Category Archives: zero-emissions and hybrids

Heavier, more Powerful Hybrids eroding fuel economy benefits

Unsurprisingly, new research has shown that the trend towards heavier, more powerful hybrid vehicles is eroding some of the fuel consumption advantage of hybrid technology.

Researches at the University of British Columbia compared hybrids for sale in the US in 2007 to equivalent conventionaol vehicles and found some interesting results:

From 2000 to 2006, the sales-weighted average hybrid-electric vehicle in the US fleet has changed significantly, driven largely by the introduction of new sports-utility and high-performance HEV models. The average curb weight has increased by 30%. Propelling this larger weight is a hybrid-electric system that delivers 60% more power. The gasoline engine component of this system is 43% larger in terms of engine displacement. Some of the observed net power increase is explained by the need to provide a larger vehicle with acceptable performance.

Over the same period, however, the manufacturer-reported acceleration times also increased: the average HEV in 2004 reaches 96.6 km h–1 (60 miles per hour) from a standing start in 20% less time than the average in 2003. Because vehicle weight and power both strongly influence fuel consumption, it is not surprising that average fuel consumption has gone up by 15% with the shift towards higher-performance HEVs.


Connaught Type D Performance Hybrid

Connaught is set to offer a hybrid version of its new Type-D GT sports coupe, with deliveries beginning in early 2008.

Utilizing what must be world’s smallest v-10 engine (displacing only 2.0 liters!),the Type D-h can accelerate to 60mph from a standstill in 6.5 seconds and tops out at 140mph. But, thanks to its hybrid powertrain, the vehicle delivers this performance with an average combined fuel economy of 42mpg.

The Connaught hybrid utilizes a CVT transmission to ensure the electric motor always is running at the best speed for the conditions. The automaker appears to be using ultracapacitors alongside batteries in the powertrain as well, writing on its website that “a capacitive and fast charging storage system to respond instantly to big current demands” to aid in sudden acceleration. Built around a lightweight steel space frame with composites and aluminum body panels, the Type D tips the scales at a Lotus-like 1870 pounds, and with a perfect 50-50 front-rear weight distribution.

The engine alone reaches its torque peak at 4000rpm, but with the electric motor assisting its efforts there’s a flat torque curve of 144lb ft from 1000rpm right up to 6000rpm. That strong low-end pull is the secret of the Connaught’s pace, delivering a pulling ability extraordinary for such a compact engine unit. Maximum combined power – 162bhp – arrives at 6000rpm.

When the Type-D is stationary, the petrol engine does not run. The air-conditioning can still operate if needed, though, thanks to that 48-volt electrical system. To move off, you press the clutch pedal down, select a gear, press the accelerator and the engine fires up as you engage the clutch and move away. There’s none of the usual chatter and jerk of a conventional starter, because the electric motor performs the job of starting the engine.

There are three settings for the electric motor: “Sport” mode uses all available motor assistance, but will use up the battery power so it cannot be engaged all the time. The “sport” setting also opens valves in the intake and exhaust system. “Normal” mode adds battery charging on deceleration (regenerative braking) and rations the motor assistance. “Economy” mode maximizes the deceleration charge.

The conventional Type-D GT makes 300bhp, does 0-60mph in under 5 seconds, and is priced at about $120,000. The price for the hybrid Type D-h has not yet been announced.

More at [Connaught Motor Cars]


US Army begins testing Hybrid-Electric Trucks

The vehicle above is the Army’s Future Tactical Truck System (FTTS) Maneuver Sustainment Vehicle (MSV), developed by Armor Holdings. The company recent delivered two ‘demonstrators’ to the US Army to begin testing.

Powered by a heavy-duty parallel hybrid system composed of an 8.8liter Caterpillar C9 diesel engine, an Allison 7-speed transmission, and a custom 120kW electric motor, range should be between 600 and 900 miles, depending upon tactical and/or operational conditions.


