Sunday, November 25, 2007
I hope everyone enjoyed learning about alternative fuel and how it can help save our environment. Living green is exploding across the globe. Anyone can make a difference!
About the Cat Scan:
The Cat Scan was one of the most interesting classes I have taken at the University of Arizona. The Cat Scan taught me about online journalism and different methods you can use to approach it. I would recommend the class to any incoming seniors who are looking for a fun, demanding course.
Next semester's Cat Scan will also be focusing on the topic of green living. It is a lot broader than it sounds. You will be surprised at how many diverse stories we came up with. New green topics come about everyday, from inventions to advocacy, so there is always something to write about. I believe that there will be even more topics to write about next semester, because living green has become a top priority for many countries in the past few months.
Tips for incoming Cat Scanners:
1) Always come to class!
2) Participate, participate, participate...
3) Have fun! Even though there is a lot of work, make it fun on yourself by choosing an interesting green topic you want to write about.
4) You will learn as much as you want to learn... Meaning that, if you put in the effort to learn how to create videos or clips, then you will get a lot out of the Cat Scan.
5) Practice html. You will need to know some basic html code for the class.
6) Get an early start early on blogs and assignments.
I promise that you will be glad you took the Cat Scan.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Have you ever wondered how green your car is? Well now you can find out. The UK created a website that calculates the level of CO2 that goes into the atmosphere.
The calculator is really easy to use. All you do is select your manufacturer, model number, description, transmission type and fuel type. Once you insert the numbers the CO2 level is automatically calculated.
Transportation adds up to about a quarter of UK carbon emissions, which is a 47 percent increase since 1980, according to the website. Reducing carbon emissions is a top priority because of the increasing environmental and health risks.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has also estimated that 160 billion euros are spent per year to reduce air pollution from transportation. WHO also states that pollution lowers life expectancy by approximately nine months.
The website informs people about green car technologies, such as electric, hybrid, biofuel, fuel cells, natural gas, diesel, and LPG vehicles.
I haven’t touched on fuel cells in the past. Fuel cells electrochemically convert energy. Fuel cells work by catalysis, which means that the electrons and protons of the reactant fuel are separated. This separation forces electrons to travel through a circuit which creates electrical power. There are approximately 20 different types of fuel cells, which are all used to power different machines. Hydrogen fuel cells are used to power vehicles and they create no greenhouse gases or smog.
For more information on fuel cells you can check out this website.
I also haven’t touched much on LPG vehicles. LPG stands for liquefied petroleum gas.
“Using LPG can cut your fuel bills by around 50 percent,” according to theLPG Vehicles website.
You can get your car converted into an LPG vehicle in Europe at the locations listed here
To learn more about LPG vehicles, check out this website for the LP Gas Association.
Some tips that I learned on how to make your life even greener are the following: Carpool with someone, recycle your car or remodel your car into an eco-friendly vehicle.
Check out this website to learn about how you can recycle your car.
Monday, November 12, 2007
According to a survey at this site that talks about the 11 most bike-friendly cities in the World, Copenhagen ranks in as the third most bike-friendly city. Fifty percent of people say they cycle because it is fast and easy. It is two spots behind Amsterdam and Portland, Oregon.
Copenhagen city officials want to double the number of cyclists by 2015 as well as increase the speed of which cyclists can go by 10 percent. The city wants to make the environment of cyclists fast and safe. The city will increase a budget of 25 million Danish crowns, which is 3.7 million U.S. dollars, in 2007 to a budget of 75 million crowns to provide for cyclists.
The city provides a lot for cyclists. At subway stops and other public places there are bicycle parking stalls. The city plans to increase the number of these stalls in order to encourage more people to turn to cycling ad also to keep cyclists away from pedestrian and car traffic. The city will also widen lanes to allow more bikes to ride near the streets.
The city also supports a new idea to have a ‘green wave’ for cyclists so they won’t stop at red lights as long as they follow the speed limit. Cyclists will have to maintain a speed of 20 kilometer/hour in order to catch the green wave.
Copenhagen has the sixth-highest quality of life. Cycling may be the reason. It is not only eco-friendly, but it is relaxing and a great way to get exercise-in.
