Riding through the rain on the ‘Model 3’ of motorcycles

Zero has been occasionally described as the “Tesla of motorcycles,” and last year’s model DS ZF6.5 as the “Model 3 of motorcycles.” When you’re one of the only electric motorcycle manufacturers in the game, it’s frankly hard to avoid these comparisons. But after climbing aboard a DS ZF6.5 late last year, I got the sense that it wasn’t all just hot air.

It was a short ride, so the scope of these impressions is limited. Additionally, the proverbial ink of the “M” on my license was still so fresh that the excitement of showing it to people hadn’t worn off. Truly, all I wanted to get out of my first test ride of the DS ZF6.5 was a sense of what it feels like to slip through the city on a sleek, futuristic bike.

Of course, the day I rode was marred with drizzle and falling autumn leaves — two things that increase the danger of riding a motorcycle more than essentially any other variable that isn’t traffic-related. The rain came and went as I zoomed through South Brooklyn, down to the Verrazano Bridge and back to Union Garage in Red Hook. So we took things slow.

Even in tricky conditions, the DS ZF6.5 offered a smooth and scintillating ride. The suspension was capable enough to handle the Brooklyn’s neglected 3rd Avenue, which these days is more like a long stretch of asphalt-colored Swiss cheese than it is a road.

Zero has been occasionally described as the “Tesla of motorcycles,” and last year’s model DS ZF6.5 as the “Model 3 of motorcycles.” When you’re one of the only electric motorcycle manufacturers in the game, it’s frankly hard to avoid these comparisons. But after climbing aboard a DS ZF6.5 late last year, I got the sense that it wasn’t all just hot air.

It was a short ride, so the scope of these impressions is limited. Additionally, the proverbial ink of the “M” on my license was still so fresh that the excitement of showing it to people hadn’t worn off. Truly, all I wanted to get out of my first test ride of the DS ZF6.5 was a sense of what it feels like to slip through the city on a sleek, futuristic bike.

Of course, the day I rode was marred with drizzle and falling autumn leaves — two things that increase the danger of riding a motorcycle more than essentially any other variable that isn’t traffic-related. The rain came and went as I zoomed through South Brooklyn, down to the Verrazano Bridge and back to Union Garage in Red Hook. So we took things slow.

Even in tricky conditions, the DS ZF6.5 offered a smooth and scintillating ride. The suspension was capable enough to handle the Brooklyn’s neglected 3rd Avenue, which these days is more like a long stretch of asphalt-colored Swiss cheese than it is a road.

Also like the Model 3, there’s just one screen on the DS ZF6.5. (I know, it is a motorcycle.) But unlike the Model 3, it’s a very stark, utilitarian LCD screen. All the necessary, relevant info is there, like battery level, estimated range, battery temperature, and speed. But it’s not a particularly gorgeous display to feast your eyes on.

That’s fine. You don’t really want a display distracting you from the road ahead of you when you’re on a motorcycle, a form of transportation that really requires more concentration on (and awareness of) your surroundings. Zero could spice it up a little, though; something like Gogoro’s colorful scooter display would be nice.

One other way the Zero bike is actually like a Tesla is that it has the power to pull smiling conversations out of New Yorkers who would otherwise have never registered your presence. Half a dozen times on the short trip around Brooklyn, someone in the driver’s seat of a nearby car asked or remarked about the electric bike. They all sounded delighted by the idea, but surprisingly familiar with it, a testament to the rise in awareness of electric technology.

No one was puzzled as to why these bikes were quietly idling next to their cars instead of rumbling through their skulls. Most were happy to know what the name of the company was, or to steal some other small bit of information before the lights turned green. But one of them offered a word of warning: “Y’all be careful, it’s gonna be hard for folks to hear you coming.”

He’s right. The strangest thing about the DS ZF6.5 was how quiet it is. The videos I had watched before my ride of the bike being operated at higher speeds gave me the impression that it emitted a characteristic whine. But at or under 40 miles per hour, this motorcycle was essentially silent, save for some scuffy noises that come from the motor as it spins up to speed, and a low, rising tone that resembled the wind howling outside a house.

