WBEZ | highways http://www.wbez.org/tags/highways Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Tesla Motors opens first Midwest electric car 'supercharger' in Normal http://www.wbez.org/blogs/chris-bentley/2013-06/tesla-motors-opens-first-midwest-electric-car-supercharger-normal-107884 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/cullerton-tesla-mosi.jpg" title="Illinois Senate President John Cullerton, who owns a Tesla Model S, touts the California company's new Normal, Ill. Supercharging station at a press conference in front of the Museum of Science &amp; Industry. (WBEZ/Chris Bentley)" /></div><p>Outside the Museum of Science &amp; Industry Wednesday, Illinois Senate President John Cullerton showed off the roomy &ldquo;<a href="http://www.getthefive.com/articles/the-eye-candy/defining-the-frunk-tesla-names-the-front-trunk-in/">frunk</a>&rdquo; of his luxury sedan, which had just travelled to Normal, Ill., and back, propelled by electrons pulled from the grid at Tesla Motors&rsquo; first &ldquo;supercharging&rdquo; station in the Midwest.</p><p>The new station in Normal is the company&rsquo;s ninth nationally, and its first that&#39;s not in California or on the East Coast. Their budding network of &ldquo;superchargers&rdquo; is meant to enable coast-to-coast travel by electric vehicle within just a few years. Tesla has plans to open another station in Rockford, Ill. later this year.</p><p>Tesla&rsquo;s Model S can travel up to 265 miles fully charged, which from the Normal station would reach Chicago, Indianapolis, Milwaukee or St. Louis with miles to spare. The &ldquo;supercharging stations&rdquo; can fully charge Teslas in about 30 minutes. Once at its destination, the car can be charged from an electrical outlet overnight.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img 2015.="" alt="" by="" class="image-original_image" far="" have="" nine="" only="" opened.="" so="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/tesla-map-2015-plan.jpg" stations="" tesla="" title="Tesla's plan to blanket the country with supercharging stations by 2015. So far only nine have been installed. (Tesla Motors)" /></div><p>Cullerton said he and his wife agreed to buy a Tesla Model S before the car was available on U.S. roads. Although he touted the cheap cost of travel &mdash; it costs the equivalent of three cents per gallon to drive, Cullerton said &mdash; the state senator noted that electric vehicles circumvent the gasoline taxes used to build and maintain roads.</p><p>&ldquo;We have to figure out how to pay for our roads,&rdquo; Cullerton said, &ldquo;but we also want to encourage people to buy electric vehicles.&rdquo;</p><p>Illinois currently offers a $4,000 rebate to complement the $7,500 tax credit that the federal government awards electric vehicle owners. That puts the effective price of a new Model S at about $48,000.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/tesla-outside-mosi.jpg" style="width: 305px; height: 203px; float: right;" title="Tesla Model S. (WBEZ/Chris Bentley)" />California-based Tesla posted its first-ever quarterly profit in May, the same month the Model S surpassed the leading electric car, Nissan&rsquo;s Leaf, in monthly sales (the Leaf, priced around $32,000, still leads overall). <a href="http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2013/05/10/tesla_model_s_reviews_and_reliability_best_car_ever_made_not_yet.html">Despite rave reviews</a>, the Model S has not been widely adopted. Electric vehicle ownership is on the rise, but still makes up less than 1 percent of industry sales.</p><p>But Tesla&rsquo;s Dustin Krause said long-distance travel could help grow that share.</p><p>&ldquo;For electric cars for so long the problem has been that you can&rsquo;t go far enough,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Supercharging solves that.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Chris Bentley writes about the environment. Follow him on Twitter at <a href="http://twitter.com/Cementley" target="_blank">@Cementley</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 27 Jun 2013 10:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/chris-bentley/2013-06/tesla-motors-opens-first-midwest-electric-car-supercharger-normal-107884 Underneath the sweater: Bolivia’s Evo Morales faces mounting opposition http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-02/underneath-sweater-bolivia%E2%80%99s-evo-morales-faces-mounting-opposition-93691 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-November/2011-11-02/bolivia2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Since elected in 2006, Bolivia’s president Evo Morales has been hailed as a morally-driven leader of the people. Known for his trademark alpaca wool sweaters, he's long touted his indigenous roots and anti-American, environmentally progressive politics. Among world leaders, Morales is one of the most active in pushing nations to adopt climate change legislation. In 2009, the U.N. even named him a “World Hero of Mother Earth.”&nbsp;</p><p>Recently, however, Morales’ carefully crafted image has begun to crack. For months this year, he refused to relent in his support for a highway project through the TIPNIS National Park, a protected reserve in the Amazon basin. The area is home to 11 endangered species and three ethnic groups battling extinction of their own.</p><p>In response, indigenous groups recently marched 260 miles in protest from the lowland Amazon jungle -- where the park is located -- to the Bolivian capital of La Paz. Along the way, they faced a brutal police crackdown, which only increased national support for the protests.</p><p>Two weeks ago, Morales finally succumbed to mounting pressure and declared the project would be canceled. The political damage, however, was already done.</p><p>For analysis, we turn to <a href="http://croft.olemiss.edu/Pages/?page=137" target="_blank">Miguel Centellas</a>, an expert on Bolivia and a political science professor at the University of Mississippi.</p></p> Wed, 02 Nov 2011 15:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-02/underneath-sweater-bolivia%E2%80%99s-evo-morales-faces-mounting-opposition-93691 Quinn signs new seat belt law http://www.wbez.org/story/quinn-signs-new-seat-belt-law-88401 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-June/2011-06-27/Quinn Seatbelts podium.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Every car passenger in Illinois will soon have to buckle up. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed a bill today that requires it.&nbsp; Before this seemingly common sense law, backseat passengers 18 years or older weren't required to wear a seatbelt.</p><p>Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White explained why backseat passengers need to be restrained.</p><p>He said, "If by chance they are not buckled up, then of course they could become a human missile for those in the front of the vehicle."&nbsp;</p><p>But the law still exempts riders in buses, emergency vehicles and those in the backseat of taxis. Illinois Senate President John Cullerton sponsored the bill with the late GOP Rep. Mark Beaubien.</p><p>Regarding the taxi exemption, Cullerton said, "A lot of times in taxi cabs, the seatbelts are not maintained properly and it's hard to find them. I know I have trouble myself digging down to try to find them sometimes."&nbsp;Cullerton said he hopes taxis will be added to the bill sometime later on.</p><p>The new law will take effect January 1, 2012.</p><p>Meanwhile just before the seatbelt press conference, a taxi cab crashed into a downtown Chicago building - killing a pedestrian and seriously injuring the driver and backseat passenger.<br> <br> &nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 27 Jun 2011 17:38:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/quinn-signs-new-seat-belt-law-88401