Automotive pollution is a serious concern and new emission regulation are tougher each year. In some countries lower emission can mean lower car insurance or the right to use HOV lanes.

Posted on by Matt McDonald 23

Ten years ago there was very little discussion about electric or hybrid vehicles. The technology was far from perfected and no low level consumer was able to purchase it. Throughout this past decade our economy, natural resources, and priorities have shifted towards conserving the environment and our funds. This has helped the renewable and green energy proponents to make large discoveries that are moving the industry forward faster than ever.

Americans tend to be very stubborn and change can rub us the wrong way all too easily. Most of the negative sentiments about electric and hybrid vehicles are based around ignorance. Quite simply, most people could not tell you the difference between a hybrid car and a full electric vehicle. Come to think of it, most people could not tell the difference between a diesel and a petrol engine besides the fact that they would have to use the green pump at the gas station. For the hybrid automakers to start selling these vehicles in larger quantities, the public must be educated about their benefits and potential pitfalls.

Several basic types of low emissions vehicles exist and are currently being marketed by the major auto manufacturers. The biggest seller of these is Toyota with their Prius model, which is a hybrid vehicle. Making distinctions between the different cars available will be helpful to a potential buyer by allowing them to get a vehicle that best suits their respective uses and needs.

Hit the jump for more details on Hybrid Vehicles

A Formula One car is easily recognizable in this day and age, but what lies ahead for the sport will quickly change the look and feel of these vehicles faster than we can say, "regulations suck." The FIA has already stated that these vehicles need to utilize a 1.6-liter turbo engine starting in the 2013 season and teams will also need to reduce their fuel consumption by 35%. So what happens to these cars when they have to be nipped, pulled, tweaked, and downsized?

Former Executive Director of Engineering of the Renault Formula One team, Pat Symonds, wanted an answer so he took it upon himself to design the 2020 Renault Formula One car. The car is being featured in Issue 179 of F1 Racing Magazine and offers up some unenthusiastic power figures. The design is characterized by low-profile tires on bigger wheels, the return of ground effects aerodynamics, Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS) that produce 250bhp, and a standard, non-downforce rear wing. We may have glazed over the 250bhp rather quickly, but that’s because we aren’t too jazzed about the decrease in power. However, these changes will need to be made in order to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

"Taking into consideration all the variant motivators that drive regulations, I expect that the F1 car of 2020 will demonstrate much more change than has been seen over the past 10 years. A few simple assumptions can determine the basic architecture of the car. By the time we add a few changes, such as larger wheels and low-profile tires, we start to get a fairly clear picture of what the car might look like."

"The illustrations we’ve produced are certainly an artistic impression, but they capture the essential characteristics of a car that will be contesting the Formula 1 World Championship in 2020."

We have a feeling that unless some major changes are made, the thrill of Formula One will start to vanish soon. Let us know what you think about this in the comment section!

Even high performance models like the ones from the AMG division of Mercedes have to obey the new emission and consumptions regulations and, in order to pass these regulations, Mercedes says it will include hybrid technology, as well as stop-start and energy recuperation devices, in the future high performance vehicles.

Our first reaction to this news was a collective shaking of our heads at the diminishing of vehicles with true power, but reading a little further, we discovered that Mercedes plans to go the hybrid route in a completely different direction than that of other auto brands. Mercedes’ main priority will be to improve fuel economy and lower CO2 emissions, but still offer true performance vehicles.

"In the future AMG will still offer high performance models, but there will be hybrids there. AMG needs to reduce fuel consumption," said Daimler’s head of future mobility and advanced engineering, Herbert Kohler in an interview with AutoCar.

He also said that AMG would not be following the same strategy Porsche did with the 918 Spyder : "Hybrids can boost, but AMGs will use stop-start and recuperation technology."

So how "hybrid" will these hybrid AMGs be? That’s a question will have to wait at least a year or two to answer.

Source: AutoCar

We just don’t know what the world is coming to when automakers such as Porsche start making these crazy mediocre plans. Porsche has already planned on offering a hybrid version for every model in their line-up, and now they come out with this nonsense. As a next step on their path towards reducing fuelk consumption and CO2 emissions, the German company is saying they will down size their engines.

In a recent interview, Development Chief Wolfgang Duerheimer said: "If the CO2 guidelines require it, then our engines will become smaller and may have just four cylinders. The important thing is that the performance has to be right. The 911 must always be on the cutting edge."

The good news is that Porsche is trying to think of ways to keep up their performance all while pleasing the greenies out there. One of the ways they will be doing this is by adding turbochargers and direct injection to the smaller engines. And as with every new generation, Porsche also hopes to reduce weight by 10%.

"A constant weight is our minimum requirement in the change to a new generation, even with compliance with all the new safety and comfort requirements. You could hardly achieve much more than that with current technologies" Duerheimer said.

The company is already preparing carbon fiber bodies for road vehicles that will create an additional weight loss of about 50 kilograms. This new technology will be unveiled in the next five years.

We have to admit, we are a bit confused. If you remember, last month we reported that Ford would bring the new generation Focus ST to the Paris Motor Show in September. Now, Autocar reports that Ford will axe the ST version of their newest generation Focus.

And the reason for this decision is quite simple: Europe’s tightening emissions standards. The Focus ST will be the second model, after the Honda Civic Type R , who will have to be axed due to the new emissions standards. The same fate will attack the 3.2 V6 in the Alfa Brera, the Mazda RX-8, and the VW Group’s 5.0 V10 turbodiesel.

