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Saving the World, One Car at a Time

carsIn the search for cars that are efficient, fast, and earth-friendly, a lot of car makers have attempted to create unique vehicles that can help lower pollution without the risk of slowing down transportation for drivers and passengers alike. Some have failed and some have come up with brilliant ideas that most of us have embraced today. One of these ideas is the methane powered cars – cars that use biogas that has effectively helped in lowering air pollution throughout the years. (more…)

Transporting Large Used Car Parts With a Hire Trailer

trailerIf you are repairing or restoring a vehicle there will come a time when you need to transport the parts required for repair. In most cases, repairs require a few small parts that are easily transported, but what about a larger repair where car body parts or larger mechanical parts are needed? This isn’t a problem if you have a large vehicle or truck, but not all of us have this type of vehicle. In this situation a standard vehicle may have trouble transporting these parts and you may need an alternative. This is where a hire trailer could make the job much easier. (more…)

A Look at the Tesla Model S

Today we’re going to talk a about the Tesla Model S. This is one of the premium electric cars to hit the market. Unlike the Prius and other hybrids, this beast runs entirely on it’s electric power source.

Battery Options

The Model S has two battery options. The first one is the 85 kWh which has the capabilities to go up to 300 miles on the highway at a speed of 55 MPH before needing a recharge. The other battery option is the 60 kWh which can go 244 miles on the highway at similar speeds. If you’re driving through the city, the miles per charge will lower to 292 for the 85 kWh battery and 238 for the 60 kWh battery. The actual distance that your Tesla can travel may vary. Thankfully you’ll be able to check this on the fly through the auto updating touchscreen on the dashboard of the vehicle.

Aerodynamics

In order to accomplish these amazing distances per charge, the Tesla is built with the highest physics in mind. This aerodynamic vehicle utilizes a design that prevents as much friction as possible. This allows the least amount of resistance to hit the vehicle and thus less energy is expended to propel it forward.

How long does it take to charge?

The Tesla can plug into your standard 110 volt outlet. This is a great advantage because most garages are already equipped with this. The average person only drives about 35 miles per day. At this rate, one can charge their Tesla Model S in as little as 1 hour and 12 minutes. This makes for an easy go and go lifestyle without having the hassle of waiting too long for the vehicle to be ready.

Places to charge

You don’t have to charge your vehicle at home. You can charge at any gas station or anywhere that has an outlet available for use. If you’re using a Tesla supercharger, you can easily travel across the US if you plan your stops. By planning to take a break every few hours, you can stop and enjoy the view, take a lunch break, or take a quick nap while your car supercharges to completion. You can literally refill over half of your battery while your sit and eat a meal.

Extra Storage Space

With a car that runs completely on battery, one might assume that it leaves no room for storage space. This is not true at all. Even if you have a big family with twins, you can safely shop for a double stroller and feel confident that it will fit in the trunk space. This is because the battery of the vehicle is securely located on the floor of the car and there is no engine under the hood. Without the need for the engine, the entire hood space can be used for your storage needs. This is why you’ll be able to easily store items such as strollers with ease.

Overall

Overall this premium vehicle is a great choice if you’re looking to save up on gas and be more environmentally friendly. It’s got tons of features and has the look and feel of a luxury car. If you don’t mind saving yourself a ton of money, then this may be the right vehicle choice for you and your family.

How To Keep Your Car Clean and Looking Pretty

I’m somewhat lazy. But I’m smart enough to see the long term value in cleaning a car. Cleaning a car regularly – inside and out – will extend its life by reducing wear and tear and rust. But like I said – I’m lazy – so guess how I clean my car? I clean my car with a pressure cleaner and detergent. Doing it this way has many benefits and I’d like to explain them to you here.

Saves Times

When you clean your car by hand with a sponge and bucket of water how long does it take?

For me it would take about 30 minutes. And I have a normal sized car with a normal amount of dirt and I clean it regularly. If you had a truck and went off roading you’d need to spend hours if cleaning by hand.

With a hot water power washer and the correct detergent you can take care of any sized car washing job in 30 minutes or less. For me it takes about 5 to 10 minutes. For the offroading truck – probably closer to 30 minutes. But still a fraction of the time of a hand wash.

