Personal Transportation

Virtue Pedalist combine car and motorcycle, makes Smart cars feel fat

Cars are a costly necessity for many consumers who need a way to travel to and from work each day where there are no public transportation options. In addition to the upfront cost to buy a car, there’s the frequent need to buy fuel that’s bad for the environment and the, hopefully less frequent, need to repair the vehicle.

Virtue Pedalist, the latest vehicle from company Virtue Cycles, combines elements of an electric bicycle, cargo bike, velomobile (bicycle/car combination) and a tadpole tricycle (a recumbent tricycle with two front wheels). It has two front wheels, one rear wheel, and an outer shell that shields the driver from sun, wind and rain. There are three modes of riding it: pure pedaling, pedal assist in which its electric motor multiplies the user’s pedaling power, and electric-only throttle mode.

Although riders can cycle as fast as they want with the first two modes, the throttle-only speed is limited to 20 miles per hour so that it can be legally classified as a tricycle, rather than a moped or scooter, under regulations in California and most other U.S. states, according to its Kickstarter campaign. The Pedalist will cost $4,499 and ship in November. The company is hoping to raise $100,000 by May 21.

Automotive Connected Objects

SafeNet helps keep you and your family safe on the road

The car monitoring services offered by some car companies are useful, though they typically tend to be costly and can’t always be always be used with every car.

SafeNet aims to remedy this with a simple solution. SafeNet is a portable tracking and monitoring system that simply plugs into a car’s accessory jack. Once plugged in, it allows users to track, monitor and communicate with their vehicle. SafeNet is a small, square device that can be placed anywhere in a car where cellular reception is available. With no additional fees, SafeNet will even alert users when a car has been taken out for a spin by an adventurous teenager or an elderly parent. The device can even alert users when their car is being driven too fast. What’s more, if the car is an accident, SafeNet will automatically contact individuals on an emergency contact list. A 3G version of the device with just data costs $214. A 3G version with data and voice functionality is just an extra $5. While a 2G version is available for $199, the device’s maker recommends that U.S. based customers spring for the 3G model. The device is slated to ship in May provided it can raise $130,000 by May 3.

SafeNet holds promise as it features functionality that not all on board diagnostics (OBD) devices offer. For example, unlike Truvolo, SafeNet doesn’t require an app. Further, SafeNet offers users free access to its SkyNet service which hosts free online mapping software on its website. As an aside, the SkyNet name might not have been the greatest choice considering its association with the villainous intelligence system from the Terminator films.


Automotive Chargers/Batteries

Pocket Jump charges your smartphone, jump starts your car

Being suddenly stranded on the side of the road because of a dead car battery and a smartphone on its last legs can be a pretty terrible situation. With the unimpressive capacity of our smartphones, this is probably a situation that happens all too often and is dangerous because there just might not be anyone around to help. Viatek Consumer Products Group, Inc. is looking to kill two birds with one stone with their Pocket Jump, a product looking to restore motorists’ peace of mind while on the road.

Pocket Jump addresses our devices’ constant necessity for power as a portable 3000mAh or 4800mAh battery pack with the ability to recharge using a micro-USB connection or a vehicle’s own car battery through the cigarette lighter. In the unfortunate scenario that a car battery dies out, the Pocket Jump is equipped with the technology to jump start a car with that same cigarette lighter so a motorist can avoid the hassle of having to flag down another car, use dangerous jumper cables, and possibly face inclement weather while doing so.

Cars, vans, trucks with diesel or hybrid engines can all use the Pocket Jump, making the tiny device an extremely versatile tool to have handy especially because it will more or less always have some sort of charge within. The 3000mAh version goes for $40, while the Pocket Jump Plus goes for $80. The campaign is looking for $10,000 to get the product in backer’s vehicles by December 2014.


Stingray seeks to eradicate those little trees hanging off your rearview mirror

Many people enjoy using various aromas in their vehicle to keep the air fresh. But what if there were an air freshener device that would allow for variety at the press of a button and also helped people to stay healthier during cold and flu season?

Stingray is an air freshening device that uses various natural aromatizes to enhance respiratory health. It doesn’t require any special tools or skills to install, and is touted as having reliable fastening in any situation, even if one is into doing 4×4 truck shows in which one hits the ramps, goes airborne, and lands with a crowd pleasing, high wheeling thud (see video).  As for normal drivers, they may be more interested to know about having the option of four scents, which can be changed at any time of their choosing at the press of a button. The fragrances release every 5, 10, 15 or 30 minutes, with an “extra” button that can be used at any time.  Stingray automatically shuts off when the car is turned off, and is hardy enough to withstand extremely cold temperatures. It also has two USB charging ports.

Stingray could be enjoyed by pretty much anyone who drives a vehicle. It would be nice to know what scents will be offered with the product, if they ever need to be replaced and where or how one would get the refills, but this is not clearly indicated. This campaign is seeking to raise $200,000 by November 14, 2014. For $69, early bird backers get one product.


PURGGO naturally freshens, leggos the stench in your car

The Premise. Cars have a tendency to get smelly over time. They’re hard to clean and some smells just want to stick around forever. Air fresheners tend to add artificial fragrances to the stench and don’t actually eliminate odors. Other cleaning methods are costly, like shampooing your car’s seats, and only work once.

The Product. PURGGO is an all-natural product designed to take the stink out of your car. It loops around a car’s headrest and lays on the back of the seat. With a blue strap and hemp body, it’s stylish and unobtrusive. The product uses bamboo and charcoal to trap odors in order to purify your car. PURGGO is fragrance- and allergen-free and won’t exacerbate asthma. In addition, it’s made with bamboo and charcoal, two materials that are easily renewable.

The Pitch. PURGGO’s campaign videos goes through the harmful effects of car fresheners. They discuss how these mass-produced products aren’t doing what they promise to do and are also dangerous to our health. Not only is PURGGO all natural, but it’s also environmentally friendly. The rest of the campaign discusses the various odors that worm their way into your vehicle along with testimonials from satisfied customers. PURGGO hopes to raise $20,000 in a month-long Kickstarter campaign.

The Perks. For $29, backers will receive the PURGGO along with two mini PURGGOs. At the $54 level, backers get two PURGGOs for estimated delivery in December 2014. Reward tiers reach up to $10,000, which only earns a hug from the PURGGO creators.

The Potential. The market offers plenty of all-natural car fresheners. Most use essential oils to improve the car’s scent along with a diffuser that plugs into the outlet. Still, these products resort to strong-smelling cover-ups instead of long-lasting solutions. PURGGO claims to last for over a year while other car fresheners only make it a month and a half. While PURGGO does work slower than others, as clearly stated in the campaign, it seems the cleanest way to remove the stench from any kind of vehicle.