The Chevy Volt gets 230 mpg? Wow. To me, that’s a really silly statement. How is the gas mileage of a plug-in electric car relevant? The real issues, of course, are the net impact on carbon dioxide emissions and the reliance on imported hydrocarbons. And there the picture for cars like the Volt is really fuzzy. Most of the energy for the Volt comes from the electric power grid. Forty-nine percent of electric power in the United States is generated from coal, which spews carbon dioxide and pollutants. About 7-8 percent of power is lost during transmission.
Cars like the Volt that will be charged in off-peak hours (overnight) in areas heavily reliant on hydro and nuclear power, such as the Toronto area or parts of California, will definitely be a major improvement over gas-powered cars,
But I haven’t seen a scientific third-party study that really lays out the facts on the real net contribution of electric vehicles. To announce that it achieves 230 mpg is silly and misleading.
How can automakers, aerospace contractors, and other OEMs get new metal alloys that are stronger, harder, and can survive ever higher temperatures? One way is to redesign their crystalline structures at the nanoscale and microscale.
Although a lot of the excitement about 3D printing and additive manufacturing surrounds its ability to make end-products and functional prototypes, some often ignored applications are the big improvements that can come by using it for tooling, jigs, and fixtures.
A fun and informative tour you can attend at the upcoming Design & Manufacturing Minneapolis, MD&M Minneapolis, and other events there, is the Materials Innovation Tour on Wednesday afternoon. I'll be leading it.
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.