Monday, August 30, 2010

New EPA Fuel Economy Labels For Alternate Energy Vehicles

Tell us what you think of these proposed new EPA fuel economy labels. They are actually easy to read AND understand.

We are asking the American people to tell us what they need to make the best economic and environmental decisions when buying a new car,” said EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. “New fuel economy labels will keep pace with the new generation of fuel efficient cars and trucks rolling off the line, and provide simple, straightforward updates to inform consumers about their choices in a rapidly changing market. We want to help buyers find vehicles that meet their needs, keep the air clean and save them money at the pump.”

Microwave Technology Company Develops Production Process for Lithium-ion Cathode Materials

Spheric Technologies, a Phoenix, Arizona, high temperature microwave technology company, has developed what it says is a production process for lithium iron phosphate cathode material for Li-ion batteries.

The Spheric process uses unique precursors and applies microwave in the drying and synthesis stages, yielding a phase pure product requiring little, if any, refinement, thereby eliminating costly refining required by other processes, according to the company.

Microwave reduces production time from more than 10 hours (with conventional systems) to 30 minutes, producing savings in energy consumption, equipment utilization and cost.

Spheric Technologies has filed two patent applications covering microwave techniques, material and technology for the synthesis of lithium ion battery materials.

Spheric says that its AMPS microwave furnace is ideally configured for the production of LFP, among other applications. Spheric will market the furnace with a license for the patent-pending lithium battery material production technology.

Source: Green Car Congress

Tesla Fined $275,000 Over Emissions Regulations by EPA

Sometimes, technology moves faster than rules and regulations. For instance, in some parts of Kansas, shops must provide water troughs for horses. A more recently inanity is the requirement that electric vehicles receive an emissions "Certificate of Conformity" from the EPA to comply with the "Clean Air Act." And, while Kansan storekeepers have long been excused from abiding by the obviously obsolete ordinance, such is not the case for America's best known electric car maker, Tesla Motors.

In its Securities and Exchange Commission 10-Q filing for the quarter ending on the 30th of June, Tesla noted that expenses may be incurred from complying (or, in this case, not complying) with the myriad regulations that govern the activity of providing automobiles for sale to the public. As an example of such, it mentions being found in contravention of the requirement to have the aforementioned certificate for the vast majority of 2009. It had the necessary document in 2008. As a result, it and the EPA:
...entered into an Administrative Settlement Agreement and Audit Policy Determination in which we agreed to pay a civil administrative penalty in the sum of $275,000...

While we can only imagine what better things Tesla might do with that kind of cash – employ several Californians for a year, give a Roadster Sport 2.5 to a deserving blogger or two – the fact is that this requirement still stands as a testament to the absolute ludicrousness of the inflexibility ingrained in some of our regulatory bodies. Good grief.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Mercedes To Produce 500 A-Class Electric Vehicles, Named "E-Cell"

Tesla Motors converted this Mercedes-Benz A-Class into an electric car.
Prototype Mercedes A-Class E-cell

Jim Motavalli for The New York Times
A prototype of Mercedes-Benz’s upcoming A-Class E-Cell, converted to electric by Tesla Motors, in Palo Alto, Calif.

Mercedes-Benz, as part of its collaboration with Tesla Motors, will produce 500 battery-powered “E-Cell” versions of its small A-Class, introducing the car at the Paris auto show in October.

According to Shirin Emeera, a Daimler spokeswoman, details of the electric car will be announced on Sept. 15. She said the car would be produced at the Mercedes Rastatt plant, near Stuttgart, Germany, where the A-Class (which is not sold in the United States) is produced. Delivery of the cars will begin early next year.

Tesla’s components, which include the battery pack and controller, will be shipped there to be integrated into the car.

Ms. Emeera said the E-Cell would have a range of 124 miles and produce 214 pound-feet of torque. She declined to provide further specifications, but JB Straubel, Tesla’s chief technical officer, said the car had an approximately 40 kilowatt-hour battery pack, with roughly 4,000 individual cells. He said the performance of the Mercedes E.V. was “equivalent to or slightly faster than the gas versions of the A-Class.”

According to Mr. Straubel, the production version of the E-Cell was nudged into being in part through a gambit on Tesla’s part.

“Daimler is a careful company, and they’re always skeptical that a program can be delivered in time,” he said. “It was hard to get them on board the A-Class project, which we’d been discussing, without a proof of concept. So we went ahead and pushed the envelope to retire a lot of the risk.”

What that meant, he said, was buying an A-Class in Europe last year, bringing it to the United States and working on a prototype, essentially on spec. The conversion, he said, began in mid-September and finished in a matter of four or five weeks.

In early November, when some Daimler executives visited the company in California for other business, Mr. Straubel said they were shown the car and given a chance to drive it from San Carlos to Palo Alto.

“They were blown away,” he said. “They saw that it wasn’t a science program. For them, touching and seeing was believing. The whole thing changed after that, and we moved to a real development program.”

Ms. Emeera said, however, that the company had considerable experience with electric vehicles before hooking up with Tesla in May of last year. It produced the first version of the electric drive Smart that was tested in a 2007 London-based program without Tesla’s input and also developed a much earlier electric prototype of the A-Class.

Tesla gave me a brief ride in the E-Cell prototype in California, and the car did indeed both handle and accelerate very well. Squeaks and rattles were at a minimum, and it felt like a production-ready car. Mr. Straubel says that integrating the battery pack into the A-Class design gives it a lower center of gravity, which aids in the tall car’s cornering ability.

According to Ms. Emeera, markets for the E-Cell had not yet been determined, but Mr. Straubel said it was unlikely the car would be sold in the United States.

Ms. Emeera said that the car would not be sold in showrooms, but instead be marketed directly to customers and fleet buyers who had expressed interest in electric cars from Daimler.

“We have customers who love the Smart electric drive and also customers who have children and need a back seat,” she said.

Source: Wheels

Cancelled Ram Plug-In Hybrid Seen in Testing in Death Valley

RamPHEVspypix01.jpgChrysler announced last March that it had pulled the plug on retail plans for the 2011 Ram dual-mode hybrid.

But with help from a $48-million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, the automaker said it would build 140 RAM plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, or PHEVs.

That vehicle would use a 5.7-liter Hemi V8, the two-mode transmission and a 12 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery, they said.

The company estimated that the Ram PHEV would be able to run 20 miles on electric power alone and said that it would be distributed to utility companies, government agencies and universities.

RamPHEVspypix02.jpgYou'll recall that Chrysler produced two-mode versions of the Aspen and Dodge Durango full-size sport-utility vehicles. They were available to the general public - for a very little while.

Spy photographers this week caught the vehicle being put through hot-weather testing in Death Valley. We thought you might like to see what the dead-on-arrival-for-retail Ram PHEV is looking like these days, seeing as your tax dollars contributed to it.

Note the plug socket is offset from the rear license plate.

Source: Green Car Advisor

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Electric VW Beetle Sets Off On Trans-Canada Trip

Here we have a group of university students driving an electric vehicle that can travel 185 miles traveling 60 miles per hour. Meanwhile, GM feels good about themselves in creating a 40 mile EV Volt. Are we missing something here? I would love to be able to walk into a dealership and buy an electric VW with these range figures. Their bug can travel 340 miles at 30 mph. For a commuter who does not leave the city limits, this means they could almost go two weeks between charges. Well done.

From Inhabitat:

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There’s nothing better than a road trip, unless it’s an emission-free road trip where you break a record. A group of students from the University of British Columbia are attempting to set a record for the fastest coast-to-coast drive across Canada in an electric vehicle – in this case, an electrified classic Volkswagen Beetle.

Electric Vehicles, E-Beetle, UBC club, ubc electric beetle, ubc beetle canada trip, ubc e beetle canada trip, ubc electric car club, beetle ubc electric car club canada

In an adventure that could easily be dubbed “Herbie Does Canada”, the group of students left Vancouver last week hoping to make the 4,000 mile journey in their electrified 1972 Vee Dub E-Beetle. The car was converted by the UBC Electric Car Club to run on electricity — it features a three-phase AC induction motor hooked up to a lithium iron phosphate battery.

