Why car makers still produce life size clay models

A clay model in progress 

A fascinating look behind the scenes of automotive design by Michael Wayland (Associated Press), and the return of making models out of clay after a flirtation with technology.

Twenty-five years ago, as milling and computer-aided design programs transformed the design process, it seemed clay modelers would be all but extinct. Bean counters saw the new technologies as a way to shorten the design process and cut costs. Modeling But carmakers found they were turning out lackluster vehicles due to a lack of hands-on interaction and being unable to effectively evaluate styling.

Read the full story here

Ford files patent for rear tire that converts into an electric unicycle

 Ford files patent for rear tire that converts into an electric unicycle The Verge

Ford has patented an invention that allows you to turn the back wheel in to a motor bike.

The patent imagines a situation where you’d pull over (or park), lift the vehicle with the help of its automatic jack, remove the tire, and get everything else you need — seat, handlebars, motor, etc. — from the trunk.

Alternatively, you could just take a fold-up electric bike with you. That way, if someone nicks your bike, you’ve still got a functioning car…

I mean, seriously.

Ford looks to geckos to boost the recyclability of its cars

For Ford, cracking the secret of the Tokay gecko toe could mean boosting recycling rates for its vehicles by a full 10%. A gecko toe-inspired adhesive would allow the car manufacturer to better separate the mishmash of plastics and foams leftover after a car is stripped of its metal insides. “If we could separate it, if we could identify different streams within it, we would stand a much better chance of being able to utilize them for higher-end applications,” said Debbie Mielewski, the senior technical leader for plastics and sustainability research at Ford.

Read the full story here