Sunday, May 30, 2010

New Mercedes-Benz CLS gets more power, uses less gas

Mercedes-Benz developed this new 4.6-liter V-8 with direct injection and twin turbos.

After Mercedes-Benz launched its 5.5-liter V-8 in the 2005 S550, that engine found its way into almost every other Mercedes-Benz model. It appeared in the CL, CLS, E, ML, GL, G, and SL class cars. Now, Mercedes-Benz has developed a new V-8 using direct injection and turbochargers, which will first appear in the upcoming 2011 CLS550.

If Mercedes-Benz stayed true to its model naming convention, this new CLS would be called the CLS460 Kompressor, or possibly Doppel-Kompressor. The new V-8 is smaller than its predecessor, displacing 4.6-liters, yet makes more power. The new engine achieves 429 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque, a big boost compared with the 5.5-liter engine's 382 horsepower and 391 pound-feet of torque. At the same time, Mercedes-Benz says the new engine will get 20 percent better fuel economy.

Direct injection is one technology helping the engine meet these specifications. Fuel injectors are mounted in the cylinder, spraying the gasoline mixture directly into the chamber, resulting in a more efficient burn than port injection provides. Twin turbochargers also account for a portion of this power boost. Mercedes-Benz says it tuned the turbos for low-speed torque, with 443 pound-feet coming on at 1,600rpm, making turbo lag unlikely.

The engine is also optimized for start/stop operation, allowing it to shut down when the car is stopped at a red light or in traffic. This feature has become popular in Europe, but in the U.S. has been used only in hybrids to date.

The 2011 CLS with this new V-8 goes on sale this fall.

source: review.cnet

Innovative parts are the new trend for cars

The interior of the Volvo XC 60 aims to minimize allergy-causing substances or toxic materials.

The idea that cars are just good looking pieces of steel may start to fade as the growing pan-industrial focus on health and the environment boosts efforts to create cars that are better for humans and nature.

Carmakers are developing technologies to create lighter and stronger metal frames, with some introducing cars made of 100 percent aluminum. They are also trying to develop auto parts that are recyclable and less harmful to humans and the environment.

To bolster its image as an eco-friendly brand, Toyota is making efforts to reduce waste throughout the entire life of a vehicle, from development and production to customer use and disposal. The Japanese carmaker is incorporating recyclable materials into key auto parts such as the bumper, dashboard and doors. Floor mats are also part of efforts to make auto parts recyclable. The Prius uses a carbon-neutral plastic, extracted from plants, in seats and floor mats. The automaker’s plan is to make 95 percent of Prius’ auto parts recyclable in several years.

Peugeot, from France, is also using environment-friendly materials such as wood and cotton in its cars. The Peugeot 207 has side mirrors and door panels made of such materials. One Peugeot vehicle has an average of 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of eco-friendly materials. The Ademe, or Environment and Energy Management Agency of France, ranked some Peugeot vehicles as emitting the lowest carbon dioxide levels in the world.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class vehicles are made of 27 different types of environmentally-friendly materials. They have seats made of a renewable material called natural latex and a door made of coconut fiber.

Carmakers are also trying to make their cars lighter. A lighter car has higher fuel efficiency, which reduces carbon emissions.

The frames of some Audi vehicles are made of an aluminum material called ASF, developed by the German carmaker. The Audi TT, equipped with an ASF frame, can save at least 16 percent of fuel compared with the models not equipped with an ASF frame.

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class has seats made of natural latex and doors made of coconut fiber. Provided by the companies

Jaguar’s all-new XJ is also covered with an aluminum material developed by the British carmaker. It has reduced the weight of the car by 150 kilograms, compared to cars of the same class made by other carmakers.

Mitsubishi made the roof of its new vehicle, the New Outlander, out of aluminum. And BMW is using aluminum frames and suspension in all of its cars.

The new materials used by some carmakers are designed for safety. Volkswagen created a multilayered bumper made of special materials such as foam rubber to minimize the impact on pedestrians in a collision.

Other materials are designed for comfort. Nissan is using materials to complement the senses. Nissan’s 370Z sports car has silky smooth fabrics that are placed on the center panels and arm rest.

Volvo said it is minimizing allergy-causing substances or toxic materials in the interior of its vehicles. Associations for people suffering from asthma and allergies have since recommended Volvo’s S80, V70, XC70 and XC60 to its members.

Local carmakers are trying to catch up. Hyundai’s Eco-Technology Research Center, opened in 2005, is tasked with developing eco-friendly and recyclable car materials. Its i-flow concept car, revealed early this year, features a polyamide material that consists of up to 60 percent renewable raw materials.

Renault Samsung was the first among local carmakers to put an aluminum hood on a midsized car. The hood is designed to make the vehicle lighter, improve fuel economy and reduce carbon emissions.

source: joongangdaily.joins

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The new Peugeot RCZ has stunning win at 38th Nürburgring’s 24 hours

Peugeot’s "200 years" RCZ won the 38th Nürburgring 24 Hours in the under-2L Diesel category. To mark the launch of its exceptional Peugeot RCZ coupé as well as its bicentenary, Peugeot took part in this mythical event at the Nürburgring race course for the first time, by placing two cars in competition.

The Nürburgring attracts 220,000 spectators every year, with over 211 cars lining up on the starting grid. Peugeot decided it would be an ideal platform to present its latest sports car, the RCZ.

The RCZ No. 201, driven by Peugeot’s German team, took first place in the D1T category, sharing the podium with 3rd place winner RCZ No. 200, driven by the French team. The success of the RCZ is down to the car's remarkable reliability, the performance of the HDI FAP engine with 200 bhp and the efficiency of its running gear. These factors all contributed to the successful outcome of this race. Peugeot’s win was the result of the joint efforts of all the engineers, technicians and drivers, both French and German, who participated in this amazing human adventure, demonstrating fantastic commitment throughout.

The General Manager of Peugeot’s Middle East Regional Office, Mr. Jamal Sahl, commented: “We are extremely proud of the RCZ; winning a race such as the Nürburgring 24 Hours while being a first time competitor is a daunting challenge. We received very positive feedback from drivers who took part in a recent RCZ test drive, and we are confident the car will be enjoyed by both sports professionals and fans of exceptional sports cars.”

source: albawaba

2011 Mitsubishi i-Miev EV Test Drive

Alternative fuels are still stuck inside the chicken-and-the-egg dilemma. No one wants to commit to building an alternate fueling infrastructure (the egg) before there’s a critical mass of vehicles (the chicken) out there to use it. And vice versa.

Frustrating as that logic loop is to be caught in, there are indications that there are ways out of it. One ray of sunshine (literally) is the quick charger station for electric vehicles in Vacaville, Calif.

Mitsubishi, which is planning to send a version of its i-Miev electric car here next year, seized upon the Vacaville charging station as a solid excuse for a press event touting both its vehicle and the potential infrastructure represented by the quick charger.

The plan was straightforward: A group of journalists would travel in five Japanese-market i-Mievs from San Francisco across the Bay Bridge and then northeast up I-80 to Vacaville. That’s a total of just about 54 miles; within the i-Miev’s range as long as the air conditioning wasn’t turned on and the drivers were careful.

In Vacaville, the journalists would all be fed while each i-Miev would be hooked to the quick charger. After 20 minutes each on the charger all the i-Mievs would be juiced to about 80-percent of battery capacity. Another 34 miles on the I-80 would then have the electric cars cruising into California’s capital, Sacramento. It was like the days of stagecoaches­—San Francisco to Sacramento with just one stop in Vacaville to change horses. Here’s what we learned.

The i-Miev
The production, on-sale-now, Japanese-market i-Miev has its steering wheel on the wrong side, but it drives just fine. It’s also a familiar face around here, since PM’s Ben Stewart drove it back during the 2008 New York Auto Show.

