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.

 
The Right Fit: Honda's 2015 Subcompact Print E-mail
Written by AlterMyEnergy   
Thursday, 17 April 2014 12:39

Honda has revealed their anticipated 2015 Fit. The old Honda Fit was so popular in the United States that Honda consistently struggled to produce enough Fits in Japan to keep up with demand here. The 2015 Honda Fit hatchbacks are already rolling off the line at a brand-new plant in Celaya, Mexico, that has a production capacity of 200,000 units per year. Problem solved. This new plant will also be home to a new addition to the Fit family, a subcompact crossover that will compete with the funky Nissan Juke.

Despite all the love for the first two iterations of the Fit, Honda saw room for improvement with the 2015 Honda Fit. The subcompact segment has evolved over the past few years, with newer competitors offering better fuel efficiency, more technology, and higher levels of refinement than the outgoing Honda Fit. To get back to the top of the class, the redesigned Fit must zero in on these areas without straying from Honda’s proven small-car formula.

There’s no reason to think that demand for this new Fit won’t be just as high as before, if not higher. The 2015 Honda Fit is more efficient, more refined, and better-equipped than before without sacrificing the practical appeal and peppy personality that have made it a success thus far. To accentuate the fresh exterior styling, the Fit will be available in eight colors, including several vibrant options.

Read the full article here.

 
Keeping an Eye on Energy in 2012 Print E-mail
Written by AlterMyEnergy   
Monday, 05 December 2011 00:00

Canada’s energy industry saw markets for its two main products head in sharply different directions in 2011: Global oil prices (CL-FT100.700.110.11%) averaged a record high $111 (U.S.) per barrel for the year, while natural gas prices in North America languished.

That disconnect prompted North American companies to focus their exploration on crude, and on natural gas plays that offer the prospect of extremely low-cost supply or “liquids-rich” gas that contains high-value propane and butane.

In 2012, companies are likely to continue that shift, while high-profile battles over the oil sands, pipeline projects and fracking will also persist. At the same time, both crude oil and natural gas prices may reverse course modestly during the year, as natural gas demand picks up and supply growth slows, and as global suppliers boost production as developed economies struggle out of recession.

Read the full article here.

Last Updated on Thursday, 19 January 2012 19:38
 
GM has Big Interest in Battery Power Print E-mail
Written by AlterMyEnergy   
Thursday, 27 January 2011 15:11

It seems cheap batteries are the wave of the future if we are to embrace electric vehicles.  General Motors has invested $7 million in Envia Systems, a California-based start-up that has been developing more powerful and cheaper batteries for electric vehicles.

Newark, California-based Envia has developed cathode technology for lithium-ion batteries that it says will make them both cheaper and more powerful.

GM said Wednesday it also reached a separate licensing agreement to use the Envia cathode technology in future electric vehicles.

The investment marks the second time this month that GM has taken a stake in a start-up in order to assure its access to technology related to electric vehicles.

In early January, GM announced that it was investing $5 million in Powermat, a company that provides wireless charging for electronic devices like cell phones. The top U.S. automaker plans to incorporate the Powermat technology into upcoming vehicles, including the 2012 Chevrolet Volt.

GM CEO Dan Akerson, who took charge of the top U.S. automaker in September, has said he wants to see the company move faster to roll out plug-in hybrids derived from the Volt while increasing production of the Volt this year and next.

Robert Stempel, former chairman of GM, has been a member of Envia's board of directors since May 2010.

GM founded a venture capital arm in June last year with $100 million in funding. GM Ventures is headed by Jon Lauckner, a veteran GM engineer, and overseen by GM Vice Chairman Steve Girsky, the former investment banker in charge of strategy at the automaker.

My prediction is that in the next 18 months there is a major breakthrough in extending battery power for electric cars!

 
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