Archive for the ‘Eco’ Category

How to save a lot of money

February 4, 2009

Good news: You can save a lot of money easily! Here’s how it works:

Go to (for the US or Canada) or (for Europe) or a similar site where car drivers can enter data of their cars and their tank fillings. Search for similar cars like yours (same engine/power/cylinder capacity, same year of manufacture), look for the average and also for the lowest fuel consumption of these cars (maybe also for the highest).

Let’s take the 2004 Toyota Prius. The average range is 46.3 mpg but the best is 62 mpg! Even if you do are not the perfect eco driver, you might be able to achieve 60 miles per gallon.

Suppose you are typically driving 20,000 miles a year. That’s 20,000/46.3 = 432 gallons of fuel for the average 2008 Prius. Now let us do the same calculation for the fuel efficient driver: 20,000/60 = 333.3 gallons. Considering a price of 1.7 US $ per gallon, that’s about $165 less (870.5 kg less CO2) per year. Not too bad!

What about the 2004 Ford F150 Pickup 2WD 8 cyl 5.4 L? Average mpg is 15.3, worst is 12 and best is 19 mpg. For 20,000 miles a year, that would be 20,000/15.3 = 1,307.2 gallons in average or 1,052.6 for the best driver. Difference is more than $432, so you should be able to save more than $400 (2.25 metric tons CO2) per year (and even more if you are used to driving at high speed and/or with too low air pressure in your tires, or if you use your car instead of your bike for getting fresh rolls in the morning)! For just a fraction of the saved money, you could buy a good computer racing game. Or do indoor cart racing once a year.

For those of you living in Europe, you will save even more (as fuel prices are a lot higher than in the U.S.). In my case, for about 20,000 km (12,427 mi) per year on a Toyota Corolla Combi 1.6 (station wagon), I achieved 5.7 liters per 100 km (41 mpg) in average, compared to 7.5 liters per 100 km (31.4 mpg) for the average driver. With a fuel price of 1.39 EUR per liter (5.25 EUR per gallon), I saved about 500 EUR (and more than 800 kg CO2) per year compared to the average driver, or twice as much compared to a driver that prefers an F1 driving style.

And this is the "car" I am using for short distances, including shopping in my home village – saved me another 100 EUR (plus the fitness center fees) and 160 kg CO2 per year:

Shopping Bike

SAP’s co-founder Hasso Plattner about the economy, the environment, and more

January 3, 2009

SAP’s co-founder Hasso Plattner, now chairman of the supervisory board, recently had an interview with Der Spiegel, the well-known German news magazine.

It’s well worth reading, either in the original German version or in the English translation.

The last paragraphs, about lessons learned from the financial crisis, reminded me of finishing reading Jared Diamond‘s book Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, one of the most interesting books I ever read. Good book for reminding you to not always follow the mainstream (whatever kind or on which side it is) and to ask yourself from time to time which news are currently not discussed in the media (without falling into the conspiracy theories’ trap). Toyota’s Five Whys may be a guideline.

Amazing: A General Motors EV1 in Altlussheim/Germany!

January 3, 2009

Having watched the movie Who killed the Electric Car?, I never thought I’d ever come across one of the remaining EV1‘s. And I was quite surprised when I some weeks ago read about one being displayed in a distance of just 20 km from our Sun office in Walldorf, in the small but nice transportation museum Museum Autovision in Altlußheim! With their collection of electric cars and various incarnations of Wankel engines, it’s definitely worth a visit!

For some time, they showed the 1 litre car from Volkswagen. Looks like they had to give it back. But with the GM EV1, they have another groundbreaking car on display now: A car which of which more than 1000 have been produced and which does not create any exhaust gas (at least not after it has left the production plant, and in case it is charged using renewable energy). Most of these cars have been destroyed by GM – only few are left, one of which is in Altlußheim now.

Among the other cars on display are:

Here are some pictures I took:

Front view. Notice the small flap which covers the charge port (right above the GM logo).

The engine compartment. The big part is the converter.

The rear wheels are partially covered, for low resistance air flow.

Rear view

Yes, it’s the real EV1!

And yes, it’s from General Motors!

The EV1’s shape is still modern.

The interior looks quite sporty.

Pictures from some of the other cars:

The Audi Duo, another seminal hybrid car

The Toyota Prius 1, the first hybrid car from Toyota. The brick on the floor, next to the car’s left rear wheel, is the battery pack.

The engine compartment of the Toyota Prius 1

The Honda Insight, a hybrid car from Honda

Is it possible? Can I beat the Toyota Prius with a Corolla?

July 28, 2007

Working at a company that offers one of the most energy efficient servers available today, I have one more reason to save energy (the other reasons are well-known).

The question was: Is it possible to drive a standard Toyota Corolla Combi (Station Wagon) 1.6 l, 81 kW (110 hp) (Engine 3ZZ-FE) more fuel effectively than a Toyota Prius?

Well, it depends. Depends on what and how you compare, of course. Let’s see: If you look at the average fuel consumption of the Prius as documented here, you can see that the average fuel consumption of the Prius (models I and II) as entered by about 270 users is about 5.2 l/100 km which equals to 45 mpg.

I was pretty sure that I could never drive more fuel effectively than the best Prius driver (once I hit the break, I lose). But I wanted to know how much fuel I could save by driving as good as possible, which is:

  1. use your bike for short distances
  2. don’t drive fast (at most 100 km/h = 62 mph)
  3. avoid using the breaks: When you have to slow down, declutch or lift the gas pedal (if traffic allows)
  4. switch off the engine when stopping for more than 20 seconds

The result was pretty amazing: 5.26 l/100 km = 44.7 mpg. By the way – the average fuel consumption of similar Toyota Corollas as entered by about 40 other drivers is about 7.7 l/100 km = 30.5 mpg.

If only my Corolla had a gearbox which would allow me to drive 100 km/h at just 1800 rpm instead of 3000 rpm as of today, I am sure I could bring it down to 4.5 l/100 km (52.3 mpg).