Hybrid Cars - Alternative Energy

Hybrid cars have increased in popularity as of late.Nows the time to support alternative energy solutions and technologies.

Hybrid Cars - Alternative Energy


"Hybrid Nation"

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Buyers Saving Sooner on Hybrid Cars

April 29, 2007

If you've been toying with the idea of buying a hybrid car, the cost equation is tilting in your favor.

Until recently, buying a hybrid meant you were willing to shell out for a pricier car because you believed in helping the environment or because you liked to own the latest high-tech gadget. Auto-research firms found it could take up to 15 years, depending on the model, of gasoline-pump savings to offset hybrids' higher sticker price.

But now it's taking less time to break even, thanks to car makers' new deals on hybrids. Right now, the average incentive for hybrid models is about $1,638, according to Edmunds.com.

Hybrid Discounts

"Up until maybe a year or so ago, we were paying over sticker prices for hybrids," says Philip Reed, consumer-advice editor with Edmunds.com.

But now, "there are hybrids on car lots and they're being discounted. That's unusual. and it's also at a time when gas prices are high so people are going to want these cars," Mr. Reed says.

Those incentives are helping to shorten the length of time it takes to recoup a hybrid's higher sticker price. Last year, Edmunds.com found that it would take a bit more than two years to break even on buying a Toyota Prius, when compared with buying a gas-powered Toyota Camry LE. Today, that break-even period is less than a year, assuming you drive 15,000 miles a year.

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Friday, April 27, 2007

Ford gets greener than ever with the 2008 Escape Hybrid

Jim Robinson, Ancaster
Hybrid vehicles have gone from a curiosity to the mainstream almost overnight and that's a good thing.

The public has accepted the wisdom of hybrids and the proof is in the sales charts.

The Ford Escape is already the top-selling small SUV on the market, and one of only two small SUV hybrids on the market, the other being the Saturn Vue Green Line.

When it came to styling the 2008 version of the Escape and Hybrid, designers dropped the cladding of the previous model and then set about rounding the corners of what was essentially the brick-like form that SUV buyers covet for its rugged/brawny appearance. In the process, the 2008 is now much handsomer.

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Comparing Alternative Fuels For Cars

Science Daily — Norwegian scientists have drawn up a league table of alternative fuels for cars. Their analysis is based on a well-to-wheel approach that takes into account manufacturing, energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, and local and regional pollutants.

Bottom of the table, unsurprisingly, are petrol vehicles, but coming in a close second last are hybrid vehicles that can run on compressed natural gas or petrol. Top of their league are fuel cell powered vehicles using hydrogen gas obtained from natural gas methane.

Karl Høyer of Oslo University College and Erling Holden of Western Norway Research Institute, Norway, and reported in Inderscience's International Journal of Alternative Propulsion their analysis of fuel chains including petrol, natural gas, and alternative fuel sources such as methanol and ethanol, hydrogen and biofuels.

"Alternative fuels are not in themselves a road towards sustainable mobility," the researchers say. However, their analysis places petrol and hybrid vehicles firmly at the bottom of the league table when all energy factors from source to consumer use are taken into account. "Any alternative fuel we considered is better than the cars that are used mostly today," they add.

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Monday, April 23, 2007

2008 Lexus LS 600h L


AutoWeek | Published 04/23/07, 8:02 am et

2008 LEXUS LS 600H L
PRICE: $104,715
DRIVETRAIN: 5.0-liter, 389-hp, 385-lb-ft V8; 221 hp from two electric motors; combined power 438 hp, 389 lb-ft; rwd, CVT
0 TO 60 MPH: 5.5 sec (mfr.)
CURB WEIGHT: 5049 lb
FUEL ECONOMY (EPA Combined): 21 mpg

Is it possible to hug a tree even if you own the forest and are exploiting the trolls and elves for cheap labor? That is the question the Lexus LS 600h L begs to ask, and the answer is yes.

The idea with this hyper-electronic spaceship sedan is that you can have your 438-hp faux-V12 and eat it, too. It’s a solution so green that, despite all that power and weight, everybody still can feel good about it, from the plutocrats in the reclining rear “Executive Class” seats to the protester sitting up above in an old-growth redwood.

