Some would say that the automobile itself is nothing more than an overgrown gadget. And you know what? They’re right. I myself own no less than twenty-seven cars of numerous varieties: Ferraris, Porsches, Hondas, Jeeps, a mailtruck, and an M1 Abrams tank. I know what you’re going to say: “where do you find room for all of those?” Fortunately, at the compact size of just four inches long, they fit easily in a convenient
But like every important technological device, the car turns around to inspire gadgets of all kinds. Today on Gadgetbox we look at three car-related gadgets, including a fancy-shmancy wristwatch, an exclusively speedy toaster, and, finally, a way to transport your personal transporters.
Wristwatches and cars may not exactly go together like hammerpants and unsound financial decisions, but they have a lot in common. They’re both shiny . And both usually made partly of metal. Oh yeah, they both have gears. And bucket seats.
Anyway, Aston Martin’s apparently onboard with the whole watch/car thing. They’re
offering a limited edition Jaeger LeCoultre watch to owners of the new Aston Martin DBS (James Bond’s ride of choice in last year’s Casino Royale ), including such MI6-style features as the ability to unlock and start your car from controls on the watch, thus doing away with antiquated keys. The watch is among the most complex ever made, with two hundred parts for the casing, two hundred parts for the mechanism, and six million parts in the leather strap alone. I know, I know— fancy .
Class doesn’t come cheap, though. You’ll have to dig deep for the privilege of adorning your wrist with this piece of art: the pricetag is a steep €25,000. Of course, if you’ve already shelled out the €240,000 for the Aston Martin, I doubt that you’re really much of a penny-pincher.
Me, I can open my Accord with my Timex and a
slim jim —heck, I don’t even really need the Timex. I think I’ll stick with that.
What is it with car companies lending their brand names to things that have absolutely no relation to cars? I mean, there was the
Ferrari/Motorola RAZRmaxx; meanwhile, Porsche is designing computer equipment like
hard drives. Now Bugatti, the Italian automaker whose name is synonymous with exclusivity, has entered the home appliance field with
a brand new toaster.
I feel conflicted. On the one hand, a sports car manufacturer making toasters seems sacrilegious . On the other jam-covered hand, I love toast . If Bugatti can help with my toasted bread fixation, then I’m all for it. So what’ve you got, B? How will you compete with
Porsche’s offering in the same field (that’s right, it’s not even the first toaster designed by a sports car company)?
The specs are pretty good: six-speed transmission electronic browning controls, extra wide slots that accommodate bagels, a shiny red sports car finish, plenty of cupholders, included serving tray, and— sweet Aunt Jemima —a motorized toast-lifting system. Because springs, my friends, are so 20th century. But, I don’t know; it’s lacking something, a je ne sais quoi that would put it over the edge, something like— a crumpet warming rack . I do believe we have a winner.
But, not unlike their eponymous sports cars, don’t expect the Bugatti Volo, as it’s dubbed, to not laugh at the pitiful state of your wallet. You’ll spend £150 (that’s $300 for us Yanks) for the privilege of toasting your bread with Italian precision and, let’s admit it, you’ll love every second of it , even as the mingled tears of joy and sadness are streaming down your face while you have your breakfast of toast everyday for the rest of your life .
Opel Flextreme concept car may not be a car accessory, but it’s certainly got an interesting choice in its own accessories. The car, which is aimed at the European market, is a hybrid model that features a 120kW peak electronic motor, a 52kW diesel/biodiesel engine, and a 16kWH lithium-ion battery. All of which is plenty impressive, but of course what really differentiates most cars isn’t what’s under the hood, but rather the extras .
In this case, that would be the integrated cargo compartment specially designed for carrying those little two-wheeled vehicles that are so popular in Europe. Bicycles? Pshaw, this is the future we’re talking about, people. Would you waste your spiffy hybrid car to carry around bicycles . No, we’re talking Segways, naturally. That’s right, it’s a special trunk just for your Segways. Dean Kamen’s prediction that cities would one day be designed around the vehicle is finally sort of partially maybe coming true. In theory.
The Opel Flextreme, meanwhile, is pretty snazzy in its own right. The car can travel 444 miles on a charge and will be able to fully juice its battery from the super European 220V current in just three hours. The car is entirely powered by electric motors, too, as the diesel engine is just used to recharge the battery. And hey, if they ever ditch the Segways in favor of a bike rack—and, well, I move to Europe—I’m all there.
There you have it: despite having been around for more than a hundred years, the automobile still continues to be a ripe ground for technological innovation. Or, at least, talking about it. Now I’m off for a spin around the living room in my 1970 Dodge Challenger. Until next week.