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A123 Systems Announces New Lithium Ion Technology

On: Mon, Jun 18, 2012 at 11:28AM | By: Chris Weiss

A123 Systems Announces New Lithium Ion Technology test 2

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.

Mini Releases 'Britalian Job' Video

On: Mon, Jun 18, 2012 at 10:00AM | By: Chris Weiss

Mini Releases 'Britalian Job' Video test 2

Mini has always seemed quite attuned to its British heritage. It's not all surprising, therefore, to see it milking this summer's London Olympics for all it's worth. Mini already introduced a special edition of Olympic proportions, and now it has released a video clip called "The Britalian Job."

As you probably guessed, the Britalian Job is a play on the 1969 film (remade in 2003) The Italian Job. Mini says the film was created to celebrate its partnership with Team Great Britain and Paralympics Great Britain.

If you're wondering what a 40-year-old film set in Italy has to do with the London Olympics, well, we'll say Mini, this video, and not much else. Mini Coopers were featured in both Italian Job movies, and Mini's video is a homage to the original. The video does its best to tie the caper theme with the Olympics, though bike jumps, straight lines and Minis burrowing through cramped spaces are really the only reasons to watch twice.

Infiniti G37S Races A Professional Skydiver (Video)

On: Fri, Jun 15, 2012 at 5:16PM | By: Chris Weiss

Infiniti G37S Races A Professional Skydiver test 2

It's early June, which means the days are long, and the weather is getting warmer and sunnier. And it must have been a long winter, because restless souls everywhere are making the most of their time outside by performing acts of skill, courage, bravado and sheer insanity. We saw the Lamborghini Aventador take on an F-16 fighter earlier this week, and now we have another unlikely air-ground race between an Infiniti G37S ... and a skydiver.

We'd imagine that an amateur skydiver would be too concerned with things like falling to instantaneous death to try to race a car on the ground, so Infiniti and Red Bull turned to professional skydiver Jon DeVore in creating the race. The opposition was Monaco Grand Prix -winning Red Bull/Infiniti F1 racer Mark Webber.

Honda Recalls 50,000 Civics!

On: Fri, Jun 15, 2012 at 4:01PM | By: Lou Ruggieri

Honda Recalls 50,000 Civics! test 2

Honda has just released a recall to bring back an astounding 50,190 brand new 2012 Civics. It seems that a retaining clip was not installed during production that may cause the driveshaft to separate. As one can imagine, this potential problem can cause serious trouble for drivers and pedestrians alike. The car may roll away even when placed in "park" unless the emergency brake is engaged. The car could suddenly lose power due to the loss of connection between the engine and the drive wheels, causing serious traffic problems and more than likely a crash.

Owners can call Honda at 1-800-999-1009 to schedule a free inspection/repair of their driveshaft, or simply wait for Honda to begin contacting customers later this month.  

Read on for the full report.


Innovative Rear-View Mirror Eliminates Blind Spots

On: Fri, Jun 15, 2012 at 3:11PM | By: Chris Weiss

Innovative Rear-View Mirror Eliminates Blind Spots test 2

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.

2013 Chevy Volt Gets Bigger Battery And Range Boost

On: Fri, Jun 15, 2012 at 12:34PM | By: Chris Weiss

2013 Chevy Volt Gets Bigger Battery And Range Boost test 2

The Chevy Volt is really giving the Nissan Leaf a run for its money. For the 2012 model, its price inched ever closer, and now another important figure is creeping up on Nissan. The 2013 Volt will use a re-engineered lithium-ion battery to increase both electric-only range and overall fuel economy.

The new Volt, which will hit dealerships in August, adds three miles to its zero-emissions range for a total of 38 miles. In terms of overall efficiency, the new Volt boasts a 98 mpg-e figure, up from 94 mpg-e. The new Volt can travel a total of 380 miles on a full charge/full tank of gas, according to GM.

NHTSA Expands Probe, Chrysler Holds Breath

On: Fri, Jun 15, 2012 at 10:53AM | By: Chris Salamone

Jeep Grand Cherokee Explodes test 2

Late last year a Lake Mary, Florida accident rose to the attention of national media. A 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee was involved in a rear-end collision, and then proceeded to explode and roast a 24-year-old male caught in a series of tragic, and unexpected, events. And, while heart-wrenching, the incident reached critical media mass not because of the vehicle, driver, or ensuing disaster. Instead, it seemed that the accident verified AND fueled an investigation already underway by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – which started a full year before, in August 2010.

Even so, up until recently, the NHTSA was set on evaluating only 1993-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokees. Apparently though, after a half year, the NHTSA has finally decided to broaden the scope of the agency’s investigation to include the 2002-2007 Jeep Liberty and…you guessed it…the 1993-2001 Jeep Cherokee. That brings the total to a whopping 5.1 million Chrysler vehicles.

The heart of the debate is the location of Chrysler’s fuel tanks. In older models, mostly made before 2005, the company placed plastic fuel tanks behind the rear axle and slightly below the rear bumper. The Center for Auto Safety alleges that such a location makes the tank more prone to leak or rupture during an impact.

Japanese Brands Score Big In Conumser Perception, Ford And Hyundai On The Right Track

On: Fri, Jun 15, 2012 at 9:36AM | By: Chris Weiss

Japanese Brands Score Big In Conumser Perception, Ford And Hyundai On The R test 2

Auto industry research and analysis firm ALG recently released the results of its spring 2012 Perceived Quality Study. The semiannual study polls consumers in regards to how they view the quality of automotive brands. Japanese brands like Honda and Toyota lead the way, while Ford and Hyundai are most improved.

"Perception is a powerful force in consumer buying behavior. Consumers often base their beliefs about quality on the emotional connection they have with a brand, regardless of the actual quality. Alternatively, a brand that experiences an instance of bad publicity may take years to shake off the negative effects, even if the actual quality is good," ALG describes.

Click It Or Ticket Goes Canine In New Jersey

On: Thu, Jun 14, 2012 at 3:51PM | By: Chris Weiss

Click It Or Ticket Goes Canine In New Jersey test 2

The image of a golden retreiver's mangy furr fluttering carelessly in the 55-mph wind on the other side of a car window is nearly as timeless as the automobile itself. Yet, that image will soon be no more in one state. New Jersey has instituted new fines, ranging from $250 to $1,000, for drivers that don't buckle their pets up. Another weird but true law hits the books.

NJ police officers, as well as officers of the NJ Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, can now pull over drivers for traveling with their pets unrestrained and issue fines of up to $1,000. Drivers are also vulnerable to disorderly person charges for animal cruelty.

Focus ST Overboosts Initial Impressions

On: Thu, Jun 14, 2012 at 2:14PM | By: Chris Salamone

Ford Focus ST test 2

The only thing new age car junkies like more than hatchbacks are hot hatchbacks. With that said, the market for sub $30,000 tire-shredding utility boxes is pretty limited. Amidst a worn grouping, including VW GTIs and sluggish Subaru Imprezas, Ford has decided to once again prey upon its limping competition with the second coming of the company’s Focus ST. For months now, we’ve heard lots of good things. And Ford isn’t letting up anytime soon.

In short, the Focus ST continues to impress – especially now that we know an ‘overboost’ feature will be assimilated into the vehicle’s turbocharged engine. Please, oh pretty please, can we also get a Men in Black-type little red button?

Apple Extends Siri To 'Eyes Free' Vehicle System

On: Thu, Jun 14, 2012 at 1:09PM | By: Chris Weiss

Apple Extends Siri To 'Eyes Free' Vehicle System test 2

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.