Sunday, January 30, 2011

Hybrids add buzz to St. Louis Auto Show

Hybrids add buzz to St. Louis Auto Show 

Sure, those sleek, sporty Corvettes drew second looks and the row of Camaros were magnets for muscle-car aficionados who strolled through Chevrolet's display space at the St. Louis Auto Show. But just as many car enthusiasts — if not more — gathered midday Thursday around the $41,000 Chevy Volt, the automaker's new entry into the electric car market. With a $7,500 federal tax credit, the car begins to approach affordability for consumers looking to shed their own oil dependence.
"It's been overwhelming," said Tricia Opper, a Chevrolet product specialist.
Within the next year or so, St. Louis can expect to see at least two electric vehicles — the Volt and the Nissan Leaf, which has a suggested list price of $25,280 to $26,580 after the tax credit. Chevrolet and Nissan have 2011 models of their electric cars on display at the auto show.
Attendees can get behind the wheel of a Volt — or a handful of hybrids — this week at the EcoCity area inside America's Center. EcoCity features a small track and other environmental-friendly booths.
Larry Kinder of Lily Pad EV of Overland Park, Kan., said his company is the Kansas and Missouri distributor of Coulomb Electric Vehicle Charging Stations, which the company hopes will serve future electric car owners.
"These charging stations will just become furniture in parking lots, along the street, on light poles, shopping centers, theaters, restaurants, in parking garages," Kinder said. "Everybody will charge at home at night. They'll drive to work, plug in. Drive to shopping centers, plug in. And off they go."
Kinder, who is on a list to get one of the first Nissan Leafs in Kansas City, possibly by this summer, said the demand for electric cars is being fed by an auto industry trying to claw its way out of a slump and the heavier emphasis on sustainability and oil independence.
Other automakers are getting their electrics to market, too, he said. An electric Ford Focus will debut later this year, and Toyota will have a plug-in Prius and Rav4.
Karl Brauer, senior analyst said the rush to meet higher fuel-efficiency requirements has spawned research and development in electric and hybrid cars. Soaring gas prices woke people up as well, Brauer said in an telephone interview. Despite the noise around hybrids and electrics, he said, domestic sales of perennial favorite trucks and SUVs have surged dramatically in the past six months.
Ron Jackson of unincorporated St. Louis County drove the Chevy Volt two laps around the EcoCity track and was impressed with the ride. But he won't likely buy one.
"There are only two reasons I wouldn't do it," Jackson said "It's very expensive. You start in at $41,000 before you do anything to it. And the second thing is I am a Harley rider, and I tow my Harley. You cannot tow with it."
Nissan officials were busy answering consumer questions about the 2011 Leaf on Thursday during the first day of the show. Most wanted to know about the charging system and the battery range, said Aric Shimkus, a Nissan representative, who predicted the Leaf will begin appearing in St. Louis by early 2012.
The distance a car can roam before recharging its lithium ion battery varies, he said, and can reach 130 miles.
Chris Adelmann, executive vice president of the St. Louis Auto Dealers Association and the auto show, said eco-friendly driving is a distinct industry trend.
"Is the market out there right now in St Louis? No," Adelmann said. "Because they don't have the charging stations set up yet. Now they are working on getting those put in businesses and stuff like that so people can start buying cars like the Volt and the Nissan Leaf and some of the others that are coming out."
About 400,000 people attend the auto show each year, Adelmann said, and he expects attendance to exceed that this year with the first year of the EcoCity.
He predicted many will want to see the 2011 Bugatti Veyron on display. The $2.5 million supersport is capable of reaching a top speed of 267 mph.
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Electric car that can be recharged by pedal power

Electric car that can be recharged by pedal power

Chinese engineers have developed China's first "human-electric" hybrid vehicle , allowing userstocharge it by pedalling as they drive along . The vehicle , developed by researchers at Shanghai Jiao Tong University , can carry two people and luggage .

Pedal energy is reclaimed and charges the battery . It can be driven in electric-only mode or pedal plus electric power , Shanghai Daily reported . Unlike existing Twike electric cars in operation in Europe , the vehicle can be recharged anytime as it has an "intelligent battery" .

