The Aeromobile 3.0: Is it a titan or a ‘Terror’?

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Still from The Fifth Element. Gotta love those flying cars!

Flying cars. They’re a staple in any futuristic movie, other than those featuring a dystopia of course. They’ve been a part of our collective consciousness for well over 100 years. First discussed by Jules Verne’s “Master of the World” with “The Terror” a boat, car, AND aircraft that moves through space more quickly and easily than the largest birds. From the image below it looks more like a glider to me. How is it propelled?

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I don’t know about you, but the thought of riding in that is a bit terrifying. It looks like a canoe shaped submersible with wings and wheels. It doesn’t exactly inspire confidence, does it?

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I think Mr. Rickenbacker was a few decades early with this article…

And looking back through history ‘they’ have been promising us flying cars since 1944. (We’re looking at you Popular Science.) Long before a certain Hannah Barbara cartoon. So, where is my flying car? It’s been nearly 75 years.

Well, one company is in fact working on a flying car prototype (their fourth) that has actually flown and landed without incident. It is the 4th or 5th to reach this stage  if you’ve read through one of the many histories on flying cars. It can easily go from car to plane and back again with ease.

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Meet the AeroMobile 3.0.

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It even looks nice from the rear.

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Are you ready to take her for a spin?

The Slovakian company AeroMobil has released footage and information about their prototype (soon to be in production) vehicle the AeroMobile 3.0. If you visit their website you can see the current prototype flexing it’s wings. Pun absolutely intended.

Specs for the AeroMobil 3.0

  • 2 passengers + parachute deployment
  • Uses regular gasoline
  • 29 mpg road use  /  4 gallons an hour flying
  • Auto-pilot available in flight mode
  • Max speed: 99 mph road  /  124 mph flight
  • Will fit in a standard parking space (always good to know! The big question is, is it American or British?)
  • Licensing requirements:
    Standard driving license for road driving
    Private Pilot’s License (PPL) for flying

Weirdly enough you may see the resemblance between “The Terror” on the cover of Jules Verne’s novel and illustrations within and the AeroMobile 3.0.

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I can see it, do you?

Or maybe, being a part of the company building one of the world’s first flying car is something you’ve always dreamed of doing? Here’s your chance because they’re hiring!

I shall leave you with this quote from Henry Ford in 1940 that’s featured prominently on the AeroMobile website:

“Mark my words: a combination airplane and motorcar is coming. You may smile, but it will come.”

Not soon enough for the majority of us, but hopefully sometime soon in the next few years for the lucky few. I’m still waiting for the flying car and the robo-nanny/housekeeper the Jetson’s had!

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Throwing Shade at Electric Cars: Hidden state fees

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Electric cars have been heralded as the cars of the future, our current solution to the United States’ dependence on petroleum products. The irony here is that electric automobiles were actually built and sold before petroleum powered automobiles. (The first electric vehicle was built in 1842, compared to 1864 for the first gasoline powered one.) The combustion engine over took the electric automobile in the early 20th century due to their high top speeds and a much higher range of travel on a single tank of gas vs an electric charge.

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Now this looks just like a horseless carriage… 1901 Waverly Runabout.

Nothing ever really changes, does it? People still complain about the relatively short range of fully electric vehicles nowadays. And back on track.

Yes, electric cars are seen as environmentally friendly due to the lack of carbon dioxide and other chemicals spewing from the exhaust pipe and into the atmosphere as you drive. Electricity is indeed cleaner, but you’re still using fossil fuels to power your car here in America. We don’t have many nuclear reactors or other large scale alternate power sources. A better solution is needed in the long run. Maybe we should burn all of our trash like Sweden? They’ve started to import trash from their neighbors to power their waste-to-energy generators.

And, back on track again. Sorry, there are so many interesting avenues we could follow.

One way the governments in the US are incentivizing EV purchases (as you probably already know) is through tax rebates to help offset the additional cost of your new car purchase. But did you know that there are at least 10 states that charge you extra fees for Plug-in Electric Vehicles (PEVs)?

Yep, 10 states. And they all have an annual fee that you’ll pay above and beyond the ‘traditional’ registration fees paid to your state each year. Ranging from $47.50-$235 a year, that’s a pretty hefty sum to pay yearly. Indiana has a legislative plan in the works that includes a proposed $150 annual fee for electric vehicles, this would make them state number 11.

Is your state one of them?

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Colorado
Law:  H.B. 1110 (2013) $50 annual fee

Georgia
Law: H.B. 170 (2015) – $200 annual fee

Idaho
Law: H.B. 312 (2015) $75 – $140 depending on vehicle

Michigan
Law: H.B. 4736 (2015) varies from $47.50- $235 depending on vehicle

Missouri
S.B. 619 (1998) – $75 annual fee

Nebraska
L.B. 289 (2011) – $75 annual fee

North Carolina
S.B. 402 (2013) $100 annual fee
H.B. 97 (2015) increased the fee to $130

Virginia
S.B. 127 (2014) $64 annual fee

Washington
H.B. 2660 (2012) – $100 annual fee

Wyoming
H.B. 9 (2015) -$50 one-time fee
H.B. 2 makes the fee applicable every year

Can you believe it?- 10 crazy laws

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There really are some crazy laws out there and I did see a LOT of lists, but no one ever stated if they were true or not. Which is something I would want to know, especially if I plan on sharing them with other people! So here is a list of 10 crazy laws, of which I could find reasonable proof for 8, and some promising information on the other 2.

