I don’t know much about Sophia “the Angry Green Girl”, but this woman absolutely KNOWS how to get attention. Case in point? She’s hired a dozen bikini-clad LA models to wash any hybrid vehicle that happens by in the hopes of generating some press for her new website, under the banner of “Shamelessly exploiting everything I got to save our world.”
EV manufacturer Wheego has placed the ad above in this month’s issue of Scoot! Magazine, asking “the scootering community” to weigh-in on the concept of an electric Lambretta GP under the tagline “Brilliance or Sacrilege?”
You’ve seen the title, so you know my vote already – but there’s more to it than that. My top 5 reasons a new electric GP200 from Wheego would be the brilliant-est EV ambassador since Tesla’s Roadster after the jump.
GM’s recent “230” PR campaign (previously covered HERE and HERE) has certainly caused a lot of controversy, most of it centered on the fact that the EPA initially “backed away” from the automaker’s optimistic (?) Chevy Volt mileage claims.
Despite the fact that the 230 mpg rating will likely stand (once GM gets a final-production Volt into the hands of the EPA, that is), so much attention has been paid to the matter that the good in charge at Progressive’s Automotive X PRIZE decided it was time to chime in, asking “Is MPG still relevant?”
Short answer: No.
Read the X Prize group’s long(er) answer, and learn about their proposed MPGe rating system, after the jump.
[social_buttons] After several set backs last week, yesterday the British Steam Car Team unofficially broke the 103 year-old world steam-powered land speed record. The speed record has been held for more than a century by American Fred Marriott, who in 1906, drove a “Stanley Steamer” car 127 miles per hour (mph). The teams own calibrated equipment measured the two way average of 137.14 mph and a 48 min, 52 second turn-around.
At the wheel will be tri-national Charles Burnett III, a multimillionaire born in England to a Canadian mother and American father. The car, which looks like an over sized rocket on wheels, is nicknamed the “fastest kettle in the world”.
[social_buttons]A few weeks ago I met Todd Mouw with Roush Manufacturing (many of you may know the company from its work in motorsports) who was displaying a Ford F250 converted to run on propane. I talked him into letting me take it for a spin through Ft. Worth, Texas.
From there, I convinced him to let me take a liquid propane injection (LPJ) F150, model year 2007, across the country (I’m technically on vacation). I know that propane is not a new technology -it’s been used as a fuel since the 1930s- but in America, it is rarely used in vehicles outside of fleets, but is gaining momentum and can now be used in applications such as lawn mowers.
Now here are the selling points from companies such as Roush that are producing LPJ vehicles:
- 97 percent of propane is produced in North America
- Reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 18 percent
- No loss of horsepower, torque or towing capacity
- Up to $5,000 federal tax credit available
- Tax credit of 50 cents per gallon (not always passed to the consumer)
- Significantly reduces operating costs
It was a one in 20 chance encounter. I felt like a paparazzi who got a chance to spy a celebrity but in this instance my camera caught a shot of the Tango, the car that makes look the Smart Car look like a Lincoln Continental. Only about 10-20 Tangos exists which makes the sighting more special. Actually my neighbor (a solar guy who already drives an EV-4) had the thing in his driveway in the Lower Haight and a crowd of passersby, tourists, and green auto enthusiasts formed around this electric only car.
As they say, looks can be deceiving. My neighbor said that the Tango can beat a Tesla in terms of acceleration. The Tango can accelerate from zero to over 130 mph in one gear. It accelerates from zero to 60 mph in about 4 seconds. We say Zoom to that.
Jalopnik has issued a call to arms to its fans: Won’t someone please save our quirky classic cars. Ford Explorers – – fine, that’s one thing….but…
…this is the very last straw: “A classic example of vangenieering, is being sacrificed at Galpin Ford in Los Angeles. For what? A Ford Focus? We must let people know of the horrors. If you see a great vehicle being sacrificed take a picture and post it here. We must bear witness to the atrocity.”
Jalopnik is a site for the auto-world equivalent of Fashionistas, and the CARS Carpocalypse is hitting them hard. For the most part its devoted readers are putting a very brave face on it. But the agony:
“I saw a mid 80’s El Camino get traded in. I… I didn’t cry. I know it wouldn’t want to be looked at with misty eyes of mourning.”
Washington’s hugely popular cash for clunkers program has boosted all auto sales 16 percent from June to July as desperate and grateful Americans unloaded the gas guzzling behemoths they had been lured into buying with huge SUV tax credits by the Bush administration. (Small business owners like doctors, lawyers, and real estate agents had been able to use fossil friendly incentives to deduct more than $100,000 of the cost of an SUV from their taxes.) Now that they have the chance, Americans are unloading those gas guzzlers.
Panasonic Corporation just announced that it will sponsor Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Solar Electric Vehicle Team (SEVT). The team will be competing in the upcoming Global Green Challenge (GCG) to be held in October of this year in Australia. As part of the sponsorship, Panasonic will provide the team with its a high-capacity (2.9 Ah) lithium-ion batteries.
The MIT SEVT student team will compete in the World Solar Challenge with a solar powered car using Panasonic lithium-ion batteries to store its solar generated power. Separately, Panasonic will provide the same high-capacity, lithium-ion batteries to a team from Japan’s Tokai University which is also competing in the same category.
[social_buttons] You can’t turn on the TV and avoid the ads for the dealers promoting the Cash for Clunkers program. Experts predicted that the money would last at least two to three weeks, but alas, it is not so. The LA Times is reporting that in less than one week, the $1 billion dollars for the program is already gone and the government is scrambling to find more money to keep the program going. Worst case, I suppose they can just write “IOUs” like the state of California is doing and according to Governor Schwarzenegger, may be bailing out the federal government some day.
“We are working tonight to asses the situation facing what is obviously an incredibly popular program,” the White House told the LA Times. “Auto dealers and consumers should have confidence that all valid CARS transactions that have taken place to date will be honored.”
Since its humble beginnings in the 19th century, the sparkplug has been a mainstay of the combustion engine.
Some engineers at Ford, in collaboration with Liverpool University researchers have decided to modernize spark plug technology. Since we’re in the 21st century, that replacement is going to be lasers.
Yes, I said lasers.
Oregon State University Researcher Kaichang Li is already well-known in the research world for developing a non-toxic, soy-based adhesive to make greener plywood for cabinets, so it’s almost no surprise that his next research discovery is along the same lines.
Turning his attention to the materials commonly used as reinforcing fillers in tires — carbon black and silica — Li has figured out a way to use plant products to substitute for these toxic and energy intensive conventional materials.
The Tata Nano has been making a splash recently as one of the world’s cheapest and most fuel efficient cars marketed towards developing economies where cars are generally considered a luxury. Now Fiat and Tata have announced plans to market the car in South America.
Behind Italy, Brazil is already Fiat’s second largest market so it only makes sense that Fiat would want to grab more market share in the ultra low-end category.
The first car my best friend ever drove was a early 80’s Honda Accord hatchback. It was little more than an oversized rollarskate with a tiny, 80 horsepower engine, but it beat the hell out of walking. The car itself was cramped and lacked all the amenities one would find standard on today’s cars, even cupholders. Today, the car serves as an immobile flower bed for a maple tree and wildflowers, but the memories will remain.
Flash forward to today, and a new study finds that since the early ’80’s the Honda Accord has packed on over 1,000 lbs, doubled its standard horsepower, and fuel economy has steadily dipped. The study seems to suggest that if vehicle weight, horsepower, and torque were held at their 1980’s levels, then fuel efficiency could have increased by at least 50%, rather than the 15% increase that actually occured. But is it really that simple?