Bruno Vanzieleghem - Autoblog
While most towns considering a switch to hybrid-electric buses are worried about reducing their fuel costs and improving air quality, in Vail, CO, the switch to hybrid electric diesel buses is most likely motivated equally as much by public relations. The first hybrid-electric bus went in to service last Wednesday, and the town plans to buy nine more over the next four years. This move goes hand in hand with Vail's recent decision to get all of its electricity from
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is being urged to sell the 74 electric RAV4s to the public, instead of returning the leased vehicles to Toyota. The DWP officials don't necessarily see themselves as used car salesmen, but an offer of $1.85 million for all the electric vehicles might change their tone. No need to start typing numbers in your calculator, the offer boils down to $25,000 per car. All of this is clearly depending on whether Toyota is willing to part with the vehicles. Wh
Popular Mechanics is giving their readers the truth about hydrogen, describing what it thinks are the four major roadblocks to the hydrogen economy: production, storage, distribution and use. While a number of technologies are available to produce hydrogen, they each have their specific drawbacks.
While this new offering from Arctic Cat has four wheels, it's technically not a car. However, it's worth mentioning here since it marks the first time a B20 biodiesel blend is being commercially promoted for use in a small diesel engine. The Arctic Cat ATV, powered by a twin-cylinder diesel engine, is targeted at farmers who are already using biodiesel for their tractors and other farm equipment. The engine used in this ATV came from Italian small-engine specialist Lombardini. The diesel ATV pro
Wartsila and MAN Diesel, two world leading European marine engine manufacturers, have agreed to join forces in a research project, called Hercules-B, in order to maximize fuel efficiency and reduce emissions. The aim of the project is to reach engine efficiency of 60 percent or more for marine diesel engines. Just as a comparison, automotive gasoline engines operate at an efficiency of approximately 20 percent, while automotive diesel engines reach 30 percent or higher.
Researchers from UC Riverside and a small company announced a new process yesterday that allows them to create diesel from pretty much anything that contains carbon. The process can convert sewer sludge, wood, agricultural waste, plain old trash, and even plastic into a gas, and then turning the gas into high-quality diesel. While other gasification processes have been developed in the past, this process promises to be significantly more cost effective. The gasification is achieved by using hydr
Google.org, the philanthropic organization set up by the Google founders, was given seed money of about $1 billion with the mandate to tackle poverty, disease and global warming. The organization is unlike most charities, since it is a for-profit entity. This allows Google.org to form partnerships with venture capitalists and fund start-up companies. It also means the organization will pay taxes, something most charities are exempt from.
The Northern Illinois University police department's vehicle fleet has transformed itself over the last few years from a standard Crown Vic dominated fleet into a fuel sipping fleet consisting of Toyota Prius hybrids. The NIU police started testing hybrids in 2004, and now hybrids make up eighty percent of the total fleet of vehicles. This has saved 4,500 gallons of fuel for fiscal year 2005 alone. The officers using the hybrids seem to ha
Closely following a sighting of a Hydrogen-powered 7 series during testing, BMW officially announced the Hydrogen 7 today. The car is touted as the first hydrogen-drive luxury performance automobile for everyday use. The BMW Hydrogen 7 will be built in a limited series, and sold to select customers in the U.S. and overseas in 2007. The engine in the Hydrogen 7, a derivative of the 7 series 12 cylinder e
Zipcar, the U.S. based car sharing company, has recently entered the Toronto market to give AutoShare, established in 1998, some competition. Torontoist provides us with an interesting article, discussing car sharing in general, and comparing the offerings of the two companies. Many Torontonians often are not aware of what a car sharing program offers, confusing it with either car pooling, or comparing it to car rental
Even though the slight decline in fuel prices might have reduced the worry in some of us, more and more investors are starting to believe we are now close to the peak of global oil production. If the world is currently at or near its peak oil capacity, it would mean the end for cheap and abundant crude in the near future. While some might say the lack of abundant oil has already lead to war, things could get significantly worse, according to some geologists' theory known as peak oil. Clearly, th
