green cars

green cars

  green cars are good for the environment, saving gas, reducing CO2 emissions and use recycling materials

Posted on by Matt McDonald 9

We love going fast and we love pushing the limits to see what our vehicles are capable of. The Bonneville Salt Flats provide a perfect setting for speed junkies of all kind to come and find out what they are capable of achieving. This dry lake bed has been dominated in recent times by the internal combustion engine and even jet power, but an older form of powering four wheels is about to take center stage once again.

The U.S. Land Steam Record Team will be attempting to beat the current record in their newest steam powered vehicle. In 2009, Team Inspiration from Great Britain broke the 1985 steam record by hitting 148.308 mph. The previous official FIA record of 127mph was set in 1906 by American, Fred Marriott, driving a Stanley steamer at Daytona Beach.

Driver and car designer, Chuk Williams, in conjunction with Cyclone Power Technologies will be the latest steam pioneers when they attempt the record breaking run in August 2011. The state of the art streamline design is projected to hit a top speed north of 200 mph, which would undoubtedly seal its position in the history books. We look forward to reporting more on the attempt once the team makes it to Bonneville.

Hit the jump for more details on the U.S. Land Steam Record Team

Posted on by Matt McDonald 10

Similar to how Henry Ford set out to make the automobile accessible for everyone in America; a small start-up company based in Santa Monica, CA intends to make the electric car affordable to all. Coda Automotive has been developing what they call a revolutionary new compact, full-electric car for less money than the competition. The past several years have been a struggle, but as with any start-up company, there are growing pains.

At the beginning of 2011, the company had already raised $76 million dollars and is looking to end with a total of $200 million. Past CEOs of this fledgling carmaker are former Goldman Sachs executives that should have no problem finding the last chunk of capital. This year, Phil Murtaugh became the new CEO and can back up his credentials with former stints at Chrysler and General Motors. “We’re getting our production tooling in order now. It all takes about six weeks to ship them over to the United States, so sometime in the fourth quarter, probably the late fourth quarter, we’ll see cars going on sale in California,” said Murtaugh.

The car itself is less than stunning on the outside, but with fuel efficiency being at the forefront of many Californian’s minds, this car could be the easy answer. It should achieve 90 to 120 miles on a single charge and charge faster than its major competition.

Hit the jump for more details on the Coda Sedan

Ever watch that show American Pickers and hope Mike Wolf and Frank Fritz would come over to your place and pay you for your junk? Mickey Nilsson, 62, of Bardstown, Kentucky had that exact experience, but he was not so pleased with the offer.

"The two knuckleheads from TV show American Pickers (Mike Wolf and Frank Fritz) stopped by here trying to steal from me offering me $200 for my old stuff and said I had no use for it since moonshine was illegal. Although I did sell the chubby one with the beard oil can for $40 before they ticked me off."

Instead of selling his junk, Nilsson grabbed some inspiration from the 1968 musical film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang where a magical flying car was made from junk and created his very own whiskey-powered vehicle. The task took him six months and should be revealed as a concept car in 2014. There are some setbacks however. The world is suffering from a depletion of oil resources, but the average price of Bourbon is $24, making it much more expensive than gasoline. Can’t we bring back the DeLorean from Back to the Future and run cars on our trash? Just a thought.

Source: Automotto
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

One of the important events that happens at the LA Auto Show that we are all excited about is the Los Angeles Design Challenge, an annual competition at the LA Auto Show that provides up-and-coming designers with the opportunity to collaborate with an automaker to design a futuristic concept vehicle using a few set requirements. This year, the theme of the challenge is to build a safe and comfortable 2+2 compact car that comes with excellent handling and cutting-edge design and weighs in at no more than 1,000 lbs.

This concept comes from Mercedes-Benz , which, incidentally, was built not far from Los Angeles at the company’s US design headquarters in Carlsbad, California. The vehicle is called the Biome Concept and is described as a vehicle that “grows in a completely organic environment from seeds sown in a nursery”. In layman’s terms, the Biome Concept is pretty much an organic hybrid that was created in complete symbiosis with nature, producing its own oxygen and contributing to the improvement of air quality.

