Sunday, October 28, 2007

Inflatable Car!

A company called XP Vehicles is developing a new kind of car... A car that if you were to drive off a cliff and flip around a couple times you would still be okay... A car that if you were to get hit by another car you would simple bounce away like a bumper car... It might be one of the future's most innovative creations - An inflatable car!

The XP Vehicles' Whisper model is an electric car built out of inflated air bags. The company claims that Whisper may be the safest car out there. It even offers to put $50,000 in an escrow account and if any of their claims are wrong then that money is yours to keep. Of course, if you drive off a cliff and don't survive then it will be difficult for you to claim that money. But it is nice to know that that money is out there.

The car has a flotation device in case of emergencies and it uses battery pack technology.

The company claims that you can get up to a 300 mile range with the Whisper. They offer a Whisper, a Whisper Sport Coupe, and a nikO SUV+. The cars should be available to the public within the next 2 to 3 months. However, it will take up to 7 months after the company closes their funding round to get the cars out on the streets.

In a few months, the company's website will allow you to build your own car online. You can decide if you would like to assemble your car on your own or have the dealer assemble it. The car takes approximately two hours two assemble with two people assembling at the same time.

The company claims that research has shown that metal in a car "is the largest cause of death and injury," according to their website. Thus, they believe that reducing metal in a car and creating an inflatable car is a lot safer.

The cars are not entirely inflatable. Their are certain aspects of the car, which require different material, such as the steering wheel.

The car will cost approximately $10,000, according to a questionnaire on the website. And it is unknown whether these cars can be certified in every city. The company says that it will be the buyer's duty to obtain certification from their city in order to drive the car.

The inflatable car also provides "ipod mounts & connects, 20 colors, trim, decals, roof, no roof, car covers, solar mounts, stereos, integrated pumps, home connections, GPS, battery clubs, alarms," according to the company's website.

Also, if there are concerns about the car blowing away, the company claims not to worry because the car has a special aerodynamic system which is supposed to keep the car pretty stable...

Overall, I think the whole idea is very cool. I think it would be wierd to have only one inflatable car on the street, but it would be cool if everyone had one.

Think about it, if you were ever to get into an accident with another inflatable car then both of you would just bounce off eachother like bumper cars. It might actually be kind of fun! The idea in general is very creative and I would love to see these cars come into town!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Why not go all electric?

Photo courtesy of member
There is so much talk about the negative side of auto emissions towards the environment. Hybrid cars were created to reduce the amount of auto emission which goes into our environment and to also help save some money on gas...

However, a hybrid car still burns gas.. Our natural resource, oil, is still being used up... So, why not switch to an electric car?

Electric cars have no tailpipe emissions, which means that they do not put extra carbon dioxide into our environment.. However, one of the reasons that we have not switched to electric cars is because they also burn natural resources...

Electric cars have to be charged at night. Which means that when the electric car is being charged over night it burns a significant amount of fossil fuels like coal.

According to a statistic from, an electric/hybrid car site, "For every gallon of gasoline burned, approximately 22 pounds of C02, an important global warming gas, are created. If a car gets 25 miles a gallon it will emit 22 pounds of carbon dioxide over that distance, as well as other pollutants. By comparison, an electric car may travel the same distance consuming 5 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electric power at a rate of 200 watt hours/mile. Assuming the local grid is 100% coal-fired, roughly 5 lbs of coal would be consumed to create that 5kWh. Depending on the grade and carbon content of the coal, one kilowatt hour creates approximately 1.4 pounds of CO2. That's 7 pounds of CO2 vs. 22 pounds to travel the same 25 miles. But recall that the power grid isn't entirely coal-fired; it includes hydroelectric, natural gas, nuclear and a small, but growing segment of renewables."

Furthermore, electric cars may not cause pollution from auto emissions, but they do cause "battery pollution." Batteries contain nickel. When an electric car runs it puts nickel into our environment, which is also harmful...

So what to do? It seems like no matter what, our environment is doomed... There is no solution right now.. If we use regular cars we use up oil and put a lot of CO2 into the air; Hybrid cars put a little less CO2 in the air; And electric cars burn fossil fuels (coal) and put nickel into our atmosphere... So is there a solution somewhere?

