Airpod: The car, not the apple ear-hangers

Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever felt so good to the point where you thought that the world was your court and you ruled every game? That’s pretty much what a start up company by the name Zero Pollution Motors had going for them.

They had invented a compressed-air powered car called the AIRPOD, and then apple had to name their wireless pieces of musical earrings Airpods too. Anyhow, let’s clear the confusion, the Airpod car costs $10,000 and is pretty sweet where as the Airpods from apple are $149 or so and perform the same things your earphones can do but without wires, so yeah, if that helps let’s get on to the juicy part about this article.

Pat Boone, a legendary pop music star along with his entrepreneurial friend Ethan Tucker were able to strike gold with their investor friend Robert Herjavec to the point where ABC’s hit series “Shark Tank” had them on and an investment of $5million or a 50% share deal was struck.

To add a couple of cherries and make this deal diabetic (so to speak) the deal involved creating an effective sales network in the United States. Zero pollution motors needed the money to set up an assembly plant in Hawaiiin order to produce the city car that was capable of traveling up to 50 mph with an 80-mile range. An approximate time of 4 minutes to fill up the air tank is all it takes for this car to drive as the cleanest car on the U.S. roads.

But, what could go wrong with this start up that was achieving so much in so little time? A Lot! Well, the story took an abrupt turn when the company posted the following on their Facebook page:

“Robert (Herjavec) backed out of the deal made last year after waiting 9 months. Now we are free to have other investors! Are you in?”

The episode was aired in May 2015 and it seemed to be originally filmed somewhere in the late 2014 or perhaps the early 2015. This is somewhat a classic tale of what tends to happen in advanced vehicle technologies, especially by start up companies that are trying to make it as an automobile manufacturer. The harsh reality is that investors back off if they become concerned about the happenings internally with the management and that doesn’t end too well. Once that’s done, the confidence is lost, and the financials is another horror story better not spoken of. This is the reality and it is definitely an incredibly capital intensive business to make it in and the requirement of skilled and experienced personnel is a must.

A risk that wasn’t worth risking:

The company was heading onto an untapped segment that was to compete with other alternative technologies in order to take out big sharks in the Oil segment and create another source of travel, well that sounds like a perfect startup plan but doesn’t materialize too well.

There is speculation that compressed-air cars are getting plenty of interest in global markets and that the Airpod idea wasn’t completely bad. In fact, Motor Development International (MDI) along with their founder, Guy Negre have been behind the AIRpod from its origination and that MDI has been working with Tata Motors to build the car through Zero Pollution Motors in Hawaii and then ship some of the Airpods back to India.

The Airpod was designed in order to make urban mobility easier and safer. These days consumers that are concerned about overdeveloped cities and air pollution seems to be of hindrance, these vehicles are essential. One of the vital facts that cannot be ignored is that technology inspires enthusiasm and plenty of interest. People have the money and require new and upgraded technology in order to be in touch with the latest development and people are truly fascinated by development even if it comes at a price.

The odds are stacked against the round and futuristic AIRPOD bringing it to roads and compressed air-powered vehicles as passenger vehicles. The technology is pretty intriguing where the tanks with compressed air are heated and the air is sent into cylinders of a piston engine. The fueling will be fast and economical but, the main intent is to cut the emissions and it is assured that the emissions might be clean and eco-friendly. The AIRPOD may drop down to costing to only $3700 to build before it sells for $10,000/-.

 

Bottom Line:

With all that’s said and done, I truly hope to see the Airpod live in action (not for the sake of tree hugging eco-maniacs) just to see new technology and innovation in action. It’s sad to imagine the condition of various automobile startups who had to throw in the towel but I hope that AIRPOD returns with something solid.

 

3D-printed car- Becoming a reality sooner than you think

"Blade 3D car"

Progressing with great strides, the Automobile sector is developing like crazy. To nature’s advantage, the industry holds its sensitivity towards a cleaner and greener environment. Although there are plenty of alternative sources to the diminishing natural gas production, the demand for newer alternatives is always felt.

A California-based company has come up with a crazy yet mind-blowing idea that they have successfully presented in the form of a prototype. So named Blade, the supercar is supposedly a creation that could dramatically reduce “the pollution, materials and capital costs” that are incurred and compromised during manufacture.

