SEATTLE-Keeping the storage batteries in electric vehicles (EVs) charged has been an ongoing pursuit by EV designers and engineers. A Seattle-based start-up company, American Flywheel Systems Inc., is developing a mechanical energy-storage device based on the government's technology for making nuclear bomb fuel.
The New York Times reported that American Flywheel will be supplied by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee with materials and techniques for rotating masses. The technology was originally developed for centrifuges used to separate uranium isotopes.
By next summer, the company hopes to have a prototype of a flywheel, which stores energy by spinning a wheel, then uses the wheel's momentum to generate electricity. It said it will pay the government almost $2 million for the technology.
An EV would need to carry six to 12 flywheels, according to the Times story. The 12-wheel system would go from zero to 60 mph in less than 7 seconds, with a range of more than 400 miles, while the six-wheel unit would take 10 seconds, and go almost 300 miles. A full charge through a 220-volt circuit would take an estimated six hours.
System may help reduce crashes
GALESBURG, Mich.-The installation of collision warning systems on over-the-road trucks could help reduce vehicle accidents and near-misses.
That was the conclusion of John Baxter, a columnist for Owner Operator magazine, who recently wrote about a visit he made to Eaton Corp.'s truck test track in Galesburg to evaluate the company's Vorad collision warning system.
He cited statistics that:
33,000 tractor-trailers rear-end other vehicles every year;
One of four drivers will rear-end another vehicle at some point in their driving careers;
A European study of rear-end accidents noted that warning the driver of a slow-moving vehicle 300 feet ahead would probably reduce rear-end accidents by about 77 percent (Vorad warns a driver at 350 feet);
Seven of 10 vehicles, during their ``lifetime,'' will be involved in a type of accident that an electronic warning system might prevent;
The average cost of an accident-not just for vehicle repair-is $6,288 (Vorad costs about $2,000).
The Vorad system, which flashes red lights and gives off an audible warning, is said to help drivers ``see'' vehicles in a truck's blind spot, as well as a certain distance alongside and ahead of the truck. Some drivers said Vorad helped them avoid situations that would have resulted in collisions.
For the fifth consecutive year, Wagner Brake Products, a division of Cooper Industries Inc., has received Caterpillar Inc.'s ``Certified Supplier'' award. Wagner has supplied the manufacturer of earthmoving equipment, components and engines for more than 40 years.
The Automotive Service Association has debuted a leasing service benefit that entitles members to a $150 cash rebate when leasing equipment through the ASA. The benefit also includes a pre-approved lease credit reserve without fees or carrying charges, and educational booklets.