Flying car alert!
Officials celebrate as electric vehicle-to-grid technology sells power to PJM power grid
Joined by government and industry leaders, the University of Delaware and NRG Energy celebrated an important milestone for their eV2g project on Friday, becoming an official resource of PJM Interconnection and proving for the first time that electric vehicle-to-grid technology can sell electricity from electric vehicles (EVs) to the power grid.
Delaware Gov. Jack Markell and senior officials from the U.S. Department of Energy and the state were among those who participated in an event at UD’s Science, Technology and Advanced Research (STAR) Campus to mark the achievements.
“Moving innovative ideas out of the classroom and into the marketplace is critical to growing our economy,” said Markell. “The partnership between NRG and the University of Delaware perfectly illustrates the potential for research institutions to spur economic development.”
Students break fuel-efficiency mark
The number just jumps out at you: 3,587 miles per gallon. Or in Canadian terms, 1,525 kilometres on a single litre of fuel - that would certainly lessen the pain at the pump, wouldn’t it?
To put that in perspective, that single litre of fuel would be enough to get you from Montreal to Toronto and back, with enough left over for a roundtrip to Ottawa.
That is fuel efficiency most car companies could only dream of achieving - and yet, a team from the Univer-sité Laval was able to produce that result two weekends ago at the 2013 Shell Eco-marathon Americas held in Houston.
It marked the fourth time that a prototype gasoline vehicle from the school has won the event, earning the winners a $2,000 prize.
In all, 155 teams from five countries participated in the event, which challenges students to design, build and drive the most energy-efficient car.
Subaru Introduces Its First Production Hybrid Model At The 2013 New York International Auto Show
Subaru of America, Inc. today unveiled the brand’s first-ever production hybrid vehicle, the Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid, at the 2013 New York International Auto Show at the Jacob K. Javits Center. Based on the popular XV Crosstrek crossover introduced for 2013, the 2014 XV Crosstrek Hybrid model arrives in Subaru dealerships fourth quarter of 2013. When the XV Crosstrek Hybrid goes on sale it will be the most fuel-efficient and lowest-emissions AWD hybrid crossover in America.
In developing its first-ever hybrid, Subaru chose one of its popular, go-anywhere crossover vehicle platforms. As a result, the new XV Crosstrek Hybrid offers all the capability and versatility of the gasoline XV Crosstrek. The added benefits of a hybrid powertrain, including higher fuel efficiency, broaden the vehicle’s appeal. Key to this approach is that the XV Crosstrek Hybrid shares the gasoline model’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive and chassis capability. For example, the 8.7 inches of ground clearance is the same as for the gas model and is higher than for some dedicated SUVs, while providing a low step-in height.
The car of the future that runs on air
It will be cheaper than a Toyota Prius, do more than 80 miles to the gallon and could completely shake up the car industry. The Peugeot engineers behind the Hybrid Air reveal that they couldn’t even tell their families about the top-secret project.
Allergy sufferers can buy pillows, toys and even flooring designed to reduce their symptoms, but now they can add a new item to their shopping list: an allergy friendly car. Through extensive testing, engineers at Ford have reduced the use of materials known to cause allergens in the 2013 Ford Fusion and other vehicles in the Ford lineup.
Ford engineers have reduced or eliminated the use of latex, chrome, nickel, hexavalent chromium and other common allergens from high-touch areas including seats, the steering wheel, armrests, seatbelts, door handles, sun visors and shifters. The reduction or elimination of these items came after engineers tested more than 100 materials and automobile components for allergy issues.
In addition to reducing “touch” allergens, the 2013 Ford Fusion cabin filter reduces pollens, dust, spores, fungus, soot, smog and even tobacco smoke from the fresh air circulating into the vehicle. The improved indoor air quality makes for a more allergy-friendly ride.
Professor completes hydrogen-powered trek
For the professor of agriculture education at Middle Tennessee State University, his 2,600 mile-trip using two hydrogen-powered cars is the crowning achievement in his career.
“There is no doubt about that. We have had many, but this is it.,” Cliff Ricketts said after returning to campus Monday afternoon.
“Not only does this make a difference here at this university but it makes a difference to people all over the world.”
In 2010, Ricketts traveled from Bristol, Va., to West Memphis, Ark., with a hydrogen-fueled car, and in 2012, he went cross country on 2.15 gallons of gasoline, using hydrogen and E95, which is 95 percent ethanol and 5 percent gasoline, as fuels in different stages of the trip.
Ricketts and his team of current and former students and other volunteers this year used solar energy to run an electrolysis unit that separates hydrogen gas from water.
London has been officially selected as one of only eight cities around the world to host a race as part of the upcoming Formula E electric car racing series.
The capital beat stiff competition from 23 cities around the world that expressed an interest in hosting one of the 10 races planned for next year. It now joins Rome, Los Angeles, Miami, Beijing, Putrajaya, Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro as the selected locations for the inaugural season. Formula E Holdings, the promoter of the FIA Formula E Championship, said two more races would be announced at a later date.
