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The Sounds of Electric Vehicles

For some, electric vehicles are too quiet, and consideration is already being given to requiring EVs to be more audible. Eventually, the outcome from the 50mg viagra uk Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2010 is likely to require that electric vehicles make some sound, at least at low speeds, to help provide an auditory signal to pedestrians, cyclists, and others in order to improve safety. Even sighted people rely on audible cues to know that a vehicle is online cheap viagra buy nearby.

In my recent test drive of the forthcoming Volkswagen E-Golf, I immediately noticed that this car makes noise. The purr made by the E-Golf is a variable tone (that sounds like a "young Wookiee" according to Autoblog Green). It is characteristic and wholesale viagra cheap from america distinctive, and seems to order propica relate to engines and motors while not being a usual engine sound.

I had this car roll up behind me as another test driver came back from their loop in the car, and I would likely not have been aware of the car's presence without the sound. In general, I think it is effective, and not annoying or intrusive. It communicates its presence and it changes with the speed of the vehicle, which is something that happens naturally with a conventional engine, as well.

But, when driving this car, I found my perception of the sound was as something external, rather than part of viagra alternative natural the car I was driving. At one point, as I was about to pull out onto the road, I heard the cialis order sound increase, and I momentarily hesitated, because the sound seemed to be from outside, as though another vehicle was coming, rather than the sound seeming to be related to teh car I was driving. Almost immediately, I realized what it was, and that the road was clear, and I continued on. But the sound was behaving differently enough that it gave me that brief pause.

This was only an intial impression, and I only spent 10 minutes or so in the car. Very likely, a regular driver of one of these cars will become accustomed to the sound and how it relates to the car. I don't think I would have any problem acclimating to it if I was driving this car regularly. But to me, it is indicative that the development of sound for EVs may have subtleties that will need to be worked out in order to find the right way to provide sound cues from electric cars.

[Ed. Note: Volkswagen paid for the travel and lodging for my trip to SF where I gathered some of the information for this story.]

image credit: Volkswagen


Test Drive of the VW Electric Golf

While on viagra how much the west coast for the Volkswagen press tour, I had the chance to drive the company's new electric Golf. The E-Golf is scheduled to be available as part of the 2014 Volkswagen line. At present, there is a pilot fleet of about 20 of these cars that are being driven by VW employees as part of a study examining things such as usage and vehicle charging before the vehicle is ready for general release. The test fleet, including the vehicle that I drove, was built using the 6th generation Golf body, but the best place to purchase viagra online production version will use the 7th generation Golf as vehicle platform.

My test drive of the E-Golf was only a couple of cialis generic miles, since there were a couple dozen journalists who wanted to have a chance for a drive, so it needed to be constrained, but I still got a taste of driving this car similar to many of the other EVs I've driven. I've had the opportunity to drive a number of electric vehicles, though many of those experiences have been on the small, indoor driving track that has been available at the NAIAS in Detroit, and I've been a passenger in a few other demonstration EVs that weren't available for general driving.

The E-Golf has an interesting regenerative braking system that is more interactive - and more like driving a car with a manual transmission - than usual with other EVs I've encountered, which tend to behave like a car with an automatic transmission. When coasting, the E-Golf will begin to regeneratively recharge the batteries. However, the driver can use a pair of paddle switches on the steering wheel to cialis 20 mg price increase the level of regenerative braking the car provides, recapturing progressively more energy back to the batteries and slowing the car more quickly with each step. This would take some getting used to before one became proficient with it, but it brings back a level of engagement to the driving experience that most EVs don't have.

The E-Golf has a 26.5 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery and an estimated range of 93 miles. For the test fleet, VW is also providing an iPhone with special app to enable the owner to "check the battery’s charging status, regulate the car’s internal temperature, gauge how much charging time is left, or even remotely start the charging procedure."

More about the sound made by the E-Golf will be coming shortly.

[Ed. Note: Volkswagen paid for the travel and lodging for my trip to SF where I gathered some of the information for this story.]

image credits: EcoGeek


Test Driving Some 2012 Volkswagens

Last week I had the opportunity to attend a press information and driving event held by Volkswagen in California, near their Electronics Research Laboratory in Belmont. As noted with many other manufacturers at this year's NAIAS, the connected car is something that Volkswagen is also deeply involved in, and their decision to locate this facility in Silicon Valley is deliberately intended to support that aspect of the best place best price viagra their business.

At present, Volkswagen has several vehicles of particular interest. Among the vehicles I drove were the cialis dosage Touareg Hybrid, the Jetta Sportwagen TDI, and the E-Golf. (I'll have more coverage of the E-Golf in another article.) The Touareg is a 5-seat SUV with a parallel hybrid drivetrain (one electric motor with compact disengagement clutch mounted between V6 engine and transmission: 47 hp electric motor and 3.0 liter V6) with permanent all-wheel drive. It carries 174 pounds of nickel/metal hydride batteries, but this is a mild hybrid that mostly uses the electric motor to assist the conventional engine. The Touareg Hybrid gets mileage of 20 MPG city/24 MPG highway (as compared to 16 MPG city/23 MPG highway for the 3.6 liter conventional gas engine). That puts it in the middle of the pack among hybrid SUVs.

