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Meet Rob Flickenger. Amongst other things, he calls himself a “mad scientist,” and if his latest creation is anything to go by, it’s an accurate description, as he has built a Tesla Gun.
You may already be familiar with Nikola Tesla, the man who developed the modern AC electrical current system, and the creator of the Tesla Coil; however you may not have heard of The Five Fists of Science.
It’s a graphic novel set in a steampunk world where Tesla, along with Mark Twain and Bertha von Suttner battle evil to bring about world peace. In the book, Tesla uses twin pistol-sized Tesla Coil guns.
Inspired by this image, Flickenger decided to make his own version. In case you’re unsure what such a weapon could do, he sums it up perfectly on his blog: “You pull the trigger, and lightning comes out the front.” That’s that settled, then.
The result is nothing short of incredible, as you can see in the picture above, which perhaps contains more awesome than we can legally show. In essence it’s a miniaturized Tesla Coil mated to an aluminum gun body, which was adapted from a plastic Nerf gun.
You can read all about the build here, or watch a fascinating talk on how the Tesla Gun came to be in this Vimeo video. If you’re less interested in the science, and more interested in the lightning, then you’ll want to check the demonstration video below.
When there’s no earth point nearby, the Tesla Gun has a beautiful fringe of blue sparks around the end, but will shoot bolts of electricity between a distance of 8-inches and 24-inches depending on the environment.
With a range like that, you’ve probably guessed the Tesla Gun has the potential to do more harm to its operator than to an attacker, and you’d be right. The gun is more a piece of art than a weapon of war.
It’s also phase one of the project, and in the next version we can expect an improved housing, solid state modulation for more gun-like effects, and most fittingly for any mad scientist, more power.
By Andy Boxall
One month after having its dealer license denied in Virginia, Tesla Motors failed to get a permit to sell cars in its own dealership in Texas as well.
According to Automotive News, the Tesla-backed bills, that would have created an exemption to current state franchise law restricting factory-owned dealerships, were rejected before making it to the Texas House of Representatives, and the automaker won’t get another shot at this until 2015.
"The Legislature did the right thing," said Karen Phillips, general counsel of the Texas Automobile Dealers Association, which opposed the legislation. Tesla Motors has two showrooms in Texas, located in Houston and Austin.
While the “Lone Star State” doesn’t take kindly to electric cars, its inhabitants sure love trucks, with one out of every six pickups sold nationwide being delivered in Texas. Maybe Tesla should up the ante on that high-performance electric truck Musk was talking about back in April. Just saying, you know?
Story via AutomotiveNews
Hi folks, and welcome to the second part of the "How to beat the heat" guide for riding in hot weather.
The first part of the guide went through the basic explanation of the processes that can occur in the human body when exposed to high temperatures during a motorcycle trip. The most severe effects of high temperature are dehydration, which can lead to multiple adverse reactions, and sunburns.
Dehydration is the starting point of many other negative effects that could impact the riding capability, and we're only bringing up the general discomfort caused by thirst, fatigue due to losing chemical balance of the bodily fluids, increased heart rate which struggles to keep the thicker blood pumping through your veins, and more.
On the other hand, sunburns cause a much more direct discomfort and in severe cases, they even need urgent medical treatment. Needless to say, it's so much better to be able to smile when you end the day, than to squirm in pain every time you speak, feel the sweat beads stinging as they roll down your forehead and be afraid to wipe them off.
Tips, tips, tips
Avoid sunburn. If you're on a long ride, we assume you're wearing your touring gear, which means boots, long trousers, a jacket and gloves. With such equipment, it's rather hard to believe there will be too much skin exposed in direct sunlight, save for the face and maybe the v-neck of the open jacket.
One of the best ways to stay safe from the sun's UV radiation is using sunblock products with a high SPF or Sun Protection Factor. Remember to re-apply it if the ride is really long, and try to keep your helmet liner clean: even if yours is removable and washable, it's better not to need such treatment when on the go.
⌕ Summer rides in the sunset… a dream so easy to transform in reality⌕ Sunblock products are a great way to avoid sunburn on exposed skin⌕ Top-notch helmets offer very good ventilation, despite the full-face designIf you're not into wearing denim or cordura or leathers as you roll by, a good sunblock is definitely a must. Even if your skin is not too sensitive to sun or is darker, this doesn’t mean that the sun won't touch you: you might be free from sunburn, but still, the UV could harm your skin.
Finally, remember that sun can (and will) burn you even through lightweight fabrics, so don't think a light shirt will help you too much.
During the hot summer days, you might be tempted to ditch your full-face helmet and go for a braincap or something like that. You don't need us telling you how the two helmets differ as far as protection against impact is concerned.
