The wait for more reasonable mileage numbers for the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf has finally ended. The EPA last week announced that the Chevy Volt will display an EPA rating of 93 miles per gallon equivalent while the Leaf offers 99 mpg equivalent.
Both vehicles employ the equivalency numbers because they are propelled by electricity. The Leaf, which has no internal combustion engine on board, is powered by current from its 24 kW-hr lithium-ion battery. The Volt uses a 16-kW-hr battery and a gasoline-burning engine.
Perhaps more significant than the mpg-e numbers, however, are those that describe the ranges of both vehicles. The EPA declared that the Nissan Leaf would have an electric range of just 73 miles – about 27 less than than Nissan predicted six months ago. The Volt’s all-electric range came in at 35 miles and its combined range (electricity + gas) was announced as 379 miles.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.