Alternative Energy

Alternative Energy

Alternative energy news, and information about renewable energy technologies.

Jan 27

The Micron May Change the Way We Travel

Posted in Electric Cars | Energy Industry | Transportation

Micron The carbon footprint that automobiles leave is about to change, and that change is going to happen much sooner than we think. While it is unlikely that the Micron will replace every car on the road, it will present a very interesting alternative to daily travel. This unique design is eye catching and more importantly, totally emissions free. Make no mistake about it, the Micron is the future of the automobile.

While it would be nice to think that the environmental problems the world is facing would wake people up and get them to carpool, most people still insist on driving their own car to work every single day. The need for independence is understandable and appreciated, but if most people are doing nothing more than going to work and going home, why continue to waste gas and hurt the environment?

These are the direct concerns that the Micron addresses. Being electric, the emissions issues are immediately settled and being so compact, the congestion on the road will clear up. Imagine 4 vehicles that can hold up to two people that can fit into a parking space of just one car. The amount of city congestion that would be alleviated is simply staggering to even think about. The days of having the SUV in the garage for nothing more than shopping trips may be soon upon us.

The Micron is still being tested and is currently scheduled to be released in 2012. Oddly enough, that is the same year that the Mayan calendar predicts will be the end of the world. While it is unlikely that the destruction that they have in mind will occur, the world as we know it is definitely changing. Instead of the end of the world, it could truly be a new beginning.

  • Yelena

    This idea would work beautifully in MDCs, but for us in South Africa the equation is slightly more complicated by our lack of adequate infrastructure. We have massive, gaping potholes on even our main roads and one of these could engulf a car like this. Unfortunately, we are also afflicted by “taxis”. Taxis in our country are extremely hazardous and largely ignore the law of the road. Wait, they entirely ignore the law. A lot of people feel unsafe in smaller vehicles and this concern is real! With traffic police unable to contain the threat and to enforce our laws, most people here drive like donkeys! This being said, there is still no excuse for a Hummer. Some middle ground has yet to be reached here. Luckily, in a place of such chaos, new ideas grow well and change can be inaugurated more easily than in places which have a highly standardized way of doing things. The world will wake up. It must. Our current system is unsustainable and will eventually result in a crisis of profitability. As has been proved historically, this always ushers in innovation. Human beings will change. It may not be because we as a species feel ethically obligated to, but it is necessary for our survival and this instinct is innate.

    Thank you for adding so much to what I feel is my own personal struggle for the life of my planet! Keep adding more voices!

  • Mike

    I can’t imagine how horrible the result would be if one of these “green machines” was plowed into by a standard size automobile or truck. If they can’t start making something that can sustain a crash better and be a little more like what we are used to sizewise, don’t you think they’re wasting time with something like this? It appears to be rather fragile all around. I’d rather ride public transportation.

  • Christina

    I too would like to see how well this car handles impacts, and keeps a charge in chilly Canada, but more importantly how do the windows roll down?

  • Mark

    To answer you both Mike and Christina, you perceive this as a “car”. It’s actually an alternative to scooters (and you know how these handle impacts). You will see that by its performances, size and weight, it comes under the same category as a scooter.
    On the website ( you will see images of how the doors open in elytra style.

    By the way, do people ride bikes in chilly Canada – when it’s -20°C?

  • Tim S

    I think it needs much larger wheels for those countries that have no roads or very poor roads. Think of a Conestoga wagon it had large wheels for trespassing in places with no roads. A large solar panel atop it would help to catch the sun’s energy in those countries with no or little electrification.

  • Thomas Finger

    I think anyone still thinking that electric is the answer has not thought it through—how do we make electricity? Coal is by far the most economical –so to make the electricity we burn coal–not to mention the creation of all these extra batteries (with some of the most toxic chemicals) will add a huge problem down the line when most of these need to be changed out–for the masses electric will never solve the “alternative” we need.

  • Mark

    Thomas, you have to consider this: some people are trying to find alternative solutions to fossil fuels. Not just by designing prototypes, but re-inventing the way we get our power from. First of all, we are starting to see ion batteries that can be recycled, and as time passes, the efficiency of batteries are improving, and prices are more and more affordable.
    Also, with the Micron we have designed the Utility Box, soon to be presented to the public. What is it? It’s a mobile, ultra light storage and power house. You have a solar panel and a wind turbine integrated, which will allow you to store and recharge the Micron. Remember, the Micron’s size is 2.35 m long and 1 m wide – and comes under the scooter category.
    So we want people to be able to go about their urban commuting, without polluting, being totally of the grid as far as power is concerned.

