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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Car News

The Saab 92 Could be Coming Back Soon (as Well as a Newer 9-3 Model)

On: Mon, May 31, 2010 at 12:12AM | By: Michael Jon Lazar

Saab 92 Concept test 2

There have been lots of people who have been wondering about the future of Saab as of lately. This is for good reason too. After the fall of the Big Three automakers and GM's selling of their stakes in Saab to a European company, many owners were a bit concerned. I would have been too, because a new owner (of Saab) could change the entire spectrum.

Saab could alter vehicle warranties or make the availability of parts scarce; but such is not the case my friends, rather quite the opposite. The outlook for the carmaker is as bright as the sun, and looking better each day. Saab has a brand new concept car that is in the works, dubbed the 9-3, and the revival of the coveted Saab 92, that is sure to entice car buyers the world afar.

In a report that was recently published by Motor Trend, the founder of Spyker (who now owns Saab), Victor Muller, offered some insight into the revival of the ever so coveted Saab 92 series of cars, stating, “The Saab 92 is definitely the missing link in the portfolio of Saab cars. And this is clearly what we want to bring to the market, really soon.”

Porsche Was the Original Innovator of Hybrid Cars in the Early 1900s!

On: Sat, May 29, 2010 at 10:47AM | By: Michael Jon Lazar

Lohner Porsche Hybrid Car test 2

There are a lot of people out there that think that hybrid cars and electric cars are something rather new (myself included here). But in actuality, they have been around for a lot longer than you may have ever thought. Another interesting factoid is that the original maker of the world’s first truly electric cars and hybrids was none other than Porsche. I know that this may be—or may seem—hard to believe at first glance; I sure didn’t think that this was true. But as you read on, I aim to reveal to you my findings. After coming across some rather interesting and eye-opening information on the history of electric cars and hybrids in the United States, I was quite intrigued to learn their moniker. And indeed, as I found out, Porsche was the pioneer of the very first electric cars and hybrids. Here is the kicker, the ice cream sundae-topper and the deal-maker: They were making these hybrid and electric cars way back in the early 1900s!

Before I delve any further into this, it begs to ask one question: If we had this technology for over a hundred years—and then some—why is it only as of late that hybrid cars and ‘green’ cars, like electric and solar-powered cars, are finally making their debuts? One has a good mind to think that the oil companies were not that enchanted at the prospect of losing business, to the tune of trillions of dollars. Because if you really think about how much gas Americans have consumed over the past 100 years or so, that’s quite a pocketful of goodies that have been earned! But if we had only embraced this hybrid technology far earlier, one has a good mind to think that we would be leaps and bounds from where we sit presently—as it relates to the overall technology of these cars, and our precious and fragile, deteriorating environment.

Also, it makes one ponder if we would have been able to avoid terrible and devastating environmental disasters, like the BP Gulf Oil Spill?

Feds to Green Automakers: Your Cars Are Too Quiet!

On: Fri, May 28, 2010 at 3:10PM | By: Michael Jon Lazar

Quiet Cars test 2

It seems that the world of autos and cars has been changed forever with the advent of hybrid cars, ‘green’ cars, solar cars, and electric cars alike. Now these cars finally are falling to normal price levels, comparable to not-so-‘green’ cars. 'Green' vehicles are finally being manufactured by tons of automakers, and this market is ever so quickly expanding. As the world makes more demands on automakers to rise to the challenges of combating global warming, there is yet another hurdle that is being presented to green vehicles by the US government (and others): Apparently, they are too quiet!

Before I delve into this, let us first recognize one thing: the Feds, and most countries, have forever and a day, to be exact, vied for cleaner and more fuel-efficient and less emission-producing cars. But now, these cars drive so quietly and smoothly that governments are actually considering passing what they will call the Auto Safety Bill. This bill, in essence, would require the makers of such green cars to provide some sort of alert noise whenever, say, a pedestrian is nearby—so that they are safer on the roads.

But this is not a bad thing. No way. For sure, a smooth and quiet ride is very desirable to most consumers and has forever been a mainstay in the marketing of many different cars. However, did we really think that we would ever see the day when technology has them running so quietly that there are now bills being enacted into law to regulate that lack of noise? The last time I checked, they were passing bills for quite the opposite reasons—mostly by city and region—laws that would limit how loud a motorcycle could be, for example. In the area of auto safety, however, something is often overlooked: the street-side pedestrian. So this new bill is actually a good thing, if you ask me.

