Honda Let’s You Download a Car, Makes 3D Printing Design Files Available.

honda 3d printing nsxYou wouldn’t download a car would you? Well, if it’s a Honda, that might not be such a serious issue.

Honda is making 3D printing design files available for five of their older concept vehicles. As part of their Super Ultra Daydreams branding project, if you’re inclined to DIY, you could print out all the pieces for your very own NSX.

It’s kind of a crazy idea, aknowledging that IP law is going to have a difficult time reigning in consumer behavior once 3D printers become more commonplace, but crazy ideas seem to be right up Honda’s alley at the moment, if this video of theirs from the 43rd Tokyo Motor Show is any indication.

Yeah… I totally downloaded the NSX by the way…

Honda 3D Printing files.

German Federal Motor Transport Authority Gives Tesla Clean Bill of Health Following Vehicle Fires

model-s-blue-front2_960x640Posted on the Tesla website yesterday, the German Motor Authority (KBA) reviewed the Tesla data provided following the incidents in Seattle, Tennessee, and Mexico. The KBA has the power to perform investigations and initiate recalls.

They’ve concluded that no manufacturer defects were found and Tesla was not responsible for the vehicle fires. This could’ve been a disaster for Tesla as Germany is aggressively pushing alternative energy and electric vehicles. As Tesla sock has already taken a hit, a move from the KBA would likely have tainted Tesla’s reputation for an entire generation of consumers.

Instead, Tesla got a fist bump and a “we cool”, so hopefully this will help their reputation recover in Europe. Nice timing indeed as the Model X Sport Crossover should start delivering next year.

It also leads me to wonder why vehicle fires in internal combustion engine cars aren’t covered as viscerally in the media as the three fires Tesla Model S sedans have encountered…

Read the full statement at the Tesla blog.

Will Elon Musk Bring Android Apps to the Tesla Model S Dashboard Touchscreen?

model-s-interior1_960x640At a reception in Germany, Elon Musk spoke to a crowd about Tesla’s investment in the German market. Germany is very forward on renewable energy, alternative fuels, and they seem like a natural fit for the Tesla vibe. Especially considering that Germany was the second place market for the Tesla Roadster (behind the USA).

While answering questions about their corporate plans, Musk was asked about developing apps for the huge touchscreen built into the dash of the Tesla Sedan. The Model S currently uses a build of Linux, so porting Android apps over, or running them in an emulator, should be fairly easy to do, and he does specifically mention updating the car’s browser to chrome.

Elon actually takes the stage at 14:47 in this video, and you can skip to 37:20 to hear him answer the question about apps and Android.

I still have some ergonomic and safety reservations about an automobile control surface comprised mostly of a smooth featureless touchscreen, but at least I might not have to learn a new and unfamiliar ¬†UI when I’m finally able to get my hands on a Tesla of my very own… Some day… It could happen… Sigh…

Qi wireless gadget charging coming to Mercedes Benz, BMW, Volkswagen, Toyota, and Porsche vehicles.

audi logo windows phone 8 nokia lumia 920 wireless charging QI mercedes benz bmw volkswagen somegadgetguyTalk about getting juiced up!

There are a pair of competing standards for wireless phone and gadget charging. Duracell and Powermat use PMA while Nokia helped developed Qi for use in their Lumia phones. You can also find Qi on Samsung and Nexus devices. It’s one of my favorite convenience features on the 920. I pop it down on the Nokia pad and it charges. No messing with cables, easy peasy.

Well now Nokia’s Qi standard is going to be getting a significant boost in terms of mind share. The group Consumer Electronics for Automotive (CE4A) works with European auto makers to standardize mobile interfaces. They’ve recommended that vehicles implement Qi wireless charging and the big four German auto makers are already on board. They’ll likely also make recommendations on where charging surfaces are placed inside vehicles.

This comes after Toyota has started offering Qi charging in the 2013 Avalon.

If you were backing Powermat’s PMA standard, fret not. GM is set to push their flavor of inductive charging on select cars and trucks as part of an accessories package in 2014.

Full PR after the jump.

Continue reading “Qi wireless gadget charging coming to Mercedes Benz, BMW, Volkswagen, Toyota, and Porsche vehicles.”