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Toyota's Camry NASCAR Racer is Built in America

Toyota’s Camry NASCAR Racer is Built in America

It also runs on American ethanol too!

With Donald Trump officially elected as the 44th President of the United States, automakers have found themselves under a lot of stress thanks to his “build in American or pay dearly” strategy. Well, that actually led to a bit of a theme at the Detroit Auto Show, with automakers giving nods to the U.S.-based production in one way or another. One effort to prove U.S.-production loyalty came in the form of Toyota’s NASCAR racer that looks somewhat similar to the all-new Toyota Camry. Of course, most of the body is fake and all, but from a distance, it looks quite similar. More importantly, however, are the two nods to U.S.-loyalty that are advertised on the car.

First off, there’s a big decal just above the rear windscreen that says “Built in Kentucky.” That’s right, Toyota’s NASCAR racer is actually built in the Southern U.S. But, that wasn’t the only thing that caught my attention. There also a bright green decal around the fuel filler cap that reads “American Ethanol,” a simple but effective way to let everyone at the show know that the Japanese brand relies on American-made ethanol and American citizens to keep its presence on the track known. It makes complete sense, but it leaves on to wonder: Would these decals be there if Trump wasn’t pushing automakers for U.S. production so much?

That’s hard to say, but I have a feeling they wouldn’t be – or they wouldn’t be so prominent anyway. On a side note, since we’re here, I want to point out that it must take a lot of dedication to sit in one of these racers for so long. After getting a good look at the inside, I can tell you that there is absolutely nothing comfortable about them. The seat is hard, and there’s sheet metal everywhere – all with sharp points and thin edges. In case you haven’t had the chance to look inside an actual NASCAR racer, I snagged a few shots of the interior as best I could. You can check those out by clicking the “Photos” tab above, and I suggest you do if you really want to see what NASCAR drivers put up with for hours at a time on the track.

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2017 Nissan Solid-Oxide Fuel Cell NV200 Van

2017 Nissan Solid-Oxide Fuel Cell NV200 Van

Pioneering a new form of bio-fuels

Bio-fuels have been around a while, just like the concept of hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicle. Nissan is taking these two concepts and combining them into its Solid-Oxide Fuel Cell powertrain. But this is no theoretical lab experiment. No, Nissan has built a working model with its mid-size NV cargo van.

It’s called the e-Bio Fuel-Cell and it offers the benefits of a hydrogen fuel-cell without the need for compressed hydrogen gas and the complicated infrastructure required to handle it. Rather, the e-Bio Fuel-Cell runs on bio-ethanol harvested from corn or sugarcane and can be dispensed in liquid form the same way traditional gasoline and diesel fuels have been for the last century – at a filling station.

"The e-Bio Fuel-Cell offers eco-friendly transportation and creates opportunities for regional energy production… all the while supporting the existing infrastructure," says Nissan president and CEO, Carlos Ghosn. "In the future, the e-Bio Fuel-Cell will become even more user-friendly. Ethanol-blended water is easier and safer to handle than most other fuels. Without the need to create new infrastructure, it has great potential to drive market growth."

Nissan says this NV e-Bio Fuel-Cell concept van runs on 100 percent ethanol to charge a 24 kWh battery, which affords more than 373 miles of driving range via an electric drivetrain. And of course, it does this with a very small global impact. The little CO2 emissions generated by the e-Bio Fuel-Cell is offset by the growing process of the corn and sugarcane, effectively canceling out the vehicle emissions for an overall zero-emissions impact.

Continue reading for the full run-down and informative video.

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Video: Switzer Goliath GT-R Smashes the E85-Fuel Quarter-Mile Record

Video: Switzer Goliath GT-R Smashes the E85-Fuel Quarter-Mile Record

A few days ago, a Nissan GT-R Goliath prepared by Switzer Performance became the fastest supercar in a one-mile sprint, with a top speed of 250 mph. Now the same GT-R is being put to the test in the quarter-mile.

Just as it did in the one-mile run, the GT-R Goliath smashed the previous E85-powerwed record, as it zipped down the track in just 8.46 seconds at more than 180 mph, breaking the previous record by almost two-tenths of a second and a 10 mph.

The GT-R set the record at Michigan’s Milan dragway and behind the wheel was Tym from Switzer Performance. After breaking the record, he described how the team managed to establish a new record: "With the Syvecs SGTR system, we are able to manage all dynamics of the vehicle to our best advantage. We don’t have a rev-n-dump launch control, we have launch management. You can see that in the video. Even though we were pushing a little harder than we were in Moscow, the car still accelerated straight and true."

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Extended CAFE Standards Are Officially Signed Into Law

We often bring up the CAFE standards, as they directly impact our covering of supercars that obviously do not fit into this plan. As much as we hate to admit it, fossil fuels are at about a quarter tank right now and fading fast, so something had to be done.

First came the “Gas Guzzler” tax, but that had very little impact, as the folks buying those types of cars could afford the extra several thousand dollars. With our backs against the wall, gasoline prices over $4 per gallon and the current CAFE standards expiring in 2016, the government stepped in and began composing an extension to the CAFE standards, which would push the average mpg of all cars and light trucks up to 54.5 mpg by 2025.

