Category Archives: Hybrids

GM’s Saturn VUE Green Line Hybrid

Look what we have here, a hybrid SUV from GM. Saturn’s VUE Greenline Hybrid, costing around 23k, with an EPA estimate of 27/32 city/hwy mpg, I say the only good thing about this SUV is the fact that it only cost 23k. My Mazda3 (which is not a hybrid) gives me the same mileage and it cost even cheaper. In addition there are other cars out there such as the Toyota RAV4 which give about 24/30 mpg. GM needs to start seeing the bigger picture when it comes to hybrids especially hybrid SUV’s. Here is a hint, “Smaller hybrids give better mileage”, I know this a new concept, but its time to stop living large. Now if the guys at GM really wanted to show other automakers like Toyota who is the boss, these guys should have made this SUV a true hybrid by making it run on E85 too. Next time folks!!!


Plug-in hybrids may soon become a reality: Last week in Washington, DC — even as top executives from Ford, Chrysler, and GM asked lawmakers to subsidize the installation of more ethanol pumps at filling stations — makers of new battery systems were letting U.S. senators test-drive prototype cars that get over 100 miles per gallon, but don’t require any new infrastructure.
A retro-fitted Toyota Prius apparently can give 100 mpg (if driven properly). Plug-in hybrids at the moment are considered to be great for short trips and city driving (15-20 miles). One hurdle I see is that automakers have to overcome is battery size.

Just one question though, I want to know how many U.S. Senators who are “test driving” the hybrid plug-in prototype own a “green car”?

Will battery-powered Taxi’s work?

NYC already has 6 Ford Escape Hybrid cabs on the streets. Now Hybrid Technologies plans to build a battery-powered car, in this case, convert a PT Cruiser to run only on a 320V lithium-ion battery, weighing in at over 600 pounds and has a recharge cycle life of around 1500 charges. The downside for cabbies is that it can only go for a 150 miles befores it needs to be recharged. According to the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission, each New York taxi averages nearly 100,000 miles of driving annually.

Now taxi drivers in NYC maybe running close to 200 mile per shift, so in essence this may not be the best idea for cabbies who are trying to earn a decent wage, but the fact remains that atleast these electric only cabs will cut down the levels of tail-pipe emissions to zero. In my opinion I am in favour of hybrid taxis, I have nothing against electric only powered cars, but until researchers do not come up with a car battery that can hold a charge longer, one will need to have back-up power source. Another problem faced by cab companies is that the start up cost of investing in hybrid cars as taxi’s is extremely high and no one can blame them. If a cab company did invest in hybrid taxis, then these guys will bump up the cost for renting them out to the drivers, forcing the drivers to work more shifts so on and so forth, its a vicious cycle folks.


BMW, DaimlerChrysler & GM to unveil two-mode hybrid

Last week BMW, DaimlerChrysler & GM unveiled plans of their two-mode hybrid system at a conference in Vienna. This consortium aka Global Hybrid Corp. plans on introducing this hybrid system in its SUV’s and trucks, starting with the 2008 Chevy Tahoe. Hopefully these guys plan on introducing this new two-mode hybrid system in sedans and compact cars, ohh I forgot GM has to sell its huge trucks and SUV’s. How silly of me to think like that!!

So what is this two-mode hybrid system?

While the two-mode system takes a new approach to hybrid drive technology, there are some similarities. Like all hybrids, the two-mode combines the power of a gasoline engine with that of electric motors; it captures energy from braking that would otherwise be lost; and it shuts off the engine at a stop. Like most of today’s hybrids, batteries alone can power the vehicle at low speeds. But the new technology is different in some crucial respects. It has the potential to operate much more efficiently at highway speeds, with a greater boost from the electric motors. The components are lighter and more compact and can be readily adapted to different types of vehicles. It is particularly well suited to large trucks and SUVs — the biggest gas hogs in Americans’ garages — where it will have the greatest impact on overall fuel consumption.


Toyota Camry Hybrid 2007

The Toyota Camry Hybrid is out on the roads folks. Price approximately at $25,000 (approx.). Now this car for people like me, falls in the hybrid luxury vehicle class. The Camry hybrid has got a EPA fuel rating of 40 MPG, 43/37 city/hwy mpg as per Toyota specs released. In any case with a 17 gallon fuel tank, one would only have to fill up after about 684 miles (approx.). For an in depth review on the Camry Hybrid check it out at HybridCars.