The organiser is now planning to work with each of the selected cities to confirm their feasibility and finalise the calendar for the first season, with a view to signing formal agreements with the host cities by July. The final calendar will then be presented to the FIA for final approval at its World Motor Sport Council summit in September.
“The fact that cities from all over the world are interested in the FIA Formula E Championship is extremely heartening and shows a global commitment to clean mobility and sustainability,” said Alejandro Agag, chief executive of Formula E Holdings, in a statement. “The provisional calendar we publish today is composed of cities in America, Europe and Asia. We look forward to also racing in Africa and Australasia from 2015 onwards.”
He added that the company would now work with the cities to ensure the tracks adhere to the championship’s goal of delivering city centre racing that can demonstrate the benefits of electric vehicles to as wide an audience as possible.
“[All the races will] be in city centres, easily accessible by public transport, and will feature some of the most beautiful and well-known landmarks as a spectacular backdrop for the races,” he explained. “The fact that we will only race in city centres highlights the main message of our Championship: the electric car as a solution for mobility in cities of the future.”
The news was welcomed by London Mayor Boris Johnson who described the plans for an electric vehicle championship as a “scintillating concept”.
“I am hugely keen that London be involved in the birth of Formula E,” he said. “It has the potential to highlight the impressive strides being made in the manufacture of electric vehicles and hosting a street race could also be of considerable economic benefit to our city.”
Formula E Holdings will now turn its attention to filling the grid for the championship, after the UK-based Team Drayson and Team China Racing recently became the first two teams to confirm their involvement.
Ultimate Caffeine Boost: Record Setting Car Powered by Coffee
For some of us, it takes a couple of cups of coffee to wake up and hit the road. The Bean Machine, a coffee-powered pickup built by UK engineer and conservationist Martin Bacon, takes the notion of caffeine-based energy to a whole new level. Commissioned by The Co-operative Food to commemorate their 10th anniversary of converting all of their coffee to fair trade, the truck set a Guinness World Record for the highest speed ever attained by a java-powered vehicle, clocking in at 65mph.
The ingenious Bean Machine is a modified Ford F100 pickup that uses the process of gasification powered by coffee chaff pellets. The pellets, which are a byproduct of coffee production, are heated by a charcoal fire and broken down into hydrogen and carbon monoxide. The gas is cooled and filtered before hydrogen is combusted to operate the engine. Gasification was a widespread means of transportation in wartime England, where over 100,000 vehicles were powered by the process during WWII. At the beginning of the 20th century, 900,000 cars were running on gasifiers across the world and can potentially be more efficient than fossil fuels.
The caffeinated car set the Guinness World Record at the Woodford Airfield in Manchester, England. “We’re thrilled to have taken the speed record for the fastest car of this kind.” said team leader and engineer, Martin Bacon. Backed the by The Co-Operative Food, the vehicle was created to publicize their commitment to fair trade. For the past 15 years, the business has advocated for responsible retailing through animal welfare, environmentally sustainable products, and socially just production. They hope that the Bean Machine sends a jolt to the public and helps spread the world about fair trade products.
Kia Opens its First Solar Powered Dealership Worldwide in South Africa
Kia Motors South Africa opened its first eco-friendly solar powered 3,620m² dealership in Weltevreden Park on 19 February 2013, which is a first in the local automotive industry, and for Kia dealerships worldwide. Official construction for this new dealership started in January 2012, and was completed one year later on January 2013.
The two major areas that contribute to this dealership’s eco-friendly philosophy include power saving in the form of renewable energy and water recycling.
The dealership is powered by 288 roof-mounted solar panels, creating a daily maximum of 69kW of power, which is enough to power an average of 22 households per day. The energy generated by these panels is split between three converters, providing three-phase electricity at a capacity of 50 Hertz and 240 Volts. This electricity then goes directly into the load as required. If the supply of electricity exceeds the demand, the remaining electricity is stored in three state-of-the-art battery banks.
In line with the dealership’s environmental policy, low wattage luminaires (fluorescent and compact fluorescent lamps) are used in the major areas of the dealership. Standard high base 400-Watt lamps are replaced with 4 x 54-Watt lamps, providing the same light, but using less energy. Occupancy sensors have been installed in most areas of the building which will switch off automatically after a few minutes if no movement is detected, further contributing to the dealerships’ overall energy saving.
The second main contributor to the eco-friendliness of Kia Weltevreden is its ability to recycle water through its state-of-the-art filtration system. Rainwater is collected from the facility’s roof and is then distributed into six containers, each with a holding capacity of 10000 litres. This water is then pumped into the car wash where it is used, where after it gets pumped back into the water filtration system which purifies the water from oil, soap or any other dirt. This water is then filtered and pumped back into the containers, to be re-used in the car wash bay.
