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Thread: Alternative Cars/Vehicles

  1. #76

    Post Will be Revised as Needed ...

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    Hybrid Cars, SUVs and Trucks 
    
     	Availability
     
    	  	  
     	Cars
    	  	  	  
     	Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid	  	2008	  
     	Honda Accord Hybrid             Now	  
     	Honda Civic Hybrid              Now	  
     	Honda Insight Hybrid	  	Now	  
     	Hyundai Accent Hybrid	  	2008	  
     	Kia Rio Hybrid	  	        2008	  
     	Lexus GS 450h Sedan Hybrid	Now	  
     	Lexus GS 600h Sedan Hybrid	2008	  
     	Nissan Altima Hybrid	  	Now	  
     	Saturn Aura Hybrid	  	Now	  
     	Toyota Camry Hybrid	  	Now	  
     	Toyota Prius Hybrid	  	Now	  
    
     	  	  	  	  
     	SUVs
    	  	  	  
     	Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid	  	2008	  
     	Ford Escape Hybrid	  	Now	  
     	GMC Yukon Hybrid	  	2008	  
     	Lexus SUV RX 400h Hybrid	Now	  
     	Mazda Tribute Hybrid	  	2008	  
     	Mercury Mariner Hybrid          Now	  
     	Saturn VUE Hybrid	  	Now	  
     	Toyota Highlander Hybrid        Now	  
     
    	  	  	  	  
     	Trucks
    	  	  	  
     	Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid	Now	  
     	GMC Sierra Hybrid	  	Now	  
     	  	  	  	  
     	  	  	  	  
    © 2008 NewWaveCars.com  All Rights Reserved.

  2. #77

    Default

    We must acknowledge that there are alternative cars/vehicles herein cited - such as roadable aircraft and water cars - that are oriented toward flexible design, not environmentally-friendly matters.

    Nevertheless, a majority of the cars/vehicles are spurred on by these same environmental concerns.

    Paradoxically, the article ahead is at odds with most types of cars/vehicles on the road, but would be in-line with the cars/vehicles just referenced. Specifically one vehicle mentioned in this piece, has been posted already, the Aptera. We could have added many more to Alex Steffen's list.







    Special Report
    Cities: A Smart Alternative to Cars

    Creating compact communities—and eliminating the need to drive everywhere—may be the best way to slash greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles


    by Alex Steffen
    11 February, 2008


    The answer to the problem of the American car is not under its hood.

    Today's cars are costly, dangerous, and an ecological nightmare. Transportation generates more than a quarter of U.S. greenhouse gases, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. A portion of that comes from moving freight around but more than 20% is personal transportation. Our vehicle emissions are a major climate change contributor, but what comes out of the tailpipe is only a fraction of the total climate impact of driving a car, and the climate impact is in turn only a part of the environmental and social damage cars cause. Improving mileage will not fix these problems.

    The best car-related innovation we have is not to improve the car but to eliminate the need to drive it everywhere we go. In the U.S,, we need to stop sprawl and build well-designed compact communities. The land-use patterns in our communities dictate not only how much we drive, but how sustainable we can be on all sorts of fronts. And sprawled-out land uses generate enormous amounts of automotive greenhouse gases. A recent major study, Growing Cooler, published by Smart Growth America, a coalition of national, state, and local organizations that addresses urban planning, makes the point clearly: If 60% of new developments were even modestly more compact, we'd emit 85 million fewer metric tons of tailpipe [car emissions] CO2 each year by 2030—as much as would be saved by raising the national mileage standards to 32 mpg.

    So we know that density reduces driving. We know we're capable of building really dense new neighborhoods with plenty of open space, welcoming public places, thriving neighborhood retail, and a tangible sense of place. Just look at Vancouver, which has redeveloped its downtown core into a dense mix of retail, jobs, and housing. Not only is the result one of the most liveable cities in North America, but 40% of all downtown Vancouver households are car-free.


    Overhauling the American City

    We're also capable of using good design, infill development (new, denser development in vacant or underused lots), and infrastructure investments to transform existing medium-low density neighborhoods into walkable compact communities. Creating communities dense enough to save those 85 million metric tons of tailpipe emissions is (politics aside) easy. It is within our power to go much farther: to build whole metropolitan regions where the vast majority of residents live in communities that eliminate the need for daily driving, and make it possible for many people to live without private cars altogether.

