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Competition to produce the most fuel efficient vehicles is shifting into overdrive after General Motors announced triple digit miles-per-gallon ratings for its new hybrid-electric vehicle. Analysts say renewed interest in environmentally sound, ultra-efficient vehicles has opened a myriad of opportunities for manufacturers. One small company in Colorado is convinced it can give the big automakers a run for the money

General Motors made a big splash this month when it announced its new electric vehicle, the Chevy Volt, will go an astounding 230 miles per gallon (more than 97 kilometers per liter). Company CEO Fritz Henderson believes the new line of gas-electric hybrids is the company's ticket back to profitability.

"A car that gets triple digit fuel economy, we believe, can and will be, a game changer for us," said Henderson.

Now in production, the Chevy Volt is expected to launch in 2010. Industry analyst Rebecca Lindland says there's a lot riding on the new car. "It is very important that it be a homerun for them because they have put a lot of their reputation into this vehicle," said Rebecca Lindland.

But GM will have plenty of competition. Nissan is set to unveil its new, all-electric Leaf next year, and Honda is expected to roll out a new hybrid gas-electric called Insight. Although they can't compete with the Volt's fuel efficiency, the price tag - between $10,000 to $15,000 less - could win converts. And there's also homegrown competition.

Coda, a new company based in Colorado, is promoting a new vehicle that can maintain speeds of 130 kilometers per hour for more than 160 kilometers without using gasoline. The company has received $45 million in stimulus funds to jump start production. Colorado Governor Bill Ritter was among the first to test drive the prototype. This is the first Colorado company the Department of Energy has provided loan guarantee money," said Bill Ritter. "It means they believe in the concept." Company officials hope to put 20,000 of the battery-powered cars into production this year. At about $35,000 apiece, Governor Ritter says the Coda produces no emissions and takes only six hours to charge. "You take that car and it goes to someone's garage," he said. "That person plugs it in, their energy's delivered to their home through solar or wind or geothermal, and there's zero emissions as part of operating that vehicle."

But with so many fuel-efficient vehicles vying for attention, analysts say green vehicles are just part of the solution for the ailing auto industry. After the worst sales slump in decades, General Motors is targeting another emerging market with plans to build a compact car that will sell for about $4,000. No word yet if the low-cost vehicles will be sold in the U.S.


11. How does government regulate specific business practices? Describe several federal or local laws with which business people should be familiar. What does deregulation mean? What are its advantages and disadvantages?

12. On which fundamental rights and obligations is consumerism based? What are the main rights of businessman within the frame of private enterprise system (capitalism)? How has the recognition of these rights improve the contemporary business environment?

13. What does technological environment mean for business? Is it possible for business to live without new technologies and innovations? Which of them do you know? Read and translate the following media record and be ready for its discussion:




Dean Kamen's name - and his list of patents - are almost legendary among today's inventors and entrepreneurs. But the general public may know him best as the creator of the Segway Personal Transporter. Designed for a single, upright driver, the two-wheeled, self-balancing electric device can move across almost any level surface.

When it was introduced in 2001, some predicted the Segway would revolutionize how people get around. That hasn't quite happened. Yet Kamen continues to invent devices, mostly for the health care field. "Actually," says Kamen, "the Segway grew out of one of those devices." Ten years in development, it was called the "IBOT," and its purpose was to revolutionize the way the disabled get around. The IBOT looked like a very sophisticated wheelchair, but in contrast to traditional wheelchairs, it enabled people to be at eye level with their non-disabled peers and to climb steps and street curbs. "In order to do those things," says Kamen, "we needed to figure out how to restore [synthesize] human balance." After 10 years in development, the IBOT was brought to market in 2003. Innovator gets an early start.

Kamen's career as an inventor began when he was only 5 years old, when he devised a system of knobs and pulleys that would straighten the sheets and blankets on his bed each morning automatically. In high school, Kamen devised a groundbreaking audio-visual system that he eventually sold to planetariums worldwide. After a stint in college, he teamed up with his brother - a medical student at the time - to develop the world's first automatic syringe for premature infants. "But soon we found we could build these little pumps, and instead of [just] putting them on these babies, we could [also] put them on the belt of a full-grown adult and deliver insulin to diabetics, which became a very large opportunity for my little company."

Recently, Kamen and his team of engineers also created the so-called "DEKA Arm." It is a bionic, or electro-mechanical, arm capable of movements so precise it allows upper-arm amputees to grasp small objects. The arm is also powerful enough to lift objects weighing up to 18 kilograms. The DEKA Arm is now in being clinically tested. "One of the great things about working on medical products is you can 'do good while you are doing well.' It's a good business, and somehow at the end of the day, when you are going to bed tired because you have really tough problems… you go to bed completely happy, because you are going to be giving health and life to people."

Inspiring a new generation of entrepreneurs Kamen says his most gratifying invention to date isn't a machine, but an educational foundation called FIRST, which is an acronym meaning "For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology." Kamen explains that the organization is devoted to bringing hands-on science and engineering education to young people who may be more interested in basketball and pop stars than the next great life-saving device or renewable-energy source.


14. What is a natural environment in business? What are the main responsibilities of business in favour of natural environment? Why should each business company have the environment policy? What damages can be caused by such policy breach? What do you know about “greenhouse effect” which influences greatly on the world’s climate? Hope the following media record will help you to answer such question. Read and translate the text and be ready for its discussion:

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