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Automotive

The world’s first truck

September 6, 2006 It was one of the greatest talents of inventor Gottlieb Daimler to find ever more applications for his engine. He came up with the motorcycle, the motorized handcar, a motorized fire-fighting pump, and – eventually and almost inevitably – with the truck. Back in 1896, he set up the first truck on iron-clad wooden wheels – a type of carriage without a drawbar but with an engine instead. But as all inventors know, all beginnings are difficult – not only for people who are ahead of their time. While it is true that the world’s first truck initiated motorized road transport as we know it today, it did not attract a single buyer in Germany. In the early stages, the truck had to overcome a great deal of resistance – much more than the passenger car. This story explains the early development and marketplace problems of the truck - the very first truck and a brand new category of vehicle.  Read More

Happy 40th birthday to the Corolla!

September 5, 2006 Cars come and go but the Toyota Corolla – much like Dr Who – has regularly regenerated to meet the demands of time and outlasted most rivals. This year the world’s biggest selling nameplate is celebrating its 40th birthday – and it is not finished yet. The first generation Corolla was introduced in Japan in October 1966. Now, 40 years on, the Corolla is built in 16 different countries, a barometer of the global expansion of Toyota towards its stated aim of becoming the world’s number one automobile manufacturer as much as the popularity of the model itself. In 2005 alone, 1.36 million Corollas were produced in 16 countries and by the end of June this year, cumulative worldwide production reached 31.60 million units. That represents more than 2,160 cars every day – 90.1 cars per hour, every hour – for 40 years. Though it's now four decades old as a nameplate, the best selling automotive design in history is not the Corolla but the Volkswagen Beetle which sold an incredible 21,529,464 over 68 years before it ceased production in Mexico in 2003, surpassing the previous titleholder, the Model T Ford (16.5 million) in 1972. And the most prolific motorised conveyance in history is the Honda Super Cub scooter which reached 50 million units sold late in December, 2005. Launched in 1958, the Super Cub is the first motor vehicle to achieve total sales of 50 million units.A trip down memory lane in the image gallery.  Read More

Audi first to win international motorsport championship with a diesel engined sportscar

September 5, 2006 Congratulations to Audi on becoming the first car manufacturer to win an internationally recognised motor racing championship with a car powered by a diesel engine. Having made history by winning the Le Mans 24 Hours in June with its revolutionary Audi R10 TDI, Britain’s Allan McNish and Dindo Capello, of Italy, have added to the German manufacturer’s incredible 2006 success story to take the prestigious American Le Mans Series championship. That’s six starts and six wins so far and it’s a far cry from the until-recent perception of diesels as those rough-sounding, smelly, commercial vehicles that billow black smoke.  Read More

The 640 bhp MINI QED plug-in EV

September 4, 2006 Q.E.D. is an abbreviation of the Latin phrase "quod erat demonstrandum" which means, "which was to be demonstrated". In simple terms, it indicates that something has been definitively proven. Accordingly, the MINI QED electric hybrid is aptly named as it dispels any doubts about the validity of in-hub electric motors playing their part in the future of the automobile. PML FlightLink designs and manufacture electric motors, EV drive systems, joystick controls and controllers and bespoke motors for specialist applications and the MINI QED was built to showcase their expertise in wheelmotors, with a view to supplying what we expect will be a booming market in electric vehicle applications over coming decades. The result is a MINI with four times the horsepower of a Cooper S, supercar performance and the prospects of some very serious EVs in the near future. The QED is a ripper, using four 120kW (160bhp) wheel motors complete with invertors to convert momentum back into stored energy under brakes. With one on each corner you have Ferrari-like power and very controllable independent drive on all four wheels. In the MINI QED, this package offers a 0-60mph time of 3.7 seconds and a 150mph top speed – supercar territory. An on-board petrol engined generator offers enough electrons to run continuously at motorway speeds without depleting the battery, and you can plug it in at night and commute in full electric mode if you wish.  Read More

Honda’s all-new CR-V

September 4, 2006 The Honda CR-V has posted strong retail sales everywhere since it was launched but with the benchmark being raised daily in the increasingly crowded SUV sector, Honda has completely reengineered the CR-V to be even better on the road at the same time as being more practical. The entirely-new Honda CR-V will hit showroom floors in January 2007 and according to company sources promises a driving experience as good as a D-sector saloon car, improved equipment levels and two optional active safety systems that are unique to the SUV segment. The first, Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) is a radar-controlled cruise control function which maintains a set distance to the vehicle in front, while Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS) predicts collisions and warns the driver, before applying strong braking and retracting the front seatbelts if the situation becomes critical. The new CR-V will receive its international show debut in Paris on 28 September.  Read More

