Archives – March, 2013

World’s Best Green Car: Top Three Contenders

At this year’s New York Auto Show, the best green car of 2013 will be announced. So far, the finalists are the Renault Zoe, the Tesla model S, both of which are all-electric cars, or the plug-in Volvo hybrid. The list was compiled at the very elegant Geneva Auto Show after rigorous scrutiny of the ‘green’ cars that are available on the market. Handing over the crown will be the Mercedes S 250, which edged out competition from the likes of the Peugeot 3008 and the Ford Focus electric.

Renault Zoe

This car definitely deserves its spot at the top. The car, which has already received high ratings from Euro NCAP is small in size, but does not disappoint in terms of performance. Although it might dispense a basic power of only 88 hp from its motor pack, the car does not feel sluggish while driving. On the contrary, its lightweight construction improves the agility of the model, assuring the driver of a smooth ride. Understandably, its top speed is limited to 84 mph and can accelerate briskly, clocking 13.5 seconds from stand still to 62 mph. The Zoe also has an appealing exterior look, where its chic design is fused with some futuristic concepts making it a very eye catching car.

Tesla Model S

Also an electric car, this model is unique and very attractive when compared to other cars including the contemporary models. With 362 hp for the standard Tesla models and 413 hp for the premium version,s this car is well worth every of the $ 62,000, on average, that it costs. Other performance features for the model include its 0-60 mph acceleration time of 4.4 seconds, translating to a car that is terrifyingly exciting to drive. The interior will give you something to squeal about with an integrated touch-screen almost the size of an i-Pad. All eyes will be on this zero-emissions car, which looks as suave as it drives.

Plug-in Volvo Hybrid

Car enthusiasts and auto journalists alike have dissected the Volvo and have come to one conclusion: it’s pretty awesome. The ground breaking design of the model is such that it can be driven in three different modes: pure, power and hybrid, all which can be accessed by the touch of a button. In electric mode, the car can do 31 miles, while in the hybrid mode it consumes fuel at 135 mpg and carbon dioxide emissions of 48g/km. The Volvo’s ultimate power is experienced when the diesel engine and electric motor are combined in the power mode translating to an output of around 285 hp, which generally means that this is not your ordinary car.

 

 

 

1 Comment March 29, 2013

Cornwall’s Electric Rally

Cornwall, UK was the place where history was made last week, in the first ever, electric rally event. Over 40 environmental cars were showcased in a bid to raise awareness about the green cars as well as celebrate the government announcement that it would foot 75% of the cost of setting up charging points in people’s homes, as well as public charging stations.

Change the Perception

The vehicles drove all across the country from Truro’s Lemon Quay, past Trelissick Gardens and finally getting aboard the King Harry Ferry to finish the entire circuit, which was 26 miles long at the Cornwall Hotel. The main organizers of the event were the Hawkins motors who have a number of Peugeot outlets in the area. Other co-organizers included Ecodrive, a private advisor company that specializes in electric cars. The main aim of the event was to create a better perception concerning alternative sources of power while driving. The demand in the market for more environmentally friendly cars has steadily increased over the years. The recent introduction of the plug-in hybrid has contributed to the hike in sales of the alternatively powered machines. The aim of the event was also to raise awareness of the green cars through display of their viability. The event also brought together a large number of car enthusiasts passionate about their hybrids.

Terra Smart Chargers

The rally was also a perfect opportunity for people to learn some things concerning electric cars. There were some cool products on display like the Terra Smart Connect (SC) which is a car charger manufactured by the ABB Company. The company demonstrated the advantage of the chargers at the rally and explained to consumers how it works. The charger works on the principle of direct current, translating to the fact that it is a fast charger that can be used at the work place or at home. Within half an hour, the battery can be charged up to 80% from 30%. It is also compatible with cars such as the Peugeot Ion and the Nissan Leaf, cars that are popular in the market.

With the UK gearing up to be the world leader in low-emission driving, Cornwall has definitely set the pace. In addition, with a number of similar events, more will become familiar with electric cars and will actually purpose to buy them and then, finally, the ozone layer can breathe.

 

 

 

Leave a Comment March 29, 2013

Best Green Car 2013

 

The award goes to the 2013 Toyota Avalon Hybrid. The car has been declared much more interesting than its predecessors have and it was found to be the best green car by the Greater Atlanta Automotive Media Association. It was ranked the highest in terms of efficient fuel consumption, size and luxury while driving.

Impressive Option

The 2013 model was designed, according to the manufacturers, for the young at heart. It includes a 4-cylinder engine that delivers a base power of 156 hp and a pair of electric motors with an additional 105 kWh (kilowatts per hour). Using regular fuel the Avalon can cover up to 40 miles per gallon and considering the 17-gallon capacity, it translates to about 600 miles per full tank. While driving at speeds less than 25 mph the electric mode will kick in, thus saving you from huge fuel consumption. The Avalon can accelerate from 0 – 60 mph in 7.1 seconds, which is pretty decent. The aerodynamic aspect of the car was also praised since, when compared to the popular Prius, the drag coefficient of the Avalon is 0.03 times greater (for the Prius it is 0.25). The lightweight material making up the chassis of the car also improves its fuel economy.