    Generally, we think of cars as things which are quickly replaced and buildings as things which rarely change. That will not be the case over the next few decades. Because of population growth, the ongoing development churn in cities with buildings being remodeled or replaced, citywide infrastructure projects and changing tastes, half of the American-built environment will be rebuilt between now and 2030. Done right, that new construction could enable a complete overhaul of the American city.

    This is especially true since we don't need to change every home to transform a neighborhood. Many cities prevent denser development through bad building codes. But many inner-ring suburban neighborhoods, for instance, could become terrific places simply by allowing infill development. Strip-mall arterials could be converted to walkable mixed-use streets. This transition can happen in a few years.


    We Can't Wait For Changing Auto Design

    In comparison, it takes at least 16 years to replace 90% of our automotive fleet, and since it takes years to move a car design from prototype to production, it looks likely that the cars most people in the U.S. have available to drive in 2030 will not be all that different from the more efficient cars today. I'm optimistic that at least some radically engineered, nontoxic, fully recyclable electric cars will be on the road by then, but it's extremely unlikely that (barring massive government intervention) they'll be anything like the norm. We should not wait for automobile design to fix this problem.

    There's no need to delay building bright green cities. Better design solutions for buildings, communities and, in many cases, infrastructure either already exist or are mid-development. And new innovation is exploding. Car-sharing is the best-known and perhaps most illustrative example but it's far from the only one. Barcelona runs the phenomenally successful "Bicing" program, renting bikes to anyone with a swipe card. Wired urban living might very well soon evolve into a series of systems for letting us live affluent, convenient lives without actually owning a lot of things.

    When you build closer together, you also create the conditions for dramatic energy and cost savings. Researchers at Brookings note: "Transportation costs are a significant part of the average household budget. The average transportation expenditures for the median income household in the U.S. in 2003 was 19.1%, the highest expenditure after housing."


    Dense Can Mean Efficient

    But that 19.1% figure is the median. How much individual households spend varies enormously, and how much we pay for transportation is determined largely by the location of our homes. People who are living in extremely dense areas, getting around mostly on foot, by bike, and by transit, with the occasional use of a car-share vehicle, can find themselves paying a small fraction of that 19.1%.

    What's more, the public burdens created by car-free or car-light lifestyles are so minimal that some municipalities (like Seattle) are actually finding that it makes good fiscal sense to encourage people to give up their cars by subsidizing transit passes and car-sharing memberships.

    People in compact urban areas also pay substantially less in other energy costs. Dense neighborhoods are far more energy-efficient than even "green" sprawl, and innovation trends in green building seem to me to benefit compact development. Carbon taxes can incentivize even more energy-efficient developments—as they may soon in Portland.


    Compact Communities Can Enhance Quality of Life

    Pollution from a car isn't limited to its emissions and leakages. That new car smell? Toxic. We currently have no replacements for most of the bad components, and we don't appear to be much closer to a truly recyclable car. The best try of which I'm aware is the Model U, William McDonough's collaboration with Ford (F), which is an interesting start but a long, long way from a closed-loop car. Yes, there are a bunch of smart folks hard at work on these issues and on some pretty exciting designs — the 100-mpg Aptera, for instance, or the proposed VDS Vision 200, a "hyperefficient four-to-six-passenger vehicle earmarked for India that will demonstrate a 95% reduction in embodied energy, materials, and toxicity," according to the Vehicle Design Summit.

    But whether green cars arrive, building bright green cities is a winning strategy. Most arguments against land-use change presume that building compact communities is a trade-off; that by investing in walkable, denser neighborhoods we lose some or a lot of our affluence or quality of life. But what if the gains actually far outweigh the costs not only in ecological and fiscal terms but in lifestyle and prosperity terms as well?

    Green, compact communities, smaller, well-built homes, walkable streets, and smart infrastructure can actually offer a far better quality of life than living in McMansion hintersprawl in purely material terms: more comfort, more security, more true prosperity. But even more to the point, they offer all sorts of nonmaterialistic but extremely real benefits that suburbs cannot. Opponents of smart growth talk about sacrificing our way of life, but it's not a sacrifice if what you get in exchange is superior.

