Dubbed the UCS Vanguard, their mini van would cut global warming pollution by more than 40 percent, with a cost increase of just $300. However, that extra cost would result in more than $1,300 in lifetime consumer savings, with a payback time of less than two years.
Specific design features include:
- variable valve timing, currently used in most Toyota and Honda models as well as many Ford vehicles, which better controls the flow of air and fuel into the engine, leading to more efficient combustion and improved performance.
- a six-cylinder engine that can deactivate two cylinders when it requires less power, a feature currently found in 20 vehicle models.
- a "automatic manual" transmission that electronically adjusts its six gears to increase performance and efficiency.
- stronger hoses and tighter connections in the air conditioning system reduce the amount of concentrated global warming pollutants, called hydrofluorocarbons, which leak into the air. The minivan also uses a less-polluting refrigerant.
- capability to run on either pure gasoline or a mixture of gasoline and as much as 85-percent ethanol. Using 85-percent corn-based ethanol can reduce global warming pollution from 10 percent to 30 percent. Using "cellulosic" ethanol could cut global warming pollution by as much as 90 percent. There are currently 32 types of flex-fuel vehicles on the road.
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