2015 Geneva Auto Show

Automotive

Volkswagen returns to Formula 3 as engine supplier

July 19, 2007 Volkswagen is preparing to return to Formula 3 racing as an engine supplier with a newly developed 210 bhp two-litre engine. Volkswagen was previously very successful in F3 in the 1980s, with Michael Schumacher and Tom Kristensen setting up successful careers by driving a winning Volkswagen in the German Formula 3 Championship. The new power unit will debut at the seventh round of the Formula 3 Euroseries at the Nürburgring on September 2.  Read More

The new Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Roadster

July 18, 2007 With McLaren now hot favourites to win both the driver and constructor World F1 title in 2007, the announcement of the new model Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Roadster takes on new dimensions. The exquisite roadster is built in the same factory as the cars driven by Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso, and combines all the F1 high-tech you can imagine, a 626 bhp AMG kompressor V8 producing an almost obscene 780 newton metres of torque and the long-distance attributes and sophisticated atmosphere of a classic Gran Tourismo car. The most telling F1 gift in constructing the open-top 332 km/h masterpiece is the systematic and intelligent use of high-tech materials for the body and safety technology. As in the Coupé, the bodyshell of the high-performance Roadster is primarily carbon fibre, as are the front-end and rear-end structure, the passenger cell, the swing-wing doors and the bonnet. Compared to steel, the high-tech material represents a weight saving of around 50 per cent, which is why the Electrohydraulic braking system employs massive brake discs made from carbon-fibre reinforced ceramics. There’s even an airbrake in the boot lid that extends automatically when you hit the anchors at high speed.  Read More

The first hybrid race win

July 18, 2007 A new era dawned on the weekend when Toyota won the Tokashi 24-Hour Race with its Supra HV-R hybrid race car. It is the first time a hybrid race car has won a competition of any form though the Supra is quite different to roadgoing hybrids as it incorporates a quick-charging capacitor system and the four-wheel energy regeneration is tuned to work efficiently in recovering a large amount of the car’s energy during rapid deceleration. The system uses 10kw in-wheel motors in the front wheels plus a 150 kW rear-axle mounted electric motor. In total, the 1,080 kg Supra has a whopping 700 horsepower (473 bhp from the 4.5 litre petrol motor and 227 bhp from the electric motors). More importantly, the low down grunt afforded by the electric motors along with the ability to measure and modify the additional torque thousands of times per wheel per second make the car far more controllable than a simple petrol engined vehicle … not to mention kinder on tyres, more economical and brutally quick on the exit to corners.  Read More

KUKA and EXATEC present: the robotic glazer

July 18, 2007 A sign we are living in the future: cars these days are so complex and advanced that even making the windows now requires the use of sophisticated robots. Granted, we aren’t flying around like the Jetsons yet, but this is a good first step. EXATEC, a provider of window glazing systems, has partnered up with KUKA, a leading manufacturer of industrial robots, to engineer a hi-tech method for applying a defroster to polycarbonate windows.  Read More

Porsche to unveil 530 bhp twin-turbo 911 GT2 at Frankfurt

July 17, 2007 Porsche will reveal its most powerful production 911 ever on September 11, 2007 at the Frankfurt Motor Show - with 530 horsepower, the US$191,000 GT2 911 is based on the current 911 Turbo but with more herbs (50 bhp to be exact) than ever before – it will accelerate to 60 mph in just 3.6 seconds and reach a top speed of 204 mph. The power increase in the .6-litre boxer engine is provided by two turbochargers with a larger compressor wheel and a flow-optimized turbine housing raising turbocharger pressure to an even higher level.  Read More

Espionage and sabotage in the high-stakes world of Formula One

July 17, 2007 An intriguing tale of industrial espionage and general skulduggery at the highest level is breaking out in the world of Formula One. Amidst an investigation of one of Ferrari's chief mechanics, who is under suspicion of sabotaging the two Ferrari F1 cars before the Monaco race this year, it has emerged that the McLaren-Mercedes team's chief designer was in possession of a large amount of highly classified documents detailing the design of the 2007 Ferrari F1 cars. While it may be some time until the truth emerges, this scandal in the top ranks of racing's richest competition is threatening to overshadow the jaw-dropping debut season of McLaren's Lewis Hamilton as the defining moment of the 2007 Formula One GP season.  Read More

The University of Hertfordshire's hydrogen-powered race car

July 15, 2007 Alternative engine technologies face several challenges in the battle to be viewed as a serious alternative to the internal combustion engine - and a key hurdle is the perception that they can't deliver enough power and performance to compete with their fossil-fuel burning counterparts. How better to dispel such fears than to race a hydrogen-powered car against petrol-powered competitors? The first hydrogen-powered race car will take to the track this weekend in the worldwide Formula Student category, and if the notion of green car racing catches on, we can look forward to watching the ingenuity of the racing community making some significant contributions to the development of emission-free consumer cars in the near future.  Read More

The Auto Rucksack

July 11, 2007 More and more people are interested in the convenience and economy of small car ownership - but many are put off by the small carrying capacity that goes with it. This handy German gadget operates as an aerodynamically efficient and better-looking alternative to the roof rack - the Auto Rucksack is exactly that - a backpack for your small car that clips on to give you extra storage, and clips off to become a suitcase or sports bag on wheels.  Read More

smart set to roll out a full complement of Alternative Drive Systems

July 10, 2007 Mercedes-owned smart is set to become the first mainstream production vehicle with a full complement of alternative drive systems. It has begun touting four new versions of the smart fortwo, all of which can be expected in production form before the year is out. We’re not sure which is the most exciting as they all offer different solutions depending on your needs. The cleanest of the new smarts is the 30 kW plug-in electric version with a range of 115 kilometres (EUDC), but there’s also a 100 mpg 53 kW diesel hybrid drive, a slightly less economical petrol hybrid for those who don’t want diesel, a 52 kW micro hybrid petrol variant and a diesel-engined fortwo which will become the world’s most economical combustion-engined production car with 85 mpg (3.3 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres - NEDC) and the ability to travel 1000 kilometres without refuelling. The smart fortwo diesel is the world champion in low CO2 emissions at just 88 grams of CO2 per kilometre. This is huge news.  Read More

Entry is via a sleek canopy door

July 6, 2007 Achieving 0-60mph in under five seconds with an electronically limited top speed of 140mph at 92 miles per gallon plus impressive handling and extremely low emissions, this striking 3-wheeler from FuelVapor Technologies looks to have all the answers. The “alé” (pronounced alay) concept car is described as running on "fuel vapors" rather than liquid fuel meaning it has a greater than 25% better fuel to air ratio than standard gasoline engines and this, coupled with the use of aerodynamic design and lightweight materials is the key to its outstanding performance.  Read More

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