Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Replacement Prius Battery - The Most Expensive Replacement Battery You Will Ever Buy!

By Mike Lynch

If you are reading this, chances are you are thinking that you need a replacement Prius battery. That can spell bad news for you and your Prius. Do you know how much these Prius batteries cost? Let's say that if you can find a USED replacement Prius battery for under $3000, then you are lucky! I am pretty sure that this is not what you want to read, I'm sorry.

First, how do you know whether or not you need a new battery? Here are some of the signs to look for when diagnosing the problem -

Slowed Acceleration

Of course you know your Prius better than anyone else. Have you noticed if the car has a slower acceleration rate? Basically you can floor the gas petal, but the car feels more like a golf cart than a car. This could be a sign that the battery is starting to go. Remember, a majority of the power comes from the battery.

The battery Does Not Hold a Charge

This is a symptom shared by just about all batteries. As a battery gets older, it has a more difficult time holding a charge. Just think of a laptop or a car battery. These batteries do last for a while, but eventually they need to be replaced. It is no different with your Prius. The charge will no longer hold as well as it did in the past. At this point, it is time to start looking for a replacement Prius battery.

Poor Fuel Economy

This is the other tall-tell sign that your battery is starting to go. Has your fuel economy started decrease? This is a major symptom because your Prius is now burning more fuel than it would when the battery is functioning properly. The basic concept of a hybrid car is that the gasoline gets the car running and then the electricity maintains the speed, etc. This is how you get such great fuel economy. If that fuel economy starts to go, it usually means the battery is not doing its part.

So what do you think? Is it time for a replacement Prius battery? I want to let you in a little secret. The Prius batteries are typically only under warranty for about 96 months - or eight years. Coincidentally, the lifespan of the Toyota Prius battery is only about seven or eight years.

How convenient, right?

If I told you that there was an alternative to getting a replacement Prius battery, would you be interested? You many not have to spend the thousands of dollars for a new battery, rather you can just rebuild the one you have! This of course is something that your Toyota dealer is not going to tell you.

They want you to buy the replacement Prius battery. If you want to save thousands of dollars on your replacement Prius battery, you must visit

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tokyo Motor Show rolls out hot wheels

By Yoko Wakatsuki, CNN

Tokyo, Japan (CNN) -- Take a glimpse of the near future. Electric vehicles and other types of eco-friendly cars are taking center stage at the 41st Tokyo Motor Show, which runs through November 4.

Following the commercial success of Toyota's hybrid car Prius, Japanese car makers introduced their latest line up of eco-friendly cars. Electric vehicles are believed to be the next wave of automobile powered by alternative energy sources.

The governments of many developed economies have introduced scrap incentives for eco-friendly car purchases to kick-start moribund economies, accelerating the sales of alternative energy cars such as Prius.

The biannual automobile showcase took a hit from the global recession, counting only 109 auto and auto parts makers' participation, less than half of that in the last show in 2007.

The Tokyo Motor show is one of the world's five biggest motor shows, but only three non-Japanese car makers -- Lotus and Caterham of the U.K. and Alpina of Germany -- participated this year, compared with 26 firms in 2007. Car makers are shifting focus to emerging markets, such as those of China and India.

Carlos Ghosn, president and chief executive officer of Nissan, introduced the company's first electric vehicle, ''Leaf,'' for the mass market. It will be sold starting in late 2010 in Japan, U.S. and Europe.

'The race for zero emission has begun," he said. "The world is eager to address the concerns about global CO2 emissions and we are proposing solutions to meet the environmental challenges.''

Organizers are expecting one million visitors to attend the show.

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Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Prius Tops Japan's Car Sale Chart

Taken from BBC

Toyota's Prius has become the first hybrid car to outsell all other vehicles in Japan, figures show.

It sold 22,292 Prius vehicles in June, from 6,231 in the same month a year earlier and from 10,915 in May said the Japan Automobile Dealers Association.

A new model had helped bolster sales, analysts said.

In May the Prius had already become the top-selling car - a category that excludes popular mini-vehicles with engines of up to 660cc.

Honda's Fit was the second most popular vehicle in the June, with sales of 13,016 vehicles. The firm's Insight, a hybrid marketed as a cheaper alternative to the Prius, was ranked fourth.

