Friday, July 27, 2007

How to Building Moonbeam, A 100 Mpg Microcar

You want such small funny microcar?
Build it by yourself.

It’s good to think well before you choose which motorcycles or scooters to chop up for your microcar. I decided that I wanted the following characteristics: 100 miles per gallon, a four-stroke engine with water cooling; an occasional small second-passenger capacity, but usually one passenger and 6 grocery bags; no gear shifting with hand controls only; an enclosed vehicle with a heater for all-weather operation; easy interior access with lots of light; and finally, a nice looking machine, that you looked back on admiringly as you walk away. All in a budget of $2000, including the donor vehicles and 400 hours of labor. A half-time, half-year project. Ha! What an underestimation!

Complite instruction How to Building Moonbeam, A 100 Mpg Microcar you can find here

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Toyota Land Cruiser vs VAZ-2106

Friday, May 11, 2007

How to pick the best Hybrid Car

Did you know that there are already a dozen different models of Hybrid Electric Cars in production in the U.S.?

Most people find the added information about technology and fuel economy overwhelming when they first decide to shop for a hybrid vehicle. This article will help you sort through all the techno-babble and empower you to feel confident while choosing the right hybrid car for your particular needs.

The allure of a hybrid vehicle is compelling, to say the least. While some see them as simply the latest tech gadget to brag to their friends about, more and more people are starting to come around to the fact that hybrid electric-gas cars are the future of all automobiles.

The first thing to keep in mind when starting your research is to not allow yourself to feel bogged down by all the information. There are really only a few hybrid cars out there that are right for you, and we'll easily cut through the majority of them in no time.

Do you prefer Compacts? Mid-sized coupes? SUV's? Trucks? Luxury sedans? The initial offering of hybrid vehicles for 2007 includes at least one car line in each of those categories, so surely you shouldn't have to compromise your preference.
The current category breakdown of hybrid electric-gas production models in the United States are as follows:(in no particular order)

SUVs: (27-36 MPG)
  • Lexus RX 400h
  • Toyota Highlander
  • Ford Escape
  • Mercury Mariner
  • Saturn VUE Green line
Luxury Sedan: (28 MPG)
  • Lexus GS 450h
Mid-size (family) Coupes: (25-60 MPG)
  • Toyota Camry
  • Honda Accord
  • Toyota Prius (Pronounced Pree-yus)
Pickup Truck: (21 MPG)
  • Chevy Silverado
Compacts & Minis: (51-60 MPG)
  • Honda Civic
  • Honda Insight
Also, let's add one non-hybrid honorable mention to this list, the ZAP Smartcar, which is not really a hybrid, but we should included it here because of its' unmatched fuel-sipping EPA rating of 69 miles per gallon on the highway. We'll delve into the smartcar more later, but rest assured that these are some exceptional little cars that you'll be seeing more of on the road in 2007.

by Rick Tamlin

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10 Tips To Save Money On Your Car Insurance

Trying to get the cheapest car insurance can be a headache, but on the other hand it is usually worthwhile doing as you can save yourself quite a bit of money, especially when you take it account that this is something you have to pay for every year, the savings can add up.

Here are some things you can look at to get your car insurance costs down:

1. Keep your car in a garage or on a drive way and tell your insurance company this.

2. Fit an immobiliser or car alarm, preferably both.

3. If you have an older car, consider changing your insurance from comprehensive cover to third party, fire and theft cover.

4. Be as accurate as possible when giving your annual mileage to the insurance company.

5. If you do low mileage in your car, then consider agreeing to limited mileage insurance so you are covered for a certain number of miles.

6. Choose as high an excess as you can afford to pay in the event of a claim.

7. Get a cheaper quote from another car insurance company and tell your existing insurance company and see if they will give you an even better deal.

8. Pay your premium as an upfront lump sum so that you avoid paying interest on top of your premiums. Car insurance companies usually charge a lot of interest so even if you do not have the cash up front, you may still be better off borrowing the money more cheaply elsewhere. You could for example pay for your insurance with your credit card and then do a balance transfer to another one of your credit cards charging lower interest than your car insurance company.

