Monday September 26th, 2011 10:58 Campaign for Uniform Electric Vehicle Charging Gathers Speed

It looks very much like the standardisation of charging plugs for electric cars will become more commonplace throughout Europe in the next few years.

A proposal put forward by ACEA, the automobile manufacturers’ trade association, recommended that the same charging equipment should be used in all countries, regardless of the make of the car, electricity provider or country.

The move towards standardised charging is seen as an important step in helping electric vehicles gain a more viable share of the market. The lack of universal charging equipment is seen as a potential barrier to prospective buyers of electric cars.

The ACEA report looked at a number of factors involving the charging of electric cars, such as the public charging infrastructure as well as the vehicle inlets themselves. The report also looked at the issue of both fast and slow charging.

Ivan Hodac, Secretary General of ACEA, said: “This is a major step towards the broader introduction of electrically-chargeable vehicles in Europe and paves the way for a harmonised solution around the globe.”

“Standardisation provides predictability to investors; it enables economy of scale and reduces costs. We have also ensured a solution that meets the highest safety standards and is easy to use.”

The ACEA hopes that its recommendations will be accepted by the European Commission, as well as standardisation bodies and infrastructure providers across Europe, as quickly as possible. This approval will allow the vehicle manufacturers to start integrating the uniform technology into production cars. The ACEA have set a goal of 2017 for full implementation for new electric vehicles.

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Sunday September 25th, 2011 02:20 Government Grant Fails to Encourage Car Buyers to go Electric

 

New data from the Society of Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) suggests that sales of electric cars in the UK are progressing at a rate significantly lower than had been anticipated. To date, only 812 battery models have been bought in the UK in 2011. This is in spite of the incentive of a £5,000 government grant for each buyer of a fully electric or plug-in hybrid car.

Unsurprisingly, the most popular electric car is the Nissan Leaf, with 499 cars being sold. The figures from the SMMT are much bleaker for the other five electric car models currently available in the UK, with none of them managing to sell even a quarter of the Nissan Leaf’s figure.

At a cost of £230 million, the £5,000 subsidy for plug-in cars was initially conceived by the previous Labour government to try and cut the upfront cost of electric vehicles for buyers. Although cheaper to run than a conventional car, the upfront cost of an electric car is typically at least a third more.

The subsidy managed to survive the current coalition government’s swinging cuts, although its funding has only been guaranteed for the first year. With sales of electric cars at such a low rate, there is little chance that the £43 million set aside for this year – the equivalent of 8,600 cars being sold – will be reached.

The poor sales of electric cars in the UK stand in marked contrast to sales of new cars in general. SMMT’s figures show that registrations of new cars in August were up by over 7%.

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Monday September 12th, 2011 21:12 Electric vs hybrid – which is better?

Electric Car

For some years now, electric vehicles have offered a green alternative way to drive around town. Running on electric power means they are one of the lowest emission vehicles on the road, and so benefit from low road tax as well. There’s no need to worry about petrol or diesel prices and you can recharge your car overnight at home.
The main drawback for going electric until recently has been the limited range that electric vehicles have before they need recharging. This is becoming less of an issue as newer models have improved range and a greater number of charging points are being made available. In London in May 2011, for example, a citywide charging and membership scheme was launched. For an annual £100 membership fee electric vehicle owners will be able to plug in at charge points on residential streets, in supermarket and public car parks and at leisure centres. In fact there should be 1,300 publicly accessible points by 2013, in which case they will outnumber petrol stations in the capital.
However, in spite of these developments for electric vehicle owners, electric family cars are still not a common sight across the nation. It’s more likely that a greener family car choice would be a hybrid, as being able to quickly top up on fuel at any petrol station offers a greater level of practicality. You can travel without restriction, without having to worry that you might run out of charge on your way somewhere. There’s no need to wait for the charge as you do for an electric car, and hybrids can travel at the same speeds as other vehicles. Electric vehicles are slower, another reason they have been confined to urban use thus far.
Hybrid cars in the UK are available in a large number of different models, offering more flexibility than electric vehicles. Finally, although you produce more emissions driving a hybrid than an electric car, they will generate 25% less than a conventional car during their lifetime, so it’s still a considerable contribution to helping protect the environment.

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Image supplied by Alan Trotter

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Friday September 2nd, 2011 12:21 918 Spyder: Porsche’s Speed Demon yet Ecofriendly

Porsche 918 Spyder

German automotive company, Porsche, is ready to stun the world with its new mid-engine concept sports car, ‘Porsche 918 Spyder’. The car is striking for its mega-efficient, low-emission drive technology and high performance. It also has the distinction of being the company’s first plug-in hybrid car. Porsche 918 Spyder had its world debut at the 80th edition of the Geneva Motor Show in March 2010.