I did a quick comparison between the Prius and the Camry Hybrid using the Gas mileage calculator on the Hybrid cars website to check tail-pipe emissions. Over the course of 13000miles/year the Camry will emit about 6,321 lbs of CO2 (1877 lbs more than a Prius).


Ford Looks into PHEV’s

Probably in a couple of years down the road people will be able to buy a Ford PHEV. The California Cars Initiative and University of California at Davis Professor Andy Frank today welcomed Ford Motor Co CEO Bill Ford, Jr.’s acknowledgment that the company is exploring plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) technology.

These are the same guys who made the first plug-in hybrid version of the Toyota Prius in 2004. They plan on converting a hybrid Ford Escape into a PHEV. By doing this, one can recharge your PHEV from a conventional 120 volt power socket at home. But the fact that Bill Ford had to be cornered when ansked if Ford was ever going to make a PHEV simply shows that the auto industry is not too keen on change. As consumers it is up to us to encourage, in fact demand that more innovative ideas such as this actually make it from the drawing board to the production line.

Toyota Yaris: Will it go Hybrid

The question all possible hybrid car buyers who are looking for a hybrid cheaper than the current ones on the market (Prius, Honda, Ford, etc) which cost 24k and above, is when will Toyota produce a hybrid Yaris. Honda already plans on producing the Fit as a hybrid. The Yaris is a subcompact car and if hybrid technology is intergrated into this vehicle, the Yaris hybrid would come as a blessing to city drivers. At about 17k ($3000 more approx. for the hybrid model) more people will be able to afford a hybrid. With gas prices hovering around $2.77-3.00 a gallon and with no signs of coming down this could very well change the mindset of the average American car owner. I know people are resistant to any form of change but for goodness sake if it comes down to paying your bills and buying groceries versus filling up your gas tank every other day just to get to work, would you not rather own a car that uses less gas and is environmentally friendly. I mean do we really need to have huge gas guzzling vehicles just to get our fat behinds to the store.I was in the parking lot of a “grocery store” yesterday and the only spot I found was between two huge pickup trucks. I mean do we really need to have huge gas guzzling vehicles just to get our fat behinds to the store. The other reason is that you cannot see anything when you are backing out of the parking space. The only consolation was that in front of us was a Ford Escape Hybrid. Yes, the down side is that subcompacts are small, but then at the end of the day you do not end up giving ALL your hard earned salary to fat rich oil executives who get $400 million retirement packages.


Hybrid Car Race at Dartmouth

A team of students at the Thayer School of Engineering hosted Formula Hybrid, the first collegiate car race to use only hybrid and electric vehicles, at the New Hampshire International Speedway on Thursday.

Even though Dartmouth and McGill University (Krissy and my alma mater) were the only two teams to compete, events like these promote hybrid technology. I cannot wait to see the various hybrid Formula 1 models built by undergrads next year, when more teams compete at Dartmouth. If timed right I may even go up to Dartmouth to cover it next year.

Hybrid looks to be redone

Driving on the road one can easily spot a Toyota Prius, but since other automakers including Toyota have come out with different hybrid models, its pretty difficult differentiating between a similar hybrid from its conventional counterpart. I keep looking for that little energy sign on the back of the cars. So in an effort to bump up other hybrid model sales, Toyota plans on making these hybrid asthetically different from there gas counterparts. So, when consumers go to buy a hybrid, such as the Highlander for example, they want the rest of the world to know they are driving a hybrid. All I can think of at this moment is a green metallic sign in the shape of a leaf on centre of the tire hub caps. Anybody else got some ideas. Click here to find out the what the designers at Toyota plan on doing.


Extreme Hybrid Cars = 250 mpg

Extreme hybrid cars are set to change the whole auto industry, I mean an extreme PHV that could get between 150-250 mpg. Now before anyone goes and says where can we get one of these cars, hold your horses, AFS Trinity Power Corp. has just file a patent application for the extreme hybrid drive-train, check out the preliminary specs & pics of the prototype at AFS Trinity Power Corp. AFS Trinity Power Corp. of Seattle has filed a patent application for the Extreme Hybrid car. The company says the automobile will run more than 250 miles on a single gallon of gasoline or ethanol.