Feeds

Motor titans crowd aboard 'green' bandwagon

Hot air now figuring prominently in debate

Build a business case: developing custom apps

The struggle among motor-industry biggies regarding who can seem the greenest (while simultaneously not actually doing very much about carbon emissions) continues. Toyota and GM are vying for supremacy in the plug-in hybrid stakes, Ferrari has dipped a toe in biofuel, and out of left field come French and Indian contenders with a car powered by compressed air.

As regular Reg readers will be aware, a hybrid car is one with both a conventional engine and a battery. Electric motor-generators permit the battery to drive the wheels, to charge itself up by braking, and to be charged by the ordinary engine while stationary or coasting. All this means that the petrol/diesel (or fuel-cell) engine can be smaller than would otherwise be required for decent performance, and can be run in a more fuel-efficient, less polluting manner.

The Chevrolet Volt

The Chevy Volt. Nuclear powered in France; runs on coal in America.

A plug-in hybrid is one in which the battery is large enough that it can drive the vehicle a useful distance without help from the engine; very few such cars are presently on the road. The plug-in, as its name implies, can thus take power from the electrical grid while stationary and use it for short trips. In the case of a short commute where the car could plug in at home and at work, it might not burn any fossil fuel at all on most days, emitting no carbon.

Toyota, maker of the famous Prius - the world's first mass-market hybrid - has previously pooh-poohed plug-in, saying that in the US (where grid electricity comes largely from burning coal) a plug-in car is effectively a very inefficient and dirty coal-powered one.

However, many green motorists aren't terribly concerned about ultimate sources of energy, and there has long been vocal lobbying for a plug-in Prius. Some green-tech fanciers - for instance Google - also contend that plugged-in car batteries could help the grid deal with demand surges, so preventing fossil fuel burn in standby generation plants.

Reports from the Detroit Motor Show indicate that the firm may be yielding to the pressure. Another factor in the firm's deliberations may be US motor behemoth GM, which has stated it will have its planned Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid on the market in 2010.

Electric-drive cars can deliver very nippy acceleration (though less so when they must haul a fossil engine about too). However, even battery supercars like the troubled Tesla Roadster don't offer the same kind of top speed as similarly-priced petrol machines. Roadster drivers, when they receive their beta-test cars, won't be able to keep up with a slightly cheaper Porsche 911 Carrera S.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
LOHAN packs bags for SPACEPORT AMERICA!
Spanish launch goes titsup, we're off to the US of A
Gigantic toothless 'DRAGONS' dominated Earth's early skies
Gummy pterosaurs outlived toothy competitors
'Leccy racer whacks petrols in Oz race
ELMOFO rakes in two wins in sanctioned race
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
Astronomers scramble for obs on new comet
Amateur gets fifth confirmed discovery
Boffins build CYBORG-MOTHRA but not for evil: For search & rescue
This tiny bio-bot will chew through your clothes then save your life
Vulture 2 takes a battering in 100km/h test run
Still in one piece, but we're going to need MORE POWER
What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this
Sorry, Harvard, did you say kilobots or KILLER BOTS?
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.