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.
Lithium-ion battery prices will drop rapidly over the next 10 years, setting the stage for plug-in vehicles to reach 5%-10% of total automotive sales by the mid- to late-2020s, according to a new study.
Two researchers from Cornell University have won a $100,000 grant from NASA to continue work to develop an energy-harvesting robotic eel the space agency aims to use to explore oceans on one of the moons of Jupiter.
Is the factory smarter than it used to be? From recent buzzwords, you’d think we’ve entered a new dimension in industrial plants, where robots run all physical functions wirelessly and humans do little more than program ever more capable robotics. Some of that is actually true, but it’s been true for a while.
A recent Design News-exclusive study proves that engineering professionals are at the very forefront of this push into the future and making direct financial, performance, and value impact on their organizations by being personally involved or final decision-makers on automation solution and component choices.
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