Audi Reports Record Sales for May

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – Audi of America, Inc. announced today record sales for the month of May. Audi sold 8,788 vehicles during the month, a 23.4% increase over last year’s figures. It was the highest-selling month so far in 2007 and the …

APR Releases the R1 Diverter Valve!

After 3 years of development, APR has done it again! The world’s only diaphragm style diverter valve that is capable of holding extreme boost levels with no loss of response and operation is now available! A diaphragm based valve offers …

125 MPG+ Prius Prototype Unveiled

We’ve already heard that the 2008 Toyota Prius might be capable of over 80 miles per gallon, but it looks like Toyota isn’t stopping there. Lithium Technology Corporation has just created a prototype plug-in Prius that demonstrably gets 125+ miles per gallon. The car uses a new kind of large-scale lithium ion battery that uses lithium iron phosphate as the cathode (wikipedia).

These batteries are well suited for cars. First, they don’t explode when punctured and second, they have a very high discharge current. The Prius’ battery stores 7 kWh of electricity in 63 Li-ion cells, and the vehicle relies exclusively on the batteries for the first 60 miles of travel. The prototype is, of course, a plug-in, so the mileage-boosting energy comes from the electric grid. And, no, grid energy isn’t emissions free, but it’s a heck of a lot more efficient than internal combustion.

This is a surprising leap from Lithium Technology Corporation. I’ve been expecting more news about Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries for a while, but to hear that they’ve boosted the mileage of a prototype vehicle so substantially is very exciting. Maybe Toyota will actually have something ready in 2010 to rival GMs ultra-efficient plug-in hybrid Volt.

Full press release after the jump.

Via TreeHugger and Business Week

The NMG: Seriously Whacked EV… Available Now

Here we have a…uh…vehicle…that is is looking to change the way people think about transportation. I’m not sure I have much faith in its ability to do that, but it’s certainly worth talking about. Myers Motors, the folks who make this three-wheeler call it the MM NMG (No More Gas) but as I’ve researched this story, in my head, I’ve been calling it the EVX WTF. EV for Electric Vehicle, X cause it sounds cool, and I think you know what WTF stands for.

The MM NMG (EVX WTF really is a better name) is officially classified as a motorcycle, but it’s got all the comforts of a car. The top speed is 70 mph and it’s 100% electrically powered. Plus, the entire car is "built for safety" a feature that you won’t see on many motorcycles. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that it can only carry one person and it will only carry that one person 100 miles on a full charge. Then, once you’ve run out of gas, you’ll need six to eight hours to recharge the batteries before you can head out again. You might think that a little car like this, without may components or even much battery life might be somewhat easy on the wallet. It’s not. A new NMG will set you back about $25,000. Admittedly, this is much cheaper than most other EVs on the market. But with only one seat, and a seriously crazy design, we’re not sure who’d go for it

So far, its unique design has only brought it one success…a role in Austin Powers’ Goldmember. Their website ensures prospective buyers that they’ll get more attention in an NMG than in a $100,000 sports car (a Tesla Roadster maybe), and they’re probably right. But it’s going to be a very different kind of attention. If Myers Motors wants to get people to buy into the idea of a small, ultra-efficient, commuter vehicle, I think they’re going to have to do something a little more traditional… and a hell of a lot cheaper.


Buy One Give One Solar Flashlights

Using photovoltaics to provide electricity for lighting is a popular solution for saving impoverished populations from dealing with the dangers and expense of oil lamps, candles and other short-term light sources. However, few companies have been looking to market to US consumers at the same time they provide to those in need, but the BoGo Light hopes to change that. The BoGo Light is a rugged outdoor light using a solar panel, 6 LEDs and NiCad or NiMH AA batteries in an ABS plastic shell.

While physically ordinary, what makes the lights unique is that BoGo stands for Buy One Give One meaning that for each light purchased, another one is donated to a charity of the buyer’s choosing. Already, the lights have been distributed worldwide including "500 lights in nine United Nations High Commission for Refugee Camps worldwide – Chad, Dufar, Kenya, Pakistan, Uganda, Colombia, Algeria, Zambia and Ethiopia."

The lights are stated to work for about 20 years with batteries lasting about 750-1000 cycles. At $25 plus shipping, the light is very reasonably priced, especially considering that actually costs them 2 lights plus shipping to an international destination. You can find them at


Solar Power at Half the Cost

Silicon is pretty expensive these days, and traditional solar panels need a lot of it to convert light to energy. But two of the great opportunities for expansion in solar is using less silicon, by concentrating light on smaller panels, and increasing efficiency by tilting panels to follow the sun. These roof-mounted units created by Soliant Energy (Soliant Green Energy?) do both of those things, with no external power equipment necessary.

The innovation here is called the ‘heliotube.’ It’s a tube of glass that concentrates the sun’s rays onto a very thin strip of silicon solar panels at the base of the tube. The tube is then connected to a frame in blocks, and the frame uses the power coming off the panel to tilt the tubes to track the sun. These panels use 88% less photovoltaic material, but are almost as efficient per square foot as traditional solar panels.

While it would be more efficient if the panels could tile vertically as well as horizontally (and thus track the exact path of the sun) the simple design and ease of installation will bring the intial costs of these panels way down. Right now, this initial cost is basically the barrier that keeps solar power from juciing high-sunlight areas of the world.

Unfortunately this design has a few flaws. Currently, the troughs placement causes them to occasionally shade each other, preventing them from capturing the maximum amount of sunlight. However, the next revision hopes to correct the former problem by breaking up the rows into sections so that they can follow the sun in every direction.

They estimate an eventual improvement of energy production by 300% from their current design.

The panels are scheduled to ship this year, with the new model having an estimated 2010 completion date.

Via TechnologyReview

First U.S. Tidal Power Installation

Tidal power systems have been under investigation for many years. The
earliest method to generate power was with ‘barrage’ systems, which
required the construction of dams across inlets and bays. Gates in the
dams allowed the basin to fill during high tide, then the gates would be
closed, and the basin would be allowed to drain out through turbines to
generate power. However, the environmental impacts of these systems,
along with the cost and the relative inefficiency, have kept them from
much further development. There are some ‘barrage’ installations still in
operation in Canada and in France, but no new projects are planned.

Instead, tidal power is being pursued as basically the same way wind power has been developed, turbines. In-line tidal power is
intriguing because it is much more regular and predictable than wind,
which can be intermittent and is much more dependent on local weather.
Water also has a much higher energy density than air does, which makes
tidal systems appealing because a water turbine can be smaller than an air

A tidal power
comprised of six 35-kilowatt turbines has been installed in the East
River near Roosevelt Island, New York. This study system is meant to
determine the best configuration for the equipment, and help develop
easily mass-producible versions of the turbines. A final configuration of
100 turbines is anticipated at this location.

Preliminary site approvals for in-stream turbine farms have already been
given for 25 sites along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the US, and a
further 31 sites are under consideration. Other companies are developing
other forms of tidal turbines, some with as much as 1 megawatt capacity.

Previously on EcoGeek

via: MIT
Technology Review