World's First Electric Car Grand Prix

The French Pyrenees town that staged the world's first Grand Prix nearly a century ago now hosts the world's first electric car Grand Prix. Pau in southern France has seen many a race since 1901 - but none as quiet as this one. For more news and videos visit ☛ Follow us on Twitter ☛ Add us on Facebook ☛ A century after Grand Prix racing started in Pau, the French town has staged the world's first Electric Grand Prix. All 12 entries used the same vehicle, the Exagon-built Andros racing car. Originally designed for racing on ice, the car can reach speeds of 112 miles per hour. Winding through the picturesque town of Pau, the 1.7 mile course hasn't changed much over the decades. Its winding route through the town has earned it comparisons with better-known Monaco. But it's Pau that has the honor of having hosted the very first Grand Prix in 1901. The resort in southwestern France, just 31 miles from the Spanish border, is a proven testing ground for future Formula 1 world champions on Formula 2, 3 or 3000 vehicles. For the die-hard motor sports fans raised on the roar of high-powered petrol engines on full throttle, electric car racing might seem a little tame. But others found the low-pitched whine -- a bit like a jet engine but much quieter -- a pleasant change from the ear-splitting roar of the traditional racing engine. Participants included Nicolas Prost, the son of France's Formula 1 World champion Alain Prost, as well as Fabien Barthez, the former goalkeeper who helped France win the World Cup in 1998. But neither could defeat the reigning champion of the Andros Trophy electric series on ice. Adrien Tambay won the race ahead of Mike Parisi and Soheil Ayari, who came in third.

More Videos...

Scientists Revive Ancient Spider in 3D Detail
For more news and videos visit ☛ Follow us on Twitter ☛ Add us on Facebook ☛ Scientists have identified an ancient spider by using the latest CT scanning techniques. The spider was trapped in amber for 50 million years. The name might be misleading - the giant crab spider actually measures just a few millimeters across - but its presence in Berlin's Natural History Museum is causing a stir. The spider has been here unrecognized for 150 years. But now, thanks to the latest hi-tech scanning technique, scientists have been able to identify it. The amber specimen had darkened so much over the years that it was almost impossible to see the precious fossil inside even under the microscope, until paleontologist and spider expert Dr. Jason Dunlop and his international team revealed its identity. [Dr. Jason Dunlop, Paleontologist and Spider Expert]: "I talked to some colleagues of mine in Manchester in England and they have a machine, which do what's called a CT scan. This is very similar to the medical scans you can get in hospital today and it basically makes a series of x-rays going around the specimen and from that we can reconstruct a three-dimensional computer model." Dr. Dunlop is excited over the possibilities. [Dr. Jason Dunlop, Paleontologist and Spider Expert]: "The big news is that we can do this, that we can take very, very old pieces of amber even if it looks like a very bad specimen that you can hardly see anything, you can still get very, very detailed information from it. And because of that information we can say that this fossil spider belongs to the same genus as a spider you can find today living in East Asia or Africa." The giant crab spider is more commonly known as the huntsman spider. The example in the museum is an ancient relative of the species that today is found mainly in tropical and semi-tropical regions. The spider has eight eyes and a grey or brown coloring. It uses venom to demobilize its prey but its bite is not deadly to humans. The spider feeds mainly on insects using jaws that the scan reveals in minute detail. According to Dunlop the scanning method opens great possibilities in the field of paleontology. [Dr. Jason Dunlop, Paleontologist and Spider Expert]: "You can scan all sorts of things now from dinosaur brain cases through to little creepy crawlies in amber. And in all of these cases it gives you a three-dimensional view of what the animal was really like back then." In the case of the giant crab spider, the three-dimensional scan allowed the team to analyze the form, structure and living conditions of the animal even though it was almost impossible to see it with the usual microscopic methods. [Dr. Jason Dunlop, Paleontologist and Spider Expert]: "And that's a huge advance on what we used to able to do in the past when most fossils was simply squashed flat against the rock." More than a thousand spider fossils have been discovered with many of them preserved in amber.

Electric Car Can Travel 280 Miles Per Charge
A German company has developed a battery-powered electric car capable of driving 280 miles on a single charge. The company says the car can be made for a price similar to a conventional petrol fueled car - some very good news for the environment. For more news and videos visit ☛ Follow us on Twitter ☛ Add us on Facebook ☛ A German company say their new battery could be the breakthrough electric car-makers have been waiting for. The car should power a normal family car for up to 450km or 280 miles on a single charge. The company, DBM Energy, says their new lithium-polymer technology is lighter and more efficient than lithium-ion batteries. They've fitted them in an Audi A2 to demonstrate their practicalities. [Swen Streubel, Spokesman, L.E. Mobile]: "This is no miracle, we have all of the components which are available in the car and in theory we can show that it is possible to travel via electricity today and that it is suitable for daily life." Unlike other electric cars where the entire boot or trunk is used for the battery, the "Kolibri" battery occupies a lot less space. Last Autumn, DBM Energy drove a different version - a prototype A2 - into the record books with a 600km trip from Munich to Berlin on a single charge. The company says it used independent testers to verify the feat. The Federal Office of Material Research checked the safety of the Kolibri battery while technical services company Dekra checked the performance. DBM Energy says their battery has been examined and tested thoroughly, passing with flying colors. [Klaus Reindl, Spokesperson, German Motoring Club ADAC]: " ... this battery actually is very efficient. Whether or not that will actually be enough in the future for traveling by electricity remains to be seen but it is certainly a step towards how the future will be." Inventor Mirko Hanneman is positive that this technology could be the key to the future. [Mirko Hanneman, Inventor, Kolibri Battery]: " ... if you produce a higher quantity then it will be economically as viable as today's fuel engines." With tough new EU emissions targets coming into effect next year, all the major car manufacturers are either already mass-producing electric cars or rushing to catch up.

