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Automakers join forces to increase fuel efficency

aice japan fuel efficency engine Automakers join forces to increase fuel efficencyThe east’s finest car makers are joining forces to help develop engines and push the boundaries of fuel efficiency. The alliance includes Toyota, Honda, Mazda, Nissan, Subaru, Mitsubishi, Suzuki and Daihatsu and will see the formation of AICE or Research Association of Automotive Internal Combustion Engines.

The group will be investing 1 billion yen into the joint venture that could see FE (fuel efficiency) boosted by up to 50 percent. The Japanese government is backing to project and is reportedly funding over half the cash.

The collaboration mens that the group can pool resources, technology and knowledge while cutting costs compared to going it alone. They aim to be revealing the fruits of their labour around 2020.

The group will be focusing on studying exhaust gas treatment from diesel engines and improving engine thermal efficiency. It’s hoped that they these improvements will see both petrol and diesel engines become more efficient and also much kinder to the environment.

The appointed head of the JV told reporters, “With gas-electric hybrid cars and fuel-cell vehicles being introduced, the range of technologies that car makers must develop are expanding, even though the number of researchers are not.”

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Brake survey confirms speeding and tailgating rife on UK roads

tailgating speeding brake survey Brake survey confirms speeding and tailgating rife on UK roads

Another week and yet other shock survey confirming what the majority of UK motorists already know… people drive too fast and too close.

The survey by the road safety charity Brake revealed that from 1000 drivers surveyed, 57 percent admit to risky tailgating while a whopping 60 percent of drivers admit to breaking the speed limit on motorways and dual carriageways by at least 10MPH.

We all know that speed and distance are common factors in many accidents and fatalities on our roads. Like Brake, we urge all drivers to respect the speed limits and follow the two second rule, hypermiling or not.

Shockingly this is not just another insurance sponsored survey hitting the automotive press either. Brake is doing a sterling job promoting safe driving and lobbying the government to help make our roads safer. Brake have urged government to nationally promote the importance of the two-second rule and keeping within posted speed limits on motorways, as well as extending the roll out of average speed cameras across the UK motorway network.

Here’s what deputy chief executive, Julie Townsend of Brake, said: “Almost all drivers are concerned about the danger posed by other people tailgating on motorways, and yet a shockingly high proportion admit driving too close and speeding themselves. There are no two ways about it: ignore the two-second rule or the speed limit on motorways and you’re putting yourself and others at risk of a horrific crash. Traffic laws are not just for other people: all drivers can help make our motorways safer and prevent needless tragedies by committing to keep your distance and stay under speed limits, including temporary lower limits.”

Brake go further to point out that keeping to the speed limits is also a great way of conserving fuel, check out our Hypermiling tips page for this and more ways to make every drop go that little bit further.

We would also like to again point out that drafting and other Hypermiling techniques that suggest following a vehicle in front should always be conducted safely, in accordance with the law and at correct driving distances.  In adverse weather conditions the two second rule may not be a safe distance and you should adjust your spacing accordingly.

The above is just a small snippet of the results from the survey  - check out the report in full here.

We’d love to hear what you have to say so why not leave a comment below or join the discussion on our busy Hypermiling forum.

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Posted in Car Safety

Toyota develops new semiconductor capable of boosting hybrid efficiency by 10 percent

silicon carbide power control unit toyota hybrid Toyota develops new semiconductor capable of boosting hybrid efficiency by 10 percent

Toyota has announced that they have developed a new semiconductor which can boost fuel efficiency in hybrid vehicles by 10 percent.

These newly developed semiconductors are able to consume only a tenth of the energy of those currently in production, while allowing the power-control unit to be 80 percent smaller. The rather impressive efficiency improvements are a direct result of less energy being lost through heat.

The semiconductors are used to manage the flow of electricity through the power-control unit. This unit connects the battery to an electric or hybrid car’s motor and generator.

The new technology utilises silicon carbide in the production of the semiconductor wafers. With the the use of this material, Toyota engineers have found a way to reduce energy loss caused by the dissipated of heat.

Toyota plan to roll out the new technology to its fleet of Hybrid cars by 2020.

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Tesla prepares UK electric highway for its battery powered rides

charging tesla model s uk electric highway Tesla prepares UK electric highway for its battery powered rides

Plans are afoot for a UK “electric highway” if the battery powered car maker Tesla gets it’s own way. Like the infrastructure already in place across the pond, Tesla plan to litter the UK with charging points allowing Tesla owners “power” their way up the length of our great country.

