Verizon Communications Inc. has launched a pilot project to retrofit its service vans with environmentally friendly hybrid-engine systems. Verizon is working with a company that specializes in hybrid power systems to retrofit the new vans, since no domestic vehicle manufacturers currently produce hybrid vehicles in the van category.
Verizon officials want this move to prompt domestic carmakers to deliver hybrid vans. “As an operator of one of the largest private motor vehicle fleets in the United States, we hope to send a message to automotive manufacturers that they should be manufacturing hybrid vehicles in all classes,” says Kathryn Brown, SVP of public policy development and corporate responsibility at Verizon. “There is a market here, especially for companies like Verizon that seek to minimize the environmental impact of their operations.”
Verizon’s retrofitted hybrid vans use both a traditional gasoline-powered engine and a battery-powered electric motor. An onboard computer coordinates the use of the two engines depending on driving conditions. When the internal combustion engine is running, it charges the batteries for the electric motor. The vans will be used by technicians who install and maintain the company’s digital fiber-optic services.
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.
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