UPDATE 11/26/2010: When the designs for the Los Angeles Design Challenge were entered, no one really expected any of them to see production, but, according to Autocar, Mercedes is looking into using the BIOME Concept as the inspiration for their mid-engined supercar. Mercedes is planning on revealing the concept vehicle in 2015 as a competitor to BMW ’s Vision EfficientDynamics ’ eco-supercar.

Now, we don’t expect the production version to follow the same path as the concept’s creation – nobody’s silly enough to believe that Mercedes can grow the production version from “seeds” as how the concept is supposedly born – but according to Hubert Lee, the man heading Mercedes’ California design studio where the BIOME was conceptualized, certain elements of the concept could be translated to the production version. “We were conscious during its development to ensure it wasn’t too limited or edgy,” he said.

“It had to be do-able without any significant changes.”

Full details and press release after the jump

Source: Mercedes

For what it’s worth, the Smart 454 by Weight Watch Technologies is probably the cutest yet most perplexing entry to the 2010 LA Design Challenge. The billing alone pretty much describes what to expect from the concept vehicle: “West coast fun and innovation meets German technology, design and grannies’ hand knit socks.”

Never though we’d live to see the phrases “West coast fun” and “grannies’ hand knit socks” in the same sentence. In any case, the Smart 454 by Weight Watch Technologies is smart’s official entry to the 2010 LA Design Challenge.

Keeping line with this year’s theme of envisioning an efficient, lightweight 2+2 car that takes into account the growing shift in building vehicles while minimizing consumption of the earth’s resources, the smart 454 uses a Tridion-frame chassis that’s apparently knitted out of carbon fiber by what the company is calling “Smart Granny Robots”. Go figure. Each individual part of the car uses a different material to give each piece a unique set of properties like weight and function. For the windows, fenders, and bumpers, Smart opted to use recyclable plastics while touching them up with ingrained colors. Meanwhile, the 454’s roof uses a thin, but extremely durable textile that boasts of its own different prints and weavings. Probably the work of the granny robots, we think.

The wheels of the 454 WWT are likewise made from carbon fiber with an integrated suspension and with the help of SGR technology, the wheels come equipped with some snazzy and lightweight rims.

Then there’s the matter of assembling and dissembling the car without breaking any sweat. Thanks to a modular “clip-on” construction principal, materials like the doors, the roof, the engine, and even the drive train, become extremely easy to remove or exchange, making the 454 WWT a car that can be customized for any occasion, including granny’s knitting session.

Press Release after the jump

Toyota has always prided itself on being an industry leader when it comes to building eco-friendly vehicles that not only look past the current norms of today’s industry, but challenge them to address the growing need of building economical and efficient yet technologically advanced vehicles. This year, the LA Design Challenge, an annual fixture at the LA Auto Show, is looking for the best concept that addresses these specific needs; to build a lightweight car while minimizing the dependence on using natural resources.

You could say that Toyota is right at their element with this year’s competition and they’re bringing a concept vehicle that answers all of the event’s requirements.

Calling it the NORI Concept, Toyota envisioned its concept as a car that infuses cutting-edge technology with the emissions and fuel economy standards set up by the contest’s guidelines. To prove its point, Toyota built the NORI concept with a unique podular feature wherein the car’s body and its chassis are built as one instead of two separate parts, making it stronger, lighter, and aesthetically more appealing. As a supplemental energy, the NORI concept harnesses solar technology that’s captured through solar cells woven into the concept’s PODULAR, serving as energy back-up should the situation call for it. The podular body is also strengthened using ‘nori’ to create bioplastics technology while combining it with carbon fiber weave to create a sturdy body that can withstand the environment. The specific use of ‘nori’ – in Japanese, it means “seaweed” – reduces the vehicle’s weight.

Full story and press release after the jump

Described as a super-lightweight sports tourer that showcases organic synthesis, the Nissan iV is an innovative zero-emissions vehicle that fits into Nissan’s vision of seeing a world where green energy infrastructures have matured and become their own self-sustaining system.