    Also Thomas, never say never, you will be surprised by what the future of clean vehicles has in store for us, and you can count me in!

  • sheckyvegas

    Pipedream, only a pipedream. The website mentions the vehicle weighs only 772 lbs unloaded (assuming this is the single driver version) yet should have 13kW of power and travel an average of 94 miles distance. Using weight/kW conversions, even with the best and lightest batteries, you’ll have to tack on at least another 800 lbs of weight, just for the batteries. That will increase overall weight, decrease range, etc. For what Micron is promising, with this vehicle design, I just don’t see it as possible.

    Oh, and also you’ll get squished like a bug should even a Honda hit you…

  • Shonda

    First, the 2012 end date of the Mayan calendar is actually a miscalculation, despite the bad action flick. Second, electric vehicles still create emissions just by needing electricity and not being able to decided how that electricity is being generated.

    So to think this is more than just a redesigned electric golf cart, I’d want to know how fast it can go and how far on a charge. Biggest issue with fully electric vehicles at the moment is that they are only practical for in-town driving at limited speeds and limited distances. Add on the need to install a charging station in your house and the costs of running that station… well, I’d like to see these concerns addressed.

  • science guru

    WOW… Three minutes and thirteen seconds of video to only see ten seconds of the car. Then, even that was in one or two second intervals that were out of focus, poorly lit, too far away or too close up and much was cartoon computer images. I still don’t know what they have for sale here.

    All that aside, I see they consider it a scooter but I think a more reasonable sized electric car can and will be accepted by the general public.

    Charging can be resolved with a simple solar or wind system at your home.

  • Shonda

    Science guru…. you would need a converter (inverter). Realistically, you’d probably just be offsetting your electricity use. You can’t just plug in a solar panel or turbine and have an outlet dangling out of the other side.

  • Mark

    No need for sarcasm there. If you have designed a better solution, please share. The website is there for all the eye candy you need.

  • Thomas Finger

    Mark are you involved in the development or marketing of this vehicle? — I still don’t see this being mainstreamed — only a small number of people would ever find this sort of “scooter” practical.

  • Thomas Finger

    I just stopped in at their official website — did anyone notice the price this will be offered at? Looks like the far side of 17000 EUROS — so if my math is right this will be about 23,800 dollars — give or take a few hundred — ummmmhhhh don’t know about most folks but where I come from I better get a whole lot more transportation for that amount of green –Sorry Mark — that sticker tag will not fly.

  • Richard

    This is a good start but when an economical hydrogen fuel cell is implemented these would be obsolete so fast it would make your head swim.

  • Mike

    If you would like to see a better idea for an electric go here:

    It’s not that I think these are the answer but I think they may be part of an answer. The bottom line is that in the short term we will have to diversify our energy sources when it comes to transportation. Toyota and some others say they will have an affordable hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicle available in 5 years. They are testing it now. Fuel derived from biomass can be used in today’s vehicles rendering them carbon neutral.

    To get to the future of transportation, it will take a combination of alternatives to achieve a better situation. An odd looking golf car is not the answer from a practical and safe standpoint.

  • Cathy

    Terrible video… I couldn’t watch it all, it was so bad. If we judge the quality of the vehicle by the quality of the video, well, it won’t sell well.

    I agree with the comments about substituting electricity for gasoline. What we’d really be substituting is coal or natural gas for gasoline. Batteries, including disposal, and range are problematic, as well.

  • RJC

    Hi there,

    The main problem is that I don’t see anyone here concerning about environment. What I can feel is that most of you want to keep feeling safe in your big SUV ! So I don’t see the point for you to participate to such a subject.

    I notice as well some so called expert, like sheckyvegas. First of all, your hypotheses and calculation are false. Secondly, if the weight with batteries is 1000 lbs and not 772 lbs as targeted, where is the problem ? How much weight your car ? Do you know anything about battery technologies and performances in 2012 ?

    I didn’t manage to reach for the price anywhere (by the way there is no price mentioned in the official website…). Thomas, could you please send us the link ? Or maybe did you get confused…

    Hydrogen fuel cell were already about to hit the market in 5 years… 15 years ago.

    Anyway, I don’t know if Micron is marketed for US but it would only be sold in big cities with educated and eco aware customers. It is certainly not a “car” for rednecks !

  • Jos Conil

    A very good initiative indeed!. But I feel that it should be designed for at least two persons and a toddler. Only then can the size and cost be justified in developing countries like India.

    Regarding the use of electric power I feel that the future belongs to electric cars. The present impediment for electric vehicles to replace IC engines is the capacity of the battery pack. I’m confident that this hurdle can be overcome in the near future and that the IC engine can finally become museum pieces!.