In its Own Class

The carmakers have further praised the Avalon stating that the combinations were just right in terms of the car’s styling, design, and the driving comfort the Avalon provides. The interior is sleek in design, including leather seats in the standard models or for the special rollouts perforated leather. Another outstanding accomplishment is the silence and tranquillity that is experienced in the car. Mostly accredited to Lexus models, the automakers have used advanced technology to lock out all noise, creating safe-room silence while ensuring that the driving pleasure is optimal. The effort to reinvent the Avalon as the car for the young and not for the retired can clearly be seen. It does not float around like its predecessor, instead it is somewhat of a powerhouse and the buyer is assured of comfortable and exciting driving.

Customers are already rushing to buy the large, well-spaced sedan with the automotive company reporting that in February alone over 5000 units were sold. The pricing of the car is not heart stopping, as with about $36,000 one can get themselves their very own Avalon Hybrid. Considering the impressive specs of the Avalon, in terms of performance, styling and environmental friendliness, it is no wonder received the crown. The specs speak for themselves!

 

 

 

Leave a Comment March 22, 2013

Hyper-Hybrids

There is something captivating, almost comparable to an out-of-body experience when in the presence of a good-looking car, with performance to match the charm. True, for some of those cars we would have to rob two banks to own them, but still, they are great to look at. One can only imagine how exhilarating it would be to drive them, especially with the conscious knowledge that you’re not contributing to further damaging the ozone layer. At this year’s Geneva auto show, attendees were treated to a sample if the next generation of hybrid cars that combined power with outstanding looks.

The 2014 McLaren P1

The super hybrid designed to emulate the performance of race cars on the road debuted at the show, showing off some incredible features. The engine is expected to be an improved version of the V8 twin-turbo-charged one in the McLaren MP4-12C. The performance specs of the P1 are mind blowing, with 727 horsepower, and combined with 176 hp generated by the electric motor offering an astonishing output of 903 hp. It is to accelerate from 0-62 mph in under 3 seconds and a top speed of up to 217 mph is achievable. Green-wise, official figures have not yet been released but speculations are that CO2 emissions will be lower than 200 g/km. Considering the trademark McLaren shape, which has been retained with the hybrid, we can definitely live with that. Pricing will start around $100,0000 and for those lucky enough, it would be a very enviable purchase.

The LeFerrari Hybrid

This one should definitely get you hyper. The Superb Italian Car makers, Ferrari, unveiled their first show-stopping hybrid at this year’s Geneva motor-show. The luxurious car was definitely designed to impress, as its polished exterior made of carbon fibre will have most of us drooling. The makers have mainly relied on the use of lightweight carbon, and a power storage system for the LeFerrari to secure a spot in the next generation of the luxurious hyper-hybrids, a concept pioneered by the Porsche 918 Spyder. The supercar combines power from the V12 engine pack with a capacity of 6.3 litres with its electric motor to generate 963 hp. Purchasers of the car are looking at top speeds of about 350 km/hr winning the title for the fastest, road-based Ferrari. The Italian makers renowned for their immaculately manufactured power machines are looking to meet emission standards, as well as improving the driving experience with the new model. All 499 of the cars that will go into production this year have already been bought at $1.3 M a piece.

 

 

 

Leave a Comment March 16, 2013

Concept Hybrids: The Urbee

The Urbee is a next generation car in the hybrid line-up. Urbee, which stands for Urban Electric Ethonol, is still in its development stages. This car is the product of the collaboration of Kor Ecologic and RedEye, a 3-D printing company. Kor Ecologic’s head engineer is Jim Kor, who is the brains behind the Urbee, a small, super light three-wheeled car. Motivated with the need to create an automobile that is perfectly environmentally friendly, as well as highly efficient, the engineers are working hard to make the concept car a reality.

The 3-D printing Technology

Rather than a robotic-based assembly line, the Urbee is manufactured using 3-D printing technology. The automated technology uses printers that spray molten plastic in very thin layers to make up the chassis of the car. In the process, the need of using small parts to make up a single part is done away with. In addition, the nuts and bolts used in the steel cars are mostly absent here. The result of this intricate process is an ultra-light (1200 pounds) car with optimized fuel consumption. The entire manufacture process takes about 2500 hours, which is roughly the equivalent of 15 weeks if production is carried out day and night.

The other advantage of the 3-D technology is that the engineer can exercise greater control over the production process. Thus if, say, a bumper was required to be a bit thicker on its left side, that could easily be achieved. This precise engineering leads to the manufacture of parts that are as formidable as the steel parts – but much lighter.

