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Automotive

The DScar - The Most Affordable Dream Car

December 14, 2006 Students from Cranfield University, one of Western Europe’s largest academic centres for strategic and applied research development and design, have been awarded the innovation prize at The Société des Ingénieurs de l'Automobile’s (SIA), Styling and Technical competition for designing ‘The Most Affordable Dream Car’. The Dscar has four wheels positioned in a diamond shape around the car’s chassis and apparently it handles like a go-kart. Designed primarily for extreme sports lovers and for weekend or track day use only, the car provides a very different ride – it’s very light, just 500kg, and powered by a Toyota 3 cylinder 68bhp engine. The DScar is made from mass produced car parts, so can be manufactured very easily and economically. A panel of international experts recognised DScar for its radically different diamond shaped design, unique style and unusual driving experience.  Read More

World’s first affordable diesel hybrid powertrain

December 14, 2006 Zytek has already proven its knowledge of powertrains and electric vehicle many times over, on and off the racetrack. Now, in collaboration with a UK Government initiative, the British engineering consultancy has developed a novel diesel hybrid powertrain that will be affordable in the most popular market segments. The new technology will allow vehicle owners to drive across London’s extended congestion charge zone for just four pence. The low-cost, high-efficiency hybrid-electric drivetrain offers a realistic alternative to expensive proprietary systems and can be quickly implemented within the packaging constraints of compact European passenger cars. A demonstration vehicle, built within the UK Government’s Ultra Low Carbon Car Challenge (ULCCC), has exceeded all targets set for the programme, delivering an exceptional 85g of CO2 per km compared with 121g/km for the already exceptionally efficient standard vehicle.  Read More

A new type of parking assistant - parking space measurement from Bosch

December 14, 2006 Touch parking, the method of parking employed inevitably across the world’s crowded urban canyons by millions of people a day, could become a thing of the past. Judging the size of a parking space – whether a car can actually fit in the available space - is one of the keys to successful parking and a new invention from Bosch will offer just that facility. The Citroen C4 Picasso has become the world's first car to feature integrated parking space measurement. The Bosch driver assistance system tells the vehicle's driver whether the prospective parking space is long enough for the car. The parking space measurement in the C4 Picasso is based on the Bosch parking assistant, which helps drivers avoid shunting other cars and obstacles while parking. Besides the standard four ultrasound sensors on the vehicle front and rear, two extra sensors have been added for parking space measurement, one on either side of the front bumper.  Read More

Goodwood 2007 Festival of Speed - ‘SPARK OF GENIUS' - BREAKING RECORDS, PUSHING BOUNDARIES

December 14, 2006 The theme of the fifteenth Goodwood Festival of Speed, due to be held over the weekend of 22 – 24 June 2007, will be ‘Spark of Genius – Breaking Records, Pushing Boundaries.’ Through this theme, Goodwood will celebrate the glory of the individual competitors and engineering visionaries who took risks in their quest for victory. From the brave drivers and riders who campaigned in the first Brooklands and Isle of Man TT races 100 years ago, through to the land speed record breakers and the cream of the current F1 and World Rally Championship (WRC) competitors, all have made their mark and will be honoured at the 2007 Festival. Ticketing for the festival is now open.  Read More

50 mpg from a medium sized SUV

December 12, 2006 Danish-born eco adventurer Hans Tholstrup has a way of creating publicity. It’s how he first came to public prominence when he circumnavigated Australia in a 16 foot open boat but his motorsport exploits, his creation of the World Solar Challenge and more recently his ability to coax extraordinary fuel consumption from an automobile just keep the eco warrior in the spotlight. This week he did it again when attempting the 1400km trip from Adelaide to Sydney without refuelling the car’s standard 75 litre tank. Tholstrup arrived in Sydney still with a quarter of a tank of gas so he pressed on north, eventually finishing in Port Macquarie, 1776.6 kilometres from the start. The Hyundai Santa Fe CRDi Turbo-Diesel he was driving averaged 4.67 litres/100km (50.4 mpg), an astoundingly frugal figure for a 1.9 tonne, medium-sized AWD SUV which can seat seven.  Read More

