Throughout The Car Industry
Articles From April 2012
Despite the pressure for more fuel efficient, clean-burning cars, and despite a strong presence in Europe, diesel engines are virtually non-existent in North America. Diesel cars just aren't all that available in the US, and Americans don't seem all that interested anyway. Diesels smell weird, are more difficult to fuel up due to lack of diesel pumps when compared with gas, tend to cost more per gallon because of taxation (though can save money in the long run due to better efficiency), and are really just for truckers. Right? Wrong, says GM with a new list of myths and truths.
According to a 2009 article on PopularMechanics.com, diesels make up about 50 percent of the European automotive market. Over here in the US, on the other hand, they're in the single digits. GM puts diesel sales at a mere 3 percent of the market. That really doesn't make a whole lot of sense, seeing as how Americans are very motivated to find cars that are cheaper to fuel. Still, diesel options are slim, and Americans believe that diesels are noisy, dirty and rough. They also see higher diesel prices at the pump, if they see diesel prices at all.
Posted In: Hybrid / Green, Reports, Technology
Tags: GM, diesel, engines, green, Chevy, infographics
When we first saw the Rimac Concept One electric supercar at last year's Frankfurt Motor Show, we weren't necessarily expecting to see it hit the market. Ever. But it actually took less than a year for Rimac to go from debut to order books. That still doesn't mean it'll be produced right away, but things appear to be moving along swiftly.
There are several things about the Rimac Concept One that made me cough-blurt "vaporware" from my desk chair the minute I saw it. It's from Croatia, and nothing against the people or country, but we just don't see many cars, let alone electric supercar masterpieces, coming out of Croatia. It's a 1,088-hp supercar that's quicker to 62 mph than a Lamborghini Aventador, and when you let your eyes wander farther down the spec sheet, you'll see that it has a battery big enough to provide up to 373 miles of range yet still manages to weigh in at a pretty light 3,700 lbs. It's the type of vehicle that demands skepticism.
Posted In: Exotics, Hybrid / Green, Special / Limited Edition, Technology
Tags: Rimac, supercars, electric cars, Croatia, new cars, EV
Exotic cars really aren't all that exotic any more. Every NFL quarterback, sports agent, stock broker and rapper has one, possibly a whole garage-full. If you want to go really exotic, you have to be savvy enough to get your hands on the wild, one-off automotive creations known as concept cars. As the Bertone Nuccio demonstrates, you don't even have to have an iota of taste to drop millions on one of those.
The Bertone Nuccio debuted at last month's Geneva Motor Show. It was designed to be an homage to the wedge-shaped styling exemplified by the1970 Lancia Stratos HF Zero. It failed pretty hard, as far as we're concerned, but that won't necessarily stop it from fetching more than its elder.
Posted In: Auto Shows, Concept Cars, Exotics, Reports
Tags: Bertone, Nuccio, concepts, reports, limited edition, one-offs
Last summer, we learned that Lamborghini was pitting two prototypes against each other in a battle toward production. The news intimated that one victor would go to market and one loser would disappear like so many other concept cars and prototypes. With the launch of Urus concept this week, it appeared we had a winner in the crossover concept and a loser in the sedan concept. But there may be no losers in this battle.
Lamborghini appears committed to building the Urus SUV, but it hasn't entirely abandoned a sedan based upon the Estoque concept shown in 2008.
Posted In: Exotics, Reports, Rumors, Concept Cars
Tags: Lamborghini, crossover, Estoque, sedan, reports, rumors, Lambo
Before we heard a peep about Cadillac Super Cruise , we heard about Google's autonomous car. One of the original driving forces behind autonomous vehicles, Google has been working on its driverless car program for several years and even got the law changed to help it along. Now the company is looking for a rather important missing puzzle piece: an automotive partner.
Google may be one of the world's brightest go tos when it comes to Internet and mapping, but it doesn't have much experience wrenching around under the hood of a car. Sure, it could probably come up with the seeding money to develop its own car manufacturing without much difficulty, but why rebuild the wheel when someone that knows what they're doing can build it for you?