Saves Water

If you take a look at this youtube video you’ll see the typical flow rate of a garden hose is about 8 gallons per minute. The flow rate of a pressure cleaner is about 2 GPM. That means you use 25% of the water when cleaning your car this way.

Deeper Clean

When you wash by hand you have only the surface area of the sponge to clean at one time. And the pressure you apply is minimal. So the surface of the car isn’t getting that deep a clean. With a jet stream of water at 2000 PSI you can bet the surfaces is getting a deep clean. A power cleaner is 40x the pressure of a garden. And you have hot water and detergent to the mix you have the ingredients for a very thorough clean. And when you get into the wheel wells you’ll love how easy and clean they get with now effort.

Zero Manual Handling Effort
If you’re lazy like me or have a body injury you want to avoid too much effort if you’re cleaning your car on a weekly basis. A power washer offers this. You just stand there and hold the trigger back and walk around shooting the water stream at the car. The power tool does the rest. Not bad, hey?

Final Advice

The USA has strict wastewater regulations and the combination of pressure washing and dirty surfaces is classified as waste water. So you need to be sure to find out the local rules to avoid any fines. The easiest way to comply is of course to not risk putting wastewater down a storm water drain. The easiest way to do that is to wash your car at the local car wash/gas station. They usually allow you to do this for free. A second option is to wash your car on your front or side yard. This would allow all the water to seep into your lawn. Third option would be to block off the storm drain and allow the water evaporate then vacuum up the dirt with a Shopvac.

Happy car washing!

Essential Makeup for Your Glove Box

For those of us who switch often between purses, it can be difficult to keep track of what is in which bag.  How many times have we fumbled around in the impossible corners and crevices of on of our bags, searching for what we need, just to realize that somehow it hasn’t made it in?  Purses have a way of swallowing and hiding what we need most.  We could resign ourselves to having only one bag, and hope that it will coordinate with every outfit we own and every situation we find ourselves in.  We could let the other purses lie forgotten and sad in the back of the closet, and pass the accessories section of the store by.  Or, we could guarantee that some essentials are in a back-up location – the glove compartment of the car.

If your glove compartment is like mine was, it’s where useless things go to be buried, never to see the light of day again.  I had some crumpled maps from the days before GPS rendered them useless (no more frustrating folding!).  I had some bright yellow napkins from Wendy’s, because I knew I’d used them someday.  I had some straws, some grocery lists and enough receipts to wallpaper my home.  And, miraculously, I’d managed to shove my car manual in there among the detritus of car ownership.  I call you all to clean out the mess, and to put useful things in this place.

The first thing I made room for was a small assortment of lipstick and lip balms.  It’s always nice to be able to refresh your lipstick after driving somewhere.  Also, it’s good to have some Bert’s Bees or other nourishing lip products for those long drives.  Having the windows open or the heat on can really dry out your mouth – make sure to take good care of yourself.

Though this is not makeup (like, it’s not mascara or anything), I would also recommend that everyone place a good hairbrush in the glove box.  If you’re like me, and love letting the air in while playing some Katy Perry for all the world to hear, you’re going to get some wild hair by the time you arrive.  A hairbrush will calm all of the craziness down.  Make sure it’s a forgiving one, a good brush that will tease out tangles without pulling all the hair from your scalp in the process.

I also recommend adding some good old mascara to your collection.  Adding some pop to your eyelashes can dress up any occasion.  Also, the rear view mirror provides an excellent place for making sure you get every lash.  Just don’t do it while you’re driving.  Always practice safe makeup application, especially with eye pencils!

Having my concealer on hand has also been invaluable.  You never know when something unsightly will rear its head on your face, so I am now always prepared with the solution.  No more discomfort, no more running to CVS before a party to pick up some last-minute.

Forget gloves – the “glove” compartment can become your makeup station on the go.  Fill it with what you need to keep you feeling confident and looking your best self on the go.

Why You’ll Find Me In My Garage During Baseball Season

If you are a regular reader of my blog then you know I’m into cars and auto parts. Well, I’ve got a question for you “Where do you think someone who loves to work on cars hangs out?” If you guessed “The Garage” then you are correct. The garage is where I spend a significant amount of my free time.

What you might not know is that I’m also a pretty big baseball fan. That’s right, it’s definitely my favorite sport. I just love the pace of a good baseball game and baseball goes really well with wrenching on cars.

