Think electric is the signal from this zany little car, called the G-Wiz in the UK, and the Reva in the rest of the world. This electric car from India has been around longer than the Think City, and has been more successful in its marketing. The Reva also uses the web to take orders for customized cars—that's right, you can decide what color/s or shape you want the Reva in!
The REVA Electric Car Company Private Ltd. (RECC), based in Bangalore, India, was established in 1994 as a joint venture between the Maini Group India and Amerigon Electric Vehicles, California USA, to manufacture environment-friendly and cost-effective electric vehicles.
Seven years of painstaking research and development earned the RECC recognition in the form of 10 patents and a globally accepted product. REVA, India's first zero polluting Electric Vehicle for city mobility, was commercialized in June 2001.
The early Reva suffered from many drawbacks: weak battery, low speed, shoddy construction, low range, and little safety. Jeremy Clarkson slamed the Reva in his Top Gear show....still not clear which model he tested but the video was funny:
But check this letter in response to Jeremy's give-me-more-gas-guzzling cars diatribe:
It's a four minute skit involving an all electric Reva, a vehicle that allows thousands of Brits to make their daily commute without need to wash their hands of Iraqi blood. I'm no automotive expert, yet I picked up the following errors in Clarkson's video:
The car runs out of juice - so why didn't they charge the car, which has an 80km range?
Clarkson asserts "you can't stop because that would wear the battery down". Actually it's the opposite. The new Reva-NXG has regenerative braking, meaning when you brake or go down hill, you put energy back into the battery. It's the very reason I love my Prius, and why every other car I've driven since seems so recklessly wasteful with fuel.
Then in 2005, the electric car manufacturers came out with the Reva NXG (next generation) launched at the 21st International Electric Vehicle Symposium in Monaco:
The Reva NXG had a longer driving range (80 km), a higher top speed (64 kph), and took six hours to charge its 37kW/220Nm sodium nickel chloride batteries. The car had a "wireless tablet" dashboard.....an embedded computer based on Mobilius having a touch screen display showing all essential information about the car like speed, mileage etc. It also doubles up as a GPS navigation system and an MP3 player with internet access.
But the prospect of running all this on DC power was still holding back car sales. From 2001 all versions of the Reva had only managed to sell 2500 units. In 2006 the Indian company received an investment of $20million from Draper Fisher Jurveston (DFJ) and Global Environment Fund (GEF). In 2007 the Reva Greeny AC1, came out with an AC motor, which further improved its speed, and power.
The manufacturers engage in clever marketing to sell their product. First calling it G-Wiz in the UK, a catchy name, then after criticism of its low capacity came out with this photo:
Shows how two adults and their kids can fit inside the Reva....eat your words Jeremy! In fact the car is meant for city driving, at low speeds (12 kph in London), which makes it ideal for urban families as the letter from Mr. Carl Sparre showed.
Some other marketing ploys are selling the car in niche markets. For example the postal service in the Kerala region of India. Kerala Postal Service signed an agreement with REVA electric car company recently. As per the agreement RECC will provide 3 customized electric cars, which will be used to collect and deliver speed post items.
IT peripherals company, WeP Peripherals, will now use Reva cars as mobile service centres which would cater to its existing customers and also provide information to the commonman wanting to buy WeP's products.
Then the agreement with the Spanish supermarket chain Veritas, which acquired the Reva to equip its fleet for business visits in its outlets. Reva is the first complete electric vehicle entering the Spanish market. It's main features are that it does not emit CO2 and that it does not generate noise pollution. The car is designed for city use and has a range of about 70 miles. One of its greatest advantages is its low cost of maintenance, 40% less than that of a gasoline or diesel car. The Reva costs about 12,000 euros. It was introduced in 2001 and is sold to the UK, Italy, Greece, Malta, Cyprus and Sri Lanka so far.
About 500 cars have been ordered this month by the British company, Going Green Plc.
