What is a plug-in hybrid?

Announcer: Go behind the wheel and under the hood on everything automotive with High Speed Stuff from howstuffworks.com.

Scott Benjamin: Hi everyone. Welcome to the High Speed Stuff podcast. I'm Scott Benjamin, the auto editor here at howstuffworks.com and I'm joined by Ben. How are you today, Ben?

Ben Bolin: Oh man, I try to think of something every time that's very interesting to say. What I am - the way I'm feeling is awesome.

Scott Benjamin: Awesome.

Ben Bolin: I know. Last time I did super fun. It just sounds like I'm unreasonably enthusiastic, but this is just some really cool stuff we've got coming up here.

Scott Benjamin: You like this one?

Ben Bolin: I am especially fascinated with this one.

Scott Benjamin: Let me ask you this: have you heard of the 230 thing?

Ben Bolin: Are you talking about the 230 mile per gallon claim?

Scott Benjamin: Um-hum, I figured you knew what I was getting at there.

Ben Bolin: Yeah.

Scott Benjamin: So the Chevy Volt recently has claimed 230 miles per gallon.

Ben Bolin: And there's a lot of excitement about the Volt because it's been pushed back, but Chevy's also put a lot of PR behind this, a lot of capital. They're letting the money ride on this one. So it's got high expectations.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, you're exactly right. And what's unique about the Chevy Volt is that it is a plug-in hybrid. And that's something relatively new to us. We've heard about it for a long time, but these are just now starting to emerge in our marketplace. They're going to and there's gonna be a lot of them actually in the next couple of years, or there are planned to be here in the next couple years. Another term that you might hear thrown around about the Chevy Volt is extended range electric vehicle or EREV, E - R - E - V.

Ben Bolin: Yes, yes.

Scott Benjamin: And that's really saying the same thing as plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. It's kinda the same thing.

Ben Bolin: Now wait, wait. Before we go all crazy, they are regular hybrids. They're plug-in hybrids. There are differences.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, there are differences. A regular hybrid is - I think we've talked about this in the past. I hope we have.

Ben Bolin: We have.

Scott Benjamin: Hybrid indicates two power sources and that's a gasoline engine or diesel engine and an electric motor.

Ben Bolin: Typically, a small electric motor.

Scott Benjamin: A small electric motor and a medium sized to small internal combustion engine or diesel engine. And this is a little bit different.  This one has more - a plug-in electric hybrid has more emphasis on the electric motor than it does on the internal combustion engine. And the reason is because the electric motor is the primary source of power for the vehicle. The internal combustion engine or the diesel in that case, is the backup power. And the backup power is really only there to - the small internal combustion engine is there just to charge the batteries so that the car really uses the electric motor to power itself - I mean to power the wheels at all times.

Ben Bolin: That's pretty strange because typically, in what we would call your orthodox hybrid, the positions of those power sources are switched, right?

Scott Benjamin: Well, it can be any of those. It could be - well usually, it's either the engine or the motor, both the engine and the motor or just the motor in some cases. That was - I'll have to look this up - the series, parallel and there's also series parallel. If you're talking about a series hybrid: that's the kind where the internal combustion engine's used to power the generator only to supply current to the electric motor. It's not used to power the wheels. So that's kind of what we're talking about here. We're talking about a series hybrid in a sense. And then a parallel hybrid car is one where it can power the wheels with the electric motor or with the internal combustion engine. So that's a parallel hybrid. And then there's also a couple different mixes of these. There's full hybrids, mild hybrids. Now mild hybrids are the ones that just employ the start, stop technology that we talked about a couple weeks ago.

Ben Bolin: Yes, okay the idle-stop.

Scott Benjamin: The idle-stop. Yeah, you remember that, right?

Ben Bolin: Yeah.

Scott Benjamin: Those were - the idle-stop systems are the mild hybrid cars. So there's full hybrid, mild hybrid, series hybrid, parallel hybrid and there's also a series parallel hybrid which are a combination of both. Now the plug-in - now we're getting way ahead of ourselves here, but the plug-in hybrids that we're talking about now: you actually do plug them into a wall outlet to charge up the batteries. Or, like I said, there's the backup which is the internal combustion engine to charge the batteries when you run out of power.

Ben Bolin: That's so strange to me, but I guess according to the claims we're hearing, it does a bang up job.

