Beth, I agree that no combination of bells and whistles will induce droves of customers to spend $50K on a RAV4, and Toyota clearly knows that. That said, I respect Toyota for taking the approach they're taking here. Their Prius will have more far, far more impact on the environment than the limited number of pure electric cars that are going to be sold. From the beginning, Toyota has been very open about its beliefs on pure electrics. The late, great Dave Hermance (known as "the American father of the Prius"), was a huge proponent of green powertrain technology, and he wasn't a believer in pure electrics. And not much has changed since he made his pronouncements.
Beth Stackpole; Toyota definitely seems to be targeting 'high-end' consumers. Also, I think all of the production is allocated to the California market, vs. national market. I remember looking at the Prius when they all had multi-disk CD changers, rear cameras, DVD entertainment systems, and Navigation systems. My wife now drives a 2010 Prius without all these upscale features, because 'stripped-down' versions are now available, and much less expensive. Once Toyota sees what the market actually is, they may offer a less expensive, less decked-out version.
I applaud Toyota's efforts to explore a multitude of alternative technologies. However, the problem I see with this introduction is no one is going to plunk down $49K for RAV4. That brand is viewed as more of a low-end, perhaps mid-range vehicle for those who like small, sporty packages. No collaboration with luxury EV maker Tesla or any combination of bells and whistles are going to change that perspective, I wouldn't think.
In a bid to boost the viability of lithium-based electric car batteries, a team at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has developed a chemistry that could possibly double an EV’s driving range while cutting its battery cost in half.
Using Siemens NX software, a team of engineering students from the University of Michigan built an electric vehicle and raced in the 2013 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. One of those students blogged for Design News throughout the race.
Robots that walk have come a long way from simple barebones walking machines or pairs of legs without an upper body and head. Much of the research these days focuses on making more humanoid robots. But they are not all created equal.
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 discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.