Archives – April, 2013

China’s Hybrid Market

China is finally taking into serious consideration delving into the manufacture of plug-in hybrids as it struggles to ease up pressure on its fossil fuels deposits. Finally, they are entering a turf largely dominated by their rivals in Japan, including Toyota, whose models have gained popularity the world over.

Breathing Life into the Chinese Hybrid Market

Already, Chinese Automakers SAIC Motor and Brilliance Automotive have started development on the gasoline-electric car system that was first introduced to the world by Toyota. BYD, another car manufacturer based in the Asian superpower, where Warren Buffet also has controlling stakes, have already self-engineered technology that will be unveiled at the much-hyped Shanghai Auto Show. The administration is also kicking life into the car policies it introduced, with the aim of conserving energy, by subsidising the traditional hybrids. With the policy in full effect, it is expected that nearly 500 thousand cars will be on the road, specifically cars that have been defined as all electric, heavily electrifies or near all electric by the end of 2015. Their goal is to raise this figure to 5 million by the end of 2020.

In the past year, about 12,000 hybrid pieces were purchased in total. Experts in the Chinese car industry find that the goals set will be a little too lofty for the government unless the administration is willing to adjust itself when it comes to the redefinition of hybrid cars and also begins to embrace the current hybrid technology as the more sustainable options. After all, said Peter Huang, an IHS associate director, all electric technology is not likely to be realised in the foreseeable future.

A New Perspective on Hybrid Models

Further efforts stemming from Beijing included attractive incentive plans on new purchases that were concluded last year. The program, fortunately, is up for renewal with whispers within the industry leaking that the government will most likely increase hybrid subsidies. As it tries to claw off the firm grip that China has on fossil fuels, the government will incentivise as much as it can. Previously alternative energy car owners received a $490 rebate on their initial purchase, which when compared to the $9800 rebate that was received upon the purchase of all electric models, was not at all attractive. For the government to realise its goals for much cleaner air, for the billion plus citizens it has to provide for, they will have to revise their policies. The money set aside for rebate upon purchase of all electric cars goes to waste since only few people buy them anyway. They would much rather direct the money to the purchase of the traditional hybrid models.



Leave a Comment April 27, 2013

Shanghai Auto Show 2013

A directive by the European Union will require that carbon emissions by new cars be regulated to less than 95g for every kilometer, much less than the current 135g/km. At the Shanghai Auto Show, this message seems to have been received loud and clear where an assortment of eco-friendly cars is on display. There are 91 models that rely on new energy on display with 35 of them being manufactured in China.

Luxury Automakers’ Contribution to the Hybrid World

Luxury carmakers at the event also showed off their prowess when it comes to green technology, with the German Automakers, BMW, displaying their active hybrid concept. Mercedes also showed off their BluEfficiency technology at the show that is currently on-going. Audi and Lexus showed that they were ready to seize the hybrid world with their models, the Audi Q5 hybrid and the Lexus GS300h and ES300h, which are on for mass production.

Sports car makers that usually have their interests leaning towards churning out race cars for off the track driving, also delved into the greener era with Ferrari unveiling the LeFerrari and the Lamborghini Veneno as some of hyper-hybrids on the market. British carmaker Aston Martin, is also receiving orders for its very own alternative sports car. Maybe all these efforts have been sparked by the sudden urge to save mother Earth, or perhaps it is the driving credits that these manufacturers earn should they produce cars with less than 50g/km emission ratings. The law however, exempts car makers that produce fewer than 1000 cars annually and that would therefore mean that the Rolls-Royce manufacturers, as wells as the Bentley can rest easy.

All-Electric Concept

There are also other manufacturers who are taking the entire hybrid concept to a completely new level with the production of all-electric cars. Volvo seems to really believe in the pay off of their efforts in this sector, but they confess they will be realized much further into the future. They have a number of joint ventures including the BMW’s mini E and the Zinoro from the BMW-Brilliance Automotive, as well. If the infrastructure of electric cars is fully developed however, the future will be a witness to zero-emissions and 100% clean driving. Detroit Electric, a sports car manufacturer based in the U.S., share in Volvo’s vision and has its future neatly placed upon the success of electric cars. They exclusively manufacture electric luxury cars. Other advantages that come with the electricity powered cars include fast acceleration, agile response and quiet and smooth engine operation.




Leave a Comment April 27, 2013

CO2 for use in A/Cs

In attempts to be the most environmentally sustainable automaker in the world by 2018, the Volkswagen group earlier announced that it was taking a newer approach to more eco-friendly air conditioning systems. At the Geneva motor show, the company said that it was planning to introduce CO2 into its air conditioning systems as a refrigerant.

Low Global Warming Potential

CO2 (carbon dioxide) was chosen as the refrigerant for its MAC systems (Mobile Air Conditioning) and would be incorporated in its entire fleet of vehicles through phases. The company said it would invest a lot of capital since it is geared towards manufacturing vehicles that are truly eco-friendly. Until recently, the most common refrigerant used in A/C systems was Tetrafluoroethane (R-134a) until it was declared hazardous and damaging to the environment by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). In fact, use of the cooling agent has begun fading out. CO2 is preferred because it has a low global warming potential (GWP) of a figure of one, compared to 1300, which is the GWP of R-134a. This generally means that it does not devastatingly affect the ozone layer. Tetrafluoroethane contains CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) that have poked worrying holes on the ozone layer over the decades.

