IMO These Are The 4 Best Inventions of 2010

Each year the folks at Time magazine unleash their take on what are the top 50 best inventions for the year. After looking at the list, I took what I feel are the top 4 listed. Top inventions, IMO, are not only some type of new gadget that is here today and gone tomorrow. The invention to me that is most valuable is the invention that has a life changing experience and will impact consumers for years to come.

1. The Apple iPad is one such device that will impact our lives the most. This tablet computer not only changes our minds on what a computer does and looks like, but is also simple and intuitive to use. I have had several opportunities to use the Apple iPad and it is impressive in the way it functions, but most of all, it is a device that was built from the ground up. Products in the past they were touted as tablets per se, were nothing more than Windows stuffed inside a case. Apple took the time to build something in which the hardware and software were in fact, revolutionary.

2. Google’s driver-less car. The prediction of a car being driven by itself, was predicted some 50 years ago. In fact if I recall correctly, by the 1960s this was going to be the new normal for driving. A car that was controlled by sensors under the roadway in which the occupants entered the destination they wished to go and off the car went. The technology was going to totally eliminate accidents, or so the theory went. But in reality, some testing has been done, but not on the scale that Google is doing it. Google has actually taken the vehicle on the roads of the S.F. Bay Area and has let the car drive itself for some 150,000 miles. My guess is that it will be another 50 years before a driver-less car becomes the norm.

3. The Power-Aware cord. Most of us read the power consumption specifications that come with most electrical devices that we purchase. If you are like myself, these numbers really don’t mean much, unless the power requirements are extremely high. Case in point. I just bought a new home freezer and was impressed with the energy requirement of only $30 a year. But wonder if we could actually see power being used? In steps the Power-Aware cord. The more energy that is used, the more the spiral spins. The cord could help all of us save on energy.

4. The Antro electric car. Fresh from Hungary and coming in 2012 is the Antro electric car. This mini 3 seater features something we Americans could use. Exercising while you drive. The passengers in the Antro pedal the ultra light vehicle which also comes equipped with an auxiliary electric motor. Need more space for a larger family? Just hook two of the Antro vehicles together. The best part is that the electric motor runs off of solar panels, so no charging is required.

These are my 4 top inventions for 2010.

What are your picks?

Comments welcome.

Source – Time

Chevy Volt Will Have An 8 Year/100,000 Mile Battery Warranty

General Motors is gearing up to start selling their new electric powered Chevy Volt towards the end of the year. But one of the main concerns is just how long the battery will last and what kind of warranty will be offered. GM is going to be offering a 8 year/ 100,000 mile warranty on the battery to instill confidence in their product.

In a recent article it further stated:

The batteries have a similar chemical composition to those in cell phones and computers. Those batteries often wear out in a few years and are relatively expensive to replace. Early on GM had pegged the cost of a 400-pound Volt battery at about $10,000, the most expensive single component in the car.

Costs should drop as GM sells more Volts, and should be substantially lower after eight years, Stephens said. He said used batteries can be shipped to GM to be rebuilt to extend their lives. Customers also would have the option of disposing of them, he said.

What has not been discussed is how these used batteries will be disposed of. I would imagine that the proper way would be to recycle them and reuse the parts. This is going to be an exciting experiment to watch and to see just how good or bad these electric cars will be.

Comments welcome.

Source – Silicon Valley

Electric, Hybrid Cars Need To Make Noise – A Hazard To Pedestrians

In a recent study, it is being claimed that the quiet hybrid and electric cars are a hazard to pedestrians, since they do not make any sound when moving. The study further states that blind pedestrians are unable to hear the cars coming and that this adds poses an additional hazard. In an effort to provide safer vehicle, it is going to be proposed to congress that these quiet cars have sound added.

According to one article it stated that:

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, Association of International Automobile Manufactures, the National Federation for the Blind, and the American Council for the Blind have banded together to propose language to be included in the Motor Safety Act of 2010. This bill would create a number of new safety rules for automakers; some of these rules are to address issues like unintended acceleration.

While the exact details of the proposed sounds for hybrid and electric cars are unknown, CNN reports that the sound would mimic the sound patterns of internal combustion engines at low speeds with rising intensity as the vehicle moves faster. This would allow blind pedestrians to determine if a vehicle was idle at a stop light or accelerating from a standstill. The NHTSA would be in charge of choosing the sound and setting the minimum level.

And for those looking to “pimp your ride”, you wouldn’t be able to customize the sound coming from the vehicle.

It is unfortunate that these silent vehicles pose a hazard. I for one was looking forward to the time that these electric cars became more plentiful and replaced the gasoline engine. The quietness I believed was going to be an advantage.

Comments welcome.


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NY Auto Show Report

I spent a couple of days at the NY Auto Show last week and have been busy cranking out videos on many of the cool concepts and upcoming releases. If I could use just one word to describe this year’s show, it would have to be electric

The tiny electric Subaru R1e and Nissan Denki Electric Cube, and innovative high-MPG Chevy Volt and Jeep Renegade concept hybrids push the envelope.

That extension cord? Don’t leave home without it…

2008 NY Auto Show: It's Electric!

I spent a couple of days at the NY Auto Show press preview last week and have been busy cranking out videos on many of the cool concepts and upcoming releases. If I could use just one word to describe this year’s show, it would have to be electric

The tiny electric Subaru R1e and Nissan Denki Electric Cube, and innovative high-MPG Chevy Volt and Jeep Renegade concept hybrids push the envelope.

That extension cord?

Don’t leave home without it…

Driving A Hybrid

I couldn’t let this bit of feedback slip past your radar. With gas prices being what they are here in the States, we’re all having to take a more serious look at our personal transportation options. Are hybrids or diesels in your future? Before you leap, you’d better look. Let Lockergnomie Pete Pontius be your guide. Print or save his bits of wisdom on your impending choices. Let me put it to you this way: if you don’t think this bit of technology doesn’t pertain to you, you’re not living on this planet.

I think I can give you a fair view of both diesels and hybrids, as I have owned both. One of my previous cars was a ’96 VW Passat TDI. I bought it used (of course) with about 125,000 miles in Philadelphia, PA (I live in Central IL). I flew out to Philly in February of 2004 and drove it back by myself. On the way back, I generally drove at a cruising speed of 75mph – 80mph and achieved 42 – 44mpg. I drove the car for most of the year, and then sold it out of stupidity.

In December of 2004, after trying to find a newer (used) VW diesel, I purchased a 2001 Honda Insight hybrid, which was the first commercially available hybrid for the U.S. market. In my usage, which is mostly highway miles due to my work (sales), I generally got between 50 – 55mpg depending on several factors – temperature, wind conditions (light small car), and how in a hurry I was that day. I have been trying to sell the Insight as it is not very comfortable for as much driving as I do. It’s already been replaced by another VW – this time, one of the new GTIs. Had the new Golf (now Rabbits again) been out in a diesel, I would have bought one of those.

I also used to sell VWs in my previous career. I worked for a VW dealer here in central Illinois for 5.5 years. I sold a lot of VW diesels in that time. The VWs are solid cars. They are fun to drive, and can be an addiction having owned, at last count, seven, not including all of the Audis (sister company).
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