The BMW Z4 E89

On: Fri, May 28, 2010 at 2:54PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

The BMW Z4 E89 test 1-1

The new BMW Z4 E89 offers the pleasure of a roadster with the style and finesse that could only come from BMW.  With the seating position moved close to the rear axle, retractable hardtop, and traditional Roadster dimensions, pure driving pleasure are the only words to describe this classic roadster comeback. The car’s modern classic look was created from its flowing lines, the long and low-slung engine compartment lid, short overhangs, the long wheelbase and large wheels, and the low seating position as well.

This outstanding two-seater BMW Z4 E89 offers a unique combination of sophistication, speed and luxury. The two-piece lightweight hardtop comes to rest in the roof compartment, saving maximum space in the process. Even with the roof closed, the new Z4 retains the proportions typical of a genuine roadster.


Toyota Denied Request to Dismiss Dispute Regarding Hybrid Technology

On: Fri, May 28, 2010 at 9:01AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Toyota Denied Request to Dismiss Dispute Regarding Hybrid Technology test 1-1

“When it rains it pours.” It seems like that should be Toyota’s new slogan as Toyota Motor Corporation lost its bid to dismiss a Florida company’s patent infringement claim.  Worst case scenario could result in the Japanese automaker being prohibited from importing its most recent model hybrids and top sellers; the Prius and Camry and Lexus Hybrids.

The Supreme Court let stand an appeal by Toyota in a $4.3 million dollar lawsuit by Paice LLC of McLean, Virginia (Paice is an acronym for Power-Assisted Internal Combustion Engines). Last year, a federal appeals court also sided with Paice. Toyota appealed but has now lost in a patent infringement case affecting their hybrid synergy system. Toyota may have to start paying Paice royalties of $25 for every Prius, Highlander Hybrid, and Lexus RX 400h sold.

Ford Preparing To Ax Mercury

On: Thu, May 27, 2010 at 5:07PM | By: John Welch

Ford Preparing To Ax Mercury test 1-1

The American Car Company graveyard might get a little larger soon; it looks like Ford is getting ready to give Mercury the "'Ole Yeller" soon. Allan Mullaly made it clear when he took the reigns at Ford, that he would emphasize one premier brand, Ford, and would eventually wind down extraneous brands Lincoln and Mercury. According to sources, the automaker's top executives are preparing a proposal to kill Mercury to be presented to directors in July. Mercury is already losing two of its models next year, leaving it with a serious product drought.

The plan hinges on Ford's ability to convince Lincoln/Mercury dealers to close or consolidate with existing Ford dealerships, a negotiation that could get rocky. No dealer wants to give up his franchise. Unfortunately for them, this plan falls right in line with Ford's other cost cutting measures, namely the elimination of small-niche European brands like Volvo and Jaguar. With the Euro-pudge trimmed, Mullaly is now turning his attention to Ford's North American fat.

Ford Recruits Virtual Factory Worker

On: Wed, May 26, 2010 at 5:10PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Ford Recruits Virtual Factory Worker test 1-1

Many manufacturers have implemented robotics to assist them in evaluating safe ergonomics for their employees, but Ford Motor Company has taken a step into the future as the company has recruited a virtual factory worker who can perform extraordinary feats.

He even has a name: Santos. Santos is a very unusual virtual worker in that he can decide to perform a task autonomously such as; walking, talking, and even answering questions when asked. His programming was designed to simulate the same movements and restrictions that humans encounter, and to enable the robot to record physical limits when he is working, such as how far he can reach, or how much weight he can lift, or to record when the simulated human body becomes fatigued.

Ohio to Get New Plant for Manufacturing Electric Car Batteries for Coda Automotive

On: Wed, May 26, 2010 at 4:46PM | By: Michael Jon Lazar

lithium-ion battery test 2

There is some good news for all of you hybrid-loving and ‘green’-going folks out there who have always thought that a really good electric car could be made in the US and not be as plagued with issues as some electric cars are. Coda Automotive, which is a newer electric car company based in California, has announced they will team up with some of the Chinese suppliers they use to make their revolutionary new Coda sedan, slated for a 2011 release. They are using a newer form of automotive-grade lithium-ion batteries that are supposed to offer a similar mile-per-gallon/mile-per-charge ratio as gas-powered cars do. Looking at their website (http://www.codaautomotive.com), the company states the car will get about 90-120 miles per charge, with a six-hour charging period required.