9. Add a second person who has a good record to the insurance cover as sometimes this can lower your premium.

10. Buy your car insurance online as you may find you can get a discount for buying online.

By: Miguel Poza -

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Top 10 Buying Tips For Buying A Car

1. Money: Make sure you know what is your budget. Never exceed the amount you can afford. For instance if your income is 50,000$ USD, you shouldn’t spend more than 25,000$ on the car because the car will may become a finical problem to you.

2. Personal need: Ask yourself what is the purpose of the car. Decide whether you want a 4 door sedan or a 6 people van. Look into what class and what kind car you want. If the purpose of the car is just purposely transportation, then don’t look into luxurious cars such as Benz or BMW. Or whether the car is for family purpose or personal love of car then you can decide whether you want a SUV or Sports Car.

3. Difference Brand: Once you decide what type of car you want. Look at different brands that has similar cars. For instance, if you are looking into the Lexus IS, also look into the Nissan G35, BMW 3 series, Acura TL, Cadillac CTS. You get the point. The reason why is because the price range from the same class can range from 30,000 to 45,000 which is a lot of money. Therefore, you should go test drive and find out exactly which car you want.

4. Buying it New or Used. After you decide what car you want. Start researching online on how much does the new car and the used car cost. Make you sure researching on many dealerships as well. You can save up to 1,000$ USD. Personally, I would like to buy a new car over a used car, but if there’s a good deal on used car, then you should reconsider and decide yourself.

5. Finance. Try to reduce the finance rate as low as possible to benefit you more. Try to look for the best plan for you and communicate with the dealer.

6. Communication with the Seller. Now this is the tricky part. Dealers usually jacked up the price of the individual car because they can make more money if they make sales. Therefore, to prevent spending extra money, you should do your homework by reaching how much your car is really worth and make offers to the dealers instead of them making offer to you.

7. Mileage. There no doubt that the price of gas will continue to go up. Therefore, it might be a good idea to consider how much you are willing to spend on gas. You want to find a good car with good mileage.

8. Insurance Cost. Different car also have different insurance rate even when they are in the same class. The insurance cost should definitely be a factor to consider when you are comparing with other cars.

9. Maintenance Cost. Maintenance Cost for cars also varies for different car. For instance Benz will charge over 100$ just for an oil change while Toyota may charge 25$.

10. Warranty. This should be the last thing you look at when you buy a car. Look at what the warranty covers and compare with it other car companies

By: Danny Huang

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Ethanol As An Alternative

Ethanol fuel is changing our lives and changing the economy in ways no one anticipated before, with energy costs rising every day, there has been an increased interest in ethanol fuel. Ethanol is a variety of alcohol that can be produced in a natural fashion, similar to the way in which alcoholic beverages are produced. Ethanol can be used by itself in some specially designed vehicles, but it can also be used as a fuel additive, stretching traditional fuels in times of economic or environmental hardship. Ethanol is used today by more people ever before, simply because of the cheap alternative to the soaring gas prices.

Using ethanol fuel as an alternative to gas does require motorists to get a special ethanol kit and install it in their cars, but since gas prices have been unstable in the last years many people feel that making that kind of investment will prove financially profitable in the future.

Ethanol fuel that is derived from crops has advantages over traditional fossil fuels. The ethanol fuel is obtained from the sugars and starches in crops like corn and grains. It also burns cleaner than petroleum based fuels due to its chemical composition, alleviating some of the strain placed on the environment by exhaust emissions. The increased consumption of corn for ethanol use has already started to affect the corn farms projections of yearly crops.

Blended ethanol fuel has proven to be an effective source of energy for several parts of the country, as well as other parts of the globe. E10 is a typical mixture. It is common in the Midwestern United States. Many other countries around the world start to consider using ethanol instead of regular fuel, Denmark for example, has also begun using this type of ethanol fuel. It appears to be doing well, though its use is not as extensive as many of its proponents had hoped it would be. There is still a long way for ethanol to become a natural option for fuel, the United States had used ethanol fuel for less than one percent of its gasoline needs in the year 2002.