With the new modifications, the Beetle is capable of traveling 185 miles at 60 mph and over 340 miles at 30 mph. As such, the team walks a fine line between a decent driving speed and making sure the battery didn’t go flat — especially considering that it takes four hours to recharge the battery. Impressively, the E-Beetle is capable of reaching a top speed of 85 mph and boasts four wheel discs with regenerative braking.

Friday, August 27, 2010

U.S. Army Purchases Four REV Smart-Grid Enabled EVs

REV 300 ACX Electric Vehicle

REV Awarded Contract to Provide First of Its Kind Ancillary Power Vehicles for US Military TARDEC Program

Smart-Grid Electric Vehicles: 4. Gas Guzzlers: 0

VANCOUVER, British Columbia--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Production has begun at the Rapid Electric Vehicles™ (REV™) headquarters on a revolutionary new automotive solution: 100% electric bi-directional charging Ancillary Power Vehicles (APVs) as part of the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research Development Engineering Center (TARDEC) Micro-Grid contract for delivery, testing and demonstration of a Micro-Grid at Wheeler Air Base, Hawaii. Commenced this spring, the order will incorporate three REV 300ACXs and one REV 300AZX based on the best-selling Ford Escape and Ford F150 platforms, respectively. APVs are specialized 100% electric light-duty fleet vehicles designed to increase the security, reliability and efficiency of the electric grid. They combine proprietary propulsion, power management and mobile communication technologies developed by REV. The vehicles are propelled by powerful 125 kW permanent magnet AC motor and gearbox drive systems that deliver 300 Nm (221 ft. lbs) of torque to the wheels. Combined with REV’s wireless networked energy storage systems, this drive system can convert utility and fleet vehicles into 100% electric APVs, thereby displacing the high environmental and economic costs of fossil fuel use. In addition fleets can interact with the APVs in real-time and rely on their combined energy storage for fast-response backup power in the event of damaged transformers, broken power lines, or large spikes in demand.

“REV is an innovative leader within the electric vehicle market and Valence is proud to partner with them as they introduce their extremely versatile all electric vehicles”

As the Department of Defense focuses on energy security and looks for ways to further reduce dependence on fossil fuels, there is a need to efficiently manage the power it uses and to supplement that power consumption with renewable sources. The program will involve the design, build and demonstration of a Micro-Grid with plug-in electric vehicles to determine the technical readiness of Micro-Grids to accept power from various inputs while charging the selected vehicles and provide output power to various applications in both AC/DC. The focus area is efficient power management, renewable energy integration, energy storage and smart charging of plug-in electric vehicles.

As a subcontractor to Honeywell Aerospace, REV has been awarded three contracts and is supplying TARDEC with four 100% electric APVs, four 240V Coulomb ChargePoint™ charging stations and 200 kWh of stationary energy storage powered by Valence™ Technology (NASDAQ: VLNC), a leader in advanced energy storage solutions. “REV is an innovative leader within the electric vehicle market and Valence is proud to partner with them as they introduce their extremely versatile all electric vehicles,” stated RJ Adleman, Sr VP of Sales and Marketing for Valence.

Using REV’s proprietary control strategies, the APVs energy storage systems can be remotely notified to respond in real-time and store intermittent sources of energy such as solar or wind power. In connection with the use of Micro-Grids, REV’s APVs allow this stored electricity to flow into and out of the vehicles and power high consumption equipment and buildings when connected through the Chargepoints, thereby reducing petroleum consumption.

REV’s CEO Jay Giraud notes, “This is an exciting partnership between REV, Honeywell and TARDEC, demonstrating a collaborative shift in recognizing electric vehicle technology as much more than just a transportation alternative. APV’s in fleet operations will play an important role in increasing the efficiency, sustainability and stabilization of our electricity grids. We are thrilled to be part of a leading team of companies committed to changing how we use energy.”

The TARDEC program underway is one of many partnerships bringing REV’s automotive energy efficiency technologies to industries in North America.

About REV:

Rapid Electric Vehicles, a Vancouver-based company, develops and delivers high-performance electric vehicles for North American fleets. REV specializes in vehicle-to-grid networks and bi-directional energy storage systems that support renewable energy production and a reduction of dependence on carbon-intensive sources.

If you’d like more information or to schedule an interview with Jay Giraud please contact Gabrielle by phone 604.568.5195 or email

General Motors Kicks Off Nationwide Training Tour for EV's Such as Chevrolet's Volt

Volt roofcut
A Chicago Fire Department firefighter using a hydraulic cutter to remove the roof off of a pre-production Chevrolet Volt during a demonstration at the 2010 Fire-Rescue Conference International in Chicago. Click to enlarge.

Using a pre-production example of the Chevrolet Volt as a teaching tool, General Motors launched a nationwide electric vehicle training tour and outreach project for emergency personnel this week at the 2010 Fire-Rescue International Conference in Chicago. The workshop included classroom training as well as a live extrication exercise in which Chicago firefighters practiced door and roof removal before an audience of several hundred firefighters.

Material presented in the workshop is the product of several months of collaboration with representatives of organizations such as the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), Illinois Professional Firefighters’ Association (IFPA), National Emergency Number Association (NENA), and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

Volt extrication
A Chicago Fire Department firefighter using a hydraulic spreader to perform a “dash roll” of a pre-production Chevrolet Volt, as part of a demonstration at the 2010 Fire-Rescue Conference International in Chicago. Click to enlarge.

Three pilot workshops were also held in which the automaker incorporated feedback from extrication specialists and first responders into GM’s electric vehicle curriculum for emergency personnel.

Additional workshops are planned for cities including Detroit, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., in support of the rollout of the Volt in select markets later this year. General Motors will also issue an emergency response guide (ERG) for the Volt, and will make the guide available at its Service Technical College website’s first responder page.

Powering Down The Electric Powertrain. The live extrication exercise was performed on one of more than a hundred pre-production Volts that had been subjected to crash testing. Chicago firefighters demonstrated the sequence of tasks required to safely disable the vehicle’s powertrain and extricate injured occupants.

Volt cutpoint
Underhood warning label for emergency personnel, showing cut point location to disable the Chevrolet Volt’s 12V electrical system, which controls the vehicle's high voltage circuits. Click to enlarge.

After inspecting the instrument panel to verify that a crashed Chevrolet Volt has been turned off, emergency personnel are advised to stabilize the vehicle with a standard “chock and block” procedure, and then deflate the vehicle’s tires to ensure that the vehicle remains stable during cutting and extrication operations. The vehicle’s 12 volt electrical system, which controls its high-voltage components, is then disabled by cutting its 12V battery cables at designated cut points behind a trim panel at the rear of the car.

Although a removable high-voltage service plug in the Volt’s rear center console can be used to disable high voltage components, it is designed primarily for use by automotive technicians, and can be difficult to access at the scene of an accident.

On-Board Safety Systems. As with many current passenger vehicles, the Volt automatically unlocks its doors, activates its emergency flashers, and disables its fuel pump when an airbag signal is generated. The Volt also employs two front occupant airbags, two front knee airbags, two full side curtain airbags, and two rear airbags. Airbag inflator locations are marked so that firefighters will avoid attempting cuts at or near those areas.

Pre-production Volt battery cell
An LG Chem lithium-ion battery cell, as used in the 2011 Chevrolet Volt. Click to enlarge.

The 360V, liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery pack, which one GM representative referred to as the “fifth passenger”, is bolted to the underside of the vehicle floor from underneath. The battery pack has been subjected to a wide range of abuse tests, including overcharge, discharge, vibration, excess heat and cold, short circuit, humidity, fire, crush, water immersion, salt water immersion, and nail penetration.

