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Mike Hanlon

The 2011 Laureates represent the most remarkable examples of bespoke technology ever assem...

With two thirds of the world's population now carrying a mobile phone, the only functional aspect of the wristwatch is redundant. The appreciation of fine bespoke mechanical computers however, is stronger than ever - more than US$46 billion this year - three times the tablet computer marketplace. Last Saturday evening, the timepeice industry gathered for the Grand Prix de l'Horlogerie de Genève, where the industry awards the best timepeices in a dozen categories. The "Aiguille d'Or" was awarded to the US$87,000 De Bethune DB28. Another leaureate keeps time to one thousandth of a second and another keeps the true length of the day, both achieved mechanically. They cost more than a Ferrari, and are equally as complex. Showing this story to a loved one might cost you a lot of money.  Read More

Toyota finally appears ready to play its hand in the autonomous vehicle revolution

Toyota is to show an autonomous (self-driving) Prius at Tokyo Motor Show. Dubbed the Toyota AVOS (Automatic Vehicle Operation System), the car will be available for members of the public to take "back seat" rides at the show, demonstrating first hand how the Prius can avoid obstacles, be summoned from a parking garage and park itself. There will also be a demonstration of communications-linked electric cars, scooters and electric-assisted bicycles including what is expected to be Yamaha's first production electric scooter.  Read More

An artist's impression of the GBU-57A/B

Military technology has created some fearsome weapons, such as the 5,000 lb GBU-28 Deep Throat bunker buster, 15,000 lb BLU-82 Daisycutter, 15,650 lb Russian ATBIP (Aviation Thermobaric Bomb of Increased Power), 22,000 lb Grand Slam earthquake bomb, and the 22,600 lb GBU-43 MOAB (Massive Ordnance Air Blast), but if you were hiding under 50 meters of hardened concrete, none of them were going to bother you. Not any more! The U.S. Air Force has just taken delivery of the first GBU-57A/B (Massive Ordnance Penetrator). It weighs 30,000 lb and will penetrate 200 ft of hardened concrete BEFORE it goes off. If you are reading this from an underground nuclear facility in Iran or North Korea, might we suggest some extended sick leave is (or soon will be) in order.  Read More

Another glimpse of the Infiniti sports EV - based on the two angles we've seen, it seems t...

As the luxury brand of the most aggressive electric major automotive producer (Nissan-Renault), Infiniti has been hinting for some time that it would go beyond its hybrid offerings and develop an all-electric sedan and more specifically, an all-electric sports car. With its successful ties with Formula One Champions Red Bull Racing, and F1 Drivers Champion Sebastian Vettel as its Global Brand Ambassador, it was really only a matter of time. Today, we had the first glimpse of the new sports EV.  Read More

Honda shows Fit (Jazz) Electric Vehicle and plans Summer 2012 U.S. launch

The race to bring electric vehicles to market finally appears to be on, with Honda today showing a battery electric version of the Honda Fit (known as the Honda Jazz in some markets) and announcing plans for a summer 2012 launch in the U.S. The 2013 Fit EV will have an MSRP of US$38,675 and a city range of 123 miles per charge (76 miles by the combined adjusted city/highway cycle) and will be available for lease to customers in select California and Oregon markets next summer, expanding to six East Coast markets in early 2013.  Read More

From top left, the Aqua, FT-EV III, FCV-R and Fun-Vii

The world's largest automaker has been slow off the mark in the race to bring electric vehicles to market, but it is now playing catch up at a fearsome rate, and we'll see the first of its new range of electric vehicles two weeks from now at the Tokyo Motor Show. The first Toyota EV (top right) will be a four-seater based on the iQ with a range of 65 miles (100 km) and it will hit showrooms next year. It is one of several new cars set to be shown, including a smaller, cheaper plug-in hybrid named the Aqua (top left - on sale in Japan THIS year), a plug-in version of the Prius hybrid and a hydrogen fuel cell midsize sedan (bottom left) to go on sale in 2015. The most intriguing of its Tokyo exhibits is the (bottom right) Fun-Vii concept “where people, cars and society are linked”. All we know is that the two “i”s stand for interactive and internet. As many details as are known inside.  Read More

Suzuki's Q-Concept

Suzuki's Q-Concept is a narrow-track, lightweight tandem two-seater, "positioned between conventional motorcycles and cars" according to the Japanese manufacturer. Two years ago at the last Tokyo Motor Show, we did a major article and video on narrow-track vehicles, forecasting that cars would get smaller and lighter, and the Q-Concept fits the bill perfectly.  Read More

Few road-going cars have seen variable aerodynamics beyond the raising of rear  spoilers i...

Honda's AC-X is a plug-in hybrid concept that at first glance appears to be relatively conservative. It is not conservative in the least, and when the vehicle's full capabilities are unveiled in Tokyo a few weeks from now, we expect it to have front and rear bumpers which raise and lower to offer better aerodynamics depending on the speed, an autonomous or semi-autonomous driving mode which does not require the driver to steer, a radical smart key device and some very interesting 3D GPS displays which stretch right across the dashboard to give the passenger an unprecedented view of the surroundings.  Read More

Honda Microcommuter Concept outsmarts the smart

Mercedes Benz iconic smart fortwo was several decades ahead of its time when it was first conceived by Swatch in the late eighties. Now Honda's Micro Commuter Concept looks like it will take the basic design and update it to the world of today, with social networking, heads-up display, advanced aerodynamics, seating for three (1+2) similar to Gordon Murray's T25 and T27 city cars, luggage capacity, a customizable exterior and last mile transport in the form of an ingenious fold-up electric two-wheeler known as the Motor Compo.  Read More

Honda's electric Canopy (Gyro) 3-wheeler

Honda has finally added electric propulsion to one of its most enduring and successful commuter vehicles – the Japan-only three-wheeled scooter. Used extensively throughout Japan's congested urban environment as a commuter and delivery vehicle with a 50cc four-stroke motor, the Honda Canopy (aka Gyro) delivers 100 mpg. Converting the well-protected three wheeler, with its capacious cargo space, to an electric-only vehicle is a no-brainer and is certain to create an insatiable demand in non-domestic markets everywhere.  Read More

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