Audi Stays in the Victory Lane at Le Mans

Seventh success for Audi in endurance classic Audi TDI Power dominates again Extremely difficult conditions in jubilee race AUDI AG has continued its impressive series of victories in the Le Mans 24 Hour race in extremely difficult …

Quotes After the Race at Le Mans

Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): “I think this was the most difficult race we ever did at Le Mans – even more difficult than the rain-soaked race in 2001. This was topped this time due to the strong competition, the many …

Audi Starts From the Front Row at Le Mans

No improvements of lap-times in final qualifying Allan McNish fastest in the rain Strong performance also from Tom Kristensen Audi Sport Team Joest will tackle the 75th running of the legendary Le Mans 24 Hours from the front row of the …

Audi on Provisional Front Row at Le Mans

Thrilling battle for pole positon in first qualifying Allan McNish fastest Audi driver on Wednesday Successful comeback of Tom Kristensen The first qualifying session for the 2007 Le Mans 24 Hours has given a hint what specators can expect …

Sun – Wind – Strength: Bike Add-On Creates Power

For those of us who are interested in distance travel without fossil fuels, but can’t do without our cellphones, iPods and laptops, designer Paul Smith has put together the Navitas.

The Navitas can charge it’s on-board, 24-volt battery in three different ways: Strength, Sun and Wind. The device, which I imagine doubles as extra storage space as well, uses the attached rear wheel to charge the battery when the bike is moving. Then, once stopped, the Navitas can be snapped off the bike and the rear wheel becomes a wind turbine, while a square foot of solar panels pops out for good measure.

It’s good to see someone thinking about these kinds of things, but it won’t be all that useful until there are a lot more distance bike travelers on the road.

Via Gizmodo and Bicycle Design

Bigger graphic after the jump.

Electric Mower Review at Wired

Wired Magazine has an excellent starter guide for folks looking to green up their lawn maintenance. They make some good points for why you should do it. Most lawn mowers are powered by two-stroke engines that produce more than ten times the pollution of a four-stroke car engine. Plus electric mowers are far more carbon-efficient, and keep pollution out of your yard.

You can get a lot more green for your buck by upgrading your lawnmower than by upgrading your car. Plus, they’re just as powerful, and so much pleasant on your sleeping neighbor’s ears. In fact, I’m about ready to buy one for my landlord, so his early-morning mowing isn’t quite so obnoxious.

See Also:
Electric Hovercraft / Lawnmower

2008 Volkswagen Beetle, Passat, and Jetta had changes

Volkswagen is currently changing their 2008 New Beetle/New Beetle Convertible for its 2008 model year. The changes are minor and some of which include deletions of colors and trim level naming switches. However, there are also significant changes like extra power in some of the engines of other Volkswagen models.
There is also a newfound thrust courtesy of a new intake and software that would take advantage of the extra breathing capability. But this intake doesn’t fit under the hood of the New Beetle, which will continue on with its 150-horsepower version. There is a rumor that the New Beetle for 2007 would have an extra 20 horsepower in it but that still remains to be seen.

The Beetle got a lot of cuts in the changes as the fog lights were taken away from all trims, the floor mats, leather seating, and rain-sensing wipers. Among the changes in the New Beetle and Beetle Convertible aside from those are the following:

*New Trim Level Naming: S and SE
*Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) becomes standard
*New sixteen-inch alloy wheel S
*New seventeen-inch alloy wheel on SE
*Temporary use spare tire
*Delete Shadow Blue on sedan and convertible
*Delete Platinum Gray on convertible
*Delete reflex silver on convertible
*Laser blue no longer available with gray interior
*Black not available with crème top
*Delete Leather seating surfaces from all trims
*Leatherette now named V-Tex
*Cold weather package available on S as stand alone option

The Passat also wasn’t spared from the changes. But the changes for the 2008 Volkswagen passat is much more enjoyable. New Passat owners will now experience standard power driver seats, window shades, and upgraded interior details on all trim levels. Below are the other changes for the Passat sedans and Wagon:

*New trim level naming, Turbo, Komfort, Lux, and VR6
*Leatherette now named V-Tex
*Temporary use spare tire like the Volkswagen New Beetle
*Chrome window trim becomes standard on Turbo
*New sixteen-inch alloy wheel on Turbo
*New seventeen-inch alloy wheel on Komfort
*Delete Shadow Blue
*Delete Wheat Beige on wagon
*Heated washer nozzles only available on VR6
*Bi-Xenon headlamps w/ AFS now standard on VR6
*Manual side and rear sunshade are now standard on sedans
*Manual side sunshades is now standard on wagon
*Power twelve-way driver seat now standard equipment
*Heated front seats optional on Turbo and Komfort
*Leather steering wheel now standard equipment
*Leather shift knob now standard equipment
*Delete Pure Beige leather comfort seats
*Delete gray leather and V-Tex
*New interior trim on Turbo
*Three-spoke leather multi-function steering wheel included with Lux
*Dynaudio now optional on Lux
*Adaptive Cruise Control optional on VR6
*4Motion is only configuration available with VR6 wagon
*Manual transmission only available on Turbo

