Imagine being able to charge your electric car in minutes rather than hours, or your smartphone in seconds. That’s the enticing prospect being touted by researchers who reckon they’ve discovered a new material that could boost the performance of a carbon-based supercapacitor – sometimes called an ultracapacitor – a type of energy storage device that can be charged very quickly and offload its power very quickly, too.
If you’re thinking that conventional tires aren’t quite up to snuff for the greenest possible electric vehicle driving experience, run right out and buy yourself a cigar. Some of the world’s most forward-thinking automotive engineers have been tackling the problem, and engineers at Goodyear have come up with a solution: moss.
Cars with plugs may be the cleaner and greener future, but at the moment, they make up only about 1 percent of global sales approaching 100 million vehicles a year. That means that automakers continue to work ceaselessly on more efficient gasoline engines and lighter vehicles to put them in. Last week, Toyota summarized its plans in that arena and revealed some of the future powertrains we’ll see in Toyota and Lexus vehicles over the next several years.
Anyone who tells you that dealing with climate change is simply a matter of sweeping away the obstructionism of oil companies is living in a dream world. The real obstacle is us — our vast dependence on fossil fuels and the difficulty of extricating ourselves without crippling the world economy. It’s true that the Trump administration has withdrawn from the Paris climate agreement, making any transition harder. But the problems transcend President Trump’s disengagement, as a new study from the oil giant BP makes clear.
Responding to fleet market demand for complete, body-ready chassis, Motiv Power Systems is introducing the EPIC (Electric Powered Intelligent Chassis) all-electric family of chassis for 2018. Debuting at Ford’s booth and based on the E-450, F-59, and F-53 platforms, the EPIC all-electric chassis are production-line ready, drop-in replacements for the equivalent ICE chassis and are available for a wide range of medium-duty body applications including walk-in vans, box trucks, school buses, shuttle buses, work trucks and specialty vehicles.
The Kona Electric will make its debut at the Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland next week. It’s based on Hyundai’s small gasoline-powered Kona SUV. With the standard battery, the Kona Electric will have a range of about 186 miles. With an optional high-capacity battery it could go as far as 292 miles. These figures are based on new European driving test designed to yield more realistic results than tests that have been used before.
XL Hybrids will offer an electrified 2018 Ford F-250 pickup to commercial and municipal fleets that will be unveiled at NTEA’s Work Truck Show in Indianapolis in early March, the company announced. The battery-electric hybrid F-250 will be equipped with the vehicle modifier’s XLH hybrid drive system that’s expected to increase fuel economy by 25% and significantly reduce carbon-dioxide emissions. Production of the hybrid F-250 conversions will begin in March. The Work Truck Show is set for March 6 to 9 in Indianapolis. XL Hybrids will also make its technology available on more F-150 pickups, by adding SuperCrew models. The company now offers F-150s with its XLP plug-in hybrid electric system that improves fuel economy by 50%, according to the company.
Blogging from Kabul, Seattle Times reporter Hal Bernton is struck by how the post-Taliban proliferation of private vehicles has boosted smog and air pollution, threatening public health. Now picture the possibilities in places such as China and India, where rapidly multiplying populations are enjoying new opportunities and car ownership is seen as an important step on the economic ladder. The small, affordable, fuel-sipping Tata Nano is a success story in India, yet The New Delhi-based Center for Science and the Environment recently warned of carbon emission risks posed by a growing percentage of bigger vehicles in the nation’s fleet, combined with a failure to set fuel economy standards. (Open Microsoft Word doc. after clicking here). The Times of India confirms the sport utility vehicle market there is heating up. In addition to the tiny Nano, Tata Motors, India’s largest auto manufacturer, makes many types of mid-sized and larger rides, including SUVs such as the Safari Dicor, the Sumo Victa, the Sumo Grande and the Xenon XT pick-up (pictured, right). Plus commercial trucks, now enjoying a sales boom in India. The “50 By 50 Global Fuel Economy Initiative” report highlights a projected tripling of the world’s light vehicle fleet by 2050, with 80 percent of that growth occurring in rapidly developing countries.
The report concludes that improving the average fuel economy of the global car fleet 50 percent by that year will “mainly involve incremental change to conventional internal combustion engines and drive systems, along with weight reduction and better aerodynamics.” Important aims to be sure, but “50 By 50” unfortunately consigns the eventual wide adoption of green vehicles such as plug-in hybrids and all-electrics to “icing on the cake” status, and largely sidesteps environmentally beneficial congestion reduction measures. In contrast, The Economist’s approach to controlling greenhouse gas emissions from a growing global fleet of light vehicles starts with a strong call for a carbon tax calibrated to vehicle type, and includes other economic incentives and electrification.