Tax breaks

Hybrid cars are powered by both by petrol and electricity.

High oil prices and growing concern about emissions blamed for global warming has encouraged Japanese carmakers to lead the global development of hybrids.

The sale of fuel-efficient vehicles has also been helped by the government making them tax free.

The car industry hopes that hybrid cars will re-energise the flagging market, which has suffered in the global economic downturn.

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Sunday, September 06, 2009

An Introduction to 2010 Toyota Camry Hybrid

By Eshwarya Patel

While everyone is well aware of consequences of global warming, hybrid cars have been proved to be a great step in keeping the environment safe. Toyota, with the advent of 2010 Toyota Camry Hybrid, boasts of its elegant and stylish look and great comfort as available in other regular Toyota models.

This new model is a 5 passenger, 4 door family car. Right now, only one trim of this model, 4-Door Sedan, is available in the market. It consists of 2.4 liter, 147 hp, I4 standard hybrid engine that offers a maximum of 34-mpg speed on highway and 33-mpg in the city.

It comes with all standard security features like anti-lockout, anti-theft, child safety door locks, power door locks, and selective locking etc. For braking and traction control, this models offers 294-mm front and 279-mm solid rear disc brakes. Breaks are electronic and offers break force distribution to provide good breaking mechanism. For entertainment, in consists of In-Glass Antenna, Radio with 6 speakers, and CD/MP3 player with Auxiliary Input Jack.

AC ducts are available at front and rear ends for heating and air-conditioning. The car can be put at automatic climate control mechanism. This model can be purchased in metallic color for a few extra dollars. Headlights are halogen and with projector beam. As far as Instrumentation is concerned, it offers cruise control, engine start stop button facility, digital clock, tachometer, tire pressure monitor, external temperature monitor, and warning lights etc.

Overall, this car gives you as comfort as any other expensive Toyota model will. This environment friendly model is designed to offer maximum comfort and style to be an ideal car for a family.

If you are interested to know more about latest or old Toyota Models and get a detailed analysis of them, you can refer to Toyota Cars For Sale - The Free Online Toyota Guide

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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Toyota, Mazda to form tie-up on hybrid

Toyota is in final discussions on providing its smaller rival Mazda with its key hybrid technology through a business tie-up, a respected business daily reported Thursday.

Under the plan, Toyota Motor Corp. would supply the key components of its hybrid cars for Mazda Motor Corp., allowing Mazda to enter the green car market as early as 2013, with an initial sales target of 100,000 units, the Nikkei business newspaper said.

Mazda had approached Toyota for a dal, and Toyota is nearing a final decision to accept it, the Nikkei said, adding that an official announcement was expected soon.

Both Toyota and Mazda said they had no immediate comment. Mazda spokeswoman Yukari Hara said officials were currently verifying the report.

The deal would allow Toyota to ct costs of hybrid components through mass production, while earning profits from Mazda, the Nikkei said.

Green cars are gaining in popularity in Japan thanks in part to tax breaks from the government.

The Associated Press

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Car That Runs on Water - The 4 Most Frequent Questions

By Peter C. Jones

Fantastic Savings

One of the biggest advantages of opting for a car that runs on water is the fantastic savings that you will be making. This technology is one of the best ways to save money.

Better Performance

Further, your car will also perform better over longer periods of time. There are many individuals who insists that the engine becomes quieter and the car performs better as one uses this technology

A brief overview of how this technology works

The electrolysis of the water begins after the installation of the kit, which is connected to the battery and the electrical system for power generation. The power is used to converts water into HHO gas. The gas combines with gasoline to enhance combustion and improve efficiency.

The 4 Most Frequent Questions on Car that Runs on Water:

1- Is there any safety risk involved?

As long as you follow the instruction manual properly and fulfill the requirements, there is absolutely no security risk

2- Does this pollute?

If your car uses water converted into gas, your gasoline will burn better and will pollute less. HHO gas improves performance by reducing pollution.

3- How tough is the installation process?

You need not know a lot about cars and need not even be good at installing things. This is because this guide is a step by step model. Just follow the instructions and you can install the water conversion kit in a jiffy. All you need is some material that you can purchase from a hardware store.

4- Does the kit have a harmful effect on the engine?

