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Lithium batteries charge ahead - Researchers demonstrate cells that can power up in seconds.
Nature News ^ | 11 March 2009 | Geoff Brumfiel

Posted on 03/11/2009 1:43:13 PM PDT by neverdem

Two researchers have developed battery cells that can charge up in less time than it takes to read the first two sentences of this article. The work could eventually produce ultra-fast power packs for everything from laptop computers to electric vehicles.

Byoungwoo Kang and Gerbrand Ceder of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge have found a way to get a common lithium compound to release and take up lithium ions in a matter of seconds. The compound, which is already used in the electrodes of some commercial lithium-ion batteries, might lead to laptop batteries capable of charging themselves in about a minute. The work appears in Nature1 this week.

Lithium-ion batteries are commonplace in everything from mobile phones to hybrid vehicles. "They're essentially devices that move lithium ions between electrodes," says Ceder. The batteries generate an electric current when lithium ions flow out from a storage electrode, float through an electrolyte, and are chemically bound inside the opposing cathode. To recharge the battery, the process is reversed: lithium ions are ripped from the cathode compound and sent back to be trapped in their anode store.

The speed at which a battery can charge is limited by how fast its electrons and ions can move - particularly through its electrodes. Researchers have boosted these rates by building electrodes from nanoparticle clumps, reshaping their surfaces, and using additives such as carbon. But for most lithium-ion batteries, powering up still takes hours: in part because the lithium ions, once generated, move sluggishly from the cathode material to the electrolyte.

Tunnel vision

That seemed to be the case for lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4), a material that is used in the cathode of a small number of commercial batteries. But when Ceder and Kang did some calculations, they saw that the compound could theoretically do much better. Its crystal structure creates "perfectly sized tunnels for lithium to move through", says Ceder. "We saw that we could reach ridiculously fast charging rates."

So why hadn't anyone seen this speedy charging in practice? Ceder and Kang theorize that the lithium ions were having trouble finding their way to the crystal structure's express tunnels. The authors helped the ions by coating the surface of the cathode with a thin layer of lithium phosphate glass, which is known to be an excellent lithium conductor. Testing their newly-coated cathode, they found that they could charge and discharge it in as little as 9 seconds.

"As far as I know, this is the fastest yet for this material," comments Peter Bruce, a chemist at the University of St Andrews, UK. The researchers do not know exactly how the disordered glass helps lithium ions transfer between the electrolyte and the cathode.

Other materials, such as nickel oxide, have achieved similarly fast charging rates, says John Owen, a chemist at the University of Southampton, UK. "This is a nice demonstration of the concept in a lithium system," he says. Lithium, though, can store more energy for less weight than nickel compounds, and holds its charge better.

It's particularly important because lithium iron phosphate is already being used commercially, adds Bruce. Speeding lithium ion movement would vastly improve energy recovery in hybrid vehicles, which recharge their batteries when the vehicle brakes — a process that lasts only seconds. It could also eventually lead to fully electric vehicles that could charge reasonably quickly.

Ceder says that he thinks that improvements in modelling will allow researchers to find other candidates for ultra-fast batteries. "My guess is that there are more materials like this out there," he says.



TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Technical
KEYWORDS: batteries; battery; lithiumbatteries; lithiumbattery

1 posted on 03/11/2009 1:43:14 PM PDT by neverdem
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To: neverdem

Does it heat up and explode into flames?


2 posted on 03/11/2009 1:47:19 PM PDT by Moonman62 (The issue of whether cheap labor makes America great should have been settled by the Civil War.)
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To: neverdem; sully777; vigl; Cagey; Abathar; A. Patriot; B Knotts; getsoutalive; muleskinner; ...

W#OW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


3 posted on 03/11/2009 1:49:52 PM PDT by Red Badger (The Zero has more Chicago Bull than Michael Jordan...................)
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To: Moonman62

“Does it heat up and explode into flames?”

Details, details.


4 posted on 03/11/2009 1:50:47 PM PDT by RBroadfoot
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To: neverdem
sweet!!

now a hybrid or fully electric car is almost practical. Instead of an overnight charge you can actually charge up in the time it would take to fill up at a regualr gas station.