Sunday, November 4, 2007
The company wants to have a fleet of fuel-efficient vehicles, FlexFuel vehicles and gas/electric hybrids within its 1.1 million vehicles currently in fleet. FlexFuel cars use E85 fuel, which is renewable, produced in the U.S. and lowers greenhouse gas emissions.
It has taken the company two years to develop this new eco-friendly strategy towards their rental cars. The company has also pledged to plant a million trees per year, to purchase more ethanol-based or alternative fuel vehicles, and print company documents or magazines on recycled paper.
Before 2006, Enterprise operated approximately 3,000 gas/electric hybrid vehicles, which are run by a combination of gas and battery-generated electricity. According to a press release, the St. Louis-based company has the most fuel-efficient being driven on the roads then anywhere else in the world. There were 334,000 vehicles, which is 47 percent of its rental fleet, that are being used on the streets.
In 2006, Enterprise purchased 41,000 flex fuel vehicles, the majority of them from General Motors, which burned gasoline or ethanol. These cars were placed at filling stations that sold ethanol. The eco-friendly cars fleet grew to about 900,000 vehicles. This alternative fuel will reduce the amount of greenhouse gases that affect our environment so negatively today.
Enterprise also partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation in 2006 on their pledge to plant 1 million trees every year for the next 50 years. These trees will help save our environment and help get rid of some of those nasty gases like carbon dioxide.
Enterprise will begin to use recycled paper this year, with 30 percent post-consumer material, for rental contracts, according to a press release. The company believes that more than 2,730 mature trees every year, or 10 acres of forest, will be saved due to their new initiative. The company will print more than 3 million pages a year on recycled paper.
Enterprise has a green future ahead of it; and having a “green” edge over other rental car companies may help Enterprise last longer then any rental company out there; especially if other car rental companies don’t have the greener technology available.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
A company called XP Vehicles is developing a new kind of car... A car that if you were to drive off a cliff and flip around a couple times you would still be okay... A car that if you were to get hit by another car you would simple bounce away like a bumper car... It might be one of the future's most innovative creations - An inflatable car!
The XP Vehicles' Whisper model is an electric car built out of inflated air bags. The company claims that Whisper may be the safest car out there. It even offers to put $50,000 in an escrow account and if any of their claims are wrong then that money is yours to keep. Of course, if you drive off a cliff and don't survive then it will be difficult for you to claim that money. But it is nice to know that that money is out there.
The car has a flotation device in case of emergencies and it uses battery pack technology.
The company claims that you can get up to a 300 mile range with the Whisper. They offer a Whisper, a Whisper Sport Coupe, and a nikO SUV+. The cars should be available to the public within the next 2 to 3 months. However, it will take up to 7 months after the company closes their funding round to get the cars out on the streets.
In a few months, the company's website will allow you to build your own car online. You can decide if you would like to assemble your car on your own or have the dealer assemble it. The car takes approximately two hours two assemble with two people assembling at the same time.
The company claims that research has shown that metal in a car "is the largest cause of death and injury," according to their website. Thus, they believe that reducing metal in a car and creating an inflatable car is a lot safer.
The cars are not entirely inflatable. Their are certain aspects of the car, which require different material, such as the steering wheel.
The car will cost approximately $10,000, according to a questionnaire on the website. And it is unknown whether these cars can be certified in every city. The company says that it will be the buyer's duty to obtain certification from their city in order to drive the car.
The inflatable car also provides "ipod mounts & connects, 20 colors, trim, decals, roof, no roof, car covers, solar mounts, stereos, integrated pumps, home connections, GPS, battery clubs, alarms," according to the company's website.
Also, if there are concerns about the car blowing away, the company claims not to worry because the car has a special aerodynamic system which is supposed to keep the car pretty stable...
Overall, I think the whole idea is very cool. I think it would be wierd to have only one inflatable car on the street, but it would be cool if everyone had one.
Think about it, if you were ever to get into an accident with another inflatable car then both of you would just bounce off eachother like bumper cars. It might actually be kind of fun! The idea in general is very creative and I would love to see these cars come into town!
Sunday, October 21, 2007
There is so much talk about the negative side of auto emissions towards the environment. Hybrid cars were created to reduce the amount of auto emission which goes into our environment and to also help save some money on gas...
