Plug-in Prius Testing Begins in London

Edfpluginpriuscharger Toyota and EDF Energy today kicked off a series of road trials of the much-hypded plug-in Prius. EDF and Toyota will be testing the PHEV Prius for the next year or so and expect the data collected during the trial to "play a pivotal role in the development of Toyota's PHV technology."

For these tests, Toyota built a smart meter into the Prius that can regulate charging and invoicing, something that - if standardized - will make plug-in vehicles a much easier sell to utilities. Toyota says that if you're driving no more than 25 kilometers (15.5 miles), then your gasoline use is cut by 60 percent. Not quite as sexy as the Chevy Volt's promises, but still worth it.

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Peugeot 888 -The Solar-Electric Super Car

Peugeot888lead The Peugeot 888 by Oskar Johansen is a solar-electric super-car is capable of a unique feat of imaginative engineering: it can shrink and shift between two modes: suburban mode and city mode. While in the city, the vehicle is lifted by a hydraulic tilting system which in turn decreases the length of its wheel axis, becoming slightly taller, giving it improved visibility, and making it more maneuverable. As the vehicle leaves the city, the vehicle returns to its lower profile, giving it the speed and stability required for highway driving.

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MIT Scientists Say U.S. Can Halve Gas Consumption Using Hybrid Autos

Electric_cars_2 How much gasoline could US citizens save by driving around in light-weight hybrid vehicles? Up to half what they currently use, say scientists at MIT.

The US consumes about 140 billion gallons of gasoline each year. A team of researchers led by MIT professor John Heywood has completed a five-year assessment that shows that we can halve gas consumption.

How much gasoline would the nation save in the year 2035 if lightweight hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles dominated the marketplace? The MIT team says more than 68 billion gallons, or about half the fuel currently used by today's vehicles.

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Will the Electric Car Replace the iPhone as the Next Great Icon?

Electric_cars_2_2 Will the electric car soon become a cultural, business, and lifestyle icon that will transform modern urban society? The sign are emerging everywhere that the answer will be: "Yes." The introduction of the electric car is being driven by many of the pioneers of the Web and Silicon Valley technology culture.

The early adopters of the electric car are our industry thought leaders– from Detroit to Silicon Valley to Wall Street and Hollywood. They represent the concerned citizens of our planet –the leaders of our shift to a mobile world and the green revolution. 

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The Electric “Balloon” Car: They’re Safe & Cheap, But Would You Drive One?

Inflatablecar_2 One major concern with electric cars in the minds of many consumers is that they are so light, which means that a collision with a standard bulkier vehicle is not going to end well on the part of the electric car owner. However, in order to work efficiently and be better for the environment, electric cars need to fairly light. Up until now, we’ve been assuming that there had to be some sort of trade-off, but now we can have it both ways—an electric car that is both light as air and exceptionally safe. In fact, the entire car is one continuous airbag. You can’t get much safer than that! Its creators say the car “will float in an emergency such as a flood or tsunami” and that you could “drive it off a cliff without serious injury.”

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Toyota's Greening of USA - to Mass-Market Cars Powered by Biofuels and Plug-in Electric Batteries.

Toyota_160x600 Toyota, who raced ahead of lumbering General Motors last year with a target of selling a million hybrid vehicles annually within a decade, is attempting to end run American rivals by accelerating plans to develop mass-market cars powered by biofuels and by plug-in electric batteries.

Already acclaimed for its hybrid electric Prius, Toyota wants to open up an environmental gap with its competitors. The auto giant is adding an assembly line for state-of-the-art lithium batteries in readiness for selling "significant fleets" of plug-in vehicles globally by 2010. The car maker is increasing investment in research to produce ethanol from wood waste and is installing clean-diesel engines in two popular models — the Tundra truck and Sequoia sports utility vehicle.

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"Smart For Two's" -Tiny Smart Cars Poised to Make it Big in the USA

Fsmart_for_two_smart_car_2 They’re being called “cute” and “toy-like”, but these little cuties offer all of the amenities of larger cars and more. They might be only a mere 2.5 meters long, but the tiny two passengers Smart cars are aiming to make it very big in the United States where hulky gas-guzzling trucks cars and trucks have long ruled the road.

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Autonomous Cars & the DARPA Grand Challenge

Grandchallengecarinside If you’'ve read or watched any decent Science Fiction, then no doubt you will have been introduced to the autonomous car. One of the more recent and spectacular displays was from the failed movie I, Robot, where Will Smith was casually driven in to a trap by his autonomous car. Or at least, I’'m fairly certain that was what was implied.

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MIT Present the World's First Carbon-Free, Stackable Rental Car

Foldable_car "We're looking at urban personal mobility in a much more sustainable way than the private automobile provides."

~ William Mitchell, director of Smart Cities research group

MIT researchers are hopeful that their new light, foldable, stackable electric vehicles will cut pollution, ease congestion, and eventually be incorporated into everyday transportation systems. The Smart Cities group at the MIT Media Lab is currently working on the low-cost electric vehicles that they believe could revolutionize a new "green" mass transit.

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Japan Converting Standard Auto into Solar Cars

Shutterstock_64489392_2 The Prefecture of Fukushima, Japan and the Total Mobility Project have announced the creation of a solar powered auto converted from a standard Mazda Roadster. The development of a practical solar powered car has been an international engineering goal for the last two decades. Primarily solar cars are only seen as engineering experiments and in niche racing events, but Japan is hoping to make them a more practical, realistic option for its citizens.

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