Better fuel combustion means better performance and lesser wear and tear. Your engine does not become dirtier or is not negatively affected. A clean engine lasts much longer than a dirty one. Rather, its performance only improves. All this contributes to a lot more savings on your gas bill.

Click here to check the easy step by step tutorial that showed Peter exactly how to assemble a conversion kit for a car that runs on water He doubled his fuel economy and enhanced the performance of his vehicle in a very easy way!

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Friday, July 31, 2009

The Lexus GS 450h, LS 600h, LS 600h L, and LS 460.

Lexus is the luxury division of Japanese automobile manufacturers Toyota. Lexus has been making luxury cars and have since 2005 added two lines of cars that offer hybrid variants along with the petrol engines. The Lexus GS 450h is the hybrid version of the Lexus GS. The car is packed with devices and ensures a very comfortable and smooth ride.

The electric motor along with the petrol engine means the car delivers wonderful performance with very low emissions. Just like all luxury cars, the engine is full-sized and powerful. A 3.5L petrol engine along with an electric motor powers the GS 450h. The Lexus LS is a luxury four-door saloon that is really spacious and comfortable. The Lexus LS hybrid again presents a petrol and electric power combination, which makes it a great powerful car with very low emissions. The Lexus LS was one of the first hybrid cars developed by Lexus.

It's at speeds greater than thirty miles per hour the petrol engine kicks in and gives the Lexus LS the power required to move this huge luxury car. Like all luxury cars, the drive and ride of the Lexus LS is outstanding. Both the Lexus GS and the LS are offered in pure petrol engines or in hybrid variants. The hybrid versions save on fuel use and decrease emissions.

The petrol engines on these cars are somewhat thirsty. This is logical as these are big, heavy luxury cars. The third hybrid car offered by Lexus is the Lexus RX. This luxury car only exists as a hybrid. The Lexus RX was the first hybrid car manufactured by Lexus. The third generation Lexus RX is a fantastic luxury car, which delivers an exceptional performance.

The hybrid engine combination makes the Lexus RX a very fuel-efficient car, and for this reason, most of the companies favor this car for their executives. The Lexus RX offers a comfortable and luxurious passage. Furthermore, that is what clients expect from a top quality executive car. Lexus has used a unique design in powering its hybrid cars.

There is the petrol engine that is assisted along with an electric motor under the hood. A second electric motor is fitted at the back, and this provides extra power to the car. The batteries for the electric motors are placed in a lower compartment of the car. These electric motors decrease the power requirements of the petrol engine without compromising on their performance.

The hybrids are not gas-guzzlers, as one would expect in such big luxury cars. However the cars are heavy, with fabulous interiors and passenger comfort. Lexus is frequently trying to improve on its hybrid cars and will be adding more hybrid cars to its lineup of luxury cars.

Trendy, classy and voguish with a mesh of eco-friendly attributes that is what the Lexus LS Luxury High Performance Saloon is. It is a luxury car with no finest luxury qualities omitted. This car comes in three models: LS 600h, LS 600h L and LS 460. LS 600h is the main car of the lot and delivers significantly low carbon dioxide emanations; in fact, just about 219 gram for every kilometer. LS 460 renders acceleration from zero to 62 mph in an even shorter time, that is, 5.7 seconds.

Lexus LS is a hybrid drive. As a matter of fact, it is the world's most powerful hybrid car. It holds a five-liter petrol engine joined with an electric motor.
The car works on electronic power alone at low speeds and readily shifts into the V8 engine as speed increases. LS 460 come with the world's first 8-speed automatic transmission. This increases fuel efficiency. The interior of the car is just as remarkable. The centre console displays the touch-screen control panel. The intelligent parking assist option directs the driver park in a rendered space.
The car's capable system reckons the amount of space and parking angle and then controls the steering to park at same time the driver controls the car's speed and brakes. The car has a brilliant sound system, which is very well suited to the car's acoustic properties. You can also use touch screen or voice control options to make use of the intuitive navigation control of the car.

Lexus LS even comes with safety arrangements to minimize the chance of accidents. It offers highly developed obstacle detection, driver monitoring system, lane-keeping assist and all around air bag protection. Hybrid cars have emerged to be a well-liked and alternate option to usual vehicles. Hybrid cars are recognized for their environment friendly operation and least expenditure of natural resources i.e. gasoline.

