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Triple threat: Three small economy cars with three-cylinder engines

Pipe: Passenger vehicles - Mon, 2014-08-18 15:18
The latest Cooper, however, launched with an efficient three-cylinder turbo, in order to achieve fuel economy targets and delight drivers all at the same ...

UPDATE 1-Fuel Systems lags US auto parts makers as Europe drags

Pipe: Passenger vehicles - Mon, 2014-08-18 14:45
U.S. automakers are increasingly using alternative technology to boost fuel economy and meet stricter mileage and emissions standards. Europe is ...

Navistar Offering Allison <b>Fuel-Economy</b> Package on Medium-Duty and Vocational International <b>...</b>

Pipe: Passenger vehicles - Mon, 2014-08-18 14:22
FuelSense, available in Allison's 1000, 2000, 3000 and 4000 Series transmissions, automatically adapts shift schedules and torque, maximizing ...

Practice air alerts timed to back-to-school season

Pipe: Passenger vehicles - Mon, 2014-08-18 14:14
The air quality district said parents should consider carpooling or avoiding sitting in their vehicle with the engine on while waiting at drop-off or pick-up ...

Compromise needed on roads through sensitive wild areas

Pipe: Climate and Health - Mon, 2014-08-18 13:51
Compromise solutions must be found when it comes to roads built through sensitive tropical and subtropical areas, say experts. While developing nations need to deploy adequate transportation infrastructure to develop mineral and energy resources, the researchers write, governments too often put development ahead of wildlife without thinking about the long-term consequences.

Navistar Expanding Fuel-Efficiency Package

Pipe: Passenger vehicles - Mon, 2014-08-18 13:26
... efficiency, one of the many leading attributors to fuel economy, said Steve Gilligan, Navistar's vice president of product and vocational marketing.


Pipe: Passenger vehicles - Mon, 2014-08-18 13:26
... mechanical improvements, the new features address powertrain efficiency, one of the many leading attributors to fuel economy, said Steve Gilligan, ...

NHTSA releases advanced notice of proposed rulemaking on V2V, supporting research report

Pipe: Advanced tech - Mon, 2014-08-18 12:43

The US Department of Transportation’s (DOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has released an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) and a supporting comprehensive research report on vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications technology. NHTSA is working to deliver a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking by 2016.

The report will include analysis of the Department’s research findings in several key areas including technical feasibility, privacy and security, and preliminary estimates on costs and safety benefits, while the ANPRM seeks public input on these findings to support the Department’s regulatory work to eventually require V2V devices in new light vehicles.

The report includes preliminary estimates of safety benefits that show two safety applications—Left Turn Assist (LTA) and Intersection Movement Assist (IMA)—could prevent up to 592,000 crashes and save 1,083 lives saved per year.

Put another way, V2V technology could help drivers avoid more than half of these types of crashes that would otherwise occur by providing advance warning. LTA warns drivers not to turn left in front of another vehicle traveling in the opposite direction and IMA warns them if it is not safe to enter an intersection due to a high probability of colliding with one or more vehicles. Additional applications could also help drivers avoid imminent danger through forward collision, blind spot, do not pass, and stop light/stop sign warnings.

V2V technology has the potential to be fused with existing vehicle safety features to further improve the effectiveness of many crash avoidance safety systems currently being developed and implemented in the vehicle fleet and serve as a building block for a driverless vehicle.

Vehicles equipped with V2V technology could also enable the development of a wide range of mobility and environmental benefits based on vehicle-to-infrastructure applications and other V2V applications that can enhance traffic flow in many ways. V2V technology does not involve collecting or exchanging personal information or tracking drivers or their vehicles, NHTSA said.

The information sent between vehicles does not identify those vehicles, but merely contains basic safety data. The system as contemplated contains several layers of security and privacy protection to ensure that vehicles can rely on messages sent from other vehicles.


MIT team proposes process to recycle lead-acid batteries to fabricate solar cells

Pipe: Advanced tech - Mon, 2014-08-18 12:20

Researchers at MIT have devised an environmentally-responsible process to recycle materials from discarded automotive lead-acid batteries to fabricate efficient organolead halide perovskite solar cells (PSCs)—a promising new large-scale and cost-competitive photovoltaic technology. The process simultaneously avoids the disposal of toxic battery materials and provide alternative, readily-available lead sources for PSCs.

The system is described in a paper in the RSC journal Energy and Environmental Science, co-authored by professors Angela M. Belcher and Paula T. Hammond, graduate student Po-Yen Chen, and three others.

