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Aerodynamics

The body board / Jet Ski hybrid design concept

With personal watercraft design evolving at what some may say is “a rate of knots”, a rather interesting concept has come to our attention. The brainchild of Spanish designer Miguel Angel, this cross between a Jet Ski and a body board is designed with speed and maneuverability in mind – but does the idea have what it takes when the going gets tough and the water gets rough?  Read More

Feather-light and with miniscule drag, the Volkswagen L1 will be the most fuel-efficient c...

Volkswagen rocked the automotive world at a lunchtime press conference on the first day of the Frankfurt Motor Show with a carbon fiber, half width, 1-liter hybrid electric diesel tandem two-seater car named the L1. When the car makes production in 2013, four years from now, it will almost certainly be the most fuel efficient car available with a combined diesel fuel consumption figure of 1.38 l/100km (170 U.S. mpg), thanks to its frugal motor combo, feather-like weight – 380 kg in total - and an aerodynamic drag co-efficient of just 0.195!  Read More

BMW to show 75 mpg, 350 bhp, 150 mph hybrid at Frankfurt

BMW’s new Vision Efficient Dynamics concept is remarkable to look at and even more so when you consider the numbers. Powered by a three-cylinder turbodiesel and two electric motors (one in each axle), the all-wheel drive produces 262 kW (356 bhp) and 800 NM of torque, giving it M power performance (0-100 km/h in 4.8 seconds and an electronically limited top speed of 250 km/h) thanks in part to its slippery drag coefficient of just 0.22. It’ll run 50 km (31 miles) in electric mode alone and its consumption in the EU test cycle is 3.76 litres/100 km (75.1 mph imp) with CO2 emissions of 99 grams/km.  Read More

The Spyker C8 Aileron Spyder

Spyker Cars may not have impressed in its F1 venture, but it certainly has made up for it off the track. The exclusive sportscar-maker has kept true to its promise made in March at the Geneva Auto Show by debuting the first prototype of the Spyder version of its second-generation Spyker C8 Aileron. The 300kmh open-top model is scheduled to go into production in the first half of 2010.  Read More

The ‘robo-bat’ skeleton (Photo: Gheorghe Bunget, North Carolina State University)

Researchers are increasingly looking to nature for design inspiration in a wide range of mechanical devices. Doing so allows them to draw on the millions of years of evolution that have resulted in designs offering superior performance and efficiency. Micro Aerial Vehicles (MAVs) is one field that has recognized the maneuverability and performance virtue of nature’s small flyers, with various attempts being made to mimic these designs and produce vehicles that outperform traditional fixed-wing or rotary-wing craft. We’ve seen the development of a tiny a ‘nano air vehicle’ inspired by the hummingbird, a UAV based on a Pterodactyl and a six-inch long robotic spy plane that, like this new design from North Carolina University, draws on the physical characteristics of a bat.  Read More

The Panamera's lightweight body, showing different materials used

Porsche's 4-door Panamera will be finally unveiled at the Shanghai Motor Show on April 20 - not that we haven't already had plenty of chances to take a good look at it through the company's prolific PR department. Designed to be at once more luxurious than an S-Class Benz and sportier than a Beemer M5, the Panamera is the first 4-door Porsche with an uncompromising performance focus. It looks like a belter too, considering rumors that the 500-horsepower, US$132,600 turbo model actually had to be reined back in performance terms just so it wouldn't trouser the 911, which is supposed to be Porsche's performance flagship. As a brand new, extreme high end model, you'd be expecting the Panamera to pack a few technological punches - and you'd be right. Here's a few of the key innovations.  Read More

The Splitstream Dynamic Triathlon Handlebars.

Up until now, triathletes have had no option other than to switch between two different handlebar set-ups when cycling, but this prototype design provides a new approach. Splitstream Dynamic Triathlon Handlebars combine two configurations in one, utilizing a hinge mechanism in the center which enables the cyclist to seamlessly navigate between two riding positions.  Read More

Rinspeed iChange Concept Car

Rinspeed is one automotive company that can only be described as forward-thinking and its radical concept car offerings have graced our pages on a regular basis over many years. More images and details have now emerged on the company's latest thought-provoking platform, the all-electric, shape-shifting „iChange“, which will make its debut at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show.  Read More

The Challis Heliplane concept

Conventional helicopters are incredibly useful vehicles in many short-range scenarios - but their asymmetrical aerodynamics enforce a fairly low terminal speed limit of around 150mph, making them less than ideal for longer-range missions. Tilt-rotor aircraft like the Falx and Osprey, and coaxial 'copters like the Sikorsky X2 are tackling the problem from different angles, but both result in complicated and expensive solutions - which is what makes the new Challis Heliplane concept quite remarkable. Still in early stages, the Challis uses a very simple design to balance the lift forces of a helicopter and bring top speeds of over 300mph into reach. And wait 'til you see this thing accelerate!  Read More

The CoaX 415T 5-seat helicopter is one of the models under development

Helicopters featuring coaxial rotor designs are not exactly new. The co-axial design of a pair of rotors mounted on the same mast and with the same axis of rotation, but turning in different directions, has been utilized on a number of military helicopters for around half a century, most notably those produced by the Russian Kamov helicopter design bureau. The coaxial design offers a number of advantages over the traditional helicopter designs, which makes it difficult to understand why we haven’t seen co-axial rotor designs taking to the skies for civilian uses. Now Australian based Wieland Helicopter Technologies (WHT) is hoping to change that by designing and manufacturing a range of new coaxial rotor system small format helicopters for commercial markets.  Read More

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