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Tesla says car fire began in battery after crash

October 3, 2013 12:04 pm | by Mike Baker and Tom Krisher, Associated Press | News | Comments

A fire that destroyed a Tesla electric car near Seattle began in the vehicle's battery pack, officials said Wednesday, creating challenges for firefighters who tried to put out the flames. The driver says he struck debris, smelled burning and the vehicle was disabled.  The liquid-cooled 85 kW-hr battery in the Tesla Model S is mounted below the passenger compartment floor and uses lithium-ion chemistry.

New steering tech for heavy equipment saves fuel, ups efficiency

September 24, 2013 7:42 am | News | Comments

Researchers at Purdue Univ. have shown how to reduce fuel consumption while improving the efficiency of hydraulic steering systems in heavy construction equipment. The new approach incorporates several innovations: It eliminates valves now needed to direct the flow of hydraulic fluid in steering systems and uses advanced algorithms and models to precisely control hydraulic pumps.

Fuel-efficient cars, planes cheaper with magnesium drawn from ocean

September 20, 2013 8:20 am | News | Comments

A lightweight metal that reduces fuel use in cars and planes could be extracted from the ocean through a unique process being developed at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. The process could ultimately make fuel-efficient transportation more affordable and expand the American magnesium market.

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How new diesel engines emit little nitrous oxide

September 11, 2013 7:27 am | News | Comments

The newest catalytic converters in diesel engines blast away a pollutant from combustion with the help of ammonia. Common in European cars, the engines exhaust harmless nitrogen and water. How they do this hasn't been entirely clear. Now, new research shows that the catalyst attacks its target pollutant in an unusual way, providing insight into how to make the best catalytic converters.

Refrigerated trucks to keep their cool thanks to fuel cell technology

August 23, 2013 12:59 pm | News | Comments

Grocery merchants in Texas, California and New York will soon have ice cream, frozen foods and fresh produce delivered by tractor trailers whose refrigeration units are powered by fuel cells. The fuel cells will do the work normally done by a small diesel engine, which keeps the cargo at the proper temperature while the trucks are making deliveries.

Musk's "Hyperloop" transport idea has sci-fi feel

August 14, 2013 11:45 am | by Justin Pritchard, Associated Press | News | Comments

Elon Musk says the transportation concept he unveiled on Monday could be a reality within a decade. Though busy with his various entrepreneurial endeavors, including Tesla Motors and SpaceX, Musk says he would return in a few year to pursue the hyperloop project, which would bring Los Angeles and San Francisco within a 30-minute commute and could cost $6 billion to construct.

Low-temperature combustion enables cleaner, more efficient engines

August 14, 2013 8:45 am | News | Comments

As demand climbs for more fuel-efficient vehicles, knowledge compiled over several years about diesel engines and a new strategy known as “low-temperature combustion” (LTC) might soon lead auto manufacturers and consumers to broader use of cleaner diesel engines in the U.S.

Ford to offer natural gas F-150 for 2014

July 31, 2013 12:02 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Ford soon will offer a natural gas version of its F-150 pickup truck, the most popular vehicle in America. The company is the first Detroit automaker with that option in a light-duty pickup truck. Ford, General Motors and Chrysler already have natural gas-powered heavy-duty trucks.

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Alternative-fuel cars are no carbon cure-all

June 12, 2013 8:31 am | News | Comments

Making cars more fuel-efficient is great for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but rather than promoting sales of electric and other alternative-fuel vehicles, policymakers should turn their focus to cutting emissions in other energy sectors—from oil wells and power plants to farms and forests affected by biofuels production—says a Univ. of Michigan researcher.

Sandia, SRI International sign pact to advance hydrogen gas research

May 30, 2013 7:50 am | News | Comments

Sandia National Laboratories and SRI International will join forces to explore, test and evaluate a broad range of hydrogen and natural gas fuel systems and components for transportation applications under a new agreement. The five-year memorandum of understanding is the first agreement in Sandia’s new Center for Infrastructure Research and Innovation, an alternative fuel research and innovation facility.

Oil drilling technology leaps, clean energy lags

May 2, 2013 1:52 pm | by JONATHAN FAHEY - AP Energy Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

Technology created an energy revolution over the past decade—just not the one we expected. By now, cars were supposed to be running on fuel made from plant waste or algae—or powered by hydrogen or cheap batteries that burned nothing at all. Electricity would be generated with solar panels and wind turbines. When the sun didn't shine or the wind didn't blow, power would flow out of batteries the size of tractor-trailers.

