2015’s Top Ten Tech Cars

This year’s cars are super fuel efficient. But with today’s gas prices, will anyone care?

2 min read
2015’s Top Ten Tech Cars
Photo: BMW

For the auto industry, predictions have been as reliable as a moth-eaten Yugo: Global oil prices are at a five-year low, sales of pickup trucks and SUVs are booming, and purchases of gas-electric hybrids have fallen. Yet automakers still face a monumental challenge to boost fleetwide fuel economy: In the United States, they must reach 4.3 liters per 100 kilometers (54.5 miles per gallon) by 2025, from approximately 7.6 L/100 km today. In the European Union, meanwhile, automakers face other headwinds, flowing from a requirement to cut carbon emissions and fuel consumption, even as sales remain mired in a vicious slump.

This year’s Top 10 Tech Cars reflects on the effects of those competing demands. Consider the Tesla Model S: Only three years ago this electric sedan dazzled pundits, who predicted that Tesla would revolutionize automobiles. But any such revolution depended on a lower-price follow-up—the Model X crossover—which has been delayed again. And while long-range electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids remain very much in play, the world is still waiting for one of them to go beyond a mere plaything of the wealthy to become the Model T of its age.

Click here for an analysis of Ten Years of Top Ten Tech Cars

From the Cars That Think Blog

graphic link to word count blog

Image: Chen Liu

General Motors has paid homage to that ideal with the Chevy Bolt, an all-electric hatchback with a 300-km range. GM aims to sell it for roughly US $30,000—though the Bolt remains a lightly fleshed-out concept ahead of its anticipated 2017 arrival. Another drawing-board conceit was the Mercedes-Benz F 015, a car so automated that its driver would be able to swivel to socialize with backseat passengers—another car we’ll dissect if and when it reaches production.

One showroom car that did make our list, the Volkswagen Golf, shows that the technical contest among fossil-fueled vehicles, hybrids, and pure electrics is far from over. Among the world’s best-selling cars, this hatchback for the common man is being offered in four propulsive flavors: turbocharged gasoline and diesel models, the high-performance gasoline GTI, and an electric e-Golf. Even hydrogen cars, which had fallen back to pipe-dream status a couple of years ago, are on the upswing again, with the advent of the Toyota Mirai.

Ford chief executive Mark Fields is one of a group of industry leaders convinced that a return to pricey gasoline is only a matter of time. With Americans buying more cars than during any year since 2006, the whiz-kid models of 2015 face a tough challenge: to provide enough thrills to keep the party going, even as they face, someday, a last call on fossil fuels.

This article originally appeared in print as “Top 10 Tech Cars 2015.”

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What Can the Metaverse Learn From Second Life?

Creator Philip Rosedale says a virtual reality internet is still some way off

7 min read
In the foreground are two female avatars,  each on the back of a male avatar. In the background are a house, garden, trees and blue sky.

Hanging out in Second Life

Linden Lab

The tech world is abuzz with talk of the metaverse, a virtual world where millions of people could soon gather to work, play, and socialize. The idea isn’t as new as it might seem though. Since 2003, people have been gathering to do all of the above in the online world of Second Life.

Its creators, Linden Lab, go to great pains to emphasize that Second Life is not a game, unlike other proto-metaverse experiences such as Fortnite or Roblox. In Second Life, there are no goals or objectives. Instead, users create a digital avatar to represent them and are then free to explore the world, meet other users, create their own digital content and even trade goods and services in the in-world currency, the Linden Dollar.

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The Hyperloop Is Hyper Old

Elon Musk merely renamed a 200-year-old dream

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Illustration of a tube and various ways of moving vehicles.

William Heath's 1829 engraving pokes fun at a vacuum tube that conveys travelers from London to Bengal.

Universal Images Group/Getty Images

"Lord how this world improves as we grow older," reads the caption for a panel in the " March of Intellect," part of a series of colored etchings published between 1825 and 1829. The artist, William Heath (1794–1840), shows many futuristic contraptions, including a four-wheeled steam-powered horse called Velocity, a suspension bridge from Cape Town to Bengal, a gun-carrying platform lifted by four balloons, and a giant winged flying fish conveying convicts from England to New South Wales, in Australia. But the main object is a massive, seamless metallic tube taking travelers from East London's Greenwich Hill to Bengal, courtesy of the Grand Vacuum Tube Company.

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EP29LPSP: Applications in Plasma Physics, Astronomy, and Highway Engineering

Ideal for demanding cryogenic environments, two-part EP29LPSP can withstand temperatures as low as 4K

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Since its introduction in 1978, Master Bond EP29LPSP has been the epoxy compound of choice in a variety of challenging applications. Ideal for demanding cryogenic environments, two-part EP29LPSP can withstand temperatures as low as 4K and can resist cryogenic shock when, for instance, it is cooled from room temperature to cryogenic temperatures within a 5-10 minute window. Optically clear EP29LPSP has superior physical strength, electrical insulation, and chemical resistance properties. It also meets NASA low outgassing requirements and exhibits a low exotherm during cure. This low viscosity compound is easy to apply and bonds well to metals, glass, ceramics, and many different plastics. Curable at room temperature, EP29LPSP attains its best results when cured at 130-165°F for 6-8 hours.

In over a dozen published research articles, patents, and manufacturers' specifications, scientists and engineers have identified EP29LPSP for use in their applications due to its unparalleled performance in one or more areas. Table 1 highlights several commercial and research applications that use Master Bond EP29LPSP. Table 2 summarizes several patents that reference EP29LPSP. Following each table are brief descriptions of the role Master Bond EP29LPSP plays in each application or invention.

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