Archive for the ‘Automotive’ Category

Cobra Connex Stolen Vehicle Recovery system for the Honda Accord

Sunday, July 26th, 2009

Here’s more info on the Connex Stolen Vehicle Recovery system that is currently an option with the Accord.

The system is actually by the Cobra vehicle security company, and is pretty reknown. For example, the Italian company’s Connex systems are being used by alot of companies such as Audi France where they use Connex as the standard alarm and recovery solution for the Q7, A8, S, RS and V8-engined cars.

When you buy the package from Honda at RM3,660 inclusive of installation, first year annual service fee (RM360) and a compensation guarantee (optional and worth RM140), it will be installed at the Honda dealer. This package is currently for Peninsular Malaysia cars only, and comes with a 3 year warranty.

Cobra LogoNow what is the compensation guarantee? Basically if your car is recovered within 72 hours of theft management notification, you get cash of up to RM5,000 and bills of up to RM5,000. This covers bills for repair and replacement of damaged parts.

If the stolen vehicle is not recovered within 72 hours, you get a cash compensation of RM15,000 and a RM15,000 subsidy at Honda dealers for a new car if the car is not recovered at all. If recovered after 72 hours, you get a RM5,000 compensation for repair and replacement of parts related to the theft.

The system operates based on GPS to track the vehicle location and a GSM-based communication device that runs on the cellular networks to communicate with the Cobra Connex operation center. The annual fee of RM360 (first year free) covers the GSM device charges, you will not have to pay any extra cash to maintain the Connex system’s GSM SIM card.

Source: Paultan.org

Brammo Electric Cycles

Friday, May 29th, 2009

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Best Buy has signed on to sponsor Brammo’s electric motorcycle racing team in a deal that could see the consumer electronics retailer sell battery-powered motorcycles alongside laptops and DVD players.

Beyond providing the Oregon motorcycle manufacturer with an outlet for its Enertia street bike, the arrangement gives Brammo the financial support and technical assistance to compete in next month’s zero-emission TTxGP motorcycle grand prix. Brammo is one of 18 teams bringing 23 bikes to the Isle of Man for the June 12 race around one of the most storied courses in motorcycling.

“It’s a great way to show what the future of our product is and to test the technology that will end up in consumers’ hands,” company CEO Craig Bramscher told Wired.com in an exclusive interview.

Best Buy is no stranger to the track, as it already sponsors a NASCAR team. Working with Brammo “is a natural extension of our Best Buy Racing initiatives,” Paul Zindrick, senior manager of event marketing, said in a statement. The company is “thrilled to be part of such an innovative racing endeavor.”

The team goes by the unwieldy name of Team Brammo Enertia Best Buy Racing, and it has assembled two very sweet motorcycles.



(more…)

Iran Claims It Has Made World’s Most Powerful Natural Gas Car

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

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The Middle East’s largest automaker has unveiled a four-door sedan, claiming its engine is the world’s most powerful run by natural gas. It’s a significant development in a country that has converted more than 250,000 cars to run on the stuff.

The company, Iran Khodro, says the turbocharged engine in the Samand Soren ELX produces 150 horsepower, 37 more than the CNG-powered Honda Civic GX and just four short of the gasoline-burning four-cylinder Toyota Camry.

Iran Khodro unveiled the car Saturday in Tehran, and the Tehran Times says it was developed “under the intellectual property of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” which explains why there was a picture of the Ayatollah looking over the car.

Company CEO Manouchehr Manteqi says the car meets Euro IV emissions standards and adds, “its nominal power will not decline even at the height of 2,000 meters above sea level.” That’s 6,561 feet for the metrically challenged, and it’s significant because Tehran, like Denver, is located about 5,000 feet above sea level.

Manteqi didn’t offer any other details on the car, but the Samand LX uses a 1.7-liter four-cylinder that produces 100 horsepower. It does 0 to 62 mph in 11.9 seconds and tops out at 115 mph.

Iran Khodro is partially owned by the government, and it has a joint venture with Peugeot Renault to build the Logan econobox (sold in Iran as the Tondar 90) and with Peugeot to produce the 206 compact and 405 sedan. Although the global auto industry is slumping, Iran Khodro plans to ramp up production and ease its dependence on foreign suppliers, according to Reuters.

Tehran, a city of 12 million people, has long been plagued by pollution. That’s changed in recent years as the city has adopted natural gas buses, forced taxis to convert to CNG and taken decrepit old cars off the road. More than 250,000 cars have been converted to natural gas since 2004, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Photo: Associated Press

Source: wired

Got Manure? These Trucks Run on It

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

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A California dairy has converted a pair of 18-wheelers to run on biomethane produced from cow manure, creating what is believed to be the nation’s first cow-pie–powered trucks.

Hilarides Dairy will use manure produced by 10,000 cows to generate 226,000 cubic feet of biomethane daily — enough to reduce the Central Valley farm’s diesel fuel consumption by 650 gallons a day.

“For us it made sense to invest in this technology. Now we can utilize the dairy’s potential to power our trucks in addition to generating electricity for our operations,” Rob Hilarides (pictured above), owner of the dairy, said. “This will significantly reduce our energy costs and give us some protection from volatile energy prices.”

Not to mention something to do with all that manure.

Read more on wired>>

High-Tech Shocks Turn Bumps Into Power

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

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Students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a shock absorber that harnesses energy as it smooths your ride, and they say it can improve fuel efficiency by as much as 10 percent.

The regenerative shock absorber uses the oscillations of a vehicle’s suspension to generate electricity. Its inventors claim a heavy-duty truck using six of their GenShock shock absorbers can produce enough power to displace the alternator, thereby increasing engine efficiency and fuel economy. The students have attracted the attention of AM General, the company behind the military Humvee, and believe future iterations of GenShock could improve the fuel economy of passenger cars and extend the range of electric vehicles.

