categories ... such as cars

Hybrid creep to become hybrid whirr

 By Larissa Anderson // Posted: 08/24/10 11:39 AM

The Toyota Prius has changed the car industry. Quietly.

At low speeds, you can barely hear the car. That’s about to change for Japanese drivers.  Starting August 30, customers can buy a speaker system that will help get rid of “hybrid creep."  The system will go under the hood and make a whirring sound that’s as loud as the sound of a regular engine.

Last year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration came out with a report that found pedestrians are twice as likely to get hit by a Prius than a car with a conventional engine in a low-speed collision. 

It’s not clear yet whether Toyota will offer this system overseas.  Other carmakers are also trying to figure out how to make sure their quiet, green cars will be safe as well.

Customers look at a Toyota Prius vehicle at Toyota Motor’s showroom in Tokyo on August 4, 2010. AFP PHOTO / Yoshikazu TSUNO

Comments | Filed Under: prius cars automobile

A Tesla...for the resta'ya

 By Jeff Horwich // Posted: 06/30/10 01:58 PM

So far, this week’s been a big bonanza for Tesla Motors. The electric car company raised $226 million with its IPO Monday, and the share price has been rising ever since. Then there’s the P.R. boost from the accompanying press frenzy, celebrating a tiny company most non-auto-non-tech junkies had probably never heard of. Telsa’s been working long and hard – often on fumes, you might say – to make a real product that advances the industry. Good on ‘em.

But let’s face it: Tesla cars are expensive, tiny, impractical roadsters with a ridiculous waiting list. I was more into this fun blow-by-blow comparison from CNET of two much more practical electric-car options on the way for the typical buyer: Chevy Volt vs. Nissan Leaf, ranked next to each other on looks, range, wireless connectivity, and price.

Comments | Filed Under: cars electric tesla

Tesla keeps going

 by John Moe // Posted: 06/29/10 12:07 PM

Tesla, makers of an all-electric incredibly expensive car, will have enough cash to continue operating for at least another couple of years after raising $226 million in an IPO. Founder Elon Musk, famous for founding PayPal and for having a totally rad name, was reportedly close to bankruptcy but still trying to produce their new model, the Model S. It’s an all-electric car priced around $50,000. They’re taking reservations now.

Tesla Motors, we’re talking about here. Not:

and certainly not:

Comments | Filed Under: cars

Flying car getting closer

 by John Moe // Posted: 06/28/10 11:09 AM

The Federal Aviation Administration has granted a weight restriction exemption to flying car manufacturer Terrafugia that could pave the way to flying cars being more viable. They allowed for an extra 110 pounds for the company’s “Transition Roadable Aircraft” so now it can have airbags, crumple zones, and a roll cage, which are all things required to drive on the road.

From the Aircraft and Pilot Owners Association newsletter

Still to come is approval from federal highway officials regarding non-waiverable highway crashworthiness standards. Without that, the vehicle can’t be marketed as a roadable vehicle. There is no timetable for a decision, but company officials are hoping to hear this year. Company officials feel the extra weight allowance by the FAA allows for the weight of the structure needed to meet highway safety standards, despite the FAA approval falling 44 pounds short of the request.

Comments | Filed Under: cars planes neato

Does voice recognition know what you're talking about?

 by John Moe // Posted: 06/10/10 07:41 AM

On today’s show we talk about new technology that lets you and your car have a conversation. Well, maybe not a conversation, per se, more just information and commands. It all hinges, of course, on a computer being able to figure out what the heck you’re saying. What have your experiences been with voice recognition either in cars or phone answering systems or anywhere else?

Comments | Filed Under: cars question

Car charging stations coming to town

 by John Moe // Posted: 06/04/10 11:15 AM

Coulomb Technologies is seeking to install 4,600 charging stations for electric cars in nine metro areas by the end of 2011.  The charging stations will be supported by Chevrolet, Ford and Smart will be supplied free of charge.  The project is in part funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.


Comments | Filed Under: cars energy

Can someone hack your car's computer?

Posted: 05/19/10 08:29 AM

Anyone who’s driven a car made in the last few years knows that they are chock full of computers. A trip to the garage for repairs will drive that fact home, sometimes painfully. But if your desktop computer is vulnerable to security flaws, worms, malware, and all the other problems that go with computing, doesn’t it stand to reason that your car might be as well? A team of researchers from the University of California, San Diego and the University of Washington set out recently to learn how vulnerable your car is to bad guys and whether someone could infiltrate your computer and, say, cut the brakes electronically. We talk to one of the researchers, Stefan Savage, who tells us what his team found out.

Comments | Filed Under: security cars

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