    Just as a home is more than the building in which it resides, a life is more than the stuff we pile up around it. We all know this to be true. In building bright green cities we do more than help avert a monstrous disaster for which we are largely responsible. We might just awaken on the other side of this fight to find ourselves prosperously at home in the sort of communities we thought lost forever, leading more creative, connected, and carefree lives.



    This is an edited version of an article that first appeared on Worldchanging.com.

    Alex Steffen has been the Executive Editor of Worldchanging since he co-founded the organization in 2003. He was the editor of Worldchanging's first book, Worldchanging: A User's Guide for the 21st Century (Abrams, 2006).


    Copyright 2000-2008 by The McGraw-Hill Companies Inc. All rights reserved.

  3. #78

    Default Vehicles that use Natural Gas: Honda Civic GX CNG/NGV - 1




    Vehicles that use Natural Gas

    Honda Civic GX CNG aka
    Honda Civic GX NGV




    As you may know, the gas of choice for Alternative Motor Cars is Hydrogen NOT Natural Gas. And there are several reasons why, not the least of which Hydrogen can be made to be relatively safe in the worse case scenario of an accident.

    Nevertheless, there are pluses for Natural Gas cars that will be brought out in the following post on this version being sold on a Honda Civic platform. Perhaps the three leading pluses, in no particular order: convenience (same gas as you probably use at home), relatively low operating cost, and significant reduction in pollutants.

    Note that CNG refers to "Compressed Natural Gas," and NPV substitutes for "Natural Gas Vehicle." As these terms relate to this Honda they are more or less interchangeable. NGV, however, is the more common of the two terms in referencing vehicles of this type.







    March 2008

    2008 Honda Civic GX CNG: First Drive
    This natural gas car is like the regular sedan but cleaner, on a gasoline-free diet, and with a shorter range







    Overview. The Honda Civic GX has one trick up its sleeve: Its four-cylinder engine runs on compressed natural gas instead of gasoline. The resulting emissions are negligible enough to earn the car California's partial zero-emissions (PZEV) status, and the one we bought has been attaining a gasoline-equivalent of nearly 32 mpg, which is very good.

    But this green adaptation of the Civic sedan brings a few compromises. The most serious is that natural-gas refueling stations are few and far between.
    There are only three in Connecticut, although some other states have many more. Currently, there are about 1,600 CNG stations nationwide, versus almost 200,000 gasoline stations.

    The GX's CNG tank also occupies a good deal of trunk space and once filled, it holds the energy of just eight gallons of gasoline. Honda rates the GX's cruising range at 220 to 250 miles, but that might be optimistic. In our car, the low-fuel light has been coming on after only 150 miles of driving. That warning indicates only 30 miles left, which provides little leeway to look for a fill-up location given their scarcity in our area. The 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine boasts only 113 horsepower instead of the gasoline models' 140 horsepower, so the GX is a little lazy when merging. The initial price is a little steep—we paid $25,185 for ours—but right now that's offset by a sales-tax exemption and a generous $4,000 federal tax credit.

    Initial impressions. The GX drives similarly to a regular Civic, with a good ride and sound handling, although the handling does feel a little less crisp than in the EX version we've tested. The powertrain, with its five-speed automatic transmission, operates smoothly. The reduced engine power makes merging onto a highway a little slower than it is with the Civic LX. As in other Civics, road noise remains pronounced.

    As for the economics of running a natural-gas engine, that varies from place to place. Prices per gasoline gallon-equivalent range from $1.65 to $3.49 right now. Some stations keep the cost low, comparable to the price of domestic natural gas, some artificially raise it to the price of diesel.

    To fill up the GX, you connect a thin rubber hose from the dispensing pump to a snap-on receiving nozzle on the car. Then you rotate a valve and lift a handle on the pump. The process is just a little slower than pumping gasoline. Consumers in California and New York who have natural gas piped to their home can opt for the "Phill," a device that hooks up to a household natural gas line. Since it has to pressurize household gas to 3,600 psi, it takes the Phill several hours to replenish the GX's tank. The Phill costs about $3,500 to buy. A $1,000 federal tax credit defrays some of the cost, and additional subsidies of up to $2,000 are available from various environmental authorities. The ability to refuel overnight helps address the limitations with fuel pump availability.

