It’s too bad Volkswagen retired the term “Fahrvergnügen”. Back in the 1989, when this strange word blared loudly from the auto manufacturer’s TV and print ads, a German acquaintance told me it loosely translated to “fun driving”. (He also told me I was mispronouncing my German surname, but my Americanized ancestors are to blame for that.)
Of all the great VWs out there, the one that looks the most fun to drive is the new Viseo. Design-wise, this sports car runs the Roadster right off the road. Or rather, it would – if it existed beyond the concept stage.
On the heels of an internship at Volkswagen, German design student Marc Kirsch created this coupe for his diploma project at Braunschweig University of Arts. “Expect something unexpected,” is Kirsch’s answer when I ask him to describe his creation.
Unexpected, yes. In fact, the forward-thinking electric three-seater, inspired by the works of internationally renowned architect Santiago Calatrava, is an aesthetic marvel. “The target,” Kirsch says, “was to create a visionary concept car, shaped and based on the Calatravian motto of ‘dynamic balance’. I was very much inspired by his main conceptional and visual influence.”
“For the endless joy of mobility on our earth”. Sounds like the gift of a god or something, right? Like, the great hero Honda, having outrun the titan Lexus, hath brought the joy of mobility back to his people of Oildepentia, thus restoring to the world the great boon of the Sun God, Alternativus Energus Maximus.
Well, it’s not that. It’s the theme of the booth sponsored by Honda at the 40th Tokyo Motor Show, held last month in Japan. At the show, Honda unveiled two concept cars onto the world’s automotive stage. The first was the Honda CR-Z, which is basically a hybrid replacement for the widely popular but sadly defunct CRX, the second was the new fuel cell vehicle Puyo.
Both models, as fits their theme, are fun to drive and “G” friendly.
If you have $27,500 burning a hole in your pocket, you should check out the Twike by FINEMobile. The Twike is a hybrid “car”, combining traditional electric battery power with your own personal hamstring/calf/quadriceps/abdominal power. The idea is interesting: the typical hybrid braking-energy recapture, plus the ability to pedal energy into the battery while driving Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos
Here’s a car that I’m thankful has not been released in the U.S. It’s so small it’s not even a “car”; it’s “quadracycle.” Interesting that it was designed in California.
The G Wiz AEV (Automatic Electric Vehicle) is Britain’s most popular electric, but to me it represents everything we Americans fear in these small packages, namely safety. Although the 2008 G Wiz reports to have improved safety over previous versions, the only proof I’ve seen is this horrifying YouTube video in which the car is outrun by a table.
We are inching towards a two-wheeled urban future with several new electric bikes out there, and we can add the Pi-E to the mix. Electrobike actually offers several powered alternatives to the car, all of which sport the distinct Pi-series arched frame.
The Pi-E is powered by plug-in electric (not my favorite alternative) for local jaunts to the grocery store, park or just a little town cruise. It’s also freeway-legal for those who want to test their courage. All you need to do is add the optional gas engine and you’ve got yourself a little Prius-like hybrid. But beware, it looks like you just strapped on a weedeater engine. And although you can ride it on the highway, I’d feel a lot more comfortable on one of the bigger motorcycles available for about the same price.
For the past few years, Tesla Motor has been the only high performance, high design, electric car company in the headlines. Taking all the glory and all the bashing that comes with creating a forward thinking company like Tesla. But that time seems to be coming to an end. A one time Tesla partner and now competitor, Fisker has developed their own line of cars, called Karma. Their very first extended range all electric luxury sedan is about to hit the roads, the company says in late 2009.
But Fisker is done, they have already developed a second generation car called the Karma S- for Sunset — concept that debuted at the Detroit auto show shares its gas-electric drivetrain with the Karma sedan but wraps it in an even sleeker two-door body that could see production within two years. The California startup’s range-extended electric vehicles — like the Tesla Roadster, Cadillac Converj concept and high-dollar hybrids from Mercedes and BMW — point to an emerging market of premium green cars that place as much importance on performance as they do efficiency.
Come on, face it, if your reading this, you are most likely one of those humans, who snuck your ass into a McMansion loan, borrowed way way to much, with plans to flip that sucker. Now instead of flipping it, it’s flipping you, right into something called the Poor House! Hmm, am I right?
