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The following blog by Luke Tonachel, Vehicles Analyst, New York City has been cross-posted from NRDC's Switchboard blog. The original post is available online here

Investments in clean energy technologies for cars are creating jobs. Most recently, Alcoa - with the assistance of a loan from the Department of Energy - is expanding a Tennessee aluminum manufacturing facility and adding 200 jobs to meet automakers' demand for lightweight materials that can improve fuel efficiency and reduce carbon pollution. And according to a new EPA report, automakers are successfully meeting the federal clean car standards. These are good signs for the environment and the economy.

Jobs for Clean Energy Innovation

The Alcoa jobs add to the nearly 47,000 clean energy jobs announced last year according to the Clean Energy Works For Us: Q4 2014 Jobs Report by the Environmental Entrepreneurs' (E2). More than 233,000 clean energy jobs have been announced in the United States since E2 started tracking them in 2011.

The Alcoa loan guarantee comes from the Department of Energy's Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing (ATVM) program, which has a strong record of success. The program has helped create or preserve over 35,000 jobs through loans for fuel-efficient and electric vehicle technologies at Ford, Nissan and Tesla.

Alcoa marks the first automotive parts supplier to receive a loan but the company probably won't be the last. Suppliers are very important for helping automakers rapidly adopt new, fuel-saving and low emissions technologies. Suppliers are on the front lines of innovation, developing and manufacturing advanced engine components, turbochargers, improved transmissions, lightweight structures, electronic controllers and electric-drive components like traction motors, advanced battery materials, and batteries.

The aluminum produced by Alcoa will replace heavier materials in new vehicles, enabling them to go farther on a gallon of gas and reduce their carbon pollution per mile. For example, in the latest version of the best-selling F-150 pickup truck, Ford substituted conventional steel with aluminum and advanced high-strength steel to reduce weight by up to 700 pounds. Ford claims that the design change improved vehicle towing and handling capabilities while reducing fuel consumption by up to 20 percent. Similarly, General Motors recently announced plans to shave 300 pounds from their popular Chevy Malibu sedan.

EPA Report: Automakers Ahead of Clean Car Standards

EPA has crunched the greenhouse gas emissions scores of model year 2013 cars and light trucks and the results look good. As part of the clean car and fuel economy program, EPA set standards that ratchet down tailpipe carbon pollution (measured in grams of CO2 per mile) from 296 g/mi in 2012 to 163 g/mi in 2025. For 2013, the auto industry average was 12 g/mi (equivalent to about 1.4 mpg) cleaner than the required standard for that year.

Cleaner cars use less fuel save consumers money at the pump. As the new EPA report reinforces, we've seen steady progress in the fuel economy of vehicles across the many types of cars and light trucks. The fuel savings give drivers more money to spend on goods other than gasoline, adding a welcome boost to the U.S. economy that helps create jobs along with the direct investments in the manufacturing fuel-efficient technologies.

Clearly, clean car and fuel efficient cars and jobs go hand-in-hand. The DOE-Alcoa partnership is a great example of how we can accelerate progress in addressing carbon pollution and reducing our oil dependence while ensuring that we continue to grow jobs in the United States. It's great news.

Posted In: Auto, Natural Resources Defense Council

Last week a big announcement about the Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) loan program of $259 million to help retool an Alcoa, TN facility to build advanced automotive aluminum almost overshadowed some other news in the auto world: for the second year in a row new cars are going above and beyond the required fuel-efficiency standards by no less than 1.4 miles per gallon, according to a new report by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This is news we can’t afford to let slip by without a bit of fanfare.

Above expectations

The fact that fuel efficiency standards have gone above and beyond expectations two years in a row bodes well both for current and future industry growth and for consumers’ pocketbooks. Evidence that automakers have fully embraced the standards is in the fact that nine of the 13 biggest-selling automakers beat the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) targets.

Nine of the 13 biggest-selling automakers beat the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) targets.

Consumers feel the benefits on many levels including cleaner air and lower costs. The standards that govern model year vehicles 2012-2025 are projected to cut 6 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases and save drivers more than $8,000 in fuel costs, according to the EPA.

