Green-tech news harvest: Tesla drivetrain, Google on plug-in hybrids

Also: Factory makes ethanol from sugar cane waste; another attempt at a renewable energy tax-credit extension; how the chip industry will shake up the solar business; and SunEthanol's little ethanol-making bug gets DOE grants.

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Why do so many of us still buy cars with off-road abilities?

Cities are full of cars like the Subaru XV that can drive off-road but will never see any challenging terrain. What drives us to buy cars with these abilities when we don't really need them most of the time?

by Drew Stearne