Study reveals potential for deep cuts to petroleum use, emissions

March 19, 2013 4:16 pm | News | Comments

The U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Argonne National Laboratory this week announced the release of the Transportation Energy Futures study, an assessment of avenues to reach deep cuts in petroleum use and greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector. The project suggests opportunities for 80% reductions by 2050

Obama wants research to wean vehicles off oil

March 15, 2013 6:01 am | by MATTHEW DALY - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

President Barack Obama is pushing Congress to authorize more federally funded research into clean energy technologies that can wean automobiles off oil. Obama proposed the idea of an energy security trust last month in his State of the Union address, but he was putting a price tag on the idea during a trip Friday to the Argonne National Laboratory outside Chicago—$2 billion over 10 years.

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Agreement will lead to grid-friendly electric vehicle charging

March 7, 2013 3:16 pm | News | Comments

A technology that will allow widespread adoption of plug-in electric vehicles without negatively impacting the electrical grid is the subject of a commercial license agreement between Battelle and AeroVironment, Inc., of Monrovia, Calif. The technology may also ultimately result in lower costs for plug-in electric vehicle owners.

Ford, Daimler, Nissan to research hydrogen cars

January 28, 2013 10:39 am | by TOM KRISHER - AP Auto Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

Ford is joining with Daimler and Renault-Nissan to speed development of cars that run on hydrogen, with hopes of bringing a vehicle to market in as little as four years. Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles generate electricity after a chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen. Hydrogen is stored in special high-pressure tanks, and the only emissions are water vapor and heat.

The “rebound” effect of energy-efficient cars overplayed

January 24, 2013 8:18 am | News | Comments

The argument that those who have fuel-efficient cars drive them more and hence use more energy is overplayed and inaccurate, a University of California, Davis economist and his co-authors say in a comment article published in Nature.

Photovoltaics beat biofuels at converting sun's energy to miles driven

January 17, 2013 10:51 am | News | Comments

University of California, Santa Barbara researchers debate which makes more sense, growing fuel crops to supply alternative-fuel vehicles with ethanol and other biofuels or using photovoltaics to directly power battery electric vehicles?

NREL launches interactive tool for developing a cleaner energy future

January 15, 2013 2:20 pm | News | Comments

The U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory has created an energy analysis tool to help individuals and educators experiment with future energy use scenarios. The interactive Buildings, Industry, Transportation, Electricity, and Transportation Scenarios (BITES) allows users to explore how changes in energy demand and supply can impact carbon dioxide emissions and the current U.S. energy trajectory.

Researchers seek longer battery life for electric locomotive

January 4, 2013 9:34 am | News | Comments

Norfolk Southern Railway No. 999 is the first all-electric, battery-powered locomotive in the United States. But when one of the thousand lead-acid batteries that power it dies, the locomotive shuts down. To combat this problem, a team of Penn State University researchers is developing more cost-effective ways to prolong battery life.

New factor could limit life of hybrid and electric car batteries

December 13, 2012 8:02 am | News | Comments

A new study of the batteries commonly used in hybrid and electric-only cars has revealed an unexpected factor that could limit the performance of batteries currently on the road. Researchers led by Ohio State University engineers examined used car batteries and discovered that over time lithium accumulates beyond the battery electrodes—in the "current collector," a sheet of copper which facilitates electron transfer between the electrodes and the car's electrical system.

A closer examination of electric vehicles and the power grid

December 12, 2012 3:32 pm | News | Comments

As plug-in electric vehicles become an ever-more central part of America's daily life, University of Notre Dame researchers are anticipating what that development will mean for the nation's power grid. Under funding from the National Science Foundation's Cyber-Physical Systems Program, a research group is attempting to develop mathematical algorithms to help guide the integration of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles into the power grid.

Fuel economy remains at record high, emissions at record low

December 7, 2012 9:29 am | News | Comments

Fuel economy of all new vehicles sold in the United States remains at its highest level ever, while emissions are at a record low, say researchers at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

Georgia Tech collaborates with GE, Ford on alternative fuel vehicle research

November 26, 2012 8:35 am | News | Comments

Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology are partnering with GE and Ford Motor Co. to study ways to add greater efficiencies to electric driving and charging performance.

Better fuel economy: Billions and billions saved

October 15, 2012 12:20 pm | News | Comments

As fuel economy of new vehicles improved 18% over the past five years, billions of gallons of gas and billions of pounds of emissions have been saved, say University of Michigan researchers. To reach these results, the researchers collected fuel data on 61 million new cars, pickup trucks, minivans, and SUVs sold in the U.S. since 2007.

Engineering students build U.K.'s first hydrogen-powered locomotive

August 22, 2012 5:06 am | News | Comments

Engineering students and staff at the University of Birmingham have designed and built a prototype hydrogen-powered locomotive, the first of its kind to operate in the U.K. The narrow gauge locomotive is a hybrid design, combining a hydrogen fuel cell and lead acid batteries similar to the ones used in cars.

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