You are currently previewing the NEW Scientific American site. Tell us what you think or view the old site

Skip to main content
Special Report

Under the Hood: Building a Better Engine

As demand grows for faster vehicles with cleaner emissions, engineers are rethinking engines and the fuels that make them go

  • May 18, 2009

Getting your V6 to act like a V8, while saving gas

The history of engine improvements in the U.S. has tended primarily in one direction: raw horsepower. Engines have gotten bigger and more powerful over time—and that's certainly what automakers have used as a key selling point.

May 20, 2009 — David Biello

New fuel efficiency standards: Too much or not enough?

The Obama administration unveiled a plan to boost fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks to an average of 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016—four years ahead of current schedule and up from an average of just 25 miles per gallon today.

May 19, 2009 — David Biello

Detroit Tour, Part 1: General Motors

Part one of a tour of the Detroit Auto Show. Tomorrow we'll be hitting up Toyota and Honda, and then in parts three and four you'll see news from Ford, Chrysler, BYD, Fisker, Tesla, VW, Mercedes and more!

January 12, 2009 — Hank Green

Tesla Motors debuts the Model S

After providing some teaser shots, Tesla Motors yesterday let everyone get an eyeful of the new Model S, the company’s $57,400 all-electric new prototype vehicle.

March 27, 2009 — Adam Hadhazy

Rotor in Motor

Replacing aluminum with copper in electric motors saves energy

November 1, 2007 — Steven Ashley

How to Build Nanotech Motors

Catalytic engines enable tiny swimmers to harness fuel from their environment and overcome the weird physics of the microscopic world

May 1, 2009 — Thomas E. Mallouk and Ayusman Sen

Accelerating an energy transformation in the auto industry

CAMBRIDGE, MASS.—By 2030, the people of the world will be driving as many as two billion cars—up from 700 million today—according to John Viera, director of sustainable business strategies for Ford Motor Company.

March 10, 2009 — David Biello

Carbon Dioxide from Cars

U.S. states are beginning to attack another major source of global warming pollution besides power plants: your car. David Biello reports

January 8, 2009

Give a Gift & Get a Gift

Give a 1 year subscription as low as $14.99