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Thread: Alternative Cars/Vehicles

  1. #61

    Default Market-Ready Electric/Electronic Cars - Images of Spiritual Legacy of Tesla Motors

    Gallery of Images:
    Spiritual Legacy of Tesla Motors

    Nikola Tesla
    1856 - 1943

    Courtesy left - Tesla Memorial Society of NY, right - ancient minds

    Mr. Tesla modified this vehicle below
    to run with Electrical power / Courtesy Rudolf Bosnjak

    __________ Tesla Motors __________

    Named in honour of the multi-talented,
    Serbo-Croatian Nikola Tesla,
    for his work in Physics and a number of other Scientific areas,
    but especially in the area of Electric Motor Cars:

    Tesla Motors / Courtesy

    Original Co-Founders
    Marc Tarpenning and Martin Eberhard

    Reformed with new Co-Partner to Mr. Eberhard -
    Elon Musk

    (Mr. Musk is left, background)

    Tflickr / Reobert Scoble

  2. #62

    Default Market-Ready Electric/Electronic Cars - Tesla Roadster Image Gallery 1

    Tesla Roadster
    Gallery of Images 1

    flickr / Mdominy

    flickr / ShutterFlick

    flickr / JDRedding

    Both photos: flickr / mhuang

    Courtesy greengeek

  3. #63

    Default Market-Ready Electric/Electronic Cars - Tesla Roadster Image Gallery 2

    Tesla Roadster
    Gallery of Images 2

    Courtesy Arlen Ward dot com

    Marketplace Public Radio

    flickr / rnair

    Courtesy left - u turn me green; right - oei.yungchin.NL

    flickr bradlauster


  4. #64


    Electric/Electronic Cars

    Martin Eberhard discusses Tesla Roadster's Electric Motor:
    (Includes selective links, underlined and bolded, for more detail.)
    Mr. Eberhard, as we know from prior posts, is one of the founders
    and now CEO of Tesla Motors. Many feel, that despite his technical
    perspective, Mr. Eberhard has a talent for explaining
    complex topics in a understandable way.

    Motor City
    by Martin Eberhard
    M. Eberhard

    published Wednesday, October 18th, 2006

    A bit about motors, magnets, AC and DC, and weird little widgets called IGBTs, all the while trying to answer some more of your questions. (And yes, we are opening a Detroit office, but that’s another story.)

    Nikola Tesla was a strong believer in AC (alternating current) as a means of distributing electricity because it was more efficient than DC (direct current, as favored by Thomas Edison), and because it was easy to step an AC voltage up or down using a transformer made of nothing more than a stack of steel sheets and some coiled-up wire. Plenty has been written on this subject. I recommend the following books.

    Rewind all the way to 1888: Nikola Tesla invented the polyphase AC induction motor (US Patent numbers 381968, 381969, 382279, 433700, 433701, and 555190). Tesla was interested in such a motor because it was simpler, and because it could be driven directly from AC transmission lines or from a dynamo without need for rectification. Tesla worked to perfect the AC induction motor, and most of the motors we use in plug-in appliances and equipment are directly derived from his work.

    AC Induction motors have several advantages over DC motors: they have no field windings or permanent magnets of any sort; they have no brushes or commutators to wear out; they can be highly efficient. Tesla himself recognized that AC induction motors could work well in cars. However, they were never used in production cars in his time because it was nearly impossible to convert DC from batteries into AC to drive the motor. (The vacuum tube was still pretty neat stuff –silicon was most useful as a beach topping, no decent diodes, no transistors, etc.)

    So AC induction motors found their way into industry and into appliances, using AC as generated by dynamos. For the last 100 years they were mostly designed and optimized to work at a fixed frequency: 60 Hertz here in the USA, the frequency of the alternating current in every electrical outlet in our homes. (This frequency — still used today — was chosen over a hundred years ago by Tesla.)


    (For the less technical, what does AC mean? AC means that the current changes direction smoothly back and forth like waves on the beach – flowing in, then back out. If you could listen to 60 Hertz, it would sound like a low, smooth tone. Higher frequency means higher pitch; those annoying beeps from microwaves and other electronic goodies are around 2,000 Hertz. Your hearing probably tops out around 20,000 Hertz.)


    Electric cars used simple-to-control DC motors all the way into the 1990’s, See a long list here.