The i-Miev is a creature built for urban mobility. At only 133.7-inches long overall, it’s almost a full foot shorter than a Mini Cooper and it rides on super-narrow 145/65R15 front and 175/55R15 rear tires. But with its 47-kilowatt engine driving the rear wheels and 330-volt li-ion battery pack mounted low in the chassis, it’s stable and nimble. The motor’s instantaneous torque means there’s seemingly always thrust available, and the 63.4-inch tall i-Miev can squirt through traffic holes that behemoths like the Honda Civic or Mazda3 wouldn’t even dare. Forget issues of range and charging time for a moment—it’s hard to think of any vehicle better suited for pounding across the cityscape than the i-Miev, no matter what the drivetrain.

At just 58.1-inches wide, however, the i-Miev is too narrow for full-size American hips. The driver always has one knee digging into the right front door panel and the left knee slapping against the center console and shifter (calling it a “gear shifter” would be somewhat inaccurate). The dashboard is a study in minimalism and gray plastic, but the graphic display is informative enough. And its sort of nice to see a single-DIN audio unit again—it’s very 1989.

The i-Miev is about the furthest thing from a luxury car imaginable. In fact, the thin seats and unpretentious decoration are probably too Spartan for American buyers, particularly in light of a projected price of around $30,000 (before any government kickbacks, incentives, tax breaks, subventions and bribes). And sentencing any adult to prolonged confinement in the rear seat would be in violation of numerous international treaties against the mistreatment of prisoners of war.

Mitsubishi promises that the i-Miev that comes to America will be wider, “sassier” and more accommodating of this market’s tastes and body types than the Japanese market version. Here’s hoping that the extra measure of comfort doesn’t come at the expense of nimbleness.

In normal driving—normal for an electric car with regenerative braking and driven with light throttle application and the air conditioning, lights and wipers off—Mitsubishi has the i-Miev going about 85 miles on a full charge. Fully charging the battery using a 220-volt should take 7 hours, and a 110-volt system should need about twice that.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

McLaren to open 35 retail locations all over the world

McLaren’s continued attempt in establishing a global network for their product is about to kick-off after the company announced the city and market locations for its global retail network. All in all, McLaren will initially tap 35 different retail locations all over the world with an expansion set to occur in the next few years.

Of the 35 locations, North America will have eight dealerships with another two - for a total of 10 - locations set to follow in the coming years. The cities that will house these dealerships include New York, Philadelphia, Miami, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Orange County, Tampa, and Toronto. As for the rest of the locations, Europe will have the most with 13 retail stores, followed by eight for the Middle East and South Africa, and four in the Asia-Pacific region.

McLaren’s managing director, Antony Sheriff, said: "This is a landmark day for McLaren Automotive as we confirm the locations of the first of our partners that will represent us around the world. It has been incredibly encouraging to experience the demand to sell McLarens from the world’s best car retailers – in every country in which we planned to launch and at the heart of all performance car markets.”

Spearheading the McLaren invasion will be the company’s new baby, the MP4-12C, which, according to McLaren, already has almost 3,000 prospective buyers - a number that should give McLaren a full plate especially since, at this rate, the company has the capacity to produce 1,000 units per year. The MP4-12C is scheduled to hit dealerships in 2011, giving the folks from Woking ample time to catch up with the high demand for the supercar.

More Information

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Pininfarina unveils NIDO electric car

Pininfarina unveiled their new prototype electric car today, called the Nido EV the car is designed to be a modular test bed for future electric vehicles. The Nido EV was designed at Pininfarina’s Style and Engineering Centre in Cambiano, Turin (Italy) and is designed to be a highly modular vehicle that can be re-jigged from a 2 door city car, to a 2+2 hatchback, into a light van and everything else in between.

The Nido EV features a 30Kw electric motor, a 21kWh battery system giving the car about a 87 mile (140 kilometer) range on a full charge. The little blue car can manage 0-60mph in 6.7 seconds (actually pretty good for the vehicle genre). With obvious similarities to the Smart Car and the Mitsubishi MiEV the Nido EV is clearly targeting the short range city mobility market.

This would probably be a perfect car for someone who either lives in a large city or within 50 miles of one, long range driving wouldn’t be an option but cars like the Nido EV would probably cover the overwhelming majority of most peoples day to day driving needs.

source: examiner

Tesla Motors electric car to be part funded by Toyota

With plans to grow the company as an alternative vehicle maker, Toyota has decided to invest $50 million in US electric car company Tesla Motors.

The two firms have announced a joint partnership to build electric vehicles, with Toyota taking a stake of about 2.5%.

The car makers have agreed Tesla will build its new saloon model at a Toyota factory near San Francisco, to take advantage of Toyota's mass production skills.

In turn, Toyota will be allowed to have access to Tesla's electric battery expertise.

At the moment, Tesla has only 500 employees and makes just 15 cars per week.


Friday, May 21, 2010

The new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG is Germany’s most attractive car

Stuttgart, Around 100,000 readers of AUTO BILD magazine have voted the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Germany’s most attractive car. The super-sports car received the most votes of any newly launched model. Second place in the overall rating was taken by the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet. The Mercedes-Benz F 800 Style emerged as the winner in the "Studies & Concept Cars" category.

For the fifth time, Germany’s largest automobile publication AUTO BILD asked its readers to vote for the most attractive cars. There was a choice of 103 new products in five categories. Overall first place in this top-class automotive beauty pageant was taken by the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG. The readers voted the E-Class Cabriolet from Mercedes-Benz into second place. In addition, the AUTO BILD readers considered the Mercedes-Benz F 800 Style to be the visual highlight among the studies and concept cars.

Mercedes-Benz Chief Designer Prof. Gorden Wagener: "Our vehicles are self-assured examples of refined sportiness. The SLS AMG, the E-Class Cabriolet and the F 800 Style exhibit the unmistakable style of Mercedes-Benz design, and set design trends for the future"

Mercedes-Benz also led the field in last year’s vote: in the AUTO BILD Design Award 2009, the readers gave first place to the E-Class Saloon as Germany’s most attractive car, while the E-Class Coupé was the winner in its category.

source; webwire

40 MPG Is New Norm for Small Cars

Is the line between gas-electric hybrids and small internal-combustion-only cars starting to blur?

Ford announced that the 2011 Ford Fiesta equipped with the 6-speed automatic transmission will be rated at 40 miles per gallon on the highway. It’s not official yet, but the Chevrolet Cruze Eco is also expected to join the 40-mpg club when later this year. Look Ma, No hybrid! And still delivering better than 40 miles per gallon on the highway.

Ford’s advertising tag line for the Fiesta brags: "The Fiesta gets 40 highway miles per gallon. That's more than 21 hybrids." Ford’s spinmeisters are correct that most hybrids, including expensive models from BMW, Lexus and Mercedes, as well as the mid-market Toyota Camry Hybrid, don’t reach 40 mpg on the highway. What Ford omits is that all five of Ford’s own hybrids don’t hit the 40-mpg mark on the highway.

Ford also don’t highlight the city numbers for the Fiesta—29 mpg for the automatic version. That’s a far cry from the Fusion Hybrid’s 41-mpg rating in the city or the Toyota Prius’s 51 miles to the gallon. Of course, the comparison between the Fiesta and Prius on mileage is not entirely fair. The Fiesta, starting about $14,000, costs half as much as the Prius. The more apropos comparison is other compacts. On the highway, the Fiesta is 5 miles a gallon better than Honda Fit and 4 miles a gallon better than Toyota Yaris.

source: hybridcars

Obama Signs Policy Calling for Truck Fuel Economy Standards

At a White House Rose Garden ceremony this morning, President Obama signed a policy calling on two federal agencies to develop national standards for fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions for medium and heavy trucks.