5 posted on 03/11/2009 1:52:34 PM PDT by prophetic (God, let 0Bama and his evil plans for this country fail & let him be utterly disgraced like HAMAN!!)
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To: neverdem

I’ve heard that the lithium batteries of the coming $40K Chevy Volt have to be replaces at 100,000 miles at the cost of $10K. Credibility?


6 posted on 03/11/2009 1:52:42 PM PDT by Dionysius (Jingoism is no vice in these troubled times.)
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To: RBroadfoot

Gotta have lots of amps to do it quick. That means big wires and big connections, big breakers. You don’t want to be fooling around with High Voltage charging your car.


7 posted on 03/11/2009 1:53:09 PM PDT by Oldexpat
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To: prophetic
Instead of an overnight charge you can actually charge up in the time it would take to fill up at a regualr gas station.

If you don't mind the lights dimming!

8 posted on 03/11/2009 1:53:35 PM PDT by Pearls Before Swine (Is /sarc really necessary?)
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To: prophetic

You know what they say, don’t count your chickens before they are hatched.


9 posted on 03/11/2009 1:54:07 PM PDT by Moonman62 (The issue of whether cheap labor makes America great should have been settled by the Civil War.)
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To: Moonman62
"Does it heat up and explode into flames?"

Good question, one might think that that the speed at which it can be charged is also the speed that it can be discharged.

10 posted on 03/11/2009 1:54:36 PM PDT by rednesss (fascism is the union,marriage,merger or fusion of corporate economic power with governmental power)
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To: Moonman62
Does it heat up and explode into flames?

Only when it has to deal with leftwing idiots. The Senate needs them badly.

11 posted on 03/11/2009 1:56:41 PM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: neverdem
I do not care how fast the thing charges it still requires a SOURCE and the speed would be proportional to the SIZE of the charging cord and for a automobile I do not see a woman handling that thing easy.
12 posted on 03/11/2009 2:03:10 PM PDT by Cheetahcat (Osamabama the Wright kind of Racist!)
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To: Moonman62
Does it heat up and explode into flames?

Sure.
If you discharge a large fully-charged battery in 9 seconds...

Solution: don't sell it to idiots.

13 posted on 03/11/2009 2:08:34 PM PDT by Publius6961 (Change is not a plan; Hope is not a strategy.)
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To: neverdem
might lead to laptop batteries capable of charging themselves in about a minute

Hmmm. How do they charge themselves? Sounds like free energy.

14 posted on 03/11/2009 2:11:15 PM PDT by Right Wing Assault
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To: Moonman62
Yes, but it does it fast.
15 posted on 03/11/2009 2:12:27 PM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: Dionysius
I’ve heard that the lithium batteries of the coming $40K Chevy Volt have to be replaces at 100,000 miles at the cost of $10K. Credibility?

I've heard that the Prius needs battery replacement at 100,000 miles at a cost of $10,000.

You figure it out.

16 posted on 03/11/2009 2:13:36 PM PDT by Publius6961 (Change is not a plan; Hope is not a strategy.)
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Interesting development. Quick recharges make as easy as filling up a gas tank. How much to chrage up the batterings?

How long do these batteries last? Cost to replace? Surely, as they become more commong/mass-produced, the cost of the batteries will go down.

Would like to see this combined with the new “aircars”. Compressed air, combined with batteries-gas engine-air recharger....best of all three worlds: Multiple power sources with air compression.


17 posted on 03/11/2009 2:15:40 PM PDT by ak267
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To: Publius6961
If you discharge a large fully-charged battery in 9 seconds...

Solution: don't sell it to idiots.

Shorting it by accident would take an idiot.

On purpose? Just good fun.

18 posted on 03/11/2009 2:17:14 PM PDT by Dinsdale
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To: ak267

Another benefit of the fast recharge rate is that I don’t have to “hook it up” at home, but simply go to a charging station.


19 posted on 03/11/2009 2:18:28 PM PDT by ak267
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To: neverdem

But it’s not a viable product until Billy Mays does an infomercial selling it.


20 posted on 03/11/2009 2:18:28 PM PDT by Hillarys Gate Cult (The man who said "there's no such thing as a stupid question" has never talked to Helen Thomas.)
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To: Publius6961
Methinks many posters on this thread need to watch this useful video...