Scott Benjamin: It does; yeah. Apparently, 230 miles per gallon is what they're rating the Volt at. Now I haven't heard any kind of adjustments like that for any of the other models that we've heard about in recent months or even years, I guess, but I'm assuming that we're gonna see some pretty fantastic claims of what the mileage these vehicles get because it's all based on the EPA fuel economy standards. Again, we talked about that as well. The way that they determine mileage for vehicles doesn't hold true in this case. It's different for a plug-in electric - I'm sorry, plug-in hybrids because they operate on all electric power to a point. And then beyond that point -

Ben Bolin: It's gas.

Scott Benjamin: It's gas, but only to charge the batteries which then power the electric motor. So you're still running on electric power. However, you are using fuel to charge the batteries.

Ben Bolin: I see where you're going with that. Yeah.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, so there is a mileage calculation there, but up to a certain point in every one of these electric vehicles - or plug-in hybrids, I should say, there's a point, there's a range where it's all electric and you're using zero fuel - zero gasoline, I should say.

Ben Bolin: Okay, yeah.

Scott Benjamin: And I've got a couple examples if you'd like.

Ben Bolin: I love examples, man; lay it on me.

Scott Benjamin: All right, first is - and I'll go through a couple - we've got an article on our site that is called "Five Plug-in Hybrids that are Arriving Soon" and good article. John Fuller wrote it. He's a staff writer here.

Ben Bolin: Oh yeah, also host of Stuff from the B-Side.

Scott Benjamin: Correct, and it's got a lot of examples in it. There are five examples as a matter of fact. And I'll just - I guess I just run down the list of what we included in that article.

Ben Bolin: Sure.

Scott Benjamin: The Toyota Prius. There's gonna be a plug-in - so again, these are all vehicles where you can expect to see a plug-in version - a plug-in hybrid version soon. There's the Toyota Prius and by the end of 2009, there's only gonna be about 200 total on the road. So it's real limited right now, but in future: 2010/11 this thing will be mass produced.

Ben Bolin: Okay, wait. You mean the - there's only gonna be about 200 of these Prius models, right?

Scott Benjamin: Only 200 and I don't know how many - I think they said something like 150 here in the States, 50 maybe in Japan; something like that. It's in that proportion.

Ben Bolin: But projected to grow.

Scott Benjamin: Oh, yes.

Ben Bolin: Okay.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, and it's trial and error right now, so they're working on it.

Ben Bolin: Sure.

Scott Benjamin: Chevy Volt: of course, we just talked about that one. This one has a 40-mile all electric range, which is pretty good. And that one won't be around until about the end of 2010 and they're hoping that that won't get pushed back, but the end of 2010 is likely. And it will have a 2011 model year designation. So it will be called a 2011 Chevy Volt. There's also a Volkswagen Gulf Twin Drive, which - now this one's kind of unique. It's a diesel electric, so here's the only diesel on our list really. It has a 31 mile all electric range and that's also tentatively in 2010.

Ben Bolin: Tentatively.

Scott Benjamin: Tentatively. And then there's Fisker Karma. You know about the Fisker Karma?

Ben Bolin: I do not know about the Fisker Karma.

Scott Benjamin: This is an awesome car. Check out the photos of the Fisker Karma online, and in fact, very recently at the Monterey Historic Races, that just made its first kind of public driving appearance. The CEO of the company drove it around the track at speed. Very impressive; a lot of people love this car: looks beautiful. It's a big, sleek - if I had to tell you kind of roughly what it looks like, it looks like the new Maseratis to me. It has that type of look. It's a big luxury sedan; beautiful car, in my opinion. And it's expensive though. It is a plug-in hybrid. It's around $90,000, so it's a bit cost prohibitive at this point, but for some, that's not a problem.

Ben Bolin: Start saving now.

Scott Benjamin: For some, they've already go their checkbooks out.

Ben Bolin: You know what's crazy? I can tell from this list that the Karma's your favorite.

Scott Benjamin: It is. Now if you wanna go with just kind of crazy looking vehicles, that are super efficient: the Aptera 2H and the Aptera 2H is coming out in 2010.

Ben Bolin: 2010?

Scott Benjamin: 2010 for the 2H and that's the plug-in hybrid version for the Aptera. If you want an Aptera 2E which is the full electric version of the hybrid, that is coming out at the end of this year, believe it or not.