The upcoming Lexus LS600h, which is getting its European premiere at the Paris motor show, will offer the performance of a V12 with the fuel economy and emissions of a V6. Lexus just announced its flagship hybrid will return 29.7 mpg, which does compare well with an Accord V6. The output of the electric motors combined with the 5.0 liter V8 engines is 444bhp, which does not compare well with the power output of an Accord V6. The power output trails the BMW 760i V12 engine by just one bhp, but fu
In case having to pay more and more money every time you fill up is not sufficient motivation to consider a fuel efficient car, Ferndale, a Detroit suburb, is now offering free parking for cars that get 30 mpg or better. The ordinance, the first of its kind in Michigan, wants to promote environmentally friendly behavior through the small financial incentive. Craig Covey, a Ferndale council member, realizes the ordinance is more of a symbolic step. The city council met yesterday to determine whic
While DaimlerChrysler announced at the start of this year it would be introducing its E320 BLUETEC with clean diesel technology as a 50-state vehicle, the car will be hitting showrooms as a 45-state compliant car. BLUETEC, DaimlerChrysler's aftertreatment system promises to meet the upcoming EPA Tier 2 Bin 5 emissions, which would make it 50-state compliant. However, to meet these tough new standards, a urea selective catalytic reduction system is ne
Following up on Derrick's post from yesterday, one other option the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may use is to require the urea refill interval to be at least as long as the manufacturer's oil change interval, allowing the urea refill to coincide with oil changes.
NASCAR driver Rusty Wallace is joining Julia Roberts as advisory board member and company spokesperson for Earth Biofuels, Inc., a biodiesel producer. The company's advisory board is not the only star-studded affair. The board of directors for Earth Biofuels, Inc., also received the star treatment, with country music star Willie Nelson and actor Morgan Freeman as active members. Rusty Wallace, while retired from race car driving, is active as a team owner competing in the NASCAR Busch Series. He
While GM might have killed the electric car, it seems the Japanese government plans to revive it. A panel set up by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in Japan has put together a plan to develop the next generation of environmentally friendly vehicles and batteries, to reduce the country's oil consumption. The plan calls for intro
Today Hans Tempel, president of DaimlerChrysler Japan, introduced in Tokyo the new E Class Mercedes, including the diesel powered E320 CDI. The sales of diesel cars in Japan last year added up to just 0.2 percent of the country's total car sales. This minimal amount of market share reflects the image diesel cars have in Japan. For the majority of consumers, diesel cars are slow, loud and sooty. But DiamlerChrysler hopes to be successful with the introduction of the E320 CDI, equipped with what i
While we are all aware of steep increase in oil prices over the last three years, how many of us knew that the price of palm oil reached a two year high, and is topping the price increases of crude oil? While palm oil is normally used to make mayonnaise and chocolate bars, the price increase is not due to an increasing demand in junk food. The surge is fueled by a demand from biodiesel production facilities, emerging everywhere around the world. The palm oil prices rose 17 percent in the past ye
GM, DaimlerChrysler and BMW announced they will spend more than $1 billion combined to develop a shared hybrid-electric powertrain to compete with hybrid leader Toyota. While the three way partnership has been around for a few years, investment amounts were not disclosed until now. The investment cost includes at least $300 million for the development of a transmission. The $1 billion combined investment is about half of what Toyota officials have said it spent on hybrid research in the 1990's,
Rick Wagoner announced yesterday, at the Traverse City Management Briefing Seminars organized by the Center for Automotive Research, General Motors Corp. has a drivable version of its Sequel fuel cell concept car. The Sequel will be shown to reporters in California next month. The concept, which looks like a shrunken minivan, has a range of 300 miles, and Rick Wagoner called it "the most sophisticated product, technologically advanced product, I think we've ever made in the history of GM." The h