There was some battle over these standards being unconstitutional and unnecessary, but ultimately the courts and all sides of the government came to the conclusion that it was a necessary evil. Now this law has become official, as it has successfully passed its final obstacle, the pen of Barack Obama.

The new law takes effect in the 2017 model year, but there is a chance that Mitt Romney could beat Obama and he made it clear that he would immediately repeal the CAFE standards and move more toward encouragement than legislation. We’re not a political site, but it’s likely too late for encouragement to move the mpg needle fast enough.

We have already outlined what the supercar realm may look like by the year 2020, with high-strung 4-cylinders powering our fastest cars instead of massive V-12 engines. This can also cause a push toward LPG, CNG or hydrogen in the future, as the new law includes incentives for natural gas and fuel cell vehicles. We’ll have to wait and see exactly what happens, but the changes in the next 13 years will be drastic.

Click past the jump to read the press release about the finalization of these standards.

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Ferrari FF with E85 conversion can deliver 875 HP

Ferrari FF with E85 conversion can deliver 875 HP

We aren’t exactly the biggest fans of Ferrari’s
latest addition to their lineup, but this FF in particular may just be cool enough to change our mind. You see, the standard Ferrari FF works from a 6,262 cc direct injection V12 engine that delivers an impressive 660 HP at 8,000 rpm and a peak torque of 503 lbs-ft 6,000 rpm, which is fantastic for a car that looks like a stretched out wagon. That being said, Norwegian aftermarket developer, Customised.no, is upping that ante with a bio-ethanol (E85) conversion that will shoot up the power and kick back its emissions. Sounds intriguing.

The E85 conversion jump-starts the FF’s power output by taking it from 660 HP all the way to 875 HP! This newfound power will allow the sports coupe a 0-60 mph sprint time of less than three seconds, improved from the standard 3.7 seconds.

The conversion still doesn’t make the car any prettier, but it does reduce its emissions by about 80%, from the current 360g/km to 100g/km. Kind of impossible to believe considering this is still a Ferrari.

The E85 conversion for the Ferrari FF is priced at 1,500 euro ($1,900 at the current rates), and since it was converted at a Ferrari dealer, customers may still get to take advantage of their warranty.

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CCG Custom GT ecoVision

CCG Custom GT ecoVision

We have just uncovered even more evidence that there is a market for 21st century green super cars that look like classic 1960s Le Mans champions. It wasn’t too long ago that the Capstone Turbine Corporation unveiled the CMT-380 at the LA Auto Show. The Capstone was basically a hybrid powered Factory Five Ford GT-40 replica that charged the batteries with a compact micro turbine giving the CMT a range of 500 miles, a zero emissions mode and could run from 0 to 60 MPH in just 3.9 seconds. Today we have just come across the Custom Corner Germany GT ecoVision, a bioethanol burning mid engine super car wearing a very appropriate carbon fiber front lip, rear diffuser and wing.

Although the CCG Custom GT ecoVision doesn’t offer a ZEV mode, it does run on a combination of LPG and E85 bioethanol. Powered by a 6.0 Liter V8 sourced from a Corvette, the LS series engine currently produces a total of 450 HP, and CCG is promising that a 570 HP version is on the way. Weighing in at only 2,300 pounds, the ecoVision will rip from 0 to 60 MPH in only 3.2 seconds, and while the CMT we talked about earlier could only do 150 MPH, the CCG’s top speed is 193 MPH, using nothing but alternative fuels. By combining a proven aerodynamic design with a lightweight fiberglass body CCG allows the GT ecoVision to make the most with what its got, and as a bit of a tongue and cheek environmentally friendly maneuver the super car’s standard color scheme is green; however customers can choose from any color they desire.

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Video: Derek Bell drives the Bentley Continental Supersports around the Nürburgring

Video: Derek Bell drives the Bentley Continental Supersports around the Nürburgring


In another installment of racing legend Derek Bell keeping Bentley enthusiasts around the world informed about the new lightweight Continental Supersport with a lap around the Nürburgring race track in Germany. The English coach builder has announced that the first deliveries of the new Continental Supersports will begin later on this month. Mr. Bell is famous for his in car commentary, even while moving along at 200 MPH. The crew from Crewe claim that the new 204 MPH luxury sports coupe is the most extreme Bentley road car ever produced by W.O.’s car company.

Aside from being able to cruise around at over 200 MPH in style and comfort, but the Supersports is also capable of running on E85 biofuel and represents a step forward and most of all Bentley’s commitment to alternative fuels and they ensure that their entire lineup will be capable of burning up to 85% ethanol by the year 2012. The new Continental Supersports is slated to be on sale in most markets around the world by the year’s end. A few of the first batch of Bentley super cars have already been spotted, but we won’t be seeing too many of them here in the U.S. filling up at an E85 pump until the middle of 2010, just in time for the good old summer hike in gas prices.

