Unless you’re an unusually big fan of the radio, traffic information can be remarkably hard to come by. Luckily, anyone with a smartphone is about to get a new secret weapon.
Edison-style inventing keeps a pretty low profile these days, but there’s still a lot of would-be Qs out there, and they’ve got some ideas to show you.
The James Dyson Awards (hat tip to The Awl are going on right now, gathering thousands of engineers and inventors to compete for a chunk of sweet vacuum-cleaner money by sketching up personal railway systems and inventing new ways for doors to open. There’s a few days left to vote, but we’ve already found a favorite.
This German heads-up windshield display is called the Bionic Cockpit, and it brings augmented reality into the automotive world, along with a pleasantly botanical design motif and a lot of downright useful information conveyed in a simple and effective way. Detroit’s in no condition to buy them out…but maybe Munich’s interested?
Now that car shapes are tending towards a single aerodynamic ideal, it’s nice to see a wacky concept car with no hope of ever reaching the assembly line. This one, called the Type 57 Atlantic, comes from Bugatti, which seems to be showing a fondness for Art Deco curves lately.
So far, hydrogen cars haven’t been much good for consumer use, but they’re always game for a little green PR. And, as we just discovered, they can go very very fast. This one just got up to a hair shy of 200mph on the western salt flats. It’s a record for H2, but a little short of the 760mph you can get up to if you’re willing to resort to jet fuel. Not to say we wouldn’t mind a speed trial or two…
The Prius routine was so good, it was only a matter of time before carmakers applied it to something with a little more horsepower. And if price is no object, fuel economy gets a whole lot simpler.
McLaren’s P11 uses the same regenerative braking system that gave the Prius its extra MPGs, but now the vehicle in question is doing 0-60 in under four seconds, and topping out over 200mph. Of course, it should also set the lucky owner back more than $200,000, so it’s not all roses, but it’s nice to see hybrid tech make its way into the upper tier of the industry.
We expect to see one in Leo’s garage any day now…
Much as we like cars, the four-door is getting a little long in the tooth. Where are the cars we were promised in Total Recall?
It looks like they’re almost here. This is the PUMA prototype, a collaboration between GM and Segway that might be the electric urban raider the world’s been waiting for—whenever it goes into production, that is. At the moment, the main problem is presentation…
Those hazard stripes aren’t doing anyone any favors, and the whole thing could stand to be a bit sleeker. Lest we forget, it was design that made the difference between the iPod and the slew of mp3 gadgets that came before. Is anyone out there ready to throw a few sketches together?
The electric car has been a been more talking point than vehicle for upwards of a decade now, but it looks like it may finally make it to pavement.
The Tesla Model S does 0-60 in under six seconds, tops out electronically at 130 mph (spoilsports!), and can run through 230 miles on just $5 worth of juice. Refueling is likely to be a bit more complex than we’re used to—it’ll take 45 minutes to refuel, and finding a charge station may be a bit troublesome—but it’s a small price to pay for progress.
Of course, we’ll also have to wait until 2011 to get our hands on one…but we’ve always been the patient type.
Between the credit crunch and the wholesale collapse of Detroit, the odds on the electric car have been looking pretty slim. But it’s hard to overestimate the power of a good idea.
Colorado’s Lightning Hybrids is about to roll out the LH4, a biodiesel-powered hybrid that gets 100 miles-per-gallon. Best of all, they plan to retail the cars for $40,000 and up, which would result in a surprisingly accessible end product. It’s not quite electric, but it’ll certainly do for now.
Let’s just hope they do better than Tesla.
The early 70s were a magical time, as all those Starsky & Hutch reruns can attest. And while the clothes, hairstyles, air quality, political leadership, and standards of hygiene may be a bit embarrassing in retrospect, there’s one thing that never disappoints: the cars.
Luckily, we’ll have a place to admire them all. Punta Gorda, FL is now the site of the confusingly named Muscle Car City Museum, with more than 200 muscle cars kept in spectacular working order. It’s a fascinating window into Detroit’s last great generation of automobiles, along with a decade worth of design innovations for anyone paying attention.