New Electric Car from Munich Set to Impress Frankfurt Auto Show
For more news and videos visit ☛ Follow us on Twitter ☛ Add us on Facebook ☛ Scientists from Munich's Technical University will be joining the world's major car manufacturers at the Frankfurt Auto Show later this year. They have designed and built an electric car that's more than just some innovation. Scientists want to bring it to market in five years. This man's not a professional driver. He's a scientist, testing a prototype that could be the next big thing in electric cars. It's called the Mute, M-U-T-E. The concept came from Munich's Technical University, where it was also designed and built. Students from twenty different departments joined hands to make it work. The car is set to debut publicly at this year's Frankfurt Auto Show. This is where the industry's manufacturers, experts and analysts gather to see the latest trends. The students say they're confident this one will make a lasting impression. The car is designed for city commuters, who care about efficiency and safely. [Michael Graf, Head of Car Dynamics Project]: "We wanted to build a city car which has a range of a bout 100 kilometres. The maximum velocity is 120 kilometres per hour. The special thing regarding the vehicle dynamics is the Torque Vectoring. That means we are distributing the engine torque (moment of force) from left to right or from right to left so if I'm going in a corner the outer wheel is turning more and it helps me to turn the car in the corner. So, that means we can maximise the stability of the car and therefore also the driving security. That means we can ... Even if we are in low friction corners, if it's raining or snowing, the car is still stable." The car has two seats. It uses technologies that focus on economy and environmental cleanliness. It's powered by a conventional electric motor. The motor generates just 15kW (20 hp) of power, but is efficient, inexpensive and durable. This car weighs around 11 hundred pounds (500 kilograms) with the battery. Being both lightweight and meeting car safety standards was part of the challenge. The team say they were able to achieve this by using carbon fiber as the material. For now, the prototype is due to make its public debut in Frankfurt in September. [Michael Graf, Head of Car Dynamics Project]: "The near future is that we are presenting the car at the IAA (car show) in Frankfurt. There is now quite a lot of electric cars presented. We are planning or it's planned to built this car in five years for the mass production. We think that we producing or if we are producing 25,000 cars then the car is affordable for the customer with about nine or ten thousand euros." The car comes with full wireless connectivity with a mobile radio that can navigate, show traffic conditions and entertain.

12-Year-Old World Chess Champion Eyes New Challenges
For more news and videos visit ☛ Follow us on Twitter ☛ Add us on Facebook ☛ 12-year-old Yulia Osmak from Kyiv recently won the title of "Most Intelligent" in the annual all-Ukrainian "Miracle Child" Awards. Last year she won the title of World Chess Champion in her age category. Our correspondents from Kyiv met this unusual girl. There's just no stopping 12-year-old Ukrainian Yulia Osmak. Last year she clinched top spot in the World Chess Championship and she recently came in first at the Ukrainian Miracle Child Awards. [Yulia Osmak, World Chess Champion]: "At first I cried because it was hard to realize that I am a world champion, and I thought that if I became a champion, everybody would stop making friends and socializing with me - but they didn't, and interaction got even better. I am very happy because of that." Yulia says her greatest challenge is to beat the Indians and Russians in the game. Last year at the European Chess Championship she came in second after her rival from Russia. [Yulia Osmak, World Chess Champion]: "Russians play very quietly and never walk into a risky situation or "continuation" in chess terms. This could be considered a kind of weakness. They don't do well when in a dynamic position in which they can be beaten." Yulia's trainer says an active game is to his student's advantage. [Leonid Borodin, Chess Trainer]: "She has a very unique style, a dynamic style. Maybe she plays a little worse in a closed position. But if she arranges her pieces well and the battle begins, there is no need to worry." Support from her relatives and her desire to be first is Yulia's main incentive to win. [Yulia Osmak, World Chess Champion]: "I am very excited to win, if someone plays better than me, especially girls. Boys are ok. But the girls - this should not be allowed! I should be better than all the girls around." Yulia trains daily for about 2 hours, not only playing, but reading chess books. [Yulia Osmak, World Chess Champion]: "I read some interesting romance stories, and then I can read about chess." Yulia's plans to gain a grand chess master title, but that's not all. She has already written several books and dreams of becoming a writer. [Yulia Osmak, World Chess Champion]: "I have a very lively imagination. I like to write about love. I also like to write adventure stories." The International Chess Championship in Brazil is Yulia's next challenge. Some of her fellow competitors also know what it takes to become a champion. [Anton Voight, Chess Player]: "To play all the time, and train, wherever you are." [Andrey Meschanin, Chess Player]: "And do not ignore the lessons of chess." [Matthew Bratus, Chess Player]: "Read chess books, and if the player is weaker, you can recall a strategy from the book and win." But it all costs money and Yulia had to attend the last world championship at her own expense. NTD News, Kyiv, Ukraine