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

Foil those morning frosts – Volkswagen’s climate windshield

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It’s one of those unifying daily tasks that no one enjoys doing, especially when you’re out in the freezing cold and the sun’s not even up yet. We all know the drill: Bundle up in our outdoor gear. Start the car. Turn the heater to defrost and (if you have it) turn on the defroster for your rear window. Then, you get out your scraper and spend the next 5-10 minutes putting scraper to windows clearing as much frost as you can.

Well, it turns out there may be a light at the end of the tunnel after all. You might even call it a silver lining. It’s an ultra-thin layer of silver sandwiched (or as the say ‘laminated’) between two layers of glass in Volkswagen’s new climate windshield. Unlike typical heated windshields with filaments of wire running through them, Volkswagen’s newest invention uses an invisible layer of silver that doesn’t affect your visibility at all. Imagine that.

Right now this is only available on the Volkswagen Golf, Golf Sportsvan, Tiguan, Sharan, Passat and Passat Variant… Which means it’s not actually available in the US. I did a bit of searching and I can’t find any mention of it anywhere on the US Volkswagen sites. I’m think this would be a big selling point in most of the country though. Most American deal with frost frequently during the winter months.

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A frosty 2016 Volkswagen Passat. source.

Yes, Volkswagen is in the middle of a public relations snafu of their own making, but this could be one of those things to bring them back into our (America’s) good graces. It’s not even that expensive but it could save you so much time and effort. Not to mention spending less time in the cold.

I’ve seen a few comparisons to the Ford QuickClear system, which is again only available in Europe, that uses a grid of wire filaments to clear your windshield. I can’t help but think why does Europe get all the good tech? So I looked into it… Apparently we had it in the 1990’s but it wasn’t popular. How strange, it seems like it would be a major selling point to me. Way to go earlier generation, why didn’t you like this?

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A Vehicle before Ford QuickClear was turned on. source.

Oh, and Volkswagen says that this state of the art windshield isn’t just for winter. The ‘the thin layer of silver acts as a passive heat shield. As it reflects up to 60 per cent of the summer heat.’ Thus reducing the interior temperature of the car by 15 degrees Celsius, or 27 degrees for those of us who live by Fahrenheit.

Prices start at €340 (approximately $363.03) depending on the model.