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

Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Delayed Until January

By dancurranjr On December 18th, 2010

The U.S. launch of the 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid has slipped a month, just enough to preclude buyers from taking advantage of a $1,300 Federal tax credit that expires December 31.

According to Hyundai, the first cars will now reach dealers in January or perhaps later, rather than in early or mid December as it had originally hoped. Spokesman Miles Johnson confirmed the delay to High Gear Media editor Marty Padgett.

The 2011 Sonata Hybrid is expected to be one of the few hybrids that delivers higher gas mileage in highway use than in the city. Hyundai cites statistics showing more than half of U.S. driving time is spent at higher speeds.

Hyundai predicted in June that the hybrid Sonata would achieve U.S. Environmental Protection Agency fuel economy ratings of 36 mpg city, 40 mpg highway.

The eagerly awaited hybrid version of the popular 2011 Sonata was first unveiled at the New York Auto Show in March. It is unique among hybrids in having entirely different front styling than the conventional gasoline car on which it’s based. That provides clear exterior identification for buyers who want to show off their green credentials.

To reassure any customers who might have qualms about buying a hybrid-electric vehicle from a manufacturer without a previous history in hybrids, Hyundai said last month it would warranty the car’s battery pack for 10 years or 100,000 miles of use.

The 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is the first mass-market hybrid sold with a lithium-ion battery pack, which is more compact and holds more energy than the older nickel-metal-hydride chemistry used in hybrids from Toyota, Honda, Ford and General Motors.

SOURCE: FoxNews.com

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

Hybrid Toyota Pickups Coming?

By dancurranjr On December 14th, 2010

Toyota may have won a near-monopoly on modern hybrid drivetrains over the last decade, but at least until recently its Hybrid Synergy Drive has been limited to use in car and crossover applications. Sensing the vulnerability, GM, Chrysler, Daimler and BMW collaborated to develop a large V8-based hybrid system capable of powering large light-duty trucks. The resulting “Two-Mode” hybrid system has largely proven to be a bust, as BMW and Mercedes have limited its use to one-time X5/X6 and ML Hybrids.

GM and Chrysler have tried to sell Two-Mode versions of their full-sized trucks and SUVs with little success over the past several years, as relatively low fuel prices and high MSRPs conspired against the hybrid truck segment. Now Toyota may be targeting the hybrid pickup market, as its Hino truck unit has begun testing a hybrid drivetrain for light-duty trucks that it hopes to commercialize by net year.  Greencarcongress.com reports:

The hybrid system, which features a clutch between its engine and motor, offers an all-electric drive mode for the truck. Internal Hino testing showed an improvement in fuel efficiency of a diesel truck by about 50%.

Testing by the Japanese postal service, and several private firms should give a better sense of the efficiency benefits of this system, but that will still leave the question of price. And gas prices. And America’s willingness to buy pickups from Toyota in Detroit-like numbers. On the other hand, it’s not safe to underestimate any Toyota hybrid. If this new drivetrain can do for trucks what Hybrid Synergy did for cars, things could get interesting…

SOURCE: Truth About Cars

Chevy Volt Leapfrogs Toyota’s Prius to Become MPG King

By dancurranjr On December 6th, 2010

Toyota has long held the top spot when it comes to hybrid gas mileage. Hybrid cars from the likes of Honda and BMW may sport cool lines, but they couldn’t beat the mileage that the Prius offered. According to the EPA, the Chevy Volt has now eclipsed the hybrid king with an estimated 60 mpg rating.

The problem with new hybrid or EVs is that the technology behind the cars isn’t well known to many consumers. The EPA hopes to sort out the issue by creating fuel economy ratings that represent battery-only, gas-only, or a gas and battery combination. In the case of the Volt, that familiar black and white sticker will say that the car can get 93 miles-per-gallon-equivalent (mpg-e) and 37 mpg from the gas motor.

While these numbers may not top the Leaf’s electric-only 99 mpg, the Volt’s gasoline engine may sway many car buyers. Chevy has been pushing the fact that the gasoline motor can relieve range anxiety in drivers because there simply isn’t a reliable nationwide network of charging stations. If there’s no network drivers may stuck within a small radius of their home charging station. In fact, Chevy is so obsessed with the range anxiety issue that they’ve investigated copyrighting the term.

SOURCE: TaintedGreen