Video: High-speed bicycle inspired by land-speed-record cars

Filed under: Etc., Videos, UK

Land-speed-record bicycle

Inspired by the backyard engineering of land-speed racers who built 600+miles-per-hour rockets on wheels, bicycle frame builder Tom Donhou built a bike intended to exceed 100 mph under pedal power alone. As the mini-documentary video below attests, Donhou was able to reach about 80 mph behind his aerodynamically optimized Ford Zephyr 6 draft car (complete with column-mounted manual shifter), but he’ll need a draft car with a higher top speed if he wants to top 100 mph.

To pedal the bicycle to such a high speed, Donhou also needs the correct gearing to get him there. The huge 104-tooth chain ring connected to a 13-tooth sprocket should suffice, as he proved with a run to 102 mph on rollers. Don’t expect to see him riding up any hills, though you may soon spot him testing the bike on public roads behind his next draft car: a friend’s more capable Ford Capri Cosworth.

We hope the Capri’s much higher top speed will allow Donhou to go even faster on his next run, but until then, watch his first experiment in speed in the nicely produced video below.

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High-speed bicycle inspired by land-speed-record cars originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 03 Aug 2013 09:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: Land Rover tests electric Defender with impressive results

Filed under: SUV, Technology, Work, Land Rover, UK, Electric, Off-Road

Land Rover sent its first Electric Defender to be tested at the Eden Project.

Unveiled at this year’s Geneva Auto Show, six Land Rover Electric Defenders were produced to research the electrification of all-terrain vehicles in real-world test scenarios. The first Electric Defender to receive a test assignment, a four-wheel-drive 110 Pick Up, was sent to the Eden Project in Cornwall, England, to pull the four-carriage road train that transports visitors around the environmentally friendly plant research site. The SUV has no problem pulling up to 12 tons up a six-percent incline.

The Electric Defender in its original, single-battery configuration can operate for up to 50 miles, with a little over 12 miles in reserve. Functioning at low speeds, it can pull the carriages around the site for about eight hours before it needs a recharge, Land Rover states, but the recent addition of a second lithium-ion battery should lengthen the Defender’s run time while helping to even out out the truck’s weight distribution for better stability. Amazingly, the truck is able to pull the road train with one electric motor that produces 94 horsepower and 243 pound-feet of torque.

One of the new technologies the Electric Defender is testing is a hill-descent function linked to the regenerative braking system. Up to 80 percent of the batteries’ power can be regenerated in this way. During each downhill trip made at the Eden Project, the SUV regenerates up to 30 kilowatts of power.

We don’t know where the other Electric Defenders will be sent for testing, but we’ll let you know as soon as we find out. Meanwhile, you can take a look at the full press release below.

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Land Rover tests electric Defender with impressive results originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 01 Aug 2013 16:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Spy Shots: Land Rover LR4 getting facelift and interior refresh

Filed under: Spy Photos, Land Rover, Luxury, Off-Road

Land Rover is preparing a slight freshening of the its seven-passenger, mid-range LR4 (known outside of North America as the Discovery 4). The LR4/Disco 4 is currently the second oldest model in the Land Rover range, besides the mostly forgotten LR2/Freelander, and while it’s still a competent entry, its age is beginning to show.

This refresh should allow it to soldier on until a replacement can be built, which logic would dictate is to be called LR5/Discovery 5. Until then, the current SUV gets the typical batch of headlight tweaks, along with a freshened front bumper. The side mirrors are new as well.

On the inside, we can also expect a long-awaited upgrade to the infotainment system. Jaguar and Land Rover have both struggled in this regard, so here’s hoping the new system offers an improvement.

The big news for the LR4 will come under its hood. Jaguar Land Rover as a whole has already phased out the excellent but thirsty 5.0-liter V8, with the only holdover being the supercharged variant. That means the V8 LR4 is not long for this world. Look for it to be replaced by the same supercharged, 3.0-liter V6 that’s offered as a base engine in the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport. As with the Jaguar XF we tested, ZF’s eight-speed automatic would likely harness the V6’s power.

Expect to see a refreshed LR4, likely before the end of 2013.

