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Reinventing the Wheel?

Israeli start-up claims its design is lighter, offers better handling, comfort, energy-efficiency.

by on May.20, 2016

Softwheel CEO Daniel Barel with one of the company's wheels, complete with 3 shock absorbers.

Daniel Barel wants to reinvent the wheel. Actually, he’s quick to tell you he already has.

The young Israeli entrepreneur is CEO of a Tel Aviv-based start-up called Softwheel that has come up with a new concept that could, Barel boasts, improve the comfort, handling and even the fuel economy of virtually any wheeled vehicle. And it happened largely by accident.

Tech Talk!

“We didn’t intend to reinvent the wheel,” says Barel, whose company is one of dozens of start-ups participating in an Israeli automotive tech fair called EcoMotion on a warm and blindingly sunny afternoon along the Mediterranean coast. “It started as an accident.”


Feds Set To Raise Truck Mileage Standards

Final Ruling Due Today.

by on Oct.25, 2010

Truck prices will likely go up - but fuel savings could reach $20,000 annually.

While federal authorities continue debating a massive jump in fuel economy standards for passenger cars and light trucks, a big increase in mileage requirements for heavy-duty vehicles is set to be formally announced as early as today.

The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation are reportedly set to require increases of anywhere from 10% to 20% in fuel economy, depending on the size of the truck.  The new standards would cover everything from 18-wheelers to school buses, garbage trucks to heavy-duty pickups.

The new rules, which would go into effect in 2014 and extend through 2018, would require a 20% increase in the mileage of the long-haul trucks that handle a huge percentage of America’s freight shipments.

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Such trucks are routinely driven 150,000 miles or more annually, and average between 5 and 8 mpg.  That means the proposed increase might save as much as 6,000 of fuel per long-haul truck – the equivalent of what a dozen automobiles consumer annually.

In all, medium and heavy-duty trucks consume about 20% of the transportation fuel used in the United States.


Study Finds Diesel, Gas Have Leg Up On Hybrids

“Dust to Dust” study looks at overall energy costs.

by on Aug.24, 2010

Ford Focus: could it be more energy-efficient than the Toyota Prius?

It’s become conventional wisdom that hybrids have a significant energy advantage over commonplace gasoline and diesel-powered automobiles.  But according to a new study, conventional wisdom is once against wrong.

In a face-off that takes into account everything from production to the eventual disposal of a vehicle – along with the fuel used while that vehicle is on the road – gasoline and diesel trump hybrids, declares the latest in an ongoing series of “Dust to Dust” studies by the West Coast research firm, CNW Marketing.

But pure battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs, may trump all other automotive technologies, according to CNW’s chief, Art Spinella.

Instant Energy

“When it comes to the total energy cost to society of individual models of vehicles, diesel and gasoline powered vehicles are less expensive from “Dust to Dust” than the current comparable hybrid offerings,” says Spinella, adding that, “In a face-off between diesel and gasoline, diesel-powered models are similarly less energy intensive.”


Readers: Speak Out on the Bailout!

Is Obama’s $600 mil “green car” a boon or boondoggle?

by on Feb.06, 2009

boon-or-boondoggleAs it stands now – and things could change quickly – Pres. Obama is calling for the inclusion of $600 million in the proposed stimulus plan to fund the government’s purchase of new, fuel-efficient vehicles. In fact, there’ve been a number of auto-centric elements proposed or actually included in the stimulus package. One “cash-for-clunkers” proposal, to encourage Americans to replace older vehicles with newer, greener products, has been withdrawn. But there’ a good chance, with the President’s support, that as much as $2 billion could be included for advanced battery research.

Such proposals are taking heat from minority Republicans, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, calling the government fleet replacement program “wasteful spending.”

In an energized speech to Congressional Democrats, Pres. Obama, sounding like he was back on the campaign trail, spoke out loudly for the stimulus package, Thursday night. And in another speech, to the Energy Dept., he lambasted GOP lawmakers for calling the green car program “pork.”

“You know the truth,” said Obama. “It will not only save the government significan money over time, it will not only create manufacturing jobs for folks who are making these cars, it will set a standard for private industry to match.”

Who do YOU agree with? Legitimate boon or boondoggle? We’d like YOU, the readers of to express their own opinions.