I want to know what happened to the railway industry in this country. We all know that air travel causes far more pollution than trains. According to The Guardian: “Fly from London to Edinburgh for the weekend and you produce 193kg of CO2, eight times the 23.8kg you produce by taking the train. Moreover, the pollution is released at an altitude where its effect on climate change is more than double that on the ground.”
Given that every bit helps, why isn’t the train industry flourishing, at least for national travel? The answer is easy: time and money. A journey from downtown New York to downtown Boston will take you four hours and fifteen minutes by Amtrak versus the two hours and fifty minutes it’ll take to get you there by plane. And the plane fare is almost 25 percent cheaper than that of the train.
New Zealand is famous for three things: hobbits, sheep and adrenaline sports. With regards to the latter, Kiwis rule all things heart-pounding, from bungy jumping and white water rafting, to heli-skiing and zorbing. In fact, Queenstown in New Zealand’s south island has become a global mecca for those looking to scare themselves senseless. So, it comes as no surprise that a New Zealander is behind the Blokart, which some scientifically describe as “wind-powered awesomeness”.
Paul Beckett is the brains behind the Blokart, a three-wheeled cart with front wheel steering attached to a windsurf sail. Since its launch in 2001, the Blokart has gained in popularity with Blokart clubs and schools springing up all over the world. Dudes who ride the ‘kart describe the experience as “sweet”.
B+M+W=G. I’m not one for mathematical equations, but what if I told you that the initials BMW added up to the new green car and that it had actually beaten out the Toyota Prius in a 545 mile London-Geneva run?
I hope you placed your bets, because the results are in.
Ever get tired of your spouse sitting next to you while you drive, commenting on how you move about town? Wouldn’t it be nice to have only backseat drivers for a change? If so, the Quaranta, which debuted at Geneva this month, may be the answer you’re looking for. With a central driving column, all passengers in this car are relegated to the backseat. The car is the showcase model of Italdesign Giugiaro, celebrating 40 years of edgy, Italian auto design and incorporates Giugiaro’s signature mid-mounted rear engine design that balances the weight and makes the car more stable.
Flying terrifies me. Not because I’m afraid of heights; on the contrary, I love heights. I can climb the tallest tree and sit up there for hours, watching the world below. I’ve even skydived, which I thought would help me overcome my fear of flying. But once we got up there, I could wait to hurl myself at the ground below – simply because it got me out of the plane. It’s the feeling of utter powerlessness that makes me clench.
Yes, I’m the guy who grabs the hand of the person in the seat next to me – whether I know them or not – and squeezes it tightly while grinding my teeth at the first sign of turbulence.
How cool is mainland Europe’s Northern most country? Let me tell you. They’re so cool, they started the Dogme film movement. They’re so cool, they’re 83% Lutheran. They’re so cool, they can make bikes with a stroller attachment (which are admittedly not as crave worthy a concept as say a Balenciaga bag) into something super desirable. From the country that loves biking as much as they do open rye bread sandwiches, comes the triobike.
As the name suggests, Denmark’s uber stylish triobike comprises three main functions: a carrier bike; a bike; and pushchair (that’s stroller for you guys). Which adds up to an exciting new concept in transportation, especially for parents with a penchant for cycling. Here’s what sets it apart from other kid wheeling bikes. While a regular carrier bike is great when you have kids in it, once they’ve been dropped off why pedal harder than you have to? With the triobike, you drop the kids off to daycare/school/the mine (I’m kidding), leave the front carrier there and bicycle solo onto work. The trio also gives you the flexibility of having your spouse pick up the kids, simply fitting the carrier onto their bikes or walking home with the kids in the stroller.
Los Angeles doesn’t have a great reputation when it comes to transport. Combine our lack of a reliable citywide bus or train system with our insistence on adhering to the California Car Pool (defined by Urban Dictionary as “when each member of a group uses their own car to go to the same destination [even when] the group is together at the start or close enough to share rides”) and you’ll see why our skies are so smoggy. Or not see, as the case may be.
