Family car-Toyota Sienna

I am in Arizona and my in-laws just bought a toyota Sienna. Pretty nice ride, gives about 23-24 mpg on the highway. And as a HOV not bad. With 4 people in the car we get to go on to the Diamond lane. Drawbacks: to many little storage areas.

Pros: You can fit an elephant into it.

Will take it for a test drive later. Need to check out this baby wagon compares to the Honda Odyssey that Mark has.

Cheap Hydrogen

Researchers at Virginia Tech have come now closer to making hydrogen production more cost effective:

Recently, Percival Zhang, assistant professor of biological systems engineering at Virginia Tech in the US, and his collaborators at two other US labs announced that they had found an innovative method to make hydrogen. Their raw material was cellulose, and they used 13 enzymes in a combination never before seen in nature. These enzymes broke down cellulose and water, producing carbon dioxide and hydrogen. Zhang reckons that he can get to a commercial product — for example, one that can be used in an automobile — in five to 10 years. “It is like the airplane of the Wright Brothers,” says Samir Brahmachari, director of the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB) in Delhi. “It will take a long time to become a commercial product.

So it may take, 10-15 yrs, but the fact remains we are moving in the right direction. Yes there are quite a few obstacles such are storing and safely transporting Hydrogen but according too these guys at Virginian Tech, this can be overcome by the secret ingredient (some form of specially developed cellulose) that is already inside the car, it will generate hydrogen and that would go in to the fuel cell which has oxygen and generate water and energy to run the car.
Source: http://www.telegraphindia.com/1070604/asp/knowhow

Honda thinks outsde the box

Check out the redesigned Honda Fuel Cell car (FCX) which is on display at the Detroit Auto show. Now thats looks like the futuristic car people were promised. Even though this is just the concept form, the fact that the Honda’s design team took it up another notch and moved away from those boxy designs goes to show that fuel cell cars are not only fuel efficient and enviromentally friendly, but can be sleek and sexy too.

Click here to get more info about the car.

Source: HybridCars.com

Interesting fact

Owning a hybrid does not mean you can go out and buy an SUV and claim that driving a hybrid justifies the fact that one can also own an SUV. A recent survey found that close to 25% of hybrid owners own an SUV. Now who is the hypocrite….

BMW launches hydrogen bi-fuel car

So BMW has gone where no other automaker has gone as yet. Last week in Berlin BMW had people from W.I.R.E.D magazine over to test drive the new BMW Hydrogen 7 bi-fuel car. It can switch between gas and H with the click of a button. Hydrogen cars are not just futuristic concepts that do not make it past the drawing board, BMW have actually taken a few more steps and produced about 100 or so hydrogen 7 cars. Now these guys plan on loaning these vehicles to high profile people such as politicians and celebrities (because you know these people are the leaders and trend makers/breakers and we the hoi poloi just cannot accept anything good, even if it is staring us straight in the face, we need to get approval from the Gods of the silver screen). I would prefer my prototype car be driven by people who commute to work everyday on the autobahn, a car expert, someone who knows the in’s and out’s of a car. I am not an expert, but I would prefer the cars are test driven by Jeremy Clarkson (for those who do not know who this guy is check out Top Gear on BBC)and not by Britney whatshername…!

Some issues with owning a hydrogen car, where in the world are we going to get compressed hydrogen from to runs these machines (not at your local gas station), what kind of mileage are we talking about, emission wise I believe this article states that this car is not a zero emissions car (water vapour and other pollutants like N2O and CO2, no emission levels where available). Lets see what happens next.

Source: http://www.wired.com/news/technology/autotech/

Hybrid Mileage chasers…

So you own a Prius but have never been able to get to that magic number. Now before many of you non-hybrid user’s start thinking that magic is involved let me warn you, no magic is involved. Every Prius hyrbid driver dreams of getting 50 MPG, but sometimes dreams do not always come true. I found this one article, where this person seemed obsessed with not being able to get 50 MPG. Check it out:

Hybrid owner obsesses over every last bit of mileage

Come on, you get 47/48 even 49 MPG, that is twice the amount over some of the conventional cars. Get a grip of yourself man. The only way this driver was able to achieve his goal was by driving with A/C off, windows up, tire pressure at the right level and shoes off. I think driving without shoes may have been the extraneous factor. Again this is just my bloody opinion. But, you know what I am going to start driving barefoot too next summer, wait and watch out for the “Barefoot Driver’s Guidebook”.

Source: http://www.mercurynews.com/

Do hybrids pose a greater threat than ordinary cars in a crash?

Recent research tends to point out that hybrids do not pose any greater harm than its conventional gas cousin as long as “all safety procedures as outlined by the drivers safety manual are followed”, in event of a crash. Ok, now who in the hell reads the drivers manual word for word, please raise your hand. What these guys are saying is just to cover to there behinds in event of a law suit.

Also, when one is in such an adrenaline rushing scenario, do these guys think that a person will have the time to go into the glove box, retreive the manual, then look up the index and find safety procedures. You have got to be kidding me. Check out what one of Honda’s training instructors has to say with regard to this in an interview.
In an effort to allay these fears, the manufacturers post manuals outlining rescue procedures online, and they have provided safety courses to emergency workers, including hands-on training. The bottom line, according to Honda training instructor Jesus Almeida, is that hybrid vehicles cause no greater concern for passengers or rescuers in the event of a collision than other vehicles. However, laden with similar loads of gasoline, antifreeze, and other potentially dangerous fluids, hybrids don’t pose any less danger, either.

Usually all fire and rescue personnel have undergone vigorous training, however additional training for dealing with incidents where hybrid vehicles are involved should become a mandatory part of they training, if it has not already.

Source: http://autos.msn.com/advice