Mini Electric Hummer Is Maxi Unnecessary.

Mini Electric Hummer by Prindiville.Who would purchase an electric powered, $40,000 mini-Hummer? I think I know – a person with $40k burning a hole in their pocket who wants their full-sized Hummer to have a soon-to-be neglected sibling. I guess it could also become a beast golf cart. [Wired]


Built-in Espresso Machine Is Available In New FIAT 500L. Part Of The “Unnecessary And Wasteful” Options Package.

Earth RIPThe built-in espresso machine in new FIAT 500L may not be the tipping point for the end of the planet but it sure seems like another example of dum, wasteful consumption. [Treehugger]


Toyota Camatte EV Concept Car Is A Teaching Tool For Kids. Doesn’t Look Like Pokemon Character.

Toyota Camatte Daichi EVWe might’ve been onto something when we wrote about how electric vehicles in the Michelin Challenge Design looked like cartoon characters, specifically Pokemon, in an effort to attract future EV customers. Toyota is going a different route with their non-Pokemon-looking 3-seater Camatte Sora & Daichi EV concept cars that are designed for families and adjusts so that even the kids can drive it. For most DRIVERS, the main reservation against EV’s is that they have a limited range. However, our non-driving kids don’t know any differently and the opportunity to adjust, drive and recharge a Camatte EV could become part of their future driving expectation.

Toyota Camatte Sora EV

No word on the estimated release date or price of the Toyota Camatte EV’s but I’m now inspired to rent a golf cart in an effort to educate my kids on effective electric vehicle management. I’ll even sneak in 36 holes of golf in order to stretch and hopefully drain the batteries.

The Toyota Camatte EV’s will be on display at the 2012 International Tokyo Toy Show. At the show, the Camatte may come face to face with cartoon characters that inspire future electric vehicles. [Crave]


Thank You Toyota Prius: My Kids Now Think I’m A Hypermiling, Eco-Hipster.

Hybrid Driving Lessons Toyota PriusBefore I go any further, I want to point out that I’ve been called much worse than a hypermiling, eco-hipster. Even when it comes from my kids, the name doesn’t bother me. That’s because I know the problem is with the Prius. The car pushes me each time I drive it to improve my driving technique by informing me of my MPGs at the end of each trip. Stepping on the gas too firmly and I activate the gas engine; ease into motion and I can stay electric.

Another thing I know is that the name calling will not be limited to inside our car – it’s sure to come from outside too. The Prius is kind of a lightning rod vehicle that is viewed with the same, but bizarro, contempt as the Hummer. The South Park episode, Smug Alert, is a perfect example and pokes fun at self-righteous Prius/hybrid drivers. And as much as I tell people “I’m not one of them,” it’s still guilt by ownership.

So kids, keep working on new material. I’ve got thick skin. I promise not to embarrass you by holding up traffic but I am still more apt to drive like a retiree than a teen. By the way: calling me a “hipster” anything only encourages me.


Ronald Reagan Is Jubbling

Ronald Reagan Supercarrier and car ferry.

The Ronald Reagan Supercarrier in the Puget Sound

My Picture of the Ronald Reagan in the Puget Sound.

Ok, maybe not the actual Ronald Reagan but the USS Ronald Reagan supercarrier which recently changed ports from San Diego CA to the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton WA. On its flight-deck, facing a single F-18 fighter, were the vehicles of the Reagan’s sailors. The cars could’ve been trucked/railroaded up here separately or Jubblingly ferried up on the deck of the supercarrier. We’re happy to see they allowed the latter. []


The US Is Getting Fatter And So Are Our Cars

SUV or Smart Car - Who'd You Rather?Since 1980, the innovations implemented in cars should’ve increased our fuel efficiency by 60%. So why did it actually only go up 15%? A study by MIT economist Christopher Knittel pinpointed the problem and it’s simple – we countered the gains in fuel efficiency by increasing the size and horsepower of our vehicles at an even higher rate. Mr. Knittel’s research paper, “Automobiles on Steroids” (PDF), outlines the results of his study.

According to the study, adjusted for inflation, gas prices fell by 30% between 1980 and 2004. During this period, sales of light trucks/SUV’s increased from 20% of all vehicles purchased to 51%. Manufacturers were building larger cars to meet the demand.

Mr. Knittel’s conclusion is that the best way to increase fuel efficiency is through the creation of a national gas tax. President Obama’s new CAFE standard that requires automakers to reach a fleet average of 54.5 mpg by 2025 will get us there but Mr. Knittel fears a “rebound effect” of the law where people would buy more fuel efficient cars and would then drive more. A gas tax would not only lead consumers to purchase more efficient vehicles but it would also encourage people to drive less.