If cargo capacity were the reason to buy an SUV, you'd actually do beter with the Jetta Sportwagen TDI. Nearly 2,000 pounds lighter than the Touareg, the Sportwagen also seats five, but it has 2.9 more cubic feet of storage space with the rear seats down (66.9 cubic feet for Sportwagen versus 64 cubic feet for Touareg). The diesel Sportwagen gets almost double the mileage of the Touareg, as well, with 29 MPG city/39 MPG highway for the automatic transmission version (and as compared to the 24 MPG city/31 MPG highway for the 2.5 liter gasoline engine version). Manual transmissions are available for both models of viagra buyviagra onlin Sportwagen.

As noted earlier, over 20% of Volkswagens sold in the US are diesels. Volkswagen officials indicated that smaller 1.8 liter and 1.4 liter diesel engines are forthcoming for more fuel-efficient vehicles in upcoming model years. Diesels also provide a 20% reduction in carbon emissions as compared to gasoline engines.

Volkswagen doesn't typically have the highest numbers compared with its competitors in terms of fuel efficiency, which may be why we don't find ourselves talking about them as often as we do with some other automakers. But the comapny has a corporate-wide commitment to reducing the environmental impacts of their business with their "Think Blue" strategy (choosing blue - as with the entire planet seen from space - rather than green to represent their breadth of vision). This includes long-term goals such as a 40% reduction in greenhouse gasses from production plants by 2020 and a fleet CO2 emissions target of below 120 grams per kilometer. The company also recently completed construction of the only LEED Platinum Certified automotive factory in the country with their new manufacturing facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

[Ed. Note: Volkswagen paid for the travel and lodging for my trip to SF where I gathered some of the information for this story.]

image credit: EcoGeek (pictured: L: Touareg, R: Jetta Sportwagen)


Automakers Offering Bi-Fuel Pickups

Natural gas is going to be a fuel option available for some Chevrolet and GMC pickups beginning late this year. These will be bi-fuel vehicles, like the generic cialis sale present flex-fuel vehicles (that can run on either gasoline or ethanol) but in this case, the fuel choices are gasoline and compressed natural gas (CNG). Chrysler has also announced similar plans for its Ram pickup.

There are many utilities and service companies that have pilot fleets of CNG vehicles, and the Honda Civic Natural Gas was this named this past year's Green Car of the Year. But these are all dedicated CNG vehicles. The newly announced pickups will be able to buy viagra germany canadian meds run on either gasoline or CNG.

Economics is certainly a factor in this. The cost of CNG fuel is levitra in uk about one third less than an equivalent amount of gasoline. But the bi-fuel option is several thousand dollars of additional cost over the base vehicle. The numbers for these vehicles are rather meager, with GM planning to build 2,500 of these pickups in the fourth quarter and Chrysler planning to build 2,000 of its trucks this year.

Overall, it's only a small step, and not without its downside. While seeing new markets for cheap CNG will have some cheering the use of this cleaner burning fuel, there are also environmental consequences lurking at the corners of the gas fracking boom that make us think this is a mixed development at best.

However, wider adoption of natural gas vehicles could lead the way to wider distribution infrastructure. While the use of fossil natural gas is still problematic in terms of CO2 emissions, methane is fairly easy to synthesize compared to gasoline, and several solar and microbial fuel processes could potentially produce gas that could be used for more vehicles in the future.

via: GM Media


President Obama's New Budget Includes $10,000 EV Rebate

President Obama's recently released new budget plan includes lots of viagra pfizer incentives for cleantech industries and reportedly an exciting $10,000 rebate for electric vehicle purchases.

Currently, if you purchase an all-electric vehicle, you are eligible for a $7,500 tax credit that you receive when you file your taxes for that year, but this new rebate program would allow consumers to slash $10,000 off the top of the cost of an electric car, right at the time of purchase. That's a huge incentive for drivers who are on the fence and would likely support some large gains in sales of those vehicles.

Many of the first crop of mass market EVs are still in a price range that is just beyond what most consumers want to pay for a sedan or compact car, but with this rebate, the Chevy Volt would go from $41,000 to $31,000; the Nissan LEAF would go from $36,000 to $26,000 and the newest to hit the market, the Mitsubishi i, would drop to under $20,000. Those are prices that would be much more appealing to a wider base of consumers.

The rebate would apply to other alternativ-fuel vehicles, too, like natural gas, hydrogen fuel cell or other high-tech green vehicles.

Though it's hard to hold out hope for things like this to make it through a very tough Congress, it's pretty exciting to think of levitra canda the impact a rebate would have on the EV market.


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