Archives – April 25, 2014

Car Companies Take Their Expertise Past the Garage

fitMost people are increasingly looking for alternative sources of energy to meet their daily energy consumption. One of the most popular energy sources at the moment is solar energy. The drawback to this is that the device may not store enough energy to carry you through the night in case you have high-energy consumption. Motor vehicle manufacturers have come up with a solution to this problem. They have developed carbon-free energy stored in car batteries that can also serve as an energy reserve for electric devices within the home.

Buildings and the transport industry account for about 44% of greenhouse emissions in the United States. There has been increased awareness regarding the importance of keeping the environment safe by developing alternative sources of energy.

Honda has been in the forefront of the development of this technology. At the center of the Honda headquarters is a room that contains a black house that holds a 10-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack. Next to the battery is a bigger white box referred to as the home-energy management system. This is the intelligence center for the house. It makes intelligent decisions such as when to tap the renewable electric power produced by the 9.5-kilowatt solar panel placed on the home’s roof to charge the battery or put the energy into storage.

The home transfers the excess energy into the grid. When the utility becomes overloaded, which often happens during the summer, the local electric power provider simply sends a signal to the home to make the home direct its solar power to the grid and help avoid blackouts. A similar house will consume up to 1.3 megawatt-hours of electricity yearly. This smart house can generate energy of up to .6-megawatt hours in a year.

The Honda Fit EV in the garage has also been configured to accept energy directly from a solar array. The company also looked into ways of reducing the power consumption of the overall technology. They installed a geothermal system that traps the heat in the ground under the house to cool or heat the house. There is also an automated light adjustment that seeks to mimic natural daylight conditions and thus reduces the actual energy consumption on lighting.

Car companies that have so far been focusing on the production of hybrid cars in an attempt to conserver the environment are also going a step further in investing in alternative sources of energy. This is a complimentary move that helps them meet the overall vision behind the development of hybrid cars.


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Hybrid Cars More Fuel Efficient In India than the United States

electric-cars-395According to research carried out by a group of scientists in the United States, the hybrid cars in the United States consume relatively more fuel compared to their counterparts in India and China. This was mostly attributed to the difference in the traffic conditions of the two countries. The heavy traffic, aggressive driving, and freeways in India and China make these roads quite difficult to drive on. These conditions make them ideal for the fuel efficient hybrid cars.

According to the researchers, these findings were likely to have a great impact in the countries that were experiencing an explosion in the sale of personal vehicles. The research shows that the fuel savings in countries such as India are greatly understated. There is over 29% savings realized over the conventional vehicles.

At the moment, the amounts of greenhouse gases produced by India are relatively low when compared to those produced by other developing countries. The worrying trend however, is the fact that the emission of these gases has been on the increase over the past few years. Scientists estimate that in the next five years the rate of emissions of these harmful gases would equal that produced by a developed country. The realization that the hybrid cars can help in the reduction of emission of these harmful gases is sure to have a positive reception in the country. As much as the hybrid cars have not been very efficient in the United States, they have played some role in the reduction of the amount of greenhouse gases released into the environment annually.

The researchers used the power train simulation model to carry out their research. This model created a hypothetical hybrid version of some of the top selling vehicles in the market of each country. The researchers then went ahead and simulated drive cycles in two cities in India. The researchers also used the modified Indian drive cycle. This is the test for the official fuel economy rating.

The researchers simulated drives in 11 cities and used three types of hybrid power trains. The researchers also performed the same test in the United States. This included 55% city driving and 45% highway driving.

The findings were that the hybrid car would achieve about a 48% fuel saving in India and about 55% fuel savings in China. The results in the United States showed that the hybrid cars achieved 40% fuel savings. These results prove the hypothesis that hybrids are relatively more suited for these emerging markets. The hybrid car explosion in these countries is sure going to be justified.


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