A golf ball on wheels and other new auto innovations

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A golf ball on wheels and other new auto innovations

James Raia

The Corbin Sparrow 2 is a three-wheel EV made in Hollister, California.

Despite massive recalls and emissions-cheating scandals, more than 35 million new vehicles were sold in the United States the past two years. With equal fervor, so too has the automotive market been saturated with innovations — unique accessories to inventors’ passions.

The Corbin Sparrow 2 is a three-wheel EV made in Hollister, California.
The Corbin Sparrow 2 is among many new automotive innovations. It’s a three-wheel EV made in Hollister, California. Image Courtesy of Loz Blain/New Atlas

Here’s a look at four new offerings:

Drive Like A Sparrow — Three-wheel electric vehicles aren’t new. Companies large and small have for decades experimented with and sometimes manufactured inexpensive contraptions and costly high-end machines likely best used in Mad Max movies.

Among the latest innovations is the second carnation of the Sparrow. It’s built in the global headquarters of Corbin Motorcycle Seats & Accessories (www.corbin.com) in Hollister. The three-wheeled, single passenger, battery-powered personal mobility vehicle runs on a lithium ion power source with an electric battery management with zero emissions.

But its most prominent feature, other than is diminutive size, is its resemblance to a large, oddly shaped golf ball on wheels. It has dimples, a body characteristic for improved aerodynamics.

The Sparrow has a few-decade existence with different owners and names and financial issues. Among its previous model names were “Jelly Bean” and “Pizza Butt,” the latter designed for use by Domino’s Pizza.

Dimples and all and minus a nickname, the new creation has received a U.S. patent.

Mike Corbin debuted vehicle last July during his annual Hollister Rally/Open House. He plans to build 100 beta Sparrows in 2017. The company estimates the vehicle will accelerate to 75 miles per hour and have a 100-mile range.

The Sparrow’s price hasn’t been announced and nor has its debut date. But the first 100 reportedly will be sold in Hollister and for a speculated $33,000.

More information and images about the Sparrow are also available on www.newatlas.com

* Have Child? Drive Safely — A compact and portable booster seat, mifold is 10 times small than a traditional booster seat. According to company literature, it “brings the seatbelt down to fit the child” rather than “boosting” a child.

Its compact sizing is impressive at 10 inches wide, 5 inches deep and 1 1/2 inches thick. It can be stored in a glovebox, a backpack or a tote bag. The mifold can be used for children ages 4 and older who weigh from 40 to 100 pounds and are 40 to 57 inches tall.

The mifold costs $49 and is available on the company’s website, www.mifold.com.

* Connected Driving, Less Stress — Sygic, the navigation application that features real-time location and route-sharing information, recently partnered with Ford Motor Company. With another partnership with Glimpse, users of the application can communicate travel plans via email or messaging apps like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger.

The GPS app provides details in a few taps. It explains the route a car traveler is taking, their current location and expected time of arrival to their destination.

In its partnership with Sygic, Ford’s new phone-to-touchscreen navigation technology called SYNC Applink will allow the projection of navigation apps directly from a smartphone to the SYNC 3 vehicle touchscreen.

It’s available for iOS and Android smartphone users. Details on the app, priced at $19.99 and $24.99 for the premium version with additional features, is available via the website www.sygic.com. It will be available in 2018 Ford models.

* You Can See Clearly Now — Designed as a lightweight, portable spray-and-wipe anti-fog and anti-frost relief solution for ski masks and goggles, the non-toxic Sven Can See solution is also ideal for emergency needs on automotive windshields.

Named after an outdoorsman character in bedtime story the company founder told his children, the biodegradable product is offer as a gel ($18.95) and spray ($10.95). The Sven Can See (www.svencansee.com) also offers a deal: Buy the gel version online and the order includes the spray tube version, which comes with a cloth wipe.

Article Last Updated: January 20, 2017.

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