    DC motors don’t need much to make them turn – hook ‘em up to a battery, and they go. Maybe you played with a dc motor yourself in school, in a slot car, whatever. If you take one apart, you will find the same thing whether it is big or small, old or new: a rotor (the part that spins), made up of a bunch of wire wrapped around a frame on a shaft, and a casing that has a couple of magnets attached to it. The wires to the motor attach to “brushes” that ride on a dohicky on the rotor’s shaft, called a commutator. The brushes and the commutator conspire to run current through the coiled wire of the rotor (creating magnetism), and flipping the direction of the current (and therefore the magnetism) back and forth as the rotor spins. There has been plenty of optimization over the years – fancy “rare earth” magnets, better commutators, even tricky elimination of the brushes in (cleverly named) brushless DC motors.

    JB warns me:

    “Be a bit careful here. The brushless DC motor is actually an AC motor. You need an inverter to drive it! A better name for this type of motor would be: “synchronous permanent-magnet AC motor.” Most people ask why we don’t use a brushless DC permanent magnet motor, like all hybrids today use. We chose not to use one of these mainly because of the wide efficiency plateau that we get from an AC induction motor (which means high efficiency over a wide RPM and power range), not because it is really a DC motor.” (Some of you have asked about the use of niobium or other advanced magnets in our car. If we used a brushless DC motor, we’d have such magnets. But we don’t ) Even today, practically all hobbyists who are making their own electric car use DC motors because control is so easy. …

    But Nikola Tesla was right: an AC induction motor is inherently more efficient, lighter, simpler, and more reliable than a DC motor – and would make a better electric car if only it were feasible to convert the battery’s DC into AC easily.

    Fast forward to 1986. Transistor technology has come along and been refined enough that it is possible to create high-power AC from DC without a lot of wasted energy. Aerovironment was developing the Sunraycer, a solar-powered racer for GM. Al Cocconi (the “A.C.” of AC Propulsion), was working for Aerovironment, at the time. There, he figured out how to gang a whole lot of MOSFETs (fancy transistors) together to make an “inverter” for the Sunraycer so they could use a light weight AC induction motor.

    But this was not your ordinary inverter. If you bought an inverter for your car or RV to power household appliances, that inverter would simply make good old 60-Hertz like what you get from your wall outlets. In contrast, Cocconi’s inverter created a variable-frequency AC waveform for the motor. (In the same era, several others created similar variable-frequency inverters for EVs and other applications – decent power transistors changed everything.)

    Why variable frequency? A little digression into how an AC motor works:


    The AC electricity driving the motor powers the stator (the stationary windings around the spinning rotor) and creates a rotating magnetic field. Tesla’s original motors used 3 “phases” of AC to drive the motor: 3 wires to the motor, each with the same frequency AC, but at a different phase. (Sorry – I can’t think of an easy way to explain this!) Lower-power motors today use a single phase, which (annoyingly) use two wires.

    Motor engineers coined a concept called “slip,” which is the difference in rotational speed between this rotating field and the rotational speed of the rotor. The torque of the motor is proportional to the slip. So – if you want a certain amount of torque from an AC motor, you measure the speed of its rotor, and adjust the AC frequency to cause the magnetic field to rotate the right amount faster than the rotor (or slower for regen braking).

    An AC induction motor is sometimes called a “squirrel cage motor” because the working part of the rotor looks like one of those cages that pet rodents run around in – a shaft with two metal rings connected together by a bunch of metal bars. (Note: there are generally no wire windings in the rotor of an AC induction motor.) Early on, Tesla figured out that he could fill up the squirrel cage (where the squirrels might run) with a stack of steel laminations to increase the power of the motor.

    Tesla mostly used copper to make his squirrel cages, but had a difficult time fabricating them. For this reason, Tesla came to advocate aluminum for the rotor instead of copper, even though this reduced the motor’s efficiency considerably.

    As noted above, AC motors designed for appliances usually run at one speed. Some of you have commented that we should use a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) to match our motor speed to the desired speed of the car. This would be true if we ran our motor on a fixed frequency.

    But we don’t. Like the GM cars, and like other AC electric car motors, we feed the motor with a variable frequency AC waveform, using frequency to regulate torque and therefore speed.


