Bulletproof Sprinter van deters attack with pepper spray, sonic cannon

  • AddArmor turns ordinary SUVs, sedans, and sports cars into highly secure vehicles packed with luxury features, and it just announced its latest offering based on the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. 
  • The company, founded by military and law enforcement veterans, turns vehicles into bulletproof “mobile safe rooms” for business leaders, celebrities, and other VIPs.
  • Customers can order their Sprinter with a variety of custom, private jet-influenced interiors. 
  • They can also add on security capabilities like pepper spray dispensers, a sonic cannon, an escape hatch, and shocking door handles. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Spacious and low-key, Mercedes-Benz Sprinters have become a favorite of DIYers and professionals alike during the current camper-van conversion boom. But both those qualities also make Sprinters excellent platforms for lavish armored vehicles desired by corporate executives, celebrities, and politicians. 

AddArmor, a Wyoming-based firm that specializes in transforming normal cars into discreet “mobile safe rooms,” recently added the Sprinter to its lineup of armored vehicles. On top of the cost of the vehicle, $28,000 buys you the base “Anti-Intrusion Package” — complete with ballistic glass and custom-fit protection panels to fortify the vehicle’s body.

But aside from armoring, AddArmor also offers customers a vast array of optional security features, like sirens, a smokescreen system, or a night-vision system. And that all makes sense, given that the company was founded by former US Special Mission Unit Commander Pete Blaber and is staffed by former law enforcement and security professionals.

Blaber had his first brush with armored vehicles while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, during which time he led a military research project that worked to develop lighter armoring and ballistic glass, he told Business Insider. Now, AddArmor outfits its vehicles with armoring that’s considerably lighter and stronger than traditional ballistic steel, building more than 10,000 cars over the last 12 years, Blaber said. 

“The freedom to move around and get places is a key element of being completely secure,” Blaber said in the van’s announcement.

Plus, buyers who spring for the “Executive Protection Package” can opt for tons of luxury features or even turn their Sprinter into a highly secure camper van, with a bed, kitchen, and bathroom. 

Take a closer look at AddArmor’s new Sprinter below. 

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Amazon unveils its Rivian-made electric delivery van with cool interior

Amazon is unveiling today its electric delivery van made by Rivian, and we get to see its cool interior for the first time.

Last year, Rivian took a $700 million round of funding led by Amazon, and at the time, they were discussing opportunities to work together.

A few months later, we learned that one of those opportunities is building an electric delivery van for the online retail giant.

Amazon announced that it will buy 100,000 electric delivery vans from Rivian.

The project is one of the biggest of its kind and would represent one of the largest deployment of electric vehicles in the world.

It’s also an order likely worth over $4 billion for Rivian, which is massive for a startup.

The company has been dripping pieces of information and images of the electric delivery over the last few months.

Now, it is fully unveiling it, along with some features, but not the powertrain specs.

Amazon announced in a press release today:

“Just a year since announcing The Climate Pledge, Amazon is excited to reveal its first custom electric delivery vehicle, designed and built in partnership with Rivian.”

Here are a few pictures of the electric delivery van:

Interestingly, the vehicle is completely branded with Amazon branding — making it very much an Amazon vehicle instead of a Rivian vehicle.

It has also revealed a good look at the interior of the can for the first time:

RJ Scaringe, Rivian CEO, commented on the electric delivery vehicle:

“The vehicle we’ve developed with Amazon is not just electric. We prioritized safety and functionality to create a vehicle that’s optimized for package delivery. We thought through how drivers get in and out of the van, what the work space feels like and what the work flow is for delivering packages.”

Amazon released a list of features:

  • State-of-the-art sensor detection, a suite of highway and traffic assist technology, and a large windshield to enhance driver visibility.
  • Exterior cameras around the vehicle that are linked to a digital display inside the cabin, giving the driver a 360-degree view outside the vehicle.
  • Alexa integration for hands-free access to route information and the latest weather updates.
  • A strengthened door on the driver’s side for additional protection.
  • A “dancefloor” inside the driver’s cabin for easy movement inside the van.
  • Bright tail lights surrounding the rear of the vehicle to easily detect braking.
  • Three levels of shelving with a bulkhead door, which can easily be opened and closed for additional driver protection while on the road.

Amazon says that Rivian should start production of the electric delivery van next year and have 10,000 vans the vehicles on the road as early as 2022 and all 100,000 vehicles on the road by 2030.