Perovskite films, assembled using materials sourced from either recycled battery materials or high-purity commercial reagents, show the same material characterizations (i.e., crystallinity, morphology, optical absorption, and photoluminescence property) and the identical photovoltaic performance (i.e., photovoltaic parameters and resistances of electron recombination), indicating the practical feasibility of recycling car batteries for lead-based PSCs.—Chen et al.

PSC technology has advanced rapidly from initial experiments to a point where its efficiency is nearly competitive with that of other types of solar cells. The power conversion efficiencies reached over 15% within 18 months of development; perovskite-based photovoltaic cells have now achieved power-conversion efficiency of more than 16%—approaching that of many commercial silicon-based solar cells. Accordingly, interest in the technology in the research community has soared.

(C&EN quoted University of Oxford physicist Henry J. Snaith as saying “It seems we’ve all been bitten by the perovskite bug.”)

However, the researchers note, the manufacture of PSCs raises environmental concerns regarding the over-production of raw lead ore, which has harmful health and ecological effects. Using recycled lead from old car batteries can alter the environmental impact.

Because the perovskite photovoltaic material takes the form of a thin film just half a micrometer thick, the team’s analysis shows that the lead from a single car battery could produce enough solar panels to provide power for 30 households.

As an added advantage, the production of perovskite solar cells is a relatively simple and benign process. “It has the advantage of being a low-temperature process, and the number of steps is reduced” compared with the manufacture of conventional solar cells, Belcher says.

Belcher says that currently, 90% of the lead recovered from the recycling of old batteries is used to produce new batteries, but over time the market for new lead-acid batteries is likely to decline, potentially leaving a large stockpile of lead with no obvious application.

In a finished solar panel, the lead-containing layer would be fully encapsulated by other materials, as many solar panels are today, limiting the risk of lead contamination of the environment. When the panels are eventually retired, the lead can simply be recycled into new solar panels.

Belcher believes that the recycled perovskite solar cells will be embraced by other photovoltaics researchers, who can now fine-tune the technology for maximum efficiency. The team’s work clearly demonstrates that lead recovered from old batteries is just as good for the production of perovskite solar cells as freshly produced metal.

Some companies are already gearing up for commercial production of perovskite photovoltaic panels, which could otherwise require new sources of lead. Since this could expose miners and smelters to toxic fumes, the introduction of recycling instead could provide immediate benefits, the team says.

The work, which also included research scientist Jifa Qi, graduate student Matthew Klug and postdoc Xiangnan Dang, was supported by Italian energy company Eni through the MIT Energy Initiative.


  • Po-Yen Chen, Jifa Qi, Matthew T. Klug, Xiangnan Dang, Paula T. Hammond and Angela Belcher (2014) “Environmentally-responsible fabrication of efficient perovskite solar cells from recycled car batteries” Energy Environ. Sci., doi: 10.1039/C4EE00965G

  • Hui-Seon Kim, Sang Hyuk Im, and Nam-Gyu Park (2014) “Organolead Halide Perovskite: New Horizons in Solar Cell Research” The Journal of Physical Chemistry C 118 (11), 5615-5625 doi: 10.1021/jp409025w

Fuel Systems lags US auto parts makers as Europe drags

Pipe: Passenger vehicles - Mon, 2014-08-18 12:07
U.S. automakers are increasingly using alternative technology to boost fuel economy and meet stricter mileage and emissions standards. Auburn Hills ...

Ford F150 2015 To Carry A New Variant On Its New Line Of Engines; Can This Be The Most Eco <b>...</b>

Pipe: Passenger vehicles - Mon, 2014-08-18 11:56
Actual fuel economy stats and price, however, has no official announcements from Ford and stay tuned for further development of information about ...

Monument <b>Clean Fuels</b> LLC

Pipe: Passenger vehicles - Mon, 2014-08-18 11:52
... Clean Fuels LLC. Join LinkedIn today for free. See who you know at Monument Clean Fuels LLC, leverage your professional network, and get hired.

Renault reveals new lower emission Twingo

Pipe: Passenger vehicles - Mon, 2014-08-18 11:45
All versions promise fuel economy from 60mpg upwards, with the new Dynamique SCe 70 with Start & Stop, the fuel economy star, offering 67.3 mpg ...

Rekordpreise für Oldtimer: Am Ende zählt die Legende

Pipe: Europe - Mon, 2014-08-18 11:39
38,1 Millionen Dollar für einen Ferrari: Das Auktionshaus von Robert Brooks hat gerade einen neuen Rekord aufgestellt. Jetzt erklärt der Bonhams-Chef, warum der Hype um Oldtimer weitergeht.