GM recommends that a Volt battery fire be fought with water rather that dry chemicals, and rates the Volt battery as having no explosion or electrocution hazard as the result of a collision. The high-voltage system is designed to shut down automatically in the event of an airbag deployment, and to detect a loss of communication from an airbag control module.

The Chevrolet Volt’s structural steel, with high-strength steel highlighted in blue. According to GM, the Volt’s 70% high-strength structural steel content is the highest percentage in the industry. Click to enlarge.

Ultra High Strength Steels Present Challenges. The live exercise in Chicago also highlighted a potential issue for first responders with the Volt as well as with many other late-model vehicles: the inability of some emergency cutting tools to penetrate ultra high strength steel such as boron or martensite.

High-strength structural steel was first employed in some Volvo vehicles in the late 1990s, and is now becoming more commonplace in the industry, particularly in light of new National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) federal motor vehicle safety standards (FMVSS) concerning side impact protection and roof strength integrity.

More than 70% of the Volt’s structural steel is ultra high strength steel, including the floor, which supports the vehicle’s battery pack.

Reciprocating saws are largely ineffective on high-strength steel, and high-speed rotary cutoff saws present a sparking and fire hazard. Furthermore, the jaws of older hydraulic cutting tools may spread from excessive side loads when a cut is attempted on the newer materials. Most extrication equipment providers now offer hydraulic tools that have been upgraded to work with the new steels.

Refining OnStar Services For The Volt. Representatives from General Motors subsidiary OnStar confirmed that the Volt’s powertrain configuration will automatically be transmitted to its advisors in the event of a crash that triggers OnStar services. Dispatched first responders can then be notified that the Volt has an electric powertrain before they arrive at the scene of the accident.

OnStar application advisors can triangulate the vehicle’s position to determine if it has left the roadway, and can sound the vehicle’s horn to help emergency personnel locate the vehicle.

OnStar also announced the development of an Impact Severity Predictor (ISP), a computer program that evaluates parameters such as air bag deployment, intensity and angle of impact, the presence of multiple impacts and/or rollover events. The ISP then uses an algorithm to predict the likelihood and expected severity of injuries within the vehicle. GM is working with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to develop a unified injury severity score which can be transmitted to 911 operators through GM’s OnStar emergency services network.

As about half of the nation’s 911 services give no medical instructions to injured callers, OnStar is also training their Level 2 application advisors to provide emergency medical dispatch (EMD) services, using internationally accepted MPDS (medical priority dispatch system) protocols to assist injured callers while emergency services are en route.

OnStar employs approximately 2000 application advisors, and responds to roughly 10,000 requests for emergency services each month, including around 2,000 crash events.

Source: Green Car Congress

Morgan Motor Company To Produce Electric-Diesel Hybrid - LIFEcar2

Morgan will put two new cars into production during the the next three years to complement its new Eva GT and current range.

Charles Morgan, managing director of Morgan Motor Company, said that one will be called the LIFEcar 2, but was more cagey about the second model saying only that it will be a “fun weekend vehicle”.

See pics of the new Morgan Eva GT

The LIFEcar 2 is an electric-diesel hybrid sportscar which will have a range of more than 1000 miles according to Morgan. Matt Humphries, chief sesigner at Morgan, said the other new car is “more extreme, with real entertainment value”.

Humphries also spoke about the Eva GT and said the production car will look very similar to the concept unveiled at Pebble Beach last week.

Read the full story on the new Morgan Eva GT

“We’ve got a reputation for translating show cars into road cars almost unchanged,” said Humphries. “That’s our plan for the Eva GT. It needs a high-level brake light at the rear, but that’s about all.”

Morgan said that he is very proud of how the company has progressed in the last two years, but that changes will be needed to meet tighter restrictions on CO2 emissions.

“We may be using more efficient powerplants,” he added, “but I hope our methods of construction will be the same. With any luck, we’ll still be producing the classic Morgan.”


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Buckeye Bullet Electric Streamliner Sets New Speed Record of 291 MPH

As we speak, the Buckeye Bullet Electric Streamliner, is slowing down from setting a new FIA speed record of 291 mph on the famed salt of Bonneville. The team stayed for a private FIA record attempt and has been on the salt for the past couple of days. SCTA Impound and Records Official Dan Warner has been keeping us updated. After running 288 on Sunday, the team was unable to make a return run in the FIA alotted 60 minutes that was enough to break the record. At 166, it wasn't getting the job done.

Another attempt Sunday afternoon was thwarted due to high winds, but they were able to run Monday morning and ran 277. They decided not to backup this run, and waiting for another shot at it this afternoon where they ran 286 mph. Their return run past the flying mile was 297 miles per hour, which gave them a record of 291 mph and change.

The Buckeye Bullet is the World's Fastest Electric Vehicle, and holds records at the SCTA/BNI events at Bonneville, as well as FIA records. For more information on the Buckeye Bullet, the team, and their plans for the future, click this link.

Major thanks to our man on the salt, Dan Warner (dwarner230 on the Forums), for the immediate heads up reporting. He deserves some kind of award for this...LOL

Source: Bang Shift

New York MTA Awards New Flyer of America Inc. Contract 475 CNG Buses

The Board of the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) has awarded New Flyer of America Inc., a subsidiary of New Flyer Industries Inc. a contract for up to 475 buses. The contract is for 135 40-foot compressed natural gas (CNG) heavy-duty transit buses with options for up to an additional 340 CNG buses. This order adds approximately US$216 million to the current New Flyer backlog.

These CNG buses will be operated by the New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA) and the MTA Bus Company (MTA Bus). Two pilot buses will be delivered to the MTA in the second quarter of 2011, with the balance of the base order delivered in the fourth quarter of 2011 and early 2012. The MTA is the largest transit agency in North America, and is responsible for public transportation in the state of New York.

In addition to providing bus service through the NYCTA, MTA Bus, and Long Island Bus, MTA also manages commuter rail lines, subways, bridges and tunnels. It transports more than 11 million passengers on an average weekday and accounts for approximately 30% of all transit trips in the US.

New Flyer was selected for this procurement after an extensive evaluation process for its ability to build reliable, high-quality transit buses. New Flyer currently has an agreement with MTA to provide warranty and campaign support services on site in New York demonstrating the “best bus value and support for life” approach actively deployed by New Flyer.

To date, New Flyer is ahead of the campaign support schedule specified in the agreement and costs have been maintained within estimates provided in the Company’s warranty provisions. Since 1996, New Flyer has delivered 823 buses to the MTA, including 630 60-foot diesel buses, three 45-foot diesel buses and 190 40-foot CNG buses for a total of 1,453 EUs.

Although Cummins Westport has not received a specific purchase order regarding the afore mentioned award, the company expects that it would be the supplier of natural gas engines for this order.

New Flyer is the leader in integrated CNG fuel systems, with its first deliveries of CNG buses in 1994 to San Diego; the company has delivered more than 3,500 CNG buses over the past 15 years.

New Flyer is the leading manufacturer of heavy-duty transit buses in the United States and Canada. New Flyer offers drive systems powered by diesel, LNG, CNG and electric trolley as well as gasoline-electric and diesel-electric hybrid vehicles.

Source: Green Car Congress

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Peugeot Unveils 3008 HYbrid4, World’s First Production Diesel Hybrid



* Powered by a 2.0 litre 163 bhp HDi diesel engine and a 37bhp electric motor
* Potential 74.4mpg, with 99g/km of CO2
* All electric mode (Zero Emission Vehicle)
* A maximum combined power output of 200 bhp

The Peugeot 3008 Crossover, with HYbrid4 technology, is the first diesel ‘Full Hybrid’ production car in the world

By launching the world’s first diesel full hybrid vehicle – the 3008 HYbrid 4 – Peugeot will be writing a new chapter in motoring history. The combination of a fuel efficient 2.0 litre 163 bhp HDi diesel engine and a 37 bhp electric motor is the optimal combination for a hybrid vehicle. Unlike previous hybrid vehicles which have chosen to use a less fuel efficient petrol engine, the Peugeot 3008 HYbrid4’s diesel engine provides superior Combined Drive Cycle fuel consumption of 74.4mpg, and CO2 emissions of 99g/km.

