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    Gov’t Motors Energy Breakthrough – Chevy Volt Also Generates Thermal Energy

    Gov’t Motors Energy Breakthrough – Chevy Volt Also Generates Thermal Energy

    The Chevy Volt, is not, shall we say, a hot seller.  But it does represent a step forward in energy technology as it doubles as both an electric car and a barbecue grill (via Lakeshore Laments):

    A hybrid electric Chevrolet Volt believed to have sparked an overnight blaze in a garage in Barkhamsted last week, reignited again on Monday.

    The state fire marshal’s office is investigating how the electric car parked at a Center Hill Road home caught fire Monday morning.

    Last week, homeowners Storm Connors and his wife, Dee, woke up to the sound of a smoke alarm around 4 a.m.

    The couple’s garage, where they parked their new Chevrolet Volt hybrid, was on fire. Firefighters were able to put out the blaze. A firewall built between the home and the garage saved their home.

    Investigators with the state fire marshal’s office and the couple’s insurance company, at the time, suspected the hybrid car have had something to do with the blaze.

    On Monday morning, firefighters were called back to the home when the car caught fire again.

    And the best thing is, you don’t even need to plug it in for it to work:

    The hybrid electric car was not plugged in this morning when the fire rekindled….

    Now if only they could do this with windmills, we’d be all set.

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    Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) vehicles have been on the market for years. A combination of price-gouging and intense lobby efforts by the gasoline and diesel folks have relegated CNG vehicles to a "limited market". Meaning that only if you live in a very few large cities are you able to go to a dealer and buy a dedicated CNG or bi-fuel CNG vehicle.

    For example, here in Nashville, Piedmont Gas has a fully functional CNG filling station which is open 24/7 and sells to CNG for $1.45 per gallon to the public. The Honda Civic GX gets about 400 miles on a tank of "gas".

    Honda: They have a monopolistic sweet-heart deal on the "PHILL Fuel-Maker", a home installed natural gas filling device. Park your CNG car in the garage and 4 hours later you have a full tank again. A CNG fueling station such as that operated by Piedmont Gas requires about the same time as filling your tank with soon-to-be $5.00 a gallon unleaded — 5 to 10 minutes.

    The home fueling devices are priced in the $3,500 each range .. an incredible rip-off compared to the same device in Germany selling for less than $500, installed. Just to have one installed here requires a huge and obfuscated variety of local, state and federal hula-hoops rule compliance and permits to have one installed in Tennessee. Reminds me of the way steam engine cars were regulated back in the 1920's — the driver was required to obtain a "Steam Locomotive Operation Engineer's License".

    Atlanta has one dealer selling the Honda Civic GX — a model identical to the other top of the line Honda Civics except that it runs on CNG. It gets the same 40 miles per gallon, the same cruising range of 350 miles, but is about $5,000 more expensive than an ordinary Honda Civic GL.

    In Nashville, Darrell Waltrip's sales folks told me "… gee, we're sorry but we are not allowed to order that car for you …". I made 5 anonymous calls to Nashville area Honda dealers and received essentially the same answer. "Not allowed??" I'd have to drive to Atlanta to buy a Civic GX, then invalidate my warranty by bringing it home to Nashville.

    Road trip? The CNG web sites have an interactive system where you can plug in your route of travel and be routed via CNG filling stations all across the USA.

    Too bad we not living in Mexico, eh? Mexico has a CNG station on practically every corner and the price is $0.45 per gallon. Or Canada, eh? CNG is commonplace there too. And Europe, South America, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, China, India all have a strong CNG infrastructure.

    Convert your own existing vehicle? Oh my! Anyone can obtain a complete CNG conversion kit from eBay (they make them in China, Brazil and Italy) for $500 including instructions on DVD. You don't even want to know all of the arcane laws you break doing that. Convert your own car to CNG and the EPA SWAT boys will be on you like stink in a three hole outhouse. Politics, lobby activities and "not invented here" mentality.

    Politics and Lobbyists as usual here in the once former greatest nation on Earth.

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