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Is your car insurance cost dependent on your type of fuel? Gas2 examines this question for the UK and finds that the price of car repairs is correlated to the type of fuel.  It turns out in that diesel cars in that country have higher insurance rates because they are more costlier to repair when a vehicle is damaged.

“Because many diesel versions of popular vehicles like the Ford Fiesta can typically run £1000 to £2000 more, the cost to repair these vehicles is also higher. Hence higher insurance costs, which can mitigate any fuel savings.”

AUTOWEEK looks at the ownership costs of traditional versus alternative vehicles in the US. Alternative vehicles cost more at the onset but do the long-term fuel savings make the purchase worthwhile?

“What did we learn? Electric cars can be a wise financial choice with certain vehicles — especially if you can take full advantage of the federal and state tax credits and if you drive at least an average number of miles per year. As with any new-car purchase, it’s wise to calculate the actual costs for your individual situation, since your picture could vary widely from the hypothetical buyer used here.”

Engineering & Technology Magazine says the UK could have 1.6 million hydrogen vehicles on its roads by 2030. A government-industry joint report (UKH2Mobility) says by that time there could be 300,000 hydrogen vehicle sales each year. To achieve this goal the report stated there would need to be a coordinated network of hydrogen refueling stations along national highways and in the heavily populated areas.

“With the fortunes of battery powered cars faltering hydrogen-fuelled cars are seen as the next frontier of the automotive industry, and auto firms are pouring millions of research dollars into moving past hybrids into fully hydrogen fuelled models.”

hydrogenfuelnews reports Mercedes is backing off of its hydrogen vehicle plans. It has cancelled its plan to introduce a hydrogen car in 2015. The company says the technology is sound but it is unable to price its cars at a level where they would be able to compete effectively in the automobile marketplace. So instead the company has entered into an alliance with Ford, Renault and Nissan to work jointly on the technology and minimize production costs. See also BBC Ford, Renault-Nissan and Daimler agree fuel cell deal.

Der Spiegel writes about A Promising Future for Self-Driving Cars. “The technology needed for driverless cars is here and could be ready for the market in less than a decade. Automation holds the promise of revolutionizing the automobile industry and making our streets safer.” See also The Local Germany Smart car parks itself.

Gas2 asks: Are Velomobiles the Future? (see photo above)  Called the Elf, it is like an electric automobile but is pedal-powered. The vehicle is designed to enable you to switch between 100% electric power so you can relax when tired, or 100% pedal power if you want to extend your overall range and get some exercise. Or you can choose a combination of electric and pedal power. This way you don’t have to pedal too hard, but want at least a little exercise. It is equipped with a 480 watt battery and has a 30 mile range per charge. Its top speed is limited to 20 mph.

The US has backed off its prediction of 1 million electric cars by 2015 says Reuters while Germany expects 1 million EVs on its roads by 2020 we learn from just-auto.

From Energy Matters we learn that solar panels are much more efficient than biomass as an energy source to fuel vehicles. This is the conclusion of researchers from the  University of California and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in a paper titled “Spatially Explicit Life Cycle Assessment of Sun-to-Wheels Transportation Pathways in the U.S.”; published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. The big advantage solar (PV) has over biomass is that it uses much less land to produce the same amount of energy – land that could be used for food crops instead. Solar also has less fossil fuel input and hence lower greenhouse gas emissions than biofuels such as ethanol. See also the more extensive write up in Grren Car Congress here.

Green Car Reports notes that Texas is the latest US state to consider a road tax on electric vehicles. Texas joins the states of Washington, Oregon, Connecticut and Virgina in exploring ways to get owners of EVs to pay for annual road maintenance.  Drivers of gasoline and diesel powered vehicles pay for roads via a tax built into the price they pay for fuel at the pump. Virginia and Washington have decided to charge EV drivers a special registration fee each year to pay for the use of the roads.

 

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