This year has seen the launch of a number of cool green gadgets and gizmos &8212' it&'s also been a big year for electric car launches. If you want to put something really green under the tree, here are some ideas that may inspire you &8212' and that also show how green has become a big business, targeting consumers&' desire for sustainability at a range of price points.


Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard If you use a computer and sit near a window, then here&'s a cool, affordable gift idea. For $79, you get a sleek, wireless keyboard with an app that tracks solar and ambient light. The keyboard can stay charged for three months without electricity.

JOOS Orange This portable, durable, waterproof solar charger (pictured, right) is ideal for adventurous, outdoorsy types and family camping or boating trips. It&'s a flat panel that soaks up juice from the sun and can charge up to four smart phones at one time. But you can also use it to power up your iPad, digital camera, Kindle or portable DVD player. It sells for $99.95, but, bad news: you have to sign up to be notified when it becomes available (which could be after the holidays). The company reported it began turning out modules in late September and promised &''full production is just around the corner!&'' on its blog.

Novothink Surge For times when your battery starts to die and you&'re not around a charger, Novothink has a solar solution for iPhone and iPod Touch users &8212' the Surge case for your iPhone costs $79.95, and the version for the iPod Touch costs $49.95. It&'s a nice way to make sure you always have charge, provided you live somewhere dependable sunny.

Cars and transportation

Chevrolet Volt Despite coming under withering attack from Rush Limbaugh, the Volt (pictured, left) has the admiration of veteran venture capitalist Vinod Khosla and recently won Motor Trend&'s Car of the Year. It will, however, cost you $41,000 before federal and any state incentives.

(I&'d put the Nissan Leaf on this list, but reservations are closed and deliveries of the 20,000 cars ordered so far have been sharply delayed. But for future gifting, Nissan is planning to come out with 250,000 electric vehicles a year &8212' one will be an electric Infiniti.)

Tesla Model S sedan Plunk down a deposit &8212' sorry, &''reservation payment&'' &8212' for $5,000. Tesla says deliveries begin in 2012, and about 3,000 people have reserved one. You could also rush to buy the Roadster before it&'s discontinued.

Brammo electric motorcycle The all-electric Enertia has a range of 40 miles, goes up to 60 miles per hour and can charges in about 3.5 hours' it retails for $7,995. The Enertia Plus costs $1,000 more and has a range of up to 80 miles. Or you could pre-order the Empulse (pictured, right), which has a top speed of 100 miles per hour and a range of 60, 80 or 100 miles depending on which model you choose (priced respectively at $9,995, $11,995 and $13,995)

PiCycle This electric bicycle has an head-turning arch structure and relies on a lithium-ion battery for its electric mode, which has a 20-mile range and top speed of 20 miles per hour. You can also opt for the pedal or hybrid modes to save juice. There&'s a holiday sale' so the bike is $2,495 rather than its usual price of $2,995. If you&'re looking to save up for one, they&'ll be available in Best Buy stores early next year.


Even if you&'re not buying something cleantech-related, you can make your packages greener by purchasing carbon credits to offset the emissions caused by your shipment. UPS lets you purchase credits at the time of shipment. And GreenShipping offsets any shipment made by UPS, USPS, or FedEx.

[Image via Flickr/laffy4k]

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Tags: Leaf, Model S, Solar, solar gadgets, Volt

Companies: Brammo, Chevrolet, GM, Joos, Logitech, Novothink, Picycle, Tesla

Tags: Leaf, Model S, Solar, solar gadgets, Volt

Companies: Brammo, Chevrolet, GM, Joos, Logitech, Novothink, Picycle, Tesla

Iris Kuo is the VentureBeat's lead GreenBeat writer. She has reported for The Wall Street Journal in Hong Kong, Houston Chronicle, the McClatchy Washington Bureau and Dallas public radio. Iris attended the University of Texas at Dallas and lives in Houston. Follow Iris on Twitter @thestatuskuo (and yes, that's how you pronounce her last name).

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