Environment Unlimited "Until now, electric cars have been slow, odd-looking and severely limited by their short battery life. But this racy little number - which can outrun a Ferrari - could change all that. "
It's USD$100K but it is a flagship for the future and the first 100 have all been sold.
Given my daily commute is well under 50 miles (that's 80 km for most of the world) this 'hacked' Prius sounds enticing. "Using a normal house outlet, a nightly re-charge of about $1 worth of electricity cuts the Toyota Prius gasoline consumption in half for over 50 miles the following day." It's experimental and early days but read more at Green Car Congress.
No doubt there's still a cost for largely coal-fired powerplants (as is the norm in Australia) but you can always buy 'green energy' (like this and this or this ) and drive further adoption of alternate energy.
OK so I have been day dreaming about a BMW M5 - guess it's the tunable everything (power, suspension, auto) that combines uber-performance and geek-to-the-max BUT I add it is just day dreaming (can't afford one; could never justify owning one).
On reading this review of its new rival, the Audi S6 with a Lamborghini V10 jammed under the bonnet, I was reminded of the craziness of it all.
First Drive: V10 Audi S6:
Certainly it picks up speed with gusto at 100mph and you can be at 130mph in an instant. But that was in Germany and it’s an arguable benefit in the UK. At sub-100mph speeds the S6 just doesn’t seem as exciting and soul stirring as a 435bhp, V10 super saloon should be.
Dull below 100 mph? What's not dull is this car's thirst - 15 miles per imperial gallon. Still what possible use outside of the few unlimited autobahns in Germany can be made of this much power? It's not as if it's large and brightly painted so it can hardly help make up for any perceived inadequacies in the trouser department. What sort of crazy world are we living. People died in Iraq so we can feed fuel monsters like this!
Sales of hybrids in the US increased 2.3 times in May 2005 to 16,887 units from 7,275 units the prior year. However, results for all automakers were down from the torrid pace set in April.
Sales of the market-leading Prius dropped back below 10,000 to post the car's third strongest month to date. Combined with the 2,931 units of the Lexus Rx400h -- the strongest of its two months of sales -- Toyota captured 73% of all hybrid sales for the month. (GCC)
In fairness of reporting I should also make mention of some issues related to Prius cars in the US - I have not been affected, nor heard of any Australian reports. The US reports are of the engine (ICE) shutting down at high speed. No accidents have occurred. The ICE is designed to shut off when not needed, such as when coasting down a hill.
Should I be smelling a rat? Is someone in Detroit trying to kill the Prius? After all motorcity secretly bought up Los Angeles' public transport system (electric trolley-buses) and shut them down in the 1940s. General Motors and friends were convicted in Chicago in 1949 and fined $5000. (Details) . Update: Wikipedia offers a broader perspective on this.
But now the gas-guzzling gargantuans are being challenged by fuel-efficient, environmentally friendly hybrids like the Toyota Prius and hybrid versions of popular models from Honda.
The hybrids could one day help to reduce the United States' output of greenhouse gasses, but despite the buzz surrounding them, they still make up a relatively small percentage of auto sales.
According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, the US spends $200,000 every minute on foreign oil.
Last year, about 80,000 hybrid cars and trucks were sold out of some 17m total sales in the US, according to David Friedman, research director for the Union of Concerned Scientists' Clean Vehicle Program.
"Hybrids are becoming a mainstream product," he said, adding that if anyone would have said five years ago that hybrid sales in the US would be approaching 100,000 per year, it would have been thought "inconceivable".
Mr Friedman said that Americans would have to buy 40m to 60m hybrids over the next 10 years to stall greenhouse gas emissions at 2010 levels.
"If the government continues its vacuum of leadership, nothing will happen" to address greenhouse gas emissions, he said.
(hat tip to Dave from Scotland for spotting this one)
IFilm have collected all of the Super Bowl ads including a fantastic new ad for the Toyota Prius. Great to see Toyota pushing this great environmentally friendly car (I am biased as I own one). See IFILM - Super Bowl Ads
On this topic it's well worth reading a Malcolm Gladwell article first published in The New Yorker -- gladwell dot com--Wrong Turn: How the fight to make America's highways safer went off course.
The synopsis is that the US authorities made a fatal decision to push passive restraints such as airbags without also promoting seatbelts. An airbag is a supplementary restraint (SRS) and is relatively ineffective compared to a seatbelt alone - of course the combination of seatbelt and airbag is best. The 'experts' believed that 'machines' not 'men' were the answer - spend the money on gizmos not education. The result was that thousands of Americans died because they were denied the public education that their compatriots in other parts of the world were given, such as UK, Australia and New Zealand.
Physics is the law of nature. We can't escape the consequences of physics, particularly driving a potentially lethal weapon on slippery road. Yet there seems little effort (at least in my country - Australia) to ensure that learner drivers are also learning the laws that will seriously impact their safety (and that of others) on the open road. We should resurrect Julius Sumner Miller and have him posthumously teach us physics in the real world. "A car skids off into the bushes. Why is it so?"
Usability guru 'Tog' recounts an excellent story of poor interface design mixed with panic - a recipe for disaster.
This is the true story of a panic that started in an instant and continued to play out for more than 24 hours, resulting in damage, destruction, and near-death. I am, at the victim’s request, maintaining his anonymity. [read on at asktog.com]