There is a great variety of hybrid cars presented in the UK market. Luxury sedans of Lexus, branded under Lexus LS 600h sell like hot items due to their tremendous driving record and less releases.

Test-driving a Lexus LS 600h requires some smart approach from your side.
You can look into the braking power and transmission system of the car. Try applying sudden brakes in a succession and changing gears rapidly to understand the dynamics of the car. LS 600h cars have a firm, but comfortable steering wheel that is very easy to navigate. Also, the automatic transmission shows that you will have minimum disturbance in driving the vehicle.

Another thing to search for in a test drive is the fuel economy. These cars are installed with highly sophisticated fuel trackers that enable you in obtaining information about the total amount of fuel utilized and remaining. As you will be driving a hybrid vehicle, it would be a superb idea to switch quickly to electric mode. After all, hybrid cars are meant to be driven on electric driver-motors in most cases. You can examine the power of these batteries by taking a longer test drive and fully utilizing the electric system to find more about the vehicle. You can test the speed, acceleration, brakes, and transmission system while on the electric mode.

You should not panic or return the car quickly. Test drives are meant to be the actual litmus test before buying a vehicle.

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Monday, July 13, 2009

Easy, "How To" Hydrogen Car - No Need to Wait Anymore

By Sam Geo

Gas prices are rising. Your wallet is strained. You are stretching your dollars to the limits. And here is how you can save on your gas fuel bill. Read on...


Yes, it is time to convert your gas guzzler to a hydrogen car so that you can reduce your fuel bill drastically. Though it will take some time before the auto majors launch their hydrogen beauties significantly on the streets, you need not wait in frustration and spend a ton of money on expensive gas. With a 'hydrogen fuel boost kits' you can now enjoy a smoother, cheaper ride and that too for years to come. Interested already?

Some more information on how-tos and hydrogen cars

If you are not a DIY buff, let us start with buying the hydrogen fuel boost kit. You can buy it online or from local stores. Then you can get started on your car conversion project straightaway and with a little work you will be would be able to convert your car into a car of the future - a hydrogen assisted car. The work and time spent on this car conversion project is worth it because you will enjoy the bliss of a smooth ride and cheap fuel bills. So go get it now!

You need not be a great mechanic

Is a how to hydrogen fuel saver kit for you? Yes, if you can comprehend and follow the simple how-to manuals and if you have a little spare time then you too can do it. These boost kit assembling processes are quite easy and chances of facing complex problems are nil. Several car owners have converted their cars with hydrogen fuel boost kits and they are happy with the result. If you browse the internet for proof, you will see glowing testimonials and excellent product reviews. Some of the owners even claim that they are experiencing a gas efficiency of 200% - just imagine!

Hydrogen Fuel Boost Kit - Buy Today and Learn How-To of Hydrogen Car!

There are several kits that really work and save your hard-earned money. Once you get to know how it works and the amount of money you save on your fuel bills you will just be amazed! Additionally, you gain in terms of mileage when you switch to HHO technology. So start a new journey with HHO and save the planet as you drive.

Sam Geo is a fellow hydrogen hybrid cars enthusiast sharing his new found research with the world. Check out now! If you've ever wondered about saving incredible amounts of money on gas, improving your car's performance and helping the environment all at the same time then you must see now!

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Saturday, June 13, 2009

2009 Hybrid Vehicles - The Ones With the Best Mileage

By Patricia S. Brown

It goes without saying that hybrid vehicles are the private transportation of the future. The reasons include the fact that we have a finite supply of crude oil, the rising cost of gas over which we have very little control, our dependence on unfriendly nations for our oil supply, and the negative effects of gasoline exhaust on the environment.

Saving, be it the environment or on gas, is the primary reason most people buy these types of vehicles. To this end, it is anticipated that 2009 will be a big year for makers of hybrids because consumers are trying to reduce their consumption in the current economic downturn. It is during times like these that high gas mileage trumps size and becomes a major deciding factor when buying personal transportation.

King of the Road
The king of high mileage per gallon of gas is none other than the Toyota Prius. One of the first alternative-fuel vehicles to appear on the US auto market, the Prius offers 45 city and 48 highway miles to the gallon. The 2009 model has a bigger engine; therefore, provides more horsepower and has been designed with a very light frame aimed at pushing the gas mileage as close to 50 as is possible by improving the length of time it can run gas-free.

