What are Honda's priorities?

Posted on 17 May 2006 | 0 Comments

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Honda chairman’s mid-year speech outlines plans for R&D and global manufacturing expansion and first-ever OEM C02 reduction target 17th May 2006 Honda chairman’s mid-year speech outlines plans for R&D and global manufacturing expansion and first-ever OEM C02 reduction target
Honda Motor Co., Ltd. has just announced specific plans in three areas to accelerate its efforts to achieve further growth: 1. Establishing advanced manufacturing systems and capabilities 2. Strengthening the foundation for overseas growth with new overseas plants 3. Strengthening the commitment to reduce Honda’s environmental footprint We report the plans at some length as some of the most ambitious global expansion, technology investment and environmental management plans ever announced by a vehicle manufacturer.
To read more about Honda's plans in the areas of product strategy, hybrid roadmap and manufacturing plans, click here.

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Ford targets emerging markets, considers new hybrid

Posted on 11 May 2006 | 0 Comments

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Ford targets emerging markets, considers new hybrid
WILMINGTON, Delaware (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co.(F.N: Quote, Profile, Research) Chief Executive Bill Ford Jr. said on Thursday that the automaker is targeting fast-growing markets in Asia and Eastern Europe to boost global sales and profits. He also said Ford was considering the launch of a plug-in hybrid vehicle for its future product line-up. Ford's operations in emerging markets such as Turkey, Russia, India and China are "a critical source of future growth and profits and we are pursuing them aggressively," Bill Ford said at the company's annual meeting.
The full article is here.

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Enhanced Fuel Economy Tops List of Automotive Technologies European Vehicle Owners Say They are Likely to Purchase

Posted on 9 May 2006 | 0 Comments

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Harris Interactive Reports: Enhanced Fuel Economy Tops List of Automotive Technologies European Vehicle Owners Say They are Likely to Purchase for Their Next New Vehicle New Harris Interactive AutoTECHCAST Europe study gauges consumer attitudes in the five largest European countries toward 61 advanced automotive technologies
Overall, the European market appears much less interested in hybrid technology versus what we see in the United States, especially when considering the cost that it adds to a vehicle," says Bryan Krulikowski, Senior Director of Automotive and Transportation Research at Harris Interactive. "European consumers already enjoy access to fuel-efficient diesel-powered vehicles and are looking beyond hybrid technology." In fact, European respondents are significantly more likely to say they will purchase a fuel cell vehicle (28% say they are very/extremely likely) than a hybrid (20%). Italians show the greatest purchase consideration for this technology as almost half (48%) say they are very or extremely likely to next purchase a fuel cell vehicle. The key factor, however, is affordability. While purchase consideration for fuel-efficient technologies is high among Europeans in the five major markets, the additional cost they place on a vehicle makes them less attractive. Purchase consideration for both enhanced fuel economy and fuel cell vehicles declines significantly once respondents are made aware of their estimated market prices, an additional euro 950 (650 pounds Sterling) and euro 5,800 (4,000 pounds), respectively. "While consumers indicate they are not willing to pay for this technology at today's estimated prices, their initial high level of interest suggests that these technologies will gain consideration as they become more affordable," continues Krulikowski.
To read the full press release, click here.

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Scuderi Group opens european office; to unveil design of Air-Hybrid Engine at Germany's Engine Expo 2006

Posted on 4 May 2006 | 0 Comments

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Scuderi Group to Unveil Design of New Air-Hybrid Engine To European Auto Industry at Engine Expo 2006 Hires longtime auto industry finance executive to oversee European operations
WEST SPRINGFIELD, MA - May 3, 2006: The Scuderi Group, the engine development company that has designed a breakthrough Air-Hybrid Engine, announced today that it has expanded operations into the European marketplace. The company also announced that they have hired longtime auto industry finance executive Lutz Deyerling to oversee European operations. Developed by a team of fluid and thermodynamic experts, the Scuderi Air-Hybrid Engine is expected to deliver a quantum leap in performance, efficiency and environmental impact over today's internal combustion engines. The Scuderi Group accomplished these advances by focusing on the heart of the engine, challenging conventional approaches to engine design in place for over 120 years. Backed by the U.S. government, verified by a world renowned independent laboratory and protected by multiple worldwide patents, the Scuderi Air-Hybrid Engine is adaptable to diesel and gasoline automobiles, commercial vehicles and any other applications powered by internal combustion engines. The Scuderi Group will debut designs of its breakthrough air-hybrid technology, the world's most fuel efficient internal combustion engine, to the European auto industry next week at the Engine Expo 2006 in Stuttgart, Germany (Booth 6200.) Deyerling has deep roots in the European automotive industry, having worked in senior finance positions in the auto industry practice groups at Ernst &Young Corporate Finance GmbH, Bankgesellschaft Berlin and Deutsche Bank. Deyerling will assist The Scuderi Group in fundraising and licensing activities within the European automobile marketplace. "Since we unveiled the breakthrough design of the Scuderi Air-Hybrid Engine at the Society of Automotive Engineers 2006 World Congress, we have seen an explosion of interest from all over the world," said Sal Scuderi, president of The Scuderi Group. "Gas-electric hybrids have a number of promising aspects, but they still have some troubling issues, such as complexity, weight and cost. This has automakers continually looking for the next evolution in hybrid technology. We are excited that Lutz has joined our organization, and we look forward to working with him to introduce The Scuderi Group and our Air-Hybrid engine technology to the European investment and automotive communities." "What drew me to The Scuderi Group was the way they have gone about developing the engine. All of the funds have been raised through private investment, leaving The Scuderi Group in control of its own destiny," said Lutz Deyerling. "The development of the engine technology has been done in conjunction with a world-renown testing facility utilizing the most sophisticated computer modeling available today. When you combine these factors with their extensive global patent portfolio, the company is in a tremendous position to market its technology to automakers anywhere in the world."
To read the full press release, click here.

