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Google could rule in car industry

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The recent linking of General Motors and Google for a handful of services related to the plug-in Chevy Volt marks an intersection for automakers and Internet giants. The two industries — one little changed for  decades and marked by steel and manufacturing, … Continue reading

Mitsubishi plugs in smart grid project

Mitsubishi Electric on Monday said it will invest about $76 million in a smart-grid project, part of a companywide push into equipment for modernizing the electricity grid.

The company will create two installations–a residential-size building and a commercial facility–which will have on-site power generation through photovoltaic panels and local energy storage with rechargeable batteries. The flow of energy will be managed and optimized by power electronics and smart meters to test the performance of the equipment.

Mitsubishi Electric said the projects are part of a corporatewide push to supply smart-grid technologies for the electric power industry and meet global demand for low-carbon energy.

In one experiment, Mitsubishi Electric will set up a mini-power station built around a four-megawatt solar array. It will include equipment, such as switches and smart meters, to manage the flow of energy and a battery.

The residential-scale system will feature a 200-kilowatt photovoltaic array with a home energy-management system, which uses a smart meter and network-connected appliances.

The home system recalls work being done by Panasonic in this area. The industrial giant is developing a line of energy systems for the home, including energy-efficient TVs and appliances, solar panels, batteries, fuel-cell hot water heating systems, and a home energy-management dashboard.

Samsung, another company well known for its electronics, last week announced that it plans to invest $20 billionin energy and health care over the next 10 years. Meanwhile, an executive from battery supplier BYD said last month that the company plans to supply a combination of equipment, including solar panels and batteries, to homeowners.

Data collected from these various research sites will be used to develop new products and architectures that could enhance the performance of existing Smart Grid technologies. Mitsubishi is placing particular emphasis on the photovoltaic segment of its business. It has identified China, India, North America and Southeast Asia as regions to target.

Several major Japanese corporations have taken a greater interest in the Smart Grid recently, including Toshiba (which landed a relevant partnership with SunPower in early March), Zhimizu and Kyocera. And South Korean giant Samsung also just announced that it will sink $20.6 billion into green technologies, with a special focus on solar.

But Smart Grid efforts aren’t only heating up in Asia. At the end of last month, General Electric joined forces with Nissan to research the impact electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles may have on national electric grids — and how predicted grid overload crises may be averted. Other U.S. corporations like Cisco Systems, IBM, Intel and Microsoft have also been vocal about offering Smart Grid products to utilities and homeowners alike.

However, with consumer-friendly plug-in cars like Nissan’s Leaf and General Motors’ Chevy Volt preparing to launch as early as this year, it seems like Smart Grid solutions to major challenges are needed now — not in several years.

Some analysts say that less than 10 electric cars on the same block could cause power outages. If this is true, Mitsubishi, General Electric, and the rest will need to race electric vehicle market adoption to make sure the grid can handle the next generation of transportation. This sounds dicier than it should be.

BMW Megacity

By 2015, BMW will build an all electric city car with two engines available, one will be a very efficient internal combustion engine and the other will be a purely electric model.

The two-powertrain vehicle will be electric powered and it will represent the ideal solution for congested city motoring.

The felows at Autocar UK are following the steps of other publications that hurried to come up with computer generated images of the BMW’s electric car. The first ones to adventure into this CGI game, were the folks at Autobild, who came up with this interesting concept.

BMW’s first all-electric regular series production vehicle, the Megacity EV, has now been set in stone and inserted into the company’s roadmap for a commercial launch in 2012 or 2013. The Bavarian automaker has gone official with word that it plans to use its Leipzig assembly plant to produce the car and further notes that it’ll feature a similar setup to the ActiveE concept (pictured above), which is set for field testing in 2011. Essentially a 1 series that feeds off the electric grid rather than the nearest diesel pump, the ActiveE runs off an array of lithium-ion batteries á la the well liked but recently troubled Tesla Roadster, and will serve as a test mule for refining the underlying technology. Generating up to 170bhp might not sound all that impressive, but it should be more than sufficient for the urban commuters these vehicles will be aimed at. Now we just need Mercedes and Audi to match that release schedule and the electric car should finally have its day in the mainstream sun.

Chevy Volt 2010

Volt is an electric car that can create its own electricity. Plug it in, let it charge overnight, and it’s ready to run on a pure electric charge for up to 40 miles(3) — gas and emissions free. After that, Volt keeps going, even if you can’t plug it in. Volt uses a range-extending gas generator that produces enough energy to power it for hundreds of miles on a single tank of gas.