However, a hybrid car still burns gas.. Our natural resource, oil, is still being used up... So, why not switch to an electric car?
Electric cars have no tailpipe emissions, which means that they do not put extra carbon dioxide into our environment.. However, one of the reasons that we have not switched to electric cars is because they also burn natural resources...
Electric cars have to be charged at night. Which means that when the electric car is being charged over night it burns a significant amount of fossil fuels like coal.
According to a statistic from Evworld.com, an electric/hybrid car site, "For every gallon of gasoline burned, approximately 22 pounds of C02, an important global warming gas, are created. If a car gets 25 miles a gallon it will emit 22 pounds of carbon dioxide over that distance, as well as other pollutants. By comparison, an electric car may travel the same distance consuming 5 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electric power at a rate of 200 watt hours/mile. Assuming the local grid is 100% coal-fired, roughly 5 lbs of coal would be consumed to create that 5kWh. Depending on the grade and carbon content of the coal, one kilowatt hour creates approximately 1.4 pounds of CO2. That's 7 pounds of CO2 vs. 22 pounds to travel the same 25 miles. But recall that the power grid isn't entirely coal-fired; it includes hydroelectric, natural gas, nuclear and a small, but growing segment of renewables."
Furthermore, electric cars may not cause pollution from auto emissions, but they do cause "battery pollution." Batteries contain nickel. When an electric car runs it puts nickel into our environment, which is also harmful...
So what to do? It seems like no matter what, our environment is doomed... There is no solution right now.. If we use regular cars we use up oil and put a lot of CO2 into the air; Hybrid cars put a little less CO2 in the air; And electric cars burn fossil fuels (coal) and put nickel into our atmosphere... So is there a solution somewhere?
The answer is: sort of... According to Treehugger.com, "The Podcars Are Coming." Podcars were created from a Korea-based Vectus. They will be tested in Uppsala, Sweden, a college town. The cars are very small, and they will run on tracks built by Vectus.
I personally think the idea to have podcars is amazing. It reminds me of the show "The Jetsons".
According to Treehugger.com, the podcars are to run at "about a three second 'headway' between pods which would run at around 45 kilometers per hour in the inner city, making it possible to move at large numbers of people during rush hour, the company said."
This is exciting!!! There is a photo you can check out here.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
The feature was designed by engineers from San Francisco, New York, and Zurich, according to an article written by Avichal Garg, product manager of the transit team. All of the engineers use public transportation regularly. They devoted 20 percent of their time per week to building this new feature on Google.
There are only a few simple steps you need to take to get to the public transit map:
1) Go to Google.com
2) Click on “Maps”
3) Click on “Get Directions”
4) Type in a “start address” and an “end address”
5) Click “Get Directions”
6) Then, under “Search Results” there should be on option where you can click “Take
7) Once you select the option a new Google map will appear with new directions.
I think it is such a great feature to have on a website, especially if you are moving to a new city and you have no way of getting around but by public transportation.
When you get the directions, Google lists how much time it will take you to walk to the bus stop or train station; it tells you which bus you will need to board and the time that it departs and arrives; and it states how much time you will need to walk to reach your final destination.
Google has not created transit maps for every city and state, because the feature is so new. However, you can plan trips in seven states and one other country other than the U.S. – Japan.
- Bay Area (BART)
- Burbank (Burbank Bus)
- Humboldt County (Various)
- Orange County (OCTA)
- San Diego (MTS)
- Thousand Oaks (Thousand Oaks Transit)
- Bay Area (VTA)
- Tampa (HART)
- Honolulu (TheBus)
- Duluth (Duluth Transit)
- Las Vegas (Monorail)
- Reno (RTC RIDE)
- Eugene (Lane Transit District)
- Portland (TriMet)
- Pittsburgh (Port Authority)
- Austin (Capital Metro)
- Dallas (DART)
- Hampton Roads (HRT)
- Seattle (King County Metro)
- Japan (All regional and national rail networks, domestic airlines and ferries)
By using this new feature you will not only save on gas money, but you will reduce auto emissions which cause the nasty greenhouse effect that is very bad for our environment.
Public transportation saves approximately 1.5 million tons of carbon dioxide annually and 1.4 billion gallons of gasoline annually.