The other big issue surrounding ethanol is the environmental issue, it is still not absolutely clear that ethanol is in fact environment friendly, and whether the environmental aspects of ethanol fuel are as good as they have been previously described by the supporters of ethanol fuel use. The growing concern is that while the use of ethanol by itself may be good for the environment, the resources and work done to provide the production of the ethanol could be potentially dangerous for the forests, rainforests and areas where the corn and other ethanol producing resources are being grown. While it is true that the fuel can be made from renewable resources there is evidence that some rainforests are actually being cleared to make space for crops that are used in the production of ethanol. As the controversy regarding the production of ethanol and its dangers, it is very clear that this alternative source of energy is becoming more and more popular.

By: Simon Oldmann -

Article Directory:

Simon Oldmann is an avid writer and a green activist, he has been writing about Ethanol use since the growing popularity of">Ethanol these last years, Simon writes for

Mike Cook - The Saucy Car

I’m in the market for a new car. It doesn’t have to be fancy or have all the latest frills and gizmos; it doesn’t even have to be brand new. I’m a man of plain tastes…mainly because I can’t afford otherwise. The most important requirement in my next car is that it not be saucy like my last one. What’s that? You’ve never heard of a saucy car? Well let me tell you about one.

The first time I noticed my car was saucy I was driving to town when a loud, rapid clicking noise started coming from the engine. When I got to town I took it to a garage and asked them to have a look at the car. When the mechanic started the car, not only was there no noise, the engine never sounded better.

The mechanic poked and prodded the engine for a few minutes and said the car appeared fine. I insisted as there had been a noise something must have caused it. He then gave me a long list of things that might have caused the noise. While he did this I nodded my head, smiled or grunted in what I thought were the appropriate places and scratched my head thoughtfully. The truth was, for all I understood he might as well have been speaking Greek or Chinese.

This happened several more times with the same result. After one of these frustrating times I drove home, parked the car in the driveway, got out of it and walked around to the front of the car and stared thoughtfully into its headlights for some time. It winked at me! The saucy thing actually winked at me! I ran into the house, got my digital camera, came back out, and dared it to wink at me again. It did. Bold as brass it winked at me. I snapped the picture and raced back to the garage to show them.

“Cars don’t wink,” said the mechanics at the garage when I told them what had happened and tried to show them the picture.

“This one bloody well does!” I all but screamed while clutching the overalls of the nearest mechanic. We argued back and forth like this for several minutes, while I became increasingly agitated because they wouldn’t believe me and kept telling me there was nothing wrong with the car. I was invited to leave the premises. I reluctantly accepted their invitation because it was my understanding that if I didn’t some kind of authoritative persons would take me in hand.

When I got home and was standing in front of the car glaring at it, not only did it wink again but a sly grin appeared on its bug-specked face. Of all the gall!

As you may imagine this state of affairs bothered me to the point where I couldn’t sleep at night. I would hide behind the curtains staring out at the car wondering what it would do next. If it caught sight of me it would give me a saucy wink and a sly grin. This went on for a week. Then one night I heard it chuckle. The impudent devil was laughing at me! This was too much! I had endured enough.

I snatched a heavy splitting maul from the basement, sharp on one end and blunt on the other. Then I went out to the car and went up one side of it and down the other pounding away with the maul with first the blunt end and then with the sharp end. When I finished with it in the morning I had it towed to the garage where I said, “Now there’s something wrong with it. Fix it!” I turned around and pointed to the car and I’ll be damned if it didn’t give me a sly grin. I turned back to the mechanics and said, “Don’t tell me you guys didn’t see that!” That is exactly what they did tell me.

As I was led away to the hospital for observation I looked over my shoulder to see the saucy beggar give me a goodbye wink.

© Mike Cook 2007

from here

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Robot car completed a 200-mile test run

The Carnegie Mellon Red Team's Sandstorm robotic HMMWV ("HUMMVEE") completed a 200-mile test run last week, a small step on the way to claiming the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge. The Grand Challenge is a 175-mile race in the Mojave Desert that tests robotic vehicles' ability to endure the harsh conditions while navigating a course littered with natural and man-made obstacles. Sandstorm completed 7.3 miles of last year's 142-mile course, but that was still more than any other vehicle.