Divergent Micro-factories was founded by Kevin Czinger, who also founded Coda Automotive.  With Coda, he was focused on cleaning up the highways by promoting electric vehicle adoption. Coda’s electric car flopped, and the company filed for bankruptcy in 2013, emerging as the newly organized Coda Energy, a company that remains focused on energy storage for commercial and industrial applications.

But with the change in time and the enthusiasm of a true entrepreneur, the company has finally introduced the Blade to the world.

Kevin Czinger has spent most of his career in the automotive industry. One day he realized that no matter how fuel-efficient or how few tailpipe emissions the modern car has, the business of car manufacturing is destroying the environment.

3D printing of metal radically changes that. By looking at 3D printing not for that overall structure but to create individual modular structures that can be combined, that 3D printing transforms everything,” says Czinger.
He also says that 3D printing transforms everything by changing the way the structural components of cars are fabricated. Currently cars are pieced together on long assembly lines inside large factories that use massive amounts of energy. Even the most fuel-efficient car has a large carbon footprint before ever leaving the plant.

Czinger and his team’s approach were to take the large plant out of the equation. To accomplish this they printed the modular pieces that are used to connect carbon rods that make up the Blade’s chassis.

"Blade 3D car"
Image Source: http://www.gizmag.com/

 

Blade:

The construction of the Blade is purely put of carbon fiber. By using carbon fiber instead of steel or aluminum for the body, the entire vehicle only weighs 1400 pounds (635kg), giving it twice the weight to horsepower ratio of a Bugatti Veyron.
The 3D printed chassis is only 102 pounds and has the same strength and safety protection as a frame made out of steel,” says Brad Balzer, the lead designer on the project.

"Why Blade Car"
Image Source: http://www.gizmag.com/

The focus was mainly on the aesthetics of the car because gaining the attention of people is of vital importance. With visions of the hot rod building he did when he was younger, Czinger began formulating a simpler, less centralized concept of auto manufacturing based around a 3D-printed aluminum chassis joint he calls a node. Melting aluminum powder into form using a laser-based printing system makes the node. Individual nodes hold structural carbon fiber tubes together, building up a modular chassis like a sort of upsized children’s building kit.

"Aluminum Nodes on Blade"
3D Printed Aluminum Nodes
Image Source: http://3dprint.com/

Divergent says that its node-based chassis weighs some 90 percent less than an average car chassis and requires far less material and energy to produce. In fact, in introducing the concept, it carried the nodes and tubes for an entire chassis in a 120-liter shoulder bag. Divergent believes its 3D-printed nodes are analogous to the Arduinos that have opened up innovation within electronics, hiding technological complexity within an interface that is easy to work with. By using 3D-printed nodes, Divergent says that it can drastically cut down on the amount of space, time and investment required for automotive manufacturing. Once printed, the nodes allow a chassis to be constructed in a matter of minutes in a small, simple micro factory space. No longer will building a profitable car require the resources of a global corporation. In fact, the company’s plan has already started infiltrating the auto industry.

 

Engine:

The Blade has been pampered like a queen. It has the chops to claim the title of world’s first 3D-printed supercar. The car has a 700-hp bi-fuel (gas/CNG) four-cylinder turbo engine and purportedly has the ability to sprint from 0 to 96.5 km/h in a flat two seconds. Reduction in carbon footprint is a positive gift to the environment and insane speed is the gift to the driver of the Blade.

 

Price:

Well, the price of this 3D printed car that carries carbon fiber reinforced ABS plastic coating ranges from $18,000 to $ 30,000. Although the official figures aren’t out, this is the anticipated dollar.

 

"Blade Supercar"
Image Source: http://www.storypick.com/

Beyond just building the Blade, Divergent hopes to “dematerialize and democratize” the auto manufacturing industry by putting its 3D-printed build technology into the hands of small start-ups. This will allow those start-ups to avoid the extremely cost-intensive barriers of traditional auto manufacturing and innovate new vehicles out of micro factories of their own. Divergent estimates the cost of developing a traditional car factory at US$1 billion, putting the cost of a micro factory with 10,000-car/year capacities at around $20 million.

"Blade 3D car"
Image Source: http://www.storypick.com/

Bottom Line:

The Blade is a great technological marvel of sorts. This innovation not only saves time, it is also an economical way of building a speed demon. Once out, this car is sure to give various super cars a dose of Mother Nature.