General Motors has shed some light on the reality of its race against the clock to develop and test lithium-ion batteries for its Chevrolet Volt plug-in car, which is scheduled for production in 2010. The automaker announced yesterday that it had created a new computer algorithm to test the batteries, which will be required to propel the four-seater Volt up to 40 miles under electric power alone. According to the project's engineers, the T-shaped prototype battery for the Volt is around six feet long, weighs a hefty 375 pounds, and will be built into the structure of the car, … Read more
Which came first? Hydrogen fuel-cell cars or hydrogen filling stations? The answer depends on who you ask. General Motors yesterday called for a "collective resolve" to address the problem of infrastructure to support fuel-cell powered cars. Speaking at the National Hydrogen Association's annual meeting, GM's R&D honcho Larry Burns said that the situation with regard to fuel-cell cars had "now reached a point where the energy industry and governments must pick up their pace so we can continue to advance in a timely manner."
The other problem--which Burns failed to mention-- is … Read more
Toronto's Zenn Motors has laid out its plans for a freeway-legal car, and on paper it looks pretty good.
The CityZenn will hit a top speed of 80 miles per hour (or a 125 kilometers per hour as they insist on saying in Canada) but more importantly, it will be rechargeable in five minutes. That's an astounding breakthrough: Lengthy charge times have been one of the many reasons that electric cars have yet to go mainstream. Cars powered by lithium-ion batteries need a few hours to fully charge.
The companies said that they have completed a test using GridPoint's SmartGrid Platform device to charge up cars after 10 p.m.
The timing of when during the day plug-in hybrid cars are charged is crucial.
Oak Bridge National Laboratories earlier this month released a study that found that timing is everything when it comes to plug-in hybrids.
In the worst-case scenario, the … Read more
One year after the introduction of the 2007 Vue Green Line, Saturn has brought out a significantly revised version of the model. The 2008 Vue Green Line may share most of the tech features of the original model, but its exterior design shows that Saturn has spent a busy 12 months at the drawing board. Gone is the square-cut back end and unsightly plastic grille treatment up front, and in its pace is a curved profile and color-coded paintwork. Its dazzling as-standard 17-inch alloy rims complete the picture. Under the stylish sheet metal, things remain largely unchanged. The 2008 Vue … Read more
The X Prize Foundation, best known for sponsoring space travel competitions, on Thursday offered $10 million to make a super-efficient car.
At the New York International Auto Show, the foundation and sponsor Progressive Casualty Insurance announced the newly named Progressive Insurance Automotive X Prize. The competition, open to both established automakers and unknown engineers, is meant to result in "real cars" that are available for purchase, rather than concept cars.
It was good enough for John D. Rockefeller Jr.
To promote itself, Detroit Electric--a new joint venture between Zap and China's Youngman Automotive Group--plan to release a limited number of cars based around the Detroit Electric, an electric car produced by the Anderson Electric Car Co. in the early part of the 20th century.
Anderson produced various models of the Detroit Electric from 1907 to 1939. Customers included Henry Ford and Rockefeller. It was also featured on a stamp. TV host Jay Leno has some of the cars in his collection.
When the opportunity came up to buy … Read more
Volvo showed off its ReCharge plug-in hybrid concept, based on the Volvo C30 model, at last year's Frankfurt auto show. We were skeptical when we saw it because even though it looked cool, Volvo only had a cutaway demonstration model to show off, and the company has no current hybrid cars among its model lineup. But Volvo reports today that it has a working concept on the road as part of a larger program to develop next generation powertrains. Volvo, in a consortium with Saab, the Swedish government, and energy company Vattenfall, announced a five-year plan to develop plug-in … Read more
Remember how Robert Lutz, vice chairman and design guru at General Motors, a few weeks back called global warming a "crock of s---?" Well, his boss, GM CEO Rick Wagoner, wishes Lutz hadn't made that comment, saying it does not reflect the auto giant's position.
Wagoner on Tuesday spoke to reporters in Washington, where he was lobbying for government policies to promote alternative energy efforts such as ethanol production and research on batteries.
He said he regretted Lutz's remarks, which were widely discussed on the Web. "The comments weren't coming out of our … Read more