This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

October 01, 2003

New Automotive Technologies Shine in Clean Vehicle Rally

The Challenge Bibendum, a Michelin-sponsored show and rally for clean vehicles, was held in California in late September, and the sponsors noted significant advancements in clean car technologies. While the first Bibendum, in 2002, mainly featured alternative fuel vehicles and electric vehicles, this year's event was dominated by hydrogen-powered cars, hybrid-electric vehicles, and advanced diesel engines. Although there is no true winner, 32 vehicles earned Gold Awards for zero or near-zero emissions. In addition, two design awards-the Style Advancement Award and the Technical Integration Award-were presented in two categories: production vehicles and prototype vehicles. The 2004 Toyota Prius won both awards in the production category, and the 2002 Mercedes Benz F-Cell A-Class (a fuel-cell vehicle) won both awards in the prototype category. See the Challenge Bibendum press release.

Among the innovative entries at the Bibendum was an electric car powered by lithium-ion batteries, provided by AC Propulsion. Called the tzero, the prototype has a 300-mile range, accelerates from zero to 60 miles per hour in only 3.6 seconds, and has a top speed of 100 miles per hour. AC Propulsion also brought a hybrid electric vehicle that achieves a range of 30 to 40 miles using just its lead-acid batteries, but can also travel longer distances by burning gasoline to recharge its batteries. When stopped, the car can be connected to a natural gas supply line to fuel the car's generator, which can supply power to a house or to the electrical grid. See the AC Propulsion press release (PDF 103 KB). Download Acrobat Reader.

Other entries included a fuel-cell-powered station wagon from Anuvu, Inc.; a natural-gas-fueled truck, provided by Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E); and a biodiesel-fueled Volkswagen Jetta TDI Turbo from Green Star Products, Inc. And although no winner is declared, the biodiesel Jetta won Gold Awards in six categories, more than any other production vehicle. See the press releases from Anuvu, PG&E, and Green Star Products, Inc.