For the blind and the physically disabled, moving about a busy urban environment alone presents a constant challenge. For the unlucky few who are both blind and disabled, or for those too impaired to look around while operating a wheelchair, that challenge becomes nearly insurmountable. But now a new "smart" wheelchair may allow those without sight or mobility to traverse a bustling city street.
Without any sort of approval from my girlfriend, I bought a 1984 diesel Mercedes-Benz through eBay. Two years later, the vehicle has provided me with nearly 10,000 miles of service on waste vegetable oil (WVO). The fuel may technically be free, but it has not come without a price. Here's how I converted my car, affectionately known as "Chance," to a veggie-oil roadster, and some of the hard-learned lessons I picked up along the way.
As a fuel for cars, compressed natural gas hasn't exactly exploded in the US. Of all the major automakers, only Honda offers a CNG-powered car, buyers of which are eligible for a tax rebate and get a free pass on the carpool lane in most states. But proponents of CNG say the fuel that's common for buses and fleet vehicles is not only good for commuter cars, but for flamboyant customs as well.
Electric-vehicle startup Myers Motors already builds a one-seat electric car with three wheels. Now, the company says a new model is on the way with something extra novel -- a passenger seat. Dubbed the NMG2 (the first model is called NMG), the part-car-part-motorcycle will also get more storage space, creature comforts like air conditioning and a 60-mile range on a charge of its lithium-ion battery.
The idea of extraterrestrial boating comes from planetary geologist (and sailing enthusiast) Ellen Stofan, who points out that one of Saturn's moons, Titan, is covered with lakes, and in fact is one of only two places in our solar system known to have surface liquid (the other being Earth, of course). So why not launch a floating probe? After all, to date all extraterrestrial endeavors have involved either flight or land navigation, so perhaps it's time to switch it up a little.
In a high-velocity demonstration that proves green and badass can coexist in the same vehicle, Mission Motors has set a new speed record for electric motorcycles.
Topping out at 161 mph, the Mission One motorcycle beat out 70 percent of the gasoline-burning bikes during a recent event at the Bonneville Speedway in Utah.
If a Segway and a foldable scooter got together, they might hope to conceive something like the YikeBike mini-farthing. The foldable electric bike resembles a sleek, futuristic upgrade of the old high-riding bicycles, and it can fold up for easy storage under a desk or in a cupboard.
Polaris has just introduced an electric version of the Ranger 400 side-by-side. This is very exciting to me. As you may remember, I'm the guy who built a rather non-green jet turbine side-by-side, but 114 dB does get old after a while.
The Shweeb is a human-powered monorail system that makes use of a series of pedal-pods suspended by a metal rail. Easy to operate, Shweeb cars can move up to 25 mph, reportedly without excessive effort.
The Shweeb is still a standalone gimmick/prototype of sorts that sits on company grounds in New Zealand. But they see their contraption as something that would fit perfectly in natural parks for guided tours, or even adventure tourism destinations, where it could be used for racing games.
We've told you about bike-sharing programs before, but the Hybrid2 design by Chiyu Chen takes the idea one step further, by using the bikes to put power back in the system. The idea is to put "ultracapacitors" into the bikes that will harness and store the kinetic energy generated by pedaling and braking. Once you return the bike to its rental kiosk, the energy stored in the bike will be transferred to the city's smart grid, and used to help power hybrid buses.