Monday, July 31, 2006

Plug in Hybrids from Toyota... coming soon?

Toyotas senior vice president of the company's North American operations has been quoted saying plug-in vehicles may be here sooner than they thought. Back in March, Toyota was predicting plug-ins in 10 years. Now they hope to have them even sooner.

A plug-in hybrid requires more battery usage and the battery is more likely to fail sooner than in hybrids. With hybrids, the battery is kept in a 'safer' medium zone which helps the battery last longer. Plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEV) run on the battery alone longer and drain the battery farther. They also get fully charged overnight. Since rechargeable batteries can be very expensive to replace, carmakers are unwilling to produce a vehicle in which the battery won't last long.

Toyota has new hope for hybrid batteries

On Thursday, however, Cuneo said the automaker is now more hopeful that the batteries could be ready soon. Speaking at the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce’s annual meeting at the Galt House, he said Toyota believes it could have a plug-in hybrid on the road much sooner...

Toyota executive engineer Dave Hermance said ... Lithium-ion batteries are the likely successor, but so far, reliable ones have not been available in the sizes needed.

In March, Hermance said lithium-ion technology could be as many as 10 years away.

Get Four Free Price Quotes From Yahoo! Autos Hybrid Research and Pricing at

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Comparing flex fuel to hybrids

A comparison of flex-fuel vehicles to hybrids

1) Mileage
Hybrid vehicles get better mileage than flex fuel vehicles. Flex-fuel vehicles can't compete with the mileage that hybrids can get. That can add up to significant weekly savings when visiting the gas pump.

2) Cost to Purchase
Hybrid cars cost more. Sometimes they cost thousands more. So, you may save at the pump, but you have to pay more up front. That's why long term planning needs to be involved unless you are more worried about being 'green' rather than owning 'green.'

3) Nothing to learn
Neither vehicle requires anything more from a driver than conventional cars. Once you step on the gas, you're good to go. You might be startled by the engine stopping at red lights in a hybrid, but once you're on the highway, you won't notice the difference.

4) Flex-fuel vehicles require flex fuel
There are very few places where you can purchase E85 gasoline at the moment, and it's only a few cents less than gas. Which means, you may not be reducing America's dependence on oil anytime soon if you buy a flex fuel vehicle (although you will be upping the carmakers CAFE numbers, but that's a different story). The hybrid car doesn't require any special fuel.

Get Four Free Price Quotes From Yahoo! Autos Hybrid Research and Pricing at

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Chicago may offer free parking to hybrid cars

Public Parking in Chicago may go 'green' if the City Council passes the newest proposal. Ald. Re Colon (35th) is introducing an ordinance to give a free pass to hybrid cars that are parked in public parking spaces.

Colon is suggesting a good way to pay for the 'free parking' is to raise parking meter rates for non-hybrid cars.

Since a majority of the city council probably don't own hybrid cars, my guess is this ordinance won't fly if this 'payment' option is left in.

Source: - Hybrid Cars Could Mean Free Parking

Get Four Free Price Quotes From Yahoo! Autos Hybrid Research and Pricing at

Honda invests in electric motor plant

Honda will be investing $69 million to build a new plant in Japan to boost its capacity to produce key components for its hybrid cars.  WHen finished, the company will quadruple its output capacity to 200,000 units a year.

Honda sold just under 50,000 hybrids last year, and has already sold 20,000 hybrids this year.  Sales of the Hybrid Accord have gone way down, as consumers have realised the Accord hybrid was built for performance, not mileage.  Honda is getting rid of its Insight and replacing it in the near future with a dedicated family hybrid car. 

Honda to Build New Hybrid Plant - AutoSpies Auto News

Get Four Free Price Quotes From Yahoo! Autos Hybrid Research and Pricing at

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

11 States Are First in the Nation to Receive Hybrid School Buses

Press Release follows from IC Corporation, Enova and Advanced Energy on the bid to buy 19 hybrid buses nationwide. IC Corporation won the bid and 11 states will benefit throught the RFP issued in June 2006. Since hybrid buses tend to cost twice as much as their conventional counterparts, the donations from North Carolina's electric utilities (Duke Power, Progress Energy,Dominion North Carolina Power and North Carolina electriccooperatives) and the State Energy Office in North Carolina were essential in making this program started.

11 States Are First in the Nation to Receive Hybrid School Buses as IC Corporation Awarded Bid by Advanced Energy Consortium
25.07.2006 13:25:00

IC Corporation Works With Enova Systems to Supply First Hybrid School Buses That Can Attain Up to 40 Percent Increase in Fuel Efficiency

Eleven states will be getting a higher grade for investing inenergy-efficiency this school year. New York, California, Texas,Florida, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina,Arkansas, Iowa and Washington will be the first states in the nationto receive hybrid school buses. Through its Plug-In Hybrid ElectricSchool Bus Project, Advanced Energy, a Raleigh, N.C.-based nonprofitcorporation, initiated a buyer's consortium of school districts, stateenergy agencies and student transportation providers. After issuing nationwide Request for Proposals (RFPs) for hybrid school buses in June 2006, Advanced Energy announced today at the 13th Annual School Transportation News Expo that IC Corporation, the nation's largest school bus manufacturer, won the bid and will provide up to 19 hybrid school buses to those 11 states.