    Skip to 1988: The team at Aeroviroment got the GM contract to create the Impact (the precursor to the GM EV-1), so they designed a custom AC induction motor to go with Cocconi’s MOSFET-based variable frequency inverter.

    The folks at Hughes/GM didn’t like the large number of MOSFETs that Cocconi used, and proposed instead to use the new-fangled IGBT transistors like those from International Rectifier. You can read about all this in the book The Car That Could. The Hughes/GM engineers liked these better because they were easier to control and many fewer transistors were needed. According to legend, Cocconi was at first resistant to using IGBTs rather than the MOSFETS he already understood. True or not, the EV-1 used IGBTs.

    Fast forward again to 1992: Al Cocconi started AC Propulsion to make EV motors and matching inverters. AC Propulsion developed their Power Electronics Unit (PEU) using IGBTs similar to what Cocconi learned about from the guys at Hughes/GM.

    Fast forward once more to 2003: Tesla Motors’s Power Electronics Module (PEM), in turn, uses a similar kind of variable frequency, IGBT inverter, based on what we learned from our friends Al Cocconi and the rest of the team at AC Propulsion, as well as from what JB and I had learned in our own careers as electrical engineers. Over the last 3 years, this PEM has been refined and improved by Tesla’s team of electrical, firmware, and manufacturing engineers.

    At the same time, Tesla’s motor engineering team developed our own custom 3-phase AC induction motor – based on Tesla’s patents, based on the EV-1 motor, based on the AC Propulsion motor. Like Tesla’s motors, the EV-1 motor, and the AC Propulsion motor, ours gets its incredible efficiency largely due to its copper rotor.

    We’ve studied the EV-1 motor carefully. The technique they used to construct their copper rotor was not great, resulting in suboptimal efficiency, and (I suspect) low manufacturing yield.

    We have studied AC Propulsion’s rotor manufacturing technique. Their process creates a motor with much better efficiency. But there is quite a bit of hand labor and tweekmanship in the process, and it would not work for the production volumes we forecast at Tesla.

    We studied other companies who cast copper rotors like Favi. But their process yielded rotors with lower efficiency than AC Propulsion’s.

    So we set out to create our own copper rotor fabrication process. It took us a few years, but it worked: our rotors are readily mass produced in our own factory in Taiwan, and their performance is quite nice. (How we do it is a secret. I don’t keep a lot of things secret from you, but this is some of our secret sauce! That’s why we didn’t outsource the construction of this piece.)

    Here’s the cool thing: if you handed one of our motors to Nikola Tesla, he’d recognize it immediately as his own invention. Nice job of optimization, but clearly his.

    That’s why we’re Tesla Motors.

    © 2008 Tesla Motors, Inc. All rights reserved. ‘Tesla Motors’ and ‘Tesla Roadster’ are trademarks of Tesla Motors, Inc.

  5. #65

    Default Crossbreeds of Land Vehicles 2 - Gulak's Uno (1 of 2)

    Crossbreeds of Land Vehicles 2 -
    Motorcycle Teams
    Electric Engine with Segway Principles

    Initially sounds like a conventional motorcycle:
    it has two wheels and must be balanced by the person driving it.
    Then you hear these intriguing twists:

    WHEEL CONFIGURATION: It has two wheels, but they are configured unlike traditional wheels in which a front wheel is inline with a rear wheel

    "WHEELIE" OR NOT: It is technically incapable of doing a "wheelie," yet it looks and feels as though it is in a perpetual wheelie - whether at rest, or in motion

    GYROSCOPE OR BUST: In order to function at all with its wheel configuration, it must use a gyroscopic assembly

    Ben Gulak's Uno aka 'The Uno' (1 of 2)

    A young Canadian inventor named Ben Gulak has created an innovative new electric motorbike ... Gulak, who’s 18 years old, says that the Uno is relatively simple to ride but, “takes a bit of getting used to because you have to learn to trust it.”

    Electric Uno Bike: A Clean Commute?

    By Justin Thomas (Virginia)
    05 January 2008

    A young Canadian inventor named Ben Gulak has created an innovative new electric motorbike that takes some of the lessons learned from the Segway device, but implements them in cooler package. The bike, called the Uno, looks from its profile like a strange powered unicycle but actually employs two wheels side-by-side. Riders lean forward to accelerate -- a feature used by the Segway, and can hit a top speed of 25 mph in its current configuration. The Uno also makes use of a set of gyros to enhance ease of balance, and the wheels are independently operated making turning much more precise.

