Car Sharing

Car Sharing – was the theme of a project last year. One of the outcomes from the project was this descripter – of the car sharing system – where the city was described as being composed of three zones. This is an interesting insight which explains car sharing as public transport and defines three different kinds of cars for each of the zones.

Is a muscle car ecofriendly?

I was at my dentists and there was this car magazine – with a luscious picture of a car. A bit like the image below. My hand reaches out, I pick up the magazine and brush my hand across my lips to check if the drool was escaping out. I was looking at a 7 litre hot muscle car. And I was reading this beautiful prose. To quote:

All this engineering work (and not to forget design, right down to the
standard red leather seats), is dominated by one thing when you get
behind the wheel: that engine. Final outputs are quoted at 375kW
(503hp) at 7000rpm, and surprisingly that rev figure is also the
electronic cut-out. Maximum torque is 640Nm at a high 5000rpm, and
although 80 percent of peak torque (513Nm) is available from 1500rpm,
it does give some clue to the LS7’s character. For such a big capacity
engine, it loves to rev.

Almost unbelievably, it keeps on producing oceans of horsepower as it
scales the tachometer. Where the LS3 (and the LS2 before it) are
running well out of puff by the 6000rpm mark, the W427 is finding extra
lung capacity and surging hard towards the next upshift with a gruff
yet voluble exhaust bellow that would do Garth Tander’s race mount
proud. Exiting Lang Lang’s high-speed series of esses onto the ride and
handling circuit’s back straight (on my way to that slippery,
high-speed left hander) I see 180km/h before popping fourth and dabbing
the brakes. Few cars can gather speed like that.

There is more – just feast on the images and scroll down.

But really, it’s difficult not to prod the W427 into its dominant
personality trait, which is all Mr Hyde. If guts and thunder are what
you’re after then nothing comes close to the sheer performance spread,
noise and attitude, all arriving with four-door liveability. The danger
is that, with prices of old Aussie muscle cars currently through the
roof, collectors will buy this car and store it. Drivers, though, will
go out and have the time of their lives.

Wheels – HSV W427: Believe the hype. With the balance to back up the numbers, HSV has just created Australia’s first supercar.

Now pause and lets look at Ryan’s car – a design of a HSV. Pretty neat?

(to see more images go to his blog here)


The question then is – is a muscle car eco-friendly?
The editorial in the Wheels Magazine (aug 08 issue?) addressed this. You could see the editor was smarting from some off the cuff remark someone had made about the HSV and gas guzzling in these days of high petrol prices (prices have slumped since augustwhen it was 150c to 99C on tuesday last). He said – hey only 427 of these will be made (the news this week is that only 200 will be made) – and they will all be garaged except for weekends. Each will be priced at 155, 500 AUD. And this should go up to 500,000 in 5 years. Reading all this I asked myself – is this a car at all?

No actually – I didn’t ask that question. What I said was – Right! Thats it! Big fat cars – that are made for pure fun are the way to go. They take a lot of money to develop – and apart from employing a lot of people ( and giving them all salaries which they go and spend on thing which result in ‘consumption’ and in green house gases and global warming up the supply chain) they do very little harm. For all that effort goes into the lab, sells a couple of thousand Wheels magazines (which have a pip squeak of an impact) and generally results in a lot of money changing hands – for very little material transaction; just 200 cars. How eco-effecient is that.

So as cars go muscle cars are it. The Prius on the other hand is a dirty polluter – for lots are made and they have nasty batteries in them. Better to use PT (public transport) and SHARE CARS.

So there – a lesson in sustainablity.

(this is for all of you who worked with me on the ‘car sharing’ project last year – and went away unconvinced that muscle cars were the solution to all our sustainability issues with regards to mobility)

This is also a thank you to Monique and Kevin. Have a good year.

Studios and projects in sustainabilities

I want to write a text about the ultimate purpose of sustainability studios offered to industrial Design students. I want to ask the agencies or sustainability organisations who engage with design students – why do you do so? And I will now proceed to answer the question. These agencies offer studios to broaden the field and not to develop practical solutions to implement in the world. Some studios do come up with artefacts – a more sustainable object – but that’s when studios are set up this way to come up with a short-term solution. More frequently studios in sustainability have a PSS (product service system) mandate – this refers to their desire to come up with new product service combinations to transform the way we live, share, work and consume. The clue to this can be got from the methodologies the studios employ and the propositions that accompany studio publicity. For methodologies they may privilege scenario thinking and life cycle thinking. For propositions they may state ‘no private ownership of cars’. Such studios therefore constitute contexts of exploration which have a much longer time frame in mind – the “long now” project looks at a ten thousand years  framework. Exposure to these ways of thinking can be magical for students – and giving them access to the frontiers of sustainability thinking around the world then becomes a goal of the studio. This is a fundamental nature of a studio that is porous and one that is divergent as against one that privileges the location of all knowledge and expertise in the tutor.

When agencies – such as Kathalys – engage in studios they too are keen to broaden our sense of the possibilities inherent in design propositions.

I too have indulged in a proposition in the recent months – to visualize a world where private ownership of cars will be prohibited – banned. You can see links to the projects here.

Better Place

Better Place || An Innovative Company || Who We Are

Who We Are

Imagine living free from oil.

Picture zero-emission electric cars running on a clean energy grid. Governments, auto makers, energy companies and Better Place work hand-in-hand to make this happen. The result: our people and our planet prosper together.

This is more than a vision. It’s something Better Place and its partners are already building.

In 2005 the President and Founder of the World Economic Forum posed the following question to a gathering of young, global leaders, “How do you make the world a better place by 2020?” This profound question inspired Shai Agassi, Founder and CEO of Better Place, to imagine a world without oil.

Agassi drew from his entrepreneurial experience and insights from world leaders to formulate a business plan that applies mobile phone industry economics and renewable energy to transportation.

Founded in October 2007 on $200 million of venture capital, Better Place, in its first six months, announced cooperative agreements with Israel and Denmark to transform their transportation infrastructure from oil-based to renewable energy and significantly reduce harmful emissions.

Poster Exhibition of Camapign Projects

I went and put up the posters of the Projects at the Sustainable Cities Forum. The forum itself was quite an eye opener – I saw 3 minute presentations of the projects like Green Roofs whic is all about greening roofs!

Then I had a long conversation with a VEIL person and Monique the CEO of Felxicar. Monique had a lot to say about the car design and the various approaches chosen – she mentioned Ryan’s and Lalit’s projectsnet. Not much about the share systems – for we are yet far from innovation in ther share systems.

It does look like we will be moving ahead with the three Locavore projects: The paper map, the facebook app and the website.

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