2015 Detroit NAIAS Auto Show

Automotive

Nissan Introduces New Engine Valve Control Technology - Variable Valve Event & Lift (VVEL)...

March 30, 2007 Over the last century of automobile development, we have seen an enormous range of valve actuation technologies, ranging from pushrod, through single then double overhead camshafts, then a range of more recent technologies to enable variable cam timing. Nissan has now announced a new method of valve actuation that delivers a balance of responsiveness and power, fuel efficiency and low emissions. The system combines Nissan’s new Variable Valve Event and Lift (VVEL) and continuous valve timing control (C-VTC) technologies to deliver significantly enhanced performance. A rocker arm and two types of links close the intake-valves by transferring the rotational movement of a drive shaft with an eccentric cam to the output cam. The movement of the output cam can be varied by rotating the control shaft within the DC motor and changing the fulcrums of the links. This makes a continuous adjustment of the valve lift possible. The advanced technologies will be made available initially through the Infiniti G37 coupe, scheduled to be unveiled at the upcoming New York International Auto Show next week. Nissan plans to install the VVEL system, which contributes up to a 10% reduction in carbon-dioxide emissions, on its products worldwide starting from FY07 under the Nissan Green Program 2010.  Read More

The bullet-proof Range Rover Vogue

March 28, 2007 Most luxury vehicle manufacturers have been quietly producing armoured versions of their range for special private customers for years, with Mercedes Benz the most prolific and high profile and the Combat T98, International MXT-MVA and Rhino Runner the most extreme. Whereas once it was considered gauche to advertise such services, and companies were content to have the most influential people seen in their vehicles, marketing imperatives are now being brought to bear and the world’s prestige manufacturers all seem to be adding an armoured model to their range. Now Range Rover will add a fully-armoured Vogue to the range, designed to resist attack from machine gun or hand grenade while its four-wheel drive chassis and off-road ground clearance allows a quick getaway from attack or ambush. Unlike conventional armoured limousines, the Range Rover Vogue Security Vehicle can be driven across all terrains, including unforgiving urban obstacles like high kerbs or even steep steps. Its broad shouldered strength also allows it to be driven at and through obstacles such as gates or even walls.  Read More

Callaway C16 Cabrio to debut in New York

March 23, 2007 Callaway Cars didn’t take long to follow up the first showing of the C16, and will be exhibiting the company’s convertible variant of the limited production C16 supercar, the C16 Cabrio, at the New York International Auto Show. Six-speed manual or paddle-shift automatic transmissions will available with either standard 560 or optional 616 horsepower engines. Our favorite Callaway engineering project is the Cyclone 16-cylinder engine - a 4.0-liter normally aspirated V16 with 5 valves per cylinder which makes 550 bhp at 10,000 rpm yet is less than 36 inches long. Check the image gallery – apart from being visually enchanting, it apparently has a “distinctive noise signature.”  Read More

The 640 bhp Electric ZAP-X Crossover SUV

March 22, 2007 Announced only recently, the development of the ZAP-X Crossover vehicle in conjunction with Lotus is looking likely to produce a remarkable automobile. The compact-SUV design will feature all-wheel drive with in-hub electric motors capable to deliver 644 horsepower and a top speed of 155mph. By combining a lightweight aluminum chassis, a new efficient drive system and advanced battery management system, the goal for the ZAP-X is a 350-mile range, with a rapid 10-minute recharging time.  Read More

The new Fiat 500 and 50th anniversary model

March 22, 2007 Fifty years ago, on 4 July 1957, Fiat introduced the Nuova Fiat 500, which became an icon of our times, and with which Fiat completed a revival that had begun immediately after the Second World War. This year on 4 July 2007, exactly 50 years later, and once again in Turin, the company will be presenting its new Fiat 500, which will go on sale immediately after the launch. The new 500 is a 3-door model with very compact measurements: 355 cm long, 165 cm wide, 149 cm tall and a wheelbase of 230 cm. Produced with three engine options: a 75 bhp 1.3 16v MultiJet turbodiesel and two petrol engines, a 69 bhp 1.2 8v and a 100 bhp 1.4 16v, with five or six speed manual gearboxes, the new Fiat 500 is designed to be notably entertaining to drive.  Read More

Caparo T1 to offer best power-to-weight ratio ever

March 22, 2007 After 12 months of highly secretive development, the Caparo T1, which looks and performs like a Formula One car, will be launched as a running car at the 15th Goodwood Festival of Speed (22-24 June 2007) with a new and more powerful engine than previously mooted. The higher specification is reflected in a launch price for the T1 of UKP180,000 plus taxes. The bespoke lightweight, all aluminium V8 has a higher capacity of 3.5 litres and is now normally aspirated. The engine has a mass of less than 100kgs and can produce power outputs of up to 200bhp-per-litre. As the T1 will maintain its nominal 500kg kerb weight this means the Caparo’s specifications of 500kg for 550 bhp give it the best power-to-weight ratio of any production roadgoing car or motorcycle in the world. As the T1 will participate in the Goodwood hill climb at the annual Festival of Speed, the debut will be worth attending as the car promises an astonishing 0-60mph time of 2.5 seconds.  Read More