Apart from the new Google feature, I also discovered one of the most beautiful cars I have ever seen in my life and I just had to put it up here...
The photo below is courtesy of a flickr member and it is an Aptera three-wheeled electric car. The car gets 230 miles per gallon.
Here is a picture of the car from the top:
Here is the back view:
For more information on the Aptera you can check out the Aptera website
Sunday, October 7, 2007
There are many things you can do with (or without) your car to live a “greener life”. By making tiny changes to your car or lifestyle you can help promote eco-friendly living and save the environment. Here are some things you can try:
1. Buy a Hybrid Car
If you have to drive everyday and you find yourself driving a lot everyday, a hybrid car may be the best solution for you. With all the websites, blogs, and other information about hybrid cars I have posted on here, you should be able to find one that suits you. I recommend the Toyota Prius because it has the best gas mileage out of all hybrids.
Electric Police Car
2. Change the Amount of Driving You Do
Make a driving schedule. Think about the amount of time you spend driving each day and see if there are some things you can cut-out of your day to drive less. Instead of making several long trips, try to find places that are closer to where you are. For example, choose to eat at restaurants that are close to your house or work. Also, instead of driving to places that are 2 minutes from your house, take a walk. You will find yourself enjoying the fresh air and taking a moment for yourself.
If you drive to school or work everyday, maybe find someone that you can carpool with. This is good for the environment and you will save money on all the gas that you would have otherwise had to pay for.
3. Lower A/C usage
If you want to save more on gas then use your A/C less. Try opening your windows to get air in instead of A/C. I personally prefer open windows so for me that has always been one way of saving gas. Also, I find that darker-painted cars heat-up more than lighter-colored ones. Maybe your car paint may reduce the amount of heat you feel in your car.
4. Stop Speeding!
This one I cannot vouch for because I am a huge speeder. But I have noticed that when I don’t speed I do save a lot of gas… but just driving the speed limit can help save a lot. Also, staying away from stop-and-go traffic will help save a lot of gas as well. If you cannot avoid stop-and-go traffic then try taking the bus. It is fun, especially if you’ve never taken the bus before.
5. Find Good Tires
Good tires can help you save on mileage as well. When you go to purchase a new tire, ask which tire will give you the best mileage.
6. Try Biodiesiel, Natural Gas, or Electric.
Trying these are also very environmentally friendly. The biodiesel and natural gas cars have very little auto emissions. If your car is a 100 percent electric car, then here is no auto emission. I feel that the future is electric cars, just because one day there may not be oil to create gas.
7. Take Car Of Your Car
Make sure to change your oil, your filter, replace brakes, spark plugs and do all other maintenance that is required or your car. Keeping your car “healthy” can help increase the miles per gallon you get on your car.
8. Check Out Some Websites to Get More Ideas:
1. Eco-friendly living through cars
2. Hybrid Cars
3. Eco-friendly Cars
Monday, October 1, 2007
Living in Tucson, Ariz., I know that there are several ways to get around town. A person can bike, take the bus, walk, or even take the trolly. I did some calculations at Healthstatus.com to find out how many calories you could burn by riding your bike.
If your weight is between 100-120 lbs., you would burn from 90 to 105 calories just by biking leisurely for 30 min. And if you weighed from 120-140 lbs., you can burn from 105 to 126 calories in 30 min.
If your weight is between 100-120 lbs., and you bike at 12-14 m.p.h., you can burn from 198 to 237 calories for 30 min. And if you are 120-140 lbs., calories burned are 237 to 277 calories. Numbers go up the more you weigh. For example, if you weighed 200 lbs., you would burn 396 calories!! There goes your bowl of cereal and your orange juice.
If you weigh 120 lbs., and you drive 30 minutes, you will only burn 57 calories... driving will not help shed those extra pounds!
If you weigh from 100-140 lbs. and you decided to walk 2 m.p.h. to the bus stop or work, in 30 min. you can burn from 63 to 88 calories. Walking 4 m.p.h will help you burn from 117 to 163 calories. If you weigh 200 lbs. and walk 4 m.p.h. you can burn 234 calories.