“The Kia brand has shifted to the next level. Not only do we offer consumers a competitive value proposition with our re-designed and re-engineered products, but ventures like our brand new solar powered dealership have given us the platform to become leaders in the industry”, comments David Sieff, National Marketing Manager of Kia Motors South Africa.
Estonia has become the first country in the world to install a nationwide system of fast chargers for electrical vehicles, the manager of the new system said, as part of European efforts to reduce carbon emissions.
The 165 chargers were produced and installed by engineering group ABB, and construction was financed from the government’s sale of 10 million surplus CO2 emission permits to Japan’s Mitsubishi Corporation.
The 2011 deal with Mitsubishi also provided the government with more that 500 electric cars and the financing of a subsidiary system for people to purchase electric cars.
“Now is the time to really press the pedal and move forward in electrical mobility. We have proved that there is a real possibility to set up a network in a country, and there are no technical barriers,” Jarmo Tuisk, head of the program which has run the scheme to set up the network, said in an interview on Wednesday.
Estonia and other countries have seen weak take-up of electric vehicles due to high driving costs and their short range from a single charge.
The network of fast chargers strategically placed along roads and in towns means that users need not worry about running out of power during their journeys. It also features a nationwide unified payment system.
Estonia, with a population of about 1.2 million, has 619 all-electric cars, of which 500 are used by public authorities and about 100 by private people and companies.
That amounts to one electric vehicle for every 1,000 cars, second only to Norway, which has four per 1,000. The Netherlands is third at 0.6 per 1,000.
Tuisk said that with the national charging network in place he hoped the number of electrical vehicles owned individuals or companies would double to 200 this year.
(Photo: Jonathan Ferrey / Getty Images)
Danica Patrick has won the Daytona 500 pole, becoming the first woman to secure the top spot for any race in NASCAR’s top circuit.
Daimler, Ford and Nissan ink deal on fuel cell cars
Three global carmakers joined forces on Monday to develop a line of affordable fuel cell cars for sale starting in 2017 in what could be the first major advance for the promising zero-emission technology.
Daimler, Ford and Nissan said the new alliance sends a clear signal to suppliers, policymakers and the industry to encourage the further development of hydrogen infrastructure worldwide.
“We believe we were never as close to reaching a breakthrough in fuel cell cars as today thanks to this partnership,” Daimler research and development chief Thomas Weber said on Monday.
Finland: Sporty electric car on its way
The Finnish company Scarlet Motors was born out of two men’s passion for cars. They are now developing a sporty electric car. Although it will take a while before it will be launched on the market, expectations are already red hot.
The men behind Scarlet Motors are Julien Fourgeaud and Joona Kallio. Both say that their love of cars goes back to when they were little boys. Kallio discovered electric cars after joining the “Electric Cars – Now” community, whose objective is to convert cars fitted with a combustion engine into electric cars.
Joona soon understood the potential that lies in electric cars. I had also been monitoring the development of the modern electric car pioneer Tesla and I was quite interested in its technology, says the company’s CEO Fourgeaud, recalling the company’s early days. Surprisingly little effort has been put into the design of electric cars. As a designer, Joona looked at the cars from a new perspective and came to the conclusion that if someone designed a car sexy enough, people wouldn’t care whether it’s electric or not. He founded a company and asked me on board.
Developing a new car takes three years on average. According to Fourgeaud, Finland has the perfect conditions for developing a new car. The country has a high number of companies operating in the automotive industry. The Finns are car aficionados and Finland is home to some top drivers. The perseverance inherent in Finnish culture has also made it easier for us to start developing our own car and to build a partner network, Fourgeaud lists.
Scarlet Motors was launched in August 2012, but prior to that, a lot of work had already been done to create the team and the technology. The car’s design language is now complete, and a prototype is currently under construction. Unlike people tend to think, technology is not the biggest challenge. In the midst of all the excitement, the most important thing is to maintain a clear goal and keep the product as simple as possible.
When asked when the car will be ready to hit the roads, Fourgeaud refuses to give any forecasts. The car will be ready in due course. We have learned from our past experiences that it’s more important to focus on quality and to spend as much time on the development work as it requires rather than try to carry out a project as fast as possible.
In Fourgeaud’s view, the future of electric cars is promising — once the technology and the attitudes have matured.
When smartphones were launched, they were seen as products intended for a small, specific target group, the equipment and data connections were considered expensive and the number of services limited. Since then, the situation has changed. Today, the majority of people have smartphones. The costs have come down and a myriad of useful applications is available. Electric cars may still be in their early stages, but thanks to their energy efficiency, they will rapidly gain ground over time.
In addition to new electric car companies, such as Scarlet Motors, an increasing number of conventional car manufacturers are introducing electric vehicles to the market. Consumers are being provided with a broader selection of products, and competition drives the market forward. The significant increase in charging points will also boost interest in electric cars during the next few years.