The answer is: sort of... According to, "The Podcars Are Coming." Podcars were created from a Korea-based Vectus. They will be tested in Uppsala, Sweden, a college town. The cars are very small, and they will run on tracks built by Vectus.

I personally think the idea to have podcars is amazing. It reminds me of the show "The Jetsons".

According to, the podcars are to run at "about a three second 'headway' between pods which would run at around 45 kilometers per hour in the inner city, making it possible to move at large numbers of people during rush hour, the company said."

This is exciting!!! There is a photo you can check out here.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Google's New Feature

Google recently launched a new feature on their website – a public transit map. It’s very easy to use and it will help save our environment, because now people can take advantage of public transportation instead of driving their cars everywhere.

The feature was designed by engineers from San Francisco, New York, and Zurich, according to an article written by Avichal Garg, product manager of the transit team. All of the engineers use public transportation regularly. They devoted 20 percent of their time per week to building this new feature on Google.

There are only a few simple steps you need to take to get to the public transit map:
1) Go to
2) Click on “Maps”
3) Click on “Get Directions”
4) Type in a “start address” and an “end address”
5) Click “Get Directions”
6) Then, under “Search Results” there should be on option where you can click “Take
Public Transit”.
7) Once you select the option a new Google map will appear with new directions.

I think it is such a great feature to have on a website, especially if you are moving to a new city and you have no way of getting around but by public transportation.

When you get the directions, Google lists how much time it will take you to walk to the bus stop or train station; it tells you which bus you will need to board and the time that it departs and arrives; and it states how much time you will need to walk to reach your final destination.

Google has not created transit maps for every city and state, because the feature is so new. However, you can plan trips in seven states and one other country other than the U.S. – Japan.

- Bay Area (BART)
- Burbank (Burbank Bus)
- Humboldt County (Various)
- Orange County (OCTA)
- San Diego (MTS)
- Thousand Oaks (Thousand Oaks Transit)
- Bay Area (VTA)

- Tampa (HART)

- Honolulu (TheBus)

- Duluth (Duluth Transit)

- Las Vegas (Monorail)
- Reno (RTC RIDE)

- Eugene (Lane Transit District)
- Portland (TriMet)

- Pittsburgh (Port Authority)

- Austin (Capital Metro)
- Dallas (DART)

- Hampton Roads (HRT)

- Seattle (King County Metro)

- Japan (All regional and national rail networks, domestic airlines and ferries)

By using this new feature you will not only save on gas money, but you will reduce auto emissions which cause the nasty greenhouse effect that is very bad for our environment.

Public transportation saves approximately 1.5 million tons of carbon dioxide annually and 1.4 billion gallons of gasoline annually.

Apart from the new Google feature, I also discovered one of the most beautiful cars I have ever seen in my life and I just had to put it up here...

The photo below is courtesy of a flickr member and it is an Aptera three-wheeled electric car. The car gets 230 miles per gallon.

Here is a picture of the car from the top:

Here is the back view:

For more information on the Aptera you can check out the Aptera website

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Green Cars

How to Make Your Car Green

There are many things you can do with (or without) your car to live a “greener life”. By making tiny changes to your car or lifestyle you can help promote eco-friendly living and save the environment. Here are some things you can try:

1. Buy a Hybrid Car
If you have to drive everyday and you find yourself driving a lot everyday, a hybrid car may be the best solution for you. With all the websites, blogs, and other information about hybrid cars I have posted on here, you should be able to find one that suits you. I recommend the Toyota Prius because it has the best gas mileage out of all hybrids.

Electric Police Car
2. Change the Amount of Driving You Do
Make a driving schedule. Think about the amount of time you spend driving each day and see if there are some things you can cut-out of your day to drive less. Instead of making several long trips, try to find places that are closer to where you are. For example, choose to eat at restaurants that are close to your house or work. Also, instead of driving to places that are 2 minutes from your house, take a walk. You will find yourself enjoying the fresh air and taking a moment for yourself.

3. Carpool
If you drive to school or work everyday, maybe find someone that you can carpool with. This is good for the environment and you will save money on all the gas that you would have otherwise had to pay for.