Ben Bolin: Before the -

Scott Benjamin: Before the plug-in hybrid.

Ben Bolin: That's interesting.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah. And so - unbelievably unique vehicle. You should check it out.

Ben Bolin: Yeah -

Scott Benjamin: We've got a - oh, go ahead.

Ben Bolin: I was just gonna say we've mentioned this before. So some of our listeners, maybe, are familiar with this car.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah. In fact, the person that wrote this article, John Fuller, he wrote the Aptera article that we have on our site. And that just has incredible traffic. People love to look at that and find out all about it.

Ben Bolin: It's very interesting.

Scott Benjamin: It is. It's a really cool car. Let's see. Not only those, there's others on the way as well. Now these are all within the next couple years. So keep that in mind that you're gonna see a lot more of these. The Volt is just - it just happens to be the one getting attention right now. There's also something called the Venture 1 which is scheduled to come out in 2009 which is right now. It has a 20-mile EV range or electric vehicle range. And that's about $18,000 which: relatively affordable.

Ben Bolin: Wow. There -

Scott Benjamin: I'm gonna say that's affordable.

Ben Bolin: Yeah, that's not even - that's just out and out affordable, but especially in the - when you consider the premium right now that's attached to any kind of hybrid or alternative fuel vehicle. That's - it's like they're giving it away.

Scott Benjamin: Well, I mean even - that's right - even -

Ben Bolin: They don't pay us to say that.

Scott Benjamin: No, no, not at all. We're no sponsorship. The EV - I'm sorry, the Chevy Volt has a price tag of around $40,000 just to put that in perspective. So the Volt, when it comes out in 2010, is gonna have a price tag of around $40,000. And so $18,000, that sounds pretty good. I'm sure it's not quite as plush. Or, it also has half of the EV range of the Volt, so that's a difference right there.

Ben Bolin: Definitely.

Scott Benjamin: The Karma, I don't know if I mentioned this. The Karma has a 50-mile range.

Ben Bolin: You did not.

Scott Benjamin: Slightly more than the Volt, but the cost is more than double. More than double, but again, you're paying for that luxury sedan.

Ben Bolin: Yeah, it's got that - and we have that also in a podcast. This is turning into our look back. Scott and Ben's look back on other podcasts.

Scott Benjamin: We need that harp sound.

Ben Bolin: We do. We might see if we could work that in.

Scott Benjamin: [Noise] that's about all I can do.

Ben Bolin: That sounded kinda Wayne's World style.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah. That's what I was going for there.

Ben Bolin: I'm with you.

Scott Benjamin: There's - this one's kind of up in the air right now, I guess. The Saturn View and someone's gonna scream at their radio. Radio: listen to me. Someone's gonna scream at their computer and say, "No, no, no. That's not up in the air. We know about this for sure," but the Saturn View: there's a plug-in version coming in 2011 and that will have a ten-mile EV range. And there's no price on that right now, but it's projected that it's on its way.

Ben Bolin: But you will have to pardon my cynicism on - I've gotta say ever since - what is it, the EV1?

Scott Benjamin: Yeah.

Ben Bolin: Ever since then, I'm not sure how much faith I can place in that manufacturing line just because - to catch our listeners up, the EV1 - it was all electric, right?

Scott Benjamin: All electric, yeah.

Ben Bolin: And you could only lease it. And customers really liked it. And when the leases were over, the vehicles were scrapped. So I don't know. I used to drive a Saturn and I loved it. I also wrecked it accidentally, but I gotta tell you, man, it's just - if it's only got the ten-mile range EV and it doesn't have a release date -

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, I understand. And plus, they've had that recent - well, there's been all the turmoil recently with GM. And Penske has just recently purchased them. There's just a lot of - they've got a lot of things going on right now. And it is an SUV, so it's got the size; it's got a lot of bulk. It's got a lot to move, I guess, for an electric vehicle. I don't know. I'd cut it a little bit of slack, but still, ten miles, that's not all that great when you consider that a lot of the others are hitting 40, 50 miles per gallon - not miles per gallon, miles all electric range. Another one that's on it's way, and this is a concept vehicle, the Cadillac Converge. It's a sedan. Of course, Cadillac's gonna be luxury, first class type vehicle. 40-mile range; again, no price because it's a concept at this point. Who knows if it will ever make it or not, but maybe it will be built on the Volt platform. I don't know. Maybe it has some legs.

