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Automotive

GM’s FlexDoors and FlexSpace features set for 2010 Meriva

While rear-hinged back doors are not new in the motor industry (Rolls Royce Phantom/Ghost and Mazda RX8), the first pictures of the GM/Opel/Vauxhall Meriva have surfaced and the FlexDoors and FlexSpace features seen in concept cars over the last few years are finally set for market launch in a family car (main pic and top right). First seen in the groundbreaking Flexstreme Concept Car from IAA Frankfurt 2007 (bottom right pic), then further refined with the Meriva Concept at the 2008 Geneva Motor Show (centre right pic), the flex theme combines improved access/egress and a suite of features offering a quickly reconfigurable interior and is likely to be welcomed by families which need to cater for several types of mobility with one vehicle. Read More

Honda shows five seater New Small Concept

India’s automotive industry is the second fastest growing in the world and has exceptional prospects. Already the ninth largest in the world it is expected to become one of the largest in the world several decades from now. Already the auto makers are developing specifically for the future, with Honda Siel Cars India (HSCI) pulling the covers off what has been dubbed the “Honda New Small Concept”, a very small vehicle with seating for five people. The world premier was aptly staged at the Auto Expo 2010 in New Delhi, India's leading auto show, along with new small cars from Toyota, Volkswagen, Nissan and Ford. Read More

Aerodynamic long tail improves fuel efficiency 15 percent

While windtunnels have long been employed in aerospace and all forms of race engineering, we’re likely to see them employed more frequently in future in the quest for improved fuel efficiency from our automobiles. Ecomodder.com’s Darin Cosgrove recently added this 1.37 tailpiece to his Pontiac Firefly to improve its drag coefficient from 0.34 to 0.23 and its fuel efficiency by 15.1 percent at 90kmh (56mph).Read More

Ferrari's F1 simulator pushes the limits

Simulators have long been used to teach new skills that would otherwise involve great expense and/or great risk - like learning to fly a new aeroplane. Now Ferrari has built its own F1 simulator so it can develop its Formula One cars and train its drivers to use new technology and to race on new tracks without breaking F1 rules limiting testing in the real world. The simulator uses ten linked computers, 60 GB of RAM, five giant 3D video screens, a 3500 watt Dolby sound system, and weighs more than 200 tonnes. Even the 130 kW electrical power supply for the machine is a beast.Read More

Feature

Test drive: Toyota Landcruiser Prado 4WD

"Two-in-one" products generally mean there's a compromise. A desktop replacement laptop is great until you've lugged its weighty frame through five airports in two weeks, a road-trail motorcycle is fine until you hit a really snarly stretch of dirt, and a keyboard that becomes a mouse when you turn it upside down, well, lets not even go there. So when Toyota introduced its new Prado Landcruiser mid-size 4WD as a "best of both worlds" solution for both the highway and the rough stuff I was a little skeptical. But after taking on all types of terrain - including, open roads, tight forest trails and a formidable purpose built 4x4 track - I may just have been convinced otherwise. The vehicle's versatile performance owes particular thanks to a sophisticated new suspension system and electronics suite, and although there's no point pretending that it can be a sports coupe one minute and a monster truck the next, as a two-in-one auto solution the fourth-gen Prado comes very, very close.Read More

BMW ActiveE Concept – fully electric 1 Series Coupe

BMW will finally deliver the electric car everyone knew was coming at the NAIAS in January. The BMW ActiveE Concept is essentially an electric BMW 1 Series Coupe built using the knowledge gained from year-long MINI E fleet trials, and the resultant vehicle is bristling with ideas and well worth a look. The 125 kW motor is located in the rear axle, the lithium ion batteries recharge in three hours, offer a range of 160 km (100 miles) and an interesting variation on regenerative braking can add as much as 20% to the range. With an electronically limited top speed of … Read More

Kepler Motion: 800 horses, 0-60mph in under 2.5 seconds and drooling good looks

You would expect big things from a company founded by the only living person to hold world speed records over 200mph on land and water, and the Kepler Motors Motion certainly looks the goods. Russ Wicks' company has used the Dubai International Motor Show to unveil the 800hp supercar of which only 50 will be built. A 550hp, modified Ford EcoBoost twin-turbo 3.5L V6 drives the rear wheels independently of a 250hp electric motor driving the front wheels. Add them together and you get an AWD system which launches the Motion to 60mph under 2.5 seconds with a top speed more than 200mph. Impressive specifications and drooling good looks, we think it’s a nice combination.Read More

The MINI Beachcomber - Moke V2.0

MINI is set to display a modern version of its spartan MOKE open-body, four-seater of the seventies at NAIAS in January. The MOKE (pictured in background) was hugely loved in tropical climates, having the fundamentals of a MINI but not much more – the “Beachcomber Concept” takes the same sense of minimalism, freedom and adventure and enhances it with a roll cage, a lockable trunk and the 4WD drivetrain and design elements of MINI’s upcoming compact SUV.Read More

Volvo S60 automatic pedestrian safety system hits the brakes if you don't

Gizmag has written a few pieces about the forthcoming Volvo S60 which is due to be released in 2010. In this installment we look at the newly-developed pedestrian alert system being incorporated into the stylish sedan. So, put aside your thoughts on the sleek Scandanavian-inspired lines, the visionary interior, the comfort and power - which has been described by Volvo as “a thrilling blend of drama and sensuality” - and delve into the realm of safety for those in and around the vehicle.Read More

Fast charging i-Miev for the UK

As Mitsubishi's iMiev electric cars become available to the public next year, the UK will be the first to benefit from technology that will see the Lithium-ion batteries recharged to 80 percent capacity in just 30 minutes. Mitsubishi UK will be the first company in Europe to showcase the city car's fast charging capabilities.Read More

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