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Messages - sukishan
When, I will get my cheque?.
Thanks for the gift, Could you please arrange the cheque.
How it works: the plug-in hybrid
Thanks largely to the market leading Toyota Prius we're all by now quite accustomed to hybrid cars and most of us probably know to one extent or another how they work. Well, the latest step on our path towards electric cars (or however we'll eventually achieve eco-friendly personal transport) is the plug-in hybrid.
So what's the difference between a conventional hybrid and a plug-in one? Well, we're about to tell you, and believe it or not it's actually a little more interesting than 'one's got a plug' - even though that's true.
Ok, so before we begin remind me how a regular hybrid works?
That question is like asking how a regular engine works - in the same way we have different engine configurations and fuels, so too are there different types of hybrid. Toyota's 'Hybrid Synergy Drive' is an example of a 'full hybrid' system, which means that it has a combustion engine and an electric motor powered by a battery pack. Either the electric motor or the engine can power the car alone, or they can work together.
Some hybrids, like that in the Honda Insight, cannot be driven on electricity alone, but use their electric motor to back up the petrol engine, thus making fuel consumption gains because a smaller engine can be used and isn't as hard worked in pulling the car along.
Excellent, I feel fully clued up now. So how does a plug-in system improve things?
By increasing the range of a full hybrid, thus allowing more electric-only driving and, therefore much improved fuel consumption. In an ideal world, the plug-in hybrid would never need to call on the fuel sloshing about in its tank, which would serve purely as a very wet kind of comfort blanket.
Hang on... a comfort blanket?
Yes indeed. We're so used to the way our cars work - the dynamic of filling up with fuel and knowing we're 'safe' until the gauge needle sinks to zero - that battery power throws us into a collective panic. It's known in the industry as 'range anxiety' and is the main thing that worries us about driving electric only cars; we trust a tank of fuel and the few hundred miles that will get us, but what do we do if our car battery runs out suddenly? Range anxiety is no surprise given electric cars, to date, offer far fewer miles from a charge than a tank of fuel does.
Ah, so having a 'backup' tank of fuel means we're not bothered if the battery runs out?
Exactly. The plug-in hybrid works the same way as a normal hybrid - offering both petrol and electric power, or both - but weans us into electric-only power because it can pull juice from the same socket your toaster's plugged into, and theoretically never needs to use fuel. Toyota's plug-in Prius, for example, replaces the regular car's nickel-metal hydride battery with a lithium ion one (as used in mobile phones), which is more energy intense and can take charge quicker. So, as opposed to the pitiful one-mile electric range of the normal Prius, at speeds up to 31mph, the plug-in version can whirr about for 12.5 miles at up to 60mph. If you live six miles or less from work, Bob's your uncle - no fuel!
What's the next step then?
It's already here, but you can't buy it yet. The Vauxhall Ampera (Chevy Volt in America) is due in 2012 - possibly the time your new Insignia is due for replacement - and can run for 40 miles on its battery before the petrol motor kicks in. The difference is, the petrol unit isn't attached to the wheels, but rather acts as a generator to power the battery for a 300-mile plus total range.
Thus eradicating range anxiety?
Yes indeed. You learn quickly. In the meantime, plug-in hybrids will increase their ranges too so that pretty soon we'll be going to the shops in CO2-free silence, but not worrying if we're all of a sudden called to divert a sudden crisis 100 miles away. Like finding out the bottle bank outside Tesco is closed, prompting a 99-mile round trip to another store in the Range Rover to do some recycling.
If the idea of driving around in a porcelain vase appeals to you, Ferrari has the ultimate answer in the form of this very special one-off 599 GTB Fiorano. Following the announcement of a limited edition batch of 599s called the 'China Limited Edition' models, the Italian supercar maker has commissioned seminal Chinese artist Lu Hao to make a one-off version finished in this spectacular porcelain effect coat.
No more than twelve China Limited Edition cars will be made, each featuring a two-tone 'fire red' paint job and a silver roof, and incorporating Chinese script design flashes throughout. This new version is an absolute one-off though, featuring 'cracked glaze' paint that's inspired by the Ge Kiln porcelain of the Song Dynasty, of which only a few pieces survive today. According to Ferrari, the pattern 'has the lustre of jade and is often used to symbolise the qualities of a true gentleman.'
So, suitably wealthy gentlemen can attend the auction of the car during a charity Gala in Beijing on November 3rd 2009. Part of the proceeds will go to an educational sponsor programme that helps young Chinese students study engineering - but not pottery, oddly.
User Name : sukishan
Date : 07 Oct 09
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Thank You Very Much for the Gift.
Could you please arrage the cheque?
Private equity firm OpenGate Capital and New York Daily News owner Mort Zuckerman have dropped out of the bidding for McGraw-Hill Cos Inc's BusinessWeek magazine, people familiar with the matter said, leaving Bloomberg LP and ZelnickMedia to vie for the money-losing asset.
OpenGate and Zuckerman, who is also co-founder of real estate investment trust Boston Properties Inc, could have lost interest because McGraw-Hill executives favor a sale to Bloomberg, the financial news and data provider owned by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the sources said.
McGraw-Hill considers Bloomberg the best buyer for BusinessWeek because it could capitalize on the marriage of two brand names well-known in financial circles, another source told Reuters on September 29. But the company has remained open to superior offers, the source added at the time.
