Tag Archives: Car

The Green Car of 2011 Chevy VOLT

In early November 2010 the Chevy volt was picked as the Green Car for 2011 by the Green Car Journal. General Motors showcased the Chevrolet Volt with major fanfare at the Detroit Auto show of 2007 as a concept car, and as promised kept the launch date of end of 2010. When the Chevy Volt debuted in the Los Angeles Auto show it also won the “Car of the Year” – a first for a plug in Hybrid! This year the nominees including two hybrids, a high efficiency gasoline hatchback, and for the first time two electric cars.

The automotive press loves handing out awards, but this one is somewhat relevant because all the cars considered are practical, eco-friendly vehicles you might actually want to drive. Judges include gearheads Jay Leno and Carroll Shelby along with greenies like Frances Beinecke of the Natural Resources Defense Council. Motor Trend and Automobile magazines named the Chevrolet Volt “car of the year” earlier this week.

Chevy Volt via Wikipedia

Chevy Volt via Wikipedia

It is already on the roads in many parts of the country. The Volt looks pretty average from the outside except for the grille, but the interiors and its technology are revolutionary. The Volt charges up for a range of about 40 miles on battery power only; then the gasoline engine allows another 300 miles or so on top of that. It can be plugged in to a wall socket or a special garage recharger to “refuel”. To me it seems a tad too pricey at $40k plus.

I remember a line I read about the Volt when it first made its debut as the future of GM- the author of that article said “For GM, the Volt is meant to help change its image as a vendor or SUVs and other trucks, while giving it important technical know-how in fuel-efficient cars.” You can read the entire article here In many ways it is kind of a resurrection for the American Auto makers who were caught napping by the Japanese and other auto manufacturers in the race for a fuel efficient hybrid.

After all these good things today morning I read a rating from the ACEEE on the Green Car Book website – they have rated the Chevy Volt the lowest amongst Green cars at 48! They judge the new models on a point scale that includes not only fuel economy and tailpipe emissions, but also such relatively arcane measures as factory pollution and ease of recycling. At first glance I wondered what changed? then realized it was just how they were looking at it skewed. The volt’s gas engine gives a mileage of 35 mpg city/40 highway, which is nothing to write home about really. But what they have not taken into account is the fact that many a volt owner might never use the gas engine! and the Volt was given a 10/10 for being green by th car connection folks too!

Motor Trend magazine said“The genius of the Volt’s powertrain is that it is actually capable of operating as a pure EV, a series hybrid, or as a parallel hybrid to deliver the best possible efficiency, depending on the user’s duty cycle. For want of a better technical descriptor, this is world’s first intelligent hybrid. And the investment in the technology that drives this car is also an investment in the long-term future of automaking in America.”

I for one am very intrigued and would definitely take a look at the Volt before I decide as to which new car to buy, will just have to wait for the price to reach a little lower 🙂

CHECK OUT:

Car connection for a Review of the Chevrolet Volt

Forbes article on the Green Car Books low rating

The First EV Charging Station In North America

Edit August 18th 2010 – CORRECTION AS NOTED BY PGE – This is the first quick-charge station for electric vehicles in North America. There is already an established and growing network of standard charging stations in the Portland, Oregon area.

Oregon is for all practical purposes the Greenest state in the US and now it has the first Electrical charging station! I read in an Engadget.com article by Thomas Ricker that Oregon is touted to be where the most number of electric cars will make its debut. The charging station is located in the campus of Portland General Electric (PGE) in Downtown Portland and they are charging $3 for parking and the “Charging” is free to use as long as the automobile has a PGE sticker on it. The Takasago charging station manufactured by the NEC corporation can charge a Lithium Ion battery to almost full power in 20-30 minutes i.e. the time for a coffee break.

I have had this question in my mind about it being the first charging station, which is again based on a news bit from 2 years ago for Lake Oswego Oregon, a town outside of Portland where PGE had installed curbside charging stations in 2008. Read the article here just got me wondering whether they took it all down in the last couple of years, as this is now called the first one in North America.

The New charging station was inaugurated by Governor Ted Kulongoski,by charging a Nissan Leaf which he took for a drive and also put down a reservation for the Leaf. There are plans to install more than 2000 EV charging stations across the country, this is the first step in that journey.Looks like the EV’s will be on our roads soon.

Check out a video of the EV charging station on viddler

Check out the following articles for more details:

The was this article in Oregon live in 2008 about PGE charging stations in Oswego Lake just outside Portland, wondering what happened to it? Read the article here

The Oregon Live has a detailed article read it HERE

You can read the entire article on Engadget here

An article on inhabitat here

AIRPOD The Greenest Car of Them All

What can be greener than a car that runs on compressed air!! Julés Verné in the 19th century dreamt of a future where cars would run on nothing but air! Too good to be true? Think again, the future Julés Verné talked about is already here. Let’s meet the Flowair and AIRPod Series of Cars from the French Manufacturer MDI.