The three-wheel, 225 mpg plug-in hybrid XR-3 kit car

March 21, 2007 Robert Q. Riley’s radical high-efficiency designs, concepts and kits have been public for a long time, and have often been viewed as non-mainstream and largely irrelevant by an American population with a highly distorted view of the real cost of cheap petrol. Now his fuel-efficient designs seem suddenly relevant – we desperately need new transportation alternatives that conserve energy and protect the planet’s ecosystem, Riley’s latest creation, the XR-3 plug-in hybrid, is a sleek two-passenger, three-wheel sports car that is expected to return 225 miles per gallon. Designed to be assembled by someone with average mechanical abilities and no prior experience, the all-wheel drive vehicle will be available as a kit or plans for complete do-it-yourself construction. The XR-3 Hybrid is currently under development and is scheduled to debut in June 2007.  Read More

The Acabion GTBO 450 km/h road registerable streamliner

March 20, 2007 Stand by to be shocked. The Acabion GTBO is a streamlined, enclosed motorcycle with the most astounding set of vital statistics we’ve ever seen. It has an extremely low frontal area and the aerodynamics of a bullet. It tips the scales at just a fraction the weight of a Formula One race car yet has much less rolling resistance and it is powered by a 700 bhp turbocharged motor giving it a power-to-weight ratio better than anything ever conceived for road usage and is claimed to be capable of 450 km/h. That’s some claim because the recently established land speed record for motorcycles is 565 km/h. The GTBO is also claimed to be capable of reaching 400 km/h from standstill in under 20 seconds (i.e. 0-400 km/h). AND it’s road registerable, AND Swiss-based Acabion intends to build 26 GTBOs over the next four years. The GTBO is a two-plus-two-wheel concept. It runs on four wheels at low speeds and two wheels at high speeds. The sidewheels can be ordered as lightweight racing-versions (pictured) or with heavier but more practical struts with a compact hydraulic drive so you can manoeuvre quite easily. The aim is to offer a limited edition, very expensive super vehicle with Swiss precision engineering and craftsmanship and a performance factor that is truly remarkable – the power-to weight of the GTBO is 0.51 kg per horsepower – compare that to the Ultima GTR (1.38 kg/bhp), Koenigsegg CCXR (1.16), Pagani Zonda F (2.07), Bugatti Veyron (1.89), Tramontana (1.74), Bristol Fighter (1.58) and the Gumpert Apollo (1.53). For the records, the GTBO’s figure is almost twice as good as the current crop of supersports 1000cc road bikes (1.0-1.1) and compares favourably to the 2007 F1 Ferrari (0.71) which Kimi Raikkonen used to smoke the field in the first Formula One Grand Prix of the season and Casey Stoner’s Ducati (0.60) which streeted Valentino Rossi’s Yamaha M1 (0.62) in the opening round of MotoGP in Qatar. We’ll be reporting in much more detail on the remarkable beastie in the next few days including an interview with the man behind the project. Sign up here to be notified of the full article and read on for more details and images.  Read More

The first 550 bhp US$300,000 Foose Coupe to be auctioned

March 19, 2007 The Foose Coupe was conceived back in 1990 when Chip Foose was still a student at the Art Center College of Design, long before his designs became famous. The prototype Foose Coupe debuted at the 2006 SEMA show and caused such a sensation that a limited edition run of 50 coupes are to be built by MetalCrafters, each one tailored to the exact requirements of the customer, with prices starting at US$298,000. The mid-engined 550 bhp Mopar Hemi V8 engine Foose Coupe has a carbon fiber monocoque cabin mated to a modular steel space frame and planted to the pavement with a suspension by Hotchkis, Koni coil-over shock absorbers and a 6-piston Baer Brake system. Now the rights to the first production unit are to be sold at auction.  Read More

The Air Car - zero pollution and very low running costs

March 19, 2007 Many respected engineers have been trying for years to bring a compressed air car to market, believing strongly that compressed air can power a viable "zero pollution" car. Now the first commercial compressed air car is on the verge of production and beginning to attract a lot of attention, and with a recently signed partnership with Tata, India’s largest automotive manufacturer, the prospects of very cost-effective mass production are now a distinct possibility. The MiniC.A.T is a simple, light urban car, with a tubular chassis that is glued not welded and a body of fibreglass. The heart of the electronic and communication system on the car is a computer offering an array of information reports that extends well beyond the speed of the vehicle, and is built to integrate with external systems and almost anything you could dream of, starting with voice recognition, internet connectivity, GSM telephone connectivity, a GPS guidance system, fleet management systems, emergency systems, and of course every form of digital entertainment. The engine is fascinating, as is and the revolutionary electrical system that uses just one cable and so is the vehicle’s wireless control system. Microcontrollers are used in every device in the car, so one tiny radio transmitter sends instructions to the lights, indicators etc Most importantly, the 68 mph Aircar is incredibly cost-efficient to run – according to the designers, it costs less than one Euro per 100Km (about a tenth that of a petrol car). Its mileage is about double that of the most advanced electric car (200 to 300 km or 10 hours of driving), a factor which makes a perfect choice in cities where the 80% of motorists drive at less than 60Km.  Read More

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