hybrid cars

Ford sets its sights on Prius

Car maker Ford has revealed new details about its new fuel efficient turbo diesel, the Fiesta ECOnetic, which puts it directly on a collision course with the industry’s current green leader, the Toyota Prius. While the Prius has a fuel efficiency of 3.9 litres of petrol per 100km, the ECOnetic gets by on 3.7 litres – making it the most fuel-efficient car in the country.

However, that doesn’t mean it’s the greenest. The Prius still comes out on top when it comes to CO2 emissions at 89 grams per kilometre, as compared to the ECOnetic’s 98 grams per kilometre.

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Mercedes-Benz Reveals Vision S 500 Plug-In Hybrid Concept

Luxury and autobahn-worthy speed meets plug-in-hybrid tech in a new hybrid concept car based on Mercedes' flagship S-Class sedan.

What? Hedge-fund managers, heads of surgery, corporate lawyers and their well-heeled, buttoned-up ilk don't need plug-in hybrids too? Mercedes-Benz is keeping such an audience in mind for its latest concept car, the Vision S 500 plug-in hybrid. Similar to the S 400 hybrid currently in production, the S 500 can also travel 18.6 miles in electric-only mode and take a battery recharge by way of an electrical outlet. What ever happened to greed is good?

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Toyota Plug-in Prius Concept to Debut at Frankfurt Auto Show

Visitors of Germany's largest international motor show will get a first look at Toyota's long-promised plug-in Prius this month, but buyers still have a long wait ahead.

It's been the talk of the hybrid-car crowd since the first hybrids landed in dealerships: The plug-in Prius. And with GM's plug-in Volt set for a 2010 launch, all eyes are now on Toyota. This week the company offered its first tangible evidence of a plug-in Prius, at least in two dimensions. The company released the first official photo image of a new Prius concept car that can get juice from the electrical grid.

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Your Hybrid Car Is Hogging All the Rare Earth Metals

So it turns all those hybrid car owners who turn their environmentally conscious noses up have an unexpected caveat to their green-ness--their cars are sucking up rare earth metals at a disturbing rate.

Rare earth elements take up 17 slots on the periodic table, and are named not for their overall scarcity (they're actually quite common in trace elements throughout the Earth's core) but for the relatively uncommon minerals in which they were originally found; few rare earth elements exist in pure elemental form naturally.

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BMW Vision EfficientDynamics Concept Car

BMW's latest design and powertrain study may have a clinical-sounding name, but beneath that avant-garde skin and lab-coat-tested powertrain beats the heart of an ultimate driving machine

BMW's new experimental vehicle may get 63 miles on a gallon of diesel and can travel 31 miles in all-electric mode, but it also scores in the performance realm -- with a zero-to-60-mph time in the de rigueur modern sports-car range of under five seconds.

Fans of progressive auto design will likely cock an eye at its posturing curves and layered surfaces, but the big story is the Vision's plug-in hybrid drive system, which pairs two electric motors with a 1.5-liter, three-cylinder turbodiesel engine, together producing 356 horsepower.

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New Chevrolet Minivan Could Borrow Volt Powertrain

How do you make the millions in R&D; cash spent on a groundbreaking gas-electric powertrain pay off? Easy -- spread the wealth

With GM having spent a reported $1 billion bringing the Chevrolet Volt to fruition, spreading out the risk among several models could be the key to paying down the R&D tab on its gas-electric engine. And tapping into the family-mover market wouldn't hurt either. Enter the Chevrolet Orlando. GM unveiled the attractive minivan concept at the Detroit auto show this past January, with a target release date of 2011. The Orlando may also come with an option other than juice-box holders and Band-Aid cubbies: The Chevrolet Volt's Voltec (formerly E-Flex) powertrain.

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McDonald's to EV Drivers: Do You Want Fries With that Power?

On July 14, electric vehicle owners will be able to charge up on a Big Mac while their electric vehicle charges in the parking lot.

A new McDonald's in Cary, North Carolina, will be the first of its kind, testing a pilot program with NovaCharge and Coulomb Technologies. The program may pave the way for electric charging stations in close proximity to where people drive and spend their leisure time.