Physics for Dummies

21 posted on 03/11/2009 2:20:29 PM PDT by Publius6961 (Change is not a plan; Hope is not a strategy.)
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To: ak267

Throw in a flywheel, Solar panel on the roof, boiler and triple expansion steam engine and a sheep to supply methane (with ‘proper fittings’) and you will have the most complicated car ever.


22 posted on 03/11/2009 2:21:46 PM PDT by Dinsdale
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To: Dinsdale
Lots of people have such a device today.
It's called a welder...

: )

23 posted on 03/11/2009 2:23:05 PM PDT by Publius6961 (Change is not a plan; Hope is not a strategy.)
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To: Publius6961; Dionysius

Toyota claims that not one has required a battery replacement due to malfunction or “wearing out.” The only replacement batteries sold—at the retail price of $3000—have been for cars that were involved in accidents. Toyota further claims that the nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) battery packs used in all Prius models are expected to last the life of the car with very little to no degradation in power capability. http://consumerguideauto.howstuffworks.com/hybrid-batteries-none-the-worse-for-wear-cga.htm


24 posted on 03/11/2009 2:25:16 PM PDT by rawhide
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To: rednesss

“one might think that that the speed at which it can be charged is also the speed that it can be discharged.”

I think you are correct. This means a massive amount of energy could be discharged very quickly if there is a short circuit. It seems to me that this would present a Hindenberg-like risk of catastrophic failure.


25 posted on 03/11/2009 2:26:29 PM PDT by Texan Tory
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To: Publius6961

So - only conservatives could get them? :-0


26 posted on 03/11/2009 2:28:15 PM PDT by HeadOn (Lord, please save us from Socialism.)
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Comment #27 Removed by Moderator

To: neverdem

They need to patent it elsewhere, sell the rights in some other country, and move to some other country, before Obama taxes them for being “lucky.”

Leave now!


28 posted on 03/11/2009 2:30:12 PM PDT by MeanWestTexan (Beware Obama's Reichstag Fire.)
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To: rawhide
I knew that. I was being sarcastic.
I have wasted way too much time arguing with ignorant idiots who, to this day, not only claim the absurd $10k figure, but go on to claim when you get rid of a Prius you need to pay a $20k+ "pollution fee."

A neighbor replaced his at 140,000 and somehow he talked Toyota into installing it at cost; under $2500.

29 posted on 03/11/2009 2:31:23 PM PDT by Publius6961 (Change is not a plan; Hope is not a strategy.)
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To: El Gato; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Robert A. Cook, PE; lepton; LadyDoc; jb6; tiamat; PGalt; Dianna; ...
Half of Black Teens May Be Vitamin D Deficient

New drug shows benefits against nasty asthma It sound's like a monoclonal antibody. It's probably not cheap.

Vitamin C May Help Prevent Gout

FReepmail me if you want on or off my health and science ping list.

30 posted on 03/11/2009 2:34:23 PM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: Publius6961
That would be one heck of a welder.

You are underestimating the potential current coming out of this battery.

BTW you can arc weld with a bunch of jumper cables, eight or nine car batteries and a coat hanger as welding rod. It won't be pretty but it can get you off the trail.

Shorting this battery wouldn't make an arc welder, it would make a bomb.

Electric potential turns to heat, heat turns parts of battery and bus bar to plasma...

31 posted on 03/11/2009 2:34:50 PM PDT by Dinsdale
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To: Red Badger

Do they run down at the same speed as they charge ?......:o)


32 posted on 03/11/2009 2:36:29 PM PDT by Squantos (Be polite. Be professional. But have a plan to kill everyone you meet)
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To: Moonman62

A battery that can totally discharge in 9 seconds by definition moves a lot of energy in a short period of time. Thus it will deliver a lot of energy when it is shorted out. Should this short occur inside the battery between the + and the - components, yes it might blow up or catch fire.


33 posted on 03/11/2009 2:55:03 PM PDT by theBuckwheat
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To: rednesss
Good question, one might think that that the speed at which it can be charged is also the speed that it can be discharged.

Holy mackeral! Don't ever short the suckers out!

34 posted on 03/11/2009 4:18:32 PM PDT by Ole Okie
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To: Ole Okie

35 posted on 03/11/2009 4:23:28 PM PDT by rednesss (fascism is the union,marriage,merger or fusion of corporate economic power with governmental power)
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To: neverdem
This thread is too good to pass up.

