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EcoCar2 is on the hunt for a better, cleaner Chevy Malibu [w/video]

06/13/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Biodiesel, Emerging Technologies, Ethanol, Green Culture, Hybrid, MPG, Chevrolet

The students spent three years transforming an ordinary Chevy Malibu into a revolutionary vehicle.

Not far from the building where General Motors once invented the Chevy Volt, a dozen or so college students are standing on the blacktop alongside a test track, watching a professional driver push the limits of a plug-in hybrid car they've built that's far more radical.

These students, from Colorado State University, have spent the past three years transforming an ordinary Chevy Malibu into a revolutionary vehicle. At first glance, it still looks like a regular sedan. But under the hood, they've installed a hybrid powertrain that contains both hydrogen and electric power sources. Even by the standards of the Department of Energy competition they're participating in, it's an outlier.

That's exactly what they had in mind.

"We didn't want to come here and tell them how to build a better Volt," said Tom Bradley, faculty adviser for the Colorado State team. "They already know how to do that. We can tell them how to think about these possibilities in a whole new way."

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SOTU: President Obama promises tougher truck mpg standards, more renewable energy

01/30/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Biodiesel, Emerging Technologies, Ethanol, MPG, Solar, Legislation and Policy, Natural Gas, USA

State of Union speech President Obama

The green car rhetoric of President Obama's State Of The Union speech last night was much, much softer than it was three years ago. That was when he spoke about a million electric vehicles on the road by 2015. It was even less vociferous than last year, when Obama said we could take money given to oil and gas companies and put it into an "Energy Security Trust." So, what is the state of the green car union for 2014? In a word: renewable. In two more words: natural gas.

"The debate is settled. Climate change is a fact" - President Obama

President Obama said that, "America is closer to energy independence than we've been in decades," thanks to both natural gas (which is a good thing, "if extracted safely") and an ever-growing amount of solar energy. He said that another American home or business "goes solar" every four minutes and he called on Congress to "help by putting people to work building fueling stations that shift more cars and trucks from foreign oil to American natural gas." On the regulatory side, Obama said he would work "in the coming months" to set a new fuel economy standard for trucks. This means heavy trucks like semis, as light-duty trucks are already covered in the 54.5 miles per gallon CAFE standard for 2025 agreed to in 2011. The President did not mention biofuels or plug-in vehicles in his speech. He did acknowledge new General Motors CEO Mary Barra, who was a guest of the First Lady.

As is usual with a State of the Union speech, details were scarce, so we'll have to see how this all plays out in the coming months. One thing that did come across loud and clear, though, was that Obama does not want to discuss the matter with global warming deniers. "The debate is settled," he said, "Climate change is a fact. And when our children's children look us in the eye and ask if we did all we could to leave them a safer, more stable world, with new sources of energy, I want us to be able to say 'Yes, we did.'"

You can find the full transcript of the SOTU speech here or watch it here. We have reactions from some groups in the green car sector available below.

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BMW 3-cylinder prototype engine sits pretty in 1 Series, will be better in i8 plug-in hybrid

03/27/2013   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Biodiesel, Diesel, EV/Plug-in, Hybrid, BMW, AutoblogGreen Exclusive, New York Auto Show

BMW 3-cylinder Prototype

The fact that the brand-new prototype three-cylinder, 1.5-liter gasoline engine from BMW finds itself in a 1 Series is almost accidental. Heidelinde Holzer, who works on powertrain predevelopment, powertrain functions and powertrain integration, told AutoblogGreen her team simply took the cars that were available. After all, when you're working on engines that are not destined to go into any vehicles in the near future - this has been a four-year project already - it's okay to test them in whatever mule you've got access to. The first production vehicle that will use the three-cylinder is the upcoming i8 plug-in hybrid, which isn't going to arrive until the first half of 2014. BMW didn't allow us to play around in one of those, so we had to make due with our 1 Series prototype test drives yesterday at BMW's Woodcliff Lake, NJ, headquarters.

Under a sky that alternated between bright and threatening-to-rain, two red 1 Series zipped around the BMW campus - we were not allowed to take them on public roads - between technical sessions about the engine, the upcoming four-cylinder 328d diesel and BMW's new suite of apps. According to what we saw, future Bimmers are going to get a lot more efficient and a whole lot more connected.

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