The Urbee’s Specs

While the rest of the car is manufactured from 3D printed plastic, the engine and the motor will be made out of steel. It is expected that the 36-volt motor will deliver most of the power when driving between 0 and 40 mph. When it gets to highway speed, the diesel engine should kick in. Tests are still being carried out to determine the safety of the car, as according to Jim, their major goal would be that the car realizes most or even all of the required safety standards. Its chassis is also designed to minimize drag effect as a result of air resistance. This, combined with the fact that it is super light should mean plenty more miles per gallon for the driver. A test is expected to be carried out displaying the benefits of the Urbee, where it should be driven from San Francisco all the way to New York, sniffing only 10 gallons of gas, preferably pure ethanol.

 

 

Leave a Comment March 16, 2013

The Greener Era

The announcement that Hyundai would begin mass production of its hydrogen-fueled cars this week will definitely have Mother Nature smiling back at us. Started about fourteen years ago, the South Korea-based company is expected to roll out the campaign of zero-emissions, environmentally friendly cars by 2015.

How They Work

Harnessing the power of hydrogen has been the priority of engineers and researchers for quite a while. Currently, the fuel cell vehicles are designed to have a stack of fuel cells within the interior of the car. At each fuel cell, hydrogen gas is split to hydrogen ions and electrons at a platinum anode (positively charged part of the cell). The electrons then are driven around a circuit, generating electricity to power the battery. One fuel cell can generate about 1.16 volts; hardly enough to power a car, but when several fuel cells are combined, the electricity generated is very impressive. The major type of fuel cell that has been tested is the Proton Exchange Membrane, where the by-product is water, with no CO2 emissions. Very eco-friendly.

The Benefits

When the production of these cars is realized, the benefits that could be reaped from these cars will indeed be numerous. Obviously, no CO2 emissions will mean a turnaround in the climatic trends globally since the ozone layer will be spared tremendously. In addition, atmospheric content of other pollutants such as sulfur that come from the burning of gasoline will also be reduced. Using hydrogen as a source of energy will translate to reduced dependence on gasoline. Moreover, with ever rising gasoline prices, what a welcome relief that will be.

The Flip-Side

The downside however, is that these cars do not come cheaply. For example, the Hyundai Tucson ix, it was announced earlier today, will cost an eye-bulging $200,000. Well, the figures do make sense since the technology associated with the car is quite expensive. The fuel cells use platinum, which is a very expensive metal. In addition, the cars are really quite heavy, mainly due to the on-board storage of hydrogen gas. At the moment, the hydrogen is stored at high pressures in large tanks that are heavy, as well as very costly. The hydrogen stored can power the car for about 300 miles, quite comparable to gasoline cars, without the need for a top up. The additional weight, will of course affect the performance and handling of the car, but with technological advancements, new ways of designing lighter versions are being looked into. Definitely, the fuel cell vehicles are looking to be quite eco-friendly, as well as economical and waiting another two years to experience the Hyundai model seems worthwhile.

 

 

Leave a Comment March 8, 2013

Perfecting the Blend

Achieving both performance and low carbon emissions in the hybrid world has proved an elusive affair for automakers worldwide. Car enthusiasts have claimed that the eco-cars are boring as compared to petrol-powered vehicles, especially in terms of maneuverability and achieving top speeds. There are however some models in the market that are proving to be quite formidable, in terms of power and performance, while still playing their part in environment conservation.

Power Meets Eco…..at a Reasonable Price

The Volkswagen Jetta hybrid does indeed have impressive specs. The car boasts of a 1.4L turbocharged engine with a 60-cell lithium-ion battery. The small, efficient engine can produce 143 hp, but in combination with the battery 170 hp is achievable (considering that one hp equals 746 watts, that is a lot of power produced). The hybrid also boasts of a 7-speed DSG automatic transmission that generally translates to the fact that the gears can change quickly providing better handling, as well as performance. Accelerating from 0 – 60 in just 8.6 seconds this car is also fuel efficient, rated at 45 mpg (when the gasoline and electric drive are combined). The CO2 emission figures are also good at approximately 140g/km. The car is intended to be fun and it doesn’t disappoint. The car is very attractive and costs the driver an acceptable $24,995.

The German Supercar

On the other end of the cost spectrum charges in the Porsche 918 Spyder plug-in hybrid. Arguably, when this car goes into production, will be one of the most expensive, but powerful hybrids on the planet. For adrenaline chasers out there who are aching to burn rubber, without causing too much damage to the environment, this car is definitely the number one choice, that is if you have $845,000 to spare. The car is expected to have a V-8 cylinder engine with a capacity of not less than 4 L. Already, it has been reported that the car will be able to dispense 500 hp, crazy and exhilarating. The electric motors, the car makers have hinted, will be able to generate 218 hp to add to the already boggling figures provided by the super engine. The car can apparently accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 3.1 seconds and achieve a top speed of 199 mph. In terms of fuel consumption, the car will do 74 mpg in its combined mode (European combined cycle). These are just two of the growing number of cars where both fuel economy and driving pleasure are top priority.

 

 

Leave a Comment March 8, 2013


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