General Motors believes the Volt will earn an EPA rating of 230 mpg in city driving.  The company hasn’t provided an estimate on the car’s highway mileage, in part because the EPA is developing a new mileage testing procedure specifically for Volt-like vehicles.  GM CEO Fritz Henderson, however, has said the car would carry a combined mileage rating of more than 100 mpg.

The Volt is designed to finish most drives with its batteries holding as little as 30 percent of a full charge. If the Volt is allowed to run the EPA’s circuits that way, designers say, it can complete the tests using its gasoline engine less than 15 percent of the time — and receive an MPG rating in the hundreds.

Owners will plug the Volt into a standard household outlet to recharge its batteries.   It can be plugged into either a standard 120-volt wall outlet, or into a 240-volt outlet like those used to power large appliances.  Plugged into a standard 120-volt outlet, the Volt will recharge fully in about eight hours.  Plugging the Volt into a 240-volt outlet cuts charging time to less than three hours.

The batteries can also be charged by the gasoline engine onboard the Volt, which will kick in when the battery charge is below 30 percent. As in other hybrids, regenerative braking will help to capture brake energy to recharge batteries as well.

The Volt’s gasoline engine is a 1.4-liter four-cylinder model. It can use gasoline or E85 as fuel.  This engine, however, doesn’t power the wheels of the car. It acts as a generator to recharge the batteries while the car is in motion.

That gasoline engine is connected to a fuel tank that holds only six gallons of gas — but, working with the car’s batteries, that should be sufficient to give it a 400 mile range between fill-ups.

Price Range: Pricing for the 2010 Chevrolet Volt has not been finalized. The most recent estimate places the price at $40,000, with a $7,500 federal tax rebate available after that price.

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Top electric cars

If you look under the hood of an electric car, you’ll see some major differences from what you could expect to see under the hood of a gasoline-powered car.

This is a list of some Top Electric Cars 2010.

1
Electricity That Takes You Further. Learn More Here.
2
Nissan Leaf – Official Site
100% Electric Zero Emissions Vehicle. Learn More at Nissan.
3
Honda Insight Hybrid
On KBB.com’s Top 10 Green Cars list for 2009. Official Honda Site.

Toyota Fuel Cell Vehicle Demonstration Program

Toyota Motor Sales announced today that more than 100 Toyota Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicles will be placed in a nationwide demonstration program over the next three years in universities, private companies and government agencies in California and New York.

A little piece of history

In December 2002, Toyota began limited testing of fuel cell vehicles in the U.S. and Japan.  A total of 20 first generation fuel cell hybrid vehicles (FCHV) are in service in California with universities, corporations and government agencies.  Toyota enlisted the University of California, Irvine, University of California, Berkeley and the University of California, Davis to test different aspects of consumer acceptance and market dynamics of fuel cell vehicles.  FCHV also are placed with the California Fuel Cell Partnership, a public-private partnership organization to promote the adoption of hydrogen vehicles in California.
Toyota’s hydrogen fuel cell technology has advanced at an impressive pace since the FCHV introduction in 2002.  Toyota engineers have consistently improved vehicle range, durability and efficiency through improvements in the fuel cell stack and the high-pressure hydrogen storage system, while achieving significant cost reductions in materials and manufacturing.  When the FCHV-adv was introduced in 2008, it boasted an estimated range increase of more than 150% over the first generation FCHV.
In late 2008, the U.S. Department of Energy, Savannah River National Laboratory and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, approached Toyota to participate in a collaborative evaluation of the real-world driving range of the FCHV-adv.  When the range evaluation was completed in 2009, the FCHV-adv averaged the equivalent of 68 mpg and achieved an estimated range of 431 miles on a single fill of hydrogen compressed gas.  To compare, that’s more than double the range of the Highlander Hybrid with zero emissions.
In late 2007, the technology improvements implemented in the FCHV-adv were road tested in extreme conditions on a 2,300 mile trek from Fairbanks, Alaska to Vancouver, British Columbia along the Alaska-Canadian (ALCAN) highway.   The seven day trip confirmed substantial progress in reliability and durability, cold-weather operation and extended range capability of the hybrid fuel cell system.
I  think that we need  this kind of programs !!! They are so  necessary , is the next step to educate and prepare customers for the arrival of  sustainable mobility
Do you live in California or New York???
For additional information on Toyota’s fuel cell vehicle program, visit www.sustainablemobility.com