ORNL researcher suggests that most consumers better off with &lt;100-mile EV range until battery costs drop to $100/kWh

Pipe: Advanced tech - Mon, 2014-08-18 11:25

Until battery cost is cut down to $100/kWh, the majority of US consumers for battery electric vehicles (BEV) will be better off by choosing an electric vehicle with a range below 100 miles, according to a new study by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) researcher Zhenhong Lin.

The research, published in Transportation Science, a journal of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS), suggests reconsideration of the R&D goal that battery electric vehicles should have a driving range similar to that of conventional vehicles. It also implies that the focus of policy and R&D should be on continued reduction of battery costs to make short-range BEVs more price-competitive.

The focus should also remain on deployment of charging infrastructure to improve usability of short-range BEVs that attract more potential buyers.

In the study, Lin proposed a framework for optimizing the driving range by minimizing the sum of battery price, electricity cost, and range limitation cost—referred to as the “range-related cost”—as a measurement of range anxiety.

The objective function was linked to policy-relevant parameters, including battery cost and price markup; battery utilization; charging infrastructure availability; vehicle efficiency; electricity and gasoline prices; household vehicle ownership; daily driving patterns; discount rate; and perceived vehicle lifetime.

The electric driving range of a BEV was optimized separately for each of 36,664 sample drivers representing US new car drivers. Key results were the distribution of optimized BEV range among US consumers and the change of such a distribution in response to battery cost reduction and charging infrastructure improvement.

The quantitative results strongly suggest that ranges of less than 100 miles are likely to be more popular in the BEV market for a long period of time. The average optimal range among US drivers is found to be largely inelastic. Still, battery cost reduction significantly drives BEV demand toward longer ranges, whereas improvement in the charging infrastructure is found to significantly drive BEV demand toward shorter ranges. The bias of a single-range assumption and the effects of range optimization and diversification in reducing such biases are both found to be significant.—Zhenhong Lin

The results of the study explain the dominance in the BEV market of products with an electric range below 100 miles, the author said.

Before the introduction of the Nissan Leaf (certified with a 73-mile electric range) in December 2010, BEV ranges were often assumed to be between 150 and 200 miles. Now, eight out of the ten BEV products on the US market are equipped with an electric range below 100 miles, Lin said.

The paper further discusses the policy and R&D implications of the found distributions of optimal BEV range, providing insights for BEV-related policies and market strategies. The paper also includes sensitivity analysis and quantifies the significance of the optimization approach.


  • Zhenhong Lin (2014) “Optimizing and Diversifying Electric Vehicle Driving Range for US Drivers” Transportation Science doi: 10.1287/trsc.2013.0516

Navistar offering Allison fuel-efficiency package on medium-duty and vocational trucks

Pipe: Advanced tech - Mon, 2014-08-18 11:10

Navistar, Inc. is offering the Allison Transmission FuelSense fuel-efficiency package on its medium-duty and vocational International truck models. FuelSense, available in Allison’s 1000, 2000, 3000 and 4000 series transmissions, automatically adapts shift schedules and torque, maximizing transmission efficiency based on load, grade and duty cycle, without sacrificing performance.

Allison’s internal testing shows FuelSense cuts fuel consumption by up to 20 percent depending on duty cycle and application. Through electronic software calibrations and mechanical improvements, the new features address powertrain efficiency, one of the many leading attributors to fuel economy.—Steve Gilligan, vice president, product and vocational marketing, Navistar

FuelSense features are incorporated in part or completely in three levels: FuelSense Basic, FuelSense Plus and FuelSense Max. All features are available in the 3000 and heavy-duty 4000 series and will be available in the 1000 and 2000 series transmissions later this year.

FuelSense features include:

  • 5th Generation smart controls, acceleration management and a precision inclinometer;

  • EcoCal shift technology to keep engine speed at the most efficient level;

  • Dynamic Shift Sensing to automatically sense when low-engine speed shifts can be made;

  • Neutral at Stop eliminates the load on the engine when the vehicle is stopped to reduce non-productive fuel consumption and reduce emissions; and

  • Acceleration Rate Management relegates engine power to match acceleration curves and control engine torque.

FuelSense is also available in the International TerraStar, DuraStar, WorkStar and PayStar.

How Good Is the Isuzu D-Max?

Pipe: Passenger vehicles - Mon, 2014-08-18 10:48
D-Max has been designed for superior fuel economy, from the precision-controlled common rail fuel injection system to the aerodynamic body ...

