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The sixth annual Lexus Eco Challenge has launched, giving young students a shot at winning part of $500,000 in grants and scholarships. More than 22,000 middle school and high school students have been included in past programs, where more than $3.5 million has been awarded to students, teachers and schools. Last year, for example, Lexington, KY's "One-Towel Wonders" team was a grand prize winner by showing how big an impact using just one towel per person per week could have on the environment.

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For the third-generation hybrid system powering the Fusion Hybrid and C-MAX Hybrid, Ford expects to be using about 500,000 pounds a year less of expensive and uncommon rare earth metals. Reduction of rare earth metals in the lithium-ion batteries and the hybrid system's electric machines lowers vehicle costs as Ford ramps up its production of hybrids and electric vehicles over the next years, allowing the automaker to offer more affordable, fuel-efficient vehicle choices to customers. Of course,

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Eaton is working on upgrading its hybrid electric vehicle power control system by reducing the size of the battery 50 percent and improving the total performance of the system and its charge rate while maintaining battery life, fuel economy and overall vehicle performance. The R&D project will be funded jointly between Eaton and a grant from the Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E). It's intended to optimize operations of hybrids, from passenger ca

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Toyota and General Motors were among automakers whose compact cars and hybrids received a jump in shopper interest last month as gas prices approached $3.40 a gallon, according to the New Car Insights Report on AutoTrader.com.

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Whodathunk that banning hybrid vehicles from California's High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes would lead to additional congestion on the state's highways and even longer commute times? Transportation engineers at the University of California, Berkeley did, and that's why the University's researchers are now pushing for HOV access to be granted to more vehicles, not less.

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Last September, a report in the Wall Street Journal claimed that the Chinese government intends to force foreign automakers to divulge their plug-in vehicle technology secrets in order to sell their vehicles in China. Apparently, China is looking to become a global power in the plug-in vehicle segment and might achieve that goal by utilizing technology developed by others.

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2011 Lexus CT 200h – Click above for high-res image gallery

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As has been predicted before, micro-hybrid technology (a.k.a. stop-start or idle-stop), will dominate the automotive industry within the next five years. This is according to a report from Lux Research, where senior analyst Jacob Grose is predicting that global sales of micro-hybrids will outpace both battery-powered autos and full hybrid vehicles in the near future. In the report, titled ""Micro-hybrids: On the Road to Hybrid Vehicle Dominance," Lux figures that global sales of micro-hybrids wi

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According to several reports, Honda, in seeking ways to build more fuel-efficient hybrids, may abandon its current Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) system and nickel-metal hydride battery packs in favor of "next-generation hybrid technology" powered by lithium-ion batteries for all future hybrid models.

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Alex Severinsky is a Russian man who came to the United States in 1978. He graduated from Ukraine's Kharkiv University of Radioelectronics in 1967 before moving on to an Electrical Engineering Ph.D. from Moscow's Institute for Precision Measurements in Radioelectronics and Physics in 1975. That's the background. Here's the important bit.

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Alex Severinsky is a Russian man who came to the United States in 1978. He graduated from Ukraine's Kharkiv University of Radioelectronics in 1967 before moving on to an Electrical Engineering Ph.D. from Moscow's Institute for Precision Measurements in Radioelectronics and Physics in 1975. That's the background. Here's the important bit.

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As per usual whenever there's great change afoot, finding the shelter of reality among competing storms of He Said/She Said isn't easy – it will probably take us another ten years to find out what's really true right now. J.D. Power and Associates has added more data to the mix with its report, "Drive Green 2020: More Hope than Reality." The one-sentence summary is that, according to J.D. Power's research, there might be more hype than substance to hybrid and battery demand, but that China

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2010 Porsche Panamera 4S – Click above for high-res image gallery

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We're all aware that Toyota's dominance in the hybrid segment is unmatched, but if a report posted in the Wall Street Journal turns out to be true, then we should expect the gas-electric champ to further bolster its industry-leading lineup with the addition of two new variants of the best-selling Prius by the end of 2012. Apparently, two dealers on hand at a conference in Las Vegas revealed Toyota's future hybrid plans.

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