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How far can you drive on a bushel of corn?

Posted on 3 May 2006 | 0 Comments

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Popular Mechanics has a very long, detailed look at alternativbe fuels in the current issue. How far can you drive on a bushel of corn? Crunching the numbers on alternative fuels.
For this special report, PM crunched the numbers on the actual costs and performance of each major alternative fuel. Before we can debate national energy policy--or even decide which petroleum substitutes might make sense for our personal vehicles--we need to know how these things stack up in the real world.
To read the entire article, click here. To hear from the author of this article, check out Glenn & Helen Reynolds Podcast interview with Jim Meigs, Popular Mechanics Editor-in-Chief.

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Business Week Puts Brakes on Ethanol Hype

Posted on 1 May 2006 | 0 Comments

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Ed Wallace has a contributed article in Business Week strongly questioning Ethanol: A Tragedy in 3 Acts
Amid the current panic about gas prices many people are embracing ethanol. But that's not such a good idea
To find out why, click here.

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The true cost of gas-electric hybrids?

Posted on 28 April 2006 | 0 Comments

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Kiplinger's has an interesting analysis of the true cost of driving a gas-electric hybrid. What driving a hybrid will really cost you Rising fuel prices and tax breaks ease the price of driving green. Here's what it'll cost to own any of the seven best new hybrids vs. their gas-engine counterparts.
All hybrids cost more to buy than their gasoline-engine counterparts -- usually at least $5,000 more. But that doesn't mean all hybrids cost more over the long run. One way to see whether a hybrid pays for itself is to focus less on the initial price premium and more on the five-year ownership costs. Our summaries below make it easy to compare costs. Savings at the pump aren't likely to pay you back for the extra initial outlay, but when you combine those savings with the federal tax credit (read "Save thousands on a hybrid -- if you hurry") available for purchases after Jan. 1, 2006, the numbers look friendlier.
To read the results for the seven most popular gas-electric hybrids, click here.

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Collaboration Among Foreign and Domestic Automakers Leads to New Hybrid Technology

Posted on 27 April 2006 | 0 Comments

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A very interesting article over at AutoChannel about the collaboartion on hybrid technology between US and foriegn automakers. GM, DaimlerChrysler, BMW Premiere Unprecedented Hybrid Technology
General Motors, DaimlerChrysler and the BMW Group have formed a cooperative effort called the Global Hybrid Cooperation, which is actively developing this next generation hybrid powertrain system. In an alliance of equals, all three partners are pooling expertise and resources to jointly and efficiently develop hybrid technology. Each company will individually integrate the full hybrid system into the design and manufacturing of vehicles in accordance with their brand specific requirements. In Troy, Michigan, the “GM, DaimlerChrysler and BMW Hybrid Development Center” houses together engineers and specialists from all three companies to develop the complete hybrid system and the individual components -- electric motors, high-performance electronics, wiring, energy management, and hybrid system control units. In addition, the “GM, DaimlerChrysler and BMW Hybrid Development Center” will be responsible for system integration and project management. A key factor in ensuring optimum development is the focus on a flexible system design that can be scaled to the size, mass and performance needs of the various vehicle concepts and brands. The extensive sharing of components and the collaborative relationship with suppliers will enable the alliance partners to achieve economies of scale and associated cost advantages that will also benefit customers. Currently full hybrid systems are under development for front- and rear-wheel-drive passenger cars, and light-duty truck and SUV applications.
To read the full article, click here.

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Nissan won't rely on Toyota's hybrid technology for long

Posted on 26 April 2006 | 0 Comments

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Nissan won't rely on Toyota's hybrid technology for long, Ghosn says
Nissan will have capacity to build 50,000 hybrid Altimas a year but has indicated it does not expect to sell that many. Although the Toyota Prius and the Honda Civic Hybrid have sold well, Toyota and Honda Motor Co. have scaled back their hybrid production plans. Ford Motor Co. is offering 0 percent financing on its hybrid Ford Escape SUV. "You have to be prudent when all competitors are cutting production or offering incentives" on their hybrid vehicles, Ghosn said. "Developing a technology and mass-marketing a technology is something very different," said Ghosn, who has criticized hybrids because they are sold at a loss.
The full story is here.

