Week-end odds and ends

July 30, 2010 § Leave a comment

  • Nissan is now taking orders for the electric Leaf in Europe; order books have opened in Portugal and the Republic of Ireland, with pre-orders in the UK from September 1st. Deliveries are scheduled for Portugal in January 2011, Ireland in February, and a month later in the UK. Deposits of E300 (£257) are being taken; prices start from E30,250 in Portugal, E29,995 in Ireland and £23,990 in the UK, including all government incentives.
  • Bosch has supplied 1.5million stop-start systems, giving vehicles an average 8% fuel saving, since launch of the tech in late 2007. The company said today that sales of its stop-start system for automatics are taking off; this is fitted in models as diverse as the Porsche Panamera (with dual-clutch transmission), the Fiat 500 (with automated manual) and new Audi A8 (with torque-converter auto).
  • Biofuel of the day #1: sugar.  Researchers at LS9 have found a new way to break down sugar, using bacteria, to create alkanes (the constituent hydrocarbons in diesel fuel). They have sequenced the DNA of the most efficient bacteria, which work in a quick one-stage process with high yield (Green Car Congress).
  • Biofuel of the day #2: cellulosic biomass. That is, matter from sugar cane, grain crops and sugar beet. Biofuels firm Gevo has developed a process using biocatalysts to make isobutanol, an ethanol substitute; this follows its work on sustainable-source jet fuel (Green Car Congress).  More fuels-from-foodstuffs, however.
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