The imperative for car companies to sharply adjust to rising fuel prices is far greater than energy companies moving to alternative fuels. As we know, the energy companies rake in huge profits when oil gets expensive. What GM hasn’t done for years, it’s beginning to do – make sharp cuts in production of gas guzzlers and aggressively move on schedules of fuel efficient cars. Today GM announced plans to shut down four truck and SUV plants and committed to bring the hybrid Chevy Volt into production. And it’s one of the most aggressive companies with respect to hydrogen fuel vehicles. It’s a remarkable series of moves for company known for lethargy and sacrificing its future for short term profits. For years, it refused to move away from gas guzzling trucks and broaden its portfolio with hybrids and vehicles that sip instead of guzzle gas. Following Ford’s cue with the Verve, GM also committed to doing a global car.
Make no mistake about it. Car companies are in a state of crisis across the board. For May, Ford reported a 16% drop in sales while perennial performer Toyota posted a 4.3 per cent decline. For the first time ever, the Toyota Camry and Corolla each outsold the aging Ford F-150 pickup, according to the Wall Street Journal. And for May, GM’s were in freefall, plunging 28%. It would seem large SUV production is headed into the car crusher.
Oil prices know no ceiling although the commodity is trading on fear, not on any marked shortfall in crude or refined products. It’s a sorry and scary state of affairs. The good news is that it has motivated car companies to do what they should have years. Now we just have to get the energy sector moving faster.
In this new Design News feature, "How it Works," we’re starting off by examining the inner workings of the electronic cigarette. While e-cigarettes seemed like a gimmick just two or three years ago, they’re catching fire -- so to speak. Sales topped $1 billion last year and are set to hit $10 billion by 2017. Cigarette companies are fighting back by buying up e-cigarette manufacturers.
Advertised as the "Most Powerful Tablet Under $100," the Kindle Fire HD 6 was too tempting for the team at iFixit to pass up. Join us to find out if inexpensive means cheap, irreparable, or just down right economical. It's teardown time!
The increased adoption of wireless technology for mission-critical applications has revved up the global market for dynamic electronic general purpose (GP) test equipment. As the link between cloud networks and devices -- smartphones, tablets, and notebooks -- results in more complex devices under test, the demand for radio frequency test equipment is starting to intensify.
Much of the research on lithium-ion batteries is focused on how to make the batteries charge more quickly and last longer than they currently do, work that would significantly improve the experience of mobile device users, as well EV and hybrid car drivers. Researchers in Singapore have come up with what seems like the best solution so far -- a battery that can recharge itself in mere minutes and has a potential lifespan of 20 years.
Some humanoid walking robots are also good at running, balancing, and coordinated movements in group settings. Several of our sports robots have won regional or worldwide acclaim in the RoboCup soccer World Cup, or FIRST Robotics competitions. Others include the world's first hockey-playing robot and a trash-talking Scrabble player.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.