"This will bring down costs for transporting goods, serving businesses and consumers alike," Obama said. "We estimate that we can increase fuel economy by as much as 25 percent in tractor-trailers using technologies that already exist."

On the stage with the president were chief executives from major manufacturers, as well as the trucking industry, signaling broad industry support for the new policy. On hand were Martin Daum, President and CEO of Daimler Trucks North America, Dennis Slagle, President and CEO of Volvo North American Trucks, Tim Solso, CEO of Cummins, Daniel Ustian, President and CEO of Navistar, G. Tommy Hodges, Chairman of American Trucking Associations, and Anthony Dunkley, a driver for Waste Management.

The announcement came a year to the day after the Obama administration announced an agreement to improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions for cars and light trucks. Obama noted that this standard runs through 2016, and proposed a new higher standard starting in 2017.

Under today's agreement, the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will work together to produce rules covering emissions and fuel standards, respectively.

NHTSA's authority comes from Congress, which in 2007 charged the agency with tackling fuel economy performance standards for medium and heavy trucks. EPA's authority came from a 2007 Supreme Court finding that greenhouse gases are pollutants. EPA subsequently determined that the gases endanger health, a finding that launched the rulemaking process last year.

NHTSA has been working on a fuel economy standard and is scheduled to publish a study on the subject in September. EPA is likely to issue a proposal in late summer or early fall, said Glen Kedzie, vice president and environmental counsel for ATA.

sourceL truckinginfo

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Two-seat hybrid sports car coming from Honda this summer

Honda’s been working on an exciting new two-seat hybrid car that will be hitting the road in the very near future.

Set to go on sale this summer, the 2011 Honda CR-Z will inject some sportiness into the hybrid car scene, with sleek styling and agile handling, while reminding seasoned Honda fans of the Japanese brand’s former CR-X.

“The CR-Z is a personal sport hybrid coupe for drivers with a spirit of adventure, as well as an elevated sense of responsibility toward the environment,” Jerry Chenkin, executive vice-president of Honda Canada Inc., said. “CR-Z is the first gasoline-electric hybrid car designed to maximize style and fun, in addition to fuel efficiency.”

Though the CR-Z is engineered to be light and aerodynamic, its mechanical and electric heart plays the leading role in high fuel efficiency. All CR-Z models will get a 1.5 liter i-VTEC four-cylinder engine mated to the brand’s IMA hybrid-electric drive system. By combining the small gas engine with an electric motor system, the CR-Z’s powerplant delivers output on par with a larger engine, while consuming fuel at a significantly reduced rate.

In effect, the electric system bolsters the power of the small gas engine, and the gas engine recharges the batteries that power the electric system via a built in generator.

Electricity for the electric motor is stored in an on-board battery pack, and the CR-Z can even turn its gas engine off when the vehicle comes to a stop, eliminating wasteful idling. Ultimately, system output is rated at 122 horsepower, and combined fuel economy ratings are estimated between 5.3L and 6L/100km.

To help the CR-Z connect with an enthusiast shopper, a six-speed manual transmission will be standard equipment. Also on board will be a 360-watt stereo, Bluetooth integration, automatic xenon lights, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and plenty more.


The Top New Sports Cars for $50k or Less

Looking at the best new sports cars for $50k or less

Keep in mind that two things happen when the price goes up. First and foremost performance levels rise, and secondly you’ll notice that storage capacity and fuel mileage tend to go down. This is all fine and dandy, but understand that these cars need to be able to cover long distances, be reliable and also be able to handle some serious track duty. Now, with that being said, let’s continue.

• 2010 Chevrolet Corvette

Ladies and gentleman here you go. Dollar for dollar there is no better bargain on the road than the Chevrolet Corvette. I mean just look at the numbers. 0-60 in 4.1 seconds, top speed of 190 mph and 22.4 (cu ft) of cargo space. The Corvette is obviously America’s sports car and because of this it feels inherently American.

The interior is somewhat lackluster, the components feel a bit flimsy and the built quality is typical GM, meaning it’s good, but not stellar. The key to the Corvette is what it can do on a racetrack which in short, is simply kick ass. I’ve got a lot of miles in these cars and every time I get out of one I come away more and more impressed. If there was any car on this list I would jump in to drive across the country, the Chevrolet Corvette would win hands down.

• 430-hp / 436 lbs. tq
• Cargo Volume 22.4 (cu ft)
• 0-60 mph: 4.1 seconds
• Top Speed 190 mph
• Curb Weight 3208 lbs.

• Price as-tested: $49,000
• 16 City/26 Highway mpg

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NASCAR Ford Mustangs take a test drive

Since news of the Ford Mustang participating in NASCAR hit the scene fans of the iconic pony car have been waiting in anticipation for any news of the upcoming car and newly formed Ford Mustang team. Just recently four Roush Fenway Ford Mustangs were taken out for a two day NASCAR nationwide series test session at the Daytona International Speedway in preparation for the new car debut on July 2, 2010. Ford Racing caught up with drivers Paul Menard and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. for reaction to day one.


"This is my first time ever being in this car and only the second time for my guys, so we've come a long ways. I think we've got pretty good speed. We've just got to get it to drive a little bit better, but we've got a whole day tomorrow as well."

"Like I said, we have really good speed and we definitely have the coolest-looking cars here. The Mustang decal package and the way the body is shaped makes it the coolest-looking car here. I'm happy to be driving it."

"No, they're totally different. The suspension and the way we set the cars up are totally different, so there's not a whole lot of translation. The aero package with the Mustang has a bigger spoiler, so the cars actually suck up quicker. You get bigger runs versus the Fusion Cup car, so it's a work in progress. They may change the spoiler on us. We don't know yet, but we'll see."


"It was interesting. Our Mustang was pretty loose, but I don't feel like it's just the Mustang. I feel like everybody in the garage feels like they're pretty loose. We're just trying to get some rear grip in it. It's got a lot of front grip, which is not a bad thing, but we're trying to find a way to add rear grip. We worked on some stuff and I'm not sure we got it figured out exactly right, but we've got a game plan going into tomorrow and we'll see if it works."

"Both. There at the beginning doing single-car runs we were a little bit free, maybe not real free, but once we got in the draft we were really loose."

"They're totally different. The Nationwide car with the Fusion is at one end of the spectrum and the Mustang is at the other. The Nationwide car, you can run around here wide-open and be comfortable in it. Right now, the Mustang is loose, but, then again, I look at it as maybe a good thing. You've really got to drive it. It's not just hold it on the mat and see who is gonna be there to cross the finish line at the end. I think it's gonna be interesting and I think it's gonna be more of a handling race track than we've seen in the Nationwide cars in years past."

Source: Ford Racing

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Japan First to Test Solar-Electric Car

Plug-n-Play electric cars get run by the sun.

Mazda DemioProgression in the electric car industry sure seems to be traveling in the fast lane. Gas-free, or mostly so, vehicles have been around for a while now and car companies are continually making improvements in this budding area of transportation.

However, one of the drawbacks in electric or hybrid cars to date is their need to be recharged quite frequently. This involves plugging in the vehicle and waiting quite a while for it to fill up.

The latest technique will integrate solar-generated power for batteries, which will be rapidly charged at charging stations. The Mazda2 (known as Mazda Demio in Japan) vehicles will be tested in Tsukuba City, Japan in a program called Tsukuba Environmental Style Test Project. Similar to Zip Car, customers will have cards that allow them to pick up a car and drive it around as they like, tracking mileage and usage for payment.

Making this possible is Think Global, the Norwegian electric vehicle company that outfitted the cars with their electric drive-trains, and EnerDel, who provided the solar-charging batteries and charging stations.

According to EnerDel, as reported by CNET, "The unique combination of on-site battery storage with rapid charging allows the use of direct current throughout the system, sharply reducing the amount of time needed to charge a vehicle."

