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Automotive

Futuristic Nanospyder Concept (psst - it’s a Volkswagen)

November 1, 2006 A team of highly creative Volkswagen designers based in California have unveiled their own unique take on the future of modern transportation. The result is the Volkswagen Nanospyder. Futuristic nanotechnology supported by hydrogen fuel cells, solar power, wheel-mounted electric motors and inflatable organic body panels combine to form the unusual shape of the two-seater concept.  Read More

Outrageous 650 bhp C6 Corvette with 5600 watt sound system

October 31, 2006 There’s no place quite like the SEMA Show 2006 in Las Vegas to see outrageous automobiles and the Outrageous C6 Corvette is appropriately being debuted there. Designed as a showcase for Custom Shop, Mid America Motorworks and Sony, the supercharged, fibreglass beastie features a custom interior of Ostrich leather and Alcantara suede, vertical doors, 650 horsepower (478 kW), and 5600 watts (5.6 kW) of Sony electronics.  Read More

Steam Car Challenge targets century-old speed record

October 31, 2006 In an environment where world’s best practice in any human endeavour is expected to last only a few years, it seems ludicrous that a land speed record could survive for a century but that’s the case with the world steam-powered land speed record. A century ago, when the global automotive industry was in its infancy, the internal combustion engine was by no means the only contender as the power source for the personal transportation revolution – electricity and steam were also viable contenders in the first few decades. Indeed, the steam-powered Locomobile was the world's first successful automobile and a machine based on the famous Stanley Steamer automobile attracted global attention on January 27, 1906 when it smashed the outright world speed record of 109 mph setting a new record of 121.57 mph. Now a British team, the British Steam Car Challenge, is preparing to push the World Land Speed Steam-powered Record past 200mph. The car is powered by a 300 bhp Curtis steam turbine and the team is now completing the high-tech boilers for the car, named Inspiration. The boilers will generate a formidable four megawatts of energy – almost enough to power a small town for a day.  Read More

Nokia launches dedicated car navigation device

October 31, 2006 Global mobile phone company Nokia has announced its first dedicated personal navigation device. The Nokia 330 Auto Navigation will initially be launched in Europe and offers both spoken and visual directions. The Nokia 330 Auto Navigation contains a 2GB memory card for the preinstalled Europe-wide map data, switchable 2D/3D and day or night view on a 3.5 inch color touch screen, and the ability to request a repeat of the last instruction. Expected to be available before the end of the year at an estimated retail price of EUR 360, the 330 also includes a music player, photo viewer and video player.  Read More

New system automatically recognises traffic signs and prevents unintentional speeding

October 30, 2006 In many parts of the world, automatic systems designed to capture speeding motorists are proliferating to such an extent that unless intense concentration and cruise control is employed, it’s easy to rack up regular $100+ fines for seemingly innocuous infringements. Many governments around the world now use their automated traffic fine systems as lucrative revenue raisers. Fortunately, technology is coming to the aid of the motorist too, and a new system developed in Europe by Siemens can automatically recognise speed limits on traffic signs and prompt motorists if they are transgressing so they can avoid speeding tickets. The system works with a camera in the car that scans the scene in front of the car for traffic signs and forwards the information to an onboard computer. With the help of the cruise control, the system then keeps the car within the speed limit. The risk of unintentionally driving too fast is particularly high when motorists are in unfamiliar surroundings or faced with road construction sites.  Read More

Ascari debuts 625bhp A10 supercar

October 30, 2006 The latest Supercar contender made its first appearance at the 2006 MPH show in Birmingham (UK) late last week in the form the A10 from British manufacturer Ascari. Announced last December, and billed as a performance equivalent to the Ferrari Enzo FXX, the 225 mph A10 has a 5-litre V8 engine, with a six speed gearbox as standard and an optional sequential gearbox. Designed and hand built in Banbury, the 625bhp A10 weighs in at around 1200kg, thanks to its lightweight six-piece carbon fibre body. Unlike the EUR1.5 million Enzo FXX, the A10 is road legal and will sell for EUR522,000 (US$665,000). Reaching 60mph in just 2.8 seconds and 100mph in less than 6 seconds, the manufacturer claims the A10 will become the fastest road going production car around a race track. Although it was announced that 50 of the remarkable vehicles would be built, latest information suggests only ten of the species will be created, so better get the chequebook at the ready.  Read More

Dual-speed supercharger for the Hummer H3

October 27, 2006 European automotive technology company, Antonov, will be showing its innovative 2-speed supercharger drive system at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show next week in Las Vegas with two mouth-watering implementations. A Hummer H3 (that's a stock H3 pictured) incorporating the patented technology will be presented at the show by Antonov’s US distributor Wheel to Wheel Powertrain and the system’s performance enhancing characteristics will be demonstrated at the show proving grounds in a Ford Mustang GT.  Read More

Citroen’s new C-Crosser SUV

October 27, 2006 Citroen has announced first details of a new Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) that will go on sale in Europe from summer 2007. The versatile Citroen C-Crosser boasts four-wheel drive capability, exceptional levels of space and comfort and will will be available with a new generation 156bhp 2.2HDi engine mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. Capable of producing a whopping 380Nm of torque, this diesel power plant also boasts impressive green credentials, offering low fuel consumption, the ability to run on 30% bio-diesel and a Diesel Particulate Filter System that reduces particle emissions to virtually immeasurable levels.  Read More

Adrenalin Murtaya Turbo heading to USA

October 25, 2006 Immediately it was launched this month in the UK the Murtaya by Adrenaline Motorsports of Cornwall was pronounced “Awesome…a true automotive landmark” by often blase automotive journalists and gurus of sports car design and development. With underpinnings from the Subaru Impreza WRX and featuring AWD powered by a turbo flat four in various states of tune from 150 to 395 bhp this lightweight (between 850 & 925 kg dependent on spec) can easily be encouraged to sprint to 62mph in sub three second times, making it one of the quicket accelerating cars in the world.  Read More

NISSAN electric vehicle for the elderly

October 25, 2006 The world’s largest Electric Vehicle symposium, the 22nd International Battery, Hybrid and Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle Symposium & Exposition (EVS22), opened this week in Yokohama, Japan. First EV off the rank was Nissan with a line-up led by the X-TRAIL FCV 2005 (pictured top left). Nissan has a long EV association, having built its first electric car, the Tama EV (bottom right), in 1947 and the world’s first lithium-ion battery powered vehicle, the Prairie Joy Electric Vehicle, in 1996. Two interesting EV concepts on the Nissan stand were the Hypermini (top right – an ultra-small two-seater 100 km/h urban commuter with an aluminium space-frame, neodymium magnetic synchronous traction motor and high-performance lithium-ion batteries with a 115km range) and the Micro UV. The Micro (bottom left) is almost a story in itself, as it was developed by Nissan subsidiary Autech under the sponsorship of NEDO (the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization established by the Japanese government in 1980 to develop new oil-alternative energy technologies) specifically for Japan’s aging population. With the increase numbers of elderly drivers, this ultra-small electric vehicle is fitted with an active interface technology to support drivers with failing motor-ability and response-time that may impair their driving capability.  Read More

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