In the meantime, however, a handful of companies aims to put the power cord in the hands of drivers who want to transform their gas-electric hybrids into plug-in hybrids, or to replace the internal combustion innards of other cars with all-electric systems.
The businesses are touting plug-in hybrid systems that can be driven up to 40 miles on batteries alone, with average fuel economy of 100 miles per gallon. The cars use gasoline once the batteries drain.
It can cost more than $10,000 to install a plug-in hybrid system on a Toyota Prius. Is the limited electric driving range worth the expense?
Absolutely, according to Felix Kramer, founder of CalCars, which counts nearly 200 plug-in hybrid conversions around the country. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based nonprofit in 2004 converted the first Prius with batteries that power up from an electrical outlet. … Read more
Betting on his new energy plan, oil mogul T. Boone Pickens has helped invest $160 million in a company that makes taxi cab fleets that run on natural gas, a cleaner burning fuel.
Pickens, along with lead investor Perseus, a private equity bank, invested this week in Troy, Michigan-based Vehicle Production Group (VPG). VPG makes natural gas-fueled taxi cabs and consumer cars that are wheelchair accessible. Clean Energy Fuels Corp., which was founded by Pickens, is also an investor in VPG. The company said it plans to use the funds to further production of vehicles for release by early 2010.… Read more
BILLERICA, Mass.--It's a 21st century twist on the whistle stop train tour.
A caravan of 11 vehicles on Monday started off from Portland, Maine, on the Hydrogen Road Tour, a cross-country trek of hydrogen-powered vehicles that will end in Los Angeles after two weeks.
The event, which will make 31 stops in 18 states, was organized to educate U.S. consumers and policy makers about hydrogen and fuel-cell vehicles. It's sponsored by nine automakers, the U.S. Department of Energy, the California Fuel Cell Partnership, the National Hydrogen Association, and the Department of Transportation.
The stop on … Read more
Researchers are trying to find a useful outlet for cars' waste heat--namely their electrical load.
General Motors and BMW plan to test devices that will convert excess heat from a car's motor into electricity next year, according to an Associated Press report Sunday.
GM has built a prototype, a metal-plated device that will fit around an exhaust pipe. Researchers told AP that they expect that it could improve fuel efficiency in a Chevrolet Suburban by about 5 percent, or 1 mile per gallon. The improvements would be greater in smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles.
Auto companies are working with thermoelectrics researchers at Ohio State University … Read more
SONOMA COUNTY, Calif.--When it comes to flying, being green isn't easy.
Here at NASA's second annual General Aviation Challenge this weekend, one of the main prizes was the so-called "green prize," which challenged two-seater planes to fly a 400-mile-long course logging at least 30 miles to the gallon. None of the four planes entered won the $50,000 prize; the best attempt achieved 28.8 miles per gallon. (NASA's ultimate goal is to get the green prize to at least 100 miles per hour and the equivalent of 100 miles per gallon.
The shoe-in … Read more
Mitsubishi is partnering with California utility companies Pacific Gas and Electric and Southern California Edison to bring the oddly named i MiEV electric vehicle to the Golden State. Here's the catch: you won't even be given the option to purchase one. The vehicle, which is based on Mitsubishi's "i" gasoline-powered mini car on sale in Japan, is being imported in limited quantities for testing purposes only and will not be available for public purchase.
A 330-volt lithium ion battery system, located under the floor deck, powers a permanent magnet electric motor. The 47-kW electric motor … Read more
The greenest laptop computers--MetaEfficient ReviewsIt also listed the greenest desktop PCs this week. Suniva and Solon announce supply contract worth more than $500 million--press releaseBig endorsement of solar start-up Suniva, which was spun off from Georgia Tech earlier this year.
Solar-powered case for iPhone 3G--Mobile FunLooks cool, but won't it make the device really hot? Clean tech: One sector is bucking global economic blues--WSJ.comNew numbers show big solar and second-generation biofuels still getting the most money. Dark clouds are the iffy IPO market and a potential … Read more
At this year's New York auto show, Nissan showed off an electric vehicle concept and committed to developing one for production. This week, Nissan demonstrated it was doing more than blowing smoke by showing off its electric research vehicle, a prototype of its new hybrid system, and a new fuel cell that costs less while offering greater power density.
Nissan expects to offer an electric vehicle by 2010, with mass market production in 2012. The current vehicle being shown is similar to the concept Denki Cube from the New York auto show and is merely a research vehicle to … Read more
After a rash of negative publicity, biofuels backers say that advanced technologies will reshape the industry, making ethanol from sustainably grown sources cost-effective within a few years.
General Motors on Friday convened a panel of experts from cutting-edge ethanol companies that described different technologies--acid hydrolysis, specialty microbes, and genetically engineered energy crops--which they say will bring back biofuels' faded luster.
The key technology transition, already under way, is shifting from corn to other feedstocks for making ethanol from plant cellulose. With the right technologies and policies in place, the U.S. could meet one-third of its transportation fuel needs by … Read more