"This project provides operational benefits to school districts,while also providing the reduced emissions desired by the U.S.Environmental Protection Agency and a valuable return on investment toschool boards," said Ewan Pritchard, P.E., Advanced Energy's hybridprogram manager. "This bid award is the result of several years ofcollaborative effort among manufacturers, school districts andgovernment agencies to change the school bus market."

IC Corporation, in collaboration with Enova Systems, unveiled the nation's first hybrid school bus two weeks ago at the New York Association of Pupil Transportation (NYAPT) Show. The hybrid schoolbus is expected to attain a 40 percent increase in fuel efficiency, which becomes even more essential with the rising fuel costs affecting many school districts.

"With fuel prices near all-time highs, new innovations in hybrid technology are needed to help customers in the school bus industry keep their operating costs lower," said Michael Cancelliere, vicepresident and general manager of IC Corporation. "We're proud that Advanced Energy recognizes the need to help our nation's schooldistricts with energy-efficient school buses. In addition, even though current International diesel engines on many existing school buses produce no visible smoke and minimal emissions, the hybrid program will reduce engine emissions even further."

These members of Advanced Energy's buyers' consortium arecurrently scheduled to receive buses:

-- North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (2 buses)

-- South Carolina Department of Educations (2 buses)

-- State of New York (2 buses)

-- Florida Department of Education (2 buses)

-- Napa Valley Unified School District, Napa Valley, Calif. (1 bus)

-- Durham School Services, Everett, Wash. (1 bus)

-- Lake Chelan School District, Chelan, Wash. (1 bus)

-- City of Seattle (1 bus)

-- Little Rock, Ark., School District (1 bus)

-- Sigourney Community School District, Sigourney, Iowa (1 bus)

-- Nevada Community Schools, Nevada, Iowa (1 bus)

-- Killeen Independent School District, Texas (1 bus)

-- Austin Independent School District, Texas (1 bus)

-- Fairfax County, Va. (1 bus)

-- Jennings Transportation, Nazareth, Pa. (1 bus)

The hybrid school bus project features Enova's post-transmission 80-kilowatt Hybrid Drive System and was extensively tested and evaluated at IC Corporation's research and technology facility in FortWayne, Ind. The initial powertrain for the hybrid school bus will couple an International(R) VT365 V8 diesel engine with the 80-kilowatt hybrid-electric powertrain, incorporating a transmission, batteries and an electric motor. The system is based on a parallel architecture,allowing the system to utilize both diesel and electric power in a highly efficient manner.

Funding to support Advanced Energy's initiative has come from North Carolina's electric utilities (Duke Power, Progress Energy,Dominion North Carolina Power and North Carolina electriccooperatives) and the State Energy Office in North Carolina.

"Duke Energy is proud to support research and market developmentof alternative and more energy efficient technologies," said Ellen Ruff, president of Duke Energy Carolinas. "The hybrid electric schoolbus project is an exciting example of how key stakeholders from the utility industry, business and government can form partnerships that produce great benefits for communities in which we live."

Advanced Energy is also welcoming additional funding at the state and private level to expand this program to more school districts and other states. More information about the program can be found at

The hybrid bus announcement is the continuation of research and development for new technology in a number of different vehicles. IC Corporation's parent company, International Truck and Engine Corporation, is working extensively on hybrid trucks for the utility and delivery industries.

Get Four Free Price Quotes From Yahoo! Autos Hybrid Research and Pricing at

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Are more tax breaks on the way for hybrid car buyers?

Congress is holding a hearing today on hybrid technology. The House subcommittee on energy and resources is looking at ways to entice more drivers to purchase hybrid cars. They are also going to look into why the US automakers are lagging behind their foreign counterparts when it comes to hybrid technology.

Some state incentives include:

  • Colorado offers up to a $4,713 tax credit for purchasing a hybrid vehicle.
  • Maine gives owners a sales tax credit of up to $500 for hybrid purchases.
  • Maryland and Washington state exempt hybrids from motor vehicle emissions testing.
  • In Baltimore, owners get discounts at city-owned parking garages.
  • Pennsylvania drivers can get a $500 rebate from the state for buying a hybrid or alternative-fuel vehicle.