Land Rover LR4 getting facelift and interior refresh originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 19 Jul 2013 17:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Land-speed racer Bill Warner dies from motorcycle crash at 285 MPH

Filed under: Motorsports, Videos, Suzuki

Motorcycle land-speed record holder Bill Warner died yesterday after crashing during an attempt at setting another record. The 44-year-old was clocked at 285 miles per hour on the runway of a former air base in northern Maine, before he lost control of his modified Suzuki Hayabusa motorcycle and veered off the runway.

It is not known what speed he was traveling when things started to go wrong and unclear what caused the crash, which happened shortly before 10:00 AM. Warner’s crew suspect there were mechanical difficulties on his last run, in addition to a slight breeze, according to the video news report. Warner was conscious and able to speak after the crash but died an hour and 15 minutes later at a hospital in Caribou. The event and runway were closed for the rest of the day as police investigated the incident.

Warner was participating in “The Maine Event” at Loring Air Force Base in an attempt to reach 300 mph in one mile. Warner’s best land-speed record, set in 2011, was 311.945 mph in 1.5 miles on the same runway, according to the Loring Timing Association, a record that still stands today for open-cockpit motorcycles. After that run, Warner said the scariest part was stopping the bike before the end of the runway. Be sure to check out the video news report after the jump.

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Land-speed racer Bill Warner dies from motorcycle crash at 285 MPH originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 15 Jul 2013 16:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Land Rover to decide soon on production Evoque Convertible

Filed under: Concept Cars, Convertible, SUV, Geneva Motor Show, Land Rover, Luxury

Land Rover Evoque Convertible

Ignoring the lessons learned from the Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet, it appears Land Rover may be about to greenlight production of the Range Rover Evoque Convertible. At least, that’s what Australian website Car Advice is saying.

The topic came up at a Land Rover executive meeting for the Asia Pacific region, with brand director John Edwards supporting the idea.

Really, it’s not hard to see the dollar signs in Land Rover’s eyes. The Evoque has been a runaway success for the Anglo-Indian brand, and is largely responsible for it cresting 300,000 units sold in 2012. But this piece also flies in the face of previous reports, arguing against a production Evoque Convertible due to a lack of public demand.

As popular as an Evoque Convertible would be with the Real Housewives set, all the scuttlebutt has been against a production for the droptop Land Rover, going back to its debut at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show. With the 2013-2014 auto show season on the horizon, though, we can expect a definitive answer soon.

Land Rover to decide soon on production Evoque Convertible originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 12 Jul 2013 16:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Impala crashes into Land Cruiser… to hide from a cheetah

Filed under: SUV, Etc., Videos, Toyota

What would you do if a wild animal jumped into your vehicle through an open window during an African safari? What if said animal was an impala being chased by cheetahs? Though the scenario seems unbelievable, that’s just what happened to a group of tourists in Kruger National Park in South Africa, and it was all caught on video.

With the tour groups stopped, a motorist with a video camera handy happens to catch the unlikely sight of a herd of impalas (not that kind of Impala) jumping over the tarmac while being followed, quickly of course, by two cheetahs. The feline predators thought they had cornered one impala and were closing in for the kill when it jumped through the open window of a Toyota Land Cruiser Prado – South Africa’s version of the Lexus GX. Fortunately for the occupants of said vehicle, the cheetahs did not follow.

A short while later, one of the occupants in the Toyota fearlessly opens a door to let the poor animal out. It must have been its lucky day, because the cheetahs didn’t take pursuit. Check out the circle life get interrupted by this traffic jam in the video below.

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Impala crashes into Land Cruiser… to hide from a cheetah originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 12 Jul 2013 14:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Drayson Racing EV hits 204.185 mph, sets new FIA world land speed record

Filed under: EV/Plug-in, Green Culture, Racing

Michelin Drayson Electric Speed Record

A 39-year-old FIA World Electric Land Speed Record has fallen to a sleek, green electric machine called the Lola. Officially the Drayson B12 69/EV electric Le Mans Prototype, the 1000-kilogram (2,204-pound) race car hit a top speed of 204.185 miles per hour yesterday at RAF Elvington Airfield in Yorkshire, England. That’s over 29 mph faster than the previous record of 175 mph that was set in 1974 by Battery Box General Electric.

“I’m delighted we’ve beaten the record tonight and can show the world EVs can be fast and reliable.”

