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Automotive

'Boosted Hybrid' technology offers new approach to lower emissions and performance improve...

July 16, 2006 A new approach to hybrid powertrain design, combining advanced pressure boosting technology with electric torque assist in one compact unit, has been demonstrated to offer a low cost route to lower emissions and performance improvements. The system, called the SuperGen i-Hybrid, is compatible with conventional gasoline powertrain architecture, and is claimed to offer all the benefits of a hybrid transmission at around one third of the cost of a conventional hybrid solution. SuperGen i-Hybrid can be applied to all mainstream gasoline engines and also diesels, acting as a pre-booster.  Read More

The most expensive luxury coach ever built

July 13, 2006 It’s a mighty big claim but Featherlite Luxury Coaches has announced its newest motorcoach, the Vantare Platinum Plus, with the claim that it’s the most expensive luxury coach ever built. The Platinum Plus has a triple slide configuration and its spacious interior is defined by the finest grade of finish materials in the world. Designed by renowned interior designer and luxury coach owner Karen B. Horton, the fine detail of every item that has gone into the US$2.5 million Platinum Plus really has to be seen to be believed.  Read More

smart fortwo goes electric

July 13, 2006 The most logical fossil-fueled car on the market to convert to an electric car, the iconic smart fortwo, looks set to be finally available as a plug-in EV thanks to an announcement overnight in the UK. The UK has been selected to run a market trial for the introduction of a fully electric version of the popular two-seater car, with the smart ev (electric vehicle) set to make its debut at the British Motorshow at ExCeL on July 18. The smart ev sets a new benchmark in the electric vehicle sector; it has 30kW output and a top speed of 70 mph. It offers even better in-town performance than its petrol powered stablemate, with 0-30 mph in 6.5 seconds. With a range of up to 72 miles, the smart ev is exempt from vehicle excise duty and congestion charge in the UK.  Read More

The World’s Fastest Police HUMMER

July 12, 2006 Born from a military vehicle and the most prominent symbol of America's global military dominance, the HUMMER does not require more testosterone, but hey, boys will be boys. German automotive performance house Geiger specialises in American cars and outrageous one-offs, and is hence accustomed to unusual customer requests. So the request from a Texas sheriff to turn his personal emergency vehicle into the world’s fastest police HUMMER represented a special challenge and one which was approached with pride. The resultant vehicle is now bound for the U.S.A and sports a supercharged 7.0-liter engine with 700 hp (515 kW). As if that’s not enough, the black and white HUMMER H2 has a brutal torque output which peaks at 904 Nm at 4,260 rpm and surely slingshots the beastie to its electronically-limited top speed of 250 km/h. That should be fast enough for the sheriff to catch just about any speedster ... though we suspect few people would wish to have this sheriff on their case.  Read More

New Mercedes-Benz SLR '722 Edition'

July 11, 2006 Mercedes-Benz has released a new 337 km/h 650 hp "722 Edition" variant of its SLR super sports car paying homage to the famous 1955 Mille Miglia victory by Stirling Moss in a Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR with the starting number 722. The new 722 accelerates from standstill to 100 km/h in only 3.6 seconds, and 200 km/h is reached in just 10.2 seconds. Refined in numerous respects over the standard SLR, this super sports car has more output, a tailor-made suspension configuration and a decidedly sporty interior. A parallel announcement was the foundation of a worldwide "SLR. Club" which will be based at the Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet, southern France. As an ultra-exclusive community of which SLR customers automatically become members, the SLR Club will provide numerous benefits including an SLR Safety & Speed Academy driver training with instructors such as David Coulthard, Jochen Mass, Klaus Ludwig, Chris Goodwin and Christina Surer among the instructors.  Read More

The Courreges Zooop EV

July 10, 2006 The Zoop is a high performance 150 kW three seat electric car that weighs just 690 kilograms and has a range of 450 kilometres. It won a special award at the recent international sustainable mobility event, the Michelin Bibendum Challenge for its extreme performance. Remarkably, the Zooop is not the product of an automotive manufacturer, or even an automotive design house. It is the third fully-operative EV prototype produced by globally renowned Paris-based fashion design house Maison de Courreges and has had very little publicity outside of the car's native France. Which is all very surprising, because in the heady world of fashion, the husband and wife team of Andre and Coqueline Courreges are superstars. Both Andre Courreges and Coqueline Barriere were (separately) apprenticed and mentored by one of the original fashion designer icons Cristobal Balenciaga. Andre Courreges opened the Maison de Courreges in 1961 and was one of the most influential designers of the swinging sixties, most famously as the inventor of the miniskirt but also responsible for the trouser suit, the Moongirl look and gogo boots. Now Madam Coqueline Courreges is championing the electric car and looks set to make history in a new sphere.  Read More