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Hybrid Anything: Retrofit Kit Wins Award

A former IBM engineer says his latest invention can turn regular cars into plug-in hybrids for between $3,000 and $5,000. He could be on to something.

It fits into a wheel hub and can double a car's fuel economy. That's the claim of Dr. Charles Perry, who says his plug-in hybrid retrofit kit can save America 120 million gallons of fuel per day. Big talk. But then, inventors betting on revolutionary uphevals need to talk as big as they think. The former IBM electrical engineer designed the kit to transform existing automobiles into hybrids by placing an electric motor inside each wheel. Perry recently took first prize for his invention at a green energy competition at the Tennessee Technology Development Corp.

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300 MPG Riversimple Urban Car Open-Sources Its Hydrogen Fuel Cell Tech

A hydrogen-powered two-seater unveiled in London this week can seat two, turn in the equivalent of 300 MPG and hit a top speed of 50 mph. Plus, its blueprints are open source. Take that, auto industry

The Riversimple Urban Car was nine years in the making. But when the diminutive, hydrogen-powered prototype debuted in London recently, the biggest difference between it and other fuel-cell vehicles wasn't its in-wheel electric motors or banks of ultracapacitors. It was its development-and-business model.

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Race Cars to Join Motorcycles at the 2010 All-Electric TTXGP

Cars powered by hot-swappable batteries could join motorcycles at next year's all-electric Gran Prix on the Isle of Man.

A pit crew swarms around an open-wheel racecar, but instead of hoisting a fuel-fill tank they hot-swap its battery packs and send the driver back into the race. That could be the scene at next year's TTXGP -- an all-electric motorcycle race set for its inaugural running this Friday on the UK's Isle of Man. The event's organizers announced this week they were seeking to include four-wheeled vehicles for 2010.

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A Ferrari 4X4? Shhh, It's a Hybrid

European patent filings show Ferrari is working on a gas-electric hybrid. Is the famed builder of crimson sports cars going green?

When you think of hybrid cars, the name Ferrari doesn't spring readily to mind. In fact, the Italian sports-car builder already uses a hybrid system in its Formula One race cars, the same ones in which it finished third and fourth at this past weekend's Monaco Grand Prix. Ferrari has also apparently filed for a patent on a new, gasoline-electric drive system for its road cars.

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Battery and Boost: The AVL Turbo Hybrid Concept

Can hybrid cars become ultimate driving machines? One Austrian tech firm says a turbine is the answer.

Hybrid cars may be a favorite among commuters looking to save fuel, but they're yet to appear on a single driving enthusiast's bucket list. It's no secret why: A 2009 Prius gets from zero to 60 mph barely faster than a plumber's van.

How do you make hybrid cars a little rougher on the adrenal glands without sacrificing the good fuel economy and low emissions? Engineers at Austrian tech firm AVL took a page from the motorsports playbook, using a turbocharger to boost the performance of a standard gas-electric hybrid.

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What the Elbow?

Revisiting the same old joint

There has been one beneficiary of flu madness: the elbow. Handily bendy, usefully pointy, the joint is seeing its moment in the sun. Rubbing elbows together in greeting has been suggested as a way to avoid spreading infection, but if that doesn't work for you, here are some other options.

Also in today's links: ringtones for cars, a beetle that better be funny, and more.

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The Real Costs Of Owning A Hybrid

After buying a hybrid, know what to expect at the service shop

From the US PopSci team

You've heard all about the joys of saving gas money while owning a hybrid. Perhaps you've been envious of your neighbor with the Toyota Prius or the friend with a hybrid Honda Civic. In addition to their stellar mpg, hybrids are at the forefront of an environmental shift in the automotive world; but, if you are thinking about buying one, can you be sure that maintaining this piece of green machinery won't break the bank?

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The 2010 Honda Insight Hybrid Car

Honda’s new hybrid teaches you how to save gas (check out the video!)

From the US PopSci team

Aggressive driving -- lead-footed acceleration, speeding, excessive braking -- can slash highway fuel economy by 33 percent, according to estimates. Honda's Insight hybrid, arriving in the US in April, softens the effects of wasteful driving and tells you when you're indulging in bad habits.

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