The Science Friday Blog: New Teen Idol: Hybrid Cars
posted by Ira Flatow on Thursday, May 22 2008
My teenage daughter blew me away last week. She told me that the car that she drives to school has become the "must ride" car in the parking lot, the sexiest, hottest car in the school. The car kids all wanted to jump into.
What was that car? Some souped up, high torque convertible? Nope. It was our three year old Prius hybrid. The car that gets 40 miles per gallon.
As I say, I couldn't believe it. Wow. "Are you kidding your old dad?" "Nope. We drive the hottest car."
If there was any sign of a genuine paradigm shift, it must be this one. Teens and their cars are legendary indicators of national trends and moods. And if the depth of the growing energy crisis is reaching down to the teen/car level, the problem must be even more serious than we thought. Or, we are not giving our kids enough credit for being savvy consumers, who are ahead of us on the energy curve.
I choose to believe it is the latter. It's a ray of hope in this energy morass.
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EcoGeek: EcoGeeks get all the girls
By Hank Green
Posted Wed May 28, 2008 1:59am PDT
Just in case you needed another reason to care about the environment: It turns out girls dig guys who dig environmental technology.
According to a study conducted by GM as part of this year's Challenge X competition:
- Nearly 9 in 10 women (88 percent) say they'd rather chat up someone who owns the latest fuel-efficient car versus the latest sports car.
- Eighty percent of American car buyers would find someone with the latest fuel-efficient car more interesting to talk to at a party than someone with the latest sports car.
- More than 4 out of 10 (45 percent) 18- to 43-year-olds say it's a fashion faux pas nowadays to have a car that's not green or environmentally friendly.
Little did we know we've been fashionable all along! (OK, maybe not me - I'm still tooling around in my old Sentra.) No one seems to have told 80 percent of America that it's actually greener to keep driving your current car than to invest in buying a new one.
Nonetheless, this study is good news. And when I buy my first new car (never!), I'll be sure to let everyone know how green it is.
GM's Challenge X is a yearly competition among college students to make GM vehicles more efficient. This year's competition had students from 17 universities "re-engineering" Chevy's Equinox to make it more efficient and reduce its greenhouse impact, while retaining consumer appeal.
Solutions the students put together included using alternative propulsion systems like fuel cells and hybrid technologies, and using alternative fuels like biodiesel and ethanol.
This year's winners are from Mississippi State. They increased the fuel economy of the Equinox by almost 40 percent with a hybrid-electric biodiesel engine.
Via press release
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