25% Profit Rise as Seen by Volkswagen

The joint venture of Volkswagen with First Automotive Works Corporation (FAW), which is one of the top Sino-foreign car partnerships, proved to be a good venture as they now expect their 2007 profits to increase by at least a quarter, helped by brisk sales and cost-cutting efforts.

“The venture, FAW Volkswagen, in the northeastern city of Changchun, will have a “minimum” profit growth of 25 percent this year from 2006,” Joachim Wedler said, their vice-president in charge of finance. However, Wedler didn’t disclose how much the firm will earn this year. Volkswagen only holds 40 percent of the firm whilst FAW holds the 60 percent.

Venture’s sales chief Weiming Soh said that it plans on selling more than 400,000 cars this year, which is 50,000 more from last year’s sales.

The first five months gave the firm a good start of the year as their retail sales jumped by 25.1 percent year-on-year to 173,218 units, making it reach the third spot after General Motor’s venture with SAIC Motor Corporation and Volkswagen’s other partnership with SAIC. “FAW Volkswgen’s June sales are expected to exceed 40,000 units,” Soh said.

The bold profit and sales projection of the company came amidst the blistering growth of China’s vehicle market. China-made vehicles’ slaes were up by 22 percent to 3.65 million units from January to May, including 2.12 million passenger cars, based on the industry data. During the first four months, the profits of the combined top 16 Chinese auto groups reached 18.1 billion yuan, increasing by 51.3 percent.

Wedler said that the cost-cutting plan of FAW Volkswagen is to use locally made engines and spare parts. “We are shooting for a very high localization rate to have more financial power to beat competition,” he said.

The competition is China’s passenger car market is going at its peak as companies are coming up with price incentives and product launches. Automakers offered some 50 price cuts in the first five months this year, based from the FAW Volkswagen data.

The venture’s general manager An Tiecheng said that it has plans on rolling out at least two new models under the Volkswagen and Audi makes yearly during the next five years to appeal to the increasing sophisticated buyers .

The venture will introduce a Volkswagen Magotan large-sized sedan next month. Their current line up includes Volkswagen Jetta, Bora, Golf, Sagitar, and Caddy. They also included Audi A6 and A4.

New 2009 Volkswagen Tiguan Revealed

The latest specification and details on Volkswagen’s new compact off-roader, the 2009 Tiguan Crossover has been disclosed. This compact crossover is not due to come out until September at Frankfurt’s Auto Show, but Volkswagen has decided to let people in on the latest features their 2009 Tiguan has.

The 2009 model year for Tiguan is 173.2 inches long, 72.8 inches wide, and stands at 66.5 inches. It has the modified Golf/Rabbit as its platform and some specifications and attributes of the Touran MPV (which was sold in Europe) have been incorporated into this new compact off-roader. Three turbocharged gas engines and two turbodiesels are included in its global lineup of engines. The likely engine specification that U.S would have is a 200 hp, 2.0L turbo four with direct injection. There have been plans for a Jetta line having clean diesels and Volkswagen had also shown a Tiguan concept with clean diesel power during the 2006 L.A Auto Show but there is still no news on whether the upcoming 140 hp TDI engine will suit into the Tiguan.

In some world markets, the 2009 Volkswagen Tiguan comes with a choice of front ends. The first two will be called Trend & Fun and Sport & Style. Both will have 18 degrees at the front as their maximum entry angle. Track & Field will be the third one and it has a revised nose that would make it much more capable for off-road use. It is capable of entry angles of up to 28 degrees.

Volkswagen introduces another car technology in the form of the Offroad Mode. This is a button found on the dashboard that will activate a raft of alternative safety features. However, this technology will only be available on the Track & Field car, and this will switch on the hill descent control and hill climb assist. It wil also improve the throttle response to allow more accurate delivery of torque, and boost braking on loose surfaces.

This 2009 Volkswagen Tiguan will be launched at September’s Frankfurt Motor Show and will go on sale in Europe in early 2009.

