Nissan may soon offer a new subcompact electric car

October 21, 2016 by  
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Nissan ‘s electric car, the Leaf, has been around since the auto-manufacturer launched their 2011 model in December 2010. While there have been hints of a second generation Leaf , comments by Nissan Europe’s Electric Vehicle Director suggest the company may be working on a subcompact electric car instead. Electric Vehicle Director Gareth Dunsmore told Auto Express, “We’ve investing $5.4 billion in electric cars such as the Leaf, so we need to ensure we’re satisfying as many types of customer as possible. In Europe , that could mean looking towards B-segment hatches and SUVs or crossovers.” Thanks to an alliance with French automobile manufacturer Renault , the company has sold over 350,000 fully electric vehicles to date, including 200,000 Leafs. Renault’s ZOE, the best-selling B-segment electric car in Europe, is a five-door hatchback, and Auto Express said a Nissan subcompact electric car may be the ZOE’s “sister car” and even draw on its battery technology and platform. A Nissan subcompact car could be manufactured at the same facility as the ZOE in France, which would enable the facility to produce nearer to capacity. Related: GM’s European Brand Opel Will Be Next Automaker To Release a Subcompact EV However, a subcompact electric car might not be sold in the large American market – at least not initially. Green Car Reports said the market might respond better to an electric crossover. Dunsmore said, “The first people who bought EVs were the proud early adopters. The second people were the fleets. And the third people were families, who wanted affordability and practicality. The Leaf is well placed to deliver to those customers, and will continue to do so. If we look towards crossovers or the B-segment for the next car, those could make perfect sense.” Nissan Corporate Vice President Roel de Vries seemed to back up Dunsmore’s statement when he said, “…we are looking at where we can add more electric cars. The next step would be in another volume sector, which probably isn’t sports cars.” Via Green Car Reports and Auto Express Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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Nissan may soon offer a new subcompact electric car

Intriguing ION2 installation in Seattle responds to the movement of passersby

October 21, 2016 by  
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The 98 acrylic panels of the five-foot-wide by seven-foot-tall ION2 prototype is controlled by a micro-servo motor that rotates each individual panel in response to external input and pre-programmed patterns. A Microsoft Kinect and a panel of 98 buttons create the two inputs to the system by picking up activity outside the storefront. A Grasshopper definition sends angle data to the servos through microprocessors that is then translated in the rotation of the acrylic panels. Related: Kinetic “Cloud Seeding” pavilion creates shade with 30,000 tiny balls made of recycled plastic bottles “The installations we build are like sketches, allowing us to physically manifest an idea and begin to see where our attention should be focused,” said Scott Crawford, LMN Tech Studio founding member. “Tech Studio plays a similar role for the office, exploring other directions of what could be next for building systems as well as the tools within our design process.” + LMN Architects

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Intriguing ION2 installation in Seattle responds to the movement of passersby

Martin Roth makes indoor lawns by growing real grass on aging Persian rugs

October 21, 2016 by  
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Now based in New York, Roth tends to his installations like a careful gardener, watering the grass seeds regularly until tiny grass roots take hold of the tough fibers of the rugs, which are often arranged in a patchwork covering an entire room. Over the course of the exhibit, the grass grows taller and the patches spread wider, covering more of the rugs as time wears on. Eventually, at the end of the exhibit run, the grass dies, practically consuming the rug’s fibers in the process. This is precisely what will happen at the Riptide show in London. Related: Living grass walls completely cover the interior of London’s Dilston Grove gallery Roth also works with other forms of plant life and animals in unusual ways. Many of his installations involve releasing animals into environments where you might not expect them (such as the 50 crickets he let loose in an industrial building) or back into the wild, as he did with six ducklings he rescued and cared for in his studio in 2010. In 2012, he turned an art gallery in Austria into a shallow aquarium by flooding the space and introducing several fish. There, at least, stepping stones were installed so visitors could still keep their feet dry, if they walked carefully enough. + Martin Roth Via Colossal Images via Martin Roth and Korean Cultural Center UK

