Vectrix hybrid scooter for commuters: Coller than the Segway
Engineers at Vectrix Corp. are working on the industry's first hybrid fuel cell/electric-powered scooter, due out in approximately 3 years. An all-electric version will be introduced within the next 18 months. Parker Hannifin has partnered with the scooter maker to develop the direct methanol fuel cell, which will operate continuously at its rated power output until the battery pack is fully charged, then it will shut off. "A big advantage is that drivers won't have to rely on a charging infrastructure. All that's required is methanol and water—the same thing you have in your windshield washer fluid," says Craig Maxwell, VP of Innovation and Technology at Parker Hannifin. Engineers say the scooter's performance will be comparable to other vehicles powered by two-stroke, 250cc engines. Target acceleration is 0 to 50 kph in 4 seconds, as experienced by Maxwell's test ride on an early prototype: "Being a guy, I didn't want to hang on to the engineer driving the scooter, so I thought I'd just hang on to the scooter. When we started up, I nearly flew off the back end of the thing," he recalls. The scooter is targeted at the commuter market and will retail for $5,500.
What should be the perception of a product’s real-world performance with regard to the published spec sheet? While it is easy to assume that the product will operate according to spec, what variables should be considered, and is that a designer obligation or a customer responsibility? Or both?
Biomimicry has already found its way into the development of robots and new materials, with researchers studying animals and nature to come up with new innovations. Now thanks to researchers in Boston, biomimicry could even inform the future of electrical networks for next-generation displays.
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.