    Gulak, who’s 18 years old, says that the Uno is relatively simple to ride but, “takes a bit of getting used to because you have to learn to trust it.” The young inventor is currently courting investors for his Uno project, and truly believes that the vehicle might one day provide a green alternative for urban commuters.

    “It has a range of about 2.5 hours and it is designed for the commute to work through busy towns” says Gulak. “ I believe this could be electrical alternative to the car. I’m just looking for an investor to help me get it into production.”

    © 2008
    Last edited by Zephyr; May 27th, 2008 at 12:20 PM.

  6. #66

    Default Crossbreeds of Land Vehicles 2 - Gulak's Uno (2 of 2)

    Crossbreeds of Land Vehicles 2

    Gulak's Uno (2 of 2)

    I must say, that in many respects, this youngster's upbringing and interests were eerily similar to my own.

    The 2008 National Motorcycle Show in Toronto has always been heavily influenced by the American V-twin crowd and highlights some of the area's top custom builders who have on display a fine array of one-off custom machines.

    This year's show, however, had one very unusual one-off custom, the Uno. The orange and grey coloured Uno made its first public appearance balanced on its two side-by-side wheels and its footpegs. Looking more like it should have been ridden by George Jetson as he pulled up to his space platform, it looked out of place amid the other custom creations in the building. Perhaps that's why it garnered so much attention. Since no one has ever seen a machine like this, the first question asked by on-lookers was:

    "What is it?"

    Ultra Modern Meets Ultra Custom

    The Uno and its inventor, 18-year-old Ben J. Poss Gulak, hung out in a booth neighbouring the show's special guest, Russell Mitchell of Exile Cycles and was the ultimate in contrast of custom creations. In fact, heavily tattooed Mitchell was seen riding the Uno around the show on Saturday evening. Ben, as you would expect, fielded a multitude of questions about his strange vehicle once people got over his young age. As Ben will tell you, the most common question was, "What's your background, how did you get into doing something like this?" A worthy question, and also my first question to Ben.

    Ben grew up around his grand-father's basement machine shop. While he doesn't have any formal training, yet, Ben has spent much of his life making projects like 'model trains, rockets and other cool stuff.'

    The education he gleaned from his grandfather, who was an engineer, and from simply being a tinkerer prompted Ben to enter into a grade nine school science fair with a 'real simple magnetic car that shot around a track using accelerator coils.'
    This is where I started to worry that this guy is going to start speaking a language that is way over my head. He must have noticed my eyes starting to glaze over and came back to earth for me. He did well at the grade nine science fair, and as a result, he was chosen to move up to the Regionals, then to the Nationals. He was then chosen to represent Canada at an International level.

    "Team Canada consists of 18 people that compete against 54 other countries. The judges at this level all carry PHD's in their respective fields," Ben said. The 18-year-old continued, "There were astronauts and Nobel laureates speaking to the kids in attendance. It was a real eye opener, and after the competition I realized I really wanted to get into engineering."

    About a month after the competition, Ben's grandfather passed away and his machine shop was willed to Ben. He continued to compete in science fairs with progressively more complicated projects thanks to the increased knowledge he gained as every year of high school passed.

    A 2006 trip to China prompted Ben to consider a project in electric transportation after seeing the damage done by the internal combustion engine. "The smog was so thick, we never saw the sun," Ben said. He then realized that some form of electric transport was desperately needed in the same compact form as a motorcycle or bicycle to help ease congestion and save the environment.

    Since Ben had competed at the International level of the science fair before, he was able to apply to Team Canada directly without going through the Regional and National levels of competition. It was this competition that he submitted his first Uno. A simple frame made from angle iron and mountain bike wheels, which were of course powered by electric motors.

    The First Public Viewing

    The Uno model you see here, Ben's third prototype, was unveiled at the National Show. After many hand drawn sketches and complex drawings, he began the machining work of building the basic drive/suspension assembly. He didn't know CAD software, but instead used the free Google software called Google SketchUp. Ironically, a salesman came knocking shortly after, trying to sell SolidWorks, a 3-D CAD software package. Ben explained he couldn't afford anything like that, but he did show the salesman what he was working on. The next day a copy of SolidWorks and a SolidWorks for Dummies book arrived, (smart salesman, he probably has a customer for life now).