Even EPA sounded surprised about the extent of this success. “In the design of the program, we anticipated automakers taking advantage of these different market mechanisms, so this was always part of our projections,” Chris Grundler, the EPA’s director in the Office of Transportation and Air Quality, said on the press call. “The fact that the industry is doing substantially better is very good news and tells us that this kind of innovative policy design is indeed producing the results that we expected.”

Win, win, win

Besides the fact that this news is good for the industry and for consumers, it’s also good for job creation—specifically in the domestic manufacturing sector. In 2012 an analysis by BlueGreen Alliance found that over time, proposed fuel efficiency standards will create an estimated 50,000 jobs (full-time equivalent) in light-duty vehicle and parts manufacturing, and 570,000 jobs throughout the U.S economy as consumers spend their fuel savings by the year 2030.

Another study done by the UAW and NRDC found that stronger fuel economy standards could add between 50,000 and 150,000 jobs depending on how much of the new technology was built in the U.S. In practice, higher fuel efficiency standards have paralleled and supported recovery in domestic auto manufacturing. From the industry’s low point in 2009, the sector has brought back 284,000 direct auto and parts manufacturing jobs--and it is critical that this progress continue.

Putting strong standards together with robust manufacturing of advanced vehicle technology is helping the U.S. effectively compete for and capture the full the economic, environmental and jobs benefits of clean technology.    

The story of the American auto resurgence could not be told without either the ATVM or higher fuel efficiency standards. These initiatives have successfully worked in tandem to put the rubber to the road on manufacturing the fuel-efficient, clean technology vehicles millions of people can’t wait to drive today and for years to come.

Posted In: Auto

The following blog is by Zoe Lipman, Senior Policy Advisor for the BlueGreen Alliance.

The Department of Energy (DOE) Loan Programs office today announced a $259 million loan to Alcoa to upgrade and expand its Tennessee aluminum mill to produce specialized automotive grade aluminum to reduce weight and improve fuel economy in millions of cars and trucks. For the community in Alcoa, TN, near Knoxville, the project also means adding 200 full-time jobs at the plant in addition to 400 construction jobs carrying out the expansion project.

With this announcement, DOE’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program (ATVM) is continuing and extending its track record of turning clean advanced vehicle innovation into jobs, manufacturing and growth.

>>Check out DOE’s blog and infographic here

>>BGA partners including the United Steelworkers weigh in on the impact of the new loan and the ATVM program in our press release here

The ATVM was created as part of the bipartisan 2007 energy bill.  It was designed to ensure that at the same time that we make big steps to  increased fuel economy and cut GHG emissions, we also invest in building the next generation of globally competitive advanced vehicle components and materials in the US, and position the US as a technology leader.  

Pictured: The innovation and investment doesn’t stop with Alcoa’s plants in Tennessee and Iowa. The specialty aluminum then heads to automakers like Ford who have also made multi-million dollar investments in tooling, robotics and worker training to enable the use of new materials and components. One of the highest profile uses of Alcoa’s aluminum is the Ford F-150 pickup—America’s best selling vehicle. The truck also makes extensive use of advanced high-strength steel and engine and transmission innovation. The result is a popular truck which is both dramatically more efficient and more powerful than the same vehicle was just a few years ago. Ford has also brought back thousands of jobs at the Dearborn, MI and Kansas City, MO plants, which build the F-150. Previous ATVM loans helped modernize and retool both these facilities. (Photo: Ford Motor Co)

That premise proved powerfully correct. Investment galvanized by the program helped underpin an earlier stronger recover of the manufacturing sector and one that is ongoing, while achieving unprecedented reductions in greenhouses gases.  

The previous $8 billion in loans leveraged a total of $14 billion in investment in 17 facilities in 8 states, including support to supported build, expand or retool Ford engine, transmission and assembly plants in 6 states, as well as Nissan and Tesla plants Tennessee and California. Those investments added or retained 35,000 direct manufacturing jobs. At the same time the program has kept the taxpayer more than whole—while boosting jobs, tax revenues, and growth.

