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Automotive

Honda shows next-generation diesel engine

October 2, 2006 Honda has developed a next-generation diesel engine that reduces exhaust gas emissions to a level equal to a petrol engine and expects to have the engine available in its U.S. market cars within three years. The engine employs an NOx catalytic converter that enables a reduction in NOx emissions sufficient to meet stringent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Tier II Bin 5 emission requirements. This catalytic converter uses the reductive reaction of ammonia generated within the catalytic converter to “detoxify” nitrogen oxide (NOx) by turning it into harmless nitrogen (N2).  Read More

The first energy-autonomous vehicle

October 2, 2006 There is no doubt that if you rated all the automotive companies in the world on their forward thinking and commitment to commercialising new concepts in sustainable mobility, Monaco-based Venturi would win by a country mile. The company which produced the world’s first available electric sportscar (see articles here here and here), recently announced it would partner with Intel to make energy sharing possible via the Venturi Fetish platform and now it has debuted the first energy-autonomous vehicle and despite its non-traditional appearance, production has already begun. The urban 3-seater electro-solar vehicle named the Eclectic goes well beyond anything previously offered by car manufacturers, being the first vehicle powered entirely by renewable energies, the first solar production vehicle and the first car that can be directly recharged with a personal wind turbine. A limited run of 200 vehicles will be available in June 2007 at a price of EUR24,000. The company is shooting for an even higher level of production from 2009 at an estimated base price of EUR15,000. Innovative and astonishing, Eclectic is much more than a simple vehicle ; it is a production and storage plant for renewable energies, either solar or wind based. Charging of these energies, which is intermittent in certain regions, can also be complemented by electrical recharging.  Read More

Ford iosis X concept

Updated October 2, 2006 Ford of Europe's Design team has interpreted the Company's distinctive new 'kinetic design' form language in an exciting new crossover concept - the iosis X – which makes its debut at the 2006 Paris Motor Show. One of the specific purposes of iosis X is to prepare the public for the introduction of a future Ford of Europe niche model. Ford Europe’s CEO John Fleming, President and CEO, Ford of Europe. "The iosis X is intended to send a very strong message that we will be entering this market in around eighteen months from now, and that our new model will be both stylish and individual."  Read More

Audi launches the R8 Mid-engined Supercar

Updated October 2, 2006 On the eve of the 2006 Paris Motor Show, Audi has unveiled its R8 supercar. Audi Chairman, Dr Martin Winterkorn told the assembled press how the R8 project had been a very personal one for him, having started the process when he returned to Audi as chairman in 2002, and having overseen the design and engineering teams for the past four years. “Everyone has been looking forward to this day, the world premiere of our first mid-engined sports car. It is a key moment in the history of Audi.” The mid-engined two-seater is powered by a five-litre V10 ‘biturbo’ engine with FSI direct fuel injection, developing 449 kW (610 bhp) at 6,800 rpm. Previous article and details here.  Read More

Subaru develops horizontally opposed Turbo Diesel engine

September 29, 2006 Subaru Europe President Hiroyuki Ikeda dropped an unexpected announcement in his Paris motor show speech when he mentioned that the company was working on a SubaruBoxer Turbo Diesel and that development is nearly complete. The horizontally opposed engine layout made famous by Volkswagen has long been favoured by Subaru and has been the mainstay of its fleet for more than three decades with its latest effort winning first place in the 2.5-liter class of the International Engine of the Year Awards. Though it’s logical that the company would develop the world’s first horizontally opposed diesel engine, there are many technical difficulties to overcome, so it was by no means regarded as a given. Anyway, we have the drawings in high res and we suspect it’ll be a beauty.  Read More

Ford’s tricky F-450 Series Super Duty with bed-extender

September 29, 2006 Ford’s top-selling work truck, the F-Series Super Duty, has been overhauled for the 2008 model year and will go on sale in early 2007 with a new range-topping F-450 pickup as the star of the show. The F-450 can handle payloads in excess of 6,000 pounds, has a towing capacity of more than 24,000 pounds, and can be powered by the well-known 362-horsepower 6.8-liter V-10 Triton gasoline engine, or a new 6.4-liter Power Stroke Diesel that delivers 350 horsepower at 3,000 rpm and 650 lb.-ft. of torque starting at 2,000 rpm. The bit that really caught our eye though, was the ingenious two-piece stowable bed extender.  Read More

Sportshift – the automated manual transmission  from Aston Martin

September 29, 2006 One of the genuinely interesting aspects of a major motor show such as the 2006 Paris Motor Show, is just how much genuinely innovative new design gets buried because there is indeed so much information being blasted at the assembled media. One such gem which will probably not get its share of media attention because Ford is looking to sell off the loss-making sports car manufacturer is the Aston Martin automated manual transmission option for the V8 Vantage – Sportshift. Sportshift adds electro-hydraulic control to the existing Vantage 6-speed manual gearbox to offer improved shift times and replaces the conventional manual gear lever with push button controls on the centre console to select ‘Auto Drive’, ‘Reverse’ or ‘Neutral’.  Read More

New VW CrossGolf combines SUV and MPV

September 28, 2006 Volkswagen will be showing a new crossover version of the Golf at the Paris Motor Show which opens today. The CrossGolf merges the can-do qualities of a compact SUV with the versatility of a small MPV into a new model. SUV means “Sports Utility Vehicle”, denoting a significantly more “civilian” stage on the path to the “tough” off-road vehicle. Approximately 480,000 compact SUVs were sold in Europe in 2005. MPV means “Multi Purpose Vehicle”, referring to a van. With its versatile and spacious interior, the CrossGolf also bridges this segment which sold 1.4 million compact SUVs in Europe in 2005. As a combination SUV and MPV, the new CrossGolf is precisely positioned between these poles and has no direct competitor in this class due to its positioning and conception.  Read More

September 28, 2006 Eight years after it was first launched, the iconic smart fortwo is about to be superceded. The new smart fortwo, which will be launched in the spring of 2007, will not be on show at the Paris Mondial de l’Automobile this weekend as apparently the world premiere will take place some time later this year, at a location outside of the trade fair circuit. The Mercedes-owned company is dropping plenty of hints about what the new model will look like, releasing sketches of the new model this week and intimating via press release that a sand sculpture could be seen during the German beach volleyball championships that was closely based on the new model.  Read More

Police evaluate Chrysler 300C

September 28, 2006 We like to keep people up-to-date on the various exotica being deployed by the police forces of the globe to catch villains, and over the years we’ve had some rippers, such as the Honda NSX Police Car, the Lamborghini Gallardo Police car and this 700 bhp Hummer H2 police special. Now Australia’s Victoria Police have boosted their vehicle fleet and injected some ‘cool’ with the addition of a Chrysler 300C and it must be said that the brutish snout of the beastie comes up well in police livery. What sets this story apart from the other stories is the look of delight on the face of Senior Constable Ruth Scott as she accepts the keys of the 425 bhp midnight blue 300C from Chrysler Group MD, Gerry Jenkins. There is absolutely no truth in the rumour that Ruth was last seen in the 300C somewhere near Darwin with her head out the window singing “yeeehaaaw!”  Read More

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