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Alternative Energy

Nissan Leaf Gets Fuel Economy Rating of 99 MPG

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Nissan Leaf fuel economy label

Nissan has finally announced the EPA rating for its Leaf electric compact car. According to the EPA, the 2011 Nissan Leaf gets a combined rating of 99 mpg, which is best-in-class. This figure can be broken down into 106 mpg in city driving and 92 mpg on the highway. The EPA gives the Leaf an official range Leaf 73 miles, which is based on the five-cycle tests using varying driving conditions and climate controls.

PRESS RELEASE:

EPA Rates THE ALL-ELECTRIC, ZERO-EMISSION, Nissan LEAF ‘Best’ in Class for FUEL Efficiency, Environment

– Nissan LEAF label approved as Nissan prepares for December launch –

FRANKLIN, Tenn. ( Nov. 22, 2010) – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved its fuel-economy label for the 100-percent electric Nissan LEAF, rating the vehicle to be “best” in the midsize vehicle class for fuel efficiency and “best” for the environment. The new label shows a best-in-class 99 miles-per-gallon (MPG) equivalent (combined city/highway). The MPG equivalency rating was developed by the EPA as a way to provide a standard so consumers can compare vehicles across the spectrum and make an educated purchase.

The 2011 Nissan LEAF, which uses no gas, was also rated best-in-class for the environment based on emitting zero greenhouse gases or other traditional tailpipe emissions. The label, which will be part of the Nissan LEAF’s Monroney label, is now ready for placement on the vehicles in anticipation of the December launch. After completion of five-cycle testing, the EPA has rated the Nissan LEAF with an MPG equivalent of 106 city, 92 highway for a combined 99 MPGe. This calculation is based on the EPA’s formula of 33.7kW-hrs being equivalent to one gallon gasoline energy. In addition, the label displays a charging time of seven hours on a 240V charge and a driving range of 73 miles, based on the five-cycle tests using varying driving conditions and climate controls. Driving range on the Nissan LEAF, as with all vehicles, varies with real-world driving conditions.

“We’re pleased the label clearly demonstrates the Nissan LEAF to be a best-in-class option, reflecting that it’s a pure electric vehicle, uses no gas, has no tailpipe and has zero emissions,” said Scott Becker, senior vice president, Finance and Administration, Nissan Americas. “The label provides consumers with a tool to compare alternative-fuel vehicles to those with a traditional internal combustion engine and allows them to make an informed purchase decision.”
Sales of the Nissan LEAF will begin in December in California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona and Tennessee. In January 2011, sales begin in Texas and Hawaii, with additional market roll-out continuing later in 2011.

In North America, Nissan’s operations include automotive styling, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program 2010 and has been recognized as a 2010 ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency. More information on Nissan in North America, the Nissan LEAF and zero emissions can be found at www.nissanusa.com.

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Alternative Energy

Hyundai, Kia Are Adding Solar Panels To Some Vehicles

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Hyundai Kia Solar-Charging-car roof

Progress towards the solar-powered car of the future is proceeding… slowly.

Hyundai and Kia have announced plans to add a new solar charging system to some of their vehicles starting in 2019.

Their technology is broken down into three distinct charging systems, each dedicated to a different type of vehicle — traditional gas cars, hybrids and electric vehicles. They will charge the vehicle’s main power source to increase electric power and driving range, and reduce CO2 emissions.

The fist to arrive will be for hybrid vehicles and will add silicon solar panels to the vehicle’s roof. According to the Korean automakers, the system can add between 30 and 60 percent of a battery’s capacity over the course of a day.

Vehicles with a traditional internal combustion engine will use a second-generation system that utilizes semi-transparent solar roof panels mounted on their panoramic sunroof, boosting their battery while still letting light into the cabin.

Finally, the third-generation system will be geared towards battery-electric vehicles, adding lightweight solar panels to both their roof and hood for maximum performance.

Hyundai Kia car Solar roof

Jeong-Gil Park, Executive Vice President of the Engineering and Design Division of Hyundai Motor Group, and the developer of the technology, stated:

“In the future, we expect to see many different types of electricity-generating technologies integrated into our vehicles. The solar roof is the first of these technologies, and will mean that automobiles no longer passively consume energy, but will begin to produce it actively. It is an exciting development for us, designing a technology for vehicle owners to help them shift from being energy users to being energy producers.”

Putting solar panels on the roofs of cars is not a new idea, but it’s never really caught on. It will be interesting to see how Hyundai and Kia fare with their technology.

Their first-generation system will reach vehicles in 2019, with the second and third generations following sometime later.

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Alternative Energy

Mercedes-Benz Will Replace Diesel Models With Hybrids

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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

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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 holdendodge.com 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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