Diesel-Hybrids Make a Clean Sweep

By dancurranjr On December 23rd, 2010

With a 60 mph top speed and scores of electric motors powering a variety of functions, the Allianz 4000 hybrid sweeper could be coming to a city near you.

Currently seeing action only in New York, the Allianz hybrid sweeper features a 6.7-liter Cummins diesel supplemented by two 12-volt li-ion batteries and an advanced electric-traction drive system. Allianz estimates that their new 4000 hybrid delivers a 40 percent fuel savings over a diesel-only sweeper.

Allianz’ sales manager, Chad Bormann, points out that these sweepers are not like ordinary light trucks, since sweepers need to propel themselves and spin their brooms at the same time, their differentials are built to run at a constant speed regardless, of how fast the sweeper itself travels. Bormann explains that the hybrid system gives Allianz’ new 4000 “the ability to operate using a smaller single diesel engine running at lower RPMs.

This alone creates savings against any street sweeper that requires an auxiliary engine in conjunction with the chassis engine to drive and operate the sweep functions. The fuel savings are extreme and the carbon footprint minimal considering that street sweepers are operated for long shifts daily all over the world.”

Pricing has yet to be set, but Bormann believes purchase price will play a very small role in a city’s decision to purchase and run the new hybrid sweepers. With environmental concerns and reduced oil-dependency being such hot topics in recent elections, he may be right!

SOURCE: Reuters

South Korea Eyes Tax Breaks for Electric Cars

By dancurranjr On December 18th, 2010

South Korea is considering tax cuts on purchases of electric cars as part of its efforts to bolster the nation’s green industry, government sources said Thursday.

Discussion is underway to provide purchasers of electric cars with exemptions in consumption, acquisition and registration taxes which are being applied to other types of vehicles, officials at the Ministry of Strategy and Finance said.

“After completing research and an additional internal review during the first half of next year, we plan to prepare the tax support plan for electric cars by September when the government is to revise the nation’s tax code,” a ministry official said on condition of anonymity.

Currently, buyers of eco-friendly hybrid cars are given reductions on consumption tax and other taxes. The government is also planning to offer the same or even higher tax benefits to buyers of electric vehicles, the official added.

The envisioned tax support could reduce the price tag of an electric car by up to 3.3 million won (US$2,837).

The move is part of the government’s efforts to bolster green business as the nation’s next generation growth engine. Such tax cuts are expected to draw customer attention and boost sales of vehicles based on eco-friendly technologies, observers say.

It also coincides with intensifying efforts by other countries to take the lead in the green business sector, they added.

The government, however, is not likely to provide tax benefits any time soon for other types of eco-friendly cars, such as plug-in hybrid and fuel-cell vehicles as it needs more time to analyze feasibility on the fledgling markets, an official said.

Department of Energy Provides $3.9M for Hybrid-Car Chargers Research

By dancurranjr On December 17th, 2010

The University of Arkansas says electrical engineering researchers at the school have been awarded $3.9 million from the U.S. Department of Energy for continuing work on the development of a compact and highly efficient silicon-carbide charger for hybrid electric vehicles.

A news release from the university Monday said benefits could extend beyond vehicles into other areas, such as wind and solar power, and could lead to reduced energy consumption.

Alan Mantooth, professor and director of the university’s National Center for Reliable Electric Power Transmission said he was confident the effort would lead to breakthroughs in efficiency, size and weight reduction as well as overall improved vehicle performance.

The program calls for the Arkansas researchers to develop basic semiconductor device models that will enable other researchers to design integrated circuitry.

SOURCE: KSPR.com

Prius Contributes to UK Low Transport Plans

By dancurranjr On December 15th, 2010

Car finance buyers looking to improve their carbon footprint might be interested in the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid.

The motor has qualified for the government’s ultra-low carbon vehicle grant scheme, which gives people purchasing a green motor up to £5,000 to help with the cost.

In addition, the automobile is able to run on its lithium-ion battery for up to 12.5 miles and can do 62 mph without emitting tailpipe emissions and with zero fuel consumption.

Jon Williams, Toyota managing director, welcomed the car’s acceptance into the initiative, saying the brand has been recognised as having the potential to make a “valuable contribution” to the UK’s low transport plans.

He added: “Toyota is committed to developing sustainable low emissions mobility and Prius Plug-in marks an important step in our environmental leadership, delivering exceptional emissions and fuel performance in urban driving.”

Last month, the manufacturer celebrated delivering its 20 millionth vehicle in Europe.

SOURCE: Car Loan 4U

U.S. Senate Passes Hybrid, EV Noise Generator Bill

By dancurranjr On December 15th, 2010

The US Senate has unanimously passed a Bill to make noise-generating devices mandatory on all EVs, hybrids and other silent-running vehicles.

Introduced by former US presidential candidate and hybrid owner, Senator John Kerry, the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2010 is designed to improve the safety of blind and vision-impaired pedestrians.

The Bill has been forwarded on to the House of Representatives where it is expected to pass without any serious opposition.

It will then be the responsibility of Department of Transportation secretary, Ray LaHood, to develop a range of safety standards for new quiet vehicles.

Under the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2010, the Department of Transportation will determine the:

“… minimum level of sound emitted from a motor vehicle that is necessary to provide blind and other pedestrians with the information needed to reasonably detect a nearby electric or hybrid vehicle operating at or below the cross-over speed”.

The study will investigate the volume, tones and speeds at which the noise-making pedestrian safety systems will be most effective.

The Nissan Leaf EV already has a noise generator installed in anticipation of the mandate, while Chevrolet is developing a similar system for its plug-in hybrid Volt. The upcoming Infiniti M35 Hybrid will also feature the Leaf’s ‘VSP’ (Vehicle Sound for Pedestrians) system.

The National Federation of the Blind in the US commended the Senate’s decision, and its president, Dr Marc Maurer, said the action would “preserve the right to safe and independent travel for the blind”.

“The blind, like all pedestrians, must be able to travel to work, to school, to church, and to other places in our communities, and we must be able to hear vehicles in order to do so,” said Dr Maurer.

“This bill, which is the result of collaboration among blind Americans, automobile manufacturers, and legislators, will benefit all pedestrians for generations to come as new vehicle technologies become more prevalent.

“We now call upon the House of Representatives to pass this legislation as quickly as possible so that it can be sent to the President’s desk for his signature before the close of the year.”