Guy Negré a French Engineer who worked in the F1 circuit for years along with his son Cyril Guy Negre has created a compressed air engine which runs as the name says on “Compressed Air”. Guy shares his Birthday with Julés Verné and has now managed to make his imagination reality!

Compressed hot air is used to push the pistons which propel the vehicle forward. The air that comes out according the Guy is cleaner than the air that goes in as it gets filtered on the way out. The Engineers who work with Guy Negre who is the CEO at their French company MDI (Motor Development International) say their prototype can run for 220 kilometers for the price of  1.5€ before it needs refueling!

The technology was developed way back in the late 1990’s and the issue they were facing with launching a market viable car was getting the financial backing required. They were planning to have it on the road by 2004.  In 2009 MDI came out with AIRPods a new series of cars for the city dweller. With small size, a tiny price, zero pollution, fun and futuristic design, AIRPod marks a turning point in the range of urban vehicles while renewing the idea of the automobile and transportation. It can be driven with a joystick, it only costs one euro per 200 km and leaves no one indifferent in the traffic crawl.

The cars will have to get refilled by air from air pubs or at home using the air stations. The system of the engine is pretty simple, the car body is fiberglass and the chassis is aluminum making it very light. A smaller car in streets where space is premium is the way the auto industry is headed and Green is the only way forward.

The Department of Sustainable Development and Infrastructure of Luxembourg (SNCH) and Luxcontrol have issued the first official Certificate of Road worthiness to  the AIRPod in the May of 2010. The European expansion phase for AIRPod is underway within the other member states of the European Union Commission.

When will they come to the US? I have not seen any mention of that. What I know is that: road safety tests in the US – No air compressed car has succeeded in crash testing and the MDI cars are yet to be tested independently. Once that part is taken care of, it makes it more real to me as an individual thinking about buying an air car.

The patents for the engine have been borrowed by many companies world over including Tata Motors the manufacturers of the Nano – the commons man’s car also the cheapest auto worldwide at 2000$.

Zero emissions, decent speed what more does one need? A Clean Green Driving Machine! Once the safety concerns are addressed I guess we can all ride on hot air! Literally 🙂 Live Green

What can be greener than a car that runs on compressed air!! Julés Verné in the 19th century dreamt of a future where cars would run on nothing but air! Too good to be true? Think again, the future Julés Verné talked about is already here. Let’s meet the Flowair Series of Cars from the French Manufacturer MDI.

Guy Negré a French Engineer who worked in the F1 circuit for years along with his son Cyril Guy Negre has created a compressed air engine which runs as the name says on “Compressed Air”. Guy shares his Birthday with Julés Verné and has now managed to make his prediction reality!

Compressed hot air is used to push the pistons which propel the vehicle forward. The air that comes out according the Guy is cleaner than the air that goes in as it gets filtered on the way out. The Engineers who work with Guy Negre who is the CEO at their French company MDI (Motor Development International) say their prototype can run for 220 kilometers for the price of 1.5€ before it needs refueling!

The technology was developed way back in the late 1990’s and the issue they were facing with launching a market viable car was getting the financial backing required. They were planning to have it on the road by 2004. In 2009 MDI came out with AIRPods a new series of cars for the city dweller. With small size, a tiny price, zero pollution, fun and futuristic design, AIRPod marks a turning point in the range of urban vehicles while renewing the idea of the automobile and transportation. It can be driven with a joystick, it only costs one euro per 200 km and leaves no one indifferent in the traffic crawl.

The cars will have to get refilled by air from air pubs or at home using the air stations. The system of the engine is pretty simple, the car body is fiberglass and the chassis is aluminum making it very light. A smaller car in streets where space is premium is the way the auto industry is headed and Green is the only way forward.

On the negative side – Road safety tests in the US. No air compressed car has succeeded in crash testing and the MDI cars are yet to be tested independently. Once that part is taken care of it makes it more real to me as an individual when thinking about buying an air car.

Zero emissions, decent speed what more does one need? A Clean Green Driving Machine!

http://mdi.lu/english/airpod.php

Check out the Video about Compressed Air Technology cars from MDI below

Source for information MDI website

The American Solar Challenge 2010 Solar Chariot Races

The American Solar Challenge is a road race for Solar powered cars which is held every alternate year in the US. The aim of the competition is to design, build, and drive solar-powered cars in a cross-country time/distance rally event. Teams compete in a 1100 mile drive from Broken Arrow, OK to Naperville, IL. The route has been chosen to combine pieces of old routes used in previous events, giving a bit of an historical tribute for the 20 years of organized events in North America.