And we imagine they can drive pretty fast too.
A fast car is always good news, especially when it’s a torpedo-shaped European model with just enough room for two seats and a gearshift. And if fewer than two dozen were ever made…the pot just keeps getting sweeter.
We knew things were getting rough for Dubai, but we didn’t expect people to be in such a hurry to leave.
Apparently people are skipping town so fast, they don’t even bother to take their cars: more than 3000 have been found abandoned in the airport parking lot in the past few months. Sharia law is pretty tough on debtors, so folks in dire financial straits tend to skip town rather than face jail time over a bounced check or two. But with boom times definitely at a close, the sheer volume of people sprinting towards the nearest outbound plane is becoming downright remarkable.
On the bright side, we bet the used car market is really taking off.
You’re looking at the Splinter, the brainchild of a team of NC State students. The goal was to make a sports car made almost entirely of wood, including the suspension and wheel wells, and by the looks of things, they’re pretty close to having a supercar on their hands.
We aren’t sure how it drives, but it’s a lot lighter, cheaper, and generally cooler looking than what Detroit’s turning out these days. The creator, Joe Harmon, says he has no interest in selling the cars, but we’re sure he could be persuaded if enough loudmouth bloggers got together.
In the meantime, someone get this man a bucket of VC money.
There’s something magical about cars made before the advent of anti-lock brakes, power steering, and rudimentary safety equipment. It may not get you to Ferrari speeds, but the first actor to pull up to the red carpet in a Model A deserves all the attention he can get. At least you know he was clever enough to find one.
Oddly enough, eBay has become the go-to spot for vintage cars, so if you’ve got an empty spot in your garage and ten thousand dollars to blow through, you might want to take a look. This 1931 Model A wouldn’t be a bad place to start for some depression-chic…but we imagine you’ll find an even better place to finish.
Things have been pretty rough for the American car industry over the last few decades, but we never thought the solution would be sculpting hubcaps into decorative bowls. Isn’t this the sort of thing you’d usually buy from impoverished villages in Mexico?
The American auto industry hasn’t been doing so well the last few decades, but we’re sure it’ll pull through. After all, it’s got American ingenuity on its side.
Take this bubble-top hot rod, for instance. There isn’t much in the way of trunkspace or a backseat, and we shudder to think of the fuel efficiency, but we’d take it in a drag race any day. According to eBay, it’s currently on the block for $71,000, but that’s a small price to pay for a piece of history.
If they hurry, we bet Ford could get this lined up for 2010.
Apparently the limited edition trick isn’t just for t-shirts. Like anything, the trick is thinking big…
Aston Martin just launched their One-77 model with a production run of only 77 cars for the entire world. Of course, just getting an appointment to see one requires a 200,000 pound deposit, with an extra million to buy the thing, so they probably aren’t sweating the numbers.
NotCot is raffling off a tour of the factory where the car was made if you don’t have 200,000 pounds lying around, but we’re more interested in the business end. If you’re going after the high end (and Aston Martin has never been after anything else), why make more than 100 of anything? That is, as long as there are still enough millionaires in the world.
Remember those carefree childhood days of assembling kites and replacing fan belts? Yeah, us neither. Apparently we were missing out.
Popular Mechanics has a “you kids” piece (via Neatorama) about the erosion of manual skills, most notably changing tires. It’s true that we’ve rarely seen it in the relatively frequent “things every man should know” circulating through upscale men’s mags. At the same time, PSFK is warning we’re counting on computers to do too much of our thinking for us. Maybe it’s time to bust out the slide rule. We’ve got some brushing up to do.
We’ve always assumed there was nothing wrong with a dedicated follower of fashion slipping an iPhone into his jacket, but it may be time to revise that opinion. Sometimes it helps to know where you are without having to check Google Maps. And if you happen to get a flat, you can break out the real tools.
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