Sainsbury's supermarket in Gloucester, UK generates electricity from parking lot



Shoppers' cars will be used to power supermarket tills in a revolutionary new scheme.

The weight of vehicles driving over road plates into a new eco store will power a generator that creates enough electricity to keep checkouts ringing.

The system uses the same type of technology Formula 1 cars use to convert kinetic energy created during braking into speed.

At the Sainsbury's store in Gloucester, kinetic plates, which were embedded in the road yesterday, are pushed down every time a vehicle passes over them.

A pumping action is then initiated through a series of hydraulic pipes that drive a generator.

The plates are able to produce 30kw of green energy an hour - more than enough to power the store's checkouts.

The scheme at the Gloucester Quays store demonstrates the potential of kinetic energy to generate enormous amounts of electricity.

A similar system on the roadway into theme parks could provide enough power to keep rollercoasters running.

And road plates could be used on motorway slip roads to light the national road system.

Sainsbury's environment manager Alison Austin said: 'Not only are we the first to use such technology with our shoppers, but customers can now help to make their local shop greener. We want to make the weekly shop

sustainable. Using technology like this helps us reduce our use of carbon.'

Sainsbury's first used the kinetic road plates at a depot in Northampton. Following that success, it is rolling out the technology to its supermarkets.

The plates are one of many energy- saving measures at the store. Over two years, it will harvest enough rainwater - for flushing toilets - to fill an Olympic-sized pool, while solar panels heat water during the summer.

Floor-to-ceiling windows and 140 sun pipes in the roof reduce the need for artificial light, while automatic dimmer lights ensure less electricity is used on brighter days.

Cold air is also retrieved from the fridges to cool the checkout area.

David Sheehan, Sainsbury's director of store development, said: 'We use cutting-edge technology to improve our services and the store environment. At the same time we are ultimately reducing our carbon footprint.'

Ford decided to offer factory-converted LPG Fiesta in Europe



The new Ford Fiesta is now being offered with a factory-installed LPG option in Europe. This is the fourth Ford model that uses this technology and allows the car to run both with unleaded gasoline and LPG, similar to the new Golf Plus Bi-Fuel. The base model Fiesta uses a 1.4-liter gasoline engine. In the conversion, the spare tire is replaced with an additional 42-liter tank for the LPG. This model has an engine output of 92hp. Since the gasoline tank is left untouched, the Fiesta LPG has a total range of 1,200 km when burning the both fuels. Prices start at €15,490, which already includes the €1,990 conversion cost. The conversions are performed at the Ford's brand new facilities.

Hyundai starts accepting orders for Avante LPI Hybrid in Korea



Hyundai's Avante LPI Hybrid has been a long time coming. First discussed back in 2007, the company is finally ready to take pre-orders for the LPG-electric hybrid in Korea. According to the Korea Herald, interested buyers can raise their hand for an Avante LPI Hybrid as of today, but the exact price that they'll be paying won't be announced until the sometime before the vehicles July 8 launch date. Like it's Kia sibling, the Forte Hybrid, the Avante LPI Hybrid can burn liquefied petroleum gas (propane). The Avante uses a 1.6 liter engine alongside the lithium polymer batteries and features regenerative braking, stop/start and the ability to travel solely on electric power. Hyundai says that the hybrid gets fuel economy of 42 mpg (U.S.), and that this is equivalent 52 mpg (U.S.) in a gasoline-powered vehicle. Solid

Enter the Rumormill: upcoming Buick CUV may get 2-Mode hybrid powertrain



Since 2006, GM has been developing a front-wheel drive 2-mode plugin hybrid (PHEV) vehicle. The 2-mode plugin Saturn VUE was to be that car but bankruptcy and divestment of the Saturn brand has ended that plan.

GM’s contract negotiations with Penske could in theory enable that car to still be built and sourced, however that is highly unlikely.

Yet GM has said it still plans to put the plug-in 2-mode powertrain into a production vehicle but hasn’t said which one. Development work is ongoing.

Writers have speculated the new Chevrolet Equinox which gets 32 mpg highway using a direct injection 4 cylinder engine would be the likely host for the powertrain. Other speculation includes the new GMC Terrain or Cadillac SRX.

These ideas may be wrong.

GM-Volt.com has learned the new vehicle will be a Buick.

GM has designed a new small crossover (CUV) Buick which has yet to be named or unveiled. Footage of a clay model of the vehicle was leaked when CBS news filmed an interview with GM VP of Design Ed Welburn, and is shown above.

This new car shares the same platform the Saturn VUE uses and therefore is properly configured for the 2-mode hybrid and plug-in 2 mode hybrid drivetrain. The body design will be unique.

It is expected the car will make its appearance in 2011.