The silence is actually a wonderful thing if you want to be aware of the world around you. I was able to hear almost as much as I could if I was on a bicycle — car tires pawing at the greasy wet ground, conversations of people at a crosswalk, the sound of brakes being applied ahead of me. I could hear all these and more, even through my helmet.

This person did not hear me coming.

Where it felt dangerous is that, without the thunder of a combustion engine, the world can’t hear you. More than once, a pedestrian stepped out into the street thinking they were clear to cross before, mercifully, they spotted me charging at them. Other times, I was cut in front of by drivers who probably would have heard me if I were on a combustion motorcycle. As pleasant as my ride was, the silence made me more uneasy than the sketchy weather conditions.

This could all change. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration wrote a set of rules in 2016 that will soon force manufacturers to add an artificial noise to EVs when they’re operating at low speeds. In response, some carmakers have been thinking up some wild ideas about what those sounds should be.

But the NHTSA rule is just for four-wheeled electric cars and trucks. There’s not a mandate for motorcycles just yet, though I hope one comes. I’m not sure I know what I think an electric bike should sound like, but I’d be willing to give anything a shot. Giving other people on the road as much information as possible that a motorcycle is coming can only be a good thing.

Ford is bringing its self-driving cars to Miami

Ford is bringing its fleet of self-driving cars to the neon-splashed streets of Miami to test out its future commercial plans for robot cars, which include ride-hailing and deliveries, the automaker announced today.

With a pipe organ-style suit of sensors on the roof and the Spanish word for “research” emblazoned below the grille, Ford says its self-driving cars bring the promise of safer streets and more efficient deliveries — and probably more than a few fender benders. The cars arrived last week, and testing is already underway.

Initially, Ford will test two types of autonomous cars in Miami: the aforementioned blue-and-white research vehicles with hardware and software technology by Argo, a self-driving startup backed by Ford; and self-driving delivery cars that Ford last deployed in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in partnership with Domino’s Pizza. Ford said it hoped to eventually have “thousands” of self-driving cars deployed in the city.

But for now, the company won’t say exactly how many it has prowling the streets of North Beach and the surrounding communities. The Argo research cars are currently driving all over the city in autonomous mode while collecting high-definition mapping data. Meanwhile, the Domino’s car (there is only one at the moment) is being operated by a human driver while the company studies how customers interact with an autonomous delivery vehicle. Safety drivers will remain behind the wheel of all of Ford’s autonomous vehicles for the time being, although the company is currently building an AV without traditional controls like pedals and steering wheels, which it plans to release by 2021.

Ford has also built a service center for its autonomous vehicles close to downtown Miami. The new terminal will serve as a home base for Ford’s cars when they aren’t out on the streets and a place where they can transfer data and have their sensors cleaned and calibrated.

Miami will also serve as a testbed for Ford’s forthcoming Transportation Mobility Cloud, an open-sourced platform for cities and other transportation partners that it announced last month at CES. Companies that have announced partnerships with Ford, like Lyft and Postmates, will soon be able to provide ride-hailing trips and deliveries using Ford’s self-driving cars, said Sherif Marakby, Ford’s vice president for autonomous vehicles and electrification.

Ford

“We’re really excited that we’re doing this already,” Marakby said in a call with reporters. “We’re not announcing that we’re going to the first city, we’re announcing that we are in the first city. We have a depot. We’re mapping the city. And we’re operating a business. So we’re very excited, and we feel that it does take all of these elements coming together and starting the development in parallel is absolutely the right thing to do, and we feel that differentiates Ford from the others.”

