It might seem absurd to match an efficient hybrid power train with a massive luxury SUV, but Cadillac went ahead and did it anyway. The result is a truck that offers a lot of amenities for seven passengers, plus towing capability, along with fuel economy we often see in V-6 sedans.
The Volkswagen Passat Lingyu is the latest fuel cell vehicle to join the testing program at the California Fuel Cell Partnership in Sacramento, Calif., according to an announcement issued last week by the German carmaker.
Volkswagen recently imported 16 of the zero-emissions fuel cell electric vehicles that were developed in partnership with scientists from Tongji University and debuted at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. The Lingyu uses hydrogen to power an electric motor, and produces only water and oxygen as emissions.… Read more
This interview was originally posted at CNET Australia. We have reposted it because the U.S. faces similar challenges to Australia in adopting electric-vehicle technology.
q&a We sat down with the CEO of Better Place Australia, Evan Thornley, to discuss how his company plans to make the electric car a reality in Australia.
Last year we reported on Better Place's deals with various national and state governments, such as Israel, Denmark, Hawaii, and California, to roll out infrastructure to assist in the adoption of electric vehicles (EV) from about 2011 onwards. This infrastructure will primarily consist of battery exchange stations, where drivers of Better Place compatible EVs can have their nearly depleted battery pack swapped out for a fully charged set, and EV charging points, located in homes as well as public places.
At the end of January, Evan Thornley was appointed as CEO of Better Place's Australian operations. Thornley was a founder of LookSmart and recently quit his seat in the Victorian State Parliament on the eve of his elevation to the ministry, raising the ire of the state's Liberal opposition. He and Guy Pross, the company's director of government affairs, sat down for a chat with CNET Australia about how Better Place plans to convert Australia's car fleet to electric vehicles.
CNET Australia: So why was Australia chosen?
Evan Thornley: Well, we think that this system works best for high-kilometer drivers. So the best way to prove that was to target a country which has plenty of those.
Could you please elaborate on how your system "works best for high-kilometer drivers?"
ET: Once the recharging infrastructure exists and the battery's sitting in the car, then, if you pay full commercial price for renewable energy, the energy costs of driving one kilometer down the road in an EV is about 1/7th the cost of driving that same kilometer using petrol.
Australia spends AU$20 billion to AU$30 billion a year on petrol, depending on the oil price and the currency. If we're able to convert the whole fleet over, then the renewable energy costs to power that fleet would be around AU$5 billion a year.
Who do we create the most value for the quickest then? The people who drive the most number of kilometers, because that's when we're displacing the largest amount of petrol. These drivers are the most attractive for us because, when you look at the lifetime cost of a car, much of it goes into the petrol tank not the vehicle itself. … Read more
Although on the pricey side, the Nissan Altima Hybrid offers the best sporting performance for a midsize hybrid we've seen to date. The electric motor acts like a turbo boost to the 2.5-liter gas engine, sending the car to 60 mph in about 7.5 seconds. Handling is surprisingly good, letting you have some fun with this car while getting fuel economy at well over 30 mpg.
NASHVILLE--U.S. government funds could help Nissan Motor overcome the cost and difficulty of importing lithium ion batteries to power its future electric vehicles.
Nissan seeks a low-interest loan from the U.S. Department of Energy's $25 billion Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program to build a lithium ion battery factory in Smyrna, Tenn.
Last week the company confirmed that the Energy Department had accepted its application for consideration but declined to say how much it requested.
Until now, automakers have relied heavily on batteries imported from Asia for gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles. Nissan and Ford Motor have obtained hybrid drivetrains from Toyota Motor. … Read more
A video of the Aptera 2e hit YouTube this week from Edmunds.com. The three-wheel vehicle is technically a motorcycle, but it has met the safety requirements of a car. It's lightweight, roomy, and it boasts more than 100 miles on a single full charge--an equivalent of 300 miles per gallon.
The car is scheduled to be available later this year and will cost about $30,000.
The Wheego Whip, another Neighborhood Electric Vehicle, is expected to hit the streets in May, according to Engadget. That is, if Wheego Wheels can find dealers to sell these low-speed, souped-up golf carts. (I'm not just being mean; company founder Mike McQuary purchased a golf cart company and used its product as a base for the Whip).
Wheego, a division of Ruff & Tuff Electric Vehicles (seriously, that's the parent company name), is taking applications to form a network of 50 dealers. That's a strong goal in a weak economy for a new car that has limited use and range, and not much of a marketing plan. … Read more
"Should Uncle Sam provide billions in loans and grants to a promising but unproven business? Or should the government wait for the market to sort things out before it backs a U.S. company?"
Those are questions posed in a BusinessWeek article last week. However, the questions are largely rhetorical: the U.S. Department of Energy already has a $25 billion Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program, and many car and battery companies are counting on these loans to aid their development and production of lithium ion batteries.
So it's not a question of "should," it's a question of "how?"
Lithium ion batteries will add at least $8,000 to the price of a production plug-in hybrid vehicle, according to BusinessWeek. However, that amount is probably on the low side when you consider that the Chevy Volt is predicted to cost a bit less than $40,000, a good portion of that price being the battery. Another manufacturer representative estimated that a lithium ion battery currently costs approximately $22,000, effectively putting the electric car out of reach to all but the well-heeled greenies. … Read more
Scientists from four Indian universities announced a discovery that enables them to use bacteria enzymes to trap and sequester CO2.
Researches found a way to use seven bacteria enzymes to speed up chemical reactions that convert carbon dioxide to calcium carbonate, according to a Cleantech Group article. Calcium carbonate is typically found in limestone or chalk and can be used in cement to built roads.
While it's not clear if this breakthrough could be used to help capture carbon emitted by existing cars on the road, it may have an application to improve the environmental impact of electric cars. … Read more
Swiss automaker Rinspeed will debut at the 2009 Geneva auto show an electric concept car that changes shape to conform to the number of passengers on board.
The iChange is a lightweight, 4,280mm (approximately 14 feet) EV sports car with a teardrop-like silhouette designed to maximize fuel efficiency for the single passenger. But with the push of a button, the sloped rear of the car pops up to accommodate two additional passengers, if needed.
The concept sports car forgoes doors, opting for a very ADA-unfriendly clamshell roof. Rinspeed is obviously assuming that in the future, women will no longer wear skirts. … Read more