Toyota will release the first mass-produced gasoline/electric
hybrid vehicle in the U.S. this year. Configured in parallel, the engine and
electric motor are connected to the drive train.
The company claims that the ratio of power provided by each system
is constantly controlled to keep the vehicle in its most efficient mode to
deliver a city/highway fuel economy rating of 52/45 mpg.
More than 35,000 already have been sold in Japan since its release
in 1997. However, the US and Japan versions are designed differently. Engineers
at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) test drove the American
version and found it to handle very well in the Colorado mountains. "Because of
the steeply sustained mountain grades, Colorado provides excellent testing
grounds for an HEV (hybrid electric vehicle)," says a test engineer. "The
engines in the Japanese and American Prius are the same, but the American
version performs better because Toyota engineers have increased the engine speed
from around 3,500-4,000 to 4,500 rpm, providing higher engine horsepower." For
more information see http://www.toyota.com.
More often than not, with the purchase of a sports car comes the sacrifice of any sort of utility. In other words, you can forget about a large trunk, extra seats for the kids, and more importantly driving in snowy (or inclement) weather. But what if there was a vehicle that offered the best of both worlds; great handling and practicality?
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.
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.