Hybrid Trailblazer: 2017 Lexus CT 200h Earned an EPA-Estimated 42 MPG Combined, All in a Luxuriously Compact Package

Fun to drive, versatile and efficient 42 MPG EPA-Estimated Combined Fuel EconomyF SPORT Package Delivers Sporty Flare

When more luxury brands build hybrids that can offer 42 MPG EPA-estimated combined fuel economy, they will have caught up to the Lexus CT 200h – which got there in 2011. From the instantly recognizable spindle grille to the impeccable workmanship throughout, the 2017 Lexus CT 200h delivers the brand’s signature design and luxury experience in a unique compact hybrid package.
Designed from the outset as a dedicated hybrid model, the Lexus CT 200h provides a roomy cabin within its compact exterior dimensions. For 2017, Lexus gives the CT 200h some distinctive new colors, including Atomic Silver, Caviar, Autumn Shimmer and Blue Vortex Metallic.

Lexus got the whole luxury category thinking about hybrids 11 years ago with its first, the RX400h. The CT 200h brought Lexus hybrid technology and benefits to a whole new segment and also became the brand’s entry model. “Entry” is a relative term; the CT 200h never lets you forget it’s a Lexus. Take the standard NuLuxe seating, for example. It feels as supple as leather yet, compared to leather, weighs half as much, and its manufacturing process generates far fewer CO2 and VOC emissions.

Source: Toyota Motor Corporation

Luxury Motoring on Very Little Fuel

The CT 200h draws from the world’s deepest well of hybrid expertise and experience to deliver responsive performance and fuel efficiency. EPA fuel economy estimates of 43 MPG city / 40 MPG highway / 42 MPG combined help make it one of the most efficient luxury hybrid models without a plug available today.

Lexus Hybrid Drive in the CT 200h includes a 1.8-liter Atkinson-cycle inline four-cylinder gas engine teamed with a 650-volt motor generator for a combined system output of 134 horsepower. 
A second motor generator in the hybrid system serves as a starter for the internal combustion engine and generator to charge the hybrid battery pack.

CT 200h
Source: Toyota Motor Corporation

The powertrain is mated to an Electronically Controlled Continuously Variable Transmission
(E-CVT) that makes the best use of the electric motor’s instant torque and quickly finds the optimal ratio to enhance driving conditions.

It’s the unseen engineering details that really make a difference in the CT’s fuel efficiency. For example, an exhaust heat recovery system uses the heat of spent exhaust gases to speed engine coolant warm-up. That in turn allows the hybrid system to stop the engine earlier and more often in the driving cycle when it’s not needed, for example in low-power-demand city driving conditions.

Like other Lexus models, the CT 200h puts a wide range of vehicle control at the driver’s fingertips through the Lexus Drive Mode Select system. You can choose from four distinct modes: Normal, Sport, Eco or EV. Normal mode has an essentially linear throttle response that gives naturally progressive power. Sport mode yields a more responsive and dynamic driving experience.

Source: Toyota Motor Corporation

In Eco mode, air conditioning settings are adjusted and the throttle response is reduced relative to the pedal angle to emphasize fuel economy. Under certain circumstances, the EV mode can allow the

CT 200h to be driven short distances using only the electric motor. It’s ideal for crawling through a crowded parking lot or garage when searching for a space, for example.

 F SPORT: Green, with Envy

Source: Toyota Motor Corporation

A sporty chassis featuring a double-wishbone rear suspension and lateral performance dampers keeps the CT 200h connected to the road’s curves while providing a Lexus-smooth ride.

The CT 200h F SPORT model kicks it up a notch with even sharper curve-handling prowess thanks to F SPORT-tuned suspension with specially tuned dampers and springs. The 17-inch wheels get a five-twin-spoke design with two-tone graphite and machine finish. An exclusive mesh version of the Lexus spindle grille, black contrast roof, rear spoiler with two large air ducts, and mesh and fog lamp inserts with black surrounds complete the F SPORT exterior package. Among the color choices, Redline features a highly scratch resistant self-restoring coat.  
Advance Multimedia 

A 10-speaker system is available and includes Siri® Eyes Free Mode that lets you call contacts, get turn-by-turn navigation voice navigation through Siri, select and play music from iTunes and much more.
Both systems, of course, live up to the brand’s reputation for crazy crisp and tough sounding music. The Display Audio and Nav systems use that Bluetooth® 3.0 while including dual USB ports to ensure you can connect your music any way you like.

