Mount Vernon News says choosing a new car can mean choosing a new fuel.  We learn there are now multiple sources for powering vehicles and some of them are virtually unknown to most consumers. Other than gas or diesel (petrol), alternatives include electric, hybrid, propane, hydrogen, liquid natural gas, compressed natural gas, methanol, and P series fuels (including ethanol). Auto makers are offering vehicles with all of these choices or hybrids that combine gasoline and an alternative such as electric, compressed natural gas or ethanol. As readers of our weekly Natural Gas Vehicle News column knows, this fuel is very popular in Asia and is catching on among the trucking industry in North America.

Or how about fueling your vehicle on water?  Time reports that an engineer in Pakistan claims to have invented a water-fueled car. However, there are detractors…

Are self-driving cars in our future?  Two blogs seem to think so.  nitrobahn has The Revolutionary Self-Driving Cars on Its Way while The Christian Science Monitor posts Self-driving cars: Coming sooner than you think? A new study says new high tech tools may make self driving vehicles a reality soon but the take up by the public will depend on a number of factors including cost, marketing, legislation, and availability from both automakers and aftermarket companies.

If you have an interest in stop-start motor engines, check out Torque News AAA answers questions about engine stop-start technologies.

Toyota will start selling hydrogen fuel cell cars in 2015 according to USA Today. This is about a decade before the rest of the auto industry thinks this technology is feasible. Initially the vehicle will be sold in the US state of California, which plans to have 68 hydrogen fueling stations by the end of 2015. Ford thinks fuel-cell vehicles only become affordable when the fuel-cell stack can compete on cost with the electric battery pack. See also hydrgenfuelnews Toyota announced plans to launch hydrogen-powered vehicles in 2015.

The Truth About Cars writes about the end of the fuel cell race and takes a brief look at where we stand today. “…fuel-cell cars…are widely expected to be the ultimate eco-cars because they emit no greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, or other pollutants. Leading the charge in fuel-cell development are Toyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co., General Motors Co. of the U.S., and Germany’s Daimler AG. The stakes are high, given the vast sums already spent.” Because of the vast investment involved, firms are working together on the technology (eg. Toyota-BMW and Nissan-Renault-Daimler) and more partnerships are expected as we go forward.

Pike Research predicts plug-in hybrids will outsell battery EVs in the U.S. for the first six or seven years we learn from Green Car Reports. Plug-in hybrids have a gasoline or diesel engine, as well as a plug-in battery and electric motor whereas battery EVs just plug into a wall or charging station.  However, Pike expects battery electrics will start to catch up as their range gets larger, reaching a 50-50 balance by 2020.

 Autonet.ca says e-bikes flourish in cities. “Urban dwellers are apparently choosing to buy an electric bike instead of a second car….The attractiveness of e-bikes is that users can cruise along with very little effort; allowing them to ride to work without working up a sweat. They’re also easy to park and secure, which is becoming particularly important in bustling cities and busy town centers.”  Average speeds run from 25 km/h to 50 km/h, depending on the make and model. The electric assist can last up to 80 km, depending on the battery size and the user’s pedalling, with the pedal action helping top up the charge. As an added benefit, battery packs can be sometimes be removed and plugged into a regular outlet for charging at the office or even a coffee shop during a break.

On the same topic, this week the US congress approved a tax credit for electric bikes and motorcycles which amounts to 10% of the vehicle’s purchase price, with a cap of $2,500.

Earth911 asks: Can You Build Your Own Electric Vehicle?  The post introduces us to the book Build Your Own Electric Vehicle by Seth Leitman which teaches us to do just that. You can order the book online from websites like Amazon.  “We’re trying to prove that you can take any car and convert it to electric,” Leitman says. “You can do it right now and not just hypothetically.” By adding a lithium ion battery pack and a few additional components, any car can be converted into an electric vehicle. He adds that for as little as $16,000, any auto owner can have a standard car converted into an all-electric vehicle with range comparable to that of the Nissan Leafs. For more on learning to convert your car to electric, see the Australian website Electricity 4 Cars.

Make Your Car a Plug-in Hybrid says Energy & Capital. The post tells us about researchers at Middle Tennessee State University’s Department of Engineering Technology who have developed a plug-in hybrid retrofit kit. You can see how the kit works in the video. See also Business Insider Incredible Kit Turns Gas Guzzlers Into Energy Efficient Vehicles.

VOXXI informs us that ancient Philippine jeeps are now electric (with video).

 

 

 

 

 

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