400TH POST ON SUNSHINE
Google is killing Blogger. That may not be news, and it may not be a big deal, but I - and many bloggers I know and interact with - have no idea what this means for us and for our blogs. What about all those links back to our stories? What about all the links and track-backs and ping-backs in our stories? What happens to them?
It seems like, for now, no one really knows. That should be sad, I think. It should be tense, maybe ...
... but it isn't, because I've lost interest.
I haven't lost interest in writing, of course. I still regularly contribute to "my hippie blog" Gas 2.0, and I've recently begun writing for Cleantechnica, as well. I still write PR and copy material for companies like Speedriven, Switzer Performance, and (on rare occasions) Genuine Scooters. I write for Scooterworks' blog on a "few times a week" basis, and contribute to that company's online scooter wiki, as well.
Here's the thing about all that: I get paid to do it.
The initial beginnings of Sunshine were based on friction, and an inability to get my writing (as it was) published anywhere else. In a nutshell, it was this idea that "If they won't publish me, I'll publish myself." and I immediately began self-publishing the PR and copy I was writing for RENNtech here on Blogger (the RENNtech SLR McLaren cooling PKG, in particular, is what "launched" Sunshine almost exactly 4 years ago).
Getting published isn't a problem for me, anymore. That means I'm extremely lucky - but, regardless of how lucky I am or amn't - I only have so many hours in the day, and (especially in the face of all the related uncertainty surrounding Blogger) I'm out of hours to devote to Sunshine.
I will, of course, continue writing - and I hope that you'll follow me over to the various outlets that have been generous enough to include me in their rosters and listen to what I have to say there. I'll continue to make those places my home on the web, and will push out new and exciting stories about Lancias there, rather than here ...
... for now, it's come to this: Thanks for stopping by over the years, and I hope I'll get to see you again.
PUT THE BABY SEAT IN AND GO GO GO
The crew at Ohio-based Switzer Performance call themselves turbo-tuning specialists, and have spent the last several years driving the point home at events like the Texas Mile, the GTR Nationals, and Russia's Moscow Unlimited mile-long drag races, where Switzer-tuned cars have dominated. Now, however, Tym Switzer is adding Porsche's Panamera to his company's ever-expanding roster of exotic tuning platforms.
After chasing down Bugattis and Koenigseggs with Switzer's hard-core street beasts, Porsche's luxury sedan might seem like an odd choice for a “What's next?” type of car – but Tym doesn't see it that way. “Porsche gave the Panamera a robust, twin-turbo, direct-injected V8, and it was easy to recognize that they'd left a great deal of room to work with. Working with our technology partners in developing this P680 hardware, I believe we've made full use of this, and were able to build the type of Panamera many of us hoped Porsche would build.”
To that end, the new Switzer P680 delivers 680 hp on readily available premium pump fuel, along with more than 200 additional lbs-ft of torque available across the rpm range. At the wheels.
Despite the added power, however, the new turbos help maintain drivability by delivering boost response as good as or better than stock. “You can see how responsive the new turbos are with the dyno sheets (attached), and you can definitely feel it for yourself from inside the car. The throttle response is immediate and incredible.” Turbos built with custom billet compressor wheels featuring advanced aero-profiles designed to deliver optimum performance throughout the operational range of this engine/cooling package can be thanked for the sacrifice-free performance gains. - and all of these performance gains are made through the factory catalytic converters and stock exhaust system if desired. “We really wanted to give the Panamera a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde type of feel. We ended up with David Banner/Incredible Hulk, but the idea is the same: maintain a stock, daily-driver personality all the way up until the fury is released with the right pedal to the floor. I want to say 'You wouldn't like it when it's angry.' but you would. It's a rush!”
Next up on Switzer's tuning agenda was the Panamera's intercooler system (below).
