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Gasoline Efficiency or Hybrid Electrics: Which Should Have Higher Priority?

There is a great deal of public and political enthusiasm for hybrid electric vehicles.  This is founded on the idea, no doubt true, that hybrid electric vehicles can reduce gasoline consumption and dependence on imported oil in the United States.  But are they the best short term solution?   In the summer of 2008 when gasoline exceeded four dollars per gallon in the U.S., there was a surge of interest in smaller, more fuel efficient cars and hybrid electric cars.  Gasoline prices have returned to about two dollars a gallon, but many consumers now believe it is only a matter of time before prices go up again.  Previous gasoline crises, however, have shown that consumers have a very short memory for pain.  Based on past behavior, there is a good possibility that consumers will return to larger cars, pickup trucks and SUVs if gasoline prices stay low for three or four years.  To be ready for that possibility and still be able to reduce pollution and dependence on foreign oil, it is essential that those vehicles have better fuel mileage.   There are several emerging technologies that can significantly improve the efficiency of gasoline engines in the short term: gasoline direct injection; dual clutch transmissions; electronic valves and electrically powered auxiliaries for example.  Together these technologies could improve gasoline mileage by 15% to 25%.  The engineering investment to bring these technologies to market is much less than the investment needed to further develo

MOST Cooperation Multiplexes Automotive Infotainment Systems

 The wiring harness for in-vehicle entertainment is becoming increasingly complex.  Only a few years ago the only electronic entertainment device in a car was the radio.  Today, an infotainment system may include an FM radio, a satellite receiver, a CD or DVD player, an amplifier, multiple speakers, a telephone, a navigation unit, an MP3 input and one or more displays.  Tomorrow, a vehicle may contain all of the above plus a wireless connection to the internet.  The wiring for an FM/AM radio with two speakers in the dash was simple.  The wiring for a modern infotainment system is not.  What to do?