Toyota Prius: only the 2nd greenest car in the US

honda civic gx

The legions of Toyota Prius fans will be disappointed to hear there is a car in the US that is greener than their own little eco-statement hybrid.

According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) who put out a list each year of the 12 greenest cars the Prius only comes in second!.

The winner: The Honda Civic GX which although it only gets 24mpg in the city is rated #1 due to being fueled by natural gas.

How many more years must we wait until the greenest car is one that is powered by a renewable resource instead of just swapping the juice from one kind of hole in the ground for another?

12 greenest cars at CNet

Volkswagon L1 Concept Car – 235mpg in 2010

Volkswagon L1 Concept Car - 230mpg

Volkswagon CEO Martin Winterkorn has confirmed that their L1 concept car will be turned into a production car that will be available for purchase in 2010.

The L1 is designed to go 100 kilometers on 1 liter of gas (which equates to 235 miles per gallon) but are they sacrificing too much in search of fuel economy?

The car is a two seater but not side by side – the passenger sits behind the driver, max speed is 75mph, there is no storage space, and there is no information about the safety of this tiny vehicle that could be crushed like a bug by 75% of the vehicles on the typical US highway.

Realistically this will only be usable for trips in cities and on the back roads, and for those kind of trips why not just forego the car and ride a bicycle instead, not only is it green but it’s healthy for you too.


Tech Photo of the Day: The MQ-9 Reaper

MQ-9 reaper

This ladies and gentlemen is the MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle. The Reaper is currently deployed over the skies of Afghanistan (and occasionally Pakistan).

Not content with just spying on the bad guys like it’s older brother the Predator, the Reaper is used to actively hunt down Taliban insurgents and Al Qaeda terrorists with it’s 4 hellfire air-to-ground missiles and 2 laser-guided bombs.

The Reaper is 36ft long, has a wingspan of 20ft, normally flies up to 25,000 ft high at speeds of up to 250mph, and can stay in the air for up to 28 hours. Unit cost is around $8m.

High-tech American gadgetry keeping the terrorists cowering in caves instead of planning attacks on civilians around the world. I love it!

Rinspeed amphibious zero emission concept car

Rinspeed amphibious zero emission concept car

Gizmag has taken a new look at the Rinspeed sQuba amphibious zero emission concept car that turned up at last year’s Geneva Motor Show.

The sQuba is designed to go 75mph on land and about 2mph in the water, it is powered by a single 54 kW motor plus a four additional engines for underwater:2 x 800W units drive the twin stern propellers and up front, 2 x 3.6kW Seabob jet drives for steering.

The open top combined with going underwater is a bit strange though: do you wear a wetsuit all day in case you need to go underwater or do you just get your clothes wet and keep some spare clothes in the truck?

(more at gizmag)

Belltronics RX35 radar detector reviewed

Belltronics RX35 radar detector reviewed

CNET has reviewed the $330 Belltronics RX35 radar detector.

Here’s what they thought:

“The good: The Beltronics Pro RX65 offers a nice set of programmable features and its tested performance ranks with the best.

The bad: The LED warnings look rough, although they are informative. The volume button isn’t particularly convenient.

The bottom line: The Beltronics Pro RX65 works well for novice to advanced users, giving long distance warning about radar monitoring. Although we had some interface issues, the device works very well overall.”

Personally we don’t bother with a radar detector, everyone drives 20 over the limit and as long as you stay with the flow of traffic you never get ticketed.

(more at cnet)

21st Century Dump Truck

21st century dump truck

Munich-based truck maker F.X. Meiller GmbH & Co KG has seen the future of construction hauling, and it is a sleek all-wheel drive tipper capable of dumping on all four directions.

Chinese transportation designer Haishan Deng created a series of concept drawings depicting what Meiller’s new “super tipper” truck in action that won him a 2007 red dot award for product design from Germany’s Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen, an institution formed in 1955 to promote industrial design aesthetics. Inspired by the movement of quadruped animals, Deng designed the super tipper with independent suspension arms that absorb uneven terrain better than conventional dump trucks.

(more at scientificamerican)
Continue reading

Tesla electric car showroom opening

Tesla Electric Car

Next week the Tesla Roadster electric car will move from development to market with the opening of their first showroom in Los Angeles.

The Tesla is no souped-up gold cart, it is a $109,000 electric powered sports car that does 0-60mph in under 4 seconds, has a top speed of 125mph, and a range of 225mph. Once the battery runs out of oomph you just plug it in and it recharges in 3.5hrs.

This takes a lot of battery power: the lithium-ion batteries account for 1,000lb of the Tesla’s 2,700lb weight and they have an expected lifespan of 100,000 miles.

Don;t expect to walk into the showroom and buy one though – there is a current wait of 15 months to get one, but if you see one driving down the street take a look at the driver – Arnold Schwartenegger, George Clooney, and Kelsey Grammer have all ordered one.

2 hypersonic test flights planned for 2009

darpa hypersonic aircraft

DARPA has announced two test flights of it’s Hypersonic Technology Vehicles next year in May and October.

Both will be launched by Minotaur solid-fuel rockets from Vandenberg Air Force Base and will impact near Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific.

If these flights are successful the next flight demonstrator may be the reusable Blackswift plane and we will be a step closer to getting anywhere on the planet in just a few hours.

(via flightinternational)

Solar panel roof for your Prius

Solar panel roof for your Prius

Now this is a smart idea for those people who feel that their hybrid car lifestyle just isn’t good enough for the environment.

The SEV solar module for 2004-2006 Toyota Prius cars generates 215 watts of power which the makers claim provides up to an extra 20 miles of gas-free travel a day and a 29% better fuel economy overall.

They claim it will pay for itself in 2 to 3 years, but only if you take liberties with a Federal energy tax credit by buying it at the same time as a residential solar system and conveniently include the price in with your residential system.

(via redferret)

Have you lost weight TomTom?

tom tom one

TomTom has revamped their entry level one and XL products to make them lighter and more portable.

Each also has an S version (for $50 more) that adds text-to-speech reading of directions.

The new TomToms should ship in may and will cost $200/$250 for the TomTom One and $350/$300 for the TomTom XL (with larger screen)

(via crave)