Gas2 Week in Review, July 2: Electric Transportation Power Options and More

Transportation power sources that would rival combustion engines in reliability, consumer acceptance, and range made Gas2 readers take notice this week— and the manufacturers who continue to keep a foot firmly placed in 20th century combustion engines caught a laugh or two from our audience, too. Volvo’s attempt to put lipstick on its diesel truck pig didn’t do much for our readers, but the soon-to-be revealed specs of the BMW electric 3 series did capture their imaginations. Formula E, that all-electric motorsports series, was chronicled for those who want to know just a little more about what this type of car racing is all about.

On the other hand, Formula 1’s intransigence about putting tracks on the schedule that are sub-par became evident when we watched the Baku debacle, and  who better than our Ga2 readers could identify what a quality F1 track should be like? (Hint: Less padding of the F1 pockets.) Elios Motors’ claims to be on the forefront of vehicle innovation caused a lot of our tech-savvy readers to fall off their comfy chairs and roll on the ground, hysterically laughing….

Here are those stories about transportation power and more on this edition of the “Gas2 Week in Review.”

transportation power

New Volvo Wave Piston Improves Diesel Power, MPG

In a nod to our Gas2 readers who cling to the hope that combustion engines can retain a substantial share of the future automotive marketplace, this week we looked at the strides Volvo is making with its diesel-dependent trucks. The gist of the “Wave Piston” is that its new shape changes the way fuel ignites inside an engine, leading the flame towards the center of the combustion chamber instead of towards the cylinder walls. It’s definitely progress toward a cleaner burn, more power per unit of fuel used, and fewer emissions. Then again, as one of our astute readers noted, “It’s just another sign of the oil companies holding onto that cliff edge for dear life…”

BMW Electric 3 Series Coming In September, Company Cuts Options To Pay For EVs

Unlike Volvo’s continued adherence to 20th century technologies, BMW has announced it is cutting a number of previously available options throughout its model lineup to pay for electric car research and development. So, come September, the all-electric 3 Series sedan will be on display at the Frankfurt auto show. About all we know is that it will have a range of about 248 miles. That’s not much to go on, but BMW does say it has spent nearly $6 billion on electric car R&D recently and will continue to invest heavily in adding electric and plug-in hybrid cars to its selection of models.

Formula E — In Depth (with Videos)

Formula E is in its third season and is gaining momentum from new teams and fans alike. How does a Formula E racer work? What advances in technology are on the forefront of the sport? How does the Formula E series compare to the enduring Formula 1 series? And what transportation power innovations may trickle down to the general public as a result of Formula E R&D? Read on, motorsports fans.

Stupidest Track In Baku Leads To Stupidest Formula One Race Ever

The Formula 1 race in Baku, Azerbaijan was a bit of a farce, wasn’t it?  The course is so narrow that it just barely meet Formula One’s technical standards for minimum width. Disabled vehicles can’t be whisked off the track without a significant number of safety car laps, and debris causes punctures of other cars as they attempt to swerve to infuse heat into their tires. Baku’s Caspian Sea setting, while lovely and picturesque, is also a hub for oil production and transportation— hardly in keeping with F1’s need to improve its “green” credentials. So, if the track is so problematic, why is F1 here, anyways?

Question: Does ANYONE Still Believe in Elio Motors?

He says he was moved to take action because of lost U.S. manufacturing jobs. Paul Elio’s website claims that the Elio is “American innovation at its finest.. Designed targeting utilization of 90% North American content… A collaboration of the finest automobile suppliers in the world… Led by the ‘Who’s Who’ of the transportation industry.” But Gas2 readers don’t seem to agree that Elio Motors will ever be able to deliver finished vehicles to its customers. The folks on the Elio Motors Subreddit were fired up this week about a reposting, which inflamed hopes for some and dashed dreams for others….

Photo credit: via / CC BY

Carolyn Fortuna

Carolyn grew up in Stafford Springs, CT, home of the half-mile tar racetrack. She's an avid Formula One fan (this year's trip to the Monza race was memorable). With a Ph.D. from URI, she draws upon digital media literacy and learning to spread the word about sustainability issues. Please follow me on Twitter and Facebook and Google+