Automotive Powers-Up

Reported by Cliff Keys, Editorial Director, Editor-in-Chief, Power Systems Design



With the rise in gas prices and the heightened ecological sensitivity in the public domain driven by the mass media, HEVs and EVs are fast becoming a commercial viability. This is great news for the power industry and great for our children. Also, with the political uncertainty and volatility of oil production outside of the US, many are concluding that electric power is the way forward for our autos. Further rises in gas prices could help accelerate the adoption of EVs and HEVs. It's reported that New York City has bought 50 Chevrolet Volts that will go to the NYPD, as well as to the fire and sanitation departments. The 50 Volts were among 70 EVs in NYC's latest round of buying under green Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a big fan of electrics. Also bought were 10 electric Ford Transit Connect vans and 10 electric Navistar eStar utility trucks. There are of course, challenges. Many of them you can read in this issue of PSD, aimed at giving you solutions. The visionaries are talking about infrastructure for widespread charging while power engineers are working out how to design the new vehicles with all its drive, control and power issues presented by the battery management, lighting and electronic control for all the electronics. Quite a challenge, but it will get there in the end, power engineers will fix it. But what a wonderful project for any power engineer; working on an auto that is clean, in terms of emissions, with the new LED lighting systems and a new control system. This is a project with a wonderful legacy for mankind. I just hope they can build them cheap enough and importantly, with improved range. Quad-core PC microprocessors now are set to conquer the notebook segment with about half of the mobile computers shipped in 2015 expected to employ these advanced chips according to IHS. The recently introduced graphics-enabled microprocessor places the graphics processor on the processor die. These microprocessors will be found in excess of 90% of notebooks sold in 2015 delivering improved power management of the on-chip graphics unit, although in terms of graphics performance, are not able to outperform discrete graphics cards. Again, power is the key. GM and wireless charging product maker Powermat this year announced a $5 million investment from the new GM Ventures subsidiary, which could put Powermat inductive charging for devices such as smartphones in many Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac cars as soon as mid-2012. All the best Cliff Editorial Director & Editor-in-Chief Power Systems Design