I think one of the reason why Americans have such a high obesity rate is because, compared to Europeans, Americans do not walk as much. According to the American Obesity Association, "Approximately 127 million adults in the U.S. are overweight, 60 million obese, and 9 million severely obese...Currently, 64.5 percent of U.S. adults, age 20 years and older, are overweight and 30.5 percent are obese."
In Europe, biking, walking, and talking the bus or subway is very common. I have been to Italy and France (two of the 27 countries I have visited because of tennis) and I have to say that the reason people were so skinny there is because they walk so much, everywhere!
Also, having traveled to both the West and East coasts of America, I realized that on the East coast, especially in New York, people are a lot skinnier. I am not sure if it has to do with the amount that people walk, but I did notice a difference in weight.
According to a table by the American Obesity Association, which shows the percentage of Adults with Obesity in the U.S. by State, shows the following: In 2001, California's population is 20.9 percent obese and in New York the population is 19.7 percent obese... so maybe walking a little extra does make a slight difference. In 2000, the American Obesity Association found that in the New England Region (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont), 16.95 percent of people are obese. And in the Pacific Region ((Alaska, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon, Washington), 19.1 percent of people are obese. In the Middle Atlantic (New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania), 18.41 percent are obese. Seems like the East Coast wins again by having less obese people.
The conclusion I grabbed from my research is that walking a little extra, or biking, might help your body and the environment. You can shed some extra lbs. and also help save that environment by reducing auto emissions.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Something I would like to share with all of you this week is that I am on the Women’s Tennis Team at the University of Arizona. I am a senior on the team and we are in our fall season. This weekend, I traveled from Tucson, Ariz., to El Paso, Texas, to compete in a tennis tournament.
The trip was 4 ½ hours long. The driver, Vicky Maes, head coach of the tennis team, happened to drive a hybrid SUV. I thought to myself, “How perfect!” and I was able to score an interview with her this weekend during our drive to Texas.
My long trip to Texas allowed me to examine my coach’s 2008 Toyota Highlander Hybrid SUV to the fullest detail. My experience in the car was great. I took naps, ate, stretched-out, sat in the front and backseats, listened to music, played around with the A/C, and opened-up different compartments.
I am one of those people who can take naps wherever I am, whether I am on a plane, train, or automobile. I have to say that the Highlander was very comfortable. The first two hours of our trip, I slept in the backseat. The car drove very smoothly and swiftly. I barely felt the bumps on the road.
The car was also very quiet. When my coach started the vehicle you could here it start, but then it went so silent that I thought it was off again. When the car drove in reverse I couldn’t hear it at all. It was almost as if the car was falling back in an off/neutral position.
I also noticed that the car was very spacious. It is just like a regular SUV. The backseats are a little tighter than a regular SUV, but I am only 5’2” so I didn’t bother me much. The trunk is huge. We were able to fit three backpacks, three suitcases, two tennis bags, three shopping bags, and three purses in the back.
There were also a lot of cup holders everywhere. There are cup holders in the front and backseats of the car. It was very convenient.
What I liked best about the car was the sound system. There is no difference between a hybrid and a regular car when it comes to quality and sound of music.
We only stopped twice to get gas our entire trip. Our coach filled it up before we left, once during our trip to Texas, and once more on our way back to Arizona. I was impressed.
Here is what my coach had to say when I interviewed her:
Q: Is this the first hybrid car you have owned.
Maes: Yes, this is the first one.
Q: What was your last car?
Maes: A Toyota Forerunner.
Q: How does your last car compare to the Highlander?
Maes: The Forerunner was a V8, this is a V6. I feel a little bit less safe in this car because it is more swift. Sometimes I feel like it can tip over on sharper turns. The gas mileage is better though and the gas emission is a lot lower. It’s also quieter. It is less bumpy and it feels a lot lighter than my Forerunner.
Q: Do you think you would ever switch back to a regular car?
Maes: I’ll try not to but it all depends. I prefer a hybrid, but some cars just don’t come in a hybrid. I like to do my part for the environment. With the great amount of driving I do, I’d like to help the environment.
Q: Do you have friends that drive hybrids?
Maes: Yes, I know a lot of people. It’s funny but I also get a lot of questions from people. I get stopped a lot at the gas station or anywhere where I have to stop. A lot of people seem to be interested in switching over [to a hybrid car].