R744 vs.R1234yf

Earlier R1234yf, a coolant, had also been put under review for use in the A/C systems. However, after investigations in 2009, it was found to be flammable and there would have to be serious technological advancements done on the car before the coolant could be used. R744 refers to CO2 and for the mean time seems to be the preferred choice. However, to incorporate the refrigerant, car manufacture cost issues, as well durability of the MAC systems, would have to be looked into carefully. This is because use of CO2 would require that extremely high-quality hoses operating under very high pressure be introduced to the systems. In addition, a CO2 leak could prove very dangerous since it can significantly displace the amount of oxygen in the car, raising concerns about how safe it is to use it. Another refrigerant that is under consideration is the R-152a with a higher GWP of 124, but is advantageous since it does not require complex technology to ignite and thus would be much cheaper to implement in the A/Cs.

Volkswagen is committed to attaining their goal of being the most environmentally conscious automaker. So far, it has decided to put aside about two-thirds of the company’s capital, which will be used in the design and implementation of climate-friendly technologies.



Leave a Comment April 22, 2013

Most Efficient Non-Hybrid Car

EPA ratings of the newly introduced Chevrolet 2014 Cruze were 46 MPG at highway speeds and 27 mpg within residential areas. In combined driving, the rating was at 33 mpg. The turbo-powered, clean-diesel engine was stated to be more efficient than other engines that power passenger cars with  onventional sources of energy. The diesel design will be available for purchase in some select regions this spring season, while it will hit the Canadian market at the start of fall.

Technical Specifications

The tech specs of the car include a 6-speed transmission gear, which is automatic and on a full tank of gas, the car is estimated to cover about 700 miles (about 10 driving hours). Chief Engineer of the Cruze, Gary Altman, said that the 2-liter engine was designed using expert experience that has been accumulated over the years. It has also been made to adapt to the conditions of the North American market. He praised the Cruze engine, saying that it is undoubtedly the best in the current market and will reshape consumers’ view on efficient fuel consumption.

Compared to the Jetta

The car’s minimum price is $ 25,695 and the carmaker, General Motors, say that the car is a much better value for money than the VW Jetta TDI automatic. Jetta comes with an engine power of 140 hp and its highway speed rating is at 42 mpg. In comparison, the Cruze has larger wheels, a longer car warranty, a better infotainment system and even a maintenance plan for two years. While looking at its performance, the Cruze challenges its rivals with a bhp (basic horsepower) of 148 and can start from a complete stop to 60 miles per hour in 8.6 seconds. The Jetta however, outshines the Chevy when it comes to residential driving since it is rated higher at 30 mpg. Currently, the automatic Jetta can be purchased with $24,885

The compact, four-door sedan is also more environmentally friendly as compared to its predecessors, since its nitrogen oxide and other harmful particle emissions is 90% less. The cars mpg rating and fuel economy matches that of the Toyota Prius C subcompact, a hybrid car. As it stands, over two million cars of the entire Cruze family have been bought worldwide since the first in the line was introduced in 2010. The turbo diesel had been unveiled at the recent Chicago motor show and the rating was actually 4 mpg higher than the earlier estimations and predictions.




Leave a Comment April 21, 2013

Toyota Hybrid Sales Hits 5 Million

In an announcement made by Toyota Motor Corporation, it was revealed that the company had made over 5 million worldwide sales of its hybrid models.

Impressive Sales

In the United States alone, over 2 million hybrids had been purchased under the company’s Lexus and Toyota versions. More than 61,600 of the company’s hybrids have been purchased in the Canadian market, accounting for over 80% of the total hybrid sales in the North American region. The brands under the Toyota and Lexus logos compose 70% of the hybrid sales in the U.S. auto market, and comprise 16% of all sales made under the same logos. Currently, the hybrid market takes up 3% of the auto industry in the United States. Globally, there are 19 alternative powered Toyota and Lexus models and a plug-in version that is on sale in over 80 countries. Of these models, there are seven Toyota hybrid versions and five Lexus versions being driven in the United States. The Prius model was the company’s first hybrid car, and since its first sale in 2000, it continues to gain a loyal following in the U.S.

Beneficial to the Economy

Further information included in the statement showed that the sales made by Toyota helped save the environment from a total of 34 million tons on emissions in the form of carbon monoxide. For a long time, environmental watchdogs have been demanding that carmakers improve their products such that they do not harm the environment as much. As is stands, gasoline powered engines emit high levels of carbon monoxide, which is harmful to the ozone layer. Projections made by the company estimate there will be 18 new, greener models before 2016 and the sales will be around 1 million units yearly, with a third of those sales being in the U.S.

In terms of fuel economy, the automakers were proud to announce that their sales have saved the consumer over 3 billion gallons of gas. With the ever rising cost of fuel and the hazy outlook of the economy, this is indeed good news. In the U.S. alone, it was reported that the consumer was saving close to 500 million petroleum gallons as a result of more than 50 hybrid model cars on the roads. An engineer with a senior position at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory under the Department of Energy (DOE) was quoted saying that hybrid engines have come a long way since their initial development twenty years ago, after research conducted by the department in conjunction with the automotive industry.




Leave a Comment April 21, 2013

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