    Sometimes You Need a Little Help

    While Ben did all the work to get the Uno this far, he was in need of some help. He needed tires mounted on his custom-made wheels and had heard of Motorcycle Enhancements in Oakville, Ontario. Ben called and spoke with owner, John Cosentini. It must have been fate as this was a call that would have a major impact on the finishing touches of the Uno. Cosentini, a well-known figure in the Oakville motorcycle scene, and an accomplished custom bike builder, mounted the tires and since he has an inquiring mind, he began asking a few questions. Ben sensed the curiosity and a couple of days later brought in his project. This time, with questions of his own for John. Ben needed a frame to complete the skeletal structure of the Uno and John suggested a Yamaha R1 frame because of its width between frame spars, a requirement needed to hold the drive/suspension portion of the Uno.

    Ben also needed a body to wrap around the framework. Cosentini, a mechanic and never being one to turn down a challenge, took on the project. John and Ben began by making a simple frame which they could mount Styrofoam onto. They carved the Styrofoam into the general shape they were looking for and then began to apply drywall compound over top of the styrofoam. The drywall mud was used for a couple of reasons; if fiberglass was applied directly to the styrofoam, it would chemically melt it; also, the drywall mud could then be fine tuned by building up and sanding for the final shape. Latex primer and paint was applied to create a smooth surface and the latex would also allow for easier removal of the fiberglass from the mold.

    The molding took six weeks to complete and only two hours to destroy once the fiberglass was set.

    The body was then cut in half and sent to Roger Pouw at Extreme Measures Kustom Paint for final bodywork and paint.

    Ben was now well on his way to having a physical entity, but had a lot of fine-tuning to do on the computer side of things. He had programmed the software to understand what the digital gyros were feeding into the ECU (electronic control unit) but couldn't quite get it right, after all, it's a pretty grey area. Soon he was on a plane to meet Trevor Blackwell in California. Blackwell is a robotics and gyro expert. After a couple of visits to Blackwell, Ben had the Uno in full operation mode. Ben claims a single gyro was easy to program, but this project was more complicated because the Uno has two gyros, one for forward and backward motion and the other is for turning, while keeping the forward or reverse momentum constant.

    The Operation of the Uno

    Operation of the 54.4 kg (120 lb) machine is simple, in fact it's so simple there are no controls except for an on-off switch. To go forward you simply push your body weight forward to tilt the machine. To back up, just lean back on the seat to tilt it backwards and back it goes. The farther you lean, the faster it accelerates. The gyro tells the ECU how much to accelerate and that in turn delivers the proper amount of current to the electric motors, one for each wheel. ...

    Copyright © 2002-2008 Motorcycle Mojo Magazine. All Rights Reserved.

  7. #67

    Default Crossbreeds of Land Vehicles 2 - Gulak's Uno Image Gallery 1

    Gallery of Images 1

    All above photos are by Glenn Roberts

  8. #68

    Default Crossbreeds of Land Vehicles 2 - Gulak's Uno Image Gallery 2

    Gallery of Images 2

    All above photos are by Glenn Roberts

  9. #69

    Default Crossbreeds of Land Vehicles 2 - Gulak's Uno Image Gallery 3

    Gallery of Images 3

    All above photos are by Glenn Roberts

  10. #70

    Default Crossbreeds of Land Vehicles 2 - Postscript to Ben Gulak

    Crossbreeds of Land Vehicles 2

    Postscript to Ben Gulak

    Gulak first applied to MIT last year, but was waitlisted and decided to take a year off rather than settle for another school. So he spent the intervening year working on his invention--designed to be a practical commuting vehicle for dense urban areas--before applying again to MIT.

    MIT news

    Incoming frosh numero 'uno' on invention list

    David Chandler, MIT News Office
    May 14, 2008

    Canadian teenager Ben Gulak got a bit of a head start on his training in mechanical engineering. As an incoming freshman in the MIT Class of 2012, he's already been featured on the cover of Popular Science magazine for having come up with one of the year's top 10 inventions.

    In fact, his was number one.

