You'll have to wait four months if you want a Prius, Toyota Motor Co.'s first mass-produced hybrid. People were skeptical about the commercial viability of the car when it was introduced in 1997. Today Toyota can't meet the demand. The Tokyo automaker produced 300,000 in 2005 and plans to ramp production to 400,000 in 2006. The Prius gets 60 mpg in the city and 51 on the highway, according to the U.S. government.
Toyota has been leaning hard on its suppliers for more parts. Company executives denied speculation that the automaker has been locking up suppliers in order to maintain its domination over the hybrid market. Ford Motor Co. officials grumbled to the Wall Street Journal that they are having trouble getting hybrid parts because Toyota is squeezing the supply. Hybrids were effectively novelty vehicles until gas prices soared.
During a teardown of the iPad Air and Microsoft Surface Pro 3 at the Medical Design & Manufacturing Show in Schaumburg, Ill., an engineer showed this "inflammatory" video about the dangers of maliciously mishandling lithium-ion batteries.
Science fiction author Isaac Asimov may have the best rules for effective brainstorming and creativity. His never-before-published essay, "On Creativity," recently made it to the Web pages of MIT Technology Review.
Much has been made over the potentially dangerous flammability of lithium-ion batteries after major companies like Boeing, Sony, and Tesla have grappled with well-publicized battery fires. Researchers at Stanford University may have come up with a solution to this problem with a smart sensor for lithium-ion batteries that provides a warning if the battery is about to overheat or catch fire.
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.
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