Making the impossible, possible - one prize at a time. This is the idea behind the X-prize movement. Flying into space, cleaning up oil spills, landing on the moon, or producing safe, practical cars that get 100 mpg are becoming reality as teams compete to win X-prizes.
To drive innovation, offer the right prize and human nature will do the rest.
I have waited almost two years for this race. What kind of automobiles can qualify to win the $10 million Automotive X Prize?
The Zap Alias seems to be the favorite.
Validation is the final technical event in the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE. Finalists in both the Mainstream and Alternative classes will undergo dynamometer testing under controlled laboratory conditions at Argonne National Lab facilities. The car in each class that exceeds 100 MPGe, meets the emissions and performance requirements, and, in the case of a tie, completes the Combined Performance and Efficiency challenge with the fastest time, will win. The $10 million prize purse will be presented at an Award Ceremony on September 16, in Washington, D.C.
Como Park will have 3 or 4 circulating shuttle buses next year to help solve the traffic and parking problem at the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory. They will allow free and easy parking by the State Fair grounds and within 7 minutes, will drop you off at the front door.
Ultracapacitor buses have low maintenance cost, low operation cost, zero tailpipe emission, and can reach a zero carbon footprint if powered by renewable energy sources.
The estimated savings in energy costs over the 12 year life of the bus (at current electric and oil prices) is $200,000.
Ultracapacitors will only power a bus for 5-10 blocks, then need about 3 minutes to recharge. Only two recharge stations would be needed, one at the parking lot and one a the conservatory drop off. The bus recharges while passengers load and unload. Capacitors do not wear out like batteries. A capacitor bus is 40 per cent cheaper to build than a battery powered bus. Because the buses can use regenerative braking, they use 40 percent less electricity than an electric trolley using over head wires.
As odd as it sounds new research conducted by a group of material scientists shows that a piece of industrial glass stretched very thinly and placed between two plates of metal, creating a capacitor, can store and release large amounts of electricity. Capacitors have been an essential part of electronics allowing us do do tasks that a battery is not able to do. A capacitor is able to store and release in bursts large amounts of energy, but unlike a battery it can charge more quickly and more often. The material between the two plates of metal is call a dielectric and it is this material that scientist are researching to find one that can charge faster and with more energy then the last. Applications of the new glass capacitor include heart defibrillators, camera flashes, diesel engine starters and electric vehicles.
This http://www.engadget.com/2008/11/21/better-places-1-billion-electric-vehi... caught my eye today. Hawaii became the latest addition to follow suite of Israel and Denmark and theoretically gave nod to creating Electrical Vehicle Infrastructure. Silicon Valley startup Better Place is going to make that happen. The cars equipped with system and service from Better Place will be able to locate the nearest battery exchange station using GPS and electronic ID for the car and little intelligence from the computer on-board. The driver will tell the car where she wants to go and car will locate the on-board computer calculates how much charge is left in the battery, determines does it need to recharge and the location of the nearest battery exchange station.
This is just like OnStar service. The vehicles equipped with OnStar get to have certain services like emergency road side assistance. Now, companies will offer "Green" services.
A vehicle that runs on Compressed Air Technology (C.a.t.) developed by Motor Development International (MDI), is being brought to the United States by Zero Pollution Motors (ZPM). With a delivery date around the end of 2009, the Air Car will go 90 mph, carry six people, recharge from an outlet or compressed air tank, and cost around $17,000. This You Tube video gives an introduction to the Air Car.
Although the Air Car has been featured in the media many times, I somehow missed it until today.
Learn more about the Air Car at the Zero Pollution Motors website.
Coming soon are electric vehicles that will be stacked like grocery carts outside of popular destinations. A swipe of your credit card and you can drive it to another location. The body of the car will be made of lightweight composite material such as Kevlar or carbon fiber.
Embedded in each of its four wheels will be an electric motor, steering and braking mechanisms, suspension, and digital controls, all integrated into sealed units that can be snapped on and off. The Boston Globe.
These smart cars will be like computers on wheels. They can charge or give back electricity while stacked up waiting for users. They will know where parking is available and the best routes to their destination, avoiding traffic delays. I also predict that they will soon be able to drive themselves. (Read about the DARPA Urban Challenge)
Mitchell Joachim's archinode.com website has seven more vehicles vehicles like the one pictured. Click on each car for more information. One design has passengers drive while standing up.
Batteries start fires. Batteries pollute. Batteries wear out. Batteries can leak acid. What the world needs is a better way to store electic energy. The people who invested in Google, Amazon, and AOL are now putting their money in ultracapacitors.
If a new company called EEStor delivers on its promises, storing electric power in what it calls ultracapacitors will change the world.
Among EEStor's claims is that its "electrical energy storage unit" (EESU) could pack nearly 10 times the energy punch of a lead-acid battery of similar weight and, under mass production, would cost half as much.
It also says its technology more than doubles the energy density of lithium-ion batteries in most portable computer and mobile gadgets today, but could be produced at one-eighth the cost. TreeHugger
EEStore has contracted to deliver its first EESUs to ZENN Motor Company in 2007 to use in their electric vehicles. It also has patented "Electrical-energy-storage unit (EESU) utilizing ceramic and integrated-circuit technologies for replacement of electrochemical batteries."
A capacitor is like a grilled cheese sandwich. The electrical energy is stored in the bread slices. The cheese needs to prevent the stored electricity from leaking across to the other side. In ultracapacitors the pressure will be over a thousand volts. The company that can solve ultracapacitor size, weight, leakage, cost, and safety issues will have the "holy grail" of electric storage.