>Twike drivers can only recharge the vehicle through braking or moving down a slope . The intelligent battery , developed in Shanghai , also allows users to gauge consumption . "If drivers are stuck in a traffic jam with the air-conditioning on , their car would soon run out of power ," Jay Lee, President of the Advanced Industrial Technology Research Institute was quoted as saying . 

Electric car that can be recharged by pedal power

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Friday, January 14, 2011

Porsche 918 RSR To Promote Virtues of Hybrids

Porsche 918 RSR To Promote Virtues of Hybrids
According to Porsche's head of Motorsport, Hartmut Kristen, the 918 RSR will be as much a marketing tool as a technological test bed.

"A Porsche is about emotion and passion," he told Inside Line. "We want to get our customers excited about the possibilities provided by hybrid technology. Until now, the Toyota Prius was the hybrid, and we need to change perceptions. In the long term we have to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide. This is not just about climate change; it's also about protecting the world's oil reserves."
Porsche is currently developing two hybrids: a Prius-style battery system for use in road cars and a flywheel accumulator solution for racing. The former will be used in the 918 Spyder supercar, which will debut next year. The latter, developed in association with the Williams F1 team, debuted on the 911 GT3 R Hybrid and features in the 918 RSR.
"A flywheel solution works in a racecar because of the highly dynamic driving conditions," says Kristen. "You're collecting and discharging energy in fractions of a second. The flywheel allows us to collect more kinetic energy than a battery but you need to keep a pump running to maintain a vacuum in the system if you want to retain the energy, so it's not a good solution for the road."

According to Kristen, the main issue is not how you store the energy, but how you discharge it. "We're trying to learn as much as possible about how you merge two different power systems together. We need to develop the controls and systems to make the best use of the technology. Porsche is not about making components; our core competency is building cars but we need to understand what we need from the components we source."
The 918 RSR is currently a showcar and is not fully functional. Nor would it currently comply with the regulations for any of the major sports car series. "We wanted to excite our customers and to raise the appetite of the regulation makers for changing the rules," says Kristen.
One potential solution would be to introduce a one-make championship for the 911 GT3 R Hybrid or the 918. "The technology is currently too young and expensive," reckons Kristen, "but in the future it might be feasible. It is possible to imagine a Porsche Supercup series being run with hybrid cars."

Porsche 918 RSR To Promote Virtues of Hybrids
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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Porsche 918 RSR debuts at 2011 NAIAS

Porsche 918 RSR debuts at 2011 NAIAS

After being absent from the Detroit Auto Show for the past four years Porsche has come back with a vengeance unveiling one of the baddest hybrid racecars in existence!

The Porsche 918 RSR has an ultra light weight carbon fiber-reinforced plastic monocoque exterior, minimalistic highly functional interior.... and a flywheel accumulator. What the heck is a flywheel accumulator you may ask? This high tech device is positioned next to the driver's seat and collects energy when the car breaks. This energy can then in turn be converted to a 160 HP burst of speed with the touch of a button! Coupled together with the 563 horsepower V8 engine there are two front wheel drive electric motors powered by the flywheel accumulator that produce an unbelievable total of 767 horsepower!

The flywheel accumulator technology first appeared on Porsche's 911 GT3 R Hybrid. The device gains its charge when the two electric motors on the front axle reverse their function during the braking processes and operate as generators. The driver can then unleash the stored power by simply pressing a button! Now that's hybrid technology put to a good use.

If you can, come down to Cobo Hall in Detroit, Michigan to get a first had look at the Porsche 918 RSR in person.You can check the photos here too

Porsche 918 RSR debuts at 2011 NAIAS

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First Images: Toyota Unveils Entire Line of Prius Hybrids

First Images: Toyota Unveils Entire Line of Prius Hybrids

After years of study and speculation, Toyota today unveiled two new Prius vehicles at the 2011 Detroit auto show. By the time all the curtains were opened, four Prius models were displayed on stage: the familiar 50-mpg hatchback model; the Prius plug-in demo version with the same shape; a new larger model that goes on sale this year; and a small city concept Prius that promises to offer the best price and highest mpg of any hybrid on the market.

