Archive for the ‘Autos & Transport’ Category
September 15th, 2009
Earlier this year, Colorado passed House Bill 1331, “Incentives for Efficient Motor Vehicles,” which creates new tax credits of up to $6,000 for the purchase of, or conversion to, a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.
The new credit will be a substantial discount off the average price of a plug-in conversion, which generally run around $10-14,000. On top of the Federal Tax Credit of 10% (up to $4,000), plug-in retrofits could start to make a lot of sense for some car owners. (more…)
Popularity: 21% [?]
September 1st, 2009
Written by Christopher DeMorro, courtesy of Gas2.0, originally published on September 1, 2009
I’ve always held a certain affinity for the El Camino. It makes no apologies for what it is; niether car nor truck nor particularly attractive. But it lasted a long time and plenty of people purchased one. With the body of a truck but the handling of a car (sorta) many unfair stigmas came to be attached with the El Camino.
But just like the original El Camino did back in its heyday, Tom Leitschuh’s El Camino is breaking conventions by going 100% electric. Say what? An electric El Camino? It seems almost too outlandish to believe, but its true.
Tom removed the engine, gas tank, radiator, and other unessceary elements, but held on to the Chevy 3-speed manual transmission. This lessened the weight of the 1981 El Camino, allowing him to drop in 46 lithium-ferrite batteries. These batteries are good in 0 degree weather, something a lot of hybrids have a problem with. That is a good thing too, because Tom lives in Wisconsin, and the cheese state can get mighty cold.
But that is over 900 pounds of battery weight, a common problem with electric conversions. The batteries are spread out evenly between the engine bay and over the rear axle though, somewhat off-setting the precarious imbalance. Ground clearance may be an issue if he ever decides to laden the El Camino down with say, a dead cow (Top Gear reference).
The El Camino can supposedly get 200 miles on a single charge if carefully driven, but averages about half that. I can’t find anything on how fast this car will go, how much horsepower it has (probably not enough) or how long it takes to charge. But Tom has his own solar and wind farm, so he doesn’t pay a penny for energy. Whats more, the entire conversion, including El Camino purchase, cost only $30,000. In the grand scheme of things, that is a pretty good price (though several companies donated time and parts to the project).
I wholly encourage the use of any old muscle cars for alternative energy conversion projects. Tom’s next project? A clean Corvette. In my opinion, that is awesome, but ONLY if it can go at least as fast as its gas-powered cousins. If he chooses something from the late 70’s/early 80’s, that shouldn’t be a problem. But a slow Corvette is heresy, no matter what.
Popularity: 22% [?]
August 28th, 2009
I was always fascinated by dirt bikes when I was young - I was one of the many kids whose parents wouldn’t let me get one, so I jealously watched my neighbors scoot up and down the street and through the nearby pasture on their little Kawasaki. My Schwinn Stingray was nowhere near as cool. My parents’ job would have been much tougher if those kids had been able to get their hands on a Zero Motorcycle, though!
Popularity: 4% [?]
August 11th, 2009
If you’ve been surfing the web for the past few weeks, then you’ve inevitably come across those intriguing ads showing the number “23″ followed by a smiley-faced plug icon (or a “230″ if you see things that way). Some wondered whether it was some new smart grid product. Others mused that it must be some new tech company marketing campaign (Apple?). Still others thought it was a new announcement from an electric vehicle manufacturer.
Popularity: 5% [?]
August 2nd, 2009
For those of you who follow our blog, you know we’re big fans of what the folks at Aptera are up to. Aptera is building an all-electric, three-wheeled car that has a small fraction as much aerodynamic drag as a Prius. The Aptera 2e goes 100-120 miles with a top speed of 85-90mph, and boasts normal car safety features and impressive crash test results. And it looks like a super cool Jetson mobile, which makes it especially exciting.
Now the folks at Aptera are starting to reveal what the inside of their space-age auto will look like. You can see a sample below and here is what Aptera has to say about their design developments:
“The first major issue was space. We tested men and women of every age and stature and found, in many cases, we were not offering enough room in the cabin. With that information, we enhanced the cabin using our Aptera formula — safety, then aerodynamics, then lightweight. The new interior cabin is now roughly 10% larger by every measure.
“The new 2 series also now has headroom and legroom comparable to, if not better than, the Mini and Chevy Volt. We widened the area at the hips to provide more space than the Smart EV and the Nissan Cube. Then to top it off, we increased our cargo capacity by more than 24 cubic feet, which is nearly two times the space available in the Honda Accord.”
Alright, let’s get that thing into market and start driving it! We’re ready!
You can learn more about Aptera here. Images courtesy of Aptera.
Popularity: 10% [?]