Sunday, June 10, 2012

A Closer Look at the Toyota Prius C

Toyota's Prius is a hybrid electric vehicle, the best-known name and best-selling vehicle in this category. For more than a decade the Prius has soldiered on, delivering exceptional fuel efficiency for a good price. Beginning in 2011, Toyota started to expand the Prius' line, by bringing to the market more models including a wagon, a plug-in electric model and now a subcompact Prius. That subcompact is called the Prius c, with the "c" standing for city. Prices start under $19,000, making this vehicle one of the most affordable hybrid vehicles on the market.

Engine and Transmission

The Toyota Prius c is powered by a 1.5-liter four cylinder engine. This 16-valve all-aluminum motor comes with variable valve timing and produces 73 horsepower at 4,800 rpm and 82 foot-pounds of torque at 4,000 rpm. With its hybrid system this vehicle produces 99 horsepower.

Toyota pairs the Prius c engine with a continuously variable transmission. This engine has a high 13.4 to 1 compression ratio and measures 2.95 inches bore by 3.33 inches stroke.

Fuel Economy

One of the largest appeals for Prius c shoppers is its excellent fuel efficiency. Around town this vehicle gets 53 mpg. On the highway it returns 46 mpg. Combined, the Prius c gets 50 mpg. With its 9.5-gallon fuel tank the Prius c has a cruising range of approximately 475 miles. This model derives its energy from gasoline and its battery pack. When fueled, this subcompact model takes regular grade gasoline.

Prius c Dimensions

The Prius c weighs just 2,500 pounds and seats five people. Its weight is all the more remarkable given that it also houses a nickel-metal hydride battery pack. This vehicle has 87.4 cubic feet of passenger volume and 17.1 cubic feet of cargo volume.

Sitting on a 100.4-inch wheelbase, the Prius c is 157.3 inches long, 66.7 inches wide and 56.9 inches tall. This model has 38.6 inches of front head room and 37.0 inches of rear head room. Shoulder room measures 52.3 inches in the front and 51.7 inches in the rear. Hip room comes in at 51.0 inches up front and 50.8 inches in the rear. Leg room measures 41.7 inches up front and 35.0 inches in the back seat.

Model Notables

Available in four trim levels, the Prius c offers many features standard. This model includes projector-beam halogen headlamps, color-keyed side mirrors with turn signal indicators, intermittent wipers and a spoiler. Inside, this model offers automatic climate control, an AM/FM CD player with MP3 playback capability, a telescoping steering wheel, power windows, a 12-volt auxiliary power outlet, map lamps and a rear cargo area lamp.

Available options or upgrades include a navigation system, cruise control, Bluetooth connectivity, a power moonroof and power side mirrors. Various tire and wheel upgrades are also available.

The Prius C comes with nine airbags and is equipped with traction control, stability control, an anti-lock brake system, electronic brake-force distribution, brake assist and smart stop technology. This vehicle includes a tire pressure monitoring system, child-protector rear door locks and daytime running lights.

Matthew C. Keegan is a freelance automotive writer. Matt is also a contributing writer for Andy's Auto Sport and affiliated websites, an aftermarket supplier of quality auto parts including Corbeau Seats and Tokico Shocks.

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Saturday, June 9, 2012

Mitsubishi Mirage Offers Minicar Goodness

Automotive fans may recognize the Mitsubishi Mirage name, once ascribed to a compact car sold by this small, Japanese automotive manufacturer. We haven't seen the Mirage name in more than a decade, but Mitsubishi has dusted off the name and is using it for a new minicar that was launched in Thailand this spring. Although Mitsubishi says that the car will be sold in Canada, its plans for the U.S. market are not quite clear. We think the Mirage will eventually be sold stateside -- please read on for more information about this A-segment entry.

Minicar Competitor

What makes the Mirage a possible player in the small car segment? Firstly, that would be its size. This vehicle is just 146.1 inches long and 65.6 inches wide or a foot shorter than cars like the subcompact Ford Fiesta.