  • Mike

    None of this really makes much sense. After my first post, Mark came on here and posted:
    “To answer you both Mike and Christina, you perceive this as a “car”. It’s actually an alternative to scooters (and you know how these handle impacts).”

    What really is funny about that is the article about this begins by stating:
    “Make no mistake about it, the Micron is the future of the automobile.”

    So which is it? If they are marketing it as an alternative to scooters, I’d say that a scooter is still probably safer and more economical. Nobody can get trapped in one in the event of a catastrophic collision, in fact they might be thrown clear.

    If they think this is the future of the automobile, I think they will be very disappointed there too. Unless they go back and rethink this one, I think they are wasting their time and money. Is this an upstart company or do they make other things?

  • slick

    If the price is tolerable, I will get one. Looks like it would be fine for me.

  • T.F.

    RJC perhaps you are the one who is confused — I have been driving a Honda Civic — in fact the very first one that offered vtec engine and I regularly got 50+ MPG — now I payed an extra 1500 for that engine back in 1991 and then fuel stayed around a buck a gallon for the next 10 or so yrs — So I did not get a payback in my investment at all — So please stop assuming you know me — btw the price is in the link if you bothered to read it fully — Now if I was getting 50+ back in 92 why has so little really changed to this present date?

  • Randy

    I agree T.F. I’ve been driving Geo/Chevy Metros for about 8 years now. My ‘newest’ is a ’98 that I paid $1200 [US Dollars] and I regularly get 45mpg using 3 cylinders and 5-speed. Oh, by the way, it seats 5 when necessary and hits 75mph on the interstate. With all the technology advances, why isn’t a more efficient car on the road?

  • Mike

    I think RJC is the one who is confused too. Perhaps if he or she would look at the merits of an inadequate product instead of focusing on “most of you wanting to keep feeling safe in your big SUV” and “rednecks” he could see that in no way would this come close to meeting the needs or desires of most drivers -environmentally conscious or not. The technology exists to provide the public with a safe full size environmentally friendly and safe vehicle today at a competitive price.

    Has anyone ever considered a special road where an electric vehicle could derive its power right from the road like an electric train and then jump onto an onboard battery when leaving this roadway? A network of these connecting towns and cities would go a long way to put the electric vehicle far ahead of where it currently is (pun intended). In France, they’re big on nuclear power. This would be perfect. Then they could put a meter on it and bill you for the kilowatts you use every month.

    This glorified golf car isn’t the answer to any of this…

  • Thomas Finger

    I am proud to see many of you here looking for better answers and seeing the forest from the trees… there are better answers to our energy needs — but we are not being offered any of them — Anybody have any theories on why we don’t have cars getting 100+ mpg if they were getting 50+ back in the early 90’s? Now there is a real story to be told… Carry on my brothers — we demand answers — and all of us that want those answers are environmentally concerned RJC.

  • Brent

    Anyone wanna run that into a vehicle made of steel, Not it.

  • Thomas Finger

    It’s okay Brent — just need to wear a suit made of bubble wrap…

  • Kevin McQueen

    At this price, this car has no chance of success in the US. This company would be better served creating a viable electric motor for the smart car which is the only extremely niche “small” car with any penetration in the Us market. When “solar paint” is commercialized, it will be a game changer for recharging solar powered batteries. In my estimation as a marketing professional, battery technology and solar technology are the keys to successful electric cars.

  • RJC

    @ Kevin : What price are you talking about ?
    I have written to the Project manager. There is no communicated price so far and the vehicule target is to be one of the cheapest NEV on the european market.

  • Mike

    In reply to RJC, If the price target is supposed to be “one of the cheapest NEV on the European market” how safe and well built do you think this thing is? I doubt you will ever see it on the street in the U.S. In fact, I can’t really think of any French vehicles on the road in the U.S.

  • Daniel Arcelay

    I would like to throw out two ideas for you to think about and discuss. Have any of you seen the compressed air powered car? You can see it here:
    The second idea is producing methane for fuel from animal dung. Read about it at this link:
    Methane from manure can be a sustainable source of fuel for third world countries.

  • Jos Conil


    The Tata – MDI Air car is a good initiative that has been in the news for some years. I’m glad that it is now about to be produced. There’s similar Australian initiative for small industrial vehicles

    There are but some impediments for these engines to replace the old fashioned IC engine:

    1) Compressed air needs large and strong tanks to hold it under pressure, which can make the vehicles heavy and cumbersome.

    2) Compressing air needs a lot of energy. If this energy is not from a green source like solar, wind or bio mass, the car can no longer be called green.