Q: Is it good for taking trips up to the mountains and camping?
Maes: It is really good for going up to the mountains. Although it is a V6 it is really fast. It is the same performance wise to the Forerunner. It just doesn’t feel as stable.
Q: How do you fuel the car?
Maes: I fuel it exactly the same way as you would a regular car. The gas tank is smaller but fueling is the same.
Q: How much mileage does the Highlander get?
Maes: Mileage is 32 mpg in the city and 27 on the highway, but I don’t get that much. I never get more than 25 in the city.
Q: How much is the hybrid Highlander?
Maes: They tend to be more in price then the regular cars. This one is about $35,000 to $40,000.
After my interview I went online to see how my coach’s Toyota Highlander Hybrid compared to the Toyota Prius.
The coast of the Toyota Prius is $20,000 to $25,000. It is supposed to get 48 mpg in the city and 45 mpg on the highway. However, from reviews I have read that those numbers tend to drop down from 35 to 40 mpg. The Prius is a lot smaller. For people who are looking to purchase an eco-friendly SUV, I would recommend the Toyota Highlander Hybrid because of a great personal experience.
In the end, my trip was great. My teammate and I got 3rd place in doubles. I went on to win the consolation draw in singles and my teammate ended up getting 4th place.
Here are a few websites you can check out:
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Yesterday I went to the Alternative Energy Expo at the Tucson Convention Center. The exhibition was open on Friday, Sept. 14, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday, Sept. 15, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Hundreds of people interested in eco-friendly living came to the exhibition. There were approximately 60 exhibitors/vendors at the expo.
My main interest and focus at the expo was automobiles and alternative fuel emission. I learned that there are three types of alternative fuel emissions: 1) biodiesel, 2) Ethanol (E85) and 3) compressed natural gas (CNG).
Something interesting that I never knew about biodiesel is that it is made from soybeans and it is mixed with traditional diesel. Biodiesel can be run on any diesel vehicle. There was an old Mercedes diesel on display at the expo which ran on biodiesel fuel.
According to the brochure for the Alternative Energy Expo, "Biodiesel is the name of a clean burning alternative fuel, produced from domestic, renewable resources. Biodiesel contains no petroleum, but it can be blended at any level with petroleum to create a biodiesel blend. It can be used in compression-ignition (diesel) engines with little or no modifications. Bioiesel is made through a chemical process called transesterification whereby the glycerin is separated from the fat or vegetable oil... Biodiesel can (also) be made from recycled grease."
Ethanol (E85) is corn derivative. "There are over 75,000 vehicles, called flex-fuel vehicles, registered in the state of Arizona as of 2004 that could run on E85," according to the Alternative Energy Expo brochure. Putting E85 is just like filling your car up at a gas station. You just simply fill it up at a local retail station.
Compressed natural gas (CNG) is not as available in Tucson as E85. However, it is the future. "There is a device called FuelMaker that can be installed at ones home or business that allows you to fuel at home, overnight by hooking into your gas line at home," according to the Alternative Energy Expo brochure.
I spoke to Chad Lindham, regional manager for Clean Energy. Clean Energy is the largest provider of vehicular natural gas in North America with a broad customer base in the refuse, transit, shuttle, taxi, police, interstate and interstate trucking, airport and municipal fleet markets. It's a $120 million dollar per year company. It operates throughout Arizona. Arizona is a huge user of natural gas.
"We fuel 500 buses in Maricopa, 80 buses run by SunTran and 50 school buses in Tucson," said Lindham.
One of the good things about natural gas is that there is no smoke that comes out from the buses.
"Cleaner, cheeper, and domestic. That's our motto," said Lindham.
The goal of Clean Energy is to try to get every trash truck to switch over to CNG, because trash trucks are huge pollutants.
An interesting fact I found out at the expo is that Arizona is the most aggressive state in the United States for alternative fuels. I found this fact to be interesting because you would expect a state like California to be more aggressive, especially with the population increase and the vast pollution in Los Angeles.
The expo was very interesting and it makes me want to go out and buy an alternative fuel vehicle.
Please check out my slideshow!!! There were a lot of amazing cars I saw at the expo.
Also, here are some websites if you are interested...