Secondly, cars in this class routinely sell for under $15,000, an affordable price point for most new car buyers. Car prices have been climbing steadily with the average price of a new car now approaching $30,000. With the low price tag, consumers don't have to choose between buying a late model used car and a new car. The Mirage brings affordability to many consumers including first-time car buyers. And with a new car warranty in play, buying new makes much more sense than buying used.

Mitsubishi is outfitting the Mirage with a pair of three-cylinder engines, displacing at 1.0- and 1.2-liters. The larger three will likely be sold in Canada and thus in the United States. This engine is paired with a continuously variable transmission. Expect that this model will sip gas and deliver fuel economy well above 40 mpg.

Body Style

The all-new Mitsubishi Mirage has four doors and a liftback. This car would compete in the relatively new A-segment, minicars that include the Smart Fortwo, Fiat 500, Scion iQ and the Chevrolet Spark. Sales in this segment are limited at this time, thus the hesitancy for Mitsubishi to introduce the Mirage to the U.S. market.

Automotive manufacturers are testing the market to see what cars will sell in what volumes. Perhaps the most important challenge to Mitsubishi as the company considers the Mirage is whether it can turn a profit. Another concern is promotion as the company is investing millions promoting other products including its Outlander SUV. Still, a Mitsubishi Mirage that is priced right and loaded with amenities such as air-conditioning, power windows, an audio system and telematics might appeal to a segment of the car-buying populace. That segment also includes city drivers, people that are likely to appreciate this car's small footprint that is just right for fitting into tight parking spaces.

Matthew C. Keegan is a freelance automotive writer. Matt is also a contributing writer for Andy's Auto Sport and affiliated websites, an aftermarket supplier of quality auto parts including K & N Intake and Corsa Exhaust.

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Friday, June 8, 2012

Wireless Electric Car Charging Takes Off in London

In 2012, the matter of wireless charging of electric cars became a major talking point as technology companies took major steps to make it popular

Qualcomm and Charge master

Qualcomm, a mobile technology market leader has united with the London Mayor and UK government. They plan to release a set of wireless electric charging stations for trails in London. There will be 50 different variants of electric cars being used including some Addison Lee taxis. Qualcomm's wireless electric vehicle charging technology is also known as Inductive Power Transfer (IPT). Electric charging kits will be provided by Chargemaster, which will be installed around London.

A major benefit of wireless charging stations is the convenience factor. No longer will electric car drivers have to step out and connect wires to their cars. The technology clearly indicates a step forward within the electric car industry. Such innovation is sure to be heavily relied upon in the future, as electric cars become cheaper and cheaper as they more are purchased. In essence wireless charging stations will add more flexibility to owners. It may also lower car insurance premiums too, adding more security to the way electric vehicles are actually charged.

They are expected to into force in the near future according to both Chargemaster and Qualcomm. First the trails must prove to be successful. One potential hindrance of the technology is the length of time in which a battery needs to fully charge. Some sources believe that the charging points could take up to four hours to give enough power for a whole battery. Will people have enough time to wait around for four hours?

The trails will be costly and will involve the analysis of many factors in order to determine whether it is a success or not. Trails are not expected to be a direct hit or miss in many respects. Depending on how the technology is used, developers could redesign certain aspects or create new elements that add to the technology. Chargemaster have confirmed already that the important aspects of the technology are already in place.

If the trails were indeed a success, this would mean that many public charging points around the UK would have to be rebuilt in order to adapt. Current electric cars will also not be able to simply roll on and utilise the technology instantly but none of them possess the technology to adapt to the system yet. This is where car manufacturers themselves would need to invest and ensure that their vehicles are able to adapt to the charging stations. Their vehicles would somehow need to have the ability to be charged wirelessly.

It is unclear as to when the trails will begin and end as of yet. When they do commence there will be plenty of interest from the public. It may even entice motorists to purchase an electric car.

How it all works

Qualcomm's IPT system works in a complex way. A transmitter pad connects to the vehicle's electric battery via the receiver pad. The receiver and transmission pad must be 400mm apart. The transmitter is conveniently installed within the ground with the receiver pad installed into the base of the car, ensuring a connection can easily be established. This allows the driver to simply drive over the transmission pad in order for the electric battery charging to safely commence.

