September 25, 2015

Around the world in 80 days on an electric motorbike

Filed under: Automobiles,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 12:20 pm


In a race inspired by French author Jules Verne’s book ‘Around the World in 80 days’, students of the Eindhoven University of Technology are getting ready to go around the world in 80 days on an electric motorbike. On October 1st, the students will unveil their new design featuring a battery that can last twice as long as existing electric motorbike batteries.

The entire point of the trip is to prove that sustainability is an option for the future. Find out more about the the 80 day race here. As explained by team member Texas van Leeuwenstein, electric mobility sometimes has a dull image and they really want to kick that out.

Here’s an interview with Van Leeuwenstein, explaining the work on the prototype leading up to the race:

(Link:, Screenshot:


September 24, 2015

Classic 1974 Dutch police Porsche to be auctioned

Filed under: Automobiles by Orangemaster @ 12:50 pm


On 9 October a 1974 Porsche 911 Targa will be up for grabs to the highest bidder at Bonhams’ Zoute sale in Belgium (and not the Netherlands, as the source claims). The classic car used to belong to the Algemene Verkeersdienst (AVD – traffic cops) and was one of the few European states to use the Porsche for motorway patrol. They also had their own uniforms, white instead of the usual blue and orange helmets (see short photo session video).

According to Autoweek, before the Targa model was available, the AVD used Porsche 356 cabrios, but the 911 Targas remained in use through 1993 when the unit switched to Volvos. The AVD preferred the Targa model to the 911 coupe as it allowed for a greater range of visibility and officer passengers could stand in the car to give traffic directions in emergencies or while moving slowly.

This car was restored with as many original parts as possible and is known as ‘Alex 12:85′. It is expected to fetch between €98,000 and $143,000.

(Link:, Photo: Bonhams)

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September 13, 2015

The city of Utrecht received 5,000 answers when it asked which traffic lights should go

Filed under: Automobiles,Bicycles by Branko Collin @ 6:53 pm

cyclist-red-traffic-light-martin-fischTraffic lights generally exist to regulate car traffic, so it doesn’t always makes sense when cyclists have to obey them too.

As part of the campaign Utrecht Fietst (Utrecht Cycles) the city asked its citizens which traffic lights were redundant, Verkeersnet reports. Motorists, cyclists and pedestrians rose to the occasion and sent in a whopping 4,760 reports between February and April. The city then presented responses for each junction on an interactive map (click the “i” icon hovering over each traffic light).

In June the city started to experiment with disabling the traffic lights of seven junctions with a further three junctions scheduled for an experiment later in 2015 in which traffic lights will be shut down during quiet times. These experiments will last six months before evaluation. Cyclists will get an additional free right on red at four junctions.

(Link: Rad-Spannerei; photo by Martin Fisch, some rights reserved)

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September 11, 2015

Christian party argues against paid parking

Filed under: Automobiles,Religion by Orangemaster @ 12:08 pm

Fundamentalist Christian political party SGP in the city council of Ede have decided to complain about paying for parking on Sunday at a local hospital, claiming that it’s not Christian. The hospital introduced paid parking on Sunday only recently, and it’s safe to assume nobody likes to pay for parking especially on Sunday, which is often free in many parts of the country at least on the street.

The SGP argue that more people will park on the street near the hospital most probably for free and hinder the locals. This implies that Christians like them would gladly annoy the locals for free parking and that’s their possible argument for making parking free on Sunday at the hospital.

What if SGP people visited the hospital on another day than Sunday, say Saturday? Problem solved. What if city council makes no exceptions for the SGP who also pay to use electricity, water and their car on Sundays? Problem solved. What if they went to the hospital by bike or walked? Problem solved.

SGP, you’re the problem. Run along now.


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August 25, 2015

Free app to send replies out when driving

Filed under: Automobiles,Technology by Orangemaster @ 3:35 pm

Dutch satirist Johan Vlemmix, who brought us questionable songs about wearing a burqa and buses full of Polish people, is currently designing a phone app.

Motivated by the amount of fines he has had for using a mobile phone while driving and causing minor accidents ‘with no injuries’, Vlemmix’s app would provide the equivalent of an ‘out of office’ reply but then an ‘I’m driving’ version for all incoming messages, including social media. The app would be available in September for Android and iPhone, and it will be free.

Besides replying to the recipient who wonders why you’re not answering them back quickly, Vlemmix would leave his phone alone much easier knowing a reply was sent. Maybe he needs to tell his recipients to chill or needs to learn to let go of his phone while driving and realise that it is illegal to drive and text because it’s dangerous.

Another argument from Vlemmix is that if ever the police were to stop you (well, him), he could prove he didn’t answer his phone. We’ve had two stories, Man fined 237 euro for scratching his ear and Man gets 150 euro fine for sticking finger in ear, where this app could have been useful.

