Tesla Motors is one of the most successful EV manufacturers in the world. Tesla CEO Elon musk is working hard to bring the EV to the mainstream with cheaper vehicles that the average driver can afford. The current Model S EV can cost around $100,000 putting it out of the reach of the masses.
One of the things that is needed to bring the cost of EVs down to more reasonable levels is cheaper batteries. Musk says that the EV industry needs at least 200 gigafactories. Musk and Tesla plans to build the first of these gigafactories to help the company build cheaper battery packs for cars.
One of those hallmark toys from the 80's was the Rubik's Cube. This was the cube toy with rotating rows on its surface with different color surfaces. The goal of the toy was to rotate the cubes until you got all sides of the main cube the same color.
In practice, many children of the 80's ended up pulling the colored stickers off to complete the puzzle. The Rubik's Cube is celebrating its 40th birthday. One interesting fact about the Rubik's Cube is that it was never meant to be a toy. It was invented by Erno Rubik, an architect who wanted a working model to help explain three-dimensional geometry.
The bitcoin cryptocurrency is receiving even more attention from financial analysts, as consumers and retailers become comfortable making transactions in the digital currency. Bitcoin volatility has scared some investors away, though there is a growing amount of support from those willing to roll the dice and gamble.
"When I look at the amount of human capital working on this project, there are probably 30,000 independent programmers out there, coding and working on bitcoin and bitcoin derivatives in this open-source community," said Michael Novogratz, Fortress Investment Group Principal, from the SALT Conference.
In addition to the manpower working to support bitcoins and cryptocurrency, even more stores and e-tailers are throwing their support behind bitcoins.
Two senators have tried to get the US DOT to advise owners of Chevrolet cars affected by the ignition switch problem that led to 13 deaths to stop driving their cars until repaired. The DOT sent letters to both senators that said, "such an action is not required at this time."
The problem the senators have is that the ignition switch defect has already been tied to several deaths and it will take GM months to get replacement parts ready to repair these vehicles. Affected vehicles include Chevy Cobalt, Saturn Ion, and other models.
Sports car fans may be familiar with the Ariel Atom. The Atom is a small and very minimalist ride that has no bodywork and leaves the driver out in the open. Power comes typically from Honda sourced four cylinder engines. A company from California called Rezvani Automotive Designs is now taking that Atom sports car and attaching a sleek carbon fiber body to it to make a very interesting looking car.
It uses either a turbo charged four cylinder or a supercharged four for power. The company makes the carbon fiber panels themselves and paints them in sleek colors. All the work takes 1000-1500 hours and five to six months to complete.
Typically, the best you can do if you are wealthy and flying long distances on a commercial aircraft is to buy a first class seat. The national airline of the United Arab Emirates, Etihad Airways, has announced the most luxurious way to fly this side of your own private aircraft. Called The Residence, the airline is a 125 square foot apartment in the sky for rich passengers to enjoy.
People who book The Residence will get their own butler for the duration of the flight. The suite features a living room with its own 32-inch TV, two seat reclining sofa, dining tables, and a chilled mini-bar. The living room is separated from the bedroom by a door and a short passageway.
In the US, the federal government really wants drivers to opt for electric vehicles. There are many reasons for this desire in the US including the desire to reduce pollution caused by vehicles and reduce dependence on foreign oil. Despite the big tax credits offered, most consumers still stay away from EVs.
One US congressman from Vermont believes the trick to getting more of middle class America to purchase an EV is to up that tax credit even further. Congressman Peter Welch has said recently that he wants the tax credit to be $10,000.
Mercedes is set to roll out its very first electric vehicle this year. The car is the 2014 B-Class Electric Drive and it is the first pure electric vehicle that Mercedes has offered in the US. The car will sell for $41,450 not including the $925 destination fee. Buyers might be able to get the $7500 tax credit from the federal government on the car.
Mercedes equips the vehicle with a 28 kWh lithium-ion battery good for up to 85 miles per charge. It will take that battery pack about two hours to charge enough for 60 miles of driving on a 240V charger. Other features include a Map Pilot navigation system, Collision Prevention, Assist with adaptive Brake Assist, and Attention Assist.
In the racing world, cars that roll off the assembly line with impressive performance and looks are often made much more insane than the factory counterparts. Such is the case with a new racecar built by Mattias Ekstrom. Ekstrom is a racing driver that has won races in several different vehicles in the past and he is getting into the World Rallycross Championships next season.
His ride for the race series is a heavily modified Audi S1. That car is interesting as it rolls off the assembly line, but it's completely bonkers in race trim. The car uses a 2.0L 4-cylinder turbo engine. It's unclear how much boost the engine makes but with 600 hp on tap I'd say a lot.
Fisker is a car company that started about the time the US government began making loans to companies to create alternative energy cars and systems. Fisker took out a big loan and ended up going bankrupt before spending all the money. The automaker was recently purchased by a Chinese company called Wanxiang.
Wanxiang has announced that it hopes to have the Karma plug-in hybrid back on the road by mid-2015. Some things have to happen before Fisker starts producing cars again. It has to find a CEO and a new headquarters for the company. Both of those tasks are underway now.