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Automotive

Youth Mobile 2030 - designers dream up hip cars for the kids of the future

Each year as part of the Design Los Angeles Conference held at the LA Auto Show, creative types from major car companies get to stare into their crystal balls and let their imaginations run wild in designing the car of the future. In 2007 the theme was the car 50 years from today, last year the challenge was to envision how motor-racing will look in 2025 and this time around, the brief is to look at what young people will be driving in the year 2030. Read More

Nissan leases first fuel cell vehicle in North America

Following on from the successful use of its Fuel Cell Vehicles (FCVs) in demonstration fleets in Japan and California, Nissan has announced its first commercial FCV lease in North America to Sacramento Coca-Cola Bottling Co., Inc. In an advantageous brand tie-in the zero emissions X-TRAIL FCV will be used by the bottler for sales calls and public events in the Sacramento area in promotion of its Coca-Cola Zero soft drink.Read More

Ford Flex 2010 to feature wheat-straw reinforced plastic

Ford is the first automaker to develop and implement environmentally-friendly wheat straw-reinforced plastic in a vehicle. Before you get carried away, the car itself, a Ford Flex, isn’t made of plastic, instead, it’s just the third-row interior storage bins made from the natural fiber-based plastic that contains 20 percent wheat straw bio-filler. Surprisingly though, Ford says this application alone reduces petroleum usage by some 20,000lbs per year, cuts CO2 emissions by 30,000lbs per year, and represents a smart, sustainable usage for wheat straw, the waste byproduct of wheat.Read More

The ECOS Harbinger - an electric, Euro-styled supercar for under US$90,000

Building electric cars will come with its own set of challenges - but then, in other ways things are going to get a whole lot easier. With plenty of battery technology available pretty much off-the-shelf, and electric motors being incredibly simple compared with their combustion counterparts, there's not a lot stopping small, independent operators from building fun electrics and getting them to market as soon as they're approved for sale. And such is the case with the ECOS Harbinger - which truly could foretell a bit of a small-business revolution in electric sportscars. US$89,995 will buy you a 120mph, 150-mile per charge, 6 second electric supercar with Lambo-style looks and scissor doors to boot. Nice!Read More

Mercedes-Benz Citaro FuelCELL-Hybrid bus previews in Hamburg

The first of ten new Mercedes-Benz Citaro FuelCELL-Hybrid buses has appeared in Hamburg, Germany as part of a large-scale fleet trial taking place there and in other European cities. Two major features of this latest-generation fuel cell hybrid bus are that it emits no pollutants while in motion and is virtually silent, making it ideal for use in highly congested inner cities and metropolitan areas. From next year, ten of the 30 vehicles that Daimler Buses is producing for European transport operators are destined for the Hamburg transport authority. Hamburger Hochbahn will take delivery of the remaining 20 buses. Read More

X Prize competition moves to next phase with 43 teams remaining

From more than 100 entrants, 43 teams and 53 vehicles have now advanced to the most important, and possibly exciting, stage of the $10 million Progressive Insurance Automotive X Prize – performance and safety testing. The 43 teams represent 10 countries, 18 U.S. states, and six fuel types and all have passed the fuel-efficiency competition’s Design Judging phase. Vehicles must be able to achieve more than 100mpg or energy equivalent (MPGe), as well as being vehicles that people want to buy, meeting market needs for price, size, capability, safety and performance. Read More

Citroen C-ZERO - no local emissions, no fuel consumption, no engine noise

After building more than 5,500 electric vehicles, Citroen is calling on its experience in the field to deliver a “triple zero” car - zero fuel consumption, zero CO2 emission at the tailpipe and zero engine noise. The C-ZERO (what else could they call it) is a full electric city car powered by a permanent magnet synchronous motor delivering 47kW or 64bhp EEC from 3,000 to 6,000rpm. Citroen says the automatic vehicle will have a top speed of 130kph (80mph), acceleration from 0-100kph (0-62mph) in 15 seconds and 60-90kph (37-56mph) in six seconds. Between charges, the vehicles is expected to achieve a range of around 130km (80 miles).Read More

Hands-free driving? EU set to trial multi-vehicle road trains

Is there anything more monotonous than being stuck in a long line of traffic when you still have miles to go before your reach your destination? Wouldn’t it be great if you could relax and let somebody else do all the hard work? Well if all goes well with a European research project, that possibility might just become a reality. The Safe Road Trains for the Environment (SARTRE) project will look at linking a series of vehicles in a road train, controlled by a lead vehicle, with communication occurring via wireless sensors. Read More

Bentley's self-leveling wheel badges and other must-have accessories

If there’s one thing Bentley owners detest as much as fingerprints on their door openers it’s recalcitrant wheel badges that refuse to align when the marque has ceased its forward motion. Worse still, they become impossible to read at speed because of their inability to stop spinning with the wheels. Thankfully, Bentley Motors has listened to the anguished cries of its faithful car-owners and has released a range of accessories that include self-leveling wheel badges that right themselves when the vehicle is stopped and can remain upright at most driving speeds. Other accessories include bespoke child seats, embroidered car covers, vented wings and that much-warranted jeweled torch (which shines a “B” so your driver can signal your pilot to lower the stairs). Read More

Feature

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

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