I have a Dell laptop which contains a 2300 mA-hr battery (or 2.3 A-hr). 2.3 A-hr is the amount of energy that a fully-charged battery contains and is equal to 8280 A-sec. If I bring the battery from fully-discharged to fully-charged in 9 seconds at a constant charging current, I would need to supply 8280/9 A or 920 amps to the battery for 9 seconds. Furthermore, this 920 amps times 14.8 volts represents 13,616 watts power for the 9-second charge time. Mucho amps and lotsa watts!

How big would the connecting wires need to be to carry this huge current? The largest gauge copper wire in the American Wire Gage standard is number 0000 which is 0.46 inches in diameter and is rated for 380 amps; you would need to connect 3 of these huge wires to each battery terminal to keep from exceeding the wire current-carrying capacity. Of course that much current would vaporize the terminals.

The 920 amps is DC but it could be converted from house current AC by using a power supply. A 120-volt wall circuit can supply 15 amps maximum at 120 volts or 1800 watts. Clearly, if you need 13,616 watts and only 1800 watts is available from your friendly local wall socket, you would come up short. If I got AC from the heftiest circuit in my home breaker box (30 amps at 240 volts), that would provide only one-half of the power needed to charge my laptop battery in the 9 seconds!

Of course, if I ran 920 amps into my laptop battery it would explode. Period.

Someone brought up the Prius. My sister has a Prius and I checked the owner's manual which lists the auto's specifications. According to my calculations, the Prius can run on the battery pack for only two minutes! The gas engine has to almost constantly start, run, and stop to recharge the battery. Her car does get an honest 45 MPG which I attribute to two factors: The engine runs at a constant speed to charge the battery pack (at optimum efficiency) and the Prius wheel motors turn into generators when you slow down, using the car momentum to recharge the battery pack.
36 posted on 03/11/2009 5:01:08 PM PDT by normanpubbie
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To: normanpubbie

You mean your electric range or electric dryer is not on a 50AMP breaker?


37 posted on 03/11/2009 5:06:33 PM PDT by MHGinTN (Believing they cannot be deceived, they cannot be convinced when they are deceived.)
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To: MHGinTN
Thanks. I double-checked and I do have a 50-amp breaker on my range circuit.

It takes my Dell battery about 3/4 hour (2700 seconds) to go from fully discharged to fully charged using the stock AC power supply. That implies that at 100 percent charging efficiency the battery is charging at close to 1 amp. This is a far cry from a 9 second recharge at a 920 amp charging rate.
38 posted on 03/11/2009 6:45:50 PM PDT by normanpubbie
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To: normanpubbie

Yup, lots of hype in the article.


39 posted on 03/11/2009 6:53:35 PM PDT by MHGinTN (Believing they cannot be deceived, they cannot be convinced when they are deceived.)
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To: neverdem; AdmSmith; Berosus; Convert from ECUSA; dervish; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Fred Nerks; ...

thanks neverdem.

University of Miami physicist develops battery using new source of energy
His discovery is a ‘proof of principle’ of the existence of a ‘spin battery’
University of Miami | Mar 11, 2009 | Unknown
Posted on 03/11/2009 5:30:26 PM PDT by decimon
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/2204683/posts

Breakthrough battery can charge up in seconds
timesonline.co.uk | March 12, 2009 | Mark Henderson
Posted on 03/11/2009 4:41:38 PM PDT by Free ThinkerNY
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/chat/2204649/posts


40 posted on 03/11/2009 7:31:25 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/____________________ Profile updated Monday, January 12, 2009)
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Comment #41 Removed by Moderator

To: neverdem

Thanks for the ping.


42 posted on 03/11/2009 8:18:36 PM PDT by GOPJ (CEO:Chief Embezzlement Officer- CFO:Corporate Fraud Officer-CASH FLOW: money down the toilet.)
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To: Dionysius
I’ve heard that the lithium batteries of the coming $40K Chevy Volt have to be replaces at 100,000 miles at the cost of $10K. Credibility?

Considering the amount of research being done, I doubt in 10 years the price would be that much. That info is usually tossed around by folks who don't like the idea of electric cars.

I'd love to have an electric car to do errands around town.