Conquering the slow charging downfall will be a huge stepping stone in making electric cars more consumer friendly, especially with the city-driving crowd.

Think CEO Richard Canny said in a press release: "This is a very exciting initiative, especially with the ancillary tests being conducted into the use of renewable energy sources and secondary applications of EV batteries — watch this space.”

Will solar-powered and quick-charging batteries become standard in all electric vehicles? Will it drive the market toward gas-free, environmentally friendly commutes? Let's see what happens in Tsukuba City.

source: tonic

BMW Megacity will be a 5-seater electric-vehicle, reported to get 160 mile range

BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer officially confirmed on April 22, 2010 that the company will bring its first series-production electric-vehicle to the market with the launch of the Megacity Vehicle in 2013.

“With this innovative vehicle, designed from the ground up, we will be creating new benchmarks for electric mobility from 2013 on,” Reithofer, said. “Our Megacity Vehicle will be significantly lighter than conventional cars and, in terms of sustainability, will set a new standard across the entire value-added chain.”

According to sources that spoke with AutoCar, the Megacity will be a full 5-seater vehicle and will be the size of cars in the Volkswagen Golf class. Insiders say that the Megacity will be rear-engined and rear-wheel drive. They said that while it will be a revolutionary design for electric-cars the model will feature some mainstream BMW touches.

What’s going to be so revolutionary about the BMW Megacity? First and foremost, the car will feature a lightweight, low-cost carbon fiber body developed in partnerships with SGL Carbon. The parts will be produced at a new factory in Moses Lake, Washington, in the United States. Technical specs wise, the Megacity is expected to get around 160 miles on a single charge. Most of the car’s powertrain will be closely related to the second-generation electric drive system previewed in the BMW ActiveE concept.

As far as the name goes, BMW has not confirmed what it will call the sub-brand that will carry the Megacity vehicle. Sources say it will not be the “Triumph” badge as previously rumored.

We’ll have more details as time goes on.

- By: Omar Rana

Source: AutoCar

Audi TT 2.0 TFSI Quattro: Audi polishes its small sports car diamond

INGOLSTADT, GERMANY—All the cultural signposts are there to suggest these are troubling times if you’re in the business of making sports cars.

The economy’s still recovering from one of the worst downturns of this generation, politicians want us to be driving antiseptic electric pods, plus the burden of having to lug around snowboards, bicycles, canoes or the kids’ soccer buddies means no one drives just a car anymore, let alone one with sporty pretensions.

Yet Audi’s compact TT may be the proper sports car for our times.

Relatively inexpensive, fuel efficient and — in 2+2 hatchback guise, at least — practical, the German automaker says it sold more TTs worldwide last year than its two main Teutonic rivals — BMW Z4 and Mercedes-Benz SLK — combined.

To keep those numbers up, Audi is employing a mid-cycle upgrade to the base model TT 2.0 TFSI Quattro 2+2 Coupe and two-seat convertible Roadster for the first time since the second-generation TT was launched in 2006, with new styling on the outside, trim updates on the inside and a more powerful and efficient motor under its hood.

Audi Canada won’t have final 2011 TT pricing until the new models go on sale in late summer. Despite the upgrades (plus the standard S Tronic dual-clutch automatic transmission and Quattro all-wheel drive), in a competitive market, pricing shouldn’t stray too far from the $49,350 starting point for the 2010 Coupe and $3,000 more expensive Roadster.

Admittedly, the majority of the new TT 2.0 TFSI’s styling touches and subtle interior trim revisions will only be noticed by dedicated TT fanatics.

More interesting is Audi’s continuing drivetrain refinements. Specifically, an updated TFSI four-cylinder gas engine that offers more performance and better fuel efficiency.

In Audispeak, TFSI stands for forced induction (the T) and direct injection (the FSI.) It’s an engine downsizing concept the automaker introduced six years ago and one that other automakers (i.e. Ford and its EcoBoost engines) are also adopting to deal with the one-two punch of governments demanding better fuel economy and customers not wanting any performance losses.

Without any increases in displacement, the 2011 TT’s new 2.0-litre TFSI delivers 11 more horsepower (now 211) and a whopping 51 more lb.-ft. of torque (up to 258), compared to last year’s similarly sized four.

The result? Taking only 5.6 seconds to get from zero to 100 km/h, the four-pot TT 2.0 TFSI Quattro Coupe isn’t as quick as a $41,998 Nissan 370Z Touring Coupe A7 with an automatic gearbox. But it is swifter than six-cylinder/autobox rivals costing thousands of dollars more, like the $54,300 BMW Z4 sDrive30i, $59,000 Mercedes SLK 300 or $69,960 Porsche Cayman.

If you want a quicker TT still, the 272 hp S model is 0.4 of a second faster to 100 km/h, and still a relative bargain at $61,900. And the as-yet-priced top-line 2011 TT-RS—with its 340 hp turbo 2.5-litre inline-five and seven-speed S Tronic — will get you to Ontario’s provincial speed limit in just 4.4 seconds

Improvements in the revised 2.0 TFSI’s fuel efficiencies also keep the Audi ahead of its more gluttonous rivals at the pumps.

Although we weren’t provided data for the Canadian Quattro-only models, Audi says a front-drive TT 2.0 TFSI gets a combined 6.6 L/100 km (43 mpg) on the EU cycle; much better than all the above-mentioned rivals.

And just in case gas prices spiral up again, already in Europe Audi has a 1.8-litre TFSI that gets 5.4 L/100 km (52 mpg), and a diesel TT that sips a hybrid-like 5.3 L/100 km.

Audi also attributes much of the new TT 2.0 TFSI’s overall efficiency gains to the sports car’s already light, partly aluminum chassis and subtle tweaks to what it calls Audi Valvelift System.

AVS adjusts the lift of the exhaust valves in two stages as a function of load and engine speed. For the driver, this means optimal initial throttle response with the early availability of all that newfound torque.

While the stringback-glove and tweed-cap club will whine there’s no manual transmission or only four cylinders available, the marriage of the TT’s torquey turbo-four, quick reacting dual clutch transmission and sophisticated Quattro all-wheel-drive deliver a refined and swift sports car driving experience.

The six-speed S Tronic gearbox adds to the sense of overall efficiency. Up- and downshifts are clipped off like a round at the firing range, with no revs wasted.

Switching the Magnetic Ride shock system into its stiffer Sport setting really adds to the car’s composure at speed, yet leaves the option of a smoother ride when not wanted.

Shared with Audi’s other transverse-mounted engine compact, the A3, the TT’s standard AWD system is front-drive biased.

All-wheel traction only occurs when deemed necessary by the TT’s internal brains. Yet it mitigates the torque-steer and understeer found in the Euro front-drive TT models I also drove here, in and around Audi’s headquarters in Ingolstadt, Germany.

Ultimately, a Nissan or Porsche sports car offer more visceral thrills from the driver’s seat. The Audi’s steering is accurate and quick, but lacks feedback. But the more efficient, quieter and refined TT is an underrated back road burner, blending one corner to the next like a Mixmaster.

There are rumours that Audi is working on a junior R8, a compact mid-engine sports car supposedly dubbed the R4.

Until that day comes, though, the refined, fuel-efficient and fun-to-drive 2011 Audi TT 2.0 TFSI Quattro delivers real sports car thrills. Troubling times, or not.

2011 Audi TT 2.0 TFSI Quattro Coupe & Roadster

PRICES: est. $49,350/$52,350

ENGINE: 2.0 L turbo I4

POWER/TORQUE: 211 hp/258 lb-ft

FUEL ECONOMY: 6.8 L/100 km est. (43 mpg)

COMPETITION: BMW Z4, Nissan 370Z, Mercedes-Benz SLK, Porsche Boxster/Cayman

WHAT’S GOOD: Excellent fuel economy; great performance value; standard AWD.

