Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work.
Of all the electric cargo cycles we've seen, including the Urban Arrow
, the Velove Armadillo promises the most pedal-assist cargo hauling capability. The four-wheeled platform supports a big, ol' cargo box or semi-trailer on the rear, making the typical two-wheel grocery getter look downright undersized. The pedaled quad is so cargo hungry, Velove believes it can replace the cargo van when transporting smaller loads over short distances.
Motorcycle camping trailers are out there, but they're not as common a sight on roadways as car and truck camping trailers. In fact, we didn't notice a single motorcycle trailer at last year's Overland Expo
, a show split neatly between off-road campers and adventure motorcycles. Perhaps we should have traveled to Bend, Oregon, instead. That's the birthplace of the new Freespirit Spitfire XT, a rig that carries a pop-up tent and storage box behind any capable bike or small car.
When Cadillac introduced its all-new CT6
sedan at the New York Auto Show several weeks ago, it detailed 265-hp four-cylinder turbo and 400-hp twin-turbo V6 engine options. At the Shanghai auto show last week, it announced another powertrain option: a 335-hp plug-in hybrid powertrain set to double the fuel economy over the ICE alternatives.
We've seen composite skateboard decks, like Hydroflex's honeycomb rig
before, but the Gridboard takes composite construction to a new level. Looking like it was cut from the side of a plastic milk crate, the award-winning cruiser board features skeletal carbon fiber construction meant to save weight and add distinct ride characteristics. Riders that don't have proper hills for propelling the board can turn to a sister design for help: the ePaddle motorized land paddle helps any rider accelerate to high speeds.
A popular theme among van converters is taking inspiration from the skies to a create a van that travels like a luxurious private jet, and the Mercedes Sprinter provides a natural base vehicle for such endeavors. The latest outfitter to throw its hat in the ring with the likes of Becker
is the UK's Senzati. Its simply but effectively named Jet Sprinter conversion includes everything from massage-equipped reclining seats, to a full multimedia system, to a bathroom with waterfall sink.
Just a month and a half ago, Qoros
was a Chinese-Israeli automaker showing off vanilla, nondescript designs like the Qoros 3 City SUV
(those missing doors are there to help highlight the interior, not for visual effect). We knew that change was in the air
, and after the Shanghai auto show, Qoros is now the warped mind behind one of the meanest, strangest small crossover designs in recent memory. The Qoros 2 SUV PHEV Concept may be friendly to the environment, but it's downright nasty to anyone that looks over in its direction.
Translating car design into furniture and other consumer goods is all the rage this month. For Milan Design Week (Salone del Mobile), Mazda highlighted its Kodo Design language reincarnated as a sofa and bicycle
. Ford got even more diverse, unleashing the styling of the all-new GT supercar on a varied selection of designs, from pieces of furniture, to a foosball table, to a sailboat, to a guitar.
Over the years, one of the biggest trends we've seen in water bottle design is the collapsible bottle that compacts down to pocket size when empty. It's appeared in rollable Vapur bottles, crushable Hydrapak bottles
and scrunchable Bübi bottles
. The Hydaway offers a slightly different take on the trend, its silicone body compacting like an accordion into a flat, pocketable disc.
One of these days, surely Audi is going to release an all-out off-road super sports car. Until then, we'll just have to settle for sporty, overpowered crossover concepts. Following up on last year's TT offroad
and 2013's Nanuk Quattro
, Audi is premiering the new Prologue allroad at this year's Auto Shanghai show. The concept picks up where last month's Prologue Avant
left off, throwing an alarmingly powerful but efficient 734-hp hybrid powertrain into the mix.
This is the year that automotive companies will tantalize eyes and minds with full visions of autonomous cars. Mercedes opened up the year with the intriguing F 015 design study
, and Italdesign Giugiaro showed its own version of autonomy with the Geneva-debuted GEA
. Chevrolet has an equally intriguing self-driving vision, and it calls it the FNR. The "futuristic capsule" is loaded with next-generation styling, technology and ideas.