Highlights from the 2015 Geneva Motor Show

Paul Evans

Raser Technologies has debuted a Hummer H3 converted into a plug-in series hybrid to coinc...

Raser Technologies has debuted a Hummer H3, converted into a plug-in series hybrid, to coincide with the company's listing on the New York Stock Exchange. With the aerodynamics of a house – it has a drag coefficient of .43 (Cd .43) – and a curb weight of 4700 lb (2132 kg) in standard trim, the H3 hardly makes an ideal vehicle to base a hybrid conversion on. Raser chose the Hummer because trucks and SUVs have been among the best-selling vehicles in the US and stood to benefit most from increased fuel economy and reduced emissions. The recent economic slump and fuel price volatility have led to the Hummer brand being put up for sale (with no takers), while SUV sales have stalled with many SUV plants now closed.  Read More

1.291 mirrored heliostats and a 54 story high tower the World's largest solar power tower ...

Made up of more than 1200 mirrored heliostats surrounding a huge 54 story high tower, the world's largest solar power tower plant is now on-line near Seville in Spain. Developed by Spanish engineering company Abengoa, the PS20 plant generates 20 megawatts of electricity, enough to supply 10,000 homes. Concentrating solar thermal technology has been used in desert areas in Spain and the southwest U.S. for decades and is seeing a resurgence as utilities seek to reduce reliance on fossil fuels.  Read More

Hummel 2 seater helicopter folds up for easy storage, fits into a box trailer and can be f...

Looking something like a cross between the SoloTrek XFV backpack helicopter flown in the movie Agent Cody Banks and the Boeing V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor, the Hummel is a two passenger lightweight helicopter concept that features a fully enclosed cabin and tandem ducted rotors which offer the same stability as a conventional helicopter with a tail rotor. The extra twist - when you're done flying it folds into a box shape for easy storage and transportation.  Read More

HAA is an un-tethered, unmanned lighter-than-air vehicle that will operate above the jet s...

The idea of replacing very expensive space based satellites and Aircraft mounted Airborne Warning And Control Systems (AWACS) with stationary platforms inside Earth's atmosphere has been floated for decades. Despite the fact that lighter-than-air vehicles or airships that could fulfill this role have been flying for over 300 years, the idea is only now getting off the ground. Lockheed Martin has been chosen by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for a US$400 million contract to to design, build, test and fly a 1:3 scale model of an airship surveillance and telecommunications platform called the High Altitude Airship (HAA). The full scale HAA would measure 240 ft long by 70 ft in diameter, run entirely on solar power and be able to stay aloft for up to 10 years.  Read More

ARSS is based on the Vigilante 502 unmanned helicopter

Late last year reports surfaced of a modified radio controlled helicopter equipped with a .45 caliber hand gun, including a video of the RC copter doing target practice with live ammunition (see below). It seems the US Army have been thinking along the same lines, except this version carries a .338 caliber sniper rifle.  Read More

NASCAR Star Carl Edwards at the wheel (Photo: Sam VarnHagen/Ford Motor Co.)

A team of Ford hybrid engineers, a fuel efficiency expert and a NASCAR star have driven a 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid 1445.7 miles (2313.12 km) on a single 17.5 US gallon (66.24 Liter) tank of gasoline using Eco-Driving techniques. That's an average of 81.5 mpg (2.88 l/100 km), not bad from a totally standard production car. The 1,000-Mile Challenge started at 8:15 a.m. on Saturday, April 25, from Mount Vernon, Va., and the car finally ran out of gas and battery power on April 28th at 5:37 am in Washington, D.C. NASCAR star Carl Edwards was behind the wheel at the 1000 mile mark and world-record breaking hypermiler Wayne Gerdes was also part of the team.  Read More

15 of the world's biggest ships may now emit as much pollution as all the world's 760m car...

The Guardian has reported on new research showing that in one year, a single large container ship can emit cancer and asthma-causing pollutants equivalent to that of 50 million cars. The low grade bunker fuel used by the worlds 90,000 cargo ships contains up to 2,000 times the amount of sulfur compared to diesel fuel used in automobiles. The recent boom in the global trade of manufactured goods has also resulted in a new breed of super sized container ship which consume fuel not by the gallons, but by tons per hour, and shipping now accounts for 90% of global trade by volume.  Read More

HPM bombsuse an enormous electromagnetic radio pulse to disable computers, electronics, ve...

High-power microwave (HPM) bombs that use an enormous electromagnetic radio pulse to disable computers, electronics, vehicles, guided missiles and communications while leaving people and structures unharmed have been under investigation in research labs for a number of years. Until recently these weapons have been impractically large at over 3.5 meters long, but researchers at Texas Tech University have now built a self powered device with U.S. Army funding that measures 15 cm in diameter and only 1.5 meters long, making it small enough to be considered portable.  Read More

A123 will provide battery systems for Chrysler

Chrysler this week announced it will use batteries from A123 Systems in its range of Electric Vehicles, the first of which should be a Tesla Roadster competitor - the Dodge Circuit. A123 and Chrysler have been working together over the last three years to develop a modular battery system based on prismatic cells using the same lithium iron nano-phosphate chemistry that has already gained a huge reputation following the world records set by Killacycle.  Read More

The giant disk is a power generator, harvesting energy from the Sun for a variety of uses ...

US utility PG&E has this week announced it is seeking regulatory approval for a power supply deal that could see it buying power generated by solar satellites within seven years. If the proposal gets approval from regulators in its home state of California it will agree to a power purchase deal that from 2016 would see PG&E buy 200MW of renewable power over a 15-year period from space solar technology startup Solaren Corp.  Read More

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