Category Archives: Electric Avenue

Electric vehicles, no matter how many wheels they have.

NHTSA Opens Probe Into Tesla Autopilot Crashes

It’s been a long time coming, but it was crashes with emergency vehicles that prompted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to open an investigation into Tesla’s Autopilot semi-autonomous driving feature. Since January 2018, there have been 17 injuries and one death in 11 crashes, all of which involve Teslas operating in Autopilot mode colliding with vehicles at first responder scenes. This investigation covers 765,000 Teslas, all models, from 2014 to 2021.

Read more at Reuters.

Loud Electric Bikes Save Lives

Some say loud pipes save lives, but electric motorcycles don’t have any pipes. AdvRider tells us, don’t worry, Yamaha is working on that.

Yamaha’s Alive AD (an acronym for “acoustic design”) is supposed to bring more noise to your electric ride, enough that people accustomed to listening for gas burners won’t have any trouble hearing you on your formerly silent electric bike. But your Yamaha won’t suddenly start sounding like a Harley. Yamaha wants to create a unique “soundscape” for electric vehicles so equipped. I would say that Yamaha is the best manufacturer to do this, considering that they also make musical instruments and are highly experienced when it comes to creating sounds. So while an electric Yamaha may not sound like a Harley, it will still sound like something exciting — a TIE Fighter, perhaps.

I find this reference particular amusing because the article’s author and real-life friend of mine, Kate Murphy, once told me my Honda PC800 sounded like a TIE Fighter as it roared down the front straightaway of Palmer Motorsports Park. I guess PC800s are so cool that now Yamaha wants a piece of that pie, or something.

But seriously, the silence of electric vehicles is a real safety concern. Electric competitors at Pike’s Peak and Mt. Washington are required to run sirens to warn people of their approach, they’re so quiet even at race speed. Trust me — I was there when Climb to the Clouds last ran in 2017, and the electric car’s sirens were all I could hear until they started crunching the dirt at Cragway just feet away from where I was standing.

When it comes to the street, of course people should open their eyes and actually watch for motorcycles, cars, tractor-trailers, Antonov An-225s, etc. Unfortunately, they don’t. So while I’m not a believer in “loud pipes save lives,” I do believe that SOME sound is necessary for safety reasons. It also sounds cool, as long as it’s not blowing out your eardrums in the process.

These Guys Built an Electric Honda CB750 for $4,000

When you think of electric bikes, you probably think of Zero, LiveWire, and so on. You certainly don’t think of the Honda CB750, the bike that established the superbike category when it first came out in 1969. Yet RideApart brings us these guys, who took an old dismantled CB750 and turned it into a custom electric cafe racer on a shoestring budget.

I think converting old gas-burners to electric is going to become more and more common, particularly as electric vehicles slowly replace gas ones. It’s a great way to keep older bikes (and cars) on the road. Also, by modifying an existing bike, you already have a VIN to register, making it easy to keep them street legal. And, as the Inja shows, it’s not as difficult as you may think to learn how electric bikes work, making them easy to build and maintain.

Tesla Vision-Based Autopark In Action

Tesla’s eyes are getting better, as camera-based sensors continue to replace the ultrasonic sensors previously used. Electrek brings this video of the new camera-based Autopark feature in action from Tesla hacker Green, who has managed to enable this new camera-based software on his older Tesla, even though it’s only supposed to work on Model S cars delivered since June.

What can I say? It works! There’s absolutely no way that ultrasonic sensors could see the painted lines in the open area where Green demonstrates the feature. This makes it possible to park your precious Tesla far, far away from the plebs and their ancient caveman cars that still run on fossil fuels.

Kidding aside, this is pretty cool, and an essential step as Tesla keeps improving its self-driving capabilities. Though I have to wonder how well this will work in the average parking lot with paint that’s worn out, or repainted in a different pattern while the old lines are still somewhat visible as well? Maybe Green should go to his local “dead mall” for his next test.

Chevy Teases Electric Silverado With Four-Wheel Steering

You knew it had to happen. Ford grabbed the electric truck spotlight with the F-150 Lightning, so Chevrolet had to answer with an electric Silverado. What we didn’t expect, though, was the return of four-wheel steering.

Elektrek brings us this teaser video of the upcoming electric Silverado, which prominently features the four-wheel steering option. This harkens back to Chevy’s Quadrasteer option, available on 2002-2005 Chevy Silverado / GMC Sierra twins, as well as the Chevy Suburban / GMC Yukon XL. (You can read more about Quadrasteer at GM Authority.) Being a teaser, we have little info on the new system, other than its availability and simliarity to the one offered on the Hummer EV.

With vehicles getting ever bigger and bigger, it’s no wonder this feature is making a return. My dad downsized from a Silverado to a Colorado specifically because the bigger truck can’t make the turn into his garage in one swing, the Colorado can, and both trucks fulfill all of his truck needs. So the need for a tighter turning radius is definitely there.