Saturday, July 9, 2011


The new EPA ratings netted the Nissan Leaf a 99 MPGe, and the Tesla Roadster 119 MPGe. Their latest all-electric competitor, the Mitsubishi i, has been rated at an impressive 112 MPGe, with an estimated 98 miles of all-electric range. Now that is encouraging. I can't recommend enough the website : 

I signed up for email notifications and find some amazing work going on around the world  with new technologies and automobiles. Beating big expensive oil sounds much more possible whenever I read Gas 2.0.  Understand that the MPG figure with the small e is how miles per gallon is translated into an equivalent electric range.

We take our comfortable rides for granted, but here are some automobile firsts:

The steering wheel first replaced the tiller in 1900 on the Ohio Automobile Co. Packard Model C.
New York issued the first license plates in 1901.
Oldsmobile had the first speedometer and a car called Gobron-Brillie hit 103.55 mph in Belgium soon after in 1904.
The first reported stolen car was reported in St. Louis in 1905.
Prince Henry of Prussia invented the windshield wiper in 1911 and had it fitted to his Benz.
Gulf Oil opened the first drive-in Gas Station in Pittsburgh, PA, in 1913.
The first drive in restaurant opened in 1921, the Pig Stand, in Dallas, TX.
Denver took delivery of the first car designed especially for police work in 1922, a Cadillac. It was called a bandit chaser with a gun rack, two rifles and two searchlights.
Car radios were first sold in 1929 by Motorola.
On July 16, 1935, Oklahoma City put up the first parking meter.
Oldsmobile introduced the automatic transmission, its Hydra-Matic in 1939.
The 1939 Nash offered air conditioning as an option. Dubbed the Weather Eye.
Bucket seats were first placed in the 1955 Corvettes and Thunderbirds. 

Air conditioning didn't become a standard until many years later. I remember a 1961 Dodge with air conditioning that consisted of a bucket the driver filled with  ice placed on the hump between the driver and front seat passenger. A small fan plugged into the cigarette lighter and blew "cooled" air into the interior. When the ice melted, you had to stop somewhere and fill it up again. What a hoot. But those bucket seats, now those were comfortable and sexy. Wow!


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