Throughout The Car Industry
It seems advisable for A123 Systems to focus on fine-tuning its current generation battery technology (read: make sure it works), but it's already looking ahead to the next generation of lithium-ion technology. The battery company that supplies packs to automakers including Fisker and Chevy says that its Nanophosphate EXT will improve operation in extreme temperature ranges.
Outside of more electric range, one of the first 'must haves' for electric vehicle and plug-in hybrid consumers would certainly have to be lower prices. A123 Systems implies that Nanophosphate EXT can give them just that by eliminating expensive thermal management hardware.
Posted In: Aftermarket, Hybrid / Green, Reports, Technology
Tags: A123 Systems, batteries, EVs, hybrids, Nanophosphate EXT
Mathematics professor Dr. R. Andrew Hicks of Philadelphia's Drexel University has designed a solution to a nagging problem. His specially designed rear-view mirror eliminates blind spots, a hazard that has plagued drivers for as long as cars have had mirrors and roads have had lanes. His solution doesn't use any fancy sensor technology, but mathematical-based design.
Hicks recently received a US patent for his mirror design, which greatly increases the field of view displayed in the mirror while keeping distortion to a minimum. The result is that you can clearly see what's behind you, without a blind spot.
Posted In: Aftermarket, Reports, Technology
Tags: rear-view mirror, blind spot, research, technology, Drexel University
Whether you're an Apple owner or not, you're probably familiar with Siri, the tinny, feminine voice inside the latest iPhone. It's difficult to turn on the television without seeing one of those Siri-celeb commercials that paints Siri out as a sort of robo-butler-extraordinaire. Turns out, this butler will be able to chaffeur you around as well as help you navigate the Web and create reminders.
At its World Wide Developers Conference this week, Apple introduced what it calls Eyes Free. The system integrates Siri technology into a variety of vehicles.
Posted In: Aftermarket, Reports, Technology
Tags: Apple, technology, eyes free, Siri, driving, safety
Nissan has teamed up with Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt in a new campaign it calls "WHAT IF_". With anticipation building for the London Summer Games, Nissan hopes to use the "world's fastest man" in spreading awareness of its GT-R supercar.
Celebrity endorsements don't always make a whole lot of sense (Olympic snowboarder Shaun White's line of Target homewares, anyone?), but pairing the electrifyingly fast Usain Bolt with the one of the world's quickest cars seems like a natural fit. At less than a tenth of the cost of a Bugatti Veyron, the GT-R sprints to 62 mph just three-tenths of a second slower at 2.8 seconds. Bolt may not be able to run that fast, but his 9.58-second 100-meter time is the more impressive feat of the two, considering it captured the world record.
Posted In: Aftermarket, Car News, Reports
Tags: Nissan, GT-R, supercars, advertising, Olympians, Usain Bolt
We have the Fiat 500; the 500 L is on its way; and the 500 X is possible. However, we haven't heard much recent news on the 500 E - at least not from Fiat. The minicar makes so much sense as the lightweight home of an all-electric powertrain, one German company had to build it before Fiat.
Hamburg-based electric vehicle manufacturer and Fiat commercial vehicle supplier Karabag has equipped a 500 with a small lithium-polymer-powered drivetrain that puts out 37 hp. The motor has an unusual source: a Linde electric forklift. With a 62-mile range and 65 mph top speed, the car isn't all that practical for anything other than city driving. Since it's a German endeavor, though, we anticipate that European city centers are exactly what it was built for.
Posted In: Aftermarket, Hybrid / Green
Tags: Fiat, 500, 500 E, electric, EVs, aftermarket, Karabag
It used to be that you had to buy a GM vehicle to enjoy OnStar, GM's navigation and roadside assistance interface. Then last year, GM launched OnStar 'For My Vehicle' (FMV), an aftermarket kit that makes OnStar available on all types of cars. So far, people have responded to the over-the-counter approach.
