Case study: Is beer the ultimate fuel for innovation?

Matt Galla had a serious case of engineer’s block. All he needed was the push of inspiration to be able to see a legacy design in a whole new light. Eventually, that inspiration came from an unlikely source — beer. The problem “We’ve had a business in TE Circuit Protection providing safe and reliable solutions when customers need resettable devices

XL Hybrids CAD drawing

A focused approach to eating the big pie

It's sometimes difficult to restrain oneself, much less one's company. Every innovation is born of a huge measure of optimism and confidence that this is the solution for the market. When the Drive for Innovation rolled into Boston in the fall of 2011, we hadn't heard of XL Hybrids. Today, we did, as the company announced a supplier deal with

Volt teardown pre-teardown photo-sized

Volt Teardown: The battery pack

By John Scott-Thomas, TechInsights The Chevrolet Volt is GM’s atonement for the cancellation of its first modern electric vehicle, the EV1, and a potent attempt to create a bold new technical future. The Volt’s control systems are among the most elaborate ever created. Close to 100 microprocessors are in the car, and over 10 million lines of software are used; a Boeing


A cut above

LARGO, Fla.–Like yoga, the pinnacle of design innovation is a balance struck between form, functionality, cost and, oh, 10 or 20 other variables.   Not easy, but, like yoga, can be learned over years of practice. The best part of our Drive for Innovation meetings is finding people who can articulate their best efforts at achieving balance with what are


“Super battery” demands government R&D…or does it?

Last fall, I got the ball rolling on a topic that has very few fence-sitters: What should be government's role in funding development of new technologies. Government, particularly the military, has long played a role, so the question comes down to how much is just right, and how do you avoid picking winners when (some would argue) the market needs

2011 Chevrolet Volt 16-kWH lithium-ion battery cutaway rendering

How would you redesign the Volt’s battery?

GM Chairman Daniel Akerson came out today, amid the controversy and federal investigation into Chevy Volt battery fires, to say the battery may be redesigned. "…We're just gonna take a timeout if you will in terms of redesigning the battery possibly," Akerson said in an interview with Reuters (see full video interview below). If you've followed us and the issue,


A loaner for the Volt? No thanks

  General Motors this week said it would give loaner cars to all 6,000 Chevy Volt owners (should they want them) while federal investigators try to figure out why the electric vehicles' batteries are exploding and catching fire in crash-tests.   We won't be taking them up on it. There have been three car fires (all caused by federal investigators

2011 Chevrolet Volt 16-kWH lithium-ion battery cutaway rendering

The Volt and the battery fires furor

ON THE ROAD TO RALEIGH, N.C.–We're still rolling blissfully south toward our next big innovation stop here in Raleigh, and we've been catching up on news surrounding the Volt, its lithium ion (LiOn) battery and charging stations…specifically whether the Volt is a fire hazard. Some sites have seized on the news to push LiOn technology as a killer in the

Santini Corvette photos

John Santini’s belt-driven EV

(Odometer: 8,293 miles) HACKETTSTOWN, N.J.–In the 1970s, when gas prices spiked after the Arab oil embargo, John Santini took matters into his own hands. He retrofitted a sporty red Corvette (see photo) with batteries to make it all-electric. He was convinced that continuing rises in oil and gas prices would make electric-powered vehicles much more attractive. In the 1980s, oil

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The Way Back Machine

The Way Back Machine

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