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Tag Archives: electric

The WalkCar Personal Mobility Device Is Not Much Bigger Than A Laptop

walkcar-1

For a while the only personal mobility device you could get was a Segway. Or at least, the only high-tech, electric such vehicle. But now the marketplace is flooding with new electric scooters, and skateboards, and the WalkCar is an interesting addition. Its claim to fame is how small it is. Barely bigger than a laptop, the WalkCar is able to propel a person weighing up to 120 kg (265 lb) at up to 10 km/h (6.2 mph), on a distance of about 12 km (7.5 miles). It will then take 3 hours to charge via USB before it’s ready to take you on another strip. Steering is achieved by leaning forward, and since it doesn’t go very fast, stopping involves simply stepping off.

There’s a Kickstarter planned for October, with a reported asking price of $800. That may seem like a lot, but for those of you unwilling to walk a few miles, it’s a valuable convenience.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Gizmag ]

Goodyear Is Developing An Electricity-Generating Tire

goodyear-bho3.0.0

Think for a minute about how much energy is wasted in a car. All that gas it burns to get it rolling is almost entirely dissipated and lost as heat in the brakes as it slows back down, while the rest goes to combatting air resistance and drivetrain inefficiencies. By some accounts “only about 14%–30% of the energy from the fuel you put in a conventional vehicle is used to move it down the road.” Newer electric vehicles have started harvesting some of that energy back through regenerative braking, but Goodyear is taking things a couple of steps further by developing a special tire that itself generates power. The concept is called BHO3, and it takes both the friction heat as well as the deformations the tire undergoes while driving to generate an electric current, which is then presumably fed back into the car’s batteries.

To do this, the BHO3 is lined with a fishnet pattern of thermo/piezoelectric material. This net turns the heat into electrical current, and its piezoelectric properties also allow it to harvest energy from the tire as it deforms during driving. To keep the tire from overheating, there’s also a cooling system in the sidewalls.

It’s only a concept at the moment so don’t expect to see it on the road any time soon. But it’s nice to know people are constantly working to wean us off fossil fuels.

[ Press Release ] VIA [ Gizmag ]

LumiLor LED Paint Is The Coolest Thing We’ve Seen In A While

LumiLor

Imagine for a second a special kind of paint, one that you can spray anywhere like, you know, regular paint. Except this particular one lights up on command! Yes, LumiLor paint from Darkside Scientific is pretty much a liquid spray-on LED. Seriously. Any surface sprayed with this stuff, and connected properly, can be lit instantly, in colours of your choosing!

The patented LumiLor™ Electroluminescent Coating System system is a practical and durable electroluminescent coating technology that goes on like paint, but will illuminate when energized with an electrical current.

LumiLor™ has been successfully applied to metals (primed first to insulate them electrically), numerous types of thermoplastic, wood, glass and even carbon fiber. LumiLor has been applied to compound curves and complex shapes of many sizes and is flexible to nearly a full 180 degree bend.

Envision the applications, from custom paint jobs on vehicles or homes, to improved safety on runways. Tron even comes to mind!

The thing is, you can’t apply this at home, really. It requires a specialized environment and expensive equipment. But the product is currently being bought by an increasing number of car-customization outlets, which do offer this among their various capabilities, although we don’t know the price range. And Darkside Scientific is currently looking to partner up with OEM manufacturers, in order to offer this as an option in future vehicles.

We seriously wish them the best of luck with that, it would be awesome to see this get big!

Movpak is an Electric Skateboard and a Backpack In One

Movpak

Get to where you’re supposed to be fast and in one piece with Movpak. You could be on that board for years but still lose your balance if you’re carrying a particularly heavy backpack. Cue the Movpak, which is a cross between a backpack and an electric skateboard that solves your problem of finding a truly portable, convenient, and eco-friendly way of commuting.

The Movpak is capable of speeds of up to 15 mph and has a range of 9 km on a single charge. It comes with a wireless remote which features one-touch options for speed controls, brake, and reverse. Using it is so easy that its makers claim you can hop on a board and master it in about 10 minutes. Now isn’t that impressive?

