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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
It’s not every day you get to sit inside a concept car, and driving one is an even rarer occurrence since these special vehicles are typically one-offs that are more precious than gold to automakers. Against the odds AutoGuide got a very brief test drive of the beautiful Infiniti Emerg-E show car at the Nissan 360 media event in Southern California.
Vehicles with alternative powertrains (those not powered purely by gasoline) are expected to account for 36 percent of the world market by 2025 according to a forecast by LMC Automotive.
The Obama Administration will help federal agencies add 10,000 hybrids to their fleets in a move that will save 1 million gallons of fuel per year over the vehicle’s lifespans.
Outlandish as it might seem, a new study is predicting that there could be as many as 1.6 million hydrogen-powered vehicles on U.K. roads by 2030.
More than half of the alternative-fuel cars bought by government agencies last year were built by Asian automakers.
National parks are naturally concerned with environmental preservation and a handful are finding ways to encourage driving at the same time.
Certain drivers in the San Francisco Bay area are getting the chance to gas up with a new kind of fuel this week.
Despite a push by some members of the U.S. military to find gasoline alternatives, it looks like the Republican-lead House Armed Services Committee is putting the kibosh on biofuel in military applications.
Electric cars may have arrived, but the search for the perfect alternative fuel is still in progress. There are still a few major issues that keep battery powered vehicles from replacing the internal combustion engine.
Pump up your tires and pump up your tank, there’s a new kind of fuel in town thanks to the Dearman Engine Company.
Well, that’s not totally true. The fuel is actually air in liquid form, so it isn’t actually new, but the London-based company that formed just under a year ago has managed to develop an engine that runs on it.
The system works by storing air at -256 degrees Fahrenheit in a tank before pumping it into a cylinder with what Dearman calls a heat exchange fluid. Once inside the chamber, the liquid air rapidly expands to propel the piston in the same fashion as a traditional internal combustion engine. The coolest part is that the system’s exhaust only emits air.
Tech stories about revolutionary new systems aren’t all that rare and they usually end by essentially saying “it’s really cool, but don’t expect it to ever be mainstream” and while that’s probably still the case here, Dearman is quick to point out that their motor relies solely on existing materials.
Truth be told, the air is actually just an energy catalyst. That means automotive applications would require a secondary power source to keep the tank chilled. It also seems that liquid air used as fuel would slowly disappear from cars that sat for a long time.
The system is currently being tested for real-world feasibility, but if it proves to be a workable system we speculate that it could play into a new gasoline or electric hybrid drivetrain somewhere in the future. If it ever happens, you could be “gassing up” with an air compressor while you check tire pressure. Watch the video after the jump to learn more.
The only natural gas production car to be manufactured and sold in the United States, the all-new 2012 Honda Civic Natural Gas will be available at 200 dealers across 38 states beginning on October 18th.
Prices for this one-of-a-kind alternative energy vehicle begins at $26,155. The Civic Natural Gas is powered by a modified version of the same 1.8-liter engine that’s found in the petrol Civics. While the Civic Natural Gas is significantly more efficient than the regular Civic at 27 city and 38 highway, it falls short of the 44 mpg achieved by the Honda Civic Hybrid. Starting at $24,800, the Civic Hybrid is cheaper than the Natural Gas variant as well.
Honda explained in their press release that the Civic Natural Gas significantly reduces operating costs and fuel costs, as natural gas at gas stations have historically cost approximately 30 percent less per gallon than gasoline. Furthermore, as the Civic Natural Gas’ engine produces almost zero smog-forming emissions and is the cleanest internal-combustion engine certified by EPA (Tier-II, Bin-2, ILEV certification), it earned a state-issued decal that allows for single-occupant access on the HOV lane in multiple states including California. While it is more expensive than the Honda Civic Hybrid, owning a Civic Natural Gas sure has its perks.
GALLERY: Honda Civic Natural Gas
President Barrack Obama’s initiative for government fleet vehicles to be able to run on alternative fuels like E85 ethanol, could result in higher gas consumption, rather than reducing it. That means, this project could end up doing the opposite of what it was set out to achieve.
Only 1-percent of gas stations offer E85 in the United States, so only very few government fleet vehicles can take advantage of this fuel. So most fleet drivers end up using regular gas.