    CR's Take. If the natural gas infrastructure in your area is well developed, and if you plan to use the car mostly for routine commuting, then the GX makes sense economically and environmentally. But taking a long trip requires prior knowledge of refueling sites and the tiny trunk means you'll also be traveling light.



    Last edited by Zephyr; August 24th, 2008 at 07:25 AM.

  4. #79

    Default Vehicles that use Natural Gas: Honda Civic GX CNG/NGV - 2




    Vehicles that use Natural Gas

    Honda Civic GX CNG aka
    Honda Civic GX NGV





    American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) awarded the Civic the green ribbon as the greenest vehicle of 2008. That’s the fifth consecutive year it’s taken the top prize.

    The Cleanest Cars on Earth?: Honda Civic GX and Other Natural Gas Vehicles (NGVs)


    Written by Clayton B. Cornell
    Published on May 5th, 2008


    Clean Burning Natural Gas Vehicles (NGVs) are hot commodities in some parts of the country, where fuel can sell for as low as $0.63 per gallon.

    Unlike the world’s most fuel efficient car (VW’s 285 MPG bullet), the Honda Civic GX looks like a standard passenger vehicle. What makes it special is what you don’t see: tailpipe emissions that are often cleaner than ambient air.

    The Civic GX is powered by compressed natural gas—methane—the simplest and cleanest-burning hydrocarbon available.
    With an economical 113-hp, 1.8-Liter engine, the EPA has called the Civic the “world’s cleanest internal-combustion vehicle” with 90% cleaner emissions than the average gasoline-powered car on the road in 2004.

    And get this: in Utah, natural gas can be purchased for $0.63 per gallon.

    At $24,590, buying a new Civic GX won’t exactly break your bank account, especially since up to $7,000 will come back to you in the form of state and federal tax credits. But don’t expect to find one easily. The car is only sold in two states, New York and California, and Honda can’t build them fast enough. One dealership said they have over 80 people waiting to buy.

    It’s fairly obvious why densely populated states would be interested, especially since natural gas is a readily available source of heating fuel for many parts of the country. Most importantly, the Civic is the Eagle Scout of emissions certifications: it qualified for the California Air Resources Board’s Advanced Technology Partial Zero-Emission Vehicle (AT-PZEV) status, which means that it’s a Super-Ultra-Low-Emission Vehicle (SULEV) with zero-evaporative emissions. To qualify for AT-PZEV, the Civic must also carry a 15-year/150,000-mile warranty on emissions equipment. It also meets EPA’s strict Tier-2, Bin-2 and ILEV certification.

    Despite getting the equivalent of a good but not quite amazing 36 MPG highway/24 MPG city, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) awarded the Civic the green ribbon as the greenest vehicle of 2008. That’s the fifth consecutive year it’s taken the top prize.

    So what’s the downside?


    Drawbacks to the Civic GX and other Compressed Natural Gas Vehicles

    Earlier this week I was clued-in to the explosion in popularity of compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles in Southern Utah, and their potential to overwhelm the 91 refueling stations already in place there.


    • That’s the biggest drawback to NGVs: There are only about 1,600 CNG stations nationwide (compared to 200,000 gas stations), though some areas (like Utah and California) are better served than others. To see where these stations are, see the alternative fuel locater from Mapquest (under #2 on that post).


    One way to get around this is to buy your own natural gas refueling station. Since a large number of us burn natural gas for heat, this doesn’t require much more than setting up a pump. The refueling kits, made by FuelMaker, will set you back about $3,500, but that can be offset by substantial tax credits.


    • Second drawback: since natural gas is a compressed fuel, the tank takes up some trunk space, and only holds the equivalent of 8 gallons of gasoline. Honda estimates the vehicle’s range to be 220 to 250 miles, although Consumer Reports claimed it was closer to 180 miles.


    NGV enthusiasts are getting around range limitations (and vehicle scarcity) by converting their own vehicles to run on natural gas and adding spare tank capacity. Throwing extra tanks in the bed of a truck, for example, can boost driving range to around 600 miles. The best part about converting a vehicle (as opposed to the Civic GX) is that if you run out of CNG, the system automatically switches back to gasoline.