The use of diesel hybrid technology also brings a range of other benefits:

* High performance combined with excellent driveability
* Freedom and simplicity of use with the possibility of choosing four different operating modes: ZEV (Zero Emission Vehicle), Four-wheel drive, Auto and Sport
* Silent operation, when driving in electric only mode
* Peace of mind offered by the safety inherent in a four-wheel drive vehicle
* Environmental friendliness with CO2 emissions from 99g/km

The Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4 is designed to appeal to demanding, technophile customers who are in search of a rewarding and original vehicle.

In terms of performance, the Peugeot 3008 HYbrid4 benefits from the combined power of the HDi diesel engine and electric motor during acceleration and when an immediate surge of power is required (the “boost” function). The maximum combined power output is 200 bhp, 163 bhp from the 2.0 litre HDi FAP diesel engine and 37 bhp from the electric motor. A maximum torque of 500 Nm is available, split with 300Nm at the front from the HDi diesel engine and 200 Nm at the rear generated by the electric motor.

To manage all the available performance a control selector mounted on the centre console enables the driver to choose between four different operating modes.

* “Auto” mode: the entire system is automatically controlled, including operation of the HDi diesel engine and the electric motor. This provides optimal driving for fuel consumption and dynamic performance
* “ZEV” mode (Zero Emission Vehicle) provides access to an extensive all-electric mode. Activation of the HDi diesel engine is programmed to coincide with only more sustained phases of acceleration. This requires the high-voltage batteries to be sufficiently charged and turns the vehicle into a “city run-around” par excellence due to the total absence of noise and emissions.
* Four-wheel drive mode (4WD) instructs both power trains to operate together as far as possible; the rear wheels are driven by the electric motor and the front wheels by the HDi diesel engine. It offers peace of mind, safety, improved driveability and accentuates the vehicle’s dynamic character. At low speed it allows “all-terrain” capabilities equivalent to those of an SUV. The driver will, therefore, no longer be concerned by the prospect of a slippery track or a snowbound uphill drive to a ski resort
* Sport” mode favours quicker gear changes at higher engine speeds than normal mode. In this mode, the notion of “controlled power” comes into its own, coupling the diesel engine with the electric motor provides more dynamic performance, optimally distributed and transmitted to the road by the four wheel drive for a level of stability and driveability that will appeal to motoring enthusiasts.

With the Peugeot 3008 equipped with HYbrid4 technology, the aim is to appeal to customers who expect both environmental-friendliness and technological sophistication, and also genuine driving enjoyment.

Indeed, as well as the social benefit of the steep reduction in fuel consumption, the level of performance provided by this technology will delight even the most demanding customers in terms of road holding, responsiveness, driveability, peace of mind regardless of road conditions and the possibility of enjoying silent operation in town in the all-electric mode.

HYbrid4 technology brings together Peugeot’s best technologies and experience: HDi diesel engines, electric vehicle knowledge, second-generation Stop & Start and electronically-controlled sequential manual gearboxes.

The “hybrid” power train simply combines an HDi diesel engine and an electric motor. With their exceptional efficiency, HDi diesel engines are thermodynamically more efficient than a petrol engine and offer a 30% reduction in fuel consumption. Clearly the HDi diesel engine is the best internal combustion engine choice.

For the “electric” component, Peugeot has historical expertise in the field of electric vehicles. To date, the 106 Electric, marketed between 1995 and 2003, remains the world’s best selling zero emissions car (in total nearly 10,000 vehicles were produced). At the end of 2010, Peugeot will become the first to launch a latest-generation 100% electric vehicle in Europe, the Peugeot i0n.

Pursuing the common sense approach of capitalising on the best existing components and expertise, it was only natural to use Peugeot’s electronically-controlled 6-speed manual gearbox, not only for its engine management capabilities but also for its ability to optimise fuel consumption. To improve performance even further a second-generation STOP & START system is also used.

The choice of hybrid architecture was also guided by the search for optimal efficiency and consistency. Hybrid technology uses two power trains which can operate alternately or simultaneously:

* The HDi diesel engine operates in its most optimal operating window on longer, out-of-town journeys. A diesel engine still remains the most efficient and versatile choice to power any vehicle
* The electric motor takes over from the HDi diesel engine in phases of lower power demands, particularly when pulling away, driving at low speed and decelerating (for energy recovery). These are precisely the features that characterise urban driving

Changeover from the HDi diesel engine to the electric motor occurs automatically, due to a STOP & START system which places the HDi diesel engine in standby and restarts it as and when conditions require (the operation of the accelerator pedal, low battery charge level, etc…).

The two power sources also complement each other in certain driving conditions (“boost” effect during hard acceleration, or when overtaking another vehicle, for example). The performance of the HYbrid4 is therefore directly comparable to that obtained with a single HDi diesel engine of a much higher capacity, with good levels of responsiveness backed by a real breakthrough in terms of reduced fuel consumption and CO2 emissions (around 35 % less in the combined cycle for equivalent performance).

The electric motor and its ancillary equipment (inverter, converter, etc) are fitted at the rear of the vehicle. This provides a number of advantages not only in terms of customer benefits and it also helps reduce costs and optimise the production process.

The original layout of the Hybrid4 system allows for the possibility of four-wheel drive. The HDi diesel engine drives the front wheels, while the electric motor (in the rear drive train) drives the rear wheels.

Everything is controlled electronically (“by wire”) and there are no mechanical links between the front and the rear drivetrains. This gives the system many advantages over a “traditional” mechanical system.

* No structural constraints affecting the layout and design within the passenger compartment
* 4×4 and environmental-friendliness are no longer contradicting terms

The installation at the rear, of all the vehicle’s “electrical components”, has further technical and economic benefits.

Firstly, it avoids the need for any major redesign of the vehicle’s engine compartment, while also improving weight distribution. It also leaves intact the possibility of using a range of different capacity engines, for possible future introduction.

Secondly, this architecture is achieved by means of the use of a simple and compact rear module containing the electric motor, its ancillary equipment and also the rear drive train and suspension.

The costs of the rear module are, therefore, reduced because of the technical possibility of deploying the same HYbrid4 technology into different market segments, in different body shapes, etc…, regardless of the type of internal combustion engine used.

A real breakthrough in terms of reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, while improving dynamic performance levels, providing four-wheel drive and an electric only mode, HYbrid4 technology brings a number of benefits without compromises.

Furthermore, the driveability, safety and eco-efficiency of the system are based on simple, reasonable and consistent technological choices.

The Peugeot 3008 Crossover was chosen as the first application of this innovative technology.

The Peugeot 3008 HYbrid4 – In Detail

2.0 litre HDi FAP 163 bhp diesel engine
With a capacity of 1997 cm³, this Euro 5 engine develops a maximum power of 163 bhp at 3750 rpm and a maximum torque of 300Nm at 1580 rpm. To obtain this level of performance it uses Peugeot’s latest generation ECCS (Extreme Conventional Combustion System) combustion chamber design, a variable-geometry low-inertia turbocharger, a high-pressure injection pump allowing a maximum pressure of 2000 bar and solenoid injectors with eight apertures.

Naturally this is combined with the latest generation “octosquare” Eolys additive-enhanced diesel particulate emission filter (FAP) system.

Electronically-controlled 6-speed manual gearbox (BMP6)
The HDi diesel engine is mated to an electronically-controlled manual six-speed sequential gearbox:

* In automatic mode its electronic control helps provide significant savings in fuel consumption, compared to a traditional automatic gearbox or even a traditional manual gearbox
* It offers real driving satisfaction derived from the possibility of choosing the gear change mode at any time – manual or automatic – with either the gear lever or via controls behind the steering wheel

The gear change quality of the gearbox has been enhanced with HYbrid4 technology, as the rear electric motor is activated during gear changes to improve the smoothness of the operation, and sustains drive in between gear changes.

