Fuelishness! Marathon – Part 2: Plug-In Charging Stations; Mille Hybrid-Powered Race Recovery Vehicle; Omnivore Concept Engine
- Raleigh, N.C. to Install Plug-in Hybrid Charging Stations : Like the San Francisco-based program, drivers will access the charging stations through key-cards. In Raleigh, this means simple credit card access at a cost of about 2.5 cents per mile, while the SF-based program uses chargers provided by Coulomb Technologies at no cost, but are only available to members of the car-sharing programs City CarShare and Zipcar.
- Miller Industries Adds Eaton Hybrid-Powered Race Recovery Vehicle To Fleet : The debut of the colorful white and green vehicle as part of Miller’s 12-truck fleet at the famed Daytona International Speedway was so successful that Miller announced plans to have it added to the company’s fleet of race recovery vehicles that will be operating throughout 2009. Miller supplies race recovery trucks for a large number of NASCAR events.
- Geneva Preview: Lotus to unveil Omnivore concept engine : The Omnivore is specifically designed to take advantage of varying fuels and modern electronic control capabilities. Like most research engines, this is a single cylinder design that allows the Lotus engineers to more quickly make changes and study the effects. This is also a two-stroke design with an air assisted direct injection system provided by Orbital Corporation of Australia. Those interested in two-strokes may remember Orbital from the early nineties when a number of manufacturers were investigating two-stroke engines. The concept engine uses a mono-block layout with a single hunk of metal comprising the cylinder block and head and no poppet valves. Instead the ports are exposed by the piston’s motion. Variations in timing between intake and exhaust are achieved by valve in the exhaust port that traps the exhaust.
FuelClinic started sponsoring MJK Racing last year, and we’ve enjoyed every minute of the time we’ve spent working with Mike and his team, and we look forward to continuing this sponsorship. But not everybody “gets it” – why a fuel efficiency site would sponsor an auto-racing team.
At first glance you might miss the connections, here are some of our thoughts and intentions…
- Energy conservation and fuel efficiency are topics important for everybody to consider, not just the tree-hugging bumper-stickered Prius drivers who aren’t too impressed with auto-racing. If the goal here at FuelClinic is to help conserve enough fuel that we can make a real difference in the market, when you think about it, the tree-hugging Prius drivers are pretty much already doing what they can to conserve fuel. It’s vitally important to reach out beyond the crowd of people already on board with our mission. (To the Prius drivers – you know we love you! But you see my point, right?)
- Automotive racing is quite literally the “NASA” of automotive engineering, the proverbial tip-of-the-spear for innovative engine technologies, systems reliability, safety improvements, and energy efficiency. Some of their best work finds its way to the consumer-level automobiles, and we benefit from the hard work and money spent in the research and development of the racing community.
- The topic of fuel efficiency can be pretty boring. We wanted to add some excitement to the discussion, to have something out of the ordinary that might get people’s attention. MJK Racing and Mike Kern in particular add a sense of something a little bigger than life. In person this guy gets attention, knows what he’s talking about, and can explain it to anyone. Just the kind of partner any business would love to have. (If you are interested in working with a real pro, Mike has additional sponsorship opportunities available.)
Motorsports are “going green” along with the rest of the world, and green-themed subjects like fuel efficiency and running a “green” team are more important than ever.
Its been said that race fans are the most loyal sports fans. I know that the access they can get to the drivers and cars at this level makes it a very “personal” sport, fans identify with their favorite drivers, and by proxy they identify with the things the drivers talk about.
All that, and on a personal level, I still enjoy the sounds of a fire-breathing V-8 engine… I just don’t drive one to work every day any more. Maybe that’s the biggest reason I feel this sponsorship makes sense to me. I can drive my gas-sipping econobox each day, careful not to accelerate too quickly, being a “smooth operator”, trying to conserve fuel… knowing in the back of my mind that on race day I’ll feast my eyes and ears on the high-octane super cars like Mike’s and my other (new) racing friends. It appeals to me. I can’t be alone in that. Look in the stands.
MJK Racing just released a great new video over at YouTube, a visual history of Mike’s experience building and racing the car, with some behind the scenes pictures of the car, his team, and the tracks he’s raced. Some highlights include video of his spin-out in Daytona, some great photos of the car, and pictures of team, friends, and fans.
One of the most compelling arguments against ethanol states that there is “less heat energy” in a gallon of ethanol vs. a gallon of gasoline. When used in current automotive engines, the driver will find overall “miles-per-gallon” (MPG) mileage reduced, even as the “miles-per-gallon-of-gasoline” (MPGG) is increased substantially.
I’ve argued that once engineers begin to design engines to take advantage of the properties of ethanol (specifically the very high octane), that mileage and power would at least equal that of a gasoline engine. Over the last few weeks there have been announcements from Ricardo and Bentley that their engineers have done just that…
Ethanol Boosted Direct Injection or EBDI, takes full advantage of ethanol’s best properties – higher octane and higher heat of vaporization – to create a truly renewable fuel scenario that is independent of the cost of oil.
According to the press release, Ricardo claims they’ve boosted ethanol engines “to a level of performance that exceeds gasoline engine efficiency and approaches levels previously reached only by diesel engines.” (Diesel engines are approximately 30% more fuel efficient than gasoline engines.)
EBDI is another example of how professional racing is the NASA of the automotive industry, developing the full potential of automotive technologies that will benefit all of us.