Lexus Enform Remote (subscription required) allows the owner to remotely view and control certain vehicle features using a mobile app for iOS and Android devices. Key features include remote door lock/unlock; remote stop/start for the engine and climate control; vehicle finder, guest driver monitor and more.

New for 2017

New colors include: Atomic Silver Caviar, Autumn Shimmer, Blue Vortex Metallic

Vehicle Details

Chassis/Body/Suspension/Tires/Brakes

Suspension design combines a MacPherson strut front system with a fully independent double-wishbone rear suspension.

The CT 200h braking system is augmented by regenerative braking which also helps recharge the hybrid battery pack and enhance fuel efficiency.

 Safety

Standard eight-airbag Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) with dual-stage driver and front passenger airbags and knee airbags, side curtain airbags, and front seat-mounted side airbags.

Optional Pre-Collision System (PCS) with Dynamic Radar Cruise Control can help reduce collision damage under certain conditions Dynamic Radar Cruise Control system uses millimeter-wave radar to measure and help maintain a pre-set distance from a vehicle traveling ahead. PCS is equipped with a front-mounted radar sensor that is designed to detect certain obstacles in front of the car.

 Luxury/Comfort/Convenience

8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with power lumbar support and four-way manual-adjustable front passenger seat.

Dual-zone automatic climate control system.

Standard six-speaker audio system features speakers constructed with sustainable bamboo and resin.

Voice recognition and Bluetooth technology hands-free communication when paired with a compatible smartphone.

Luxury Options

Navigation with Lexus Enform Destinations, Lexus Enform App Suite (Destination Services, Pandora®, iHeartRadio, Slacker, Open Table®, Yelp®, Movie Tickets.com), and HD Radio with iTunes tagging. Package includes HDD navigation system, back-up camera and voice command. Also features Bluetooth hands-free phone, phone book download capability and Lexus’ exclusive Remote Touch controller with user-adjustable haptic feedback.

Premium Audio Package includes the Lexus Premium Audio System with 10-speakers and six-disc CD changer, Homelink and electrochromic rearview mirror with compass.

Leather Package includes perforated leather-trimmed seats, driver memory, and rain sensing variable intermittent wipers.

Seat Comfort Package: Heated front seats and four-way power passenger seat.

LED low-beam headlamps with headlamp washers.

Electrochromic (auto-dimming) rearview mirror with backup camera.

Pre-Collision System with Dynamic Radar Cruise Control.

Intuitive Parking Assist.

Power tilt-and-slide moonroof with one-touch open/close and manual sliding sunshade.

F SPORT Package

The last time I test drove the car, it was the F SPORT-tuned suspension and 17-inch wheels two-tone finish.

Now, it includes a front grille with mesh inserts, metal front scuff plates, black contrast roof, a perforated leather-trimmed steering wheel, leather-trimmed shift knob, aluminum sport pedals and metallic trim on the dash panel all add to the sporty feel.

Black NuLuxe trimmed seats or available perforated black leather-trimmed seats with white perforation.

Warranty

48-month/50,000miles basic limited warranty with roadside assistance for 48 months/unlimited miles.

72 months/70,000 miles powertrain and restraint system coverage.

72 months corrosion perforation protection coverage, regardless of mileage.

Eight years/100,000 miles hybrid-related components, including the HV battery, battery-control module, hybrid control module and inverter with converter.

5 Terrible Things That Happen When You Don’t Recycle

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, America produces over 258 million tons of waste every year ― which is close to a ton of trash per American citizen. The EPA believes as much as 75 percent of that waste to be recyclable or reusable, but instead of properly disposing of unwanted goods, many Americans choose to carelessly toss anything and everything into the garbage can. The results of this behavior are quickly becoming disastrous, impacting not only natural environments but also urban areas and human livelihoods. Here are a few ways failing to recycle negatively impacts the world around us.

1. Landfill Growth
Nearly all of America’s trash goes into landfills, which are essentially gigantic midden heaps that are eventually covered with soil and potentially used for urban development. The positive idea behind landfills is that trash will eventually decompose and settle, turning into fertile land. The problem is that much of our waste is not biodegradable; plastics require between 10 and 1,000 years to begin breaking down, and even then, the chemicals used in them can leach into groundwater and destroy surrounding environments.