  • Source:Owning a hybrid vehicle could pay off - 07/20/06 - The Detroit News Online

    Get Four Free Price Quotes From Yahoo! Autos Hybrid Research and Pricing at

    Wednesday, July 19, 2006

    Why the Fuel economy of cars has remained the same

    Since 1975, when the EPA started measuring fuel economy there have been several stages of fuel economy in the US. Starting in 1975, there was a rapid growth in fuel economy up until the mid 80's. After that there was a slow increase, followed by a slow decrease which brings us up to the mid 90's. Since that point, fuel economy has been stagnant.

    Or has it? If you take at the previous graph from the EPA report, you can get a much better picture of how and why those changes occured. Note how the weight of cars droppped rapidly until the mid 80s. That's why the fuel economy improved drastically in that time. Since then, however, cars have gotten a lot more powerful and a lot safer. All of those safety mechanisms have added to the weight needed in each automobile. Todays automobiles are just about as big and heavy as they were in 1975, but with performance that would be considered race car worthy in 1975. But today, that performance is standard.

    Of course, another big difference in the 'stagnation' of fuel economy is the prevalance of SUVs. The market share of cars vs SUVs and trucks has been a steady trend that has led to larger vehicles on the road every year. But if you look closely at the following graph, you might see why carmakers like Ford and GM are in trouble. With the recent spike in gas prices, SUV sales have stagnated.

    Following up on my previous post about the EPA report on fuel economy in 2006, I noticed that most news stories have been talking about how Japanese carmakers have been doing better than the Detroit carmakers.

    There are a couple of points left out of those stories however. First, the difference isn't as great as it used to be. For some reason (probably the increase in SUV and other larger vehicles sales by the Japanese companies), the fuel economy numbers are getting closer together, not farther apart. Also, for some reason, most news stories are ignoring Nissan, probably because they are below GM and that wouldn't fit into the overall by-line of how foreign automakers are better at fuel economy than US automakers.

    Source: Light-Duty Automotive Technology and Fuel Economy Trends: 1975 Through 2006 | Cars and Light Trucks | US EPA

    BTW, the fuel economy values used in the report are based on lab tests which are then adjusted downwards by about 15 percent to get "real world numbers". These are not the numbers as would be used in calculating the CAFE standards.

    Get Four Free Price Quotes From Yahoo! Autos Hybrid Research and Pricing at

    Tuesday, July 18, 2006

    Toyota is planning on plug-in hybrids and flex fuel vehicles

    Jim Press, president of Toyota Motor North America addressed the National Press Club in Washington today and had a few interesting remarks.

    "We're already developing vehicles that can operate in ethanol-rich Brazil and we're optimistic that we can offer similar vehicles to American consumers,"

    Toyota is 'strongly considering' introducing a flex-fuel vehicle program in the US, he said.

    Press is also predicting record sales for the US auto industry this year, totalling 17 million vehicles, despite rising gasoline, interest rates.

    Source:Toyota optimistic on US auto industry; Considers introducing flex-fuel vehicle -

    Of course, that optimism might be restricted to how Toyota feels about the marketplace. Given their increases in sales, as opposed to GM or Ford...

    Get Four Free Price Quotes From Yahoo! Autos Hybrid Research and Pricing at

    Toyota recalls more than 400,000 vehicles

    12 models manufactured in 2001 are affected, including the Toyota Prius. In the US alone, nearly 8,500 Prius are being recalled along with 25,000 Echo and Yaris.

    A faulty engine part could lead to an oil leak within the engine, causing it to stop completely. There have been no accidents due to the fault.

    Source: - Automotive - Toyota Recalls More Than 400,000 Vehicles

    Get Four Free Price Quotes From Yahoo! Autos Hybrid Research and Pricing at

    Fuel Economy stays the same

    According to this years EPA report on fuel economy, the 2006 model cars attained 21 mpg. Which isn't bad, until you realize the fuel economy of last years cars was 21 mpg.

    Honda had the best rating at 24.2 mpg, while Toyota trailed at 23.8 mpg. Volkswagen AG and Hyundai tied at 23.5 mpg. GM managed to get 20.5, Ford moved up to 19.7 mpg and DaimlerChrysler AG fell to the bottom at 19.1 mpg.

    But before you get too upset about our lack of progress, you have to read the rest of the report. According to the EPA, this year's cars were faster, heavier and more powerful than any other year the EPA has tested. Environmentalists complain that carmakers are making cars that go faster or tow more at the expense of improving fuel efficiency.

    I say they have it wrong. We're getting more for less every year. Even the poorest cars on the road today can outrun and out-tow the cars of yesterday. And they are doing it while keeping the same fuel economy.

    Todays cars are a lot safer than they used to be, too. Those 'experimental' cars you see in the news everyday that get one, two or even three hundred mpg are not built for everyday driving and aren't required to have all the safety features that are part and parcel of every car that comes off an assembly line. Which means they are heavier than those cars that come from the universities. That's where they are getting most of their mileage gains from. If carmakers could strip out all the safety equipment, they could provide cars that would double or triple todays mileage.

