As the European financial union buckled last year, Germany stood out as the EU's rock-solid exception. Siemens, the country's mammoth technology conglomerate that builds everything from power plants to trains, enjoyed the most successful year in its history. Some highlights:
NO NUKES: In the wake of the Fukushima disaster, Germany's decision to phase out nuclear energy opened the door for a host of Siemens technologies, such as a new "combined-cycle" gas power plant that achieves record efficiencies of more than 60%.
GROUND GAME: Recently, Siemens built its own electric car—but not to compete with, say, Tesla. "We want to become a leading producer of components," says research VP Reinhold Achatz. His team also wanted to understand how EVs may soon affect urban infrastructure.
AIR STRIKES: Engineers debuted the first hybrid electric plane last June, a two-seater that can reduce fuel and emissions by 25%. Scaling up to a larger aircraft is next.
CRITICAL DATA: A revolutionary scanner integrates several imaging technologies so doctors can view organ position, function, and metabolic activity simultaneously.