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  1. You’ll get fined if your truck leaves a mess in Minnetonka, Minnesota.
    This one is true, but it’s not just about vehicles. As seen is this newsletter, pg. 7.
    ‘It is illegal to drive a truck or other vehicle whose wheels or tires deposit mud, dirt, sticky substances, litter or other material on any street or highway. (Minnetonka). This one is still on the books in Minnetonka under section 845.010 – Public Nuisances.’

 

  1. Dunn, North Carolina, it’s illegal to play in traffic.
    I can’t find anything that shows this law is actually on the books, but it is one that would seem likely since the people who would be playing in the street would probably be children or young adults.

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  1. Skateboarders in Florida need a license.
    This one is actually true according to the Orlando Sentinel. A special license used to be required to skateboard, but the law is ignored today.

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  1. In California it’s illegal to shoot at any kind of game from a moving vehicle, of course, unless you’re shooting at a whale, that’s completely fine.
    According to Etags, this law is in fact true! It’s also listed across the internet as a law, but I really can’t find any actual proof it exists.

  1. It’s illegal to shoot whales from your car in Connecticut.
    Nissan of Norwich says this is true, so it must be. Right? It’s also one of those law’s that’s absolutely everywhere on the internet.

  1. In Alabama it is completely fine and legal to drive the wrong way down a one-way street as long as you have a lantern attached to the front of your car.
    Well this guy says it’s real! Michael Shafer, Personal Injury Attorney

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  1. Texas requires windshield wipers, but not necessarily a windshield.
    I’ve been finding a lot of hearsay evidence on this one, including someone who said they were a Texas inspector on a Cobra forum, but I can’t find the actual law. So jury’s still out.

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  1. Pennsylvania requires any motorist who sights a team of horses coming toward him must pull well off the road, cover his car with a blanket or canvas that blends with the countryside, and let the horses pass.
    Now this is one law I’ve heard about since high school and I am entertained to know that it is in fact true! Here it is cited in the book You Can Get Arrested for That.

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  1. In West Virginia Officials it’s perfectly legal for anyone to scavenge road kill.
    This one is absolutely true. In Marlinton, West Virginia they even have a Roadkill Cook-off, they’ll be having the 25th in the fall of 2017.

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  1. In Oklahoma you’ll be ticketed if caught reading a comic book while driving.
    You really have to wonder about some of these laws… but this one is also cited in a book, It’s the Law!.

Giving the Boot the boot

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If you’re like me your first introduction to the car clamp, aka ‘The Boot’ was on a TV show or movie. The Simpson’s episode ‘the City of New York vs Homer Simpson’ springs to mind.

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Homer being upset over all the parking fines and the boot.

To see one in action you had to be from a more urban area and I was stuck out in the suburbs. Well, this specific parking punishment may be heading towards the end of its usefulness. At least, if Barnacle Parking has their way. Meet the Barnacle. And I don’t mean Barney from How I Met Your Mother.

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Left: Yes, this is the Barnacle parking enforcement device. Right: Not Barney Stinson

Last summer a new parking enforcement product entered the scene. The Barnacle is a relatively lightweight, plastic device that is attached to the vehicle’s windshield using commercial grade suction cups. You ask, ‘Wouldn’t the driver easily remove this device?’ Nope. There’s an integrated pump that provides 100’s of pounds of force to secure the Barnacle to the windshield. It even has a built-in anti-tamper alarm and a GPS to detect if someone is either attempting to move the vehicle or illegally remove the device. Pretty slick.

Barnacle Parking created their device because they saw a need for a new parking enforcement device that was efficient, user friendly and lightweight. One that would make the entire process of parking enforcement easier for all parties involved: the administration, enforcement personnel and the violator.

With the Barancle, gone are the days of waiting around for someone to come and remove the boot at their convenience. All you have to do is pay your fine over the phone and they’ll give you a code to punch in that will release the device. You’ll then have to drop the Barnacle at a specified drop point, but that’s easily done.

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The man in this photo looks too pleased with himself. Shouldn’t he look more annoyed?

Will the Barnacle be making its debut in a city near you? Well, it’s currently undergoing a trial period in Allentown, Pennsylvania and Fort Lauderdale, Florida. “We wanted to see how the Barnacle held up in a variety of environments, and Fort Lauderdale’s heat and humidity made it a perfect test market,” company president Kevin Dougherty told City Lab.

Depending on how things go, will your city ditch the Boot and switch to the Barnacle? Only time will tell.

Barnacle photos courtesy of Barnacle Parking.