Category Archives: General

Retro-fitted Toyota Prius runs on CNG

Talk about lowering the carbon dioxide levels down in a hybrid. This retrofitted Toyota Prius emits 20% less CO2 (80 g/km). IFP (Institut Français du Pétrole) is presenting a CNG-electric hybrid prototype vehicle based on the Toyota Prius at this Challenge Bibendum, running in Paris from 8-12 June 2006. IFP co-developed the CNG Prius with Gaz de France (GDF).


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.


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).

Maranello 4

If Krissy and I were living in London, this is something we would definitely have considered buying. The Maranello 4 is a two-seater electric car which comes from the land of Ferrari, Fiat & Lamborghini. With a top speed of 30 mph, it can go up to 45 miles on a single charge (gelled lead-acid batteries). It cost just under 10,000 quid (USD 18,700 approx.). London being a very congested city, this car will be a boon for people who live and work in the city. Added bonus of owning such a small car and the fact that it runs purely on electricity, parking is easy and free in many areas of the city.

Consumer Reports announces Top Picks for 2006

In the Hybrid SUV category the Toyota Highlander comes up on top according to Consumer Reports latest announcement. With the inception of the Highlander, Consumer Reports now has two hybrids in its Top Picks, the other being the Toyota Prius. The Toyota Highlander Hybrid beat the other SUV’s in its category based on the fact that it accelerates quicker and has moderately better fuel economy in its class.


More Corn for Michigan

GM is pushing for more ethanol based gas stations in Michigan. There are currently 5 gas pumps in the entire state that supply E85 (85% ethanol and 15% gasoline blend) based gas for FFV. Now GM is going to “encourage” that all its employees driving FFV’s gas up at these pumps. There are plans to introduce 20 more gas pumps which will serve E85 in Michigan, predominately in the Wayne County & Detroit area. General Motors Corp.’s drive to put ethanol-based fuel in the tanks of more U.S. cars and trucks may transform Detroit’s neighborhood gas stations and its drivers into pioneers in the use of the gasoline alternative.


Prius: International Engine of the year 2006

For the third year in succession, the 1.5-liter gasoline engine of the Prius Hybrid Synergy Drive powertrain has won both the International Engine of the Year Award in the 1.4– 1.8-liter category and the “Best Fuel Economy” category. The awards were made at the Engine Expo in Stuttgart, Germany.

Apart from this, BMW snapped up five awards in various engine performance and size categories. Other entrants such as VW won three, while Honda and Subaru got one each.


Ethanol Update

Apparently ethanol backers are facing an uphill task when it comes to touting its benefits. Ecology Prof. David Pimentel at Cornell University states that ethanol requires 30% more energy input in the production process and not to mention pollution caused to the environment due to the usage of pesticides and fertilisers.

Now that companies such as GM have figured out that it was foolish of them not to have jumped onto the hybrid bandwagon, they are trying to tout ethanol as a solution to the fuel crisis. Click here for the full article.


Honda Fit 2007

The 2007 Honda Fit with its 109 hp, 1.5 litre, 16-valve SOHC VTEC engine and with drive-by-wire technology is now available. The Honda Fit comes equipped with both 5-speed manual/automatic transmissions. Fit MT models are said to achieve 33/38 city/hwy mpg, while the models with AT gets 31/38 city/hwy mpg (1 hwy/mpg less in the sport model). The fact that the sports model comes equipped with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters is just every F1 enthusiasts dream come true. Better contral and faster response, definitely a plus point. This little car will be great for inner-city driving. But is this car “green”?
Source: Honda