Completing two runs down the three-kilometer track, Lord Paul Drayson piloted the finely tuned, 850-horsepower EV to the record-setting run. Afterwards, the proud driver said, “I’m delighted we’ve beaten the record tonight and can show the world EVs can be fast and reliable. It is not the outright speed of 204.185mph that is most impressive about this record, but the engineering challenge of accelerating a 1000kg electric vehicle on a short runway over a measured mile.” The car has a 30-kWh battery and ran on confidential-specification LM P1 Michelin tires. You can see a video of the run below.

Of course, there are records and then there are records. The Ohio State University Buckeye Bullet, for example, is an EV that has topped 300 mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. But, according to the FIA, Drayson is now the team to beat. We have to assume that someone will try to snag the title before another four decades are up. Nissan, perhaps?

Continue reading Drayson Racing EV hits 204.185 mph, sets new FIA world land speed record

Drayson Racing EV hits 204.185 mph, sets new FIA world land speed record originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Wed, 26 Jun 2013 18:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Drayson will shoot for FIA electric-vehicle land-speed record on June 25

Filed under: EV/Plug-in, UK, Racing

Drayson Racing's EV

It’s pretty impressive when an automotive speed record stands for almost four decades, but UK-based Drayson Racing Technologies will take a shot at one next week. The company, led by Lord Paul Drayson (whose company is partnering with Michelin on the effort), will look to break the FIA World Electric Land Speed Record on June 25 at RAF Elvington in Yorkshire, England.

Mr. Drayson himself will be driving a modified 2,200-pound Lola B19 69/EV down a nearly two-mile runway during his attempt. The car gets 850 horsepower from its 30 kWh battery. Drayson is looking to break the 1974 record of 175 miles per hour by Battery Box General Electric.

BBC posted a video in March on Drayson and his team, and Formula E Holdings earlier this year tapped Drayson Racing as its first team for an all-electric racing tour set to start next year in Rome.

Check out Drayson’s press release below.

Continue reading Drayson will shoot for FIA electric-vehicle land-speed record on June 25

Drayson will shoot for FIA electric-vehicle land-speed record on June 25 originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Mon, 24 Jun 2013 09:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: The Shredder is like a jet-ski for land, with tank treads

Filed under: Videos

Blending the attributes of an ATV, a jet ski, a tank and a skateboard is no easy task, but that is just the diverse kind of capability that the BPG Werks DTV Shredder is offering to the powersports market.

The Shredder is powered by a 196cc, two-stroke gasoline engine, which is connected to a dual-CVT drive. A total of 13 horsepower offer riders a top speed of 30 miles per hour, which probably seems plenty fast on an upright rig like this one. Riders stand on a pivoting, spiked deck that turns by way of leaning, just like a skateboard, while the upright handle offers throttle and brake, and a place to hang on. And, of course, ownership of the vehicle grants one admin status on all Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan boards.

We could go on, but the Translogic crew does a first-rate job of explaining what the Shredder is, as well as getting the low down about the project from BPG Werks CEO Ben Gulak. Watch it all, below.

Continue reading The Shredder is like a jet-ski for land, with tank treads

The Shredder is like a jet-ski for land, with tank treads originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 17 Jun 2013 19:14:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Cars 2 trailer remade in Lego Land

Filed under: Videos, Toys/Games, Celebrities

Cars 2 trailer in Lego

Cars 2 trailer in Lego – Click above to watch the video after the break

Cars 2 Lego charactersIf there’s a cooler child’s toy for adults than a box of Legos, we don’t know what it is. To wit, it’s possible to take a couple handfuls of Lego blocks and assemble a miniature car… or a couple hundred pounds of the bricks to make a full-size car. And since you’re apparently someone who, like us, obsesses over the automobile, there’s really no better way to spend quality time with the kids than joining them in a marathon session of Lego building.

But what if you have even grander Lego-based aspirations? The sky’s the limit as far as Legos go, as evidenced by the video you’re about to watch after the break. Combining two of our most recent we’re-really-too-old-for-this obsessions, one pioneering Lego building team recreated the entire trailer for Pixar’s Cars 2 using nothing but little plastic building blocks. Well, they may have cheated a little with lighting and, of course, cameras… but we won’t hold that against them for such a worthwhile endeavor.

See for yourself in the video after the break.

Continue reading Cars 2 trailer remade in Lego Land

Cars 2 trailer remade in Lego Land originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 25 May 2011 19:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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