Sunday

Reinventing Our Wheels

The Spring 2009 issue of Good magazine is all about transportation and focuses on reinventing transportation in all its facets, with particular emphasis on cars and all things Detroit. You can't see it online yet so you'll have to go to the bookstore and pick one up if you don't subscribe.


There's a great article on alternative fuel cars with an equally great guide to the different types and their pick of the best.


Of course they cover the well known Tesla battery-powered juiced up sports car and the Prius and the coming Insight and lots more. But what catches the eye is the unusual articles too.


The 7 best biking cities are covered, along with the pro and con of some pretty sophisticated two wheelers. Flying cars are covered (the concept actually goes back decades to Henry Ford and his idea wasn't even the first), a fascinating study on the traffic pattern applications of ants (yes, the little critters who all travel at the same speed and always yield the right of way to two types of worker ants), the aptera gets a mention (a space age looking car that actually is on the road in California and set to roll out soon), and the story of Max Sparber, who's been using a personal jet pak to get around Minnesota since 2008 and who you can watch online by doing a search for "max jet pack" on Flickr or at http://www.good.is/.


But the most amazing goes to a small panel article on page 88. There you'll find the amazing Indian Air Car. That's a story coming out of India's largest auto maker, Tata Motors, where they have created the world's first commercial car (well, really it looks like a small van) that runs on air. Right. Air. Well, actually it's compressed air. It's priced at just under $18,000 and an American version is slated for production with delivery in early 2010. It's call ZPM for Zero Pollution Motors and it is estimated that it'll run 1,000 miles on a single compressed air fill-up at speeds up to 96 mph.


The Indian Air Car is considered a front runner for the X Prize, a contest sponsored by the X Prize foundation that has $10 million on the table for a 100 mpg car that is mass produceable. We've talked about some of the cars that are in the running for the X Prize before, including the Aptera. But the Indian Air Car came out of nowhere.


By the way, this is a terrific magazine in general, costing only $20 to subscribe and they don't even keep the money. Instead they pass it on to any one of a number of "good" charities that they let you select from.
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