The movement of the crowds at the semi-funereal 2008 Los Angeles Auto Show said it all. No one, it seemed, wanted to hang out with the most beleaguered of the Detroit automakers, Chrysler and GM. As plenty of attendees noticed, Chrysler’s large expanse of showroom floor was all but empty most hours of the day. Same across the room at the General Motors stand: Aside from a small group milling about the Chevy Volt, all was quiet.
Regenerative braking, the process through which an electric car grabs otherwise wasted energy from the brakes as the car glides to a halt, is a brilliant bit of engineering for efficiency—take energy that's otherwise only good for burning up brake pads, and turn it into electricity that charges the battery.
It may also make the uninitiated driver want to vomit.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.