    All we need to do as consumers is tell the carmakers these cars are fast enough. They tow enough now, thank you. We don't all have to go out and buy hybrids, we just need to keep buying the cars that are more fuel efficient in each category. If, in your decision making process, you come down to two or three cars, just take the car that gets better mileage. If more buyers do this, the automakers will start to make more fuel efficient cars, not faster cars.


    Gloria Bergquist, a spokeswoman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which represents many of the automakers, said the industry is building more vehicles with fuel-saving technology, but consumers are still buying heavier, faster vehicles in large numbers.

    “The fuel efficient models are out there, we just need to sell more,” she said. “We are trying very hard.”

    Get Four Free Price Quotes From Yahoo! Autos Hybrid Research and Pricing at

    Monday, July 17, 2006

    Southern California is running out of decals for hybrids traveling in the HOV lanes

    Hybrid car sales in California have really taken off. And as a result, HOV lanes in southern California are starting to get clogged with all the one passenger hybrid cars who have the special decals.

    Or, at least, that's what some people believe.

    Out of the 75,000 decals available to those who drive certain hybrid cars, only 5,000 are left.

    Press-Telegram - Hybrids choke carpool

    "We are very surprised. We knew it would promote people to buy hybrids but we didn't expect them to go through these 75,000 decals this fast," said Josh Townsend, spokesman for Assemblywoman Fran Pavley, D-Woodland Hills, who authored the legislation in 2004 that created bumper sticker permits.

    The program started last August and was intended as an incentive to hybrid car buyers who must purchase their cars at a premium over their more conventional gas engine counterparts. And with gas prices spiking, more and more consumers are trading in for hybrid technology.

    But lately, especially in California, those 'green' drivers are getting more and more complaints. Called 'smug' by other drivers, some are complaining hybrid car drivers are driving slower and clogging those car-pool lanes. Another common complaint heard is how a solo driver isn't saving more gas than an SUV with three passengers (although that ignores the other, 'greener,' aspects of a hybrid).

    And now, Caltrans is studying the effect all those solo drivers are having on the HOV lane success. If it turns out they really are 'clogging' the high occupancy lanes, the new program may shut its doors altogether to any new users.

    Get Four Free Price Quotes From Yahoo! Autos Hybrid Research and Pricing at

    Ford to invest one billion to develop hybrid in the UK

    Ford is lookgin to invest $1.84 billion dollars (euro 1.45 billion) to develop hybrid cars in the UK over the next six years according to an AP report today. | Ford Motor Co. Plans Investment in Britain

    LONDON — Ford Motor Co. will invest 1 billion pounds (euro1.45 billion; US$1.84 billion) in Britain within six years to develop fuel-efficient hybrid cars, a senior executive said Monday.

    Ford is hoping to create a Ford Focus hybrid capable of 70 mpg.

    This is another strange indicator from a company that just backed off on their promise to produce 250,000 hybrids by the year 2010. After stating they were going to focus more on flex fuels, Ford has recently announced plans to open a hybrid research and development site through Volvo, and now this. It's hard to know where Ford is going these days.

    Get Four Free Price Quotes From Yahoo! Autos Hybrid Research and Pricing at

    GM is looking to Nissan for possible alliance

    While the talks are only tentative at this point, GM is looking at a possible alliance with Nissan (and Renault). Ghosn, CEO of Renault, SAS and Nissan met with Rick Wagoner, CEO of GM to explore the possibility.

    A reviewing period to explore the benefits will take place for about 90 days. At that point, it will be decided whether to continue the talks.

    Ghosn, after his work at Nissan, has a reputation for turning around troubled car companies. It may be worth noting that Wagoner is being depicted as fighting the alliance from within GM.

    Get Four Free Price Quotes From Yahoo! Autos Hybrid Research and Pricing at

    Friday, July 14, 2006

    The New England Aquarium is raffling off a Mercury Mariner Hybrid

    And the tickets are only $25 each. 100% of all proceeds will go to the Aquarium. Only 4,000 tickets will be sold, given each ticket 0.025% chance of winning.

    The mission of the New England Aquarium is to increase understanding of aquatic life and environments, to enable people to act to conserve the world of water, and to provide leadership for the preservation and sustainable use of aquatic resources.

    This mission is fulfilled through exhibits, and through education, conservation and research programs. Exhibits showcase the diversity, importance and beauty of aquatic life and habitats, and highlight critical aquatic conservation issues. Programs emphasize species, habitats, and issues critical to New England.

    The New England Aquarium serves as a responsive community resource that attracts and involves the broadest possible audience; seeks a culturally diverse staff and governing board that reflect our community; adheres to the highest standards of animal stewardship; and is committed to delivering the highest quality visitor experience in a welcoming and enjoyable manner that evokes wonder, curiosity, understanding, caring and action.

