hybrid cars

hybrid cars

  A hybrid vehicle uses multiple propulsion systems to provide motive power. This most commonly refers to gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles, which use gasoline (petrol) and electric batteries to power internal-combustion engines (ICEs) and electric motors.

Since time immemorial, we always thought that the whole point of auto racing was to determine which of the competing cars is the fastest among the lot. That simple premise has been set in stone since the olden days so we figure that it wouldn’t change anytime soon. But banning a car from competition because its "too fast" against its competitors? That doesn’t sit too well with us.

The car we’re talking about is the Oaktec Honda Insight Hybrid Rally Car, a gas-electric eco sports car that competes - or was supposed to compete - in the Formula 1000 rally championship. The only problem was that its rivals lodged a complaint for its withdrawal because the car was too fast for them.

Turns out, the problem stems from its tuned gas-electric hybrid system, which easily achieves 100 mph when driven at cruise control and its unique Bosch-sourced CVT automatic transmission. Furthermore, the system allows the car to compete while running at 82 mph, a staggering number considering that the second best car returns only 65 mph.

Full story after the jump.

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

Terrafugia has moved one step closer to bringing the world a flying "car."
A future of flying cars is still probably a long ways away from happening - if it ever makes it that far - but at least there’s some baby steps taking place that are heading in that direction.

Terrafugia Inc., a company responsible for the development of the Transition Roadable Aircraft, has been granted a number of testing exemptions by the Department of Transportation and has since been designated as a road-legal car.

One of the more pertinent exemptions given to the Transition is the use of tires that have been duly rated for highway speeds and vehicle weight, permitting the vehicle to use the same tires it used in past drive and flight tests a few years ago.

UPDATE 04/03/12: The Terrafugia Tradiion Flying Car will make its long awaited debut at the 2012 New York Auto Show. It remains to be seen what kind of modifications Terrafugia has done on the flying car since we last saw it so it should be interesting to see the car-plane on the New York floor.

Hit the jump for more information on the Terrafugia Flying Car as well as a list of specifications.

Source: TG Daily

Lexus is planning to capitalize on the success of the CT 200h by introducing yet another full hybrid model. This time, however, the luxury automaker is entering the crossover market with the long-rumored Lexus CX. Expect the new CX to be launched at the end of 2012 as a 2013 model.

The new Lexus CX will be built on the same platform as the Toyota RAV4 and will serve as a competitor for models like the BMW X1 , the Audi Q3 , and the Mercedes GLK . The new CX will only feature a hybrid drivetrain that combines a four-cylinder engine with a powerful electric motor, a generator, a high performance battery, a power control unit, and a power split device. This system will deliver about 200 HP and a fuel economy of about 47 mpg. As a comparison, the BMW X1 and the Audi Q3 can only achieve 45 mpg at best in their diesel offerings.

No additional details for the future Lexus CX have been offered as of now, but we believe the exterior design language will combine elements from all the latest Lexus models.

Lexus struck it big with the Royal Wedding when it was announced that Prince Albert of Monaco would be riding in an LS 600H for the royal affair. The experience must have been exquisite for the Prince because Lexus has created a Landaulet version of the hybrid for him to ride in with his future wife, Miss Charlene Wittstock, during their very own wedding.

The Lexus LS 600h Landaulet will be a one-off coach built limousine equipped with a one-piece transparent polycarbonate roof. This roof took about 2,000 hours to be completed with the help of a French company that specializes in supplying similar components to the aerospace industry, such as helicopter windscreens and fighter jet canopies. The building process was extensive because a honeycomb structure and carbon fiber template was created first to validate the roof’s shape and structural integrity and to ensure a perfect fit with tolerances of less than 1mm. Once the design was complete, robotic tools were used to produce the canopy and fit it to the Landaulet in a completely automated process. The final stage of the conversion, re-assembly, and finishing took a team of 10 specialists working with Lexus engineers more than two weeks to complete, to ensure the highest quality levels were achieved. The final product is a roof that is just 57 lbs and is fixed to the body through two intermediary parts which allow for a perfect view in and out of the car.

Check out the Lexus Landaulet and the second royal wedding this year on July 2nd!

The Evo-loving world was in shambles after Mitsubishi Global Product Director, Gayu Eusegi, announced that the company would be killing off the all-wheel-drive turbocharged Lancer Evolution . The Evo is one of the best models Mitsubishi has ever offered and fans everywhere were shocked that the company would take such extreme measures. A few back pedals later and Mitsubishi President and CEO, Osamu Masuko, calmed the waters by stating that the the Evo X would not be the last of the Evolutions. Now, Masuko has offered even more details for the future of the Evo to Japanese magazine, Best Car, stating that "Mitsubishi is fully intent on producing a high-performance car in the future, albeit green." Yeah, join the club, Masuko.

The rumor has long been that the Evo XI would be a diesel-electric hybrid. Such a powertrain would allow the Evo XI to hustle to 0-60 MPH in under 5 seconds while still receiving better fuel economy than the current Evo. Now, it seems the technology that was unveiled in the PX-MiEV concept at the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show is looking to fit itself into the EVO XI. This would mean a 1.6- liter gasoline engine combined with an electric motor that will take its power from a set of lithium-ion batteries. The electric motors will power the vehicle at low to middle speeds, while the engine will kick on at high speeds. The engine will also provide back up for the motors when their charge runs low. The hybrid system will be combined with Mitsubishi’s S-AWC all-wheel-drive system and active yaw control, technologies that have already been used in the Evo X.

Looks like Toyota and Gazoo Racing will be bringing more than just the Lexus LF-A to the Nurburgring 24-hour endurance race this week. In a surprising announcement, the Japanese automaker will also bring their new mid-engine convertible hybrid concept to Nurburgring, which they’ve christened as the GRMN Sports Hybrid Concept II.