Tesla’s chargers are expected to be installed  east-west from Dover to Bristol, around the M25 and north along the M1. Unfortunately these charging electric vehicle charging points will only be compatible with Model S cars, so stand side i3 and Leaf drivers. 

Right-hand drive versions of Tesla’s model S EVs are at last arriving on UK shores, with the first chargers set to be installed at the prestigious South Mimms service station on the A1 / M25 in the near future. 

For those not familiar with the Model S, it’s set to trump the rest of the EV crowd with an impressive 300 miles on a single charge. We’ll take that with a pinch of salt if owners utilise its blistering performance, promising 60 in a shade over 4 seconds and on to a license voiding 130mph. Compared to the BMW i3, its a true electric super car.

UK should expect to pay £49,900 after the Government grant of £5000, so you better get saving… or win the lottery! Click for Tesla’s UK website and find out more about this remarkable battery powered car

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New UK car sales continue to boom, matching records set in the 80′s

uk cars sales booming 2014 ford fiesta copy New UK car sales continue to boom, matching records set in the 80s

Booming new car sales once again hit the headlines this week as figures from the SMMT revealed that April marked the 26th month in a row that new car sales improved. Official figures have shown that sales from the first four months of the year totalled 864,942, up 12.5% on the same period in 2013.

New car registrations rose a whopping 8.2% last month with 176,820 vehicles sold. The figures mark the 26th month of rising new car sales, matching the previous longest period of expansion which occurred in the late 1980s.

In more unsurprising news, Ford have yet again corned the new car market with the all concurring Fiesta. We’re yet to drive the 2014 model but reviews do say that it’s a very special car indeed, especially with the non hypermilers choice – the ST. Ford also filled the second spot on the podium with the Focus, with VW’s Golf coming in third.

As expected, Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive commented on the continued strong sales, saying: “After the bumper plate-change month of March, the UK car market returned to more modest but still positive growth in April. This marks 26 consecutive months of growth as GDP continues to pick up, inflation falls and wage levels improve.”.

Here at Hypermiler.co.uk, we’re still yet to sample the delights of a “new” car ownership so we’ll have to make do with the 80′s picture reference. Qudos to those readers that know what I’m talking about.

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Car insurance shake up as RAC backs black box technology

rac black box car insurance Car insurance shake up as RAC backs black box technology

Insurance black boxes have been the product of choice for many young drivers struggling to afford the astronomical premiums demanded by many car insurance providers. They constantly monitor driving habits to assist insurance claims and reduce premiums.

Recent moves by the RAC could see black boxes fitted in up to 2.5 million more vehicles after its partnership with Quindell. The partnership has established a joint venture “Connected Car Solutions” which could see the boxes fitted “on mass” to both breakdown and insurance customers.

The industry has such high hopes for the new venture, so much so that the venture has been valued at £1bn even before it’s signed it’s first customer. This drive for the technology could see the use of black boxes pushed into the main stream, expanding their use from the usual young “at risk” drivers and doubling the take up of such devices by UK motorists.

Rob Terry, founder and executive chairman, said the Quindell model would “revolutionise the insurance industry” and cut the cost of claims.

Britain leader is one of Europe’s fastest growing market for vehicle telematic services (after Italy). Figures show that more than 5m cars are already being tracked globally by insurance companies.

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UK government freezes fuel duty again in the 2014 Budget

fuel duty uk budget 2014 UK government freezes fuel duty again in the 2014 Budget

Chancellor George Osborne has confirmed that number 10 will continue to freeze fuel duty in his annual Budget statement today.

To date, fuel duty has been frozen for over four years and will remain at  57.95p per litre of fuel. Mr Osborne claimed that the governments stance on fuel duty has resulted in 20% lower prices than we would have seen under the plans of the last government

Going further, George confirmed that he will relieve the VAT on fuel for the UK Air Ambulances and Inshore Rescue boat services across Britain. 

The cost of the fuel duty freeze is said to have cost the government in excess of £22 billion in lost revenue over the life of this Parliament. 

Many motoring and pressure groups such as FairFuelUK have been lobbying for a cut in duty, however this was seen as unlikely even during these times of increasing prosperity.

This good news is likely to go down well with hard up motorists, however its easy to forget that nearly 60% of the price you pay at pumps is made up of VAT and fuel duty.

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