Electric and fuel efficient vehicles may be making spare tires a thing of the past says Fox News. The American Automobile Association (AAA) points out that reducing weight is the easiest way to increase the gas mileage on a vehicle and removing the spare tire does just that. The new fuel economy rules in the US could send spares the way of the dodo, leaving vehicle owners with run-flat tires (which can go limited distances when punctured) or fix-a-flat kits (which work for small holes, but do little or nothing for bigger problems, much less blowouts). Worse, owners may not even notice the absence of a spare tire when they’re purchasing a EV. Here is the AAA list of all vehicles that do not come with a spare tire.

Carscoop wants to know why diesel engines are not popular in the US. In Europe, diesel-powered engines account for half of all vehicle sales, reaching at times as high as 70% of the market in countries like Italy and France. Moreover, a diesel engine is as much as 40% more efficient than a gasoline engine. In the US diesel engines make up a tiny 3% of the new car market. According to this article, the reason the uptake is so small in the US has to do with the price of diesel. “The real problem is the price they have to pay at the fuel pump. Whereas in Europe diesel is usually a bit cheaper, in the States a gallon of gasoline costs on average US$3.39 compared to US$3.85 for a gallon of diesel.” The price difference is due to higher taxes on diesel than gasoline. Not mentioned in the article is that compressed natural gas is running $1.50 to $2.00 a gallon cheaper than diesel and the trucking and corporate fleet segments are taking advantage of this large differential by converting their diesel engines to CNG.

Still on the US diesel theme, Ward’s Auto refers us to a Bosch report that forecasts 10% diesel penetration in the US light vehicle market within 3 years. Auto companies are expected to be selling 50 clean-diesel models in the U.S. market by 2014, and the number of companies now offering diesels will double by 2016. Bosch is more bullish than a forecast by Baum and Associates that predicts diesel’s market share will reach only 6.5% by 2015. J.D. Power & Associates forecasts diesel penetration will grow to 7.4% by 2017. Last year 110,000 diesel powered light vehicles were sold in the US. DriveOn also covers this story in Anti-diesel prejudice eroding fast in the U.S. However, PickupTrucks is less sanguine. In Hoping Diesels Will Make a Big Push Soon? Don’t Count on It the author argues that the higher cost of diesel fuel in the US coupled with the higher cost of diesel engines and the significant improvements in turbo-charged gasoline engines will deter consumers from wanting light diesel vehicles.

The Globe and Mail asks: Why buy hybrid when you could have diesel instead?

TheGreenCar says that electric trucks will be cheaper to run than diesel trucks. A new study by the Centre for Transportation and Logistics, electric commercial vehicles could cost 9% to 12% cent less to operate than equivalent diesel models when part of a vehicle-to-grid system. This would mean their batteries could be plugged into the grid for 12 hours overnight, with truck owners paid by utility firms for the power services they would provide to the grid. The study found that businesses could earn $900-$1,400 per truck per year in current energy markets – this would represent a reduction of 7% to 11% in operating costs. In addition, money would be saved on fuel and maintenance as electric trucks put less wear and tear on brakes.

GreenBiz wants to know what it will take to bring EVs to the mass market while Michigan Live wants to know what will the next decade hold for EVs.

NASDAQ gives us the pros and cons of five types of green cars. Included is a green car calculator to help you decide what car is right for you. “Which is best for you depends on your other goals. For example, do you want to be as green as possible? An electric vehicle (EV) is the answer. Want superb fuel economy without worrying about plugging in? A hybrid is a good choice. Do you crave power and the feel of gears shifting as you accelerate? If so, hybrids and EVs are likely out of contention, but diesels and turbocharged gas engines are good candidates.”

Green Tech Pastures introduces us to an app that monitors your electric car battery on your Apple device. The Apple iOS app for iPhones, iPads and iPod touch devices is called GreenCharge, and it offers features for tracking battery data and metrics. So, for example, an electric-vehicle owner can see how much range is left before a charge is needed; he or she can run analytics on daily, weekly and monthly driving patterns; and the owner can also calculate savings that differentiate electric vehicles from gasoline-powered automobiles.

DutchNews tells us that electric bikes are on the rise in the Netherlands. Last year e-bike sales were up 7% even though they cost almost €1000 more than a regular bike.

the olive press tells us that European car rental firm Europcar is adding 150 electric cars to its fleet in Spain to join those already on the road in Madrid and Barcelona.

London, England  is not progressing very well with electric vehicles writes The Guardian. Three years ago the Mayor of London promised 100,000 EVs on London’s streets and it would become the electric car capital of Europe.  Well that is going to take some time. There are now 2,313 electric cars in the capital, just 0.08% of the city’s total of 3 million cars.

The city of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada will have hybrid buses this month says The Lethbridge Herald. Lethbridge Transit will be putting five diesel-electric coaches on the road. These buses will save about 60% on fuel costs compared with a traditional diesel powered bus.

Consumer Reports mentions that US consumers have concerns with electric, plug-in hybrid cars. 77% of consumers have a concern with range limitations. Amid the Chevy Volt fire headlines, 43% of respondents feel electric and plug-in hybrids are as safe as gasoline-fueled cars and another 20% deemed them safer. 28% said the electrified cars are less safe, and 9% responded they don’t know. 42% are concerned about fires at home while charging the vehicle and 35% are worried about post-crash fires. In assessing these findings the magazine comments: “These responses reveal that there are still misgivings and misunderstandings about electrified cars among the general public. Exposure to such vehicles and more education should help consumers better understand that electrified cars have been proven safe alternatives to traditional cars. It is a shame the Volt incidents likely misguided consumers and potentially impacted the short-term adoption rate for this promising new technology.”

From Torque News we learn what it costs to recharge an EV at a US public charging station and why.

Autonet.ca educates us about Toyota’s virtual hybrid test which allows us to compare a conventional gasoline powered vehicle to a hybrid to a plug-in hybrid to an all electric vehicle. At www.hybridizer.ca, users can see how the four types of vehicles interact on long road trips, weekend getaways or during the daily grind, allowing the visitor to choose one car type and see how much fuel is used and even if it is able to handle each preset scenario. Drivers can find out what fuel or electricity charging costs they would face, as well as charging times and total C02 emissions.

FoxNews tells how US hotels are adding free EV charging stations to attract guests. The post includes a list of hotels that have added them.

New EV charging stations have been announced in Waterloo, OntarioHouston, Texas; Santa Monica, California; Eugene, Oregon; Snoqualmie, WashingtonPittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Newburyport, Massachusetts and Northumberland County, England.

 

 

 

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