Title:
The Power Of Your Car: What The Japanese Know And We Don't

Word Count:
504

Summary:
Picture this. Five days a week, you get into your car, ready for the hour long commute to work, school, the café your sister insists has the best breakfast. You turn on the radio, plug in your cell phone to recharge the battery, plug your Bluetooth into the second outlet on the console, adjust your ipod on the dash, and decide you're ready to go. Sound familiar? With commute times of U.S. drivers on the rise since ABC News reported in 2005 that 220 million Americans spend an ...


Keywords:
car,truck,van,suv,sut,auto,automotive


Article Body:
Picture this. Five days a week, you get into your car, ready for the hour long commute to work, school, the café your sister insists has the best breakfast. You turn on the radio, plug in your cell phone to recharge the battery, plug your Bluetooth into the second outlet on the console, adjust your ipod on the dash, and decide you're ready to go. Sound familiar? With commute times of U.S. drivers on the rise since ABC News reported in 2005 that 220 million Americans spend an average of more than 1.5 hours a day in their cars, it's reasonable that we've done all we can to make that portion of our day as comfortable and efficient as we can.

And we've done a pretty good job. MP3 players, cell phones, Bluetooths, DVD players, even laptop computers have become commonplace in the car but what impact has that had on our vehicles themselves?
Most car batteries aren't designed to support an apartment-worth of electronic equipment and the result: they don't last nearly as long as they used to.

What's the solution? Well, if we take our cue from Japan (another country that loves the convenience of small, portable, electronic equipment), we should pay attention to the name Enova Systems.

Enova Systems, Inc. is a leader in the development and production of specialized digital power management systems and stationary power generation systems in cars. In short, new ways to get electricity to all your necessary toys when driving or idling. Essentially, power management systems monitor and control electric power in automobiles.

More specifically, Enova has engineered a hybrid electric drive system that provides the same functionality as a system that relies on an internal combustion engine, but consists of an electric motor and electronic controls to regulate the flow of electricity at various voltages to support the vehicle's batteries as needed.

Asia jumped on board early and is eating this technology up. Isuzu, popular in the United States for its high-performance pickups the i-290 and i-370 as well as its contribution to the SUV market with the five-passenger Ascender, is already working with Enova to include the HybridPowerTM drive system in some of its vehicles. In Singapore, they're using the system in battery-electric trains for the Singapore Land Transport Authority. In South Korea, service vehicles for the Seoul Mass Rapid Transit Circle Line system is utilizing the technology as well. In addition, the company is working with China to develop vehicle systems to accommodate the explosion of mass transit anticipated at the 2008 Olympic Games.

A good idea? Probably. There's no reason to expect that with the growth of urban sprawl that commute times will decrease in the near future, or that people will be willing to give up all the amenities that make their time on the freeways more comfortable. With newer cars (like the 2007 Nissan Altima) providing multiple outlets to plug in electric-powered accessories, we seem to be headed in a direction where stationary power (provided by the battery during idle) will become more necessary.


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