The nice way to look at this cosmic leap of an automobile is to say that Lexus threw all of its technological creativity into making a supersedan that loves and respects the earth across which it hums. With the world’s largest all-wheel-drive hybrid-electric drivetrain short of an AT&SF train, the Lexus LS 600h L produces as much power and torque as a 6.0-liter V12. So they say. Look around at a few spec sheets, and you’ll see that output does match the 6.0-liter V12 of the BMW 760Li but falls short of other 12-cylinder engines, such as the Aston Martin DB9 at 450 hp, the Bentley Continental GTC at 552 hp, the Ferrari 612 at 533 hp and the 599 GTB Fiorano at 612 hp, to name just the normally aspirated 12s. Sedans? The Audi W12 makes 450 hp; Mercedes uses a pair of turbos to hit 510 hp.
more on this story

Friday, April 20, 2007

What is Earth Day?

By Timothy Brown
USINFO Staff Writer

Earth Day, April 22, is the annual U.S. celebration of the environment and a time for Americans to assess the work still needed to protect the natural gifts of our planet. Earth Day has no central organizing force behind it, though several nongovernmental organizations work to keep track of the thousands of local events in schools and parks that mark the day. It affirms that environmental awareness is part of the country's consciousness and that the idea of protecting the environment -- once the province of a few conservationists -- has moved from the extreme to the mainstream of American thought.

This was not always the case. In the 19th century, Americans, blessed with a vast land rich in natural resources, lived with the notion that fresh fields were always just over the horizon. When one exhausted the soil or forests or coal of a given place, it was possible to move on to another. As industry boomed in the early 20th century people accepted without question skies blackened from smokestack emissions and rivers fouled with industrial waste. As early as the mid-1930s -- and again in the 1950s -- Ohio's Cuyahoga River, running through America's industrial heartland, was set ablaze by burning chemical waste from factories built upon its banks. There was no public outcry. Few people even noticed.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

George Bush and hybrid cars


Lawmakers: Eliminate sales tax on hybrid cars

Gannett News Service

ALBANY -- Buying a hybrid car can save drivers hundreds of dollars on gas, and it could get even cheaper if a bill proposed today becomes law.

Two Long Island lawmakers have introduced legislation that would eliminate state sales tax on the purchase of a new or used hybrid vehicle. The bill would also allow cities and counties to opt in to the tax waiver.

"As automobiles are among the greatest producers of greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants, out state should be using its tax policies to promote the purchase of hybrid and fuel-efficient vehicles," said Assemblyman Steven Englebright, D-Suffolk County. "Middle-class New Yorkers know the issues and want to do something about it, but they need to able to afford the technology."
more on this story

What is the best battery for the hybrid car?

The early HEV models used lead acid batteries because there was no alternative. Today, Honda and Toyota employ nickel-metal-hydride (NiMH). This chemistry is lighter and environmentally friendlier than lead-based systems. The battery consists of cylindrical cells that are connected in series to attain several hundred volts. The cell strings are suspended in mid air to allow air-cooling.

One of the critical battery requirements for hybrid applications is longevity. Rechargeable batteries for consumer products typically last for two to three years. This short service life is no major drawback with cellphones, laptops and digital cameras because the devices get obsolete quickly. At $2000 to $3000 per battery pack, the replacement cost of an HEV battery would constitute a major expense.

Most batteries for HEV are guaranteed for eight years. To meet this long service life, the cells are optimised for longevity, and not size and weight, as is the case with portable applications. Since the battery runs on wheels, the increased weight and size is not too critical.

A NiMH for an HEV can be charged and discharged 1000 times if done at an 80% depth-of-discharge. In a hybrid vehicle, a full discharge seldom occurs, except if the owner lives on a mountain and requires all available battery power to commute home. Such a routine would add stress to the battery and the life would be shortened. In most other applications, the hybrid car only uses 10% of the rated battery capacity. This allows thousands of charge/discharge cycles. Batteries in satellites use a similar system in which the battery discharges less than 10% during a satellite night. NASA achieves this by over-sizing the batterymore info

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Hybrid Electric Vehicles - Better Than Ethanol

Mario Osava

RIO DE JANEIRO, Apr 17 (IPS) - Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) are the best way to achieve a drastic reduction in greenhouse gases produced by vehicle exhaust fumes, until hydrogen-powered models become viable. They are even more environmentally-friendly than the use of biofuels.