New Jetta owners could now enjoy an extra power for the 2.5L five cylinder engine. The engines will get a more useful 20 horsepower boost from 170 last year, it will now be producing 177hp. Other chnages are as follows:

*New 170-hp, 177 lb-ft 2.5L five-cylinder engine standard
*Delete 2.0T engine (only available on GLI)
*Automatic only available with SEL
*Temporary use spare tire
*Laser Blue replaces Shadow Blue
*Delete Wheat Beige
*Front and rear lower valance in black textured color on S and SE
*Body color front and rear valance on SEL
*2.5 badge included on S
*Sixteen-inch steel wheels with full covers standard on S
*Delete Climatronic from all trims
*Delete leather seating surfaces from all trims
*Power recline standard on all trim levels
*Seventeen-inch wheel standard on SEL
*Delete Homelink from all trims
*Cold weather package now optional on S
*Sixteen-inch alloy wheel now optional on S
*Sunroof now optional on S
*Premium sound package (includes amplifier and 250W) now optional on SE
*New trim level naming, S, SE, and SEL
*Leatherette now named V-Tex

EcoGeek of the Week:The Directors of Arctic Tale

Adam Ravetch and Sarah Robertson have been filming the arctic for more
than twenty years. Now, for the first time, they’re telling a story of their own. Arcitc Tale will be hitting theaters next month and is
expected to draw huge crowds of all ages. Adam and Sarah were kind
enough to talk with me last week to give me some insights on this
marvelous new film. I’m proud to have them as this week’s EcoGeek(s) of
the Week.

Arctic Tale is a coming of age story about a polar bear cub
and a walrus calf. The story of these characters lives over three years is
constructed from Sarah and Adam’s footage and decades of experience. But whereas the villain in The March of the Penguins
was a noble albatross, Arctic Tale’s villain is much more sinister: climate change.

As our protagonists grow, they discover that the lessons
taught to them by their parents are becoming less and less applicable
in this new warm world.

Sarah says that she sees the film as more than education,
but also more than activism. The film makers obviously see a lesson that must be learned here…and an EcoGeeky lesson at that.

As Nanu the bear and Seela the walrus encounter new and difficult
situations, they learn, adapt and change in order to survive. Sarah
tells me that we, as humans, will be required to do the exact same
thing in this changing world. The moral, in short, is that we aren’t
quite dead yet, and just like walruses and polar bears, we’re going to
have to change, make some difficult decisions, and even go against
tradition to make it out alive.

Continue Reading

Power Output of Healthier Americans: 3650 gWh/year

Using muscles to power our lives is not a new idea. In fact, it’s a really really old idea. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a good idea.

Especially since there’s probably a million people trying to burn off calories on treadmills all over the world at this very moment. And all those calories they’re burning are pretty much going to waste.

Well, almost all. There are actually a couple of gyms across  the world that are converting those burned kilocalories into usable kilowatts. TreeHugger recently wrote about the "California Gym" in Hong Kong, which uses juice generated from people running on treadmills to power the establishment’s lights.

But can this really help? Is it worth attaching generators to millions of treadmills and elliptical machines all over the world?

I think it may be time for some quick calculations.
50 watts per adult * 200 million adults in America * 1 hour of exercise per day * 1 billion watts per gigawatt * 365 days per year = 3650 gigawatt hours per year!

Solving the obesity epidemic and the energy crisis at the same time. That’s what I’m talkin’ about!

The added cost to the treadmills would likely be a lot less than putting solar panels all over the roof of the gym and the power would be generated exactly when the establishment needs it. I can’t imagine this wouldn’t pay for itself relatively quickly.

LED ‘Fluorescent’ Tubes

A lot of us have been waiting to see LED lamps in homes and offices. Good news! EverLED now
has LED replacements for fluorescent tubes. These connect directly into
the lamp, and require no retrofitting of the ballast or the fixture.

