One of our readers sent us an email a few days ago looking for information on electric cars from my last post on Green Pizza. I have emailed Galactic Pizza and will hopefully hear back from them soon. I did a quick search on the Internet to see what I could come up with.
The first website I headed to was Wikipedia I highly recommend that if you are looking extensive information on BEVs, that you head over to Wikipedia.
According to Wikipedia the definition of a Battery Electric Vehicle is:
A vehicle that utilizes chemical energy stored in rechargeable battery packs. Electric vehicles use electric motors instead of, or in addition to, internal combustion engines (ICEs).
BEV Stats (according to Wikipedia): • More energy-efficient than all internal combustion vehicles
• Reduce dependence on oil
• Produce no exhaust fumes
• Produces minimal pollution if charged from most forms of renewable energy
• Some BEVs are capable of acceleration exceeding that of conventional gasoline powered vehicles
• Electric vehicles typically cost between two and four cents per mile to operate, while gasoline-powered ICE vehicles currently cost about four to six times as much
Dynasty Electric Car Corporation designs, manufactures and markets zero emission, electric Low Speed Vehicles (LSV’s) for urban, recreational and light commercial markets such as planned and gated communities, destination resorts, industrial complexes and universities.
Feel Good Cars, Toronto, Canada, is a leading developer, manufacturer and supplier of electrically powered vehicles. Driven by quality, ingenuity and the goal of bringing the finest zero-emission vehicles to the market, the company combines global technology with a North American vision for the future. With real-world experience in marketing, finance, electric vehicle manufacturing and automobile manufacturing, the Feel Good Cars team is dedicated to meeting the needs of environmentally and cost conscious consumers.
On Saturday my wife and I met up with some friends of ours in Toronto for a pre-planned girl’s/guy’s day in the big city. The ladies spent their time at the Eaton Centre, while we (manly men) took in the Canadian International Autoshow at the Metro Convention Centre.
To be totally honest, this sort of thing is actually not really my usual cup of tea (cars have never really excited me), but my friend got the tickets for free and I figured it might at least be a good opportunity to get up close and personal with some ‘green’ vehicles, if nothing else. As it turns out, I had a lot of fun and would certainly consider going again in future years.
I’d have to say the highlight of the day was coming face to face with the Ford ‘Super Chief’ (shown above). I’ve never seen anything remotely like it before. At first glance, although impressive in appearance, I thought it was simply the ultimate macho-man monster truck (it is absolutely massive!). As I learned however, it actually has a ‘triflex fuel engine’ – that is to say it is designed to run on hydrogen, E85 and gasoline. Apparently it can even travel up to 500 miles between fill-ups.
Although it’s still not exactly a treehuggermobile, it IS at least nice to see some potentially greener options for the diehard truck fanatics (who knows if/when it might ever hit the streets though).
If you want to learn more about this behemoth of masculinity be sure to check out Ford’s Super Chief press release from Jan 2006.
Of all the companies represented at the show I’d definitely say that GM impressed me the most – unlike any other manufacturer, they actually had a section dedicated to their green initiatives and a spokeperson on-hand to chat with anyone that came by.
I guess it’s not too surprising that they are trying to toot their green horn as loudly as possible after all the bad press associated with the movie ‘Who Killed the Electric Car?”, but regardless of motive it is still nice to see. Be sure to check out their Green By Design site if you want to learn more.
One thing I was a little disappointed about was that they didn’t have a Chevy Volt on-hand, but c’est la vie I guess!
A couple other green vehicles worthy of mention of course were the Toyota Prius and the Honda Civic Hybrid. To be totally honest, although the former was pretty cool in it’s own right, I’d have to say the latter totally blew it out of the water (in my mind anyway).
The civic was absolutely beautiful – it almost had a luxury car look and feel about it (much roomier, nicer looking interior) – and according to the spec sheets it boasts similar fuel efficiency, yet (oddly enough) costs a decent amount less than the Prius! I’m almost wondering if there was a typo – the Prius was listed in the 32k (Canadian currency) range, while the Civic was 25K range.
Anyway, whatever the case may be, I’d certainly be happy to own either one of them.
