News / Science & Technology

Washington Auto Show Highlights New Technologies

Washington Auto Show Highlights New Technologiesi
X
January 24, 2014 10:39 PM
At this week's annual Washington Auto Show, manufacturers are featuring their standard models along with cars that point to the future, both in terms of propulsion and multi-material body structures. VOA’s George Putic reports.
George Putic
At this week's annual Washington Auto Show, manufacturers are featuring their standard models along with cars that point to the future, both in terms of propulsion and multi-material body structures.

Besides old concepts, repackaged in newly designed bodies, many manufacturers are showing models that are test beds for new technologies that point to the industry's future.

One model attracting a lot of attention is Toyota’s hydrogen-powered FCV Concept, which may be offered to consumers as soon as next year.

Its fuel cell converts hydrogen’s energy to electricity that charges the car’s battery.  Hydrogen is abundant and cheap, and the only byproduct of its use is clean water.

The head of Vehicle System Design at South Carolina’s Clemson University, Zoran Filipi, says that fuel cells are the long-term environmental solution.

“Recent announcements about this technology becoming available to consumers are great because it’s going to allow for real-world experience, evaluation of this technology, and will prepare us for the future where, at some point, the infrastructure might become available too,” he said.

Toyota claims the car has a range of at least 500 kilometers and that filling the tank takes no longer than refueling a gasoline vehicle tank.

But cars with regular engines, still the most affordable for ordinary consumers, are also becoming more environmentally friendly, especially diesel engines, which are again making their way into the luxury department.

Clemson University professor Zoran Filipi says internal combustion engines, IC for short, are fighting back.

"What we see is that the near term combination of these very advanced IC engine concepts - downsizing, turbocharging, direct injection and 7, 8, 9, 10-speed advanced transmissions, does allow 10, 15 even 20 percent improvement of fuel economy,” he said.

Hybrid engines are also making their way into the luxury car market. U.S. manufacturer Cadillac won this year’s prize for Green Car Technology for its ELR model, with an electric motor for driving and a small turbocharged gas engine for recharging the battery, thus extending its range.

The other new technology on the rise is recycled and composite materials for the car chassis - like BMW’s i3 - whose passenger compartment is completely made of carbon fiber-reinforced plastics, making it much lighter.

Filipi says lightweight materials and structures are absolutely critical for vehicles with heavy batteries.

“We might actually see a future with multi-material body structures - steel, aluminum, carbon fiber - all being used for the same vehicle, and a lot of welding replaced by gluing,” he said.

Filipi says that there is also active research on bio-based and biodegradable composites for automotive interiors that can take us to a sustainable future.

Judging by the models exhibited at this year’s Washington Auto Show, cars of the future will be increasingly cheaper to drive while their environmental impact will continue to drop.

You May Like

Unpaid Kurdish Fighters Sign of Economic Woes

Sharp cuts in Kurdistan's budget by Baghdad, falling oil revenue, coping with refugees, inflated public sector have hit regional economy hard More

Koreas Exchange List of Envoys for Family Reunion Talks

Officials will discuss date, venue and number of participants for reunion; Seoul hopes to hold event late this month More

China Targets 197 in Online Speech Crackdown

Nearly 200 punished for 'spreading rumors' online in ongoing crackdown on free speech More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 02, 2015 6:19 PM
Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.

VOA Blogs