"The Prius V, which stands for versatility, looks a lot like a Prius, but it has an extended roofline, giving it nearly 60 percent more cargo room than the existing Prius," said Doug Coleman, Toyota's Prius product manager, in an interview with "That's more than many small SUVs." Coleman said that Toyota has been studying the idea of a larger Prius for a number of years, and decided that it was the right time to introduce the model.

Toyota estimates that the Prius V will be rated at 42 mpg in the city, and 38 on the highway. The powertrain for the Prius V is nearly identical to the one used in the current Prius model. Prius V features will include a panoramic moonroof and Toyota's new Entune multimedia system.

"Consumers have told Toyota that they love the idea of the Prius-high fuel-efficiency, low emissions, advanced technology-but the vehicle selling today doesn't fit their lifestyle and needs," Coleman said. These consumers want more versatility, comfort and luxury. The final product is a segment-buster that has been difficult to describe by consumers in Toyota research. "They were perplexed. Some called it a wagon. Some called it a crossover. Some called it a hatchback. We said it's really not any of those things." Coleman said the EPA is going to classify it as a midsize station wagon. "That doesn't do it justice. It's not a crossover, because it doesn't have a high enough ride. And it's not a minivan certainly, because it's not going to have sliding doors. It has seating for five."

Does this mean that Toyota will not build a full-size hybrid minivan in the future? Not at all, according to Coleman. "We're not there." Coleman said Toyota continues to study how to address the engineering challenge of building a hybrid minivan with the features, cost, and convenience that consumers say they want. He showed interest in Ford's announcement in Detroit about its upcoming C-Max hybrid and plug-in microvan.

Coming Soon: The World's First Compact Hybrid

Toyota will follow its push of the Prius model to a larger more spacious format in the other smaller direction with a compact hybrid. "The Prius C concept is an inspiration for us to build a future vehicle coming in the first half of 2012 that would be the most value-oriented vehicle of the Prius family, and have the highest mileage of any cordless hybrid," Coleman said. He said it will be oriented toward young singles and couples, but more maneuverable and affordable.

First Images: Toyota Unveils Entire Line of Prius Hybrids

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Monday, January 10, 2011

2012 Honda Civic Concepts Revealed In Detroit

2012 Honda Civic Concepts Revealed In Detroit

We have not been hearing much exciting news from Honda this past couple of years mainly because they were kinda overshadowed by the dominating Korean brands, and also becasue they didn’t make a single amazing car recently! But they’re coming back fighting with the new generation Civic Coupe and Sedan previewed here.

At 2011 NAIAS the Japanese car maker revealed near production versions of Honda Civic Si Concept coupe and Civic Concept sedan, providing the first official glimpse at the styling direction of the all-new, ninth-generation 2012 model set to go on sale in spring 2011. Both cars has the same familiar profile, but get a new distinctive face.

The diverse vehicle range includes a sedan and a coupe with conventional gasoline models, two sporty “Si” performance versions, along with one hybrid and a natural gas alternative-fuel variant. Collectively the depth of the Civic line offers a compelling balance between fuel economy, low emissions and fun-to-drive performance unlike any other vehicle in the industry.

Between the two the Civic sedan looks nicer to us since it is sporty and elegant. But the coupe looks too like a Scion from the side and that tapered rear roofline doesn’t float our boat! The Civic Concept sedan takes on a sophisticated presence with a front grille defined by crisp lines and a solid bar that integrates a chrome Honda emblem.

Both concepts sit on 19-inch wheels which are not likely to be available for the production version as well, at least not as standard.

While all of the engines for the new Civic family benefit from Intelligent Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (i-VTEC) technology for maximum efficiency, there’s also a hybrid version planned with the latest generation of the compact and lightweight Integrated Motor Assist™ (IMA™) gasoline-electric powertrain like the one in the CR-Z.

Additionally, Honda is expanding retail sales of the natural gas-powered Civic GX model, which is the only OEM-built, dedicated CNG passenger car assembled in America. The increased availability of the Civic GX helps bring inherently clean-burning natural gas technology to an even broader audience while also supporting diversity in transportation energy resources.