And they end up using more of it, because the vehicles they drive, the ones that can run on both regular gas and E85, are not the most fuel-efficient vehicles sold in the country. So while this initiative had its heart in the ‘green’ place, it could ending up increasing green-house gasses.
In order for the President’s plan to work, the infrastructure needs to improve vastly which would increase the availability of alternative fuels.
President Obama recently said that by 2015 he wants to see more fuel-efficient of alternative fueled vehicles to be used in fleets, as part of the plan to reduce dependency on foreign oil. However, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and fully electric vehicles aren’t as widely available and cost more to buy. Plus they lack the durability that is required by some government fleets.
In 2009, the first year of the Obama administration, government vehicles increased gasoline use by 3-percent. Figures for 2010 are to be released later this year.
[Source: Automotive News]
Prince William chose an environmentally friendly way to show off his new bride by leaving Buckingham Palace in his father’s vintage Aston Martin DB6 MK II.
While Prince Charles is a noted gearhead, he’s also extremely passionate about environmental causes, and has had the Aston retrofitted to run on E85 made from “wine wastage”. Prince Charles has owned the car since 1969, but is also known to drive an Audi A8 and an Audi Allroad station wagon.
An expected announcement today by President Barack Obama will outline the federal government’s commitment to buy only advanced technology vehicles by 2015.
Only hybrids, plug-in electrics, and flex-fuel vehicles will be allowed into its present fleet of 600,000 vehicles. The government has already doubled its number of hybrids in keeping with existing mandates.
Full-size SUVs and other vehicles could still be allowed, but they would need to run on E85 ethanol.
Also expected from Obama’s Georgetown University speech today will be a strategy to cut oil imports by one third by 2025, while calling for a substantial increase in fuel economy for vehicles produced from 2017-2025.
The reduction could save the U.S. more than 11 million barrels per day, the White House said, which is the amount the U.S. imported in 2008.
Obama will also ask Congress to increase incentives to assist compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles for consumers, corporate and business fleets.
Today’s announcement will be just one of a long line of transportation energy measures tightening the belt in the face of ever diminishing oil supplies.
Last summer the White House supported a bill that would have approved $4 billion in assistance for CNG vehicles. That bill stalled in the last Congress, but did have some support from Republicans and Democrats.
In October 2009, the president directed federal agencies with 20 or more vehicles to cut fuel usage by 2 percent.
In 2010 the government bought 23,000 fuel-efficient vehicles, of which 9,000 were hybrids. This year the government will buy its first 100 battery electric vehicles, such as the Chevrolet Volt, shown above.
Concerned also with greenhouse gas emissions, a $300 million stimulus bill was approved by Congress in 2009. The White House also intends to finalize the first national fuel economy and greenhouse gas emission standards for commercial trucks, vans and buses.
These are planned to take effect in the 2014 model year and will cover the 2014-18 model years.
[Source: Detroit News]
Given that it’s long been the preferred supplier of vehicles to taxi fleets, Ford has offered a Compressed Natural Gas option on its Crown Victoria for years. More recently, it has expanded the availability of CNG and LPG (Liquified Petroleum Gas) options to its larger commercial vehicles, namely the E-Series vans (of which it has already shipped some 3000 conversions) Transit Connect and most recently, the F-450 and F-550 Super Duty chassis cab trucks.
At the annual Ford Fleet Product and Business Conference on June 7, the company presented the details of its new fuel conversion option, which will be available on F-450 and F-550 trucks powered by the 6.8-liter V10 engine. Making the CNG/LPG option easier is the fact that the V10 already comes with hardened exhaust valves and seats that can withstand gaseous fuels.
Because around 97 percent of natural gas is domestically produced in the United States and there are available government tax credits for commercial fleet operators that convert their vehicles to run on alternative fuels, the F-450/550 gas conversion is likely to prove very popular.
Ford will provide calibration guidance to recommended CNG/LPG conversion specialists for the Super Duty chassis cabs, much in the same manner that programs are in place for the E-Series and small Transit Connect. By adhering to the guidelines and bulletins issued by Ford, the converted trucks will be able to maintain their full factory warranties.
[Source: Ford Motor Company]