    Photo courtesy / Glenn Roberts,
    Motorcycle Mojo Magazine

    Gulak, who is just 18, will also be a guest on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno later this month, demonstrating his unique electric unicycle-like vehicle. He has been working on the project for two years, initially as a science fair project that made it all the way to second place in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (where he also won a special award for the project with the most marketability).

    Gulak first applied to MIT last year, but was waitlisted and decided to take a year off rather than settle for another school. So he spent the intervening year working on his invention--designed to be a practical commuting vehicle for dense urban areas--before applying again to MIT.

    "The perspective that MIT brings to engineering is really unique," he says. "I really like the experience that MIT brings to engineering, especially the hands-on approach."

    The inspiration for the cycle came when Gulak visited China in 2006 and was amazed at the overwhelming pollution that completely blocked the view of the surrounding country as his airplane came in for landing. He realized that much of that smog was coming from the thousands of motor scooters whizzing through the streets and figured that there had to be a better way.

    The design he came up with has two wheels mounted side by side, very close together, and powered by electric motors. A computerized control system keeps the vehicle balanced, in a system similar to the Segway personal transporter. But unlike that vehicle, which is ridden in a standing position and is not considered a street vehicle, Gulak's "Uno" is ridden like a motorcycle and designed for ordinary roads.

    Photo courtesy / Glenn Roberts, Motorcycle Mojo Magazine

    Ben Gulak, an incoming member of the MIT Class of 2012,
    rides the 'Uno' - a scooter-like vehicle he invented
    that was named the top invention of the year
    by Popular Science.

    Operating the Uno is so simple that it requires no controls at all. There is only an on-off switch. Once it's on, the driver accelerates by leaning forward, stops by leaning back, and steers by leaning to the side. By sitting upright, the driver can balance in one spot.

    Gulak, who grew up just outside Toronto, has been tinkering most of his life. He started working with machine tools with his grandfather, who had a fully equipped machine shop in his house, "as early as I can remember, certainly by the time I was 5," he says. When his grandfather died in 2004, Gulak inherited all the equipment. "I only wish he was here now, for all the things that are going on," he says. "The more I get into engineering, the more I miss him."

    Gulak knows that despite his achievements so far, he still has a lot to learn, and that's why he was determined to study at MIT, where he plans to take a dual major in mechanical engineering and business. But he's not abandoning his pet project: He has already formed a company to develop the Uno, set up a web site and filed for patents in several countries (the United States, Canada and the European Union for starters). And as a result of the recent publicity he has already started to get calls from "quite a few investors," some able to provide production facilities for the vehicle.

    When he found out Jay Leno wanted him on his show, Gulak rushed to complete a whole new version of his prototype bike, incorporating several new features in time to demonstrate it on the program.

    Why bother with school with such business prospects already in front of him? Gulak takes the long view. "I think the Uno has a lot of possibilities, and people really seem to like it. The reaction from the public and the press has been quite overwhelming. However, I really wouldn't want to jeopardize my future or limit my options by just going ahead without getting a degree. So I'm very committed to coming in the fall--MIT has a lot to offer and I'm really looking forward to it.

    "The Uno has taught me how important it is to have a deep and varied knowledge base and a solid grounding in all the basic engineering principles," he says. "When I was working on the bike, much of what I learned came through through trial and error, so I know first hand the value and importance of increasing my knowledge base through education."


  11. #71

    Default Hydrogen / Fuel Cell Concepts - Z.Car

    Hydrogen / Fuel-Cell Concept Cars/Vehicles
    Uses either Hydrogen gas or Electro-Chemical Fuel-Cells
    to motor a Concept Car / Vehicle. The intended output is
    electrical power. Typical exhaust by-product is water -
    either in liquid or vapour form.

