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Alternative Energy

Geneva 2009: Infiniti Essence is a Big Show



Saying Infiniti’s new car looks good is an understatement – it looks great! Most surprising, aside from its chiseled good looks, is the fact that it’s a hybrid sports car. Given the global recession, is it the right time to be showcasing this car? Who cares! The recession won’t be here forever.

The Infiniti Essence looks substantial, both in size and in style. Its design has some commonalities with other coupe designs, particularly that of the Fisker Karma. Under this substantial yet elegant sheet metal is a twin-turbo, direct-injection 3.7-liter V6 that yields a combined 592 brake horsepower. 434 of this horsepower is generated from the car’s gas engine and the remaining 158 from its lithium-ion electric motor.

The interior matches the car’s upscale look, with high-luxury materials everywhere you look. The cock-pit is formed like a cocoon, wrapping its way around the driver. Of course, the Infiniti Essence is still a concept, so the production version will likely lose some of these design elements. Hopefully it doesn’t stray too far from the concept; nevertheless, we look forward to when Infiniti releases this Essence of a car.

Video of the Infiniti Essence

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Alternative Energy

Mercedes-Benz Will Replace Diesel Models With Hybrids



Mercedes star logo

Mercedes-Benz is betting on hybrid tech over diesel engines and will reportedly replace the latter with the former in the future.

In an interview with , the German autoamker — a pioneer of diesel passenger cars — revealed that it was favoring hybrid and plug-in hybrid technology as a path to eventually phase out their diesel cars. The electrification of the worldwide automotive industry continues unabated…

An internal source specifically told the publication:

“Yes, diesel is technically complex, and very expensive. The additives to reduce particulate matter are very costly. You’ll see more hybrids to meet the changing regulations.”

Isn’t it unbelievable that Mercedes-Benz views diesels — the ‘older’ technology — as being more complex and expensive to develop than hybrid tech, which generally involve very intricate electronics and engineering and requires expensive metals for batteries? Well, building clean diesels that meet emissions standards is than it might seem.

We can’t help but to think that the Volkswagen Group’s diesel scandal is somehow tied to their decision and wouldn’t be surprised if other automakers followed suit.

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Alternative Energy

Eight Alternative Transportation Fuels You Should Know



Toyota Mirai hydrogen car

There are number of reasons why you should look carefully at the various different fuels that can be used instead petroleum. Firstly, reducing the use of fossil fuels would allow us to become more energy independent and less reliant on Middle East oil. Secondly, burning petroleum contributes to air pollution and to the even greater issue of global warming. It goes without saying that reducing the use of fossil fuels should be a priority for every country in the world.

In the U.S., in particular, progress was made when the 1992 Energy Policy identified eight alternative fuels. Some are already in use, while others are being evaluated, but all eight have potential to become full or partial alternatives to gasoline and diesel. Let’s check them out:

1. Biodiesel

Unlike petroleum diesel, biodiesel as an alternative fuel is based on vegetable oils or animal fats. Vehicle engines can be converted to burn biodiesel in its pure form, while unmodified engines can run on a mixture of biodiesel and petroleum diesel. Biodiesel is safe, biodegradable and less of an air pollutant.

2. Ethanol

Ethanol is an alcohol-based alternative fuel that is made by distilling fermented crops such as wheat, corn or barley. As a major fuel source for transportation purposes in some countries, ethanol can be blended with gasoline to increase octane levels and improve emissions quality.

3. Natural Gas

Although technically a fossil fuel, natural gas is an alternative fuel that burns clean. When used in cars and trucks with specially-designed engines, such as the 2016 Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Silverado HD, natural gas produces far fewer harmful emissions than gasoline or diesel. As the folks at remind us, it’s an environmentally-friendly fuel that cannot be ignored.

4. Electricity

As evidenced by the increasing number of electric vehicles on our roads, electricity can be used as an effect transportation “fuel” for electric and fuel-cell vehicles. Electric vehicles like the Nissan LEAF and Tesla Model S store power in batteries that are recharged via a standard electrical source, while fuel-cell vehicles run on electricity generated through an electrochemical reaction that occurs when hydrogen and oxygen are combined. Fuel cells produce electricity without combustion or pollution.

5. Hydrogen

Hydrogen is also used in fuel-cell vehicles that run on electricity produced by the chemical reaction that occurs when hydrogen and oxygen are combined in fuel cells. Hydrogen is currently being tested on a limited scale around the world, with the Toyota Mirai set to become the first fuel-cell vehicle to hit the market.

6. Methanol

Known as wood alcohol, Methanol can be used as an alternative fuel in flexible fuel vehicles that are designed to run on M85, which is a blend of 85 percent methanol and 15 percent gasoline. According to the , it costs less to produce than gasoline and has a lower risk of flammability.

7. Propane

Propane, also called liquefied petroleum gas or LPG, is a byproduct of natural gas processing and crude oil refining. Not only is propane already widely used as a fuel for cooking and heating, it is also a popular alternative fuel for vehicles in many countries. Propane-powered vehicles produce far fewer emissions than gasoline.

8. P-Series Fuels

P-Series fuels are a blend of ethanol, natural gas liquids and methyltetrahydrofuran (MeTHF), a co-solvent derived from biomass processing. P-Series fuels are clear, high-octane alternative fuels that can be used in flexible fuel vehicles. They can be used alone or mixed with gasoline in any ratio by simply adding it to the tank.

Now that you know about the eight main alternative transportation fuels, which one(s) do you think will replace petroleum gasoline and diesel as the mainstay of the automotive industry? Let us know in the comments below.


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Alternative Energy

Tesla Powerwall Battery Powers Your Home With The Sun



Tesla Powerwall Battery

Electric car maker Tesla has unveiled the ‘Powerwall’ home battery, a new battery unit that stores energy produced from solar panels. It can also store energy from your electricity grid when utility rates are low and act as a backup generator during power outages.

Weighing 220 lbs (100 kg) and measuring 33.9 inches (86 cm) wide, 51.2 inches (130 cm) tall and 7.1 inch (18 cm) in depth, the wall-mounted rechargeable lithium-ion battery is compatible with single phase and three phase utility grids and can be installed both indoors and outdoors.

DON’T MISS: Tesla Model S Gets Software Update That ‘Ends’ Range Fears

Tesla will offer two versions — a 7 kWh unit for daily cycle applications and a10 kWh piece for backup applications. Both have 2.0 kW of continuous power and up to 3.3 kW peak power.

The 7 kWh version is priced at $3,000, while the 10 kWh version costs $3,500 (not including installation). They come with a 10-year warranty (an extra 10 years is available) and require installation by a trained electrician.

You can install multiple Tesla Powerwall batteries in one home if increased power needs demand it.

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