Posted In: Car News, Reports, Technology
Tags: Autonomous cars, self-driving cars, Google, technology,
Volkswagen has shaved the top off the Beetle and filled it with an electric powertrain for the Beijing Motor Show. More than just a fun, fanciful concept, the E-Bugster previews an upcoming Beetle Cabriolet.
The E-Bugster, which was first displayed at the Detroit Auto Show in January, is one of those concepts that knock out two birds with a single stone. It simultaneously shows what the new Beetle could (will?) look like in convertible variety, and it shows how the model could be fitted with an emissions free powertrain. The two-seat concept uses a Blue e-Motion powertrain built upon a 28.3 kWh lithium-ion pack. That battery provides 111 miles of range (a sure little bump from the ~100 miles offered by every other mainstream EV) and has fast-charging for 35-minute battery fills.
Posted In: Auto Shows, Concept Cars
Tags: VW, Beetle, e-Bugster, 2012 Beijing Motor Show, concepts, Beetle Cabriolet
Sensor systems are currently being used in all types of vehicular applications. Cars can now maintain lanes, stop automatically and parallel park using advanced sensor systems. Really, those are all things the driver should be quite capable of himself. Over in Germany, researchers are applying sensors to a function that drivers have little control over: tire traction.
A team of Leipzig University researchers led by Detlef Reimer is working on what's being called the world's first intelligent tire. The tire attempts to take the designation "all weather" a little more seriously by monitoring terrain conditions and adapting itself to fit them.
Posted In: Aftermarket, Safety, Technology
Tags: tires, technology, Germany, Leipzig University, snow tires, all weather tires
Everyone's slowly inching toward a reality of self-driving vehicles, and it appears the trail is going to be blazed by luxury automakers. After all, these automakers could actually expect to fetch the price premium that advanced, autonomous vehicular systems will undoubtedly command when they first hit market. Cadillac is the latest automaker to show off some autonomous wares.
As the name "Super Cruise" conveys, Cadillac's technology is basically an advanced cruise control system. In addition to accelerating and keeping speed up like other cruise control systems, Super Cruise also takes over steering, braking and lane centering functions, rendering the driver an emergency manual back-up.
Posted In: Concept Cars, Technology
Tags: Cadillac, GM, autonomous vehicles, self-driving vehicles,
Back and February, a few spy shots popped up on the internet which tantalized viewers with the possibility of a future all-new Ford Ranger playing around the streets of Los Angeles. Up until now, Ford has kept a tight lid on an impending Ranger – refusing to provide the juicy details. But the Euro specific commercial vehicle show in Burmingham, UK has arrived, and Ford cometh with a full lineup of all-new Rangers.
As usual, buyers can expect 4x2 and 4x4 drivetrains and three cab body types: regular, super, and double. But, unlike in the United States, Ford has opted to value practicality with the European Ranger’s duo of powertrain options…which only feature diesel fuel.
Posted In: Auto Shows, Car News, Concept Cars
Tags: Ford, Ranger, euro-spec, euro, spec, debut, debuts, UK
No matter how many times I write it, I still can't get used to it: SRT Viper. Thankfully, Chrysler takes us back to a simpler time when the Viper still enjoyed a comfy home at Dodge. A new video gives viewers an historic look at the flagship sports car.
Those that don't know much about the Viper may be surprised to note that it was the brainchild of two iconic American auto minds that are now more closely associated with the other two members of the Detroit Big 3. Bob Lutz, most recently known for his role as GM vice chairman, and Carroll Shelby, whose name is closely associated with high-end Ford Mustangs, were the driving forces behind the Viper back in the late 80s. They set out to build a throwback, 60s-style muscle car - similar to Shelby's own Cobra, only with modern technology. The concept version of the Viper debuted at the 1989 North American International Auto Show.