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The Johammer J1 is a 125-Mile Range Electric Bike

Johammer J1 -

You ain’t seen nothing yet when it comes to electric bikes unless you’ve seen the Johammer J1. One thing that has discouraged a lot of people from going for electric motorcycles is the limited range, when compared to the gas-guzzling variety. You might argue that electric cars like the Tesla have great range for something that runs on electricity, but that’s because the fact that they’re cars means that they’ve got more space for batteries.

The Johammer J1 puts electric bikes back in the running though with its 125-mile range, which is way better than previous numbers. Its sleek and futuristic design and the fact that it looks pretty bad-ass is just icing on the cake.

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Is This What The BMW i8’s Keyfob Will Look Like?

BMW-i8-keyfob-1

You may be looking at BMW’s key fob for their upcoming i8 plug-in hybrid car. It kind of looks like a mini smartphone and allegedly features a high resolution LCD that informs you of a few essential metrics on your vehicle, like its current range and charge time. There are rumours that it’ll be programmable to display other info, but we don’t have details on that. Matter of fact, this could be someone’s photoshop project for all we know, although it looks somewhat legit. The BMW i8 will hit the road in 2014 and is expected to sell out quickly. It does the 0-60 in 4.4 seconds, and will reportedly do 113 miles to the gallon. It’ll also dent your bank account to the tune of $135,000.

BMW-i8-keyfob-2

VIA [ AutoBlog ]

Is NEVS Going Electric With the Next-Generation Saab 9-3?

Next Saab

So it’s been almost two years since Saab went bankrupt. It’s a huge shame, but the silver lining is that National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS) will be releasing a new model under the Saab name in 2014. At least, that’s the plan anyway. A bunch of sketches of purported Saab car designs hit the web recently, and speculations are rife that NEVS might be working to make the next model an electric car.

The image was posted on design firm Yovinn’s website. The featured designs are sleek and classy–typical Saab–and appear to be the same size as the 9-3. It’s crazy how these images have created so much buzz over the auto-blogosphere.

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Rubbee Turns Any Old Bicycle Into an Electric Bike In Seconds

Rubbee

Electric bikes aren’t cheap. They might even seem like a frivolous purchase, especially if you’ve already got a bicycle that cost an arm and a leg when you bought it a few years ago. While there are a lot of conversion kits available to “electric-fy” your bike, most of them make your bike look like an experiment or a work in progress.

Then along came Rubbee, a recently-launched project on Kickstarter that promises to turn your regular bike into an electric one in seconds.

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LOLGAS: Wolkswagen To Release 314mpg XL1 Hybrid

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With all the talk about the superior performance of the Tesla Model S, it’s easy to forget that most electric cars aren’t quite as swift. But what the Wolkswagen XL1 lacks in speed and acceleration, it makes up in fuel efficiency. The plug-in hybrid was tested at 340mpg, but the officials in charge of the test imposed a rounding error, from 0.83L/100km to 0.9L/100km (not sure why), bringing the official mileage to 314mpg. That’s still decent enough to travel 300 miles on $1.5 of electricity and $4.5 of diesel, at European energy prices. That works out to $6 for 300 miles with the XL1, versus $13.68 with the Model S.

Of course, there are some drawbacks. The diesel engine develops 48bhp, the e-motor 27bhp, which means that acceleration is crap, taking 12.7 seconds to get to 60mph. And if you keep going past that, you’ll top out at 100mph. And to make things really bad, you can’t really take advantage of the super mileage, because the gas tank is only 10L. Of course, you can still travel long distances by refuelling along the way, and you’ll still get 141mpg that way, the only inconvenience being that you have to stop every 300 miles. But we’re not sure where we sit on this one. Wolkswagen isn’t planning on mass production anyway, so obviously nor does VW. There’s no official price, and the talk is that 50 will be made, with maybe more if there’s demand. So it’s a wait and see.

[ Top Gear ] VIA [ Uncrate ]