The answer is the Chevy Volt � a first-of-its kind hybrid automobile and the 2011 Motor Trend Car of the Year. IBM Rational software (together with IBM supercomputers and simulation software) played a significant role in the development of the Volt.
The phrase �X of the future� gets thrown around pretty liberally, but the Volt actually earns the �car of the future� title by being unlike any other car � or any other hybrid � anyone has ever driven. It�s the first hybrid that can run on battery power only, OR on electricity generated by a gas-powered motor, OR on gas only (at a pretty damn economical 40 mpg). And on-board software, developed using Rational tools, enables everything from the Volt�s space-aged graphical dashboard, to a system that picks the most fuel-efficient hybrid mix based on preference or driving style, to a smartphone app that lets the justifiably smug owner remotely monitor the Volt�s battery and fuel levels, or warm up the interior.
An IBMer might say the Volt is the rolling definition of a �smarter product.� Even Motor Trend calls it �the world�s first intelligent hybrid.�
Here are few links for getting to know the Volt:
- The IBM Volt Press Kit includes a great video in which GM folks explain the role of IBM Software in the Volt�s development. (Favorite fun fact: 6 million lines of code in an F-35 fighter, 10 million lines of code in a Volt.)
- The �Volt Unplugged� tour stops at IBM in Raleigh � and 600+ IBMers wait in line for a test drive.
- 2011 Motor Trend Car of the Year: Chevrolet Volt. One indication that the Volt is unlike any previous car is that this article is unlike any previous�Motor Trend Car of the Year article. It actually includes the phrase �systems integration.�
- Chevy Volt on Wikipedia. Links from this article explain such terms as �serial hybrid� and �parallel hybrid,� which help you understand how the car works.
- The official Chevy Volt web site. Just in case you decide 126.7* miles per gallon would look good in your garage.
*Motor Trend estimate
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