An updated version of the first concept that was introduced at the 2010 Tokyo Auto Salon, the GRMN Sports Hybrid Concept II is an MR2 -based hybrid concept that features plenty of styling cues from the fabled MR2 sports car. It was also designed in a far more aggressive detail befitting of its status as a new-age hybrid concept car.

In addition to the advanced convertible design language of the car, Toyota and GRMN (Gazoo Racing tuned by MN2) also improved on the car’s mid-engine sports-hybrid AWD system that now carries a 3.5-liter Type 2GR-FXE V6 engine that produces 249 horsepower to go with a front electric motor that bumps up the output to 299 horsepower.

So far, these are the only details we have of the new GRMN Sports Hybrid Concept II, but rest assured, we’ll have more details when the car makes its official debut at the 24 Hours of Nurburgring this weekend.

Posted on by Alexander + 40

The hybrid craze has gone to new levels and everyone wants in on the action. Unlucky for those that are late in joining the game, Mugen has come around with yet another version of the Honda CRZ , promising to transform the vehicle into one "hot hybrid hatch." Their newest package comes with a killer supercharger that takes the CRZ to a greater level of performance, and possibly a better fuel economy as well.

The Honda CRZ Mugen will still come with its standard 1.5L four cylinder engine, but will get the boost in power from a new supercharger. Standard outputs for the CRZ come in at 113 HP and 107 lb-ft of torque for just the engine, while adding the standard hybrid package will get those outputs up to 122 HP and 128 lb-ft of torque. Mugen has taken their upgrade a step further by developing their own electronic package that, together with the supercharged engine, will deliver a total of 197 HP and 181 lb-ft of torque. Just like there’s no sex in the champagne room, there’s no slacking over at Mugen’s place either.

Mugen takes their package a step further by adding induction and exhaust upgrades that they hope will improve the hatch’s current stats of 38mpg and 117g/km CO2. They have also added front and rear five-stage adjustable dampers, bigger brakes, and lightweight 17in forged Mugen GP alloys. Aesthetically, the CRZ will get Mugen-spec front and rear bumpers, a large rear wing, and side skirts. The company has also promised a "large reduction in overall weight."

The Honda CRZ Mugen will make its first grand appearance at the 2011 Goodwood Festival of Speed in July. As of right now, it is just a one-off prototype, but Mugen says they are willing to offer it in a limited number production if there is enough interest. At the very least, we should be able to order some of the parts used as aftermarket supplies.

UPDATE 05/18/2011: Mugen has unveiled the first official images of the CR-Z Mugen before the car’s official debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. While the tuner has yet to say anything about the official specifications, Colin Whittamore from MUGEN Euro said: "We’ve retained the three driving modes from the standard car and economyranges from 50+mpg in ’eco’ mode to mid-30 mpg when tapping into the supercharged power in a special ’MUGEN’ mode."

UPDATE 06/13/2011: The new Mugen CR-Z has finally made its video debut with a rather impressive promotional video. Honda has also announced that, in the first tests, the Mugen CR-Z has completed a 0-60mph time of around that of the Civic Type R (which sprints from 0 to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds).

UPDATE 08/01/11: Since many of you were wondering if the CR-Z RR Concept would ever be put into production, Mugen has officially announced that the concept has been built for show purposes only and there are currently no plans for further production.

Is the Fisker Karma the automotive equivalent of Gran Turismo 5?

Sure looks like it after the plug-in luxury sports car’s production date has been set back once again, this time until July. We’ve heard this sordid tale of run-around after run-around before and it can get pretty exhausting, especially when you consider that the Karma’s release date was supposed to happen over a year ago .

According to GreenCarReports, Roger Ormisher, director of global communications for Fisker Automotive, was quoted saying that the "first dealer [demonstration vehicles] and customer cars will arrive on these shores in July." So that pretty much rules out the earlier dates of May and June, as was previously announced by the company.

It’s disappointing, make no mistake about it. But considering that the company is still in its infancy, a little latitude should be exercised, if only to give these guys time to get their acts together. Then again, it probably isn’t a good business idea to keep delaying the product’s release date when you already raised it’s price before the car even hit the market.

This isn’t GT5, which you can just plop down 60 bucks to take home with you. $95,000 is a lot of money for people to part with and continuing to delay the release of the car could turn a lot of people off.

There’s no question in anybody’s mind that the future of the auto industry hinges on advancements done on alternative technology. Whether its hybrid, electric, or even fuel-cell power, alternative energy is where the future is at.

At the 11th Michelin Challenge Bibendum in Berlin, Germany, Audi presented a vehicle that could potentially reshape the landscape of the company’s direction in the future. In trying to examine the potential and probability of using fuel-cell power as an alternative drivetrain, Audi rolled out the concept Q5 Hybrid Fuel Cell (HFC). The SUV, which is actually in concept guise, was built as a technical study to determine the feasibility of a vehicle running on fuel cells.

In this particular configuration, the car comes with a polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cell that produces 98 kW, which is about 133 horsepower and is connected to a lithium-ion battery that comes with an energy content of 1.3 kWh. Roll it up together and you have a drivetrain that’s powered by two electric motors that produces a combined peak output of around 127 horsepower and 310 lb/ft of torque with an electronically limited top speed of 103 mph.

Despite its designation as a concept vehicle, the Q5 HFC’s hybrid chassis lends itself to the scenario that sooner than later, a production version may be produced. It’s not so much a question of ’if’ more than it is of ’when’.

When that time comes though is still anyone’s guess. But you can be sure that this won’t be the last vehicle Audi is looking into when it comes to the development of alternative drivetrains.


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