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Why Plug-Ins Will Make (Dollars and) Sense

Q&A With the Electric Power Research Institute's Mark Duvall

7 min read

John Voelcker’s article ”How Green Is My Plug-In?” delves into the carbon impact of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), and it generated quite a bit of discussion. After that article appeared in March 2009,IEEE Spectrum’s David Schneider spoke with Jeremy Michalek, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering and of engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). Michalek’s upcoming study in Energy Policy looks at the sizing of batteries for such cars; in it, he calculates that plug-in hybrids with large battery packs—like the 2011 Chevrolet Volt—may never save consumers any money.

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) has a different view of the future than Michalek does. Here, in an interview with Voelcker, Mark Duvall, director of electric transportation at EPRI, explains the results of his organization’s detailed analyses of the environmental and energy impacts of PHEVs—which were conducted with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)—and relates some of the experiences developing models of the impact of plug-in hybrid technology.

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Video Friday: Humanoid Soccer

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

4 min read
Humans and human-sized humanoid robots stand together on an indoor soccer field at the beginning of a game

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your friends at IEEE Spectrum robotics. We also post a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months. Please send us your events for inclusion.

CoRL 2022: 14–18 December 2022, AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND
ICRA 2023: 29 May–2 June 2023, LONDON

Enjoy today’s videos!

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Array of devices on a chip

This analog electrochemical memory (ECRAM) array provides a prototype for artificial synapses in AI training.

IBM research

How far away could be an artificial brain? Perhaps a very long way still, but a working analogue to the essential element of the brain’s networks, the synapse, appears closer at hand now.

That’s because a device that draws inspiration from batteries now appears surprisingly well suited to run artificial neural networks. Called electrochemical RAM (ECRAM), it is giving traditional transistor-based AI an unexpected run for its money—and is quickly moving toward the head of the pack in the race to develop the perfect artificial synapse. Researchers recently reported a string of advances at this week’s IEEE International Electron Device Meeting (IEDM 2022) and elsewhere, including ECRAM devices that use less energy, hold memory longer, and take up less space.

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Designing Fuel Cell Systems Using System-Level Design

Modeling and simulation in Simulink and Simscape

1 min read
Designing Fuel Cell Systems Using System-Level Design

Design and simulate a fuel cell system for electric mobility. See by example how Simulink® and Simscape™ support multidomain physical modeling and simulation of fuel cell systems including thermal, gas, and liquid systems. Learn how to select levels of modeling fidelities to meet your needs at different development stages.