The EU OPTEMUS (Optimized Energy Management and Use) project seeks to address the electric range limitation due to limited storage capacity of electric batteries by leveraging low energy consumption and energy harvesting through a holistic vehicle-occupant-centered approach, considering space, cost and complexity requirements. Specifically, OPTEMUS intends to develop a number... Read more →

Kit for Diesel Plug-in Hybrid Three-Wheeler to Debut

The powertrain layout of the XR-3. Click to enlarge. Robert Q. Riley Enterprises, LLC, a product design firm in Glendale, Ariz., will soon introduce the kit and plans for its XR-3 plug-in hybrid, a two-passenger, three-wheel vehicle with an expected fuel economy rating between 125 and 225 miles per gallon.... Read more →

Open-Source DIY Plug-in a Weekend

The California Cars Initiative ( will publicly convert a Toyota Prius hybrid into a plug-in hybrid during the inaugural Make magazine Maker Faire, April 22-23. Over two days, CalCars engineers, along with a cadre of volunteers, will build and install a battery pack and make hardware and software adjustments to... Read more →

Hacking Hybrids for Greater Fuel Efficiency

How MIMA works A group of people on Insight Central, an Internet forum focused on the Honda Insight, have initiated a project that provides greater driver control over the activation/charging of the Insight hybrid system: MIMA, or Manual Integrated Motor Assist. The premise behind MIMA is that (some) humans can... Read more →

Solar-Power-Augmented Prius Takes the Grid Out of “Plug-in”

Lapp’s PV Prius A Canadian engineer has prototyped a Photovoltaic Prius—a 2001 Prius augmented with roof-top solar panels and an additional battery system to supplement the charge in the original equipment NiMH batteries. Steve Lapp’s PV Prius is still a rough prototype—a demonstration of concept—but even with the limitations of... Read more →

Turlock EV Conversion Update

Earlier, we noted an upcoming class on electric car conversions (the Commuter Conversion Electric Car Class for Teachers—C2EC2T) being held this summer in Turlock, California. Herewith, more information on the project and the specifications of the conversion. Mike Parker, the Turlock Adult School Teacher hosting the class this summer, is... Read more →

RideShare Alliance Website

The RideShare Alliance is offering a free interactive database application that facilitates the development of a ridesharing network over the Internet. The organization is dedicated to promoting ridesharing in the United States, with all the attendant benefits of reducing oil consumption and emissions. The database supports local or national events.... Read more →

Biodiesel or SVO?

Although biodiesel is drawing increasing attention from automakers, policymakers and farmers, there is another biofuel that can be used in diesel engines: straight vegetable oil, or SVO. The two approaches, although apparently similar, are operationally and philosophically quite different. Broadly stated, you can either modify (refine) plant oil to create... Read more →

On the Wings of a Beetle: ~60+ mpg

The wings. Ernie Rogers, an aerospace engineer, set out on a mission “to promote fuel conservation and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by researching, developing and commercializing novel technologies that simply and cost-effectively improve the efficiency of cars and trucks.” One of those technologies or approaches is the addition of a... Read more →

Turning the Prius into a Plug-in Hybrid

The California Cars Initiative (CalCars), a non-profit startup dedicated to jump-starting the market for plug-in hybrids (PHEV), is building a prototype Prius (the Prius+) capable of functioning as a plug-in hybrid and running in full EV (electric vehicle) mode for longer distances than possible with the original Toyota equipment. As... Read more →