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Are EVs risking or saving the planet?

“Electric cars should be rewarded for their energy efficiency, not for moving emissions from exhaust pipes to powerstation chimneys” says the UK's Environmental Transport Association (ETA). In a report titled "How to avoid an electric shock - Electric cars: from hype to reality", the ETA has taken a close look at electric-powered vehicles (EVs) and their associated technologies. In what could be a shock to some commuters – and governments - the report states that EVs could potentially speed climate change, rather than reduce it, and might not be as good for the planet as some of the spin suggests. Simply put, it’s not necessarily the cars themselves that will cause the damage, but the way the electricity is generated to power them and how often we drive them. For instance, EVs powered by “green energy” - wind or solar - are obviously superior, but if the electricity comes from coal, hybrids perform better.Read More

Gordon Murray aims to create world's most efficient EV - the T.27

Radical UK-based Gordon Murray Design has branched out from “petrol-miser” vehicles like the T.25 to develop what it calls "the world’s most efficient electric car”. Joining forces with British engineering firm Zytek Automotive, the company has announced an all-electric three-seater city car known as the T.27 (27th design). Helped by a £4.5 million (US$7.5 million approx.) investment from the UK government-backed Technology Strategy Board, the new R&D project has a total of £9 million (US$15 million approx.) with which to develop four prototypes by February 2011.Read More

Hydrogen fuel cell buses trial set for China's streets

A team of researchers aims to educate people about the possibilities of hydrogen as a fuel by demonstrating the efficiency of fuel cells in two public transport buses that will operate in China’s North East. The University of Sunderland, UK, has joined forces with Shanghai’s Shen Li High Technology and local experts ComeSys Europe and AVID sustainable vehicles from Cramlington (Northumberland, England) to create ECO2Trans - the region’s first petrol-free passenger buses that will run on a fuel cell, battery and capacitor combination.Read More

Research reveals the most reliable vehicles

A large percentage of the cars on the road, up to half in some countries, are owned and maintained by fleet management groups rather than individuals. In recent times we’ve seen a number of fleet management companies begin producing statistics on the reliability of their often massive fleets to better inform the public on the reliability of current vehicles. Now U.K. publication Fleet News has conducted research across a number of the major British fleets to produce a reliability survey across more than a million late model vehicles to reveal that the Honda Civic is the UK’s most reliable car and the Ford Transit the most reliable van. Honda snagged three of the top four most reliable cars but got beaten as the most reliable manufacturer.Read More

Boxster Spyder - 166mph Porsche roadster to debut in LA

Porsche will roll out a new incarnation of the Boxter Spyder at the Los Angeles auto show next month. The flagship mid-engined model is the lightest sporstcar in the company's range at 1,275kg and more powerful than the Boxster S, topping 235kW from its direct-injection 3.4-liter flat six-cylinder powerplant. All this adds up a hair-piece destroying top speed of 166mph (267kmh) with the roof open, making it Porsche's fastest Roadster.Read More

Ford introduces inflatable seat belts

Most seat belts are designed to stretch during a crash to reduce the force of impact on the wearer while still preventing contact with the interior of the vehicle. Ford has gone one step further with plans to introduce inflatable seat belts designed to reduce the pressure on the chest and help control head and neck motion in rear seat passengers, spreading the crash force across five times more of the occupant’s torso than conventional seat belts.Read More

Boat tail reduces truck fuel consumption by 7.5 percent

European tests have shown that a boat tail – a tapering protrusion mounted on the rear of a truck – leads to fuel savings of 7.5 percent. The fuel savings, which also means a cut in emissions, were realized by the boat tail dramatically reducing the drag caused by the lower-pressure effect that occurs in the wake of a vehicle.Read More

Subaru WRX STI TRAX hits the backcountry

We've seen this approach to Arctic off-roading at a concept level, but this snow-eating Subaru WRX STI is most definitely for real. The 400bhp TRAX was built by Subaru Rally Team USA's technical partner, Vermont SportsCar from a rally-prepared 2009 WRX ST. EXE-TC Group N competition rally dampers were added, the drivetrain lowered three inches and the wheels tossed in favor of a Mattracks rubber track system.Read More

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