On the question of safety read electric mobility:
Safety - working with LOTUS , Reva Electric Car Company have introduced a new independently crash tested* quadricycle safety package for the 2008 REVAi featuring increased front and side impact protection, a strengthened space frame, a collapsible steering column, a hill rolling restraint feature, plus new front disc brakes that deliver a 30% improvement in performance.
*Quadricycles are regulated primarily by weight and power output (400 kg without batteries and 15kW respectively) and not required to be crash tested under UK and EU law. The 2008 REVA i has been independently voluntary frontal crash tested for city speed driving conditions at 25 mph (average speed in London is12 mph ) by ARAI (the Automotive Research Association of India) following the addition of the LOTUS assisted safety package, an optional extra that all REVAi models can be fitted with.
However certain countries like Australia, have refused to register the Reva, by classifying it as a car and not a quadricycle.
The latest news is that the Reva Electric Car Company plans to roll out a new vehicle every year.
Chetan Maini, deputy chairman and chief technology officer of Reva, told The Telegraph, “We will launch one vehicle and one variant every year. By the end of 2008, we will introduce another electric car with more advanced features”.
The Bangalore-based company has a plant in Bommasandra, which has a capacity of 6,000 units. Reva is expanding this capacity to 30,000 by the middle of this year to meet the increased demand in foreign markets as well as to tap the potential in the domestic market. “Of the 30,000 cars, we expect to sell about 15,000-20,000 units in India alone while the rest will be sold overseas,” said Maini.
Friday, February 29, 2008
Posted by Chrissy at 5:16 PM
Monday, February 25, 2008
It's a cute small car but not a girl's car....the Think City is for everyone and it's electric! This will be the first car not to be sold via showrooms. The Think City will be custom-made from online orders and will come full wired...thanks to Google, who have a long history with this particular car.
The Norwegian company behind this car was formed way back in 1990 as an electric car startup called Pivco Industries. It quickly ran out of money but was revived in 1999 when the Ford Motor Company, interested in producing an electric car for the green-conscious California market, bought the company and renamed it Think Nordic. The company produced around a 1000 electric cars called 'Think City', which as the name implies, were meant for city driving.
These cars had a weak battery and a very short range of 50 miles. Ford lost faith in electric cars and sold off the company to a Swiss electronics firm Kamkorp Microelectronics——the Think City cars not yet sold were crushed by Ford and dumped as waste!
One of the cars that survived was owned by Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google.
By 2006 Think Nordic had gone into bankruptcy. Then a Norwegian venture capitalist, Jan-Olaf Willums, bought the company and revived the Think City electric car concept, but in his words, "building the car company from the ground up, using concepts like social responsibility, localization, and viral marketing." He renamed the company Think Global.
The new Think City has a better design, and a longer range of 110 miles, with a top speed close to 90 mph (from its new submarine batteries). When Willums was exploring his online orders idea, he got in touch with the founders of Google, and discovered their old connection with his electric car.
Every City will be Internet-and Wi-Fi enabled, allowing drivers to access the Internet—and to communicate back and forth with the car itself. A City will email its owner, for instance, when its battery is running low. Because the battery is the most expensive part of an electric car, Think will sell the car but lease the battery. Take the battery out of the equation, and the car might go for as little as $17,000, with a "mobility fee" of $100 to $200 a month that might also include services like insurance and wireless Internet access.
For those who want test drive this cute electric car, just send a text message to your nearest Think About car-sharing franchise——if you enjoy the experience order a Think City online and wait for it to be delivered. Jan-Olaf Willums successfully pursued his dream for localization; the Think City components come from different parts of the world and are assembled locally to save costs. This also means that the car can change body styles with ease, from a coupe to a sports convertible, with ease!
Enova Systems, a leading developer of proprietary electric, hybrid and fuel cell digital power management systems, received a Production Contract to provide a minimum of 1,000 Power Control Units (PCU’s) to Think Global in 2008, for use in the Think City. Future production ambitions for the Think City are expected at a minimum of 10,000 units in 2009.