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Martin Roth makes indoor lawns by growing real grass on aging Persian rugs

Auto Show – Less Green in 2014

January 15, 2014 by  
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As we’ve done for the past several years, EcoGeek went to this year’s North American International Auto Show (the Detroit Auto Show) to see what is new in clean and green transportation. However, this year’s displays continue to move away from a focus on environmental awareness as a major selling point. This has seemed to be the trend over the past few years . In retrospect, it seems that the peak of the green focus was probably the 2009 Detroit Show . Green isn’t gone entirely. MPG is still a factor that is touted at some brands, but it seems to matter no more than other numbers like horsepower or cargo volume that manufacturers use to compete with one another. Electric drive continues to work its way into more and more cars (with mild hybridization becoming more common). But cars are not green-focused the way they were a few years ago. The fact that Ford has five different hybrid and electric drive vehicles would have been a big story just a couple years ago, but now it is just part of a major automaker having a complete line. Where once they seemed like an outsider, Tesla seems to have developed into a mainstream member of the club. For this year’s display, Tesla had two of their Model S coupes and display panels about interior finish choices; the Roadster was not in sight. The only non-traditional manufacturer on the display floor this year was VIA trucks, which had vehicles in three different places. Michelin (who has always been a major sponsor of the Detroit Show) and a couple other parts suppliers also had space on the main floor, but not to the extent as during the depths of the economic decline. The common theme across much of the show this year was the engine-on-a-stick. It’s not that it hasn’t been done before, but it seemed to be much more prevalent. Lots of “here’s what the engine looks like,” and usually nothing, or very little, in the way of explanatory text to accompany it. Overall, the show did seem to be moving back toward a more car-centric focus on the basic stuff that the core car-people really love. With that in mind, it’s not at all surprising that the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray was named Car of the Year. The driving course on the lower level is gone this year, as well. When it was introduced a few years ago, there were literally dozens of different vehicles, primarily electrics and hybrids, that could be driven, to introduce the public to the experience of driving a vehicle with something other than a gasoline engine. Over the past few years, this became less and less of a feature, and is now completely omitted from the show. Although green cars have largely become a sideline, rather than the focus of the Auto Show, the fact that they have become a part of most manufacturers’ lines should be taken as a sign of progress. There certainly were some interesting new vehicles at this year’s show, and we will take a more detailed look at some of these.

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Auto Show – Less Green in 2014

Auto Show – Less Green in 2014

January 15, 2014 by  
Filed under Eco, Eco Tech, Green

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As we’ve done for the past several years, EcoGeek went to this year’s North American International Auto Show (the Detroit Auto Show) to see what is new in clean and green transportation. However, this year’s displays continue to move away from a focus on environmental awareness as a major selling point. This has seemed to be the trend over the past few years . In retrospect, it seems that the peak of the green focus was probably the 2009 Detroit Show . Green isn’t gone entirely. MPG is still a factor that is touted at some brands, but it seems to matter no more than other numbers like horsepower or cargo volume that manufacturers use to compete with one another. Electric drive continues to work its way into more and more cars (with mild hybridization becoming more common). But cars are not green-focused the way they were a few years ago. The fact that Ford has five different hybrid and electric drive vehicles would have been a big story just a couple years ago, but now it is just part of a major automaker having a complete line. Where once they seemed like an outsider, Tesla seems to have developed into a mainstream member of the club. For this year’s display, Tesla had two of their Model S coupes and display panels about interior finish choices; the Roadster was not in sight. The only non-traditional manufacturer on the display floor this year was VIA trucks, which had vehicles in three different places. Michelin (who has always been a major sponsor of the Detroit Show) and a couple other parts suppliers also had space on the main floor, but not to the extent as during the depths of the economic decline. The common theme across much of the show this year was the engine-on-a-stick. It’s not that it hasn’t been done before, but it seemed to be much more prevalent. Lots of “here’s what the engine looks like,” and usually nothing, or very little, in the way of explanatory text to accompany it. Overall, the show did seem to be moving back toward a more car-centric focus on the basic stuff that the core car-people really love. With that in mind, it’s not at all surprising that the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray was named Car of the Year. The driving course on the lower level is gone this year, as well. When it was introduced a few years ago, there were literally dozens of different vehicles, primarily electrics and hybrids, that could be driven, to introduce the public to the experience of driving a vehicle with something other than a gasoline engine. Over the past few years, this became less and less of a feature, and is now completely omitted from the show. Although green cars have largely become a sideline, rather than the focus of the Auto Show, the fact that they have become a part of most manufacturers’ lines should be taken as a sign of progress. There certainly were some interesting new vehicles at this year’s show, and we will take a more detailed look at some of these.