The system sounds complicated but is in actual fact very easy to use. Even the most non-technical users will have no trouble charging their car using this method.

Oliver Richmond is founder of Servicing Stop.Servicing Stop is one of leading BMW Service website in the UK.

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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Fuel Efficient Cars

ByVince Sandri

It seems like every time we fill up at a gas station, the price of gas has jumped ten cents since the last fill up. It has become clear that gas prices will only rise which is why now more than ever, fuel efficiency has become a desirable trait in vehicles. While hybrids and electric cars have the best fuel efficiency, hybrids are more expensive and electric cars have distance limitations and need chargers. There are a handful of cars that run on gas only and achieve 40 miles per gallon or higher for under $20,000. Here are some of those vehicles.

The 2012 Chevy Cruze Eco tops the list with a fuel economy of 28 MPG city and 42 highway miles with a six-speed manual transmission. The Cruze Eco has a 1.4L, turbocharged Ecotec engine with 138 horsepower. The Cruze Eco also has the option of a six-speed, automatic transmission that has a fuel economy of 26 city and 37 highway MPG. Even though the Cruze Eco is considered a compact car, it has the spaciousness and features of a midsized sedan with ten standard airbags for added safety.

The Cruze Eco is not the only Chevrolet to achieve excellent fuel efficiency. The 2012 Chevy Sonic Eco has a fuel economy of 40 highway MPG. The Sonic Eco is Chevy's replacement for the Aveo and the only small car built in America. It is available as a sedan or five-door hatchback. The Sonic comes with a 1.4L, turbocharged engine that delivers 138 horsepower while achieving 40 MPG on the highway. The Sonic comes standard with ten airbags as well and has more cargo space than the Ford Fiesta.

The Ford Fiesta is Ford's competitor to the Chevy Sonic. The 2012 Ford Fiesta can achieve a fuel economy of 29 city and 40 highway MPG. The design of the Fiesta is based off of popular European designs and comes as a sedan or hatchback. The 1.6L four-cylinder engine gives the Fiesta 120 horsepower. The Ford Fiesta comes standard with seven airbags and traction and stability control as well as an SFE package that includes accessories like a rear spoiler, underbody shields, lower grille blockers, and low-rolling resistance tires for higher fuel efficiency.

The Honda Civic is annually a top fuel efficient pick and the 2012 Honda Civic is no exception. The 2012 Honda Civic has been redesigned for a more spacious interior with an improved engine. Civics are available in coupe or sedan styles with gas or hybrid powered engines. Gasoline powered Civics feature a 1.8L, four-cylinder engine that gets 140 horsepower and 29 city and 41 highway MPG when combined with a five-speed automatic transmission. The 2012 Honda Civics also have improved aerodynamics and reduced rolling resistance to maximize fuel efficiency.

So while there seems to be no relief in sight for gas prices, cars are becoming increasingly more fuel efficient. The most fuel efficient gas powered cars are also quite affordable ranging from 12 to 20,000 dollars. Switching to a more fuel efficient car is the best way to decrease fuel costs and protect yourself from rising gas prices.

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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Alternative Fuels: Basics of Natural Gas (CNG) Car Conversions and Kits

The price of crude oil is getting higher and higher. This has a direct impact on our economy because higher oil prices mean costlier gasoline. For most Americans and their families, car fuel is one of the biggest expenses the pay and it can easily reach over $400 per month. Sure there are opportunities for mass transit, expensive new hybrids, and other alternative fuel vehicles. However, most of these are not practical for the vast majority of Americans. Most people just need the ability to control or reduce their transportation costs.

The US has been using Compressed Natural Gas aka "CNG" ("methane") in homes for decades. It burns very clean, is relatively inexpensive, and we source this fuel domestically in the USA. In fact, most countries in Europe and Asia have also been using CNG as an alternative fuel for vehicles for many years. Other countries use CNG "bi-fuel" engines (runs on either CNG or gasoline) in their cars and trucks. The US is now facing increased gasoline prices and drivers are searching for ways to avoid traditional fossil fuels. To make CNG even more attractive, natural gas prices are near record lows! Gasoline prices are over $4.00 per gallon and CNG less than half that price in most areas. The typical middle class driver can't afford to just sell his/her car and then buy a brand new NGV (natural gas vehicle) for $30,000 (not to mention the vehicle is probably a compact!). This is where the CNG car conversion kit becomes of interest.

