He writes for E–The Environmental Magazine as a senior writer, The New York Times as a blogger and columnist, and for various other publications including TheDailyGreen, NPR, and Mother Nature Network.
After serving as its editor for 14 years, Motavalli became a senior writer for E–The Environmental Magazine, a bi-monthly publication which aims to bring attention to environmental problems. He currently writes and blogs for The New York Times as a member of its "Automobiles" section and has a syndicated column called "Wheels", hosts a show on WPKN, and speaks often on National Public Radio's (NPR) Car Talks program.
He also contributes to Environmental Defense Fund, TheDailyGreen, and Mother Nature Network works, and he has twice won the Global Media Award from the Population Institute.
Motavalli has authored four books – Naked in the Woods: Joseph Knowles and the Legacy of Frontier Fakery, Forward Drive: The Race to Build "Clean Cars" for the Future, and Feeling the Heat: Dispatches from the Frontlines of Climate Change – and edited three others. He previously served as a professor of journalism at Fairfield University and the University of Connecticut; the latter is his alma mater.
Forward Drive: The Race to Build the Clean Car of the Future is a 2001 publication that explores the interlinking history of sustainable energy and the automobile industry. It analyzes modern dependency upon oil.
Feeling the Heat
Naked in the Woods
Naked in the Woods: Joseph Knowles and the Legacy of Frontier Fakery, published in January 2008, is a biography that follows the sensation surrounding Joseph Knowles and his alleged survival in nature alone without resources. Knowles was later debunked for having stayed in a log cabin with food for two months.
- "Host profile: Jim Motavalli". WPKN. 2009. Retrieved July 28, 2013.
- "Jim Motavalli: Home". Retrieved July 28, 2013.
- "Jim Motavalli". Archived from the original on July 29, 2013. Retrieved July 28, 2013.
- "Yale Environment 360: Jim Motavalli". Yale Environment 360. Yale University. 2013. Retrieved July 28, 2013.
- "Jim Motavalli Interview". Indiebound. American Booksellers Association. 2008. Retrieved July 28, 2013.
- Motavalli, Jim (2013). Forward Drive: The Race to Build "Clean" Cars for the Future [Paperback]. ISBN 978-1578050727.
- Motavalli, Jim (June 17, 2013). Forward Drive: The Race to Build the Clean Car of the Future (Google E-Book). ISBN 9781136534102. Retrieved July 28, 2013.
- Gelbspan, Ross (2013). Feeling the Heat: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Climate Change [Hardcover]. ISBN 978-0415946551.
- Rob Hardy (February 4, 2008). "The Fabulous, Forgotten Nature Man". Amazon. Retrieved July 28, 2013.
- High Voltage: The Fast Track to Plug In the Auto Industry [Hardcover]. 2013. ISBN 978-1605292632.