Mike Staran, Enova’s President and CEO said, “Enova is privileged to be working with a visionary company like Think Global. We are pleased to be awarded this high volume Production Contract from them. Our belief is that the Think City vehicle will revolutionize the passenger electric vehicle market in Europe, and ultimately North America.”
Enova’s PCU is a critical component of the vehicle’s power system, converting and regulating high voltage power to lower voltages where and as required. Enova's module transfers power throughout the drive system and assists in energy recovery during regenerative braking, extending the overall range of the vehicle. The source of propulsion power is therefore transparent to the driver, allowing him to concentrate on normal vehicle operation.
Posted by Chrissy at 5:40 PM
Saturday, February 23, 2008
What's the difference between a girl's room and a boy's room? The girl's room (of course) smells better, is warmer and neater, but most of all it is full of cute knick-knacks, fluffy animals, and little hearts and flowers.
This though is not this cute Japanese girl's room...it's her car!
Ayano Sasao is defying the conventional wisdom that cars targeted to a niche consumer category like young women are doomed to fail. The 18-year-old Japanese hospital worker just bought the Nissan Pino, a toylike minicar just 3.4 meters (11 feet) long with star-stamped upholstery, a hook for a handbag and a chic "milk tea beige" exterior — although she says she almost went with the pink. "It's so cute. I just love it," she said.
To make sure women like Sasao get the message, Nissan Motor Co. launched a merchandise line for Pino, including pink bear-shaped cushions, seat covers with hearts, a CD case that looks like fat red lips, and a colorful cover for a tissue box. Ironically, Pino isn't even made by Nissan, Japan's third biggest automaker. It's made by Suzuki Motor Inc.
But under a manufacturing agreement, Nissan packages Suzuki's Alto model differently, with fancier seat fabric, a distinct front design and a hubcap inspired by a snowflake so the wheels appear to sparkle on the road — all touches to give the car that cute look. Nissan had 5,500 orders for the Pino in the first month since it went on sale in January, more than double the company target of 2,500 a month.
And in most countries, experts tend to advise against making autos pink or adding other "cute" features to appeal to female drivers partly because that may smack of sexism and turn off women — except in Japan. Here, young women are extremely powerful in setting trends, and the culture of cute is so prevalent grown men aren't embarrassed about dangling little mascots from cell phones.
Even the advertising for Pino is tailored to women who are about 20 years old. The pamphlet is manga-style, like a Japanese comic book, depicting the story of three young well-ressed women going shopping together, manicuring their nails to match the star-patterns on Pino seats, using aromatherapy oils in the car. The TV ads also tell a similar story.
Well that's woman power! In the US it's well known that women buy more cars, or at least drive the purchase of cars in families. The Nissan Pino was introduced to the Japanese market last January and it alone has pushed the sales of Nissan's mini-vehicles by 11%. Many of Japan's unique 660cc minicars are in fact designed with women in mind, and in a booming mini sector that hit a record 2.02 million units in 2006 (for a more than 35 percent total market share), it’s no surprise that automobile manufacturers are catering to the female market.
The 660cc Nissan Pino comes in many pretty colors (antique rose, bright red, lime green, beige, etc.) and it has an interior air filter to keep the air inside the car clean....so girly! But more seriously the car is powered by three-cylinder DOHC 12-valve K6A engine, which produces 53bhp power, and gives an awesome mileage of 21kpl (working out to over 40mpg). This very small car is 133.7 inches long and weighs 1609 pounds. Depending on whether one buys the 2WD model or the 4WD, the newest version of the Nissan Pino will cost between $11,800 and $12,800.
Posted by Chrissy at 9:24 PM
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
While she struts around in her off-road jeep and washes a muscle car in the Dukes of Hazzard, Jessica Simpson in real life is a gas guzzler. Okay the photo is a couple of years old...
