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Electric vehicles

Fuel cells and the electric motor are examples of highly-efficient, electric drive trains. Electric vehicles are expected to one day outstrip sales of combustion engines vehicles. Innovative technologies such as fuel cells, electric motors and electric vehicles will influence our future mobility. The market for electric vehicles boasts the most potential.

Fuel cells, electric motors and electric vehicles are currently experiencing a breakthrough. Fuel cells are being used in new applications such as automobiles or laptop computers. Like electric vehicles, fuel cells are still in the development phase however. The potential is far from being exploited. Because a genuine fuel cell boom is anticipated, mass production is already underway. Like fuel cells, the application potential for electric motors and electric vehicles is still in its infancy stage. The discovery of the relationship between magnetic fields and electricity laid the foundation for the electric motor, and thus the electric vehicle. The electric motor that eventually resulted from this discovery is driven by the Lorentz force, which is the force on an electric charge as it moves through a magnetic field. The development of traditional technologies such as fuel cells and the electric motor has led to a rise in environmentally-friendly electric vehicles. Hybrid vehicles are still dominating the market in the segment for environmentally-friendly automobiles however. Utilizing a combination of combustion and electric motors, hybrid vehicles are slimmed-down versions of the electric vehicle.

Fuel cells

Fuel cells are based on the principle of a galvanic process. The composition of a fuel cell is influenced by both electrodes. The fuel cell energy stems from the electrode potential, which is created by the charging of the anode and cathode. The charging results in a potential difference in the fuel cell, which is eventually transformed into electric energy. From its discovery, to today's high-technology status, the fuel cell has experienced an astounding development. Fuel cells are already being used in a variety of applications today. But its impressive career is far from over. Because of their simple operation, the use of fuel cells in electric vehicles represents the market of the future.

The electric motor

Theelectric motor began as an electromechanical transformer. As the description implies, the electric motor is capable of transforming electricity into mechanical energy. The electric motor functions by transforming its mechanical force into motion. Like fuel cell technology, the electric motor is a popular drive train alternative in electric vehicles. The development of the electric motor as a drive train for electric vehicles is still a work in progress however. The first genuine electric motor was produced as early as 1834. Today, state-of-the-art, innovative technologies are still based on discoveries made by researchers nearly 200 years ago, as illustrated by the examples of the fuel cell, electric motor and electric vehicle.

The electric vehicle

While electric motors and fuel cells were originally used in industrial machine applications, electric vehicles are the technology of the future. At the beginning of their development, electric motors were initially used in locomotives . At this point, the focus is on the development of roadworthy electric vehicles. The key drivers of modern research into the electric vehicle are the electric motor's high degree of efficiency and low CO2 output, two factors that are behind current efforts to combat energy resource and climate change issues. The major issue is energy storage , which is the why researches are focused primarily on this aspect. For this reason, hybrid model electric vehicles - the combination of electric and combustion motors - are still in their infancy stage.

Automotive Engineering

Automotive Engineering highlights issues related to automobile manufacturing - including vehicle parts and accessories - and the environmental impact and safety of automotive products, production facilities and manufacturing processes.

innovations-report offers stimulating reports and articles on a variety of topics ranging from automobile fuel cells, hybrid technologies, energy saving vehicles and carbon particle filters to engine and brake technologies, driving safety and assistance systems.

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Recycling cars

The old breakers’ yards, going for a long time, are soon to disappear. The future is now in recycling components from these vehicles and all as a consequence of a new Directive approved by the European Union. The new law came into being in the Spanish State in December 2002. From February of this year the Royal Decree for the Direction General of Traffic obliges owners of vehicles to obtain a certificate of destruction in order to be legally free of contractual ownership of the vehicle. Here, in the 22.04.2004 | nachricht Read more

More crashworthy cars with opitimization

Optimization is an effective method for enhancing the crashworthiness of cars. In a series of simulations of crash tests at Linköping University in Sweden it was possible to reduce the penetration of passenger space by a third. Every year 47,000 people are killed in automobile accidents in the EU. This is as if a jumbo jet were to crash every third day. Such horrendous figures cry out for ever greater investments in crashworthiness. Modern optimization technique, based on so-called finite e 22.03.2004 | nachricht Read more

Can we be motivated not to take the car so often?

Yes, we can, according to this dissertation from Göteborg University, which deals with the impact of road tolls on car use, factors that influence attitudes to road tolls, and road tolls in comparison with other types of steering mechanisms targeting automobile use. But you have to have a positive attitude toward cutting down on car use (which people rarely have) and you have to plan how to go about it and regularly monitor your progress in relation to a realistic goal. Otherwise routines and impuls 12.03.2004 | nachricht Read more

A sophisticated virtual simulation tool to test-drive new cars

The rapidly increasing demands of today’s car buyers have placed a heavy burden on car manufacturers to constantly innovate. Building prototypes to test innovative car designs is a lengthy, not to mention expensive, process and one that companies keen to retain their competitive edge can ill afford. With contemporary simulation systems often falling short of R&D expectations, the eight-company-strong team of EUREKA project E! 1924 CARDS (Comprehensive Automobile Research and Development Simulator) s 09.09.2003 | nachricht Read more

UI researchers use SIREN driving simulator to study driving risk factors

Surrounded by projection screens, a blue Saturn sits in a basement room in the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. If you look very closely, you can see several tiny video cameras inside the car, and a glance under the hood gives a whole new meaning to the term "souped-up." In the space where the engine normally resides sits an array of electronic instrumentation that turns this ordinary vehicle into a high-fidelity driving simulator known as SIREN (Simulator for Interdisciplinary Re 21.08.2003 | nachricht Read more

Hydrogen-fueled cars not best way to cut pollution, greenhouse gases and oil dependency

As politicians and the public leap aboard the hydrogen fuel bandwagon, a University of California, Berkeley, energy expert suggests we all step back and take a critical look at the technology and consider simpler, cheaper options. In a paper appearing in the July 18 issue of Science magazine, Alex Farrell, assistant professor of energy and resources at UC Berkeley, and David Keith, associate professor of engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University, present various sh 18.07.2003 | nachricht Read more

Measuring the vibration in car panels to reduce metal fatigue

With each new vehicle, the car industry faces a fresh battle to cut out the unwanted vibrations that cause irritating rattles and the metal fatigue that can cause parts to break, with potentially lethal consequences. The complexity of the problems persuaded the German automobile giant BMW to team up with smaller partners to find a new way of designing new vehicles. It got together with Belgian companies LMS International, a world market leader in noise and vibration engineering, optics spec 19.03.2003 | nachricht Read more

ESA highlights space in Europe`s cars

Advanced space technology is being found more down-to-earth uses – even within the cars driven on Europe`s roads. The ESA conference ‘Technology Exchange between Space and Automotive Industry’ is to highlight how spin-offs from space are influencing the evolution of European automobiles, heralding improvements in safety, performance and power. It will take place 6 November at ESOC, Darmstadt in Germany. "Space technology deals with the challenging conditions of launching an 29.10.2002 | nachricht Read more

FutureCar in Europe

A high-mileage, low-pollution car built by students at the University of California, Davis, will drive from Hockenheim, Germany to Paris, France between Sept. 22 and 25 as part of the Challenge Bibendum, a competition run by tire manufacturer Michelin to promote new technology in automobiles. UC Davis is the only university represented among 70 participants including auto industry giants Ford, DaimlerChryser and Honda. Graduate students Eric Chattot, Thomas Dreumont and Charnjiv Bangar from the 18.09.2002 | nachricht Read more
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Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

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