A quick reel of highlights from the 2009 “Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona” race this last weekend.
These video images were taken on the first day of racing – January 24th. We were the guests of Mike Kern of MJK Racing and really appreciate his help and tour of the race track.
FuelClinic.com is a sponsor of MJK Racing. Both businesses are currently based in Orlando, Florida. For more information or if you are interested in becoming a sponsor for the best SCCA team in Florida, visit http://www.mjkracing.com — to learn more about FuelClinic – visit our website at http://www.fuelclinic.com
- If Our Gas Taxes Go Up, Will Gas Prices Become Unfair? – Faced with dwindling cash reserves, several states are considering raising their Gas Tax. Those with efficient vehicles will come out ahead. Low income families, the trucking industry and the alternative fuel industry will finish last…
- Better Place answers questions about home charging, Obama’s interest – Over the weekend, we heard a story that the Obama Administration “may be adopting” the Better Place model of powering electric cars. We wanted to know more about what this means, exactly, and got the following from Better Place PR…
- Miles EV CEO talks about highway speed electric sedan, company’s future – “The business strategy is bringing an affordable car that is fully safety certified to the California market first; a car that is not a two-seat car or a limited-use car. It is a car that would serve as a commuter car or as a car to run errands or do things with your family. We all know what these metrics are, right? The daily commute in LA County is about 30 miles, [the rest of ] California is about 40 in weekday driving. We’re looking to have a car that people can, during the week, use as their regular car…
- Ethanol-powered Mustang reaches 252 mph (with video) – Want to prove that ponies like ethanol? Give Oklahoma corn farmer Brent Hajek a call. He helped get a FR500C Ford Mustang running on E85 up to 252.78 mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats is Utah back in September.
- Awesome Electric Bike Conversion (with video) — You need to see this…
He raced as a rookie nationals driver, starting 17th and moving up to 15th by the end of the race.Â
Mike said in a recent email: “Well the race was a real adventure.Â WeÂ started 17Th out of an 18 car field and finished 15Th., so at least we went the right direction.Â What a tough race week, if something can go wrong it will, but I glad we went and it created memories for a lifetime.”Â
I wishÂ my wife and IÂ could have been there in person for the race, but we had a wedding to attend (ours!).
We congratulate Mike and his crew forÂ his success in overcoming all obstacles getting to and qualifying for the championship, and look forward toÂ next yearâ€™s racing season!
Altamonte Springs, FL — Mike Kern and crew of the MJK Racing teamÂ is celebrating their entry of the #55Â Delta Connection Academy / FuelClinic.com Camaro in the 2008 SCCA National Championship Runoffs in Heartland Park, Topeka to be held October 6th thru the 12th.
Each year, drivers race in 70 events across the country to qualify for one last, winner-take-all event in October–the National Championship Runoffs. Some of the most famous American racers have won at the Runoffs, including Bobby Rahal, Boris Said, Paul Newman, Scott Sharp and Skip Barber. There is a strong possibility that the next great American racing driver may be racing at the Runoffs this year.
Now that they have secured a spot at the track, the team is busy preparing the car for the race. Working late into the night, Mike and his volunteer crew areÂ burning the midnight oil to build the carÂ in order to have it inspected this weekend in Daytona.
“There’s a lot to get done in a short period of time” says Mike, as sweat drips from his foreheadÂ on a cool Florida evening. “We’ve just got in the new parts for the rear-end, I’ve got that almost put together now. I’m also adding an oil cooler to it, fabricating the mounts and fittings.”
In addition to fresh safety equipment, adding new sponsorship logos like FuelClinic.com, MikeÂ has spent every bit of his free time going over every piece of this car. And he knows what he’s looking at – as Mike has literally built this car himself.
FuelClinic.com to Co-Sponsor No. 55 Delta Connection Academy Camaro for the 2008 SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Heartland Park Topeka
Altamonte Springs, FL (June 24, 2008) — MJK Racing announced today that FuelClinic.com, the industry leader in web-based fuel efficiency tracking and analysis, will co-sponsor the No. 55 Delta Connection Academy Camaro with driver Michael Kern when it races at Heartland Park Topeka during the SCCA National Championship Runoffs on October 12.
Mike Kern and the #55 Camaro
“It is just fantastic to have FuelClinic.com join us on the car for the biggest race of the season”, said Kern who has remained in the top 5 in points all year. “I joined FuelClinic.com and have been very pleased with the amazing analysis and resources it provides. I’m glad they see the value of our sport, and I think racing fans will see the money saving potential of using FuelClinic.com to help understand and improve their own fuel efficiency.”
FuelClinic.com helps individuals and fleets reduce fuel consumption by utilizing sophisticated and proprietary tracking and trending software to help find patterns in fuel consumption, that once modified, can result in moderate to substantial fuel savings. FuelClinic.com also provides access to volumes of news and information on the fuel industry and technology development directly affecting fuel consumption.
“We are very excited about the opportunity to partner with MJK Racing as we enter into the motorsports arena to help identify our brand and service.” said FuelClinic.com CEO Michael Bragg. Racing sports have always led the way for the consumer automotive market as innovators in safety, performance, and engine technologies. Sports car drivers like Mike Kern act as positive role models for racing fans, and can help spread our message of positive and effective ways to reduce fuel consumption to as many people as possible.