In unrelated (but still green) news, I must say it was nice to see so much green focus at the Oscars last night – for those of you who didn’t watch, “An Inconvenient Truth” won for both best documentary and best song (the latter was an especially impressive feat considering the handful of “Dream Girls” nominations in the same category!!). There was also a fun bit earlier in the evening with Leo DiCaprio and Al Gore. Great exposure when you consider the size of the viewing audience! Hopefully we’ll see many more great things happen as a result.
It has been awhile since I visited the Tesla Motors website and given the fact that I am in the green vehicle mood today, I thought I would pay them a visit. I WANT A TESLA! The car is absolutely beautiful with its sleek lines, innovative styling and fast performance.
• 100% Electric
• 0 to 60 in about 4 seconds
• 135 mpg equivalent
• 250 miles per charge
How fast can the roadster travel?
The car will travel zero to 60 mph in about 4 seconds, with a opt speed of over 130 mph. The acceleration in the car is instantaneous due to fact it has no clutch.
How much does it cost? On the website you can build your own Tesla, by selecting various options and accessories and paint finish. I opted for the all of the options that includes, premium interior, touch screen navigation, carbon fiber hardtop, Bluetooth cell integration, upgraded sound system, etc. I also selected the Jet Black (premium finish). I wanted to see what this would cost me if I selected all the bells and whistles. Drum roll please….$101, 925 is the price tag.
After seeing the $100,000 price tag, some people might feel a bit of sticker shock. Many of us will never be able to afford such a luxury eco-vehicle. However, for those who can afford the to buy a Tesla, they are paying a fair and reasonable price. I can’t even begin to imagine the costs that are associated with starting a new automobile company, let alone starting a company that produces electric cars. I am sure it will take many years for Tesla to recoup their research and development costs. My hope is that one day they will be able to produce production models that are more affordable and in the reach of mass consumers. The following quote is taken from their website:
While the Tesla Roadster‘s sticker price is in a league with other high-performance sports cars with similar specs, we recognize it‘s out of reach for a lot of people. We consciously chose to develop a high-end sports car as our first car in order to develop the “performance DNA” from which we could create other electric vehicles. Our next model will leverage the Tesla Roadster‘s technology, resulting in a less expensive sports sedan that we can sell at higher volume.
Give the fact the initial production run of the Tesla Roadsters sold out in four months, it is a great indication that people are taking notice and the demand for alternative vehicles is definitely there. I hope the BIG players in the auto industry are taking notice and will come to market with better eco-friendly alternatives!
Now is the time for change, people want better options! The Tesla Roadster is one electric car that is not going to die! This is just the beginning for this company and I look forward to watching them grow. Maybe one day I will be driving my own Tesla!
To read more about Tesla, head over to their website.
I came across an interesting press release this morning from MotorWeek. The “Best of the Year” awards have been announced and MotorWeek named Toyota Motor Corporation as “Best Eco-Friendly” instead of selecting a specific vehicle model to give the award to.
“Toyota has made a remarkable company-wide commitment to gas-saving hybrid technology that drivers can use right now, not 10 years from now,” said Davis. “At MotorWeek, we believe Toyota’s commitment to reducing fuel consumption across their broad product line is not only a pioneering step, but is helping to persuade both the public and the automotive industry that we can significantly reduce fuel consumption without giving up the freedom
of personal transportation.”
Congrats Toyota on once again leading the way with your innovative technology! After reading this press release I decided to head over to jump over to Green Car Journal and have a look at the latest hybrid, hydrogen and alternative fueled vehicles. Once again, Toyota is stealing the show with their 2007 Camry Hybrid being name the 2007 Green Car of the Year!
The Camry Hybrid combines a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with an electric drive motor for a total output of 192 horsepower. With EPA estimated fuel economy of 40 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway, the hybrid Camry variant offers a marked improvement over the standard four-cylinder Camry’s 24/34 mpg and offers a reasonable price of just over $26,000.
“The Camry not only protects the planet, it protects consumers’ pocketbooks,” says Jason Mark, vehicles director for the Union of Concerned Scientists. “It’s one of the most cost-effective hybrids on the market.”
