Usually when we hear about hydrogen as a fuel, it's actually being used to generate electricity for an electric motor. It's no secret that Mazda's been developing a hydrogen powered version of its Renesis rotary engine for years, but now the automaker says that it will soon be mass-producing hydrogen powered vehicles. The rotary engine's unique design actually makes it well suited for using hydrogen as a combustible fuel.
GM gives the Chevy Volt its first auto show exposure at the 2008 Paris Motor Show. With a game-changing power train, the Volt is as relevant in Europe as it is in the U.S. The Volt uses a series hybrid system, using an electric motor to drive the wheels with a gas engine to generate more electricity once the car's lithium ion battery pack is depleted.
Under electric power alone, the car has a 40-mile range and can be recharged at any AC outlet. For many people, that range will cover their daily commute, which will result in … Read more
If you want to build a new car, even a small, economical car, get Pininfarina to design it. That lesson is made clear with the launch of the B0 at the 2008 Paris Motor Show, the best-looking small car we've seen here. The B0 has smart lines and a graceful arch between its front and rear wheels, yet maintains the dimensions and configuration to be a practical car. This car is actually a collaboration between Pininfarina and Bolloré, the latter being a consortium of companies with expertise in batteries and capacitors, and is intended to go into mass … Read more
At the 2008 Paris Motor Show, Hyundai displayed a hybrid version of its Santa Fe small SUV. This hybrid powertrain uses a 2.4-liter gas engine complemented by a 40 horsepower electric motor that generates 151 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission delivers this combined power to the wheels. But the real innovation in Hyundai's hybrid system is the use of a 270 volt lithium polymer battery pack. Hyundai says that lithium polymer has greater energy density than lithium ion, can take more recharging cycles, and is cheaper to manufacture. In the Santa Fe Hybrid, this system returns … Read more
Honda has revived the Insight moniker to create a Prius-fighting hybrid that says to Toyota, "Anything you can do, I can do cheaper.
After much badgering by DIYers and energy activists, Toyota relented and built a plug-in version of its Prius hybrid, showing it off at the 2008 Paris Motor Show. Noting that the Prius' hybrid system let it run on electricity only during low speed driving, a few DIYers hacked their Priuses to run longer and at higher speeds on electricity, keeping the batteries charged by plugging them in overnight and achieving over 100 mpg in some cases. For a long time, Toyota refused to acknowledge the benefits of plugging in, but now has seen the light, sort of.
The plug-in Prius … Read more
Suzuki showed off a couple of hydrogen-powered vehicles at the 2008 Paris Motor Show. One was based on the relatively new SX-4 model, and the other, in good Suzuki style, was a motorcycle concept called the Crosscage. Both vehicles use electric motors to drive their wheels, and fuel cells combining hydrogen and oxygen to generate the electricity to run those motors. Suzuki has previously built three fuel cell vehicles based on different models.
The base SX-4 is a small, all-wheel-drive car with an economical engine. As the current Suzuki FCV, it gets a 68 kilowatt motor which most likely only … Read more
Rising world-wide gas prices triggered automakers to release a new generation of small city cars at the 2008 Paris Motor Show. These cars range from the diminutive Toyota iQ to the more conventionally-sized Hyundai i20. Engine sizes go from 1 up to 1.5 liters, with fuel economies between 40 and 50 miles per gallon. Not much cabin tech is available in these cars, although, judging from its steering wheel buttons, the new generation Ford Ka might be getting the Sync system.
Although it may be a five-door hatchback, like Toyota's Prius, the Honda Insight concept, unveiled at the 2008 Paris Motor Show, probably won't significantly displace the Prius. This concept, set to unveil as a production vehicle at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show and go on sale in the first half of 2009, uses Honda's Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid system and, as such, is considered a mild hybrid, because it doesn't drive the car under electric power only. IMA integrates a small electric motor with the transmission, which provides extra boost when the car is accelerating, … Read more