Close Runner-Up
The Honda Civic hybrid is second and it offers 40 city and 45 highway miles per gallon. It costs a bit more than the Prius, but has a sleeker look. The 2009 model has better battery packs and its regenerative braking system is capable of eliminating almost all emission from the vehicle. It is, also, the best choice for consumers who consider safety a priority when choosing a vehicle.

Third in Line
The third most fuel efficient hybrid vehicle is the Smart For Two. The smart car burst onto the market in Europe and is slowly becoming popular in the U.S. It offers 33 city and 41 highway miles per gallon. The major drawback to the Smart For Two is its size. It is very small, light, and has comparatively low horsepower compared to the other hybrids. However, it can be considered cute, affordable, and is perfect for city dwellers who don't want to spend too much money on a car. The 2009 model comes with a transmission that can be changed between manual and automatic.

Another Good Choice
The BMW Mini Cooper is another great choice of hybrid because of its high gas mileage. It offers 28 city and 37 highway miles to the gallon. The 2009 model comes in automatic and manual. It is built with BMW's pure quality, has an updated suspension thus providing a smoother ride, and has enough horsepower to hold its own on any U.S. highway.

Hybrid vehicles can be more expensive than all-gas vehicles; however, in the long run they will save the consumer and have a positive impact on the environment. Furthermore, nothing says "I'm hip and aware!" as being behind the wheel of a 2009 fuel efficient hybrid vehicle.

P. Brown is a former English teacher with seven years experience. She loves traveling, volunteering and reading.

She is now a travel agent who spends most of her time building her full service online travel agency

Please visit her website when you're planning to travel. We offer everything you'll ever need at excellent prices. You can also contact me at Thanks.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Diesel vs. hybrid

Focusing on automotive technology, the green trend AOL Autos identified at the recent 2009 Detroit Auto Show seems to be pushing buyers into two camps: diesel or hybrid.

Today, the celebrities of the green movement are diesel- and hybrid-powered vehicles.
The defining characteristic of the diesel engine is its compression ignition cycle; this means that the engine uses ultra-high compression ratios in the combustion chamber to ignite the fuel-air charge (gasoline-burning internal combustion engines use spark plugs to fire up).

The defining characteristic of a hybrid is that these vehicles use a combination of electric motors and internal combustion engines (working in tandem) to propel the vehicle.

Clean diesel technology

With the advent of high-pressure direct fuel injection and special exhaust emissions systems, modern automotive diesel engines bare little resemblance to their stinky, smoke-belching forefathers.

And unlike the truly dreadful diesel engines perpetrated on trusting American drivers by Oldsmobile from 1978-85, today's diesels are reliable.

Ford Motor Company, General Motors, and Chrysler are adding clean diesel engines to their light trucks in 2010, but there are several cars and crossovers available this year that prove that diesel engines are viable for today's American driver.

Past award winners have been hybrids, but the Jetta's clean exhaust and exceptional real-world fuel economy (30 mpg city, 41 highway) won over the judges.

Powerful torque is a characteristic of diesel engines. Even though the Jetta's turbo diesel displaces only 2.0-liters (about 128 cubic inches), with 236 lb-ft of torque, the Jetta accelerates as if it's powered by a large gasoline V-6 engine.

Torque is the overriding trait that defines the diesel driving experience. The Q7, just like the smaller Jetta TDI, demonstrated another diesel hallmark: efficiency (mpg) at highway speeds.

The downside of diesel

Unfortunately, diesel engines are more costly to produce than most gasoline engines, so there is a higher up-front cost when you buy or lease. Worldwide demand for diesel fuel is also up, putting further upward pressure on pricing compared to gasoline (Europe ships diesel to the U.S. at bargain prices).

Taxes add to the price differential between gasoline and diesel, and Larson estimates the difference is another six cents to diesel's cost-per-gallon disadvantage. Unfortunately, diesel fuel's higher cost typically erases most cost saving from its better fuel economy.

Say hi to more hybrids

Recently, automakers have rolled out hybrids in great supply. Honda introduced their 2010 Insight hybrid. BMW also has new production hybrids, including a new mild-hybrid powertrain for their full-size 7-Series.

