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Many people choose hybrid cars not only because they want to decrease their carbon footprint but also because it can help save on insurance premiums. But have you ever wondered how hybrid cars work? Are they better than cars that run on combustion engines?

What Is A Hybrid Car?

A hybrid car, like the Toyota Prius, is an automobile that is powered by an electric motor plus a combustion engine. These two systems are combined and they work with each other to push the car to move. 

The electric motor is powered by the battery which is also part of the car’s system. It is usually found at the trunk. It is used in different situations such as idling so that the car doesn’t burn gasoline. In case the battery is already low, the combustion engine powered by gasoline starts to assist in controlling the vehicle while also charging the depleted battery. 

How Does It Work?

Essentially, hybrid cars have two engines. One is a motor powered by electricity and the other is powered by gas. They work together to save on the fuel used but not all hybrids are the same. Manufacturers of hybrid cars design them differently and there are variations of hybrids too. 

Three technologies mainly affect hybrid cars and they are:

Regenerative Braking

Whenever you step on the brakes, energy is lost. The kinetic energy that is pushing the car to go forward is redirected as heat energy that simply dissipates when the brakes are used. This energy is just wasted. This is just how combustion engine cars work. 

Instead of wasting all that energy, hybrid engines are equipped with braking systems that turn them into electricity. This electricity is what charges the battery of the electric engine found on hybrid cars. This process is more commonly known as regenerative braking. 

Electric Motor Drive Or Assist

The electric motor fitted in hybrid cars supports the gas engine. In some hybrid cars, the electric motor assists the combustion engine so that the car can be more efficient when using or burning gasoline. 

Some hybrid cars program the electric motor to be solely responsible for moving the car from a standstill point. The combustion engine will assist the electric motor when certain conditions are met. These conditions may include reaching a certain speed or stepping on the gas pedal to a certain degree. 

Automatic Start And Stop

Idling is one of the common reasons why fuel consumption is high. Car owners can significantly reduce their consumption when they turn off their engine when not needed. Hybrid cars do this automatically to save on fuel. 

Should I Want A Hybrid Car?

With all the information we’ve just discussed above, you may be thinking if you want a hybrid car or should you want one. Well, if you want to save money on gasoline, then you will love a hybrid car. 

Before making a purchase, there are still a lot of things to consider like your budget and how you’d want to use the vehicle. Nowadays, there are many hybrid cars and they differ from each other to suit different preferences of drivers and users. 

The most common traditional hybrid vehicle is the Toyota Prius but you may also choose other hybrid versions like hybrid SUVs. Moreover, there are also luxury brands that are manufacturing their version of hybrid vehicles. Such brands include the BMW, Audi, Ford, Chevrolet, and many others. 

Electric cars are available today and they are great for the environment. The only problem is not all people who are willing to buy a car would prefer to buy an electric one. There are many benefits of having and using green cars. There is even a positive effect on auto insurance premiums.

To make electric cars more tempting for buyers, the US government gives incentives to those who own an electric car. A tax credit of $2500 up to $7500 is given to every new purchase of an electric vehicle throughout the United States. The tax credit varies and will depend on various factors like battery capacity and vehicle size. 

Apart from the tax credit, other states offer more incentive for electric car buyers. Here is a list of the states that offer the best incentives whenever you purchase an electric vehicle. 

Colorado

Topping the list is the state of Colorado. Here, you can purchase a Volt for only $22,000 when it is regularly priced at $34,995. Residents can receive a tax credit of $7500 plus additional $6000 credit from the state. 

The $6000 tax credit from Colorado is given to those whose car makes use or is converted to use alternative fuel. Hybrid electric cars fit into this category. 

Additionally, those who buy for their fleet can also take advantage of the Colorado Energy Office plus Regional Air Quality Council’s program

Connecticut

Connecticut shows that even if they are a small state, they still have big ideas with their cash on the hood rebate. With this, they instantly cut the sales price of the car so you don’t need to wait for a check or a tax credit. The price cut will depend on the car that’s purchased. 

Additionally, a reduction of the registration fee is also given. There are even some parts that give free parking for registered vehicles that use alternative fuel. 

