Art Is Motion: Lexus 300h Mod Paints Driver’s Picture Based On How They Drive. [Video]

Art Is Motion: Lexus 300h paints a portrait of the drive based on how the drive.

Art collector Walter Vanhaerent’s Lexus 300h paints his portrait each time he takes it for a drive. From Gizmodo:

“The specially modified vehicle is half art project, half engineering experiment. Vanhaerent’s Lexus features a large LCD display that shows his portrait being generated by custom software that paints it in the style of artist Sergio Abliac. The slower Vanhaerent drives, the more detailed the portrait will be, and the faster he drives, the more abstract the brush strokes become.”

Cool project but unfortunately, the “Art Is Motion” mod doesn’t motivate the driver to go slower, on electric power alone; if Mr. Vanhaerent is feeling abstract, he’ll just floor it. One additional tweak, that only outputs a painting if the driver drives slower, and this ‘art’ project becomes a standard feature on all Lexus models. [Gizmodo]


Compressed Air / Gasoline Hybrid Vehicle From PSA Peugeot Citroën Expected To Get Over 100 MPG.

PSA Peugeot Citroen Air Hybrid VehiclePSA Peugeot Citroën is working on a hybrid that doesn’t require batteries. It’s a MacGyverish Hybrid Air concept vehicle that combines an internal combustion engine with a special epicyclic transmission and hydraulic motor powered by compressed air. From Motor Authority:

“Like a conventional hybrid vehicle, the new Hybrid Air concept uses the gasoline engine for cruising on the highway, the hydraulic motor around town (it’s capable of speeds up to 43 mph), and a combination of the two power sources during high load situations such as hard acceleration or climbing a hill. To refill the tanks, the hydraulic motor works in reverse, using regenerative forces to suck in air and compress it for later use.”

PSA Peugeot Citroën Air Hybrid cars should be on the road by 2016. [SmartPlanet]


12.5% Of The US Car Buying Market Accounts for 29% of Hybrid And 41% Of Electric Vehicle Sold In 2012.

2013 Chevy VoltIf fuel efficient car ownership were a competition, the western United States just annihilated the rest of the country. Tom Libby of Polk has crunched the numbers for the first 10 months of 2012 and despite only representing 12.5% of the market, the western United States accounted for 29% of new hybrid vehicle sales and 41% of new electric vehicle sales.

According to Mr. Libby’s data, 7% of all new vehicle sales for the top 15 DMAs (Designated Marketing Areas) were hybrids. And in the San Francisco / Oakland / San Jose DMA, nearly 10% of the new cars sold were hybrid. Of the top 15 DMAs for hybrid and electric car sales – 9 were located in California, 4 in Oregon and 1 each for Washington and Arizona.

In the bottom 15 DMAs, which were predominantly located in Louisiana and Texas, hybrid sales represented 1.5% of new car purchases and electric vehicles only .01%. The bottom 15 DMAs represent 6.6% of the new car buying market.

What can you take away from this data? If you’re buying a hybrid or electric vehicle and you live on the west coast, you should probably haggle more. [Polk via GCR]


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]