Tag Archives: hybrid

Byd plans to be world’s leading carmaker by 2025

359696_electric_charging_signByd, the Chinese car company, is planning to sell 9 million hybrid or plug-in cars by 2025. Backed by investment guru Warren Buffet, the company will aspire to be China’s number 1 automaker in the next few years.

However, Byd’s F3DM plug-in hybrids had not been sold so well last year. In august fewer than 100 cars have been manufactured. So if the company will  be  the world’s leading carmaker by 2025  more competition is needed.  Toyota, currently the largest carmaker,  sold 9 million cars and trucks last year.

More success will be expected with the e6 all electric car, that will be introduced later this year. This new five-passenger car carries a price tag of about $44.000, twice the cost of the F3DM plug-in hybrid. By selling the e6,  Byd expects some support of the Chinese government which is very interested  in greener cars and intends to buy the electric cars for fleet owners.

The e6 will appear on the US market in 2010. The car is excellently appropriated  for a  typical American  family and has a range of 200 to 250 miles. As yet  the e6 has not been tested  on quality, crashworthiness and equipment and yet certified.

Despite some setbacks, the sale of green cars has  been succesfull. Byd’s gaspowered F3 was the number 1 selling car in China three times this year. In the first eight months 250.000 cars were sold.

Byd’s stock surged about 650 percent the past year, thanks to rising sales and Warren Buffet’s fiat.  Buffet earned a cool $ 1 billion after paying $230 million for a 10 percent stake . He is intending to raise  his stake this year, accoring to the company’s chairman Wang Chanfu.


Velozzi launches micro turbine car

The new Velozzi Solo might be  a benefit for  the development of the electric car.  The crossover plug-in hybrid, manufactured bij American Velozzi,  has  an on-board micro turbine battery charger and the ability to run on almost all fuels including petrol, diesel, ethanol, brutanol, biodiesel and natural gas.  It is also  the first production car in the world that  uses a multi fuel micro turbine battery charger to recharge its lithium ion batteries.

From the start Velozzi had  in mind to build a car with its own eco-plant and it took  carbonfibre bodywork to keep its weight to a minimum while,  at the other hand wanted ‘ to create a most exquisite interior to match the exterior styling of the Solo’  according to a Velozzi statement.

‘It ‘s hard work to manufacture efficient vehicles which have antiquated types of construction, ‘ says  CEO Roberto Velozzi. ‘ Because  in fact  it  is inconceivable and counter productive. To make an efficient environmentally friendly vehicle, you need  to utilize lightweight materials to improve mpg, reduce pollution and increase safety’ .

The Solo has full speed capabilities. It should be capable of reaching 0-60 mph in less than six seconds and it should do more than 120 mpg and reaching 130 mph.

In 2007 Velozzi launched its sports car with similar technology and  hopes to have both cars in mass production by 2012.


Toyota’s new Subcompact Hybrid

In late 2011  Toyota will  launch the  new  Subcompact hybrid of Toyota on the market. According to the Japanese Asahi newspaper, this hybrid  has a better fuel economy and a lower price  ($16.000)  than the company’s other hybrid models. Though the platform and engine will be used of the Yaris hybrid,   the  Subcompact will feature a unique name, design en hybrid system.

With the Subcompact hybrid  Toyota will try to compete against the 2010 Honda Insight,  the smallest and least expensive hybrid  currently avaible in the US Market. However the Insight  has not sold well.  The first 12 months Honda was targeting  100.000 Insight sales  in the US,  but based on average monthly sales of 2.000 to 2,500 units, will  miss the mark by a wide margin. But thanks to government incentives and gas prices of about $4,50 a gallon yet  it has been a hit in Japan.

The Honda Insight is more cost-competive about ($5.000 less) , than larger  hybrid models as the Toyota Camry Hybrid and Ford Fusion Hybrid. But  in accordance with recent sales all three vehicles have been sold nearly identical. The conclusion might be that a part of US consumers prefer rather space  than a better fuel economy small car.   They  like some additional seating for visitors, pets and shopping bags.  Or  they buy a large sedans for image or status, especially when gas is cheap and tax incentives are not available.  But still a lot of people enjoy to drive on electric power because it is cool.

Energy efficiency can also lead to lower tax bills

Dollar huisjeThe making of energy efficient improvements or installing alternative energy equipment is now made more attractive as U.S. home-owners (and businesses) can be eligible for bigger tax credits. By replacing old doors and windows, installing insulation, re-modeling and building with an eye toward energy efficiency, you don’t only save money over the long run but it may also result in savings in tax. The same goes with venturing into renewable energy sources, like solar energy, micro-turbines and purchasing a hybrid automobile. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 extends, expands, and simplifies federal income tax credits for homeowners who make energy efficient home improvements. The law extends consumer tax benefits through 2010; triples the total available tax credit from $500 to $1,500, and increases the tax credit to 30% of the cost of each qualified energy efficiency improvement.