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Auto Show – Less Green in 2014

What Ford can (and can’t) do about climate change

October 31, 2012 by  
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Ford is a sustainability leader in the auto industry — but it can only do so much about climate change.

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What Ford can (and can’t) do about climate change

3 Hurdles Facing the Electric Vehicle Industry

October 24, 2011 by  
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A recent electric vehicle conference underscored how the auto industry is reacting to an environment of uncertainty.

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3 Hurdles Facing the Electric Vehicle Industry

The Big Question: Can flexible fuel vehicles have a green impact on the environment?

October 16, 2011 by  
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Rajeev Kumar: Flexible fuel vehicles flexible fuel vehicles have a green impact on the environment. Why we are asking this now? At a time when the world is facing twin threats of global warming and energy crisis, scientists have shown that alternatives in the form of vehicles that run on ‘green’ fuels such as ethanol, E-85 (blend of 15 percent gasoline and 85 percent ethanol), bio-fuels, hydrogen fuel cells and electric engines are available. These alternatives may not completely put an end to global carbon emissions. But, they would certainly decrease it a lot. However, in the absence of proper infrastructure, these flexible fuel vehicles have not gained much popularity despite of their green and low cost credentials. Is it really that serious? Yes it is. Vehicular emission is one of the largest contributor to global carbon footprint. The situation is only worsening with stupendous growth in the number of private vehicles in recent years, especially in rapidly developing economies of Asia, Latin America and some parts of Europe. However, it is not that there are no solutions. Some change is necessary for a sustainable present as well as future. What others are saying: Professor Kenneth S. Corts, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, says, The widespread adoption of an alternative fuel requires solving a similar chicken-or-egg problem. Should policies focus first on vehicles purchases or fuel availability? James Witherspoon, expert author at Ezine articles, says, The biggest benefit is the flexibility in fuel types, but one drawback to these vehicles is that E85 contains less convertible energy than pure gasoline. What this means is that individuals can expect to get fewer miles to the gallon from E85 than from gasoline. Nathanael Greene, senior policy analyst at the Natural Resources Defence Council, New York, says, Ethanol should be saving us twice as much oil as it is today because we are letting really big, inefficient flex-fuel vehicles on the road…There is still no incentive for the auto industry to actually get consumers to use this fuel . The developments: 1) Volvo FlexiFuel S40 Volvo FlexiFuel S40 Volvo FlexiFuel S40 Volvo has introduced a flexible-fuel engine in its famous S40 small family cars. The 2.0F flexible-fuel engine can run either on petrol or on E85 that is a mixture of ethanol and petrol. Among many new features, the new model is compliant with the Euro 5 emission standards and also includes a new stop-start system for reducing overall fuel consumption and the resultant carbon emission. It would emit about 176 gram carbon per kilometer. The new model also features a new six-speed gear box. 2) Saab 9-3 SportCombi BioPower Saab 9-3 SportCombi BioPower Saab 9-3 SportCombi BioPower. The second E85 model introduced by Saab in the Swedish market in 2007. The Swedish car manufacturer Saab has introduced some ‘green’ modification in its famous 9-3 SportsCombi model for launch in 2012. It would now have optional 2.0 BioPower engine in addition to the already available gasoline engine. The changes have also been made in Saab Sport Sedan and other 9-3x models. The company is targeting an overall 12 percent and 7percent reduction in diesel and petrol fuel consumption respectively. 3) Ford Focus flexifuel Ford Focus flexifuel Ford adds E85 Flexifuel to Focus lineup in Europe Launched for the benefit of European consumers, the Ford Focus is a flexible-fuel car that run on E85 ethanol. The powertrain constitutes of a 1.6-liter Duratec engine which powers the vehicle with 118 hp by burning the E85 fuel. As compared to other cars of similar size and capacity, the Ford Focus emits only 132 CO2 per kilometer. It is a low carbon alternative and would be sold in all European markets where E85 is available. 4) 2010 E85 Flexfuel Ford Escape 2010 E85 Flexfuel Ford Escape 2010 E85 Flexfuel Ford Escape Ford launched a E85 Flex-Fuel sports utility vehicle (SUV) 2010 Ford Escape last year. It gives an average of about 16 miles per gallon on both the highway and on city roads. The 5-seater vehicle has a very low carbon foot print of 6.6 and scored 7 on Air Pollution Score, as per the official data, making it essentially a green vehicle The main hurdles: The concept of flexible fuel cars has not gained much popularity in major car markets of the world. One of the reason for this is the absence of proper infrastructure for making flexible fuels, especially E85, readily available to consumers. Though the government initiatives in countries like US have stepped up the production of flexi-models. But this is limited to official fleets as there are not many incentives for general public for a switch over. Moreover, a fall in gas prices as a result of growth in alternative fuels may actually induce some to continue with old vehicles. What can be done? Apart from legislative means, there is an urgent need to develop a proper infrastructure for making alternative fuels available to the general public. This would require countrywide establishment of new refueling centers and also incentives for the conventional petrol pump owners to provide alternative fuels.

