Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Go ‘green’ in a Hummer

I know it sounds like a contradiction in terms, but yes, you really can go green in a big ol’ Hummer! Who says saving the planet means driving a small eco-car? Certainly not SAE Energy of Wichita, Kansas. SAE Energy are headed by Johnathan Goodwin and Larry Urry, who together founded the company to convert ordinary diesel and petrol cars to use alternative fuels and run more efficiently to reduce harmful emissions, oh and increase horsepower too.

What sets these guys apart is the fact that they take big traditional American fuel guzzling cars like the ubiquitous Hummer and other 4x4’s and convert them to run on various combinations of alternative fuels mixed with petrol or diesel using software and systems they perfected themselves. They use mostly standard factory produced parts and combine them with their clever in-house technology. Their incredibly innovative approach is getting them noticed, with an upcoming series on the Discovery Channel and a project for California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, their star is definitely on the rise.

Talking of Hummers, they are working on a 2005 H3 Hummer that will be dual-engined. One engine will be electric, the other will act as a turbine. Now here’s the clever bit, when the batteries are running low, the turbine will kick-in for a few minutes and recharge the batteries. The turbine will run on biodiesel, so the emissions are lower. In total, this particular Hummer will have twice the horsepower and yet it will get 60 miles to the gallon. Can you imagine, a 5,000 pound Hummer with 600 horsepower going from 0-60 in around 5 seconds? Hope the brakes are good! For us mere mortals, SAE Energy have developed a $5,000 add-on kit that can convert any diesel powered car to use 50% less fuel and produce 80% less emissions. –

I find it pretty amazing that these two guys working with limited finances and facilities are doing something the major US car manufacturers with all the money, staff and resources available to them have so spectacularly failed to do. SAE Energy has shown it is possible to make big powerful cars that are fuel-efficient and less polluting, so why aren’t the car makers doing it? I suppose it comes down to consumer demand, if consumers want greener cars and are prepared to put their money where their ethics are, then manufacturers will have no choice but to meet this demand.

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