To build a strong competitive modern economy its not enough just to use the latest, best, cleanest technology, we also have to invest in people, plants, and technology.

>>Our updated factsheet providing more information on the ATVM program is available here

To build a strong competitive modern economy its not enough just to use the latest, best, cleanest technology, we also have to invest in people, plants, and technology. With the new loan to Alcoa—and $16 billion in loan authority remaining accessible not just to major automakers, but to the hundreds of automotive suppliers making advanced engines, powertrains, electronics, materials and other advanced technology—the ATVM program extends its promise to communities across the country.

The diagram below provides a rough snapshot of the breadth of companies manufacturing fuel efficient vehicles and components

Suppliers across the country stand to benefit from the AVTM program 
In 2011, BlueGreen Alliance members the United Auto Workers (UAW), Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and National Wildlife Federation (NWF) released Supplying Ingenuity, a report identifying over 500 factories in 43 states that were already building the components, materials, and technology that contribute to achieving higher fuel economy. While the industry has grown and changed since 2011, companies like these across the auto supply chain stand to benefit from ATVM loans that could aid them in making new investments in innovation and growth. Interactive maps available here

Posted In: Auto, Natural Resources Defense Council, United Auto Workers, United Steelworkers

President Obama kicked off a three-day trip with a visit to a Ford plant in Detroit yesterday. There he touted the auto industry’s dramatic resurgence over the past few years, due in no small part to the auto rescue, higher fuel efficiency standards and manufacturing investments such as the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing (ATVM) Loan Program. The lede that has been buried in many news stories about this comeback is that while we’re building the next generation of globally competitive clean transportation technology in America we’re also making landmark steps forward on the environment and energy security.

"And some of the most high-tech, fuel-efficient, high-powered, heart-pounding, good-looking, well-designed, fuel-efficient cars in the world are once again designed, engineered, forged and built not in Europe, not in Asia, right here in the United States of America," said President Obama.

Clean technology and the comeback

Having “globally competitive clean transportation technology” means that the vehicles rolling off U.S. assembly lines are breaking new ground technologically; exciting, high-quality vehicles that appeal to customers worldwide. And, these vehicles are effectively reducing fuel use and achieving deep carbon pollution reductions.

The auto industry has added 400,000 jobs since June 2009 and auto sales in 2014 hit 16.5 million. Beyond that, significant public investment galvanized tens of billions annually of private reinvestment in the sector. Higher fuel-efficiency standards mean drivers save tens of billions on gas, and they have the added benefit of achieving deep greenhouse gas emissions reductions, helping reduce related public health threats such as heat waves, floods, and local air pollution. It would be foolish to take the success of the auto industry’s success over the past few years for granted.

As President Obama said, “Because everybody came together here and worked together, folks are better off. And some of the most high-tech, fuel-efficient, high-powered, heart-pounding, good-looking, well-designed, fuel-efficient cars in the world are once again designed, engineered, forged and built not in Europe, not in Asia, right here in the United States of America.” 

Check out our factsheet on the ATVM

Redefining U.S. manufacturing successes

If the U.S. is going to continue to make cars and trucks that are in demand for a long time to come, they can’t just be fast, or cool looking or fun to drive. The cars of the future must be all of above and fuel efficient. Fortunately, we’re proving that can be done.

The cars manufactured in the U.S. today and tomorrow are the most fuel efficient in a generation. It’s not just the economy; the environment is also getting a leg up as the auto industry continues to make a triumphant return.

Posted In: Auto

The State Senate in California moved forward an important bill earlier this week that will help the state achieve a million electric vehicles on the road in the state. SB 1275—the Charge Ahead California Initiative—was passed yesterday by a vote of 27 to nine. As importantly, it was a bipartisan vote, which shows the vision of a million innovative, clean—and often union-made—electric cars, trucks, and buses on our roads over the next decade crosses party lines and is now that much closer to reality.

