With green issues dominating the headlines at this week's Detroit auto show, you may find yourself wondering how much it costs to assuage the gas-guzzling guilt you feel when picking up your next rental car. The convenient answer is $1.25 (plus applicable taxes). That is the price at which Enterprise, National, and Alamo are selling carbon offsets to their customers in a carbon-offset program launching today. According to the companies, the $1.25 offset charge represents the cost of offsetting the CO2 impact of the average rental vehicle operating in the company's fleet. TerraPass, the company responsible … Read more
When you're No. 3, you've got to do something.
At the Detroit auto show this week, Chrysler showed off three green car concepts, including an all-electric one called the Zeo that will go from zero to sixty in 5.7 seconds and hit 130 miles per hour. The car can also go 240 miles on a single charge.
Many of the other major carmakers--Toyota, General Motors--are concentrating on plug-in hybrids and other types of alternative fuel cars far more than all-electric cars. Batteries cost a lot and don't have the energy density of liquid fuels, according to … Read more
EcoMotors is working on a futuristic diesel engine that's similar in concept to something Charles Lindbergh may have once used.
The company, which came out of stealth mode over the weekend, wants to bring what is called an opposed piston/opposed cylinder diesel engine to market. In ordinary engines, pistons pop up and down (or back and forth if laying down) inside an individual cylinder capped by a cylinder head. Gas is injected into the chamber and gets combusted by the action of the piston, among other factors.
In EcoMotors' engine, there is a double-length cylinder with a piston … Read more
The trend among automakers to go green apparently has engulfed Ferrari, as it displayed an F430 affixed with Bio Fuel stickers on the hood and doors at the 2008 Detroit auto show. The company isn't saying anything about it until Monday, but we are willing to go out on a pretty thick limb and say Ferrari modified the F430's engine to run on some mix of ethanol. An engine set up on a stand next to the F430 had green spark plug caps and fuel rails, a color that clashed horribly with the red valve covers, but signals … Read more
Lockheed Martin has signed a deal with EEStor to try to integrate the ultracapacitor start-up's electrical energy storage units into the defense contractor's products.
Financial terms of the agreement, announced Wednesday, were not disclosed.
EEStor is developing a ceramic battery chemistry that could provide 10 times the energy density of lead acid batteries at about a tenth of the weight and volume, according to Lockheed. A Lockheed spokesman said the company is interested in energy storage systems a soldier can carry, but also car batteries and energy systems for remote buildings.
Lockheed will spend most of the year … Read more
LAS VEGAS--One of the big complaints from consumers who buy General Motors cars that run on E85 ethanol is the lack of places to fill up.
GM CEO Rick Wagoner, in a meeting with reporters at the Consumer Electronics Show taking place in Las Vegas this week, says he has received hundreds of e-mails from customers who have bought such cars and are frustrated they can't find ethanol stations.
When GM started selling its flex-fuel cars, there were about 600 stations that sold ethanol in the U.S. Now there are about 1,400 stations.
But there are 170,… Read more
Porsche announced today that it's developing a hybrid version of the Panamera, a four-door GT car that will debut in a traditional combustion engine version in 2009.
The hybrid system will use a combustion engine, plus an electric motor and an additional clutch, along with a battery pack to store power. The system can switch between the combustion and electric motor, or combine power from both, depending on driving conditions. And although we haven't seen specific technical data yet, this system sounds strikingly similar to GM's "two-mode" hybrid system, which can yield anywhere from zero … Read more
In order to get its electric sports car to owners sooner, Tesla Motors plans to deliver cars with a temporary transmission that falls short of its originally promised performance.
The news was distributed to the wide world on Thursday in a blog post from Ze'ev Drori, Tesla's new president and CEO.
The post is a reprint of a letter that was sent to Tesla purchasers on December 21, as a follow-up to a town hall meeting for Tesla owners that took place on December 12. About 100 people, including those who called in, participated in the meeting, according … Read more
Consumers won't pay more for cars that would meet new, stricter emissions standards.
That was the message sent last week by Susan Docherty, Western Region general manager of General Motors, as a handful of automotive journalists (including yours truly) sat scattered at a very large table in a private room in the back of one of Santa Monica's poshest hotel restaurants during a GM-sponsored holiday dinner.
The face behind the wheel of a hybrid car is most likely to belong to an upwardly mobile, physically active person with tech savvy, according to a report by Scarborough Research (PDF).
Forty-two percent of those polled earn six figures or more each year. The group is more than 20 percent likely than average to be at least 50 years old. Nearly a third hold a postgraduate degree, with the rate of college graduation more than doubling the U.S. average.