Microsoft goes F1 racing

July 7, 2006 In February this year we discussed the fascinating call by the governing body of international motorsport, the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), for expressions of interest in providing the standard electronic control system for all F1 cars as part of the drive to reduce the sport's prohibitive costs. Overnight it was announced that Microsoft MES has been selected as the official ECU supplier to F1 in 2008, 2009 and 2010. Now the world's largest software vendor has had its eye on the automotive environment as one of the cornerstones of future computing for some time, recently winning Best Telematics Solution at the Telematics Detroit 2006 with its Microsoft Windows Mobile for Automotive platform, BUT ... let's hope the boys and gals from Redmond are on the ball with this one as anything less than perfect is not good enough in the world of F1 and it could prove to be the almightiest gaffe in Public Relations history if perfection isn't achieved. A large chunk of the world's population watches a Formula One race and F1 drivers are particularly unforgiving of technical failure when they get a microphone in front of them.  Read More

The Limited Edition Rolls Royce Phantom Black

July 7, 2006 Rolls-Royce will unveil a new special edition at the Goodwood Festival this weekend in the form of the "Phantom Black." Only 25 Bespoke Phantom Blacks will be hand-built to demonstrate the best in Rolls-Royce design, engineering and craftsmanship and emphasise the Phantom's impressive performance and dynamic character. High lustre metallic Diamond Black paint is used on the body, complemented by twin silver coach lines. 21-inch alloy wheels come fitted with high performance Goodyear run flat tyres and feature unique black detailing and centre caps with RR badges, engineered to stay upright even at speed. At the rear of the Phantom Black, visible tail pipes hint at the car's performance. No price has been announced as all 25 Phantom Blacks have already been allocated to customers around the world.  Read More

The World 0-100-0 and SS quarter mile production car champion

July 6, 2006 A week ago we ran a story about the complete dominance of Autocar’s annual 0-100-0 mph comparison test by the world’s most powerful, most expensive and fastest automobile, the Bugatti Veyron with its remarkable numbers being 987 bhp, US$1.6 million, 406km/h and thanks to the AutoCar test, 9.9 seconds for the sprint to 100 mph and back to rest. What AutoCar failed to do, and what we failed to mention, was that it had omitted the world record holder for the 0-100-0 journey, the British built and designed US$130,000 Ultima GTR road car. The 720 horsepower 990 kilogram Ultima is built in small numbers, but we thought it sporting that we should set the record straight, on account of the Ultima having twice broken its own 0-100-0 world record which now stands at 9.4 seconds set on June 1, 2006, half a second quicker than the Bugatti. To cap it off, the car set a standing quarter time of 9.941 seconds on June 9 (with a terminal speed of 143mph), making it the fastest production road car over that distance too. And just to prove it was driven to and from the track, that's Richard picking up his maccas on the way home from the world record.  Read More

Mercedes E-Class now with E-Guard ballistic optional protection

July 5, 2006 Last November Jaguar announced itself as the first mass-produced vehicle manufacturer to offer an armoured passenger car when it put the Armoured XJ Long Wheelbase luxury saloon car on its brochure. Now Mercedes Benz has followed suit, and as of today, the new-generation E-Class can be ordered with a ballistic protection package (known as E-Guard) directly ex factory. Mercedes and Jaguar join a host of boutique manufacturers of armoured luxury vehicles such as Donald Rumsfeld’s preferred choice of the Rhino Runner, to the Russian Combat T-98 Armoured Luxury SUV. The world can be a hostile and dangerous place with hundreds of war zones around the world at any given time, plus many countries where assassination and kidnapping are routine. Despite wars and organized criminal activity, life has to go on, and there are some people who feel the need to be transported in the manner befitting their station in life. The prime advantage of the Mercedes E-Guard system is that the cars have no external markings indicating their capability – so your adversaries will only find out you’re protected after they’ve played their hand!  Read More

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