As Nissan’s official entry into the LA Design Challenge, the iV is the offspring of both nature’s intelligent beauty and the minds and hands of human ingenuity. Contrary to how cars are currently built, the iV’s parts are cultivated similar to how it’s done today in agriculture using a sustainable, carbon-neutral process.

Nissan is keeping line with the requirements of this year’s LA Design Challenge – an emphasis on building lightweight vehicles while minimizing the consumption of our planet’s resources – building the iV Concept using an interwoven organic frame with the chassis material – a fast-growing ivy and re-enforced with spider silk composite - being synthetically grown and formed to turn into a piece of strong yet extremely lightweight aerodynamic body. The vehicle’s interior, which seats four people, is made from photovoltaic material that remarkably weighs 99% less than standard glass.

The iV Concept also has a slim bio-battery that provides the car with tremendous stability and driving range that works through a regenerative super-capacitor technology, recouping as much as 60% of kinetic energy used by the vehicle.

Nissan also outfitted the iV Concept with state-of-the-art safety features, including the brand’s Safety Shield program that prevents collisions from happening and greatly reduces the weight of the vehicle by taking out a number of parts standard in today’s cars, including bumpers, airbags, and even beams.

Using the age-old adage that ‘less is more’ Nissan’s iV concept is the perfect example of a vehicle that inspires a future where cars are known less for their gas-guzzling ways but more for their unbridled efficiency, both in aesthetics and in performance.

Press Release after the jump.

The LA Design Challenge is one of the most eagerly anticipated events of the LA Auto Show pitting different auto brands building their concept vehicles based on the set criteria for the event. This year’s theme focuses on society’s shift towards minimizing their dependence on natural resources by building a light-weight vehicle that focuses on efficiency without sacrificing the style of the vehicle.

Honda’s entry for the 2010 Design Challenge is the Air concept, a lightweight vehicle that uses alternative fuel, all while boasting an aggressive look inspired by, oddly enough, roller coasters and skydiving wing suits. So, we guess that’s why it’s called the Air concept.

In any case, the Air uses a compressed air and pneumatic regulator system that uses turbo vacuums and external air-flow to regenerate the tank’s pressure system, ensuring that the vehicle has extended range and increased boost to last an estimated 100 miles. Anytime you need to have your tanks and reserves refilled efficiently, a Honda generator and air compressor does the trick, either from the comforts of your own home or at a local station.

For safety, the Air concept uses vegetable-based polymer panels and fairings to ensure the safety and protection of its occupants.

The whole body of the Air concept resembles the look of a modern rollercoaster designed to optimize the open-air experience. Then there’s the chassis, which has a variety of purposes to eliminate the structure’s redundancy and reduce the vehicle’s overall weight, ensuring that it doesn’t exceed 1,000 lbs. Other weight-saving procedures done to the Air include the use of a hub-less wheel and drive system instead of the standard drive train system, glass reinforced seating panels, urethane tire composition, and skeletal sub-frame components, all of which contributed to the Air shedding off a significant amount of weight, rounding off to just about 800 lbs.

Press Release after the jump.

What can you do with a second-hand Lotus Exige and £1,000,000 (around $1,600,000)? Why not build a high performance electric sports car? That’s exactly what Ecotricity’s founder, Dale Vince, did when he came up with the Nemesis, marking the first electric supercar that was designed and built in Britain.

The Nemesis is powered by two 125 kW motors that produce 330bhp and 600Nm of torque. These motors are mated to two stage belt driven reduction transaxle and get their energy from 96 x 100 A/h 4.2 V pouch lithium polymer cobalt cells. This power source can run the Nemesis from 0-100mph in 8.5 seconds and can hit a top speed of 170mph which, according to Ecotricity, is faster than a Ferrari V12. It can last for about 100-150 miles depending on how it is driven and can be charged from empty to full in about two hours with the optional fast charger. If the customer sticks with the 13A overnight charger, then a full charge will take eight to nine hours.

Read more about the Nemesis, as well as see the 13-part video series detailing its build, after the jump.

Source: Ecotricity

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