“I want this to be a standard feature on heavy vehicles and eventually hybrid consumer vehicles and electric vehicles,” Shakeel Avadhany, who led the GenShock team, told Wired.com.

The power-producing shock is the latest example of the push to recapture energy from automobiles that is otherwise wasted. Turbochargers are the most obvious — and oldest — example, but more recent developments include the regenerative braking systems used in hybrids and electric cars. The quest to increase efficiency also has automakers increasingly replacing mechanical components like air conditioning and power-steering pumps with electric ones to ease the load on the engine and save fuel. These technologies will grow more common as automakers strive to increase fuel efficiency and extend battery range.

“You main losses are friction, braking and heat,” says Spencer Quong, senior vehicles analyst with the Union of Concerned Scientists. “Anything you can do to regain energy there will improve efficiency.”

Avadhany, a senior studying materials engineering, started toying with the idea of a wasted energy in August 2007. He and classmate Paul Abel set out to identify where energy leaks from vehicles and figure out how to reclaim it.

It wasn’t long before they focused on shock absorbers, which expand and compress countless times over their lifetimes. The kinetic energy is lost as heat. They figured there had to be some way of capturing that energy, which their tests show can be “a significant amount” — especially in heavy-duty vehicles.

“The amount of energy available in the suspension is on par with the energy coming out of the alternator,” Avadhany said. “It’s 6 to 10 kilowatts for a heavy truck and 3 to 4 kilowatts for a passenger car.”

The students developed a shock absorber that forces hydraulic fluid through a turbine attached to a generator. It is controlled by an active electronic system that optimizes damping to provide a smoother ride while generating electricity to recharge the battery or operate electrical equipment. Should the electronics fail for any reason, GenShock works just like a regular shock absorber.

Read more on this issue>>

11 great green ideas

Sunday, January 11th, 2009



Entrepreneurs are risking their money to develop everything from hybrid vehicles to home solar-panel systems. Here are some of the best concepts.

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Source: CNN Money

TeleNav Launches GPS Vehicle Tracker with AT&T

Saturday, January 10th, 2009



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TeleNav announced that AT&T has added TeleNav Vehicle Tracker to its portfolio of enterprise mobility services.

TeleNav Vehicle Tracker is a GPS-enabled device that is hard-wired or embedded onto a vehicle for monitoring and managing fleet operations. Once installed, TeleNav Vehicle Tracker powers up and is active without requiring any additional driver interaction or resources.

TeleNav says its Vehicle Tracker is accompanied by TeleNav’s password-protected and Web-based management console. Managers can log onto the site and view the location of each vehicle in the fleet.

TeleNav Vehicle Tracker is available immediately on AT&T’s wireless network. The TeleNav Vehicle Tracker device is $399, with a monthly service charge of about $34 per device (additional taxes and fees apply) with a qualified AT&T data plan and TeleNav Vehicle Tracker service plan rates. Customers also pay a one-time setup fee of $19.99 per unit and an $18 data plan activation fee. Volume pricing may be available.

Source: Wireless Week

IS IT GREEN?: ZipCar

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

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One of the great perpetrators of the United States’ wastefulness is urban sprawl, which leads to SOV (single occupancy vehicle) disorder. Many Americans drive to work, and we usually don’t carpool. Beyond driving to work, we use our cars for other things – soccer practice, forgotten items at the grocery store, and trips across our giant country. It doesn’t need to be that way. If we could break ourselves of this habit of hyper-convenience, we could have better bike lanes, rail, and bus systems. Or we could share our cars. Zipcar is an innovative car sharing service that prides itself upon its convenience and accessibility. We recently caught up with Zipcar spokesperson Lesley Neadel to ask a few questions about the company’s green cred.

source: Inhabitant

DHS proposes funky ‘fix’ for RFID security

Saturday, November 15th, 2008

A proposal by the Department of Homeland Security attempts to address one potential security problem with RFID-chipped passports, but leaves more obvious problems hanging fire.

In an effort to detect attempts to clone the data stored on RFID chips used on US Passport Cards, DHS on Wednesday announced that it is recommending that manufacturers supplying these RFID chips include a “unique identifier number,” or Tag Identifier (TID).

The TID would be used to ascertain when a chip’s data has been cloned, as one would do to create a fake passport. If two passports with the same identifier number turned up at the border, one of them could be deduced as fake. That number would actually be the second unique number in the chip, since all a passport’s RFID chip stores is a unique number that is indexed in a database. (Currently the chips hold one unique number and one generic manufacturer code; that generic code is the one that would be replaced with a TID.)

It’s an identification model that works reasonably well with mobile phones and automobiles, but an identity document is a different creature. Conceivably, the ID number might help to determine whether, for instance, a hacker intercepting the snail mail has waved a reader near a State Department envelope and picked off the data without having to open the envelope — with “contactless” technology, the envelope would not have to be opened. But the model may not help with other security issues RFID researchers, privacy activists, and anti-terrorism experts have flagged. (more…)

Piaggio Unveils a 141-MPG Plug-In Hybrid Scooter

Thursday, November 13th, 2008

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Italian scooter-maker Piaggio has unveiled a plug-in hybrid three-wheeler it says will get up to 141 mpg and could be on the road as early as next year.

The gas-electric version of Piaggio’s funky but fun MP3 scooter uses a parallel hybrid system much like that in the Toyota Prius but advances the technology by adding an electrical cord. Although Toyota, General Motors and several other automakers are developing cars that can be charged from a wall socket, Piaggio’s timeline, if met, would make it the first in the world to mass-produce a plug-in hybrid. (more…)