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Honda touts new energy efficient "heat-harnessing hybrid"

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Honda's already made more than a few attempts at energy efficient vehicles, but it looks like the company is far from running out of options, with it now touting a new so-called "heat harnessing hybrid" that it says can recapture more lost energy than conventional hybrids during highway driving. The key to that is a so-called Rankine cycle engine, which captures waste heat from the car's exhaust and puts it back to work to heat water, which gets converted to steam to power an electric generator, which in turn charges the car's battery pack. That basic idea, as you may have deduced, is hardly a new one, but Honda appears to have pushed things farther along than most, with its current prototype (a Honda Stream) boasting a 3.8% increase in efficiency when motoring along at 62 miles per hour, among other advantages. That's apparently not quite enough to convince Honda to put the technology to use in production vehicles, however, although it says that situation could change if they're able to boost the efficiency even further.

[Via Digg, image courtesy of EcoGeek]

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