient and environmental friendly vehicles. Consumers are waiting to see how the EPA elaborates a form of equivalency of miles per kilowatt hours charged rating for these new cars.

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