In a recent press release, GM details that OnStar has been particularly popular with owners of newer vehicles, particularly 2011 models. Of its OnStar FMV buyers, 15.6 percent are Toyota owners and 12.3 percent are Ford owners. Significantly, nearly a third of those Ford buyers own models that offered Ford's Sync system at time of purchase, showing clearly that they had some preference for OnStar's features over Sync's.
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
Now other people are going to cover the high points of Barrett-Jackson’s April 5-7 Palm Beach sale, so I won’t bore you with talk of customs, resto-mods or (half)million-dollar-sales. Instead I’m going to shine a light on the auction’s seamy underbelly to expose the creatures known as “filler” lots.
But I’m not going to bother with the late-model lease-returns and beat-up aged exotics that tend to occupy 75 percent of any B-J sale’s slate. No, I’m going right down into the bilge of the USS BJPB to show you six of the freakiest lots they had on offer (or seven, if you count the trailer).
Is everybody wearing their protective gear? Then—bad pun coming—let’s dive in…
Posted In: Aftermarket, Auctions, Exotics, Good, Bad & Ugly, Miscellaneous, Special / Limited Edition
Tags: barrett jackson, auction, celeb, Palm Beach, Willie, Willie Nelson, golf carts, wet bar, submarine, hummer
On the first leg of its tour of North America and Europe, “Vochol”—the world's “first and only Volkswagen decorated with beads by Mexican Huichol Indians”—can be seen now through May 6 at the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.
Now before you go and dismiss this as a “hippie”-style psychedelic custom VW, let’s look at the facts: all of the intricate, multicolored everything you see on the surface of this 1990 VW Beetle (yes, I meant 1990) has been done—by hand—with “more than 2 million glass seed beads and nearly 35 pounds of fabric, paint, yarn and resin.”
Yep, "two families of Huíchol artisans [eight persons total] devoted more than 9,000 hours” to create Vochol, a name derived from a combination of “vochol”, a popular term for VW Beetles in Mexico, and “Huichol”, the common name of the Wirrárika indigenous group.
But this project is more than 233 lbs. of beadwork slapped on a Bug. And—unlike any groovy, 1960s-era painted version—this one’s important enough to be in the Smithsonian.
Posted In: Aftermarket, Auto Shows, Car News, Classics, Reports, Special / Limited Edition, Videos
Tags: Mexican, VW, Volkswagen, Vochol, bead, beaded, DC, Smithsonian
If you’re the owner of a “classic” GM car you’re probably familiar with Original Parts Group Inc. and their comprehensive catalogs. We’re talking about models like the Chevelle, El Camino, Cutlass, Skylark, GTO, Monte Carlo, Riviera and even 1954 through 1976 Cadillacs.
[Unfortunately, they have no apparent love—or parts—for my ’89 Olds Custom Cruiser. What’s up with that?]
Anyhoo, on April 1, in celebration of the firm’s 30th year of operation, they are hosting a classic car show at their Seal Beach, Calif., headquarters. Free and open to all, it is certain to feature many of the finest examples of each vehicle line I’ve mentioned, not including—so far as I know—any Custom Cruisers.
Still, it sounds like a heck of an event. But you don’t have to take just MY word(s) for it…
Posted In: Aftermarket, Auto Shows, Car News, Concept Cars, Reports, Special / Limited Edition
Tags: OPGI, Original Parts Group Inc, car show, anniversary, restoration, parts, GM
As if automakers aren't installing enough dubious technology into their offerings, Microsoft decided to get in the game. The technology company that millions of Americans rarely go a day without commissioned help from West Coast Customs in building a very special Mustang.
Microsoft has codenamed the car "Project Detroit," and West Coast Customs calls it the Micro-Stang. Whatever you want to call it, this is one serious tune.
Posted In: Aftermarket, Concept Cars, Videos, Technology
Tags: tuners, tunes, West Coast Customs, Velocity, Microsoft, technology, Mustang, Ford