A super-speed car with no compromise on eco-friendliness

The prototype of the 918 Spyder is unique for the excellent blend of ultra-modern racing features and electro-mobility. An enthralling variety of qualities are offered through this exceptional combination. The 918 Spyder marks an extremely low emission level. Its high-tech green technology enables it to release 70 grams of CO2 per kilometer. This is excellent when you realize that it is achieved on a fuel use of a meager three liters per 100 kilometers. The car flaunts the performance of a high-end sports car and can achieve a speed up to 100 km per hour in just below 3.2 seconds from an idle stance.

The 918 is crafted to demonstrate the pioneering authority of Porsche as an authentic innovator in hybrid drive. Besides Porsche’s Intelligent Performance technology and state-of-the-art motorsport features, the 918 flaunts classic yet modern design. It is engineered to achieve a maximum speed of 9,200 rpm, power-driven by a high-speed V8. Ultimate performance on the race track is ensured with its 3.4-liter power unit and first-rate balance.

The seven-speed Porsche-Doppel-kupplungsgetriebe powers the wheels, the rear axle and the electric drive system. The energy source for the 918 Spyder is a liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery which is placed behind the passenger cell. Additional energy is provided through the transformation of kinetic energy into electrical energy whenever brakes are applied.

Drivers can comfortably choose from four different running modes by pressing the button located on the steering wheel. The four modes are Hybrid mode, E-Drive mode, Race Hybrid mode and Sport Hybrid mode.

Thanks to its lightweight body structure, the 918 also proves its high efficiency as a motorsport. Weight level of less than 1,490 kg is achieved due to the use of a monocoque body shell for the construction of its body.

The unique dimensions of this car give it authoritative road grip. The interior architecture is, of course, futuristic as both the driver and passenger are inserted into well-defined sports bucket seats. Porsche’s exclusive idea of driver orientation is clearly displayed in the interior design.

Range Manager is another innovative function integrated into the ultra-modern sports car. It informs the driver about the residual range the car is capable of covering. This allows a person to manipulate range according to the available levels of power and performance. In high-traffic cities, Range Manager will inform drivers about the possibility of driving on electric power only.

Flaunting Porsche’s design DNA, the new concept car is a perfect combination of well thought-out design, flawlessly balanced exterior and innovative technology. It displays design and dynamics in a unique and synthesized fashion.

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About the author: Amanda Kidd is an avid blogger who likes updating herself with new technological innovations like 3d projector. She recently bought a cool thumb drive for herself. These days she is busy in writing on Urban Design in fashion and she always provide tech help to her readers with her write-ups.

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Wednesday August 31st, 2011 13:51 5 Reasons Your Next Car should be a Hybrid

The cost of motoring is increasing more and more, which is leading to people buying hybrid vehicles and more eco-friendly models to cut down on costs.
Here, we’ve come up with five reasons why a hybrid should definitely be on your car buying list this year

1) Not only are hybrid cars good for the environment, they’re also good for your finances because they require less fuel to be consumed, cutting down on the amount you pay out for petrol each month.

2) If you travel into the centre of London regularly, or even make use of the Low Emission Zone around the city, you’ll benefit in monetary terms from having a hybrid. Your vehicle will be exempt from the Congestion Charge and the Low Emission Zone levy because it produces low levels of CO2 – saving a considerable amount of cash over a year if you use these frequently.

3) As well as emitting less CO2, hybrids are designed to be far more efficient than their conventional counterparts, meaning you’ll get better mileage each time your travel – a huge bonus if you use your car for long journey.

4) Another cost advantage of a hybrid is that its car tax band is lower, because it produces fewer emissions, so you’ll make significant savings on road tax every year you have your vehicle.

And finally:

5) With green technology improving all the time, hybrids and electric vehicles are only going to get better. In the coming months and years, they’ll become more fuel efficient and are bound to cover bigger ranges, so they’ll be an investment that will pay back fairly quickly.

The UK government is trying to reduce the country’s emissions by 34 per cent within the next nine years and you can really play a key role in these efforts if you have a hybrid vehicle.

