Posts Tagged ‘hybrid’

Toyota plans Prius with solar panels

July 7, 2008

Toyota plans to install solar panels on the roof of the next generation of Prius hybrid cars, according to a report in Monday’s edition of the Nikkei newspaper.

The panels, which are expected to begin appearing on the high-end version of the gasoline-electric hybrid car as early as next spring, will supply part of the 2 to 5 kilowatts needed to power the air conditioning, MarketWatch cited the Japanese business daily as reporting. Kyocera will reportedly supply the panels.

The move would make Toyota the first major automaker to incorporate a solar-power generation system into a mass-produced car. (more…)

Cars of Tomorrow May Help Us Kick Oil Habit

June 17, 2008

Three Competing Technolgies That May Someday End Big Oil’s Grip on Consumers
Honda Motors Co. has started production of a car that runs on hydrogen fuel rather than oil, marking the first time a commercial vehicle will produce zero emissions.

The FCX Clarity, which was introduced two years ago as a concept car at the Tokyo Motor Show, runs on electricity made from an onboard hydrogen-powered fuel cell battery. It will be available in July as part of limited lease program offered in California.

The three dealerships participating in the program are Power Honda Costa Mesa, Honda of Santa Monica, and Scott Robinson Honda in Torrance.

Actor Jamie-Lee Curtis and her husband, filmmaker Christopher Guest will be one of the first owners to take the new car technology out for a spin.

The announcement is one of the many signs that the latest price spike has pushed automakers to rev up the pace in bringing them to the market.

Just last week, Toyota announced that it would roll out plug-in hybrids with rechargeable lithium-ion batteries in 2010. The electric, eco-friendly vehicles offer substantial savings over gas-powered cars.


A Hybrid with no Transmission…..and it gets 160 MPG too!!!

June 10, 2008

Generally; 10-20% of a car’s power is lost through the transmission. This includes all automobiles: cars, trucks, and even hybrids.The big auto manufacturers have all know this for years and have made more efficient transmissions over time.The factory rating for horsepower and torque are numbers taken from the flywheel…which means that they are numbers taken from the engine only.Real world numbers are gathered from the wheels (wheel horse power).So if you buy a new Nissan 350z rated from the factory at 280 horsepower… really is only putting down around 239 hp to the wheels…..Darn transmission!

But now Volvo has come up with an ingenious idea for Hybrid cars. Eliminate the Transmission altogether!Well that was simple enough…but wait….how will the car get going then without a transmission? Ahh…very good young grasshopper. The Volvo ReCharge “packs a small electric motor in each wheel, so that no power is lost in the drivetrain.” (

The electric wheel motors will be powered by electro magnets and computers. All stuff that is way over my head. Just think of it as cool Bullet Train or roller coaster technology. Nevertheless….a pretty smart idea. Of course the car will run on battery power for a certain number of miles before the diesel engine kicks on. And since the engine will not be connected to a transmission; the power made will be transferred more efficiently to the batteries or a fuel cell.All of this adds up to a 160 MPG car…..Hopefully this technology will reach us before our economy collapses due to skyrocketing gas prices!

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