A Massachusetts man - faced with no power in the recent ice storm, powered up the family Prius to create enough electricity to run the essentials; the fridge, the lights, the TV, the wood-stove fan to manage during the power outage, creating 17 Kilowatt hours of energy for three days.
[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.
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.
[social_buttons] Just weeks before the 2008 LA Auto Show, hybrid car and powertrain maker AFS Trinity is pulling out after saying that show management “muzzled” them by disallowing claims that their highly modified Saturn Vue plug-in hybrids can achieve 150 mpg. In a statement, AFS Trinity said that “carmakers continue to seek tens of billions of taxpayer dollars, ostensibly to develop fuel-efficient vehicle technologies, but their conduct is evidence they are reluctant to embrace solutions they didn’t invent.”
Whatever you do, don’t call it a battery. [social_buttons] A research group at the University of Texas at Austin has taken a carbon-based nanomaterial called graphene, and developed it into a device that has the potential to vastly improve upon the energy storage capacity of batteries. Reportedly, graphene could also double the current maximum storage capacity of the group of battery alternatives known as ultracapacitors. If the research group’s findings bear out when applied to reality, it could mean a complete phase change in the way we approach energizing not only our transportation sector, but our entire energy infrastructure.
Toyota sells a 40 mile-per-gallon, four-wheel-drive hybrid minivan in Japan, and has since 2001, but they’re playing keeps. [social_buttons] Its become a bit of a perennial question that I’m reminded of when I find myself mired in the depths of the internet — a question that’s been simmering in the back of my mind since I learned about the Toyota Estima hybrid minivan 3 years ago… and then went to full boil when I learned that the Estima hybrid has been sold in Japan since 2001. At the time, I googled extensively, I asked some Japanese colleagues, I contacted Toyota — I even set up a half-hearted online petition to bring the Estima hybrid to the US (offline now, but the Union of Concerned Scientists was more ambitious, garnering over 18,000 signatures). After all th...
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...
[social_buttons] The 16 MPG F-150 is one of the most ubiquitous vehicles on the road today. What if you could convert them all to get 41 MPG? The Illinois Institute of Technology’s masters program has spun-off a start-up with big plans for our aging fleet of big trucks. The company, called Hybrid Electric Vehicle Technology (HEVT), has built a bolt-on module that will convert a standard F-150 into a 41 MPG plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). HEVT demo’d their first prototype at the Plug-In 2008 conference in San Jose earlier in the month. The suddenly attractive F-150 PHEV (which is not the 1994 model depicted above) gets 15 miles of emissions-free driving on electricity before it switches over to gas/electric hybrid mode, where it will continue to get an impressive 41 MPG...
[social_buttons] First Flex-Fuel Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle As part of a push by the US Department of Energy (DOE) to make plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) cost competitive with other cars by 2014, Ford has delivered a plug-in hybrid electric flex-fuel Escape to the DOE to join its test fleet of other PHEVs currently undergoing research and testing. The vehicle is equipped with a 10 kilowatt lithium ion battery that can take it up to 30 miles at speeds under 40 mph before needing to fire up its fuel-fed hybrid-electric engine. After that, the hybrid-electric engine kicks in and can deliver a fuel economy of 88 mpg in the city and 50 mpg on the highway when using E85 (85% ethanol/15% gasoline blend).
This is something I (and a lot of other people) have been wondering about for a while in regards to plug-in electric vehicles (PHEVs, like the Chevy Volt) and pure electric vehicles (EVs, like the Lightning GT and Subaru R1e). PHEVs are not a new thing, and they have been discussed on Gas2.0 before, but there is some interesting news that recently came out of Carnegie Mellon University suggesting that if we don’t make our power generation system less carbon intensive, PHEVs could have little benefit over regular hybrids (HEVs).