This year the winner out of 17 teams that qualified for the final road race were from the University of Michigan. The Road race started on the 16th of June 2010 at Broken Arrow Oklahoma and ended on the 26th of June in Naperville Illinois.  The following is the route :

  • Sat, June 19: Travel day / Support Vehicle Inspections in Broken Arrow, OK
  • Sun, June 20: Start in Broken Arrow, OK; must reach Neosho, MO checkpoint
  • Mon, June 21: Finish in Topeka, KS
  • Tue, June 22: Start in Topeka, KS; must reach Jefferson City, MO checkpoint
  • Wed, June 23: Finish in Rolla, MO
  • Thu, June 24: Start in Rolla, MO; must reach Alton, IL checkpoint
  • Fri, June 25: Finish in Normal, IL
  • Sat, June 26: Start in Normal, IL; finish in Naperville, IL

The Race finalists are chosen from a preliminary round which takes place in the Formula Sun Grand Prix (FSGP) Track race in Cresson Texas. The top teams in FSGP, which complete at least 100 laps in a single day, or any two consecutive day total of 150 laps, will automatically qualify for ASC.  Only Official Laps will count towards qualifying mileage.  The track is 1.7 miles.

The 17 finalists can be found HERE Most of the participants were from the US while there were also teams from Canada, Germany and Taiwan.

The top 3 finishers were :

  1. University of Michigan
  2. University of Minnesota
  3. Hochschule Bochum from Germany

For The University of Michigan Solar team this is their sixth impressive win in the ASC race. Their solar car which is called Infinium has topped 105 miles per hour speed during test runs. The Michigan team finished the 1200 mile race in 28 hours, 14 minutes, and 44 seconds. The above 3 are also links to the respective cars which are simply amazing and following are pictures the teams vehicles in the winning order.

It is impressive to see renewable technology being developed by the younger generation every day aimed towards a greener tomorrow. Gives all of us hope that a day where our dependence of fossil fuel ends may indeed be possible. Live Green!

Read More about it on the ASC 2010 Website

Continued Human Dependence On Fossil Fuels A Folly

Picture courtesy US Coastguard

The Line most people say when there is a talk about fossil fuels “America is addicted to Oil”, does that mean the rest of the world does not use it? No it basically means we use more than our share of oil. Approximately the number of registered vehicles in the US could be between 254 to 265 million and a vehicle on average uses 600 gallons of fuel annually which would total to 152.4Billion gallons of fuel! US population of 309.5 million is around 5% of the world population and we use around 26% of the world’s fuel. US has around .8 cars per person!

Experts estimate the earth has around 1.05 trillion barrels of crude oil remaining. We are using around 24billion barrels of oil annually. If that rate remains a constant we will run out of oil approximately by the year 2053. If the usage increases as it is increasing right now that date will be much closer than further.

Fossil Fuels in the coming years

Data courtesy Society of Sedimentary Geology

We all hear about Climate Change / Global warming; many of us accept what the scientists say and many question it. What is constant or common between the believers and the doubters is the acceptance that there definitely is some difference in weather patterns and related natural phenomenon across the globe. The Inter governmental panel for Climate change our planet is at the warmest in 420,000 years!

Some thoughts about fossil fuels:

  • As the Oil Spill in the gulf shows us, drilling and siphoning oil from 5000feet under the ocean is not an easy solution or an environmentally friendly one to say the least.
  • All the technology in the world cannot take on nature and prevent manmade disasters.
  • It might sound utopian but a field of sunflowers powering our vehicles sound so much less stressful than burning oil from the Middle East.
  • A single car using 600barrels of oil will produce around 12,000 pounds of CO2 which will take 240 trees to absorb! Just imagine the number of trees we will need for 260million vehicles!
  • The remaining tropical forests remove a massive 4.8 billion tons of CO2 emissions from the atmosphere each year i.e. they are carbon sinks (anything which absorbs more carbon than it releases).
  • Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), referring to the goal of limiting global warming to a rise of 2 degrees Celsius as compared to temperatures in pre-industrial times.
  • If flights were fuller it would mean lesser number of flights and there for lesser carbon emissions.
  • European Union too followed the US and decided to give up on the Kyoto Protocol! An international agreement adopted in December 1997 in Kyoto, Japan. The protocol sets binding greenhouse gas emissions targets for developed countries that would reduce their emissions on average 5.2% below 1990 levels.
  • Flying injects exhaust emissions directly into the upper part of the atmosphere, where they cause the most damage. The effects of the resulting mix of chemical reactions are complex and hard to calculate, occurring over timescales between three days and 100 years. Even so, scientists believe that between 1992 and 2050, the overall impact of these emissions will prove somewhere between 1.2 and four times that of CO2 at ground level.
  • There still is no solid data as to how much Oil is flowing into the gulf. It varies from 12,000 barrels to 50,000 barrels!
  • We won’t know of the environmental and economic impact of the Deep Water Horizon oil spill until the leak is plugged and the cleaning is all but done.
  • For the future of the earth there is no way but alternative energy. For each one of us that is also the way to a better lifestyle.