OpenGate had put in a bid for the 80-year-old magazine last month, along with Bloomberg and ZelnickMedia.
Zuckerman, whose media holdings include U.S. News & World Report, came in with a last-minute bid, but dropped out a "few days ago," one of the sources told Reuters.
Zuckerman previously owned The Atlantic Monthly and Fast Company magazines, but his recent attempts to buy media properties -- such as a 2008 bid for the Newsday newspaper -- have been less successful.
OpenGate Capital, based in Los Angeles and Paris, is an opportunistic investor with assets around the world. Its media assets include TVGuide magazine.
McGraw-Hill said in July it was considering "strategic options" for BusinessWeek as ad sales worsened, indicating it might sell the magazine. The company hired investment bank Evercore Partners Inc to run the sale.
A McGraw-Hill spokesman, Zelnick and OpenGate all declined to comment. A spokesman for Zuckerman was unavailable for comment.
Shares of McGraw-Hill closed up 2.8 percent at $25.98 on the New York Stock Exchange.
Dutch financial services firm ING (ING.AS) has agreed to sell its Swiss private banking asset to Julius Baer (BAER1.VX), two sources with knowledge of the deal said.
The announcement is likely to come later on Wednesday, one of the sources told Reuters.
As part of a global restructuring, ING is selling its Asian and Swiss private banking units in what would be the biggest deal in the wealth management industry since the credit crisis began.
HSBC (HSBA.L) and Switzerland's Julius Baer (BAER1.VX) have been seen as the front-runners for the assets. On Tuesday, Julius Baer CEO Boris Collardi told Reuters he expected an outcome to the sale "very soon."
A U.S. Senate healthcare reform bill would raise $29 billion more in taxes on healthcare companies over 10 years than originally estimated, congressional experts said on Tuesday, fueling new Republican attacks on the legislation.
The nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation reported the bill would raise $121 billion in fees on drug companies, health insurers and the makers of medical devices, up from the $92 billion it reported last month.
The new estimate came as the Senate Finance Committee neared a vote on its sweeping overhaul of the nation's healthcare system amid Republican charges the proposal is too costly and includes too many new taxes.
The healthcare bill, one of five pending in Congress on President Barack Obama's top domestic priority, would levy new taxes on some industries to help pay for the changes.
The Joint Committee on Taxation said its new estimate of the revenue raised by the taxes was higher because the companies would not be able to deduct the fees from their corporate taxes.
Senator Charles Grassley, the senior Republican on the panel, said the higher taxes would be passed on to consumers in the form of higher insurance premiums and healthcare costs.
"One of the goals of healthcare reform should be reducing premiums and costs for Americans, but these taxes will have the opposite effect," Grassley said.
The Senate panel has delayed a vote until the Congressional Budget Office delivers a revised estimate of the financial impact of the plan to rein in costs, regulate insurers and extend coverage to millions of uninsured.
Democratic Chairman Max Baucus said he hoped to get the cost estimate from CBO on Wednesday, which could clear the way for a committee vote this week.
Republicans have repeatedly asked Obama and his fellow Democrats to slow down the healthcare battle, and Grassley said the shift showed why committee Republicans wanted tax and budget experts to appear again before the panel.
The Democratic-controlled committee adopted dozens of amendments during seven days of debate, and lawmakers need a full understanding of the legislation before voting, Grassley and other Republicans said in a letter to Baucus.
Once the Finance Committee approves the bill as expected, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid will merge it with a bill passed earlier this year by the Senate health panel and move it to the floor for debate within the next few weeks.
The House of Representatives also is edging toward a floor debate on healthcare. Democratic House leaders met again on Tuesday night to meld the three bills passed by House panels, and will discuss their progress at a Democratic caucus on Wednesday.
Boeing Co (BA.N), looking to win more business as the U.S. Defense Department seeks to bolster support to soldiers, said on Tuesday that it sees many applications for a family of advanced trailers it has developed that can be used to retrieve damaged military vehicles from hostile environments.
The trailers, which are in the testing phase, can evacuate and recover hard-to-move vehicles that weigh as much as 80,000 pounds, and will roll on rough terrain. The system uses hydraulic lifts and winches to pull vehicles onto a trailer bed so they can be taken to a safe location for repairs.
The trailers, which can be tilted, lowered or raised, can also be used to transport military cargo.
Boeing said the trailers can curb the amount of equipment, number of people and time it takes to recover a damaged armored truck.
The aerospace and defense company said it has been awarded a contract to build two of the trailers under the Joint Capability Technology Demonstration (JCTD) program, a U.S. initiative that speeds the development and delivery of certain military capabilities. The contract is expected to be announced this week.
"Once it gets through the testing, we think there's literally a market for thousands of these types of vehicles," Daniel Afflick, director of ground forces support solutions for Boeing, told a briefing at the Association of the U.S. Army conference in Washington.
"I don't have to tell you that the ground customers especially are skeptical of a solution has not been proven," he added.
In June, Boeing said it won a $5.2 million contract to cover testing and certification from the U.S. Marine Corps to build four of these trailer systems that can retrieve Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, armored trucks that are being used by troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Afflick said the trailers also had commercial uses, in industries such as logging and mining.
"We're looking at customer applications in a lot of different areas," he said.