    About the bio mathane that you have mentioned, its merits should be compared to other bio mass based fuels like bio diesel to determine its viability on a long term and large scale basis.

    I’d like to repeat that the future belongs to electric cars. Providing wheel dedicated motors can do away with the transmission systems which weigh down present day cars.

    But again, for the electric car to replace the IC engine, we need better capacity battery packs and the power for recharging should be from a green source. Better capacity batteries are now coming up, but the green source is something that cannot be guaranteed always.

    So for the electric engine to replace the IC engine, an on-board electric power production device based on a green source is required.That’s the area that I’m working on and I’m confident that we can do away with the IC engine in the near future.

  • Thomas Finger

    Jos — I still can not believe we are close to any mass produced “electric” answer — when I was 10 I remember using my first solar calculator and being intrigued that man could invent this and eliminate the need for those expensive 9 volt batteries — now I am 46 and have not had a similar awe-inspiring event — Sadly I would love to invest in some alternative energy that makes economical sense for my family — whole home or vehicle — I have yet to be convinced by anything….

  • Daniel Arcelay

    About 10 years ago, I made some phone calls to the manager responsible for the bus maintenance in my home town and convinced him to check out a website about biodiesel. As a result, all buses in my hometown now use 10 percent biodiesel. Even though Colorado Springs now has several biodiesel stations, I no longer think biodiesel from soybeans will replace petroleum. You only get 55 gallons of processed biodiesel from an acre of soybeans. There is a risk that the price of soybeans for food will go up as biodiesel consumption goes up.

  • Thomas Finger

    Daniel — they have proved that producing ethanol is a great boondoggle also — that in producing it they use more energy (either nat gas or oil) to produce the product than the finished product will deliver (in btu’s) — how come the general public does not know this? This whole industry being publicly subsidized and ruining the environment MORE just by producing it… now that needs to be addressed… using food for fuel is always a bad idea….

  • Mike

    Thomas – who has proven that ethanol is a great boondoggle? By using old technology maybe it would take more energy to produce but today with the emergence of new production methods, that is most likely not the case. Algae to ethanol, algae to oil and biomass all are promising sources of “drop in fuels”. Biobutanol which can be produced instead of ethanol holds more energy and can be burned in ICEs. I don’t think that corn based ethanol is or ever will be the answer but in the short term it will take a diverse selection of alternatives to meet the worlds growing needs and at the same time address our environmental concerns. There is no single solution right now.

  • Jos Conil

    @ Thomas,

    Pioneering steps are always difficult and sometimes painfully slow in bearing fruit.

    I’m an Architect by profession and I’d like to share with you the history of RCC. As you all may be knowing, it was invented by Joseph Monier a Parisian gardener for making stronger flower pots and tubs. He received a patent in 1867.

    Though he exhibited his invention in the Paris Exposition of 1867 and promoted the use of reinforced concrete for a wide variety of applications like railway ties, pipes, arches and bridges, nothing great happened in his lifetime.

    But see what great change his humble invention did to 20th century Architecture. RCC along with the invention of elevators has led to the birth of the skyscraper.

    The small steps that we are taking today may help our children or grand children tomorrow. The most important thing is to be bold enough to take the risk of making the first steps today which may or may not see the light of the day.

    The electric dynamo I’m working on is pneumatic based. There’s a long way to go before I can say that it’s the answer. I have a long way to go to convince myself, let alone to convince you or the world!.

  • Mike

    It says on the Micron blog “The idea of the MICRON came from the desire to provide such a vehicle by combining the pleasure of driving with cheap, sustainable, zero emissions technology.” I really believe that in order to derive any pleasure from driving a vehicle that is 6.89 feet long, the driver would need to be about 3 feet tall at the most. Can you imagine getting stuck in traffic in this sardine can?

  • Mike

    Hello Jos:

    Small steps are great as long as they are in the right direction. If this were going to be an alternative to an ICE lawnmower, it would be in the right direction. As a personal vehicle for urban travel, it seems to me to fall very short of what the majority of people would consider spending money on.

    Public transportation offers a safer and I’m sure much more comfortable experience than something like this. If you do it right, it will catch on, sell and become mainstream. If you ignore what people want, then unfortunately it will become one of those things that falls by the wayside. Just my opinion….

  • Jos Conil

    Hello Mike,

    I was commenting on the viability of electric vehicles in general, not about this Micron. I was responding to the topics put forward by Mr. Daniel – regarding compressed air and bio methane cars (comment 31) and Mr. Thomas’s comments (#33).

  • Libizis

    It seems like an inside out motorcycle, without the oomph or machismo. Shell on outside, person on inside.

  • Resource Master

    Imagine if you hit a bike. Bike wins.

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