Tesla's Roadster is a seminal electric car, but it's not exactly a vintage model -- it first went on sale in 2008. So how does user "Jester944" justify the 1 million minimum bid for a Roadster prototype in his eBay auction? "A million dollar Tesla may be crazy today but ... imagine what the first Ferrari prototype models would go for. Take that 30 years into the future when most cars are electric and they'll be able to trace their history back to Tesla," he says. That's an interesting sales pitch, but the car (which cost over 100,000 new) does seem like a nice specimen.
Today, Uber gave CBS News a first look at design models for its new air taxi, which it hopes to fly by 2020. They will be on display at the Uber Elevate Summit this Tuesday in Los Angeles. You can see the model in the video below at a timestamp of approximately 1:02. The design looks a bit like a drone, with multiple propellors and stacked rotors to allow for vertical takeoff and landing. The body of air taxi is reminiscent of the fuselage of a plane, rather than a helicopter.
Airbus expects to test a prototype for an autonomous flying car by then end of the year, the group's CEO announced Monday according to Reuters. "One hundred years ago, urban transport went underground, now we have the technological wherewithal to go above ground," Airbus CEO Tom Enders said during the DLD digital tech conference in Munich. Enders hinted Airbus could fly a test vehicle for single-person transport by the end of 2017. Airbus launched its Urban Air Mobility division last year, which was created to explore concepts such as a vehicle to transport people or a helicopter-type vehicle that can for multiple riders. The goal of the new division is to allow individuals to book rides using an app, like Uber or Lyft, but for the skies.
China has started testing the prototype of an advanced maglev train that would achieve near supersonic speeds inside a vacuum-based track. Researchers at Southwest Jiaotong University have developed the country's first-ever high-temperature superconducting loop wherein a miniaturized version of the so-called'super maglev' is being tested. Deng Zigang, the lead engineer involved in the project, told state broadcaster China Central Television that the ultra-fast train would bring maglev's magnetic levitation capabilities inside the vacuum to tackle wheel and air friction, and cruise faster than commercial planes. The idea is pretty much similar to hyperloop transit system which was first proposed by Elon Musk in 2013 and is currently being developed and improved by Virgin Hyperloop One and other American start-ups. Jiaotong University's prototype loop is about 45-meters long and can levitate the train an inch above the ground.
As a rule, electric car concepts embrace the future. Even those with a retro flavor are clearly products of the 21st century. Don't tell that to Infiniti, however -- it's going deep into the past. Nissan's luxury badge has unveiled the Prototype 9, an EV whose design unabashedly recalls 1940s race cars (particularly those from Auto Union). And it's not just the long nose, spoked wheels and massive front grille that pay homage -- the prototype was even built using traditional techniques.