Powered by an internal combustion engine and an electric motor, HEVs are becoming an attractive alternative in the light of the most recent reports by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which recommend urgent measures to curb global warming, say Brazilian experts.

Automotive engineering professor Marcelo Massarani at the Polytechnic School of Sao Paulo University told IPS that HEVs can cut pollution caused by vehicles powered by fossil fuels by 80 percent, "and sometimes by up to 90 percent."

An HEV is still 10 to 20 percent more expensive to buy than a conventional car, but in Sao Paulo there would be an average net saving of 18,000 reals (8,800 dollars) over the life of the vehicle, Juliana de Queiroz concluded in her master's thesis, which was supervised by Massarani.
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Sunday, April 15, 2007

New Yorkers heading for alternative fuel vehicles


Joel Turner knew that despite Toyota's reputation for making reliable, long-lasting cars, his 1993 Camry would eventually be ready for retirement.

His dilemma was whether he would buy another Camry or go a bit more upscale and spring for a Lexus.

For Turner, a retired IBM computer programmer and analyst who lives in Greenburgh, the decision turned on the gas mileage he would get with a Camry Hybrid, one of the Japanese manufacturer's entries in the growing category of environmentally friendly, alternative-fuel automobiles.

When he paid his $29,700 and drove his new car off the lot at Geis Toyota in Peekskill last month, Turner, 57, became a part of New Yorkers' movement toward alternative fuel vehicles, a movement that is gaining momentum, thanks to sky-high gas prices, state and federal tax credits and environmental awareness.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers said last week 339,936 alternative fuel autos were registered in New York last year, an increase of 24 percent over the 274,000 registered a year earlier. On the national level, there were 1.5 million alternative fuel vehicles sold last year, surpassing the projections of automakers by 50 percent, or about 500,000 vehicles, said the alliance.

The sales brought the number of such vehicles on American roads to 10.5 million, the alliance said.

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Friday, April 13, 2007

Auto Show

I recently went to the Jacob Javitz center in the city to check out the auto show. I have been going every year for about 10 years or so. The good news is that automakers are finally paying attention to the environment (money is green also) and going green. I was really impressed with Lexus, a bit more expensive than a Honda but at least there doing the right thing. The bad news about the auto show is that people really only pay attention to higher end cars like Ferrari and Porsche and of course the women who are usually showcased in front of them, but thats a whole different story. Hopefully one day your super sports car will be a hybrid and not get about 8 miles per gallon.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

New PG&E plug-in car can feed power to home

By Sarah Jane Tribble
Imagine a car that powers your home during a blackout. Or one that produces so much extra energy, the utility company pays you.

Stop imagining.

PG&E, joining a growing number of advocates for plug-in hybrid cars, will showcase a converted Toyota Prius at an alternative energy gathering in Sunnyvale today. The investor-owned utility, which appears to be the first in the United States to demonstrate a car that can power a home, says customers will be able to use plug-ins to cut greenhouse gas emissions as well as high home-energy bills.

"If there has ever been a place to start and capture the possibilities and imagination of consumers, California is the place," said Bob Howard, PG&E vice president of gas transmission and distribution.

While sales of conventional hybrids such as the Toyota Prius that run on a combination of electric and gasoline motors have skyrocketed the past few years, major automakers have been reluctant to build mass-market plug-in hybrid vehicles, which can be recharged with a home's electrical outlet. They said consumers weren't interested because the cars would be too expensive.

But as manufacturing prices have dropped and gas prices have risen, attitudes have shifted.more on this story

Climate change concert star Madonna accused of hypocrisy

The stars of a major Live 8-style concert to raise awareness of climate change have been condemned as hypocrites for failing to lead environmentally friendly lives themselves.

The likes of Madonna and Red Hot Chili Peppers will perform at Live Earth at Wembley Stadium on July 7, yet campaigners say they are among the least "green" individuals on the planet.
Built on the model Bob Geldof used for the anti-poverty Live 8 concerts in 2005, Live Earth will also be held simultaneously in Johannesburg, Rio de Janeiro, Shanghai, Sydney and Tokyo.

More than 100 rock and pop stars will perform during the 24-hour live concert.

