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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Technology

GM Cancels Plans For Luxury Plug-In Hybrid

On: Sat, May 28, 2011 at 10:25AM | By: Tim Healey

GM Cancels Plans For Luxury Plug-In Hybrid test 1-1

Sources are telling Automotive News that General Motors will drop plans to build a luxury plug-in hybrid using the Cadillac SRX crossover's platform. Apparently, the reason for the decision is that the company felt that the project was not financially viable.

The plan could be restarted using another platform, but sources told Automotive News that the engineers have been reassigned to other projects.

Volkswagen Developing Cars That Pick You Up On Demand

On: Thu, May 19, 2011 at 11:20AM | By: Chris Weiss

Volkswagen Developing Cars That Pick You Up On Demand test 1-1

"I need ya, buddy." Those four simple words are all that The Hoff (a.k.a Michael Knight) needed to mutter before getting a reassuring: "Right away, Michael." Now that's a friggin' car.

Children of the 80s are among the most keenly aware of the promising possibilities of automated vehicles, thanks largely to the sheer awesomeness that the Trans Am known as K.I.T.T. brought to the table in a timeless little series called Knight Rider. And it looks like those children, now adults, will soon be able to direct their cars in a similar manner, although they may have to name it Klaus rather than Kitt.

Not-So-Smart Fourtwo?

On: Tue, May 17, 2011 at 1:31PM | By: Lou Ruggieri

Smart Fourtwo EV test 2

Technology for the most part is good. Technology is also fun, to some extent, but it does have its drawbacks. Sometimes, on the way to making something truly special, there are a lot of... not so innovative... innovations. The laserdisc player, the eight-track, video phones, Charlie Sheen, car stereo remotes, they all had high buy-in costs and low returns in terms of usability and entertainment. Most of these non-comedians eventually led to actual useful results in modern day life, but we had to go through a bit of a technological adolescence that was more infamous than famous.  

Right now, America is going through a similar period with automobiles. Before we can get to true freedom from oil, we have to get past this time of awkward growth. We know we can't survive on gasoline much longer, and ideally electric cars are the way we are going. We can see glimpses of the future with cars like the new Porsche 918 Hybrid and Mercedes SLS AMG E-Cell on the high end, as well as the Prius, Volt, and Leaf on the low end of the price spectrum.

Google And Ford Team Up On Fuel Economy Optimization Software

On: Mon, May 16, 2011 at 5:45PM | By: Chris Weiss

Google And Ford Team Up On Fuel Economy Optimization Software test 2

One of the cited advantages of the self-driving cars being developed by Google is fuel economy. By governing vehicle functionality by intelligent, inflexible software rather than leaving it to the proclivities of imperfect man, Google believes that it can push optimal miles-per-gallon from every vehicle.

While the world waits for Google to perfect its autonomous car, Google has teamed with Ford for a sort of interim fuel-savings technology. The platform is called Google Prediction API and, if all goes according to plan, will be equipped to Fords of the future.


Google Wants To Test Self-Driven Cars In Nevada

On: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 5:44PM | By: Chris Weiss

Google Wants To Test Self-Driven Cars In Nevada  test 2

When you're the state with the second highest percentage of public land in the union, you make a natural testing bed for any initiative that could wreak havoc on the general public. Take a look at a map of Nevada and you'll see how public land and dangerous testing come together in the numerous mysterious military installations that occupy its barren lands. Area 51 is just the tip of the iceberg.

Indeed, some 80 percent of Nevada is owned and operated by the federal government, giving it the highest percentage of federally owned land in the United States. The state is all casino resorts on its borders, but lots of open, desolate lands filling up its interior.

The Latest Electric Bullet: Amarok P1 Electric Bike

On: Fri, May 6, 2011 at 1:17PM | By: Chris Weiss

Amarok P1 Electric Bike  test 2

In a way, motorcycles are the perfect vessel to develop electric powertrain technologies around. They are lightweight and use smaller engines, which mean less power is needed to drive the wheels and deliver speeds and ranges comparable to gas bikes. And if electric powertrains are good for one thing, it's less power and lower speeds. On the other hand, the heavy, bulky nature of lithium-ion batteries can make integrating an electric powertrain into the narrow, streamlined frame of a bike more difficult than plopping it somewhere in the chassis of a compact car.

Canadian company Amorak has the latest solution to integrating electric technology into the motorcycle. It's called the P1 and it looks pretty damn good.

BMW Tag Team Launches Premium Car Sharing

On: Sat, Apr 16, 2011 at 11:03AM | By: Chris Salamone

BMW Launches Premium Car Sharing  test 2

Beginning this month, BMW and Sixt are launching a technologically advanced and incredibly practical car sharing program using the brand name DriveNow in Munich and Berlin. But BMW’s mobility concept is drastically different from other currently operating programs, such as Zipcar. DriveNow is the first brand to offer efficient premium cars and a broad range of service options. Vehicles can be dropped off anywhere within certain prearranged boundaries and randomly picked up by anyone needing to hire a car—thus speeding up the whole car sharing experience. Sixt is providing the IT know-how and rental support which DriveNow relies on.

Drivers who sign up for the program must register for a one-time fee of 29 Euros and plan to pay 29 cents per minute of use. Conveniently, the minute fee covers all costs (parking and fuel). If a car isn’t directly in front of you, or you feel lonely, or perhaps simply isolated, then registered participants can search for DriveNow vehicles on a handy Smart Phone application or via the interweb at drive-now.com. There’s just one catch.

Chrysler To Sell Natural-Gas Cars In 2017

On: Wed, Apr 13, 2011 at 5:19PM | By: Tim Healey

Chrysler To Sell Natural-Gas Cars In 2017 test 2

Chrysler will begin selling vehicles powered by compressed natural gas in 2017. Fiat, which currently owns 30 percent of Chrysler and plans on eventually owning a majority stake in the company, already offers compressed natural gas engines in some of its products in Europe. Chrysler has been looking into bringing the technology to American shores.

Chrysler and Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne likes the technology because it's cheaper than other alternative-fuel technologies, and Fred Diaz, the CEO of Chrysler's Ram truck brand, has expressed an interest in using the technology in pickup truck applications.

BMW Cars To Feature Smarter Automatic Transmissions

On: Wed, Apr 13, 2011 at 4:20PM | By: Chris Weiss

BMW Cars To Feature Smarter Automatic Transmissions  test 2

If recent BMW concepts and technologies are any indication, the cars of the future are going to drive themselves with ease. In Geneva earlier this year, BMW presented the Vision ConnectedDrive, a concept designed to showcase technologies such as an intuitive information system with 3D heads-up display and advanced vehicle sensor systems. A new BMW component shows how the German luxury company will use technology to redefine automatic transmissions.

Today's automatic transmissions upshift and downshift through gears based on on-board computers and/or valves. The process can be less smooth and efficient than manual shifting because the automatic transmission does not have the same feel for the road as the driver.

U.S. Goverment Shutdown Will Delay Emissions Checks

On: Sat, Apr 9, 2011 at 9:30AM | By: Tim Healey

U.S. Goverment Shutdown Will Delay Emissions Checks test 1-1

If the federal government shuts down at midnight on Saturday, emissions checks and safety probes will be delayed. The EPA will stop certifying that 2012 vehicles and fuels meet federal emission standards, and the Department of Transportation will stop making rules and performing safety inspections.

If the government shuts down, that means up to 800,000 non-essential workers could be furloughed.

Hyundai Blue2 Fuel-Cell Concept

On: Thu, Apr 7, 2011 at 1:21PM | By: Chris Weiss

Hyundai Blue2 Fuel-Cell Concept  test 2

Not to be outdone by its country-mate, Kia, Hyundai used the 2011 Seoul Motor Show to introduce a green concept all its own. Hyundai's concept, called the Blue2, uses hydrogen fuel cells paired with an electric motor.

Hyundai packages its fuel-cell-powered electric in sedan form. The concept has a 120-hp electric motor that provides around 82 mpg with the help of the hydrogen fuel cells. The car exemplifies Hyundai's "New Thinking—New Possibilities" tagline.