Wearing a helmet with good ventilation is very nice in the summer, especially as the head tends to sweat a lot, and the flow of air evaporating that sweat is a cooling factor. Remember to have all your vents and extractors open, including the chin intakes. In such weather, every square centimeter of open vent is a premium feature and you should take full advantage.
If you're wearing a modular helmet, riding with it open ensures excellent air flow. In some cases, depending on the motorcycle architecture and the type of helmet you're wearing, you might be surprised to find out that riding with a closed or full-face helmet is truly comfortable, provided its venting capability is top-notch.
Before you get aboard your machine to start the journey, you could use water liberally to soak the inner liner: as air starts flowing through your helmet, water evaporates and temperatures inside the helmet drop. It will not last too much, but this cooling method is great because all you need to do is pull over, add some more water, put the helmet on, and ride away.
Not everybody can afford buying a full summer riding suit, but if you can get it at least piece by piece, it's still great. Motorcycle protective gear designed for riding in hot weather comes with a lighter build, while retaining the protection factor.
However, the summer jackets and trousers have mesh panels for extraordinary air flow and many all-round pieces also come with zipped vents. It's really great to choose 4-season gear, as these clothes usually have a layered design that can go on and off as weather conditions warrant.
The 3-layer jackets are some of the favorite here: you get the outer cordura shell for protection against abrasion, debris, insects and whatnot, a detachable windproof and waterproof liner you can store in a pocket, while the third layer is the thermal one, shielding your body from the outer ones when it's cold.
Such a design may not be exactly the most carefree one as you need to stop and gear up before the rain, but when it comes to versatility, nothing beats it. Likewise, with both jackets and trousers sporting thigh, arm/forearm, shoulder, underarm and back vents in pretty much any combination you can imagine, it's easy to figure out how convenient wearing such clothes is.
You can wear your jacket fully zipped for the best protection, yet benefit from amazing ventilation with 4 front zippers and the rear extractor open. If you ride a lot during the summer, such clothing is the absolute best!
Some can't stand the external armors, and there is no way others could blame them: it's just a matter of comfort and looks. If you're riding to work or have various meetings, it's just impractical to wear such an armor.
However, if you fancy this type of protective gear, you must also take care of the UV and direct sunlight problem, as armors leave a lot of skin exposed. Knee, shin and elbow protectors can be, of course, worn over your casual clothes, in case you're not that keen to wear leathers for a recreational ride around the town in July.
Boots and gloves
While full riding suits for the summer are not exactly dirt cheap, boots and gloves don't cost a fortune.
⌕ Braincaps oofer the best ventilation but the least protection⌕ Gel vests are great for keeping wet and cool for a long time⌕ Armors cannot be worn in all situations and some look a bit overkillSummer gloves are truly great, and once you wear some on a trip, you're most likely going to stick with them in the hot weather. With perforations and mesh panels, summer or “air” gloves are exceptionally comfortable because your hands will no longer sweat and most of us will surely love this.
On the other hand, summer boots also have a special design for improved air flow and are way more comfortable in the hot season than your all-round boots. Or if you're not going on a longer vacation, short city boots are also a good choice.
Shaped like tall basketball shoes and sporting all the ankle, toe and calf protection, such shoes are also comfortable for walking.
Please remember that summer boots, (especially) gloves and other clothing with mesh and light fabric panels will NOT offer as much protection against abrasion and impact like the “full” gear does.
Finally, we have technology and research to thank for the plethora of “technical gear” specially created for helping riders cool down.
Some of the most used garments are special vests, which are made from moisture-wicking fabric and come with ventilation panels. Their nicest feature is that they control the water loss, thus reducing dehydration. Many armors and back protectors come with the same design and are suitable for the summer.
Special gel garments are also a very nifty addition to a rider's wardrobe. These clothes contain a gel that can absorb a lot of water and they will evaporate the liquid at a slow rate, ensuring many hours of wetness.
The principle is quite simple and the only secret lies in the water-absorbent material: basically, they will cool you the same way wearing a wet t-shirt does, but they will not dry as fast as your fav cotton t-shirt would. They're also very cheap: the Water Cooling Vest is $25 (€19) and it will stay wet for about 10 hours or so.
Cool suits are yet another way to lower your body temperature in the blistering weather. These full-body suits are designed to be worn underneath your leathers or other protective gear, and the very structure of the fabric helps air circulate.
With their wicking capability, such clothes are also enhancing the riding comfort as leathers will no longer stick to the rider's skin, while, by draining moisture away from the skin, they also help reduce heat build-up inside the body. Moto-D, Alpinestars and many other manufacturers are offering such suits.