International Race Formula for hybrids set for 2007

UPDATED September 4, 2006 Here's one out of left field. Only a week ago we reported on the coming Formula Zero series for fuel cell go karts. Now comes the breaking news from Italy that N.Technology S.p.a. and Tatuus s.r.l. have signed a deal to produce a new single-seater Formula car. Tatuus, which builds Formula Renault cars, will take care of bulding N.Technology’s concept and will also provide technical assistance and spare parts service to the teams involved in the new series. The new single-seater car will have a 2-litre, 4-cylinder, 250-bhp engine, gearbox and clutch controls on the steering wheel and has been conceived to be fitted with an hybrid engine system. N.Technology's Andrea Fiorani reports that the first season for the formula will be the 2007 season. Formula N.T07 cars will compete in a new international series within the European rounds of the FIA World Touring Car Championship. Eurosport will be responsible for the TV production and broadcasting of the events of the international series. That's the first sketch of the Formula N.T07 car which predictably looks a lot like a Formula Renault - more news when it comes to hand, but we must say we're excited at the prospects of creating an environment where creative and higly competitive engineers develop hybrid technology.  Read More

Nissan and Marc Ecko forge partnership

September 1, 2006 Nissan North America has teamed up with lifestyle fashion superstar Marc Ecko to create what’s being billed as a “unique strategic partnership blending the world of fashion and automotive design.” The announcement was made at the MAGIC men's apparel and accessories trade show in Las Vegas and the partnership will allow each brand to retain their individuality while expanding their audience and reach. To celebrate the partnership, Ecko will modify two of Nissan's most popular SUVs - the Nissan Pathfinder and Nissan Armada - giving each a hip, new design inspired by his clothing lines. The two one-of-a-kind vehicles will be displayed at events across the country following a special unveiling in October in New York.  Read More

Power steering first for Yamaha Grizzly ATV

August 31, 2006 In a first for the ATV market, Yamaha has introduced an electric power steering system on its new Grizzly 700 EPS. The Grizzly’s power steering system varies with both vehicle speed and engine speed (RPM), so that the rider benefits from more assistance when needed at low speeds and tight corners and less when on the move. Powering the Grizzly 700 EPS is the proven fuel injected, four-stroke forward-inclined single cylinder and liquid-cooled engine now with a ceramic composite coated, all-aluminium cylinder and a swept volume of 686cc, a reverse-facing air intake, electronic fuel injection, straight intake tracts and four valves per cylinder. The Grizzly comes in several variants including a duck hunting version complete with rifle carrier and a box to keep the ducks in (pictured). Another great photo gallery with this story.  Read More

Mitsubishi launches Lancer Evolution IX MR and Lancer Evolution Wagon MR

August 29, 2006 Mitsubishi’s new Lancer Evolution IX MR high-performance 4WD sports sedan (GSR/RS) and Lancer Evolution Wagon MR high-performance 4WD sports wagon (GT/GT-A) went on sale at affiliated dealerships throughout Japan today. The MR designation is an abbreviation for Mitsubishi Racing, and is restricted to the most prominent sports model in Mitsubishi's line-up. The new models are the second group of MR models released by Mitsubishi, the first being the Lancer Evolution VIII MR launched in February 2004. The new models mark the 14th iteration of the series that began with the Lancer Evolution in October 1992 and both sedan and station wagon are third-generation compilation models and are designed with a focus on on-road sports driving.  Read More

GM builds the Sequel advanced hydrogen fuel-cell concept vehicle

August 28, 2006 Way back at the start of 2005, the world’s largest automotive manufacturer, General Motors, showed the Sequel advanced hydrogen fuel-cell concept vehicle at the 2005 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), billing it as the culmination of US$1 billion of intensive research it had conducted into fuel cell technology. Like most show cars, the Sequel was not a working model, but now General Motors Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner has gone on record as saying “the most technologically advanced car GM has ever built” has actually been built, has an operating range of 300 miles, and will be made available to journalists in the near future. The Sequel is a truly remarkable vehicle, having superseded the AUTOnomy and Hy-wire as GM’s primary showcase of future fuel cell vehicles. See the extensive technical diagrams and photographic library we have assembled here, and read on for all the available detail.  Read More

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