earth friendly

BMW i8 gets laser headlamp option

BMW i8 gets laser headlamp option

BMW is outfitting its luxury i8 plug-in hybrid coupe with lasers, though unfortunately that won't mean blasting slower traffic out of the lane ahead. The car will be the first production model in the world to get laser light headlamps, which use laser diodes to produce more daylight-like illumination, boost range, and - perhaps most importantly on a car powered by batteries - cut power consumption.

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2014 Civic Hybrid and Natural Gas get boosted trim and MPG

2014 Civic Hybrid and Natural Gas get boosted trim and MPG

Honda has outed a pair of alternative fuel Civic models for 2014, tapping hybrid and natural gas power to boost mileage to as much as 47mpg. The 2014 Civic Hybrid hits forecourts today, also debuting a number of aerodynamic tweaks, a new fuel pump and ignition coil, and higher-efficiency regenerative braking - which feeds power back into the batteries when the car is slowing - which help it hit a 44/47/45 mpg trio for city/highway/combined driving.

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Micro-windmills could charge your iPhone with waving

Micro-windmills could charge your iPhone with waving

Forget angels dancing on the head of a pin, recharging tomorrow's mobile devices could be a question of how many micro-windmills can you fit on a cellphone cover, with one team of researchers looking to harness the wind on a tiny scale to keep your iPhone topped up. Smitha Rao and J.-C. Chiao of UT Arlington developed the 1.8mm-wide windmills as a way of working around limits on traditional wind power generation, like size and safety. Instead of one big turbine, the pair envisage devices covered with hundreds of tiny versions.

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Toyota accuses Tesla’s Musk of fuel-cell myopia

Toyota accuses Tesla’s Musk of fuel-cell myopia

Toyota has dismissed fuel-cell skepticism from rivals, with a senior exec calling out Tesla's Elon Musk and others by name and accusing them of myopia when it comes to eco-friendly car tech. "Personally, I don't care what Elon, Carlos, or Jonathan say about fuel cells" Toyota SVP Bob Carter said at the Automotive News World Congress this week, referring also to Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn and former VW America chief Jonathan Browning. "If they want to "plug in and tune out" other technologies, that's fine." Carter's outspoken comments come as Toyota announces another sales milestone for its hybrid fleet.

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Solar cell project creates hydrogen fuel and bypasses batteries

Solar cell project creates hydrogen fuel and bypasses batteries

Batteries are a distraction: the best way to store excess solar energy for nighttime use is using it to create "solar fuels" that rely on energy-dense chemistry, one research team has concluded. The prototype takes a cue from plants and uses a new type of solar cell that relies on the sun's energy to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. The latter is released, but the former can be stored and then later used for power, including potential in fuel-cell cars. Best of all, the system requires no external power source in order to work its hydrogen-generating magic.

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Toyota i-Road first-drive experience

Toyota i-Road first-drive experience

Toyota has been showing the i-Road three-wheel electric concept vehicle here at CES 2014. This may be the first time many have seen this concept, however it was actually introduced nearly a year earlier at the Geneva Auto Show in Tokyo, where SlashGear was first allowed to get behind the wheel. While it may only be a concept today, and one that's highly unlikely to make it to the US market, the technology and overall setup are still more than interesting as a leaning, all-EV approach to urban mobility. Read on for our full drive report!

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Toyota: Fuel-cell cars in 2015, and infrastructure needs may surprise you

Toyota: Fuel-cell cars in 2015, and infrastructure needs may surprise you

Toyota will launch its fuel-cell car in 2015, the company confirmed at CES 2014 today, along with some perhaps surprising statistics on just how many hydrogen recharging stations might be necessary in order to sustain a public roll-out. The final fuel-cell car won't be named and production volumes detailed until later in 2014, but Toyota says that it will initially launch in California, where independent research suggests that just 68 refueling sites would be needed across San Francisco and Silicon Valey, LA, Orange, and San Diego county.

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Tesla opens for EV business in China: Heavy traffic predicted

Tesla opens for EV business in China: Heavy traffic predicted

Telsa has begun taking orders for the Model S in China, with the first deliveries of the EV expected to begin early in 2014, and car industry analysts predicting a huge increase in demand. Having opened a showroom in Beijing in November, its first in the Chinese market, Tesla began accepting preorders online, taking reservation down-payments of around $41,000 apiece. However, the overall price of the car is expected to be considerably higher than in the US market.

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GM 200 mile EV compact to challenge Tesla Model E teased

GM 200 mile EV compact to challenge Tesla Model E teased

GM is working on a new compact electric car for 2016, expected to cost around $30,000 and use a similar range-extending generator to the Chevrolet Volt and Cadillac ELR. The project, currently unnamed and with no confirmation of which GM-owned brand it will launch under, has a target electric-only range of 200 miles, outgoing GM CEO Dan Akerson told Bloomberg Businessweek as he hands over the reins to new chief exec Mary Barra.

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Toyota adopts WiTricity wireless EV charging for 2014 trial

Toyota adopts WiTricity wireless EV charging for 2014 trial

Toyota has picked a wireless charging system for its upcoming hybrid and EV cars, adopting WiTricity ahead of formal trials of the technology beginning in 2014. Set to appear on the next-gen Prius and other eco-friendly cars from Toyota, the company confirmed to us back in August, the system will allow drivers to recharge their car batteries simply by parking on top of a special electromagnetic-resonant transmitters that could take the form of simple mats or be embedded into parking spaces.

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