Monday, January 18, 2010

A car that get over 200 miles per gallon.

General Motors’ upcoming Volt plug-in gasoline-electric hybrid has already grabbed plenty of buzz over the past couple of years. But Volt mania reached a fever pitch this summer when General Motors announced that it would achieve 230 miles per gallon.

Later the same week, Nissan revealed that its upcoming Leaf electric vehicle would achieve 367 mpg.

Before you go put your money down, beware—neither of those two numbers are official U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fuel economy estimates. TheEPA hasn’t yet formalized any method of testing or rating plug-in hybrid vehicles or a new generation of electric vehicles, and you won’t find either of those numbers in the EPA’s annual Fuel Economy Guide or on window stickers because they’re still prototypes.

Turns out both of these triple-digit numbers rely on optimistic methodologies that are favorable for the respective vehicles but not or easily applied to other types of vehicles or compared to present-day fuel economy figures.

The recent claims remind John DeCicco, a transportation and energy issues expert, of the time just after the 1973 oil crisis and before the first official EPA fuel economy ratings were available, in 1975. Some manufacturers around at that time advertised their vehicles with “outlandish mileage claims,” recalledDeCicco, also a senior lecturer on energy and climate policy at the University of Michigan. “We’ve again got a situation where manufacturers will spin the number to look good,” he said.

Looking at the 230-mpg figure, there’s no way of saying simply that the Volt would use less than a quarter of the fuel of a 50-mpg Toyota Prius to go the same distance.

It is however fair to say that in typical driving a 50-mpg Prius will go twice as far on a gallon of gas as a 2010 Toyota Corolla XRS, rated at 25 mpg. Such comparisons are fair game for any light vehicle that’s officially on sale in the U.S. Every one carries EPA fuel economy ratings, which are designed to give prospective owners an idea of relative fuel cost in real-world driving as well as a way of comparing various models on equal ground.

The ratings are listed in the EPA’s annual Fuel Economy Guide, at, or on the window sticker of any new vehicle; they’re also used in figuring an automaker’s corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) and in assessing a gas-guzzler tax on some vehicles. They’ve become an important way in which shoppers can easily compare one vehicle to another, and it assures a level playing field because of rigorous testing.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

What comes next for the US and Haiti ?

Obama has mobilized a huge emergency aid effort for Haiti and officials say the United States will remain involved in rebuilding the impoverished Caribbean nation so that, after some 200 years of independence, it can eventually stand on its own.

"I want the people of Haiti to know that we will do what it takes to save lives and to help them get back on their feet," Obama said on Friday. "The scale of the devastation is extraordinary ... and the losses are heartbreaking."

This is what could happen next.


U.S. officials have stressed that the assistance effort, which involves thousands of U.S. soldiers, sailors and Marines along with civilian search-and-rescue teams, is being organized in cooperation with the Haitian government led by President Rene Preval.

But the Haitian government, fragile at the best of times, is almost entirely out of contact, meaning that many of the operational decisions must come from Washington.

Experts say the United States has few options: it must either step up to the task of relief rebuilding, or open itself to criticism and as a possible new flood of Haitian refugees.

Dan Erikson, a Haiti specialist at the Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington-based think tank, said at least in the short term the United States was calling the shots.

"Haiti had barely functioning ministries even before the earthquake," Erikson said. "The Obama administration can describe this as a partnership, but it is one where one partner is doing all the work and has all the authority."

U.S. aid chief Rajiv Shah said the strategy was to "saturate" assistance networks run by the United Nations and non-governmental organizations -- after which U.S. forces will start delivering emergency help themselves.

It will not be the first time U.S. soldiers have taken the lead in Haiti, the hemisphere's poorest country. After decades of political turbulence, the United States first sent troops to Haiti in 1915. They stayed 19 years.

More recently, former President Bill Clinton helped restore President Jean-Bertrand Aristide after he was ousted by the military in 1991. But President George W. Bush did little to help Aristide stay in office when his second term was cut short in 2004 by an armed revolt.

Aristide, speaking from exile in South Africa, has offered to return -- which could complicate things.

"What happens if the Venezuelans decide to fly him back?" said Larry Birns, director of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs. "Until there is some kind of political resolution, it is going to be very hard to have rehabilitation."


U.S. officials sketch out a long-term strategy under which the United Nations -- which already has a peacekeeping force of about 9,000 in the country -- takes the lead.

While U.S. forces will contribute much of the initial emergency earthquake response, over time this will shift to a broad-based international assistance project that will concentrate on areas such as energy, farming and healthcare.

"Before this earthquake, we weren't talking about restoring (Haiti) we were talking about building a whole new country, former President Clinton said on U.S. television on Sunday.

"And there was a government plan that they developed in cooperation with the U.N., but it was their plan. And what I believe will happen is they will take all this devastation into account, all the work that has to be done, and they will rewrite their plan."

Coordination could be simple. Bill Clinton is already the U.N. special envoy for Haiti, and repeated donor conferences have established a well-known set of development priorities as well as a mechanism -- the Interim Cooperation Framework -- for delivering the help.

U.N. and NGO offices in Haiti are themselves struggling with the quake's aftermath. But given time, analysts say they should be well positioned to help channel assistance.


Some analysts say perhaps the biggest fear is that time will push Haiti off the priority list as other disasters intervene. For Haiti, already among the world's least developed nations, this could be a compound catastrophe.

"Donor fatigue is a very real concept," Birns said.

With a population of 9 million, an annual per capita income of just $560 and high infant mortality and HIV/AIDS rates, Haiti needs help virtually across the board but often lacks the ability to handle it when it comes.

"Often a lot more money is pledged than is actually delivered. And once the money is delivered, the Haitian government doesn't have the capacity to execute so the money doesn't get spent," said Erikson.

Still, like many development experts, he saw the earthquake as a possible fresh start for Haiti in its relations with its powerful northern neighbor -- who this time is intervening for humanitarian, rather than political, reasons.

"I think we ought to care from a humanitarian perspective and I also think from a strategic perspective because it makes sense to have a stable democracy in our neighborhood," former President George Bush said in a U.S. television interview.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Hot ars

Koenigsegg CRR

On February the 28th 2005, at 12.08 local time, the Koenigsegg CCR broke the production road car speed record, achieving a new official top speed of 387.87 km/h (242.14 mph) at Italy’s Nardo Prototipo proving ground.

With this verification of speed, Christian von Koenigsegg is even more confident that the Koenigsegg CCR is capable of reaching its projected top speed of 395 km/h, or more, in a straight line.

Driver Loris Bicocchi was very impressed by the performance of the car. He feels happy to finally prove the performance of the Koenigsegg. “This test was very important for the customers and owners of Koenigsegg cars. It proves that their belief and faith in the small Koenigsegg Company was well founded”.

Saleen S7

Priced at $430,000, The Saleen S7 is America’s first true supercar that has captured the imagination of the automotive world since its introduction in August 2000.

Designed to compete with the fastest, quickest, best handling and most exotic sports cars, the S7 provides a distinctly American driving experience for the fortunate few who will own one.

Lamborghini Gallardo

With a retail price of $165,900, Lamborghini Gallardo is a 2-door, 2-passenger luxury sports car.

The Italians love curves on their women and their cars, and the futuristic-looking Gallardo is no exception. The extreme curves on the roof make the car look like it could fire off the line at any moment.

You won't find the Gallardo's 500-horsepower, 5.0-liter, V10 engine on American streets just yet. But even if you could, you still might have trouble catching it with the naked eye -- the top speed of this baby is just over 190 miles per hour.