⌕ Special undergarments are helping riders stay cooler and prevent leathers from sticking⌕ Summer gloves will keep your hands dry all through the hottest days⌕ Summer boots come with enhanced breathability and can be worn as casual shoesIce collars can be worn around the neck, as well, though many can't actually stand them: they sport a pocket in which a small zip-lock bag can be inserted after filling it with ice. Ice melts away and water will slowly drop on your t-shirt, keeping it wet and you cool.
In the end, if you're not willing to spend too much on such gear, you can keep wetting your t-shirt from time to time and be fine with that. Just remember that with each minute you're riding in the heat you're losing water and minerals, and drinking lots of water is the key element for beating the heat.
Check out the first part of the guide, for detailed physiological aspects of humans vs. heat. We really hope your summer rides will be cool and all right. Ride safe!
By Florin Tibu
Blind Spot Detection, Adaptive Cruise Control, and Lane Departure Warning Systems are not currently offered on the Tesla Model S. Or are they? Well, no, not yet at least.
The cars seem to have been built with those additional safety tech features in mind, however, as a secret Model S data screen reveals.
If you want to find this secret screen, simply press your finger on the Tesla logo on the middle top of the onboard 17-inch infotainment screen for five seconds. When you release, a prompt for a password appears. We don’t have a password for you, nor would we want to provide you with one, as messing with the options within could damage your vehicle. Proceed with caution, if you choose to proceed at all.
The folks at Drag Times did have a password and the video embedded on their page shows some interesting features, as seen in the picture above.
Looks like some other settings can be changed from this screen, too. We wonder if where it says “Performance: Sport,” we could upgrade performance levels even further, unlocking some torque and increasing acceleration. We’re also interested to know what’s telling the vehicle it’s set up for left- or right-hand drive would change.
If you’re wondering if you can simply turn on adaptive cruise or lane departure warning, should you find your way into this locked screen, we doubt it. As far as we know, the Model S hasn’t yet been fitted with the appropriate sensors to work such systems.
Could a future Model S include these important safety systems? We’ll say, “yes.”
By Nick Jaynes
With the official deadline for first customer deliveries drawing ever nearer, and with the first car already delivered to a board member, Tesla are aiming high with their Model S. Despite requiring only 8,000 sales per year to stay in business, they are envisioning 20,000 to be sold in 2013.
That number is expected to rise in 2014 to 35,000 as Tesla will add the Model X crossover to their range. Despite the air of optimism, Tesla isn’t actually doing that well at the moment, as they have reported first quarter losses of 84% compared to 2011. They have sunk their money into the production of the Model S and have yet to benefit (financially) from their investments.
Another plus point for the Model S is its very good crash test rating, receiving 5 stars from IIHS. Definitely a big selling point nowadays. We expect the Model S to do very well, and BMW’s 5-Series may have a new, much more advanced rival on its hands – a rival which it cannot beat in the manner in which it beats its other rivals, a rival which is so fresh, people may forget the BMW.
The EV is the next step in the evolution of the car and it has been suppressed over the years to maintain our oil addiction. The Model S is the first EV people actually want to buy by the thousands (after GM’s EV1 which so mysteriously disappeared) and if it proves reliable, the sky is the limit for tesla.
Story via autonews.com
Oh, ye of little faith. You thought nobody could make a cool electric car, but Tesla Motors has the pulse of Silicone Vally types and has transformed the Model S into a huge success.
We've talked at length about what makes the Model S good, but buying a car is always something a bit different to liking it. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has found the perfect way to make it a lot more affordable, by launching a "revolutionary new finance product" in partnership with Wells Fargo and US Bank.
You can buy a Model S with a 10% down payment, which is actually covered by the US Federal and state tax credits ranging from $7,500 to $15,000. New Jersey, Washington and DC also have no sales tax for electric vehicles, so basically all you have to do now is worry about the down payments.
Obviously, the rates will vary depending on what trim you buy, but Tesla says that "when considering the savings from using electricity instead of gasoline, depreciation benefits and other factors, the true net out of pocket cost to own a mid-range Model S drops to less than $500 per month."
Watch Elon's announcement in the video below and watch out for the words "Mercedes S-Class". This guy is the Steve Jobs of plug-in cars, only healthier.
By Mihnea Radu
It seems that everybody has very good things to say about the Tesla Model S, and if you needed more convincing that it is a very good car, Consumer Reports can now confirm this, as well, after having done a brief review of the car. However, it was not their car, which is what they usually do – buy a car, then test it extensively for a while.
Even so, the brief test again brought to light the Model S’ qualities, such as the sleek design, low drag coefficient, excellent performance, elegant and simple interior, and the 17-inch touch screen display, which has mostly been praised by reviewers who have had a chance to use it so far.
