Washington D.C. Car Show Previews New Fuel Technologies
In his State of the Union speech on Tuesday, President Bush proposed reducing America's dependence on foreign supplies of energy in part by increasing the supply of alternative fuels. The president's comments came as automakers were previewing their latest technological innovations at the Washington Auto Show.
For a century, the internal combustion engine has dominated motor vehicles. That's a long time for a single technology to rule. Now, automakers are on the threshold of a new era in motor vehicle propulsion.
One of the stars of this year's auto show was a car that looks fairly ordinary on the outside. It's based on Ford's Edge crossover vehicle. (A crossover, by the way, is the 21st century version of the venerable station wagon: styled like a sport utility vehicle, or SUV, but built on a car platform.) But behind the sheet metal, this Edge is nothing like the ones on showroom floors. This prototype version combines a fuel cell with a plug-in hybrid engine. "Plug-in" refers to the fact that you charge the battery by just plugging it in to an ordinary wall socket. It's not ready for production yet, but Ford Vice President Sue Cischke says it's an example of an automotive future defined by flexibility.
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