Journalists Test Drive ECO Cars AJAC

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Jul 032012

Nissan Leaf Electric Vehicle

Nissan Leaf Electric Vehicle

Automobile Journalists Association of Canada

As we all know, fuel prices are on the rise. This doesn’t seem likely to change in the near future, so the only way to avoid spending a fortune on fuel is to use less of it. As a result, both consumers and manufacturers are having to come up with new ways of making their vehicles fuel-efficient, and this is what the May’s AJAC Eco-run was all about.

Journalists Drive Eco-Cars

AJAC stands for the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada. The event involved letting 23 AJAC journalists drive a variety of new eco-cars from Brighton to London in Ontario from May 8th to May 10th. The focus of this event was to put the most innovative eco-car technology to the test, and to see how much fuel consumption can be effected by driving habits alone. Economic driving research is particularly useful to consumers, as it shows them how they can lower their fuel consumption without splashing out on a swanky new hybrid car.

Drove Leaf, e-Miev, Focus Electric and Smart ForTwo

A range of vehicles were used, including the popular Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi e-MiEV. There were also some unreleased modes, like the Ford Focus Electric and Smart ForTwo Elecrtic Drive. The Eco-Run route covered various terrains and driving conditions in order to get an idea of how eco-driving works in different settings. All cars were tested on how they performed in heavy traffic, on motorways, on rural roads, and on suburban roads.

Mistubishi i-Miev (Electric Car) or E-Miev

Mistubishi i-Miev (Electric Car) or E-Miev

Journalist Eco Driving Tips

As a result of the AJAC Eco-Run, journalists came up with some eco-driving tips, including gentle acceleration and keeping a steady speed. Drivers are advised to use cruise control when possible, rather than constantly alternating between pressing and releasing the gas pedal.

Plan Stopping Ahead of Stopping

They said drivers should also plan ahead to avoid unnecessary stopping, enabling them to keep momentum, therefore maintaining speed and using less energy. It’s also beneficial to release the clutch and ‘cost’ to decelerate instead of using the brake pedal, but only when this is safe, of course. Finally, when a vehicle is stationary for more than 60 seconds, for example in a car park or at a red light, the engine should be switched off.

Maintenance for Fuel Economy

Maintenance is very important for fuel-economy, and air filters and oil should be changed regularly. Also, drivers should try to keep their vehicles as light as possible by avoiding carrying unnecessary loads.

How Vehicle is Driven

Charging an Electric VehicleThe Eco-Run proved that it’s not only the vehicle that makes a difference when it comes to efficiency; it’s all down to how it’s driven. According to AJAC bosses, drivers can use up to 20 per cent less fuel just by adopting their eco-driving tips.

However, choosing the right vehicle is still a big factor. Drivers should carefully consider which model is most appropriate for the kind of driving they do. For example, electric cars are most appropriate for urban driving and short journeys, as they need to be within reach of charging stations.

More Range Needed? – Get a Back-Up

However, those who want an electric vehicle but need to put it to more use should opt for a plug-in vehicle like the Toyota Prius Plug-In or the Chevrolet Volt, as they have back-up systems for when the battery starts running low.

Motorway is Best

For motorway driving, petrol and diesel vehicles perform the best, as it’s more efficient to run them at one speed for a long time rather than stopping and starting them all the time. Hybrid vehicles generally performed well all-round, as they can use energy produced by decelerating to put back into the battery.

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Audi Hybrid takes Le Mans Victory

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Jun 292012

Audi Hybrid Vehicle

Audi Hybrid Vehicle

Hybrid Vehicle in a Race

Audi has made history by being the first competitor to win the Le Mans race with a hybrid vehicle. The 24-hour race, held annually at Circuit de la Sarthe in the north of France, enjoyed its 80th anniversary on March 21st this year, so it was a particularly spectacular win.

4×4 hybrid the R18 e-tron Quattro

This victory for the all-wheel drive 4×4 hybrid the R18 e-tron Quattro is the 11th for Audi. All of Audi’s previous victories have been achieved with gasoline and diesel-powered models, but this year, the automotive giant chose to use a hybrid model to showcase its leading innovative and eco-friendly technology. Audi also entered two diesel vehicles, which took third and fifth places.

Speed and Low Noise

The R18 e-tron Quattro uses a V6 TDI diesel engine, along with an electric motor, which work together to provide power to the front wheels. This gave it an extra boost of torque and traction when taking corners at high-speeds, enabling it to shoot past all other competitors with a surprisingly low level of noise.