Louisiana

Known as the land that’s rich in cultural uniqueness, Louisiana is also taking a step towards helping the environment through their 30% income tax credit for vehicles that use or are converted to use green fuel. Provisions of the said incentive are discussed in detail here

Maryland

Tax credit against imposed excised tax is available for up to $3000 in the state of Maryland. There is a limit to this and is only available on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Additionally, a 40% rebate is also given for installing or getting a qualified EVSE or Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment. Before it is given, the applicants should be able to prove compliance with the laws regarding the installation of their qualified EVSE. 

Other States

These 4 are only the top of the list but there are also incentives offered by other states. If you wish to check what incentives are offered by the state you currently reside in, you can find them at the US Department of Energy website

The search for a greener alternative to regular car fuel doesn’t stop. It is a continuous process that aims to provide a product that cars can use without having to worry about their emissions.

Apart from lowering the harmful emissions, business companies who utilize vehicles benefit from green fuel by lowering their taxes. Electricity is a popular greener alternative but apart from this, did you know there’s more?

Here are other greener alternatives to regular car fuel that may or may not be available in the country today:

Electricity

We can see the rise of electric vehicles although there is still a far way for them to go to consider them truly mainstream. You can certainly charge your car at home but that may not last until you reach your destination or for you to go back home.

Typically, a full charge can get you up to a hundred miles. Short trips like commutes to the office and back home is suitable but not for longer trips.

It’s good that the network of charging stations is growing. There are now some service stations and car parks that enable vehicles to charge.

Additionally, there are hybrid cars which can be powered by electricity and conventional fossil fuel.

Hydrogen

Hydrogen, unlike fossil fuel, is abundant on earth and the universe. It’s safe to assume that we wouldn’t run out of it any time soon.

Hydrogen-powered cars like the Hyundai ix35 is equipped with a fuel cell that produces energy when hydrogen passes through it. Toyota is also using this kind of technology with its Mirai.

This is a greener alternative because the bi-product produced is water. Also, the time it takes to refuel a vehicle is similar to the time it takes for you to refuel a conventional car with diesel.

For now, the viable fueling network for hydrogen fuel isn’t established. It’s a promising technology and it could be the next big thing.

Biodiesel

Vegetable oils and fats are converted into renewable biodiesel through a chemical process. The biodiesel can be used as a substitute for regular diesel or it can also be mixed with regular diesel in proportions.

Although there will still be carbon emissions from using this fuel, it’s still a greener alternative because it comes from the plants. The plants needed are grown and while they are growing, they are absorbing carbon emissions too.

Compressed Natural Gas

This greener alternative is a low-carbon fuel. This burns cleaner than the regular car fuel and there is also an abundance of natural gas in the world.

If you want to run on natural gas power, your car needs to have a compressor and pressurized tank for it. It can be costly. Due to the price, not many are excited about it. Without the demand for it, businesses aren’t interested in investing in infrastructure to make compressed natural gas stations.

Ethanol

Cars can run on 100% pure ethanol or it can also be mixed with regular unleaded fuel. Many known fuel providers today mix their regular unleaded fuel with about 5%-10% of ethanol.

The bad news is ethanol can damage older cars because it acts as a solvent. It can also cause blockages but newer cars built in 2002 and beyond are not usually badly affected by it.

Propane

Propane is also known as liquefied petroleum gas or LPG. This is more widely used for cooking and heating but it can also power cars. To utilize LPG for your vehicle, you need to have an LPG tank.

The good news is that there is already a network of LPG filling stations because it’s used in cooking. Running on LPG is also cheaper than running on regular fuel. Plus, most vehicles that are converted to run on LPG can still run with regular fuel. This gives the owners more options.

Solar

Solar energy looks promising because it’s free but there are limitations. Solar panels that convert solar energy to electricity are very expensive. You would also need a battery to store the produced electricity.

Its use would also be limited to daytime use. Although it’s not the best for cars, many use this kind of energy today to power golf carts.

Steam

Let’s take a step back in time into the early 1900s where steam engines reigned. The problem with this is the sheer weight of the broiler. Although we’re at a technological age, modern steam-powered vehicles still faced the same problem, which is the very excessive weight of the vehicle.

When you think about trucks and big vehicles, you may also imagine the thick black or gray cloud of exhaust coming from them. Well, that isn’t true for all trucking fleets. Nowadays, many are choosing to go down the greener road especially because of the LEZ or London’s Low Emission Zone.

