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Electric Car Wins Popular Mechanics Top Innovations Of 2008 Award

The futuristically-shaped Aptera was honored as the top innovation of the year by Popular Mechanics, joining employees of Procter & Gamble and an ex-Ford engineer turned solar power CEO on the list of honorees.

Built to answer the question, "What would a vehicle with no drag look like?," the editors at Popular Mechanics say that the Aptera Typ-1e "could prove revolutionary, opening up a new automotive category of ultra-high-mileage automobiles designed for real-world drivers andat $30,000priced for them, too."

It achieves this ultra-high status by having a drag coefficient of 0.15 -- according to Aptera founders Steve Fambro and Chris Anthony, the entire Typ-1e produces less drag than the sideview mirrors on a pickup truck. The entire vehicle is engineered more like an airplane or a Formula One racing car than a traditional automobile.



Procter & Gamble public-health specialist Greg Allgood was honored for his work to bring the company's PUR water purifying powder to those who needed it most, from New Orleans to the Ivory Coast. Working with scientists from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, Procter & Gamble chemists managed to squeeze a multistep chemical treatment process into a packet of powder that costs pennies to produce. However, after struggling to make a profit from PUR, P&G planned to stop production. Allgood convinced executives to set up a nonprofit unit for the product instead, and the result has already saved lives around the world.

Bruce Osborn, CEO of Stirling Energy Systems, has tinkered with solar technology since he started his career as an engineer at Ford Motor Co. in the 1970s. He and his team have worked on increasing solar conversion rates for decades, and have finally made a long-awaited breakthrough (breaking a 24-year-old record for efficiency in converting sunlight into energy), and at scale -- two new facilities built on Osborn's Suncatcher design will more than double the amount of commercial solar electric power generated in the United States.

Get the entire top ten story here.

TAGS: Innovation
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