According to an old “Simpsons” quote, there’s nary a thing that can outrun a greased Scotsman. That’s no longer the case, as Chinese train manufacturer CSR Corp Ltd. unveiled a 500 km/h (310 mph) high-speed test train over the weekend. The train, which consists of six cars, is shaped to look like an ancient sword, reinforced with carbon fiber, and has a maximum tractive power of 22,800 kilowatts. Similar (if not identical in terms of proposed speeds) projects currently under construction include the 310 mph maglev train planned by Southwest Jiaotong University, the Tokyo to Osaka bullet train planned for 2045 and the proposed 269 mph maglev train from Anaheim to Las Vegas. The test unit is part of China’s trillion dollar effort effort to build 13,000 km (8,078 miles) of high-speed rail network by 2012, and about 20,000 km (12,427 miles) by 2020. This new launch comes after a series of high-speed train-related troubles throughout 2011 in which the former Railways Ministry chief, Liu Zhijun, was accused of pocketing $122 million and subsequently terminated from his position; this was followed by a July collision between two high-speed trains in Wenzhou, which killed at least 40 people and injured another 210. Still, the new test train tops out at 310 miles per hour and is shaped like an ancient sword, so past snafus can probably be forgiven.
Electric vehicles may have that instant torque thing going for them, but they’re still a bit behind when it comes to giving heart palpitations to those diehard petrolheads. Hoping to change that perception, Nissan is setting up to unveil a brand new concept vehicle, dubbed the Leaf Nismo RC (that stands for Racing Competition, not “radio-controlled”), which strips the one-size-fits-all Leaf down to its constituent elements. The drivetrain is still 100 percent electric, however it’s now powering the rear wheels instead of the front, while things like the rear seats, trunk, audio system, carpeting, and navigation have been completely removed. A carbon fiber chassis helps the Nismo RC keep weight down to 2,068 pounds (938kg), equivalent to just 60 percent of the original Leaf’s heft. Yes, the Leaf is now lighter! In performance terms, you’re looking at a car that can hit 62mph within 6.85 seconds, max out the speedometer at 93mph, and last a terrifying 20 minutes under racing conditions. This prototype vehicle will debut at the upcoming New York Auto Show and will thereafter help Nissan research better aerodynamics and, presumably, slightly better energy efficiency.
When this rather smashing little piece of gadgetry made its way through the FCC last week, we didn’t have a whole lot of details to share about the “world’s first carbon fiber Bluetooth headset.” Well, Bluetrek’s making the Carbon official today with a $70 price tag and a full set of specs. The thing weighs in at a mere .25 ounces, touts Bluetooth v3.0 support, and allows for four and a half hours of talk time or five days on standby. It also comes with a set of four earbuds in different sizes, so anyone can rock the lightweight headset no matter how big, or small, the ear hole. The Carbon is now on sale at the source link below. Full PR after the break.
Steaming down the autobahn could be about to get a whole lot more efficient. Volkswagen has carted out its newly updated Super Efficient Vehicle concept, now dubbed the XL1, which — after a great deal of fuzzy math, we’re sure — is rated at a 313MPG fuel efficiency and produces only 24g of CO2 per kilometer traveled.