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Monday August 29th, 2011 11:52 Audi shows the World its New Urban Concept

Audi E-tron Sypder

Audi is all set to take the lid off of its newest offspring, the Urban Concept Spyder. The convertible borrows liberally from various other established brands in its segment including the exteriors styling of the MX-5 model from Mazda, Nissan Leaf’s electric powertrain and Toyota iQ’s intelligent seating. The German manufacturer will debut the urban concept car at the upcoming Frankfurt Auto Show that is to begin in less than three weeks’ time.

Audi retains some of the more popular features from the original Urban Concept in the Spyder with basic styling like the body shell crafted out of sturdy yet lightweight CFRP (carbon fiber-reinforced plastic), mesmeric and widely-appreciated 21” alloys and the adaptable 1+1 seating setup that has the passenger sitting behind the driver, maximizing elbow space for both the driver as well as the passenger.

The exterior of the Spyder remains more or less the same as its predecessor with R8-inspired side wings, strip-like running lights and headlamps fitted with LEDs. Rear-opening scissor doors with the corporate finish make the car a true German delight.

The visionary concept car is run on the lithium-ion battery pack-run electric motors that produce roughly the same power as its fixed-roof variant. Though no performance specs were released for the Spyder, the concept is expected to house the same powertrain as the original with a more powerful acceleration.

The multi-genre drop-top features a concentrated visage that makes the concept truly future city-worthy in the greenest possible sense. Stylistically, the Urban Concept Spyder does not differ from the Urban Concept coupe by a whole lot. However, the ultra-light car still reflects the traditional design language of Audi.

The cockpit and integrated undercarriage of the Urban Concept Spyder are done in carbon fiber-reinforced polymer. The compact electric drive has elaborating suspension which allows it to make the most of the two E-Tron electric motors. Gorgeous free-standing 21-inch alloy wheels surrounded by protective plates, and forward-urging lines marked by blinking LED strips make the concept appear as competitive in its segment as it possibly can be. The vehicle’s performance capabilities are not marred by a huge carbon footprint either with the lithium-ion battery giving it all the green hearts it needs.

The Frankfurt-bound two-seater lower curb measurement is matched with a customizable pedal and steering wheel that can be refitted to mimic the dimensions of the driver. Although the concept is as city-chic as a hatchback can be, the sporty design conveys a much more sensory driving experience to the user. Extensive use of sports-specific elements like the slide-back roof, and imaginative tailgate entry highlight the car’s futuristic outlook. An innovative cabin design and the use of lightweight materials for the body and controls further emphasize the sportiness of the design, making the Urban Concept Spyder a definite showstopper for the coming Frankfurt show.

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About the Author: Amanda Kidd is a blogger who also happens to be gadgets lover. She is very fascinated by the luxury world and hence, is planning to write an article on the most expensive gadget in the world.

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Sunday August 28th, 2011 14:46 Audi Reveals the Hybrid A8 Saloon

 

With the Frankfurt Motor Show just weeks away, Audi has revealed its hybrid A8 Saloon car. The Hybrid A8, set to debut in Frankfurt, runs on a four cylinder 2.0-litre TFSI petrol engine and a lithium-ion battery.

While the petrol engine produces 207bhp and 350Nm of torque, when coupled with the 40kw battery, the total output of the A8 hybrid is raised to 241bhp along with 427Nm of torque.

In terms of its green credentials, the hybrid A8 can claim CO2 emissions of 148g/km. One thing Audi will undoubtedly be looking to improve upon in future hybrid models will be the fuel economy of such models. As it stands, the A8 has a fuel economy of 44mpg. That falls a fair distance short of Audi’s alternative diesel offerings and will perhaps give potential buyers some pause for thought.

On electric power alone, the A8 is capable of reaching up to 62mph, taking 7.7 seconds to reach this speed. With the petrol engine in use, its total top speed stands at 146mph.

Drivers have the option of three different driving modes: The ‘EV’ mode prioritises the electric motor, while the ‘D’ option offers up an efficient combination of both the engine and the electric motor. In addition to these two modes comes the ‘S’ mode, which places an emphasis on greater acceleration.

The Audi A8 hybrid saloon has been given an exclusive Arctic Silver paint finish, and comes with three-zone automatic air conditioning, LED headlights and a BOSE sound system as standard.

Series production of the hybrid A8 will begin next year, and models should be expected to reach the UK by late 2012. If you want to take a closer look at it before then, then you will have to take a trip along to the Frankfurt Motor Show, which is open to the public from the 15th of September.

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Monday August 15th, 2011 12:49 Nissan Micra Goes Green With New DIG-S Spec

 

The Nissan Micra is about to get a little bit greener, with the Japanese manufacturer set to release the DIG-S spec of the popular model.

