Chicago Flower and Garden Show – full of ideas   Leave a comment

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When it comes to find ideas to use, Flower and Garden show sounds like a show for home owners with big loans and yards, but Chicago Flower and Garden Show is full of ides for small places. The show presents beautiful flower arrangements, garden designs for big and small spaces. But part of these designs can be implement in balconies and patios as well to just enhance the relaxation environment.

There were some ideas that I will do if I lived in a joint housing like condominium and apartment. The hanging pot can nicely be used inside as well. Sound of running water has imazing effect in relaxing us and some of these are small enough to do in patio. Table and chair setting can give dramatic effect to any corner or even door way indoor or out door.

When I saw the designs with boats, first I thought for these I need to live nearby a river or lake. But on the second thought what about having a big pond and boat with more comfy seats with big umbrella. It will be nice to sit down there to read, listen to music, for a dinner or just talk.

With so many vendors offering services and many variety of things to sell on spot, next year it is going to be my one stop shopping spot to re-vitalize my place. But of course I will use my own images to frame wherever I decided to have a picture.


Chevrolet Volt Hybrid but not Hybrid – A better electric car   Leave a comment

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Any company that invests and creates jobs in America gets my attention. No I was not a business news regular but it is changing. I am really tired of economy being slow and people being scared of being themselves when it comes to spending. So when I learn that GM invested more than $700 million in eight Michigan plants for Volt production I started to look forward for the Chicago Auto Show.

The first look at the car was pleasing but I really lost my heart to it when I saw the detail of inside of the car. The touch of green is not just artistic but quite appropriate for this supper green car. The gear stick, the panels every thing is so SiFi.

But then I find out that engine is all electric and gas in regular tank is used to generate electricity and same all electric engine keeps on going even when battery is depleted. So though it has battery and gas tank but unlike other hybrid vehicles it doesn’t switch to regular engine when battery is gone. So even when it is using gas the engine is electric. Eight-year/100,000-mile warranty on lithium-ion battery pack show reliability of battery. Unlike cell phone it won’t start dying on you in six months. Five years of OnStar Directions and Connections service, including Automatic Crash Response, stolen vehicle assistance and connected navigation. For within the city trips I don’t have to go to the gas station. It can be locked, unlocked and started to cool or warm it before you get in through Humm no more lost keys, lock outs. Here goes my brain to the car too.

After test ride on the Auto show trails the quietness of the car amazed me. There is so noise in the world a quitter car is better. So when I came out of the car I really wanted to hug the car. What I can say I want to hug anything and everything i like.

On 120V it takes about 10-12 hours to charge the battery fully. But on 240V it is cut down to about 4hr. I think getting a converter to use 240V to charge the vehicle is really a good idea.

Speed up to 100 mph, full charge of battery gives 25 – 50 miles, in city, depending on terrain, driving technique, temperature and battery age. When the Volt’s battery runs low, a gas engine seamlessly engages to extend the driving range. This eliminates the worry of being stranded by a depleted battery. As long as you stop to refuel, you can drive the Volt like a traditional car until you can stop to plug in and re-charge the battery.

Chevrolet estimates that drivers who commute 60 miles a day (more than 21,000 miles per year) could save about 550 gallons of gasoline annually (compared to a similar size vehicle that averages 30 mpg).

So now you all are perhaps wondering what about the cost of the electricity? So here we go:

At 10 cents per kilowatt hour, Chevrolet estimates that an electrically driven mile in a Volt will cost about one-sixth compared to a conventional gasoline vehicle. It is estimated that it will cost about two cents per mile to drive electrically vs. 12 cents using gasoline priced at $3.60 per gallon. Most Chevrolet Volts are likely to be charged off-peak in the evening or overnight when electricity consumption is lower, potentially further reducing the cost of recharging. Charging the Volt about once daily will consume less electric energy annually than the average home’s refrigerator and freezer units.

Here is the highlight of all the info charging the Volt’s battery once per day from empty to full will cost about $1.50, or about the cost of a bottle of water. (Please note all the figures are provided by GM and are accurate at the time of this publication). Question is if installing the solar panel for charging the car a good idea?

I honestly think Volt has duly won 2011 North American Car of the Year award.

Keep in touch with volt here

If you buy the car because you read my article please leave me some comments.