WHAT WORST: No manual gearbox option; some rivals offer more feedback.

WHAT’S INTERSTESTING: Globally, the TT outsells its two main German rivals, the BMW Z4 and Merc SLK, combined.


Chris Evans buys Britain's most expensive car – £12m Ferrari

Chris Evans has bought the most expensive car in Britain just days after pulling in the biggest ever audience for a radio show in the country.

The Radio 2 DJ, who took over from Terry Wogan as the station's breakfast host, spent £12m on the vintage Ferrari 250 GT.

he 44-year-old, who is known for his admiration of expensive sports cars, sold three Ferraris from his collection to pay for the 1963 model, the Sun claimed.

The car cost £6,000 when it was first sold 47 years ago.

Evans posted a picture of his latest motor on Twitter with the caption: "The new one has arrived."

Only 36 of the 174mph top speed racing cars were made. The car has five manual gears and does zero to 60 in 6.1 seconds.

Earlier this week it was announced that Evans had beaten his predecessor, Sir Terry Wogan's record for the largest ever audience for a British radio show.

His Radio 2 show averaged 9.5 million weekly listeners in his first three months in the job – a rise of almost 1.5m on Sir Terry who stepped down in December after 27 years.

source: telegraph

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Marvellous 2011 Porsche 911 GT2 RS officially revealed

After a couple of leaks here and there, the 2011 Porsche 911 GT2 RS has finally been revealed. The new 911 GT2 RS will make its world debut in August at the Moscow Auto Show and will go on sale in the U.S. in October with a starting price tag of $245,000.

Power comes from a 3.6L flat six with twin, variable-geometry turbochargers allowing for a total of 620-hp, up from the 530-hp on the outgoing GT2. Weight has been cut by 154 pounds for a total of 3,020 pounds, allowing the car to have a power-to-weight ratio of just 4.9 lbs per horsepower. Mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox, the 2011 911 GT2 RS goes from 0-60 mph in just 3.6 seconds and keeps going until it hits 205 mph. Stopping power comes from Porsche Composite Ceramic Brakes (PCCB).

Porsche says that the car lapped the Nurburgring Nordschleife in 7:18, beating the Corvette ZR1 around the famous German track. With that in mind, Porsche says that the 911 GT2 RS is the “fastest and most powerful road-going sports car ever built in the history of Porsche.”

Porsche will limit production of the 2011 Porsche 911 GT2 RS to just 500 units.

More Information

Nissan designing a hybrid version of the Z?

For what it's worth, Best Car magazine in Japan is reporting that Nissan is developing a hybrid version of the Fairlady Z (called the 370Z everywhere else in the world). It's certainly plausible that the company could produce a hybrid Z since the automaker recently launched its own internally developed hybrid system in the Infiniti M. Nissan is even using its own lithium ion battery for its hybrid system.

That's about it for the accurate parts of the report. The rear-wheel-drive hybrid system from the Infiniti should fit into the similarly configured Z, but it doesn't make a lot of sense. It also seems unlikely that Nissan would bother to use hybrid technology from its new relationship with Daimler. The Daimler-Renault-Nissan partnership mainly covers small cars, electrics and diesels.

Using a Daimler diesel engine in the Z also seems like a long-shot given the character of the sports car. Frankly, we think the most likely scenario for the light-weight Z is a simple start-stop system with a downsized and turbo-direct-injection engine.

source: autoblog

The New Volkswagen Polo GTI Launched

Thanks to clever downsizing of the twincharged 132 kW / 180 PS 1.4-liter TSI engine (turbo plus supercharging) and the extremely efficient 7-speed dual clutch gearbox (DSG) as standard equipment, the development team was able to reduce combined fuel consumption to 5.9 l/100 km (39.86 mpg U.S.). That is equivalent to CO2 emissions of just 139 g/km.

By comparison: Its direct predecessor in terms of power – also equipped with a 180 PS 1.8-litre turbo engine – consumed 7.9 liters per 100 kilometers or 29.8 mpg U.S. (equivalent to 188 g/km CO2). This means that the new car is 25 percent more fuel efficient.

This economy contrasts with highly dynamic driving performance: The light 1,194 kilogram Volkswagen sports car accelerates to 100 km/h in just 6.9 seconds and reaches a top speed of 229 km/h. These figures, 6.9 seconds, 5.9 liters are sports car performance parameters of a sustainable kind.

Power is transferred to the front wheels via DSG as standard equipment. An electronic transverse differential lock (XDS) reduces the tendency to understeer and improves handling especially in quick driving through curves. Like all versions of the model series, the Polo GTI also comes equipped with the standard ESP electronic stabilization program including Hill Climb Assist.

In addition, the car’s extensive safety features consists of a highly effective airbag network, including combined head-thorax side airbags, belt tensioners, belt tension limiters plus belt warning, head restraints designed to avoid whiplash trauma (each in front), three rear head restraints as well as Isofix points on the rear bench seat for suitably fitted child seats.

In addition, convenience features include electro-hydraulic power steering, electric windows in front, central locking, bootspace lighting and tie-down eyes, warning buzzer for light not turned off, driver seat height adjustment, make-up mirror in the sun visors and green tinted insulated glass. The GTI will be the first Polo to be available with bi-xenon headlights with cornering lights, LED daytime running lights and corner marker lights as well as a panoramic tilt/slide sunroof. Naturally, GTI-specific features are always standard too, such as the sport seat system and 17-inch alloy wheels in "Denver" design.

source: favstock

Sunday, May 9, 2010

2010 Aston Martin Rapide - Web Exclusive

The first production models have begun to leave the Aston Martin Rapide Plant for delivery.


Following the Porsche Panamera, Aston Martin is now ready to join the four-door sports car market with its new Rapide.

The first production models have begun to leave the Aston Martin Rapide Plant for delivery to eager customers at 125 showrooms in 34 countries.

The Rapide was first unveiled at the 2006 Detroit Auto Show and quickly received the green light in 2007 from shareholders.

In addition to designing an entirely new model, Aston Martin also opened its Aston Martin Rapide Plant (AMRP); a new state-of-the-art facility that combines the latest technology with time-honored craftsmanship.

The AMRP is a center of automotive excellence with its preparation of Rapide's bonded aluminum body frame, the painstaking six-stage painting process where nine coats of paint are applied, making Aston Martin's paint finish the best in class, to the trim shop where highly-skilled craftspeople shape and stitch ten of the finest leather hides to create the Rapide's upholstered interior. The production model, unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2009 combines high levels of craftsmanship, excellence design, and the performance Aston Martin is known for.

The Rapide provides room for four adults as well as spacious luggage department. It is powered by a hand built 6.0-liter V12 producing 470hp at 6000rpm and 443 lb-ft. torque at 5000rpm.

The power is sent through a six-speed Touchtronic 2 automatic transmission, allowing for automatic or manual shifting through column-mounted magnesium paddles. The Rapide is now on sale via Aston Martin's global dealership network.

Technical details

source: eurotuner

Malaysia first country in Asia to preview BMW 5-series

BMW Malaysia previewed the sixth-generation 5-series premium sedan in the country last Friday, making Malaysia the first in Asia to do so.

The F10 will make its market debut here on May 15, and the first of the type to be sold here will be two six-cylinder CBU models, the 535i and 523i (editor's note: We'll officially get the 5-er on May 18).

The vehicle, designed by Adrian van Hooydonk, features a shape and styling that now falls in line as a bridge between the 3 Series and 7 Series in terms of progression, and in the flesh, is a very sleek looking car.

Styling-wise, the car features a long bonnet, short overhangs and the longest wheelbase in its segment, accentuated further by a coupe-like roofline. It does look smaller than the E60, but is actually a bigger vehicle.