    Hydrogen Z.Car Concept:
    Architect Zaha Hadid Designed Exterior to this Tri-Wheeled
    Car/Vehicle before an Engine was

    Hydrogen Z.CAR with speed adjusted wheelbase

    August 1, 2006

    The Z.CAR is a three-wheeled two-seat city car by prolific Iraki (1) designer Zaha Hadid and it’s one of the most interesting new designs we have seen in a while, using the hinged rear suspension to facilitate a variable (speed adjusted) wheelbase so the car can be better at both country and city driving. In town, the drive-by-wire Z.CAR sits more upright to offer the driver a better view in traffic and to make parking easier - a shortened wheelbase requires less space. At higher speeds the pod lowers around 10 degrees, on the hinged rear suspension, lengthening the wheelbase for greater high speed stability, moving the car’s centre of gravity closer to the road for better handling and tilting the teardrop shape backwards for lower frontal area and improved aerodynamics. The lightweight carbon-fibre composite Z.CAR is hydrogen powered by design, but “there is a functional prototype in development with a British manufacturer, with the fruits expected to be unveiled within 7-12 months” according to inside sources. We think the Z.CAR is ready for prime-time, but not in hydrogen format – there are alternatives but let’s hope a path to market is negotiated because this vehicle promises much. The projected price of the Z.CAR is said to be approximately UKP35,000 (US$65,000).

    We’ve written about designer Zaha Hadid before, most recently about her futuristic Z. Island Kitchen. Hadid became the first woman to win the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2004 and her work is becoming more prolific and prominent by the day.

    The Z.CAR was commissioned by London art dealer Kenny Schachter who now has hopes that the car will make it to limited production. It recently debuted to the European public at the British International Motor Show 2006 and is currently on display as part of a major exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. Not a great deal of information has been released about the Z.CAR’s finer details, though it is known that occupants can adjust the tint of the windows, which is probably a good thing given the size of the massive asymmetrical windscreen which swings upward to allow access and requires both passenger and driver to enter from the left of the vehicle. Using a thin LED film on the window surface means that the opacity of the windows can be varied by adjusting the voltage to the windows – the same concept is being introduced on some aircraft at present and smart glass is being increasingly used in architecture too. Similarly, video cameras point rearward and display their view scene on a small video screen.

    Like almost every other car will a decade from now, the Z.CAR uses drive-by-wire technology.

    All content copyright © gizmag 2003-2008


    1. Also Known As "Iraqi".
    Last edited by Zephyr; June 22nd, 2008 at 02:19 PM.

  12. #72


    Z.Car Gallery of Images 1
    Assembly and Display of Physical Design Only

    Architect Zaha Hadid

    Courtesy Always Inspiring More


    Above are courtesy Dezeen Design Magazine


    Above are courtesy Gizmag

  13. #73

    Default Hydrogen / Fuel Cell Concepts - Z.Car: Art vs Car? Hydrogen or Other?

    Hydrogen / Fuel-Cell Concept Cars/Vehicles

    Hydrogen Z.Car Concept:
    Art versus Car/Vehicle? Hydrogen or Other?

    Art and erotica? Sleazy does it

    By Anthony Haden-Guest
    Published: June 10 2006

    …Zaha Hadid, the Baghdad-born British architect whose paintings, drawings, plans and models now occupy most of New York's Guggenheim Museum, also blurs frontiers. Her work mostly relates to projects, built or unbuilt, and they are clearly "about" architecture, but they go way beyond being renderings. Even the more conventional projects look wholly at home on the wall as paintings.

    So when Kenny Schachter, a New Yorker who runs Rove, a gallery in London's Kings Cross, decided to make a car that would be both a work of art and feasible transport, Hadid seemed the right choice. The result is the Z-car.

    "We've been working with an engineering firm in Coventry [in the UK Midlands]," says Schachter. "The idea was to make this futuristic asymmetrical vehicle that would be green. There's a programme at Coventry University. They designed an engine that works on hydrogen fuel cells and has zero emissions. But the hydrogen is not readily available yet, so we're looking at a hybrid of electric and gas or some other technology with the capacity to switch to hydrogen when it becomes more widely disseminated."

    The models of the Z-car at the Guggenheim have no engineering innards. They will be sold as sculpture in an edition of two.

    "We're working on building one functioning, road-going prototype," says Schachter. "The goal is that within seven months from today we will have one, fully licensed in the UK. And if it works, there's a good response and we can discern some kind of demand for the vehicle, we'll have all the moulds and everything. We'll be in place to take it forwards to low-volume manufacture."

    The Z-Car sits near the top of the seventh ring of the Guggenheim ramp. Peering down the ramp, I remembered that the architect Frank Lloyd Wright had first intended this design for a car park.

    Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2008

  14. #74


    Requires no editorial comment or lead in. In fact it is probably best that none are offered. From Please hold your cards and letters.