Latest-generation STOP & START system
This system places the HDi diesel engine in standby when the vehicle is at a standstill (at traffic lights, a stop sign or in a traffic jam, etc) and when the vehicle is being driven in electric-only mode. It significantly reduces fuel consumption and emissions in urban driving conditions while also enabling.the HDi diesel engine to be restarted instantly and smoothly, when required.

The “high voltage” STOP & START system has a maximum output of 8 kW and can generate enough energy to supply the power requirements for the rear electric motor if required (four-wheel drive mode).

Rear suspension
To ensure a dynamic performance on a par with Peugeot’s reputable road holding standards, the rear electric module also includes a multi-arm rear suspension within which are housed the electric motor and the reduction gearbox.

The ESP system fitted to the 3008 HYbrid4 incorporates an “improved traction control system” (ASR) able to exploit the car’s four-wheel drive capabilities to the full on challenging surfaces. The performance of the system can be enhanced by the fitment of optional 16” ‘Mud & Snow’ tyres.

Electric motor
The synchronous permanent magnet electric motor is located at the rear of the vehicle. It provides a constant 27 bhp, with a peak output of 37 bhp. It generates a constant torque of 100 Nm, or a peak of 200 Nm when necessary.

PTMU (Power Train Management Unit)
The PTMU is the electronic control unit that automatically manages the different operating modes of the HDi diesel engine and the electric motor, programmed to optimise fuel consumption.

An inverter and a converter are used to control the electric power. The inverter controls the torque of the electric motor by regulating the electrical current supplied from the high-voltage battery pack. It operates in a voltage range of between 150 and 270 volts. The converter reduces the 200 volts from the high-voltage battery pack into 12 volts to supply the vehicle’s onboard systems.

On the Peugeot 3008 HYbrid4 all these components have been made as compact as possible to optimise the installation and weight effect in the vehicle.

High-voltage battery pack
The Ni-MH (Nickel Metal Hydride) batteries are located under the boot floor, near the electric motor. The high-voltage battery pack is in addition to the standard 12V battery under the bonnet, which carries on performing its normal duties.

In the medium term, this battery technology remains the most appropriate in terms of cost and industrialisation for vehicles produced in large volumes.

Energy recovery
An energy recovery system (the electric motor becomes a generator) enables the kinetic energy created by the vehicle to be transformed into electrical energy to recharge the Ni-MH batteries during deceleration (release of the accelerator pedal and during braking). This recovery system enables the driver to re-deploy the “free” (Kinetic) energy to reduce fuel consumption accordingly.

Man-machine interface
A 7” 16/9 colour screen or a multi-function display, according to the car’s specification, informs the driver in real time of the operating status of the hybrid power train. It also shows, for a given journey, operating times in different modes and the status of the battery charge.

On the instrument panel the left-hand dial indicates the percentage of power used or recovered during phases of braking or deceleration. Different scales indicate the battery status: Charge, Eco (optimal operating range), Power, Boost (maximum use jointly with the HDi diesel engine).

To develop its HYbrid4 technology, the PSA Peugeot Citroën Group has teamed up with suppliers offering the best expertise in each field. Based on the manufacturer’s technical specifications, BOSCH has provided its expertise with respect to the electric motor, the power electronics, the reversible high-voltage alternator / generator and other systems managing the dialogue between these components, the braking and trajectory correction systems (ABS and ESP). Similarly, SANYO has provided its extensive knowledge in the field of Ni-MH high-voltage batteries.

A distinctive design
The new Peugeot 3008 HYbrid4 is distinguished by its cutting-edge technology, combining responsible driving and driving enjoyment, but also by its specific styling.

At the front, Peugeot’s latest design cues have been adapted to match the 3008’s generous dimensions and to mark a break with existing models. The headlamps now have an integral bar of LEDs providing a daytime lighting function and accentuate the 3008’s appearance. The 3008 HYbrid4 also proudly wears the Marque’s new Lion badge on its bonnet.

At the rear, the rear spoiler has a two-tone finish with a high gloss black section, helping to differentiate it from the other 3008 models in the range, as do the chrome badges which decorate the sides and rear of the car.

Inside its roomy architecture, the driving position bears all the hallmarks of a top-of-the-range vehicle, or even that of an aircraft cockpit. An expansive fascia panel, controls within easy hand’s reach and an ergonomic centre console clearly separate the territory of the “pilot”. Combined with a raised and dominating driving position it has everything in place to reward its drivers and offer a range of new driving experiences not previously found in a conventional hybrid vehicle.

Distinctive materials are deployed throughout to accentuate the Crossover feel and explore new avenues of expression. This is true in particular of the new and specific Guérande & Tramontane two-tone leather finish which subtly combines bright pale grey on the seat cushions with a black finish on the sides of the seats.

The gear lever with its modern and elegant design is a key feature of the HYbrid4 technology. It enhances the technological ambience in the same way as the 7” colour display which provides information on the flow of energy. A specific steering wheel bearing the signature HYbrid4 adds a touch of exclusivity to the car.

“Multiflex” interior
Due to its intelligent “Multiflex” interior and clever integration of the batteries and the innovative rear suspension, the Peugeot 3008 HYbrid4 can also be transformed to offer a considerable load capacity under the parcel shelf of 420 litres (362 dm3 VDA), with 66 litres (29 dm3 VDA) available under the boot floor.

The split lower tailgate opens to reveal a boot with a flat floor equipped with longitudinal securing rings that exude quality and strength. From the boot, a rear seat folding system, controlled by switches mounted on the load area side trims, allow the seats in the second row to be folded automatically, ‘as if by magic’.

Combined with the folding front passenger seat, the 3008 HYbrid4 offers a perfectly flat floor from the tailgate to the fascia panel. This frees up a gigantic 1501 litre compartment that is easy to load.

Driving aids:
Comfortably seated behind the steering wheel, drivers will note among the equipment at their disposal certain references to the world of aviation.

For example, to ensure that the driver never needs to take an eye off the road ahead, and as in a jet aircraft, essential driving information is projected onto a retractable transparent panel which cleverly extends from the instrument panel. The Head-Up Display system can be adjusted by means of toggle switches.

These switches, located above the centre console, add a further touch of style to the in-car ambience. They also control another original item of equipment – the Distance Alert system. As its name implies, this function helps the driver to keep aware of the safe distance from the vehicle in front, according to the 3008’s speed.

Another item of equipment that helps to ensure maximum driving convenience is the Parallel Park Assist (PPA). This system assesses the size of a space during parking manoeuvres and determines the possibility of parking in it.

Similarly, the electric handbrake coupled with the Hill Assist function, helps the driver during manoeuvres but also optimises the interior space within the vehicle.

Finally, a latest-generation satellite navigation system helps to guide users on their travels.

The Peugeot Connect 3-D Media Navigation (NG4) includes all the benefits of the Marque’s existing satellite navigation systems. These include a juke-box function, linked to a hard disc, Peugeot Connect services, GSM function, a USB connector, a DVD player, a Bluetooth® system and a display which shows specific buildings in full 3D.

The Peugeot 3008 HYbrid4 is a Crossover with an exceptional technological content offering unique versatility and safety, unrivalled driving enjoyment and CO2 emissions of a very low level. Peugeot’s choice of the diesel hybrid demonstrates that it is possible to combine uncompromising environmental demands with driving experiences not previously available in a hybrid vehicle.

The 3008 HYbrid4 will be produced in France (in Sochaux and Mulhouse) and marketed in the spring of 2011 in Europe.

Prius Gets Noise-Maker Option for Pedestrian Safety

Just the Facts:
  • An optional speaker system will give the Prius an audible humming sound.
  • The point is to alert pedestrians when the car is operating in electric-only mode.
  • Initially, Toyota will only offer this feature in Japan.

