Monthly Archives: April 2006

Is it a car or a plane, no its a caroplane!

Carl Dietrich, MIT doctoral candidate in aeronautics and chief executive of Terrafugia, is working on a new hybrid car-plane concept based just like the one in the cartoon The Jetsons. The working prototype has been dubbed Transitions and will not be ready for about two years. This caroplane will use super-unleaded gasoline and have a cruising speed of 120 mph.


Honda Civic Hybrid awarded World Car of the Year

The completely redesigned 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid has won the World Car of the Year Award for greenest car.

In an earlier post I said if I where to buy a sedan today, I would probably go for the 2006 Honda Civic hybrid based on its performance and the fact that when compared over the the Honda Civic Sedan AT, the hybrid has a fuel economy 49/51 EPA city/hwy mpg over the Civic Sedan AT which gives 30/40 EPA city/hwy mpg. That is about 61% & 21% city/hwy approx. increase in fuel efficiency in the Civic hybrid. The only drawback for me is that the Civic hybrid cost about 21k which is about $6000 more than the 2006 Civic sedan, which is not neccessarily a bad thing, but in my ideal world, if I hand the money and a job, I would buy this car in an instant.

Saturn Aura Greenline Hybrid

GM plans to launch the Saturn Aura Greenline Hybrid sedan by the end of this year. GM had a low key launch event at the New York International Auto Show for this car. Even though there is only a 20% increase in fuel economy when compared to the Saturn Vue SUV (using the same hybrid tech), this is a giant step for GM. Atleast GM realizes the fact that hybrid sedans are what the savvy car owners want and I give GM credit for stepping up to the plate. People may say that this is not enough, but everyone has to start somewhere, we cannot expect all automakers to come up with Toyota Prius look alike. The main fact is that the folks at
GM realize that hybrids are the future and once demand for these kinds of vehicles grows, supply will increase.


Top 5 Picks

Ron Cogan’s Green Car Journal Online has nominated 5 alternative fuel/FFV/hybrid cars etc. out of the many that are there. Judging criteria was based on environmental impact, but newness was the primary factor. Check them out at Green Car’s Top 5.

  • 2006 Honda Accord Hybrid
  • 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid
  • 2006 Lexus RX 400h
  • 2006 Mercury Mariner Hybrid
  • 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

If I where to buy a car based on this site reccomendations I would go for the 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid, based on the fact that it gives 49/51 city/hwy mpg and it cost $21,850. Check them all out at


Another GM corny stunt

GM has littered the New York International Auto Show with Flex Fuel vehicles and to make sure attendees do not miss them, all of them are in bright yellow and green, hence touting the “live green, go yellow” GM motto. We have already been through this people, just by putting out an Avalanche or any other gas guzzling SUV under the FFV/Ethanol banner, it does not make up for the fact that it still is a gas guzzler. The fact that GM is offering free one-year membership subscriptions to the National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition (NEVC), just goes to prove the point on how committed GM is to this corny oil idea. You can visit the site and register for the free newsletter. And you can also locate and find, that is if there are any E85 gas stations around your state and if it is worth the drive to go and gas up. Now you wonder why GM is not doing so well. Check out the article on how GM has been revving up its Ethanol campaign in New York.


Ford Recalls

Ford is recalling 134,365 Escape and Mercury Mariner SUV’s 2005 models, so that there can adjust the padding on the drivers side to prevent injuries during a collision, according to U.S safety regulators.

So people who own a 2005 Ford Escape or Mercury Mariner SUV, please contact your local Ford dealer asap. It caught my eye on the local news channel as I was swapping channels, so I thought the best place to verify it would be to go onto the Ford website, to my surprise there is no mention of the recall on their website. So you release the news to the press, but cannot post a sign on your site, fearing bad publicity. Just adding a link to the bottom would have been sufficient.
Source: Reuters

“Hybrids” on the Horizon

Here are some of the “Hybrids” which we should plan on seeing going on sale sometime between now and 2008. All these cars where showcased at the New York International Auto Show.

  1. Nissan Altima Hybrid 2007.
  2. Saturn Aura Greenline Hybrid to go on sale by the end of 2006.
  3. Lexus LX 600h Luxury Hybrid.

For example the Lexus LX 600h, when this beast of luxury actually goes on sale, the rich folks will then be able to say “Aha, I drive a hybrid too”. Why the hell do automakers manufacture these so called “hybrids”, oh I forgot, this is to scam off the “rich & stupid” (hint). More specs will be released closer to the launch dates. Now, do you consider these three “hybrids” green cars?


What you need to know when you go to buy a Hybrid?

Did you know that the Toyota Prius emits 90% fewer harmful pollutants than a comparable conventional engine in its class.

  1. Hybrids are definitely environmentally friendly.
  2. Cost more than conventional vehicles in its class (upto $6000). So if you think you are going to save money on gas forget it.
  3. Tax breaks are available, but beware after an automaker has sold 60,000 cars in that class, thats the end of that.
  4. Even thought more hybrids are coming out, be careful because you may end up paying way too much for a car that gives you the same mileage a conventional car does (see my Mazda 3 and Honda Accord Hybrid comaprison).
  5. After the warranty runs out people are scared that the battery, which is essentially the heart and soul of a gas-electric hybrid will die out the next day and that there are not enough mechanics who specialized in hybrid car repairs and hybrid drivers have to depend on the dealerships. Well Macomb County Community College in Michigan has set up a course to train hybrid mechanics (previous post) and with regard to the car battery, well, I have not read of too many complains, but yes replacing that baby is expensive, so its a risk one has to take.