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The Roundabout Blog

Week in pictures: a car that defies tsunamis

  • A floating electric car for flash-flood zones

    Hideo Tsurumaki was there in 2011 when a tsunami devastated his hometown in the Shizuoka Prefecture of Japan. With this disaster as his inspiration, the designer, who started his career at Suzuki Motor, set about creating a car that could carry its occupants to safety in the event of sudden flooding. The fruit of his labour, the Fomm Concept One, is a four-seat electric car that floats. A personal watercraft-style handlebar controls acceleration, braking and steering, and when afloat, a “water-jet generator” provides propulsion. Despite its seaworthiness, the Concept One is not a true amphibious vehicle. Tsurumaki insists that the car is good for “one disaster event” before requiring maintenance. The company expects to commence production of the Concept One in Thailand by September 2015, priced at about $9,000. (Photo: Fomm Corporation)

  • A road trip of orange proportions

    Promoting the Netherlands’ national soccer team – a squad known as the Oranje – a caravan of 22 orange vehicles departed New York City’s Times Square on 25 March, kicking off an 80-day, 15,500-mile expedition through 14 countries. The 2014 edition of the annual Oranje Trophy has the convoy crossing the US to California before turning south en route to Brazil, arriving in Rio de Janeiro on 14 June, just in time for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. (Photo: Stan Honda/Getty Images)

  • Mitsubishi Evo X returns, ready to rumble

    To celebrate its 40th anniversary in Europe, Mitsubishi has revived the vaunted Lancer Evolution X, discontinued since 2012, and given it an extra helping of power. As its name suggests, special edition FQ-440 MR extracts a staggering 440 horsepower from its turbocharged 2-litre four-cylinder engine. Power reaches the pavement through a six-speed dual-clutch automatic and all-wheel drive. The FQ-440 MR also features a revised suspension, brakes and wheels, along with an upgraded interior and an on-board data recorder that logs performance and location data (push the boundaries of common sense behind the wheel and risk voiding your warranty). In Britain, this special Evo, of which availability has been capped at just 40 cars, will command a cool £50,000 (about $83,000). (Photo: Mitsubishi, via Newspress)

  • Land Rover and Barbour make it official

    Land Rover drivers have been donning Barbour jackets for as long as there have been Land Rovers to drive. And on 26 March, the two icons of Britishness made it official, announcing a clothing collaboration that, according to a release, is built on “the shared foundations of capability, design, reliability and style.” The line encompasses a selection of quilted, woolen and waxed jackets for men and women, along with a range of accessories and luggage. The collections reach Barbour and Land Rover retailers in August. No mention of pricing, but surely, if you have to ask… (Photo: Land Rover)

  • Toyota reveals its 2014 Le Mans contender

    On 27 March, Toyota pulled the wraps off its 2014 Le Mans contender, the TS040 Hybrid. The all-wheel drive TS040’s gasoline-electric hybrid system matches a 473-horsepower electric motor to a 513hp 3.7-litre gasoline V8, for a neck-breaking total of 986hp. Facing off against Audi and Porsche in the LMP1 class, Toyota will field two TS040s in this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. Alex Wurz, Stéphane Sarrazin and Kazuki Nakajima will pilot the #7 car; Anthony Davidson, Nicolas Lapierre and Sébastien Buemi will take the #8 car. The TS040 is set to make its competition debut on 20 April at the Six Hours of Silverstone. (Photo: Toyota, via Newspress)

  • Honda builds the smartest house on the block

    Located on the campus of the University of California, Davis, the Honda Smart Home is a live-in experiment in maximum energy efficiency. The technologically-advanced abode uses a 9.5-kW rooftop solar array to produce its own energy, and an array of features – including LED interior illumination and geothermal temperature control – to use as little of that electricity as possible. And it is very efficient, indeed – so much so that the home produces enough excess power to charge the batteries of the future resident’s daily transportation – a Honda Fit EV. Honda has modified the car to accept electricity directly from the home’s solar panels, which on a sunny day will recharge the car in just two hours. (Photo: American Honda)