Ben Bolin: Maybe.

Scott Benjamin: Maybe. And last one I've got, last example is a diesel electric hybrid from Volvo, which is planned for 2012. And I really don't have any details about the Volvo diesel electric, but it's on its way. So you can see that this is a popular idea right now. A lot of people are moving towards this and I think we're gonna see a lot of outlandish - I'll say outlandish, but true mileage claims. And it's all based on what the EPA determines as that cycle for EV vehicles because it's gonna have its own cycle: how they determine that mileage. So it's really unique.

Ben Bolin: Serious -

Scott Benjamin: It's an interesting car.

Ben Bolin: Seriously though, man, I wanna stop you with that. Tell me if I'm out of line asking this. Is the math behind that mileage claim - or excuse me, that range claim, is that true?

Scott Benjamin: Is that credible?

Ben Bolin: Is it cooked math, I'm asking?

Scott Benjamin: It is and it - now, they're always gonna do this so you gotta take all of the - understand you gotta look into all this with your own perspective and know that it is math, but people play with the numbers, and that happens all the time in stats. So there's a writer by the name of Lisa Margonelli. I'm gonna probably mispronounce her name again. I always do that. Margonelli. And she wrote an article called "The Freaky Math of Plug-in Hybrids."

Ben Bolin: It sounds like she's on my side, Scott.

Scott Benjamin: It does. It focuses on the Chevy Volt and the 230 miles per gallon claim, and exactly how do they get to that numbers - or how do they get to that number rather? So she references a site called Environmental Economics. And Environmental Economics has determined that for the Volt to get this 230 miles per gallon that the EPA claims it's going to get, or that GM claims the EPA is going to rate it at, they're calculating that the trip length is exactly 51.11 miles in length. You're looking at me like -

Ben Bolin: Yeah.

Scott Benjamin: Now, you'll have to look this up because there's no way that I'm gonna be able to describe this equation to you and make it make sense, but she says that Environmental Economics has determined that the trip length is exactly 51.1 miles, but for a trip of 200 miles, the car gets 62.5 miles per gallon. So you see the dramatic drop off there, right?

Ben Bolin: Yes, I do.

Scott Benjamin: Okay. And she's also pointing out that - I'll talk about the Environmental Economics site in just a moment, but she also points out in the same article that for - and she wrote another article for Forbes that said that the same person can coax more than 99 miles per gallon out of a modified plug-in Toyota Prius because they are modifying hybrids now to be plug-ins. So out of a modified Toyota Prius plug-in, the same person can coax more than 99 miles per gallon out of that car while someone who's a little more heavy on the accelerator (pedal to the metal, as she says) will get less than 40 miles per gallon out of that same car. And, another study that she quotes says that the driving style of the person behind the wheel can take that all electric range down from 40 all the way down to 15. So you may get as little as 15 all electric driving miles depending on your driving style.

Ben Bolin: Sounds like time for some hyper-miling.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, well, if you're heavy on the accelerator at the lights and if you've got a lot of accessories on and let's say you got the windows down and it's a windy day -

Ben Bolin: And for some reason, you have the air conditioning blasting too.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, and you're on gravel road and your tires are low on pressure or whatever, you may get a lot less - not all those things, but driving style varies that all electric range greatly.

Ben Bolin: Huge effect.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, huge effect. So you have to adhere to what they want you to do in order to get a full 40 miles.

Ben Bolin: But what else were you gonna say about this website?

Scott Benjamin: Well, the Environmental Economics site, when I - I followed the link and I went to it, and they've got this all laid out carefully for you here, so it's -I won't even try to describe the equation, but basically, what it gets down to is this: the 40 miles you get - the first 40 miles, I should say is driving gas free on the electric charge.

Ben Bolin: Okay.

Scott Benjamin: Okay, understand that. Beyond that, the Volt gets about 50 miles per gallon. That's about what it gets. So you have to understand that you still are buying gas and the 50 miles per gallon is to charge the batteries in order to continue your trip. All right, well, for trips that are greater than 40 miles - I'll just read it here so that it makes sense, but at 40 miles driven or less, the miles per gallon is infinite. So no gas is being used. Beyond 40 miles, the miles per gallon decreases the more miles driven, which that's - yeah, you have to look at this kinda sliding scale of mileage. So the mileage begins to fall off after that first 40 miles. So for a trip of 50 miles, the Volt gets 250 miles per gallon, which is pretty remarkable, right?

