formaggio writes: The winners to the 2010 Solar Decathlon were just announced minutes ago, and the winner is Virginia Tech for their solar-powered Lumenhaus. The Solar Decathlon is a design-build competition that pits engineering and architecture college teams against each other to see who can build the most energy-efficient solar house. Considering that German teams have triumphed at the U.S. Solar Decathlon for three years running now, this is a big deal and a great victory for the Virginia Tech team, who competed with the same house in last year's competition and were beaten out by a German team in 2009.
Hugh Pickens writes: "The NY Times reports that as cars like the Nissan LEAF, Coda Sedan and others become available for sale and lease, one question that may give electric car buyers cold feet is bubbling to the surface: How much will these next-gen vehicles be worth a few years down the road? According to a report from the UK’s Glass Guide, unless manufacturers properly address customer concerns regarding battery life and performance, the new breed of electric vehicles (EVs) soon to be launched will have residual values well below those of rival gasoline and diesel models with a typical electric vehicle retaining only 10 percent of its value after five years of ownership, compared to gas and diesel-fueled counterparts retaining 25 percent of their value in that time period. According to Andy Carroll, Managing Director at Glass's, the alarming rate of depreciation is a function of customer recognition that the typical EV battery will have a useful life of up to eight years and will cost thousands of dollars to replace. "Potential used EV buyers fear this cost, but the key issue is that buyers will assume that their specific battery will need replacing in the near future regardless of the manufacturers' predictions of battery life," says Carroll adding that manufacturers could address this problem by leasing the battery to users. "If the anticipated £8,000 cost of the battery in such a car were taken off the list price, and recovered instead through a long-term £100-per-month battery lease scheme, the retained value in monetary terms would make it one of the best performing used cars in its segment, rather than one of the worst.""