3. Lower A/C usage
If you want to save more on gas then use your A/C less. Try opening your windows to get air in instead of A/C. I personally prefer open windows so for me that has always been one way of saving gas. Also, I find that darker-painted cars heat-up more than lighter-colored ones. Maybe your car paint may reduce the amount of heat you feel in your car.

4. Stop Speeding!
This one I cannot vouch for because I am a huge speeder. But I have noticed that when I don’t speed I do save a lot of gas… but just driving the speed limit can help save a lot. Also, staying away from stop-and-go traffic will help save a lot of gas as well. If you cannot avoid stop-and-go traffic then try taking the bus. It is fun, especially if you’ve never taken the bus before.

5. Find Good Tires
Good tires can help you save on mileage as well. When you go to purchase a new tire, ask which tire will give you the best mileage.

6. Try Biodiesiel, Natural Gas, or Electric.
Trying these are also very environmentally friendly. The biodiesel and natural gas cars have very little auto emissions. If your car is a 100 percent electric car, then here is no auto emission. I feel that the future is electric cars, just because one day there may not be oil to create gas.

7. Take Car Of Your Car
Make sure to change your oil, your filter, replace brakes, spark plugs and do all other maintenance that is required or your car. Keeping your car “healthy” can help increase the miles per gallon you get on your car.

8. Check Out Some Websites to Get More Ideas:
1. Eco-friendly living through cars
2. Hybrid Cars
3. Eco-friendly Cars

Monday, October 1, 2007

Why drive when you can bike? Or walk?

Do you think you are doing yourself a favor by driving your car everywhere? Well... if you exercise, then no. But if you don't, then biking and walking is a great way to burn extra calories when you may not have time to work-out. Plus, you do your body a favor and the environment a favor.

Living in Tucson, Ariz., I know that there are several ways to get around town. A person can bike, take the bus, walk, or even take the trolly. I did some calculations at to find out how many calories you could burn by riding your bike.

If your weight is between 100-120 lbs., you would burn from 90 to 105 calories just by biking leisurely for 30 min. And if you weighed from 120-140 lbs., you can burn from 105 to 126 calories in 30 min.

If your weight is between 100-120 lbs., and you bike at 12-14 m.p.h., you can burn from 198 to 237 calories for 30 min. And if you are 120-140 lbs., calories burned are 237 to 277 calories. Numbers go up the more you weigh. For example, if you weighed 200 lbs., you would burn 396 calories!! There goes your bowl of cereal and your orange juice.

If you weigh 120 lbs., and you drive 30 minutes, you will only burn 57 calories... driving will not help shed those extra pounds!

If you weigh from 100-140 lbs. and you decided to walk 2 m.p.h. to the bus stop or work, in 30 min. you can burn from 63 to 88 calories. Walking 4 m.p.h will help you burn from 117 to 163 calories. If you weigh 200 lbs. and walk 4 m.p.h. you can burn 234 calories.

I think one of the reason why Americans have such a high obesity rate is because, compared to Europeans, Americans do not walk as much. According to the American Obesity Association, "Approximately 127 million adults in the U.S. are overweight, 60 million obese, and 9 million severely obese...Currently, 64.5 percent of U.S. adults, age 20 years and older, are overweight and 30.5 percent are obese."

In Europe, biking, walking, and talking the bus or subway is very common. I have been to Italy and France (two of the 27 countries I have visited because of tennis) and I have to say that the reason people were so skinny there is because they walk so much, everywhere!

Also, having traveled to both the West and East coasts of America, I realized that on the East coast, especially in New York, people are a lot skinnier. I am not sure if it has to do with the amount that people walk, but I did notice a difference in weight.

According to a table by the American Obesity Association, which shows the percentage of Adults with Obesity in the U.S. by State, shows the following: In 2001, California's population is 20.9 percent obese and in New York the population is 19.7 percent obese... so maybe walking a little extra does make a slight difference. In 2000, the American Obesity Association found that in the New England Region (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont), 16.95 percent of people are obese. And in the Pacific Region ((Alaska, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon, Washington), 19.1 percent of people are obese. In the Middle Atlantic (New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania), 18.41 percent are obese. Seems like the East Coast wins again by having less obese people.

The conclusion I grabbed from my research is that walking a little extra, or biking, might help your body and the environment. You can shed some extra lbs. and also help save that environment by reducing auto emissions.