2. Marine Pollution

Not all garbage is safely tucked into a landfill. At least 10 percent of all plastics created have found their way into the oceans, creating enormous gyres where the non-biodegradable waste is more plentiful than plankton. Most of the pollution comes from poor waste management on land, but some is dumped by unscrupulous ocean liners. The plastics wreak havoc on marine environments, as animals ingest or become entangled in the waste.

3. Incineration

For many, burning trash seems a viable solution to land and water pollution. However, incineration might be even more disastrous than landfills. For one, many products and packaging materials are made using toxic chemicals that are released into the air during the burning process. For another, glass as well as many plastics do not burn except at exceedingly high temperatures, which requires excessive amounts of fuel ― which itself releases dangerous emissions. Studies have found that air pollution causes all sorts of terrible diseases, from chronic asthma and cancer to birth defects.

4. Resource Waste

It isn’t just the items or materials themselves that are wasted when you throw something away; all the effort and energy used to create those items are also squandered. Between 2.5 and 4 percent of U.S. energy consumption is devoted to the manufacturing of plastic and plastic products; what’s more, at least 24 gallons of water is used to create just one pound of plastic, and about 2.5 million plastic bottles are produced every hour. Those resources could be diverted to more beneficial endeavors if everyone recycled more.

5. Economic Trouble

Though it might seem an economic advantage to create disposable goods that must be repurchased, pollution actually hinders economic advancement in notable ways. For example, many beaches experience lower tourism because the sand and water is covered in trash; fishing and shipping industries have reportedly suffered losses of $365 million and $279 million thanks to debris-clogged waterways. Less trash is almost synonymous with more profit for much of the economy.

How to Reduce Trash the Right Way

Though some waste is inevitable, it is possible to drastically reduce the amount of trash you personally produce. For example, one woman committed to a minimal-plastic lifestyle and managed to produce less than 16 ounces of waste over a two-year period. Not everyone has the luxury of avoiding plastic and packaging so thoroughly, but there are a number of effective ways you can increase your recycling efforts.

• First, you should strive to reduce the amount of purchases you make. This doesn’t necessarily mean becoming minimalist; instead, you should merely consider investing in a few well-designed and manufactured products rather than many cheap and disposable ones.

• Next, you should research what objects around your home can be reused. In fact, most things can find new life, and many charities gladly pick up or take in items you don’t want to sell. Some of these items will directly improve the lives of the needy, but others, especially valuables like digital devices on up to larger items like broken-down cars or boats, can be refurbished and sold for funds to benefit charities.

• Finally, you should learn more about recycling services in your area. Not all cities have the resources to recycle all types of materials. Instead of tossing any paper, plastic, or glass good in the recycling bin, you might need to find facilities designed to recycle specific goods. Items that are improperly recycled are likely to end up as pollution.

The E-Waste Problem and How to Help created by Digital Doc

GOVERNOR CUOMO ANNOUNCES NEW CAMPAIGN TO INSTALL CHARGING STATIONS AND PROMOTE ELECTRIC VEHICLE USE ACROSS NEW YORK STATE

Supports Governor Cuomo’s Charge NY initiative; Will Help Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions 40 Percent by 2030
Largest Contributor to Greenhouse Gas Emissions is Transportation Sector; Accounts for Nearly 40 Percent of Emissions in New York State

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a new electric vehicle campaign that includes the installation of charging stations, incentives for employers to encourage employees to drive electric vehicles and extensive public education and outreach. The increased use of electric vehicles will help the state in achieving its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030. The campaign, which supports the Governor’s Charge NY initiative, will be overseen by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

“This multi-pronged campaign will help in this administration’s efforts to fight climate change, strengthen infrastructure to support the use of electric cars, and help reduce New York’s carbon footprint on our roadways,” Governor Cuomo said. “With these actions, we are taking another step toward a cleaner, greener and more sustainable New York for all.”

Work on the projects will start immediately and will include the installation of 450 charging stations across the state. Of these, approximately 150 will be located at workplaces throughout New York, supporting Governor Cuomo’s State of the State proposal for the construction of 500 new workplace charging stations. The units will be installed in Rochester, Syracuse, Buffalo, Utica, Albany, the Hudson Valley, Westchester County, New York City and Long Island.

“I’m pleased with the progress we’re making in the energy sector but we can’t cut greenhouse gasses and reach our emissions reduction goals without also making inroads in the transportation sector,” said Richard Kauffman, Chairman of Energy and Finance for New York. “State-wide campaigns to promote the use of electric vehicles will go far to help New York reach its emissions reductions goals and combat climate change.”