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The Big Question: Can flexible fuel vehicles have a green impact on the environment?

The good, the bad and the ugly about hydrogen internal combustion engines

October 3, 2011 by  
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Garima Goel: Hydrogen internal combustion engines Hydrogen internal combustion engines has some positives and some negatives With ever-increasing awareness for environment, the automakers are trying to go green in every possible way. There is a war going on between the auto manufacturers to develop vehicles that run on clean fuels. Hydrogen is the key fuel for a sustainable transportation as it can be obtained in large quantities from renewable resources and its use is nearly pollution-free. Hydrogen is a green alternative to gasoline that offers a solution to all energy supply as well as environment related issues. Keeping these benefits of hydrogen in mind, certain vehicles are designed with an internal combustion engine (ICE) to optimize this fuel. The hydrogen internal combustion engine is nothing but a modification of traditional gasoline-powered internal combustion engine (ICE). It runs on hydrogen rather than petrol or gasoline. They differ in the efficiency, emission level, and storage of fuel. The hydrogen-powered ICEs can run on both pure hydrogen and a blend of hydrogen and compressed natural gas (CNG). These engines perform well in all sorts of weather conditions and have no cold start issues. Their plus point lies in the fact that they are highly fuel-efficient and give a much better performance than conventional spark-ignition engines. The good Hydrogen fuel without gasoline, easy to burn, with water The foremost positive aspect of making use of hydrogen ICEs is the top-level efficiency it gives. Its performance is far better than the traditional ICEs run on gasoline. It can achieve the equivalent of 60-70 miles per gallon. These engine are much reliable and require reduced operating costs and so less maintenance. Since these engines rely completely on hydrogen, therefore the only by product produced is water. Consequently, these hydrogen ICEs come under the category of eco-friendly engines. These engines generate less noise and vibrations compared to the traditional engines. The energy carrier hydrogen that is used to power these hydrogen vehicles can be obtained from various renewable sources like wind, water and sun and thus minimizing our dependency on fossil fuels. Can this be better? To make the hydrogen technology better scientists are finding different ways to avoid the various problems that are confronted while designing the HICEs. The engines are designed with a proper ventilation system to prevent the water vapor (the by-product) from condensing within the crankcase. In addition, to prevent the cracking of metal used for engine components, the material is also changed. The bad Less horsepower and shorter driving range, Backfire, higher nitrogen oxide gas emissions One of the major disadvantages faced by hydrogen internal combustible engine is the high cost related with hydrogen production. Another challenge of using hydrogen in the ICEs is the requirement of large storage tanks. The nitrogen oxide emissions generated in HICE is slightly more than the traditional vehicles, thereby polluting the environment. The pre-ignition in hydrogen internal combustion engines is another big problem, which cause the engine to be unsafe. Can this be avoided? The problem of uncontrollable ignition of hydrogen, also referred to as pre-ignitions, can be sorted out by making use of a modified fuel delivery system. The three types of hydrogen fuel delivery system are central injection, port injection and direct injection. The