Prius Ranks As Japan's Top-Selling Car In 2010

Prius Ranks As Japan's Top-Selling Car In 2010
Toyota's Prius hybrid ranked as Japan's top-selling car in 2010 with annual sales hitting an all-time high, bucking the fallout from a series of massive global recalls, an auto industry group said Tuesday.

Toyota Motor Corp. sold a record 315,669 Prius cars in its home market last year, up 51 percent from 2009, the Japan Automobile Dealers Association said.

The world's No. 1 automaker has recalled more than 11 million vehicles worldwide, including the Prius, since late 2009 due to acceleration and braking problems.

But Japanese sales of the gasoline-electric hybrid Prius soared to an all-time high last year thanks to government subsidies and tax breaks for eco-friendly cars, the association said.

"The Prius was hugely popular among consumers. Its sales were boosted by subsidies and tax breaks for green cars," said association spokesman Michiro Saito. Japan doled out government subsidies for eco-friendly cars like the Prius from April 2009 to September 2010.

The government will keep tax breaks aimed at boosting demand for green cars until April 2012.

Prius sales last year broke Japan's annual sales record for a single model. The previous record was 300,008 units by Toyota's Corolla in 1990.

The Prius hybrid went on sale for the first time in 1997, beating rivals as the first mass-produced hybrid car with over two million sold worldwide at the end of November last year, according to Toyota.

Prius Ranks As Japan's Top-Selling Car In 2010

Crashed C30 Electric on Display at NAIAS

Crashed C30 Electric on Display at NAIAS

And now we can safely say we've seen it all... Perhaps for the first time in the history of the automotive industry, a crashed vehicle will take its rightful place under the spotlight of a major auto show, amidst the glamour and shine of brand new vehicles.

Swedish manufacturer Volvo, because it is behind it all, tries to remind us that it once was (and probably still is) the king of safety systems in cars by bringing to the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit the remnants of a crash tested C30 electric vehicle.

Of course, the display is not meant to show what was crushed, but what remained intact following the frontal crash tests at 40 mph (64 km/h): batteries and cables. Or, if you ask anyone in the industry, the most important elements of an electric car, aside for the passenger cell, of course.

"The test produced exactly the results we expected. The C30 Electric offers the very same high safety level as a C30 with a combustion engine,” said Jan Ivarsson, Volvo senior manager for Safety Strategy & Requirements.

“The front deformed and distributed the crash energy as we expected. Both the batteries and the cables that are part of the electric system remained entirely intact after the collision," relates Jan Ivarsson.

The Volvo C30 Electric comes powered by a lithium-ion battery and can be charged from a regular power socket. The batteries take eight hours to recharge, providing for a driving range of 150 km (93 miles). The range is enough, according to Volvo's research, for about 90 percent of commuters in Europe. Testing of the model begins this year in the US as well.

Crashed C30 Electric on Display at NAIAS

The future e-car that beats traffic

The future e-car that beats traffic

Fed up with traffic jams and lack of parking spaces? Just cheer up, for scientists claim to have designed an electric car which can beat traffic congestion and even capable of parking itself.

According to its developers, the two-seat Electric- Networked Vehicle (EN-V) is designed to alleviate those common driver concerns and also address environmental issues, energy consumption and affordability.

And, amazingly one doesn't even need to be in the driving seat to achieve all this. The EN-V from General Motors can rotate 360 degrees and be driven in manual mode with a driver - or without, the 'Daily Mail' reported.

The GM car, recently unveiled at the Las Vegas Convention Center, runs on battery power for 25 miles on a charge, with top speeds of 25 miles-per-hour.

"This vehicle is going to be increasingly needed in the markets where we hope to grow our business. It's really a step up from a bike. We think it will be less expensive than a car but more practical to move around in,"said Chris Borroni -Bird, GM's director of advance vehicle concepts.

Electric cars are better for travelling short-distances and air quality in crowded cities, he said.

And GM has equipped the EN-V with specialised technology developed by its OnStar subsidiary that allows it to talk to other cars, anticipate dangers and scan blocks for available parking spaces. All this will help avoid congestion, Borroni-Bird said, because accidents and people circling for parking often cause major traffic holdups in big cities.

The only downside to this pint-sized vehicle is its inability to withstand a collusion with a full-sized vehicle, say its designers. Cities could, however, create EN-V-only lanes, or create enclosed areas solely used by the vehicle.

