Hydrogen fuel cells winning the alternative fuel debate Print E-mail
Written by AlterMyEnergy   
Friday, 27 February 2015 22:52

The debate about whether electric or hydrogen is better when it comes to alternative fuel is ongoing among automakers. At least for the moment though, hydrogen fuel cells seem to be winning.

The potentially game-changing Hyundai Tucson can be refueled in less than 10 minutes, according to the automaker, and "makes the transition from gasoline to hydrogen as seamless as possible," said a report from Automotive News.

"The hydrogen fuel cell debate is no longer a chicken-and-egg conundrum. The fuel cell vehicle has arrived first. It works," wrote Richard Truett after driving the Hyundai Tucson.

The compact sport-utility vehicle, which uses fuel cell technology to convert hydrogen into electricity, has received an approving nod from Consumer Reports as well. 

"It drives much like a normal Tucson, but without an engine it's actually much quieter. Hyundai claims it will go 265 miles before you have to refuel it. That's pretty amazing for an electric vehicle," said Jake Fisher, auto test director for Consumer Reports.

That kind of driving range trumps just about anything offered for a pure electric car. Tesla's Model S famously leads the electric-vehicle market with a 265-mile battery range, but the sedan is only available for those who can afford to pay upward of $70,000.

Plus a Tesla takes about 20 minutes for the battery to charge halfway, while a fuel-cell vehicle can typically be refilled for full driving range in about 10 minutes.

Read the full story here.

US President Warns Drivers that Gas Prices Won't Stay Cheap Forever Print E-mail
Written by AlterMyEnergy   
Thursday, 22 January 2015 20:07

President Obama is encouraging American's to choose fuel-efficient cars today, because gas may not be so cheap in the future.

Low gas prices typically make fuel-efficient cars less attractive to consumers, and right now prices are very low indeed.

Yet President Barack Obama hopes U.S. car buyers won't clamor for gas guzzlers.

He cautioned that cheap gas prices won’t last indefinitely, and encouraged Americans to buy more fuel-efficient cars in an interview with The Detroit News.

That interview came just ahead of Obama’s speech at a Ford assembly plant in Wayne, Michigan, Wednesday promoting the success of the auto-industry bailout.

The plant produces the Focus and C-Max, but it’s been idled due to low demand for those fuel-efficient vehicles.

One has to admit, that’s a bit ironic.

Obama said the current low gas prices are temporary, and that people are better off buying more-efficient cars because of long-term environmental benefits—and to avoid a rude awakening when prices eventually increase.

If prices suddenly return to $3.50 a gallon, Obama said, “you are going to not be real happy.”

Read the full story here.

Last Updated on Thursday, 22 January 2015 20:11
2014 Known for Advancements in Green Cars Print E-mail
Written by AlterMyEnergy   
Wednesday, 31 December 2014 00:00

With another year winding down, it's time to take a look at the advancements that have been made throughout the year.

So how did 2014 measure up in terms of boosting vehicle fuel efficiency and reducing emissions?

According to the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) advocacy group, it was a very good year indeed.

In a summary blog post, the NRDC says tightening fuel-efficiency standards and increased electric-car adoption made 2014 particularly green.

The group cites Environmental Protection Agency data showing record new-car average fuel economy of 24.1 mpg for 2013 models (the most recent with available data).

That upward trend is likely to continue in 2014. The Wards Auto Fuel Economy Index already estimates average fuel economy at 25.1 mpg for the first 11 months of 2014.

The NRDC also cites U.S. Energy Information Administration data showing that gasoline usage dropped 1.3 percent in the first nine months of 2014, compared to the same period in 2013.

The same research anticipates a further 1.4-percent drop in demand in 2015--despite currently-low gas prices and an expected increase in personal-vehicle use of 0.5 percent.

That's largely due to efficiency improvements resulting from impending Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) regulations--which mandate a fleet-average 54.5 mpg by 2025 (equivalent to 42 mpg on the window sticker).

Read the full story here.

Last Updated on Friday, 02 January 2015 13:43
New Green Cars Unveiled at L.A. Auto Show Print E-mail
Written by AlterMyEnergy   
Tuesday, 25 November 2014 18:32

California is such a green state, it comes as no surprise that many automakers chose to reveal their newest green vehicles at the LA Auto Show.

California is leading the charge for the new technology, with sizeable investments from municipalities, government agencies, and the companies building the cars. If a sustainable hydrogen economy is going to materialise in the US, it will be in California.

That said, Toyota was alone in debuting a production-ready fuel cell car – the Mirai – after Honda made a late decision to delay the launch of its rival sedan. With the Mirai, Californians now have a choice of two hydrogen-fueled cars, the other being Hyundai modified Tucson. Deliveries, however, won’t start until the end of next year.

