Popular Mechanics' Breakthrough Award green auto winners: Tesla, BlueTec, cheap hydrogen

Three green car-related technologies have won Popular Mechanics' Breakthrough Awards this year. They are the Tesla Roadster, Mercedes' BlueTec engine and an electrolyzer from GE that can extract hydrogen from water on the cheap. The Tesla Roadster won because it blows away (in under four seconds) the most common complaint about EVs: range. BlueTec won because of its incredible meshing of diesel's power and low-fuel consumption with low emissions.

It's in technologies like GE's low-cost electrolyzer that the automakers must be setting their highest hopes. The system, which will likely be christened with a catchy, techy name soon, used a high-tech plastic called Noryl to produce a kilogram of hydrogen for about $3 instead of the $6 or $8 it currently costs. The system's lead engineer, Richard Bourgeois, sees a time when hydrogen filling stations won't need a fuel delivery. They'll just make their own fuel.

Other transportation winners include the Gyro Bike and the Lexus LS 460's autopark feature (which to me gives a bad name to the other winners, considering what I've read on the feature being more hassle than it's worth).

[Source: Popular Mechanics, submitted by Ben Stewart]

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