Going green is a win-win for both the environment and the trucking companies. It attracts more customers, reduces cost, ensures the trucks pass the regulations and it helps reduce the truck’s carbon footprint.  To meet this new customer requirement, there are more and more trucking companies, fleet operations, and small businesses who are converting their fleets to be more environmentally conscious.

Let us introduce you to the top 10 on our list of 2019…

  1. UPS United Postal Service

    UPS is also very famous worldwide. They have a huge fleet of vehicles that uses greener fuel alternatives like natural gas. Their fleet of low emission vehicles also include electric powered delivery trucks. UPS doesn’t stop there, they also provide an option to go for paperless bills, electronic invoices and recycling of electronic equipment

  2. Ekol Bolster

    Ekol’s fleet recently expanded by adding 150 Mercedes-Benz Actros 1845 LSnRL trucks. These are all eco- and driver-friendly vehicles running on 6 capable engines. By saving on fuel, they are able to fund their project of building a forest.

    The vehicles are not the only ones they focus on, they also focus on training their drivers to make them environmentally aware. They are also recipients of the WWF Green Office Certification due to their energy efficient lamps, decreasing paper usage, and extensive recycling programs that include left over food collection and sorting.

  3. Reliable Guys Towing

    With only 5 trucks in their towing fleet Reliable Guys Towing Service in St Louis, Missouri may not be making a globally-impacting dent on carbon emissions, but their willingness to buy the 2018 hybrid Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LT Crew Cab for their truck fleet is setting the example for other small fleet operators, like this towing company, to follow.

    Fuel is such a large part of our towing costs and even 10 MPG saving in fuel efficiency can have a big impact on our business,” says owner Mike DeFranco, “We’re patiently waiting for an all electric version to come out to really see the difference.

  4. CitySprint

    CitySprint’s fleet electric vans and hydrogen vans but also pushbikes and cargo bikes. The electric vans don’t only save on fuel and lessen the carbon footprint. It also reduce the noise pollution especially in urban areas.

    Hydrogen vans run on quite new technology even for logistics in the UK. Besides this, they have an intelligent scheduling system. It further boosts efficiency and reduces dead mileage. Their service centers are also powered by renewable energy.

  5. JMS of Doncaster

    It has been 20 years since they’ve started with the business and at present their fleet has 75% EURO 6 compliant vehicles. There are training programs provided not only for drivers but for other employees as well.

    These help them achieve their goal of encourage everyone to be environmentally responsible. All are to recycle, manage energy consumption, and cut pollution.

  6. FedEx

    Partnering with the Environmental Defense Fund, FedEx only makes use of environmentally friendly vehicles. Currently, they have more than 200 hybrid-electric trucks. Efficiency is their priority and they continue to discover ways to further improve the efficiency of their fleet.

    Apart from opting for a greener fleet, they also help encourage other trucking companies to go for clean-technology vehicles.

  7. Greencarier Freight Services

    Greencarier Freight Services fleet of eco-friendly trucks run on engines that passed EU standards when it comes to less carbon emissions. The vehicles also have deflector kits to reduce drag while traveling.

    With CPC-certified drivers, safe and efficient driving is possible. Additionally, by using route-mazimizing fleet software, the idle time is also minimized and the driving economy is improved.

  8. DHL

    DHL is available all over the world. They do their part in optimizing their environmental footprint by using green carriers. These are 5% more carbon-efficient than other vehicles. Apart from this, they also use innovative technology and alternative energy sources for their warehousing, sustainable fuels and efficient fuel consumption for their vehicles, recycling and waste management, and eco-friendly packaging.

  9. LKW Walter

    When it comes to environmentally friendly transport solutions, LKW Walter is one of the top companies in Europe. They don’t just follow the trend, they commit to being green. They do this through optimization of their routes to reduce empty mileage. Intermodal transport among rail, ship and rode modes are also used for efficiency. Plus, they also use the latest eco-friendy equipment.

  10. Farrall’s Group

    This logistics company provides transport, warehousing and management solutions while searching for ways to decrease their emission output. They focus on the use of technology to help them with their scheduling. Moreover, they also choose hybrid and bio fuels as alternatives to the traditional diesel and gas. Lastly, they always keep an open mind when it comes to new technologies for a greener logistics business operation.