    Go get your tickets now: Mercury Mariner Hybrid Raffle

    Get Four Free Price Quotes From Yahoo! Autos Hybrid Research and Pricing at

    Converting your hybrid into a plug-in

    While I understand the concept of getting as much out of your hybrid as possible (as far as mileage goes), the economic issues that keep many consumers away from buying a hybrid vehicle in the first place will probably keep many of those who buy a hybrid from converting theirs into a plug-in hybrid.

    At $12K ($6500 next year), converting your hybrid into a plug-in may not make a lot of economic sense. Even at 100+ mpg, spending that much money on converting your hybrid car is questionable.

    Questions I have about converting your car. By running your car on batteries longer, are you going to run into a dead battery that much sooner? At $3000 to replace a hybrid battery, that could be an expensive replacement. Also, (I believe) you add extra batteries in order to run longer on all-electric. Where do those batteries go? These aren't small items, so cutting down on your trunk space could be a real issue. And what about the extra weight?

    My other question revolves around the benefits. Are you running "cleaner"? And if so, by how much?

    California Cars Initiative estimate a market base of 100,000 plug-in vehicles. That seems high to me, given the significant extra cost and the limited supply of Prius to work with.

    The hack-a-hybrid kit - July 1, 2006

    The EDrive kit will debut by December with a price of $12,000, installation included. Hymotion's kit, also due later this year, will cost $12,500, a figure that co-founder Ricardo Bazzarella plans to drop to $6,500 by this time next year. He estimates profit margins of 20 to 25 percent and says the success of his business hinges on public awareness.

    Get Four Free Price Quotes From Yahoo! Autos Hybrid Research and Pricing at

    Taxing Hybrid Incentives

    WASHINGTON — To encourage their employees to purchase environmentally-friendly hybrid cars, several companies reportedly are offering "rebates" or cash incentives to their employees in select areas to offset the purchase price of these vehicles. Just like other forms of compensation, these cash incentives are taxable compensation.

    Employers should include the cash incentive amounts in employees’ compensation reported on year-end Form W-2 earnings statements. The cash incentives also are subject to income tax withholding and employment tax. The tax code provides for an exclusion from income for employee discounts only if the employer produces the product and certain other requirements are met.

    The tax code already includes incentives for the purchase of hybrid cars. The Alternative Motor Vehicle Credit for hybrid vehicles applies to vehicles purchased on or after Jan. 1, 2006, and it may be as much as $3,400 for those who purchase the most fuel-efficient vehicles.

    For more information, go to

    Get Four Free Price Quotes From Yahoo! Autos Hybrid Research and Pricing at

    Free valet parking for hybrids in Tampa

    In an effort to jump on the green (or hybrid) bandwagon, Renaissance Hotels decided to offer free valet parking to anyone driving a hybrid vehicle. Given that valet charges are $7 during the day adn $13 every night, that's not an insignificant savings if you're out on the town.

    But don't forget to tip your valet!

    Source: Local & State News - Tampa Bay's 10 -

    Get Four Free Price Quotes From Yahoo! Autos Hybrid Research and Pricing at

    Thursday, July 13, 2006

    Hybrid cars eligible for solo carpool lanes in California

    Only a few of the hybrids available today are eligible to be driven in the carpool lane in California. The same restrictions have been subsequently placed in New York, too.

    The three hybrids eligible are:

  • Honda Civic Hybrid
  • Honda Insight
  • Toyota Prius

  • California restricts the use to only the cleanest alternative fuel, hybrid, and full-electric vehicles. Which is why Ford and GM are suing to get into the HOV lane in California. Their hybrids don't meet the eligibility requirements.

    California restricts access to those hybrids getting 45 mpg or better.

    Get Four Free Price Quotes From Yahoo! Autos Hybrid Research and Pricing at

    The Saturn Vue Hybrid will qualify for $650 federal tax credit

    According to the IRS, the certification by GM on the 2007 Saturn Vue Green Line Vehicle (SUV) qualifies for the Alternative Motor Vehicle Credit. In other words, you can get some of the premium money back in a federal tax credit when you buy one. The credit amounts to $650 according to the IRS.

    And unlike a Toyota hybrid, you don't have to worry about the tax credit being cut in half any time soon. Since Toyota has sold over 50,000 hybrid vehicles this quarter, the federal tax credit will soon start getting cut in half on any Toyota hybrids bought.

    GM buyers won't have to worry about that for a long time to come.

    Get Four Free Price Quotes From Yahoo! Autos Hybrid Research and Pricing at

    Pennsylvania ups the state budget for rebates on hybrids

    After running out of money last year for their state rebate on hybrids, Pennsylvania has upped the budget allocated to the program. $3 million is being set aside (twice what was available) for last year.

    Buyers of hybrids in Pennsylvania are eligible for $500 in a rebate from the state. Anyone who bought a hybrid during the period when the budget was drained are still eligible for the rebate.