They will be doing a full review of it once they get delivery of their very own car, so until then, this is all they have to say about it. One thing they didn’t like, though, were the door handles, which the reviewer called ‘fussy’ – they do work, though, and will definitely impress your friends.
2013 Tesla Model S
Loaners cars are now routinely provided by luxury carmakers when their customers have cars in for servicing.
Now Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] is joining the crowd, providing Model S luxury sports sedans to its Model S (and Roadster) owners while their cars are in the shop.
But according to CEO Elon Musk, these aren’t just any Model S: All the loaners will be the top-end, most luxurious Model S Performance version with the 85-kilowatt-hour battery pack and punchier acceleration than lesser models.
Road testers have logged the Tesla Model S Performance accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds (the original factory quote was 4.6 seconds).
That’s a number that exceeds most luxury sedans on the market today, although to be fair, repeated use of that acceleration is likely to have a negative effect on the car’s EPA-rated range of 265 miles.
Musk discussed the loaner plan in an interview with USA Today, in which he also promised that Tesla employees would drop the temporary Model S cars wherever the customer requested–rather than requiring the owner to bring the car in to a Tesla service center.
Initially, the loaner fleet will number about 80 vehicles spread among Tesla’s 21 current service centers.
The fleet will expand as Tesla opens more stores and service centers across the country; the company lists another 13 service centers as “coming soon.”
Musk noted that the idea for luxury loaners hadn’t originated with Tesla. He attributed it, instead, to Toyota’s luxury brand Lexus.
But a top-of-the-line loaner–nicer, in many cases, than the Model S that’s in for service–is certainly a step up from hearing the service guy yell, “Hey, Manny, whadda we got in the back for this guy?”
Tesla Model X at 2013 Detroit Auto Show
HI-RES GALLERY: Tesla Model X at 2013 Detroit Auto Show
Tesla Model X at 2013 Detroit Auto Show
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Unveiled live at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show, Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] is giving us new ideas as to what the interior of its Model X crossover may look like.
Tesla calls it an “interior exploration”, giving a hint as to the different colors and trim materials you can expect from the production Model X.
The work has been done by Tesla Design Studio, and uses a mix of white and black leathers to bring contrast to the three rows of seats–the back rows, of course, accessed via the unusual ‘falcon wing’ rear doors.
The black and white theme continues to the dashboard facia, dominated by the same huge touchscreen display you’ll find in the Model S sedan–albeit mounted proud of the dashboard.
The exterior, also contrasting in black and white, is unchanged from the last time we saw the Model X.
Much of the Model X’s hardware is based on that in the Model S, with 60 kWh and 85 kWh battery options. Befitting its crossover body, the Model X will also offer electric all-wheel drive. Production is expected to begin in late 2013.
For more live photos, news and specifications from the show floor, head over to our Detroit Auto Show page.
Range is something of an issue for EV owners, even those who bought their electric cars from Tesla. The EV start-up, which offers the highest-capacity battery packs in the business, is looking to offer a way to make longer road trips plausible without having to install internal combustion range extenders to its cars. Enter the Tesla Supercharger station, of which Tesla has now opened six in California. These are public charging stations for Tesla owners which will not only deliver a partial charge extremely quickly, but are also free to use.
The principal behind these stations is fairly simple. Batteries can be charged very quickly when they are nearly depleted, and this is what the Supercharger station does. Tesla owners can replenish their batteries to point where they have 150 out of the 265 miles of range which the Model S is capable of in just 30 minutes with a Supercharger. Topping it off the rest of the way requires standard charging, but 150 miles is quite a lot for just 30 minutes of charging, and Tesla has placed the stations in high traffic areas between large cities in California with the intent of getting owners of their EVs that extra bit of distance needed to get to their destination.
The Supercharger charging equipment connects directly to the car’s battery, bypassing the onboard charging system. It charges at 90 kW, and is 4.7 times faster than the already-quick home charging stations which Tesla will install for you when you buy a Model S. The stations are located not just along routes where they are deemed most useful, but also near restaurants, shops and other such locations which will help you to kill 30 minutes while you wait for your EV to charge.
The chain of stations makes it possible to travel by EV from Los Angeles all the way to San Francisco with just a couple of relatively quick charging stops. Tesla says that their plan is to extend the model across the whole country, making charging pipelines from coast to coast and across Canada as well. As an added eco bonus, the tops of the stations are covered in solar panels, thus sidestepping the problem of dirty electricity generation. Nationwide implementation will be a much more difficult undertaking, but assuming that everything goes according to plan with these first stations, it’s not an insurmountable goal.
By Jacob Joseph