So, in this case, the car expected to debut in Paris will drop the usual 2.5-liter turbo five-cylinder engine and will get a new 2.0-liter direct-injection turbo engine that will deliver around 250bhp and 350Nm of torque. Derrick Kuzak said the new model will get "an EcoBoost turbocharged engine, be exciting to drive, great to look at and certainly worth waiting for”.

Source: AutoCar
Posted on by TREVOR LAMENYA 10

With the quest to increase the capacity of battery powered vehicles, a group of enthusiasts from Australia, Germany, and Switzerland have set off in their battery powered vehicles on what’s being billed as the "longest and greenest" round-the-world drive to promote emissions-free transport and November’s world climate conference.

The UN-supported "Zero Race" has been organized by a Swiss Louis Palmer, who made headlines with his 18-month pioneering world tour in a solar-powered "taxi" two years ago, picking up celebrities on the way.

Palmer said: "With this race we want to show that seven billion people on this planet need renewable energy and clean mobility. Petrol is running out and the climate crisis is coming, and we are all running against time."

A Korean vehicle failed to reach the start line at the United Nations in Geneva in time after it broke down with "a minor battery problem" about 60km up the road, Palmer said, but would join the other three teams later in the day.

The Zero Race team is set to stop off at the World Climate Conference in Cancun, Mexico, after touring through Europe, Russia, China, Canada, and the United States before heading back to Geneva in January 2011.

Hit the jump for the full story.

Posted on by Alexander + 9

We know it’s Earth Day and, okay, we are all for the environment, but these guys in Arlington, VA are just plain crazy. Ross and Todd have just started the Car-Free Diet Skeptics Challenge where they will live car-free for 30 days. Whoever succeeds in traveling by foot, bike, or bus for the whole 30 days will receive a year’s worth of transportation for free. We assume that means free gas for a year or paid bus passes, but we’ve heard that one of the contestants has already decided to sell his car without as much as 24 hours of non-car commuting under his belt!

The contest is being run by Car-Free Diet.com. This is a website that encourages drivers to rid themselves of the mechanical, CO2 emitting, four-wheeled transportation devices and start relying on the old-fashioned way of commuting. They state that, “Each time you leave your car at home — choosing instead to ride ART or Metro, bike, walk or telework — you can save money, improve your health and clean our environment”. We cannot argue. This is, in fact, true. We applaud your efforts and the success of your followers, but we are a little too horsepower hungry to jump on this bandwagon.

Posted on by Alexander + 4
Ford Mondeo

Yesterday, we talked about Ford’s EcoBoost technology in their Start Concept . Now at the Beijing Auto Show, Ford has announced that they will also include their EcoBoost Technology in Europe’s Ford Mondeo . The Mondeo will receive the 2.0L I4 EcoBoost engine mated with the new Ford Powershift six speed automatic transmission. This single turbocharger with a direct fuel injection delivery system delivers torque comparable to a V6 engine while fuel economy is boosted by 10%.

“Customers have embraced EcoBoost technology because of its ability to deliver power and performance with uncompromised fuel economy,” said Derrick Kuzak, Ford group vice president for global product development. “We’re committed to bringing this technology to multiple vehicles so that more customers can take advantage of the no-compromise Ford EcoBoost combination of power, performance and fuel economy. Ford EcoBoost works in any gasoline engine, so adding a 4-cylinder engine to complement our V6 line-up was a logical development.”

Along with that announcement, Ford also announced that the 2.0L I4 EcoBoost will be the first EcoBoost engine to go global with the 1.6L and the 4 cylinder following shortly thereafter. They have already revealed the Europen lineup featuring the 2.0L engine: Ford S-Max , Galaxy , and Mondeo will start off the transition. The Ford Edge will receive the engine later this year while Australia’sFord Falcon will inherit the 4 cylinder engine in 2011.

This announcement comes as no surprise to us. We figured Ford would be running full steam ahead with this technology that cuts CO2 emissions by 15% compared to larger displacement engines with similar power. Cutting CO2 emissions seems to be an important trend and we are sure Ford will be taking advantage of that as any other automaker would.

Press release after the jump.

Posted on by Alexander + 7

The price for fuel, along with the concern for overuse of fuel and its effect on the environment, has been increasing dramatically over time. Evidence of this would be the growing trend that is the hybrid and electric automobiles, but, even with the technological advancement of these types of vehicle, the abolishment of gasoline-powered engines is far from becoming a reality. We believe this is the reason Ford has developed their MyFord Touch system with the ECO-Route option. The MyFord Touch system enables drivers to get better gas mileage by “coaching” them on their fuel economy performance and the Eco-Route option provides the most fuel efficient route a driver could take based on calculating historical and real-time traffic data in conjunction with the posted speed limits. Ford even adds a cute little picture of growing leaves and flowers to “promote” fuel efficient driving (really?). Yes, really, unfortunately that is what it takes to save money and the environment.

Hit the jump for the full story plus some fuel-saving tips.

On one hand, these diesel stacks are widely considered as a trucker’s best friend. On the other hand, though, it’s an environmentalist’s worst nightmare.

Not content with eight-inch diesel stacks, which are already pretty huge as far as diesel stacks are concerned, Pypes Performance Exhaust decided that eight inches aren’t big enough stacks anymore so they did what any motivated exhaust company would do: raise the ante.

And this is what happens when Pypes Performance Exhaust plays the role of mad scientists. Behold the twelve-inch diesel stacks.

Watching this video, you can immediately conjure up what people are thinking as soon as they see it. On one end, you have those truck drivers salivating at the thought of having one – or two – of these exhausts installed in their semi. On the other end, you have those environmentalists that must have already fainted after seeing that black plume of smoke released by 12-inch stacks.

The question is: which side of the fence are you on?

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