    You need to submit for your rebate within six months of your purchase.

    Alternative fuel cars are eligible for the rebate as well.

    State doubles budget for hybrid car rebates

    Get Four Free Price Quotes From Yahoo! Autos Hybrid Research and Pricing at

    Toyota recalls Highlander Hybrid and Lexus Rx 400h

    Toyota is recalling the 2004-05 models of the Toyota Highlander and Lexus Rx330 and early 2006 models of the Highlander Hybrid and the Rx 400h.

    Apparently a clip could come loose and allow a small trim piece of the console, located on the center-left side of the front compartment. If it comes loose, it could interfere with the accelerator. Seven complaints and two accidents were reported to the company, but no injuries have been reported.

    2320,000 gasoline powered Highlanders and 3,700 hybrids are affected. 123,500 Rx 330 SUvs and 8,300 Rx 400h are being recalled.

    Owners are being contacted in late July. Dealers will install new clips on the console.

    Get Four Free Price Quotes From Yahoo! Autos Hybrid Research and Pricing at

    Wednesday, July 12, 2006

    Hybrids (and others) to get just a little bit cleaner

    A new spark ignition could make hybrids (and others) burn cleaner than ever before. Honda is currently working on implementing the technology developed at the EPA, Stanford and Berkeley.

    According to the site at Berkeley: "Unlike a traditional S.I. or Diesel engine, Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition (HCCI) combustion takes place spontaneously and homogeneously without flame propagation. This eliminates heterogeneous air/fuel mixture regions. In addition, HCCI is a lean combustion process. These conditions translate to a lower local flame temperature which lower the amount of Nitric Oxide (NOx) produced in the process. NOx is a gas that is believed to be responsible for the creation of ozone (O3)."

    Source on Honda implementation:Autopia

    In October, the Wall Street Journal reported (as quoted by the Green Car Congress) that Honda was working on an HCCI engine, which the company confirmed to me but would not offer further details.

    Get Four Free Price Quotes From Yahoo! Autos Hybrid Research and Pricing at

    Want to win a Toyota Highlander Hybrid?

    3M is giving away a Toyota Highlander Hybrid in a marketing ploy this summer to advertise their filtrete filters. The Sweepstakes started June 15 and ends on September 8, 2006.

    According to the rules one grand prize will be issued. The approximate retail value is currently $34,685. If the winner cannot accept the prize, an alternate will be chosen. Odds of winning depend upon number of eligible entries received.

    See the official 3M Filtrete site for more details.

    All they want is your name and address along with your phone number and e-mail. But the good news is that you may opt out of their mailing list at any time:

    Sponsor may use such information to contact participants by e-mail and/or mail to update them on products, services and upcoming events. You may opt off Sponsor's e-mail distribution list at any time by visiting and following the online instructions. Opting off the distribution list will not affect your chances of winning.

    Get Four Free Price Quotes From Yahoo! Autos Hybrid Research and Pricing at

    Forms used to claim Hybrid Tax Credit

    If you bought a hybrid car or suv this year, you may be eligible for the federal tax credit on hybrid cars. When claiming your hybrid tax credit, make sure you fill out the right form.

    Form 8910, Alternative Motor Vehicle Credit, is used to claim the qualified hybrid vehicle credit as well as for vehicles qualifying for other provisions of the alternative motor vehicle credit.

    If the qualifying hybrid vehicle is purchased for business use, the credit for the business use of a qualifying hybrid vehicle is reported on Form 3800, General Business Credit.

    For qualifying hybrid vehicles acquired for personal use, the credit is reported on the appropriate line of the taxpayer’s Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return.

    Update: Looking for more information? Follow the link to more information on the 2007 Hybrid Car Tax Credit.

    Get Four Free Price Quotes From Yahoo! Autos Hybrid Research and Pricing at

    Tuesday, July 11, 2006

    Hybrid Bus coming to your town soon?

    I suppose it is possible that local towns will want to make a statement about environmental issues and start going hybrid. But at twice the price, that's going to be a hard pill to swallow at your local town meeting.

    Even at 40 percent savings on fuel costs, without grants from the state or federal level, I can't imagine most schools will choose to go elsewhere with their budgets.

    Source:WTEN, Albany, NY: Hybrid Bus Highlights "Super Bowl" for School Bus Junkies

    The cost of a hybrid is double what you would pay for a normal diesel bus; 160-thousand bucks for one of the buses on display.

    Shenendehowa, the largest district in the area, will try out the hybrid for several months. Because Shen's bill for diesel fuel is up 50 percent this year, that is an extra 200-grand.

    Get Four Free Price Quotes From Yahoo! Autos Hybrid Research and Pricing at

    Ford may have backed off, but its Chinese partner isn't

    Recently, Ford backed off its promise to build 250,000 hybrids. But Chang'an, its Chinese partner is promising to jump into the hybrid car market by 2008.

