Microcar company Smart is about to launch its electric scooter, first shown at the 2010 Paris motor show. A 48-volt lithium-ion battery pack stored low behind the rider's feet supplies power to a 4kW electric motor housed in the rear wheel-hub. Top speed is listed at 45km/h. The limit allows the scooter to be driven without a driver's licence in many countries.

Old truckers' heaven
T-his Toyota Tundra looks like it has had a pretty hard life. But the rusty appearance is actually a custom paint job. It was built by Nascar driver Clint Bowyer as a tribute to America's heartland and features a vertical bar grille, a wood bed floor and vintage looking 20-inch wheels. Toyota took the truck to a charity auction where the bidding trickled up to US$30,000 ($37,960) - until Bowyer added a Nascar driver's suit and a trip to next year's Daytona 500. The package was knocked down for US$100,000. A 2013 Viper SRT GTS at the same auction, with the added attraction of a "No 1" vehicle identification number, fetched US$300,000.

Oldsmobile that thinks it's a truck
This abomination is certainly a sign that something evil has gone down in the Appalachian hills of eastern Kentucky in the US.

The mish-mash is advertised as a "1962 International rat rod".


The dashboard, tilt steering, cruise control, power seats, and alloy wheels come from an Oldsmobile.

Below the beltline are the ribbed side panels of a Pontiac Grand Am and, at the back, its dual exhaust.

Propped right behind the engine is the primer-red cab from a 1962 International pick-up truck with Grand Am door handles.

The seller claims it drives "just fine" and is selling it for US$3000 ($3800).

Mamma mia, V8
power in Fiat 500Italian design house Lazzarini wanted to give the Fiat 500 more presence on the road, so it stretched the Fiat's wheelbase by almost 30cm to fit a 4.5-litre V8 engine from the Ferrari 458 into the Fiat's rear.

The V8 has been detuned from 425kW to 410kW and there is ballast at the front of the prototype to keep the 1000kg car planted on the road. Lazzarini Design is looking for an investor to help build a road-going version.

We are the world
Prison officials in Kentucky are working behind the scenes to resolve the thorny question of whether inmate Robert Foley deserves a hip replacement. Normally, a prisoner in such extreme pain would qualify. However, Foley, 55, is on death row for killing six people between 1989 and 1991, and since he has exhausted his appeals, he is still alive only because a court has halted all executions while the state reconsiders its lethal-injection procedure.

Most companies that collect customer data publish their policies on how they keep the data "private" - even though those policies almost always explain precisely the ways they intend not to keep the data private. Researchers writing in the US Journal of Law and Policy for the Information Society found that if typical consumers bothered to read all of the detailed privacy policies they encountered, it would take from 181 to 304 hours a year, or 22-38 days. If every consumer in America did it, it would take from 40 billion to 67 billion hours a year, or 5 billion to 8.3 billion days.

Police in Newtown Township, Pennsylvania, couldn't find the "skinny" male wearing a black tracksuit who had exposed himself to an office full of workers. The cops didn't have much to go on - the office was the Bucks County Association for the Blind.

M5 seen to go as fast as the proverbial
BMW's Canadian ad agency has come up with a nifty way to illustrate the power of the M5 sedan - a 420kW four-door doing its best impression of a bullet. The car gets "shot" out of a makeshift barrel on an ice field and hurtles towards targets, taking them out at a top speed of 250km/h. On YouTube.

Cities choked with traffic just looking for a parking spot
Around 30 per cent of city traffic comes from drivers looking for a parking space, says the International Parking Institute. It surveyed trends for car parks and found that, while cities seem to be buzzing with traffic, most cars are parked 90 per cent of the time. It said parking lots need to be easy to enter, to leave and to pay for. It found that city planners are looking more at electronic ways to pay for parking.