I live in a very remote region of far Northern California. I have always dreamed of owning an electric car or plug-in hybrid, as we live off-the-grid with energy to spare to charge a car’s batteries. The problem is I do most of my driving on dirt roads, and four wheel drive is required at times. Some of my neighbors have cars, in addition to their 4WDs, so I have dreamed that I could drive a Prius. Last week, while getting my 4WD repaired in town, I was given a Prius for the day. This was my chance to test it out and see if it would hold up to my mountain life. One of the inconveniences of having your car repaired when you live in the country is it is an all day event. Stuck in town, there is nothing to do but shop and/or see a movie, but I didn’t want to do either of thes...
It’s been widely reported that President-elect Obama is preparing to announce his selection of Nobel Prize winning physicist Steven Chu to serve as his Secretary of Energy. The pick has been hailed by environmental groups, scientists, and even Chinese newspapers. Indeed, looking over one of his old lectures, you can get a good sense of what we have to look forward to under his tenure.
[social_buttons] Ford Motor Company has unveiled radical new plans to start producing electric vehicles from 2010 onwards. The company will deliver an all-electric van for commercial fleet use in 2010, an all-electric sedan in 2011 and a ‘family’ of hybrids, plug-in hybrids and EVs by 2012. Ford also said in a submission to Congress that full details of its ‘accelerated vehicle electrification plan’ will be announced at next month’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
After the big three Detroit auto makers essentially had their rear-ends handed to them in a bag by Washington politicians last week, they have been scrambling to find ways to get the money they feel they need to stay alive — and their proposed solutions are making Tesla cringe. [social_buttons] Last year, when the US congress passed the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA), a $25 billion fund called the “Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Incentive Program” (ATVM) was established to help new and existing auto makers re-tool their operations to bring next generation car technologies to market quickly. Just this month, the program started accepting applications for funds from interested parties.
In a conference on the future of electric transportation, the German government has detailed a major plan to put one million electric and plug-in hybrid cars on the country’s roads within the next 11 years. [social_buttons] The sweeping plan includes a large amount of funding for advanced battery development, investment in an electric car charging infrastructure, and tax credits for the adoption of electric cars and plug-in hybrids. Conceived by four separate German agencies — the departments of Economics, Transport, Environment, and Education/Research — the plan is on track to be signed into actual law at the beginning of the next German legislative session.
Tesla Motors Inc. has selected BorgWarner Inc. for the production of a single-speed gearbox for the Tesla Roadster and is initiating a ramped-up production rate. Tesla engineers developed the specifications for the new gearbox and provided them to BorgWarner. The new powertrain delivers about 30% higher motor torque on a single gear ratio, and it achieves a 10% higher EPA combined range. The Roaster torque will be increased to 280 foot-pounds, while the EPA rated range of the car will increase to 244 miles, up from 221 miles. The quarter-mile time for the car is now in the 12.9 second range.
An ‘air car’ sure sounds clean. A car that runs on air? What’s cleaner than that? But of course it’s not quite that simple. The world’s first commercial air car is currently being produced by India’s largest automaker, Tata Motors, who is licensing the technology from European-based company MDI. A compressed-air car uses the force of super-compressed air to move the engine’s pistons up and down, as opposed to explosions produced from injecting a small amount of fuel. At higher speeds the engine will burn a small amount of fuel to create more compressed air, sort of like how a plug-in hybrid like the Chevy Volt produces on-the-fly electricity. The hybrid air-car setup should be able use any number of fuels, including gasoline, propane, or ethanol. So now that we...
While the kinks are worked out, Tesla is starting to move Roadsters off the production line slowly. 27 Roadsters are currently in various stages of assembly, and the company hopes to reach a monthly production rate of 100 cars by this December. In a blog post on the company website, Tesla CEO Ze’ev Drori has reprinted the content of a note he sent to customers last Friday in which he states that Tesla has finally “broken the logjam” and already delivered 9 Roadsters to California.
[social_buttons] Here’s an interesting idea: instead of putting the airbag in the car, put the car in the airbag. Sure it sounds silly, but XP vehicles, a start-up in California, is doing just that with their upcoming electric car, the Whisper™. Apparently, XP has taken the same sort of airbag technology developed to safely land recent NASA missions on Mars and used it to create an inflatable polymer car frame in which they pack all the essentials for it to actually be considered an automobile.
[social_buttons] Fuel saving scams, er, devices, have been around for a long time, and now that fuel prices are soaring again, we decided it would be a good time to take a look at a few of the most popular and interesting ones out there. Since the start of the Iraq War in 2003, oil prices have jumped from $28 per barrel to over $130, with most of that rise occurring in the last year. This fact is made even more stark considering that for all of the last century prior to the current meteoric rise, crude oil prices have averaged about $20 per barrel (adjusted for inflation).
[social_buttons] Want your own? Sign up to be notified when/if we can get you a group purchasing discount on an electric car. Welcome Google search visitors: This is just one of many articles produced here on a daily basis at Gas 2.0. If you find this post interesting, sign up for our RSS feed and stay up to date on the future of transportation. You can also follow the author or Gas 2.0 on Twitter. >> Update: Think City: An Affordable Electric Car you Won’t See Until 2010 While we love hearing about sweet rides like the $100K Tesla Roadster, a functional and economical electric car made for the rest of us would be even cooler. This could be it: the Th!nk City electric car, a four-seater with 110 mile range and top speed of 65 mph, priced under $25,000, made from 95% recyclable...