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

Ethanol blends prove divisive



WASHINGTON -- The boom in U.S. ethanol production that Detroit automakers and ethanol proponents have worked hand in hand for years to achieve could soon pit the two industries against each other over how much of the fuel in your vehicle's tank is too much.

With outlets for the alternative fuel growing slowly, the ethanol industry is considering asking federal officials to allow sales of gasoline with up to 20% ethanol, double the current limit, for use in all cars and trucks.
But U.S. automakers say outside of the 5 million vehicles they've sold that are capable of burning 85% ethanol, their cars and trucks weren't designed for such fuels.

General Motors Corp. Vice Chairman Bob Lutz, who touted ethanol's potential during this week's New York auto show, said he had asked GM's engineers last week about the effect E20 would have on its older vehicles.story continued

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Solar panels

I was just wondering if the new stadiums that are being built for the New York Yankeesand the Mets are going to have any type of alternative energy products installed. Maybe they can install solar panels on the roof to light up the stadiums. I know installing such products on your home are a bit expensive, but when you have deep pockets like George Steinbrenner and Fred Wilpon they should set an example and lead the way to a cleaner and brighter future. Heres a stretch, maybe M.L.B can use bats that are made from something other than wood.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Cleaner Cars, Stronger Companies: Auto Emission Standards Must Aid Detroit and the Environment

By Jake Caldwell
The forthcoming sale of DaimlerChrysler’s Chrysler automaker unit and the Supreme Court ruling earlier this week requiring the Environmental Protection Agency to police auto emission standards are sure to roil The Big Three Detroit car manufacturers. Both developments are yet another indication that U.S. automakers need to shift swiftly from a business model based on churning out big gas-guzzlers to one that is at once more technologically competitive, environmentally friendly, and in tune with our nation's energy security requirements.

Because of the business and financial structure of the U.S. auto industry, however, this transformation will not be easy. That’s why Congress has a key role to play, helping the Big Three retool their assembly lines, design shops, and employee benefits packages to regain their competitive edge.

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Some save at the pump by plugging in

A few drivers in the Truckee Meadows don't cringe when they pass a sign offering $3 a gallon gasoline.

"For $3, I can go about 170 miles," said Chuck Swackhammer of Verdi. "The economy of electric vehicles is unbelievable. As gas prices continue to go up, these EVs are going to get a lot more popular.

"... I drive my (Chinese-made) ZapCar electric pickup 18 miles to Sparks and back every day. I plug it in overnight at home, go to work and plug it in there and then make the 500-foot climb back home. The range is about 25 miles to a charge, but most people commute a shorter distance. It's the perfect second car."

Swackhammer is among several Northern Nevada electric vehicle drivers starting a local EV club. They invite anyone who owns or has an interest in electric vehicles to attend.

"The club is a way for people to learn about electric vehicles and network with others who have the same interest," said Bob Tregilus of Reno, who last year built an electric motorcycle on a standard 400cc Kawasaki frame and rides it to work and classes at the University of Nevada, Reno.

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Monday, April 02, 2007

Campaigns Save Energy With Hybrid Cars

By NANCY BENAC Monday, April 02, 2007

WASHINGTON - This year's presidential candidates are trying to get good mileage out of getting good mileage. The candidates, who do a lot of talking about the need for greater energy efficiency, are not just asking who walks the walk but also, who drives the hybrid?

Democratic candidate John Edwards makes a point of telling people that after years of driving a regular sport utility vehicle, he and his wife bought a hybrid model to shuttle their kids, strollers, toys, luggage and other stuff between Washington, D.C., and North Carolina.

This month, Edwards announced his campaign would be "carbon-neutral," meaning it will do what it can to limit energy consumption and then buy "carbon offsets" to counterbalance the emissions produced by the energy it does use.

Edwards is not the only White House hopeful trying to make his own energy use part of the political equation this year.

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Sunday, April 01, 2007

Happy Anniversary

This month makes one year that I started Hybridnation. Its been a fun ride. I would like to thank everyone who has supported this wonderful site. I started this blog in hopes to educate people on hybrid cars and alternative energy solutions. If in any way I helped in our efforts to reduce emissions and to preserve our environment, then Hybridnation is a success. Again, thank you for your support and lets do our part to make this world a better place for our children to enjoy.