Archive for the ‘Eco Friendly Driving’ Category

November 14, 2012 @ 8:55 am
posted by mego

Image via Kepler Motors.

Would you believe the car pictured above is a hybrid? And would you believe that hybrid can go 60 MPH in 2.5 seconds? If you need evidence, watch the video below. The car is the Kepler Motors Motion, a supercar that features an 800 horsepower dual powertrain made up of a twin-turbo V6 and two electric motors, as well as a carbon fiber composite monocoque chassis and body.

The car debuted at the 2009 Dubai International Motor Show but is just now hitting the streets. Only 50 have been made.

November 8, 2012 @ 12:39 pm
posted by mego

Silky smooth ride? Fun? Fantastically engaging? Ample room? All words I didn’t think I would see applied to an EV, but the 2013 Tesla Model S is inspiring such accolades, and has been picked as Yahoo! Auto’s 2013 Car of the Year.

It’s hard to imagine using the words “EV” and “fun” in the same sentence. But the Tesla Model S is a fantastically engaging car to drive. The sheer power available under your right foot (at any speed) is something only an electric vehicle can offer, but in the Model S, it evokes a unique emotion unfelt before in the EV market. The ride is silky smooth, yet remains sporty at the same time. The futuristic 17-inch touchscreen is masterfully intuitive. Add all this up and it ensures the Tesla Model S becomes more than just our car of the year. It’s the car of the future. – Alex Lloyd

You can read more of the review, and see a gallery of images, on the Yahoo! Autos website.

September 28, 2012 @ 4:23 am
posted by mego

Google received approval in California for road testing of it’s self-driving car this week. Gov. Brown signed the “autonomous-vehicles bill” or SB 1298, into law at the Google headquarters. So what does a self-driving car look and drive like? Here’s a great demonstration via CNN.

September 25, 2012 @ 7:44 am
posted by mego

In what seems like a prediction from Back to The Future, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has predicted that a majority of cars one the road in 2040 will be driven autonomously. They’re basing their forecast on technology from GM, Audi, BMW, Stanford University, Google, and Toyota.

The timeline for autonomous cars hitting the road en masse keeps getting closer. GM’s Cadillac division expects to produce partially autonomous cars at a large scale by 2015, and the automaker also predicts it will have fully autonomous cars available by the end of the decade. Audi and BMW have also shown self-driving car concepts, with the former working with Stanford to pilot a modified TT up Pikes Peak. Meanwhile, Google is ripping along at its own rapid pace with a fleet of fully autonomous Toyota Prius hybrids that have logged over 300,000 miles. And the company has pushed through legislation that legalizes self-driving cars in Nevada. California is close behind, and Google has also been busy lobbying joyriding lawmakers in Washington, D.C.

But while we know that robo-cars are coming, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) recently released predictions that autonomous cars will account for up to 75 percent of vehicles on the road by the year 2040. The organization went even further, forecasting how infrastructure, society and attitudes could change when self-driving cars become the norm around the middle of the century.

IEEE envisions an absence of traffic signs and lights since highly evolved, self-driving cars won’t need them, and it believes that full deployment could even eliminate the need for driver’s licenses.

While this all sounds sci-fi, we’re already starting to see separate threads of this autonomous-car future being weaved in current real-world tests.

It’s been assumed that the largest hurdle for autonomous cars is building the infrastructure. Not so, says Dr. Alberto Broggi, IEEE senior member and professor of computer engineering at the University of Parma in Italy. Broggi, the director of a 2010 project that successfully piloted two driverless cars on an 8,000-mile road trip from Parma to Shanghai, points out that two current types of self-driving cars will need less infrastructure, not more.

“The Google cars are based on very precise maps and they have sensing primarily based on a LIDAR technology,” he told Wired. “The cars that we tested on the route from Parma to Shanghai had no maps, and had sensing primarily based on cameras. In both cases, the cars have no help from the infrastructure.” CNN, 18 Sep 2012.

Read more about the predictions on CNN.

July 5, 2012 @ 8:38 am
posted by mego

Image via Matt Davis for AOL.

Good news for luxury car lovers! Mercedes-Benz is reported to start offering an EV option for their B-class vehicles in 2014. The car will use Tesla Motors created batteries, motor, and other various parts. Mercedes-Benz owns a small percentage of the Silicone Valley based company, as does Toyota.

