So we have watched as electric cars have begun infiltrating the market with maximum ranges of 70 to 150 miles per charge and a roughly 6- to 12-hour charging time. To be honest, that is just not a feasible solution for most drivers. We all know hybrids, as they have been around for what seems like forever now, but they are still reliant on gasoline and some actually get worse gas mileage than some gasoline-only cars.
This all leaves us scratching our heads looking for a solution to the gas crisis we are experiencing. Some people insist that hydrogen is the only real answer, but that experiment is far away from ever becoming a reality. There are two gasses that we have been using for ages to heat our homes and grill our food that a lot of people seem to forget, these are compressed natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas (propane).
Natural gas vehicles have been on the rise lately, with many fleet companies switching over to it, and forklifts have been propane-powered for ages. Recently, we even saw a performance car, the Maxximus LNG 2000 break a number of speed records, using natural gas as its fuel. This leads to the ultimate question of can CNG and LPG make their way into the performance and luxury car world to alleviate the gasoline crisis, especially in regards to fuel-hungry performance and luxury cars, as we find a real alternative?
Click past the jump to find out!
Green cars are slowly starting to gain some traction in the automotive realm, as seemingly every manufacturer now offers some sort of hybrid model. Even electric cars are starting to see a lot of upswing lately, as most manufacturers are at least tinkering with the EV idea. However, there is one “green” mode of transportation that is getting overlooked at every turn. This is liquid natural gas and compressed natural gas.
One company has made LNG and CNG its No. 1 priority lately, and that is Maxximus. Maxximus’ first vehicle was a supercar dubbed the G-Force and it recently took that monster and turned it into a vehicle that can run on LNG, CNG, or even propane, and run at an extremely high rate of speed. This new vehicle is named the LNG 2000.
CNG and LNG are not only 90 percent cleaner burning than gasoline, making them the cleanest burning fossil fuel, but they are also as much as 50 percent cheaper than gasoline. Of course, some oil tycoon would snatch up the world’s supply and eventually drive process to the range of gasoline. At least it would provide a little temporary relief for the price of fuel, as we search for a legitimate alternative.
When most people think of alternative fuels, they think of a slow-moving vehicle that isn’t practical in the real world. Can the Maxximus LNG 2000 break this mold?
Click past the jump to read the full review.
At the 2010 Geneva Motor Show, Ferrari unveiled the Vettura Laboratorio HY-KERS - the company’s first attempt to create a hybrid vehicle. Now in an interview with Autocar, Ferrari boss Amedeo Felisa has confirmed that the Italian company is working on a V12 hybrid engine that will most likely make its debut in the upcoming Enzo. This hybrid engine comes as a followup to the V12 used in the new F12 Berlinetta, which Ferrari has called “the first in a new generation of V12s.”
"We will roll out new technology that is there first and foremost to introduce a green factor to our cars and ensure that we can keep our product where it is in terms of CO2."
According to Amedeo Felisa, this system won’t just be used to increase the total output, but will be a good way to save energy. The company’s new technology is expensive at the moment, but Ferrari hopes it will find a solution to reduce costs in the near future and use it for all Ferrari models.
"I’m not saying when, but it is possible that this technology will be on all Ferraris. It has been designed to fit all our future architecture, and if we go ahead it will be fitted as standard. It is not the sort of thing you offer as an option."
Check out this awesome video of a Top Fuel dragster fuel pump at the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum in Pomona, CA. This super-cool setup is a Waterman Super Bertha fuel pump connected to an injector in a mock cylinder to show just how much nitro methane is pumped into an NHRA Top Fuel dragster engine. The Super Bertha is capable of pumping 8 gallons per minute to each of the eight cylinders. That’s 64 gallons per minute flowing into the 500 c.i. aluminum engine at full throttle.
A Top Fuel dragster makes around 8,000 horsepower. These 25 feet long rockets regularly catapult from 0-320 mph in around 3.8 seconds. That equates to 5 G’s of force on the driver at the starting line, and then 5 negative G’s on the driver when the parachute is deployed at the 1000 ft. mark. Around 6.5 gallons of nitro methane is burned in a full pass. The tires on these monsters have to be changed after every two passes and the engine is rebuilt after every single run.
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.
The world of high performance sports car grows by the day and here’s another new beast to prove it. CCG automotive has revealed the super sports car customGT - an ultra-light dream car with up to 550 hp. The most impressive feature of the new customGT is the fact that it comes with an LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) system that helps reduces exhaust emissions. At first glance, this could translate into money in the bank since LPG is considerably cheaper than standard gasoline.
The CCG CustomGT is powered by an optimized 7.0 liter V8 engine created by General Motors. This engine delivers a total of 550 HP and is mated to a manually-operated 6-gear transmission. The sprint from 0 to 60 mph is made in 3.5 seconds and top speed goes up to an impressive 198 mph.
The man behind this creation is Tom Gerards, Head of CCG automotive GmbH and Creative Director of the CustomGT. His dream was to build his very own supercar so, in 2009, he began his journey. "What turned the customGT into reality was our passion, enthusiasm, dedication, and the steadfast belief in achieving the goal," says Gerards.
Hit the jump to read about how his dream turned into a high-powered supercar.
Of course this is not the first time we are talking about a car-inspired hotel here at TopSpeed, but this one is by far the coolest one. Tata Motors have signed an agreement with Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces to offer two special bedrooms inspired by classic and contemporary Jaguar models, from the legendary 1960’s E-type to the state-of-the art C-X75.
The two bedrooms feature materials taken from the cars, such as leather, metal and high gloss veneer. At the doors customers will receive sleek wood panelling greeting guests, Jaguar damask lining the bedroom walls, a fireplace referencing the shape of the brand’s hallmark rear window and the finest leather that lines the cars, ebony veneer doors and custom-made Jaguar wallpaper.