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Democrat-turned-Republican Van Drew trails Amy Kennedy in New Jersey House race: poll

Democratic-turned-GOP Rep. Jeff Van DrewJeff Van DrewThe Hill’s Campaign Report: 19 years since 9/11 | Dem rival to Marjorie Taylor Greene drops out | Collin Peterson faces fight of his career | Court delivers blow to ex-felon voting rights in Florida The Hill’s 12:30 Report: First Kennedy to lose a Massachusetts election Ex-Democrat Van Drew speaks at GOP convention MORE (N.J.) is trailing Democrat Amy Kennedy in the race for New Jersey’s 2nd Congressional District, according to a Monmouth University poll released on Monday. 

Forty-nine percent of registered voters polled said they supported Kennedy, while 44 percent said they backed Van Drew in the South Jersey district. 

The same poll showed Kennedy leading in high voter turnout and low voter turnout scenarios as well. Kennedy beat Van Drew 50 percent to 44 percent in a high voter turnout scenario and 51 percent to 44 percent in a low turnout scenario. 

Additionally, Kennedy holds a bigger lead among Democrats than Van Drew does with Republicans. Ninety-four percent of Democrats said they supported Kennedy while 89 percent of Republicans said the same about Van Drew.

Kennedy is a former teacher and mental health advocate. She announced her candidacy in January, calling Trump and Van Drew “symptoms of a bigger sickness infecting our country and our politics.” 

Van Drew became a prime target for Democrats earlier this year when he announced that he would oppose President TrumpDonald John TrumpQuestions remain unanswered as White House casts upbeat outlook on Trump’s COVID-19 fight White House staffers get email saying to stay home if they experience coronavirus symptoms White House says ‘appropriate precautions’ were taken for Trump’s outing to see supporters MORE‘s impeachment and that he was leaving the Democratic Party for the Republican Party. He won his seat as a Democrat in 2018. 

The congressman explained his party-switch at the Republican National Convention in August. 

“I was elected to Council as a Democrat, but as I won seats for county office, state legislature and then Congress, I noticed things were changing — the Democrat Party had become less accepting of American tradition, less believing in American exceptionalism, less supportive of traditional faith and family,” he said. “This was not the party that I knew.” 

The nonpartisan Cook Political Report rates the race as a “toss-up.”

The Monmouth University poll was conducted on from Sept. 26 to Oct. 1 among 588 voters in New Jersey’s second congressional district. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.  

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See the Interior of the Delta Iota Kappa Fraternity House from ‘Van Wilder’

Though not a hit critically (as rife with “scatological jokes” as it may be), “National Lampoon’s Van Wilder” was a box office success and remains a popular watch today, 18 years after its release. So it is a bit of a surprise that the gross-out comedy (streaming now on Amazon Prime) is an untapped landscape as far as its filming locations are concerned. Go ahead and Google the flick – you won’t find its locales well-documented anywhere! So I was thrilled to come across a comment on a column about Pasadena’s famous Gamble House which mentioned that another Charles and Henry Greene-designed property known as the Swan House was featured extensively in the 2002 film. I had never heard of the residence before, but one look at interior images, and I recognized it as the Delta Iota Kappa fraternity house, where Richard Bagg (Daniel Cosgrove) lived.

Completed in 1899, the Swan House was commissioned by wealthy Chicagoan James Swan and his wife, Frances. The dwelling, located at 2162 North Holliston Avenue in Altadena, is one of the earliest examples of the Greene brothers’ work on the West Coast! 

Originally designed in a Georgian style with Art Nouveau detailing, the property is markedly different from the Craftsman bungalows the Greenes are most famous for proliferating. According to the Altadena Blog, the home was “the first commission the Greene brothers received that was not for a family member, and they had to cater to the whims of their client.” The Star-News understatedly refers to the place, which you can see an early photo of here, as a “fine two-story and attic home.” During her tenure there, Frances transformed the attic into a recreation and music room, where she regularly hosted society and charity events.

In what seems to be a somewhat common occurrence with historic residences that have appeared onscreen, the Swan House was originally located in a different spot entirely! The manse initially stood about four miles southeast, on the corner of East Colorado Boulevard and Oakland Avenue in Pasadena. When the city elected to extend Oakland Avenue to the north in 1925, thereby disrupting the Swans’ land, the residence was  “sawed in half and gently but firmly moved to a new location and reestablished,” per a February 1949 “Pasadena Star-News” article.

