With oil consumption facing the dual threats of concern over climate change, and uncertain availability of fossil fuels in the future (BP estimates we’ll exhaust current reserves in 53 years), electric motorcycles like this gorgeous Ego from Energica may become more and more common! Its 11.7kWh battery provides 60-120 miles of range, and the rider can enjoy a massive 144lb-ft of torque (134hp). There’s no gear shifting, which will further enhance reliability and ridability. Regenerative braking is a user-configurable feature (you can even shut that off entirely); a fast charger can give you an 80% charge in 30 minutes. At $25,000 it won’t be cheap, but I can see this being a perfect commuter vehicle in many large metropolitan areas. Test rides are being scheduled now; the bike is making stops in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York later this money (see this link for the schedule and how to reserve a test ride).
Gasoline powered cars still dominate the Pikes Peak International Hillclimb, but electric cars are showing big improvement and may be challenging fossil fuel cars in the near future. The Mitsubishi shown here cut 38 seconds off of last year’s electric car time, and was only a few seconds behind the overall winner’s time (but almost a minute slower than the course record set last year by Sebastian Loeb). Will 2015 be the year that an electric race car beats a gasoline one? I can’t wait to find out!
Also in electric car racing news, Formula E has its first race in September of 2014! Another milestone in automotive history as those battery-powered race cars take to the track for a one hour race.
I’m not sure why you’d want or need electronic shifting for a mountain bike, but if you do, you’re in luck! Shimano now makes such a device. I question the reliability of this though…I just can’t imagine this being comparable to a manually operated derailleur. Neat gimmick though. You can read more at gizmag:Shimano announces XTR Di2 electronic shifting for mountain bikes.
The mystery of MH370’s disappearance seemed to have been solved when Inmarsat used satellite ping data to narrow down its last known location, but a deep sea sonar search of the area has yielded nothing (even though a few audio pings were heard that may have been the plane’s black boxes). Investigators are re-examining all data, and this is raising questions about Inmarsat’s calculations and assumptions. There’s a really fascinating article at The Atlantic that talks about this in great detail…how the location is determined, and what some concerns are about the conclusions reached to date. Cool stuff, and worth reading (quick summary – the conclusions don’t appear to align with the data, and need further explanation).
Adding to the confusion is a geological survey company’s findings in the Bay of Bengal, which they say appears to be a large aircraft at the bottom of the sea, where previous data had showed nothing. They used a really cool technology…essentially, the data shows what elements are found on the sea floor, and this shows large concentrations of aluminum and other key elements. However, their findings are being mostly ignored, apart from a couple countries in the area that have dispatched ships to check things out.
Looking ahead…Inmarsat has offered to provide a free tracking service to all passenger airlines, though international agencies like the ICAO and IATA are currently discussing what to do about plane tracking.
I’d already reported on the carbon fiber wheels Koenigsegg is using (see this post), but I came across a cool twelve minute video showing the manufacturing process of these wheels. Neat video, still a bit excessive, but if you see the value in a 280mph street car, wheels like these do make sense!
Porsche showed off its new 911 Targa recently, and it features a very cool new top mechanism that brings back the look of the original, but with much greater simplicity (to the user, not to the car). Check out the video below to see it in action. At a price starting at $101,600 (and being a Porsche, options are numerous and expensive), the video might be the closest you get to one.