    A giant vulva bicycle taxi hits the streets of Finland

    What more is there to say?
    Catherine Price

    Jun. 04, 2008 | We were just alerted, via Metafilter, to one of the more unusual means of transport I've ever seen: a bicycle taxi topped with a giant vulva. Look at the photo ( I can't make this shit up.

    (*Do not click on this link at work unless you are prepared to explain to your boss why you are checking out photographs of an enormous rubber vagina.)

    The best part about that particular article is that it was written in Finnish and translated for me by the Internet. I hear technology is getting better, but for the moment, I wouldn't give up your Rosetta Stone. To quote:

    "According to the Mobile Female Monument has been surreal, and at the same time, a very humane work of art, which speaks the same time as the public the personal status. Far from view, wheeled vehicle crossing gogolilainen jättiläisnenä reveal a closer as seen from a woman's synnytyselimiksi. Pale invite passers-by ryömimään in the book and the birth there again."

    But at least that selection is better than another Internet-produced quote. After claiming that "art has become much more diversified, then golden," my Google translator asserts that "Cunt brings the art of anything."

    According to Jalopnik, the taxi is actually a creation of a Finnish artist named Mimosa Pale, who peddles the disembodied vagina through the streets three times a week as a protest against a world she thinks is too "man-parts-centric." (She encourages people to take a ride in its satin-lined folds -- providing a very funny photo opportunity for anyone brave enough to climb inside.)

    Speaking of a world that is too man-parts-centric, Pale's creation reminds me of Jonathan Ames' contest to find the most phallic building in the world. (He had to include a special award for non-circumcised buildings.) It makes me want to launch a female version. So let's do it. Post links to the most yonic architectural creations you can find, and if we get enough participation, I'll follow up with a winner. My submission: the Cathedral of Christ the Light that's going up in Oakland. It looks like a giant glass vagina. Other entries?

    -- Catherine Price
    Last edited by eddhead; June 4th, 2008 at 09:41 PM.

  15. #75


    Ford 'to make fewer big vehicles'

    Ford will make 90,000 fewer vehicles this year

    Car giant Ford has said it will cut its production of large trucks and large sports utility vehicles (SUVs) in favour of more fuel efficient models.

    It will also delay the introduction of its new pick-up truck by two months.

    The US economic slowdown has reduced sales and soaring fuel prices have put consumers off buying bigger vehicles.

    Ford said it will make a loss this year and predicted that the worsening US economic situation would make it difficult for it to break even in 2009.

    We view the move to smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles as permanent
    Ford president and chief executive Alan Mulally

    "Demand for large trucks and SUVs [is] at one of the lowest levels in decades," said Ford president and chief executive Alan Mulally.

    Ford's sales were down 16.8% last month compared to May 2007, according to industry analysts Autodata.

    The company's new F-150 pick-up truck will now go on sale two months later than anticipated in the autumn of next year.

    Ford said it expected to produce 90,000 fewer vehicles in the second half of 2008.

    Production in the third quarter will now be 475,000 vehicles, 25% fewer than during the same period in 2007, Ford said.

    'Responding to demand'

    The company will increase the production of smaller vehicles including the Ford Focus sedan, the Ford Escape and the Mercury Mariner.

    "We view the move to smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles as permanent, and we are responding to customer demand," Mr Mulally said in a statement.

    Ford: down 15.8%
    General Motors: down 27.5%
    Chrysler: down 25.4%
    Honda: up 15.6%
    Nissan: up 8.4%
    Source: Autodata

    Most of the production cuts will be achieved by extending the summer shut-downs, reducing production line speeds and cutting the number of shifts at some plants. Shifts will be added at factories making the smaller vehicles.

    Ford has said it wants to reduce its workforce by 12% and further cuts cannot be ruled out. The company will announce further details of its restructuring plan when it announces its next set of financial results in July.

    As a result of Ford's announcement, Standard and Poor's said it was reviewing its ratings for major car producers including Ford, Chrysler and General Motors.

    If it downgrades their investment ratings, their borrowing costs could increase.

    Ford shares closed down 8.1% and General Motors fell 6.8%.

    Earlier this month, General Motors said it was closing four SUV and truck factories in the US, Canada and Mexico in response to falling demand.

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