Kenworth Unveils T270 Hybrid Truck

Hybrids are popping up everywhere now, from military vehicles, to sports cars, and even gas-guzzling SUV’s. Well now, we can add those big eighteen-wheelers to the list:

Kenworth has introduced its new T270 Class 6 hybrid-electric medium-duty truck. Powered by a 6.7 liter PX-6 engine integrated into a parallel hybrid system with a 340-volt battery pack, the T270 is said to improve fuel economy by 30%. The truck is optimized for start-stop traffic, running of its diesel engine and electric motor at speeds below 30mph. Above that speed, the powertrain utilizes only the diesel engine. Kenworth will also offer the truck spec’d with an electric power-take-off (PTO). Peterbuilt is also bringing a medium-duty hybrid truck to market this year.


Read Kenworth’s Press Release

New Peugeot 308 to offer diesel hybrid powertrain

As predicted, diesel-electric hybrids are coming to market in Europe.  French automaker Peugeot is releasing a hybrid model of their popular 308 compact car, which will feature a 1.6 liter turbodiesel engine paired with an electric motor and batteries.  Like the new BMW 1-series, the 308 will also feature auto stop-start technology:

The model will also get stop/start idle technology – which cuts the engine when stationary in traffic – and a semi-auto gearbox. On top of this, the stop/start set-up will work even if the electric motor battery pack is completely flat, while an all-electric zero-emission setting is also offered, which will propel the car up to around 30mph.

Peugeot claims the hybrid 308 may get as much as 83mpg, and the company hopes the vehicle’s CO2 emissions will be 90g/km.  According to AutoExpress, “That’s enough to make the 308 the most fuel-efficient car in its class, ensuring it qualifies for a no-charge tax disc as well as exemption from London’s con-troversial congestion charge.”

Pour some biodiesel into the tank and give us the keys.

Mazda to Begin Leasing Hydrogen Hybrid in 2008; Long-Term Focus on “Sustainable Zoom-Zoom”

The Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid runs on a hydrogen-fueled rotary engine paired with 30kW electric motor.  The hybrid’s power will be increased by 40%, and it will offer a hydrogen range of 200 km (124 miles), double the 100 km of the first versions of the concept.

World’s First True Hybrid Tug

Seattle-based Foss Maritime has announced that it plans to build the world’s first true hybrid tug boat, a “green” vessel that will significantly reduce harmful nitrogen oxide, particulate matter, sulphur dioxide and carbon emissions. It will also consume less fuel and be quieter than its conventional predecessors. The hybrid tug will look almost identical to the Dolphin-class tug boats pictured, and will match their 5000 horsepower. The hybrid tug’s drive units will be powered by batteries coupled with diesel generators and feature a modified engine room accommodating two 670 horsepower battery packs and two 335 horsepower generators.


Press Release: World’s First True Hybrid Tug to be Built by FOSS Marine

Photovoltaic Prius. (and Highlander, Escape…)

Trying to increase your hybrid’s fuel economy and EV range? Why pay more than $10,000 for plug-in conversion kits, like those from Hymotion, when you can add solar panel’s to your hybrid’s roof for only $4500.   That’s What Solar Electric Vehicles in California is asking.  Their SEV solar module for the Toyota Prius generates an additional 215 watts of additional power for your green machine, and, the company says, “is the first compound convex solar module to be commercially produced.”  The SEV modules are also available for the Toyota Highlander Hybrid and the Ford Escape Hybrid.

The SEV system generates energy from sunlight and converts this energy to high voltage which is utilized to charge the supplemental battery and the Hybrid Vehicle (HV) battery pack. This allows the Hybrid Vehicle to operate for extended driving range in the electric mode.  With the SEV solar system, the Toyota Prius can operate up to 20 miles per day in electric mode thus improving fuel economy by up to 29% (depending on driving habits and conditions).

And, because the SEV’s get their added electrical power from the sun rather than an outlet, “The SEV system doesn’t require plugging in for charging. The SEV system uses clean renewable energy that is environmentally friendly.”

[Solar Electric Vehicles]