CNG car conversion kits have been around for decades and the technology is very reliable. There are two main types of systems: 1) Sequential electronic fuel injection kit- usually the most efficient and technologically sound for OBDII vehicles (1996 and later car models), and 2) The "venturi" or "mixer" system which is cheaper, does not use a computer, and bypasses the injectors. There are also four basic components of the CNG car conversion kit:

1. The CNG cylinder (high pressure tank)

2. Regulator (reduces from high pressure to low pressure)

3. ECU (electronic control unit)

4. Injectors (for sequential fuel injection OBDII kits) or the mixer (for "venturi" or carburetor kits)

The CNG cylinder is typically the single most expensive component of the conversion system, and they are classified as type 1 through 4. Type 1 cylinders are made of heavy steel, and are the most common... mainly because they are most affordable. Type 2, 3, and 4 are composed of steel and/or carbon fiber. Typically, the higher the type, the lighter the weight and the more expensive the cylinder will be. A brand new type 1 CNG cylinder can reach as much as $1500 depending on the volume, while type 4 cylinders can be four or five times as much.

The regulator will bring the 3600 PSI high pressure gas down to a level your engine can utilize. Injectors will then spray the appropriate amount of CNG inside the manifold of your engine for ignition. This process is all controlled by the computer, or "ECU". The ECU will make sure CNG levels are accurate and safe for your engine. Too much CNG can burn your valves since CNG burns at about 120-130 octane. The ECU is connected to your vehicle's OBDII computer and calibrated by software (which will come with a good CNG conversion kit). Bi-fuel CNG conversion kits like this will allow the driver to operate on gasoline or CNG. The kit will have a small switch to install on your dash which will allow the driver to change fuel types even while the engine is running. Your original gasoline fuel system is not damaged in any way (if installed correctly). A benefit of bi-fuel CNG conversion kits is they allow the driver to utilize CNG while commuting or driving around town and CNG pumps are usually more convenient, but they also allow the driver to use traditional gasoline on longer road trips where CNG may not be available. The CNG infrastructure is growing each day, so if CNG is not convenient for you then it soon should be!

CNG conversion systems can cost anywhere from $1,000 up to several thousand dollars for newer EPA certified kits. This price does NOT include the cost of the cylinder. In a state like California, the CARB won't let you legally install anything but an expensive EPA certified kit. Further, you can only install the kits on certain vehicle and engine types.

A CNG conversion kit can be installed within four to eight hours on most vehicles. You should try to find a mechanic with CNG experience or at least use an ASE certified mechanic.

Not all CNG conversion kits are equal. Please be aware of exactly what your are buying. Also, your local government rules and regulations can be very confusing and maybe even restrictive to certain CNG components.

Brent Skipper


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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

AC Motors for Electric Cars

ByGil Norman

Electric cars have been around for a very long time now but the idea of driving one has never really caught on with the public until recently. The difference between an electric car motor and a hybrid is that electric cars are powered exclusively by electricity. Unlike a hybrid that uses a battery and motor to improve efficiency of its gasoline-fueled motor.

Batteries have improved over the years. The storage and cost of production of the batteries needed to power electric cars have always greatly changed. They are now more efficient, less expensive, and perform much longer than the outdated batteries of yesterday.

As you may be well aware, the motor is the heart of any vehicle. It is often the motor that is defining and sometimes limiting its performance. Electric cars can use either an AC or DC motor. Majority of the DC motors used in electric cars come from the electric forklift industry and may run from 96 to 192 volts.

If the electric vehicle is powered by an AC motor then the probability of it running 3 phase AC motor at 240 volts is high. It might also have its own 300 volt battery pack. DC motors are no doubt simpler and less expensive compared to its AC electric car motor counterpart. A typical DC motor will be around in the 20,000 watt - 30,000 watt range while a typical controller will be in the 40,000-watt to 60,000-watt range (for example, a 96-volt controller will deliver a maximum of 400 or 600 amps). The nice thing about DC motors is that you can overdrive them.

