Nissan Leaf Aero Concept

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leaf_tas_aero_concept

Honestly, I did not expect to like this. Yet somehow I really like it! The design is funky, futuristic and somehow makes sense on the Leaf. I take back any previous bad things I said about the Leaf’s styling, there is some potential there after all…

I’m looking forward to seeing this car in a couple of weeks in Tokyo!

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Reader’s Ride – The Best Reader’s Ride Ever by Ben Schaffer

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Electric Raceabout

About 6 months ago I got an email from a blog reader named Janne. Janne wrote me in response to a recent blog post about rear mounted radiators that I had written. At that time Janne shared with me a picture of the car he was putting together over in Helsinki. And sure enough his car was using a rear mounted radiator. Here was that original picture that sparked my interest:

Electric Raceabout

Now it isn’t too often that I get an email from a blog reader showing a full dry carbon original/unidentifiable car with a rear mounted radiator, so to say I was intrigued would be an understatement.

As time would go by, Janne updated me with some additional progress photos and my intrigue continued to grow…

Electric Race AboutElectric Race About

At this point I realized that I was privileged to be witnessing the construction of something epic…but how epic I did not learn until later…

electric race about

Janne’s readers ride is now competing in the X Prize and going up against other cars from around the world after a $10 million dollar prize. The car is being produced by Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences and is 3 years in progress at this point.

The car’s official name is called the Electric Race About (ERA) and Janne is a design engineer for this massive undertaking.

The car’s final specs are 1250kg, 4WD and enough electric power to propel it to 60MPH in under 5 seconds. The range of the car also will exceed 180 miles per charge. But beyond all of that, the car is absolutely beautiful! I’d take one of these over the Tesla any day!

The car is currently on it’s way to the US to compete in the X-Prize. I wish Janne and the team the best of luck!!

For me, this car takes the crown as our best reader’s ride ever. Thank you Janne for sharing this amazing creation you and your fellow team built!

Official ERA website:

http://www.raceabout.fi/era/index.php?page=techdata

X-Prize website:

http://www.progressiveautoxprize.org/teams/raceabout-association

Bonus wallpaper pic (the first pic is 1800res as well)

Electric Race About

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Welcome To 2010 Post – A Forward Thinking Post

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ASI Toyota Prius Lexus Bulletproof Eco

Happy New Year everyone! I’m excited about 2010! During my hiatus I spent some time thinking about life, cars and the future.

One thing that reoccurred a few times during my time reflecting and reading was the theme of electric cars and eco cars in general. Now if you’re like me, this probably sounds like a boring topic…but if you’re like me, you’ll give reading this a chance because you know how much I care about sports car tuning and where I’m coming from.

I wanted to share the cliff notes of my thought evolution during my time off.

First of all, this is a great video to all of you who are forward thinking and interested in the future:

http://www.ted.com/talks/shai_agassi_on_electric_cars.html

That TED video in the link is not the first and also will not be the last I’ll share here over the years. I’m a huge supporter of TED and I recommend it to anyone and everyone who has an interest in the world we all live in. There truly is knowledge for any and every interest, presented from thousands of the world’s foremost experts. Its all free and streaming on that website and I don’t make a penny endorsing this, I do it for the bettering of your knowledge/perspective and for the positive advancement of world we all must co-exist in.

So back to the point…I’ve been admittedly reluctant on accepting the shift from performance cars to Eco cars as of late, and I’ve stated my feelings here on the blog many times before. In actuality I’m very PRO green technology I’m all about reducing our footprint and curbing global warming…but at the same time I cant help but get depressed as less sports car tuning is ultimately slowing down my hobby and for that matter the industry my business operates in.

With that being said, I think undeniably that electric and/or various other low emission vehicles is the answer to many of the very daunting problems we have right now in the world. The TED video I linked to above provides a very compelling vision of what a proper mass roll out of an electric vehicle solution looks like and the massively positive impact it can offer the world.

I agree with the message in the video and I support that image of the future. But I want my sports cars too…I don’t want to ever give up the joy of driving and modifying fun cars.

Next and unrelated to stumbling upon that TED video, I watched an older episode of Top Gear in which they interviewed Jay Leno. Leno said something interesting to this point…he said that when cars replaced horses, horses lost their primary function as a mode of daily transportation but yet they transitioned into a permanent role of sport and personal enjoyment rather than basic transport. Essentially, the advent of cars ended up giving horses a permanent place in the world for those who enjoy horses for the passion or riding rather than the necessity of it.

Now, the horses I’m interested in are more plentiful…(400 horses minimum at a time for me please)

With that being said, perhaps hybrid cars, electric cars and other green vehicles which I consider a necessity for the world (yet a horribly boring drive) will bring the same result.

Lastly, I read a great article in Fortune Small Business magazine (another magazine that just got the axe and one that was the closest resemblance to Business 2.0 which was my favorite magazine until they died as well). This article was about two guys that took over a Cadillac dealership in Northern California to open a Prius conversion shop. They would take the Prius and for about $5000 they would convert it to be able to run on electricity only. Basically “souping” up the battery system by adding more capacity and rewiring the electronics to be able to bypass the engine completely…I was inspired. Their business exhibits the same passion that we have for bolting on a turbo kit and reworking the ECU and fuel to compensate for more air flow, yet they were doing it for the passion of ECO tuning rather than sports tuning.

To conclude…

In three unrelated stumbles upon information I developed my own vision of the future in which ECO tuning and sports car tuning not only co-exist but help each other to unite a more solid and permanent foundation for the passion of car tuning.

The idea of an all electric zero emissions daily driver and a beast of a sports car for the weekend seems like a future that I can be happy with and at the same time the world can be a better place because of it. At the same time, our weekend sports cars can become even more focused on the “sporting” side because daily practicality will become less of a focus with a gas and dollar saving ECO car to be used as a daily beater. This will allow for more aggressive sports car builds because the trade-off between speed and usability will become less of a factor. If my hopes are true, the purity of sports car tuning will become enhanced when the future arrives and this day comes.

Regardless of whether I’m right or wrong, one thing I know for sure is nothing stays the same forever. With that being said, you’ll soon see a new business emerge from our company. I’ll refrain from saying more details until the website is done to share with you all.

Happy New Year! May the future be bright for us all.

Ben

PS: The ASI Green Prius will debut at Tokyo Auto Salon. You can see the first sneak peek of the real car here. We’ll be offering ASI tuning for the Prius immediately upon its release, just as we also offer ASI’s Ferrari and Bentley tuning programs now to our clients.

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