Monday matters

August 23, 2010 § Leave a comment

  • Baldos II (pictured), a tiny hybrid prototype created by students at Sweden’s Lulea University of Technology, is being shipped to the US for an exhibition at the Swedish Embassy in Washington DC. Baldos II, which is road-legal, has achieved fuel efficiency of 152.2km to the litre (430mpg, by my calculation). The exhibition, called Shaping Tomorrow’s World – Infrastructure & Intelligent Mobility, will run at the Embassy from 30th September-5th December.
  • An airborne diversion: the German Aerospace Centre is developing a new-generation version of its fuel cell plane. The Antares H3 project began this month, with the first flight scheduled for next year; the plane, which can be piloted or autonomously-guided, will have a range of 6000km and flying time of up to 50 hours. The Centre is also working on fuel cell powerplants for mainstream passenger aircraft, though these are further from production. More on Green Car Congress, which is also reporting on fuel cell integration into Israel Aerospace Industries’ unmanned ‘drone’ reconnaissance craft.
  • A French-American research team has developed micro-supercapacitors which are only a few micrometres thick but which have greater energy density, energy storage capacity and quicker discharge rate than conventional electrolyte capacitors or batteries (Green Car Congress).
  • Toyota has deployed six prototype plug-in Prius PHEVs to the Clean Communities programme in Syracuse, upstate New York. They will be used by staff at Syracuse University and in a local car-share scheme and business co-operative; feedback and data on usage will be uploaded to a public-access website.
  • The Daimler car2go car-share scheme is to next be trialled in Vancouver. Programmes are already underway in Ulm, Germany, and Austin, Texas, and a fleet of Smart Fortwo EVs will now be used by organisations including the Vancouver Film School and Public Library, and the University of British Columbia. Car2go is planning larger-scale full launches of the scheme in the USA and Canada next year.
  • The Finnish municipality of Loviisa is planning to build a carbon-neutral super-highway on a stretch of a new road linking Turku, in the south-west, and Vaalimaa, near the Russian border. The 81-mile eco-highway will start in Loviisa, east of Helsinki, and will involve ‘smart’ adaptable lighting, electric vehicle charging points and fuel stations selling locally-produced biofuels, including ethanol and fuels derived from the region’s wastes. The Loviisa council is now doing a feasibility study and applying for EU and industrial support. Construction could begin mid-2011, with completion in 2016.
  • Furore continues over reports that batteries are dying prematurely in the early Honda Civic hybrids; but should we write off hybrids completely? Discuss at The Economist.
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