The suite is 170 square meters and contains two bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, a kitchen and living and dining areas. The walls are are adorned with pictures, models and items of Jaguar history.
Of course this exclusivity comes with a huge price: $8,000 a night.
Trying to get gas at reasonable prices is becoming one of the world’s major problems these days, so it seemed only natural that people would look for alternative sources to power their vehicles. There has been an onslaught of hybrid and full electric vehicles introduced to the market as of late, but there have also been unconventional methods as well, like that whiskey-powered model over in Scotland. It is the unconventional that has just broken the land speed record for vehicles running on organic waste. Engineer, Martin Bacon, and a group of volunteers from Teesdale Conservation in England have managed to make a car run on coffee.
Their project is based on a modified Rover SD1 which managed to hit a top speed of 77.5 mph and an average speed of 66.5 mph after many modifications, all with the help of the sole reason I get up in the morning. This java-powered rocket broke the previous speed record in this category of 47.7 mph, set by the wood-burning Beaver XR7 in 2010.
In this coffee-powered car, the fuel is sent to the V6 engine through an on board wood gas generator (gasification) system, which in this case burns wood and coffee grounds at a high temperature (more than 1292 F). The result is carbon monoxide, hydrogen, and methane, or the exact gas an internal combustion engine needs.
"Some of the clean gas is also being compressed to 150 PSI and injected directly into the manifold to achieve top speed. The cooling system is configured using an intercooler with two 12-volt fans attached."
Hit the jump for the video.
To meet upcoming fuel economy requirements, automakers are expected to embrace turbocharging as a cost-effective way to maintain performance and increase fuel efficiency. In 2009, only five percent of vehicles offered for sale in the United States came with turbocharged engines. By 2020, an automotive industry executive expects that number to reach 82 percent, thanks to increasing fuel economy standards agreed to between the EPA, automakers, and the state of California. By 2025, automakers must achieve a Corporate Average Fuel Economy of 54.5 miles per gallon, fleet-wide. Producing smaller displacement, turbocharged engines is a cost-effective way of reducing fuel consumption, while maintaining expected levels of horsepower and performance.
There are a limited number of ways to achieve significantly better fuel economy from today’s cars. Going the hybrid drivetrain route adds expense, weight, and complexity, and using lightweight materials such as carbon fiber, composites, or aluminum usually have a significant increase in cost. Downsizing the engine is a one time-honored method, but American consumers are only willing to sacrifice so much performance in the name of better fuel economy.
Hit the jump for the full story.
Ever wonder how much food would be comparable to the amount of gas we use everyday? Okay, neither did we, but then we came across this infographic detailing just that. We may not eat as abundantly as the cartoon human (who’s surprisingly skinny considering all of the junk he’s consuming), but even that is no where near what it would take to fuel a car.
A car would need roughly 45,000 calories per day compared to our 2,000 calorie limit in order to get us where we need to go. This number is based off a gallon of gas being calculated as 31,268 calories and the average American using 1.4 gallons of gas per day. This may sound like a lot, but a car also sheds 1,125 calories per minute when traveling at 60 mph, compared to an average human’s 4.6 calories at 3 mph.
What this translates to is a bunch of numbers and conversions that would really lead us no where if we were to figure it all out. But the lesson learned in this whole thing is that if you want to eat even 1/15th of the amount of calories "consumed" by a man-made machine, then you better be ready to work just as hard to get rid of them.
Check out the rest of the infographic to get a more detailed breakdown of the fuel consumption comparison and remember to check back with us for our next installment in the Car Infographics series.
Many families choose to take road trips over long weekends, and with Memorial Day being this weekend, more people than ever will take to the open road. This can be quite the scary notion for two distinct reasons. For starters, gasoline is spiking at $4.00 per gallon which makes travel expensive even just across town. The second reason is that more and more drivers on the road seem to be getting their drivers license without having taken the test. I drive roughly 20 minutes each way to and from work in Southern California and to be honest, I fear for my life nearly every time. Between cell phones, eating, passengers, and plenty of other distractions, it is a very dangerous world. Hopefully these tips can help keep you be safe and thrifty over the holiday weekend.
One way to temporarily increase fuel economy is by coasting to a stop. If you notice a light turn red in the distance - do not speed up just to stop short at the end. By letting the car coast as if it were in neutral you can boost gas mileage and save your brakes. The brakes on your car will ultimately bring you to a halt and keep your car from moving, but up until they are needed all they do is waste kinetic energy. Allowing your car to coast in stop and go traffic situations will allow the engine to work less, the brakes to work less, and will most likely cut down on those irritating false starts.
Hit the jump for more money-saving tips.
Audi has turned the corner on their new "Audi balanced mobility" moto with the launch of a new project called the TCNG e-gas project. The e-gas project will go into production starting 2013 and is the world’s first automotive manufacturer to set up an entire portfolio of sustainable sources of energy.
The TCNG e-gas project will use wind-generated electricity to manufacture hydrogen by means of electrolysis. Hydrogen can be used in the future as a source of energy for fuel-cell vehicles or, in an additional step, can be used to manufacture methane. Such methane is known as Audi as e-gas. It is chemically identical to natural gas and can power combustion engines. More important, it is completely CO2-neutral.
"Ecology and economy in unison: that is the greatest challenge of the future. To attain this we must bring mobility completely into equilibrium – with people and their new values and with the environment. CO2-neutral mobility is our goal," says Audi Chairman Rupert Stadler. He continues: "On the way to achieving this we are systematically using clean power. We are producing climate-friendly fuels and forming a new mindset for which our entire company stands. That’s the objective of Audi balanced mobility."