Ben Bolin: That is remarkable.

Scott Benjamin: So 50 - because you're talking about going 10 miles over your first 40 miles which is all electric. Okay, you following me there?

Ben Bolin: Yeah, I'm with you.

Scott Benjamin: Okay, but for a trip of 200 miles, so you're 160 miles beyond your 40 miles of electric driving, the Volt gets 62.5 miles per gallon. Still not bad, right?

Ben Bolin: No, that's good.

Scott Benjamin: That's pretty good. Based on the EPA's decision to rate the Volt at 230, they've done all this calculating - they've run the numbers through their fore mentioned calculations there and they said that they're assuming a trip of 51.11 miles in order to get the 230 average. So again, play with the numbers until you get to that point and that's the way they determined that the trip mileage is then 51.011 miles.

Ben Bolin: Oh come on, Scott, you as well as I know that every trip is 51.11 miles.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, precisely, yeah.

Ben Bolin: I drive in circles until I hit that magic number.

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, so play around with those numbers and get that exactly that way. That's based on the EPA's calculations, so they've got this set group of parameters that all manufacturers will then have to adhere to. So everybody is then gonna have this apples to apples comparison at that point, but right now we're only hearing about the Chevy Volt. So we know that 230 is the number from the EPA.

Ben Bolin: And the - and we also should probably emphasize if you're interested in purchasing one of these vehicles, since again, there are a lot coming out, you can never beat your own research. If you really wanna get a reliable vehicle and you want to make it your main vehicle, it's definitely worth your time to check in and see not just what the manufacturer says, not just what the EPA says, but also read other reviews maybe of people who purchase these vehicles.

Scott Benjamin: Oh yeah, there's plenty of that information online. People that do this for a living: they review new vehicles. They're gonna get their hands on them soon, if not already. Some already have. Yeah, definitely take your time to investigate this thing just to be sure. It sounds great to me, but look into it and see what you think. Before we kinda get into the rest of the show here, I've got a quick question for you. What do you think of plug-in hybrids? You've heard a bit about them. You've known about them even prior to our conversation here, so what do you think about plug-in hybrid technology?

Ben Bolin: I think it's aces, man honestly. I don't think it is necessarily a technology that will be around for - I think it's a stop gap technology essentially, but I think it's a very promising one because a lot of - when we say what is good or what do we think of this? When I think about whether or not a technology's good, I think of the end user. So more and more people live in urban areas and so those people generally drive something shorter distances. And so these kind of cars are great for those kind of people.

Scott Benjamin: Sure, it's perfect. It's custom made for them really. Not necessarily that you can't take them on a long cross country trip or whatever you'd like, but - because they still get decent mileage. They're still very functional, but for all electric use and in cities, if you're able to charge them on a regular basis and you don't forget to do that because that's another thing -

Ben Bolin: Oh yeah, you have to remember.

Scott Benjamin: If you forget, then you're using all fuel to get home. But if you remember to do what you need to do in order to make it work the right way and you can stay within those miles parameters, that's a great car to have, I guess.

Ben Bolin: Well, what do you think is gonna happen in the future with them?

Scott Benjamin: Well, I think you're right. I think that it's not the end game. This isn't the final -

Ben Bolin: This isn't the silver bullet.

Scott Benjamin: No. No, it's not the final answer really. What I do think though is that these are gonna be around for a while because I don't know - I always say this and they amaze me with what they come up with next, but for now, I think ab out the - maybe the only thing they could do at this point would be if you combine our ideas of - not ours, but the ideas that we already know about hyper cars - if you had a super light car with this technology, the mileage could be astronomical. It could be unbelievable really. So take a look at hyper cars; see what benefits those have. Look at plug-in hybrid technology; combine the two and you might have a car that gets just ridiculous mileage. I don't know - hundreds and hundreds of miles. We're already talking 230, but if you - I think if you combine these technologies, you're gonna get just astounding mileage.

Ben Bolin: That's a really good point. That's actually - not that I thought you'd make a bad point, but I think that's a really good one.

