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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]
24-year old Aaron Knudsen, sadly, has a lot to deal with right now. His mother was murdered by her estranged boyfriend in May, and between dealing with investigators and grieving over the loss of a family member, he also had to deal with outstanding payments on her mother’s 2005 Toyota Camry.
Police investigators had impounded the car after the murder, and Knudsen had contacted Toyota to let them know that he would be keeping the car and making any outstanding payments on it. Toyota initially agreed to this.
But later, in the sort of story that makes Snidely Whiplash feel underappreciated, Toyota reversed their position and seized it anyway; when Knudsen contacted them again, they threatened to sell the car if he didn’t pay the loan as well as $1,000 in impound fees by July 5th.
So Knudsen went to Toyota’s Facebook page and let them know about the situation. And with the power of social media, it went viral: Toyota was up there with Pol Pot and traffic wardens on the scale of heartless cruelty. Exactly the sort of attention Knudsen deserved. And on Friday, Toyota called him to let him know that not only was the company returning the car, forgive the outstanding debt, and return the car to him next week.
Consider your faith in humanity restored—after all, Toyota doesn’t need any more bad PR.
At the annual International Association of Chiefs of Police convention being held in Denver, Colorado, General Motors unveiled an all-new police cruiser, resurrecting the Chevrolet Caprice name. The General was rumored to be working on a police cruiser based on the Australian Holden Commodore (formerly rebadged and sold as the Pontiac G8 in North America). This is not that car.
Due to the need for more passenger and cargo room, this new vehicle, called the Chevrolet Caprice Police Patrol Vehicle (PPV) is based on a different (and larger Australian car) sold as the Holden Caprice/Statesman in its native land. The same rear-drive architecture is also used for the Chevy Camaro.
The car is large, with more interior space than a Ford Crown Vic and almost 4-inches more legroom in the rear seats – so you’ll be in for a comfortable ride after your botched attempt to rob the 7/11. There’s also more room up front and special seats were designed to keep officers comfortable over long periods of time. Because the Caprice isn’t based on any current road going vehicle in North America, the vehicle was purpose built with plenty of input from law enforcement agencies. They even went so far as to use materials that will hold up better to more rigorous use.
Best of all, the car will come with a 6.0-liter V8 rated at 355hp and 384 ft-bs of torque. So watch out street racers, because this new cruiser can hit 60 mph in less than six seconds. A V6 engine will also be offered in the future.
“The new Chevrolet Caprice police car is the right tool at the right time for law enforcement,” said Jim Campbell, general manager for GM Fleet and Commercial Operations. “We asked for a lot of feedback from our police customers, which helped us develop a vehicle that is superior to the Crown Victoria in key areas.”
GM will begin selling the Chevrolet Caprice PPV in 2011, exclusively to law enforcement agencies.
GALLERY: Chevrolet Caprice PPV
Official release after the jump: