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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Technology

Drop In Accidents Linked To BlackBerry Outage

On: Tue, Oct 18, 2011 at 2:50PM | By: David Walter

Drop In Accidents Linked To BlackBerry Outage test 2

Surprisingly, Apple's new iPhone 4S wasn't the only phone making headlines last week. For three days (Tuesday through Thursday), millions of BlackBerry users in Europe, Africa, India, the Middle East, Latin America and parts of North America were left without services like messaging, email and internet due to a major server crash. While the outage may have inconvenienced BlackBerry owners (and really damaged RIM’s [Research In Motion – makers of BlackBerry phones] reputation), it may have made roads in the Middle East a safer place.

According to The National, traffic accidents fell 20 percent in Dubai and 40 percent (with no fatal accidents) in Abu Dhabi during the days of BlackBerry’s disruption.

Fuel? Where We're Going, We Don't Need Fuel: DMC Plans Electric DeLorean For 2013

On: Mon, Oct 17, 2011 at 5:14PM | By: Chris Salamone

2013 DMC DeLorean EV test 2

Start reworking those flux capacitor schematics, saving up for Plutonium (available in every corner drugstore), and finding time-period specific pink cowboy shirts. The DeLorean DMC-12 is back, and better than ever. Although it’s easy to imagine that any modification to the DeLorean would make the vehicle better than the original, this EV version looks like something special.

At the International DeLorean Owners Event in Houston, Texas last weekend, DMC announced the company’s official plans to produce an EV. DeLorean Motor Company, recently reborn in Humble, Texas, intends to use a 260 horsepower electric motor and add a few much-needed interior updates. As for the exterior, expect to see some modern gadgetry blended into the original design. For example, the front grill hinges open to reveal an electric charging port.

BMW To Introduce Laser Headlights Within Three Years

On: Mon, Oct 17, 2011 at 4:16PM | By: Chris Weiss

BMW To Introduce Laser Headlights Within Three Years test 2

BMW recently spent some serious time detailing its ConnectedDrive technologies of the future in a comprehensive press kit. Turns out, at least one of those technologies isn't that far away. The company said that laser headlights will make a production debut within two to three years.

Hanafi Abdul, BMW's optical systems designer, explained to Inside Line that the laser headlights are actually production ready now, but are waiting for the right vehicle. That vehicle will most definitely be the i8, which was the first vehicle to feature the laser headlights in concept form, but the laser headlights may even debut before the i8 on a separate vehicle, according to Abdul. The production i8 will debut in about two years at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Seven Automakers Agree To EV Charging Standard

On: Mon, Oct 17, 2011 at 9:17AM | By: Chris Weiss

Seven Automakers Agree To EV Charging Standard test 2

Think about the past several cell phones that you've had. If they were different models from different manufacturers, chances are good that each model had an entirely different charging port. Now think about your laptop, tablet computer, MP3 player, e-reader, and other portable electronics—they all have different types of charging ports. So when you go on vacation with several of them, you have an entire section of your suitcase filled with different adapters.

Now imagine a world where every portable consumer electronics device has the same type of charging hardware. You could bring all your favorite gadgets wherever you need to go, invite all your friends to do the same, and bring a single adapter or two to charge them all. While cell phone makers have made some progress toward a universal charging standard, we have yet to see it trickle down.

Luckily, the auto market is being more proactive. Seven major automakers agreed to universal EV charging hardware this week, meaning that you won't need any special kind of adapter to charge your vehicle and public charging stations won't need to invest in seven different types of chargers.


Disturbing Trends: Drivability

On: Fri, Oct 14, 2011 at 2:13PM | By: Chris Salamone

2010 Lincoln MKT test 2

Ahh, the Lincoln MKT. Equipped with a 3.5L V-6 EcoBoost, this poster child of US-inspired drivability achieves a combined 18 mpg and, in the words of Edmunds.com, "the MKT's size and weight make it anything but sporting." So, what's wrong with this picture?

As time goes on, the auto industry has made great leaps and bounds in technology, performance, and design. Even so, there remains a group of trends in the United States which neither improves driving nor contributes to the advancement of automobiles in general. We tend to call these trends ‘American preferences’, which is basically a polite name for corporations pretending to adapt to local customs while not shouldering the burden of influencing the market as a whole.

Although general mechanics have vastly improved over the last century, certain mechanical trends continue to negatively impact the drivability of cars sold in the US. Picture the BMW 3.0 liter twin-turbo diesel engine. When equipped with a manual transmission, it’s capable of jumping from 0-60mph in 5.3 seconds and impressive fuel economy. Which would you rather have, that BMW Inline-6 or a slower, less efficient Ford V-6 EcoBoost? The lesson: drivability is more important than fancy brand labeling which conjures images of somehow quickly saving the environment.

Mazda Says Its Working 'Zealously' On A New Rotary

On: Fri, Oct 14, 2011 at 10:28AM | By: Chris Weiss

Mazda Says Its Working 'Zealously' On A New Rotary test 2

Mazda announced the final special edition RX-8 last week, and in a farewell tweet to the rotary-driven, RWD sports coupe, the company started a whole new set of rumors about the future of the rotary engine. It said in its tweet (as pieced together through Google Translate) that it is working hard on new models to house the next-generation rotary engine.

Ford To Build Smaller V-6 And Bigger V-8

On: Fri, Oct 14, 2011 at 9:20AM | By: Chris Weiss

Ford To Build Smaller V-6 And Bigger V-8  test 2

Earlier this week, some Ford/United Auto Workers contracts leaked onto the Web. While only the most dedicated auto journalists would be interested in the i's and t's of the worker agreements, the rest of us are interested in the details about Ford's upcoming products that they included. Key among those products are two new engines to be developed: a 5.8-liter V-8 engine for the Mustang Shelby GT500 and a 2.5- to 3.0-liter V-6 engine with direct injection and turbocharging.

BMW Previews Advanced ConnectedDrive Technologies

On: Thu, Oct 13, 2011 at 11:34AM | By: Chris Weiss

BMW Previews Advanced ConnectedDrive Technologies test 2

Back at the Geneva Motor Show, BMW launched the Vision ConnectedDrive. While the car was a pretty striking, retro-inspired-futuro roadster, its main emphasis wasn't on aesthetics, but on technology. The car was equipped with a variety of technological components like a three-dimensional heads-up display and vehicle-to-vehicle communications system. This month, BMW issued a lengthy presser, taking us much deeper into the innovative (and perhaps twisted) world of ConnectedDrive.

The short story, cars are going to be a whole lot more intuitive in the future. The long story...read on.

GM Consolidates Engines, Electrifies Spark

On: Wed, Oct 12, 2011 at 10:35AM | By: Chris Salamone

GM Consolidates Engines, Electrifies Spark test 2

Just moments ago, GM announced the company’s plan to consolidate their global family of small-displacement gasoline engines over the next few years in pursuit of reducing manufacturing complexity, improving fuel economy, while increasing quality and performance. Three engine families will soon become a single uber group, encompassing more than 2 million engines per year by 2020.

And that’s not all. During a Chevrolet press conference held via live webcast, the company also mentioned plans to bring an electric Spark to market and introduced a facelift for the newly minted American super sub-compact. No word yet on vehicle range or cost.

Shoom! Heathrow Puts Laser-Guided Pods To Work

On: Mon, Oct 10, 2011 at 2:10PM | By: Chris Salamone

ULTra Pod System at London's Heathrow test 2

It’s no secret that airport efficiency has become something of an impossible dream in the last decade. And yet, the BAA (British Airport Authority) recently commissioned an automated, battery-powered pod system named ULTra intended to minimize traveler transport time while simultaneously reducing airport costs. Starting with London’s Heathrow Airport, the first phase of the ULTra network will initially connect two car parks with Terminal 5. Total travel time is about 5-6 minutes, over 1.2 miles.

Reuters reports that a seemingly-futuristic pod system has been something of a dream for British engineers over the last 60 years. Back in 2003, those bleary-eyed dreamers received some vindication. The BAA formally evaluated the long-term transportation needs of Heathrow to ascertain options with (1) low emissions, (2) high level-of-service, (3) efficient use of space, and (4) value. The study’s conclusion: pods are the only practical solution, “providing a 60% improvement in travel time and 40% operating cost savings” over traditional rail or bus options. After years of planning and negotiation, in 2009, BAA and ULTra PRT finally entered into an operating and maintenance contract intended to last 20 years.

Rear Wheel Drive Is Coming Back!

On: Mon, Oct 10, 2011 at 12:21PM | By: Peter C Sessler

Rear Wheel Drive Is Coming Back! test 2

The big three American car makers (Chrysler, GM, and Ford) are slowly bringing back rear-wheel drive cars, especially Chrysler. Does this mean that they are giving up front-wheel drive? Not at all, but they are finally acknowledging that rear-wheel is in many respects superior to front-wheel drive. Actually, rear-wheel drive never really went away as pick-up trucks and most SUVs are rear-wheel drive (RWD) vehicles.