The 523i is powered by a normally-aspirated N52B25 2.5l engine offering 204bhp at 6,300rpm and 250Nm of torque from 2,750-3,000rpm, which is good enough for a 0-100kmh time of 8.5secs and a top speed of 234kmh.

Click here to find out more!
As for the 535i, this one gets the N55B30 3.0l TwinPower Turbo block, which puts out 306bhp at 5,800rpm and 400Nm of torque at 1,200-5,000rpm. Performance figures include a 0-100kmh time of 6.1secs and a 250kmh top speed.

The new 5 Series is the first car in its segment to feature an 8-speed automatic transmission, in this case the ZF 8HP45, which features in both models, with the one on the 535i including steering wheel paddles and an M gearshift logic.

As expected, the car gets a host of intelligent driver assistance technologies, Integral Active Steering, Dynamic Stability Control and Cruise Control among them. new to the 5 Series is Dynamic Driving Control, which in conjunction with Dynamic Damping Control in the BMW 523i or Adaptive Drive in the BMW 535i, enables the driver to personalise the suspension set-up to taste,? from comfortable to sporty.

Elsewhere, the EfficientDynamics crowd is represented by Brake Energy Regeneration and Electromechanical steering, which comes as standard.

The latter operates only during the actual steering process; when the car is moving straight, or is at a constant cornering angle, the electric motor which powers the system is inactive, helping to reduce energy consumption.

Both models sit on 17-inch wheels and 225/55 series tyre combinations.Inside, the cabin gets a 4-zone automatic air conditioning system, electric glass roof and BMW?s Navigation Professional system as standard, and the car comes with a new multi-colour Head-Up Display system which transmits critical information such as vehicle speed, navigational directions and other control indicators directly into the drivers field of vision.

There's iDrive, of course, as well as BMW ConnectedDrive,which offers complete USB connectivity - and Bluetooth hands-free functions - to access a host of safety and infotainment functions such as BMW TeleServices and the optional BMW Telematics Platform Accessory (TPA), which includes an emergency Vehicle Recovery System as well as other BMW Assist remote services.

Later in the year, CKD versions and an expanded engine/variant line-up are slated to make their way into the market, but for now, the RM598,800 (S$256,598) 535i and RM398,800 523i lead the way for the sixth-generation 5er.

The prices, of course, are on the road, without insurance, with BMW Service Inclusive + Repair included.

source: motoring.asiaone

Toyota Aims for $50,000 Fuel-Cell Car by 2015

Toyota says it has cut the cost of building fuel-cell vehicles by 90 percent and could sell its first hydrogen vehicle for $50,000 by 2015.

That’s still a big chunk of change, but a bargain compared to the six- or seven-figure price tags the cars are generally thought to cost now.

The exorbitant cost has been among the technology’s greatest hurdles and one reason Honda, General Motors and others lease or loan — rather than sell — the few hydrogen-fuel-cell cars they have on the road.

But Toyota says it has cut the cost of building such cars by 90 percent in recent years. It hopes to cut that by another 50 percent in coming years, so it can can sell an “affordable” mid-sized hydrogen-fuel-cell vehicle. Such a car would offer the same range as a conventional auto “with some extra cost,” says Yoshihiko Masuda, Toyota’s managing director of advanced vehicles.

“Our target is, we don’t lose money with introduction of the vehicle,” Masuda told Bloomberg. “Production cost should be covered within the price of the vehicle.”

Toyota has slashed costs by using one-third the amount of platinum typically found in a fuel cell, Masuda said at a conference in Long Beach, California. It also has reduced the cost of the polymer-electrolyte membrane used in the cell. Both Toyota and GM use about 30 grams of platinum and are cutting that to 10. They also say scaling up to large-scale production would cut costs further.

Toyota, Honda, General Motors, Daimler and Hyundai are among the automakers who hope to have hydrogen fuel cell vehicles on the road by 2015.

Beyond their sky-high price, hydrogen-fuel-cell vehicles are hampered by the lack of a fueling infrastructure. That is one reason battery electric vehicles have proven more appealing, at least in the short-term, to automakers and policymakers. But that could change if hydrogen’s hurdles are cleared.

“On a cost basis per car, range and performance, fuel-cell vehicles can have an advantage over battery vehicles,” said Jay Whitacre, a professor of materials science and engineering at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. “On a system basis, infrastructure, battery cars win.”

Photo: The 2007 Toyota FCHV cruises around Portland, Oregon, in 2008.
Courtesy Toyota

Google, V-Vehicle, and the Bias Toward Electric Cars

Earth2Tech has some mash-up perspective on Google's (GOOG) venture-capital fund and why its investment in start-up carmaker V-Vehicle isn’t going too well:

Last year Google Ventures joined a $66.26 million round raised by V-Vehicle, a then-stealthy company looking to make low-cost gas cars with higher-than-average efficiency and a plastic shell. David Drummond, Google’s Senior Vice President, Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer, is listed as on V-Vehicle’s SEC filing.

Other investors in V-Vehicle include former oil baron T. Boone Pickens and Kleiner Perkins investors John Doerr and Ray Lane ... one of the best ways to garner a Google Ventures investment is to work with one of the two VC firms that have closely aligned themselves with Google: Kleiner Perkins and August Capital.

Indeed, but for V-Vehicle, it isn’t enough. Like many alternative-mobility startups, including Tesla and Fisker, V-Vehicle, which wants to build its cars in Louisiana, pegged its hopes on securing a loan from the Department of Energy.

But it didn’t get one. Why not? Again, Earth2Tech’s Josie Garthwaite has the skinny:

V-Vehicle remains tight-lipped about design details, and the company has not released images of the prototype or disclosed where it’s undergoing testing. Investors have, however, described V-Vehicle’s planned model as “environmentally friendly and fuel-efficient,” saying that it will run on gas and get more than 40 MPG.

That’s not a groundbreaking figure for fuel economy — Toyota’s latest Prius model gets a combined 50 MPG rating (51 MPG city, 48 MPG highway). But V-Vehicle aims to provide this efficiency at a much lower price: about $10,000, less than half of the base price for the 2010 Prius and about a quarter of the price expected for Fisker’s planned second-gen model, the plug-in hybrid Project Nina sedan. Putting improved fuel economy within reach for a large portion of consumers could be a worthy goal, but if the feds have an option to support an affordable option that will yield more dramatic fuel and emission savings, it seems to me those would be tax dollars better spent.

You could look at how the Department of Energy loans are breaking down and conclude that they’re going to companies that have some kind of electric or low-emissions strategy, including big carmakers such as Ford (F) and Nissan. V-Vehicles' idea is to bring high MPGs to the masses. Low price plus high MPGs equals a solution to our global problem of dwindling oil supplies. Ironically, this is probably the best business strategy for a automotive startup, but it isn’t very sexy. The Google factor gave it some oomph, but now it looks as if the company is going to get steamrolled by the impending rush of E.V.s to market this year and next.

Basically, if your plan isn’t to go electric in some way, either full-on or in hybrid fashion, you’re a chump. I mean, a car that just runs on gas? Please, that’s so 2008.

Too bad. Of course, when the Tata Nano shows up on our shores in a few years, the question of whether people will buy an ultra-inexpensive car that can be filled up on commonplace petrol, in about five minutes, rather than being plugged in for eight hours to rejuice, will be raised once again.

source: thebigmoney

Thursday, May 6, 2010

U.S. Allots $34 Million to Research Ways to Improve Electric Car Batteries

The U.S. Department of Energy has announced awards of more than $34 million in research grants aimed at developing better batteries for electric vehicles.

First-generation batteries for electrified cars and trucks are expensive, although prices will decline as manufacturing volume increases.

At recent U.S. prices per kilowatt-hour of energy storage capacity, the battery packs add about $36,000 to the cost of a Tesla Roadster, as much as $16,000 to the price of a Nissan Leaf, and almost $11,000 to the cost of a Chevrolet Volt.