Obviously, hybrids are hot. Why? Because there are several different categories of hybrid powertrains, we'll generalize the group's benefit: hybrids use battery-powered electric motors to reduce the energy required from their vehicle's internal combustion engine. This saves fuel.

Most hybrids can operate on only electric power for short distances at city-driving speeds. For example, the 2010 Prius is rated at 50 mpg city, 48 mpg highway. Likewise, the 2009 Ford Escape Hybrid SUV racks up 34 mpg city, but only 31 mpg on the highway.

The lows of hybrids

Unlike diesel-powered vehicles, the highest-mileage hybrids tend to be a bit lackadaisical in regards to acceleration. Some also exhibit odd driving behaviors.
Hybrids also use electrically-driven power steering. Compared to otherwise comparable non-hybrid models, hybrids cost anywhere from $1750-$15,000 more.

What engine technology will drive us in 2014?

Diesel engines and hybrid powertrains will continue to offer high-mileage solutions for those willing to pay the required premium. Many manufacturers, such as Volkswagen, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz see potential for diesel-powered vehicles. Until the cost of diesel fuel drops to be closer to gasoline, company representatives told AOL that they are content to focus on hybrids and maximizing the efficiency of their traditional engines.

What about a normal engine?

This may come as a surprise, but traditional internal combustion engines represent a solid green choice based on their improving fuel economy and comparatively low cost.
According to Volkswagen's Group Powertrain Engineer Wolfgang Hatz, internal combustion engines will continue to improve. Hatz estimates that the fuel economy of gasoline engines will improve 15-perent in the coming years. Both Ford Motor Company and General Motors are already introducing gasoline engines with a new type of fuel injection that enhances fuel economy. Their engines utilize direct injection that helps boost mpg up to 20 percent.

Evidence points to a technology battle that's broader than diesel versus hybrid. Doing the math, this means that 80-percent of cars and light-duty trucks will remain powered by traditional gasoline engines in 2014.

At most, diesel and hybrid technologies help focus the driving public's attention on efficiency, and that's a good thing regardless of which engine technology is under the hood of your next vehicle.

Right now you can go out and buy a diesel-, hybrid- or traditional internal combustion-powered vehicle.

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Used Hybrid Cars

By Gregory Jean

When deciding to purchase any used hybrid cars, there are many benefits to be considered. Firstly, despite the fact that they may be slightly more expensive than other second hand cars, you will still save money on fuel with the cost per mile advantage. Depending on the age of the hybrid car, there should be a warrantee that entitles the owner to free replacements of some of the more expensive hybrid parts. Even when a hybrid car has passed 250,000 miles, it will still run perfectly.

Check into a possible tax rebate of up to $5,000 in the US if you decide to own a used hybrid car, as the government supports the hybrid vehicle because they do benefit the environment. A Used or new hybrid car has no more mechanical problems than a regular car and they have a fantastic power source, that doesn't need to be plugged into an electric source. The hybrid car creates it's own energy through a process of regenerative breaking, which is when charge is created through the movement of the wheels.

There are so many advantages to buying a used hybrid car with the first one being, it's cheaper than buying one brand new and it will still work just as good when it's looked after well, just as long as a regular car. When you buy a used hybrid car, you can also be proud to know that you are helping the environment and putting less fuel emissions towards pollution already out there today.

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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Toyota's third-generation Prius

Toyota's third-generation Prius, due at dealerships this spring, will have an optional solar panel on its roof. The panel will power a ventilation system that can cool the car without help from the engine, Toyota says.

But it's a long way from the 2010 Prius to a solar-powered car, experts told CNN. Most agree that there just isn't enough space on a production car to get full power from solar panels.

"Being able to power a car entirely with solar is a pretty far-reaching goal," said Tony Markel, a senior engineer at the federal government's National Renewable Energy Lab in Golden, Colorado.

In the new Prius, the solar panel will provide energy for a ventilation fan that will help cool the parked car on sunny, hot days. The question is, how much gasoline can solar power offset? According to recent articles in Japan's Nikkei newspaper, Toyota has bigger plans for harnessing power from the sun. Nikkei reports that Toyota hopes to develop a vehicle powered entirely by solar panels. Motorists don't have to wait for a 2010 Prius to drive a solar-enhanced car, however. Greg Johanson, president of Solar Electric Vehicles in Westlake Village, California, said his company makes a roof-mounted panel for a standard Prius that enables the car to travel up to 15 additional miles a day.