Henry Greene supervised the relocation project, as well as the home’s subsequent redesign, which included removal of the attic, a roof change, and fashioning the façade with stucco, thereby completely changing its look from Georgian to Mediterranean. Amazingly, the interior was left largely intact throughout the process. According to the Altadena Historical Society, aside from the kitchen, the inside of the 7-bedroom, 8-bath, 6,735-square-foot home is in “near original condition.”

To find out more Dirt on the Swan House, click on the Gallery link above.

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Volkswagen unveiled its Caddy California camper van that can sleep 4

  • Volkswagen has unveiled the Caddy California, a daily driver camper van that can sleep up to four people.
  • This new release is the fifth iteration in the Caddy family and third camper in the California camper line.
  • The Caddy California has a modular set up with an interior folding bed, pull-out rear kitchen box, and tent.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Volkswagen has unveiled the new Caddy California, a modular camper van with a a bed, kitchen, and tent.

The German automaker has long been a player in the camper van industry. The new Caddy California is the fifth iteration in the Caddy family and the third California camper model in the line that already includes the Grand California and T6.1 California.

But unlike the other two California models, the Caddy-based motor home was built to be a “compact camper,” according to its maker.

Volkswagen isn’t the only mainstream automaker to have a stake in the increasingly popular tiny homes on wheels business. For example, Ford has its own Nugget and Big Nugget: two campers built inside of a Ford Transit cargo van. And most recently, Jeep reiterated its role in the tiny homes on wheels segment by unveiling a concept 2021 Gladiator pickup truck with a rooftop tent and overlanding RV amenities.

Despite carrying the name of a US state, the California will only be available in the EU.

Keep scrolling to see inside the Caddy California:

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House Races Feature Party-Switcher Van Drew, Dems on Defense | Pennsylvania News

By MIKE CATALINI, Associated Press

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — The presidential contest in New Jersey doesn’t look competitive, with Joe Biden leading Donald Trump by double digits, but a handful of the state’s dozen House districts are shaping up as competitive.

New Jersey voters will be electing representatives in all 12 U.S. House districts in November’s first-ever mostly mail-in election.

Democrats are on defense in three seats they picked up in 2018, but perhaps the highest-profile race is in the 2nd District where Republican incumbent Rep. Jeff Van Drew faces Democrat Amy Kennedy for the seat he won as a Democrat in 2018.

Van Drew gained national attention for switching parties during the House impeachment of the Republican Trump, saying there was no place for him in the Democratic Party as an opponent of impeachment. The defection won Van Drew, who pledged his “undying support” to the president, an Oval Office visit as well as a Trump rally in Wildwood. He also had a speaking role at the Republican National Convention.

In all of the most watched districts, unaffiliated voters have the most registrations, followed by Democrats. Republicans are outnumbered by Democrats across New Jersey by more than 1 million registered voters. Democrats recently surpassed people registered as unaffiliated and currently have 177,000 more registrations.

A look at some of the most-watched races:

Van Drew is well known in the district, and the GOP there has embraced him, even after spending years trying to defeat him in the state Legislature, where he served as a Democrat.

Kennedy is a former teacher and the spouse of former Rhode Island Democratic Rep. Patrick Kennedy. Kennedy is the son of former U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy.

New Jersey’s 2nd District covers about the southern third of the state and includes all or part of eight counties. It runs from the southern Philadelphia suburbs in the west to the shore resort towns along the Atlantic Ocean, including Atlantic and Ocean cities.

There are about 707,000 people in the district, according to the Census Bureau. More than 500,000 residents are white, while over 91,000 are Black. Hispanics account for 121,000. The median income is $68,000.

Van Drew won the district in 2018 by eight points over Republican Trump supporter Seth Grossman.

Freshman Democratic incumbent Rep. Andy Kim faces former Hill International executive David Richter, the Republican in the race. Richter had planned to run against Van Drew but changed districts when he switched parties.

The 3rd District stretches from suburban Philadelphia’s Burlington County in the west, across the Pinelands, to Ocean County in the east. Burlington is a Democratic stronghold, while Ocean is reliably Republican.

The district’s 736,000 people have a median income of about $86,000, according to the Census Bureau. About 582,000 residents are white. Eighty-five thousand are Black, while 67,000 are Hispanic.