TOKYO — The Toyota Prius is ubiquitous on roads around the world, but it and other hybrids have been criticized for being too quiet — potentially posing a danger to pedestrians, especially blind people, who don't hear its approach. Now Toyota is offering a "humming" speaker system as an option for the Japanese-market third-generation Prius.

The speaker system whirs, making "a synthesized sound of an electric motor," while the Prius is operating in electric-only mode. The noise level doesn't exceed that of an internal-combustion vehicle, Toyota says. It can be turned on and off with a switch.

The option will be priced at just under the equivalent of $150 in Japan, plus installation, and goes on sale August 30. Toyota is considering making it available in other markets, including the U.S. The automaker says it will also add this feature to other hybrid and electric vehicles in the future.

Source: Inside Line

Honda Jazz Hybrid – Low Emissions and Practicality

An Emerald Green Honda Fit Hybrid

Press Release

Honda Jazz Hybrid – Low Emissions and Practicality

August 25, 2010 – The Jazz Hybrid will make its world motor show debut at the Paris Motor Show in September, further demonstrating Honda’s continuing commitment to petrol-electric hybrid technology.

The launch of the latest addition to the practical Jazz line-up will mark the first time a parallel hybrid vehicle has been available to B-segment consumers. The IMA hybrid motor and control system are shared with the Insight and CR-Z hybrids, taking advantage of the proven reliability of this important technology. With almost two decades of development and 10 years of sales behind it, the Honda IMA system has proven itself to be a flexible and dependable technology, with over half a million vehicles on the road benefitting from its combination of low emissions and fuel economy.

The new model will feature the same engine as the Insight hybrid, the 1.3 liter i-VTEC engine is combined with a CVT gearbox with an electric motor sandwiched between the two to create a parallel hybrid system. Like the Insight and Civic Hybrid models the Jazz Hybrid will be capable of running on the electric motor alone under some medium and low speed conditions.

Much of the Jazz’s practicality is derived from its height but despite being taller than the Insight, the Jazz Hybrid manages to maintain fuel consumption and CO2 emissions on comparable levels.

Visually the Jazz hybrid is distinguished from the current Jazz range with revised headlights, with a blue surround, clear rear lights, new front grille, restyled bumpers and a chrome tailgate garnish. The new hybrid will also be available in a range of existing colors plus a bespoke Lime Green metallic.

Inside the cabin is also given a fresh look with darker single color dashboard, which contrasts strongly with the blue lighting of the dials and stereo. The new hybrid is also available with leather trim, the first time this has been available on a Jazz model in Europe. The Jazz hybrid will go on sale in some European markets in the early part of 2011, prices and full specifications will be announced in due course.

Along with Jazz Hybrid, Honda stand will display a special edition of European made Civic, the 2011 model year Insight, CR-Z, the current petrol Jazz, CR-V, Accord and Accord Tourer, as well as the sports touring motorcycle VFR1200F equipped with “state-of-art” V4 engine, and a stylish PCX scooter with lower emission idle-stop 125cc engine.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Chevy Volt Video - 0 to 60 in Under 9 Seconds and Less than 30 MPG in CS Mode

A new video has been unearthed which shows a lucky reporter who gets an extended ride in the Chevy Volt. What makes the video interesting is the look at the data readout on the LCD showing the metrics for this particular drive. Some quick math shows that the oil fired combustion engine/generator obtained about 27 mpg. When the Volt was first introduced, it was hoped this engine could get closer to 50 mpg. The driver also was able to achieve 0 to 60 in a respectable 8.53 seconds in Sports mode

The reporter appeared to come away quite happy about the Volt and having apparently also driven the Nissan LEAF found the Volt superior in interior room, handling and driving performance. The Volt “borders on sporty and is fun,” he said.

See video:

Remy International, LLC, has entered into an agreement with MotoCzysz LLC to bring a new electric drive system to market

Remy International, Inc. subsidiary Remy Electric Motors, LLC, has entered into an agreement with MotoCzysz LLC to bring a new electric drive system to market. The drive system leverages Remy’s patented High Voltage Hairpin (HVH) electric motor technology (earlier post) and patent-pending cooling and integration technology from MotoCzysz (earlier post).

The first D1g1tal Dr1ve utilizing a liquid-cooled Remy internal permanent magnet (IPM) motor will create class-leading torque of 250 lb-ft (339 N·m) and 100 kW (135 hp) of power at 93% efficiency, measured at the rotor. Future models will extend the D1g1tal Dr1ve range to include an even more powerful drive as well as a smaller, more compact option. Remy and MotoCzysz will make the game-changing D1g1tal Dr1ve unit available in the second quarter of 2011.

MotoCzysz, an internationally recognized design and engineering firm and a leading innovator in the American motorcycle industry, now focuses primarily on electric drive systems and electric vehicles.

I believe electric drives are the purest and best solution to propel the majority of automobiles around the world. The D1g1tal Dr1ve was designed specifically with that vision in mind. Our partnership with Remy Electric Motors will allow us to deliver a modern, simpler, evolved replacement for the 100 year-old gas engine. Remy is a powerhouse in electric motor design and manufacturing and our first choice for a partner in this emerging sector. Our mutual goal is for the D1g1tal Dr1ve to deliver the highest performance, greatest efficiency and most integrated packaging solution available for companies needing electric drive solutions.

—Michael Czysz, Founder and CEO of MotoCzysz

Remy, a leading global manufacturer, remanufacturer and distributor of light duty starters and alternators and Delco Remy brand heavy-duty systems, also manufactures electric motors for hybrid and electric vehicles.

MotoCzysz proved their ability to optimize a Remy motor with their astounding test results and win in the TT Zero electric motorcycle race on the Isle of Man this year. Integrating that same groundbreaking engineering with the patented Remy HVH motor is a win for our electric automotive and light duty commercial customers. Remy and MotoCzysz have the experience and technology to make this remarkable propulsion system the new industry standard for electric automobiles.

—John Weber, Remy CEO

The new D1g1tal Dr1ve system was originally designed to fit a motorcycle frame. Applied to automobiles, this weight and size advantage, coupled with high performance, will provide OEMs, integrators and converters with leading efficiencies, the partners said. In typical electric vehicles, various components from a variety of vendors are assembled and then connected together via wires. The D1g1tal Dr1ve system optimizes and matches all high-voltage components in a single housing.

The highly integrated system is packaged as a super axle located between the two drive wheels. Additionally the D1g1tal Dr1ve’s nearly wireless solution provides additional overall safety for the vehicle.

Source: Green Car Congress

Monday, August 23, 2010

CES Study Finds 40% of American Adults Likely to Test Drive an EV

Forty percent of consumers report they are likely to test drive an electric vehicle, according to a new study of online American adults from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). The study, Electric Vehicles: The Future of Driving, suggests electric vehicles entice consumers with improved environmental quality and potential cost savings, but leave them with questions about battery life and convenience of battery charging.

Consumers are open to considering an electric vehicle in the future, with 42% reporting they are likely to follow news reports about electric vehicles. However, overall awareness of the various types of alternative vehicles remains low. While nearly one-third (32%) report they are familiar, or very familiar, with hybrid vehicles, only about one-quarter are familiar with electric-powered vehicles (25%).

Those consumers who are open to buying an electric vehicle cite the positive environmental impact and potential cost savings as primary reasons to do so. More than three-quarters of those surveyed (78%) said the vehicle’s ability to run without gasoline is the greatest advantage, followed by less pollution (67%), and the lack of need for oil changes and tune-ups (60%).

For a new product category, interest in electric vehicles is strong and likely to grow as more vehicles enter the market and consumers become more aware of them. Manufacturers, dealers and other sellers will need to emphasize mileage and battery-related specifications when promoting and selling electric vehicles.

—Chris Ely, CEA’s manager of industry analysis

According to the study, consumers perceive several disadvantages about electric vehicles. Concerns about mileage potential before needing to recharge (50%) and battery life (34%) top the list. Cost of the vehicle, reliability and availability of charging stations are also key concerns many consumers have.

