A month ago General Motors announced plans to wind down production of several under-performers. At the forefront of news coverage on this are the consequences facing factories making those cars, and the people who work there. The human factor associated with the closing of these plants is real. But there is also another milestone marked by the cancellation of the Volt. Here at Hackaday, we choose to memorialize the soon-to-be-departed Chevrolet Volt. An obituary buried in corporate euphemisms is a whimper of an end for what was once their technological flagship car of the future.
[Ben Nelson] turned his electric Geo Metro into a plug-in hybrid. But wait, where’d he get an electric Geo Metro? It seems that we’re one hack behind [Ben], who converted the vehicle to all electric back in 2008 using a forklift motor and some batteries. This time around he’s following the Chevrolet Volt’s example by adding a backup generator. Instead of going with a gasoline power he added a tank of propane and the generator from a Recreational Vehicle. This won’t put out enough juice to drive while the generator is running, but you can use it to extend your traveling range by pulling over for a nap while it tops off the batteries.
Okay, we lied, we totally want one of these too. The CMT 380X Blackbird is one wicked hybrid car!
Looking like it just rolled off the set of the next Batman film, the Blackbird is the brainchild of Electronic Arts Chief Creative Director [Richard Hilleman]. Starting from a kit car base — the Factory Five Racing GTM chassis — [Hilleman] created a unique 230 horsepower drive train combining a 30 kilowatt diesel turbine and 24 KWh lithium polymer battery pack.
As a purely plug-in electric car, the Blackbird has a range of 85 miles. In hybrid mode, range is extended to 500 miles. The car can accelerate from 0 to 60 in about 7 seconds. Come decelerating, the car makes use of regenerative braking.
It’s strictly a one-off for the time being, but several companies have approached [Hilleman] about possibly commercializing the design. A couple more choice pics follow the break…
We would like you to meet PR2. Made by Willow Garage, PR2 is a platform for research into robotic programming. The bot itself is simple compared to some of the humanoid bots we see, but its behavior is quite complex. In the video above, you see PR2 completing milestone 2 of its development. This includes navigating an office with closed doors and plugging itself into a standard wall outlet for a charge. We’re especially fond of the “wiggle”. You can hear some of the developers talk more about PR2 and its completion of milestone 2 in the video after the break.