    • Third drawback: NGVs don’t provide that great of a reduction in greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions when compared to their gasoline counterparts.


    According to the industry group Natural Gas Vehicles for America (NGVA), the reduction is only 20%, which is about the same GHG reduction you get from corn-based ethanol. That doesn’t sound too impressive, but it’s still a reduction, and clean air could be worth it.

    The big question mark is natural gas supply. If large amounts of biomethane can be produced from biomass (which is probably already done at your local landfill), the emissions reductions would be much greater.


    But What About Natural Gas Supply?

    Natural gas supplies 20% of all energy use in the US. According to NGVA: “Even if the number of NGVs were to increase 100-fold in the next ten years to 11,000,000 or roughly 5% of the entire vehicle market (a formidable goal), the impact on natural gas supplies and the natural gas delivery infrastructure would be small — equating to about 4 percent of total U.S. natural gas consumption.”

    At first glance, that sounds pretty good, but any increase in natural gas usage means importing more fuel.

    Taking a look at data from the Energy Information Administration, the US uses about 21.6 trillion cubic feet of natural gas per year, most of which is produced domestically (18.5 trillion cubic feet) with the difference being imported (4.2 trillion cubic feet). Proved natural gas reserves in the US amount to about 211 trillion cubic feet. If my math is correct, without taking into account any increase in demand, the US only has about 11.5 years of natural gas left. After that, we’re back to square one: importing oil from Russia, Qatar, Iran, and Saudi Arabia

    Like petroleum, two-thirds of world natural gas supply exists in just a few countries. If we’re at all worried about having domestic (let alone renewable) energy sources, basing the future of US transportation on natural gas puts us right back in the same position we’re in now.

    Also like petroleum, there is an “infinite supply” argument: “Don’t worry, we won’t run out… promise.” NGVA says that if we can tap into methane hydrate ice formations that exist under 1000 feet of water at the bottom of the arctic oceans, we’ll be just fine. Right now, this is about as plausible as time travel, and methane hydrates serve a very important function—they’re a crucial sink for carbon dioxide in the global carbon cycle.


    Conclusions

    Whether or not we’ve learned our lesson about importing foreign energy, natural gas could still provide a functional infrastructure and technology for transition to hydrogen fuel cells. Natural gas is currently the number one feedstock for producing hydrogen, and refueling stations along California’s hydrogen highway may produce the fuel by reforming natural gas on-site. Basically, this gives us a transition fuel until we figure out how to make hydrogen sustainably.

    As for the Honda Civic GX, it may be the cleanest-burning vehicle on the market, but the drawbacks listed above are likely to keep NGVs out of mainstream production for the forseeable future. It seems unlikely that natural gas will stay as cheap as it currently is in Utah, but relatively low pricing could keep the car’s popularity high in some areas. It will be interesting to see how things resolve there. …






    Photo Credit: Honda


    Last edited by Zephyr; August 24th, 2008 at 07:25 AM.

  5. #80
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    They need to work on it a bit, but it sounds pretty neat.

    Why they are selling the home-pumps for so much ($3500) i do not know. Maybe they have additional compressor pumps...

    Also, when they talk about availability of stations, are they including any place that SELLS compressed gas (Propane, CO2, etc) in their lists? Maybe instead of depending on a special pump or nozzle, these guys should get teh message and try to use something a bit more standard so, if worst came to worst, you could hook up your barbeque's tank to your car to get that last 20 miles to the depot/station.


    Oh, 118 HP is seriously lagging. I know that it is hard to get efficient power, but still, 118?

  6. #81

    Default

    Sorry Ninjahedge, but it is not 118hp, it is 113hp ... so it is worse than you thought.

    There is no other way to put it: the horsepower is meager, no matter which way you phrase it - even if it is only compared to other Civic models. And keep in mind, that this is currently the most expensive Civic sold, with regard to base price.

    But when you compare this Honda NGV to Toyota’s hybrid Prius - since there is no CNG equivalent – the Honda GX comes out better: 113hp@6300rpm versus Toyota’s 110hp@5000rpm. (The torque/rpm translates to 109@4300 for Honda GX versus 82@4200 for Toyota Prius.) The price differential is not much different between these two models if you compare the 4 Door versions, and both vehicles are touting environmental responsibility, not performance.