    Chang'an is going to offer its own brand of petrol-electric hybrid cars in China. As the fourth largest auto group in China, they hope to offer 10 percent of sales of their own brand as hybrids by 2010.

    To pull this off, they are planning on spending $31 million on hybrid cars as part of their total $620 million to develp their own cars. The hybrids would be available in their overseas expansion, as well. By 2010, they hope that 25 to 30 percent of their own brand sales will occur overseas.

    Source:People's Daily Online -- Chang'an steers into hybrid car market

    The group's hybrid car push comes after a slew of foreign auto giants and other domestic producers began, or announced they would start, making petrol-electric cars in China, where oil is in short supply and fuel prices are growing rapidly.

    Japan's Toyota Motor began production of its 1.5-litre Prius hybrid sedan at the end of 2005 with another Chinese auto group, First Automotive Works Corp. The move made the world's No 2 carmaker the first producing hybrid vehicles in China.

    Maple, the Shanghai-based unit of China's biggest privately owned carmaker Geely Automobile, also plans to enter the hybrid car sector in 2008 with an initial output of 5,000 to 10,000 units a year.

    Get Four Free Price Quotes From Yahoo! Autos Hybrid Research and Pricing at

    Monday, July 10, 2006

    Denso wants more

    Denso, the auto parts supplier, wants to grow even faster than they have in the past. With double-digit growth in revenue and profits, that will be hard to do.

    Denso is the one of the big four auto parts suppliers. Wtih revenues of $28.8 billion and market capitalisation of $33 billion (ranked second in the world for listed parts supplier), that makes Denso bigger than Ford and GM combined.

    Denso trails Robert Bosch and Delphi by revenue, but is a leading provider of hybrid systems as well as other common rail and other diesel engine fuel injection technology. Denso has been spending more on research and development over the past several years, while expenditures on facilities increased to nine percent of revenue last year.

    Source:Denso - Car company’s exponential growth

    Get Four Free Price Quotes From Yahoo! Autos Hybrid Research and Pricing at

    Thursday, July 06, 2006

    Hybrid Car Air Conditioning

    In order to save gas, hybrid cars shut their engines off when idling, say at a red light or even when you start the car. It's not until you accelerate (or take your foot off the brake) when the gas engine turns on. Since the gas engine is off and given that conventional gas engines run the air conditioning compressor using a belt system and since AC is the second largest user of the car's energy, figuring out how to make the AC work was an important consideration for each carmaker.

    Each automaker implemented its own system to deal with this issue. Toyota has removed the belt system all together, while Honda implemented a dual scroll system. Gm and Ford have also implemented dual ac compressors that are powered by either the gas or the electric engine.

    Starting in 2005, Toyota started powering the ac compressor using the high voltage battery packs necessary for the electric engine of a hybrid car. This requires an electric motor with an integrated inverter and controls to drive the ac compressor. It has been integrated with a high voltage, 3-phase AC motor and control inverter.

    Honda, because it has a parallel hybrid configuration, uses a lower voltage than Toyota. And so the high current draw of an air conditioner needed something different. They went on to develop a dual scroll ac compressor. Two compressors in one, it has a 75cc belt driven scroll compressor in the front and a smaller 15cc electric scroll compressor in the rear. The electric scroll has 3-phase high voltage electric motor for its drive. The ac compressor then draws its power from one or both of the scrolls, depending on the situation.

    During idle stops, the electric compressor will run alone unless the charge is low or demand is too high. In that case, the gas engine will restart to power the belt drive compressor to assist or to completely take over.

    GM also has a dual-mode air conditioning compressor. As part of the ParadiGM system, the compressor is mounted on and driven by the transaxle.

    Ford hybrid vehicles run the air conditioning from the gas engine, which means the air conditioner doesn't always maintain a constant temperature. In high demand situations (really hot days) the gas engine will keep running for maximum cooling.

    Get Four Free Price Quotes From Yahoo! Autos Hybrid Research and Pricing at

    The Lexus Battery System in the RX 400h

    The Lexus battery has 30 Nickel Metal Hybride (Ni-MH) modules, each with eight cells that provide 1.2V per cell. The total battery provides 288V and a peak power of 45 kW (the normal automotive battery is 12V).

    Current improvements in the 2006 are revisements in the metal case. Toyota has improved the heat rejection and reducing the size and height of the module by 22 percent. The batteries are split into three groups, with a dedicated cooling fan for each group. The battery pack resides under the backseat and the cooling vents are clearly visible.

    Since the engine does not run when idling at stop lights, the belt system has been eliminated. Therefore the alternator, power steering pump, water pump and ac compressor require alternate sources of energy.

    The alternator and starter motor, were eliminated from the design as unnecessary.

