How Ford Focus RS Smart Technology Impacts Sustainability

Earth 2017 Founder Bill Roth about to ride with Top Gear's Stig in the Ford Focus RS

Earth 2017 Founder Bill Roth about to ride with Top Gear’s Stig in the Ford Focus RS

Nothing better explains how smart tech will reshape our lives than the Ford Focus RS. This is a four cylinder car. But it is excitingly fast and outrageously fun to drive. It is also the safest car I have ever driven. Even with supercar levels of horsepower the EPA estimates a 25 MPG at highway speeds. What the RS demonstrates is how smart tech enables fun and sales. Smart tech’s commercial success path will also be how products contribute toward solving global warming.

Test driving the RS at Ford’s Dearborn proving grounds

Ford invited me to test drive the Focus RS at their Dearborn Michigan proving grounds. I welcomed the opportunity. Last year Ford invited me to San Francisco to test drive the Focus ST. The ST was the fastest Focus before Ford introduced this year’s SR. My San Francisco test drive of the ST was a blast. The ST is fast, agile and a fun ride.

The RS is the ST on steroids. Using smart tech Ford has created a 350 horsepower street legal rally sports car. The RS’ dynamic digital controls allow you to dial up four driving modes: fast, faster, fastest and RIDICULOUS! Continue reading

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Four Drivers Propelling Clean Tech’s Growth

DSC_0028PG&E is one of our nation’s largest electric utilities. It has recently proposed retiring its nuclear power plant that began commercial operations in 1985. PG&E’s stated reasons is that this plant “no longer fits the needed generation profile of the changing energy landscape.”

What is this new energy landscape? It is clean tech. The PG&E plan defines the technologies changing the energy landscape as a combination of renewable energy, energy efficiency, battery storage and grid changes. Continue reading

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Utilities Fighting Lower Electric Bill Zombie Apocalypse

Will Nevada be ground zero for a lower electric bill Zombie Apocalypse?

Will Nevada be ground zero for a lower electric bill Zombie Apocalypse?

Has this summer’s heat waves got you worrying about a high electric bill?

Your electric utility is worried too. But in a different way. Increasingly, clean technologies like solar, batteries and smart appliances are costing less due to global growth in manufacturing economies of scale plus technical innovations. Utilities fear an epidemic of customers investing in these technologies to reduce electric bills. To utilities this looks like a zombie apocalypse!

Disregard the potential of customer owned technologies reducing pollution. Forget about how these technologies could generate hundred of thousands of new jobs across America. To utilities the idea of customers owned technologies hooked up to “their” grid to lower electric bills is nothing less than a catastrophic infection.

The utility industry is using rules, regulations and legislation designed around what they call “revenue preservation” to destroy the economics of customer owned clean technology. To a utility, revenue preservation means they must be reimbursed for whatever decisions and investments they made that their regulators deem “used and useful.” What revenue preservation means to a consumer is a higher electric bill than what they could achieve if their own technology choices were successfully integrated into the grid. Continue reading

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Obesity Death Rate Now Approximates Smoking

The Boomer Generation Diet by Bill RothLinking Big Food’s health impacts to those of cigarettes is based on the Center For Disease Control’s (CDC) analysis of our national weight gain. Our national weigh crisis is now a health epidemic. It is literally killing us. 300,000 Americans will die this year from obesity. This death level is comparable to the death rate tied to smoking cigarettes.

Fingers of blame for this health crisis can be pointed at us for sitting too much and exercising too little. But fundamentally, what we eat is at the heart of our weight crisis. We are being sold, and we are buying, the equivalent of obesity cigarettes. Big Food (and sodas) are harming our health, threatening our children’s future and driving us toward medical cost bankruptcy.

The ideal solution is for the Big Food industry to immediately redesign their products around human health. Instead, Big Food is pursuing an incremental “do less harm” strategy that attempts to grow their sales while promising improvements like removal of artificial coloring or flavors. A classic example is how Wendy’s figured out how to include blue berries in a salad while aggressively promoting their Baconator hamburger. This raises the question of whether Big Food’s lack of meaningful actions (measured by improved human health) will force America to regulate Big Food like it does the cigarette industry? Continue reading

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What If Electric Cars Win

Bill Roth at 2016 NAIAS with all electric Chevy Bolt

Bill Roth at 2016 NAIAS with all electric Chevy Bolt

The U.S. last year bought a record 17 million gasoline powered cars and trucks. To most Americans the idea of driving an electric car is a “California thing.”

But this perception of electric cars will soon be tested. In 2017 both GM and Tesla will be selling all electric cars with a single charge 200 miles driving range and a less than $30,000 price after incentives.

These electric cars will also be cheaper to fuel than gasoline cars even at $2 per gallon gasoline. Refueling an electric car from the utility grid costs about 75 cents per gallon equivalent. An increasing number of homeowners are buying their own solar system and refueling their electric cars for “free.” Continue reading

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Three Surprising Reasons For Low Oil Prices

petrol-996617_1280The smiles on our faces while pumping gasoline comes from a historic 50% fall in oil prices. Most news commentators point to an oil over supply as the reason. But that begs the question of why? Since 1974 OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) has curtailed oil supplies to raise prices and profits. What has changed that is causing oil producers to keep on pumping oil in the face of lower prices?

Steve Hanke, Professor of Applied Economics at The John Hopkins University uses Net Present Value analysis to suggest why oil producers are selling so much oil at today’s low prices. In laymen terms, he suggests oil producers are harvesting the proverbial bird in hand because they know that the two in the tree are taking flight. And if so, what does that mean to us, the future for low pump prices and our environment? Continue reading

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New CDC Report Documents Our Weight Crisis

The Boomer Generation Diet by Bill RothThe CDC’s most recent study documents how much weight we have gained since 1994. On average, white, non-Hispanic women have added almost 18 pounds while African American women have added 22 pounds. White, non-Hispanic men have added approximately 16 pounds and African American men have added 18 pounds. A 11 year boy is over 13 pounds heavier than in 1994 and a 11 year old girl is 7+ pounds heavier.

This latest CDC study further documents that we are in a national weight crisis, most especially among the Boomer Generation where 72% of this generation’s men and 67% of the women are overweight or obese. The health care costs tied to our weight is crushing us, and our nation, with a financial burden we cannot afford. Continue reading

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