Nothing in the history of the automobile compares to today's frantic effort to breathe life into electric cars and hybrids.
In the following slideshow we've gathered together 15 images, which touch recent developments emerging from the auto industry's ongoing efforts in alternative power train technologies. Our vehicle choices range from Toyota's hybrid gas turbine concept car of 1969, to polished production hybrids, such as the Toyota Prius and Ford Explorer, to backyard electric conversions, such as the drag-racing Crazy Horse Pinto. Our emphasis is on the delivery of electric power, with or without a gasoline counterpart.
Click the image below to view a slideshow of alternative energy vehicles:
Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive is an evolution of the hybrid powertrain that powered the game-changing Toyota Prius. The Synergy Drive replaces a traditional geared transmission with a drive unit that includes an electronic continuously variable transmission. The system allows power to be split between the wheels and an electric generator. (Photo courtesy of Toyota)
To keep up with our Chevy Volt coverage, go to Drive for Innovation, and follow the cross-country journey of EE Life editorial director, Brian Fuller. On his trip, sponsored by Avnet Express, Fuller is driving a Volt across America to interview engineers.
Beth, the technology does go back more than 100 years. My grandmother had an electric car in 1909 that she liked very much. It would take her to church, a friend's house, to the store and home again. No steering wheel, it had a lever that you could turn to the right or the left to steer. It had to be charged frequently.
Since then battery technology and electric motors have been improved but you still need a power plant to charge it and batteries still are not as efficient in extremely cold weather or the heat of summer. Just try to start your SUV in a sub zero winter with a weak batter. Most of the range stats are based on level ground. Electric cars don't do as well on hills.
A gas/electric hybrid car would be better because the gasoline motor can generate all or part of the electricity.
Electric vehicles go a LOT further back than that! Try way over ONE HUNDRED years ago. Some of the earliest cars were all-electric. There's a full site dedicated to this on Wikipedia. They didn't last very long because of the same issues they face today: limited range, lack of supporting infrastructure, and costs.
Nice under-the-covers snapshot of the component and architectural evolution of these electric and alternative power train vehicles. I didn't realize how far back some of the early development goes. Seeing old-fashioned looking cars from the late 60s and 70s that have a so-called electric or hybrid heritage is quite surprising.
New versions of BASF's Ecovio line are both compostable and designed for either injection molding or thermoforming. These combinations are becoming more common for the single-use bioplastics used in food service and food packaging applications, but are still not widely available.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This radio show will show what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.