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SustainAbility Newsletter

Electrified Cars are Coming in 2010 from GM, Toyota, and Fisker

Fisker Karma

Automakers are intensifying the pace to roll out electrified vehicles, with General Motors Corporation (GM), Toyota, and Fisker Automotive announcing their production schedules at the Los Angeles Auto Show in California in early December. GM announced that its Chevy Volt, an extended-range electric vehicle, will be available late next year in California only, and in additional markets later. GM is investing $336 million in its Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant to begin Volt production in late 2010. GM is also partnering with three California utilities and the Electric Power Research Institute in a real-world demonstration to establish vehicle charging programs and to introduce the Volt to consumers. GM is drawing on more than $30 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds from DOE for the project. 

Meanwhile, the 2010 Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid vehicle (PHV) made its North American debut at the Los Angeles show. Based on the third-generation Prius, the latest version adds a lithium-ion battery that enables all-electric operation at higher speeds and longer distances than the conventional Prius hybrid. The new Prius PHV is designed to use the all-electric mode for trips of about 13 miles. After that, it reverts to the hybrid mode like a regular Prius. Toyota plans to deliver 150 vehicles to the United States early in 2010, placing them in regional clusters for consumer tests and technical demonstrations. For instance, Toyota will place 10 Prius PHVs with residents of Boulder, Colorado, under a regional partnership with Xcel Energy's SmartGridCity program. The residents will participate in an interdisciplinary research project coordinated by the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute, a new joint venture between DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the University of Colorado at Boulder.


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References and Sources used in this issue of SustainAbility Newsletter Include:

Audubon Lifestyles
www.audubonlifestyles.com
 
The International Sustainability Council
www.thesustainabilitycouncil.org 

General Motors
www.gm.com

Toyota
www.toyota.com

Fisker Automotive
www.fiskerautomotive.com

Golfpreserves
www.golfcourseproject.com 

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing Partnership
www.cmhp.org

Chesapeake Bay Foundation
www.cbf.org 

University of Alaska Fairbanks
www.uaf.edu 

Taylor Properties Group
www.taylorpropertiesgrp.com  

Urbana University
www.urbana.edu 

The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA)
www.gcsaa.org 

American Society of Golf Course Architects
www.asgca.org

The United States Golf Association (USGA)
www.usga.org

SustainAbility Newsletter Archive Article (random)

Golf Cars and Sustainability

By: Brian Kington

Solar Golf CartLet’s first take a few seconds to discuss proper terminology.  They’re actually called golf cars not golf carts.    Golf carts are something players use who prefer pulling or pushing their clubs to riding or schlepping them around the course.   Of the many factors influencing the future of the golf industry, the use of golf cars is a unique topic for discussion because, in my opinion, they have both positive and negative effects on the sustainability of the game. 

The traditional round of golf 100 years ago saw a player carrying his own bag, or hiring a caddie, but with either choice walking 5 miles across undulating terrain was a regular aspect of the game.    At private clubs today, it appears that the majority of members still walk the course, however at public facilities walking is much more rare.   Encouraging this puzzling trend for players to choose riding over walking is the common business strategy for daily fee courses to pad their greens fees by including a golf car with the round.
 
There are some obvious environmental benefits that come with encouraging the non-use of golf cars, such as conservation of fossil fuels and energy.    But consider the social benefits of walking, such as additional exercise, which is important and much needed for all of us, not to mention an enhanced interaction with nature for walkers.    I would also argue the use of golf cars actually worsens pace of play, an already serious issue in the game at present, especially in wet conditions when golf cars are not permitted on the fairways and players are constantly going back and forth to retrieve clubs.  
A counter argument supporting use of golf cars could be the loss in revenue for a course already struggling to meet their bottom line in today’s down economy.  However, with the increased cost savings for the maintenance staff resulting from less wear and tear to the roughs and fairway, and reduced energy requirements, it may be close to a wash economically.   
  
The conversation gets more interesting when you consider a much larger resort community because golf cars can be used for more than carrying clubs.     Expansive interconnected areas of open space, plant and wildlife habitat, and recreation are generously incorporated into the communities to provide basic needs such as improved air and water quality, enhancement of biodiversity and green space.   This integrated planning approach of blending human uses and nature also offers a unique design opportunity to consider alternative strategies for vehicular circulation.     Often times elaborate trail systems are incorporated throughout the property which not only provide recreational opportunities for hiking, biking, bird watching, but that also accommodates and encourages using golf cars for everyday movement within the community instead of using automobiles. 
  
Certainly some senior players and others with physical limitations may require a golf car simply to participate in the sport.  This should be highly encouraged, as it is very important for golf to be accessible for everyone for the sustainability of the game.   Designers should recognize the increased value in promoting the use of golf cars as an alternative means of transportation and incorporate the concept into the planning process.  As far as a typical 18 hole outing is concerned, most players might reconsider throwing the strap of their bag over their shoulder instead of strapping the bag into a golf car—and if not for their own health and well-being, then for the well-being of golf.  

Brian Kington, is a Landscape Architect with Love & Dodson, LLC.

Read more about Sustainable Golf at: www.sustainablegolfdevelopment.com
 


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CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE ENTIRE NEWSLETTER IN PDF FORMAT
References and Sources used in this issue of SustainAbility Newsletter Include:

Audubon Lifestyles
www.audubonlifestyles.org 

The International Sustainability Council

www.thesustainabilitycouncil.org 

Sustainability Campaign
sustainabilitycampaign.blogspot.com

eNature.com
www.enature.com

Golfs Drive Toward Sustainability
www.eifg.org/sustainability

World Migratory Bird Day
www.worldmigratorybirdday.org

The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America
www.gcsaa.org

The United States Golf Association (USGA)
www.usga.org

Sustainable Golf & Development
www.sustainablegolfdevelopment.com

Sustainable Forest Initiative
www.sfiprogram.org

National Geographic
www.nationalgeographic.org

International Migratory Bird Day 2011
www.birdday.org

 

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