Information and image via AutoBlog, click here for full article.


November 28, 2011 @ 8:04 am
posted by mego

Audi cars are well known for solid performance, but not necessarily for futuristic or innovative design. That’s changed with the all-new Urban Concept. A fully electric car scheduled for sale in the UK in 2013. It features a go-kart style design, lithium battery powered engines, and a single speed transmission with top speeds of 60 mph.

The obvious target is European city dwellers. With incredibly high gas prices in Europe, I’m sure the Urban Concept with its battery powered engines and low ticket price will be very popular. The Urban Concept will cost £8,800 or $13,600.

Read more about the Audi Urban Concept by clicking here.

Images via The Fox is Black and Car Magazine (UK).

November 3, 2011 @ 8:00 am
posted by mego

car sharing statistics infographic

For those of you questioning the staying power and effectiveness of car sharing programs in North America, I have two numbers for you: 10,252 and 513,698. The first is the number of vehicles added to car sharing programs in the last ten years. The second is the number of members who have opened a membership in a car sharing program in the same time period.

The information comes from the Collaborative Fund, and makes a fantastically designed and compelling argument for car sharing programs worldwide. Including data on how car sharing programs reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Go visit their website and spend a few minutes learning about car sharing programs worldwide.



October 26, 2011 @ 8:00 am
posted by mego

Good news for Carhelp readers that live in Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Knoxville, and Tampa Bay. AAA now offers emergency roadside assistance for electric vehicle drivers. The trucks will be available only in those metro areas starting next summer.

From the press release:

There are three charging levels for electric vehicles:

o Level 1 is a standard 120-volt household outlet, which would take roughly 20 hours to fully charge a Nissan Leaf.

o Level 2 is 240 volts AC (alternating current). This is commonly found in household electric clothes dryers and can charge a Nissan Leaf in approximately six hours.

o Level 3 is DC (direct current) charging at high voltage—up to 500 volts DC. This allows a large amount of energy to be delivered to an electric vehicle in a very short period of time. A “depleted” Nissan Leaf could go to 80 percent state-of-charge in roughly 30 minutes with Level 3 charging.

All AAA mobile EV charging roadside assistance vehicles can provide Level 3 (DC Fast Charging) and Level 2 (AC Quick Charging) to electric vehicles.

You can read the full press release on the AAA website.

via LA Times

Several of the largest automakers have pledged to work towards a universal charging station for electric cars. It would also be fast charging, drastically cutting the time needed to charge a car.

The system will use a common vehicle inlet/charging connector and will have a standard electronic method for the vehicle to communicate with the charging station. This will allow electric vehicles from Audi, BMW, Daimler, Ford, General Motors, Porsche and Volkswagen to  share the same fast charging stations.

The seven auto manufacturers said “the development of a common charging approach is good for customers, the industry and charging infrastructure providers. Standardization will reduce build complexity for manufacturers, accelerate the installation of common systems internationally and most importantly, improve the ownership experience for EV drivers.” LA Times, 12 Oct 2011.

According to the article, Nissan has also announced price cuts for home charging stations.

October 3, 2011 @ 1:15 pm
posted by mego

Autolib Concept

An eco-friendly car rental service spearheaded by Bertrand Delanoe, the mayor of Paris, will launch next week with hopes to “clear the traffic-clogged arteries of the French capital.”

The electrically powered Autolib cars will be available for hire in a two-month trial starting October 2 at 4 to 8 euros per half hour to motorists prepared to pay a membership fee starting at 10 euros for a day of driving.

The 235 million euro ($321 million) project is the brainchild of Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe, who hopes to duplicate the success of Velib, the bicycle-sharing scheme he launched in 2007 and which has been copied by several cities in France and abroad.

It’s also a potential showcase for Bollore’s eponymous industrial conglomerate, which is making the BlueCar vehicles involved in the scheme and which are based on a lithium-metal-polymer battery, a different technology from the lithium-ion batteries other car makers are using. MSNBC, 30 Sep 2011.

The service will debut with 66 cars at 33 stations with an end of 2012 expansion plan of 3,000 vehicles and 1,000 stations.