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Hyundai looking to become most fuel efficient line

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Hyundai revealed a bold new strategy to try to become the most fuel efficient car line on the planet. Utilizing their new “blue drive” technology, they hope to achieve a 35 mpg fleet average for their cars by 2015. This technology breaks with the current lithium ion battery trend and uses a lithium polymer battery. They claim these batteries produce 10% better power, while weighing 30% less and taking up half the space.

Hyundai is looking to offer this platform in many of its current models as hybrids, as well as new cars to feature full electric modes. These “blue editions” version will be even cheaper than current prices: $11,070 and $13,970 for the Accent and Elantra models. The large Korean car maker is a little late to the hybrid and electric party, but hopes this aggressive new initiative will push them to the forefront.

This video describes the Blue Drive technology from the recent L.A. auto show.

Posted in Hybrids, Hyundai by admin on 25|11|08
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Dean Kamen builds Stirling electric hybrid car

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Dean Kamen, the prolific inventor most famous for the iconic Segway, has been tinkering with hybrid electric cars. He now has built a prototype car that is listed on the registration as a 2008 DEKA Revolt. Based on the body of the discontinued Ford Think, the car uses lithium batteries and a revolutionary Stirling engine. The batteries power the car directly, while the Stirling engine powers secondary features like heating and defrosters. Then when the battery runs low, the Stirling will recharge the batteries and extend the range of the car. The car will go 60 miles on a single charge.

Kamen has never backed down from attempting to solve huge issues of the world, like clean water, electricity for developing countries and transportation. “The car is a step along the way to be able to build, in high volume, high-quality, low-cost electric generation for a couple billion people,” Kamen explained. He hopes to have the car in production in 2 years.

Will the DEKA Revolt make the worldwide impact on transportation that eluded Kamen with the Segway? Time will tell.

Posted in Electric, Hybrids by admin on 10|11|08
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Chrysler pulls plug on planned hybrids

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Amid the economic turmoil at Chrysler, they have killed their planned hybrid programs before ever delivering a car. The Dodge Durango and Chrysler Aspen hybrid sport utility vehicles have been discontinued. Chrysler had claimed to have 3,000 orders already for the hybrid SUV models, but those orders will never be filled now. The downturn in SUVs as well as the economic downturn were too much for company to continue down the path of these more expensive models.

With plant closures, a 25% workforce layoff, and ongoing talks of a merger with GM, the future of Chrysler’s hybrid efforts seem uncertain. However, the planned plug in electric vehicles we reported about last month are apparently still on track.

Posted in Chrysler, Hybrids by admin on 29|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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Volkswagen Twin Drive Electric Hybrid

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Not to be left out of the plug in electric race, Volkswagen is working on a “Twin Drive” model based on the Golf. The twin drive uses the electric motor as its primary power source and a clean diesel engine as a backup and regenerative source. This is similar to the operation of the GM Volt, which allows for a longer range. VW says it will run the first 31 miles on pure electric from its lithium ion batteries before switching over to the diesel. The Germans are very eager to get this technology rolling down the roads as soon as possible. The Interior Ministry in Germany gave VW a $23.5 million grant to help spur the development. VW hopes to have the car ready in 2010.

Posted in Electric, Hybrids, VW by admin on 11|10|08
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Honda Insight hybrid looking to capture Prius market

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Honda recently unveiled their answer to the wildly successful Toyota Prius: the 2010 Insight. Set to be released in mid 2009 for the 2010 model year, this hybrid should carry a price tag of $20k or less. Which would undercut the Prius by several thousand dollars in the lucrative hybrid market.

The car uses a less complex form of hybrid technology called IMA, that does not allow electric only operation, but utilizes a full time hybrid mode for increased efficiency. Sources at Honda say they aren’t interested in pursuing a plug in type electric car currently. “We’re not planning to make a pure battery-based electric vehicle,” a company rep said. “The next phase we see is the fuel-cell vehicle.”

Performance and mileage is expected to be similar to the current Civic hybrid at around 42 mpg. Will Honda dominate the hybrid market with the Insight? We’ll have to wait until 2010 to see, but it should be interesting.

Posted in Honda, Hybrids, Manufacturers by admin on 03|10|08
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Chrysler’s surprising new electric vehicle lineup

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In a major move to capture some of GM’s spotlight with the much hyped Volt, Chrysler announced today a whole lineup of electric and hybrid vehicles. The vehicles are set for release in 2010 and featured plug in hybrid technology with advanced lithium ion batteries. Chrysler has been developing these vehicles in relative secrecy and the project is progressing rapidly according to company executives.

The flagship of the line is the Dodge EV, a high performance sports car (think Tesla killer) with a all electric range of 150-200 miles. 0 to 60 times are less than 5 seconds. With looks reminiscent of the Dodge viper, but 0 gas onsumption, it should be a huge hit.

Possibly even more dramatic is Chrysler’s attempt to go after markets previously untapped for hybrids and electrics - families and off-roaders. They are releasing extended range electric versions of their popular minivans and Jeep 4×4s. Extended range allows for the first 40 miles to be all electric with an extended range of 400 miles on gas.

The Chrysler Town and Country Mini Van extended range electric. The minivan will retain all the standard features like popular stow and go seating.

The Jeep Wrangler EV. This extended range EV vehicle will feature 4 individual motors, 1 on each wheel which allows for more precise control of power and traction as well as energy savings.

Watch the full video of the product launch here

Posted in Chrysler, Electric, Honda, Hybrids, Hydrogen by admin on 23|09|08
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Prius may become its own car brand

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Discussion and continues to swirl that Toyota is considering making the Prius its own brand, much like the successful Lexus and Scion spin offs. With a high brand loyalty of owners and outstanding name recognition in the hybrid “green” space, this would seem to be another winning move for Toyota.

According to Toyota North American sales chief Jim Lentz, “”You could have a series of derivatives under the Prius brand name that would allow you to market product at a much lower cost. “There is a definite desire for us to do that.”

Toyota expects to sell 175,000 Prius hybrids this year, but is hoping to ramp that figure up to 1 million a year by early next decade. “”To do that effectively, I think we need dedicated hybrids and I would prefer them under the Prius name,” Lentz continued.

By having their own brand, Prius could expand the current line to offer many models including smaller sportier options as well as larger, possibly even a Prius SUV. Toyota would continue to make hybrid models of certain cars, like the Camry, so not all hybrids would fall under the Prius brand.

Posted in Hybrids, Toyota by admin on 19|09|08
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Honda CR-Z Sports Hybrid coming in 2009

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Honda is serious about capturing Toyota’s hybrid market share. They are also looking to break the mold of the boxy, stodgy hybrid with their new Honda CR-Z. The name stands for “Compact Renaissance Zero”, and is expected to be lightweight, sporty and fun hybrid. Word on the street is that Honda might have this car released in the US as early as 2009.

Full details from Honda here

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Posted in Honda, Hybrids by admin on 13|09|08
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Honda to relaunch Insight as cheapest hybrid

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Honda is planning on bringing back the Insight model, which was discountinued in 2006, now as a hybrid. The car could sell for only $18,500 which would be $3,500 lower than the wildley popular Toyota Prius.

View the AP article here

Posted in Honda, Hybrids by admin on 07|09|08
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