Mazda to debut Ryuga Design Concept and New Tribute HEV at 2007 NAIAS

December 12, 2006 Mazda will unveil an all-new concept car, Mazda Ryuga, and its all-new Mazda Tribute Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) at the 2007 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) on January 8, 2007. The Ryuga builds on Mazda’s concept of flow. The remarkable Nagare – Japanese for “flow” - concept vehicle debuted at the recent Los Angeles Auto Show and introduced the company’s new design future. Ryuga – Japanese for “gracious flow,” and the next generation of this exciting concept – will reflect a higher level of sophistication achieved through the use of rich fabrics, engineered fits and hidden details. Mazda Ryuga is elegant and refined, but with spirit and edge, portraying unique Japanese beauty.  Read More

The real effect of mixing school and commercial traffic in peak hour

December 12, 2006 Anyone who has ever endured the daily commute knows that school holidays are a Godsend because morning peak hour commute times drop dramatically - without parents driving children, school holiday traffic is reduced by roughly 10 per cent. Now UK-based Trafficmaster is beginning to use its wireless automotive networks to measure the real effects in travelling time with and without school traffic and the results are remarkable. Increased congestion in the mornings causes average journey times on some roads to triple in length, with the worst impact measured on the southbound A629 near Bradford, West Yorkshire. The average morning rush-hour journey (08.30-09.15) on this busy route during the school holidays takes just 11 minutes, but in term time this figure rises to almost half an hour – for a stretch of road only two miles long. Is this grounds to consider staggering either school or business hours to reduce the peak traffic periods?  Read More

The 6kg RS-X wheel - a carbon fibre rim with a magnesium centre

December 8, 2006 The latest development from the Kahn laboratories is this Carbon fibre RS-X wheel made up from a carbon fibre rim with a magnesium centre. Kahn Design is now manufacturing these wheels for super high performance vehicles – necessary because unless you own a supercar, you probably won’t be prepared to pay the asking price for a wheel that weighs just 6 kilograms. The understandably huge reduction in radial inertia and unsprung weight offered by the wheels offers substantial improvements in performance and handling. Each set of wheels is custom made to order for each vehicle.  Read More

Ricardo’s new Cross-axle Torque Vectoring Audi A6 4.2l V8 Quattro Avant demonstrator

December 8, 2006 Delegates at Berlin’s prestigious 5th International CTI-Symposium, “Innovative Automotive Transmissions”, were this week given the opportunity to be the first to experience Ricardo’s new Cross-axle Torque Vectoring demonstrator. Based on an Audi A6 4.2l V8 Quattro Avant, the vehicle is fitted with the very latest generation of Ricardo’s Torque Vectoring technology that enables moment-by-moment redistribution of drive-torque in response to driver demand, vehicle speed and road conditions. In doing so it enables the vehicle to follow more faithfully the driver's intended path, ultimately leading to a potentially safer, more enjoyable and rewarding driving experience.  Read More

Volvo safety system for avoiding collisions at low speeds

December 7, 2006 Volvo has announced more innovative safety technology – a unique ‘City Safety’ system that could help drivers avoid 50 per cent of all rear-end, low speed accidents that often happen in urban environments or slow moving traffic. Statistics reveal that 75 per cent of all reported collisions occur at low speeds of up to 30 km/h (18.7 mph). The Volvo system, called ‘City Safety’, is active up to 30 km/h and keeps a watchful eye on traffic up to six metres in front of the car with the help of an optical radar system integrated into the upper part of the windscreen. If a car in front suddenly brakes or is stationary, the system will automatically pre-charge the brakes to help the driver avoid an accident by slowing down in time, or steering away from a potential collision. However, if a collision is imminent, the system will activate the car’s brakes automatically.  Read More

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