Electric Highway


Climate Spectator thinks that the golden age of the car is over. “There is a major rail revival around the world, including light rail, metro rail, heavy rail, and high speed rail. At the same time car use has peaked and is in decline in most cities.”

The driverless car was a topic this week. Foreign Policy tells us about Stanford University computer scientist Sebastian Thrun. Relying on high-powered sensors and artificial-intelligence software that mimics human decisions, Thrun’s cars can maneuver on and off highways and through rush-hour traffic all by themselves. He believes the vehicles could completely change the way we think about transportation, making it more efficient, cheaper, greener, and safer. TheGreenCar mentions that the world’s first driverless shuttle will be on the streets of Switzerland. The fully electric 8 passenger vehicle will be tested on the grounds of a science park in Lausanne.

The ENGINEER answers questions about hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

The Malaysian Insider says hydrogen-powered cars could be mainstream by 2015. Asia-Pacific auto makers are about to introduce fuel-cell technology within the next three years with Honda, Nissan, Toyota and Hyundai leading the way reports Frost & Sullivan. The market research company says the number of fuel cell vehicles in Japan and Korea s is expected to increase from 600 in 2011 to 58,100 in 2020. As well as being used to create the energy to power an electric engine in a fuel cell vehicle, hydrogen can also be used as a replacement fuel for traditional internal combustion engines. Honda is expected to be the market leader in the fuel cell electric vehicle market in Japan and South Korea in 2020 with a 42% market share. South Korea’s Hyundai and Japan’s Toyota are each expected to take a 17% market share.  The availability of refuelling stations will be a major hurdle to the success of hydrogen vehicles.  Currently both countries each have 11 stations however Frost & Sullivan expects this to grow to 1452s by 2020.

The first hydrogen vehicle refueling station has opened in Turkey according to DOMESTICFUEL. The fueling station is located in Istanbul at Golden Horn, the historic inlet of the Bosphorus straight and can fuel both road vehicles and marine vessels.

Oil and gas company Shell has opened a public hydrogen fuel cell refueling station in Newport Beach, California reports hydrogenfuelnews.

The world’s first sea-going roll-on roll-off vehicle and passenger diesel-electric hybrid ferry will be in Scotland we learn from the BBC. The 135-tonne Hallaig is nearly 150 feet long and will accommodate 150 passengers, 23 cars or two heavy goods vehicles. It is expected to come into service between Skye and Raasay next summer, following fitting out, testing and certification. See also hydrogenfuelnews CMAL launches hydrogen-powered ferry.

The Motley Fool brings us a brief history of the electric car in the US. The first electric car was in the early 1890s and was powered by a 4 horsepower motor which required 24 batteries.  It took 10 hours to recharge the batteries.

Environment News Service tells us Indianapolis is the first US city to require the purchase of either electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles for the city’s non-police fleet. The city has a plan to convert the entire city government fleet to “post-oil technology” by 2025. The city fleet of about 500 non-police fleet cars will be replaced, as needed, with plug-in hybrid or electric vehicles. At the same time the city’s heavy fleet vehicles will be converted to compressed natural gas (CNG).  This includes snow removal equipment, garbage trucks and fire trucks.

Still Hesitating Between Hybrid, Electric, Plug-In Hybrid?  Torque News may be able to help you. Wheels also addresses this issue in Which EV to buy? Tough call.  plugincars concludes that in Europe electric cars are best considered as city cars.

Green Car Reports explains how to drive electric vehicles in winter. 5 years before the first gasoline powered automobile, William Morrison drove his electric “horseless carriage” in Des Moines, Iowa on Dec. 8, 1891 obtained a patent for a new type of battery to power the electric vehicle. It took 10 hours to charge the 24 batteries that powered a 4 horse power motor.

The same source also gives us a list of 2013 EVs that will be for sale in the US along with their list prices and miles per gallon equivalents.

The Canadian province of Ontario is offering rebates of up to $1,000 or 50% of the total purchase and installation cost of a home or business EV charging station. You can apply for the rebate here.

The Orange Country Register laments what it is like to own an EV with few and far between charging stations.










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