Other sports such as basketball, hockey and football are great to watch but you really need to keep your attention 100% on the game to keep up with what’s going on. With baseball the pace is such that you can keep up with what’s going on without being constantly glued to the television screen.

In college I used to love spring baseball. I would do a lot of my studying for my engineering classes with a baseball game on in the background. I found that I could study for longer periods when a game was on but the nature of baseball allowed me to keep tabs on the game with only a background focus.

Let’s get back to today and my garage. I have a HDTV in my garage and I also have a MLB.tv account. So I’m able to watch as much baseball as I can handle by logging into my MLB.tv account and then hooking up my computer to my HDTV. It’s the perfect setup for long car wrenching sessions!

The only complaint I have with MLB.tv is there blackout policies. MLB.tv blackout’s all local games, which means if you are a Chicago Cubs fan and live in Chicago, you will not be allowed to watch the game live on MLB.tv. However, if this is an issue for you (like it was for me) then I suggest you learn how to watch MLB.tv blackout games using a VPN. It’s a simple, easy to use software that when put into use will reroute your internet connection and make you look like your computer is located outside of the blackout restriction. If you located outside of your blackout restriction then poof, you are no longer blacked out from watching your Cubbies home games live.

I find that having an enjoyable game going in the background while I’m working on my cars gives me extra patience and gumption to do the work right. I don’t feel like I need to be anywhere but where I am in that exact moment. I even crack a beer or two and live is perfect.

So if you want to spend more quality time wrenching on your vehicle but always feel like you are missing out on your baseball, then I suggest you combine the two. I also suggest you get yourself a nice garage sized HDTV and a mini fridge in your garage, then just try to keep your friends from stopping by to help.

A Tip From My Auto Club Friend Helped Me Finally Get Rid Of My Acne

So, as I may have told you guys before, I’ve been having a lot of trouble over the past couple years with acne. I think it’s stress related, but I don’t really know for sure.

Well, at a recent meet-up of my local auto-enthusiasts club I was given a seriously amazing tip on how to get rid of acne. My friend told me to try using apple cider vinegar for acne.

I had never used apple cider vinegar for anything except cooking, and I expressed my skepticism to my friend, but she swore that it worked like magic for treating acne.

So, I went online and did some research. I found a great acne resource and started reading about how to treat acne with apple cider vinegar, aloe vera, honey, and a million other things. I was pretty skeptical, but I had some apple cider vinegar in the pantry, so I figured I’d give it a shot.

I started drinking a small glass of apple cider vinegar mixed with fruit juice as a dietary supplement. I also started using apple cider vinegar topically. I would soak a cotton ball and then dab it onto my acne spots. Then, I let it sit for about ten minutes before washing my face off. I read that you can leave it on overnight, but I didn’t want to dirty my pillowcase so I decided against that option.

I used this apple cider vinegar that I bought from my local whole foods store called Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar. It’s pretty cheap and I think it’s good because it’s organic, raw, unfiltered, and with the “mother” left in. Apparently that’s the best kind from what I’ve been reading.

Well, to make a long story a little shorter, after a couple weeks of doing this my acne really started to improve. My skin is less red, and I’ve had less new pimples. Overall, I’d say it’s been a pretty successful experiment.

However, I did decide to stop drinking the stuff because it just tastes so bad. I don’t mind using a little vinegar in my cooking, but drinking a glass full of it (even with fruit juice) is just too much for me.

Luckily, I really think most of the improvement has been from using the vinegar topically. It really works well to kill all those nasty bacteria that are causing the acne.

We had another club meeting this past week, and I told my friend all about my experimentation with apple cider vinegar. She laughed when I told her that I couldn’t handle drinking the stuff…

I think I might try some of the other natural acne treatments I read about, maybe aloe vera or something. I think I have a couple potted aloe vera plants somewhere around here.

Now, I just need to get my daughter to try this. She’s 15 and has some mild acne, but she doesn’t want to try the apple cider vinegar because she thinks it smells bad…

I told her, “No pain, no gain.” She stuck out her tongue at me…

3 Tools You Should Always Carry In Your Car

Every time you take your car out for a ride, you and your car get expose to the infinite of least expecting problems that can happen on the road. So what should we do if our car breaks down or runs into any mechanical trouble?

