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Another Electric Car Company, Faraday Future, Launches in Gardena, CA

Last month the OCR blog post was about the re-launch of Fisker with headquarters in Costa Mesa and manufacturing plans for Moreno Valley.  A new month, a new electric car company in the LA area!

Faraday Future, a 2014 founded start up in "stealth mode" until just a few days ago and filled with ex-Tesla talent has opened the kimono a little on their plans to challenge Tesla and other established car makers in the race for the first long range affordable electric car.

Like Fisker, they have set up shop in SoCal (Gardena), likely hoping to draw on the what seems like a constant stream of aerospace layoffs and company relocations (see this Boeing article from Dec, 2014) and also the recent departure of Toyota from nearby Torrance.

Also like Fisker they have a bunch of openings on their careers page.  It is certainly very odd to see two electric car companies announce SoCal headquarters instead of the default Bay Area locale, however it is sometimes easier to attract non-rooted workers to SoCal rather than the Bay because of housing affordability.  This is of course GREAT news for all us here in OC & surrounding area as OC + LA continues the real-time rise as a clean tech power, and the LA basin continues to attract tech talent, investment and employment!

Let's see if threes-a-charm and another electric car company announces LA plans in August!
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The MagniSun from OC Outdoor Solar now avaliable on Indiegogo

 A very cool announcement from OC based company and OC Renewables member Brian Yanity's company OC Outdoor Solar, the launch of their new portable solar charging product called the MagniSun via a live Indiegogo campaign which is embedded in the post below.

This is a very unique product, with the ability to attach magnetically to any fabric surface, such as a beach umbrella or tent.  Rugged, stylish and able to change any USB device... what are you waiting for?!?

Get over to IndieGogo and get it now!

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The OC is slowly becoming a solar / clean tech power center, and here's why...

OCR was founded in 2009, but the level of activity around renewable energy and energy efficiency in the OC since then has been fairly modest.  A few solar rooftops here, a few solar rooftops there, but nothing all that grand.  Until recently.  Things have really started to pickup, but I'll let the facts speak for themselves:

2 of the 3 biggest solar events in the US this year are happening in Orange County

The two biggest conference in the US every year are Intersolar and Solar Power International.  On the odd years, there is a 3rd and even larger event, the DOE Solar Decathlon, which can draw up to 100,000 visitors over a two week period with participation from up to 20x university teams from around the world.  Solar Power International comes to Anaheim this September, followed by the Solar Decathlon in Irvine this October.  Talk about a one-two punch for the OC!

Big Companies are setting up shop

We mentioned in June that Fisker Automotive is BACK with headquarters in Costa Mesa, manufacturing plans in Moreno Valley and with a long backlog of jobs it needs to hire for.  Backed by the Chinese firm Wanxiang, this is no longer a scrappy upstart, this is a serious company with a big balance sheet which appears to be planning for the long haul here in the OC.

Furthermore, another growing OC firm has been brought to our attention.  SunStreet Energy Group is a small firm rumored to be growing and staffing aggressively, with headquarters in Irvine, CA.  SunStreet is fully owned and operated by the $10 billion dollar Lennar Homes Corporation, one of the nations largest home builders.  Again, no scrappy upstart here, this is a serious organization with a serious mission to install major amount of solar.

Combine these happenings with the professional organization Clean Tech OC which has been promoting the industry in the OC for years now and you get a healthy atmosphere for clean tech business in the county.

Growing Academic presence

Back in March OCR did a blog post about UCI Professor and water expert Jay Famiglietti and the amount of press attention he was getting from serious news organizations.  But to add further to OC's academic credentials, a team of three OC colleges has formed the Casa Del Sol Solar Decathlon team, one of the 17x competing this year in Irvine.

OC Consumers no longer afraid of "clean tech"

Everyone knows that the OC is not Berkeley.  In the historically conservative county, the OC masses are not exactly expected to replace every car with a Prius, switch out to LEDs and start line drying the laundry.  However when a clean tech product does meet the .. how do you say.. OC style, adoption can be drastic.  Case in point: The Tesla Model S.  Business Insider reported last week of problems with wait lines at the Telsa Supercharger in San Juan Capistrano.  Apparently the demand on the location is out sized due to the number of Model S in the area and some using for daily charging instead of using them for longer trips, which is what Tesla suggests.

While things are clearly "heating up" here in the OC, one can't help but wonder if this is an isolated occurrence, or if clean tech is ramping in cities across the US?  Comments anyone?

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You Go Pope!

The Pope wow'ed just about everyone this week with some very stark comments on the responsibility of humanity to be stewards of the planet, and the reality that...and I quote, "The Earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth."  Here is some news coverage of the comments from CNN, and from the Economist if you are interested.

This is very significant for at least three main reasons.  First, the Pope is the official spiritual leader of 1.2 BILLION people.  That means his comments have a direct communication waterfall to an aggregate number of people which basically challenges the population of the largest country in the world.

Second, the deeply religious people of the world tend not to be in the same groups as those already deeply concerned and on the front lines of climate change.  Traditionally, there has not been a lot of overlap in Venn Diagram of the deeply religious and the deeply environmentally conscious.  Put another way, this is a 1.2 billion person audience for which most have not "seen the movie" when it comes to climate change.  These are "fresh minds" when it comes to the conversation and global coordination that will be needed to work against it.  These are new voices to the table... and perhaps upwards of 1 BILLION new voices.

Lastly, even if you are not Catholic, the Pope has historically been a very powerful global voice which was usually to the "right" of the political conversation on a topic.  Well, consider that expectation SERIOUSLY disrupted, at least on the environment / climate change.  The starting shortstop from the away team just sauntered on over and sat at our bench?!? You Go POPE!  Now lets play ball!
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Fisker Automotive IS BACK, engineering in the OC with Moreno Valley manufacturing plans

Back in Feb, 2014 it looked as if the Orange County, CA presence of well know luxury hybrid car designer and manufacturer Fisker Automotive was all but done.  The distressed assets of the OC headquartered firm were sold to the Chinese firm Wanxiang for $149 million in a bidding war, leaving the future of the firm uncertain despite a renewed interest in luxury electric / hybrid performance vehicles clearly lead by Tesla's Model S.

But it appears things have been happening at Fisker and this week came some big news for the company, Orange County and SoCal in general.  It looks like the OC may have its hybrid car company back?!

As announced in several OC news outlets this week, including this in the OC Register, the company has a new headquarters in Costa Mesa with 200 employees.  A quick check of the careers portion of the Fisker website shows an additional 122 open positions.  It looks like the company is preparing for a major presence again in the heart of Orange County, CA.

In addition, the company announced intentions to open a Moreno Valley, CA manufacturing plant, it what seems to be a not-to-subtle copy of the Engineering in Palo Alto / Manufacturing in Fremont set up of Tesla in NorCal.

A few years ago if you would've predicted anyone would be manufacturing cars in SoCal or NorCal you would have been chased out of town with a 10 foot clown pole!  Now it seems things are lining up to have the two "coolest" + "greenest" car companies on the planet lined up to have engineering and manufacturing in the Golden State.

It will be interesting to see how the Fisker Automotive 2.0 plans develop.  The large, established balance sheet of Wanxiang standing behind the firm does bode well for any plans announced publicly, so this will be one to keep an eye on!
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