The recent endurance test was performed on a racetrack in Pennsylvania. Sandstorm completed the 200-mile trek in 7 hours and 12 minutes, averaging 28 miles per hour, faster than the vehicle will run during the DARPA event. The test did show that Sandstorm's hardware and software can withstand the long-term use.

The Red Team's other race vehicle, a newer HUMMER with more recent technology called "H1ghlander," did not fare so well; but with multiple pieces of hardware not functioning at the beginning, H1ghlander's chances started out low. The vehicle slowed down to a crawl, and the test had to be stopped due to time constraints.

The 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge will occur on October 8. 20 semifinalists (from a September 26 competition) will compete for the grand prize of US$2 million.
from here

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

U.S. Automakers Try to Maximize Vehicle Recycling

For four years through the United States Council for Automotive Research (USCAR) Vehicle Recycling Partnership (VRP) what happens to end-of-life vehicles in the United States is at the top of the agenda every day.

USCAR’s VRP, which includes DaimlerChrysler Corporation, Ford Motor Company and General Motors Corporation, is now in its fourth year of its third Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with Argonne National Laboratory and the American Plastics Council. Since their first CRADA in 1991, the group has been working to maximize vehicle recycling in the United States.

Today, more than 95 percent of all vehicles in the United States go through a market-driven recycling infrastructure, with no added cost or tax to consumers. More than 75 percent, by weight, of each end-of-life vehicle (ELV) is recycled. The CRADA team is working to raise that percentage to as close to 100 percent as conceivably possible.

“The U.S. automakers have long taken a proactive stance in vehicle recycling. They continue to work side-by-side with government and private industry to optimally recycle all vehicles, regardless of age, content or origin,” said Bill Gouse, executive director of USCAR. “If it’s driven and disposed of here, the vehicle becomes part of the mix – along with a lot of other big disposables, like appliances and building demolition or commercial and industrial waste materials.

“The USCAR Vehicle Recycling Partnership, Argonne and the American Plastics Council really are taking a national leadership role, addressing the entire lot of shredder residue, regardless of its source,” Gouse added. “They are working to implement sustainable recycling solutions that keep waste out of landfills, save energy and put materials into reuse.”

Thus far, the CRADA team impact has been broad and diverse and includes:
Establishing and publishing preferred practices for recycling.
Establishing efficient fluid removal processes.
Running a licensed Vehicle Recycling Development Center to establish procedures that optimize materials recovery in vehicle dismantling.
Researching separation technologies for commingled material streams.
Initiating efforts targeted at removing substances of concern from shredder residue, regardless of its source.
A plastics sorting Pilot Plant in operation at Argonne is one of the more visible demonstrations of the CRADA team’s research in action. “While the CRADA team is benchmarking and evaluating a range of technology options for sustainable recycling of ELV, the facility at Argonne serves as a focal point for the team’s work,” said Ed Daniels, director, Energy Systems Division at Argonne and head of the vehicle recycling research effort at the Lab.

The team also is working to anticipate and meet the recycling needs for components and parts in future and emerging vehicles such as hybrids and fuel cell vehicles.

“With energy issues at the forefront, lightweighting and the use of composite materials are becoming more commonplace in vehicle content,” said Jim Kolb, head of the Automotive Learning Center, American Plastics Council. “As a result, solving the issues surrounding end-of-life for present and future materials becomes all that more important.”

The research is funded by the VRP, the American Plastics Council and U.S. DOE Office of FreedomCAR and Vehicle Technologies.

The VRP is part of the United States Council for Automotive Research, under which DaimlerChrysler Corporation, Ford Motor Company and General Motors Corporation cooperatively address shared technological and environmental concerns.

Argonne National Laboratory, operated by The University of Chicago, is one of U.S. Department of Energy’s largest research centers; it boasts 1,400 scientists and engineers, over 200 areas of research and an operating budget of more than $475 million.

The American Plastics Council, a leading trade association of resin producers, advocates unlimited opportunities for plastics and promotes their economic, environmental and societal benefits.

from here