Archive for the ‘Automotive’ Category

Turn a Tesla Into a Pokémon Go Machine

Monday, August 1st, 2016

What happens when you pair up the most buzz-worthy car with the most viral game? You get a giant Pokémon Go car that looks awesome and will help you catch them all.

Pokémon  Go Tesla

Pokémon Go Tesla

A guy named Jeff, an editor for Pink Java Media enjoys playing Pokémon Go so much that he threw a little caution to the wind and poked around with his Tesla until he got it to install the popular game, making the most creative use I’ve seen out of the Tesla’s 14 inch display with GPS and a camera built in. “It’s not perfect,” Jeff said. “The Tesla’s display cuts off some of the game; I haven’t been able to fix that.” Probably more challenging is that the built-in camera the Tesla provides is a back-up camera, intended for assisting with, well, backing up. This, of course, means that Jeff must put the car in reverse in order to catch Pokémon.

How Did He Do It?
According to Pink Java, Jeff completed this feat with “a little bit of luck, some old-fashioned ingenuity, and an ethernet cable”, but that’s all the detail provided. I guess we’ll have to wait for him to document the process and just catch Pokémon with our phones like regular folk.

What is Pokémon Go?
Pink Java does a great job of summarising the game in their own article about Jeff’s adventure:

Pokemon GO is a smartphone game in which players chase and capture virtual creatures using geolocation. The phone’s camera makes it seem like these fanciful beasts are right there with the player in the real world, with different creatures appearing in different places.

When asked what Jeff had in mind next for his Tesla, he responded, “Tinder,” he said with a smile. “Going to see if I can swipe right with my turn signal.” I’d like to see how that works out. What would you like to see Jeff hack into his Tesla?

Fast Fun With Cooper Tires On Mud, Rocks and Test Tracks

Saturday, September 1st, 2012

This post brought to you by Cooper Tires. All opinions are 100% mine.

In June, I flew to San Antonio to spend a few days with Cooper Tire at their test facility. Although I went on "business", the trip was a lot of fun and very educational for a guy who, like most, doesn't spend a lot of free time thinking about tires.

When I talked about the experience in June, I shared a video I mashed together from the event to give you an idea of how it went. This time around, I thought I'd share the video Cooper Tire created featuring me as well as some of my fellow bloggers.

This video gives a much better idea of how much we lit these tires up. People who know me well know I like to drive fast, so this was a treat for me beyond words. Even with my lead foot, I was urged many times to push it to the limit and make the tires earn their bragging rights.
 

Corvettes On Wet And Dry Tracks

One of my favorite parts of the event was getting behind the wheels of the dueling Corvettes to compare the leading competitor tires to the Cooper Tire Zeon RS3-S set. This was done first with several laps on the wet track, where I found my comfort level and learned to trust the tires. Control was not a problem on the Coopers compared to the competitor which didn't handle quite as well and I can't even imagine how my Dodge Charger would have done. It doesn't have Coopers on it and it seems like it gets loose on me any time I turn on wet asphalt. After the wet track, moving on to the dry track was even better. I drove a lot faster and I absolutely did not want to get out from behind the wheel when my laps were done.
 

Mustangs, Drifting, And Relay Racing

With the Cooper Zeon RS3-A on one Mustang and competitor tires on the other Mustang, we pushed these on the wet track just like the Corvettes and really got a feel for the feedback they provided when entering a slide and regaining control. Then came the relay race just for fun. In the relay race, each team member had to get their Mustang around the wet track as fast as possible, park within a box, and tag the next driver… all without losing precious seconds to toppled cones. It was a fun way to cap the wet track testing. We also tore around the dry track in a frenzy of drifting, whipping back and forth in the car while trying to keep down breakfast. Roller coasters have nothing on this.
 

Mud, Tahoes, And High Speed Off-Roading

After treating Chevy Tahoes like Mustangs on the wet track – which handled much better than I anticipated on the Cooper Tire Discoverer A/T3 tires, by the way – we tested the same tires on the very truck seen below by pushing it to about 100 Mph on a dirt track. The handling on such an unpredictable surface was perhaps the thing that amazed me the most during my trip. After being one of the last in the truck for the day, I checked the tires and they still looked great. The trip wouldn't have been complete without some rock climbing and deep mud tests. Dragging Jeeps through the mud was a dirty task, but one that kept with the pace of the other events, tearing through mud with no problems at all.

