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2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid surprise mileage rating

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The upcoming Ford Fusion Hybrid has surprised the hybrid world by securing a 41mpg city rating.  That fuel economy would put in only behind the Prius as the most fuel efficient car.  The 41mpg rating is even higher than the Toyota Camry and Honda Civic hybrids.

The Fusion Hybrid is set to be released in late 2009 with a price tag of $27,000.  The performance is a respectable 0-60 in 8.5 seconds.  Its reported to be able to achieve 47 mph on battery power alone, before switching over to engine power.

It seems Ford is serious about moving into the green car space, and has a possible winner on their hands with the Fusion Hybrid.

Posted in General by admin on 23|12|08
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Tesla S Sedan price released

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The CEO of Tesla motors, Elon Musk, released more details about the much anticipated Tesla S sedan. The sticker price will be $57,499, which is about half the price of the $109,000 Roadster model. The government tax credit for electric vehicles brings the price down to $49,999. “If you take into account the $10,000 to $15,000 you might spend on gas with a conventional car, the Model S drops to $34,000 to $39,000,” says Musk.

Tesla hopes to have a running prototype by the end of February 2009, and the production model should be ready in 2011.

Posted in General by admin on 10|12|08
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Hawaii looking to go electric

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The state of Hawaii is looking to take the green lead with its plan to add a large network of electric vehicle charging stations. The ambitious plan would add from 70,000 to 120,000 charging stations on the islands before 2012. The stations will be smart charging points and swappable battery centers. In a partnership with Better Place, the state hopes to decrease its dependence on expensive imported oil.

Hawaii is an ideal location for a conversion to electric vehicles. Its small location means most drives make short trips. The abundant natural resources like wind, wave, geo-thermal, and solar can easily power their electric grid with renewable energy.

Posted in General by admin on 09|12|08
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Miles Electric Highway Speed sedan

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While the flashy startup Tesla gets most of the press for its all electric car, another California startup is close to releasing a plug in electric car. The company is Miles Electric, and the car is the Highway Speed sedan. The car is a “normal looking” 4 door sedan. It will have room for 5 passengers with ample trunk space. Luxury options like sunroof, electronic stability control, bluetooth, and GPS navigation will all be available. The company plans to offer an 8 year, 100,000 mile warranty.

Miles Electric claims the range of the car will be 100 miles on a single charge, and can be re-charged with a standard 220 volt appliance outlet. Power is provided by a 320 V Lithium Ion battery pack. The car should cruise at 80 mph and have a 0 to 60 time of 8.5 seconds. The price will be from $40,000-$45,000, which is right in the expected price of the Volt, and undercuts the Tesla S sedan by $20k.

The car can be charged from a 50% depletion to full in about 4-6 hours. But Miles is developing a fast charge system that would allow a full charge in 15-20 minutes. Current estimates for the cost of a full charge is $1.75.

When can you buy one? An official launch date is not yet announced, but Miles Electric plans to make the cars available for test drive in 4th quarter of 2009. The on sale date should be early 2010. The company hopes to sell 9,000 cars the first year and up to 30,000 in the following years.

Posted in Electric, General by admin on 04|12|08
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Are plug in electric trucks possible?

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Conventional wisdom is that working trucks and 18 wheelers are too big and heavy for electric batteries. While it might be true that current batteries alone could not power a large truck, they can improve the efficiency. The utility company Southern California Edison has developed a working prototype plug in hybrid truck over 5 years ago. The truck weighs 26,000 lbs with the hybrid system adding 1,000 lbs. They are looking to add another to their fleet.

Another company, Eaton, produces smaller hybrid drive-trains for smaller trucks and buses. They are currently developing plug in hybrid systems for larger trucks. According to Kevin Beaty of Eaton, “The point is, can batteries help improve the performance and fuel economy of an 18-wheeler? Absolutely they can”.

With still high prices for diesel fuel, anything that can improve efficiency of our truck fleet should be on the table. Work on heavy vehicle plug in hybrid technology is still in its early phases, but the development should have benefits for all vehicles down the line.

Source: Ny Times

Posted in General by admin on 18|11|08
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AFS Trinity 150 MPG Plug in hybrid

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AFS TrinityPower is a small company with a history of big innovations. They have developed a plug-in hybrid technology that allows their test SUVS to achieve an equivalent of 150 MPG. The vehicles can go 40 miles in all electric mode, then unlimited miles in gas hybrid mode. The XH-150 Extreme Hybrid™ platform is currently operating in 2 prototype Saturn Vue vehicles. They hope to move the technology into commercial cars within 2-3 years. AFS Trinity is actively seeking government assistance to move forward with their research.

Here is a video of the XH-150 in action:

Posted in Electric, General by admin on 07|11|08
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Denmark allows tax exemption for electric cars

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As part of a bold new energy policy, the Danish government has exempted electric cars from all taxes until 2012. It’s all part of the Scandinavian country’s aggressive plan towards renewable energy. In March of this year Denmark’s Dong Energy in a partnership with a San Jose company, announced plans to build a 20,000 node recharging grid to be completed in 2011. That grid will be mostly powered from renewable wind energy.