  11. SM Freight

    SM Freight has newer truck models that help lessen their carbon emission. In order to be more fuel efficient, they have a no idle policy and their trucks have a maximum speed limit. The newer trucks also have more efficient engines, trailer-side skirts, and automatic transmissions.

    Their drivers also undergo regular training to update driving techniques. These don’t only help them know how to save on fuel but also their lives.

The automobile industry has witnessed a lot of drastic changes. There are a lot of companies that are perfecting technologies to offer better and powerful cars. Especially sports cars today are clocking unimaginable speeds because of various technologies and advancements. In this article, we will see some of the 8 High-Tech Features Revving up Sports Cars.

Reduction of heat with Aerogel

For people who are into automobiles, you would have definitely heard that Chevy Corvette Stingray as implied the suspension technology used in F1 cars. In this kind of suspension where there is a half-inch gel which is called an aerogel. It reduces the heat up to a considerable amount. The gel was actually designed to be used in the NASA spacesuits. 99.8 percent of the space in the gel is empty space.

Adding air to supercharger through headlight intake

If you take a close look at the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat, you will find an air catcher intake opening in the front driver side headlight. This opening actually pumps air into the supercharger. This is one of the main reasons why this beast is able to clock 14,600 rpm and gives the engine of 600 hp.

Four-wheel steering

The iconic Porsche 911 Turbo has always managed to live up to the expectations with extraordinary capabilities.  The four-wheel steering in this car is unique because at a speed of 31mph the rear and front wheels turn in the opposite directions to have better control at lower speeds. When the speed exceeds 50mph both the tires will turn in the same direction. This technology not just helps in better steering but also helps to park the car easily. You can see a lot of sports cars and business sedans like Acura RLX using this technology.

Automatic Raising Spoiler

This technology was first applied in the Jaguar F-Type. It is a unique car which has its entire body built with aluminum. If you look at the car, you will not see any spoilers. But when the car clocks a speed of 70mph, the spoilers will raise automatically raise. It again drops down when the speed comes to 50mph. These spoilers are capable of reducing the lift by 264 pounds.

Centre of gravity reduction with design

Scion FR-S engineers who were involved in designing has stated that the main innovation of the entire design is the oil pan. It is located in the lower part of the engine which gives the advantage to the car. The entire weight of the car is 2645 pounds. The car can easily drift in the corners.

Few engine alterations can do the trick

A few adjustments were all it took to convert an Infinity Q60 business sedan into a performance vehicle. The adjustments in the air-fuel mixture, ignition timings had a very considerable impact in increasing the performance of the vehicle. It was able to produce 348 horsepower.

Amplifying the sound electronically

Ford Focus has electronically controlled valves which amplifies the noise of the engine. The roar of the engine is between 200 to 450Hz. You can get a horsepower of more than 250, and you will never feel that you are driving a Ford.

Deactivating the cylinders

Audi RS 7 which is one of the masterpieces from the German auto giant in a V 8 model. When the speed comes down to 27mph or when you hit the cruise control the car automatically cuts the power supply from four cylinders. It again turns on the supply when you exceed 40mph.

Hybrid cars aren’t only good for the environment. They are easy on your pocket too when it comes to car insurance premiums. The newest fuel craze can help you save much more than you would ever expect with a normal car. Combined with fuel efficiency, you have much to cheer about if you own a hybrid car. These cars help save fuel since they alternate between an electric motor and conventional gasoline engine.

Hybrid cars are considered ‘low risk’ by auto insurance companies, thereby attracting lower premiums. Most auto insurance companies offer a 10% discount to owners of hybrid vehicles. These drivers are more likely to be mature drivers who drive carefully and are less likely to end up in an accident with the need to file claims. Being in the ‘preferred insurance category’ qualifies hybrid car owners for lower insurance rates. Most of these drivers are between the ages of 41 to 60, a group that is considered finically stable and less likely to participate in reckless activities. Some insurance companies are involved in special carbon offsetting programs, where a portion of your insurance premium goes towards the manufacture of environmentally friendly products.