“Our original prototypes were based on requests from clients in desert climates, so it was important to increase cooling efficiency in order to provide the kind of consistent power delivery and reliability our clients expect from Switzer products,” says Tym. “By adding our upgraded intercoolers (significantly larger capacity and heat-sink, compared to stock) and increasing the efficiency of the turbocharger system, we were able to help the engine make more power, while putting fewer loads on some key components. Better load-management across the components means a longer part life, to some extent, so – while it's possible to extract a great deal of power from the stock components by pushing them up to or over the edge of their limits, asking someone to live with a car that's always on the edge of reliability is unrealistic. Knowledgeable clients won't stand for it.”
Switzer's P680 PKG, then, promises huge performance gains in an everyday package, with 4 doors and intimidating speed from Switzer's comprehensive upgrades – and it's all tied together with Switzer's Siemens ECU tuning. “Getting the software right was key. There are no 'tricked' sensors or piggy-back systems spliced into a very expensive electronic system. No short-cuts, in other words. This one's done right.”
Switzer claims the P680 Panamera is capable of mid 3 second 0-60 sprints, and the capability to perform 60-130 mph runs in low 8 second range, with a top speed well in excess of 215 mph (350 km). Pricing for the P680 starts at approx. 22000 USD. Contact Switzer Performance for more.
LARRY CROWNE IS MY RIVA 125
Genuine Scooters are sponsoring a national campaign to promote the new Universal film "Larry Crowne" (starring Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts)
"Larry Crowne" is the story of a 50 year old man (played by Hanks) who is trying to re-invent himself, enrolling in college and joining a scooter gang in Los Angeles ... which is pretty much what I did after my divorce.
50 Genuine riders - on all manner of Buddy and Stella scooters - will accompany Tom Hanks on an escorted Scooter convoy through the streets of Hollywood en route to the movie's world premier next week. Philip McCaleb, CEO of Genuine, seems pretty jazzed by the whole thing, saying "we can't wait. We're all riding together and the rumor is that Julia Roberts will be joining us riding in a 'Larry Crowne' taxi - a Genuine Stella scooter fitted with a Scooterworks sidecar!"
Phil has high hopes for the movie's impact on scooter culture in the US, as well, calling the movie "the biggest promotion of scooters and scooter culture since Ace Face and the Who." With gas cresting over $5/gal in parts of the US, this might be the perfect summer for scooterists to
As part of the promotion for Hanks' new movie, 18 US cities will have contests to win opening-night tickets, and Genuine will be sponsoring a grand prize in each city: a brand-new Genuine St. Tropez Buddy 150 cc scooter (why yes, that is St. Tropez blue).
Head on over to your local Genuine dealer for more info., and good luck!
- Full disclosure: this was originally written for my other (other) blog, Gas 2.0, but wasn't published there. I like it, so I'm posting it here.
“The black goo” would be a great name for the gunk filling this battery; but (in a huge marketing blunder) it’s been called Cambridge Sludge, instead, proving (as if it needed proving) that you should never let the engineers get too close to the marketers (it’s not good for either of them).
That said, a group of MIT engineers created the black goo to function “just like” a conventional battery. The goo has charged particles within it (held in a suspension) and flows “like quicksand”. On one side of a thin membrane is a positive suspension of goo. On the other, a negative one. The electrons flow from one side to another (flow of electrons = electricity) until the two sides are “equal”.
All typical “battery stuff”, then … what’s exciting is what happens once the battery’s charge is spent. The MIT battery can be charged by simply emptying out the spent sludge, and pumping in some fresh goo (and that spent goo can then be “re-charged” at leisure) all at a greatly reduced cost compared to replacing Li-ion batteries.
How “greatly reduced”? According to MIT, “the new design should make it possible to reduce the size and the cost of a complete battery system, including all of its structural support and connectors, to about half the current levels.”
Obviously, a huge cost-reduction in initial purchase (and, later, battery replacement) would play a major role in advancing the case for EVs in the general marketplace. The target of the team’s ongoing work is to have “a fully-functioning, reduced-scale prototype system” operating in 2013.