Amory Lovins talks…

If you want to learn a bit about one of clean energy’s brightest champions, check out this piece in Discover magazine. Basically the magazine asks Lovins, co-founder of environmental think-tank Rocky Mountain Institute, to offer his views on a number of issues, including energy/electricity, oil, new plastics, hydrogen and wind.

Lovins, I should point out, is also co-author of the book Natural Capitalism — a must read for anyone interested in this area. I’ve got an Amazon.com link at the lower right corner of this site for anyone interested in the book.

Hydraulic Hybrid Ford F-150? Heard stranger things…

My Clean Break column today touches on rumours that Ford is planning to come out with a hybrid-hydraulic version of its popular F-150 pickup truck in 2008. The speculation, which first surfaced on NewTechSpy.com, claims the truck will have the same mileage as a Toyota Prius. While I have my doubts about the specifics of that claim, I do know that Ford and others are working closely with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on hydraulic technology as a rival approach to battery-powered hybrid-electric cars. My column takes a look at some of the work being done, and gets an update from the head of the EPA’s transportation lab in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Bottom line: Cool hybrid-hydraulic designs are indeed on the way but I wouldn’t count on Ford to be first out of the gate. Also, the technology is aimed at bigger vehicles, so I wouldn’t bet that we’re ever going to see a hybrid-hydraulic Ford Escort. Delivery vehicles, garbage trucks, and other fleet-type workhorses are the more likely candidates.