Well these are just some of the information out there wonder how much more information is out there… which if I knew would make a difference in how I live my fossil fuel dependant life.

Small changes I have made; I have started planning more about the number of times I go grocery shopping so that I don’t rush to the store burning more fuel to pick up something I forgot.

I believe until the day we are truly rid of fossil fuel addiction we need to keep trying to wean our selves off… Not an easy fight I know… If not, the catastrophe that is on the front page these days will repeat, with what kind of impact only time will tell.

This link will give you an idea about how large the area of the spill is in distances which make sense to us… check it out, I found it useful.

Sources:

Bureau of Trasportation Statistics

EDF

Earth Trends

Science Daily

BBC

Time for change

The Green Car that Could:The Story of SRZero

An Electric car which can race around a track (for those who know London it is the M25) of 115miles twice at 55mph on a single charge! An Electric Race car? Sounds like fiction? Rest assured it is for real. This is the story of the Green car that can hit speeds of upto 125 mph looks very attractive and cool and can go long distances previously thought “naahh maybe…” comfortably! Does the Picture below look like an EV you imagined?

The Super Electric Car

Picture courtesy RGE website  

Racing Green Endurance (RGE) is a team of 11 highly motivated students from the Energy Futures Lab, Electronic Engineering & Mechanical Engineering and staff from the Imperial College of London. RGE is their flagship project; many in the team have experience in building hydrogen/electric hybrid race cars as part of the Imperial Racing Green initiative.

The RGE team converted a Radical SR8 to an SRZero all-electric Super car! The Radical SR8 is quite simply the world’s fastest production sports car, holding the lap record around the world’s longest and most arduous track – the Nürburgring Nordschleife.

Check out the Video of their drive on M25 Courtesy ImperialRGE on Youtube

 

After this successful test drive on the M25, the RGE team is planning to hit the Pan-American Highway (47,958 kilometers or 29,800 miles long, considered the longest motorable road by the Guinness Book of World Records. It is a network of roads which travel from the Northern most point in the America’s Prudhoe Bay in Alaska down all the way to Ushuaia in Argentina) for the ultimate test! They plan to travel from The Prudhoe Bay to Tierra Del Feugo to prove to doubters that an EV (Electric Vehicle) can be cool, quick and could go the distance!  

In an interview with wired.com team spokesman Andy Hadland said “The perception still exists that EVs are somehow inferior to their fossil fueled counterparts,” “There is always a caveat. ‘I’d buy one, but they only go a few miles … they aren’t really zero carbon … they take too long to charge.’ These are all perceptions that we want to change.”

The RGE website says their aims are as follows:

SUSTAINABILITY
Electric vehicles have the potential to realise a sustainable transport future, without depleting valuable resources for future generations. The RGE project aims to demonstrate this while pushing the boundaries of EV technology.

EDUCATION
The team want to help encourage the next generation of scientists and engineers through our outreach program. They plan to use the RGE project as an exhilarating example of where maths and science can take you.

ADVENTURE
The Radical SRZero aims to be the world’s most focused, fun-to-drive alternative propulsion vehicle. By taking on this epic journey, we hope to add a sense of excitement and get people interested in electric vehicles.

The SRZero has the SR8’s 2.6-liter V-8 engine and six-speed gearbox replaced by two AC synchronous Axial Flux motors. The motors were custom-wound to maximize efficiency at highway cruising speeds. They produce 72 kilowatts (96.5 horsepower) continuous and 144 kilowatts (193 horsepower) peak. The car weighs 1,100 kilograms. It has a top speed of 125mph with an acceleration of 0-60mph in 7seconds, full charge with a 6hour plug in which will last for 250miles at a cost of £0.01/mile! The Car has Thunder sky Lithium Iron Phosphate cells with a total capacity of 56kWh to support the 2 Evo-electric motors in the back which transform electrical energy into mechanical energy.

The trip starts July 8 in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. All the very best to the Electrical Super Car!!

Look-wise and design-wise it sounds very attractive and eco-friendly! Future of the auto-industry sans non-renewable energy sources looks safe in these young hands.

To know more about RGE and the Electrical Super Car here

And for the Wired.com article click here

Hydrogen Road Tour ’09

The DAIMLER "F-Cell" FCV

Hydrogen Road Tour 2009 brings fuel cell vehicles to the West Coast. Traveling 1,700 miles from Chula Vista, California to Vancouver, British Columbia, the Hydrogen Road Tour 2009 highlights the communities where fuel cells and hydrogen stations are entering early commercial markets.

28 Cities 2 Countries 9 Days

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