Automobiles

July 1 Cell Phone Driving Ban: What You Need To Know

Jun 11, 2015
Indiana Stan / Flickr / Creative Commons

As New Hampshire’s ban on the use of hand-held cell phones while driving looms, we revisit this effort to curb dangerous inattention behind the wheel. We’ll look at how these laws have affected traffic safety elsewhere, whether they’ve worked, and explain the rules of the road for New Hampshire’s version, to be enforced July first.

What's Next For The Electric Car?

Oct 20, 2014
James Pouliot / NHPR

With charging stations expanding across New England, including a new super-charger coming to Portsmouth, this niche automobile market is growing.  We’ll dig into the science of electric cars: how they work, new technology to expand their range, and why – depending on where you live – they may not be as green as you might think.

(originally broadcast August 4, 2014)

GUESTS:

Sarah Thomas / NHPR

Today on Word of Mouth, a sweet conversation with a man who knows maple syrup. Emerson writing professor and author, Douglas Whynott joins us to discuss his new book The Sugar Season: A Year in the Life of Maple Syrup and One Family's Quest for the Sweetest Harvest. Plus, we'll put Whynott to the test when he joins Virginia in a blindfolded taste test of 4 grades of authentic, New Hampshire made maple  syrup and one imposter.

Also on the show, Jamie Page Deaton breaks down her list of the top choices for family cars. 

Listen to the full show and click Read More for individual segments.

kardboard604 via flickr Creative Commons

The data on driving is that for nearly a decade, Americans are driving less – especially younger drivers. With an added drop in vehicle sales and issued driver licenses, some researchers and reporters suggest that the US may have passed “peak car” – and that America’s infatuation with driving may have hit its zenith in the 1990s.

Jordan Weissmann is a senior associate editor at The Atlantic, where he wrote about the concept of “peak car”.

Emily Badger, is a staff writer for The Atlantic Cities, she’s also covered the “peak car” phenomenon.

An expanded “Auto Dealer Bill of Rights” law is set to take effect today.  It offers auto and equipment dealers protections from some requirements set by manufacturers.  But a key part of the law is now on hold.

The equipment manufacturer John Deere & Company filed a lawsuit this week with two other equipment manufacturers, challenging a New Hampshire law set to go into effect September 1st.

teslamotors.com

Earlier this month, the New York Times published a scathing article about Tesla’s Model X…the article has since stirred up controversy on the web and in media and auto industry circles, and it’s a story that doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. Joining us with an explainer and an update on the latest developments in “Tesla-Gate” is Jamie Page Deaton, Managing Editor of US News Best Cars.

LA Wad, courtesy Flickr

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: I recently saw an article extolling the virtues of natural gas as an abundant, inexpensive and domestically produced automotive fuel. Is this going to be the automotive fuel of the future and how green is it? -- Jason Kincaide, New Bedford, MA

 

Modern advertisers will put commercials and billboards just about anywhere, but they’re not nearly as intrusive as depicted in the futuristic 2002 Steven Spielberg thriller Minority Report, where street side billboards address city-goers by name, and holographic spokespersons are literally projected into your path.

Paul Schubert and his wife decided to buy a new car last summer — a really fuel-efficient one. After a lot of research, they settled on a Toyota Prius. But there was a problem: They couldn't find one.

The tsunami that devastated Japan in March had dried up supplies of the Prius, which is made in Japan, and a dealer told them they would have to wait — "about four months," Schubert says. "And we thought, well, it'd be, probably, end of November, early December before we were going to have a car."

The Schuberts still had a working car.

Hail, Hail! 'Taxi Of Tomorrow' Arrives In NYC

Apr 4, 2012

The "Taxi of Tomorrow" has arrived in New York City. On Tuesday night, officials unveiled the Nissan-designed cab that, over the next 10 years, will gradually replace the country's largest taxi fleet. It's the first New York taxi to be designed for the job since the city's iconic Checker cab.

For Nissan's designers, the process of putting the new cab together involved months of riding in taxis and talking to cab owners, drivers and passengers about what they did and didn't like.

When 93-year-old Rachel Veitch picked up the newspaper on March 10 and realized that the macular degeneration in her eyes had developed to the point where she couldn't read the print, she knew it was time to stop driving.

But there's much more to the Orlando, Fla., woman's story.

The decision meant she would no longer be getting behind the wheel of her beloved 1964 Mercury Comet Caliente, a car she calls "The Chariot." Veitch has pampered her ride for nearly five decades and 567,000 miles.

It would be difficult for some people to let a stranger drive off with one of their most valuable possessions. But not for Stanford graduate student Katie Hagey.

Hagey is one of a growing number of individual car owners who have started renting their wheels to people they don't know through car-sharing startup companies resembling the better-known Zipcar.

Elkhart, Ind., is known as the RV capital of the world. The city suffered badly when the recession hit and demand for recreational vehicles all but screeched to a halt. That's when local and state leaders started looking for ways to bolster the area's manufacturing industry.

The unemployment rate in the city along the Michigan border eventually soared to 20 percent — the highest in the nation at the time.

The statistics are pretty grim — on average 300 people a year die after being hit by cars backing up, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Half of them are children younger than 5.

Photo by SuperlativeQuip, courtesy of Flickr creative commons

In the span of one year, a business can achieve record-breaking profits, or suffer staggering financial losses – and despite the size of its product or the confidence with which it’s marketed, the automotive industry has proven to be no exception. You only have to look as far back as March of last year – when a massive earthquake and tsunami in Japan took the lives of thousands, set off an international nuclear scare, and sent Toyota’s quarterly profits plummeting as production was delayed, and parts suppliers were wiped out.

Photo: Chris Jensen / NHPR

LISTEN 

While there are thousands auto body mechanics in the U-S, only a handful have been able to turn their work into a specialized art form.

One of those artists lives in the North Country re-creating some of the world’s most elegant automobiles.

Banging sound

In a shop in Bethlehem Joe Stafford is beating – ever so carefully - an aluminum panel.