Monthly Archives: April 2006

Biodiesel (B50) for Cincinnati Metro Transit Agency

Beginning this month, Cincinnati (Ohio) Metro is fueling all of its buses with a B50 biodiesel blend (50% biodiesel). Metro intends to use the 50% blend in months when the average temperature is higher than 40º F (April to October) and switch back to a B20 blend in colder months.

According to this article Ohio is the sixth largest producer of soybeans in the nation. I wish metro transit systems in Detroit and its surrounding towns could take up like Cincinnati.
Read the full story

Terrapass & Ford: Greener Miles

If you own a Ford, Lincoln or Mercury vehicle, and you want to find out how much CO2 your car emits, then you are in luck. Ford and TerraPass have come together and launched the Greener Miles program. The Greener Miles program invites Ford car owners to go online to create a personal emissions report, learn about ecodriving and balance out the greenhouse gas nemissions of their vehicles through the online purchase of carbon offsets.

Source:

http://www.terrapass.com/ford/

http://www.theautochannel.com/news/2006/04/27/005043.html

Hybrid Cars

Chrysler E85 Options

Chrysler plans on selling FFV models of the Jeep Cherokee and Jeep Commander in 2007. Both models will come with E85 engines. However, with an EPA estimate of 17 mpg combined on both these vehicle, I do not see them being of any good use, I know that some people will say its better to have the FFV option but would it not be better to have this option on smaller chrysler vehicles.

Source: GreenCarCongress

Hybrid buying trends

A survey conducted by the Wall Street Journal Online/Harris Interactive Personal Finance Poll found that one-third (33%) of US adults who plan to purchase or lease a new vehicle say they are most likely to seriously consider an alternative-fueled vehicle for their next purchase.

Of those people polled, 47% would buy a “greencar” because it was better for the environment, 45% would buy a hybrid/FFV to lower spendings at the gas pump. Study sample size 2,516. Is this demographic a true representation of the people’s mind set in the US. With current gas prices at what, $75 a barrel on the market and going up, I believe this to be true.
Source:

GreenCarCongress

HarrisInteractive

The New Toyota 2007 Yaris

The 2007 Toyota Yaris has hit the roads, with a starting price of $10,950 for the lift back or hatch back MT model (34/40 city/hwy mpg) all the way to $14,050 for the S sedan AT (34/39 city/hwy mpg). Alas, if only our Jimmy or Geo had lasted us for 4 more months, Krissy and I could have got ourselves a Yaris, not that I do not like my Mazda3, at the end of our day it boils down to simple economics.
Source: Toyota 

DIY Plug-in Kits

With soaring gas prices currently between $2.83 – $2.95 in Ypsilanti, MI, even hybrid car drivers are feeling the pinch, allbeit not as much as the conventional car owners. Companies such as CalCars, California’s EDrive Systems and Canada’s Hymotion are offering consumers the option of converting they current hybrids in to higher fuel saving plug-in hybrids aka PHEV. They claim that hybrids like the Toyota Prius can end up giving upto 100 mpg after converting it to a plug-in. Downside of this that it could cost anywhere from $3,000 to $12,000. CalCars plans on producing a DIY PHEV kit which will cost about $3000. Now my question is how much more will it cost to re-charge these PHEV overnight. Hymotion states it could cost about 75 cents for every 50 miles.

All these companies have already produced or are planning on developing plug-in kits for the Toyota Prius, Ford Escape Hybrid, Mercury Mariner Hybrid, Lexus RX400h, Toyota Highlander and Camry Hybrid. I think if possible one can just wait for the actual carmakers to come out with new models which are PHEV, because it would probably take what 200,000 miles at
$3 a gallon before one can actually break even after installing these kits.

Source:

CalCars

EDrive Systems

Hymotion

CNET News

Mazda RX8 Hydro Rotary Engine Update

As promised in my earlier post (Mazda RX8 Hydro Rotary Engine) here is some more information about them. Currently, Mazda has leased out four such vehicles in Japan, the latest two being to government authorities in Hiroshima.

Mazda RX-8 RENESIS Hydrogen Rotary

Gasoline Vs Hydrogen

Power: 206 hp, 107 hp

Torque: 222 Nm, 140 Nm

Fuel Tank Capacity: 16 Gallons, 350 bar

Range: 341 miles, 62.1 miles

Wish I could get my hands on one of these, pity Mazda only plans on giving them (6 more) to local government authorites in Japan. I am more than willing to take on such a project and drive a new hybrid car (any make) and put it to the test, as long as I would be allowed to give my honest impression of the vehicle.

Source: GreenCarCongress

Nissan Altima Hybrid

Nissan is being extremely secretive and is only revealing limited information about the new 2007 Altima Hybrid. The Altima Hybrid continues Nissan’s best-selling car’s performance tradition in a new variation – a hybrid powertrain mates the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine and Xtronicâ„¢ CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) with an electric motor and generator that increases fuel economy while maintaining low tailpipe emissions. That is all the specs for now. Something I found of further interest in this article is the fact that Nissan plans to sell this car in only those states (8) which have adopted California emission regulations.

  1. California
  2. New York
  3. Massachusetts
  4. Connecticut
  5. Vermont
  6. Rhode Island
  7. Maine
  8. New Jersey

Now we are left with only those other 42 states (including mine: Michigan) which should adopt stronger fuel emission laws. I am allowed to fantasize.
Source: Nissan News

Choices??

If faced with the choice, would you rather buy a hybrid vehicle which runs on gasoline and electricity and gives good city mileage and burns fuel more effectively while emitting way less CO2 and other pollutants. Alternatively, would you opt for a diesel vehicle, which will give you more mileage than a hybrid but diesel cost more than gasoline on one hand but you use less of it and with improvements made to these advanced diesel engines most of these engine run on biodiesel (combination of vegetable oil and animal fat), hence the greasy spoon odour from the exhaust. Both are good options, but the fact remains that until diesel is not refined so that the sulphur level is lowered significantly, diesel obtained from fossil fuel poses too much of a hazard. That being said, at one point Krissy and I had considered the Volkswagon Jetta but for some odd reason we did not look into it too closely, something we may regret in the days to come with the prices of gas currently between $2.79 – $2.89 per gallon in and around Ann Arbor, MI. My Mazda (15 gallon tank) is currently giving us 27 mpg combined. The Jetta (14.5 gallon tank) gives approx. 38 mpg combined. So for about a dollar or so more, if I had a Jetta we would get about 146 miles more out of diesel. Downside, over the course of a year the Jetta would emit 6,528lbs of CO2, 60lbs of CO, 45lbs of NO, 1,842 grams of soot or particulate matter and 22lbs of smog. I used the gas mileage calculator on the Hybrid cars website to get the emission infomation.

Source:

Diesel Cars are back
Hybrid Cars