The future e-car that beats traffic

Ford Supercharges Electric Vehicle Plan, Unveiling New C-MAX Energi and C-MAX Hybrid Products

Ford will launch C-MAX Energi, its first-ever production plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, and C-MAX Hybrid, a full hybrid variant, in North America in 2012 and Europe in 2013

Both versions of the five-passenger multi-activity vehicle will leverage the company's global C-car platform, critically acclaimed powersplit hybrid architecture, next-generation driver information features and advanced, lighter and smaller lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery systems

C-MAX Hybrid is targeted to deliver better miles per gallon than Ford Fusion Hybrid, the most fuel-efficient sedan in America

C-MAX Energi targets more than 500 miles (800 kilometers) of driving range using the battery and engine, more than any other plug-in or extended-range vehicle. It also targets AT-PZEV status and delivers better charge-sustaining fuel economy than Chevrolet Volt

Ford today revealed two next-generation hybrid vehicles – including its first production plug-in hybrid electric vehicle – at the 2011 North American International Auto Show, bringing consumers more choice, versatility and style for high-mileage family-friendly vehicles.

Ford C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid and C-MAX Hybrid are based on the new Ford C-MAX five-passenger multi-activity vehicle, and each will offer high mileage and low emissions as well as distinctive body design and a flexible interior. The plug-in hybrid and third-generation full hybrid leverage Ford's global C-car platform, acclaimed powersplit architecture, next-generation driver information features and advanced lithium-ion battery systems.

"C-MAX Energi and C-MAX Hybrid will be perfect for families looking to maximize their hybrid car experience," said Nancy Gioia, Ford director of Global Electrification. "Thanks to the versatile interior, these cars are going to appeal to environmentally conscious consumers who need room to grow."

C-MAX Hybrid is targeted to deliver better fuel economy than the 41 mpg Ford Fusion Hybrid, the most fuel-efficient sedan in America today. It builds on the success of the critically acclaimed powersplit architecture Ford uses in its current hybrids, allowing it to operate in fuel-saving electric mode beyond 47 mph.

Both the C-MAX Energi and C-MAX Hybrid models will be built alongside the all-new 2012 Ford Focus and Focus Electric at Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich. The plant's production is powered in part by one of the largest solar energy generator systems in the state. The C-MAX Energi and C-MAX Hybrid vehicles sold in Europe in 2013 will be built at Ford's plant in Valencia, Spain, starting in 2013.

The plug-in advantage

Targeted to achieve AT-PZEV (Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle) status, C-MAX Energi provides maximum fuel efficiency by pairing a high-voltage lithium-ion battery and electric traction motor with a high-efficiency Atkinson-cycle gasoline engine. This allows it to run in electric mode before using the gasoline engine.
C-MAX Energi will offer more than 500 miles (800 kilometers) of overall driving range using the battery and engine – more than any other plug-in or extended-range electric vehicle. C-MAX Energi delivers better charge-sustaining fuel economy than Chevrolet Volt.
In general, plug-in hybrid vehicles offer several benefits, including:
Electric driving range, perfect for emissions-free and silent city driving
Potential consumer savings on energy and fuel costs thanks to improved fuel efficiency over a standard hybrid
Reduced dependency on petroleum and increased energy independence
Reduced environmental impact through reductions in greenhouse gas emissions
Increased use of electricity from renewable energy sources (e.g. wind and solar), where available, for vehicle recharging

"A plug-in hybrid owner may make fewer trips to the pump to refuel because of its all-electric mode capability," said Derrick Kuzak, Ford vice president of Global Product Development. "Conveniently, they'll be able to recharge their plug-in hybrid at home overnight. And they'll never have to think about the vehicle's electric range, because the plug-in hybrid seamlessly shifts to fuel power when needed."

The development of Ford's first-ever production plug-in hybrid leverages more than 200,000 miles of road testing conducted in collaboration with a coalition of 10 utility companies, the U.S. Department of Energy, the New York State Energy Research and Development Administration and the Electric Power Research Institute.

