How green is your luxury boat? It’s not a question you hear every day, but the new Mary Slim from Multimarine has sparked a rigorous debate among nautical aficionados.
The Mary Slim is a lean green machine — literally — specifically designed to reduce fuel consumption. And not just any old fuel consumption. Biodiesel. The hull is very thin and long, reducing the drag of the boat and thus, its need for gas. (In case you’re wondering, that’s also what gives Mary Slim its name.) Other green elements include the fact that it can be powered by kite or sail and has eliminated chemicals that remove barnacles and algae.
Critics of the boat question whether the 12-cylander engine and 1650 horsepower motor are too much boat to be considered green. Also, the slim design of the MS makes it hard to steer.
What I want to know is: wouldn’t your boat smell like French fries?
Venture Vehicles plans to initially offer two propulsion packages for the VentureOne: the hybrid E50 and Q100, and all-electric Venture EV model. Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Prices (MSRP) will range from $18,000 for the E50, to $23,000 for the all-electric EV model with a wide range of accessories available for each. A Must See is the Carver in Action in a series of videos on the Venture Vehicles site, here is a direct link.
All three classes will incorporate the patented Dynamic Vehicle Control system, or DVC, developed by Carver Engineering, which allows the vehicle to tilt up to 45 side-to-side at a rate of 85 per second. For nearly thirteen years Carver Engineering B.V., a Netherlands-based engineering firm, has been developing Dynamic Vehicle Control, or DVC, technology in order to enable a new class of tilting three-wheeled vehicles. Originally conceived in 1994, DVC technology has gone through 18 different generations, and is now essentially perfected.
Carver Engineering was faced with the challenge of designing a slender vehicle that would not fall over, as most slim vehicles were prone. Their solution was to make the vehicle do what two-wheeled vehicles did, tilt when cornering.
Researchers at the MIT Media Lab envision a fleet of lightweight stackable electric cars that can help reduce congestion and urban energy waste.
It’s called the City Car, and the key to the concept lies in the design of its wheels. Dreamers have been reinventing the wheel since the days of cave dwellers. But the work underway in “the Cube,” the Media Lab’s basement studio, may be the most ambitious remake yet. And under the hood well, there won’t be a hood on the City Car. Just an eggshell-shaped glass plate — part roof, part windshield — framing the modular cabin and stretching almost to the chassis.
“We’re eliminating the internal combustion engine,” said Media Lab research assistant Ryan Chin , studio coordinator for City Cars. He said the four electric motors will enable a more efficient use of power by also dispensing with the transmission and driveline. “We’re removing as much hardware from the car as possible.” In its place will be software that sets passenger preferences, changes the color of the cabin, controls the dashboard look and feel, and even directs drivers to parking spaces. “We think of the car as a big mobile computer with wheels on it,” Chin said. “This car should have a lot of computational power. It should know where the potholes are.”
It was bound to happen. Battery technology finally caught up with the need. Or maybe we recently found an extra stash of Lithium ions floating around somewhere. In any case, fully-electric vehicles are finally coming down in price – not because there are more of them, but because the price of batteries has dropped by nearly 30 percent Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos
With only one type of vehicle — the oil burning, CO2-spewing variety — trying to live a healthier, minimally-polluting life used to be difficult. But now, as fossil fuel-free transportation alternatives become more prevalent, we’re bombarded with choices. Which — while great — presents a new challenge. Namely, what to choose. Call me fickle, but my favorite seems to change as new technologies emerge or are improved upon. My current fascination is with the air-powered car.
French Formula One engine designer Guy Negre along with his son, Cyril, has spent the past decade and a half developing the CAT 34 Engine (Compressed Air Technology systems) for the first “zero pollution” air-powered hybrid car. Today, it costs the average gas-guzzling family about $60 a week to go about daily life (and about half that for those with contemporary gas-electric hybrids). The CAT 34 engine consumes less than $1.50 per 60 miles. Unbelievable? Almost. While the (perceived) tradeoffs and misconceptions may make some buyers wary, the idea is certainly fantastic.
For those of you who don’t mind putting a little muscle into your commute, check out the Human-Electric Hybrid Vehicle. Just be sure to watch the above video first.
Running on a combination of battery power and the power generated by your own pedaling, this amazing feat of technology uses electricity going up a hill and then recharges on the way down. A set of photovoltaics on the roof provide additional power.
On top of that, the HE can do a 360-degree turn without falling over.
Are they kidding with this? Clearly, it’s just a prototype, but it looks like a hybrid of Wonder Woman’s invisible plane and Fred Flintstone’s foot-powered car – two vehicles that are fun to look on TV, but would be ridiculous in real life. I appreciate the concept, but do they really think someone’s going to pedal their way around town looking like the boy in the plastic bubble?
I think it was Socrates who first said “green stripes do not a green car make.” Or was it Confucius? I often confuse their wisdom.
Regardless of who said it first, I reckon it’s correct to assume that they didn’t have Ferrari’s new concept car in mind. But the thought certainly applies. And while Ferrari is not the first auto manufacturer to come to mind when thinking of environmentally friendly vehicles, they have vowed to lower their emissions by 40% between now and 2012.
