joe5 (3510639) writes "Sometimes, people decide to fire things into space. Staff members a Ford dealership in Stockton, Calif. recently strapped a 2015 Mustang model car to a custom-built, high-altitude weather balloon capable of traveling to the outer reaches of earth. The team added a rod to the instrumentation box suspended below it, and mounted the model car and a camera to record some video. The 21-mile flight (recorded on video) took 74 minutes before the balloon burst, producing a harrowing flat-spin similar to Goose and Maverick in Top Gun. A GPS transmitter led the team to the crash site after a parachute deployed. The reason for the space travel? To celebrate the Mustang's 50th birthday." top
App Lets You Sell Your Parking Spot, Start Fights in San Francisco
joe5 (3510639) writes "Oh dear. San Francisco is already dealing with its backlash against tone deaf tech workers. Now someone’s gone and created a sure-fire “start a fight” app that allows you to “monetize” the parking space you are about to leave. The iOS app allows a person parked in San Francisco to “publish your parking spot on MonkeyParking and get notified about drivers willing to pay for the spot.” From there, you accept your price, leave and make a little cash for a “parking spot you were about to leave anyway.” Needless to say, a spokesperson for the City Attorney is “evaluating” the app since its not clear you can “rent” publicly-owned land like a parking space. So far, the spokesmen says, the city has merely determined that the app is “pretty weird.”" top
Did This Japanese Startup Unveil Battery Tech That Could 'Supercharge' Tesla?
joe5 (3510639) writes "Many experts suggest that battery technology is really the key to the future of transportation. Its certainly the key to unlocking Tesla for even further growth. Today, a Japanese startup called Power Japan Plus came out of stealth mode and unveiled a new battery chemistry that it says could (and some hyperbole is involved presumably) reinvent they way we think of potential transportation batteries. In testing, the recycle-able cell has completed more than 3,000 charge/discharge cycles with virtually no performance degradation, meaning that it could conceivably last the lifetime of a car. They company won’t yet provide too many details due to pending patents, and won’t even say who its first customer is — but the chemistry requires 'specific and proprietary changes to the nanostructure of the carbon crystals.'" top
Chewbacca Spotted Autocross Racing in Little Rock This Week
joe5 (3510639) writes "People jailbreak phones and think they are Edward Snowden. One Tesla owner went one better and decided to jailbreak his Model S. The guy found a way of patching into the car’s computer via a disguised ethernet port in the car’s dashboard. He hooked an ethernet cable between the car and a laptop and backdoored into the car's central screen to run a Firefox web browser. The potential benefit: the ability to load third-party apps onto the car's screen--just as jailbreakers do with iPhones and Android devices. Best part though: Tesla's own engineers could SEE all this going on--like secret service personnel in movies discovering a hacker on their network. The Tesla engineers weren't pleased either, sending the owner a message suggesting he stop what he was doing, to avoid voiding the car's warranty. Needless to say the Tesla Motors Club forum is busy— its this a slippery slope towards hacking and stealing the vehicles or just extra usability?" top
California Launches Country's First All-Electric School Bus
joe5 (3510639) writes "Well, leave it the golden state. The Kings Canyon (near Squaw Valley) Unified School District recently launched the first all-electric school bus in the United States. The bus is a modified SST Trans Tech model based on a Ford E-Series van chassis — and Motiv Power Systems created the electric drive train. (The project was a collaboration between those two companies plus the California Air Resources Board.) The electric bus can carry 25 students with an estimated range of 80 to 100 miles— and while it costs more than a standard combustion engine version, is expected to save about 16 gallons of fuel per day. Thanks to a federal highway program, three more electric buses are on their way to the Kings Canyon district and similar programs are in the works in both Chicago and New York." top
Elon Musk, Tesla CTO Talk Model X Details, Model S Upgrades
joe5 (3510639) writes "Tesla Motors tries to keep product details quiet for the most part, but in a recent Q & A session in Norway (Teslas sell extremely well there) Tesla CEO Elon Musk and the company's CTO JB Straubel discussed some interesting nuggets about the Model S, the upcoming Model X SUV, and the company's planned Model E sedan. One hint: the production Model X will definitely have the crazy "falcon doors." (video and transcript in the article)" Link to Original Source top
Build An Open-Source Electric Car In One Hour, For $4,000
joe5 (3510639) writes "Like what Elon Musk has done building an electric car and want to go all Etsy and build your own? That's apparently now possible now thanks to the OSVehicle Tabby — dubbed the first "Open source vehicle" (memo: it may be cool, but it ain't the first). The OSV guys are taking pre-orders for the Tabby starter kit, with both the two-seater or four-seater configurations going for €500. Then you click to add options (Note: seats is an "option" so that's the level of luxury you are dealing with here) When the transactions complete, OSV sends the parts to your home and you can download the plans and start building. Since the Tabby is open source, OSVehicle will also look to a community of owners and tinkerers for suggestions and recommendations."