Electric vehicles are an ever-evolving and increasingly important part of our transportation mix. They’re also an economic opportunity. Electric vehicles don’t just make our air cleaner and reduce the pollution driving climate change, they help grow the market for innovative American-made cars and components.

Californians buy one-third of all electric vehicles in the U.S. The majority of these high tech EVs are made in America, and many are union made by workers at Ford and GM. From all-electric compacts to plug-in family sedans to luxury cars, electric vehicles and technology are made all across America for all kinds of American households.

The State Assembly will now have the opportunity to weigh in and say they too support this smart bill that will spur the growth in the electric vehicle segment. They should give this bill support and send it to the desk of Governor Jerry Brown. From there, California will be just a signature away from building a stronger economic and environmental future for all.

Posted In: California, Auto

The following blog is by Zoe Lipman, Senior Policy Advisor for the BlueGreen Alliance.

I’d like to suggest we give cars for Mother’s Day. Since I don’t want to sound too self-serving here (please feel free to make mine something that goes from 0-60 in under 5 seconds!) I should clarify that I don’t mean this entirely literally.

Mother’s Day celebrates what we do together to launch each generation into a world where they can prosper and thrive. But lately it’s been easy to get a nagging feeling that we’ve taken some serious wrong turns. By contrast, however, the transformation that cars and the auto industry have undergone—in just the past few years—gives us some signposts for the road to a brighter future for parents and kids. 

Pictured right: Ford builds the gasoline, hybrid and plug-in hybrid electric C-MAX in Michigan on one of the most flexible automotive assembly lines in the world. Department of Energy loans helped facilitate Ford’s $500M investment to retool the facility, which now employs over 5000 people. As the window sticker shows, the plug-in hybrid electric C-MAX Energi is rated at 100 mpge when running on primary battery power and 43 mpg should you need to use the gas engine. A concept version, significantly powered by solar panels is shown in back.

Mother’s Day is the right time to ask: What can we do to take the pressure off struggling families? To provide exciting job prospects for young people as they’re entering the workforce? To change the feeling we get just by looking out the window that we have done grave damage to the natural systems on which this generation and the ones to come will fundamentally depend. 

Oddly perhaps, we can take hope every time we pile into the much-maligned family sedan to run another errand, teach a teenager to parallel park a tiny commuter car, or put a load of power tools in the back of a pick-up truck. Every car, SUV, and light truck built since late 2011 is concrete (or high strength steel, turbocharged) proof that we can act together effectively to roll back climate change. Car by car we are cutting fuel use and carbon pollution from the average vehicle in half in just 15 years. This is the biggest step we’ve ever taken to cut carbon pollution and we’re making cars way better and saving families money at the same time. If we maintained this momentum across the economy, we would be well on our way to securing a stable, sustainable world for our children.

Pictured left: New standards for medium and heavy duty trucks are helping spur fuel and cost savings for truck owners as well, thanks to innovation by companies and workers at places like the Volvo Mack Powertrain plant in Hagerstown, MD.

These are family stories. Moms are building new more efficient gas, diesel and electric cars and running General Motors. Dads are building new materials and components, young people and their parents are getting new jobs in advanced engines, batteries, electronics, engineering and IT.But we aren’t just cutting pollution with each new car; we’re building a better economy. Today’s cars and trucks are vivid proof that we can throw decades of policies that sucked investment out of America into reverse. When we put strong fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards together with policies to help spur investment in building the most advanced transportation technology here, we galvanized a revival in innovation and manufacturing that has brought back hundreds of thousands of direct jobs and galvanized a much larger 21st century manufacturing revival. Now we’re looking at ways to make sure we capture the next generation of technology and jobs in trucks, buses, transit, rail, and infrastructure as well.

And we worked together to get there. While getting the casserole out of the trunk on Sunday, we can take a moment to reflect that our ride is proof that Democrats and Republicans, labor and business and environmentalists and economists can hammer out agreements and act decisively to build the kind of world we want our kids to live in—this is not pie in the sky, it’s Jeep in the underground parking garage. That’s what I want for Mother’s Day. 










