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Fuel efficiency

With gasoline prices steadily heading into the stratosphere, fuel economy is forefront in the minds of the majority of car buyers, prompting automakers to perform all kinds of stunts to highlight the efficiency of their vehicles. The latest such attempt comes from Korean company Kia, which is sending a 2011 Optima Hybrid on a road trip across the contiguous U.S. Kia hopes the journey will gain it an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records by setting a new record for the lowest fuel consumption in a gasoline hybrid car while driving through all 48 adjoining U.S. states. Read More
Whether you view Google as a benevolent Internet overlord or the new 'Evil Empire', there’s no arguing that the search giant at least devotes some of its squazillions towards environmentally beneficial causes. Earlier this year the company invested US$168 million in what will be the world’s largest solar power tower plant and now it has partnered with NASA to sponsor the Green Flight Challenge that offers a prize purse of $1.65 million for the design of quiet, practical and energy-efficient aircraft. Read More
To the continued annoyance of his father Pierce, twelve-year old Nash Hoover was forever leaving his bedroom light on when he wasn't in the house. Determined to teach him the real value of wasted energy, Nash's journalist father popped the young wastrel on an exercise bike that displayed the amount of energy being produced and told him to pedal away until he managed to produce enough watts to power a standard incandescent light bulb. Then the pair had the notion of spreading the now fully-learned lesson by traveling across America in a vehicle that uses no more energy than a light bulb left on each day. Read More
Many hybrid cars feature regenerative braking – they harness the energy generated when they brake, and store it in the battery for later use. This helps maximize the amount of time that the car can run on one charge. One can’t help but wonder, then, how much energy could be harvested from heavy-duty construction, mining and agricultural machines, as they go about their business. A group of researchers from Finland’s Aalto University decided to find out, and reportedly ended up cutting those machines’ fuel consumption by 50 percent. Read More
With the spotlight shining on of hybrid vehicles, kinetic energy recovery systems and stop start functionality, it's easy to forget that a very effective way to reduce fuel consumption and cut emissions is right in front of us – air. A study recent study by tire manufacturer Bridgestone suggests that it's not only easy to forget, most of us do forget. The company checked 38,000 cars in 9 European countries during 2010 with results showing that 71% of the drivers were driving on under-inflated tires. Read More
What's it like to drive a hydrogen powered car? It depends on which one. In the case of BMW's Hydrogen 7, essentially a 760i with its 6.0 liter V12 tweaked to burn hydrogen instead of petrol, one might suspect it's pretty much like the donor vehicle. In the case of Mercedes-Benz's B Class-based F Cell, powered by electricity from a lithium-ion battery pack fed by an on-board fuel cell, you might think different. Read More
For the past ten years, Hamburg-based SkySails has been engineering and producing what are essentially giant kites, designed to help ships reduce their fuel use by catching the wind and pulling them across the surface of the ocean. The system was put into regular shipping use for the first time in 2008, when one of the kites was attached to the 132-meter (433-foot) multi purpose heavy lift carrier MS Beluga SkySails. Now, Cargill Ocean Transportation has announced that it plans to use the technology on one of its long-term charter ships, a vessel of between 25,000 and 30,000 deadweight tonnes (27,558 to 33,069 US tons). It will be the largest kite-assisted ship in the world. Read More
Korea’s Daewoo is to build the world’s largest ship for Mærsk line. The US$190 million, 400 meter ‘Triple-E’ class behemoths will carry 18,000 TEU containers, 2500 more than the current largest, Emma Mærsk. Superior economies of scale will enable the new monsters to surpass the industry record for both fuel efficiency and (20% better) CO2 emissions per container moved. In a move set to impact global shipping transport costs and efficiencies, ten Triple-E ships will go into service between 2013 and 2015 with a further 20 ships optioned. If the same number of containers were loaded on a train, it would be 110 km long. If they were stacked on top of one another, they’d reach beyond the stratosphere (47 km). Read More
Pretty much everyone knows that driving too fast wastes fuel and creates excess carbon emissions, as does revving the engine and not bothering with tune-ups. We can try to alter our driving habits accordingly, but how can we know how much to alter them? What speed should we drive at when, and how often should we take our car to the garage? These questions can be instantly and completely answered, right in your car, if you’re using an Eco-Navigator device. Read More
At the dawn of the millennium, Prof. Dr. Ferdinand Piëch, who is today Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Volkswagen AG, set his sights on creating a practical everyday use production car with a fuel consumption of 1.0 liter per 100 km (235 mpg). In 2002 a prototype VW 1-Litre was unveiled, which was followed in 2009 by the second-generation model, dubbed the L1, which boasted a combined diesel fuel consumption figure of 1.38-liter/100 km (170 mpg). As impressive as that figure is, the company has now managed to squeeze a combined fuel consumption of just 0.9-liter/100 km (261 mpg) with its third-generation VW 1-Litre prototype – the XL1. Read More
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