Chicago Auto Show and Fuel Efficient Cars   Leave a comment

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Chicago Auto Show first time was staged in 1901. It has been staged more times than any other auto exposition, this is the 103rd show. It is largest auto show in North America and I guarantee you that if you are that detail oriented person who want to identify the best car you like for each participating auto maker and then try to decide which one you will buy out of that shortlist, you can not see it all in one visit. You need to be there at least couple of times or more.

I went there on Feb 10 for my first visit and only got to see Toyota, Ford, Volvo, VolksWagen. Beside taking a lot of pictures I received some media information. But I was yet not sure what I want to really talk about out of all of it.

I have decided to explore Hybrid and total Electric cars and compare them using the Auto show platform where I can get as many pictures and information as I want. This article will basically focus on the pros and cons of hybrid and total electric cars and hopefully I will be able to write more as I go.

Actually Ford brought my attention to this. Their Focus Electric eliminates more than two dozen components that require regular servicing over the life of a vehicle. This happens due to reduction of the moving mechanical components. There are 25 major items that usually require inspection, maintenance or replacement during the 10-year, 150,000-mile life of a conventional car that Ford Focus Electric doesn’t have. Ford has really established itself as an outstanding technology friendly auto manufacturer as out of all. I think this is a very strong aspect of benefits of a Hybrid car.

Other thing that we most commonly think when we hear Hybrid or electric-only cars is fuel economy Which eventually translates to less money toward gas over the life of vehicle. The best way to measure that is to compare the Hybrid version to a standard gas car of the same make and model. For example FordFusion gives 23 mpg city/33 mpg highway vs. Hybrid gives 36 mpg city/41 mpg highway. Ford Escape gives 21 mpg city/28 mpg highway vs. Hybrid FWD: 34 mpg city/31 mpg highway; AWD: 30 mpg city/27 mpg highway. Toyota Camry gives 22mpg city/33mpg highway vs.Hybrid gives 31mpg city/35mpg highway.Toyota turned out to be most green in terms of serving media needs as they handed me a CD full of information and I really liked it. I hope next year they will have a business or greeting card size information card with media website and links to important sections or press releases.

Toyota is offering 15-year/150,000-mile Hybrid-related Component Coverage (applicable states are: CA, MA, NY, NJ, VT, CT, ME, NH and RI) with the exception of the hybrid battery. The hybrid battery is warranted for 10 years/150,000 miles. Whereas in other states it is 8-year/100,000-mile. Hybrid-related Component Coverage Compared to 3-year/36,000-mile Comprehensive, 5-year/60,000-mile Powertrain, 5-year/unlimited-mileage Corrosion Perforation is pretty good.

This also shows these components are more durable. Though I have yet not researched other manufacturers but I am sure Ford’s claim for reduce maintenance and Toyota’s extended warranty is implying the industry trend for these aspects of Hybrid vehicles.

Hybrid cars still have gas engine but if the electric power is not going to be in use for majority of the driving then really what is the point? So anything Hybrid not giving even 50miles on single charge is really not offering much benefits neither in terms of fuel economy nor in term of environment.

Beside that whatever manufacturer is claiming the millage on electric power is, it is determined with optimal conditions. It can reduce in more extreme the temperature as more energy is used to heat or cool the cabin, higher speeds require much more energy to overcome air resistance, smooth acceleration and deceleration will use less while aggressive acceleration and deceleration will use more energy and heavy cargo and driving up steep long inclines will reduce range as well.

Basically if you are a more than one car family you can get electric-only cars for local commute and may be keep one hybrid or standard gas car for long distance traveling. Or those people who keep two cars anyway, should consider getting an all electric car. It is cool, fun and most environment friendly.

But for single people like me who can not afford to keep two cars, manufacturers need to device a way to charge the battery while driving, say through solar cells, or ability to use a backup like UPS (uninterrupted power supply) so that we can drive beyond 80 or 100 miles. I am thinking that for long distance if cars become capable of using second battery or a back system, eventually there will be service station that will rent you these things for days or weeks.

But with current configuration we can’t go camping or take a trip to Springfield from Chicago on single charge. Unlike filling the fuel tank, charging a car battery is not a 10-15 minute business a little longer trip or missed exit or bad traffic condition can turn into a big hassle. I really hope they can over come this short coming soon. I mean really soon because we want to get those all electric-only cool cars.

Hello world!   1 comment

I intend to tell stories about the pictures I take on this blog. I promise I will keep them brief and you promise you will keep on comming back to read them. Best way to keep that promise is to subscribe to RSS Feed. See you around.

Posted February 8, 2011 by shahidafozia in Uncategorized