"The EverLED TR is a direct, “drop-in” replacement for standard
fluorescent light tubes. It is compatible with virtually every standard,
ballast equipped fluorescent light fixture, without any need for

These are currently available as standard 4′ size tubes in 5 different
color temperatures. The distributor advertises these as having a 10 year
typical lifespan and 20% energy use reduction versus standard fluorescent
tubes. They also note that there is no mercury or lead in these
replacements, and that they do not have a breakage hazard as do standard
glass tubes.

The $150 price tag will probably keep the rush to a minimum…but if my calculations are correct, they’ll pay for themselves easily over the life of the bulb.

via: hugg and Gizmag

See Also:

Ask the EcoGeek: LEDs

Forecasts on Fabia raised by Volkswagen Skoda

The Volkswagen AG’s unit in Czech, Skoda Auto AS, increased its full-year forecast on sales. This is because the demand for the Roomster all-purpose vehicle and Fabia small car were up to a high. “Skoda estimates deliveries will increase about 13 percent to 620,000 units from 549,667 units in 2006,” said Chief Executive Officer Detlef Wittig during an interview at the headquarters in Skoda’s Mlada Boleslav, Czech Republic.

Only in February this year that Wittig made a forecast that sales will increase by up to 9.1 percent to 600,000. The six-month sales of the automaker made an increase of up to 15 percent from a year earlier to 310,000 vehicles as reported by Wittig, while their revenue increased between 7 and 8 percent.

The growth of profit “will be a little higher” than the sales increase as they said because Skoda has cut the production and the costs for material. The medium-term global target increase for the sales of Skoda of Wittig is 45 percent to 800,000 vehicles a year since the division expands production worldwide.

The Volkswagen’s second most profitable unit after the Audi luxury brand is planning on increasing their 2007 sales through their new version of their best-selling Fabia model. This model came to market in March and the Roomster was introduced in 2006. “The new Fabia and the Roomster are doing well, which is a good reassurance for the future,” Wittig said. The Czech division’s 2006 profit soared 40 per cent to a record 11.1 billion koruna ($520 million) as the Roomster appealed to buyers and thus the productivity improved.

The sales increased to 8.7 percent to 203.7 billion koruna. Skoda is investing a total of 350 euros or $471 million this year, and most of the money will be used for the expanding production capacity at the three existing Czech plants. However, they have no plans on adding a factory on th market even though they are experiencing a “tight labor market.”A fourth plant is absolutely out of discussion,” Wittig said. “The Czech labor market would not give us an opportunity to do that,” he added.

It was said by the government that their unemployment rate fell to 6.4 percent in May, which would be the lowest since 2004, the time Czech Republic joined the European union. Skoda also had to compete for workers as a joint venture was made between Toyota Motor Corporation and PSA Peugeot Citroen and other automakers expanded.

Wittig’s objective is to introduce a new model every year and that includes a new Sports Utility Vehicle called the Yeti, which is scheduled to come out in 2009. Also, they plan to release a Combi Fabia in 2008, which will be manufactured at the main plant in Mlada Boleslav.

Skoda alo plans on expanding in emerging countries like Russia, India, and China. This year’s division began on selling the Octavia mid-size sedan produced at the Volkswagen plant in China, and they will also manufacture the Fabia and Superb, its most expensive vehicle.

The joint Volkswagen and Skoda factory will help the automaker in avoiding a 25 percent tax on imported vehicles. “Skoda now has 50 exclusive dealerships in China and by the end of the year will have 80 outlets,” Wittig said. “Skoda has received orders in the last month for about 10,000 cars in China and expects to sell as many as 30,000 vehicles there this year,” he added.

The first Octavia in Russia will be assembled from kits staring October or November with the full production beginning in 2009. “The major growth rate in the future will be in the emerging markets, in Russia, India, and China,” Wittig said.

The production for those cars “will be done in those markets.” The division in March began selling the first complete remake of the Fabia since its introduction more than seven years ago. 1.6 million units of Fabias were already sold by Skoda since its debut in 1999.

Solar-Powered Motorbike Hides in its Own Shell

Aside from being fairly ugly and entirely imaginary, SunRed’s new snail-shell-based solar bike is completely awesome.

All the other blog posts I’ve read about this are reporting that the snail-shell covering will stow away during transport…but that’s not entirely accurate. Obviously, the nose panel (which contains the light and rear-view mirror) will remain in place, while the three back panels will fold away. Thus, the bike will still pull some charge while traveling.

Even though the bike has way more surface area than any other solar motorbike ever will ever again, it still doesn’t pull enough juice to be very useful. A full charge will only get you 13 miles at 30 mph.

Nonetheless, it’s an interesting design and I’m looking forward to seeing the real-life prototype from Sun Red soon.

Via AutoBlogGreen

See Also:
Enclosed Motorcycle
Stealth Motorcycle