Other top performers that made the Green Car Journal’s list of finalists are:
• The Natural Gas Honda Civic GX
• Lexus GS 450h Hybrid
• Mercedes-Benz E320 BLUETEC
• Saturn Vue Green Line Hybrid
Not sure where to fill up your biodiesel enabled vehicle? A new service has been launched to help you find the nearest biodiesel fueling station. Mobile application innovator WHDC LLC launched a free service designed to enable cell phone users to easily find a biodiesel fueling station.
The service, NearBio will allow users to find (using their cell phones) the nearest biodiesel fueling locations based on city, zip code, or GPS coordinates. Currently the database has over 1000 verified locations and is updated daily. On the website you will find driving directions, hours, payment options, and blend information (where available) for each service.
Here’s a blurb from the website:
NearBio is a FREE service that combines the most comprehensive, verified list of US biodiesel retail locations and driving directions with easy access from your cell phone! From anywhere on the road, instantly find the five nearest biodiesel fueling locations. All you need is a city and state, or zip code, or GPS coordinates. You’ll receive distance, directions, address, phone number, blends and facility details (when available).
NearBio is committed to providing you accurate biodiesel fueling locations, updated on a daily basis. Information can be easily accessed at NearBio.com in any of 3 ways: your computer (see map below), your cell phone with Internet access (go to nearbio.com), or your cellphone with text messaging.
The website is also provides daily biodiesel news feeds and can be delivered via email to subscribers.
I just came across an article, found on MSNBC which talks about a silent passenger jet that is being developed by a team of 40 scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Cambridge University.
The team has unveiled their conceptual design that will look to alleviate the deafening sound of planes taking off and landing. As well, the Silent Jet will be designed to carry 215 passengers and achieve 124 passenger-miles per gallon. The Silent Jet will be 25% more fuel efficient than current aircraft.
“Public concern about noise is a major constraint on expansion of aircraft operations. The silent aircraft can help address this concern and thus aid in meeting the increasing passenger demand for air transport,” said Edward M. Greitzer, a professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT.
The Silent Jet project, (dubbed the Silent Aircraft Initiative), has established a production date of y 2030. However, in order to develop the aircraft by 2030, the integration of the propulsion system with the aircraft needs to be solved.
Eco-Friendly air travel is desperately needed and I applaud MIT and Cambridge for launching this initiative . I hope the Silent Jet team can solve their technical difficulties and expedite their efforts to launch the aircraft sooner rather than later.
To learn more about the project, visit the Cambridge-MIT Institute.
Yahoo has just launched its new Autos Green Center. The website is designed to give drivers information and resources about eco-friendlier vehicles, including hybrid, flex fuel/E85, and biodiesel.
On the website, you can search for top rated cars based on The Environmental Defense green rating scale. The website is full of great information and helps explain different green technologies. They have even included a section of future technologies.
The top five cars based on the green rating scale (out of 100):
1. 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid CVT AT-PZEV (87/100)
2. 2007 Toyota Prius Touring (86/100)
3. 2007 Honda Civic Hybrid CVT AT-PZEV (86/100)
4. 2006 Toyota Prius 4 Door Liftback (86/100)
5. 2006 Honda Civic GX NGV 5-Spd AT (85/100)
The top 10 green cars are either Toyota or Honda models. The only exception is the 2007 Ford Escape Hybrid FWD (rated 9th). What is going on America? GM enters the list of green friendly with the 2007 Pontiac Vibe Base (33rd). From what I can tell Chrysler doesn’t even make the top 100. The top 100 automobiles are dominated with Japanese models followed by European models. With growing gas prices and increased environmental concerns, it is quick to see why the Big Three have suffered substantial declines in sales over the last few years.
I recommend visiting the Yahoo Autos Green Center. The site is informative and handy for those looking to make their next auto purchase. Yahoo users can also access the green rating through a new shortcut in Yahoo! Simply type any vehicle model name plus “green rating.”
Just came across a really cool website with eco-ratings for a huge number of different vehicles – its the EPA’s Green Vehicle Guide. I’m sure a LOT of people have heard about this already, so please forgive my newbie enthusiasm!