Your also most likely one of those office cubical grunts, who actually worked for the multi-national bloated mega banks who gave out all those worthless loans, to guys like yourself, hoping they could off load your dumbness to suckers like the bankers in Iceland. And to your bosses, you were just another number they needed to delete, so the big headed, speech vomiting U.S. Congress, would whip them out a tit, to enable them to suck the rest of us dry. I am so right, right? I thought so. So, now that you are bleeding red from every hole, you have to dump those blood sucking things you to be so smug about. Yes, I am talking about the Merc, the Bimmer, Ranger Rover, or what ever crotch stuffing device you bought to use as your vehicle.
It’s time to use that last $250 you found in the kids room to get yourself a vehicle that will set you free. Free from the pump. Free from looking cool ever again. Free from being able to pick up chicks who are endowed with perfect silicon breast. But most importantly free from ever having to shell out that gut twisting un-ending thing known as the monthly car payment. Now your cracking a smile, right!
What’s happening with the eagerly anticipated env? According to its website, the UK-created hydrogen cell motorcycle will be undergoing changes before the bike is ready for commercialization. What sort of changes? Most likely on the engineering side to make it “even better to ride and even easier to build”.
“But don’t worry,” assures the site, “the cool design won’t change.” Which hardly soothes this observer. It’s touted in the press as the “the first bike to be designed from the fuel cell outwards”, which to me means they designed the fuel cell and let the aesthetic take a back seat. Which explains why the env looks so funky. Kind of like a scooter. But I’ll cut them some slack here, since its “almost clearly clean” emissions are clearly the vehicle’s selling point.
The Mini made by BMW has been hijacked by PML a British company which has transformed the popular micro sized gas car into a 900 Miles Per Gallon hybrid electric vehicle. PML version of the Mini replaces the standard engine with four of our electric wheels, a lithium polymer battery, a large ultra capacitor, a very small ICE with generator (so small it almost fits alongside the spare wheel), an energy management system and a sexy in-car display module.
The car has been designed to run for four hours of combined urban/extra urban driving, powered only by a battery and bank of ultra capacitors. The QED supports an all-electric range of 200-250 miles and has a total range of about 932 miles (1,500 km). Explains Martin Boughtwood, PML’s MD: “Until now, most electric vehicles have been little more than souped-up milk floats, limited by range and speed, with compromised performance.
Looking for something interesting at the Detroit Auto Show? Don’t spend too much time, because there isn’t really anything new. Sure, there are hybrids, flex-fuels, and testosterone machines, but there’s nothing that people who care haven’t seen already.
There is however, a new-ish hybrid that changes the dynamic of hybrids, if only a tiny bit. The AFS Trinity is boasting 150 mpg from its XH 150. The difference between the Trinity and other hybrids: battery technology. Instead of charging batteries that discharge to the engine, the Trinity charges ultracapacitors that discharge to the engine quicker than traditional Lithium-ion batteries – so fast, in fact, that it will get you up to 90 mph on battery power alone. The Trinity can also go about 40 miles before the gas engine kicks in, making it a zero-emission vehicle for most commuters.
Does small mean economical? Sometimes. Does it equate to environmental friendliness? Not necessarily. In the case of the new Land Rover LRX, the jury’s still out. Land Rover recently announced the new concept LRX, claiming the car will appeal to the luxury and executive sector, as well as those wanting a compact.
Really? While I can’t recall the last time I saw a CEO driving from a board meeting to the Ritz in a sturdy little compact, I’m willing to give anyone the benefit of the doubt.
According to Phil Popham, Land Rover’s managing director (via their website), “The LRX concept delivers the powerful message that we are as serious about sustainability as we are confident about the continuing relevance and desirability of our vehicles. The LRX is in every respect a Land Rover, but it’s a very different Land Rover.”
What can I say, this Mission One Electric Bike really does kick my Ultramotor A2B Electric bikes ass. But I guess that isn’t really a fair comparison, because this electric bike really isn’t a bike, it’s more of a 150 mile electric monster, posing as a motorcycle. This thing even goes 150 miles without needing to be re-juiced. The bike showed up at the latest TED event, happening in Long Beach and is now all the buzz on the internet.
The bike was designed by a California start-up called Mission Motors, which has plans to build a limited run of 50 by next year at a price point of $69,000 each. I know what your thinking, if you take back your deposit on your long over due Tesla order, you could by two of these dream machines. Or better yet, if you get a bailout from the government, you can hold out for the Tesla and put a new deposit on a Mission One! Go for option two.
Why is it that all the sexy looking electric vehicles cost so freakin much? Can a simple electric motor and a few batteries really add up to $70K. If your not a bank CEO or a celebrity, you are just out of luck. The only electric vehicle most of us can even think of buying comes from Fisherprice, right?