[UPDATE: GM has not officially confirmed this information, so should be taken as rumor at this point.]

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GM Announce Tentative Agreement to Sell Saab to Koenigsegg



After the February announcement that General Motors was planning on dumping Saab, the American parent appears to have come to terms with a suitor. supercar manufacturer Koenigsegg has agreed to take on the Swedish brand.

Both parties have signed a memorandum of understanding, with anticipation of the deal closing by the end of September. Terms of the deal include $600 million in financing provided by the European Investment Bank, and secured by the Swedish government.

Saab operations will continue in full, thanks to funding from both Koenigsegg and GM. Because of this, Saab intends to continue with the launch of "several new products that are in the final stages of development." In addition to GM continuing to provide platforms for the time being, Saab plans on building the next generation Saab 9-5 in Trollhättan, Sweden. The new 9-5 is due for a Frankfurt introduction later this year. The larger 9-5 should be about six inches longer, with a wide variety of powerful engines, all-wheel drive, and LED taillights.

What is uncertain is if these future plans include bringing the Saab Quant electric concept closer towards production. Koenigsegg is believed to be excited about the 500 kilometer-range vehicle's potential, especially considering its reported recharge time of 20 minutes.

The supercar manufacturer also plans to ramp up Saab production to 150,000 units per year by 2011, up from 20,000. That reason alone could have been enough to win the backing of the Swedish government, as jobs that could have been at risk now have a better chance of being safeguarded, provided the outcome of Saab's in-court reorganization.

With this sale moving forward, Koenigsegg will be keen to avoid mistakes made by other manufacturers in the past. The merger between Daimler and Chrysler saw the combination of a performance vehicle automaker with a volume seller. Significant problems arose when the German car company showed strong reluctance at sharing technology with their high-volume American counterpart.

Of the deal, Saab Managing Director Jan Åke Jonsson said, "Today's announcement is great news for Saab's current and future customers, dealers, suppliers and employees around the globe."

Now Tata Motors Has Planned To Build Electric, Hybrid Cars on Nano Platform



Tata Motors has plans to use the Nano platform to build electric and hybrid cars, Tata Group said highlighting the Innovation and Innovativeness of the company.

Designed with the transportation needs of a family in mind, the Nano is a full-fledged car with contemporary styling and spacious interiors conforming to standards of emissions, mileage, acceleration, safety and performance.

"The Nano is just not a car for Tata Motors, it is also a platform to create more high-end models that will sell for higher prices and yield better margins," a Tata Group's report on its innovations said.

The introduction of Nano was compared to that of the Ford Model T, the car that completely revolutionised the automobile industry.

Nano is also expected to create a new distinct category in the auto industry - the People's Car.

Tata Group said that Tata Motors should target exports of the car in the developing countries like Brazil, China, Indonesia and Russia, where the growth rate is more than 10 per cent.

A true Indian car, Nano has 97 per cent local content. Before Nano, Maruti 800 was the lowest cost car in the Indian market priced at around Rs two lakh.

VW Reveals Golf Plus BiFuel - LPG or Petrol



The Volkswagen Golf BiFuel mkVI hatchback was first debuted at Bologna in December and now available for order. Now VW adds the VW Golf Plus variant to it's LPG lineup. The car runs on both liquified petroleum gas and conventional petrol. Both Golf hatchback and Golf Plus are the first vehicles with a factory-installed LPG system put on the market by VW.

When running on LPG the Golf Plus cuts down on emissions by 10 percent. Using a 97 horsepower 1.6-liter four-banger the car burns either 7.5 liters of petrol per 100 km, or 9.8 litres of LPG over the same distance.

Although the car burns a higher quantity of LPG than petrol, using LPG can translate to a savings of over €6.10 for every 100km using the current price of fuel in Germany. Germany charges a lower amount of tax on LPG versus petrol.

Believe it or not, LPG is available in over 4,700 filling stations in Germany alone, with the fuel available across Europe as well. Thanks to the two different fuel tanks, the car has a potential range of over 1,100 km.

The new Volkswagen Golf Plus BiFuel has a starting price of €22,460.

GM to select factory for building small cars by the end of June



General Motors has narrowed down its selection process for its new small car assembly plant to three locations. The Lake Orion, MI plant that until recently built the Pontiac G6 is one possibility as is Janesville, WI which had been building full-size SUVS. The third possibility is Spring Hill, TN, which until last year was the home of Saturn and currently builds the Chevy Traverse. Traverse production is being consolidated in Lansing, MI with the GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave.

GM is currently negotiating with federal and state officials to see who will give the best deal to get the new production. The automaker hopes to make a decision by the end of June. The other thing we still don't know is which car will be built. It could be the Spark or the slightly larger B-segment car that will replace the Aveo.