Advanced Plasma Lamps made from Aluminum Foil?

When Gary Eden needed some raw materials for his new ultra-efficient, ultra-light, millimeter-thin plasma lamp, he went to the grocery store. The lamp is mostly aluminum foil.

Granted the lamp is not 100% aluminum, but part of the project was to try and make it as cheap and simple to create as possible, hence the run to the grocery store.

The aluminum "microcavity plasma lamp" is surprisingly simple to create. By bathing the foil in an acid, hundreds of thousands of micro-cavities (little holes) are created and a small amount of the aluminum is converted to dielectric aluminum oxide (sapphire.) Those holes are filled with a tiny amount of fluorescent gas and the cavities are all wired together. Then the whole package is sandwiched between thin sheets of glass coated with phosphor on the inside and the lamp is complete.

Imagine a flat panel lamp that would hang on the wall, or be inset in the ceiling. The lamps produce about 15 lumens per watt, significantly more efficient than incandescents, but only about half as efficient as current fluorescent bulbs. But the team at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana say they expect efficiencies of about 30 lumens per watt shortly (comparable to CFLs.)


See Also
Curly Lights
1000 Lumen LED
CFLs Could Cut Carbon by 10%

Small is Beautiful: Houses

Our friends over at Inhabitat
took the opposite tack from our recent piece about the top 10 green skyscrapers
and produced an article about the Top 5
Tiny Prefab Houses

These include such standouts as the Microcompact Home (pictured) and the
Tiny Tumbleweed House. In addition to all the other wonderful features
they offer, these are especially green because of their small size.
Fewer materials used and less space to heat and cool means a smaller ecological footprint.

The Loftcube and the Weehouse (and probably the Microcompact Home, as
well) are transportable, and suitable for installation on the roof of an
existing building (think urban loft, not an addition on your neighbor’s
50’s ranch). (For extra geekiness points, they would probably be
installed by cargo helicopter.) The Sustain Mini Home hosts a number of
green features including no vinyl, no formaldehyde, natural ventilation,
and FSC lumber, among others.

None of these is likely to be suitable for a family with children, but
for one or two people, these may offer all the living space that they
really need in a dynamic and attractive form.

Via: Inhabitat

Level 38 Eco-Tricycle of Maiming

It’s not gonna get you anywhere very fast, but if you’re lucky, it could get you out of some tight scrapes in the post-apocalyptic Australian Outback.  In any case this home-made, wind-powered tricycle is ridiculously cool, I’m just not sure why.

It’s not a practical design or anything, but I just feel like it’s necessary to congratulate people when they wade this far into the sea of peculiarity. This particular device was created by  Damon Vander Lind  and it’s come in ranked quite high at the Popular Mechanics DIY fair. Apparently he got the idea while working on a home-made wind turbine (admittedly a more practical persuit) and the entire rig cost him about $500 (and three weeks) to build.
Via Popular Mechanics
(Image and video credit: Popular Mechanics)

Tires to Diesel

Plastic is made from oil, unfortunately, it’s hard to make oil from plastic. Or, at least, it used to be. Global Resources Corporation has created a special kind of microwave that zaps plastic at very specific wavelengths in order to release the hydrocarbons.

As an example, put a tire into the GRC Hawk-10, and the machine slowly dribbles out diesel oil. What’s left inside the microwave is pure carbon black (which can be sold to tire companies for, y’know, making new tires) and the steel that gives the tires strength.

Put a bundle of insulated wires in, you get oil, and copper (with some dyes and carbon left over.) The process works on anything made of petroleum products, including hard plastic, rubber, foam rubber, even your old polyester pants. The microwave units range in size from a the size of a regular microwave oven to the size of a cement mixer.

Running 9.1 kilograms of ground-up tires through the Hawk-10 produces 4.54 liters of diesel oil, 1.42 cubic meters of combustible gas, 1 kg of steel and 3.40 kg of carbon black.

Via NewScientist