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April 26, 2006

Comments

I read somewhere that fruit flies are attracted to ethanol in the decomposing fruit, so that'd not surprise me.

Slarti,
Don't know if you are thinking about the Tim F post over at Balloon Juice, but if you aren't, it's still worth sharing. If I were still teaching English to medical students, I would hire him to write some introductions to modern science, as this was absolutely brilliant.

We might also go for cars that drive at 1.5 liter per 100 kilometer.

Have to wait till 2009 though, and not have a large family (or at least none living in the same house).

dutchmarbel: We might also go for cars that drive at 1.5 liter per 100 kilometer.

Have to wait till 2009 though, and not have a large family (or at least none living in the same house).

Pretty impressive. That comes out to about 150 mpg.

Word has it the next Prius could top 100 MPG, for those of us who need a four door.

Pretty cool. But at 1200 lb, and (I'm guessing, here) less than a half-liter engine displacement, I don't think this is as much a breakthrough in engine technology as it is a combination of light weight, low drag and the best fossil-fuel engine type for fuel efficiency. The higher-perfomance version gets something like 90-100 mpg, but its engine displacement is probably around 1 liter or less. If we all scaled down our engine sizes, we'd probably be getting a lot better mileage. I'm also curious what highway speed the given fuel consumption is valid for, or if it's just around town.

Slarti: with the current Prius, at least, everyone says it gets higher gas mileage in town, which leads some people to say: hah, it's not so impressive if you ever have to drive highways. But no Prius driver I know has had this experience: it's actually slightly better on highways. I get around 55mpg in summer, 45 in winter; about 2-3mpg more on highways (if I had to guess), and 2-3mpg less in town (all those annoying stops and starts. Though no wasted gas at traffic lights, when the motor just shuts off.)

I was talking about the car linked by dutchmarbel, hilzoy.

I'd have guessed better mileage on the highway for the Prius. In town, as I understand it, the Prius has features that mitigate inefficiencies caused by start-and-stop traffic. However, the degree to which the wasted energy can be recovered is (duh!)always going to be less than 100%, so you're going to be less efficient around town than on the highway.

Of course, there's the added drag to consider, so your fuel economy on the highway is going to be some function of speed.

But: 2890 lbs is a lot.

one word: flywheels

Actually, I think flywheels would almost have to be stored in pairs, so the angular momentum can cancel.

Flywheels are a non-starter, except for pulsed power and small-scale applications. In the event of failure, all the energy in the flywheel will be released at once. BOOM

In politics, the rule is "follow the money"; in physics, the rule is "follow the energy".

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