pre-ignition issue can also be solved by using thermal dilution techniques such as water injection or exhaust gas recirculation. Though scientists are trying to solve various possible ways to resolve the problems related to using hydrogen, the storage problem is still surfacing. The ugly Large storage tanks The hydrogen technology is very costly at this point of time, as it is difficult to generate, handle, and store. There is a limited hydrogen refueling infrastructure right now. Making use of hydrogen in internal combustion engine is not entire eco-friendly, as the combustion of hydrogen in air will emit nitrous oxides, which is a harmful pollutant. Why are we so critical? Along with certain drawbacks of hydrogen IC engines, there are adequate advantages of these engines that make them perfect to be used traditionally. Researchers are posing out ways to discard the inferiorities of the HICEs. This is a positive environmental technology as it virtually eliminates carbon dioxide and other harmful green house gas emissions. This gas does not require high pressure to be pumped into the combustion chamber, as it is available at atmospheric temperature and pressure. These engines are claimed to perform well under all weather conditions. Famous automakers like BMW, Mazda, and Ford have already used the HICE in several motors and are planning to develop methods to improve power and fuel economy. The bottom line Although the technology of HICE carries various plus points making it attractive to be used commercially, several retreats are also associated with it. However, in the time to come, all drawbacks will overcome and many automakers will readily imply this eco-friendly technology in their upcoming vehicles.

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The good, the bad and the ugly about hydrogen internal combustion engines

One-seater electric car by Volkswagen to be unveiled at the Frankfurt Auto Show

August 23, 2011 by  
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Balakrishnan Ramachandran: Volkswagen XL1 Concept Car Zero emission electric concept Volkswagen is reportedly ready to unveil an experimental one-seater urban electric car at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September 2011. The one-seater is targeted to be used as a commuter vehicle for limited city driving. No details of the price-range or other specifications of the car are disclosed yet. The one-seater car would be smaller and lighter than a 2-seater and that would, naturally, lead to an improved mileage from a given battery size. Previous attempts at a one-seater electric personal transport by Segway and Sinclair have not been successful. VW is, of course, a much bigger name in the auto industry, and its entry could trigger acceptance of the one-seater commuter car. Some VW watchers predict that the VW concept car will use the same chassis, motor and battery as Audi’s e-Tron. Audi is a sister company of VW. VW plans to offer battery recharge from renewable energy sources, as part of its EV service package. This is to overcome the criticism that carbon emitting utility electricity is used to recharge EV batteries. Volkswagen, which made 4.75 million cars between January and July 2011, is well on the target to achieve its ambition of being the no 1 car maker in the world by 2018. Their forecast of EVs in the total car production is, however, a modest 3%. This underscores the issues with acceptability of the EVs as the primary family car as well as the limitations with battery technology at the present time. Via: egmcartech

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One-seater electric car by Volkswagen to be unveiled at the Frankfurt Auto Show

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