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Earthgarage is the place to learn how to make your car greener and save money. We’ve come up with a number of products and resources to help you improve fuel economy, save on typical car repairs and even use your car less

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Little change since ‘13 in EV, hybrid interest – Harris Poll

The number and types of electric vehicles (EVs) available to consumers continue to grow, yet their sales numbers have remained flat for the last couple of years, according to a new Harris Poll. The range of products – encompassing traditional hybrids, plug-in hybrids and pure EVs – “have seen some impressive benchmarks come and go in recent years,” market research company Harris Interactive Inc. Read full post here. Earthgarage – Greener Car. Fatter Wallet.... read more

Game Change? The UK is testing out roads that charge electric cars as they go

A trial in England is hoping to significantly boost the range of electric cars by introducing roads that can charge the vehicles as they drive along them. During the trials, vehicles will be fitted with wireless technology and special equipment will be installed beneath roads to replicate motorway conditions. Electric cables buried under the surface will generate electromagnetic fields, which will be picked up by a coil inside the device and converted into electricity. Read full post here. Earthgarage – Greener Car. Fatter... read more

Is the Wankel Engine Dead?

Dr. Felix Wankel was a German tinkerer who started with drawings and prototypes of rotary engines in the 1920s. His first patent for a rotary engine was granted in 1936. But it was not until the 1950s, when motorcycle manufacturer NSU, used his designs. Early Wankel engines were of a design called “drehkolbenmaschine” (DKM) in which an inner rotating housing and rotor move around a fixed central shaft. The DKM was remarkably smooth in operation, and could run at over 20,000 rpm.  The DKM engine design had drawbacks, though, so the “kreiskolbenmotor” (KKM) was developed. In the KKM, the rotor and output shaft rotate with in a fixed housing. All the rotary engines that Mazda made were of the KKM design. The main advantages of a Mazda Wankel KKM engine were size, simplicity, and smoothness. A double-rotor Wankel has just three moving parts (!) – two rotors and the crankshaft. Because intake and exhaust timing are taken care of by ports in the housing, there are no camshafts or valves. This makes a KKM design a very simple engine to build. Disadvantages, yes there are some. Because of the long, narrow combustion chamber shape, the Wankel is less efficient than a regular four-stroke piston engine. Fuel consumption was can be high too high, especially in the earlier, less-sophisticated engines.  As far as emissions go, nitrogen oxide emissions are lower than in a piston engine but carbon monoxide and unburned hydrocarbons are higher. So does the rotary have a future?  It might. Emissions can be problematic running on gasoline but, guess what, the Wankel seems perfectly happy running on hydrogen... read more

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