Electric vehicles of small proportions are beginning to emerge as the theme of this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, and the presentation of a comprehensive range of electric vehicles by Renault, dubbed the Z.E. range, was the clincher. Perhaps more important, was Renault’s commitment to begin selling its new Z.E. range at affordable prices in 2010.
Sony has released its new VAIO NW laptop, which comes with an optional Blu-ray player. The 15.5-inch widescreen display features Sony’s XBRITE-ECO LCD technology for sharper viewing but, helpfully, the notebook also has an HDMI output, so it can directly connect to a TV for that big-screen, high-def experience. But perhaps the laptop's most impressive feature is the price.
was a surprise hit in 2008, selling out its stock of 'X' battery-electric motocross bikes much faster than expected and proving in the process that customers are well and truly ready to slap down the dollars for a quality electric off-roader. Now the company has announced the Zero S - a street-legal electric supermotard capable of 60mph and with a 60-mile range off a full 4-hour battery charge. At under USD$10,000 - before you get your 10% Federal plug-in vehicle credit - the Zero S joins the Vectrix electric maxi-scooter
in the list of truly practical electric bikes capable of freeway speeds. And with a power-to-weight ratio almost identical to Suzuki's DR-Z400SM, it should be a bag of laughs to ride. If consumers liked the X, we reckon they'll go crazy to be the first on the block to ride this street-legal, lean, green giggle machine.
Compressed air cars
are well and truly on their way to mass production in India and America
, among other places - although they seem to be taking their time. But the cheap, environmentally-neutral compressed air engine also lends itself to other interesting urban and industrial transport concepts like the AIRPod. Intended both as a personal 3-4 seater city commuter and as a getabout for airport, train station and municipal workers, the AIRPod is cute and easy to drive with a joystick instead of a steering wheel and pedals. The three-wheel transport weighs around the same as a touring motorcycle at 220kg, so it only needs 5 1/2 horsepower from its lightweight air engine to reach top speeds a little over 40mph. Best of all, cheap compressed air refilling will take as little as 90 seconds and cost about EU1.10 for the AIRPod's expected 220km range.
Like many governments around the world, Australia's leaders are pouring taxpayer dollars into the economy via stimulus packages designed to counter the effects of the global economic downturn. In Australia, this translates to tax-free payments of AUD$900 destined for the bank accounts of those who earned under AUD$100,000 in the 07-08 financial year. The idea is for consumers to spend the money, and Kogan has cleverly capitalized on what's been dubbed the "flat-screen TV bonus" with the announcement of their "High Definition Stimulus" - a $900, 37-inch 720p HDTV called "Kevin37".
Britain's Axon claims that its newly patented mass-production techniques will make carbon composite car frames and bodywork even cheaper than their metal counterparts - and only 40% as heavy. What a revolutionary technology this could be - the power to weight ratio of any vehicle on the planet could be dramatically increased for no extra cost! The company plans to release a highly affordable 500cc passenger car making at least 100mpg from a basic petrol engine in 2010, and Axon is confident its simple, lightweight solution to the fuel economy challenge will be highly competitive against the big competition in the Progressive Automotive X-Prize
February 1, 2008 In the latest news from the IKEA affordable housing project
in the UK, the first BoKlok display home has been unveiled in Gateshead. A two-bedroom apartment has been fitted out, along with a two-bedroom unit converted to an office/marketing complex that features a BoKlok exhibition area. The apartment and the unit are open now for the public to view.
August 16, 2007 Due to improving airplane technology and increasing disposable income, ultra-light aircraft are now becoming accessible to a far wider proportion of the population. Joining the Ramphos
in lending weight to this argument is the Storch Amphibian
, a light weight amphibious sporting plane available in kit form for around AUD$57K, or ready to fly for under $93K.
August 15, 2007 Work has now begun on the first BoKlok "flat-pack housing" development at St James Village in Gateshead, UK. Previewed
in Gizmag in May this year, the project aimed at delivering fast, affordable, energy efficient and stylish housing has just moved into its construction phase.
Yet another affordable and very compelling new water vessel has reached market. With a price in the region of an expensive sports car, the appropriately named Dutch company Uboatworx
has begun producing the first affordable recreational submarine (U-Boat). Uboatworx currently builds a single seat version known as the C-Quester I with a two-seater due in June. Both C-Questers have a top speed of 3.5 mph, are safe to a depth of 50 metres and offer a dive time of 150 minutes. At just over 9 feet long, 6 feet tall and wide and weighing 1.1 tons, the submarine is small enough to trailer to the nearest boat ramp or launch from a yacht. Entry is jet fighter style through a canopy, steering is via a joystick and both the seating position and the experience are apparently quite similar to flight, though getting a license is much cheaper and less time-consuming than a pilot’s license - a three day course and an exam being the only obstacles, apart from the UKP65,000 price tag (more for the two-seater). The cabin is pressurized, a filtration system removes spent air, oxygen is added to maintain air quality and all the safety boxes appear ticked, so the C-Quester appears an out-of-the-box winner at such an affordable price. Motive force is supplied by three electric motors – so it’s a genuine plug-in electric boat which just happens to be able to operate below the surface too.