Posted In: Auto

The following post is from Zoe Lipman, Senior Policy Advisory for the BlueGreen Alliance. 


On Wednesday, the BlueGreen Alliance was thrilled to see the Department of Energy announce over $16 Billion in loans available to aid manufacturers to build, expand or retool factories in the US to build advanced vehicle technology (here’s our press release).

Please share our infographic that captures the ATVM’s big benefits. Here’s a walk through those benefits and a few more reasons why the ATVM is good policy and good for America.

The first round of loans made by the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing (or ATVM) Loan Program helped construct or modernize 15 factories to build state of the art efficient vehicles and added or saved over 35,000 jobs in eight states: California, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Kentucky, New York, and Tennessee.

Ford Louisville Assembly Plant,  Photo: Sam Varnhagen, Ford Motor Co.

Ford Louisville Assembly Plant, Photo: Sam Varnhagen, Ford Motor Co.

This is what the ATVM looks like in practice >>>

ATVM loans helped Ford overhaul its Louisville Assembly Plant in Kentucky to build the new, far more efficient Ford Escape using a highly flexible manufacturing process. Ford added 3100 jobs at the plant while Kentucky suppliers added another 900 jobs building components to support Ford’s new vehicle. “It really makes us feel good about our future”, the plant manager, John Savona, said in 2012.

Now, streamlined ATVM processes make these loans more easily accessible, not just to automakers, but to the hundreds manufacturers making the technology that goes into improving fuel efficiency—advanced engines, powertrains, electronics, materials and many more.

Companies that benefit are located in communities all over the country

In 2011, the BlueGreen Alliance's partners the Natural Resources Defense Council, National Wildlife Federation and the United Auto Workers published Supplying Ingenuity, which looked at the automotive manufacturing sector and found over 500 factories in 43 states that made components and technology that contribute to greater fuel economy, whether in advanced gasoline vehicles, hybrids or electrics. Even before the current automotive resurgence, those companies directly employed over 150,000 Americans and they are only part of the advanced automotive supply industry today. You can find out more about what advanced vehicle manufacturing means for jobs at

Also….its wildly successful (and bipartisan)

In today’s partisan environment, it’s easy to forget that the ATVM was created in conjunction with the mandate for new fuel economy standards—part of the bipartisan 2007 Energy Bill signed into law by President Bush—and then strongly implemented by President Obama. Leaders on both sides of the aisle saw the critical importance to the US economy of not just buying and using—but building—the next generation of globally competitive transportation technology in the United States. And they were right. In part as a result of these sound policies, we are seeing a renaissance in the automotive sector which has added back 250,000 direct manufacturing jobs over the past four years and has underpinned growth in the US manufacturing sector for the first time in nearly two decades.

Meanwhile the DOE’s Loan Program Office’s portfolio of clean energy project investments (of which the ATVM is a part) has performed tremendously well for the American taxpayer. Its success rate—estimated at over 90 percent—is much higher than the venture capital firms it is sometimes compared to. Of the loan funds disbursed by the ATVM program, 97 percent have supported successful, job creating, advanced automotive investments that have anchored growth in U.S. communities. The taxpayer is doing well, and communities and businesses that depend on manufacturing are doing even better. Let’s keep moving forward!

Posted In: Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, California, New York, Auto

Mike RobinsonThe following blog was originally posted on GM's Fast Lane blog. Read more about the workshop Mike Robinson took part in here.

Mike Robinson refers to himself as “fanatically pragmatic.”

During a panel at the annual Good Jobs Green Jobs Conference in Washington D.C., our vice president of sustainability and global regulatory affairs said GM looks at sustainability as a mainstream, long-term business strategy where decisions are driven by how to best take care of customers, employees and shareholders.

And since we’re running a business, these decisions need to make sense from a financial, people and environment perspective.

Mike was joined on his panel by representatives from International Paper, Alcoa and UPS to talk about sustainability and the bottom line.

The next wave of young professionals will come with a built-in sense of sustainability, as the generation has grown up with recycle bins at the curb.