Although many of us are not a mechanic by profession, from the moment you get your first car you will need to become a mechanic from time to time. Knowing some tips on how to solve these common car troubles can definitely give you a better chance of getting home or to a repair shop.

Here is my personal list on 3 essential tools and equipment you should always carry in your car in case of an emergency or an accident. Follow these tips and you will for sure increase your odds in any survival situation.

Multi Purpose Tool:

Having a multitool in your car won’t only help you fixing many things with one tool, but also helps you save a lot of space and time. In many occasions I have found myself going back and forth looking for the right tool to fix small things in my car. With a good multitool in your hand you will get over a dozen of tools that can be used on spot and finish the work in a blink of an eye. One good multi tool will give you pliers, knife sharpener, Phillip Screwdriver, flat screwdriver, scissors, and more. Currently there are thousands of models and shapes in the market, and choosing the right multitool is a headache. Therefore, make sure you read some multi tool reviews before you buy one, so you can get familiar with them and know to use it before you put it in your car.

Knife:

Sometimes you need to get rid of things by separating them or cutting through them, and this is where a good knife comes to help. Imaging  your tire got a piece of old rope stuck around the axle, you can use your knife to cut the rope and get back to the road in no time.

In a survival scenario, maybe you need to cut a stubborn seatbelt or even use the back of the knife to crack a window. A good knife is definitely one of the most important tool because of its endless uses. You can use this guide to find the best folding knife for your budget.

Jumper Cables:

No matter what was the cause, having a dead battery is no good. It is incredible how this small part of your car can actually make your life upside down. However, having a dead battery doesn’t mean everything is over. You can give live back to your battery by using jumper cables and of course, another car’s battery. My recommendation here is to get one set of durable cables with high quality clamps. Don’t go for cheap small clamps, as they can easily break and won’t last too long. Bigger clamps are stronger and will work with a wider range of vehicles.

Where should you take your Car to Get a Windshield Replacement?

There are literally thousands of automotive shops and dealers in the United States that are certified to repair and replace auto glass. In the area where you live there might be between 20-50 choices available. So how do you choose? It’s best to go with a shop that comes top-rated and has a record of superior service instead of deciding based on price alone. Here are three such shops that fit the bill.

Safelite AutoGlass

Safelite AutoGlass has consistently been rated very highly by thousands of American customers. Safelite ensures the highest standards of repair and workmanship and they offer a lifetime warranty for every windshield replacement they undertake. Safelite has customer service representatives available to schedule an appointment anytime 24/7. As soon as you book an appointment, you will be emailed the name of the technician who will be working on your car along with the technician’s photo and credentials. Also they use TrueSeal- which is an advanced windshield replacement technology. This technology ensures that your windshield is placed precisely which makes the seal is the strongest it can be. Safelite AutoGlass is the best choice if you’re looking to repair your windshield, irrespective of the severity of the damage.

Website: www.safelite.com

Glass America

Glass America has an excellent team of LYNX systems qualified technical staff and Sika Adhesive Systems in place and ready to bring their windshield repair service to you. They can easily work on any make and model of vehicle and all their repair work comes with the promise of a lifetime warranty. While your assigned technician is working on repairing your windshield, their back office staff will handle your insurance for you, which is very convenient. They have thousands of satisfied customers and they offer very competitive rates too. Most customers have highly rated their fast and simple process and are impressed with how each technician performs beyond what is expected. Glass America wants to get your windshield replaced or repaired without burdening you.

Website: www.glassamerica.net

Speedy Glass

With free auto glass estimates, insurance assistance, and a quick turnaround, Speedy Glass has quickly become a fierce competitor in the world of auto glass repair. They guarantee each windshield replacement they do and will have your car done the same day you bring it in. They only use OEM windshields and the highest quality automotive glass that will hold up stronger in the future. Each certified technician adheres to the strict U.S. Motor Vehicles Safety Standards and they will test your windshield for integrity issues several time after installation up until you retrieve your car to make sure you can feel safe behind the wheel. So the next time a rock and your windshield have a rude encounter, trust Speedy Glass to get you back on the road in no time.

Website: www.speedyglass.com

Windshield replacement is the chore of choice for anyone. Yet, to ensure our safety and of those we love, large cracks and chips simply must be addressed. When an informed consumer goes into a repair shop, they can feel confident that they will walk away with the best deal possible. Be sure to write down questions to ask the shops you take your car to. Better yet, call ahead and see if you can get a quote over the phone. Replacing your windshield by yourself is definitely possible, but extreme caution should be taken. Finally, despite how many places you have to choose from, there are always a few shops that stand out and can be trusted. Stay informed and stay safe.

5 Ways To Keep Your Vehicle Smelling Awesome

Most people who own a vehicle often find themselves spending far more time inside of it than they ever thought they would. Some people practically live out of their cars at times. People often not only use their cars to get from one place to another, but sometimes they might enjoy some small daily pleasures in it like eating, sipping on lattes, or for some people, smoking. People who drive cars often have other passengers with them, such as relatives, friends, colleagues, and even sometimes somewhat smelly, yet adorable, pets, such as the family dog. While all of these things are typical, common things to most drivers which just come with the territory of using a vehicle regularly, all of these these things can lead a car to smart smelling less than fresh and clean inside. That is why it might be a great idea to take a look at some easy ways to keep your car smelling clean.

#1 Avoid smoking inside of the car. Yes it is your own, personal means of transportation. Technically, you can do almost anything you want inside of it, but nothing will make a car smell dingier and dirtier faster over time than enjoying a cigarette on a smoke break inside of your car, especially if you keep the windows rolled up while you do it. If the weather is nice outside, opt to instead smoke on a nearby bench or standing under a tree if you can.

#2 Use a favorite perfume or an empty mens cologne bottle to create a pleasant scent. Women can wear a nice perfume inside of the car, and men can sport their best mens cologne when riding inside of it. Consider spraying your favorite feminine perfume or fresh scented mens cologne on a small piece of cloth and keeping it under a seat or in the glove box, or spraying a little on the back of the front car seats once in a while. This might help keep your car smelling clean.

#3 Resist eating in the car when possible to avoid messy, smelly spills. Again, just like with smoking habits, while it is your car to do what you please with, if you want to keep your car smelling wonderfully fresh as often as you can, it would be wise to avoid eating inside of it. Small bits of food can fall between seats and cause unwanted odors until you get the chance to next vacuum out and clean the inside interiors of the vehicle.

#4 Throw away trash any trash that accumulates as soon as you can. Things will inevitably happen throughout the work week that lead you to leave things like coffee cups, used napkins, and food containers inside of your car, and that is okay. Just remember that your car is no place to store trash and that keeping it clear of garbage will help keep odors from forming because of it.

#5 Keep an air freshener present in the car at all times. Whether you enjoy the crispness of a fresh car scent, a tropical island type of scent, or the smell of your favorite and best mens cologne, find something that you like the scent of and keep it in your car up near the vents in the front. This will distribute your favored scent throughout the vehicle making it smell extra nice and pleasant.

How to Convert a Garage to an Auto Workshop

Many people like doing a bit of work on their car and will have a selection of general tools.

But if you are looking to do something a little more comprehensive, then one option may be to convert your garage. This will give you much more room to play with your pride and joy till your hearts content, come winter, spring or fall.

Here are some simple tips for improvements which can be made to the garage to have your own little auto workshop. If you have more specific needs, it may be worth getting some professional advice from a company specialising in property renovations who will know any legal issues.

Heating & Ventilation

So the workshop can be used all year around; heating is important as is insulation to ensure the heat generated simply doesn’t leak through the bare walls. Air-conditioning may be as crucial in the warmer months, and there are some good portable systems available which may not need complicated installation.

Ventilation is probably one of the most important aspects of the conversion. There are lots of toxic fumes involved in car engines, glues, stains and paints so it is important that these can be cleaned from the room to avoid terrible accidents.

Electric & Plumbing

Even if your garage has electricity it may need to be upgraded to be adequate for the types of tools you may need. Some equipment needs a special voltage outlet or even a dedicated circuit so consulting an electrician may be the best way to go.

A utility sink for cleaning parts is also important and may solve an argument or too by not using the kitchen sink. Also, some basic first aid equipment can be added around this area to deal with accidents involving chemicals.

Lighting

The common single lightbulb installed in many garages will not be sufficient to use in the workshop so large fluorescent lighting fixtures are a cost-effective method which can make a huge difference. Spotlights can be added around workbenches and there are a range of portable lights which can be moved to where needed easily.