Fitted with a supercharged 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol engine, the new Nissan Micra DIG-S emits an impressive 95g/km of CO2. As for fuel consumption, Nissan claims it is 68.9 miles per gallon, which compares well with other diesel-powered cars in its class.

The new Micra DIG-S has a power output of 98bhp – up 18bhp from the standard DIG Micra – and produces 142Nm of torque, enabling it to reach a maximum speed of 112mph.

These power and economy improvements have been achieved through a number of measures taken to improve the engine’s efficiency. Improved exhaust gas recirculation, specially shaped pistons, and the adoption of a higher compression ratio have all helped the DIG-S engine to reach maximum efficiency.

The car’s green credentials are boosted significantly by its stop/start function. This reduces the car’s emissions and fuel consumption by automatically turning the engine off whilst it is stationary. When drivers are ready to move off, this function restarts the car again. Helpfully, drivers are notified of the CO2 savings by a display on the car’s dashboard. Londoners should also note that because of its low emissions and fuel economy, the car is exempt from the London Congestion Charge.

Although costing £1,000 more than the Nissan Micra fitted with the standard 1.2-litre DIG engine, the new supercharged DIG-S spec may well be worth the initial extra outlay. Not only is it more environmentally friendly, but it potentially could save owners in terms of fuel costs in the long run.

The Nissan Micra DIG-S is available in the UK from September the 1st, with prices starting from £11,500.

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Wednesday August 3rd, 2011 15:40 Is compressed natural gas the future of greener motoring?

Compressed Natural Gas

Compressed natural gas (CNG) has many advantages over conventional fuels like petrol and few of the disadvantages. In fact, one of the low emission cars that has been designed to run on CNG, the Honda Civic GX, has been awarded the accolade of “Greenest Car” by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, for an amazing eight years in a row, beating hybrid cars and all-electric vehicles in the process.

But CNG isn’t perfect. It does produce some greenhouse gases – it’s just that they’re significantly less than with petrol. It is also far safer than other fuel options in the event of a fuels spillage.

Also, CNG can be mixed with biogas from landfill sites or with wastewater, making the fuel greener still as the concentration of carbon in the atmosphere is not increased.

CNG is made by compressing natural gas (mainly methane) to less than 1% of the volume it occupies at standard atmospheric pressure. It is then stored and distributed in hard cylindrical containers at a pressure of 2900–3600 psi.

And this is its greatest single drawback; the storage facilities needed in cars take up a lot more space than petrol due to the need for the safe storage whilst under compression. So it may be a while before CNG is widely used in family cars, for example, due to storage constraints as things stand.

But it can be used in all normal internal combustion-engined cars that have been converted to CNG.

The fuel contains no lead or benzene so there is no lead-fouling of the spark plugs, and maintenance costs are far lower.

CNG fuel systems are also sealed, so there is no spillage of fuel or losses due to evaporation.

But the main advantage is that CNG is simply cleaner and better for the environment.
CNG emits significantly less in pollutants such as carbon dioxide, hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulphur oxides and particulate matter.

Image provided by Darin R McClure. Thanks a lot!

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Monday July 18th, 2011 15:26 The Eco-friendly Driving Game

With the Honda Civic hybrid, you can play a nice, eco-friendly game that whiles away the hours on long drives – simultaneously helping to save the planet!

The “game” is all about maximising miles per gallon. Because the Honda Civic hybrid uses both a traditional internal-combustion engine that runs on petrol – and an electric motor powered by a rechargeable battery, the gar is a good choice for today’s green and thrifty motorists.

The way the car works is that the electric motor takes some of the strain when the car is accelerating or climbing hills, thereby saving petrol. The extra load, though, drains the battery, so the car cleverly recharges the battery when the car goes downhill or when it is decelerating.

The Civic also includes dashboard dials featuring real-time display of what’s happening each second of your drive. Obviously, accelerating causes the miles per gallon to decrease but at a steady 60 miles per hour on a flat road, the car shows it is achieving up to 65.7 miles per gallon as the battery helps out.

On very long ascents, drivers are able to see the power being slowly drained from the battery as the mpg figures hold up well (when compared to conventional petrol-engine cars) from the additional electric propulsion.

On the downward slope, the battery is then recharged at no “cost” to the driver – ready to help out again on the next hill.

Hybrid cars are the logical next step for traditional motorists taking their first tentative steps into the world of eco-friendly motoring. The transition isn’t a painful one by any means. Meanwhile, the “game” of maximising miles per gallon saves money, saves the planet, and makes those long journeys that bit less tedious.

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