The new tax credit has caused a rush of car makers looking to release electric cars for the favorable economic conditions in Denmark. Some of the car makers entering the market are Mercedes Benz, Saab, Volvo, France’s Axiom, China’s BYD, and America’s Tesla Motors.

It should be interesting in the next coming years to see if Denmark becomes the first country to have a real renewable energy powered car fleet.

Posted in General by admin on 31|10|08
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Australia building massive electric charging network

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Australia is taking the lead in the electric car race with their plans to build a huge charging network. A group of companies is raising 1 Billion dollars to build the network of electric vehicle charging stations. The plan calls for up to 250,000 charging points in each of the 3 largest cites: Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. They plan to power the system with renewable energy to maximize the green benefits of plug in vehicles.

The plan is expected to be completed in 2012 and will include 150 “switch” stations in each city. These stations will be located various public locations, and will allow batteries to be switched out automatically in facilities similar to car washes.

Read the full AP article here.

Posted in General by admin on 24|10|08
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2010 Toyota Prius Pictures

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Photos of the 2010 Toyota Prius leaked out on the Internet this morning. Details remain sketchy but Toyota has indeed confirmed that these are the real pictures of the popular Prius model. They go on to say “This new Prius will retain all of the virtues of the model that precedes it. It’s about the same size as its forebear, but with more interior room and better fuel economy. But you expected nothing less, right?”

Bigger and better mileage is always a good thing, especially when they will be going head to head with the Honda Insight.

Posted in General, Hybrids, Toyota by admin on 17|10|08
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The 5 biggest electric car myths

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As with any new emerging technology, there are many misconceptions about electric cars. Today we focus on the 5 most common myths regarding plug in electric cars.

Myth #1 - The electrical grid will be overloaded if everyone tries to charge their plug in cars.

This concern often arises as people think of blackouts caused by overloaded power grids in summer months. How can there be enough capacity to take on even more power usage? First of all, those blackouts are usually cause during heat waves when everyone is running enormously power hungry air conditioners all at the same time. Plug in cars on the other hand, pull a small trickle charge similar to your home’s refrigerator, and that charge is usually spread over an 8 hour period. Secondly the charging is mostly done at night, during off peak hours when the electrical grid is operating at a fraction of its capacity.

In fact a report by the Department of Energy concluded that if all the nations cars and trucks suddenly switched from oil to electrics, the idle capacity of the electric grid could generate most of the energy needed by the electrics. That is assuming a total immediate switchover, while such a transition would take decades in reality. Further studies by Oak Ridge National labs confirm that off peak charging could handle the extra load of plug in electrics with no additional power plants required.

Myth #2 - The power must come from somewhere, you are just exchanging a polluting car for a polluting power plant.

Simple mathematics show that it is much more efficient to generate power in a central location rather than having the pollutants dispersed by millions of cars. Even if the power used by an electric car comes 100% directly from a coal burning power plant, the net emissions are dramatically lower. A study by the Los Angeles dept of Water and Power concluded that over a 100,000 mile life cycle, a normal gas powered car would produce 3,000 pounds of pollutants, while a electric powered car from today’s power plants would produce just under 100. These numbers are from coal burning power plants. Power plants running on natural gas, solar, wind or nuclear vastly improve the net pollution output even more. For example a single large wind turbine can produce enough energy to power 3,000 electric cars.

Myth #3 - They are too slow to be on the roads

This one probably arises from most people’s only experience with electric powered vehicles - the golf cart. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Electric vehicles can be fast! The linear power delivery characteristics of electric vehicles can make them extremely quick. Torque is instantly available at all RPM ranges, without the usual lag we are used to with combustion engines. Videos like this of the Wrightspeed X-1 electric beating Ferrari and Porsche supercars should convince reassure people of electric’s power potential. Of course there is always the currently produced Tesla roadster, with its 0-60 time of 3.9 seconds.

Myth #4 - Batteries are environmentally disasterous

It’s true that older nickel-metal hydrid batteries have some toxic components. But if properly disoposed, recycling programs can break down almost every component of the battery for reuse. Current lithium ion batteries are getting cleaner all the time. Case in point - the lithium ion battery used in the electric motorcycle in production by Zero Motorcycles is sodium based and completely free of toxic metals. It can be completely recycled and is even rated for direct landfill disposal.

Myth #5 - Aren’t electric cars dangerous, will I get shocked?

This one is more urban legend than anything. Not one case of shocking by electric or hybrid car has ever occurred. Hybrid and electric cars have many redundant systems in place to cut power and break the circuit in the event of collisions, short circuits or power surges. Even completely submerging a electric car in water would do nothing more than cut the power from the batteries. In fact electric cars are much safer overall that internal combustion engines. Not surprising when you compare a closed cell battery system to rolling down the road with a large tank of highly flammable and combustible liquid and an engine that runs by sparking that liquid! Injury and deaths from fire and explosions are projected to dramatically decrease with an electric car fleet on the road.

Posted in Electric, General by admin on 09|10|08
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