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Hybrid Car Hacking

by asdf Sun Jul 17th, 2005 at 08:39:12 AM EST

Over here in techno-crazy America, the geek patrol has been working furiously to dream up ways to improve the already impressive fuel economy of hybrid cars sold by Toyota and Honda. While Europe has pursued a path of small high-speed diesel engines for passenger cars, we've elected to go the high-tech route and put thousands of dollars of batteries and electronic motor controllers into our cars. Purchasers of the Toyota Prius face queues of several months to buy a car, and the Honda Civic and Accord hybrids now make up a significant proportion of sales.

Both of these cars have very limited range when running on batteries alone. The Prius can only go a few miles before its small batteries need to be charged by the internal combusion engine (ICE), while the Honda mechanical system requires the ICE to run all the time.

But never fear: The electronic "hacker" community has probed into the systems of these cars and discovered ways to get even better performance than Toyota and Honda advertize!

Prius hackers have developed larger batteries and the ability to plug into wall electrical outlets as a way to significantly improve the situation. Meanwhile, Honda enthusiasts have added manual controls to the electronics of their cars so they can over-ride the computer system--and get 20% or more improvements in economy!

The two groups recently met for a shoot-out at the Tour de Sol in rural New York.

Read more... (5 comments, 601 words in story)

No Peak Oil Worry After All!!!

by asdf Thu Jul 14th, 2005 at 02:53:05 AM EST

Promoted by Colman

Over on this side of the pond it looks like we're out of the woods, for now at least.

"A sudden and mysterious drop in China's oil consumption helped to push down the International Energy Agency's estimate on Wednesday of global demand for this year.

After growing 11 percent in 2003 and 15.4 percent last year, China's overall oil use declined 1 percent in the second quarter from the comparable quarter a year earlier, the agency said.

The drop is the latest in a series of unclear and often conflicting indications about whether the Chinese economy is still growing strongly. Top officials of the agency said in interviews they believed that the decline was temporary and that they expected Chinese demand to rebound in the second half of the year, but added that world oil prices could take a heavy blow if Chinese use did not increase."

Read more... (12 comments, 391 words in story)

France: Collapse of Euro "Very good news"

by asdf Tue Jun 21st, 2005 at 04:57:57 AM EST

The French Finance Minister Thierry Breton, along with the rest of the French government, has lost his mind. Until recently the global financial story was the weakening of the US Dollar, with suggestions only a few months ago that the Euro might take over as the world's reserve currency. But during the past six months the Euro has been slowly collapsing, and today, in the wake of the EU budget summit failure and an aggressive interest rate by (non-Euro zone) Sweden, it fell to $1.20 in London.

Bad news? Nope, it's "very good news" according to Breton.


Read more... (9 comments, 315 words in story)
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