When asked what big companies are looking for in new professionals, Mike said, “We look at it from the opposite perspective: Are we doing the best we can to attract the next generation of sustainability-oriented millennials? Because that’s what we stand for.”

On whether the auto industry itself is sustainable, he added that GM is looking at long-term demographics. With the middle class expected to double in size and consumers wanting more goods, societies will demand access.

This will require a level of integration among government and producers that doesn’t exist today, and it may mean less vehicles in some spaces and different vehicles in others. Necessity is the mother of invention, he said, and the industry in its current form is not sustainable.

Meanwhile, the company continues to apply efficiency fundamentals to not only its products, but also to how they are made. Mike discussed dedication to a clean economy through responsible manufacturing around the world.

He stated, “We do things we aren’t required to do. Seventy percent of our sales are outside the U.S., from plants in countries without regulation. We run those plants like they were in the U.S. You need to look long-term how to be a responsible corporate citizen.”

Posted In: Auto, Transportation

The following blog is by Zoe Lipman, Senior Policy Advisor for the BlueGreen Alliance. 

It’s been a great year for the auto industry. The cars are better than ever, U.S. plants are still adding shifts, and sales are at levels not seen since 2007. What’s more, we can all feel good because the industry’s success isn’t just driven by the economic recovery, it’s been a big part of driving that recovery. 

The mood at the Detroit auto show this year was accordingly upbeat but surprisingly modest. Many of the flashy high tech model announcements have happened over the previous couple years and, as one GM exec said as we were discussing the active grille shutters* on a Buick Lacrosse, “now we’re just driving all these innovations throughout the product line.” Hardly ‘just’! 

Pictured left: Checking out the new UAW-built luxury electric Cadillac ELR in Detroit with Ruben Flores of the UAW. 

Similarly, we were all like whatever, when Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rolled out its annual update to last month. At you can compare fuel economy between vehicles of any type and any year, and it always includes a listing of the most efficient vehicles in every size class (compact, midsize, small station wagon etc). This year, the most efficient vehicles in six out of the eight car categories got more than 100mpg! And so far as I can tell, no one noticed. 

We are in a whole new world. We’ve already taken it for granted and that’s big news. It’s here to stay.

But let’s get back to the auto shows. The Detroit show has just wrapped up but the DC auto show is happening now, so those in DC have until February 2 to see what’s new in auto. Here are my highlights from an all too quick walk through the North American International Auto Show in Detroit: 

  • EVs, and innovation, everywhere: It’s hard to imagine that just 5 years ago, at the 2009 show, there was huge buzz about electric cars, but only one—the luxury Tesla Roadster sports car was out on the road. The first mass market EV—the Chevy Volt—arrived in dealerships in 2010, with others following shortly thereafter. 
  • We’ve seen a proliferation of options across the continuum from very efficient gasoline engines to all electric. In 2009, there was the conventional hybrid Prius, today there are 4 Prii—several hybrids, a plug-in hybrid electric, and a solely electric RAV4. But the same is true of Foci and Chevyi and BMWii. At its innovative newly retooled plant in Wayne, Michigan, Ford builds the Ford Focus and Ford CMAX with different types of powertrains on the same flexible assembly line, turning out these vehicles with high-efficiency gasoline engines, as hybrids, plug in hybrid electric vehicles or electric-only. 
  • Meanwhile…new trucks, and other big, powerful, fuel-efficient things: And let’s be clear, the auto innovation is taking place across every type of vehicle. Five years ago the Ford F150 was the best-selling vehicle in America. It still is. But now its ten percent more fuel efficient and more powerful. Ford gets kudos for its display in Detroit complete with manufacturing robots showing its new all-aluminum body which will shave 700 pounds off the weight of the 2015 model to take fuel economy and performance improvements even further. Meanwhile, the 2014 Chevy Silverado won the auto show’s “truck of the year” and boasts new more efficient EcoTech gas engine (cylinder deactivation!) and an impressive range of wireless utility, safety and communications functions, while the new Ram 1500 brings a high tech diesel engine (compacted graphite iron!) back to the half-ton pickup market. To deliver these new trucks, aluminum companies like Novelis and Alcoa have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in plants in New York, Iowa and Tennessee to meet growing automotive aluminum demand, while steel companies innovate in high strength steel and others produce carbon fiber

