Robotics

Ultra-low power chips help make small robots more capable

An ultra-low power hybrid chip inspired by the brain could help give palm-sized robots the ability to collaborate and learn from their experiences. Combined with new generations of low-power motors and sensors, the new application-specific ...

Automotive

Ground-breaking electric Chevrolet Volt runs out of juice

As their company was swirling around the financial drain in the early 2000s, General Motors executives came up with an idea to counter its gas-guzzling image and point the way to transportation of the future: an electric ...

Automotive

Amazon invests in electric vehicle startup Rivian

Electric vehicle startup Rivian on Friday announced a $700 million investment round led by Amazon, which recently pumped money into a young self-driving car technology firm.

Energy & Green Tech

What does it take to make a better battery?

Cambridge researchers are working to solve one of technology's biggest puzzles: how to build next-generation batteries that could power a green revolution.

Robotics

Hyundai shows off walking car project

South Korean car maker Hyundai on Monday gave a look at work it is doing on a vehicle with robotic legs to let it walk or crawl over treacherous terrain.

Energy & Green Tech

Machine learning to develop safer batteries

Electronics are essential to everyday life. What would our lives be like without our cell phones or computers? From toys to laundry machines to electric cars, electronics continue to populate our daily routines. Many of these ...

Energy & Green Tech

Why aren't there electric airplanes yet?

As electric cars and trucks appear increasingly on U.S. highways, it raises the question: When will commercially viable electric vehicles take to the skies? There are a number of ambitious efforts to build electric-powered ...

Hi Tech & Innovation

When cars fly? Japan wants airborne vehicles to take off

It might sound like pie in the sky, but Japan's government is banking on a future with flying cars, launching an initiative Wednesday with the private sector to develop futuristic vehicles.

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Electric car

An electric car is an alternative fuel automobile that uses electric motors and motor controllers for propulsion, in place of more common propulsion methods such as the internal combustion engine (ICE). Electric cars are a specifically a variety of electric vehicle intended for use as a road-going automobile. Electric cars are commonly powered by on-board battery packs, and as such are battery electric vehicles (BEVs). Other on-board energy storage methods that are expected to come into use in the future include ultracapacitors, or a spinning flywheel, which stores energy as potential energy.

Electric cars enjoyed popularity between the mid-19th century and early 20th century, when electricity was among the preferred methods for automobile propulsion, providing a level of comfort and ease of operation that could not be achieved by the gasoline cars of the time. Advanced in ICE technology soon rendered this advantage moot; the greater range of gasoline cars, quicker refueling times, and growing petroleum infrastructure, along with the mass production of gasoline vehicles by companies such Ford, which reduced prices of gasoline cars to nearly 50% of that of equivalent electric cars, effectively killed off the electric car in important markets such as the United States by the 1930s.

In recent years, increased concerns over the environmental impact of gasoline cars, along with reduced consumer ability to pay for fuel for gasoline cars, has brought about renewed interest in electric cars, which are perceived to be more environmentally friendly and cheaper to maintain and run, despite high initial costs. Electric cars currently enjoy relative popularity in countries around the world, though they are notably absent from the roads of the United States, where electric cars briefly re-appeared in the late 90s as a response to changing government regulations. The hybrid car has become the most common form of electric car, combining a gasoline powertrain with supplementary electric motors to run the car at idle and low speeds, making use of techniques such as regenerative braking to improve its efficiency over comparable gasoline cars, while not being hampered by the limited range inherent to current battery electric cars. Hybrids are now sold by most major manufacturers, with notable models including the Toyota Prius and the forthcoming Chevrolet Volt, a plug-in hybrid which uses a fully electric drivetrain supplemented by a gasoline-powered electric generator to extend its range. As of 2009, the world's most popular battery electric car is the REVAi, which is produced by an Indian company and sold in a number of countries in Europe and Asia.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA