If you have had a look at this blog “projects” section, you know it: I’ve worked for Telepass in the past, so I’m a not an independent source or better I am a Telepass fan. To be honest I am a fan of whatever makes life easier for humans. And this is one of those. Telepass let you pass by the gates in the italian highways without stopping: just pass by and the amount will be charged on your credit card. I have one of this devices since 1995 and always worked fine avoding hours of boring cues in over polluted highway barriers and the pain to stop and look for the ticket and the money. Since then I have always wondered why not to use the same logic (and device) in cities car parking. I guess political reasons stopped this natural extention of the service, but now it seems the time is over. I was in Malpensa last friday and – magically – I could park my car without stopping/taking the ticket/store it somewhere in my wallet >> and back << look for it/find the machine/put the ticket/put my credit card/tale the ticket/take the credit card/ask for the receipt/stop at the gate/put the ticket/take the ticke/go. Not bad and works also in the Linate Airport and in the Fiera di Bologna carparks. But can this be useful only for the car parking? Obviously not: i’m working for the so called “smarter planet”, so a soon as the so called ZTLs (limited traffic zones) or (with a wonderful neologism) “ecopass” areas start to grew up in downtown cities, I wondered exactly the same. I’m not discussing now the reasons behind this limited areas, but the process car drivers/citizens are forced to follow. So why not to allow drivers to use their Telepass device to pay when needed instead of forcing them to a crazy process? If traffic have to be smart and building up limited areas is (one of) the way to make this happen, well let’s support those 7,000,000 of drivers who already use this system. Then, if you are wondering that a faciltator like the Telepass is against the purpose of a limited traffic area that should discourage drivers to enter downtonwns, have a look at this. Drivers are entering anyway, without paying. So, tell me, who’s the smarter one here? 🙂
When you’ll have the chance to visit Oslo, between the outstanding new Opera House and the classic Holmenkollen breathtaking views, you’ll spend half a day – that’s for sure – at the Aker Brygge area. Shopping, nice restaurants, the waterfront and shrimps a go-go can wait a little: you’ll have the whole nordic endless night to take advantage of it. So take half an hour to visit the Nobel Peace Center, just a walk away from Aker Brygge. The Center is a former train station and is doing quite well to tell such an important history of people which (mostly) gave their life for a better, more peaceful world. The space is cozy and warm (simple, nice, quite well organized, nice staff in it), the size perfect for the purpose (give me an idea, let me think about it, let me bring a little but strong memory-feeling with me, but don’t bother me too much) and the contents very well managed. Having in their hands not a proper “sci-fi” bunch of contents the managers did a very good job to let people interact anyway instead of simply walk and listen. This way to tell the story allow people to understand, play, discover, dig and learn. I really liked the “sliding wall”, I should say a pre-touch-era installation, that allows you to feel the power of your interaction with contents: you really feel like the master of the history being the timeline phisycally in your hands (more than your fingers). I guess that almost every museum should have a “give me the full view in an interactive way of what you are talking about in here” like this one. And the wall logic is very effective: stand and interact so that other people around me can also participate: far better than a table. Before that a quite mystic path between the men and women which made the history is inboxed in a dark room marked by displays. It’s like a pool separated by the rest in which you can “swim” sourrounded by silence and glooming lights. At the first floor an rfid interactive path dedicated to the youngsters is graphycally excellent and technically extremely well done. Not a permanent installation, but I guess they are used to these standards. The other exihibtions are quite discrete, well lighted and always built up with that elegant mood that only who has a strong background in respecting the principles of design (the use of white spaces, materials, lights overall) like the Norwegians can claim. Improvements? Disabled users could not take advantage of some of these facilities – I guess that the concept of “peace” is not only “not make the war” but also let everyone access to knowledge – anyway I hope i’ll have the chance to work on that.
I have no idea if this will be the future for the masses, but for sure look like the image of future as far as we can see it today. The first thing to say is that the full electric Peugeot ion is a car. I mean, it looks like a car. So no undefined space-era design to show “this is the future” and this is a very good sign. We know this is the bare sister of the Mistubishi i-MiEV so design comes from Jap: basically looks like a compact four doors egg-shaped like a lot of other fuel powered cars of the same range. The second thing to say is that the little ion behaves like the car you always drove. You have a normal remote door opening system, you have a normal key, you put the key in, turn it and the car turns on. Like every other car. Well, there is a slight difference. No noise. And this is absolutely wild. It’s on? Or not?
Silence is probably the most amazing fact about the ion and the main reason for me to suggest to try the experience. No Jaguar V12 or Mercedes V8, even under tons of insulation foams inside the cockpit, will allow you to have this zero emission of noise (not considering CO2 obviously). We always wonder about the virtual CO2-zero-emission of the electric cars, but we forget about this incredible feature and how dangerous is noise for the Planet too. Imagine a city with zero engine noises. Can you do it? How would be Paris, Rome, Madrid without it? Another place. Said that, the other side of the coin is that zero noise is dangerous too. I tested it: in downtown Milan people drinking aperitivi in the middle of the road and chatting loud with phones and friends couldn’t spot me. I had one brave guy sat over the nose of the ion not realizing i was driving by and not stopped there for his ass. Total silence seems a dream over, but at least we could have a nice discussion on what type of noise add over it: Mozart? The Tired Ponys? Kermit’s the Frog voice?
The driving experience is smooth and exciting: a beautiful automatic transmission let you enjoy the torque produced by the electric engine. Push and go: no black holes of power in the middle. Good brakes, good steering system, enough space inside as every normal city car, no plastic noise inside thanks also to a super powerful radio system. The stress? Well, I can’t admit I always kept an eye over the power consumption device. The clock tells you how good you are to save energy, but there is a slighty hidden pleasure to bring the clock to the “full power” red zone. I have no idea about authonomy: the dealer said around 140 km, but I did around 50 in the city and I was still at 3/4 of the full charge. Anyway you have a nice blu cable+plug in the trunk (but you do not have any charging station in Milan…maybe within the famous Expo 2015).
Finally, rumors about price: would you spend around 30.000 euros for this stuff? Not me: i feel that the perceived retail price for this toys must be less than 10.000 euros. Probably only in front of such offering you could seriously decide to have a “real” city car like the cute ion. Cause on the contrary (if you can afford it) you can play the Sylicon Valley Green Tycoon and drive a Tesla.