Getting charged up

C-MAX Energi and C-MAX Hybrid will use advanced lithium-ion battery systems developed and assembled in-house by Ford in Michigan. Each system is smartly designed to maximize use of common, high-quality components, such as control board hardware that has proven field performance in Ford's current, critically acclaimed hybrid vehicles.

Li-ion battery packs offer a number of advantages over the nickel-metal-hydride (NiMH) batteries that power today's hybrid vehicles. In general, they are 25 to 30 percent smaller and 50 percent lighter, which makes them easier to package in a vehicle, and can be tuned to increase power to boost acceleration or to increase energy to extend driving distance.

While C-MAX Hybrid will operate much like today's hybrid vehicles, C-MAX Energi will benefit from daily charging to maximize its all-electric range. Thanks to the efficiencies of its right-sized battery system, the plug-in hybrid easily recharges 100 percent overnight on a 120-volt outlet.

A full charge in CMAX Energi allows owners to increase their driving significantly in all-electric mode and drastically reduce their use of the on-board fuel engine.
On start-up, C-MAX Energi will operate in charge-depletion mode, providing electric driving range. When the battery has been depleted or certain conditions are met, it switches to charge-sustaining hybrid mode for continued optimal fuel efficiency.
Ford worked with a supplier to provide an industry-standard five-point plug for C-MAX Energi (and new Focus Electric) that is ergonomically comfortable to hold as well as durably and distinctively designed. The plug handle uses a matte-finished black rubber for a comfortable, non-slip grip and the plug head is shielded with a glossy white hard plastic to protect the electronics. The Ford Blue Oval trademark helps make the device immediately recognizable.
When the cord set connector is plugged into the vehicle's charge port, which is located conveniently between the driver's door and front wheel well, it activates a light ring that loops around the port twice in acknowledgement of connectivity. The light ring then illuminates in quadrants as the vehicle charges. Flashing quadrants represent charge in progress and solid-lit quadrants show stages of charge completion. When the entire ring is solidly lit, the vehicle is fully charged.

Smarter interface

C-MAX Energi owners will have access to a suite of driver information systems – on-board and off-board – designed to help them manage the recharge process, manage the most eco-friendly route on-board, remotely control their vehicle's charge and preconditioning settings, monitor battery state of charge and maximize energy efficiency to extend use of electric mode. C-MAX Hybrid owners also will benefit from the on-board features.
Among these tools is a unique execution of MyFord Touch™ driver connect technology, especially for electrified driving. It offers exceptional configurability of vehicle information, including fuel level, battery power level, and average and instant miles per gallon.
The cluster's new MyView feature allows drivers to access even more vehicle data such as the electrical demands of vehicle accessories, including air conditioning, which influences fuel economy and the electric driving range of the C-MAX Energi.

The Brake Coach feature helps to educate drivers to optimize their use of the regenerative brakes to recapture kinetic energy and send it back to the battery, also reducing wear on the brakes.

Long-term fuel efficiency can be displayed in two ways – either as a traditional chart or using an innovative display that shows a growing leafy vine on the right side of the cluster. The more efficient a customer is, the more lush and beautiful the leaves and vines become, creating a unique visual reward for the driver's efforts.
To reinforce the message, at the end of each trip a display screen provides distance driven, miles gained through regenerative braking, fuel consumed (average and total) and a regenerative braking score.

New MyFord Mobile

Off-board, C-MAX Energi owners in North America can maintain constant contact with the car anywhere they have mobile phone or web access using the Ford-developed MyFord Mobile.
MyFord Mobile enables access to a secure Ford website and smartphone/feature phone app to get instant vehicle status information, perform key functions remotely, monitor the car's state of charge and current range, get various alerts including when the vehicle requires charging, remotely program charge settings and download vehicle data for analysis.
The feature also allows the owner to program the vehicle to use electricity from the grid to heat or cool the battery and cabin while plugged in. For example, during hot summer months, owners can preprogram the car the evening before to be fully charged – and fully cooled to a particular temperature – by a certain time the following morning. Users can also locate the vehicle with GPS, remotely start the vehicle, and remotely lock and unlock the car doors.
Working with MapQuest®, MyFord Mobile can communicate charge station and other points of interest to C-MAX Energi using SYNC's Traffic, Directions and Information (TDI) service. Turn-by-turn guidance is provided by the in-car map-based Navigation System. Drivers can also get up-to-date charging station information in their vehicle directly through SYNC TDI simply by connecting to SYNC Services.

