With green issues dominating the headlines at this week's Detroit auto show, you may find yourself wondering how much it costs to assuage the gas-guzzling guilt you feel when picking up your next rental car. The convenient answer is $1.25 (plus applicable taxes). That is the price at which Enterprise, National, and Alamo are selling carbon offsets to their customers in a carbon-offset program launching today. According to the companies, the $1.25 offset charge represents the cost of offsetting the CO2 impact of the average rental vehicle operating in the company's fleet. TerraPass, the company responsible … Read more
Fisker Automotive formally unveiled its upscale hybrid car today and said it has received an infusion of cash from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
The investment is believed to be the first direct investment by Kleiner Perkins into an alternative car company. (Rumors swirled that the company invested in Phoenix Motorcars, but it was never confirmed, and Phoenix subsequently had delays). Fisker did not officially release the amount of the investment but Kleiner partner Ray Lane told the Wall Street Journal that the investment exceeds $10 million.
The company is founded by noted automotive designer Henrik Fisker. He came up … Read more
Can these guys ever stay out of the news?
Tesla Motors is wrapping up a $40 million round of funding and will then seek another one on top of that in a few months, according to an interview with CEO Ze'ev Drori in VentureWire (subscription required).
Tesla has already raised more than $100 million. The money was largely used to develop the Tesla Roadster, an all-electric sports car coming out later this year, and build out the company's facilities. Car factories cost a lot. The onerous capital requirements, along with the long development time, are two of the … Read more
Porsche announced today that it's developing a hybrid version of the Panamera, a four-door GT car that will debut in a traditional combustion engine version in 2009.
The hybrid system will use a combustion engine, plus an electric motor and an additional clutch, along with a battery pack to store power. The system can switch between the combustion and electric motor, or combine power from both, depending on driving conditions. And although we haven't seen specific technical data yet, this system sounds strikingly similar to GM's "two-mode" hybrid system, which can yield anywhere from zero … Read more
When we first spied the "Mini Solar Racer" last summer, it seemed like a neat little toy that would make a nice novelty gift for our greener acquaintances. Little did we know that it could be a miniature prototype for an actual car.
That, at least, appeared to be the case with the equally unattractive Taiwanese solar-powered car that Gizmodo rightly likens to a golf cart. Even if it does make good on its claims of reaching 44 mph during three-hour jaunts between charges, something tells us that this design won't have droves of customers jamming showrooms. … Read more
In order to get its electric sports car to owners sooner, Tesla Motors plans to deliver cars with a temporary transmission that falls short of its originally promised performance.
The news was distributed to the wide world on Thursday in a blog post from Ze'ev Drori, Tesla's new president and CEO.
The post is a reprint of a letter that was sent to Tesla purchasers on December 21, as a follow-up to a town hall meeting for Tesla owners that took place on December 12. About 100 people, including those who called in, participated in the meeting, according … Read more
Consumers won't pay more for cars that would meet new, stricter emissions standards.
That was the message sent last week by Susan Docherty, Western Region general manager of General Motors, as a handful of automotive journalists (including yours truly) sat scattered at a very large table in a private room in the back of one of Santa Monica's poshest hotel restaurants during a GM-sponsored holiday dinner.
With all the buzz around hybrids and hydrogen cars, it's easy to forget that the cleanest vehicle on the road is the natural-gas powered Honda Civic GX. While it might be clean, however, it is a pain to fill up thanks to its paltry 220-mile range and a scarcity of public natural gas fueling stations (fewer than 150 nationwide). To make life easier for GX owners, Honda has partnered with FuelMaker to develop the Phill home refueling station, which enables drivers to fill their tanks in their own garage. We got a close-up view of the first Phill system … Read more
Although hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, it's a royal pain to make.
Most industrial hydrogen producers currently make the gas by heating methane and water to 815 degrees Celsius and causing a reaction. Unfortunately, this process generates 9.3 kilograms of carbon dioxide for every kilo of hydrogen, so it's not environmentally friendly or cheap.
Other companies like Signa Chemistry have come out with chemical catalysts that can strip hydrogen from water.
Then there is electrolysis, which involves cracking water molecules with electricity. Electrolysis doesn't produce any greenhouse gases or chemical residues so … Read more
The face behind the wheel of a hybrid car is most likely to belong to an upwardly mobile, physically active person with tech savvy, according to a report by Scarborough Research (PDF).
Forty-two percent of those polled earn six figures or more each year. The group is more than 20 percent likely than average to be at least 50 years old. Nearly a third hold a postgraduate degree, with the rate of college graduation more than doubling the U.S. average.