Alternative Energy Expo site:
Natural Gas Info:
Sunday, September 9, 2007
Photos Courtesy of eVox Productions
Hello blog readers! This past weekend I decided to test-drive a 2007 Toyota Prius, a gasoline hybrid, just to get the feeling of what a hybrid car is like compared to a regular car.
The 2007 Toyota Prius is similar to the 2004 Prius except for some additional standard safety equipment.
The EPA fuel economy is 60 miles per gallon in the city and 51 on the highway. Available engine is a 76-horse power, 1.5 liter I-4. Available transmission is a 2-speed CVT w/OD.
Before the test drive, I went online to find some of the plus and minuses about the vehicle. I went to a website that laid out a few points.
Some of the new and notable functions are:
*Electric-dominant hybrid powertrain
*Hatchback body style
*Enhanced regenerative breaking
*Available Touring Edition
The positives about the car are:
*Superior fuel economy
*Performance, considering its frugality
*Interior and cargo space
The negatives about the car are:
Taking these points into consideration, I went to test-drive the 2007 Prius at Precision Toyota at 700 W. Wetmore Rd. in Tucson, Ariz.
The first thing I noticed when I got into the car was how much room there was. You would expect a hybrid car to be tiny in order to be fuel efficient; but in fact, it was very spacious. The seats were also very comfortable. However, I am only 5’2” and I couldn’t adjust the seat for my height… That’s an important feature I think Toyota needs to add to the Prius.
The backseats were very spacious as well. They were comfortable, but I wouldn’t say they match up to the comfort of German cars, such as the Audi or Mercedes.
I also would have to agree with the review that there is little headroom in the backseats. Because I am not so tall I was able to fit perfectly, but for someone who is taller then I am they might have trouble squeezing into the backseat. The cargo volume totals 16.1 cubic feet and 5 people should be able to fit in the car.
The placement of the gauges on the dashboard is pretty neat. I had to operate the climate controls on an LCD screen located at the top center of all the controls. The car comes with an AM/FM radio/CD six-speaker sound system. The quality of the sound was definitely good. I am a base lover and the speakers could produce a lot of base sound so I liked that.
The car started different then a regular car. I had to press a power button in front of me. Then, as I started driving it, I could never really hear the car. When I went into reverse I heard some beeping sounds which told me I was going in reverse. The Prius was very quiet and calm inside.
As I started driving the car, I would say I have to agree with the negative review about the car’s rear visibility. I couldn’t see behind me very well. Also, because my seats had no height-adjustability, that only added to the problem.
I also noticed that when I would hit the brakes on the car it would jerk slightly. According to the website above, the Prius has anti-lock brakes and traction control. Maybe the way it is designed it wants a person to have more feel when they are stopping. Not sure.
I decided to try to park the car. There is no park position on the gearshift lever. Instead, I had to press a button with a “P” on it to get to the park position. Then you just press the power button again to shut it off.
It was an interesting ride and experience since that was the first hybrid car I had ever test-driven.
The Toyota Prius starts out at a pretty good price as well. $22,175 for the 4-door Sedan Base and $23,070 for the 4-door Sedan Touring.
Overall, I have to say my experience was great.. I would definitely buy a hybrid car someday.. I really want to test-drive the Porsche hybrid so I will try to see if I can find a place in Tucson to do that.
Also, if you come back later tomorrow I should have a slideshow posted so check back!!
For those interested in the 2007 Toyota Prius, here are some websites you can check out:
Toyota Prius review -
Auto Spectator's Prius summary -
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Hey guys! I found another cool website:
It talks about the effect of hybrid cars on the world we live in.. There was an interesting statement concerning battery toxicity which read "Some environmentally motivated car buyers are concerned that a hybrid utopia might turn into a toxic nightmare when the nickel metal hydride batteries in today's hybrids end up in landfills." Hmmmmm? This is something interesting to consider.
I still think that with or without battery toxicity, the environment is a lot safer without so much Carbon Dioxide being burned everyday. What do you guys think???