Workbench

The workbench area is particular to whatever an individuals tastes are, but a common theme to automobile workshops are rolling tool chests with drawers than can be brought close to any project. The ability to sit at the workbench to perform delicate tasks can also be useful. Plus placed to hang and store tools with labelling for quick and easy use is an advantage.

Legal Stuff

It is always worth checking with local authorities about regulations involved in any alterations to the house or the garage. Some of these are dependant on the condition of the garage in the first place and what you are looking to add.

Conclusion

Converting the garage from an occasional car storage and general dumping area to a light, bright workspace to renovate a classic car or simply work on your normal one is an achievable aim.

There is a wide range of accessories available to be added to your space to make it the perfect automobile garage and work to your heart’s content!

Solar Powered Cars – Between Comfort and Sustainability

When you want to reduce pollution and still enjoy the comfort of your vehicle, what can you do? You switch to electric cars, and if possible, even to solar cars! Solar powered cars are the new trend in eco-friendly transportation, boosting an electric engine powered exclusively by the sun rays. Marketed as the future of engine-powered vehicles, they are struggling to make their way to the normal consumers. Yet, covered in solar cells and featuring uncommon shapes, the solar cars are far from the traditional, fuel-powered vehicles. They come with a new routine for the owners and start a race for finding the most sun-bathed parking space.

History and Concept

The solar car is not a new concept. In fact, the first solar prototypes were designed in the ’70s. Ed Passerini’s “Bluebird” (1977) and Larry Perkins’s “Quiet Achiever” (1982) are the first cars which have been powered by solar electricity. The principle of functioning is rather simple: the cars have solar cells which catch the sun rays and transform it to electricity which powers an electric engine. Most solar car producers have tried to retain the same functions and facilities found in traditional cars for a pleasant driving experience. The motors used for powering the cars are adapted so as to reach up to 160km/h consuming less power than an average toaster. A battery usually supplements the solar power in times when the sun is not shining. Commonly, the battery can supply electricity for about 400 km (with a max speed of 97 km/h), so that the car can be used on long distances as well as for short rides in town.

While the public is not yet convinced by the solar powered vehicles, the racing sector has already expanded. Solar car races are held in the USA, Canada, South Africa, Australia, Asia (Japan) and Europe (Greece).

Prototypes

Traditional car producers have also put their bets on the solar energy for powering their vehicles. The first one was Mazda Senku in 2005 which had solar panels mounted on the roof to charge its batteries. A year later, Venturi Astrolab was launched, an immediately gained recognition as the first electro-solar car on the market. After an attempt with Reflex (2006), which had solar panels to power the headlights, Ford steps on new grounds with the C-MAX Solar Energy Concept, a solar car using the latest technology for collecting solar rays, launched in January 2014.

Drawbacks of solar powered cars for everyday use

Leaving apart the idealistic concepts, the sun powered cars face numerous downsides in everyday life. The first thing to note is the price, as the high technology solar cells are extremely expensive. The solar cells cost from $10 to $400 each, but in order to achieve good results, top solar cells must be used and that comes at even a higher cost. Even though the cars intended for domestic use will not reach $1 million in costs, as Marcelo da Luz’s single seat solar vehicle, the costs of production are still too high to consider this technology suitable for mass market production.

A second downside is that of suitability. A solar car will work perfectly in sun-bathed areas, but how will it act in crowded cities with skyscrapers taking over the sky or in northern areas where the sun is less present? Additional batteries may be used, but how much of a solar car would that be when it is constantly dependent of its batteries and battery charging points?

Less, but not least, it must be noted that the solar car’s speed performance is not remarkable when considering the options available.

Auxiliary use of the solar panels for cars

Due to the drawbacks mentioned above, many car producers have searched for other options to use solar power in their cars. The 2006 Ford Reflex used solar panels to power headlights and the 2008 Cadillac Provoq used solar energy for the audio system and the interior lights. The 2010 Toyota Prius, Audi A8, Aptera 2 and Mazda 929 have introduced a solar powered fan which keeps the car cool when it is left in full sun. However, this feature is rather exclusive, since the Prius equipped with solar fan costs $1,500 more than the version without a fan.
Solar powered cars may be an eco-friendly alternative to traditional transportation. Yet, there are still issues to be solved before releasing them on the market, for domestic use.