Now let us compare that to the AC electric car motor. An AC motor selection or AC controllers may require a matching motor and most of the AC motors that are being marketed for electronic vehicles may come with a controller. The controllers that come with it may often include a built-in charger and DC-DC converter.

The power AC inverter is the main part of the electrical system of the AC EV motor car, and its role is simple. It should effortlessly convert the battery energy to the form that is deemed usable for the AC motor, and to deliver the right amount of this energy per driver's demand.

AC installations allow you to use almost any kind of industrial three-phase AC motor. This is an advantage for you because that can mean that finding a motor with a specific size, power rating, and shape is so much easier to do. Another advantage of AC motors in electric cars is that most of them have a regen feature built into them. What that means is that when you hit the breaks or during breaking the AC EV motor in your vehicle turns into a generator and delivers power back into your batteries.

Other advantages when using or choosing the AC electric car motor are; electronic reverse, ability to adapt exact characteristics of the motor which also includes the throttle and brake potentiometers parameters, battery, and other hardware parameters via software, integrated components (main contactors and DC-DC converter), lack of brushes, high top RPM limit (about 10,000 for this motor), water cooling and high reliability.

more info about electric motors for cars including AC motors can be found in this website

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Monday, June 4, 2012

10 Good Reasons For Using Hydrogen For Cars

With today's fuel prices increasing at a fast rate and global warming a worldwide threat, many people are looking for ways to use less fuel. Hydrogen for cars is one way to reduce your fuel cost with hundreds of dollars every month, increase the engine's horsepower and torque, make your car's engine live longer with less costs. This fuel saver is also known as hydrogen Booster, hydrogen injection or even hydrogen additive technology, no matter what you call it, they all work very similar and is becoming very popular. Hydrogen for cars booster is a system that helps turn water into hydrogen to operate your car. This Hydrogen for cars is good news for many reasons.

Here are 10 reasons why Hydrogen for cars is good

It Helps save money on fuel and helps your gasoline burn more efficiently and increases your vehicle's gas mileage between 25% and 50%.
Increases engine performance and decrease emissions at the same time.
Helps improve efficiency of the fuel combustion, whether it be diesel or gasoline.
Works for cars, motorcycles, trucks-rigs and even motor-homes whether old or new.
It will help eliminate carbon deposits caused by unburned gasoline.
The Hydrogen for cars (HHO gas) changes the combustion cycle and makes it more even. It makes the engine more quiet and calm.
Hydrogen for cars will make your car a water hybrid and will save you on fuel cost.
Uses little electricity from your car battery to cause water to turn into HHO gas. This is two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen also known as Brown Gas. It burns smoothly and releases a lot of energy. The result of this process is Water.
A small container filled with water is placed in the car, under the hood. The device is supplied with electricity (12 volts) from the battery and via electrolysis it produces HHO gas. The Hydrogen for cars is supplied to the engine via intake manifold or carb. The gas then helps your gasoline burn more efficiently. That added combustion of the hydrogen gives you more power, and ultimately requires less gasoline to run your engine, resulting, in better gas mileage.
It is very safe because the compustible gas is extracted on demand and burned steadily from the water.It is easy to set up and operate. It can be easily produced using a homemade generator with water and will increase your gas mileage.

Did you know that the HHO known as Browns Gas was discovered by William A. Rhodes in 1961 and patent in 1962. This means that it has been around for 50 decade. So why the big secret? If hydrogen for cars reduces your fuel cost with hundreds of dollars every month, increase the engine's horsepower and torque, make your car's engine live longer with less costs why not let everyone in on the good news. Simply put there are Big oil companies that don't want you to know that Hydrogen fuel is cheaper, safer and more powerful than any other existing fuel today.

Hopefully you know a little bit more about what hydrogen for cars is and how it works. What it is useful for and how it can help you.

If you want more information and are looking to build your own hydrogen for cars (HHO Booster) then check out this site:

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