Hybrid car owners are likely to receive cash back incentives, which once again leads to great savings. Besides, it balances out the initial cost of buying a hybrid car. It is advisable to do a bit of comparison shopping for hybrid car insurance. Not every insurance provider offers discounts to hybrid car owners since the repairs in the event of an accident can add up to a significant sum. It is prudent to compare quotes online in order to make a well informed decision prior to purchasing hybrid auto insurance. The bottom line is to save as much as you can and reap the benefits of tax credits along with affordable hybrid auto insurance. Don’t wait for an insurance company to offer you discounts, instead, make sure you ask for them.

In a bid to bring cleaner air to London’s millions of residents and visitors, the Low Emission Zone (LEZ) was introduced in 2008, and it has proved to be a successful initiative. At the beginning of 2012, the parameters of the requirements will be changing, and many companies have so far failed to heed the warnings from Transport for London (TfL).

The city has had a major pollution issue for many decades, and even into the 21st century things didn’t seem to be getting any better. Therefore, the scheme was instigated with a view to encouraging companies of all shapes and sizes to be more aware of their vehicle emissions. Those that failed to meet the requirements would be charged a fee to enter London.

Definitely time for a change

According to TfL, pollution accounts for around 1,000 premature deaths every year in and around London, a staggering statistic when you consider there has been some degree of clean air legislation in place for many decades. Even those who were against the establishment of the zone realised that something really had to be done.

The implementation of the zone was a major project in itself, requiring vast quantities of road signs, leaflets and a major advertising campaign. As is always the case in such matters, the public, as well as the business community, took a little time to get used to the idea. Nowadays, regular visitors to London are all too aware of what’s required of them.

Are you in the zone?

Virtually the whole of Greater London is included in the scheme, which is now the world’s largest low emission zone. The M25 motorway, however, is not part of it, even on the sections that are within the borders of the Greater London region. Some sections of the M1 and M4, as well as parts of Heathrow, also come under the agreement.

In 2012, the scheme will be extended to include such vehicles as larger vans and minibuses, so if your company is likely to be affected by this you should be checking TfL’s website to see what to do next. Failing to meet the requirements of London’s low emission zone could be a seriously expensive mistake.

David Rice is a UK-based writer who travels into London on a regular basis. He writes for car leasing company Nationwide Vehicle Contracts .

Green cars are now hitting production lines, and the waves are hitting the marketplace. Every major manufacturer is developing electric cars, most are looking at hybrids in some form. If you’re a driver, this could be the best thing to happen to your wallet since customizable car insurance.

Ideas are now the big issue in auto technology. The old petrol monsters are definitely on the way out, and the race is now to see which technology triumphs. The main criteria are range, performance, battery efficiency and recharging.

The new species of cars are providing a running commentary on the transport of the future:

Peugeot iOn: electric car

This is a full size family car, with a CO2 output of 0. Created in partnership with Mitsubishi, the iOn is a suburban runabout, with a range of 100km, or to the local mall and back 20 times, on one charge. Recharge of lithium batteries is a 3 point pin system, and takes 6 hours. Top speed is said to be 110kmh.

What’s important about this design is that it’s clearly a purpose built design working on an obvious market segment. This is the family workhorse, the shopping cart and kid’s taxi. Functional designs like this are always successful, and form a huge part of the retail market.

Nissan LEAF electric car

In the same demographic, but with extras and expected to be expensive, the LEAF is a high response vehicle which behaves like a “normal” car. It has a quick charge capability which means it can be 80% recharged in half an hour.

Range and performance are similar to the iOn, and design factors indicate it’s targeted to the same market. The technology has been ramped up a lot, to include the performance factors. The LEAF will be the suburban showcase type of electric car when it hits the market.

(It will be noted that “features” and “extras” are already creating a dichotomy in high and low range electric cars. This is a typical branding approach to vehicles, and you can expect a lot more of these additions in future.)

Audi 1- First full conversion from diesel to electric?

The Audi 1 is a new diesel car which is being realistically touted as the basis of an electric version. This is a particularly important design technology issue for electric cars. The Audi 1 is a direct challenger to the new Mini. Its frame is therefore very well suited for conversion to both electric and hybrid designs. That also minimizes retooling for manufacturing purposes, reducing cost to produce.

That’s a particularly relevant issue in the production of green cars, reducing the need for outlay on specialized production. Car manufacturers have been understandably unenthusiastic about the possible costs of tooling up to produce the new electric cars, and this is definitely one of the solutions. Don’t be surprised to find Audi 1 electric and hybrid models coming onstream soon, because this car is an obvious prototype for future production.

