Friday, March 14, 2003
AUTO AND TRUCK MAKERS CHANGE VOLTAGE
Those who remember the switch from 6-volt vehicles to 12-volt should prepare themselves for the switch to 42 volts. The presence of higher voltages in vehicles will mean automakers can install systems that will increase gas mileage, cut wear and tear on brakes and improve performance. None of this would be possible using lower-voltage technology.
The key to the new systems -- to be installed soon in high-end products in Europe and widely in the States in about eight years -- is a series of high-voltage batteries and computer modules.
The use of electrically powered brakes will become commonplace in the coming years and, through the magic of momentum-recycling technology, some of the energy created during the braking process can be stored and used again.
It is estimated one common light source -- bulb -- will be used with fiber optic cables carrying the light to various exit points. Hopefully, this will not mean if you suddenly have a burn-out on that single bulb, you lose all lights.
The industry publication Oil & Lube News says availability of higher voltages will mean some instruments and motors can run all the time without fear of running down the battery. One major safety improvement will be the automatic triggering of electric cooling fans in parked cars to keep the interiors at a safe temperature level.
Copyright 2003 by United Press International.
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