John B. Rhodes, President and CEO, NYSERDA, said , “This comprehensive campaign will help New York meet Governor Cuomo’s clean transportation goals and reduce our carbon footprint. Each project is vital to the success of New York’s nation-leading energy strategy, so we can ensure a cleaner and healthier environment for all New Yorkers.”

Additional projects in this campaign include:

· Working with New York City-area public and private employers to create an incentive program specifically for their employees to encourage them to buy electric vehicles;

· Conducting outreach to employers statewide to educate them on the benefits of providing workplace charging stations for their employees;

· Hosting public test drive and ride events;

· Providing innovative financing to make installing charging stations more economically viable for site owners;

· And developing tourism routes specifically for electric vehicle owners that will highlight charging station locations in the Mid-Hudson Valley, including in the Catskills.

In addition, Rochester will launch a pilot to become an electric vehicle model city. The goal is to demonstrate how developing an electric vehicle ecosystem can increase electric vehicle adoption and prepare a community for long-term electric vehicle growth. State, city and community leaders worked together to identify actions to support Rochester’s evolution into an electric vehicle model city, including adding electric vehicles to the city fleet, installing charging stations, creating a speaker’s bureau for community events and training for local dealerships. 
The projects will be managed by three contractors – EV Connect, Energetics and Calstart — for a total of $4.8 million. Each contractor is responsible for different elements at specific locations, though all will be installing charging stations and administering marketing and outreach programs.

This electric vehicle campaign continues Governor Cuomo’s ongoing support to grow the number of electric vehicles in New York. Last fall, he announced $3 million for rebates through the Environmental Protection Fund for municipalities to purchase or lease zero-emission vehicles, such as battery electric and hydrogen vehicles, for their fleets. 

Over the summer, Sustainable Hudson Valley kicked off its Drive Electric Hudson Valley campaign to educate consumers about electric vehicles, which was supported by NYSERDA.

The state has also revised regulations to clarify charging station ownership rules, and supported research and demonstration projects on new plug-in electric car technologies and policies. In addition, the New York Power Authority has invited municipalities to tap into a master contract that offers better pricing for the supply, installation and maintenance of charging stations. 

The Governor has also announced the availability of another $3 million to help eligible municipalities and rural electricity cooperatives purchase electric vehicles for use in their municipal use fleets.

Source: Charge NY, Reforming the Energy Vision, www.ny.gov/REV4NY, NYSERDA

New approach for matching production and consumption of renewable electricity promotes large-scale integration of solar and wind power

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland is coordinating the BALANCE project, which brings together leading European research institutes in the field of electrochemical conversion. The project aims to demonstrate a technology that enables flexible storage of large amount of renewable power. Such technologies are needed for the further integration of additional wind and solar power. The European Commission funds the project by 2.5 million euros.
As the investment costs of solar and wind installation are decreasing, the most significant obstacle for further integration of renewable electricity is the imbalance between their weather-dependant production and the general power consumption. It is this issue that the BALANCE project partners aim to solve by further developing an electrochemical conversion technology called ReSOC (Reversible Solid Oxide Cell).

A ReSOC device uses electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen gas by a high temperature electrolysis process, which is significantly more efficient than other electrolyser technologies today. What makes ReSOC particularly interesting, however, is the fact that the exactly same device can also be operated “in reverse” to produce power from the very same hydrogen gas it produced. Using the same device for converting power to a storable gas and for converting this gas back to power again enables very flexible usage of the device, thus increasing its operating hours as well as reducing it capital costs.  

Already today, the electricity market is being challenged when flooded by green electricity on a windy or sunny day. This causes the electricity prices to plunge or even go negative in some European countries. Because electricity cannot be stored as such and our current capacity to store it with hydropower or batteries is limited, the production of windmills and solar panels must at times be curtailed to avoid power grid failure. This issue will become more and more important as the production capacity of renewable electricity is growing rapidly.

With a flexible energy conversion technology, such as a ReSOC, it is possible to balance the power market. At peak production hours, power is converted into a chemical, which can be stored for later use or used as industrial feedstock. Similarly, during peak consumption hours or on a calm, cloudy day, the stored chemical is converted back to electricity at the same site. Therefore, a ReSOC unit supports the integration of wind and solar power with the current power system by providing a compact, affordable and flexible technology for the conversion and storage of renewable power.