Enter the newly launched eco-friendly taxi service, EcoNation, which offers LA a breath of fresh air — literally. EcoNation is committed to providing chauffeured luxury ground transportation services with new ecological standards. Their current fleet consists of a Compressed Natural Gas Lincoln Town Car, the Toyota Prius Hybrid (natch) and coming soon, a GM Yukon or Chevvy Tahoe Hybrid. A ride in the Prius will cost you a little more than a regular taxi in LA, but with internet access, digital entertainment programming and healthy treats on hand, who cares?
I’m not sure what this thing looks like most, but I know what it looks like least – a home. (It actually it looks a bit like the first moon-lander). Nor am I sure why attaching the prefix “eco” to “home” makes architects think off-kilter square boxes, funny angles and gravity-defying cantilevers. Let’s face it: there are lots of ways to make your home “eco” without dispensing with traditional comforts that we associate with home, like having enough space for a comfortable couch.
Michael Jantzen is one of these architects who uses modern art to stimulate his thinking about personal space – and it’s not all bad. I’m just not sold on the idea that this kind of design saves more energy and is more sustainable than thinking smartly about the way we use energy in and around our conventional homes. Typical “square” homes can take advantage of thermal mass, sun position, and the latest materials. So, the only real advantage I see with the M2 is that it can be set up in a jiffy and moved rather easily.
You know how they say the Golden Globes are usually an indicator of what you can expect at the Academy Awards? Well, if they awarded Oscars for automobiles, I think it would be safe to say the Fiat 500 would be a shoo-in for Best Picture. The Italian car (that’s actually manufactured in Poland) has already won the 2008 European Car of the Year award, the 2008 Auto Europa, the 2007 EuroCarBody, the Auto Trophy and Top Gear magazine’s favorite City Car for 2007.
Paris Hiltons new dream car, the Porsche Cayenne hybrid. I have a big white car! I wish I knew the make and model, but I’ve lost the owner’s manual and the letters on the trunk have peeled off. Although, I’ve narrowed it down, using a unique process of finding people over the age of eighty who still drive. I’m 100% confident it’s some type of Oldsmobile or a 1996 Ford Taurus. That being said, I’m not your typical car guy.
I did have a brief love affair with automobiles as a child. I think all little boys do. I built models, wrecked matchbox cars, worshiped my Lamborghini poster, and hauled my lunch box filled with micro machines everywhere. Little boys’ minds are fueled on fantasies of fast cars, skipping showers and staying up late — a playful life with no strings attached. As a child, I dreamt of cruising in my Porsche, on my holiest birthday, scoring the head cheerleader, and blaring Wu Tang. Instead, sadly, I got my first white car, a Buick Le Sabre. Soon after, I broke up with my fantasy cherry Corvette, was involved in a domestic dispute with my yellow banana Lamborghini poster and had my heart broken by the fast and easy Porsche. From there, my prized matchbox collection ended up as small pieces of metal retired to collect dust in my childhood attic.
It may not have the horsepower of a Harley or the sex appeal of a Vespa, but Jim Stansfield’s Puch moped has an important distinction: it runs on air. Stansfield, a University of Bristol aeronautics graduate, says his moped can actually reduce pollution. “It actually fires out cleaner air,” says the 37-year-old.
The moped has a range of 7 miles and a top speed of 18 mph — which is plenty far and fast enough for getting around urban centers. As to its revolutionary power source, the Puch is pimped out with a pair of carbon-fiber air cylinders, the type “used by fire fighters as breathing apparatus in burning buildings”. These cylinders power two rotary air engines which drive the rear wheel. Unlike electric scooters which can take sometime to recharge, the air moped can be refilled from a larger cylinder in a matter of seconds. Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos
Let’s get something straight. I love the look of BMW’s Mini Cooper and would buy it in a second — if only it were a hybrid diesel or an all-electric car with interface fabric seats. Sadly BMW doesn’t make the Mini with any of these options, so I have held off and continue riding my bike.
Maybe that is all about to change. Companies like Hybrid Technologies have begun hacking small cars like the Mini and replacing their gas engines with zero-emission, all-electric motors and lithium batteries. A great idea — if you can afford to pay almost twice the price for a “converted” Mini. Parts are expensive to do this one at a time. The only way the price will come down is if, BMW and other companies decide there is a real demand and they start producing them. After the jump, watch a short clip by Popular Mechanics featuring a test drive of the hacked, all-electric Mini Cooper. Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos