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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.
The National Highway Traffic Administration proposed a new rule today that would force auto makers to place prominent plain language badges to distinguish their alternative fuel vehicles.
If being green is the new black, and hydrogen is the future of being green, will there be any color puns left to make?
A recent survey suggests half of Americans believe government has unfairly placed bets on electrified cars over clean diesel vehicles.
Price, looks and size… these are the few factors that used to decide what vehicle you’d park in your driveway. Looking for a cheap and small car? A Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic will do. Need something bigger, perhaps a mid-size Hyundai Sonata or an SUV. Things used to be pretty easy.
With increasingly high gas prices and an overall movement towards green, fuel efficient vehicles, fuel economy has become more important. In fact, for many price, looks and size are now completely trumped by fuel economy.
“Buyers just look at the MPG on the sticker,” says IHS Automotive Analyst Devin Lindsay commenting that car buyers are now completely mesmerized by the EPA sticker label.
Take a look at the Toyota Prius, for example. It’s not terribly big, is fairly expensive, and looks… well… weird. But that didn’t stop three million of them from being sold, all thanks to a hybrid gas-electric engine that provides excellent fuel economy.
The Prius isn’t the only option for someone looking for a fuel efficient car, however; especially those in search of a more engaging driving experience. If you want to cut down on trips to the pump, and still drive a fun, powerful, good looking car, your best bet might just be in a diesel powered vehicle. That does mean you’ll almost certainly have to drive German, although a flood of new diesel-powered vehicles are about to hit our shore.
It’s no secret that Colorado is a fan of alternative energy. The state government offers additional subsidies for people interested in vehicles like the Chevrolet Volt, offering thousands in incentives. Still, it seems far into the future that the state — or anyone, will start fueling cars with feces.
Despite that, there is such a vehicle currently being used at the Denver Zoo. A 20-year-old motorized rickshaw from Thailand, better known as a tuk tuk, has been re-engineered to run on, well, poop.
Mike Dunbar is one of the mechanical engineers working at the zoo who helped engineer the waste wagon, which runs on animal dung and other zoo waste. The vehicle’s power system compresses the material, creating a gas that is then used to generate electricity. That charge is then used to power everything on the rig.
While the tuk tuk is painfully slow, its creators say the point is to demonstrate that it’s possible to run a vehicle on trash. The vehicle is still incomplete, but is expected to be finished by the fall.
“This is not just a zoo thing,” Hale said to the Denver Post. “It can be applied on campuses, in communities and many other environments.”
Once completed, the project currently powering the puttering tuk tuk will be scaled up to generate 20 percent of the zoo’s energy, which translates into repurposing roughly 1.5 million pounds of waste annually.
Watch a video of the vehicle in action after the break.
[Source: Denver Post]
With all the talk of environmental concerns, energy dependence and air quality these days, many commercial fleet operators are looking to alternative solutions to power their vehicles and perhaps save a bit of money in the process. In North America, one of the cheapest and certainly most practical alternatives has been Compressed Natural Gas (CNG). Taxi fleets have been using CNG fueled cars for years and increasingly other segments of the commercial vehicle sector are adopting it, including those that rely on pickups and vans for delivery or contract work.
However, many conversions were traditionally handled, not by the automakers, but outside contractors, which could potentially result in quality and reliability issues, not to mention the fact that such vehicles weren’t backed by the manufacturer’s warranty. However, General Motors is changing all that by performing CNG conversions on it’s full-size vans, the Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana in-house.
The vans will be covered by GM’s standard three-year, 36,000 mile new vehicle warranty and a 100,000 mile, five-year powertrain warranty. In addition, with the CNG conversion, the vans will meet all required CARB, EPA smog requirements as well as federal vehicle safety standards, much like their regular gasoline engined counterparts.
“Our focus from the beginning has been to offer fleet customers a simple ‘check the box’ approach with our CNG Chevrolet Express and Savana vans,” declared Brian Small, general manager, GM Fleet and Commercial Operations. “Our robust production process is a key enabler and certainly separates us from any competitive offering.”
GM will manufacturer 6.0-liter Vortech V8s for the CNG vans with hardened valves and seats to cope with the gaseous fuel, which will be shipped to the Wentzville, Missouri plant where the vans are built and installed into them, directly on the assembly line.
Part of making effective use of an alternative fuel such as CNG, is being able to successfully store and distribute it and for that, GM has teamed up with Productive Concepts, an Indiana based alternative fuels company, who will also be involved in the engine manufacturing process and helping ensure the required emissions standards are met.