The three-year project began in December 2016 and will receive EUR 2.5 million in EU Horizon 2020 funding (grant agreement 731224). It includes several leading European research institutes and universities in the field of electrochemical conversion, including VTT (FI), DTU (DK), CEA (FR), ENEA (IT), University of Birmingham (UK), TU Delft (NL), EPFL (CH) and IEn (PL).

Figure: Schematics of the ReSOC concept. It is the missing link between the power grid and the fuel or the chemical feedstock for the industry.
Figure: Schematics of the ReSOC concept. It is the missing link between the power grid and the fuel or the chemical feedstock for the industry.

Source: VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd, www.vtt.fi, Press release 6 March, 2017

5 Emerging Renewable Energy Sources to Watch Out For

In recent years, renewable energy has become more affordable. For this reason, most researchers have started looking for alternative sources to reduce the escalating costs of energy. The emergence of new sources of renewable energy is expected to result in a less polluted environment. Below are 5 renewable energy sources poised to make a difference.

1. Geothermal Energy

Geothermal power plants, unlike other energy sources, do not burn fuel. This significantly reduces the levels of pollutants emitted to the environment. Geothermal is drawn from the earth and can be used in many ways from large power stations to simple pumping systems. So far, various parts of the world are already tapping this energy. It is viewed as an affordable solution to reducing the dependence of fossil fuels. It has also been said to be a solution for health risks and global warming. In the future, geothermal power has the potential to be highly significant towards achieving a more sustainable and a cleaner energy system. Note that it is a means that has the capacity to supply a continuous baseload power. The future may also open avenues for the direct use of geothermal energy as a heating source for businesses and homes. http://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/index.cfm/data/index.cfm?page=geothermal_environment.

2. Solar

More than was the case in the 2000s, solar power is now a more cost-competitive power source. It is drawn from the sun without the emission of toxic pollution or global warming emissions. Today the solar industry is bigger than that of gas and oil construction. 

Solar This explosive growth has, in turn, created new jobs and offered employment in the renewable energy industry. Solar energy impacts the economy positively both directly and indirectly. People who have already started depending on this alternative have experienced a reduction in their use of traditional energy sources. This is what keeps natural ecosystems intact, reduces devastating oil spills, natural gas leaks, and taxpayer-funded cleanups. As it becomes more integrated with data analytics alongside other technologies, solar will become a major element in the next revolution. http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_energy/our-energy-choices/renewable-energy/environmental-impacts-solar-power.html#.WBxCIC197IU.

3. Wind Power

Wind turbines use wind power to generate electricity. It is, in fact, one of the most sustainable ways to generate power since it does this without emitting toxic pollution to the environment. Wind is also naturally affordable meaning it is inexhaustible and readily available making it a viable alternative to fossils. The most outstanding objections to future wind power technology are concerns about the long-term effects on wildlife, habitats, and human health. Despite these challenges, wind power is rapidly growing with high rates. There is a high potential for wind facilities being located offshore where there are stronger winds and high reliability. http://telosnet.com/wind/future.html.


4. Biofuels

Biomass comes from the production of first generation biofuels derived from plant matter. These fuels rely on crops to produce energy. The global production of these fuels has in the past few years experienced a surge, with its demand being particularly strong. In the future, biofuel may be largely used in existing engines to clear harmful vehicle emissions. Since waste residue will always be easily accessible, there will always be a continuous source of renewable energy. http://biomassmagazine.com/articles/1672/biofuels-in-the-future.

5. Hydro Electric Power

This form of energy needs turbines which have to be powered by high amounts of flowing water. So far, it has seen an increased dependence around the world. However, it comes with the concern of altering the comfort of the wildlife and the ecosystem since rivers have in the past needed a dam installed in them. However, new innovations are being put into place to allow water to be released gradually to generate electricity. This method is more dependable because unlike wind and solar power, tides and waves are predictable and don’t diminish with cloud cover. http://spectrum.ieee.org/energy/renewables/future-of-hydropower.

While these may be the most pronounced renewable energy sources, there are others that may not have caught up. Body heat, for instance, may in the future be used to charge mobile devices. On a small scale, untested sources such as these could have some use in the renewable energy industries.

Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who writes for Econoheat., the world’s #1 leading waste oil heaters manufacturer.