Future hybrid cars won’t just have powerful batteries — they will be storing energy in their doors, hoods and roofs. Car parts could serve as capacitors, which would allow for smaller and more lightweight batteries, thus increasing a hybrid’s range.
PopSci's own senior editor (and senior car expert) Seth Fletcher has a great op-ed in the New York Times today, giving an overview of the Obama administration's plan to put a million electric vehicles on the road by 2015--a plan he says is vitally important, highly ambitious, and totally possible.
By Mark AndersPosted 04.18.2011 at 10:05 am 22 Comments
Surfers want to ride waves, not tire out while paddling to them. That’s where the WaveJet comes in. Two battery-powered jets tucked into the shortboard’s three-inch shell provide 20 pounds of thrust to propel riders at 12 mph—three times the average paddling speed.
A dozen great ideas in gear, from a shatter-resistant HDTV to a pen that automatically saves your notes in the cloud.
By Caitlin Kearney and Brett ZardaPosted 04.11.2011 at 10:56 am 0 Comments
Every month we search far and wide to bring you a dozen of the best new ideas in gear. These gadgets are the first, the best and the latest.
Click here to dive in to a gallery of our favorite gadgets from this month:
Future camouflage uniforms will draw power from the sun during the day and from a soldier’s body during the night, turning infantrymen into true sunshine patriots. The system could provide continuous power for a radio, GPS and weapons, but at half the weight of traditional battery packs.
A chunk of magnetite guards the office door at the Pea Ridge iron mine near Sullivan, Mo., a mascot of the mine's past and future. When Jim Kennedy bought the mine in 2001, he'd planned to restart production on a high-grade iron ore deposit. He didn't realize he was sitting on a mother lode of 600,000 metric tons of high-grade rare earth elements -- elements the U.S. is desperately hungry for. Four years ago, he almost threw away reams of documents describing Pea Ridge's deposit. "Nobody bothered to tell me about it," he said.
Today in cleverly designed solutions to old problems: University of Bristol engineers have devised a “hundred-year battery” that could report the state of buried nuclear waste repositories wirelessly to the surface 100 years after it--and the sensors connected to it--is buried, sealed, and cemented into the ground.
The Department of Energy is getting a 10-petaflop supercomputer to help scientists design efficient electric car batteries, understand climate change and unravel cosmic mysteries.
The IBM-built system, nicknamed "Mira," will be operational at Argonne National Laboratory next year. At 10 quadrillion calculations per second, it will be twice as fast as today's fastest supercomputer and 20 times faster than Argonne's current model. If every person in the United States performed one calculation every second, it would take almost a year for them to do as many calculations as Mira will do in one second, according to IBM.
The noise about “Peak Lithium”—the idea that not enough economically extractable lithium exists in the world to support a large-scale switch to cars powered by lithium-based batteries—has quieted significantly in the past year, but I still sometimes get asked: Are we going to run out of this stuff?
Not any time soon. In fact, as a noted market analyst made clear this morning, so many companies are developing so many lithium deposits around the world that many of them will probably go out of business, because they’re on track to dramatically oversupply the world with lithium.
Before the average electric car can travel 500 highway miles on a single charge, we’ll need better batteries than the lithium-ion packs used today. Last week, when Toyota told the press that it was working on a magnesium-based electric-car battery that could beat or even replace lithium-ion, the news dashed across the Internet. But anyone inclined to start calling magnesium the “new lithium” needs to keep a few important things in mind.