But like fellow blonde Paris Hilton, the pretty Jessica drove around in her SUV all these years while many of her celeb peers shifted to green vehicles. Heck even Paris gifted herself a hybrid toy a few days ago on her birthday!
Then at the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards the pop princess won herself a free Chrysler Crossfire SRT-6 convertible....worth $50,000. This money was taxable unless she donated the car to charity. But celebrities love to get free gifts and our Jessica fell in love with the convertible:
A whole year (nearly) went by and Jessica had fun with the sexy car. Then in March 2007, before the taxman came knocking, sweet Jessica Simpson felt a generous impulse to help orphans down in Mexico. But since orphans don't have much use for a $50,000 car, Jessica asked Chrysler to exchange it for a white minivan, which she donated to the kids.
So the Simpson gal, Tony Romo's sweetheart, is back to her SUV guzzling gas. Although she does do something for the environment if you believe this site: Jessica Simpson (unknowingly) buys organic lingerie!
Posted by Chrissy at 2:46 AM
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Spoilt celebrity and rich heiress Paris Hilton, after singing and playing on Guitar Heroes III at the Sundance Film Festival, celebrates her 27th birthday today by gifting herself a brand new toy.
Yes it's a new car...but not just any toy! It's a HYBRID.
The 2008 GMC Yukon Hybrid....compared to a conventional model, the Yukon Hybrid's V-8 engine is mated to two electric motors inside the transmission, one of which powers the Yukon Hybrid for city driving; the other kicks in for highway cruising. In addition more aerodynamic and lightweight sheetmetal body improves the car's mileage by 25%.
The car is a 4-wheel drive and can carry 9 passengers, less than the smaller Starex!
It costs $52,855, which is a ridiculous amount for super-rich Paris Hilton. She will have to get used to the humming of the electric engine instead of the roar of her previous cars. Though this is not the first time Paris Hilton has tried ot get a Hybrid vehicle for herself. Paris says she's concerned for the environment; but most people believe that the spoilt princess ran out of gas while driving alone...
She felt scared and helpless and swore to replace her Range Rover with a hybrid. Paris even tried to have a green hummer custom made for her driving pleasure. But now at last she has a hybrid and is doing her bit for the environment.
Score one more for the efforts of General Motors in going green.
Posted by Chrissy at 7:36 PM
Friday, February 15, 2008
more pics at auto spies
A muscle car is defined as a two-door rear-wheel drive supercar, with a powerful engine capable of producing high acceleration, and with a suspension and brakes robust enough to come to a tire-burning halt in a few seconds. The term was used for cars produced in the '60s and '70s in the US.
Powered by a 6.1-liter HEMI® V-8 engine that produces 425 horsepower and 420 lb/ft of torque, the 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT, is a muscle car for this century!
So after a gap of over thirty years the muscle car was reborn at the 2008 Chicago Auto Show. Performance targets for the all-new 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 include a 0–60 mph time in the low 5-second range, 0–100–0 mph in less than 17 seconds, 60–0 mph braking distance of approximately 100 feet, and a skid pad performance of 0.88 g.
Dodge will offer the limited-edition 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 in three colors: HEMI® Orange, Bright Silver Metallic and Brilliant Black Crystal Pearl Coat.
"The all-new Dodge Challenger SRT8 is engineered to give customers everything they want in a modern muscle machine," said Mike Accavitti, Director – Dodge Brand and SRT Global Marketing, Chrysler LLC. "The new version of Dodge's American classic boasts tire-smoking performance and head-turning design while offering a wide array of state-of-the-art technology, such as GPS navigation, 'Keyless Go' entry, a MyGIG™ infotainment system and UConnect hands-free communication."