Audi AWD Hybrid (R18 E-Tron Quattro)

Audi AWD Hybrid (R18 E-Tron Quattro)

Toyota Hybrid TSO30

Audi wasn’t the only competitor to enter a hybrid vehicle into the event. Toyota entered two of its TS030 models, which were set to be the main competitors. However, problems occurred with both vehicles, and driver Anthony Davidson had to be taken to hospital after his car collided with a lapped vehicle, causing it to flip before hurtling into the crash barriers. Davidson suffered from two cracked vertebrae, but luckily was able to walk away from the accident.

Toyota Collides

Toyota’s other vehicle left on a less dramatic note after a collision with the Deltawing vehicle, which was an experimental product of collaboration between Nissan and Highcroft Racing. As a result, Nissan was also taken out of the event.

Toyota TS030 Hybrid Car

Toyota TS030 Hybrid Car

The Deltawing was powered by a 1.6 litre engine, much smaller than those used in most other models. The aim of this was to make the vehicle as lightweight as possible, therefore increasing speed and energy-efficiency. This could have made it a real competitor for Audi.

Audi e-tron System for all Cars

Consumers are familiar with Audi’s Quattro and TDI technology, as these are already available with their current road cars. According to Audi, plans are already in place to implement the e-tron system into future models for the public. There’s been talk of replacing drive shafts with electric cables and transferring the ultra-low weight technology to road cars. This will pass on huge benefits to consumers by considerably lowering fuel consumption and cutting running costs by extending tyre-life, as less wear and tear will occur.

Ninth Win for Audi

It wasn’t an easy victory for Audi, as each of its entries had some sort of accident or technical difficulty. However, it has secured its place as the dominant team with a third consecutive win. In fact, this is the ninth time that Audi has won the 24 Hours of Le Mans since 2000.

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Hertz Offer Electric Car Hire in Oxford

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Jun 222012

Cheapest Electric Car in UK the 2-Seat Renault Twizy

Cheapest Electric Car in UK the 2-Seat Renault Twizy

Hire Electric Cars

The global car hire company Hertz has made a deal with Chargemaster plc, a UK manufacturer, for chargers of electric vehicles. The purpose of this deal is to create Hertz on Demand, a car sharing scheme in Oxford, UK, by which consumers will be able to hire electric cars.

Costs from £5 Per Hr

This scheme will enable people to rent eco-car sas and when they need them, with costs starting from £5 per hour. This will mean that consumers can reduce their carbon footprints without having to pay the mammoth costs that can be involved in buying an electric car outright.

Part Time Eco Car

Many road users want to be more environmentally friendly and would love to use electric or hybrid car but simply don’t have the capital to buy one. Some feel that an eco-car simply wouldn’t perform as well as one with a petrol or diesel engine, so therefore wouldn’t choose to drive one full-time.

Renault Fluenze ZE - Saloon Electric Car

Renault Fluenze ZE - Saloon Electric Car

Advertising Eco-Friendly Cars

The Hertz service could provide a solution to that problem. Drivers are more likely to choose an eco-friendly car if they are only using it for a short period of time. This will also work as an advertising tool for the manufacturers of these niche vehicles.

Insurance and Breakdown Too

The cars will be available for rent by the hour, day or week, and will include insurance, maintenance and breakdown recovery. Upon the launch of Hertz on Demand, 10 of the Nissan Leaf models will be available for use in many exposed areas of Oxford, including main city car parks and university campuses.

Nissan Leaf Electric Vehicle

Nissan Leaf Electric Vehicle

Electric Car Club

The scheme will also see the introduction of an electric car club, which will encourage the use of electric vehicles and make use of the Chargemaster plc’s POLAR charging network around Oxford. This network has 32 charging points around the city, with a further 28 soon to be installed. There are also designated parking bays for electric vehicles.

Stop Towards Sustainable Future

Oxford Cllr John Tanner expressed his excitement at the program launch, stating that it not only means a step forward for a sustainable future in alternative fuel, but also an opportunity for the local community, as many job openings are being created.

Another Electric Car Example the Volvo C30 EV

Another Electric Car Example the Volvo C30 EV

Hertz Always a Step Ahead

Hertz has always been a step ahead in the eco-car market, and was the first big hire car company to offer electric vehicles. It also boasts the biggest range of electric vehicles available for rent by any car rental company on the market. As well as creating and implementing Hertz on Demand, partnerships will be made with government bodies and industry innovators to nurture the infrastructure for electric vehicles in the area even further.

Book Via Text and Email

When consumers book a car with Hertz on Demand, they will receive a booking confirmation via both text and email. This will give full details of the booking, including the vehicles license plate number and which charging station it can be picked up from.

Swipe Your Card

Rather than having to pick up keys to unlock the car, consumers will just need to swipe their membership card using a reader on the car.

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