The automaker has been lagging slightly in the race to develop self-driving cars — not necessarily for lack of effort, but because its competitors have moved much more aggressively in the last year. Waymo, the self-driving unit of Google parent Alphabet, is gearing up to launch a driverless ride-hailing service in Phoenix, while GM’s Cruise has said it would launch its own robot taxi service in San Francisco. Uber has self-driving cars picking up passengers in Pittsburgh and Phoenix, and Lyft has teamed up with NuTonomy to launch a small ride-hailing pilot in Boston.

Last year was a challenging one for the Blue Oval, with stagnate sales numbers and awkwardly timed management shuffles. Jim Hackett replaced Mark Fields as CEO right after Ford announced a $1 billion investment in Argo. And last week, Ford president Raj Nair stepped down after admitting to “inappropriate behavior.”

Ford

Tesla will supply free charging stations to office parking lots

Tesla is expanding its charging infrastructure into a new area: office parking lots. A new “workplace charging” program unveiled today offers businesses free Tesla wall connectors and will also cover installation, provided they meet certain qualifications set forth by the California carmaker. Tesla won’t cover the cost of operating the charging stations, and the company says there could be other permitting, construction, zoning, or labor costs.

The workplace charging stations will be compatible with all Tesla cars, but not with other EVs, and they won’t show up on publicly available Tesla charging maps. The wall chargers are 240 volts, or “Level 2,” which is capable of topping off a battery pack in a handful of hours, though the company says the charge rate will vary by location depending on the infrastructure available.

While the Supercharger network is the best-known facet of Tesla’s charging infrastructure, the company has steadily diversified those efforts over the last few years. It runs a “destination charging” program that is similar to the new workplace one, where hotels and restaurants are able to install the chargers at no cost. Late last year, it announced smaller Superchargers tailor-made for space-strapped cities. Tesla also offers home charging and energy storage solutions.

Lexus LF-LC Concept Unveiled at 2012 NAIAS

Authoritatively disclosed at the January, 2012 National American International Auto (NAIA) appear in Detroit, the Lexus LF-LC idea is hoping to push the Lexus mark in another more energetic and energizing bearing.

 

At the point when Lexus rings a bell, one would consider extravagance, solace, and administration. Lexus is Toyota’s head image that has determinedly kept up a moderate brand picture around extraordinary extravagance vehicles. Since Lexus’ establishment in 1989 it has been held as Japan’s biggest offer of premium autos, a title that exclusive as of late has been infringed upon by Hyundai and Infiniti.

 

So in case you’re Lexus, how would you persuade the world that you’re not only an exhausting, overwhelming, moderate, car producer? All things considered, first you fabricate a colorful supercar that nobody can manage, the LFA, at that point you wet some more cravings with a game roadster that individuals can conceivably bear, the LF-LC idea.

 

As a 2+2 (two front, two back) roadster, the auto is without a doubt shocking. The front highlights a striking flame broil that is complemented by LED lights that trail towards LED headlights with swooping bends that meet on the hood in the state of a L, an unobtrusive touch. The hood at that point bends it’s way towards the wide back wheel curves to interface what Lexus calls “adjust and stream.” This LF-LC idea directs a more forceful position than any Lexus previously and is supposed to be a more manly option for the to some degree disappointing SC line.

 

The inside is wearing conspicuous devices from left to right however maybe the most staggering component is the driver’s dash. The introduction of data is totally staggering and is one of only a handful couple of cutting edge looks that really works with present day plan. The design on the inside presents for a “natural driving background,” that is certain to convey a grin to anybody’s face when they understand this Lexus was intended to wake individuals up, not put them to rest.

 

Albeit no itemized determinations have been discharged for this LF-LC Concept, Lexus focuses on the execution of a half breed powertrain to diminish carbon impression and boost utilization proficiency. No proposed or supposed generation costs have surfaced.

 

In any case, considering the way this is an idea display, we should contemplate that in all actuality this auto does not exist. However. Lexus has not declared nor affirmed reports of a creation form yet hope to see an energetic stupendous tourer car from Lexus inside the following a few years. Meanwhile, you can drop a couple of fabulous on the more fascinating luxury suv

 

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