One of the most common criticisms of the Chevy Volt has nothing to do with the car itself—it’s that there are so few of them available. General Motors shipped the first 360 Volts to dealers last month, but for the first quarter of this year you can only buy a Volt in six states and Washington, D.C. GM has obviously been hearing the same complaints. Today the company announced that it would make the Volt available in all 50 states by the end of this year—six months earlier than the original plan.
The noise about “Peak Lithium”—the idea that not enough economically extractable lithium exists in the world to support a large-scale switch to cars powered by lithium-based batteries—has quieted significantly in the past year, but I still sometimes get asked: Are we going to run out of this stuff?
Not any time soon. In fact, as a noted market analyst made clear this morning, so many companies are developing so many lithium deposits around the world that many of them will probably go out of business, because they’re on track to dramatically oversupply the world with lithium.
Global financial apocalypse be damned – the Rocket Racing League is investing in the space tourism business. Yes, the timing is a little strange, but today the RRL announced a partnership with the New Mexico state government and Armadillo Aerospace — the rocket engine company founded by Doom creator John Carmack that will also supply engines for the Rocket Racing League’s eponymous, um, racing league — to fly suborbital tourist flights from a spaceport outside Las Cruces.
After months of anticipation, Chevy releases its final Volt design
By Seth FletcherPosted 09.16.2008 at 12:41 pm 33 Comments
Today, after a nearly two-year tease, General Motors unveiled the final design for the car that it hopes will save the company: the 2011 Chevrolet Volt, the world's first production plug-in hybrid. The Volt is designed to drive 40 miles on a single charge of its giant lithium-ion battery; after that, an onboard 1.4-liter four-cylinder flex-fuel engine kicks in to power the electric motors that drive the car. GM will most likely make 10,000 of the cars in the first year of production; it's expected to go on sale in November 2010.
Researchers find nanoscale crystals can enter your body through cuts in the skin.
By Seth FletcherPosted 07.03.2008 at 11:31 am 3 Comments
Health risks for the 21st century worker keep getting weirder. Researchers at North Carolina State University have found that quantum dots—nanoparticles made of semiconducting crystals that emit light when stimulated at certain wavelengths—can penetrate skin through abrasions.
Tesla says the founder of rival Fisker Coachbuild stole confidential information in order to build a competing vehicle.
By Seth FletcherPosted 04.15.2008 at 3:46 pm 2 Comments
High drama in the electric car world: According to the New York Times, electric sports-car manufacturer Tesla is suing Henrik Fisker and Bernhard Koehler of Fisker Coachbuild, charging that Fisker fraudulently signed on to design Teslas White Star sedan, sabotaged the sedan project by doing substandard work, then stole confidential information and went on to build a competing car—the Fisker Karma.
If all goes well (fingers crossed!), we’ll see rocket racers in the air this summer.
By Seth FletcherPosted 04.14.2008 at 11:55 am 0 Comments
Dont count the Rocket Racing League out just yet. After a lengthy delay and intimations of its demise, the league has finally announced exhibition flights. Pending FAA approval, a ten-minute flight will take place the first weekend of August at this summers EAA Airventure festival in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Granger Whitelaw made the announcement this morning at a press conference in New York, admitting that the news was coming some fifteen months later than he had hoped. I will take full responsibility for the delay, he said.
Rip open a Pleo, get the run down on hybrids, and learn about the military's futuristic flying laser gun as Chuck Cage and the editors of PopSci take a behind-the-scenes tour of the third annual How it Works issue. Learn the stories behind the stories of some of the world's most sophisticated machines.
Presenting the ugliest car at the New York Auto Show
By Seth FletcherPosted 03.20.2008 at 4:04 pm 4 Comments
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Later well be posting a gallery of the most attractive, noteworthy, and technologically advanced cars from this years New York International Auto Show (watch our auto show coverage page here). But for now, I present you with the most unfortunate piece of automotive design on the showroom floor: The Toyota Yaris Club Five Axis Design.
So far 65 teams have signed up to compete for a piece of the $10 million prize
By Seth FletcherPosted 03.20.2008 at 3:25 pm 5 Comments
Strange as it might seem, the Automotive X-Prize—which will award a $10 million prize to the team(s) that develop production-ready cars that get the equivalent of 100 miles per gallon—wasn't official until this afternoon. But today at a press conference at the New York International Auto Show, X-Prize honcho Peter Diamandis fired the starting gun (see Diamandis talk about the competition in the video above).