Carbon dioxide emissions from the new cars are continuously reducing. This has been possible thanks to the continous efforts of the vehicle manufacturers who have contributed to the fall of 4.7% of new car CO2 emissions in the first half of 2010 itself compared to the previous year. This data has been released by the Society of Motor manufacturers and Traders.

In June, the data shows that the average for the new vehicles emissions were reduced to 145.2 grams/kilometers. The increase in sales of alternatively fuelled cars and hybrids have a major role in the achievement of this figure.

Manufacturers have developed engines that produces less CO2 emissions and provide more efficiency. The rise is fuel prices and the concern to the global climatic issues are the main reasons for consumers to want cars which run more and smoke less.

“Continued vehicle manufacturer efforts to improve fuel efficiency and cut emissions has further reduced average CO2 output during a better than anticipated first half of 2010,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive

More and more cars are on the road every day, and it is estimated that more than a billion cars will be on the roads by the year 2020. With more and more cars hitting the roads each year, many people are beginning to look for greener options for their vehicles; in fact, governments are even beginning to put pressure on car manufacturers to develop cars that are friendlier to the environment.

While in the past green cars were something that most people only dreamed about, today there are a variety of options available for those who are looking for a car that is environmentally friendly.

Several Different Technology Choices

Today as more and more people become environmentally conscious, there are a variety of greener alternatives that are beginning to show up in show rooms in the United States and even in Europe. For those looking for a car that runs green, there are now several different technology choices to consider, including alternative fuels, battery cars, and of courses the ever popular hybrids.

  • Alternate Fuels – Perhaps the most futuristic technology when it comes to vehicle propulsion is alternative fuels used in fuel cells, which actually happens to be the cleanest form of vehicle transportation. Several car manufacturers are investigating hydrogen powered vehicles as well as cars that are powered by ethanol instead of gasoline. Vehicles with fuel cells have great potential, although it has not been fully explored. In the past infrastructure for these fuels have been a barrier to their product, but Honda has recently opened a station in California that actually is a hydrogen fueling station. Their goal is to show how alternative fuels can perform, offering consumers a new way to look at transportation.
  • Battery Cars – Another type of technology that is employed when it comes to green cars is the electric battery. Actually battery cars have a long and extensive history, and they have been researched for some time. However, it has only been recently that they have shown to be viable in the mass vehicle market. As battery technology continues to improve, more cars are being introduced into the market with battery technology. There are many green advantages to battery operated cars, including great energy efficiency and no pollution; however, until recently they have been very limited, both in speed and electric charging.
  • Hybrids – When it comes to cars that are friendly to the environment, the most popular and promising technology is the hybrid technology. Hybrids are unique, in that they use electric motors and an internal combustion engine as well. Fuel efficiency is boosted, since the electric motor can take over and help to lower the usage of fuel. Since the electric motor offers support, the gasoline engine is a lot smaller and much more efficient as well. In fact, in parts of travel, the gasoline engine may shut down altogether. The energy from the gas engine also helps to charge the battery, so you don’t have to worry about recharging it, like you have to with electric battery cars, and the emissions are significantly lower than other gas powered vehicles. Probably the two most popular hybrid cars on the market today include the Toyota Prius and the Honda Insight.

Greener Cars for 2007 and 2008

Today there are a variety of options available when it comes to green cars. There are far more options than there were a few years ago. So, let’s take a closer look at some of the cars that have the best green performance in 2007 and 2008.

One of the greenest cars out there on the market today is the Toyota Prius. This car has a pair of electric motors along with a four cylinder engine. The Prius has the best fuel economy of any mass market car in the United States. The Honda Insight is fairly close to the Prius as well, and also has a lot to offer. You’ll also find that another great car for the environment is the Smart For Two car. It is a small car that only needs a very small motor – a 3 cylinder engine, which gets about 33 mpg around town.

The Nissan Altima Hybrid is also an excellent car which is friendly to the environment and is tuned to get great fuel economy in the city.

Of course these are just a few of the environmental cars that are now available on the market for purchase. It is easy to see that the technology around greener vehicles is ever expanding, and no doubt in the next few years, you will continue to see great strides made in this area of technology as well.