Next generation hybrid cars

ford-fusion-energi-04-1a.jpeg.492x0_q85_crop-smartThe Prius has been the shining example of hybrid technology for many years, but let’s face it, its design is aging and the technology isn’t keeping up.  Ford has really led a charge lately with fuel efficient hybrids, such as this Fusion Energi that provides 21 miles of electric range (up to 85mph) and a combined MPGe of 100.  All this in a big, traditional family car…not bad!  They have a similar drivetrain in the smaller C-Max and given those choices, I’m not sure why anyone would choose a Prius anymore (except for perhaps wanting a car with a more normal-sounding name…).

I think of these Fords as second-generation hybrids…they offer better styling and usability, as well as electric-only mode.  What’s really cool are the third generation hybrids being worked on, especially the Volkswagon XL1.  The XL1 is really optimizing ALL pieces of the puzzle…slippery aerodynamics combined with a maximum efficiency diesel engine to produce an astounding 235mpg!  Note that this is just a two-seat car, but imagine one of these as your commute vehicle…pretty cool!




How differentials work

I’ve always loved this video…it explains how automotive differentials work (and why they’re needed).  It’s a seldom appreciated, little understood, but extremely critical part that you’ll find in any modern car or truck.  Good video for kids too!

Aircore Carbon fiber wheels

Hollow, one piece carbon fiber wheels?  Cool use of technology here.  With the only bit of metal being the filler valve, these wheels are incredibly light and strong, something you really do need on a car that’s expected to be capable of 270mph, the Koenigsegg Agera R.  Designing a wheel for high speeds is no small task….the 253mph Bugatti Veyron, for examples, requires its wheels to be stress tested or replaced at every fourth tire change (at a cost of >$10k each!).  Of course, carbon fiber wheels are relatively new to applications such as this, so owners may yet be stuck with comparable replacement costs.

Now, back to reality and perspective here.  How does a 1140hp, 270mph car make any sense whatsoever?  I love cars, really I do, but this is just a ridiculous machine that serves absolutely no purpose except to further enhance consumerism and deplete this planet’s natural resources.  It’s a joke. A fast, impressive joke, but a joke nonetheless.

Smart Parking

Finding a parking spot in a crowded city just got a whole lot easier!  San Francisco has embedded magnetic sensors under 8200 parking spaces throughout the city, to detect the presence of a car, and has made this information available to all at the SFpark website.  It doesn’t show individual spots, but gives a block by block status of congestion, with estimated number of spaces available in each, along with the parking rates for different times of day.  Pretty cool!  And yes, ‘there’s an app for that‘ too…

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