    Where Toyota Prius is markedly superior, however, is MPG, and that is probably the result of Honda benchmarking against the standard Civic, not the hybrid - which they already directly compete with a separate model. Moreover, that inability to fuel "on the go" in most places, makes the GX even more of a commuter car than any hybrid.

    With any kind of serious "National Energy Plan," including a built-in "bridge strategy," this could all easily change in a hurry, given that Natural Gas is already available in most areas of this nation from a sourcing standpoint. Just a matter of building appropriate fueling stations, or additions to current stations, by adapting current techniques to that purpose. But the "devil is in the details": how would you encourage and then properly regulate this emergent industry?; could a bridge strategy prevent a more fundamental change?; could this idea further accelerate the decline of this American automobile industry, and things associated with it? Then there is that nagging import problem a few years out that would have to be accounted for in some way.

    Yet we have the example of Honda, going ahead with this NGV strategy for almost ten years now, and a number of other alternatives in the pipeline that haven't made it to market yet, like "solar assist." Clearly this effort isn't motivated by pure altruism. I suspect that this company, along with several others, will develop these sundried technologies into a post-gasoline world, for which some nations will be ill prepared to join in and take advantage.

    .
    Last edited by Zephyr; August 23rd, 2008 at 06:55 AM.

  7. #82

    Default Vehicles that use Natural Gas: Honda Civic GX CNG/NGV - 3




    Videos of
    Honda Civic GX CNG/NGV and "Phill"



    Jay Leno Tests Honda NGV

    CLICK PHOTO IMAGE BELOW
    To Access Video
    (preceded by commercial)




    photograph – Courtesy Popular Mechanics; video – NBC Universal and Honda

    Runtime: 07:35
    (including 30 second commercial)
    Honda Civic GX Natural Gas Vehicle:
    Kelley Blue Book's Take


    CLICK PHOTO IMAGE BELOW
    To Access Video




    photograph – Courtesy Honda; video – YouTube / kbb

    Runtime: 07:01
    MotorWeek (2005 Models) -
    Home "Phill" Up ... With Natural Gas


    CLICK PHOTO IMAGE BELOW
    To Access Video




    photograph – Courtesy z.about.com; video – YouTube / edmundjenks

    Runtime: 05:09

    Last edited by Zephyr; August 24th, 2008 at 07:58 AM.

  8. #83

    Default Vehicles that use Natural Gas: Honda Civic GX CNG/NGV - 4




    Gallery of Images
    Honda Civic GX CNG/NGV




    Honda Motors, courtesy city-data / nico7


    Pacific Honda


    Courtesy Honda


    Courtesy Desinformado



  9. #84
    Senior Member NewYorkDoc's Avatar
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    This fits into this thread I believe...

    Today I had the pleasure of driving the Bronx Zoo MadagasCAR. It's a promotional car offered through Zipcar. I have been wanting to drive a Prius for a long time so this was the perfect opportunity.

    P.S. I have no idea who the fellow to the right is. He was pulling weeds (I think) from the sidewalk cracks when I pulled up.
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  10. #85
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    Zeph, my bad on the 5 horses, but it goes further to illustrate my point.

    I think the whol auto industry should start looking more into this though. We have PRODUCTION SEDANS that get over 300HP! Why? What reason in Gods Green Earth do we have for a 4 door to go from 0-60 in less than 6 seconds? (no specific stat there, just illustrative).

    The obvious thing is that we want something that has power. Like MANY things in our lives, they start to embody who we want to be, who we want to be seen as, what we want to represent. But with gas getting expensive, we might get a pushback on this.

    I would love to see a 200hp hybrid that could get 40mpg compared to a similar 250 or 300hp standard that gets 20. The two biggest problems that hybrids, economy cars, and electrics have had is their (well fitting) stereotype as geeky/granola Green vehicles that have no real spunk, handling, towing or other capacities.

    No ba.....male reproductive organs.

    Now, it can be argued that these, um, round thnigs are not needed, but need and want are two different things that don't always walk hand-in-hand.

    If some of these guys will jump on this gas crunch now, maybe we can get even STANDARD gasolene powered vehicles up and over 30MPG without any loss to power or performance.