Anyway, for those of you NOT familiar with the guide, be sure to check it out – its really fun seeing how your vehicle stacks up according to their standards.
I drive a Suzuki Swift (yes, I’m THAT cool!), and was happy to see that it has a 9/10 rating for its “Greenhouse Gas Score” (10 is the best). It seems to have a terrible “Air Pollution Score” however with a 1/10 (again 10 being the highest). I work from home as well so I like to think I’m extra responsible when it comes to my personal greenhouse gas emissions (although my wife might have a thing or two to say about my methane…er..well, nevermind!)
From the looks of it my wife’s 2002 Volkwagen Golf doesn’t fare as well on the Greenhouse Emissions front (with a 6/10), but seems to one-up the Swift with a 3/10 for overall Atmospheric Pollution.
The guide only provides info for vehicles from 2000 or newer, but its a great way to plan your next vehicle purchase!
So, which vehicles are EPA allstars?
Here are a few that receive the coveted “Smartway Elite” certification:
(ATMP=atmospheric pollution; GGS=greenhouse gas score)
Toyota Prius – ATMP: 9.5; GGS: 10
Honda Civic Hybrid – ATMP: 9.5; GGS: 10
Toyota Camry Hybrid – ATMP: 9.5; GGS: 9
Ford Escape Hybrid – ATMP: 9.5: GGS: 8 (technically the Escape only gets the “SmartWay” not the SmartWay Elite” stamp of approval)
There are quite a few more – I was actually really surprised just how many there are in fact (and it certainly made me not nearly so impressed with my Swift!)
Just for comparative purposes, here are some vehicles with low scores:
The week’s Springwise Newsletter didn’t let me down, offering up yet another green morsel of eco-goodness!
The topic of discussion – EcoInsurance, “the UK’s first eco-friendly car insurance”.
So whats the deal?
Basically, when you sign up for a car insurance policy with this company they will offset 20% of your car’s CO2 emissions at no charge. In addition to that, any cars that emit less than 100g CO2 per km will receive a further 10% discount!
Just in case you are unfamiliar with carbon offsetting, here is a blurb from Wikipedia:
A carbon offset zeros out (offsets) all or part of the carbon dioxide emissions of a party, by reducing the emissions — or increasing the carbon dioxide absorption — of another party. This reduces net greenhouse gas emissions with the aim of combating global warming. Effectively offsetting the emissions of an activity makes that activity “carbon neutral”.
Carbon offsets can be purchased by individuals, businesses and governments from a variety of commercial and non-commercial organizations. For example, the UK government purchased offsets for the air travel required for the 31st G8 summit.
Sounds like a great idea, but are there any similar insurance programs here in North America?
According to the article, Travellers Insurance in the US is offering a 10% discount for people driving hybrid vehicles.
I haven’t heard of anything similar up here in Canada, but I’ll definitely be curious to find out!
Hopefully we’ll start to see more of this sort of thing from the insurance companies in North America!
Here is the Springwise article if you are interested: Greensurance
Talk show host, comedian and car enthusiast, Jay Leno has teamed up with GM to create a new concept vehicle called the EcoJet. The new concept car is a turbine-powered monster that runs on biodiesel fuel. The car has the ability to put out 650 horsepower and is powered by a Honeywell LT-101 turbine engine. This car looks amazing and I am sure it will attract lot’s of attention in the upcoming months. I can see GM creating a full production model based on the EcoJet’s esthetics. Perhaps the new Corvette may see some of the EcoJet’s stylish features?
GM’s Vice President of Global Design, ED Welburn, was quoted saying, “”EcoJet’s esthetics were driven by aeronautical and jet-age influences. It’s a purpose-driven design that conveys power, capability and even danger, with a hint of Cadillac’s sophisticated design vocabulary.”
Leno’s goal for this project was to inspire America’s youth to follow their dreams and realize that anything is possible. A lot of people thought high performance could not be achieved with biodiesel and 7 months later the EcoJet was born.
Jay Leno, “We live in an era where liking cars and liking the environment don’t really seem to fit– especially high performance cars.”
To read more about the super cool EcoJet go to GM’s website.