So whether you’re going to head over to the DC auto show to check out the aerodynamic underpanels in the Dodge Dart, or you prefer the Audi R8 (it was good enough for Iron Man), the Kia Soul hamsters (definitely in D.C. last year), or the Jeep Grand Cherokee (hear from the people who make it), the current automotive renaissance means is that there’s innovation—and big fuel savings—for everyone, and it’s worth taking a moment to notice.  


*Active grill shutters are louvers behind the front grill that open at low speeds or when the engine needs cooling but close at high speeds to improve aerodynamics and therefore, fuel economy.

**That’s after the federal rebate, but without accounting for the fact that they will only cost a $1/gallon to fill up.

***DC gets a little short changed in the luxury segment this year. Tesla doesn’t usually show up at the DC auto show, but you can walk a few blocks to the Tesla show room on 11th street if you want to take a look. The EV BMWi3 will be in DC, but, unfortunately for those of us who have a weakness gull wings, we won’t see the electric BMWi8



Posted In: Auto

The following blog—written by Susan Diegelman, Director of Public Affairs for AT&T—was originally posted on the Good Jobs, Green Jobs Meeting Point blog. 

What if your car could provide you with real-time information to help you make more eco-friendly choices—choices that lessen the environmental impact of your car while not changing your driving experience?  Connected cars—cars equipped with high-speed Internet access—have the capability to do that and more. Aptly described as "smartphones with wheels," connected cars include sophisticated telematics and infotainment systems that can enhance safety, security, and functionality, as well as reduce the impact that motor vehicles have on the environment.

At the upcoming Good Jobs, Green Jobs Conference, now in its seventh year, attendees will have an opportunity to learn about these connected cars in a panel titled, "'Connected' Cars are Cleaner Cars," occurring on Monday, February 10 from 3:40-5:10 p.m. This year’s conference theme is "Repair America," with a focus on repairing the infrastructures and systems we all rely on to ensure the health and safety of our communities while addressing climate change. Connected cars offer opportunities for “greener” transportation through reducing fuel consumption and emissions and can be viewed as one near-term solution to our nation’s energy challenge.

In recent years, advances in broadband and wireless technologies, coupled with the expansion of our country's networks, have resulted in game-changing Internet capabilities to many mobile devices, starting with our mobile phones. Now, automakers are quite literally taking this show on the road, and the resulting innovations are making our cars both greener and cleaner. "Smart" vehicles offer seamless networking and communication between these cars and other vehicles on the road, drivers' and passengers' personal mobile devices, and the infrastructure itself. For example, connected cars can communicate with other cars, alert drivers to risks they can't see, send warnings about weather or road conditions, and send and receive information between traffic signals and special traffic zones—and all of these capabilities are now possible by a robust system of IP-enabled broadband networks.

The most impressive capability offered by these innovative vehicles is their role in reducing environmental impact. In 2011, Americans wasted 2.9 billion gallons of fuel due to congestion in urban areas. However, on-board diagnostic systems in connected cars can collect relevant data on acceleration and braking and help individual drivers optimize fuel efficiency, avoid congested roadways, and eliminate unnecessary stops. Specialized mobile apps can additionally monitor the condition of the car and check for needed maintenance, helping to ensure safety as well as prime engine efficiency. When people have access to information that helps them understand the impact of their decisions on the environment, most will choose the eco-friendly option. At the same time, an aggregate view of anonymous data may help manufacturers make broad-scale changes to reduce the environmental impact of cars in the future.

Our country's IP-enabled broadband networks make all of this possible. In the near future, this vital infrastructure will bring us more options for eco-friendly living and new jobs. And, soon enough, it may turn out that the ultimate mobile device is actually the car.

Posted In: Auto, Broadband
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