The interiors aren't much to look at....but then this is a muscle car! It's all about power, acceleration, and a roaring engine. What all this means is that this muscle car drinks huge amounts of fuel, giving a miserable 14 miles per gallon (mpg) in city driving, and 20 mpg on the open road! Really apalling that in this era of climate change we in the west continue to live out our fantasies. Was it that hard to get some fuel-efficient technology for this muscle car? Or an engine running on hydrogen, ethanol, or bio-fuel?
The reborn muscle car will be manufactured in Canada at Chrysler's assembly plant in Brampton, Ontario. With a U.S. Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $37,995 (including $675 destination), the all-new 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 arrives in Dodge showrooms this spring. But due to its bad fuel economy this new muscle car will have a penalty of $2100 imposed on it.
This 1969 Dodge Charger, one of the original muscle cars, sold recenty for nearly $10 million:
And with a price tag that high, the car had its own personal name, the General Lee from the famous Dukes of Hazzard TV show. The show, about the Dukes family in Hazzard County, was made into a movie in 2005 starring the gorgeous Jessica Simpson as Daisy Duke:
While her cousins were roaring around in their muscle car, Jessica Simpson (in real life Tony Romo's gal is a gas-guzzler) had fun with her 2005 Jeep Rubicon featured in the movie. Compared to this year's Dodge Challenger SRT8 this off-road vehicle has a better fuel economy of 20 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway! Get some hydrogen or ethanol in that muscle car already!
more pics at auto spies
Posted by Chrissy at 12:57 AM
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
It was not all big and powerful at Chicago. From Italy came the 2008 Maserati Quattroporte, sporting a 4.2-liter V8 engine, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission and capable of 400 horsepower. As its name implies, production is limited to 100 units, worldwide.
This Quattroporte version is optimized for the driven executive, with a rear-seat multimedia system that features 10-inch touch screens in the back of the front seats. The car offers internet access and includes a Bluetooth keyboard that folds and stores in the rear-seat center armrest.
Aside from the rear-seat electronics, the car's interior includes special wood and ivory trim and button-tufted leather seats. Apparently, ivory is popular in the executive suite these days, because that's the color all Collezione Cento Quattroportes will be painted. The price for this executive express is expected to be around $142,500, a roughly 20 percent premium over a standard Quattroporte.
This gorgeous and expensive Italian car gives a fuel economy of 18mpg on the highway and a miserable 12mpg in the city!
Posted by Chrissy at 7:10 PM
Monday, February 11, 2008
It was big and powerful at Chicago, in the 100th auto show held at the Windy City. But there was some green too, in Navistar's LoneStar Truck.
The visually stunning and technologically advanced LoneStar has a big bore diesel engine, but does not use clean diesel, rather the design of the truck is so aerodynamic that the engine is five percent to 15 percent more fuel efficient than in classic trucks, equating to an annual savings of $3,000 to $8,000.
And, since it’s a big rig, you have a choice of 10-, 13-, 15- or 18-speed transmissions. Automotive-style features built into the LoneStar include tandard ABS brakes, roll stability control, traction control, Bluetooth for hands-free phoning, a leather-wrapped steering wheel hanging over dash and gauges with rosewood or titanium trim.
LoneStar features advanced ride and handling, class-leading quietness and the luxurious and functional Suite interior that rivals many offices and living rooms.
And it is the interiors that are ground-breaking:
Interior highlights include:
* Wood flooring in the sleeper cab
* Sofa-bed design with back pillows
* Swivel chairs
* Closed airlinecabinets for maximum storage
* Monsoon stereo system with 11 speakers, sub-woofer and amplifier
* Pull-down bed with 42-inch premium mattress
* Workspaces to plug in laptop computers and work in a desk-like setting
* Mini refrigerator
But ultimately what matters to Truck owners and drivers is fuel-efficiency, which saves money in long truck journeys. The LoneStar will be available for order from nearly 900 dealer locations in North America beginning in April 2008. Production of the trucks will begin in August 2008 at Navistars plant in Chatham, Ontario, Canada and will be delivered to customers in fall 2008.