IMG_8238

San Antonio was great and the whole experience with Cooper Tire was an invitation I would accept again in a heartbeat. The whole thing was fun with safety as a priority and it opened my eyes to tires I have since wished were on my car. Be sure to check out the Cooper Tire website and follow @CooperTire on Twitter.

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Tesla Motors Model X – The Fast, Stylish, Electric SUV

Sunday, May 13th, 2012

Telsa Motors, the company that introduced the world to the sexy all-electric Tesla Roadster, has a new trick up their sleeve in 2012. This time, it’s an SUV that has lots of perks, is fast, and looks like something from the near future.

Tesla Motors - Model X
(images by Tesla Motors)

Pictured above is the Tesla Motors Model X, which actually is from the future when you think about the fact that they’re not rolling them out until late 2013.

Fast And Roomy

I like fast cars and my wife likes lots of space, so the Model X appeals to both of us, making it a possible compromise if we ever decide to trim down to just one automobile. As I watched Tesla founder Elon Musk unveil the Model X, seven full-sized adults crawled out of the three rows of seating. With everyone out of the Model X, they proceeded to then unload enough luggage for the seven people to be on a two-day trip, at least.

Comparing the Model X’s speed to that of a Porsche was also unexpected. When Elon mentioned a Porsche 911 Carrera and that it goes from 0 to 60 in 4.6 seconds, I thought he would then announce that the Model X could do it in 5 seconds or something else close. Instead, he followed by stating that the Model X can go from 0 to 60 in just 4.4 seconds. This, no doubt, is helped by the generous second motor this automobile boasts (only in the Performance model). And speaking of the second motor, the system is said to check the front and rear drives constantly and shift power to one or the other as needed for optimal traction control.

Interior Amenities To Brag About

The luxury styled interior of the Model X is just what you’d expect for the cost of this ride, but those who know what they want will pay for it and who wouldn’t want this.

Tesla Motors - Model X Interior

Alongside classic style comes a 17 inch Tesla touch screen and Elon tells us they tapped Apple’s supply chain to use the same screen you’ll find in a MacBook… and then upped the contrast and lumens to make it look even better.

It Has Wings

Tesla Motors - Model X WingsOne feature of the Model X which will probably be touted more than it should is what they are calling falcon wings. We loved a similar concept in the DeLorean that was paraded throughout the Back to the Future movie franchise and more recently, similar gull-wing doors have shown up more and more frequently on sports cars. The difference with the falcon wings is the space required to open them. Tesla designed them to open in just about the same amount of space you would need to fit your own body between two cars. Remaining aware of height limitations of your garage as well, they made the falcon wings open no higher than a standard SUV hatch door.

Sadly, the falcon wing doors are only on the back. This means that they won’t even be used unless you have rear passengers to use them. This also means that the problem of opening your door if someone parks too close is only solved for getting in the back. Perhaps Model X 2.0 can introduce additional falcon wing front doors. Until then, you’ll need to drive your friends around if you want to show off those doors.

The Electric Conundrum

According to the U.S. Department of Energy there are a number of electric automobile charging stations, depending on your state, and the numbers are growing. There are reportedly 500+ in California, 100-200 in Arizona, and far less in some of the other states. Unfortunately, none are very close to outlying areas in Arizona, which could limit our use for the Model X in some camping scenarios.

Cost And Availability

Although you can’t have your car until 2014, you can reserve one now. Tesla is taking reservations on their site for the standard models and the signature series. For the signature series, you’ll plunk down a hefty $40,000, and only $5,000 otherwise. Either option is refundable, in case you should change your mind. This refund goes towards the reported $60,000 to $100,000 cost of the Model X. The good news for every day use is that it should get 300 miles per charge with the 85kWh configuration which is about a month of me driving to and from the office.

Like most industries, I’m sure the costs of automobiles like the Model X will continue to decrease as the demand and production increase. As we see more small car companies like Tesla and Local Motors enter the industry, we will also see more choices and lower costs. The future of the auto industry looks good.