Ford knows that one of the only ways it will be able to reach federal fuel economy numbers in the future is by putting its cars on a diet. Ford has already proven it can do this with the new F-150 losing hundreds of pounds by moving to aluminum body panels. Ford is now showing off an experimental Fusion that uses lightweight materials in an effort to shed weight.
The Fusion uses lots of aluminum and carbon fiber material in its construction. The finished product is a Fusion that looks the same as the current car, but weighs 23% less than normal. Less weight means that smaller engines can be used to achieve the same performance while using less fuel.
Nissan has issued a recall on 211 Leaf EVs that has to do with a defect in a weld. The defect is so severe that in some cases Nissan may end up giving the owner of the recalled Leaf a new vehicle. Nissan says that some structural welds in the front section of the Leaf may not have been made to specifications.
The bad welds could mean that the vehicle has reduced protection in an accident and violates safety standards for "electric shock protection." The defect in the Leafs was discovered in March during a quality inspection conducted at an assembly plant. Nissan says that the issue was due to an isolated process error that has been addressed.
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.