Google’s Self-Driving Cars Are Now Legal On California’s Roads.

Google Autonomous CarThis is a good thing, making the autonomous Google car street legal in California, right?

Google’s autonomous cars operate through the use of computers, lasers and sensors allowing the driver to be a passenger. The goal of the Google car is to improve safety, reduce congestion, and improve fuel efficiency. Sounds like mass transit… less the computers, lasers, sensors and having another vehicle on the road. [Inhabitat]

Jubbling: Consuming less should be less consuming.


Middle Tennessee State Creates $3000 Plug-In Hybrid Retrofit That’ll Work On Most Cars.

This reminds us of the Protean Drive™ System which would allow automakers to more easily manufacture and convert an existing car model into a hybrid vehicle. But the major difference with the system developed by Dr. Charles Perry and his team at Middle Tennessee State is that the plug-in hybrid functionality can be added to an existing vehicle. In their test, they used a 1994 Honda Accord station wagon. It’s a $3000 retrofit that could improve gas mileage by 50 – 100% and is aimed at “around town” drivers who only need to travel 35 miles or less. [Wired]


Getting To Hybrid Faster With The In-Wheel Protean Drive™ System

Protean Drive System from Protean ElectricFor automakers, creating or converting an existing car model into a hybrid can be comparable to playing chess. Now Protean Electric wants to turn the process into checkers with their Protean Drive in-wheel drive system. It’s a genius idea that puts all the great features of an electric drive system and regenerative braking of a hybrid car in your car’s wheel well. From the Protean website:

“Protean Drive™ also has superior regenerative braking capabilities, which allow up to 85 percent of the available kinetic energy to be recovered during braking.”

Depending on the battery size, the Protean Drive™ system will extend a vehicle’s fuel economy by 30% while only adding 68 lbs per wheel and will deliver power more efficiently at the wheel instead of through the transmission.

In July 2012, Protean Electric received $84 million in funding that will be used to build a manufacturing plant in Liyang China. Their goal is to be ramped up and delivering product in volume by 2014. With the in-wheel Protean Drive™ system, going hybrid and reducing fuel consumption could be an option available for every new car. [Greentech Media]


Crazy Truck-Car Hybrid For Sale On Craigslist

Truck-Car-LadonProbably not the hybrid vehicle you were looking for. This truck-car hybrid takes the worst features of both and puts them into one vehicle but the reuse/recycle factor is very high. For sale on Craigslist at $3k (firm). [Boing Boing]


Toyota Prius Drivers Around The World, Unite And Go Camping (With Habitents)

Habitents for Toyota Prius and Honda InsightHabitents camping canopy for the Toyota Prius is a cool idea and the best part is that it’s reasonably priced at $89.99. Habitents also folds down to fit in your glove compartment. The only downside: how bad the dutch oven effect could be with two people trying to sleep in a Prius after a couple days of camping food. [Habitents]


Decided What Car To Get By First Asking Ourselves, WWABD (What Would Andy Bernard Drive)? Got A Prius.

Andy Bernard - The OfficeAs of 3pm on Sunday April 15th, we became proud Toyota Prius owners. It sure is a nice ride and the user interface tells you more than everything you’d want to know about how your car is performing. The UI can be a bit overwhelming but it does help the driver adjust their technique to maximize fuel economy in real time. My kids sitting in the back calling us out every time we switched to using the gas engine wasn’t ordered but could be an option on future models.

Being a new Prius owner does come with responsibility.Pious - Toyota Prius vanity license One big one is that we will not put any smug, pro-Prius bumper stickers on our car. Our motivation to get the Toyota Prius wasn’t to be better than anyone; it was simply a decision borne out of cheapness. Compared to our 2002 Honda Odyssey, the Prius gets nearly 3 times the gas mileage and that’s basically all it took. And ours isn’t a plugin model so we won’t be attending any National Plug In Day events but then again, we wouldn’t go even if it was.

So thank you Andy Bernard, the Nard-Dog, for inspiring us to act. We un-piously love our Prius so much that we can’t wait to not drive it!