Posted by Chrissy at 6:55 PM
Saturday, February 9, 2008
If the Detroit Auto Show was all about making cars small and green the Chicago Auto Show favored the big, the powerful, and the gas-drinking! The show opened on February 8 and goes on till the 16th....admission prices are $10 ($5 for kids under 12 and seniors over 62) and timings 10 am to 10 pm. This year the Chicago Auto Show celebrates its 100th anniversary.
See this metacafe video of the Nissan Pathfinder:
Chicago Auto Show: 2008 Nissan Pathfinder - More amazing video clips are a click away
Auto news popular mechanics
It were the big and powerful trucks that made up the bulk of important reveals at the Chicago Auto Show 2008. With automakers presenting an awesome combination of machinery—from fuel-sipping, load-hauling hybrid pickups to an over-the-top, over-the-road tractor.
And that stands in stark contrast to the heavy fuel-economy buzz that’s dominated the the last few shows—green was practically all you could see from Frankfurt to Los Angeles and Detroit. With so many debuts heavy on efficiency across the globe these past two years, have the big manufacturers decided we need a break from all their prognosticating on our alt-fuel future? Could be.
The producers in the Windy City certainly saved the biggest of those debuts for last: The LoneStar big rig, a truck that looked like the Tasmanian Devil rendered in steel, was one of the smash hits of the show. Its creators at Navistar are Chicago locals, and may have peppered the crowd with cheering employees, but the cheers from the media were just as loud. Hey, gearheads tend to dig just about anything with wheels—even if it happens to have 10 of them and weigh nearly 35,000 pounds.
In light-duty truck news, Ford blew everyone else into Lake Michigan with its truck trifecta. Most significant, at least to us, was their new suite of Work Solutions for the F-Series pickup, with options ranging from an onboard laptop with Sprint network connectivity and an optional printer, to navigation with fleet tracking, plus tool inventory control and bed security for contents and tools—whew. It’s this kind of practical, tech-savvy innovation we really appreciate these days, and we can’t wait to test some of this digital gear ASAP.
Ford also opened up a new category of small-business delivery work vehicles with its Transit Connect front-drive box truck. It’s smaller than most work trucks—and that might be its most appealing feature, though it’ll probably get better fuel economy than any other delivery vehicle, too. The new Edge Sport—tricked out with an 8-piece body kit, 22-in. wheels and tires, and a slick interior package—was cool, but it was overshadowed by Ford’s bigger work-trucks news.
Trucks, though, come in all varieties. And Porsche’s Cayenne GTS, which made its North American debut here this week, certainly can’t qualify as a “work” truck. That is, unless your definition of “work” has the word racetrack in front of it. In fact, Porsche is hailing the GTS as “the best-handling on-road SUV in the world.” And with giant 21-in. tires and fully computerized air suspension, who are we to argue? This is a Porsche, after all. The best thing about the GTS is that the 400-hp, 4.8-liter V8 is paired to a 6-speed manual transmission.
General Motors showed four new trucks, including the Chevy Traverse, the last GM crossover to be built on the Lambda platform shared by the Saturn Outlook, GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave. The Traverse’s front end looks very Malibu-esque to our eye. And judging by the success and accolades of that vehicle, sharing a look may not be a bad idea. The General followed with the GMC Sierra Hybrid pickup, the Hummer H3T pickup and the bodacious GMC Denali XT Concept unibody pickup truck. We particularly dug that last concept, and it could someday join the Honda Ridgeline, Ford Explorer America SUV Concept, and Toyota A-BAT Concept in the unibody truck club. The ultralight-duty truck is a trend we’re likely to see in future showrooms very soon.
See pictures of the Chicago Auto Show. Of course no auto show is complete without....pretty girls!
These two girls are Tika and Afrodita, pretty young models from Italy.
