Companies See Shades Of Green


Companies of all kinds are going green by either consumning less energy or developing more energy efficient or environmentally friendly products.

Biodegradable Barbie?

Many companies have gone green and it is no longer a simple PR gesture. At first glance, you might think that a toymaker like Mattel might not be doing much, but the California-based maker of the Barbie doll franchise is hard at work.

About one-third of the packaging for its toys comes from recycled materials. Its massive warehouse is lit by skylights and it transports goods from the local port at night when traffic is light, thus increasing fuel efficiency.

And with all the emphasis on recyclable plastic and bio-degradable products, one might ask if Barbie and Ken would be rendered so. CEO Robert Eckert says no. Dolls and toys don't work that way. They're passed down and passed around and are built to last.

An Electric Startup Idea

Shai Agassi, Project Better Place CEO & founder, talks to Joe Kernen about his $200 million joint venture to power electric vehicles.

Agassi likens infrastructure to that used for mobile phones, wherein there were be hundreds of hot spots for electric car users could recharge their vehicles. There would also be locations where people could swap batteries.

"The point is you never want to wait for your car," says Agassi, answering one particular pitfall.

He says there are already deals in place with car companies and countries. Test sites will be rolled out in early 2008 and a small number of cars will hit road in 2009.

The batteries -- with a range of 100 miles -- will be powerful enough to take a vehicle from zero-60 mph in seven to eight seconds, says Agassi.

Ford's High Hopes For Hybrids

U.S. automakers are doing more than dabbling in hybrid vehicles. Ford Motor, for one, has been developing its Hyseries, a fuel-cell car.

Ford's manager of fuel-cell engineering, Mujeeb Ijaz, gave CNBC a look under the hood.

The Hyseries is a noiseless, gaslsess vehicle, capable of traveling up to 85 mph.

Ford engineers have already reduced the size of the fuel-cell power unit by 50% as part of the company's efforst to appeal to consumers, but Ijaz estimates that Ford will need a "ten-year window to further develop a commercial strategy."

So don't double park in the meantime.