Thursday, March 5, 2009

Diesels We Can't Buy in North America

North America has been, let's face it, utterly slow in accepting diesel as an alternate fuel for passenger cars. To the average North American driver a diesel is what powers dumptrucks, farm tractors, and 18-wheeled rigs.

On the other side of the Atlantic where they average automobile driving consumer is somewhat more enlightened, diesels account for about half the passenger cars on the road. put together a gallery of 10 diesels available in Europe that are not sold here in North America.

Check out some of these numbers:

10) Chrysler Grand Voyager CRD - 9.4L/100km (25 mpg US)
9) Porsche Cayenne Diesel - 9.4L/100km (25 mpg US)
8) Volvo XC60 - 7.6L/100km (31 mpg US)
7) Jaguar XF S Diesel - 6.7L/100km (35 mpg US)
6) Honda Accord Tourer Type-S - 5.9L/100km (40 mpg US)
5) VW CC Blue TDi - 5.6L/100km (42 mpg US)
4) BMW 116d - 4.4L/100km (53 mpg US)
3) MINI Cooper D - 3.9L/100km (60 mpg US)
2) Ford Fiesta ecoNetic - 3.7L/100km (64 mpg US)
1) smart ForTwo CDI - 3.3L/100km (72 mpg US)

From minivans, to SUVs, to luxury sedans, to wagons, to compacts and subcompacts... each of these vehicles is sold in North America (not always the same name, but the same vehicle nonetheless) with a gasoline burning engine that doesn't even come close to the fuel economy of their diesel burning counterparts, and in some cases doesn't even match the performance numbers either.

Tesla EV Coming to Canada!

Forgive me if I get more than a little excited about this, but the Tesla Roadster will soon be available here in Canada. Not that I'll be able to even remotely afford one, but still it's very cool news, and I look forward to hopefully seeing one in the flesh... er... alloy one day.

In the mean time we have these images Courtesy of Norway's Ferdinand Motor to ogle, as well as some video of the Tesla testing on snow and ice thanks to

(more video at the link)

The full press release from Tesla can be read HERE.

The part I find most promising is this:

Canada is uniquely positioned to become a premier showcase for Tesla, which has delivered more than 200 cars to U.S. customers. Canada and Norway are the only two countries worldwide where the majority of electricity comes from renewable resources, including run-of-river small hydro, wind, biomass, geothermal and solar energy.

An EV recharged from the current Canadian grid, on average, would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 85 percent compared to an equivalent gasoline-powered vehicle. In hydro-dominant British Columbia, Quebec and Manitoba, the reduction would be an impressive 98 percent.

Quebec has the capacity to produce so much hydro-electricity that we have leftover power that we sell users outside of the province. And it's all from renewable, and virtually non-polluting resources. Compared to electricity produced by burning coal, this puts us at a huge advantage in terms of how eco-friendly an EV in this province truly can be. While the Tesla is a dream car, I sincerely look forward to the day when battery power is the preferred means of vehicular motivation.

In the mean time, hopefully I'll get to see one at the 2009 edition of the Rallye R.E.A.L. this fall.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Why We Get the Shaft at the Pump

I did some research this afternoon in an attempt to figure out why gas prices jumped by nearly $0.20/liter (~$0.75/gallon) between the time I went to bed and the time I woke up. It turns out that oil prices actually dropped 10% on Monday due to... well, honestly I couldn't really care why. Suffice to say, the price of crude dropped 10% while the price of gasoline went up 25%!


Because they can!

That's basically the gist of this very interesting article I found.

Essentially the companies that make the oil into gasoline are working less and charging more. Good for them... their profit margin is soaring.

Bad for every person who owns a vehicle that burns fossil fuels.

This is why I can't wait for some valid alternative fuels to come to market, no matter what the source... biofuels, algal based oil, hydrogen, or something else. Better yet, some electric vehicles that are honestly affordable, not artificially so.

In the mean time, BOHICA!