Federal tax credits of $7,500 and local incentives will help make plug-in vehicles more affordable for early adopters, but automakers and battery suppliers are focusing on battery cost and performance as keys to the acceptance of new-energy automobiles.

Officials recently announced that the federal government will pitch in through its Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, funding 10 battery research projects considered to have the potential to dramatically improve upon existing technologies.

"The critical barrier to wider deployment of electric vehicles is the high cost and low energy of today's batteries," the Energy Department said in a news release. "This ARPA-E program seeks to develop a new generation of ultra-high energy density, low-cost battery technologies for long-range plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles."

The two basic characteristics of battery performance, experts say, are power density and energy density. Power density can be thought of as the source of rapid acceleration, while energy density involves how long a battery can operate in charge-depleting mode, or in the case of an electric vehicle, how far it can travel, according to the Electrification Roadmap, published by the Electrification Coalition. The coalition is made up of representatives of companies involved in the transportation, battery-making and electricity industries.

The Energy Department has awarded a total of $34,573,810 for battery research projects in a program called Batteries for Electrical Energy Storage in Transportation, or BEEST.

The award recipients, partner companies or agencies, funding amounts, project locations and project descriptions are as follows:

Sion Power Corp.
Tucson, Ariz.

(BASF, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)

Lithium-sulfur (Li-S) battery: The project seeks to develop an ultra-high-energy Li-S battery that can power electric vehicles for more than 300 miles between charges. The approach uses new manufacturing processes and six physical barrier layers to address cycle life and safety.

ReVolt Technology LLC
Portland, Ore.

Zinc air-flow battery: A large, high-energy zinc air-flow battery will be developed to enable long range plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles. Zinc, suspended as a slurry, is stored in a tank and transported through tubes to charge and discharge the battery.

PolyPlus Battery Co.
Berkeley, Calif.
(Corning Inc.)

Lithium-air battery: Rechargeable Li-air batteries for electric vehicle applications will be developed using protected lithium metal cathodes. This approach has a clear path to scaling commercially, and the batteries may rival the energy density of gasoline.

Pellion Technologies Inc.
Menlo Park, Calif.
(Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Bar-Ilan University)

Magnesium-ion battery: The project will develop an inexpensive, rechargeable magnesium-ion battery for electric and hybrid-electric vehicle applications. Computational methods and accelerated chemical synthesis will be used to develop new materials and chemistries. If successful, this project will develop the first commercial magnesium-ion battery and establish U.S. technology leadership in a new field.

Applied Materials Inc.
Santa Clara, Calif.
(A123 Systems, Inc., Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)

Advanced lithium-ion battery manufacturing: Low-cost, ultra-high-energy lithium-ion batteries will be developed using an innovative manufacturing process. High-energy cathodes will be integrated with new anodes and prototype manufacturing will be demonstrated that could achieve an extremely low cost. If successful, this project will establish U.S. leadership in the manufacturing of high-energy, low-cost advanced lithium-ion batteries.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, Mass.

(A123 Systems, Inc., Rutgers University)

Novel semi-solid rechargeable flow battery: This is a new battery concept that combines the best aspects of rechargeable batteries and fuel cells. It could enable batteries for electric vehicles that are much lighter, smaller and cheaper than today's batteries. This flow battery potentially could cost less than one-eighth the price of today's batteries, which could lead to widespread adoption of affordable electric vehicles.

Planar Energy Devices Inc.
Orlando, Fla.

(National Renewable Energy Laboratory, UC San Diego, University of Central Florida, University of Colorado at Boulder, University of Florida, University of South Florida)

Solid-state lithium battery: This project seeks to develop an ultra-high-energy, long cycle-life, all solid-state lithium battery that can be manufactured using low-cost techniques. Pilot-scale manufacturing of the batteries will be demonstrated using all inorganic materials and solid-state electrolytes whose properties are similar to existing liquid electrolytes.

Stanford University
Stanford, Calif.

(Honda, Applied Materials Inc.)

Novel all-electron battery: Researchers will seek to develop an "all-electron battery," a completely new class of electrical energy storage devices for electric vehicles. The new battery stores energy by moving electrons rather than ions and uses a novel architecture that has potential for very high energy density.

Recapping Inc.
University Park, Penn.; Menlo Park, Calif.

(Penn State University)

Capacitive storage: The project will develop a novel energy storage device – a high-energy-density capacitor – based on a 3D nano-composite structure. The approach combines the benefits of high cycling ability, high power density and low cost.

Missouri University of Science & Technology
Rolla, Mo.

(Brookhaven National Laboratory, MaxPower Inc., NanoLab Inc.)

Lithium-air battery: A new high-energy air cathode will be created to enable the successful development of ultra-high-energy lithium-air batteries. The project will seek to dramatically improve cathode performance through the development of a new electrode structure and improved catalysts.

source: sunpluggers

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Now Bajaj Auto Planning a Nano Car Worth $2500

Bajaj Auto has announced that it will produce a car that will cost $2,500 i. e. about Rs 1.1 Lakh. It is going to be associated with Renault-Nissan for this Rs. 1.1Lakh car project. However, the Tata's are finding it difficult to produce their "People's Car", Tata Nano at Rs. 1 lakh.

The rising input costs have hit them hard and it is not going easy for them to maintain the track. The industry id eagerly waiting to see, how the auto giant of India can produce a car with the same cost.

In the year 2008, Bajaj Auto had entered into a partnership with Renault and Nissan. The basic purpose of this partnership was to produce an ultra low cost car (ULC) and introduce it to the Indian market. The project was delayed due to some reason but now both the companies have agreed to bring alow cost car for the Indian consumers.

Bajaj is going to be responsible for the design, development and manufacturing of the car while the marketing and sales part will be taken care of Renault-Nissan alliance.

The New Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class Roadsters

The Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class Roadsters have long captured the hearts of sports car enthusiasts. Following an extensive facelift in 2008 which incorporated some 650 newly developed components, Mercedes-Benz is now adding a fourth model to this exciting roadster family: the SLK 300.

his new model adds a second V6-powered variant to the SLK family, joining the popular 224kW SLK 350. It also means Australian customers now have a further choice amongst the supercharged four-cylinder SLK 200 KOMPRESSOR and the high-performance V8-powered SLK 55 AMG. Since it first appeared in 1996, the compact SLK Roadsters have underlined the dynamic brand image of Mercedes-Benz. The current-generation SLK received a number of enhancements in 2008, making it an even more compelling choice. These technical and aesthetic updates further emphasised the SLK’s sporty character and made it even more desirable to Australian buyers. The new SLK 300 features a number of sporty highlights but perhaps its greatest appeal is, like all SLK Roadsters, its ability to transform the car from a roadster into a weatherproof coupé in a matter of seconds.

The car’s signature vario roof makes it an open-top sports car for all seasons, going from closed to fully open in just 22 seconds.

On the road, the SLK Roadster is a dynamic driver’s machine. Its direct-steer system with variable power assistance elicits the very best from the suspension's sporty capabilities. It combines agility and manoeuvrability on twisting country roads with light steering forces when parking and sure steering characteristics at high speeds.

The direct-steer system is derived from Mercedes-Benz’ speed-sensitive power steering system and operates purely mechanically. This dispenses with the need for elaborate actuator units and complex sensors, which would otherwise impair the flow of forces between the wheels and hands, thereby compromising steering precision.

The SLK’s designers have carved the cult two-seater’s looks for sportiness. Eye-catching features include the distinctive front bumper with a modified air-dam arrangement and a more pronounced V-shape, while the area around the Mercedes star now stands out with its diffuser-look styling at the bottom. .

Enhancing all of this is the car’s standard-fitment AMG body styling, adding a sharper edge to the look of this new roadster model.