Scott Benjamin: Thanks, but like I said, it's not the end all. There's gotta be something else because we're still using an awful lot of energy. A lot of these plants are coal fired and they're still burning fossil fuels in order to create the energy to charge the cars. And there's concerns about that and there's technology right now that is out there to already kind of speak to that. Not exactly, but it's on its way. I read an article today about Ford is making this kind of a smart charger that will allow you to adjust or determine when your car charges so that's it's not - it's charging on off peak times and it only takes just as much as it needs. It doesn't over -

Ben Bolin: Kind of like vampire -

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, it doesn't over consume and once it's done, it shuts itself off. Ford's developing that right now, and I just read an article today - I don't know much detail about it, but fascinating stuff. So I think there's a lot more they can do with this, but it's refinement at this point.

Ben Bolin: Scott, before we close up, I gotta tell you: there is a guy with a very interesting story to tell you.

Scott Benjamin: Okay.

Ben Bolin: And he wrote both of us. And he's a listener which means it's time for -

Scott Benjamin: Listener mail.

Scott Benjamin: Okay. All right, so John writes in and I didn't see where John is from. And he says, "Listening to your podcast today reminded me of this story my grandfather told me." And he's talking about the Model T. I'm just gonna read this.

Scott Benjamin: Okay, Model T.

Ben Bolin: Yep. So when John's grandpa was young, he was working on the farm and had gotten dirt, rocks in his eyes to the point that he couldn't see. He tried to rinse his eyes, but they had been scratched by the debris. And his mother wanted him to go to the doctor in town, about five miles away, but she didn't know how to drive their Model T and his father was already in town with the horse and wagon. So his mom bandages up his eyes. He starts the car and John's great-grandmother directs him while he drives to town blinded - blindfolded.

Scott Benjamin: He's got his eyes covered?

Ben Bolin: Yes and his mom is sitting there I guess - I imagine in shotgun going, "Just go straight. Just go straight."

Scott Benjamin: Come on.

Ben Bolin: Yeah. And they got there safe and sound. And after visiting the doctor, the adult with the horse and wagon: he drives home, but John put in a little notice about me saying, "Well, I guess it was a little more difficult than just turn the crank and go."

Scott Benjamin: Oh my gosh, unbelievable. We've had that podcast about just how difficult it is to even start a Model T. He did that with his eyes bandaged up.

Ben Bolin: And here's the thing. She didn't wanna drive it.

Scott Benjamin: She didn't wanna drive it. So she is apparently so afraid of driving that she would rather have her blind child drive the car next to her and tell him how to do it.

Ben Bolin: Yeah, it reminds me of these very dramatic scenes in action movies where the pilot is dead and someone has to land the plane and the folks in ground control. So anyway -

Scott Benjamin: Well, I'm assuming his eyes were okay, but - I guess we don't know the answer to that, but it sounds like -

Ben Bolin: It sounds like everything worked out.

Scott Benjamin: Just a temporary - they were just scratched or something.

Ben Bolin: Yeah. So that is how hard it is to drive a Model T.

Scott Benjamin: Wow. So he drove with his eye bandaged, a copilot or a navigator saying, "Watch out for that tree; look out for the boulder" -

Ben Bolin: "Stackhouse fast."

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, "You just hit the house."

Ben Bolin: Yes.

Scott Benjamin: Oh my gosh, that's unbelievable. That's - try to imagine something like that today. I don't wanna say it doesn't happen because it probably does, but holy cow. That's unbelievable to think of somebody navigating the roadway with their eyes covered and someone telling them how to do it. And let alone, a Model T which is ridiculously hard to drive to begin with.

Ben Bolin: Doing the Charleston after a night at the speak easy while doing something else.

Scott Benjamin: Loading a musket.

Ben Bolin: Loading a musket, doing the Charleston after a speak easy.

Scott Benjamin: Excellent memory, Ben.

Ben Bolin: Hey, that's why you've got me here. I'm the Garfunkel.

Scott Benjamin: Good work. Boy, that's an amazing story. Thank you, John.

Ben Bolin: Yes, thank you, John. And again to our listeners, thanks so much for lending us your ear. We have a good time doing this. We hope you have a good time listening. And if you have a suggestion or an idea for a future topic, you already know what I'm gonna say: send us an e-mail, right?

Scott Benjamin: Yeah, I know. And please, please do because we love to - we read the monitor. We love our listeners and we like them to send in little stories like this or comments, questions. Podcast suggestions: we've done that in the past. In fact, we just did one on CVT a while back. So send them in; we listen.

Ben Bolin: And that e-mail address again is highspeedstuff@howstuffworks.

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