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A message from Sal Scuderi, president of The Scuderi Group

Posted on 26 April 2006 | 0 Comments

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(Ed. Note: this is taken from a response Sal developed to some earlier questions about the Scuderi engine, we thought it would be helpful to re-post here) Good Morning, As president of the Scuderi Group and one of the inventors of the engine, I thought it might be helpful to try to clear up some of the basic misconceptions about the engine. The Scuderi Engine does take advantage of the Miller Effect but not in the method used by conventional engines. The Miller Effect in the Scuderi Engine is achieved by having a longer stroke on the power cylinder versus the compression cylinder - not by leaving the intake valve open and supercharging the intake. However, this is only one feature of the Scuderi Engine that helps to improve efficiency. From a thermodynamic perspective the objective for increasing engine efficiency is to somehow increase the area under the pressure volume (PV) curve of the Otto Cycle. In the Scuderi Engine, the PV diagram is really two separate curves - one for compression and one for combustion. It is the difference in the areas under the curves that determines the efficiency of the engine. There have been split-cycle engines in the past. However, they have never functioned as well as conventional Otto cycle engines for two main reasons. First, their volumetric efficiency (how well air is pumped through the engine) was never as good as a conventional design. This caused the split-cycle engines to be larger, resulting in a lower power density and greater frictional losses especially on part load. Second, compressing the gas in the compression cylinder and again in the power cylinder (because they fired before top dead center) was doing work on the gas twice. Consequently, they were never as efficient as a conventional engine. However, if you could solve these problems, the advantage of the split configuration is that it really is two systems in one - a compressor and an engine. This gives you a great deal of design flexibility. The Scuderi Engine solves both problems by using some unique valve designs and by firing after top dead center (ATC). It was the firing ATC that was really the major hurtle that had to be overcome. Normally firing ATC is considered bad practice in engine design; it causes reductions in both power and efficiency. In the Scuderi Engine, the combustion process begins with high-pressure air entering the power cylinder from the crossover passage. Massive turbulence is generated in the cylinder causing very rapid atomization of the fuel-air mixture. The result is a flame speed, or rate of combustion, that is twice as fast as anything previously obtainable. Because of the rapid rate of combustion, high pressures on the power piston are achieved even though the piston is pulling away from the firing point. The effect is a split configuration with actually higher efficiency and more power density than a conventional engine. (The firing point for the Scuderi Engine is between 10 and 15 degrees ATC.) An interesting phenomenon that resulted from firing after top dead center was reduced peak temperatures. Our power cylinder does have higher average temperatures than a conventional system; however, its peak temperatures are considerably lower. It is the peak temperatures of combustion that generate the NOx emissions. Because Scuderi Engine’s peak temperatures are significantly lower, the amount of NOx produced is up to 80% less than a conventional engine. Because of its design flexibility, the Scuderi Engine makes it possible to enhance efficiency and performance in ways that are difficult, if not impossible, in a conventional design. The Miller Effect, for example, can easily be achieved by increasing the length of the power cylinder. Simply increasing the diameter of the compression cylinder can supercharge the engine without any added equipment or complexity. (A four-cylinder engine could give you the power of a six-cylinder engine but have approximately the size, weight and cost of a four cylinder.) However, one of the most amazing features of the Scuderi Engine is that it really is two systems in one - an air compressor on one side and a combustion engine on the other. By having fuel only enter the engine at the power cylinder through direct cylinder injection, the compression cylinder is pumping only air. This makes the Scuderi Engine the ideal engine for an air-hybrid system. This feature of the engine has only recently been patented and is expected to have a huge impact on the market. By simply adding a storage tank and some controls, the engine would have the ability to store energy normally lost during braking. (Similar to the current electric hybrids) The big difference is that the Scuderi Air-Hybrid only requires one system, not two. Since the Scuderi Engine already uses compressed air in its combustion process, it can utilize the energy stored in the tank without modifying how it operates. The gains in efficiency come from eliminating the need for a compression cycle. When the engine is operating out of the storage tank that has been pressurized from the braking of the vehicle, the efficiency of the engine can potentially run over 80%. Gains in mileage are much better than an electric hybrid and there is no compromise to power and performance. However, the biggest benefit however is the cost. To convert the Scuderi Engine to an air-hybrid, the cost is a few hundred dollars unlike an electric hybrid that adds thousands of dollars to the cost of the vehicle. A ready supply of compressed air has additional benefits. Engine accessories and components can now easily be pneumatic - camless valve design for example. As long as the engine is running, there is a source of compressed air. External accessories can be operated such as air tools or other devices. This has major significance, especially in military applications. These are only some of the features of the Scuderi Engine. Two proof-of-concept prototypes are currently being developed at a world-renowned testing and research facility. We expect the first to be finished by mid-2007. I hope I was able to clarify some of the basics of the engine. Best regards, Sal Scuderi, President The Scuderi Group

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