The SLK 300 Roadster is now on sale from all authorised Mercedes-Benz dealerships.

source: prestigeway

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Ford: This 2011 V6 Mustang Rocks!

In a sign of consumers’ continued price sensitivity, even muscle cars like Ford’s Mustang are touting their mileage.

Ford’s latest campaign, for its 2011 V6 Mustang, showcases the model’s power and handling, but also prominently notes its 31-miles-per-gallon fuel efficiency.

“The nice thing about the MPG message is that it’s great for people who always wanted a Mustang but thought maybe it was a little irresponsible,” said Toby Barlow, executive creative director at Team Detroit, which created the ads. “Now Mustang gets better mileage than some midsized sedans.”

Ford is not the only carmaker to market a fuel-efficient muscle car. The model faces new rivals like General Motors’ fifth-generation Chevrolet Camaro, with a 2010 V6 model introduced last spring that carried a 29 MPG. In a closely watched rivalry last year, Mustang sold 66,623 cars—down 27 percent from the previous year—to Camaro’s 61,648 units, which was on the market for nine months to Mustang’s full year, per Chevy.

“Before 2008, Mustang had that world to itself and didn’t have much competition,” said Scott Oldham, editor in chief, “Thunderbird was gone, Celica was gone. Now you have Camaro, which has a convertible coming out in a year, and you have new rivals like the [third-generation Dodge] Challenger and [Hyundai] Genesis.”

Mustang’s new technological upgrade is the biggest overhaul since the 2005 model year when the iconic brand returned to a more retro car design.

“This is not your father’s Mustang. It’s completely new and updated,” said Jamie Imber, Mustang group account director at Team Detroit. “It’s a thrill machine with efficiency that allows us to bring in some new people who haven’t considered a sports car before.”

source: brandweek

Porsche 911 GT2 RS leaked ahead of September debut

Here is the first picture of the upcoming Porsche 911 GT2 RS snapped ahead of the car’s press launch scheduled for September. The picture was taken at special launch to VIPs and dealers this past weekend – and while you can sit there and just stare at it, the folks at have dug up some details to go along with this exclusive shot.

Click here to get prices on the 2010 Porsche 911.

According to, only 300 units of the 911 GT2 RS will be made and each will weigh 90 kg (198 lbs) less than the 911 GT2. Power will be increased to 620-hp with 0-62 mph coming in 3.2 seconds, 0-124 mph in less than 10 seconds and 0-186 mph in less than 25 seconds. There is also a rumored Nurburgring lap time of around 7:22 but we’re not sure how official that information is.

source: egmcartech

Ford meets goal of doubling flex-fuel cars

Ford Motor Co. said Tuesday it will meet its goal of doubling the number of flexible-fuel vehicles it makes this year.

In 2006, Ford made 185,000 vehicles that could run on E-85 ethanol and gasoline and pledged to double that number by 2010.

The company won't say exactly how many flex-fuel vehicles it will make this year, but it will meet its goal, spokeswoman Jennifer Moore said.

Ford also said it plans to make half its vehicles flexible fuel-capable by the 2012 model year as long as incentives continue to encourage the manufacturing and distribution of renewable fuels and the production of flex-fuel vehicles.

Sue Cischke, Ford's group vice president of sustainability, environment and safety engineering, made the announcements at a biotechnology conference in Chicago.

Ford late last month reported a net income of $2.1 billion in the first quarter, its fourth profitable quarter in a row.

source: businessweek

Monday, May 3, 2010

Audi To Launch New A1 Model In August; Reiterates 2010 Targets

FRANKFURT - German luxury car maker Audi AG (NSU.XE) said Monday it will launch its new small A1 model at the end of August, reiterated its target of selling more than one million vehicles in 2010 and said it was set to post higher revenues and operating profits this year.

The premium brand of Volkswagen AG (VOW.XE), Europe's largest automaker by sales, had last week reported an operating profit of EUR478 million and revenues of EUR8.26 billion for the first quarter, making it the group's biggest earnings contributor.

"The first-quarter result is a sound foundation for us to attain our goal of surpassing our 2009 revenue and operating profit levels," Audi Chief Financial Officer Axel Strotbek said in a statement Monday.

On March 9, Strotbek said Audi's revenue and operating profit are anticipated to come in "significantly higher." A spokesman for Audi noted, however, that the company's full-year outlook remained unchanged.

Ingolstadt-based, Audi sold 264,100 cars in the first three months of this year, up 23% compared with the same period in 2009.

Audi is the world's third-largest premium automaker by sales after BMW AG (BMW.XE) and Daimler AG's (DAI) Mercedes-Benz brand, but is the market leader in the important Chinese market thanks to an early market entry by parent Volkswagen.

As well as Audi, VW produces own-brand cars and Skoda, Seat, Bentley, Bugatti and Lamborghini vehicles. It also owns Swedish truck producer Scania AB (SCV-A.SK).

source: tradesignalonline

New Upcoming Model 2011 BMW X5

Irvine BMW is proud to announce that BMW Manufacturing has launched the All-New 2011 BMW X5.

The new 2011 BMW X5 has exterior design changes including new front and rear bumpers, new front fenders, new headlights and new taillights and features new engines and drive trains.

he associates at BMW Manufacturing have been planning the launch of this new model for over 18 months, which involves nearly 4,000 new parts.

“The new 2011 BMW X5 is more dynamic, efficient, and luxurious than ever and continues to strengthen its leading position within the four-wheel drive, premium vehicle segment,” Irvine BMW General Sales Manager Steve Rudkin said. “The presence of the new X5 is fresher and more elegant, and in spite of significantly improved performance, thanks to BMW EfficientDynamics, fuel consumption and emission levels are lower by up to 10 percent.”

Since launching the original BMW X5 in 1999, this new model X5, the fourth generation, features a completely revised range of engines, standard eight-speed automatic transmission and innovative driver assistance systems that ensure the driving pleasure of the new X5 offers even greater fascination. The production launch of this new model occurred as a digital changeover within Plant Spartanburg, meaning that production associates learned new vehicle processes alongside existing processes and parts were seamlessly transferred into the new model X5. This changeover took place over a single weekend, with no ramp-down of the 2010 model on March 19 and no ramp-up of the 2011 model on March 22.

As one of the largest BMW centers on the West Coast, Irvine BMW has loyally served Orange County in Southern California for nearly a decade. The dealership’s helpful and knowledgeable staff, expert factory-trained technicians and one of the nation’s largest selections of new and certified pre-owned BMWs have made Irvine BMW a landmark in Southern California’s automotive landscape.

source: seopressreleases

Will The New Apple 3G iPad Destroy All Chances For Auto Companies

Will The New Apple 3G iPad Destroy All Chances For Auto Companies To Offer Their Own In Car Net Services?

When I sat in the new BMW 7-Series at the Paris Motor Show two years ago seeing the demo of the full internet running on it's nav screen, controllable through iDrive, I was as excited as a kid in a candy store.

Until my good friend and BMW PR Rep Tom Plucinsky told me that the FULL internet would only be available on European BMW's and the USA cars would only get a Google search capability.

THAT was some depressing news because the internet is in our blood and we don't want to be disconnected in the car.

So time passed and we read a number of articles saying many companies would soon have internet services in the car.

Well, that has yet to happen in the USA.

Until today.

But it's NOT from any auto company.

It's from Apple and it's on the the new iPad 3G.

I am actually sitting inside my car and I wrote the very article you are reading on it.

Of course, the car was parked and I wasn't driving but it was an amzing experience.

So it got me thinking...NO ONE will have a better solution than this.

NOT good news for any auto company building an in car internet solution.

About the only thing they can do now in my opinion is make an iPad connection kit and start getting bigger screens into the center stacks asap.

Do you agree?

Is it game over for them creating a new revenue stream selling net services?

source: autospies