The study finds running out of battery power on the road (71%), lack of charging stations and/or not being able to recharge (66%) and limited mileage (59%) are the most common perceived disadvantages with electric vehicles. Home charging stations may also impact purchase decisions. Half of consumers (51%) would be less likely to consider purchasing an electric vehicle if they would have to install special charging equipment for the batteries.

Environmental benefits, coupled with potential cost savings in fuel and tune-ups, will lead to increased interest for electric vehicles and potential floor traffic at dealerships. But concerns regarding battery life, charging stations and limited mileage may keep some consumers away until a comprehensive infrastructure is in place.

—Chris Ely

For the first time, electric vehicles will be featured at the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), showcasing a full range of high- and low- speed vehicles, energy storage devices and charging equipment. This new CES TechZone will feature major automotive companies, including Audi, in the Las Vegas Convention Center’s North Hall.

Electric Vehicles: The Future of Driving (August 2010) was conducted from 27 May – 3 June 2010. It was designed and formulated by CEA Market Research, the most comprehensive source of sales data, forecasts, consumer research and historical trends for the consumer electronics industry. The complete report is available free to CEA member companies at Non-members may purchase the study for $699 exclusively at

Source: Green Car Congress

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Maruti Suzuki Launches Five New CNG Models

The fact that only a handful of cities in India currently have supply of CNG (compressed natural gas) for automotive use is an obvious deterrent for car buyers who are looking to buy vehicles factory-fitted with a CNG kit.

Most buyers of such cars in cities, where CNG stations currently vend this environmentally-friendly gas, are doing it either for meeting some mandatory regulation or to leverage the low cost of operating the vehicle. Yet, the beneficial impact on the environment and the city's ambient air quality can be good enough reason to extend the availability of this gas.

With more gas reserves being discovered within the country and with the supply infrastructure improving, more cities will get access to this alternate fuel.

New models

In the meanwhile, foreseeing the potential, Maruti Suzuki, the country's largest passenger car maker has extended the dual-fuel technology in its cars to include more models in its range. The models include the SX4, Eeco, WagonR, Estilo and Alto. They are being launched in Delhi, NCR (national capital region), Mumbai and Gujarat.

These dual-fuel models now feature the company's flagship CNG engine technology called ?intelligent Gas-Port injection' and have been priced about Rs 45,000 to Rs 55,000 higher than their comparable petrol engine only counterparts.

According to Maruti, the i-GPI or Intelligent Gas Port Injection bi-fuel technology offers an intelligent drive, since it ensures more power vis-?-vis retro-fitted CNG vehicles and offers a peppier ride, which is at par with that of a regular petrol-fuelled engine, all the time achieving high fuel efficiency.

As has been the case in the past too, the factory fitted CNG vehicles score higher on safety and reliability vis-?-vis the aftermarket retro-fit kit options.

A company release said that Maruti Suzuki's CNG vehicles pass through all the quality checks, processes and systems similar to a regular car manufactured at MSIL's plants.

The Tech

Maruti Suzuki R&D team has integrated the advanced Intelligent Gas Port Injection technology with the Company's range of engines and products to bring the benefits to buyers in newer car segments.

Compared to alternative aftermarket options, the i-GPI technology incorporates Dual ECU (Engine Control Unit) technology.

This highly reliable system delivers accurate amounts of gas to the engine thus ensuring improved and consistent performance under various driving conditions.

With CNG being a cheaper fuel, the running costs of these dual-fuel vehicles can be almost 60 per cent lower than the conventional fossil fuel alone options.

The i-GPI technology uses separate injectors for each cylinder. Based on feedback from and inputs from the ECU, a metered amount of CNG is injected to the engine through the gas ports.

The quantity of CNG required for different driving conditions is controlled by the dedicated ECU, leading to more efficient fuel usage.

Similar to the usual pre-launch evaluation, each of the cars with i-GPI CNG technology has been extensively tested for around two lakh kilometers in varied terrains.

In addition, over 3,000 hours of bench tests have validated the design and performance to bring this combination of performance and reliability for the customers.

As the CNG technology is factory fitted the customers will enjoy the full warranty benefits including extended warranty.

Source: The Hindu

Porsche 918 Spyder Plug-In Hybrid Supercar Out in the Wild - VIDEO

In this video produced and released by Porsche, Michael Mauer, the company’s design chief, takes us on the 918’s first in-the-wild drive prior to the recent Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in Montery, California.

In the video Mauer brings up some salient and stark points saying, “Due to the environmental discussion, there were big, big question marks about the future of this type of car, and therefore as well, of the future of the Porsche brand.” To the world of automotive enthusiasts—even though many do care about things like preserving the environment and weaning ourselves off of oil—the clear direction of the future of emissions and fuel economy requirements was a shot across the bow of an obsession with all things vehicle-related.

But, as Mauer remarks, “The most important message is that there is no contradiction anymore between performance, between having fun driving a car and this whole environmental discussion.” So rest easy automotive enthusiasts, there is hope for a future with limited oil and stricter regulations. Just one listen to the sound of the 918’s growl is enough to rest your twitchy, apprehensive muscles.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Six Volts Topping Pike's Peak - VIDEO

Volt director Tony Posawatz, describes what GM is learning from its repeated trials up and down the Peak:

“As you know, we are very serious about the testing we do on our cars, especially the VOLT with it being loaded with so many “technology firsts,” he said. “We try to prove to ourselves that in the most severe and harshest environments that every VOLT will exceed our expectations including on-going “tweaks” as we finalize our software/controls and assure full completion of all of our tests.”

“It is pretty fun to continue to do work on Pikes Peak when you know your car can handle it,” said Posawatz. “Do all other plug-ins tout their prowess on Pikes Peak? I think not.”

“You know our ReGen braking recaptures a lot of electric miles on the way down and records a really low brake pad temp,” he added. Such low temperatures have occurred that a ranger who performs mandatory brake testing seven miles from the summit actually had to check the Volt twice with his laser gun.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Chinese Automaker Dongfeng Backs Up EV Rush With $440 Million

Just the Facts:
  • Dongfeng wants the new-energy cars to account for 20 percent of its sales.
  • The Chinese automaker has registered 67 patents for new-energy vehicles.
  • Dongfeng said it will focus on hybrid cars before it turns to battery technologies for pure-electric cars.

SHANGHAI, China — China's third-largest auto group, Dongfeng Motor Corp., plans to invest $440 million over the next five years to hasten the commercialization of fuel-efficient and eco-friendly new-energy vehicles.

The company's green-car blueprint is the latest in a series of enthusiastic moves by China's domestic auto industry to further the development of new-energy vehicles, which are expected to attract $15 billion in investment over the next 10 years.

Dongfeng, the Chinese partner of Honda, Nissan and PSA Peugeot Citroen, said it will focus on hybrid cars for commercialization before extending self-developed battery technologies to pure-electric passenger cars and commercial vehicles.

The company, based in Wuhan, aims to sell 100,000 medium and full hybrid vehicles and 50,000 pure-electric cars a year by 2015. Its long-term plan is to make the energy-saving and new-energy vehicles account for 20 percent of its total Dongfeng-branded passenger cars.

Dongfeng will also strive to sell 800,000 new-energy vehicles through 2020.

"We have set new-energy vehicles as our mid- to long-term strategy, and we want to grab the business opportunity and lead the industry," Xu Ping, chairman of Dongfeng Motor, said.

Currently, Dongfeng has registered 67 patents for new-energy vehicles. More than 400 vehicles powered by new energies or energy-saving technologies are running on trial in cities such as Wuhan and Shanghai.

In early June, China announced plans to subsidize purchases of energy-efficient cars in five cities, with hopes to spur the sales of green cars by more than 4 million units by 2012.

That encouraged carmakers, including multinational brands such as Toyota and General Motors, as well as home-grown automakers such as BYD, to raise output of alternative-energy vehicles.