(Link:, Photo by Hello Turkey Toe, some rights reserved)

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August 24, 2015

Den Bosch tests noise barrier made of solar panels

Filed under: Automobiles,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 11:06 am


Boffins at the Eindhoven University of Technology have designed motorway noise barriers that are colourful instead of dingy and that also collect solar energy instead of just cutting down on noise and being dingy. Sonobs (Solar Noise Barriers) can be made cheaply, made resistant to vandalism and come in many colours.

The special panels built to make the barriers are made of luminescent solar concentrators (LSCs), coloured panels that receive light and direct it to the edges of the panels where traditional solar cells collect the solar energy.

“A year-long test project was launched on June 18 on two sections of noise barriers, each 5 metres wide and 4.5 metres high. The barriers are partially covered in the LSCs and partially covered in semi-transparent panels holding conventional solar cells, so that they can compare the performances of the two technologies.”

Initial research shows that a kilometre of the solar noise barriers can generate enough electricity to power 50 Dutch homes.

(Links and photo:,

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August 15, 2015

Wepod, a self-driving car with ambitions

Filed under: Automobiles by Branko Collin @ 10:33 pm


The province of Gelderland will try to achieve a world first in May 2016 when it hopes to run a shuttle service on public roads using self-driven vehicles.

The vehicles are called Wepods and should drive guests of the University of Wageningen from the nearby rail station of Ede-Wageningen to the university and back. Currently however the vehicle laws of the Netherlands don’t allow self-driven cars on the road. The province hopes to convince the relevant ministries during a demonstration in October. The first Wepod, produced by Ligier in France, was delivered in June.

Rotterdam was the first city in the Netherlands allowing self-driven vehicles on its territory. The Rivium shuttle bus however does not mix with other traffic and has its own road — it operates a bit like a train without the rails.

(Link: Smart Driving; photo:

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August 2, 2015

Dutch city buses enjoy second life in Cuba

Filed under: Automobiles,History by Branko Collin @ 10:39 pm


This is what the buses from my childhood look like and yet I’ve never even been to Cuba.

It appears Cuba buys up old buses from all over the world and doesn’t bother to change the signs denoting the line number and destination. This one says: “Geen dienst”, i.e. no service. RTVNH spotted the old line 14 bus to Uitgeest (a town north of Amsterdam). Checking the Flickr group Dutch Buses in Cuba is like looking at a small history of Dutch public transport.

Yellow is just the livery of this company, it doesn’t denote any specific type of service. The curtain with the sassy fringe seems to be a recent addition though.

See also: NZH timetables using European comics.

(Photo by Paul Arps, some rights reserved)

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July 16, 2015

Dutch students win electric car competition in the UK

Filed under: Automobiles,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 11:01 am

Engineering students from the Delft University of Technology have done it again, winning this year’s Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ Formula Student competition for the second time in a row.

The Formula Student competition requires engineering students to design, build and race a single seat racing car in just one year. Cars are assess on their acceleration, endurance, fuel economy, design and business cases.

Thousands of the world’s best young engineers were at Silverstone, Northamptonshire, England on 8-12 July. There were 135 teams in total, with 49 from the UK and teams from as far as Australia, Turkey and Ukraine. Team Delft claimed the prize at Silverstone this weekend with a total score of 909.3 out of a total score of 1,000 points. Germany’s UAS Zwickau claimed second place with 792.5 points, University of Stuttgart came third with 750.8 and the University of Bath was the top UK team, coming fourth with 748.4 points.

(Link:, Photo of the unrelated Forze IV hydrogen-based formula race car by Richard van het Hof)

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July 7, 2015

Solar-powered family car to debut in race

Filed under: Automobiles by Orangemaster @ 10:25 am


The Solar Team Eindhoven from Eindhoven University of Technology presented its new solar-powered car this week, the Stella Lux, an ‘intelligent, solar-powered family car that generates more power than it uses’. The car will participate in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in Australia on 18 October 2015.

By combining the aerodynamic design with lightweight materials like carbon and aluminium, the Eindhoven student team has once again come up with a very energy-efficient design. Stella Lux can reach a range of 1,000 km on a sunny day in the Netherlands [yes, we get more sun than we let on]. On balance the car generates more energy than it uses, which makes it energy-positive.

In 2013 Eindhoven took first place in the Cruiser Class title with its first car, Stella, in Australia. This year’s race is more about speed, which is why Solar Team Eindhoven decided to build a new and lighter car with fewer seats, although still a true family car that seats four and is fitted with a specially designed navigation system.

(Link:, Photo by Bart van Overbeeke/

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