Anyway.. Also according to the website, there are also several health factors to be aware of concerning pollution:
*Pollution can cause acute respiratory problems, temporary decreases in lung capacity, and inflammation of lung tissue
*It can impair the body’s immune system
*Reduce the release of oxygen to body tissues
*Increase a person’s risk of cancer-related death
*Contribute to birth defects, low birth weight, and infant deaths
*Harm blood vessels in healthy individuals
*Make healthy active children 3 to 4 times more likely to develop asthma
And pollution is increasing everyday as cars and mileage traveled increases.. Here is another fact grabbed off of the website:
"Since 1970, vehicle miles traveled have increased approximately 150 percent while the U.S. population increased only about 40 percent. Today, there are approximately 200 million cars in America, and over 700 million vehicles worldwide."
Here are some other problems which arise from all the pollution and increase in cars around the world:
"Runoff of oil, automotive fluids, and roadway chemicals are estimated at hundreds of thousands of tons per year, and are considered the leading source of impairment to rivers. In addition, hundreds of thousands of potential leaks from underground fuel storage tanks threaten groundwater, and improperly disposed of used motor oil ends up in waterways."
"Noise from car traffic, and loud car stereos and alarms, has become so ubiquitous that we barely notice it anymore—but it's taking its toll. Recent census data indicates that 1 in 8 American households suffer from bothersome noise from the street or traffic. Problems related to noise include hearing loss, stress, high blood pressure, sleep loss, distraction, and lost productivity, and a general reduction in the quality of life and opportunities for tranquility."
Definitely check-out the hybrid car website!!
For those of you who are curious about the Porsche hybrid, here is another article I found which states that the car is supposed to be launched in 2009 and available in Australia:
"Porsche to go hybrid by 2009
by Safura Rahimi on Wednesday, 07 March 2007
The 2008 Porsche Cayenne was introduced in January, with the 2009 hybrid model to follow in 2009.Porsche is set to launch a hybrid version of its Cayenne luxury SUV by 2009 with the aim of cutting down on fuel consumption, AutoInsider News reported today.
Porsche Australia's managing director Michael Winkler confirmed rumours about the gas-electric hybrid at the Melbourne motor show this week.
He said that the hybrid system is still in development and that it will be installed in the Cayenne 4WD, although it is not limited to one type of engine, AutoInsider News reported.
According to the AP, the company has teamed up with Volkswagen AG to develop hybrid engines that will cut down on fuel spending by about 30% to around 2.4 gallons per 62 miles.
Porsche CEO Wendelin Wiedeking has also indicated in a German newspaper article that the Porsche Panamera will be next to feature the hybrid system.
Porsche joins Toyota and Honda in trying to reach eco-minded drivers. Hybrid engines draw their power from an electric motor and gas-power transmission, and so produce less carbon dioxide and less nitrates in the environment.
And according to the AP, Thomas Weber, an executive board member with DaimlerChrysler, said the Mercedes-Benz unit is set to launch its first hybrid car also in 2009.
The Cayenne hybrid will be available by 2009 in Australia."
Lastly, who drives hybrid cars??? Here is an unofficial, unverified list of celebrities who drive hybrids gathered from the hybrid car website:
Dr. Andrew Weil
David Hyde Pierce
Dr. Oliver Sacks
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Everyone who is interested in new electric vehicles (EVs), hybrid electric vehicles, and/or lighter vehicles (such as golf carts, electric wheelchairs, personal transportation devices and scooters) should check out this website:
The company name is Valence Technology. They use a lithium phosphate technology system to create batteries that power electric vehicles.
Valence Technoloy created a lithium battery to run a new Porsche Cayenne SUV hybrid prototype. More information about the Porsche sports car will be talked about next week.
This website talks about the Valence Technology lithium battery:
For information about another Porsche hybrid, the Cayenne SUV hybrid prototype SUV, here is an article:
Hybrid vehicles first started to appear in 2007. They support green living because they cause less polution, thus more eco-friendly to our environment.
Here is a website that contains a timeline of all the hybrid vehicles created and future hybrid vehicles:
Hope you enjoy these wesites and let me know what you think!
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
This particular blog will discuss how you can be eco-friendly through transportation. What vehicles are more eco-friendly? Are motorcycles really more eco-friendly than cars or is that just a myth? Why use public transportation? How can people help reduce pollution and what options are out there for them? ... and several more questions will hopefully be answered..
Please check this site often and comment on my blogs. I will be posting new stuff on a weekly basis so check back!