Source: Inside Line

New Lithium Ion Chemistry Delivers High Capacity and Excellent Cycling Stability

(a) SEM image and (b) cross-sectional images of Li[Ni0.67Co0.15Mn0.18]O2 with a concentration gradient outer layer. Kim et al. (2009) Click to enlarge.

A team from Hanyang University (Korea), Iwate University (Japan) and Argonne National Laboratory in the US synthesized a novel Li[Ni0.67Co0.15Mn0.18]O2 cathode material encapsulated completely within a concentration-gradient shell and investigated its electrochemical and thermal properties.

The discharge capacity of the concentration-gradient Li[Ni0.67Co0.15Mn0.18]O2 electrode increased with increasing upper cutoff voltage to 4.5 V, and cells with this cathode material delivered a very high capacity of 213 mAh/g, with excellent cycling stability even at 55 °C. A paper on the work was published online 3 August in the journal Electrochimica Acta.

In an earlier paper (Sun et al. 2009) published in the journal Nature, the team suggested that this type of material could enable production of batteries that meet the demanding performance and safety requirements of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

Ni-rich metal oxides are attractive as lithium storage materials for rechargeable lithium batteries because of their lower cost and higher reversible capacity than commercialized LiCoO2. Of these compounds, Li[Ni1-xCox]O2 is one of the most promising; however, the material suffers from low thermal stability and multiple phase transition resulting from structural instability during cycling.

The researchers had earlier reported that two novel core-shell cathode materials, Li[(Ni0.8Co0.1Mn0.1)0.8 (Ni0.5Mn0.5)0.2]O2 and Li[(Ni0.8Co0.2)0.8(Ni0.5Mn0.5)0.2]O2, exhibit excellent cyclability and thermal stability [2, 3]. The core delivered high capacity, while the shell provided high thermal stability.

However, in these core-shell materials, the composition of the transition metals at the interface between the core and the shell changes rather sharply, even though a small amount of metal diffusion is observed in the interface, they reported. If the abrupt composition change occurs at the interface between the core and the shell, the interface could act as a barrier to Li+ diffusion, thereby decreasing the electrochemical properties of the material, they noted. The concentration-gradient approach is intended to address that issue.

The Li[Ni0.67Co0.15Mn0.18]O2 has a core of Li[Ni0.8Co0.15Mn0.05]O2 that is rich in Ni, a concentration-gradient shell having decreasing Ni concentration and increasing Mn concentration toward the particle surface, and a stable outer layer of Li[Ni0.57Co0.15Mn0.28]O2.

In their paper, they investigated and compared the electrochemical and thermal properties of the new material to those of the core Li[Ni0.8Co0.15Mn0.05]O2 material alone.

The researchers attributed the enhanced thermal and lithium intercalation stability of the Li[Ni0.67Co0.15Mn0.18]O2 to the gradual increase in tetravalent Mn concentration and decrease in Ni concentration in the concentration-gradient shell layer.

Source: Green Car Congress

Ford Tests Li-Ion Batteries With Help From Internet and Wireless Technologies

Ford Motor Company is leveraging the Internet and wireless technology to accelerate testing and refinement of the advanced lithium-ion battery systems that will power its upcoming plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles.

Engineers collect real-time performance data from batteries in the lab and on vehicles in the field via a secure Internet server, and wirelessly update system software to manage thermal load and maximize power capability, energy capacity and lifecycle durability. These proprietary methods have significantly reduced test-fleet downtime and allowed Ford to more than double its battery lab-testing capability.

System-specific engineers are notified via email whenever these software update opportunities occur, based on adaptive event monitoring that can detect conditions of interest and automatically collect relevant data. This method has already led to at least 20 major design improvements for Ford’s future plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles.

Ford will launch two zero-emission all-electric vehicles—the Transit Connect Electric light commercial van in North America in late 2010 and in Europe in 2011, followed by the Focus Electric passenger car in North America in 2011 and Europe in 2012. Two next-generation hybrid electric vehicles and a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle follow in North America in 2012 and Europe in 2013.

Source: Green Car Congress

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Mini Eschews Diesel Hybrid For Increased Fuel Efficiency

Mini’s engine boss has ruled out the possibility of introducing a diesel hybrid system, even though one of its key powerplant partners, PSA Peugeot Citroën, is ploughing ahead with the technology.

PSA jointly developed the Mini’s petrol motors with BMW — and its diesels were only recently replaced in the line-up by Munich-sourced engines.

But Wolfgang Kuttler, head of Mini diesel engines, told Autocar that the PSA Hybrid4 — due to appear on the DS4 and 508 — was “a very expensive and heavy system”.

He added, “It only brings fuel savings in town, not on the faster, more open roads commonly used in Europe. We’ll never use a system like it at Mini for that reason.”

According to Kuttler, Mini is focusing on improving economy in its diesel engines using other methods.

“I believe that we are currently getting about 50 per cent of the efficiency available in diesel engines,” he said.

“We intend to concentrate on improving ancillary drive, lowering internal friction, increasing injection pressure and optimising turbo response, among other aspects. Variable valve timing is a possibility but it’s low down on the priority list.”

BMW has already announced that it is working on a three-cylinder turbodiesel engine for the future, but Kuttler said this configuration will need a 1.5-litre capacity or more — “not only to keep the BMW and Mini performance values but also because it is not efficient to have an engine so short of power that it must be worked hard”.

Introducing the Izaro GTe electric Supercar

Izaro GT e

It seems like there is a new electric or alt-fuel sportscar coming out of Europe every week, each more exotic and exciting than the last. Unfortunately, the vast majority of these cars turn out to be vaporware.

That sketch above? That’s the Izaro GTe—a slinky electric GT envisioned by a bunch hot-blooded Spaniards. But the Izaro is different from the vaporware pretenders in one key area: it’s real.

The teaser sketches shown here reveal the design language of Izaro’s first offering. Izaro’s directors promise that an official reveal will come later this year, and promise that fully-road-legal production of the lithium-ion batteried exoticar will begin before the end of this year. Izaro has promised investors that the car will be priced (and profitable!) at approx. 55,000 Euro.

The car’s dead-sexy looks and promises of spirited, long range drives through the Spanish country side come courtesy of the Izaro’s extensive use of lightweight composites and a stiff, spaceframe chassis… all of which begs the question: How did an unknown car-maker, based in a company with zero effective auto industry experience (Seat is run by VW in Germany), manage to scrape up a for-real exotic, with for-real technology, and put it all together at a for-real price?

The answer, of course, is that they didn’t.

The Izaro GTe is based on Factory Five Racing’s $19,990 GTM supercar.

The GTM is a do-it-yourself exotic capable (in theory) of taking on-track battles directly to Porsche, Ferrari, and others. I have a bit of direct experience with Factory Five from the early days of my career (back in the late 90’s) and I can testify to the firm’s engineering and coach-building skills, and they’ve put unholy amounts of money into developing the GTM’s chassis and aero package over the past decade.

That wind-tunnel? Serious. Money.

The Factory Five boys were ready to loose their trackday terror onto the world right as the real-estate bubble burst and the sub-prime credit crises drove the market for DIY sportscars into the toilet. I don’t know for sure what their sales projections were for the GTM, but I would bet they weren’t anticipating the financial hurdles of 2008 (and today!).

Enter: Izaro.

You can almost hear the dialog in the company founder’s head. ”It’s perfect! We’ll buy a few of these cars, create our own custom-look, fill the made-for-V8 engine bay with electric motors and battery packs, then buy the cars as kits from Factory Five when if we sell them.”

Throw a little of that Latin flair for design into a bit of custom bodywork to separate it from Factory Five’s GTM (nothing too crazy, though – don’t want to waste all those wind-tunnel dollars) and viola! Instant world-class exotic.

If all of that sounds like criticism, it isn’t. It’s sour grapes. I wish I had thought of it, first!!

Source: Gas2.0