Posted by Chrissy at 3:06 PM
Thursday, February 7, 2008
In its earlier years, Cadillac had little interest in making smaller cars. When market conditions finally convinced the company's managers that the brand had to have them, the resulting products elicited little favorable reaction from consumers. The modern Cadillac CTS, however, is one entry-level Cadillac that has bucked that trend....though it's not really a small car; just a smaller Cadillac!
The second-generation Cadillac CTS sedan debuted for the 2008 model year. Compared to the original CTS, the new model is more refined and powerful. Overall body dimensions are similar to the original CTS, but there are an additional 2 inches of track width to give the sedan a more powerful stance. The first CTS's lackluster interior has been remedied via a substantially higher level of quality and a more attractive design.
Two V6 engines are available. Standard power comes from a 3.6-liter V6 generating 258 horsepower, while the available 3.6-liter direct-injection (DI) V6 puts out 304 hp. Both engines can be equipped with either a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic. The CTS is also offered in both rear-wheel and all-wheel-drive (AWD) configurations, though AWD models are limited to the base engine and automatic transmission.
Overall, the upgraded interior and spirited powertrains have pushed the CTS into top-tier status for a luxury sport sedan. While it might not qualify for "Standard of the World" status just yet, Cadillac's entry-level model has evolved into a much more capable car all the way around and can now more than hold its own against the best cars in this segment both in terms of luxury appeal and driving prowess.
With a price tag between $32,990 to $35,290, the new Cadillac is smaller, but not lighter in weight. Still the driving is smooth with reduced noise...read the full road handling and engine performance review at caranddriver.
Posted by Chrissy at 9:53 PM
Monday, February 4, 2008
Awarded the title of Green Car of the Year 2007, the Mercedes-Benz E320 Bluetec, gives a fuel economy of 27 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway. And it gets this fuel economy, and the tag of green car, with a diesel engine!
Mercedes-Benz usually known for their luxury cars like the SLK Roadster, charges a $1000 premium on the Bluetec clean diesel over the standard gasoline version. This is because the exhaust is treated within the engine to minimize harmful emissions.
Clean Diesel Green Car
Its launch in mid-October coincided with the federal mandate for Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD) fuel, which must have less than 15 parts-per-million sulfur content. This new "clean diesel" fuel allows Mercedes to make use of sophisticated aftertreatment hardware in the exhaust system to bring tailpipe emissions to 45-state standards. With the future addition of a final Selective Reduction Catalyst (SRC) and AdBlue system, Mercedes is confident the car will meet the tier 2 / bin 5 emissions standards, the most stringent in the world, and be a 50-state legal automobile.
The BLUETEC E320 will utilize an oxidation type catalytic converter, a particulate filter, a new and improved NOx trap system, and finally the SCR catalytic converter to meet emission requirements. AdBlue, generally referred to as urea, is a nontoxic, odorless, and biodegradable fluid that is misted into the exhaust flow at the SRC catalyst. The result is ammonia that reacts with nitrogen oxides in the exhaust, which are broken down to nitrogen and water. The system works quite well as a final scrubbing of the diesel exhaust. Unfortunately, Mercedes and other car manufacturers are still waiting for the federal government to make a ruling on how servicing of the system will be handled. As part of the emissions system, refilling of the AdBlue tank will likely be done at an authorized dealer during routine service intervals.
So why would you want a diesel passenger car anyway? The traditional answer is improved fuel economy since diesel engines are typically 30 percent more fuel efficient than a comparable gasoline engine. Modern diesels, however, are a whole new breed of powertrain option. Quiet, smooth, and very satisfying to drive thanks to copious amounts of low-end and mid-range torque, there is very little not to like about today’s diesel engines. Occupants of the E320, for example, must really pay attention to detect the characteristic diesel harmonics or sound.