    Until that happens, you will only get the typical "someone" to buy a hybrid, or NGV, or electric, when their "need" overpowers their "want".

  11. #86

    Default

    An NGV - Gasoline car is very interesting to me. Most driving would be done on the Nat Gas, while long trips would be on gasoline. A conversion kit plus a Phill station would be approx $ 7k. A lot of gas can be purchased for $7k though.

    Liberating myself from the gas station does appeal to my Inner-Geek.

    Maybe I should convert my Hot-Rod to Nat Gas. It's higher octane would allow me to bump up the compression on that monster mill.

  12. #87

    Default Update to Tesla Section - 15 October 2008



    Tesla Section starts here, and spans pages 4 through 5.
    Tesla update ahead:






    Extraordinary times require focus


    by Elon Musk
    Chairman of the Board, Product Architect and CEO
    Wednesday, October 15th, 2008


    These are extraordinary times. The global financial system has gone through the worst crisis since the Great Depression, and the effects are only beginning to wind their way through every facet of the economy. It’s not an understatement to say that nearly every business will be impacted by what has unfolded in the past weeks, and this is true for Silicon Valley as well.

    At Tesla, we have decided that the wise course of action is to focus on our two revenue producing business lines - the Roadster and powertrain sales to other car companies. In the Roadster, Tesla has a unique product with a large order book that continues to grow, despite softness in the automobile sector. Our powertrain business is profitable today and is also growing rapidly.

    Our goal as a company is to be cash-flow positive within six to nine months. To do so, we must continue to ramp up our production rate, improve Roadster contribution margin and reduce operating expenses. At the same time, we must maintain high production quality and excellent customer service.

    For this critical phase of the company, the scope of my role at Tesla will expand from executive chairman and product architect to CEO. With SpaceX now having reached orbit and about to enter its third year of profitability, I can afford to increase time allocated to Tesla. Ze’ev Drori, who has made extraordinary progress with the company over the last year as CEO, will stay on the board of directors as vice-chairman and continue to help Tesla make the right decisions. It has been and will continue to be a pleasure and an honor working with Ze’ev.


    Special Forces Philosophy and Consolidation of Operations

    One of the steps I will be taking is raising the performance bar at Tesla to a very high level, which will result in a modest reduction in near term headcount. To be clear, this doesn’t mean that the people that depart Tesla for this reason wouldn’t be considered good performers at most companies – almost all would. However, I believe Tesla must adhere more closely to a special forces philosophy at this stage of its life if we aspire to become one of the great car companies of the 21st century.

    There will also be some headcount reduction due to consolidation of operations. In anticipation of moving vehicle engineering to our new HQ in San Jose, we are ramping down and will close our Rochester Hills office near Detroit. Good communication, tightly knit engineering and a common company culture are of paramount importance as Tesla grows.


    What Does This Mean for the Model S?

    Tesla is absolutely committed to development of our next generation vehicle, to be unveiled early next year. However, we are going to reduce activity on detailed production engineering, tooling and commitments to suppliers until our Department of Energy loan guarantee becomes effective.

    The DOE loan guarantee will cover most of the Model S program at a very low cost of capital compared with raising equity financing in what could quaintly be described as a “bear market.” The loan funding can only be drawn down after we receive environmental approval for our new 89-acre consolidated headquarters in the city of San Jose. If all goes reasonably well, we will receive that approval in Q2 next year.

    The net result will be a delay in start of production of the Model S of roughly six months to mid-2011. On the plus side, we will spend the extra time refining the vehicle design and powertrain technology, so the car will end up being slightly better.


    Financing

    The Tesla investors and I are unequivocally dedicated to ensuring the success of Tesla. If you have bought a car from Tesla or are thinking of doing so, please know that I personally stand behind delivering a product that you will love and continuing to develop new models in the future. We are not far from being cash flow positive, but, even if that threshold ends up being further than expected, I will do whatever is needed to ensure that Tesla has more than sufficient capital to get there.

    I’d like to thank the loyal customers of Tesla that have stood by us through thick and thin. Beyond delivering a great Roadster, Tesla will find other ways to reward that loyalty, including among other things an exclusive preview of our upcoming Model S sedan.



