New diesels will get better mileage and have cleaner emissions than your average car. Pictured above: 2009 Jetta SportWagen 2L TDI Clean Diesel. Later this year (see the timeline below), we will finally begin to see an influx of new model diesels in the United States. While diesels make up 50% of the market share of vehicles in Europe, they’re still trying to shrug off the stigma of being dirty, noisy beasts here in the US. So what changed?
Although it could be one of the ugliest car hacks I’ve ever seen, Mike Turner of Hodges, SC, modified his 1992 Honda Civic to get 70 MPG. As you can see in the picture and video clip, the modifications are relatively simple use of aluminum siding and plastic, which decrease wind resistance (vaguely reminding me of Aptera’s Typ1 electric car) and lowering the vehicle’s drag coefficient. It’s a much more extreme version of the modification seen on Ernie Rogers’ 76 MPG VW Beetle.
Photo Credits: deborah sherman photography The Cafe Racer Truck Runs on 100% Recycled Coffee Grounds A commenter on Ben’s wood-powered truck post pointed us to a similar car hack. The truck above is also powered by a wood gas generator, except this one runs on coffee grounds. The Cafe Racer is a 1975 GMC pickup that essentially burns up used coffee to create a combustible gas. The gas is filtered on its way to the engine and, Viola, a caffeine-powered truck.
I’ve heard of making fuel from wood before, but rarely does using wood as fuel come up. However, just today I was pointed to this site, hosted by a local radio station, with a real-life example of someone burning wood as a fuel in his truck. I can’t say for sure how the system works, whether it’s dual fuel or the wood-burning supplies all the fuel the engine needs, but it doesn’t appear to be a hoax and is certainly interesting. Evidently, during WWII, there was some experimenting with alternative fuels (due to shortages caused by the war), and one of the results was the wood burning automobile.
Homemade ethanol guru Floyd S. Butterfield and Silicon Valley entrepreneur and innovator Thomas J. Quinn want to see you making ethanol in your backyard. Their creation, called the E-Fuel 100 MicroFueler, is a stacked washer-dryer sized reactor that can convert sugar into ethanol for (they claim) $1.00 per gallon. Before you get too excited, please note that the unit is probably too expensive for your next block party, unless you’ve got an extra $9,995 lying around somewhere. Fortunately, state and Federal tax credits can halve this, but that still keeps it out of the price range of the average American.
Image source: Wikipedia There’s been talk about the VW 1L concept for years. Since VW built the original, fuel economy, safety, price, and release date has been speculated upon and argued about, and I’d finally stopped thinking it was ever going to happen. However, according to VW’s CEO, it should hit the market in 2010. The VW 1L is so named because, in theory, it only consumes one liter of fuel per 100 kilometers traveled. For those of us in the US, this translates into about 235 MPG. Definitely far and above anything on the market currently. The concept, developed in 2002, actually got better fuel economy, scoring a sweet .89L/100km in VW testing. It’s likely to use more fuel in real world use, but with that kind of mileage in testing it’s unlikely that any...
Clean Burning Natural Gas Vehicles (NGVs) are hot commodities in some parts of the country, where fuel can sell for as low as $0.63 per gallon. Unlike the world’s most fuel efficient car (VW’s 285 MPG bullet), the Honda Civic GX looks like a standard passenger vehicle. What makes it special is what you don’t see: tailpipe emissions that are often cleaner than ambient air. The Civic GX is powered by compressed natural gas—methane—the simplest and cleanest-burning hydrocarbon available. With an economical 113-hp, 1.8-Liter engine, the EPA has called the Civic the “world’s cleanest internal-combustion vehicle” with 90% cleaner emissions than the average gasoline-powered car on the road in 2004. And get this: in Utah, natural gas can be purchased for $0.63 p...
While the national average price of gasoline is now $3.60, some residents of Utah are happily filling up on compressed natural gas (CNG) at $0.63 per gallon. That’s the country’s lowest price for CNG, which has understandably caused a surge in demand for vehicles running on a fuel that one man described as “practically free.” So far, CNG vehicles haven’t made a blip on my radar screen, even though the group Natural Gas Vehicles for America (NGVA) estimates there are 150,000 NGVs on U.S. roads today and over 5 million worldwide. It took a phone call from sunny Southern Utah to clue me in to recent developments, which include a local refueling station overflowing with CNG-hungry vehicles.
[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...
[social_buttons] Scania (part of Volkswagen) builds modified, heavy-duty diesel engines designed to run on almost pure ethanol (E95, or 95% ethanol, with a 5% ignition improver). If that sounds weird, that’s because it is. US auto manufacturers make a big deal out of converting cars and trucks to run on ethanol/gasoline blends of up to 85% ethanol. Scania has done better than that for 15 years, and guess what, their engines can run on 100% biodiesel too, without any modification.
Ford Motor Company will be replacing up to 40% of their petroleum-based seat cushions with a new material made from soybean oil. “Soy foam” costs roughly the same to manufacture as traditional petroleum derivatives, but requires less energy to produce and may reduce environmental impacts by 75%. The new material was developed by Ford’s own researchers, and made its debut in the 2008 Ford Mustang. Soy foam has also already been incorporated into the seat cushions of Ford F-150 pickups, Expeditions, and Lincoln Navigator SUV’s. By the end the year, Ford says it will have 45,500 soy-foam vehicles on the road.
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).