Automated pizza ovens and horse-drawn hybrids

An Iranian engineer has come up with an unlikely breakthrough in gasoline-free transportation by creating a hybrid automobile that connects an electric drive train — to a horse.

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In a design that owes more to the Volt than the Prius, the sporty two-seat Naturmobile uses a pony on a treadmill to recharge a bank of batteries. The only existing prototype has achieved speeds up to 28 miles per hour. No word yet on the vehicle’s range.

Closer to home, a Burger King in New Jersey is experimenting with power-harvesting speed bumps that capture energy from cars in the drive-thru lane. In North Carolina, a “green” McDonald’s will become the first such store in the nation to offer an electric vehicle-charging station.

Spying a bigger opportunity, Dallas-based Current Energy has been outfitting chain restaurants with sensors that help them plug energy leaks. For example, a restaurant owner receives a text message whenever a freezer door is left open. Or a pizzeria uses occupancy sensors to shut down ovens when business is slow. Little tricks like these can shave 50% off gas bills, or 20% of total energy bills.

Will these inventions by themselves be enough to solve climate change? Yes, they will. Thanks, science!

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  1. Carl - August 26, 2009

    The horse thing is… wow.
    I’m sure it’s excellent until he throws his backside onto the walking band. Plus, I don’t know how many people have experience with horses, but some horses would be VERY dangerous by being put in this situation.
    But hey, if someone wants to feed a huge animal to charge batteries, cool.

  2. Anonymous - August 26, 2009

    i say nix the horse. horses don’t deserve that treatment – they should be roaming the range.

  3. Michelle - August 26, 2009

    Wrong on so many levels…If you’re going to waste the energy to create the contraption in the first place, why not offer the treadmill spot to exercise fanatics who currently pay fitness clubs monthly dues to let them run on treadmills? This is the perfect vehicle for the Venice Beach mindset.

  4. Judy LaValley - August 26, 2009

    Michelle, your response is right on so many levels! Thank you.

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