• No. 10 - Companies that are continuing to do research on alternative energy carriers like hydrogen, cellulosic ethanol, algae biodiesel and countless others in spite of the road blocks and criticism (click image above to continue).
  • No. 9 - IGBTs, MOSFETs, Neodymium, Ferrite, Matlab/Simulink, turbochargers, direct injection and all the other materials and tools being used by engineers to improve the powertrains we have today and create the propulsion systems of tomorrow.
  • No. 8 - Companies like Aptera, Phoenix MotorCars, Miles and many others that are striving against all the odds to build clean, efficient cars. The car business is one of the toughest there is to break into and even to survive in. Keep on swinging for the fences.
  • No. 7 - Manufacturers of lithium ion batteries that keep pressing onward trying to make them more energy dense, robust and affordable.
  • No. 6 - Car makers like Mazda, Ford and Hyundai that are striving to reduce the mass of future generations of vehicles while still keeping them affordable. Vehicles have gotten significantly heavier over the past thirty years and it's nice to see the trend finally reversing.
  • No. 5 - The Jetta TDI proves that an affordable, highly fuel-efficient car doesn't have to be a dog to drive. There have been efficient vehicles that sacrifice all pretense of actually enjoying the trip from point A to point B via points R, U, W, and Z. The Jetta TDI isn't one of them.
  • No. 4 - Nissan and Renault (and in some cases Better Place) are doing deals around the world to supply battery electric vehicles and cooperate on installing public charging infrastructure. Plenty of manufacturers are working on EVs, but this alliance really wants to make them practical. It's too early to tell if the projects will be viable, but we certainly hope they are.
  • No. 3 - In spite of the dire financial straits that General Motors finds itself in, the company and its engineers are still plugging away at the Volt and seem committed to getting it to market within two years. I've spent plenty of time talking to the people involved and they sincerely want this program to succeed. We hope so too.
  • No. 2 - Tesla Roadsters are in production, albeit in small numbers still, and the company is still with us (for now at least). We've driven it and it's a wonderful sports car - even disregarding the powertrain. Factor in that electric drive and it's amazing. Unfortunately, recent financial issues have threatened the company's future. The investors seem committed to making Tesla survival so far.
  • No. 1 - Finally, we're thankful that, in spite of the recent decline in oil prices, no one seems to be giving up yet on developing ever cleaner and more efficient cars.
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