If you give me a choice between gas and electric, nine chances out of ten I’m going to choose gas. I’ve got a gas-powered lawn mower, a gas-powered string trimmer and a gas-powered backpack blower to clean my yard. I’m currently haunting pawn shops for a killer deal on a gas-powered chainsaw, because we’re headed into another hurricane season and have dodged a bullet for far too long. My power washer and my air compressor are both electric, which is a concession to practicality more than anything else, and if I could find the right deal on a two stroke blender, I’d buy it in a heartbeat. Thus, Nissan’s sentiment in the ad below is lost on me, and I’m far too jaded to believe that generation of electricity has no environmental impact. Watch the video and judge for yourself. Read More…
If you’re into motorcycles then you’ll remember that about ten years ago we began to see a shift in the types of bikes found in urban environments. Harley Davidson’s and hipster Ducati’s were all the rage, until that is, someone got smart and decided that enduros were actually the better way to go for bouncing over city potholes. Bikes like Honda’s XR650L and Kawaski’s KLR650 were now ditching their off-road tires in favor of nice street wheels clad with sticky rubber. The long travel suspension and upright riding positions made these the perfect machines for blitzing through tight city streets and bouncing over potholes. Now it seems that a California bike company called Zero Motorcycles has introduced a bike called the Zero S. It’s a bitchin’ looking enduro, but one that comes with a catch (and a cord). You see this sucker is electric.
If family history is any indicator, that chance that I’ll still be alive in 2050 is roughly on par with the chance of Charlie Sheen finding Jesus and becoming a Southern Baptist revival preacher. I’m good with that, which is why I try to enjoy the time I’ve got here as much as possible. If the latest rumor out of the EU has merit, it gives me one more reason to consume as much fossil fuel as I can over the next 39 years. Autoblog, via Autoblog.nl, reports that the EU will ban all fossil-fueled vehicles from European cities by 2050. A detailed plan is scheduled to be released later this week, but it allegedly calls for a 50% reduction in fossil fuel vehicle traffic as soon as 2030. In typical EU fashion, I suspect they’ll simply tax gas, diesel and parking to the point where only the rich can afford to drive, while the rest of us are “encouraged” to take mass transit. Read More…
Let’s see now… 0-60 in under 5 seconds, two seats and a range of 150 miles. Hmm… it seams as though Nissan is getting the idea that if you want to sell electric cars to enthusiasts you’d better make them fun. Meet the Nissan Esflow, a concept car for those people who actually like to drive cars. The Esflow is based on the same technology that is found in the all electric Nissan Leaf. It’s got two motors that independently drive the rear wheels as well as the same laminated lithium-ion battery packs as the current Leaf. In the Esflow however, the packs are placed along the axis of the front and rear wheels thus centralizing the cars mass which helps it achieve 150 miles per charge. The idea behind the Esflow is to give the public an idea of what future electric sports cars might look like (umm.. Tesla?)
BMW’s new documentary series “Wherever You Want to Go” was created for one simple reason; to craft original, thought-provoking and entertaining content on what the future of mobility may look like. The first film, entitled “The New City” discusses the question of how our modern cities will sustain and provide us with transportation systems that are not only efficient, but eco-friendly. Whether you travel to work, school or simply to the store, everyone who travels has an opinion on what is the easiest way to get there. The future is poised to be a wonderful, intriguing and innovative place where new ideas will likely spawn from a necessity to live more efficiently. The real question is, what will it bring and how will we get there, and to that I honestly don’t know. I can promise you this though, what ever happens, it is sure to be an exciting ride.
Here in the United States there is obviously a huge environmental push going on to find new, cleaner ways of powering our vehicles, while at the same time producing better mileage. Electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids and clean diesels are now all in production and on their way to giving consumers more choices that will leave a smaller footprint on our environment. Clean diesels are fuel efficient, expel low emissions and provide owners with lots of low-end torque. Motoring File is reporting there will be a new Mini Cooper SD (diesel) that will make its debut at the Geneva Auto Show in March. It will be powered by a 143 hp BMW turbo diesel that will kick out a rumored 225 lb-ft of torque and achieve over 60 mpg. Now I don’t know about you, but this sounds like a Cooper owners wet dream. Unfortunately, due to U.S. EPA regulations, the odds of us seeing this new diesel Cooper on this side of the pond are slim to none. For enthusiasts this is truly unfortunate as power wise the diesel Cooper will pump out more torque then even their JCW edition.
If you own or plan on owning an electric vehicle then you already know that you’ll need to install some kind of charging station into your home. Sure you can charge most EV’s with a standard 110v outlet, but that could take up to 20 hours for some vehicles. There is no doubt that the 220v plug-station is the way to go, but even with that unit you’ll still need to plug that baby into the wall with a long power cord. What if however you could simply roll into your garage, park and then head in without having to plug-in the car. That would be nice wouldn’t it? Apparently that technology isn’t too far away. You see a company called eCoupled is currently working on a new form of induction charger for electric vehicles that will allow owners to charge their cars without the use of a power cord.
Even though the technology in cell phones has advanced drastically over the years, the basic way in which we charge them has not. Most phones are generally tethered to a wall outlet or automotive cigarette lighter by a long spiral cord which is not only cumbersome, but can get in the way of driving. It’s not a safety hazard per say, but it’s also not the best solution out there. Enter the Powermat, a wireless charging station that works simply by placing your electronic device on top of it, thus eliminating the need for a long cord. GM recently invested $5 million into Powermat technology in the hopes of getting the technology into their cars as soon as possible. The first such car to be equipped is said to be none other then the new Chevrolet Volt.
Micky Bly, GM’s lead electronics executive stated, “Imagine a mat or shelf where you could put your iPhone, your Droid or other personal device and charge it automatically while you commute to work, run errands or as you’re driving on a family vacation.”
Over the past few months the new Chevrolet Volt has taken multiple print and online awards. As such it should come as no surprise that the Volt will be the first production automobile to showcase Powermat technology. Personally, I love the idea, as anything that can reduce dash board and or wiring clutter in an automobile is a step in the right direction.
Looking back on 2010, it was one hell of a roller coaster. Like any other year, it had it’s good times and bad times, but the good times seemed fewer and farther between than in years passed. On the automotive front, enthusiasts got some great new choices, greens got the first modern mass produced electric car (and the first serial hybrid) and everyone else got improved quality and reliability. Car sales were up, despite a down economy, and both Audi and Hyundai posted record years. GM proved that they’re well on the way back to financial health, and Ford continued their growth in market share. Even Chrysler rallied in 2010, introducing the new Jeep Grand Cherokee, the Fiat 500 and the revised 2011 Charger and Challenger.
Paris, France, wants you to leave your SUV at the city limits. Drive an older Mercedes diesel, or something else that belches particulates and sucks down gas like Lyndsay Lohan sucks down martinis? Paris wants you to leave that outside of the city as well. In fact, if what you drive isn’t compact and fuel efficient, don’t plan on visiting Paris behind the wheel after next year. The city is in the process of restricting “gas guzzling” vehicles, although they have yet to precisely define what fuel economy will be needed to make a vehicle exempt. The ban would limit access to congested areas of the city during certain times of day or certain times of the year, unless drivers were behind the wheel of a “green” vehicle. Paris isn’t the first city across the pond to institute such a ban, as London and Berlin already have gass-guzzler restrictions in place.