Kim defeated Republican Rep. Tom MacArthur in 2018 by one point, in part because of Democratic strength in Burlington.

Freshman Democrat Tom Malinowski is taking on Tom Kean Jr., the state Senate

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Ford’s long wheelbase Transit Custom Nugget camper van with a bathroom

  • Ford has unveiled the long wheelbase version of its Nugget camper van.
  • The new larger van now includes a bathroom and an additional sink, along with the existing two beds, leisure seating area, and kitchen space found in its original iteration.
  • The Ford Transit Custom-based camper van will be available for order in the UK in November, although its price has not been announced yet.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Ford has unveiled the long wheelbase version of its Transit Custom-based Nugget camper van, which now features a bathroom in the rear and an additional sink.

The long wheelbase, or “LWB” for short, Nugget’s arrival to the market accompanies a family of three: the original Nugget, and the concept Big Nugget.

Like the first Nugget, Ford partnered with Westfalia to create the new long wheelbase iteration, which now has a full camper interior all inside of a 2.0-liter EcoBlue diesel engine-powered van. And unlike its predecessors, the LWB Nugget uses an L-shaped layout to fit the bathroom, kitchen, and living space. 

Separate from the Nugget series, the Ford Transit has become a popular camper van base for both do-it-yourself van builders and van conversion companies like Vanlife Customs. Recently, travel startup Cabana took the Ford Transit a step beyond this by deploying a fleet of converted 2019 Transit-based camper vans to serve as its mobile hotel unit.

Besides the popularity of the Transit base, the new extended length Nugget comes at a time in which camper van sales have stayed resilient, and in some cases, skyrocketed, amid the pandemic.

Keep scrolling to see how the famed automaker has turned its own van into a multi-space tiny home on wheels:

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Concept camper van has fully removable interior … including bathroom

The European motorhome market is flush with modular camper vans, but more models than not are midsize and smaller vans with simple, compact interiors. Vans like the Pössl Vanster and Terracamper VW Terock do a great job of transforming between camping, passenger-hauling and work van duties, but they lack some of the comfort, style and amenities of full-size camper vans, most notably a proper bathroom. German RV materials specialist Vöhringer has taken the next step in modular camper van design, sizing its ConceptCamper 2021 up to a full-size 6-m (19.7-foot) Ducato with a classic European layout capable of clearing out completely to turn the van into an empty cargo van or large passenger shuttle.

Vöhringer used the Covid-19 pandemic as a jumping off point to explore the future of modularity, stating that RV buyers are on the lookout for better modular solutions in response to the flux and uncertainty we’ve seen throughout 2020. A full-size camper van for everyday driving or work use that doubles as a vacation tourer during shaky times when flying, hotels and large, crowded spaces in general remain unattractive seems like the exact type of modularity that could benefit many buyers in 2020 and beyond.

Not all camper buyers are eager to sacrifice comfort and luxury to obtain flexibility, however. Some will not be willing to squeeze into a cramped midsize or compact van, modularity or not, opting instead for the space, comfort and full amenity suite of a class-leading Fiat Ducato camper.

But why can’t they have both?

The ConceptCamper's interior layout follows the common European formula, albeit with some different functionality
The ConceptCamper’s interior layout follows the common European formula, albeit with some different functionality

Vöhringer

Vöhringer explores how its suite of lightweight interior building materials and hardware can be used to create furniture modules that are fully functional on the road but also easily removable at home. The floor plan is the classic layout we’ve seen more times than we can count in European camper vans: rear bedroom, front dinette, and central bathroom and kitchen. The big difference is that every component removes completely from the van, freeing it for cargo carry or the installation of extra rows of seating.

A critical cornerstone of Vöhringer’s work is the light, simplified plug-and-play kitchen. Like the other modules, it attaches to the floor rails, bringing everything onboard cooks need, without the size or clutter of a permanent in-van kitchen. The sunken dual-burner stove and sink unit stretches nearly the full width of the countertop, so cooks need to rely on the flip-up worktop extension and stove/sink lid for cutting and other prep work. A refrigerator at the front end of the kitchen block is positioned for indoor/outdoor access.

The compact kitchen block falls short of what gourmets on the move might desire, but the advantage in cutting its size lies in opening up enough space for a pair of longitudinal rear beds, a feat that might otherwise necessitate a move up to a larger 6.3-m+ (20.1+ ft) base van. Each of the ConceptCamper’s beds offers at least 2 m

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