And at this year’s Detroit Auto Show, they made a good faith gesture by introducing their newest concept, which they’re calling the F430 Spider Biofuel. Similar to the Spider we know and love, the biofuel version is powered by 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline (E85) and has a revamped fuel injection system to accommodate it.
And just to make sure the car receives proper credit for its innovations, it has green stripes on the side.
What’s curious is that the modifications in this new Spider concept have supposedly created a car with increased power output and more horsepower than before. It also emits 5% less CO2, which is a start.
But is it greener? Only the stripes know for sure.
Many people said it was impossible because so many had tried and so many had failed. Then one day in 1904, the first powered flight in an airplane became a reality. Over the next 100 years the world shrunk considerably, mainly due to our new ability to travel across the world in hours rather than months.
Last month another aviation first took place in France when the first light aircraft took flight on electric power alone. The Electra, a dream-come-reality of France’s APAME group, is a one-seater prop-driven plane with a 25 hp engine powered by 47 kilos of lithium-polymer batteries.
As in the case of the Wright Brothers, those who attempted electric flight and failed said it was impossible. The problem is that the energy-to-weight ratio of batteries is just fine for driving cars and even boats, but planes need a lot of thrust to get airborne and stay there. Hauling around hundreds of pounds of batteries – and passengers – was simply unrealistic.
Now the impossible is a reality, and aviation gurus are saying that this is not a minor step in aviation technology — it’s a quantum leap.
But don’t get too excited. The Electra only runs for about an hour and then must be recharged for about 8. And it only holds one person, the pilot. But at Kitty Hawk, the first flight only lasted a few minutes and held only one person – who was precariously stretched out on his stomach at the rudimentary controls. It took another 40-50 years before powered flight became feasible for the masses.
One of the most tragic outcomes of globalization is that currently-developing countries like India are adopting America’s love of the gas powered automobile and the independence associated with it. These countries are finding ways to replace current mass and people-powered transit with individual, motorized movement, just like the U.S. did in the early 20th Century. Have they learned nothing from our mistakes?
Enter the Tata Nano, India’s folks-wagon. Tato engineers dispensed with everything that makes a car a car in the U.S. — like a radio, air-conditioning, safety and at least four cylinders — in its pursuit of lowering costs as far as possible. But don’t look for this little car in the U.S. anytime soon. The Nano will not meet most pollution standards and it simply cannot pass safety tests.
The Nano runs on a 2-cylinder, .06-liter engine that tops out at 60 mph and gets 50 mpg. The fuel efficiency might get you excited, but consider this: India’s population stands at just over 1.1 billion souls and counting. If even half of those people start driving, it would amount to nearly twice as many cars as there are in the U.S. – hello, environmental catastrophe. This will ensure that by 2020, there will be over a billion oil dependent, air polluting cars on the planet.
Not to mention that roads in India are nearly in constant gridlock as it is.
For these reasons and more we must all ask the same question Tato’s engineers asked while designing the Nano: Do we really need that?
Not if it’s going to bring about the end of the world, we don’t.
Sports car fanatics that lean green have been producing excess saliva since their first glance at the Tesla Roadster. And after the long wait, their appetites will be sated this March when the fully-electric Roadster, with a range of 200 miles, finally enters production.
But wait a minute, there are some problems. For starters, the San Carlos, CA company has reported $43 million in operating losses over the last 5 years, something the $98,000 price tag of the Roadster won’t overcome. Then there’s the waiver that Tesla needed to secure from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) because the two-seater doesn’t have a weight sensor to turn off the passenger-side airbag for little ones. This minor factor alone could have put the entire company out of business.
If I lived in Taiwan, this would be my next car. Sure, it looks funny. Kind of like a golf cart with solar panels on top. But what it doesn’t look like is a carbon spewing, gas guzzling SUV. Which is precisely why I want it.
This baby emits nothing but good, clean solar powered fun. Designed by researchers and engineering students at Taiwan’s National Kaohsiung University of Applied Sciences, it comes equipped with lithium-polymer batteries that run for about three hours after being charged by the sun’s rays. Its body is comprised of Nomex honeycomb, a fiber created for aviation by Dupont. It’s light weight, fire resistant and good on impact.
While car enthusiasts spent much of the 1990s eagerly awaiting usable hybrid technology, there’s speculation in the naughts that the hybrid may soon go the way of the Betamax. Or the DVD. (You’ll stop smirking, Blu-ray, when you consider the fate of the VHS.)
The newest big thing, eco-carwise, is the range-extended electric vehicle (REEV). If last month’s Detroit Auto Show is any indication, the REEV just may send the hybrid on a journey to the middle of nowhere.
REEVs are powered by an electric motor that you can plug in at home. Depending on the battery, it’s likely to take between 4 and 8 hours to get a full charge. The vehicle can then go between 20 and 60 miles before a gas, ethanol, diesel or hydrogen generator takes over to recharge the batteries, providing an extended range.