Renault and EA have teamed up to integrate the car manufacturer’s new range of electric vehicles into Sims 3.
The press release breezily extols the appeal of electric vehicles to “younger, more socially conscious prospects and early adopters…”, and promises that players will “have a deep experience with the Renault brand…”
Let’s hope these socially-minded young people also have reasonably deep pockets because the Renault Twizy Z.E Concept car that this partnership is promoting will not be cheap.
As one blogger put it, “a virtual drive is probably the closest brand experience that the target audience is likely to have.”
All the same, it’s an interesting brand tie-up. Sims has done this sort of stuff before and many gamers see the integration of the atom world into the virtual one as quite natural. In many respects, the appearance of brands enhances the game play.
Sims 3 players will be able to download the Twizy and put the car through its electric paces. That will include, I assume, finding convenient locations to charge it. May be EA is talking to Shai Agassi at my favourite green company Better Place about that already. If anyone can make it happen quickly, he can.
Stagecoach’s Brian Souter became an unlikely green hero when he first started using the recycled contents of chip pans to power eight Kilmarnock buses.
The company encouraged its customers to exchange used cooking oil for vouchers that entitled them to discounted bus travel. Using 100 per cent biofuel — mostly recycled tallow and cooking oil — Stagecoach said that it could cut CO2 emissions by 82 per cent.
Households on the bus route received a free container to recycle their cooking oil. When customers took it to East Ayrshire Council’s recycling plant, they were given bus ticket vouchers.
Now, Stagecoach has a new green initiative – one aimed at staff, its bus drivers, which it hopes will dramatically reduce carbon emissions.
Re-training will encourage drivers to ease off the gas, change gear less often and brake less violently (surely, this involves breaking the habits of a lifetime…) A flashing light system in the cab will tell them how they are doing: green for safe and efficient; amber for less efficient; and red for poor driving. The initiative will take in all of Stagecoach’s 14,500 drivers through a recognised training course.
The re-training won’t be cheap – Stagecoach estimates that it will form part of an £11 million investment – but the rewards are significant. Stagecoach says it will save 150,000 tonnes in carbon dioxide equivalent between now and 2014. And the payback is immense: the scheme is expected to pay for itself in the first two years, with savings increasing to £5 million a year by the end of the fifth year.
Stagecoach is targeting an 8 per cent reduction in emissions from its buildings and a cut of 3 per cent in annual fleet transport emissions.
There is another important benefit. In the future, bus companies that can demonstrate superior environmental efficiency might also receive local authority grants.
For many kids living in the third world buying toys is an unthinkable luxury. Unplug Design based in Korea has come up with a simple solution. They propose to take UN and Red Cross cardboard relief packaging and perforate it so it is easy to tear. The pieces can then be woven into footballs, or Dreamballs. Everyone needs to play and the Dreamball project offers hope and joy alongside the water, food and medicines delivered by relief agencies.
We’ve heard a lot about green jobs – and I have written about the pledges from the three main UK political parties in my new column in HR Magazine, out soon.
If there is one county in the UK that has the right blend of tidal, wind and solar opportunities, along with the need for new jobs outside of tourism, then it is Cornwall. So, it is welcome news that £5 million is to be invested by the government in marine energy.
Hayle marine energy business park will create around 200 new jobs, many of these will be in R&D, looking at ways to exploit wave power in the generation of renewable energy.
Hayle will complement Wave Hub, a £42 million project that is already in place that hopes to create the largest world test site for marine energy devices off the Cornish coast.