    Toyota co-developed a high voltage ac compressor to be powered by the battery pack. The compressor is integrated with a high voltage, 3-phase AC motor and control inverter. The result was 40 percent smaller and 50 percent lighter than conventional electric compressors.

    Get Four Free Price Quotes From Yahoo! Autos Hybrid Research and Pricing at

    Mitsubishi introduces hybrid truck in Japan

    But will it come to the US? Like the hybrid minivans available in Japan today, it seems that automakers are willing to sell more types of hybrid vehicles in Japan than they are in the US.

    The newly introduced hybrid (diesel) light truck introduced by Mitsubishi is the Canter Eco Hybrid. DaimlerChrysler AG of Germany owns 85 percent of Mitsubishi and hopes to sell several hundred trucks by the end of 2006.

    Mitsubishis claims the Canter Eco Hybrid truck has the best fuel efficiency of any Japanese brand of hybrid electric commercial vehicle and is the first light duty truck to comply with Japan's stringent, upcoming 'long term emissions regulations.'

    Get Four Free Price Quotes From Yahoo! Autos Hybrid Research and Pricing at

    Wednesday, July 05, 2006

    Is Ford looking to up its CAFE numbers?

    Ford recently backed away from its promise of 250,000 hybrids by 2010, and has instead promised more flex-fuel vehicles. It may have been the competition factor, or it may be the cost of building and researching better hybrid technology. But Treehugger thinks it may be about CAFE.

    It seems in 1988, congress passed the Alternative Motor Fuels Act of 1988. As part of an incentive to auto makers to build cars capable of running on alternative fuels, Congress granted a "credit of up to 1.2 mpg toward an automobile manufacturers average fuel economy which helps it avoid penalties of the corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards."

    The Union of Concerned Scientists are estimating a 65% bonus in credited fuel economy.

    But what may be more important is cost of implentation. It's a lot easier and cheaper to implement flex-fuel models throughout Ford's fleet of vehicles. The only problem for consumers is obtaining that flexible fuel. Most fueling stations do not carry the flexible fuel and probably won't for many years (if at all). So Ford gets a mpg boost while not changing any 'real world' values.

    Source: Treehugger

    Get Four Free Price Quotes From Yahoo! Autos Hybrid Research and Pricing at

    Hybrid Sales were up 20% in June

    Year to year increases in the hybrid vehicle sector have become commonplace, but a 20% increase (due mostly to the continued strong sales of the Toyota Prius and Camry Hybrid) is still big news. Overall, all three automakers increased sales from last year, but only Toyota increased hybrid sales from last month.

    Toyota increased hybrid sales overall to 18,090 units sold, an increase of 19.8% from last June. By selling more hybrids than any other carmaker, they captured 78.5% of the hybrid market. Sales on the Toyota Prius increased from 9,622 to 9,696 units. It seems the only limit on Prius sales is the number of units Toyota can manufacture.

    The newly introduced Toyota Camry hybrid sold 4,268 units in the month of June. That made it the second most popular hybrid. Toyota also sold 2,705 Highlander Hybrids, a decrease of 5.7% from last June.

    Toyota's Lexus division sold 231 units of its GS 450h and 1,190 units of its RX 400h. The RX 400h is down 54.3% from last year as well.

    Honda increased hybrid sales by 2.4% due to sales of the Honda Civic Hybrid. The Honda Civic Hybrid increased sales from 1,852 to 2,601 units, an increase of 40.4% from last year. The low production (and soon to be retired) two-seater Insight sold 77 units, an increase of 11.6%.

    Sales of the Honda Accord Hybrid have completely fallen off. Honda sold only 396 units, a decrease of 63.3% from last year. It seems the idea of a 'performance hybrid' is not going over well with consumers. Honda has stated they are thinking of reducing production of the Accord Hybrid.

    Ford (and Mercury) are still way up from last year, selling a combined 1,884 units, an increase of 67.3% over last year. The Ford Escape hybrid and its luxury sister, the Mercury Mariner captured 8.2% of the hybrid market.

    Of interest is the continuing decrease in Hybrid SUV sales. With the introduction of new hybrid cars, sales have continued to increase month to month since February. But hybrid SUV sales have decreased each month for the past three months.

    Get Four Free Price Quotes From Yahoo! Autos Hybrid Research and Pricing at

    Hybrid vehicles can park for free in San Antonio

    Those who want to take advantage must obtain a green placard to hang from the rearview mirror. All other rules must be followed, including parking for only the time alloted at the meter.

    San Antonio joins a growing list of cities and states encouraging the use of hybrid technology. By allowing drivers to park for free, they hope to raise awareness of the environmental considerations revolving around cars.

    The program expires May 3, 2007.

    Get Four Free Price Quotes From Yahoo! Autos Hybrid Research and Pricing at

    Automotive Parts

    E-Bay Motors


      © Link to Privacy Policy

    Back to TOP