General Motors has a lot invested in the Chevy Volt, both financially and as a model for the company's vision going forward. Now that they've got this whole fancy hybrid electric drivetrain figured out, they're starting to find other things to stuff it into, and first up is a fancy new Cadillac concept made real.
Back in '09, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) gave Idaho-based Solar Roadways $100,000 to do what the company's name implies: build a prototype smart road that could generate electricity (as well as perform other tricks). Now, Solar Roadways is taking the next step and making its concept a reality.
Top Gear is not a huge fan of electric cars. They dissed the Tesla Roadster pretty badly back in 2008, and Tesla is now suing them for libel. In Top Gear's most recent review, they made fun of the Nissan LEAF for dying on them in the middle of nowhere, but Nissan says they've got proof that Top Gear cheated.
Well, this is pretty cool. Evatran's Plugless Power wireless/proximity charging system lets you juice up your electric car, such as the Chevy Volt, simply by parking it in your garage. No plugging in necessary.
We're big fans of electric cars, being vehicles that run on clean energy and all, but we're also incredibly sensitive to design. When we first caught wind that BMW was getting into the electric car business, we hopped around ecstatically like little schoolgirls. But those were concept renders. BMW took the wraps off its new BMW i series vehicles and both of them look futuristically gorgeous — or at least as true to a BMW as a car from the future can look.
Until electric cars evolve beyond the need for gigantic battery packs, we're going to end up lots of batteries that have reached the end of their lifespan. This doesn't mean that all those batteries are destined for the scrap heap, though, and GM has some creative ideas on how to reuse them.
Electricity is nothing like gas. You can't just pump a tank full of it into your electric car, which means that we're reduced to lengthy charge times or inefficient compromises like battery swap stations. MIT researchers may have come close to solving this problem with a battery goo that you can pump just like gas.
The Hummer, once a proud symbol of extreme suburban excess, was well known for two things: being obnoxiously large, and having gas mileage inversely proportional to its size. The latest officially licensed Hummers are small electric "resort vehicles," stripping away everything anyone could want from a Hummer, except obnoxiousness.
It's a car! It's a motorocycle! It's- Well, okay, it's technically a motorcycle, but the three-wheeled R3 includes enough amenities (like actual seats and an integrated Galaxy Tab) that you might be able to convince yourself to commute in one.
Seeing as we don't yet have ultracapacitors in our electric cars that can recharge themselves in seconds or minutes that would make refueling comparable to gasoline, the only reliable way to get a hot n' fresh stack of batts looks to be these robotic battery swapping stations.