If you were to buy or lease a new hybrid gas-electric or diesel automobile (truck, car or SUV) the tax credit amount could range from $250 to $3,400 depending on the fuel economy and the weight. Some heavy hybrid vehicles, for commercial purposes, are also eligible for tax credits. The tax credit is for vehicles ‘placed in service’ after December 31, 2006 and purchased on or before December 31, 2010. The vehicle tax credit is phased out for each manufacturer once that company has sold 60,000 eligible vehicles. At that point, the tax credit for that company’s vehicles will be gradually reduced over the course of another year. More information, including the list of eligible vehicles, can be found at:

Home energy- efficiency improvements
Consumers who purchase and install specific products in existing homes can receive a tax credit for 30% of the cost, up to $1,500, for improvements placed in service starting January 1st, 2009, through to December 31st, 2010. Think of exterior windows, insulation, exterior doors or roofs, central air conditioning, heat pumps, furnaces, boilers, water heaters and bio gas stoves. The improvements must be expected to last at least five years and must be installed in or on the tax payer’s principal residence in the United States. Manufacturers can certify (in packaging or on the company’s web site) which of their products qualify for the tax credit. Retailers, contractors, and manufacturers should be able to help you determine what levels of insulation and what other products qualify.

Geothermal Heat Pumps, Solar Energy, Wind Energy and Fuel Cells
Consumers who install solar energy systems (including solar water heating and solar electric systems), small wind systems, geothermal heat pumps, and residential fuel cell and micro turbine systems can receive a 30% tax credit for systems placed in service before December 31st, 2016.  The cap on geothermal heat pump and solar heaters through 2016 has been removed so that there is no longer a maximum.

For the eligible systems and further information on renewable tax credits, visit:

The rebirth of steam

Could it be a good idea to power our future cars utilizing steam? It might sound a bit unlikely or perhaps even outdated (as it’s certainly been tried before), but according to modern-day scientists and car manufacturers , BMW being one of them, the steam engine could very well make a comeback. A well designed steam engine is considered as a potential alternative to the internal combustion engines used today. The re-introduction of this technique could be very promising to the powering of cars, rockets and maybe even space vessels in the (near) future. So how does it work?

First a bit of history. Steam force is the oldest form of mechanical traction. Although the first applications of steam in propelling a road vehicle were attempted in the 17th century, it was not until the advent of high pressure steam engines, in the early 1800s, that such vehicles became a practical proposition. Limitations in manufacturing technology and the poor condition of road surfaces, meant that nothing that could be realistically regarded as a ‘steam car’, in the sense of a car being suitable for personal transportation, was created until the end of the 19th century. That century was seen as the heyday of steam power, when steam locomotives dominated the railways.  The Stanley, produced by the Stanley Motor Car and Carriage Company, which still holds the land speed record for a steam powered automobile, was the last steam car taken out of production in 1925, when eventually being overtaken technologically by the internal combustion engine.  It wasn’t until the second half of the 20th century when the conversion from steam on the rail took place and steam powered locomotives began to vanish. For a long time the steam powered engines were cumbersome. The old generators had the capacity of a few hundred megawatts. Technological developments and improvements in manufacturing techniques (partly brought about by the adoption of the steam engine as a power source) resulted in the design of more efficient engines that were smaller, faster, or more powerful, depending on the intended application. These steam powered generators can sometimes still be found in power plants and in sea vessels.

To indicate that a steam engine is viable today in cars, the German car manufacturer BMW is now developing a hybrid system that is powered by a steam engine. They named it the ‘Turbosteamer’ and it’s based on the same principle as the steam engine:  liquid is heated to form steam in two circuits and this is used to power the engine. The primary energy supplier is the high-temperature circuit which uses exhaust heat from the internal combustion engine as an energy source via heat exchangers. More than 80 percent of the heat energy contained in the exhaust gases is recycled using this technology. The steam is then conducted directly into an expansion unit linked to the crankshaft of the internal combustion engine. Most of the remaining residual heat is absorbed by the cooling circuit of the engine, which acts as the second energy supply for the Turbosteamer.

The modern usage of steam has several advantages over the use of other power sources. There is waste heat, from the burner exhaust and from the spent steam, which can be converted using thermo-electrics into extra electricity to increase the efficiency of the system. With the combustion taking place externally and being continuous and more easily regulated for temperature, oxidizers and fuel amount, these lower combustion temperatures and pressures create less toxic and exotic exhaust gases. Another benefit is that the engine requires no oil as the steam itself lubricates the moving parts. Problems with oil depletion and oil dependency could be battled using this technique. Environmental taxes therefore will also be considerably less as opposed to other mechanical techniques. So exploring the possibilities of steam powered techniques could be, once again, a profitable endeavor.

Toyota Prius technical leader

The sales of the Honda Insight are less than  Honda has expected. The Toyota Prius is selling better.  The Insight  is more expensive and people are getting  less gas  mileage.

Honda is disappointed but is planning now two more hybrids which will be  even cheaper than the Insight. One hybrid will probably be a version of the Fit for the price about $ 17.000 and the other  might be the CR-Z (pictured)  which will be launched in  2011.