    © 2008 Tesla Motors, Inc. All rights reserved.


  13. #88

    Default

    NY1

    10/30/2008 10:16 PM

    It Could Be A Gas To Own An Electric Car



    Chevrolet promises that a car that runs purely on electricity will be available by 2010. NY1’s Technology reporter Adam Balkin filed the following report.

    Chevrolet has unveiled the Volt, an “extended range electric vehicle” that can be plugged in and recharged at night, like a cell phone. Fully recharged, the Volt is designed to take the average American to and from work or errands without ever using a single drop of gasoline.

    “What it means is you have the ability to drive pure electric for 40 miles,” said Frank Webber of Chevrolet. “But after 40 miles, even after the battery is depleted, you have a small engine generator set generating electricity and providing you with several hundred miles of driving. It's a flex-fuel engine, so it can run off ethanol or gasoline.”

    However, if the air conditioning is running in a Volt, its ratio of 40 miles in one charge could drop.

    Unlike its plug-in hybrid competitors, the Volt’s engine is never directly fed by gasoline. Instead, the gas feeds a generator, which in turn feeds the engine electricity.

    In terms of performance, the Volt goes zero to 60 in under nine seconds and tops out at 100 mph.

    “You can experience a launch feeling in the volt like a V6, 150-horsepower engine but the big difference is everything happens without noise,” said Webber.

    There are also no harmful emissions.

    Some may be concerned about a spike in their electric bill, but developers say the cost of charging up the car each night would be much less that what it cost to run an air conditioner or home heating. Developers estimate it will cost about 80 cents a day to operate the car, somewhere between the cost of running a water heater and a clothes dryer.

    “Adding a Volt to your household, if you get off-peak rates from your utility company, is probably only adding a little more than 10 percent to your electricity bill,” said Webber.

    Possibly the best thing about the Volt is that will go on sale in 2010, about a year after competing plug-in hybrids hit the market. Its price has not yet been set.


    Copyright © 2008 NY1 News. All rights reserved.

  14. #89
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    Rutherford
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    And it does not look half bad either!

    They are starting to get the right message, but the charge time is still long, the HP modest and the range kind of limiting.....

    Hopefully they will get better by the time I am looking for a new car!

  15. #90

    Default







    November 11, 2008, 12:26 pm
    Does Natural Gas Have an Ally in Rahm Emanuel?


    By Clifford Krauss



    (Photo: Associated Press)

    Rahm Emanuel has Barack Obama’s ear.
    Will he fill it with notions of natural gas cars?


    Just a few months ago, momentum appeared to be building for cars fueled by compressed natural gas as a way to replace foreign oil imports.

    T. Boone Pickens, the former oil magnate with a big stake in natural gas distribution, and Aubrey McClendon, chief executive of Chesapeake Energy, a natural gas producer, poured tens of millions of dollars into television commercials promoting the idea, and a number of bills were introduced in Congress offering tax incentives to automakers and consumers to switch to natural gas vehicles.

    None of those bills have gone very far and the natural gas boom on the airwaves has gone quiet.

    Meanwhile, natural gas was dealt a major blow in California with the defeat of Proposition 10. That ballot initiative, which would have created $5 billion in general obligation bonds to promote purchases of compressed natural gas and other alternative-fuel vehicles, went down in a landslide at the polls — despite heavy financial backing from Mr. Pickens.

    But new hope for natural gas fuel interests may be on the way: When President-elect Barack Obama chose Representative Rahm Emanuel of Illinois to be his chief of staff, he chose one of Congress’s biggest proponents of compressed natural gas cars.

    Last summer Mr. Emanuel introduced legislation (PDF) that would mandate automakers to build 10 percent of their fleet with natural gas fueled vehicles by 2018. His bill also included tax credits and other incentives and mandates to spread natural gas pumps to filling stations across the country.

    The bill has gone nowhere, but natural gas stalwarts have expressed optimism upon Mr. Emanuel’s selection. Tom Price, a Chesapeake vice president, was quoted by The Associated Press as saying it “could be quite advantageous” having Mr. Emanuel at the president’s side as one of his closest advisers.

    And with the auto industry looking for help urgently, Mr. Emanuel is going to have a chance to press his case.



    Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company


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