Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Why Waste Time With Hybrids...

When pure electrics can be this good?

Those are some of the early test laps of the first (as far as I know) EV race car, the KleenSpeed WX10-T.

I can't wait to see that on a track racing in earnest!


Friday, December 26, 2008

Tango EV Snow Plow

I can't honestly say I'm sold on this particular electric vehicle, mostly because it's bloody weird looking.... but I have to admit that it'd be useful around here for nearly a third of the year.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Go Green: Drive a Porsche!

No really, it's true.

This Porsche 911 gets better gas mileage than my 4 cylinder family sedan!

I'm as shocked as you are. And I'm wondering how I can convince my boss that my next company car should be a 911, so I can save the company money, of course...

Seriously though, German ex-racer Klaus Niedzwiedz proves, once again, that how you drive is as important as what you drive. He was able to hypermile the 3.6L, 345hp sportscar exactly 400 miles (648 kms) on a single tank of gas through city streets, over country roads, and down the Autobahn... all while maintaining an average speed of 52 mph (84 kph), with his top speed being 81 mph (131 kph).

That works out to 42.2 miles per gallon (Imperial), 35.1 mpg (US), or 6.7L/100km.

That's astonishing!

It doesn't hurt that the Porsche employs some high-tech engineering like direct injection, as well as a 7-speed PDK gearbox which enables you to drive 130 km/h while keeping the engine revving under 2000 rpm.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Another Hybrid Aborted

As I mentioned here back in July, Audi is doing it's best to push diesels in North America over hybrids, thankfully.

Since diesels outperform hybrids on highways (where North Americans generally spend more time driving) this makes perfect sense to me.

Audi did, however, have plans to offer their Q7 & Q5 SUVs as hybrids to appease the masses. Thankfully, they've killed those plans and are sticking with TDI powerplants for these two trucks. Interestingly, they cite crash-test issues with the batteries. Since other automakers haven't canceled their hybrid production, I have to wonder if Audi found some issue the others haven't, or if they simply are being more exacting than the others.

In any case, they are bringing new (for them) fuel saving technologies to their lineup, including start-stop and other improvements akin to BMW's Efficient Dynamics.

Personally I'd wish they'd also spend more energy on bringing their TDI powered sedans, coupes, and roadsters here as well... especially the smaller ones like the A3.

Source: Autocar

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Moment I've Long Been Waiting For!

Top Gear drives the Tesla!

Hybrids are crap... even the "good" ones. They're over-priced, over-weight, under-performing, and are basically a futile exercise as far as I'm concerned. They don't get particularly great fuel mileage when you consider the cost, and as I've mentioned before, they don't do anything to wean us off our dependency on fossil fuels. It always irks me when people refer to them as "alternative vehicles", since there's no true "alternative" because they, like all other cars or trucks, still need to go to the gas station to fill up with the very same fuel that any other IC car/truck needs.

Bio-fuels and electric vehicles are truly viable alternatives... as the technology of each continues to progress they'll be the ones offering an honest alternative to filling up with with fossil fuels.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Clean Diesel Gets Dirty!

Hmm... fishnets!

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, Volkswagen entered a Clean Diesel powered Touareg in the Baja for the very first time and finished a respectable 13th in their class out of 26 starters.

Autoblog.com has a full article up now about their experience covering the event and watching the TDI (relatively) quietly perform.

Even better than that though, is this video from streetfire.net all about Volkswagen Motorsport's involvement with the project. It's awesome to see them stepping up with absolute commitment to developing and fielding ultra high performance diesel engines in racing.

Volkswagen TDI Touareg at the Baja 1000

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Top Gear Reviews the Ford Fiesta...

... as only Top Gear can!

I don't know about you, but capabilities like those would serve me well in a sub-compact hatchback. More than once I've found myself in a situation similar to those pictured and thought "if only my car could...."

Personally, I can't wait to see the Fiesta (as well as it's Mazda sibling, the Mazda2) here in North America. It's coming soon, and is a strong contender to be my next car in 2 years from now. The fuel prices we're seeing today won't last forever, and even though I drive a marginally efficient car now, my next one will be even more frugal, without sacrificing the joy of driving.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Tesla Gets Pulled Over

This might be a first, but I can't say for sure...

First Week With a Tesla

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

EV on Ice!

This little green beast of a car is known as an "Andros Car". It's a purpose-built electric vehicle intended to compete in the Andros Trophy race series in France. It is, as far as I know, the first EV built specifically to race in what is otherwise a conventional racing series populated by gasoline powered cars (and bikes).

The Andros Trophy is a winter race series held on ice/snow covered tracks, and is basically a mix of rally super-special stages, conventional circuit racing, and drifting. The shells of small cars like the Toyota Auris, Kia Rio, BMW 1 Series, Renault Clio, Citroen C4 and others are mounted over radical race chassis with 300+ horsepower engines and all wheel drive, and are then subsequently thrashed around on winter race tracks all over France.

It's a whole lotta' fun!

Not only will this EV be competing against conventionally powered cars, it stands a decent chance of winning. Last year the 2nd version of the Andros car won the final event of the year. The 3rd iteration (pictured above) should be even better.

And starting in 2009, there will be a 100% electric class featuring 10 of these cars competing.

Finally, there is also an electric bike, the Quantya, competing in the 2 wheeled class of the Andros Trophy.

Two video's of the Andros Car 03, as well as the Quantya bike can be seen HERE as well as HERE.

As a passionate motorsports fan I have to admit that I have a hard time dealing with the lack of noise... part of racing is the awesome sound of a high performance engine but even so, I'm eager to see EVs shed their laughable sterotype - that of being slow, ugly, micro-cars that look like they belong on golf courses and retirement community driveways instead of the real road - and really start to show that they can perform.