Electric Buses, Quiet Tires, and More Car News This Week

It is someone’s job—really, a few people’s jobs—to transform a custom, 1,650-pound, open-wheeled jet car into something that might fit in the palm of your kiddo’s hand.

Beth Holzer

The official start of summer is around the corner, which means it’s about to get pretty warm for us here in the US. So it’s appropriate that we were all about electric stuff this week. We wondered why electric buses haven’t quite hit the big time yet, and how to eliminate tire noise to make electric vehicles super stealthy. We also took a deep look at a local political skirmish in the Bay Area over bike-share, which in part hinges on whether a bicycle is the same as an electric bicycle. Toasty!

Plus, we rode along with an autonomous delivery startup that wants to breach the tricky divide between the curb and your doorstep—with robots—and played with Hot Wheels. It’s been a week. Let’s get you caught up.

Headlines

Stories you might have missed from WIRED this week

  • Boxbot, the company behind an adorable blue-and-orange autonomous truck trawling the streets of Oakland, has an outsized, ambitious plan for the future of delivery . It involves fewer humans.
  • Meet the Bridgestone tire built to make electric vehicles as quiet as they can be—and the engineers who worked to eliminate all nine (!?) of the sounds associated with tire noise.
  • Electric buses are technology whose time has come. But the agencies using them have found it’s a bit more complicated than just buying a bus.
  • A Hot Wheels designer explains how his team miniaturizes vehicle designs , no shrink rays involved.
  • It’s Uber vs. Lyft vs. the city of San Francisco vs. the Bay Area in the latest transportation dust-up, a reminder that the picture of urban mobility is changing fast. And this one involves bikes !

Horse of the Week

Meet Blitz, the 16-year-old retired member of the Tempe, Arizona, Police-Mounted Unit, who is helping Waymo teach its robot vehicles how to recognize and react to equine vehicles. Eventually, Waymo told a local Arizona news station, its autonomous vehicles should slow down and swerve away from horses. Stay safe out there, Blitz!

Stat of the Week

20

The number of years legendary Jaguar design director Ian Callum held his position, before stepping down this week. (He’ll say on as “design consultant,” so don’t expect Jaguars to sprout horns or anything like that.) Last summer, we spoke to Callum about the all-electric I-Pace, which, he said, proves Jaguar is still “about performance, agility, and driving.”

Required Reading

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