March 28, 2009

Electric Delivery Vehicle Plant Coming to Kansas City, With Chips

Smith Electric Vehicles U.S. Corporation plans to assemble all-electric zero-emission commercial vehicles in Kansas City with production of the first zero-emission commercial trucks scheduled to begin third quarter of 2009.

SEV U.S. Corp will initially focus its production on battery-electric-powered vehicles for depot-based predictable-route delivery fleets.

"We feel the greatest opportunity to have a major impact on the electric vehicle industry is through fleet operators who utilize commercial vehicles in a depot-based delivery model," said Bryan Hansel, chief executive officer SEV U.S. Corp.

"As more truck fleets adopt this technology, it will drive advancements in battery technology, drive down manufacturing costs, and form the foundation of a U.S.-based supply chain that, over time will also significantly reduce the cost of commercial electric vehicles. This will make them a natural choice for fleet managers with a depot-based delivery model."

Apparently, Frito-Lay has already signed up to use these vans for local delivery of its snack foods and chips. What a great fit! Zero emissions to foul up city streets, plus the power requirement goes down as the truck progresses through the route and then heads back to the depot to charge overnight for the next day's deliveries. Just like the electric milk float I drove 40 years ago!

Full Story on BEVs to be built in Kansas City by Smith

Peugeot diesel in 407 beats CO2 figure

Peugeot installs small diesel engine in 407, beats CO2 figure

"Peugeot is on to something since they put a 1.6-liter 110hp HDi diesel in the Peugeot 407, getting a relatively large car that burns just 4.9 l/100 km of diesel (equivalent to 48 mpg) and keeps CO2 emissions at a respectable 129 g/km."

Diesel Motorcycle? Yes, if you're military

"The HDT motorcycle diesel engine is based on state-of-the-art high-speed automotive diesel engine technology, engineered into a complete power unit suitably sized and packaged for installation in a compact on/off road motorcycle."

Looks at these specs, for 600cc diesel motorbike engine:

Power: 28 PS [21 kw] @ 5500 rev/min.
Torque: 32lbft [44 Nm] @ 3000 rev/min.

HDT - Hayes Diversified Technologies, Diesel Motorcycle Manufacturer

March 27, 2009

The Awesome Tesla S: These guys GET cars

Car fans! Forget Jeremy Clarkson's addle-headed ambiguity about the Tesla roadster (let's face it, the guy doesn't even get why diesels are awesome and Americans drive F150s). The real Tesla has emerged and one look tells you: THESE GUYS GET CARS! Just look at this photo:
What eco-conscious family man or woman wouldn't want to be driving this?

This pic appeared on the NY Times car blog. Shots like it will be heard around the automotive world. As many of us have said for so long now, eco-friendly doesn't have to be frumpy. Heck, family-friendly doesn't have to be frumpy. I mean, just compare this Tesla S design with what many people consider the epitome of 4-door car design, the Maserati Quattroporte.

I snapped a Quattroporte in Moscow a few years ago (excuse the sunburst in the upper left, but I needed to obscure the name of the establishment outside of which it was parked, and the dude with the bulge in his jacket who was obviously guarding the car):
It's about line and proportion. It's about adding form to function. The fact that folks at Tesla get this proves geeky can be gorgeous, and that bodes well for the future of all electric vehicles.

Leave boxy and square to the milk floats, where it makes perfect sense. For cars that move people, let the coachwork flow around the essential hardware and wetware. The natural result is a planet saving-ly low drag coefficient and looks that people will love.

(Trivia Fans: Astute readers will note that the Maserati Quattroporte is featured in the template of this blog, at the bottom right of this page. Yes, we likee that much. Just as we loved the long gone Citre├Ân Maserati.)

3 Cheers for Tesla's Stunning Model S

First Look at Tesla's Stunning Model S | Autopia from

"The car has drawn comparisons to the Jaguar XF and the Maserati Quattroporte, and although von Holzhausen didn't cite those vehicles as influences, he welcomed the association.

'I hear Jaguar, Aston Martin, Alfa Romeo, and I think that's positive,' he said. 'People have positive associations with those brands, and I think that's a good reflection on Tesla. If they said it reminds them of the (Ford) Pinto or the (Pontiac) Aztek, we'd have problems.'"

March 24, 2009

Peugeot Promises A Diesel Hybrid For 2011 Le Mans

For all of us who said, many years ago, diesel hybrids were the way to go, Autopia from presents this superb piece of eye candy:

May it kick serious butt in competition and pave the way for passengar cars with all the benefits that diesel hybrids have to offer (click for a sharper image). And check out Peugeot Promises A Diesel Hybrid For 2011