As you might expect, the Mercedes-Benz E320 is a very refined package. Luxury sedan buyers won’t be disappointed by the new BLUETEC clean diesel, but, rather pleasantly surprised. The 3.0-liter turbo V-6 produces 208 horsepower at 3,800 rpm, and more importantly, also generates 388 lbs-ft of torque available from 1,600 to 2,400 rpm. All that torque delivers impressive acceleration that feels like a powerful V-8. From a standing start, 60 mph is reached in the mid-six second range. While most E320 BLUETEC owners won’t be drag racing away from traffic lights, it’s nice to know that power is there when you need to pass.
More pics at Canadian Driver
The E320 BLUETEC is a solid, comfortable touring car. Slide in behind the wheel and there is no mistaking the Mercedes feel. German design and old-world craftsmanship deliver a distinctive and rewarding driving experience. This is the kind of car you just want to point at the horizon and keep on going. Hours roll by in the refined cabin with little fatigue. Overall ride and handling qualities are quite good. The ride is firm yet pleasing, and this car feels well planted thanks in part to its nearly two ton weight in street clothes.
Among celebrities that drive cars using clean diesel technology is actress Sophia Bush with her Audi A3 TDI. Actress Jenna Dewan also spends her money on clean diesel cars, driving an Audi Q7 TDI.
Friday, February 1, 2008
The US Army is funding the development of a prototype military hybrid off-road vehicle operating on similar principles to the groundbreaking Toyota Prius. Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Inc of California announced it had won the contract in a release on Monday. Under the $4.88m deal, Quantum will develop a diesel hybrid version of its previous "Aggressor" prototype, a "high performance light-duty off-road fuel cell hybrid vehicle."
Company execs describe their previous fuel-cell Aggressor as "successful", but it seems to be understood that the US forces don't think fuel-cell kit is ready for the battlefield in the near future. The new hybrid version, according to Quantum, will "provide a cost-effective, near-term solution as fuel cell technology matures".
The US military, with plenty of tech funding to spread about, has been trying to find innovative ways of cutting its fuel consumption for a long time. This isn't out of any concern regarding ecological issues, but due to hard operational necessities. The primary constraint on military operations is nearly always the availability of supplies - as the old gag has it, "amateurs talk tactics, dilettantes talk strategy; professionals talk logistics".
Bulk fuel can make up over a third of an army's needs, amounting to thousands of tonnes per day for a division-sized force. Cutting down on this requirement would allow the US forces to operate further, faster, and more easily, and reduce the amount of soft targets for insurgents in theatre.
The previous version of the Aggressor was based on a Hydrogen fuel cell concept but it seems to have been dropped for the Prius like deisel-electric hybrid:
Suppose you could build an off-road vehicle that's twice as quick as traditional ones, operates silently and can even be used as a generator. Sounds like an ultimate driving machine for the U.S. soldiers sneaking around battle zones, no?
Well, that's what a company has built as an Army concept vehicle. Nicknamed the Aggressor, the all-terrain vehicle runs on hydrogen and a fuel cell stack, which takes the hydrogen and outside air to create electricity.
So instead of a noisy diesel or gasoline power, the vehicle runs quietly on electricity. The fuel cell stack also emits less heat than an internal combustion engine, leaving a smaller heat signature for enemies to pick up. And the stack works as a silent power generator, so troops can run communications and surveillance equipment.
According to Quantum, the vehicle's top speed is 75 mph and it can reach 40 mph twice as fast as a gasoline peer. The Aggressor gets extra torque by using a battery pack that captures energy from braking. That's the same principle that's used in gas-electric hybrids sold to consumers.
But the Aggressor suffers from the same limitation that automakers are dealing with: the fact that it's hard to store much hydrogen on board.
"The vehicle has an integrated power plant, which provides more functionality for our soldiers," Dennis Wend, Director of the Army's engineering center, added in a statement announcing the Aggressor. "What we've learned from this project definitely has the potential to translate into real solutions to give our soldiers an advantage."
Quantum CEO Alan Niedzwiecki pitched the Aggressor as also being useful for homeland security and border patrol operations.
Posted by Chrissy at 5:59 PM