43 posted on 03/11/2009 9:18:14 PM PDT by SuziQ
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To: Publius6961; Dionysius

The Prius’ traction battery is warranted for 150k miles in California as part of the emissions-related equipment. I’d imagine the same would be true of the Volt.

The same “$10,000” canard floated around about the Prius, and might even have been true back when it was brand new (and covered by warranty). In taxi service the batteries have routinely gone past 350k miles, and replacements nowadays run about $1500, or less than the cost of a transmission in a similarly well-used car. The batteries require no maintenance.

This type of battery, properly manufactured and used, is very reliable. There are some tricks to achieving close to unlimited life; for example the Prius’ computerized controls maintain charge between 40% and 80% of full. When run in that range, they go practically forever.


44 posted on 03/11/2009 10:36:14 PM PDT by RightOnTheLeftCoast (1st call: Abbas. 1st interview: Al Arabiya. 1st energy decision: halt drilling in UT. Arabs 1st!)
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To: normanpubbie
"Her car does get an honest 45 MPG which I attribute to two factors: The engine runs at a constant speed to charge the battery pack (at optimum efficiency) and the Prius wheel motors turn into generators when you slow down, using the car momentum to recharge the battery pack."

Close. It uses an Atkinson cycle variant of the common Otto-cycle internal combustion engine. That yields about a 15% efficiency gain right there. The peaky personality of these engines would render them undrivable if it weren't for the clever differential-like electronically continuously variable planetary gearset, which as you say maintains the engine in a narrow speed band for maximum efficiency. Regeneration is another advantage, as you also point out. But then there's another thing: the gas engine need only be sized for pulling the car at-speed. For burst-power needs, the electric motor contributes. So the gas engine doesn't need to be oversized in order to accommodate acceleration, passing and hill-climbs. As a consequence, the Prius is quite a drivable vehicle. It is also very roomy, seating four adults quite comfortably and five when needed, with a cavernous cargo area. And one last thing: the a/c is electric, so the engine doesn't have to run at idle at stops in order to keep the cabin livable. (Flip side: since the engine's coolant provides heat to the heater as with all other cars, turning the heater setting up can make the engine start to run!)

Lots of Freepers get all gruff and dismissive about the Prius because it's, well, kind of the ultimate Al Gore-mobile. But it's a nifty car, very easy to live with, and competitively priced compared to others with equally capacious cabins.
45 posted on 03/11/2009 10:49:23 PM PDT by RightOnTheLeftCoast (1st call: Abbas. 1st interview: Al Arabiya. 1st energy decision: halt drilling in UT. Arabs 1st!)
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To: RBroadfoot

“Does it heat up and explode into flames?”

Yes, faster than you can read the first two sentences. /sarc


46 posted on 03/11/2009 10:54:03 PM PDT by Secret Agent Man (I'd like to tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.)
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To: RightOnTheLeftCoast

ROTLC,

Thanks for the additional info on the Prius!


47 posted on 03/13/2009 6:40:52 AM PDT by normanpubbie
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To: RightOnTheLeftCoast; normanpubbie
I drove a Honda Civic Hybrid for an afternoon, in both stop-and-go traffic and on the (urban) freeway. It was a little unnerving at first when the engine shut down at intersections. I got used to it.

It had a "capacity" charge meter, plus an "instant" meter that showed whether it was charging or discharging the battery. So, I could see how it was reacting.

It was on the freeway that I could see the real advantage: when I lifted my foot off the accelerator, the "engine braking" that we all expect was used to charge the battery. When I stepped on the accelerator to speed up slightly, the electric "assist" kicked in, then settled back to normal when I was cruising at the new speed.

There was no need to jam more gas into the engine to make minor speed upward speed adjustments. It was like running on cruise control on a flat, open road all the time, when I get my best mileage in a regular car.

I reset the "average gas mileage" meter when I got into the car. Over my entire trip, I exceeded 50 miles/gallon.

I don't know if the additional cost and complexity is worth it at current gas prices. But, as the technology becomes more common (and cost goes down), and the price of gas inevitably goes back up, it will probably be standard on almost every car -- just like automatic transmissions.

48 posted on 03/15/2009 6:31:21 PM PDT by justlurking (The only remedy for a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.)
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