According to a report published by the Wall Street Journal, “Coda, which announced the move Tuesday, will final-assemble the electric car at a facility in the greater Los Angeles area with component modules produced in China. It will initially make the car available only in California, where it is targeting sales of 14,000 electric sedans by the end of 2011.”

But the fledgling automaker has been searching for a place to hunker down and really make these lithium-ion batteries in a more permanent setting in the US. This is because they are so costly to import from overseas. The same article sheds more light on why Coda is looking for a US-based lithium-ion batteries manufacturing plant.

Ford Has Done it All, Including A Car That Can Blog

On: Wed, May 26, 2010 at 3:47PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Ford Has Done it All, Including A Car That Can Blog test 1-1

Ford has done it again—another first for the Detroit automaker!—the first ever automobile to use social media to communicate while on the road.  Ford’s “American Journey 2.0 research project” has been successfully completed using a Fiesta that traveled from Ann Arbor, Michigan to San Mateo, California.

In partnership with the University of Michigan, Ford has developed a new computer application called “Auto”matic Blog.  The Fiesta’s is known as @AJtheFiesta and it uses the login name to tweet progress of the trip based on “vehicle telemetrics.” 

Two Ford Fiestas traveled from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor on May 13; they were linked to each other and to the global community through “Auto”matic Blog. The week-long road trip ended at Silicon Valley's annual ideas festival—the Maker Faire.

Upon the arrival of the two Fiestas, Ford announced the idea of the automobile as "a brand new technological platform for social media." "The car is the ultimate mobile device," claims Venkatesh Prasad, technical leader of the Infotronics team in Ford Research & Advanced Engineering.  "Ford has led the convergence of the auto and consumer electronics industries, and now we're researching how to responsibly and safely harness the Internet to enhance drivers' time behind the wheel."

New Power Stations For Nissan Leaf

On: Wed, May 26, 2010 at 2:38PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

New Power Stations For Nissan Leaf test 1-1

As the Nissan Leaf gets closer to delivery date, final orders are in at a whopping 17,000 consumers who want to purchase the all-electric car this year—that includes Japanese and American buyers. As it stands today, Nissan has the capacity to deliver only about 12,000 Leafs by March of 2011, but with all of the those new electric plug-ins on the road—and many more to come—how will motorists power up?

EV-Charge America is currently installing Smart EV Charging Stations across the country. The electric vehicle charging stations are being located in public and private parking areas, municipalities, governments, city streets, and Interstates. In San Diego alone, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) announced that it will work with Electric Transportation Engineering Corp. to build 1,500 public charging stations and 1000  home-based points, in preparation for the 2011 Nissan Leaf all-electric car. The stations are targeted to be complete by July of 2010. 

Coda's 2011 Electric Sedan Is Looking Pretty Good

On: Wed, May 26, 2010 at 9:40AM | By: Michael Jon Lazar

Coda 2011 Electric Sedan test 2

This startup, fledgling automaker based in Los Angeles, California is getting some pretty decent attention in the news as of late. I have been seeing articles and reports from all over about this new electric car line that promises one of the most advanced electric batteries to ever be used in any electric car. This is because the car uses a Chinese-made Lithium-ion (LiFePO4) battery that is configured with 728 cells (104s7p), and that, according to the specs on their website (http://www.codaautomotive.com/tech_specs.html), gets around, “6 hours from 220V (30AMP)” driving time. The battery can easily be charged overnight, in about 5-7 hours.

The car is an impressive and roomy four-door sedan that is both sugary-looking and aesthetically pleasing to the eyes. And it’s pretty safe too. According to the safety specs on the car, which can be easily found at their website in the ‘Tech Specs’ section, the car is equipped with, “Intelligent 6 air bag system (two advanced frontal, two seat-mounted side, and 2 side curtain airbags), Occupant Detection.”  But they also offer the always desirable Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS), and Electronic Stability Control, as well as three point seatbelts. The overall federal safety rating, according to their website, will be an, “Anticipated 5-Star NCAP (New Car Assessment Program).”