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Automotive

Nissan Qashqai Crossover to go into production

September 7, 2006 Nissan yesterday presented for the first time its new Compact Crossover for Europe, the QASHQAI at an event hosted in Paris by Carlos Ghosn, Nissan's President and CEO. Inspired by the concept car of the same name that was presented at the 2004 Geneva Motor Show, the QASHQAI (pronounced "cash - kai") is a new vehicle for Nissan in Europe, with sales starting in February 2007. It will cater for those car buyers who want a more dynamic design than that offered by a traditional C-segment car, but who are not attracted to the large, aggressive nature of a compact SUV.  Read More

Chevrolet WTCC Ultra - a ready-to-drive race and road car study

September 7, 2006 Chevrolet Europe will be showing an exciting racecar study called the WTCC Ultra at the Paris Motor Show from September 30 to October 15, 2006. The ready-to-drive concept car was developed by a global GM team and illustrates Chevrolet’s commitment to using GM’s global resources. The vehicle was styled by 25-year old designer Ewan Kingsbury, who works for GM in Australia, while development work on the concept was carried out in the UK, Germany and Switzerland. The Ultra’s engine was built in Korea, and the prototype was assembled in Japan and will be presented as a fully working vehicle, that’s not just ready for the road, but raring to go on the racetrack. It’s equipped with a 190PS common rail turbodiesel engine, based on the 2.0-litre unit that will debut in the Captiva SUV and Lacetti models next year, and unlike most motor show styling studies is a fully-working vehicle, with performance to rival high performance petrol cars.  Read More

Citroen's spectacular C-Metisse Concept

September 7 2006 Citroen seems to save its best concept cars for its home Paris Show and this year it has unveiled a beauty. The C-Metisse Concept will be seen in the flesh for the first time at the 2006 Paris Motor Show. With its elegant proportions, flamboyant bodywork and spectacular door design, the C-Metisse is an elegant 4-seater 4-door coupe reminiscent of the most prestigious Grand Touring vehicles. The car has a high-performance diesel hybrid drivetrain, excellent aerodynamics and a weight of just 1400 kilograms complete with batteries. C-Metisse is based on the same future-oriented solution as the C4 HDi hybrid demonstration vehicle apart from one key difference: the electric motors are installed in the rear wheels. Looking at C-Metisse is a visual shock in itself. Long (4.74 m), wide (2 m) and low (1.24 m), the car is sculptural and almost intimidating.  Read More

Sebastien Loeb becomes the world’s most successful rally driver

September 6, 2006 When Sebastien Loeb narrowly held out Marcus Gronholm to win the Rally of Japan last Sunday, he became the most successful rally driver in history. His 27th career victory edged the double World Rally Champion past former Citroen driver Carlos Sainz and into the record books once again. Unbelievably Loeb only made his WRC debut in 2002 and has taken just four seasons to overtake the success of rally legend Sainz. Along the way, it’s been a tour de force, as he now holds the record for the most consecutive victories, and last year performed what many people consider to be his most astounding feat – winning every stage in a World Championship Rally. This year the Frenchman has demonstrated his versatility winning the Race of Champions (December) and finishing in second place in the Le Mans 24 Hour Race.  Read More

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

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