Derek Bell driving impression videos after the jump.

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2009 Lotus Exige Tri-fuel

2009 Lotus Exige Tri-fuel

After the recent success of the Lotus Exige 270E Tri-Fuel at the Shanghai Motor Show, Youngman Auto, the lightweight English sports car builder’s Chinese partner has submitted a request that the concept go into production, at least for the Chinese market by the end of this year. The alternatively fueled Lotus made its debut at Geneva in 2008, and what set the car apart from normal flex fuel vehicles that can run on a blend of gasoline and ethanol, the Exige 270E adds methanol into the mix. It is no surprise that the Chinese are so interested in the Tri-Fuel, because back in 2007 China became the world’s largest producer and consumer of methanol. In 2008 nearly 1 Billion gallons of the alternative fuel was blended with gasoline in the panda loving country, and mixtures of methanol/gasoline are already available at many gas stations throughout the land.

Check out the diagrams after the jump to see how Tri-Fuel works.

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Bentley Going Fast, Green in Geneva

Bentley Going Fast, Green in Geneva

Following up Bentley’s recent 50-year celebration of the legendary 6.75-liter V-8, the company is readying a all-new model powered by biofuel. Currently, the car is known simply as the Extreme Bentley and it will debut in March at the Geneva Motor Show. While Bentley’s current top-performance car, Bentley Continental GT, puts out 600 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque, Bentley says its new car will be the company’s “fastest, most powerful car ever” – those are some pretty big words if you ask us. More importantly though, the new biofuel-powered car is just the first phase in an initiative Bentley plans to spread across its lineup by 2012 with a goal to reduce carbon emissions of its overall fleet by 15 percent and, with an advanced new powertrain, help cut fuel consumption by up to 40 percent.

The Extreme Bentley sports a unique, but instantly recognizable Bentley design – briefly revealed in a teaser video Bentley showed on its Web site. Up front, the quad lamps and large mesh grille reflect the look of the Arnage, Azure, Brooklands and Continental, while the long hood and swept roofline should give the car an aggressive stance. The Extreme Bentley will mark the first flex fuel Bentley vehicle to which Bentley believes that bioethanol fuels, such as E85 in the United States, will become a sustainable and ethical alternative fossil fuels in the future. Short of the electric-powered Tesla Roadster, the Extreme Bentley, being such a powerful car that also takes the environment into consideration, should revolutionize luxury sport cars.

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British company finds trash the answer to fuel prices

British company finds trash the answer to fuel prices

A British chemical company, Ineos, has found a way to alleviate prices at the pump by converting ordinary household trash into ethanol. The process involves burning the trash to produce gas, then feeding the gas to bacteria which in turn produce ethanol. They purify the ethanol into fuel to be used in cars. Claims are that 100 gallons of fuel can be made from one metric ton of dry waste. Ineos plans for commercial quantities to be produced within two years.

“In North America and Europe we will see around 10 percent or more of petrol (gasoline) being replaced with [ethanol],” said Peter Williams, Bio chief executive officer. “Our technology will make a major contribution to reducing greenhouse gases and the world’s need for fossil fuels.” The heat that is recovered during the gasification and fermentation processes will be used to produce electricity.

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IS GM'S ETHANOL BET GOING TO GO SOUTH?

IS GM’S ETHANOL BET GOING TO GO SOUTH?

E85.

That’s the mantra at General Motor these days.

Not only do they want to make cars that run on it, they want to make the oil companies sell it to you. If the oil companies won’t cooperate, then they’d like the federal government to force it on them.

But, could it be a huge mistake?

That’s the suggestion that comes from two distinguished reports, one in the journal Science, authored by scientists at Princeton and Woods Hole Research Center, and the other from the University of Minnesota and the Nature Conservancy.

Guess what?

Ethanol contributes more to greenhouse gases than gasoline.

That’s what they say.

(more after the jump)

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Ford Flexifuel vehicles in Europe

Ford Flexifuel vehicles in Europe

FLEXIFUEL VEHICLES: PART OF FORD’S BROAD PORTFOLIO OF ENVIRONMENTALLY ADVANCED VEHICLE TECHNOLOGIES
Ford is a European market leader in bio-ethanol powered flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs). FFVs are part of Ford’s portfolio of environmentally advanced vehicle technologies which Ford is committed to offer at affordable prices to its customers. The portfolio includes further optimized conventional technologies (i.e. high tech clean diesel and advanced direct injection gasoline engines), (...)

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GM to bring more E85 Ethanol Stations

GM to bring more E85 Ethanol Stations

General Motors Announces Collaboration With State Of Colorado To Bring More E85 Ethanol Stations To The State Colorado E85 Coalition Plans for Forty New E85 Ethanol Stations—Largest One-Time Announcement To-Date
DENVER – General Motors and Governor Bill Ritter’s Colorado E85 Coalition today announced plans for the addition of forty new E85 ethanol fueling locations to be opened throughout the state by the end of 2007. The new fueling locations will be promoted by GM as part of a broader, (...)

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