The system delivers about 165 watts of power per hour to an added battery, which helps powers the electric motor, Johanson said.

"Solar panels really need a lot of area," he said.

Leonhardt thinks Toyota's new Prius is a good first step toward using renewable energy. Johanson of Solar Electric Vehicles said he'd like to see Toyota bring the weight of a Prius down from 3,000 pounds to 2,000. He also hopes for a small gasoline engine and a larger electric motor. In the meantime, Solar Electric Vehicles sells its version of a plug-in Prius, with a solar panel installed, for $25,000, Bautista said.

Toyota is the largest automaker to incorporate solar power into a mass-produced car. But its solar panel is not the first for a car company. The Eclectic model costs $30,000, looks like a souped-up golf cart and uses roof-mounted solar panels to help power an electric engine.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Development History of the Hybrid Car

By Wendy Gorman

Are modern hybrid cars reinventing the wheel? Well not quite, but hybrid car developers may be going full circle. Hybrid cars are currently all the rage and this is for many reasons including economy, climate change, fuel shortages and many more forms of challenge to the motorist. The latest hybrid cars are seen as a modern response to these challenges. The truth however is that the automobile manufacturing industry has been here before. So while contemplating the purchase of a new super modern hybrid, why not pause a little and reflect on the history behind today's so called new designs?

It is not generally realized that designs for hybrid cars actually predate designs for gasoline driven cars. As early as 1665 a certain Ferdinand Verbeist is known to have been working on the concept of a self-moving wagon. This appears to have been a very basic design, based on a simple four-wheeled wagon of the day to which some form of power source was to be added. The motive power was to be steam! It is known that he was still working on his design in the late 1670's but unfortunately no record exists to show whether he actually got it to work.

It was nearly 100 years later when Nicholas Cugnot produced a somewhat more sophisticated steam carriage that actually worked. Capable of speeds up to some six miles per hour, this vehicle proved the concept, but suffered from both not being able to create enough steam to go any faster and also not being able to carry enough fuel to go any great distance. Nonetheless, surely Nicholas can claim to have produced the first working hybrid car.

Over the next 70 years a number of designers tried various ways to overcome the known drawbacks of what came to be known as the horseless carriage and in 1839 Robert Anderson announced the electric powered car. Robert, who designed and built his car in Scotland, seemed to have made the breakthrough everyone was looking for.

Although highly acclaimed at the time, there were as always some snags to be overcome in order to increase performance and to create what today we would call a more user-friendly product. This electric car was a highly applauded innovation of its time. The main drawback with this design was the difficulty in maintaining the charge in the car's automotive batteries. The solution to this development problem proved elusive to many pioneers of the fledgling automobile industry.

By the late 19th century, automobile engineers were experimenting with combined fuel sources less dependent on battery recharging technology. It was in 1898 that Porsche introduced the Lohner Electric Chaise. This was powered by a combination of electric and fuel combustion technology and on battery power alone could cover distances of up to 40 miles. The ultimate aim of realistic distances was getting closer.

Throughout the major part of the 20th century the ideas behind the hybrid car lay somewhat dormant, as availability of cheap gasoline and the advance of conventional technology for powering cars, trucks etc was fully exploited in a great transport revolution. The first decade of the 21st century however brought changes in outlook based on rising cost of oil and gasoline, together with a growing environmental awareness of such things as global warming. Development engineers combined both a gas and a battery powered engine to power what would become today's hybrid car. This was kick started by Honda who introduced the lightweight two-door Honda Insight to the American automobile marketplace. A vigorous and continuing series of developments by other manufacturers have created the range of hybrid models we know today. In the same way that complex development of the gasoline driven car does not stop people understanding the 'simple concept' of conventional cars, the apparently complex ideas underpinning the latest hybrid cars, should not stop the automobile purchaser from seeing the hybrid car as being just as simple to understand. The hybrid car started out as a simple, self powered, four wheeled wagon and it is still that today - About 350 years after it was first conceived!

Wendy Gorman is an accomplished author and niche website developer. She is committed to exploring the question "what is a hybrid car?" and also to explain how to buy a hybrid car. Visit her sites now to better understand the hybrid car marketplace and its future.

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