Following in Toyota’s zero-emission footsteps was Volkswagen, which revealed a converted Golf. The ‘HyMotion‘ has a similar range to the Mirai, at just over 300 miles, but no plans for production have been announced.

Volkswagen’s sister-brand Audi had a new take on hydrogen power, showing a plug-in hybrid A7 prototype that mated a battery-electric powertrain with fuel cells. The technology is perhaps the best compromise for travelling long distances without harmful emissions, as owners can charge up at their homes if a hydrogen station is inconvenient to reach. A new mild-hybrid concept also pointed towards a new A9 Hybrid sedan.

Read the full story here.

Electric Vehicle Sales Reach All Time High in US Print E-mail
Written by AlterMyEnergy   
Tuesday, 21 October 2014 13:28

In the month of September, the percentage vehicles sold in the US that were plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) reached it's highest point yet.

This is news for optimism. For an environmental group like the Sierra Club, it is this percentage that we care about more than total EV sales (which were strong, but not outstanding last month). As a way to slash oil use and emissions, we need people to switch from driving to transit, biking and walking -- meaning fewer auto sales and less driving overall. But for the millions who will continue to drive in the near future, we need them to switch to EVs, which are significantly cleaner than conventional vehicles.

According to the latest monthly scorecard from the prolific EV media site InsideEVs, auto manufacturers sold 10,538 electric vehicles (EVs) in the US last month. This includes both plug-in hybrids and full battery electrics. Out of the 1,246,006 total vehicles sold in the US last month, plug-in vehicles made up .85 percent of total vehicle sales in September -- the highest percentage to date according to our calculations.

This portion may sound small, but it's 20 percent bigger than the percentage from September 2013.

What accounts for this highest ever percentage last month? Presumably, the more than 90,000 people who attended National Drive Electric Week events in 150+ cities in mid-September were part of the reason -not to mention the hundreds of thousands more who read our 200+ media hits from the week's exciting events. The increasing number of appealing plug-in cars on the market must also play a factor as well as glowing consumer reviews of cars like the Volt, the Leaf and the Model S -- to name a few.

Read the full story here.

Students Build Electric Car that Acutally Sends Power to Grid Print E-mail
Written by AlterMyEnergy   
Wednesday, 24 September 2014 18:02

Eindhoven University of Technology’s “Stella” electric car isn't like other electric cars built at Universities around the world. This one, named Stella (which means “star” in Latin), seats four, meets crash-test standards in the Netherlands and possibly even here in America and produces more electricity in a year than it would expend in average daily use, thus sending excess power to the grid.On a clear day when the sun is at its brightest Stella makes 1.4 kilowatts of electricity from the array of photovoltaic cells plastered on its roof.

With two remarkably efficient motors driving the front wheels, a very low cross section for less wind resistance and tires that are seven times easier to roll than typical car tires, Stella can travel at 45 mph using only the electricity it makes from sunlight, or 1400 watts.“The same as a toaster,” said engineering student team leader Lex Hoefsloot. Room for four. Photo by Mark Vaughn For going any faster than that there’s a big onboard battery running the length of what looks like a transmission tunnel down the center of the car. Between the 16-kWh battery and the solar panel the car has a top speed of 80 mph and a range of almost 500 miles, Hoefsloot said.

The body is carbon fiber with an integrated roll cage. The cross section, the total surface it presents to the wind, is about half that of a regular car. There is neutral lift front and rear, meaning it is very aerodynamically efficient. But you’ve seen many electric cars made by college students that can run at great efficiencies.“The technology is not new,” said Hoefsloot. “It’s really about reshaping the car.”

Read the full story here.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 September 2014 18:07
Study Finds Luxury Cars Worst On Resale Value Print E-mail
Written by AlterMyEnergy   
Friday, 13 June 2014 02:16

Wondering which vehicles are best when it comes to retaining value?

Pickup trucks, famous for their rugged construction, generally fair best when it comes to depreciation and luxury cars fare worst, a study by an auto website, CarGurus.com, finds.

The study looked at the prices of used cars from the 2008 to 2012 model years from March 2013, to March 2014. Some 577 models were studied, with the median model losing 9.8% over the one-year period.

The 2012 Ram pickup fared best in the study for retained value on a list that also included the Nissan Titan, Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Silverado, along others. The highest-ranking used car on the list was the Dodge Charger in third place.

Among biggest losers, the list includes 2010 BMW 3 Series, 2012 Mercedes-Benz E Series, 2008 Volvo XC90, 2009 Audi A4, 2009 Cadillac STS and 2012 Cadillac SRX.

Read the full article here.


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