US CAR GIANT General Motors has teamed up with Chinese partner Shanghai Automotive Industry to produce a new new concept vehicle, dubbed the EN-V.
It looks like an electric car, but rides on just two wheels, making it a fully enclosed electric scooter.
‘The EN-V reinvents the automobile through the convergence of electrification and connectivity. It provides an ideal solution for urban mobility that enables future driving to be free from petroleum and emissions, free from congestion and accidents, and more fun and fashionable than ever before,’ says Kevin Wale, President and MD, GM China Group.
Seabury Hall, a prep school on Maui, offers students the opportunity to participate in a number of classes that involve significant engineering products.
There are currently three major projects going on, in addition to improving the original electric car students built three years ago. The biofuel project involves growing crops, producing biodiesel and converting a car to run on the fuel. The three-wheeler team is working on an electric motorcycle.
Tokyo, Japan — In late October, Nissan Motor Co. showed its concept two-seat electric car at the Tokyo Motor Show. This dramatized their lead over their rivals — Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co., in bringing electric vehicles to the market.
The Land Glider, as the car is called, is targeted at city dwellers. It has a “cocoon- shaped” is 10.2 feet long and 3 feet wide, and is designed to lean as much as 17 degrees when turning corners, similar to a motorcycle.
Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn anticipates that electric cars will be respnsible for at least 10 percent of global auto sales by 2020. Nissan is Japan’s third-largest carmaker. They will begin selling their Leaf electric car in the fiscal year beginning April.
A hybrid bicycle competed against a Toyota Prius hybrid, a Zenn all electric car, a regular bicycle and a tandem bike duo.
All the bikes beat the cars by a good 10-20 minutes during the treasure hunt-style race that began at the intersection of Front and Cooper streets, made stops at The Buttery on Soquel and Branciforte avenues and again at New Leaf Market on 41st Avenue before crossing the finish line at the tiki on the Capitola Esplanade.
The tandem team came in first place with a time of 22 minutes. The Zenn came in fourth place at 42 minutes, followed two minutes later by the Prius.
While there have been a couple of years where cars came in first place, the race was meant to show how efficient bike commuting can be, as well as to promote a cycling as a healthy commute solution both for people’s bodies and the environment, race organizers said. The cyclists were able to maneuver around cars and traffic, while the two cars were stuck.
All the race participants chose their own route. The rules were to follow road laws and be safe.
Milwaukie, Oregon — Among a host of green programs being introduced to the city is one to increase the popularity and availability of ebikes.
A city employee bike-commuter program was introduced in October 2008, as well as an electric car plug-in in downtown Milwaukie.
City employees who needed to commute between the city’s sites in downtown Milwaukie, the Public Safety Building at 32nd and Harrison and the Johnson Creek facility may do so by bicycle. Many of the bikes available come from impound lots or used bike sales.
The bikes have been equipped with bells, lights, helmets and bright orange vests with the city’s logo on the back.
Last October the bikes were ready to go, all liability policies were in place and riders were encouraged to commute by bicycle.
“A limited number of folks” have taken advantage of the program so far, but Shirey hopes that “as time goes on the number will increase.”
Beijing, China — Peter Stevens, the UK’s top car designer, believes China’s future will be in driving electric cars.
Stevens knows whereof he speaks – he created race cars for companies such as Lamborghini and Lotus. He came to Beijing as part of the British Embassy’s campaign to introduce UK skills to China.
By the end of 2009, the Chinese company BYD, which produces 65% of the world’s nickel-cadmium batteries, is planning to develop an environmentally-sound electric car. Indeed, China intends to become the world’s largest producer of electric cars by 2011, manufacturing up to 500,000 units a year.
The Chinese government will contribute up to 80 percent towards the cost, which normally costs around 70,000 yuan, available for buyers at just 10,000 yuan.
With this new government scheme the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers expects car sales in the country to reach up to 10 million this year and overtake the United States.
Warren Buffet, according to the Caijing magazine, recently bought 9.89 percent share of BYD for HK$1.8 billion. Because of that and other developments, experts believe China has the potential to become the world’s largest producer of electric cars in the near future.
One of the main drawbacks for electric bicycles (and electric scooters and cars, for that matter!) is the length of time it takes to recharge the battery.
However, scientists have developed a method to reduce battery charging time from hours to seconds, which “opens up doors” for its use in electronics and electric vehicles.
Scientists Byoungwoo Kang and Gerbrand Ceder of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found a tunnel shaped lithium compound that speeds up electron transfer within the battery. This lithium-ion battery could mean quick charging for electronics such as laptops and iPods, as well as more efficient hybrid electric vehicles (EV).
Kang and Ceder have discovered a compound called lithium-iron phosphate, which has a crystal structure that creates a tunnel for lithium to quickly travel through. In order to get the ions to the tunnels, the scientists coated the cathode with lithium-phosphate glass, which allows electron flow. The result: Recharge in nine seconds.
The commercial world is also working on extending lithium-ion battery technology. Oxfordshire, U.K.-based Nexeon is investing money in research, as is Westborough, Mass-based lithium-ion battery maker Boston-Power.
Santa Rosa, Calif.-based electric car maker ZAP designs cars that fit different types of batteries, including lithium-ion. For now, ZAP has set aside more expensive ultracapacitors and nickel-metal hydride batteries and is focusing on lithium-ion as their battery of choice