Saleen introduces $152K FOURSIXTEEN performance version of Tesla Model S

Pipe: Advanced tech - Mon, 2014-08-18 10:34

FOURSIXTEEN. lick to enlarge.

Saleen Automotive unveiled its FOURSIXTEEN Tesla Model S-based (the 85 kWh performance model) vehicle at the 2014 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance this past weekend. In addition to an enhanced aerodynamics package, the FOURSIXTEEN is propelled by Tesla’s 3-phase, four-pole AC induction motor and copper rotor with an upgraded Saleen drivetrain including an all-new 11.39:1 final gear ratio for quicker acceleration. Power (416 hp/310 kW) and torque (N·m) remain the same as in the base P85 Tesla Model S.

Also new for the FOURSIXTEEN is a Saleen-specific MAXGRIP locking differential that allows each wheel efficiently to apply rotational force and maximize traction and grip in performance environments. Saleen says that all of its engineered driveline components increase efficiencies in torque management, give a track-capable throttle response, and provide faster acceleration.

Saleen has also applied its high-efficiency drivetrain cooling system, comprising a larger volume radiator, upsampled cooling fans, and a high-flow water pump to help maintain consistent temperatures in more stressful performance applications.

Electric drivetrains are unique in that they can generate an incredible amount of torque at zero RPM. Our challenge was really to find methods to manage the energy that is generated by the electric motor and rotor assembly. With the FOURSIXTEEN we have successfully found a comprehensive solution to increase performance and harness power in an efficient manner.—Sven Etzelsberger, VP Advanced Engineering

The Saleen-specific S4 track-calibrated suspension includes a monotube coilover, which works in conjunction with an S4 sway bar setup to increase cornering agility without sacrificing ride quality. The FOURSIXTEEN suspension system can also be ordered in a fully adjustable configuration, allowing the driver easily to increase stiffness for a day at the track and revert to a more street-oriented setting with simple adjustments.

The Stability Control System has also undergone a track-tested performance enhancement. A software change gives the FOURSIXTEEN better cornering response and drivability by allowing the driver to maintain power as traction and vehicle weight distribution change.

Working together with the stability control software, wheel, tire, and S4 suspension system are the Saleen-specific brakes. The standard brake package in the FOURSIXTEEN include 14" 2-piece aluminum hat vented rotors and multi-piston front calipers with performance brake pads. An optional upgrade is the carbon ceramic disc brake system for maximum braking, cooling, and weight reduction.

On the exterior, the FOURSIXTEEN features a new front fascia. Front aero management vents helps ensure that the Saleen FOURSIXTEEN model maintains a low pressure field as air acceleration increases around the chassis. Assisting the lower aero management is the V-shaped hood architecture, which directs hot air away from the drivetrain cooling system all while generating valuable downforce across the front section.

The rear fascia design finalizes the aerodynamic system as air moves across the cabin and onto the Saleen designed high-downforce decklid mounted spoiler.

Mid-chassis air is directed across the carbon fiber accents stretching between the taillights. Supplying rear wake diffusion is a Saleen diffuser design that boosts aerodynamic downforce capability.

MSRP for the FOURSIXTEEN model is set to start at $152,000 for the complete vehicle, which includes the base P85Model S sedan. This is priced before existing state and federal EV incentives which can range from $7,500 to $15,000 depending on the buyers state (i.e. A California resident would pay $142,000.00).

Warranties are also included on all new Saleen vehicles, components, and labor. Each newly purchased Saleen FOURSIXTEEN will include a 4-year / 50,000 mile warranty to match the manufacturer backed limited warranty.

Success in intracellular imaging of cesium distribution in plants used for cesium absorption

Pipe: Climate and Health - Mon, 2014-08-18 09:48
Since the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, the discharge of radioactive cesium into the environment has become a serious environmental problem. While various decontamination methods are currently being studied, methods involving cesium absorption from soil and water by plants has drawn attention since they can be used to concentrate cesium, produce little waste, are inexpensive, and environmentally benign. The method developed in new research can be used to detect cesium carbonate particles at high resolution (micrometer-level) by using a fluorescent probe called "Cesium Green," which also enables intracellular imaging of cesium distribution.

<b>Fuel economy</b> improvement ideas

Pipe: Passenger vehicles - Mon, 2014-08-18 08:56
I haven't purchased an incandescent light bulb for years. When compact fluorescents first came out, I purchased several varieties to evaluate.