Value charging, powered by Microsoft

Using the value charging feature, powered by Microsoft, C-MAX Energi owners in North America will be able to optimize their home's energy use and vehicle recharging practices. Value charging allows Ford customers to reduce their electricity costs by taking advantage of off-peak or reduced rates from their utility without a complicated set-up process.
"Although C-MAX Energi owners won't have to plug in, by doing so they'll get the benefits of driving in electric mode for longer distances; that can mean fewer trips to the gas station and less emissions when driving," said Sherif Marakby, director of Ford's hybrid and electric programs. "That's why we'll be providing C-MAX Energi and C-MAX Hybrid owners with a user-friendly interface and tools like value charging that will help them get the most out of the vehicle's electric mode capability."

Proven powersplit technology

C-MAX Energi and C-MAX Hybrid build on the success of the critically acclaimed powersplit architecture Ford uses in its current hybrids, including the Ford Fusion Hybrid, winner of the 2010 MOTOR TREND Car of the Year® award.

In a powersplit hybrid, the electric motor and gasoline-powered engine can work together or separately to maximize efficiency. The engine also can operate independently of vehicle speed, charging the batteries or providing power to the wheels as needed. The motor alone can provide sufficient power to the wheels in low-speed, low-load conditions, and work with the engine at higher speeds.

While this system enables the current Fusion Hybrid to operate in fuel-saving electric mode up to 47 mph, Ford is targeting higher electric operating speeds for C-MAX Hybrid and even more capability for C-MAX Energi, which will have the advantage of additional battery power.
Ford's global C-car strategy
C-MAX Energi and C-MAX Hybrid are two of at least 10 new models or derivatives that Ford will launch around the world based on its new global C-car platform – Ford's first truly global One Ford platform.
Ford's new generation of C-segment vehicles will be sold in more than 120 markets and will account for more than 2 million units annually. The C-segment accounts for one in four cars sold worldwide today and, in conjunction with the B-segment, is expected to rise to 50 percent of all cars sold globally by 2013.

The all-new C-MAX lineup also introduces a number of advanced new technologies to the compact multi-activity vehicle class. More often found only on larger or more premium cars, these technologies are focused on enhanced comfort, safety and sustainability, including the availability of new and powerful, yet highly fuel-efficient, low-CO2 Ford EcoBoost™ gas engines.
The previous European C-MAX established a reputation for providing a balance of enjoyable driving dynamics and impressive comfort. The all-new model is set to take that performance to a new level, giving drivers a class-leading combination of responsive, sporty handling and overall refinement approaching the standards usually associated with larger, luxury vehicles.

C-MAX Energi and C-MAX Hybrid are two of five electrified vehicles that Ford will bring to the North American market during the next two years. In addition, the Ford Transit Connect Electric small commercial van, built in collaboration with Azure Dynamics, began initial production at the end of 2010, and Focus Electric will launch in late 2011. A second next-generation hybrid electric vehicle will be announced later and available in North America and Europe in 2012.

Hybrid Car Engines developers Raises £500,000

Bladon Jets, a British developer of micro gas turbine engines for cars and power generation, has raised £500,000 ($786,100) in a recent funding round led by the Oxford Investment Opportunity Network (OION), a European technology investment network.

Bladon Jets is working with car manufacturer Jaguar Land Rover to develop a micro gas turbine engine to insert in plug-in hybrid cars.

In a statement Bladon explained that its batteries provide 50 plus miles (80 kilometers) of electric range. Bladon jets-powered cars are also capable of travelling longer distances when using an on-board power generator that charges batteries when cars are moving.

Indian industrial group Tata recently made an undisclosed investment in Bladon Jets for a minority equity stake.

In a prepared statement Chairman of Bladon Jets, Paul Barrett, said: “We want to establish micro gas turbine engines as the range-extending power source of choice for hybrid car manufacturers,” he said. Barrett added: “There is also significant potential for our micro gas turbines in combined heat and power units and other small-scale power generating units, not least in India.”