Monthly Archives: June 2006

Hybrid SUV’s

The next step in hybrid SUV development is to create a clean burning diesel-electric hybrid. The University of Wisconsin has entered “Moovada” in essence a Chevy Equinox which has been modified and has been entered in the Challenge X. The way current gas prices have been and since the trend is only going to rise further, maybe we should consider smaller fuel efficient cars instead of hybrid SUV’s. So this diesel hybrid Equinox can give 35 mpg instead of the usual 15-20 mpg but the fact remains that until and unless we do not have a diesel engine that produce less pollutants, gas hybrid sedans will continue to dominate the hybrid market.


Honda Civic GX runs on Compressed Natural Gas

This Fall in the State of the Governator, California residents will be able to buy the Honda Civic GX which runs on compressed natural gas (CNG). Recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as the cleanest internal-combustion vehicle on Earth, the Civic GX is perfect for getting around town and running everyday errands. In fact, the California Air Resources Board gave the GX an AT-PZEV emissions rating, which means it’s still the “Cleanest on Earth.” On a full tank of CNG, the Civic GX can travel upto to 200 miles (28/39 city/hwy mpg). You can tank up at home overnight using the Phill system which can be set up to the gas line at your house (the same gas line used for gas stoves and gas operated heating units). Downside it may take 12 hours to fill up. At gas stations that vend highly pressurized CNG, it will take minutes to fill up the 8 gallon tank In my opinion at 24k this car is everything one needs to save money, its clean and affordable both at the pump and in the long run.


Prius Problem

My hybrid dream car would be a vehicle that does not stick out like a sore thumb by closely resembling a box. Even if I where able to buy a Toyota Prius, one problem I see when driving that car is that the way the rear end of the Prius has been designed. I believe that the blind spots may be a bit larger, even though I have never sat in one (note: I have inspected many very closely). Now I could be absolutely wrong and totally cross-eyed, so please correct if I am wrong, but from my prespective this could need some serious adjusting for the driver when a driver is looking out the rear of the Prius. Hope the designers at Toyota rectify this problem in they next top of the line hybrid that will ultimately replace the Prius one day. Cheers…,

More Hybrids on the Horizon

By the time Krissy & I will be able to buy a hybrid, there may be close 30 more models out on the road. Ford, GM, Chrysler, Saab, Mazda, Volkswagon, Audi are just some of automakers who plan on developing and producing more hybrids, now will these hybrids actually make difference when it boils down to fuel efficiency versus cost, that is something to be seen. Not all of these way not be success stories, but atleast we get some variety from which to choose from at the end of the day. I got this information from The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers website. This is a trade association which includes the BMW Group, DaimlerChrysler, Ford, GM, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Porsche, Toyota & Volkswagon.


Audi Q7 Hybrid
Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid
Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid
Dodge Durango Hybrid
Ford Edge Hybrid
Ford Five Hundred Hybrid
Ford Fusion Hybrid
GMC Yukon Hybrid
Lexus LS600hL
Lincoln MKX Hybrid
Mazda Tribune Hybrid
Mercury Milan Hybrid
Mercury Montego Hybrid
Porsche Cayenne Hybrid
Saturn Vue Hybrid
Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid*

Hybrid Electric Ethanol

Ford Escape Hybrid E-85


Audi A8 TDI*
BMW (several models considered for U.S. market)
Chrysler Group (several models considered for North American market)
Mercedes-Benz ML CDI
Saab 9-5
Volkswagen Touareg V10


Trinity: Plug-in Super-Efficient Hybrid

Trinity,” a highly fuel-efficient plug-in hybrid vehicle, was unveiled by engineering students at the University of California, Davis. The vehicle is the team’s entry in the national Challenge X competition, sponsored by General Motors Corp. and the U.S. Department of Energy. Field trials for the competition will take place in Phoenix next month.

Based on simulated trials, these guys claim that “Trinity” which is a 2006 Chevy Equinox SUV which has been donated by GM, has been converted into a plug-in hybrid which can run off electricity stored in the batteries onboard (re-chargeable at home using domestic electricity) and it also uses gas or ethanol and can give 200 miles to the gallon.


Hybrid Cars for the Rich and not so Famous

A couple of people have banded together to design a car that is enviromentally friendly, gives good gas mileage and looks a bit like a Ferrari or Porsche. So these guys want to produce a car for Mr. Green MoneyBags who does not want to be seen driving a Prius or locally available hybrids which are currently on the market. Tesla Motors, a San Carlos start-up that is building a high-performance electric sports car, has raised $40 million in a third round of venture capital from a group of investors including VantagePoint Venture Partners and Elon Musk, co-founder of PayPal.

I cannot wait to see what the prototype looks like when it is unveiled. Looks like high gas prices have even got the rich and not so famous people rethinking when it comes to buying a fancy new speed demon. Good for them!


Prototype car runs 100 miles on 4 ounces of water

When I read this article, I could not believe it, a prototype than can actually run on a combination of gas and water or only water. Denny Klein has converted his 1994 Ford Escort to run either as a water-gas hybrid, or on water alone. He claims that this prototype actually ran 100 miles on 4 ounces of water.

It would be hilarious if in 10-20 yrs down the road car owners will be filling up at a Dasani or Evian water pump.


Best & Worst Cars for city driving of 2006

Here is a list of the best and worst cars of 2006 by

Best cars for city driving:

  1. Honda Insigth
  2. Toyota Prius
  3. BMW 3 Series Coupe,
  4. Mini Cooper
  5. Scion xB
  6. Honda Civic Hybrid
  7. Volvo V50
  8. Audi A3
  9. Saab 9-2X
  10. Mercedes-Benz C-class.

Worst cars of 2006 according to Forbes Auto when it comes to city driving are (drum roll please)

  1. Hummer H1 Alpha
  2. Maybach Type 62
  3. Lincoln Navigator L
  4. Rolls-Royce Phantom
  5. Hummer H2
  6. Chevrolet Suburban
  7. Cadillac Escalade ESV
  8. Lincoln Town Car Signature L
  9. Infiniti QX56
  10. Bentley Arnage RL

The criteria used in selecting the best and worst car when it comes to city driving are actually quite simple. Forbes Auto asked some specific question which any rational car owner/buyer ask when he/she goes out to buy a car. For example: How well will the vehicle fit on the streets? How easy will it be to park? How is the visibility from the driver’s seat? How well does it handle and maneuver, and how comfortable is it?

Now if I owned a RR or a Maybach, these are issues my chauffeur has to worry about. Oddly enough no US vehicles make the Top Ten list for best car when it comes to city driving. However, you cannot miss them in the list of worst cars when it comes to city driving 7/10 (Bigger does not always mean better).